Exotic Animals: Wild and Dangerous Pets Through 10 Documentaries

April 24, 2023

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." - Anatole France

A brown Lemur and a human hand


From tigers lounging in living rooms to snakes sharing bathtubs, the world of exotic pets is a fascinating and sometimes dangerous one. While some individuals may find owning these animals thrilling, many documentaries and docuseries have explored the risks and consequences of keeping wild animals as pets. Here, we delve into some of the best films and shows that take a closer look at the world of exotic pets.


While some people may opt for more conventional pets like cats and dogs, others prefer to keep more unique animals as pets. However, the decision to keep an exotic pet is not without its dangers. Animals that are not domesticated can be unpredictable and may pose a threat to their owners and those around them. Documentaries such as "Fatal Attractions" and "Grizzly Man" explore the consequences of keeping close to dangerous pets and the often-tragic consequences that can result.


Digital drawing of a Asian girl with a purple Kimono and a grey wolf

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My! Get Up Close and Personal With the Most Unique Pets Through These Must-Watch Documentaries:



a turtle basking in the grass

Snowy, a neglected pet turtle, surprises the Wolf family by surviving for 25 years in their cold basement. In this heartwarming documentary, we follow Snowy's journey as he gets a chance at a happier life with the help of a dedicated team, including a veterinarian, an animal psychic, a scientist, and Uncle Larry, Snowy's caretaker. With beautiful cinematography, the film showcases the importance of animal welfare and the positive impact that humans can have on the lives of even the smallest creatures.


His Name Is Midnight

a blond man strokes a horse that stretches its neck

Is a powerful and uplifting documentary that tells the story of a resilient racehorse who was abandoned in his prime and the people who cared for him. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Badlands National Park in Lakota, United States, the film takes viewers on a journey into the traditional way of life of the American cowboy, exploring the deep bond between animals and humans.


Considering the ends

a black-haired girl holds a newborn sheep next to her mother, , an older sheep

Filmmaker Elsa Maury explores the controversy around the slaughter of livestock, which has been brought to the forefront by the widespread dissemination of footage from inside slaughterhouses. The film grapples with the ethical questions surrounding the consumption of animal flesh and seeks to provide alternative perspectives through images and narratives. For Maury, this project was personally, historically, and culturally significant.


Apex Survival

a dolphin, a great white shark and a blonde woman, with her snorkeling equipment, in front of the intimidating animal

Join a fearless and inspiring team of shark experts and conservationists on a thrilling adventure as they embark on a mission to follow the migratory route of the Great White sharks. Led by strong, independent women who are experts in their field, this global team takes viewers on a journey that highlights the beauty and power of these majestic creatures, while also shedding light on the critical need for shark conservation. From breathtaking underwater footage to insightful interviews with experts, Apex Survival delivers a captivating exploration of one of nature's most awe-inspiring predators.


Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit

two smiling ladies with their pets, two. cats one white and the other light brown

Is a delightful documentary that takes us on a journey through the colorful and competitive world of cat shows. The film introduces us to a group of passionate cat lovers, breeders, and judges as they prepare for the biggest cat show in Canada. With a mix of humor and heart, "Catwalk" offers an insider's look into the rigorous process of grooming, training, and presenting cats to be judged on their breed standards. Along the way, the film also highlights the unique bonds between the owners and their feline companions, revealing the deep love and dedication that drives this fascinating subculture.


Grizzly Man

a blond man wearing sunglasses and leaning on his knees poses in front of the camera, behind him is a brown bear sleeping

Drawing on actual video footage shot by Timothy Treadwell, Werner Herzog offers a mesmerizing look into the unique life of a passionate conservationist. Treadwell's love for adventure drove him to spend thirteen summers living among the wild grizzly bears in Alaska. His belief that he had formed a special bond with the animals is captured in the video footage he left behind. However, tragedy strikes when one of the bears he loved and protected turns on him. Through the lens of Treadwell's footage, Herzog takes viewers on a haunting journey into the world of nature and its unrelenting realities. The result is a remarkable documentary that challenges our understanding of humanity's relationship with the natural world.


Peculiar Pets

a blonde woman caresses her spotted wild cat

In this fascinating series, viewers are introduced to a world of exotic pets that many have never seen before. From bizarre and unusual creatures to ones that can be dangerous, each episode takes a deep dive into the world of people who have chosen to share their lives with these unique animals. Get a glimpse into the lifestyles and challenges of owning and caring for pets that are not typically found in a household, and discover the unexpected joys and heartaches that come with having such unconventional animal companions.


Fatal Attractions

a girl surrounded by wolves in the living room of a house

Is a riveting and thought-provoking documentary series that premiered on Animal Planet in 2010. The show delves into the lives of individuals who have kept exotic and dangerous animals as unconventional pets, often with fatal consequences. Each episode offers a disturbing and cautionary tale of how a person's desire for an unusual pet can lead to disastrous outcomes. Due to the graphic and unsettling content, the show carries a TV-14 rating, making it suitable for mature audiences only.


Preposterous Pets

a man playing with a jaguar

Is a fascinating documentary series that explores the unique bonds between humans and their exotic pets. From the jungles of South America to the deserts of Australia, the show takes viewers on a global journey to meet people who have developed extraordinary connections with animals not typically considered as pets. Each episode offers a rare glimpse into the unconventional lifestyles of these individuals and their remarkable animal companions. Get ready to be captivated by the incredible stories of love and devotion shared by these preposterous pet owners.


Elephant in the Living Room

a lion observes locked up in a trailer

Is a thought-provoking documentary that delves into the dangerous and controversial practice of keeping exotic animals as household pets. As the national debate around the issue heats up, the film follows two central figures: Tim Harrison, an Ohio police officer who has witnessed the dangers of owning exotic pets firsthand, and Terry Brumfield, a passionate animal lover who keeps two African lions as pets. The film highlights the struggles and dangers of raising these animals in a domestic setting, while also exploring the deep emotional connections that exist between humans and their pets. The unexpected collision of their lives creates a gripping narrative that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Praised as one of the best films of the year, The Elephant in the Living Room is a must-watch for anyone interested in animal welfare and the complex relationship between humans and their pets.


A digital drawing of a Asian girl hugging a Panda bear


The world of exotic pets is a fascinating but often dangerous one. While some people may argue that owning exotic animals as pets is a natural expression of human-animal relationships, documentaries have shown us the potential dangers and negative impacts on both the animals and their owners. These films offer an important look into the world of exotic pets and encourage us to consider the ethics of keeping such animals as pets.

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