While the common house cat is one of nature’s most relentless serial killers, these tiny versions of their African cousins don’t pose much of a threat to a grown man or woman. Sure, your cat might imagine smothering you while you sleep, but luckily, it doesn’t have the general strength to pull this off.

If you’re really intent on owning a pet that could actually do you in, you’ll be happy to know that in many states, dangerous and potentially lethal pets can legally cohabitate with their human owners. More tigers are kept in American homes and backyards (5,000-plus) than roam the wilds. Here are a few dangerous pets that — if you posses any common sense — you should probably avoid taking home to your loving family.


Let’s start with one of the most questionable choices of pet on our list — the tiger. Guys who own tigers might tell you all they need is solid training and discipline. Why not ask Roy Horn (of Siegfried & Roy) how that turned out for him? Just because the law says you can own a tiger, doesn’t mean you should. And just in case you think this isn’t something you have to worry about, as I’ve already mentioned above, you can find more tigers in American homes than in the wild. Consider that the next time you send your kiddies over to a neighbor’s house for play date. “Sorry, dude. My pet tiger just ate your kindergartener.”


There are some dangerous dogs out there, but even the breeds with the worst reputations have gone through some kind of rearing and domestication process. Not so for their wild cousins, the wolves. Jack London’s stories might have made these noble creatures endearing to us, but that hasn’t erased the “Call of the Wild” from their blood (even though in that story, the animal in question is a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie). In other words, don’t leave your pet wolf alone with your toddler while you take your afternoon nap.


Baloo, from Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book,’ is a lovable, singing oaf of a bear. While that might sell you on the better qualities of purchasing or trapping a bear as an exotic pet, you shouldn’t let an animated character sway your opinion to such a degree. It is, in fact, legal in many places in the United States to privately own a bear. Even so, the most skilled animal trainer would probably tell you to exercise a great deal of caution. Bears are big and strong. After training, they might behave for years on end, until one day you push one too far — and then you’ll get to experience a true bear hug first hand, or rather first paw.


They might look like us, and act like us in many ways, but monkeys and people are not the same. This is especially true for one of our nearest cousins, the chimpanzee. Chimpanzees are brutally strong, and act out when things are not going their way. In layman’s terms, this means a pissed-off chimpanzee could literally rip off your face, or beat you to death. (Just check out Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). Adding insult (or sickness) to injury, primates can also transmit viral diseases and parasitic infections to human beings, including herpes. I bet your pet monkey doesn’t look so cute now.

Venomous Snakes

Dying of poison. This one should be pretty obvious. Venomous snakes can kill you with a single bite, not matter if you’re a faith healer dancing with a dangerous snake, or just a regular Joe with an exotic pet. And if you’re inclined to opt for the non-venomous snake route, remember, pythons have no qualms about killing children either, although crushing or strangling them to death is how the grisly deed will go down.


Actually, alligators aren’t dangerous at all. Feel free to cuddle with them in bed, or let them babysit your kids while you’re out on the town. Alligators love children … in their reptilian bellies! The above, obviously, is a big lie. Pet alligators can kill you with a single, strategic bite, give you a nasty infection, sever a limb, drown you, or eat a much-friendlier pet — like your dog. These massive reptiles have been around for millions of years for a reason. They’re tough, and they know how to kill. I strongly advise against keeping one around as a steadfast companion.