Should You Own an Exotic Pet


Pets add something special to our lives. They’re dependent on us and appeal to our care giving side. Many are loyal and affectionate. And they teach us something about ourselves and nature. Owning an exotic pet can add to or magnify these benefits.

However, exotic pets also offer a number of challenges. They can be expensive to care for. Exotic pets may require more time and attention than you have. Specialty knowledge and access to exotic pet resources is also important, particularly the health and care of your pet. Let’s explore a few questions to ask to help you decide if you should own an exotic pet.

1 Do you have the time? Many exotic pet breeds need around-the-clock care. If you do not have this kind of time to devote to your new pet, an exotic may not be right for you.

2 Do you have the space? Even smaller exotic pets can require a large space. Sugar gliders, for example, need room to jump and glide. Lemurs need room to climb trees and play. And even large snakes need room to grow.

3 Do you have the money? There are many additional expenses to owning an exotic pet. For example, you’ll likely need specialty veterinary care because most veterinarians are only trained to treat and diagnose domestic pets. You’ll also likely have to find specialty food. That may mean purchasing it online and paying for shipping, or frequenting an exotic pet store which is likely to be pricey. Finally, exotics often require specific habitats which can be expensive to recreate.

4 Do you have access to a pet sitter who is willing and able to care for an exotic pet? Most pet sitters and boarding facilities are designed for domestic pets, not exotics.

5 Do you have children? Many exotic pets are not compatible with children. They can bite, scratch and many carry salmonella. Not to mention that many exotic pets are quite delicate and children can unintentionally harm a pet.

6 Do you have other pets? If you already have a domestic pet then you may want to tread carefully with an exotic pet. Many pet types don’t mix well.

7 Are you prepared to educate yourself about the needs, behaviors and habits of an exotic pet? In addition to having access to a veterinarian, you’ll need to be educated yourself. You’ll need to know what to expect from your pet, how to feed and care for them properly and what health concerns to look for.

Owning an exotic pet can be extremely rewarding. However, it also presents some real challenges and responsibilities. If you’re prepared to handle the responsibilities, then go find the perfect exotic pet for you and enjoy!