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Wild Animals and Other Pets Kept in Costa Rican Households: Incidence, Species and Numbers

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A nationwide survey that included personal interviews in 1,021 households studied the incidence, species, and numbers of nonhuman animals kept in Costa Rican households. A total of 71% of households keep animals.The proportion of households keeping dogs (53%) is 3.6 higher than the proportion of households keeping cats (15%). In addition to the usual domestic or companion animals kept in 66% of the households, 24% of households keep wild species as pets. Although parrots are the bulk of wild species kept as pets, there is vast species diversity, including other birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, fishes, and invertebrates - typically caught in their natural habitat to satisfy the pet market. The extraction from the wild and the keeping of such animals is by-and-large illegal and often involves endangered species. Costa Ricans, in a conservative estimate, keep about 151,288 parrots as pets. More than half the respondents have kept a psittacid at some point in their lives. Pet keeping is a common practice in Costa Rican society, and its incidence is high by international standards


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