Many people think of sloths as loveable, cuddly, cute animals that live most of their lives in trees and move extremely slowly. While sloths are cute, they are not cuddly. Sloths remain wild animals capable of biting, scratching, and harming humans and household pets.
While it may be legal to own a sloth in Florida, it may not be the best choice for a pet. You could be liable for injuries caused by a pet sloth. For example, if your pet sloth bites, scratches, or otherwise injures someone else, you could be found responsible for the resulting damages.
How Easy Is It To Have A Pet Sloth?
Sloths are considered exotic wildlife. Sloths fall within the Class III wildlife category of permits. You must have a Class III wildlife permit to possess a sloth in Florida as a personal pet.
Even though you may legally own a sloth in Florida, that does not mean that it is a good idea. Sloths are not domesticated pets. There is evidence that sloths do not like human contact, and they may suffer if exposed to humans continually.
Do Sloths Live in Florida?
Sloths live their lives in the tops of the trees, only coming down about once a week. Sloths move very slow and very little.
A sloth sleeps about 15 hours a day. During their waking hours, they move from tree to tree. Sloths can live for 30 or more years in captivity.
Because of their slow activity rate, sloths need very little food to survive. Sloths mostly hang out in trees. They eat leaves, small lizards, fruit, and insects.
Even though you might find sloths in Florida, they are not native to Florida. Sloths are native to Central and South America. However, they are regularly captured and brought to the United States.
People purchase sloths from exotic animal traders an exotic pet shops. In some cases, sloths may be purchased on the black market. Individuals who want a sloth as a pet are often willing to pay high prices and overlook how the sloth arrived in the country.
Pet Owners Are Liable for Damages Caused by Their Pets
Generally, if a person knows that an animal has dangerous tendencies, the person could be held strictly liable if the animal bites another person. Because sloths are wildlife, there is an assumption that the animal could be dangerous. Therefore, a slot bite or attack could result in strict liability for damages.
Strict liability means that the animal owner is responsible for damages and losses associated with the animal bite. Examples of damages that might be recovered for an animal bite in Florida include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
The amount of compensation a person might receive for an animal bite depends on several factors. Seeking immediate care for an animal bite, even if you know the animal and the owner, is strongly recommended. Contacting a Miami personal injury lawyer is also a wise choice when dealing with an animal bite.
What Should I Do After an Animal Bite?
If an animal, including domesticated pets and wildlife kept as pets, bites you or your child, there are steps you can take to protect your legal rights.
Steps to take after an animal bite include:
- Report the incident to the animal’s owner and local animal control agencies.
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Delays in treatment could result in infections and other complications from animal bites. Also, delays in medical care could hurt your injury claim.
- Document your injuries with photographs. Keep copies of all medical records and proof of financial losses and expenses.
- Do not provide a written or recorded statement to the insurance company for the animal owner. What you say could be used against you in court.
- Talk with a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer investigates the animal attack to gather evidence and identify the liable parties. An attorney also guides you through the process of filing a claim, including negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement of your claim.
Wildlife animal attacks can be complicated personal injury claims. The specific facts and circumstances, including the type of animal involved, may have a significant impact on your ability to recover compensation.