Royal Tang "Dory" is adorably forgetful onscreen, but a handful offscreen. And the movie could pose a threat to the wild tang population.
Pet stores are calling it the calm before the storm as they prepare their shops for amped up children looking to bring the star of "Finding Dory" home to the living room. It happened before when the original film hit the cinemas.
Novice fish owners sought to add the main character of "Finding Nemo" to their home decor. But they overlooked the moral of the film, and wild clownfish populations plummeted as aquarists sought to balance supply and demand.
But not only could wild tang populations suffer similar to the clownfish catastrophe, the capture could all be in vain. The "Dory" fish, referred to by a number of common names including royal tang, blue hippo tang, and regal tang, is beautiful but not the easiest to maintain, especially for new saltwater fish parents.
Tangs require ample swimming space and surprise people by growing up to a few feet in length. While they are known to recognize their owners at the tank, they don't always play well with others, using their sharp tails as swords to fight.
Additionally, their scales are covered in a natural slime that, in a home environment, easily collects bacteria, leading to diseases.
They further surprise people by their lifespan. For advanced fish owners looking to purchase a tang, expect to invest the better half of a lifetime. When you buy a tang, you could be agreeing to a 30-year commitment.
The "Finding Nemo" franchise isn't the first film to cause an upset in the pet population. When Disney's "101 Dalmatians" debuted in 1996, the canine breed increased by 300 percent in shelters. The spike was due to cinematic-inspired impulse buys gone wrong.
Children in China are even begging their parents for the evil (but oh-so-cute) fennec fox from "Zootopia," though the species is protected in the country.
However, not all movie-themed pet populations face a demise. "Harry Potter" led to an influx of snowy owls as pets. Pet turtles, long scorned for the belief that they all harbor salmonella, became hot commodities with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
Exotic animals make intriguing pets, but they come with a unique set of instructional care. If you're looking into getting your hands on an exotic pet, do due diligence, researching where the animal comes from so that conservation efforts are not impaired.
Many breeding programs exist, so it's best to seek them out when acquiring an exotic family member. That way, you can enjoy wild-like nature in your living room while protecting individuals born outside of captivity.