A team of animal welfare experts from Wageningen University in the Netherlands ranked 90 species of animals for a pet suitability ranking on the basis of their basic biology, needs, the danger they pose to humans and how well they actually do when kept in captivity.

According to the research aimed at a growing trend in the Netherlands of owning exotic pets, dogs, cats and bunny rabbits are nowhere to be seen in the top 25 and the absolute best pet one can have is sika deer – a sweet little type of deer native to Japan.

The other four animals in the top five are Agile wallaby, Tamar Wallaby, llama and Asian palm civet. The best pet rankings are not about preference, but which pets will actually be happiest in your home and are "suitable" for keeping by anyone without special knowledge or skills.

The study's goal was to use statistical methods to determine in an "objective and non discriminatory" way what animals should qualify for "suitable" category, 'Chicago Tribune' reported.

The scientists led by Paul Koene were all specialists in animal ecology, ethology, veterinary science and husbandry.

After gathering information, they then came up with short summaries – ‘oneliners"’ - on each animal for each of 24 behaviour and needs criteria, including their food, shelter
and reproductive needs, as well as their risk to humans and other animals.

Two other teams of scientists reviewed those summaries and ranked the animals for pet suitability. The study, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, did include the caveat that assessors' judgments might be influenced by an animal's ugliness or cuteness.

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