Exotic species get claws into pet market

By Yang Wanli | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-22 07:32
A customer watches a marmot at a pet store in the Laiguangying Pet Market in Beijing this month. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

Higher wages and better living standards mean many Chinese are no longer satisfied with cats and dogs, so they are embracing lizards, snakes, crocodiles and even rare ants. Yang Wanli reports.

Pet ownership is not a new phenomenon in China. For example, for thousands of years, rural dwellers kept dogs to guard their homes while they were busy in the fields.

The relationship between pets and their owners was a working partnership until 30 years ago, when standards of living started to rise as a result of the reform and opening-up policy, and people began owning animals for companionship and pleasure.

A distinct change has been noticed in recent years, with a sharp rise in the ownership of exotic pets, especially among members of the younger generation, who are no longer satisfied with traditional animals such as dogs and cats.

As a result, the country is seeing a rapid rise in the number of nontraditional pets, such as birds of prey, rare frogs, snakes, pygmy sharks, lizards, insects of all sizes and colors, and even crocodiles.

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