People choose to purchase or adopt exotic pets for a variety of reasons. If you plan on taking an exotic pet home, it's important that you are sure of the legality of owning a certain pet, have access to appropriate vet care for them, and can provide them with a healthy and natural living environment with plenty of fresh water and access to their typical diet.
Types of Exotic Pets
Exotic pets include animals you might keep in your home that fall outside of the scope of traditional livestock or common animals many families cohabitate with like cats, dogs, small rodents, or fish. There are many different types ranging from small furry exotic pets; to small, medium, and large reptiles; to large, high-maintenance animals. You won't find many of the animals considered exotic pets in your neighborhood pet store, although some of the smaller ones may be more commonly available. It's important to keep in mind that whether you are interested in learning about exotic pets, or are moving forward with purchasing or adopting one, what's considered exotic can change over time.
What Makes a Pet Exotic?
Exotic pets will vary depending on your location and cultural norms. What may be considered exotic in one place, may be typical in another. Because a pet's level of exoticness can change over time, it's important that you fully commit to caring for an animal before purchasing or adopting one, regardless of its trendiness in a given time period.
Do Your Homework
Exotic pets should never be an impulse buy because there is much to consider before taking on the huge responsibility of pet ownership. On the surface, adopting a small exotic pet may seem to make the most sense for pet lovers because they won't take up a ton of space. For example, some smaller animals, such as chinchillas and hedgehogs, are fairly common, easy to find, reasonably affordable, and relatively low-maintenance. On the other hand, others like the kinkajou, are less common and can present a real challenge to their pet parents. Therefore, it's important to truly understand what's involved in adopting a small exotic pet. Look beyond how much space they will require. Some things to consider before adopting an exotic pet include the following.
- Is there a nearby vet that is capable of caring for an exotic pet?
- Is the food easy to find, affordable, not overly time-consuming, and accessible, or will it be an ongoing challenge to feed your pet appropriately?
- Will you be able to deal with any strange or unpleasant odors that some of these animals naturally generate?
- How noisy is the pet, and will that noise level fit within your tolerance and lifestyle?
- If the animal is nocturnal, will their natural movements at night keep family members awake?
- Are you willing to do required pen/cage maintenance and cleaning to provide a safe and clean environment for your pet?
- How will an exotic animal interact with your children?
- How safe is it to handle the pet? Consider things like venom, biting, scratching, or allergens from the pet that may affect sensitive or vulnerable family members.
- Do you have the time required to interact with your pet in order to ensure it is well socialized and happy?
- How well will the animal incorporate with other pets in the house?
- Is there a possibility the pet will outlive you?
- Will the pet fit within your lifestyle; for example, if you travel frequently, will you be able to arrange for its care while you're gone?
- Is it legal where you live (check with city, county, state, and national laws to ensure you can legally have such a pet)?
- What is your plan if the pet isn't a fit for your family?
Finding the Best Exotic Pet
Once you've taken all of that into consideration, you can begin to explore some common and less common exotic pets to discover the best exotic pets for you. Remember that if your pet has a long lifespan, you'll be on the hook for a long time, and you may even need to arrange for its care after your passing. With this in mind, choose a long-lived pet that someone in your life will be willing to take on should you die while it is still alive.
Exotic Pet Care
If you do opt to purchase or adopt an exotic animal, it's critical that you find appropriate care for your exotic pet. It may take some time to find a vet that can treat your new animal, so it's best to find a few options before purchasing or adopting your new pet.
Exploring Exotic Pets
There are tons of unique and exotic pets to explore. Take your time learning about these amazing animals, and then choose carefully and responsibly to ensure you have the capacity to provide a safe, healthy, and loving home.