All you animal lovers out there will appreciate the great feeling of bringing home a fluffy new companion to the family. But what would happen if someone bought home a 550-pound-tiger? Or a chimpanzee, perhaps?
Disclaimer: We don’t recommend that you run out and get an exotic pet. Some of these animals have very specific needs that owners were ultimately unable to meet, or were traded on the black market.
1. George Clooney – Pot-Belly Pig
For 18 years, George Clooney’s pet pig Max was a big part of his life – witnessing nearly every moment of his Hollywood rise to fame. The 300lb animal, which shared the actor’s home, and sometimes his bed, died in 2006 – leaving Clooney devastated.
Speaking about his trusty four-legged friend’s passing, Clooney said: “He was the oldest pig the vets have ever seen. I was really surprised, because he’s been a big part of my life.” Awww.
To date, Max, who lived to the age of 18, is George’s longest-lasting relationship.
2. Mike Tyson – Tigers
Tyson owned a number of big cats during his career, but the most famous were his three Bengal tigers, which are riffed on in The Hangover. At least one is now at a USDA-licensed sanctuary.
3. Justin Bieber – Monkey
When the pop brat was gifted OG Mally the monkey for his 19th birthday, against all advice, he tried to bring it on tour to Germany in 2013.
The animal was quarantined, so Justin promptly abandoned him.
“Everyone told me not to bring the monkey, but I was like, ‘It’s gonna be fine, guys!'” he says.
“It was the farthest thing from fine.”
OG Mally has since been given to a German zoo, where a rep says he was “extremely frightened, disoriented and struggled to integrate with his own kind”.
4. Michael Jackson – Chimpanzee
Michael Jackson once splashed the cash to rescue a young chimpanzee from a Texas research clinic in the early 1980s. Named Bubbles, the chimp went everywhere with Michael, from his concerts to business meetings with royalty.
After settling at the Neverland Ranch, Bubbles often slept in the same room as the King of Pop, used the same toilet and even learnt how to moonwalk. Sadly, as Bubbles matured he starting getting aggressive and was sent to an animal sanctuary in 2005.
Bubbles, now 33, is – according to the animal keepers at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula – “huge and ugly” but has a “sweet character”.
5. Paris Hilton – Kinkajou
When Paris frolicked with her kinkajou – a racoon-like South American rainforest creature – named Baby Luv in 2006, she was extremely shocked when the little thing bit her.
“She was playing with it the same way people play with their cats and dogs,” Paris’ publicist said at the time, insisting the wound was “superficial”.
Paris received a tetanus shot for her troubles.
6. Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith – Lions and Tiger
Hitchcock blonde Tippi is famous for her role in The Birds, however it’s big cats she really adores, keeping 27 lions and tigers on her Shambala wildlife reserve in California.
Back in 1981, Tippi even shared her bed with a lion named Neil, who appeared in the movie Roar with Tippi’s daughter Melanie.
Mel, then 13, was savaged by one of the lions and required extensive facial surgery. Tippi now says having a lion in her house was “stupid beyond belief”.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio – Tortoise
Dog is usually man’s best friend, but in Leo DiCaprio’s case, it’s the huge tortoise that will most likely outlive him!
In 2010, the actor picked up a 10-year-old Sulcata tortoise for around $600 and it was reported at the time that he asked for the largest one available.
This African species can weigh up to 105kg and have a life expectancy of 80 years, so given that Leo is 45 now, let’s hope he’s written the animal into his will.