More and more people are skipping out on the traditional domesticated pets in order to welcome wild, exotic animals into their homes. This trend seems to have skyrocketed in recent years, with many Hollywood celebrities flaunting their wild and unconventional housemates. Snakes, monkeys, tigers, lions, and pigs are just some of the popular choices; Mike Tyson has a tiger, Leonardo DiCaprio has a tortoise, and Kristen Stewart has a wolf! There really is no limit when it comes to animal love!
Despite the cool factor involved with housing an exotic pet, keeping wild and exotic animals in captivity doesn't come without risks. Amateur pet owners might be in for some unexpected surprises when they realize just how much work goes into pet-keeping a large, exotic animal. Not to mention, can you ever be fully sure that your faithful tiger won't turn on you and pounce in the midst of a bad day? Exotic pet ownership is definitely being used as a status symbol; the rich and famous have no limits when it comes to what kind of pets they can acquire! We have compiled a list of the most shocking, fabulous and downright terrifying pets that call Hollywood home. So without further ado, join us for, Mike Tyson Lives With A Tiger: 15 Celebs With Exotic Pets
15 Mike Tyson's Bengal Tigers
Mike Tyson is known to be a big spender, so it comes as no surprise that he's shelled out thousands of dollars to acquire pet Bengal tigers. The former boxer allegedly spent $70,000 on each kitty, and even more on monthly charges to maintain their personal living spaces and food expenses.
Their food bill alone reached close to $200,000 a year.
Each cat eats on average 40 pounds of meat a day, so these pets mean serious business when it comes to chow time! Tyson also shelled out about $125,000 for a year of tiger training with a certified coach. Eventually, Mike had to give up the expensive pets, as he was already having some money troubles, and this expensive side project was not helping matters. Before surrendering them, he appeared alongside one of the cats in The Hangover.
14 Kirstie Alley's Lemurs
Kirstie Alley has been keeping out of the public eye lately, and she seems to have found a new hobby to keep her occupied at home. She has a collection of wild lemurs, who live in their own enclose on her property. What started as a small interest has blossomed into a full-fledged conservation effort. She now houses 14 lemurs who hail from Madagascar where they are endangered due to the disappearing rainforests.
Kirstie dishes out close to $50,000 a year just for their care-taking expenses!
She's had to hire a full-time lemur sitter; these little critters might be small and cute, but they actually have quite strong personalities and require a lot of care. Furthermore, they aren't your average domesticated pet. These guys can live up to 30 years, so choosing to adopt one (or 14) is quite the commitment.
13 George Clooney's Pig
George Clooney had a trusty pot-bellied sidekick for 18 wonderful years. His pig, named Max, was essentially part of George's family, until his passing in 2006. George was allegedly devastated at the loss of his long-time pal who lived with him for almost two decades.
George was so close to his pet, he admitted to letting him sleep in bed with him on occasion.
The 300-pound pet had suffered from arthritis and was partially blind, these conditions contributed to his ultimate deterioration over the years. Max enjoyed some celebrity status during his prime. He was often featured in interviews alongside his human dad and was the subject of several photo shoots. Now that George is a husband and dad, he doesn't have as much time for pigging around. He has said that Max will not be replaced.
12 Kristen Stewart's Wolf
Kristen Stewart seems to have been inspired by the Twilight characters; her exotic pet is a cross between a wolf and a dog and he's named Jack. Kristen's love for wolf-dog hybrids actually goes back even longer than the Twilight franchise. Her mother, Jules, rescued a few of the pups a decade ago and the family fell in love with their howling pets. According to Kristen, they are super cuddly and affectionate. Some of the Stewart's neighbours, however, were not convinced. Back in 2010,
a neighbour tried to accuse the family of illegally owning wolves.
The pets are all licensed and the dispute led to the Stewart's filing a restraining order against the unhappy neighbour. The family maintain their 4 fluffy pets to this day.
11 Leonardo DiCaprio's Tortoise
Talk about an unconventional pet! We've heard of people keeping miniature turtles as pets, but Leonardo has a Sulcata tortoise at his home. In 2010, he purchased the then 10-year old tortoise for $400. The tortoise was 38 pounds when he acquired him, but can grow up to a whopping 200 pounds! Not to mention,
this reptilian pal will most likely outlive Leo, as the Sulcata's average life expectancy is about 80 years. We wonder who he'll leave the turtle to.
Funny, Leo has a hard time committing to women, but committing to spending the rest of his life caring for an aging turtle was a walk in the park! The tortoise isn't Leo's first exotic pet. He also has a lizard named Blizzard, and has famously owned dogs all his life. This eco-friendly babe is definitely a friend to the animals.
10 Michael Jackson's Chimp
Sadly, Michael Jackson's beloved pet chimpanzee, Bubbles, outlived the pop star. Michael acquired Bubbles when he was a baby chimp rescue back in the 1980s, and Bubbles lived happily with his papa for 26 years. In 2009, when Michael suddenly passed away, Bubbles was moved to a special conservatory in Florida for apes. When Bubbles was young, he lived the life of the rich and famous.
Michael famously let him sleep in a baby crib at the Neverland Ranch and he was photographed sipping tea and eating biscuits with Michael.
Many critics claimed that Michael was treating Bubbles like a long-lost sibling and using him as a way to relive his childhood by treating him more like a stuffed animal than a wild ape. When Bubbles got older, he became aggressive due to his captivity and was no longer suitable for human companionship.
9 Reese Witherspoon's Donkeys
When you think about wild and exotic celebrity pets, donkeys are definitely not the first animal to come to mind, but Reese Witherspoon has proven that any animal can be a pet! The down-to-Earth country girl has collected quite a few farm animals over the years, which include chickens, goats, pigs, horses, and of course, her two beloved donkeys named Honky and Tonky. She has said that
having a farm full of animals has been a crucial part of her children's upbringing.
Ava and Deacon each have responsibilities tied to the care of the animals which has helped Reese teach them valuable life lessons. Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of her flock of animals. Many of her Ojai, California neighbours have complained about all the noise the donkeys make!
8 Elvis' Kangaroo
Perhaps Elvis is to blame for starting the celebrity trend of exotic pet ownership since he had a pet kangaroo back in the day! Back in 1957, the kangaroo was presented to the King of rock and roll at MGM Studios by one of his booking agents.
Originally meant to be a prank, Elvis actually turned the tables and decided to adopt the furry Australian critter.
A total novice, Elvis hired trainers and animal experts to help him gain some sort of knowledge on kangaroo life. After countless attempts at training his little jumper, Elvis gave up and donated the animal to the Memphis zoo. He was a multi-talented artist, but kangaroo raising just wasn't his calling! At least there are still plenty of cool vintage photos of him with the pet in circulation!
7 Nicolas Cage's Octopus
We always knew Nicolas Cage was an oddball, but he reached all new levels of strange when he purchased a pet octopus. Apparently,
Cage was already dealing with financial troubles when he decided to shell out $276,000 to purchase two snakes and an octopus.
He's said that having exotic pets in his home helped him with his acting since he runs through his lines and directs dialogue their way. Experts have stated that octopi make terrible pets, as they require a ton of maintenance and have very specific and bizarre dietary needs. Cage eventually got rid of the octopus, citing that he was afraid that the large aquatic pet would break through the glass of the aquarium. He kept his King Cobra snakes, though.
6 Justin Bieber's Snake
Back in 2011, Justin Bieber made headlines when he brought his pet snake, Johnson, to the MTV Video Music Awards as his date. The then 17 year-old and his baby boa constrictor made quite a splash,
especially with his girlfriend at the time, Selena Gomez, who was not previously informed about the reptilian addition to the family.
The love didn't last too long, though. After less than 6 months housing the snake, Justin auctioned off the pet and eventually found him a good home at the RAD Zoo. Believe it or not, the acquisition of the snake led to a huge spike in visits to the zoo and people still travel to Minnesota to get up close and personal with Johnson Bieber. The proceeds of the auction went to charity, so at least this break-up had a happy ending!
5 Paris Hilton's Kinkajou
Paris Hilton's first famous pet was her chihuahua, Tinkerbell, but the heiress was also mom to a kinkajou for a little while! A kinkajou is a Central American native to the rainforest, and is often called a "honey bear." Paris had one named Baby Luv, but the love didn't last long between the pair. In 2006,
Baby Luv attacked Paris, sending the starlet to the emergency room for a cleaning and tetanus shot.
Although the wound was far from life-threatening, Paris was perturbed enough to get rid of her furry pal. Although kinkajous are not notoriously aggressive animals, Baby Luv just couldn't stand Paris' squeaky voice any longer and snapped. After hearing "Stars Are Blind" on repeat 5000 times, wouldn't anyone attack?
4 Miley Cyrus' Pig
Stars love swine! Pet pigs are all the rage in Hollywood and Miley Cyrus has been bitten by piggy fever. The pig, named Bubba Sue, famously appeared on the cover of Paper Magazine, helping to cover a nude Miley. Naturally,
the cover nearly broke the Internet, and Bubba Sue was made into an overnight pet celebrity.
She later changed the name of her piggy to Pig Pig and has posted many photos of her pet on Instagram. Miley tends to feed Pig Pig in a bikini, since it's such a "messy job." The vegetarian singer and PETA advocate has been an animal lover since she was little. She is also mom to a few rescue pups and has a penchant for pit bulls.
3 Vanilla Ice's Wallaroo
What becomes of rappers who only ever had one real hit in the mid '90s but are still recognized internationally? They enjoy being rich and buy wallaroos! Vanilla Ice — a.k.a. Robert Matthew Van Winkle (yes, that's his real name!) — owned a pet wallaroo named Bucky for several years. The pet was kept at his grandmother-in-law's home in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and famously escaped from her pen back in 2004.
The wallaroo, who escaped with the family's goat, was later found and returned to the family with a $220 fine.
Bucky's permits were out of date and Vanilla had to get the paperwork in order before the pet was released. It almost sounds like Bucky was doing time in the slammer while his rapper dad sorted out his bail!
2 Steven Tyler's Raccoon
Steven Tyler is definitely a free spirited man, prone to non-conventional dress, attitudes, and choices in pets! When he was growing up in Yonkers, Steven had a pet raccoon, which he domesticated enough to carry him around on his shoulder and take him out on fishing trips.
He told David Letterman that raccoons are actually quite easy to train and can be taught to use a litter box.
Once you have gained their trust, they become cuddly and sweet, almost like dogs! These exotic pets are also totally legal to own, and often don't even require a special permit to keep in the home. Their diet is not going to break the bank and they make quite good companions. Why is this trend not bigger? They're so cute!
1 Tyga's Tiger
You can't go calling yourself Tyga without following through and getting yourself a real, live tiger, right? Sadly, Tyga was a terrible dad to the exotic (and expensive) pet that he illegally owned. The tiger, named Maverick, is now housed at a tiger rescue non-profit in So-Cal. Tyga's negligent attitude toward caring for the pet was the main reason that he was taken into custody, where he is now fed, housed, and given proper attention. Furthermore,
Tyga was facing criminal charges for not having the proper permits and documentation for Maverick.
It looks like Tyga just made this move for his image and didn't think through how much money, time, and attention goes into raising a real tiger.