How Difficult Is It to Care for Exotic Pets


Pets have a lot of demands. You have to feed them, clean up after them, love them and make sure they’re safe and healthy. Exotic pets can add extra responsibilities on top of the standard needs.

Domestic pets are generally easy to care for. You feed them. Exercise them. Groom them. Take them to the veterinarian and make sure they have their inoculations and required medications.

Exotic pets can have some extra responsibilities. These responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Feeding live food – Many exotic pets require live food. That means you have to find a dealer who sells bugs or rodents that are alive. For many people, feeding an animal something that is alive is too much. It makes them feel squeamish, guilty or both.
  • Strange grooming – Imagine having to trim a turtle’s beak? Clip a bird’s wings, or give a chinchilla a dust bath? Pretty strange, right? That’s only the beginning.
  • Entertainment – While many exotic pets are quite content to keep to themselves (you never have to entertain a python), others need a lot of attention and entertainment. Lemurs are particularly needy. In fact they need constant attention and entertainment. Some of this can be provided by making sure they have a ton of safe toys. However, much of the entertainment will need to be provided by the owner.
  • Habitat – One of the most difficult aspects of owning an exotic pet is creating and maintaining a habitat. From reptiles to birds to mammals, exotic pets require a specific habitat to stay healthy and happy. Dogs and cats are easy. However, many exotic animals require places to climb, places to hide, specialty ground cover and toys.

These habitat requirements can take up a tremendous amount of space – space many people just don’t have. And to make things even more difficult, because many animals are not solitary you need to have more than one of an exotic animal breed.

  • A final issue to contend with when caring for exotic pets is safety. Not just your own safety, which can really be at risk when you own an exotic animal, but also the safety of the pet. Our lives can be quite dangerous for many exotic animals. Imagine being a pig inside a home. There are cords to chew on, chemicals to investigate and of course small spaces to try to fit into. Reptiles, birds and mammals are all at risk in an unfamiliar environment like your home.

Are exotic animals difficult to care for as pets? Absolutely. Does that mean you shouldn’t own an exotic animal? Not necessarily. If you are educated, responsible and committed to caring for an exotic animal, it can be a fine pet for you. Make sure you’re prepared for all of the responsibilities and challenges and make the right decision for you and your potential pet.