Where to Purchase Exotic Animals – How to Find a Reputable Dealer or Breeder


Exotic pets can be a true delight. They can add value and enjoyment to your life. And ownership of exotic pets is increasing. That increase has led to some very real challenges when it comes to finding reputable dealers and breeders.

Some of the complications you want to avoid are:

  • Illegal capture and importation of exotic breeds
  • Disreputable breeding of exotic animals

Here are some tips to help you find a reputable dealer or breeder.

1 Contact rescue agencies. Many exotic animals end up in rescue organizations, sanctuaries and the humane society. This is because the original owner probably got in over their head and chose an animal they weren’t prepared to own. Starting with the rescue agencies also helps ensure an animal’s life is spared. You get the pet you want and you save a life. It’s a decision you’ll feel good about for as long as you own your pet.

2 Breeders of many exotic species are required to have a permit issued by the USDA. Before you buy an animal from a breeder, check to make sure they have a permit. This permit is a significant assurance that you’re buying from a reputable breeder or dealer. Visit the USDA’s website, find your state, and investigate the breeder/dealer regulations for your state.

3 Ask your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will likely know both what breeds are best suited for your personality and needs; they may also know reputable breeders or dealers in your area. Additionally, once you purchase an exotic pet, you’re going to be required to fill out paperwork. Part of this paperwork is a certificate of veterinary inspection – a medical check-up. So it’s important to connect with your veterinarian before you get an exotic pet.

4 Never order a pet online. It’s important to be able to visit a breeder or dealer and view the animals. This will give you an opportunity to make sure the pets are healthy, live in a clean and sanitary environment and that they’re loved and cared for.

5 Find out where the animal came from. When dealing with a dealer, as opposed to a breeder, it’s important to make sure the animals are legal. Most dealers are very up-front about this information and have the certificates and licenses to prove it. IF they don’t, or are hesitant to share the information with you, this is a red flag that the animals may be in the country illegally. The black market exotic animal trade is huge.

Finding a reputable exotic animal dealer or breeder is the responsible way to obtain a pet. It helps make sure your pet is healthy, comes from a caring environment and meets local laws and regulations.