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More American households have a growing interest in exotic pet ownership. PetWatch is a new online resource guiding families with science-based research about which pet can be the right fit for their home.

The website was created by the EcoHealth Alliance and provides information for PetWatch’s ranking system. There are four criteria: source sustainability, invasion threat, animal welfare, and health threat.

Source sustainability looks at the state of the species’ wild populations, while invasion threat monitors the negative impact the species could have in the country. Animal welfare and health threat are focused on the issues involved with life-long captivity and human safety.

“With PetWatch we also consider the risk that this trade can introduce diseases that threaten the health of the native wildlife and ourselves,” says Dr. Peter Dasak, a disease ecologist and president of EcoHealth Alliance.

Rankings are clearly color coded, green for best choice and red for worst choice pet. The health threat category specifically lists the known diseases that animal can carry. Over 50 species have been ranked on the site.

Soon the website will go mobile and introduce an iphone application that provides similar information. For more information visit PetWatch.net and follow updates on the organization’s Twitter page.

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