12 Of The Dumbest (Worst) Pets

Written by Emilio Brown
Updated: July 8, 2023
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While many animals can be kept as pets and are easy to care for there are many that make terrible pets. Some are illegal in some states but legal in others while some are completely illegal to own. Exotic animals have become very popular and many people illegally buy them to keep them as pets. Most wild animals can’t be domesticated and are typically dangerous and can potentially hurt or even kill their owners. Wild animals aren’t just dangerous, most are not very smart and live off instinct so once they’re thrust into a new environment or they aren’t properly cared for, becoming depressed or aggressive. Not all of the worst pets are wild animals, as some are just annoying or gross. Read on to find out the dumbest (worst) pets in the world. 

When a chimp is bought as a pet they’re taken from their mothers much earlier than they should be which can lead to psychological issues. 


Animals with large eyes – lemur

It is illegal to own a lemur in most countries


Not only are lemurs illegal in most countries, but they’re also extremely expensive. Buying a lemur from a quality breeder can cost between $3,000 to $10,000. Caring for a lemur can cost around $3,000 a year due to their dietary needs and vet care. These animals also need to be homed with at least one other lemur because they’re social creatures and if they’re taken from their mothers too early they may develop aggression and other behavioral problems. 


Animal Facts: Chimpanzees

Although cute, chimpanzees make really bad pets

©Lili Aini/Shutterstock.com

Chimps may be cute but keeping them as pets is a bad idea. In most places, it is illegal to own a chimpanzee but even where it’s legal it’s not healthy or safe for you or the chimp. Chimpanzees are dependent on their mothers and their chimp families to learn life skills. When a chimp is bought as a pet they’re taken from their mothers much earlier than they should be which can lead to psychological issues. 

Once a chimp reaches sexual maturity its natural instinct is to assert dominance which leads to aggression and can be unsafe for the owner. They typically live up to 60 years at least and when their owners are either unable to care for them or don’t want to anymore it can be hard to find a place for them to go because of their lack of social skills with other chimpanzees. Special veterinary care for these animals is required and can be extremely difficult to find. 

Big Cats

Black Panther

From a panther and tiger to a lion, big cats are not suitable as pets

©iStock.com/Aniket Mane

Big cats refer to tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, leopards, and cougars. Keeping these animals as pets is far from safe. Big cats being illegally kept as pets have led to a number of maulings and fatalities. They can grow up to almost 700 pounds and require very large amounts of space to get out all their energy. Not having enough room and being the predator typically result in the big cat becoming very aggressive.

Most people who try to keep these animals as pets try to declaw them to reduce possible injuries. Even without those claws, their teeth and jaw pressure are enough to easily take out a human. Owning a big cat is expensive, dangerous, and widely illegal. No one should ever consider owning one as a pet. 

Venomous Snakes

rattlesnake poised to strike

Venomous snakes are a dangerous animal to keep as a pet and in most places it is illegal

©Maria Dryfhout/Shutterstock.com

While keeping a pet snake is very popular, keeping a venomous snake as a pet may not be the best idea. In most places, private ownership of a venomous snake is illegal due to the potential dangers. Having a venomous snake as a pet could put your life and the lives of your family or neighbors at risk if it escapes.

Over 10,000 people a year are bitten by venomous snakes with some of them being bites from pets. While the fatality rate of venomous snake bites is low they are still extremely painful and antivenom can be hard to come by. Plenty of snakes that aren’t venomous make great pets and are much safer. 


grizzly bear roar

Despite looking cuddly, bears are extremely dangerous and aggressive animals

©Scott E Read/Shutterstock.com

Bears might seem like they’d be sweet cuddle teddy bears but they are quite the opposite. These animals grow to enormous sizes of over 1,500 pounds and some species can reach over 8 feet when they stand on their hind legs. With enormous size comes an enormous appetite and feeding a bear can be extremely expensive. 

Not only does it cost a small fortune to buy and care for a bear, but they are also very dangerous to keep around. Even bears cubs that were raised by humans their entire lives can grow up and harm their owners either by accident or on purpose. They also need a massive amount of space to thrive and be happy. Even with huge enclosures bears can still grow bored and depressed. They are wild animals and should stay that way.


Evening bat being held by researcher

Bats are one of the main carriers of rabies

©NPGallery / CC0 – License

Like a lot of different wild animals bats cannot be tamed even if kept in captivity for a very long time. They will most likely always try to break free from their cage or bite whoever tries to capture or hold them. Bats are also one of the main mammals that spur rabies which can be fatal once symptoms begin.

A bat’s lifespan also decreases significantly when they are in captivity. In the wild bats can live well past 30 years but in captivity that’s reduced to about 5 years. Bats also have a habit of rubbing their urine on themselves so whenever you handle a bat it’s likely you’re touching bat urine.


Cornered crocodile fight five adult lions

Due to their large size and aggressive nature crocodiles are not suited to being kept as pets


Crocodiles cannot be domesticated and should not be kept as a pet. While in some areas it is legal to keep them as pets it’s unsafe even for experienced reptilian hobbyists. Due to their enormous size, crocodiles tend to be too big and strong to handle once they become adults. They are usually illegally released into the wild once their owner can no longer take care of them. While it may be tempting for reptile lovers to want a cute baby crocodile once they grow they are almost impossible to contain and they are extremely dangerous. 


Most Vicious Animals

Foxes are actually some of the most vicious animals in the world.

©iStock.com/Hawk Buckman

While it may seem like a good idea, keeping a fox as a pet is not just a bad idea, it’s illegal in most places. Foxes come from the canine family like dogs and wolves though unlike dogs these animals are not domesticated and do not do well living indoors. They are very energetic animals and if they don’t get enough exercise they will destroy their surroundings out of boredom. Not only are they full of energy they are very loud. They are known to scream like humans all night during mating season. Foxes also have the urge to mark their territory and their urine has a very strong smell so it won’t take long to make your home smell awful. 


Pet hamsters actually bite more than other pet rodents

©Tom Gowanlock/Shutterstock.com

Hamsters are a common pet given to children as a first-time pet or as an ‘easy’ indoor pet. While hamsters may seem like easy animals to care for in reality they make terrible pets. Hamsters may be small and cute but they also bite more often than any other pet rodent. They do this because of their poor eyesight and their bites can hurt and even cause bleeding. 

Many people who get hamsters often forget to take into account their nocturnal behavior which may be annoying to some. They typically spend all day sleeping and can become aggressive if woken up. At night they can spend hours running on their wheel or moving and scratching which makes more noise than you’d think. 


raccoons walking together

Raccoons carry many diseases including rabies and salmonella


Keeping a raccoon as a pet is not ideal and it’s only legal in a few places. These animals are wild animals though they can be domesticated and become affectionate. Raccoons that aren’t domesticated at a young age can become aggressive and try to bite or scratch their owners or anyone nearby. Even when domesticated raccoons are mischievous and unpredictable. They like to explore and don’t do well when kept in small cages or rooms. They will likely destroy or escape their enclosure if not given enough space to play and explore. 

Raccoons are also mammals that can pass on rabies. If a pet raccoon bites or scratches someone it may be taken and even euthanized. They can also carry diseases like salmonella, leptospirosis, and distemper and are likely to be carrying parasites like fleas or roundworms. 


Killdeer on nest with four eggs

The killdeer constructs a nest on bare soil, gravel roads, or grass fields and lines it with grass, twigs, pebbles, and other debris.

©Brian A Wolf/Shutterstock.com

A killdeer is a medium-sized bird with brown black and orange markings. Not only is owning a killdeer illegal but they are one of the dumbest animals and do not make good pets. While they seem gentle they cannot be tamed and do not like to be touched or kept inside at all. They prefer not to have anything over their heads so keeping them indoors or in an enclosure would be very hard and the bird would probably suffer psychologically. 


baby koala solo

Koalas are a protected species and it is illegal to own one

©Andras Deak/Shutterstock.com

Like the killdeer, koalas are considered one of the dumbest animals in the world. They should not be kept as pets for many reasons. Koalas are a protected species so it is illegal to own one and if you try to keep one illegally the cost of buying one and regular care would be extremely expensive. They are also much less cuddly than you’d think. A koala would most likely try to harm you or anyone nearby rather than cuddle you. Though they are not inherently dangerous they have been known to injure people in self-defense. 

Summary Of 12 Of The Dumbest (Worst) Pets

NumberWorst Pet
3Big Cats
4Venomous Snakes
5Grizzly Bears
Summary Table Of 12 Of The Dumbest (Worst) Pets

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/AppleZoomZoom

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About the Author

Spiders, snakes, and lizards are my favorite types of animals, and I enjoy keeping some species as pets. I love learning about the various wonders nature has to offer and have been a writer for 5 years. In my spare time, you can find me getting out into nature.

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  1. 20 dumbest animals in the world , Available here: https://www.thecoldwire.com/dumbest-animals-in-the-world/
  2. Worst animals to keep as pets , Available here: https://www.thetoptens.com/pets/worst-pets/
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