A pet expert weighs in with what you should know.
1. The world of exotic pets
Exotic pets—birds, reptiles, small mammals, and even pigs—are among the most rehomed pets there are. (Rehomed means their original owners gave them up.)
People think the ball python looks cool, or that the sugar glider is super cute, or that the teacup pig is adorable.
But when the python outgrows its enclosure, or the sugar glider is difficult to feed, or the teacup pig is a lot bigger than a teacup, owners become overwhelmed and place them for adoption, or, abandon them entirely.
When looking for a list of exotic pets, there are many things to consider besides how the animal looks.
2. What you have to consider
‘Small mammals, reptiles and birds can make excellent additions to the family, but they are very different from dogs and cats,’ says Gabby Schrader, DVM.
‘Before you bring your new pet home, be sure to research their specific husbandry needs.
‘Food, supplements, temperature and humidity can make all the difference in your animal’s health.
‘Some animals, like pocket pets only live a few years, but reptiles and birds can live over 50 years.’
Schrader also notes the importance of knowing where your local exotic animal veterinarian is, as not all vets will treat them.
The first thing to consider when adopting an exotic pet is their housing.
Reptiles need heat sources, birds need cages, but a cage sufficient for a cockatiel won’t work for a macaw.
Pocket pets and other small mammals all have specific housing requirements as well. Do they climb? Burrow? Do they use a litter box like ferrets?
All these questions should be answered before you bring your pet home so you have the perfect enclosure ready for them on arrival.