Before you buy or adopt a pet, consider the size and age the pet may become over its lifetime. Make sure you can accommodate all sizes of your pet and are ready to care for it for the long term. Also be aware of laws that make certain species illegal to have, such as the Snakehead fish and the Hydrilla plant.
Pets can become an invasive species problem when owners let them loose. When pets get too large or difficult to keep, some people think that letting them loose is the kind thing to do. That's not the case, releasing plants and animals into the wild can have serious harmful impacts to other species and may even be illegal. Releasing pets is not a good option because they can harm the ecosystem that other animals live in, they can cause problems for your neighbors, and it can be cruel to the animal.
When exotic pets are released into the wild, they may survive and reproduce to form new populations. They can compete with native species already in that ecosystem for food and other resources, decreasing native populations.
Abandoned pets can seek shelter and food near humans or domestic animals, and can lead to problems in your neighborhood. They can also spread disease and parasites to the area.
Most released pets will die in the wild. To avoid this, never release pets into the wild and be sure to C.A.R.E. for all pets.
Photo Credits: Burmese Python, Cellistka; Red-eared Slider, Birute Vijeikiene