Are Exotic Pets Right For You?

Are Exotic Pets Right For You?

Are you considering adopting an exotic pet but don’t know where to start? Although dogs, cats and goldfish are the most popular types of pets, more and more pet owners are wanting to dive into becoming exotic pet owners as well. Some examples of exotic pets include: Ferrets, salt water fish, tarantulas amphibians, reptiles, birds, and rodents. 

Although exotic pets can be fascinating and beautiful in many ways, many types of exotic pets can have a wild streak compared to the traits seen in domesticated dogs or cats. For example, parrots can be very noisy and may need a lot of socialization and attention as opposed to owning a cat, who is quiet and independent by nature.

Another difference with owning an exotic pet is they tend to be more habitat-sensitive compared to caring for a dog or a cat. Exotic animals generally need specific environments in order to thrive such as having the right temperature, adequate space for roaming, and specific types of food. This may mean purchasing special equipment or buying special food to ensure that your pet’s habitat and diet provides them with the right humidity, nutrition, terrain, and temperature. Before adopting your exotic pet, check around for food availability to ensure that you will always have access to the specific type of foods that your exotic pet requires.

Think about longevity. For example, many breeds of parrots and turtles will outlive their owners and will need to be rehomed if your pet happens to outlive you. Who will care for your pet when you are no longer able? Will the new owner want to partake in adopting your pet? It’s important to have these discussions with family members or close friends before considering the adoption.

Another consideration is that certain exotic pets can harbor disease that can be potentially harmful to humans. For example, reptiles can be carriers of salmonella, which is harmful to humans. Therefore, it is important to wash your hands when coming into contact with your lizard, snake, or turtle. This will help prevent cross contamination and will reduce your risk of developing salmonella.

Another infectious disease is known as Psittacosis. It can be spread to humans from infected birds in the parrot family. Parrots, macaws, budgerigars (parakeets or budgies), and cockatiels can all carry Psittacosis. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, muscle pains, cough, and sometimes breathing difficulty or pneumonia. If left untreated, the disease can be severe, and even result in death, especially in older people.

Before deciding to become an exotic pet owner, be sure to do plenty of research about the animal before you decide to adopt him or her. Also, it’s important to think about the pros and the cons and to ask the following questions: How much attention can you dedicate to the animal? How much cleaning and care is involved on a daily basis? How much will it cost each month for food and supplies? Can you afford a vet bill if something goes wrong? Do you have the right living arrangement for your pet to be happy and healthy? What will you do with your pet when you need to leave the house or take a vacation?

Once all factors have been considered and you still feel that owning an exotic pet is right for you, it can be a heartwarming, enjoyable, bonding experience unlike no other. Just be sure you know what you are signing up for to know if the exotic pet is going to be the best match for you and him.  

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