An alternative to the commonly kept dogs, cats or goldfish. Can be effected by locale though as some animals are common as pets in some places, but not common in others. In some places a ferret wouldn't get a second glance and everyone knows what it is, but in others, a ferret might be viewed as something so different that the owner constantly has to explain what it is.
Captive Bred animal
Animals bred in captivity, but not always considered domesticated. Applies to animals who are less then 3 generations removed from the wild, but often used to define reptiles and other animals that have been bred in captivity for an unknown number of generations, but have not yet developed traits that differ them from their wild ancestors, such as unusual coloring or fur type, more tractable temperaments, changes in natural habits or changes in size or body shape.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. An International regulatory committee founded in 1973 for the regulation of trade in endangered species of animals and plants. There are three classifications of CITES; Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III.
Appendix I includes 'all species threatened with extinction which are or may be threatened by trade. Trade in specimens of these species must be subject to particularly strict regulation in order not to further endanger their survival and must only be authorized in exceptional circumstances'.
Appendix II includes 'all species which although not necessarily now threatened with extinction may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation Controls on species similar in appearance to threatened species are also listed here.
Appendix III includes species given strict national protection, for which party states seek international cooperation in enforcement; this appendix is little used.
Animals selectively bred for temperament or other traits, either as pets, guardian animals, wool production, egg or meat production, fur production, entertainment or public/private educational animal collections.
USDA defines a domestic animal as any animal bred for more then 3 generations in captivity.
American Humane Society - Any animal that is for the companionship and well being of mankind is domestic.
Exotic may mean different things to different people. To a veterinarian, ANY animal that is not a cat or dog or common domestic livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, etc. is an exotic. However, the word exotic can also mean from another country or just 'different'. Some people view the term exotic as meaning 'wild', though this seems to be more among those who want to see them as wild such as animal rights groups.
Many people use the term 'alternative' pet now to define animals that are domesticated, but different from what society views as the normal pet. Generally if the average person doesn't have to ask what kind of animal it is or whether its a wild animal or not or doesn't look at it as livestock rather then a pet, its not considered as an exotic.
Hand-Raised Wild animal
An animal born in the wild, but raised in captivity, perhaps due to being orphaned, etc. May or may not be able to be rehabed into the wild again, depending on species and how they are raised. Large cats, such as tigers almost never can be returned to the wild due to having lost fear of humans and posing a danger if released.
The word 'rehab' applies both to captive bred, hand raised wild or wild animals rehabed into the wild in the case of injured, orphaned or sick native wildlife and to exotic pets. Rehabilitation of exotic pets refers primarily to socializing or retraining otherwise unwanted pets who have temperament problems that prevent them from being adopted out, much like some dog breed rescue/rehab groups are doing.
United States Department of Agriculture. A federal agency. Most exotic animals require a permit from the USDA for breeding, exhibiting, trading or selling of exotic animals.
United States Department of the Interior. A federal agency. Those animals which are on the CITES list as endangered species require a permit from the USDI for breeding, trading, selling, etc. While is is possible to own an endangered species which comes from a captive bred source, permits for taking them from the wild is nearly impossible if you are not a licensed zoo or sanctuary running a captive breeding program.
Animal born in the wild and fully able to survive there.
More definitions will be added later....