I have had a few emails here about which are the “best exotic pets” but that is really a very difficult questions to answer as we are all different and so what suits one person may not suit another.
For example there are a small range of exotic pets which are seen far more commonly than others. Examples of these might be the Chile Rose tarantula, the corn snake and the bearded dragon which all reach reasonable sizes for the average pet keeper, are easy to look after and reasonably priced and so these may be the best exotic pets for a lot of people.
But there are a lot of other factors to consider when it comes to selecting an exotic pet so in this article I’d like to examine just a few of these to help you decide for yourself what the best exotic pet is for you.
Because of the variety of exotic pets available from reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and small mammals there are a huge range of different sized animals, and also a range of different sized cages required.
For example if you want to breed parrots you may need to build them a huge, robust aviary to fly around in if they are to feel comfortable enough to start nesting. An iguana may look cute when it is small but by adulthood it will realistically require a cage the size of a small room and may be 6 feet in length.
On the other end of the scale, a tarantula may only need a cage of around 25-30cm in length and so will take up far less space.
So take the time, when choosing an exotic pet, to consider the size of the animal and the size of it’s caging when it matures. Will you realistically have the space for the pet you would like, or would it be smarter to choose one that doesn’t grow as large?
For example if you’d like a pet python, why not avoid the Indian python that will grow as thick as your leg and instead opt for a ball or royal python which will reach a far more management size but look just as good?
Ease Of Care
Some exotic pets require far more care than others. For example a gambian pouched rat really needs to be handled regularly to keep in tame, and to be cleaned out regularly. Food and water needs to be changed regularly.
For some reptiles and amphibians the care required can be even more as you carefully check temperature and humidity each day, ensuring they are kept within strict guidelines.
On the other hand a reasonably-sized snake will typically require very little care once you have the cage set up. Snakes may only feed once or twice a week as youngsters, are small and easily housed and do not require any artificial lighting like most lizards do.
So take the time to consider how an exotic pet might fit into your lifestyle. How much time do you have to spare, and how often? Do you like to take regular vacations, and if so who will look after your pet if it requires a lot of care?
Whilst many invertebrates and reptiles are silent, some other exotic pets may make plenty of noise. Some birds and even some frogs and toads in the breeding season may make a surprising amount of noise so if you live in a small property you may want to avoid this noise – for your neighbours sake if not your own.
Do you want to be able to handle your exotic pet? Many people, like me, would rather just admire their pets from a distance and aren’t too fussed about getting something out and holding it. But others want a tame snake they can pet, or a bird that will sit on their shoulder. So this too should be a consideration when it comes to choosing an exotic pet.
Whilst a stick insect may only live for a year or two, some reptiles and birds may live into their twenties or beyond. Tortoises of course can go even longer. So try to make some assumptions about your future and how long you’re likely to want to look after your pet. If you will soon be heading off to university or starting a family you may want to select a shorter-lived species which means less long-term commitment for you.