Wild Side – Choosing the Perfect Exotic Pet for You

Exotic pets, just as long as they are not endangered or illegal in your country, can be as great a companion as any cat or dog. When owned by people who are responsible and who take the time to find out what the animal requires in terms of environmental, dietary, physical and social needs, exotic pets can become loving, interactive and definitely entertaining lifelong companions.

Why should you consider owning an exotic pet?

Exotic pets are great for people who have allergies. There are many people who would like to have pets but are allergic to animal hair and dander. Exotic pets such as lizards, turtles or snakes have neither hairs nor dander and can be just as interactive as our loveable furry critters!

They take up much less space than a dog or cat. Cats, dogs and even bunnies may need space that you don’t have, especially if you are living in a tiny dorm or apartment. Dogs, especially those that were bred for hunting or work, will need much more space than you may be able to provide. Exotic birds and reptiles may only need space as little as a bird cage or a large aquarium, making it easy to house them.

Exotic pets don’t need to be walked. This could be big for people who work full-time and may not necessarily have the funds to hire a dog walker. Most exotic pets don’t need to be walked and are quite satisfied with just a little bit of time they can spend wriggling around the house.

Things to consider when choosing an exotic pet

Research, research, research.

The fact that you are on this page right now gives us some comfort that you have at least put some thought into your ownership of an animal. Exotic pets, like all pets, have needs and it is up to you to determine whether you are ready for full-time ownership and service to this animal.

The best way to know what exotic animal is best for you is to research. 

Some types of turtles, like the terrapin, are incredibly cute and super tiny when you buy them. These turtles however will grow to about the size of a plate and will eventually need a bath-sized pool with special heating and filtration systems in order to survive. That kind of physical requirement will entail a lot of investment and commitment from the owner, so be sure you can fully commit to that before you take a specific animal home.

Choose an animal based on the availability of resources in your area

Surprise, surprise, not all veterinarians are capable of handling exotic pets and not all pet shops will have the food and equipment your exotic animal will need. There is a reason why a lot of exotic animals only grow in certain parts of the world – their needs are quite specific.

These specific needs dictate the food they will eat, the environment they will thrive in, and the kind of medical care they will need. 

Another thing to consider is your climate. Will a ferret survive being left alone in your Las Vegas home in the middle of July, given that these animals evolved in cold weather? Or will a reptile, which evolved in the tropics, be able to survive long frigid winters?

One of the best ways to ensure that you can get your exotic pet the help and care it needs is to purchase the animal from a specialist in your area and make sure you have a veterinarian who specializes in the species of your pet, and is based less than an hour from your home.

Make long term plans

Most exotic pets like big birds and reptiles can live quite a long time, 20-40 years to be exact. So you should definitely put your long term plans into consideration.

Are you going to be moving in a couple of years? Will your future children (if you don’t have any) be safe around the animal or will the animal be safe around them? People very seldom consider long term plans when thinking about pets, but if you purchase a pet that may outlive you it really pays to consider your options.