Hiring Exotic Animals for Your Special Event

We are frequently asked to provide exotic animals for our well-known Moroccan and Arabian Nights theme parties. Although, having an elephant, camel, monkey or snake charmer at your party is an exciting prospect, there are several things you need to take into consideration before you do this:

Indian Royal Hoda Elephant from Zohar Productions

  • Do the animals come from a reputable and reliable source? Are they healthy and well groomed? Do they have USDA papers and inoculations required by law? Do you need a permit to exhibit the animal? The rules on this vary from town to town and from state to state. Some communities have no laws regarding exhibiting an animal and others require an officer from Fish and Game to be present during the party. Be sure you check this out well in advance of your party because, if you need a permit, the paperwork may take a few weeks. Some locales do not allow contact with the animal and a barrier or stanchion must be between the animal and the public. In other places this is not required and you can have contact with the animal. It is always at the trainer’s discretion whether or not to allow this depending on the crowd and the disposition of the animal. In most cases, this is not an issue, but safety is always of the utmost importance. You want to hire a responsible trainer and a friendly animal…

Snake Charmer from Zohar Productions

  • So, are you hiring a “party animal” that loves people and attention? An animal that is not nervous around loud music, flashing cameras and lots of activity and excitement? What about the personality of the trainer? Do they love their animal and know how to keep it happy for several hours of continuous picture taking?

Costumed Gibbon from Zohar Productions

  • Speaking of pictures…how photogenic is the trainer and the animal? Will they be dressed in colorful, beautiful costumes? Guests will undoubtedly want to have pictures taken with the animal. Those photos should be as picturesque as possible. For an Arabian Nights theme, you will want costumes to match. Most trainers do not have their own costumes, so costumes will need to be rented, custome made, or supplied by your event planner. If you are spending $750 to $5000 for an animal, you want those photos to be fabulous!

    Camel from Zohar Productions
  • Last but not least, let’s talk about something that is not usually discussed, but is a very important consideration. What if the animal has to “do their business” during your party? This could be a real downer if not planned for in advance. A knowledgeable trainer will feed the animal far enough in advance to try to prevent this from happening…but this kind of accident can’t always be prevented.

  • Here are a few suggestions: for a camel or elephant there should always be a second trainer on hand who can handle clean-up duty. They should bring a shovel, broom and receptacle that they can keep tucked away and out of view unless it is needed. A bale of wood shavings is great to absorb moisture on cement surfaces (you don’t want to see dark colored puddles on the ground). A carpet of astro turf is great when the animal is on your manicured lawn and you don’t want brown spots left after the party. The astro turf blends right in and can be removed leaving the lawn in pristine condition. Riding into a ballroom on a camel or elephant is tricky and the time spent indoors should be kept to a minimum. Be sure you check with the venue to see if they are OK with this! A monkey needs to wear a diaper, so be sure you have this hidden under a costume.

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