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Can You Pet a Arabian Oryx

  • Pet Care

Can You Pet an Arabian Oryx?

The Arabian Oryx, native to the Middle East and North Africa, is a stunningly majestic antelope that looks almost like a horse. With its long curved horns and white-and-tan spotted face, it’s not surprising that people find Arabian Oryx so attractive. But can this wild creature be tamed sufficiently to allow it to be petted? Let’s take a closer look at the Arabian Oryx and find out.

Arabian Oryx as a pet

The Nature of the Arabian Oryx

The Arabian Oryx has a striking beauty and its large horns instantly grab attention. It can stand up to four feet tall, weighing up to 300 pounds. This antelope lives in small herds, typically of three to six individuals.

The Arabian Oryx is a very adaptable and able creatures who can survive in a multitude of conditions. From the searing desert heat to icy mountain ridges, the Arabian Oryx can exist. It does this by being able to go for long periods without drinking, by utilizing underground wells provided by other animals, such as the gazelle, and by eating just about any vegetation given its vast range of dietary options.

Can You Pet an Arabian Oryx?

The answer is a definite “no,” unless you are willing to take on a lot of risk. While it is possible to tame an Arabian Oryx, the process requires an extreme amount of dedication and devotion. Not only must the animal be fed and given plenty of water, but it must also bond and become comfortable with people. This is no small undertaking as the Arabian Oryx is naturally skittish and wary of strangers. It is also even more challenging because the Arabian Oryx is a wild animal, thus will often revert back to their wild natures if not constantly supervised.

The process of training the Arabian Oryx is referred to as “taming” and typically takes months, if not years, to complete. Once complete, the Arabian Oryx can be handled and even ridden for short periods of time. However, it is important to point out that this is not the same as “petting” the animal. The Arabian Oryx will never be like a domestic pet and its feral instinct will always remain.

The Exotic Pet Trade

Due to their unique horns and noble visage, some people believe that Arabian Oryx can be kept as exotic pets. This has led to an increase in the illegal poaching of these antelopes with the intention of having them as pets. This is highly discouraged and incredibly damaging to the species as a whole, as Arabian Oryx are already listed as “endangered” by the IUCN Red List.

While domesticating an Arabian Oryx is not legal in most countries, conservationists urge that there are plenty of alternative exotic creatures one can purchase as pets. These alternatives include more easily tamed varieties like the scimitar-horned oryx, the Dama gazelle, and the Arabian sand fox.

Final Thoughts

The Arabian Oryx is a beautiful, majestic antelope that can survive in extreme conditions with relative ease. But its elusive and shy nature makes it incredibly difficult to domesticate, and thus it is not recommended to attempt to keep one as a pet. It is much better to admire the Arabian Oryx in its natural habitat, or if one feels the urge to keep an exotic animal as a pet, then it is recommended to research more docile and easily tamed species. Doing so can help ensure that this distinct and incredible species remains safe and secure in its wild homeland for many years to come.

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