Many people think it would be cool to own a tiger as an exotic pet, but what are the costs of owning a pet tiger? Where do you buy pet tigers? How much land do you need to have to keep a pet tiger? How tall of a fence do you need for a pet tiger? What states allow tigers as pets? Do I need to have a permit to have a pet tiger? How much does it cost to feed a tiger?
Many people think that having a pet tiger is a great idea, but most people can not afford to care for a tiger properly, let alone buy one. Even if you can buy one, pay for its feed, provide it with enough space, is a tiger really a good pet for you? Let us find out.
For the most part this article is written for people in the United States wishing to buy and own a pet tiger, but some of the information is also good for people in other countries. To note somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 tigers are kept as exotic pets in the United States, in fact more tigers are kept as pets now than there are in the wild.
It also must be said that pet tigers are not allowed everywhere, before you even consider it (and I am not suggesting you should really consider getting a tiger at all) you must check out the laws and regulations concerning owning a pet tiger. Even if your state allows you to keep a pet tiger, the area you live in may not. In terms of owning a pet tiger, these exotics are considered "large carnivores", and are banned in most states.
How Much do Pet Tigers Cost?
Tigers cost roughly $10,000 and up, with certain colors (white tigers) costing more. Tigers are sold directly from breeders (often on the Internet) and sometimes through odd and unusual exotic pet auctions.
How Much Does it Cost to Feed a Tiger?
Tigers are the largest of the “big cats” you must make sure you can afford to feed it and have a steady supply of meat, they should not be fed dry cat food. Many people feed horse meat or beef, at a cost of $1,500 to $2,500 per year.
How Much Land do I need to Own a Tiger?
In many places where pet tigers are allowed it is a requirement that you own at least 5 acres. In other words you cannot keep a tiger in your city backyard no matter ow good of a fence you have. In some cases the tiger not only needs a proper enclosure but your property also requires an additional 8 foot perimeter fence, mostly to keep people out!
Other Expenses for Owning a Pet Tiger
I should not have to say this, but anyone who does not spay or neuter their tiger is asking for trouble. The tiger will need to be vaccinated and wormed, having a veterinarian who is willing to do this things may present a challenge in itself. There could be unexpected expenses due to health or injury.
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Other Concerns with Owning a Pet Tiger
Of course there are the obvious concerns regarding safety, big cats have big risks. They can turn mean without warning. If they hurt you that is bad enough, but if they hurt somebody else you may have a potential lawsuit on your hands in addition to having your pet removed.
In regards to veterinarian expenses, just how you are going to get the big cat to the vet and back, do not assume you can just put it in the back of your car. Even if you could most vets will not look after “loose” big cats, they require them to be in a proper cage, called a “Squeeze”. Some veterinarians will come to your property (they charge mileage) but again, the cat must be contained.
Many tigers in the pet trade are inbred, particularly the white ones. In some cases this makes them more prone to health problems and shortens their lifespan.
You need to have a proper waste management system. What will you do with all the feces and urine?
One More Point about Owning a Pet Tiger
Many people get tigers and find, for one reason or another, that they cannot care for them. There are only a handful of places that take rescued tigers and those places typically report that they cannot help all the animals they are asked to help, in other words many former “pet” tigers are being killed.
On the whole, rather than considering buying a pet tiger it would be far better to donate to help the tigers already in captive rescue situations, such as the Shambala Preserve in California, or other big cat rescues.
States that Allow Tigers as Pet
States that Currently (as of January 2012) allow Tigers as pets, are as follows:
Alabama, Arizona – permit needed, Delaware – permit needed, Florida – permit needed, Idaho – permit needed, Indiana – permit needed, Kansas – license needed, Maine – permit needed, Minnesota – registration needed prior to 2005 can only replace an animal once if they had one registered before this date and it died since, Mississippi – permit required, Missouri – must be registered with law enforcement and have a permit, Montana -permit needed, North Carolina – regulated by the county, North Dakota – permit needed, Ohio – need health certificate for importing, Oklahoma – permit required, Pennsylvania – permit required, Rhode Island – permit and proof of secure premises required, South Carolina, South Dakota – permit required, Texas – license required, Virginia – license required, West Virginia, Wisconsin.
Note- This articile is not to endorse tigers as pets, overall they are not suitable for pets in most situations, and many are suffering as pets even now.