Since the origin of mankind, humans have domesticated animals. First of all to help them in certain tasks, with for example the horses to move or to plow the fields, or to provide them with the basis of their food, which was the case of the cow for its milk and its meat. Among these animals were also dogs, used for hunting or to defend the house, but this descendant of the wolf gradually left its only utilitarian role to become a so-called companion animal. The cat, too, first used to hunt pests, has also become a pet for humans.
Throughout human history, man has wanted to domesticate different species of animals, to the point of making, for some, animals that would share their daily lives. And this has never been as true as nowadays, because since the 80s there is a new term: NAC. But what exactly is NAC?
How to define a NAC?
NAC (new pets) is a term that was originally used to define a carnivorous animal that was not recognized by law (therefore that was not among the best known such as dogs, cats and ferrets).
Veterinarians mainly used this term, to be able to better organize themselves and define new species that they had not previously seen in their practice, and which therefore pushed them to learn about them and develop new techniques.
To conclude, a NAC is an animal species that has been found in homes for forty years now, as a pet. It can also be a species that man has domesticated for a very long time but which once had a mainly utilitarian purpose, and which we find nowadays as a pet: this is the case of the rabbit for example.
The different categories of NAC
All these new pets have been classified into different families, here is the list:
Rodents are not really “new” in terms of pets, in 2018. Among them are the well-known hamster, rat, mouse, guinea pig, gerbil, chinchilla and of course the rabbit.
Very fashionable until the 2000s, birds such as parrots, parakeets and canaries are also part of these NACs, even if they are less and less popular.
Animals that are found more and more in homes, especially in France, ranging from the small European snake to the large boa constrictor, to speak only of the species of snakes that can be kept without a certificate of aptitude.
Very popular especially among novice terrarists, there is a huge variety of lizards now kept in captivity, such as leopard geckos, bearded agamas, or frilled lizards, among many others.
These hard-shelled reptiles have also become pets, although this is rarer. There are pet turtles both terrestrial and aquatic.
From the famous freshwater goldfish to the saltwater clownfish, there is a great diversity of fish found in aquariums as ornamental animals.
Not all insects are of course considered new pets, but some such as stick insects are among them, although few people are interested in them today except a few enthusiasts.
Just like insects, they are not all considered NAC either, but some, especially in the tarantula family, are now considered as such.
Certain carnivorous mammals
Formerly sought after mainly for their skin, certain small carnivores such as ermine or fennec in the United States are now considered NACs.
Despite the highly controversial aspect of the domestication of monkeys, which is mostly the satisfaction of celebrity whims more than anything else, some species of monkeys were eventually declared to be NACs.
The particularity of owning NACs
Owning an NAC does not involve the same things as owning a running pet like a dog. You have to be prepared for some complications in some areas.
Veterinarians for NAC
Vets for NAC are often more expensive and more difficult to find than regular vets. These specialized during their studies, and even if they are more and more numerous, you must be prepared to do some research to find one that will be able to treat your particular animal.
Insurance for NACs
Animal insurance is gradually starting to offer formulas for NACs, for the most common species, such as rodents. It is however rarer to find an insurance which will offer you formulas for a snake or a turtle for example, the care of these animals being much more complex and therefore expensive than the care of a dog for example.