Five Things to Consider Before Adopting an Exotic Pet

Cats and dogs might make up the majority of the pet population, but some of us like pets who are not quite as traditional. There are so many other types of animals that hold a special place in our hearts. If you’re ready to add a pet to your life but not sure if you want a cat or a dog, perhaps consider some of the more exotic pets.

Each animal has its own needs and characteristics, so it may be hard to figure out just what pet is right for you. Here are some tips to help you choose the right pet for you and your lifestyle.

Number 1: Do your homework

Don’t just run out and buy the first cute critter that you stumble across. Think about how a pet is going to fit into your busy lifestyle, and what you reasonably have time for.

Read all about the animals and their care and then decide on a species that will suit you and your circumstances best. Consider the accommodation, equipment, feeding, and handling requirements.

This is a process — in other words, it may take some time. Some exotics are large and will need outdoor accommodations as well. Be sure to think things through and understand what you’re taking on.

Number 2: Obey the Law

Different parts of the country may have different laws pertaining to what you can or cannot legally keep as a pet. Pet ownership laws vary from state to state, sometimes even from city to city, so a creature mentioned here may not be legal to own.

For example, ferrets are widely popular, but they are illegal to own in California and Hawaii. Getting caught with a ferret means a hefty fine — and worse, you may lose your furry friend.

Other animals carry restrictions as well, from hamsters (illegal to own in Hawaii) to snakes.

While not necessarily a legal issue, check with your homeowner’s insurance to ensure coverage will continue while you house an exotic that could be considered dangerous.

Number 3: Budget for Your Pet

Exotic pets have their own needs, from special aquariums to aluminum fencing and more — and it can add up quickly. Considerations should include:

  • Housing
  • Feeding
  • Security
  • Veterinary care

All of these things are necessary for the health and happiness of your pet — and in some cases, the safety of your neighbors. Be smart, responsible, and financially prepared.

Number 4: Consider Your Household Size

If there are children in your household, consider your choice of pet even more carefully. Small children or guests can’t always be trusted to handle animals properly, and when we’re dealing with exotics, this can be dangerous for both the pet and the people involved.

Snakes, lizards, spiders, and large mammals can cause serious injury or death; in many cases, these animals are not as trainable as the standard dog or cat. In addition, children or guests may be careless about replacing cage covers properly or handling, causing injury to the animals.

Number 5: Secure Good Veterinary Care

While there are more vets out there learning about exotic animal care, it can be tricky to find a well-trained veterinarian who is willing to take on the role of being your pet’s care provider. (Westfield Veterinary Group has you covered here!)

Exotics can be some of the most fun and rewarding pets to take care of. You just need to find the right pet for you and your family. Be smart, be safe, and be prepared.