Exotic pets have grown in popularity for a number of reasons. Some people enjoy having an out of the ordinary type of pet while others find many exotic pets to be easier to care for than your typical dog or cat. For the sake of this article and website, any animal that isn’t a domesticated dog, cat, or farm animal (some farm animals are discussed on this site, though) is considered an exotic pet. Check out this list of some of the most common exotic pets in the U.S. to get an idea of what your neighbor might be housing.
1. Pocket Pets
This group of exotic pets includes rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs, and other small, furred pets that are commonly purchased from a pet store. Some people choose to adopt their pocket pet from a breeder or even rescue them from a rescue group or shelter. These pets have life spans that range from two to over ten years and are often found in household with children. Many adults are choosing to adopt ferrets and rabbits instead of dogs or cats due to cost but these types of pets still need regular veterinary care and in the case of ferrets, vaccines.
Some pocket pets are more challenging to care for (such as the sugar glider) but most are very simple and require little maintenance other than regular cleanings, feedings, and play times.
More and more people are choosing a reptile as their pet when they discover they aren’t creepy and crawly or slimy. Bearded dragons and leopard geckos top the list of popular pet reptiles but some people opt for the larger tortoises or iguanas. The initial set up for a pet reptile is the greatest cost and then ongoing expenses will include light bulb replacement and food, as well as annual veterinary check ups including a fecal exam for parasites. Large and venomous snakes have been topics of discussion lately and are now illegal or require special permits to be kept as pets in many states.
It seems people of all walks of life have pet birds. From the senior citizen in the nursing home and her pet canary to the nuclear family with a pair of lovebirds or a macaw, many kinds of people have birds. Tropical species used to be imported into this country by capturing them in the wild but thankfully most birds that are kept as pets today have been bred in this country to be a pet. Some species are still illegally imported using methods that are dangerous and stressful to the birds but customs officials are doing what they can to catch these criminals. Birds can be loud and messy but can also make great companions to people of all ages.
4. Exotic Cats
Bengal cats, Savannah cats, large cats like tigers and cougars and many smaller hybrids are growing in popularity in households across the country. While not everyone has a tiger in their backyard you may be surprised to find out your apparently normal looking neighbor is housing a large cat on their property. Many states require special permits or do not allow you to keep an undomesticated breed of feline in your home but smaller options do exist for those looking for that exotic look. Bengals cats (not Bengal tigers), Savannah cats, and several newer hybrid cat breeds are great options for someone who isn’t able to properly care for a lion.
5. Pot Bellied Pigs
You may think of pigs as being messy and stinky or even mean perhaps (there’s a reason why Dorothy was so scared when she fell into the pig pen on the farm in Kansas), but pot bellied pigs can actually be very sweet and clean. There are a variety of sizes and even a long haired version called the Kunekune but most pot bellied pigs can be kept in a decent sized house if given ample room to sleep, root, and snort. Some owners dress their pigs up, give them fun names like Kevin Bacon, and even take them on walks.
Many other kinds of pets that some consider exotic (such as different kinds of fish and saltwater aquarium creatures along with the "underground" primate pet world) are also found in homes everywhere. What kind of exotic pet do you think is growing in popularity right now?
You must log in to post a comment.Log in