What is an Exotic Pet?
Common pets are cats, dogs, fish, and even horses, in many circles anything other than these four animals might be considered as an exotic pet. On another level, exotics are anything that is rare, or highly unusual, such as a Fennec Fox. What might be considered as an exotic pet in one area (or country) might be considered as a typical pet in another. As such the term exotic can mean different things to different people. Some may even consider a rabbit as an exotic pet, while others might refer to a rat as a common pet.
For our purposes an exotic shall be anything other than a cat, dog, fish, or common livestock. Generally “miniatures” are considered exotics, for example a miniature horse would be an exotic pet.
Photo by Author, this is my llama, Crystal.
Cons to Owning an Exotic Pet
- They may not be considered legal in your area.
- If your exotic pet is injured or sick, it may be difficult to find a veterinarian that can provide care for it.
- Their dietary needs may be more tricky to accommodate, and may be more costly.
- Many exotics do not do well if their mental needs are not met (monkeys, parrots), and may become destructive.
- Many exotics have very specific needs in terms of temperature, special lighting, and housing. Demands which are not easily met by first time owners.
- Depending on what type of exotic animal you want, you may have a hard time finding a reputable seller.
- Some require large amounts of space.
- Some have extremely long lifespans (parrots) making them a major commitment.
- Many exotic pets die within the first two weeks of being acquired, because of lack of knowledge and proper care.
Photo by Author, although I do not own snakes, they are good pets for people with allergies.
Advantages to Owing an Exotic Pet
- Certain exotics, like reptiles and amphibians, are not a problem for people who suffer from allergies.
- Diversity – There is an exotic pet which will meet every-ones needs.
- Some exotics, (geckos or hedgehogs) have much smaller space requirements than a cat or dog.
- Some have shorter lifespans (rats) than cats and dogs making them less of a long term commitment.
- They are excellent in cases where people may not be allowed to have a cat or dog, but need a connection to the natural world through other animal life.
- Some exotics (reptiles) are not as demanding as a cat or dog. Not needing daily walks or shows of affection.
- Some exotics serve other purposes, eg. Llamas as guard animals, Alpacas for fiber, lizards can provide pest control in greenhouses, or chickens to provide eggs.
- As an advantage to society good owners can provide knowledge to others about these creatures, beyond this people having exotics and caring for them properly, leads to more tolerance of differences on all levels. If you own a dog and care for it properly and I own a llama and care for it properly and we understand this about each other then we have found common ground.
Before you get ANY pet, Exotic or otherwise. It is important to learn as much as you can about the animal, its’ needs for food, space and mental requirements. An animal whose needs are not met, will not make a good pet. Not only will it suffer, but it may become aggressive or destructive.
Before getting an exotic make sure you know why you want one, a pet is not a show piece to make you cool, or popular, and should never be used for that purpose.
Reasons for Owning Exotic Pets
In some cases there are problems for survival of a species in the wild, there have been instances where hobbyists have saved species when their habitats were destroyed. This has been incited at least once when the habitat of one species of Dart Frog was destroyed by a natural disaster. Hobbyists often assist Biologists in learning about certain animals.
Negative Criticism over Exotic Pets
There is a lot of negative backlash towards the ownership of exotic animals. This is because there are sensationalized stories, most of which were because owners were not providing care, or the animals were not suited to the owners abilities to provide care or space, thus creating a problem. In fact there are many more bad owners of cats, and dogs, and these pets are just as likely to become problems.
To be fair many people are not suitable owners for exotic pets, and many people are not even suitable owners for cats or dogs.
A good number of people stand against others owning exotics because they think of the Victorian models for zoos, or current backyard menageries based on those models. True, many exotic owners are not doing a good job of it, but this should not be held as a punishment for those who are.
An exotic dancer bringing a tiger to a strip club should not cause an outcry against people owning anoles. It can be that ridiculous.
Photo by Author, well actually by my wife.
I refer to these animals as “pets” because that is a term everyone understands, but they really are my “friends”, my “family”. I do not put my needs for owning an exotic pet, ahead of their needs. My cats get cat food, my reptiles get reptile food, and if people come over they get people food. Each animal has its’ requirements and I know that if I cannot meet those, then I simply do not get those types of animals.
This planet is dying, thousands of tiny little “Noah’s”, like myself, and hopefully you, are what will keep the ark afloat, until we can get back to Eden.
Republished to Full of Knowledege