Nearly 30 states have completely banned the practice of owning exotic animals as pets, according to the animal advocacy group Born Free USA.Ohio, in particular, is clamping down on exotic pet ownership after grabbing national headlines when dozens of wild animals escaped from a private collection, Reuters has reported.
And, after today’s wild search for two escaped chimpanzees, it’s easy to see why.
We rounded up some of the greatest, or most shocking depending on your point of view, animal escapes.
Some of the animals fled zoos while others took flight from private property.
From the Bronx cobra who inspired a social media account to the tribe of monkeys that fled an Oregon research centre, we’ve found it all.
51 animals were either killed or captured in Ohio when a man let his exotic pets out of their cages.
The streets of Zanesville, Ohio became a veritable zoo in October 2011, when Terry Thompson released a horde of animals that included mountain lions and tigers before killing himself.
Police defended their decision to kill the animals, rather than tranquilize them, saying that as night fell the situation became more dire.
'If this had been a 9 o'clock or 10 o'clock incident, in the middle of the day, odds are high that we may have been able to surround the area and keep everything contained,' Sheriff Matt Lutz told CNN at the time.
The mass breakout prompted the state government to reexamine laws governing exotic animal ownership. In April 2012, the state senate approved legislation that would make it illegal for residents to buy lions, tigers, bears, elephants, wolves, alligators, crocodiles, and certain kinds of monkeys as pets, Reuters reported at the time.
The deadly 20-inch-long cobra caused quite a panic throughout New York City when Bronx Zoo officials declared the snake was nowhere to be found.
Zoo staff finally caught the Egyptian Cobra, which had been hanging out in the Reptile House all along, by luring it out of its hiding spot using the smell of rodents, the New York Post reported at the time.
Too bad zoo officials couldn't capture the wayward snake before social media got wind of the breakout. The @BronxZoosCobra Twitter handle became an instant sensation, racking up nearly 70,000 followers in 48 hours.
Two or three llamas and an unidentified number of donkeys took flight from an Etowah, N.C. farm in February.
The animals left via a broken fence and were found wandering in the middle of the road, BlueRidgeNow.com reported.
Thankfully, this escape attempt didn't end in bloodshed. The owner was simply called to come and reclaim his animals.
Well, no one wants to be a science experiment right?
Five Japanese Macaque monkeys escaped from the research centre while their cages were being cleaned.
One was immediately captured and three others ultimately returned to the facility's campus, King5 reported at the time.
Researchers said the monkeys hadn't been tested for certain diseases that might be harmful to humans but reassured the public the primates weren't all that dangerous.
'It is believed that the animals pose little to no threat to humans because they retreat when they are approached,' OHSU spokesman Jim Newman told King5. 'However an animal that feels threatened could bite.'
Don't kids normally run away to join the circus?
Baby, a 40-year-old Asian elephant, shocked shoppers in Blackpool, County Cork, Ireland when she escaped handlers in March and went for a run through the area's shopping centre, The Daily Mail reported.
Circus handlers said the wayward elephant ran away from the circus to avoid taking a shower.
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