What are the Most Popular Pets in India?
The pet population in India is somewhere over 15 million in 2016. On an average, estimates hold that 600,000 pets are adopted each year; according to Euromonitor International, India has the fastest growing pet market in the world. Rising pet ownership rates have created massive demand for pet food and health products as well as accessories, and nowadays the Indian pet market is a USD 800 million strong industry estimated to be headed towards double digital growth in the coming years.
Dog ownership in India has always been rising, with even simpler households in rural areas adopting humankind's four-legged friend as a pet. However, are you sure dogs are the most popular companions? Take a look at this AnimalWised article and discover what are the most popular pets in India.
Dogs in India
Most people in India generally do not think beyond dogs as pets. The quick availability of dogs as well as the considerable loyalty showed by our species' best friend makes them the top choice for pets in India.
Dogs are considered to be associated with the planet Saturn in Indian medieval cosmology. In the ancient mythology of the Mahabharata, Yudhisthira, the king of the Pandavas was accompanied by his loyal dog all the way to heaven!
It is a well-known fact that dogs will follow their human compaions loyally even into danger- Many army and police dogs are the most loyal and bravest companions an officer could have in the hour of peril.
Cats: From Persia to Bengal
Bengal cats are the among the most popular pets in India - and of course, many people consider giving them a Bengali name to match. Well-to-do Indians who have a penchant for exclusive animals often have a Persian cat instead. Persian cats are the most expensive breed, costing anywhere around USD 3000 (INR 25,000-30,000); in any case, at AnimalWised we always recommend to adopt a cat instead of buying from a breeder.
Cats are generally considered as bringing bad luck in rural India. In fact, there is a superstition that if a black cat crosses your path, it means the work you were heading out for will not be done.
Superstition aside, the modern Indian is fairly fond of cats. Of the 40-45 cat breeds available, Indians are now opting for exotic breeds such as the Persian and the Siamese. If cats are provided with adequate care in terms of medical attention, nutrition and a safe environment, they can live up to 20 years, perhaps even longer.
This March Hare is much in demand
Rabbits are popular pets in India. Though they breed rather fast and need cages and regular maintenance, rabbits have always been popular as pets in India. In fact, rabbits have been pets since the 12th century in this country.
With a lifespan of 6 to 7 years, rabbits are a joy to play with. Alert, active and plenty of fun, rabbits are fast becoming one of the most popular pets in India.
Guinea pigs in India
Increasingly, Indian households are getting interested in pets that are small in size and easy to maintain, as modern homes and flats lack the necessary space for bigger species. This is where the guinea pig comes in.
Popular as a pet in the US and other Western nations, the guinea pig is slowly gaining a lot of fans in India too. These gentle and timid creatures have short legs and move at a slow pace. They prefer cool climates and are easy to maintain, being herbivores.
Birds: From parrots to parakeets
There was a time when the Indian parrot was the eternal favorite as a pet in India, and definitely, if Polly wanted a cracker, that was what she got. But now, house sparrows, mynahs, parakeets, eagles and kites have become fairly popular pets too.
A pedigree certified pair of birds cost between INR 8000 to 40,000. Indian native birds are protected under the Wildlife Act, although exotic birds are not. Their offspring, in turn, are bred as pets. Here you can learn more about illegal animal trade in India.
Besides parakeets, other popular choices are budgies and cockatoos as they are sturdy and easy to maintain. Adopting birds in pairs is advisable; a visit to the aviary can prove fairly educational for first timers who want to adopt a bird.
Fish tales: Aquariums in India
If you thought fish would not be popular pets in India, think again! From the alligator gar to the flowerhorn, clownfish, yellow tang, angelfish and foxface rabbitfish, there are innumerable species to choose from instead of the traditional goldfish for a home aquarium in India.
Consider the fascinating alligator gar, a freshwater fish that can grow as long as 10 feet! Most people in India who opt for fishes as pets, however, go for more common freshwater fish like angelfish, tetras, koi carp, guppies, gourami, suckers, and hilsa.
A saltwater aquarium, on the other hand, needs constant monitoring for the salinity of water and requires a higher water to fish ratio. Fully equipped marine aquariums cost INR 20,000 to 25,000.
Exotic pets in India: Things to consider
Bear in mind that certain varieties of birds, mammals, and reptiles are actually illegal as pets. According to the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is illegal to keep as pets any animal or bird found in the wild.
This probably accounts for why you'll find more macaws and cockatoos as pets in India than native species like the domestic Indian sparrow or crow.
Protecting your pet in India
It is also important to remember that pets which are unusual in India are not suited to its climate. While the humble turtle is a totem for ancient Asian tribes in the North Eastern states of India and thus is suited to live there as a popular pet, the Siberian Husky is the rare choice of the rich and wealthy who can keep them in an appropriate environment.
Snakes and bears are bred by charmers to make a living in India, but with the intervention of authorities, this practice is set to change. All animals deserve to be given freedom and protection because they give us unconditional love and loyalty at all times.
This is the answer to what are the most popular pets in India. Do you live in India? What is your favorite pet and why? Tell us in the comments section!
Stay with us to learn all about the rights of street animals in India and how to sponsor an animal in India as an alternative to adoption.
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