Over the course of 20 years, my family has owned a number of pets. The complexity of these animals has remained fairly stagnant, peaking, perhaps, at the lizard I had in 3rd grade that could grow his severed tail back or the dog that consumed razors and Christmas ornaments like he was a living, breathing garbage disposal. It’s not that my family was never interested in exotic animals – my mom seriously considered purchasing a squirrel monkey once – but most of the time, the animals were out of our price range. Celebrities don’t have this problem, so it’s not uncommon to find an A-List star walking their alpaca or tending to their spider monkey kingdom. Check out the pets of some of these famous figures:
1) Salvador Dali – Ocelot/Anteater
Known for his surrealist paintings, artist Salvador Dali housed two exotic creatures during his lifetime, including an ocelot and an anteater. Considering that most cats can barely get along with a piece of dust, I can only imagine how averse the wildcat must have been to a furry, South American creature with a noodle tongue. Then again, maybe that was the point. When he wasn’t melting clocks or morphing humans in his paintings, Dali was fishing for attention from the media, which makes me question whether his heart was truly set on anteaters and African cats, or if he wanted some extra time in the spotlight.
2) Mike Tyson – White Bengal Tiger
Remember the tiger that terrorized the Wolfpack in The Hangover? Well, it wasn’t Mike Tyson’s, but the use of the tiger was inspired by Tyson’s history with the animals. According to reports, Tyson used to own three white Bengal tigers, which he kept in his Las Vegas estate. (It was one of his most expensive investments: it cost around $1,500 a day just to feed them.)
3) Pope Leo X – White Elephant
Exotic pets aren’t a recent trend. In the 1500s, Pope Leo X received, as a present from King Manuel of Portugal, a large white elephant. Named Hanno, the elephant was transported thousands of miles by land and sea to reach the Pope, a difficult journey during the time. Unfortunately, the gift was short-lived: Hanno died two years later from an unknown illness.
4) Audrey Hepburn – Fawn
During the filming of her 1959 movie Green Mansions, Audrey Hepburn was instructed to take one of the fawns home to help it become more comfortable with her. The two hit it off instantly and the actress began bringing her baby deer, Pippin, out in public. The fawn would either sleep in Hepburn’s custom-made bathtub or occasionally, on her bed.
5) Leonardo DiCaprio – Tortoise
I have a theory, a theory that Leonardo DiCaprio purchased a tortoise in an effort to collect his Oscar post-mortem. Why else would you buy an over-sized turtle that has a lifespan of approximately 80 years other than to claim the honorary award that the Academy will likely distribute out of guilt after his death? I see no other logical explanation.
6) Rupert Grint – Teacup Pig
I knew Rupert Grint had good taste when he wore that frilly vest to the Yule Ball in The Goblet of Fire but his investment in a teacup pig only confirmed my suspicions. Micro pigs, which can sell for up to $1,500, are all the rage in Britain these days. Supposedly, they’re less destructive than man’s best friend and even more hygienic: many of them can be litterbox-trained. When they’re this cute, how could you say no?
7) Elvis – Pet Kangaroo
Once upon a time, Elvis Presley was the king of Rock and Roll. He was also the owner of a proud kangaroo, thanks to his agent Lee Gordon who sent him the creature “for funsies.” Though he couldn’t help falling in love with the creature, he eventually donated it to a zoo in Memphis, and got a hound dog instead. (You’re right, he didn’t get a dog. I just wanted to make a cheesy music joke. Thanks for ruining it.)
8) Paris Hilton – Kinkajou
Though Paris Hilton is known for her adorable small dogs, the heiress experimented with other animals for a time, include a kinkajou monkey, which she named Baby Luv. Paris adored the kinkajou, right up until it became rabid and started biting her, forcing her to send it away, Ross-and-Marcel style.
9) Tori Spelling – Silkie Bantam Chicken
Many people are torn over Spelling’s fluffy pet, mostly because it has been known to sleep in the same bed as her and her husband, which is completely unsanitary. However, I give the actress props for flaunting her love for animals so openly, despite other people’s judgment. I also just thought this picture was cute. Can you blame me?
10) Hugh Hefner – Flamingos
When he’s not running his multi-million dollar enterprise, Hugh Hefner sits on the porch of his mansion, watching a pack of exotic animals scurry around his backyard. From flamingos to peacocks to puffer fish to other animals I haven’t even heard of, Hefner’s animal collection is extensive.
Featured image via Imgur.com.