I first learned about the slow loris during a late afternoon primatology lecture, back when I was working on an over-ambitious Bachelor of Science that would waste 3 years of my life, plunge me into student debt, and trigger the second worst depressive downswing I’ve ever had (though that’s a story for another time).
I’ve since moved on from primatology, as well as my dreams of becoming a world-class forensic anthropologist, but the slow loris has stuck with me as surely as he clings to trees with his specially-adapted, pincer-like grip. And I remember writing, in a very deliberate hand, “DON’T MAKE GOOD PETS”, over my notes on this adorable nocturnal primate. It remains, for no particular reason, one of my clearest study-related memories. I also remember being forced to dance to this song during a plant biology lecture. This was meant to teach us the difference between two types of cell propagation, but what the types were or what the difference between them was I don’t recall. In fact I’m not sure if that lecturer was a University employee or just a really committed performance artist.
Anyway, the point of this very rambling first post is this:
Wild animals do not make good pets.
Yes, even the cute ones. Especially the cute ones.
Millions of animals, including the slow loris, suffer from the illegal pet trade. This is a global pandemic fueled by social media and ignorance, and it is 100% unnecessary. Ask anyone who has ever worked with wild animals and they will tell you, “we love our animals, but would we ever keep them as pets? F*ck no!” Unlike cats and dogs (though these can be problematic in their own ways), wild animals haven’t had the dubious benefit of thousands of years of domestication and caring for them is extremely difficult. Rewarding as heck, but difficult.
Wild animals are wild. They are unpredictable. Many of them are dangerous, like (wait for it) the slow loris, who secretes saliva-activated venom from glands beneath her arms. And the rest are… well.
The rest are just plain assholes.
For more information about the slow loris pet trade and how to help, head over to Slow Loris Rescue.