Exotic Pets

May 9, 2015

What to Know Before Getting an Exotic Pet

The title “Exotic Pets” refers to a huge range of animals birds, reptiles, small mammals, and even insects. There are a few general ideas that can be applied to all of these “special species” to better manage their needed care.

When choosing an exotic pet, know what you are getting into by learning all about the care of your potential pet, before you decide on getting one. You need to do a little research to see what the animal really needs, because there are some issues you need to consider. A huge portion of exotic pets’ health problems are the result of owners not providing the correct care for the animal.

Getting an exotic pet


All exotic pets need food, shelter, water, hide box, special lighting, chew toys, enrichment in the form of handling, exercise,  time outside the cage, wheels to run on and other activities that need to be included to get someone off to a good start with their new pet.

Before committing to a specific exotic pet do a little research to see what the animal really needs. Exotic pets are given most often as gifts, especially during the Christmas and Easter holiday. A pet is not a toy that someone just outgrows and they are not just a fad or item to play with. The person wanting or asking for exotic pets need to be committed to the animal for their entire life.

You can find or purchase exotic pets from rescues, breeders, pet stores and more as potential sources of exotic pets. If you’ve done your research, and have decided that you can take care of an exotic pet, please consider the pros and cons of purchasing an exotic pet vs. rescuing or adopting one. Purchasing an exotic pet from a pet store means you are typically buying an animal that has been mass produced in a warehouse somewhere.

There may be laws pertaining to what sort of pets you may keep in the area that you live, so be sure to check the laws before buying your new pet. We recommend you have a veterinarian who can – and is willing to – treat your exotic pet. It is best to do this before you get your pet, or at least before an emergency arises so you don’t have to scramble to find a vet if you need one quickly.

Many exotics need to be spayed or neutered when of age, have a fecal examination performed to make sure there aren’t any zoonotic intestinal parasites and booster any vaccinations that may need to be given. Ongoing veterinary care may also be needed for annual check-ups or health conditions that specific exotic pets are prone to (such as adrenal gland disease in ferrets or shedding problems in reptiles).

The last thing anyone wants is a sick pet, a distraught child or other gift recipient, and no money to fix the problems. So do your research before getting an exotic pet.