A Guide to Keeping an Exotic Pet

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Most people have dogs or cats as pets. But there are many others who love keeping an exotic pet – an animal or bird that is a unique choice. From African gray parrots to snakes, there are various types of exotic pets that people keep. If you and your family members feel it is time to get an exotic pet, then our guide we help you.

We tell you all about exotic pets and what you need to keep in mind before choosing one. It is important to know all animals are not allowed to be kept as pets. You need to check with local authorities to find out if your city/state allows you to keep a certain animal as a pet.

What are exotic pets?

An exotic pet is an animal or bird that is not very frequently kept at home as a pet. It usually refers to a wild animal kept as a pet, as compared to domesticated animals like dogs and cats. In general, an exotic pet is an animal that is not native to your country and is originally from some other country.

Some of the popular choices for exotic pets include:

  • Spiders and scorpions.
  • Alligators.
  • Monitor lizards.
  • Geckos.
  • Chameleons.
  • Iguanas.
  • Hedgehogs.
  • African Grey parrots, cockatoos, and macaws.
  • Monkeys like the Baboon squirrel monkey.
  • Gerbils and hamsters.
  • Seahorses and sharks.
  • Snakes like ball pythons.
  • Rats.
  • Tortoises and turtles.

We would like to reiterate that you should check with your local authority to find out which animals are not allowed as pets. Also, check for any special regulations related to keeping exotic pets.

Why own an exotic pet?

It is an interesting and rewarding experience to keep an exotic pet at home. These are rare animals that hardly anyone has. So, it is a unique pet, and you will have friends coming home to see your pet. Many of these exotic animals are intelligent, and you can develop a bond with them over time. Some of these animals live for very long and will be lifetime companions for you.

Cons of owning an exotic pet

  • Most exotic pets are costly compared to dogs and cats. Also, the maintenance of these pets requires more expenses.
  • Regular vets may not be able to manage exotic pets, you may need a specialist vet.
  • They would need special care, including food, housing, temperature, and humidity. Some of these animals are sensitive and may suffer serious health problems if not taken care of well.
  • Not all exotic pets can be ‘petted’ or get along well with humans. Some need to be left alone and may even be aggressive if touched.

Choosing an exotic pet

  1. The first thing you need to do is know the lifespan of the animal or bird you are planning on getting. A turtle can live for 80 years and may outlive you and even your children. So, avoid getting one on impulse and put some thought into the process.
  2. Do a lot of research about the exotic pet you propose to get. Understand more about it, including its behaviour in the wild and whether it can get along with humans, especially kids. Study its behaviour, dietary needs, and any other special requirements. You need to have complete knowledge about the pet before getting it.
  3. Some animals cannot be caged and need space to exercise. Evaluate if you can offer the space. Also, understand if the animal would be safe in the home or outside. You also need to look at the safety of your family members (if you are planning to get snakes or alligators).
  4. Some exotic pets like turtles grow very large. You need to plan for this when you get them.
  5. Exotic pets are from other countries. They may not easily adjust to the local environment. They could suffer from various health problems and treatment can be expensive. Evaluate all these before deciding.
  6. Large parrots can amaze you with their talk and intelligence. However, they require interaction. If you are not going to be at home, the bird can develop problems and may even pluck out all its feathers.
  7. If you already have dogs and cats or have highly playful kids you need to be careful. You must plan to ensure your pet is not harmed or does not harm others.
  8. Some pets need special enclosures. You need to get these enclosures and maintain them properly, so the pet gets to stay comfortably. Remember, the animal is a living being and not a toy.
  9. Never make the mistake of keeping different exotic animals together. It can lead to disaster.

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