If you’ve been cooped up binging Tiger King in lockdown like the rest of the world, your mind might have drifted to how awesome it would be to have a pet tiger. Ignoring the obvious downside of the possibility of being eaten, exotic pets have been popular for decades.
But exotic pets don’t always have to be dangerous. There’s plenty of unusual critters of all shapes and sizes that are just as low maintenance as our domesticated friends. Here are our three favorite exotic pets to own.
A strange little creature known as a salamander, axolotls, are adorable. Reminiscent of Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, they hail from Mexico.
They live in freshwater and eat bloodworms, shrimp, and ground beef. They’re at the top of our list because of how easy they are to take care of.
They’re happy to live in a relatively small tank of around 20 gallons, and you’ll need a strong filter for the tank to help keep it clean. But besides that, all they need is frequent water changes and the occasional full tank clean.
They’re as low maintenance as they come as far as exotic or domesticated pets go. You can find axolotls for sale on Fantaxies.
Stepping it up a little in terms of maintenance, hedgehogs can also make great pets.
They’re not social animals, so you’ll only be able to have one per enclosure. Because they’re not social, they’re also happy with owners who work long hours or travel. Provided they’re fed and housed; hedgehogs don’t need much else.
Hedgehog diets consist of pre-made food, which you can buy in most pet stores, as well as fruit and insects. Shelter wise, hedgehogs need a minimum enclosure of four square feet.
Most hedgehogs live around 5 to 7 years if well cared for. Regular handling from a young age will make them tame enough to be around even children.
The only downside to hedgehogs is they can be quite smelly. They need cleaning out more often than other small critters, and they may need frequent baths.
If you’d rather something, a little scalier, ball pythons are a great exotic pet. They’re one of the tamer and friendlier breeds available, so don’t worry if you’ve no experience with keeping snakes.
Their care is similar to that of all snakes. You’ll need a decent sized enclosure which needs to be kept warm and humid. They eat frozen or live mice and rats, so if you’re a little squeamish, they’re not the pet for you.
Ball pythons are really easy to buy and relatively cheap. But if you’d rather something a little more unique, there’s a hot market for ball python morphs. Morphs have unique colorings or patterns and are highly coveted by snake enthusiasts.
Do Exotic Pets Make Good Pets?
A common anxiety for those who have only had domestic pets before is whether exotic pets make good pets. The answer to this very much depends on your lifestyle and how much effort you’re willing to put into caring for your animal.
Obviously, larger exotic pets like fennec foxes require a lot more time and make a lot more mess. But small exotic pets like the ones we’ve mentioned are often far less maintenance than common domestic pets like cats and dogs.
Do Your Research
Always make sure before purchasing any exotic pet that you’re fully aware of the care and resources it needs to thrive. Remember, exotic pets come with specialized needs, and vet bills will reflect this, so budget accordingly.
You can find loads more articles on all things pets on our blog, so make sure to check it out.