Donkey, gopher, spider: Chinese and their exotic petsBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/donkey-gopher-spider-chinese-and-their-exotic-pets
China has been overwhelmed by the fashion for exotic animals, which is why the demand for rare and even endangered species is growing all over the world.
British photographer Sean Gallagher met the residents of Beijing, who told him about their exotic pets. Crocodiles, snakes, monkeys, spiders — who else lives in Chinese apartments?
26-year-old resident of Beijing Shao Jian Feng with his crested crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). In the wild, such a "pet" can grow up to 6 meters, which makes it the largest reptile in the world. Shao Jian Feng is the lucky owner of five crocodiles and two large snakes. "There are 23 species of crocodiles in the world. I hope someday to collect them all in my collection."
The price of a crested crocodile on the black market can reach one and a half thousand dollars (approximately 86.5 thousand rubles). In the wild, this species lives mainly in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia.
31-year-old Wei Zheng with his exotic pet. The Somali thorntail (Uromastyx princeps) lives mainly in the Horn of Africa. This species of thorntails from the Agamaceae family is on the verge of extinction and is listed in the Red Book.
53-year-old Liu Feng with his son's pet — a Chuck slingshot (Ceratophrys cranwell). In the wild, this frog species lives in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Because of the similarity with the character of the computer game Pacman, the funny amphibian is very popular with breeders. The frog in the photo is one of thirty living in a small apartment of Liu Feng and his son in the center of Beijing.
Wu Jia Rui, 25, with a short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla) at Beijing's Guanyuan Bird Market. In the wild, this animal, which is popular with the Chinese as a pet, lives in the Andes (South America). Numerous species of chinchillas are listed in the Red Book as endangered, because in the wild they are massively hunted for valuable fur.
25-year-old Liu Zhaobei with his pet vulture turtle (Macrochelys temminckii). This species, which lives in the wild in the southeastern United States, is currently at risk of becoming extinct. Liu Zhaobei has been collecting animals since childhood. Now he has more than 30 different frogs, three alligators, various snakes and turtles living at home. "Collecting exotic animals is gaining popularity now. My university even runs courses on breeding them."
27-year-old Yan with her elegant parrot. The girl quit the media and opened her own company for the manufacture of costumes for parrots. She sells bird outfits online, and the demand for such clothes in China is growing every year. The noble green-red parrot lives in the wild in the north of Australia (Cape York Peninsula), on the South Moluccas and Solomon Islands and in New Guinea.
A veterinarian in a Beijing store holds a baby rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). Every year in China it becomes more and more difficult to become the owner of a monkey, because now it is illegal to have most species of primates as pets. However, such prohibitions do not stop many young people, because unique exotic animals give them a status among their peers. In the wild, the rhesus macaque mainly lives in Southeast Asia.
Lu Tingting, 32, is the owner of a pet store in central Beijing. It is here that her pet lives, a three-month-old raccoon (Procyon lotor) originally from North America. Lu's store is in demand: more and more young Chinese are getting pets, both exotic and quite ordinary.
Fenek (Vulpes zerda) in a Beijing pet store. Living in the sands of the Sahara and North Africa, foxes of this species have become popular pets among the Chinese after the release of the cartoon "Zveropolis" from the Disney studio in 2016. Individuals can cost from 2 to 3 thousand dollars (115-170 thousand rubles).
27-year-old Mao Yueying with her homemade sugar fly. The sugar flying possum, or pygmy flying marsupial (Petaurus breviceps), lives in the forests of Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. Because of its small size and unique appearance, this animal has become a popular exotic pet in China. Mao Yueying keeps three sugar flyers at home. The price of such a squirrel can reach 4000 yuan (about 600 US dollars or 34.5 thousand rubles).
The 30-year-old Wang Ke demonstrates three lizards in his nursery: the big-eared New Caledonian gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus), the striped crested gecko and the small New Caledonian gecko (Mniarogekko chahoua). In the wild, these reptiles live exclusively in the forests of New Caledonia in the South Pacific Ocean. Many species of the New Caledonian gecko may become extinct due to deforestation, forest fires, as well as illegal wildlife trade.
20-year-old Huang Jiachen, snake collector and breeder of exotic animals, with his pet python. At first, this resident of Beijing collected exotic animals as a hobby, but then he began to professionally breed and sell livestock at bird markets. The young man collects snakes from all over the world, having a special interest in vipers and pythons.
29-year-old Li Huajun with the Chalcosoma atlas beetle at the Beijing Bird Market. This beetle species lives in Malaysia and Indonesia. Lee is a collector of spiders, he has about 2000 individuals living at home.
38-year-old Jian Wei in front of an aquarium with black-finned reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus). Jian Wei runs his own shop at the Beijing bird Market, where he sells three to five of these sharks every month. Their price is about 4000 yuan (600 dollars or 34.5 thousand rubles). This shark species lives in the coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific region and is under threat due to overfishing. Jian orders his sharks from the Philippines and Indonesia via the Internet.
36-year-old Zhang Bo with a Mexican bloody tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) at the Beijing bird market. This spider species is commonly found in the deserts of Arizona in the United States and in parts of Mexico. Zhang started collecting spiders in 2007, and in 2014 began selling them in his own store.
26-year-old Shao Jian Feng with a Chinese alligator (Alligator sinensis). This species has been included in the list of endangered animals due to poaching and reclamation of wetlands. According to preliminary estimates, there are only about 100 Chinese alligator specimens left in Eastern China.
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