One of the concerns when it comes to keeping exotic pets is all the specialist equipment that they require. Not only does the massive selection of exotic pet supplies currently available make selecting the ideal set-up complicated, but in addition buying so much equipment can get expensive and require time and effort to correctly install and use.
Surprisingly there are actually a range of exotic pets that don’t need heating including a range of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. It follows that exotic pets that don’t need heating considerably cut down on the drawbacks mentioned previously and while there are far fewer choices available there are still a range of exotic pets you can choose from that are perfectly happy when kept at room temperature with no supplemental heating.
Before we actually start to look at the different types of exotic pets that don’t require extra heating I should mention that the examples I’m going to give are species that I have kept in the reasonably temperate British climate. For those of you living in warmer climes (such as the southern United States) you may well find that the range of exotic pets you can keep without heating is considerably larger due to the higher ambient temperature you will experience.
With that said let’s look a little more at the reptiles and amphibians you can keep successfully at room temperature:
Reptiles typically come from the warmer parts of the world so the vast majority do require supplementary heating if they are to remain healthy. Without additional heat they may become lethargic, will go off their food and can suffer from health problems.
The one obvious exception are some of the Mediterranean tortoises which are perfectly happy during the warmer months without additional heating and then go into hibernation during the winter months. Of course keeping your pet tortoise safe during their hibernation period is a responsibility and some pet owners may not appreciate keeping an exotic pet that they only see for part of the year.
Two of the best-known and hardiest examples are the Hermann’s Tortoise and the Spur-Thighed Tortoise whose care is very similar in captivity.
Another example of chelonians that can be kept without heating are some of the European terrapins which follow a similar pattern to the Hermann’s Tortoise and the Spur-Thighed Tortoise in that they will be perfectly happy over the warmer months and will then hibernate over the colder months.
Amphibians typically prefer cooler and moister conditions than reptiles and so are far more suited to an unheated terrarium and because of this there is a far greater range of options here.
Personally I have successfully kept Japanese Fire Bellied Newts, Fire Bellied Toads, Axolotls and Fire Salamanders successfully at room temperature – indeed these particular species actually prefer cool conditions and may suffer if kept too warm.
While virtually all tarantulas and scorpions require additional heating there are still species that can be kept at room temperature. For example a large number of moths and butterflies as available from specialist breeders are best kept without heating.
A number of stick insect species like the Indian (Laboratory) Stick Insect and the Pink Winged Stick Insect can be kept without additional heating though care should be taken as many other species do require heating so do your research carefully before making a buying decision.