Seven Insane Exotic Pet Incidents

Exotic pet laws in the US are pretty lax, this means it’s easy to own strange and dangerous animals. This has lead to some bizarre animal incidents over the years. Here we look at some of the crazier ones.

Seven insane exotic pet incidents

Are you bored with your average cat or dog? Want something a bit more interesting? Want a lion you can spray paint green when you cosplay He-Man? Fancy riding a Zebra to work? You’re probably thinking “surely there’s laws against me owning such wild and dangerous beasts”. Well, the good news is if you live in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, or South Carolina, then, no, there’s really not. And while they might be mildly prohibited in other parts of the country, laws about transporting exotic animals across state lines are pretty damn lax. You can probably get one without too much trouble, and if there’s anything cooler than owning a crocodile, its’ owning an illegal crocodile.

America has a booming exotic pet industry, despite the fact that since 1990 there have been 1634 dangerous incidents (including 75 deaths) involving these killer pets. When people are irresponsible with pets it’s sad, but when people are irresponsible with exotic pets it’s sad and terrifying. We’d like to share with you now some insane tales of irresponsible exotic pet owners. The next time you step in a dog turd cos some jerk didn’t pooper scoop, just be thankful he doesn’t own a lion.

1) Donkey Kong not so fun in real life

When you were a kid did you ever wish you could hang out with your favourite video game characters? Did you dream of jumping into your TV like Captain N, or hope that pac man might show up at your school? Well this dream came true for Michael Abrom when a 300-pound chimp went on the loose in Kansas City.

The chimp was a pet that belonged to Abrom’s neighbour. Following a trend you’ll see a lot in this article, his neighbour had given the terrifying giant ape the adorable name “Sue”. One day Sue escaped from her owner’s home. Her owner shot her with a tranquilizer dart, which unfortunately didn’t stop her (you can build up a tolerance to those things – trust us, we’ve done a lot of partying).

Sue went on a rampage destroying property in the local area. Michael Abrom was at one when he heard a knocking on his front door and looked out to see a giant ape. Terrified (though relieved it wasn’t Mormons), Abron climbed up on to his roof thinking he’d be safe there. Yeah, cos if there’s one thing monkeys hate doing, it’s climbing. 

Authorities quickly arrived to prevent another Planet of the Apes remake (apparently police even carried heavy duty Marky Mark repellant). In a move straight out of an NWA film clip, Sue flipped officers the bird, threw a trash can at officers, and then smashed in the windscreen of a patrol car. “The monkey jumped on top of the car, did a ‘Donkey Kong’ smash on the cops’ window…” said Abrom comparing the incident to the 1980’s video game. Realizing the gravity of the situation, officers quickly called in the local Italian plumber.

Sue was eventually coaxed back into a cage and taken to an animal shelter where she spends time racing against her nephew Diddy Kong and a large reptile called Bowser.

2) Kinkajou attack people and also Paris Hilton

If you’re thinking “what the hell is a Kinkajou?” you’ve got an idea of what went through 82-year old Sadie Hester’s mind when she saw one while sweeping her porch in Mississippi. Before she could tell it to get off her lawn, the Kinkajou attacked her.

What was biting Mrs. Hester was a South American mammal that looked something like a cross between a monkey and a bear (in fact Kinkajous are often called Bear-Monkeys). Their sharp teeth are designed to eat fruits and insects, but they had no problem chomping down on Mrs. Hester’s arm. Stupid people like to keep them as pets until they attack their owners or get loose and attack bystanders. Police believed the Kinkajou that attacked Mrs. Hester was one such pet, but couldn’t find its’ owner. We think a quick call around to the neighbours would sort that out (”Hi Bob, did your kinajou just attack Mrs. Hester?” “No, that must’ve been someone else’s kinkajou”), but then maybe Mississippi is full of Kinkajou owners.

Speaking of dumb people who own kinkajous, Paris Hilton had one. Called Baby Luv, carried it around in her handbag for a while. Baby Luv, finding this all a bit too demeaning (”what am I a Chihuahua?” he probably thought), gave her a good biting.  In Paris’ words; “It got a little crazy one night. Like ending up in the hospital crazy. It bit me!” After the attack Paris was taken to hospital, and Baby Luv was taken to a shelter to get some shots. Perhaps the fact that kinkajous have been known to carry a host of parasites (rabies, round worm, etc.), explains how Baby Luv could survive biting Paris (which must be like licking a toilet seat). Perhaps this natural immunity could be put to good use. Releasing large numbers of kinkajous could end the current plague of talentless pseudo-celebrities. The odd mauling of an innocent like Mrs. Hester would be a small price to pay. 

3) Tiger disobeys king of the jungle

Actor Steve Sipek played Tarzan in a couple of b-movies in the seventies (including the vaguely racist sounding “Tarzan and the Brown Prince”). Once his acting career dried up, Sipek had a choice between gracefully retiring or going a bit nuts. He chose the second option and started filling his Floria property with exotic animals like tigers, lions, cougars, and panthers. Rumours that he swung round his house on vines are unfounded.

Eventually the inevitable happened and a one of the tiger got loose. Sipek was unable to get the tiger to come back, even after summoning him with his Tarzan call. Since Tarzan was kind of the African Jungle and tigers don’t live on that continent, maybe Sipek was just out of his jurisdiction. The police were called and started looking for the tiger who was, hilariously, called Bobo. When neighbours heard police calling out to “Bobo” they probably wondered who lost a Chihuahua.

For over twenty-four hours Bobo managed to evade wildlife trackers, sheriff’s deputies, and a federal marshal played by Tommy Lee Jones. Authorities had planned to tranquilize Bobo, and bring him in alive. Unfortunately, once cornered Bobo made threatening gestures and was shot. Police them planted a hand gun in his paw and claimed self defense. That’s how they do.

Sipek certainly thought it was a frame up. “Murder is the word,” he said. “They murdered a poor, helpless animal that only looked ferocious.” We’re not sure how you tell the difference between a tiger that’s ferocious and a tiger that just looks ferocious, but then we’re not Tarzan. Since Bobo bit and injured a woman working at Sipek’s home two years before his escape would suggest he was the ferocious kind, but Sipek claims that was unintentional. “Well, OK, you’re Tarzan,” Authorities shrugged and let Sipek keep all his other wild animals.

Currently Sipek lives in Loxahatchee Florida surrounded by his animal friends (and terrified neighbours) and continues to have wacky adventures. Like when his house caught fire and fire fighters had a hard time putting it out what with all the jungle animals and electric fences about the place.

4) New Jersey the Wolf state 

They say good fences make good neighbours. Never has this been truer than in the case of Cliff Zager, a New Jersey man who owns a pack of wolf-dog hybrids. Neighbours are a little upset that Zager’s pack regularly break loose and terrorize the neighbourhood, making living in new Jersey even more unpleasant. In 2009 Zager’s pack got loose a total of four times, and on their last rampage two domestic turkeys were killed. Since no one actually saw the birds get killed Zager pointed out that it might have been coyotes or someone else’s pack of wolf-dogs. Residents think Zager is a pretty bad neighbour. Not only does his wolf-dog pack terrorize the town, he also borrowed a hammer and hasn’t returned it.

Wolf-Dogs are a hybrid species perfect for anyone looking for a pet with all the positives of wolves (killer instinct, higher intelligence, chilling howl), with none of the drawbacks (like, say, fear of humans). Despite the fears of New Jersey townsfolk, wolf-dogs have their supporters. Just like people who own Pitbulls or other large dogs to compensate for small their pensis, argue the breed isn’t really dangerous. The fact that the American Humane Society lists at least 34 incidents since 1990 would suggest this argument isn’t valid, but then only a few of those maulings were fatal so maybe those people should just suck it up. Zager’s neighbours have started a facebook page to petition for the removal of the pack (that’ll show him), which has devolved into a flame war between the pro and anti wolf-dog camps. 

Despite the local council trying to enact a ban, and townsfolk gathering with torches and pitchforks, Zager’s pack continues to grow and escape regularly. Oh, and just to add to the creepy horror movie vibe, the packs’ scraps are attracting vultures. Despite all this, there’s nothing much anyone can do and so it looks like Zanger can keep enjoying the children of the night’s beautiful music

5) Zebras hate footballers (or maybe renovations)

In the wild some animals have natural enemies; lions vs gazelles, seals vs polar bears, zebras vs footballers. That last one isn’t common knowledge, which was unfortunate for Pittsburgh State linebacker Joe Windscheffel. During the off season Windscheffel took a job on a Zebra farm. Amazingly no one warned him of the Zebra’s natural hatred for footballers and sent out to paint a fence.

Seeing a group of four zebras standing in front of the fence, Windscheffel made to shoo away the stripey loiterers. The male of the group obviously wasn’t gonna take that crap. He bit Windscheffel on the arm and dragged the 6′2″ 225 lb linebacker several yards before a couple of farm hands rescued him. The rescue came a little too late though, as Windscheffel received a compound fracture that required six pins and a plate, and was unable to play the following season. Conspiracy theorists have suggested the zebra was working for arch rivals Northwest Missouri State. After getting out of hospital, Windscheffel said “I just didn’t think I could be mentally… ready for this season.” Which is a common reaction to getting your ass kicked by one of nature’s wimpier animals.

“You only see zebras on television getting eaten by lions, but they are stronger than they look,” Windscheffel said. “It was just a freak deal.” Actually, it’s not that uncommon. A lot of people keep Zebra’s as pets despite their infamously bad tempers. In fact Windscheffel’s accident wasn’t even unique. In 2009, James Oleson was mauled… by a zebra… WHILE PAINTING A FENCE! It’s like something out of the Twilight zone. OK, technically he was mauled by a Zonkey (a cross between a Zerbra and a Donkey… it’s Napoleon Dynamite’s second favourite animal), but we’re pretty sure it was the Zebra genes that caused the mauling.

6) Pool cleaning surprise

Having a pool is nice, but cleaning it is a big pain. You gotta put in pool chemicals, scoop leaves out of the pool filter, and, if you live in Palmetto Bay Florida, you gotta keep out giant pythons.

Florida is the capital of illegal exotic pet dumping. Every year irresponsible owners dump their exotic pets. However unlike in other areas where cold weather kills a lot of the reptiles off (unless they start living in sewers), Miami’s warm climate lets them thrive. Apparently the everglades are a breeding ground for dumped pythons. In fact dealing bumping into giant pythons is so common in Florida that they have an app for that.

This is what lead to Miami police being called out to remove a 13-foot Burmese python from a swimming pool. Luckily Captain Jeffery Fobbs of the local Venom Response Bureau (yes, they’ve got an entire bureau to deal with snakes) decided to turn this crisis into an opportunity. After catching the giant python he claimed he was going to use it to train future snake catchers. We’re not sure how he plans to do this but hope it involves throwing a rookie, a knife, and the python into a well to see who survives.

7) Tiger in fifth floor apartment

Antoine Yates didn’t want to keep any old pet. He wanted something unique and cool. Antoine wanted a tiger. Most people would have thought this was a bad idea for many reasons, but mostly because Antoine lived in a tiny fifth floor apartment in Harlem. Not letting a little thing like lack of space hold him back, Antoine went and got himself a tiger cub. Raised in the apartment, the cub eventually became a fully-grown 400-pound Bengal tiger.

Then the tiger bit him.

Antoine claimed he’d been bitten by a pit bull and was taken to hospital. While he was there, one of his neighbours put in an anonymous call to the cops. A resident in the room below Antoine’s complained that cat urine was leaking through her ceiling. The cops thought this was a bit strange, even for New York.

The cops decided to investigate, but couldn’t find Antoine. Surprisingly it turns out the guy who’d raised a tiger in his flat was a little irresponsible. Police drilled a hole through Antoine’s door and sure enough they saw a real live tiger – right next to the world’s biggest scratching post.

Being the buzzkills that they are, the police decided to confiscate the tiger. To do this they decided to rappel down the outside of the building and shoot the tiger with a tranquilizer dart. Officer Martin Duffy drew the short straw and was lowered down to the window. Once at the window he, logically, TAPPED IT WITH HIS SHOE. When the tiger lunged at him, Officer Duffy shot it with the tranquilizer dart before rappelling to the ground where he landed safely on his gigantic balls.

Once other officers were sure the tiger was unconscious (by rappelling down again and poking it), they entered through the front door and took it away. That’s when they spotted the 280-pound alligator in the bathtub. Seriously.

The story ends happily. Both the alligator and the tiger being sent to an animal shelter, so if you’re looking for a pet they’re free to a good home (warning; you might have trouble neutering the tiger). Antoine was charged with reckless endangerment, and now spends his days bitching about how his tiger was taken by THE MAN.

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