Pets are marvelous companions that bring us happiness, love, and friendship.
They come in all different sizes and shapes, but they all provide company and love to their owners.
While some people prefer to keep cats and dogs, some artists prefer the company of wild and exotic animals, maybe because of their eccentricity, perhaps because they fell in love with a particular animal, or just because they feel the need to challenge themselves with an extraordinary pet.
In this article, you’ll find a list of some of the most influential artists in history who preferred exotic animals over common house pets and shared the love they had for their companions with the world.
Salvador Dali and His Pet Anteater
Dali is one of the most influential, eccentric, and controversial artists in recent history. His iconic mustache, his vast collection of art, and his flamboyant personality made him a character that most people still recognize today.
With such an extensive collection of strange artwork and strange facts about Salvador Dali, it’s easy to forget that Dali had a knack for wild animals.
Amongst his favorite pets was an his anteater. He took Breton (the anteaters name) for casual walks in Paris, as if he was walking a dog, and brought him to talk shows like it was completely normal.
Anteaters are fantastic animals with exciting behaviors, and if you research enough about their lifestyle and learn how to care for them, they’ll make excellent pets.
Dali was particularly fond of his anteater, but he didn’t limit to one exotic animal! Dali also kept an Ocelot with him called Babou, and it was his closest companion as he took him wherever he went.
Lord Byron and His Pet Bear
George Gordon Byron, commonly known as Lord Byron, is considered to be one of the greatest British poets. Known for his amazing literary works, his political involvement, and eccentric behavior, but rarely recognized as a proud owner of wild animals.
The most controversial of his pets was a small bear that he brought with him to the Trinity College in Cambridge when he learned that he couldn’t bring his pet dog to classes. Since there wasn’t any legal basis to ban bears, he kept it with him on campus.
Besides the bear, Lord Byron loved dogs and even built a statue for his most beloved k9, but he also had a fondness for many other wild animals, including foxes, peacocks, monkeys, and horses.
Ernest Hemingway and His Cats
Hemingway is one of the most influential writers in American history, known for his tough attitude, his love for hunting, fishing, and exploring.
However, Hemingway shared a deep love for cats, keeping an extensive collection of rare breeds in his home. Amongst the unique cats he kept, was a collection of six-toed cats, whose descendants still live in the surroundings of Hemingway’s former houses.
Frida Kahlo and Her Deer
One of the most emblematic artists of Mexico, with dozens of intriguing and mesmerizing artworks, Frida Kahlo’s legacy in the art movement is indisputable.
The fascinating story behind most Frida Kahlo’s artwork comes from the love and companionship she had with her many pets.
She kept several spider monkeys, a fawn, parrots, hawks, and other exotic animals, all who inspired some of her famous paintings.
Besides the wild pets, Kahlo also owned a Xoloitzcuintle dog, a hairless, and exotic dog breed native of Mexico.
Charles Dickens and His Pet Raven
Regarded by many as one the most influential novelist in history, with dozens of famous literary works that people still love to this day, like A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.
Like the other artists in this list, Charles Dickens was an exotic pet owner who loved the companionship of an unusual animal. In Dickens’ case, it was a pet raven called Grip.
Dickens’ love for his pet raven was immense, immortalizing it in his literary works and life, preserving Grip as a stuffed animal after his death. Dickens kept at least two more ravens in his life, along with an eagle, and several cats.
Keeping Wild Animals as Pets
Remember, although some of these great artists kept wild animals as pets, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be easy for you to have one!
Make sure to check the other articles here on GeoZoo, and research online on which exotic pets to keep, the challenges, and legalities. You don’t want to get in trouble with local authorities or harm an exotic pet (or other humans) because of lack of knowledge.
What do you think about these exotic animals? Know any artist that we missed? Disagree? Let us know in the comments.