A-z - Animals

exotic pets

There is no single answer to "What is an exotic pet?" ’, but often exotic pets are considered rare or uncommon animals and may require unusual maintenance compared to other common animals such as dogs or cats. Exotic pets are more likely to be captive wild animals than captive domesticated ones

As certain types of animals become more common, they may no longer be considered exotic pets. For example, some pet reptiles (such as snakes) and some small rodents (such as hedgehogs) were once considered rare animals, but have become more mainstream as a pet and are now only marginal exotics.

The legalities of owning an exotic pet vary. Some countries outright ban certain types of pets, sometimes it's a gray area depending on how the animal was bred or captured, while other countries fully support keeping certain animals as pets. See our guide to exotic pet ownership laws by state.

Before you consider keeping an exotic pet, consult your local and national laws regarding that type of pet. For example, keeping tigers is legal and relatively unregulated in eight different US states, but laws in the rest of the states range from modestly restrictive to outright bans on keeping tigers as pets.

Different Types of Exotic Pets

There are hundreds of different types of exotic pets, but broadly speaking, the largest or most popular categories include:

Exotic Amphibian Pets

Frogs and salamanders can be popular exotic pets because they can be very rare and colorful. Fire belly toads can be a beautiful combination of black, orange and green.

exotic bird pets

The birds' large plumage and bright colors make them popular exotic pets. Parrots with their beautiful plumage and intelligence are especially interesting. Some parrots, like cockatoos, are known for their amusing and trainable repetition of human speech. Some can even carry on a conversation.

Exotic Spiders and Insect Pets

Large spiders and insects can also make exotic pets. Large insects such as Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects are fun to look at. Tarantulas are also growing in popularity as pets. Despite their large size, they are harmless to humans. They have a mild venom and can usually be held in the hand without any problem. They are also easy to maintain as they only need to be fed once a week. Scorpions are also considered exotic pets. The most common scorpion pet is the emperor scorpion. Like tarantulas, emperor scorpions do not possess a venom that is fatal to humans and are relatively harmless.

Exotic and Big Cats as Pets

Exotic big cats are a whole different category of pet owners. Large wild cats like tigers or leopards have grown in popularity over the years. But make no mistake, these animals are extremely dangerous, expensive to keep and increasingly regulated. This makes owning a big cat difficult. Today there are more pet tigers in the United States than there are in the wild. AZ Animals does not endorse big cat pets of any kind.

Exotic Pet Rodents

The word "rodent" might conjure up images of giant mice or common voles, but the exotic rodent pet category is growing in popularity and includes many fun and cute pets such as chinchillas, hamsters, and terriers. dog.

Other Types of Exotic Pets

People have been known to keep a variety of exotic pets, including primates such as monkeys, giant African snails, reptiles, and even skunks! Over the years, there really has been no limit to the kinds of exotic pets humans have owned. However, the vast majority of wild animals, including those kept as exotic pets, are not suitable for domesticated life.

List of the best exotic pets

What exotic pet is considered "best" is completely subjective. For the list below, we've picked the most popular ones, which are also widely (but not universally) able to be legally owned as pets. Before adopting any exotic pets, please check with your local and national jurisdictions for confirmation.

flying bat

Much like other exotic pets, sugar gliders and flying squirrels are more common and easier to care for. They are cute and can live in an enclosed space like a medium sized cage. They are also very gracious.

Pet flying squirrels soaring through the air
Flying squirrels are a popular choice for exotic pets

©Laura Fiorillo/Shutterstock.com

savannah cat

The savannah cat is an exotic and rare pet. The Savannah cat is a hybrid cat, the cross between a house cat and a servant cat. They are larger than most standard house cats except the Maine Coon, and are known for their impressive leaping abilities and beautiful leopard prints. They are also considered exotic pets.

Savannah cat, exotic pet, lying on the ground
The Savannah cat is an exotic pet known for its markings and high jumping ability

©Troy Rauenzahn/Shutterstock.com

fennec fox

Yes! Many places allow you to keep non-domestic canines, such as fennec foxes, as exotic pets. Known for their big ears, small faces, and bushy tails, these creatures are some of the cutest exotic animals you can legally own.

fennec fox, an exotic pet, sleeping curled up in someone's lap
Fennec foxes are legal as exotic pets!

© Chill Chillz/Shutterstock.com

Types of Exotic Pets

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Exotic Pet Checklist