There are plenty of excellent reasons as to why someone would choose buying an exotic pet over a traditional one. Perhaps you want something that won’t activate your allergies. Maybe dogs and cats aren’t allowed in your apartment. Or you simply want a quiet, less obtrusive animal (although this isn’t the case for all exotic pets, of course).
Regardless, the process of choosing and acquiring a less-than-common pet can be somewhat difficult. Especially if you’re new to the process and don’t have resources like exotic animal breeders readily available. That’s why we’re lending a helping claw by elaborating on what exactly exotic pets are in the first place, where you can buy them, and what to think about before doing so.
What Are Exotic Pets
Exotic animals are typically undomesticated animals that are kept in captivity. These include a variety of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and even insects. While these animals aren’t domesticated in the traditional sense, they can still thrive in various homes when kept in the right conditions.
However, many exotic pets have highly specific needs that need to be accommodated for. This can include specialized environmental, medical, and dietary needs. Many of these animals have not completely adapted to survive in what a typical human household can provide, after all. Remember, not all exotic pets are created equally. Whichever animal you decide to own will depend on your lifestyle and how you’re able to provide for its needs.
Examples Of Exotic Pets You Can Buy
When trying to determine which types of exotic animals you can keep, it is important that you take a close look at each category of animal. Of course, there are hundreds of individual species within these genus and classes, all with their own unique, specific care requirements. To better determine where to start, let’s take a look at various classes of animals and some groups within those that are commonly kept as pets.
For more info on the various types of reptile pets available, read “Types of Reptile Pets“.
- Arthropods (spiders, scorpions)
- Hermit crabs
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. These are simply animals commonly kept as exotic pets and are relatively easy to buy and accommodate in most homes.
Options for Buying Exotic Pets
Throughout the years, the market for exotic pets has grown. Because of this, so has the variety of places and people you can purchase these animals from.
Big-box chain pet stores are a common, accessible way for people to buy exotic pets they want and the materials needed to care for them. The stock they carry will also likely be legal in your state and not require any special permits. However, if you do decide to seek out a pet this way, it’s important to do your research beforehand. Some big-box stores may not have staff that are knowledgeable enough to help you or have the exact stock you want. However, they can be a reliable resource for acquiring the supplies you need.
Small Pet Stores
Smaller pet stores are typically independent shops that aren’t beholden to the same stock and practices as other stores. At times, they will even work with a specialty breeder or supplier that distributes unique, rare and otherwise higher-quality stock than you would see at larger stores.
While their relative freedom from corporate rules can be a benefit in many cases, it can cause their standards to vary. When looking for a smaller pet store, you may want to seek out a shop that caters to the specific type of animal you’re looking for, such as reptiles or birds.
Many exotic pet stores and suppliers sell their stock through online storefronts for people looking to buy. This allows for smaller stores to distribute their supply across a wider area and makes rarer, harder-to-obtain animals more accessible. Typically, these eCommerce shops will take the highest level of precaution possible when transporting their animals. You can expect your pet to arrive as soon as possible in a climate-controlled box.
Purchasing your new pet directly from an experienced, knowledgeable breeder is one of the most reliable ways to acquire any animal. Any quality breeder will have spent generations ensuring that the health and temperament of their animals are as genetically stable as possible. While some breeders do sell their animals through third-party stores and suppliers, developing a relationship with them and looking at the rest of their animal stock has its own benefits. If possible, try opening up a dialogue with a potential breeder and get to know them before finalizing your purchase. Many will be happy to give you advice on how to best care for your new pet.
Pet expos are large events where breeders and suppliers from near and far arrive to display their stock of animals and supplies. If you are looking to purchase a truly rare animal in person without the wait and uncertainty that comes with online retail, this may be your best bet. Here, you can form connections with other pet enthusiasts and breeders, ask any questions you may have, and even purchase hard to find, valuable supplies. Even if you don’t plan on purchasing an animal, simply attending one of these conventions can be exciting and illuminating.
If you are planning to go to one of these conventions with the intention of buying an exotic pet, a word of warning: you may want to set up your enclosure ahead of time. You don’t want to be under-prepared without the setup or supplies for this pet ready by the time it comes home.
What To Consider When Buying An Exotic Pet
Purchasing an exotic animal can be somewhat more involved and take more consideration than buying a normal pet. This can catch anyone off guard. Especially if they’re not used to dealing with exotics. As long as you take these factors into consideration, however, you should be able to move forward confidently.
Many exotic animals will require some sort of specialized enclosure that will more closely mimic their natural environment. Amphibians and reptiles for sale, in particular, will need care put into their climate and general shelter setup. Fortunately, you are likely to find starter packs that will have everything you need for a first-time setup (such as a snake habitat for sale).
Animals not traditionally kept as pets often need a specialized diet. Depending on how uncommon it is, that food may not be commercially available. If your pet’s diet doesn’t consist of foods commonly kept at most pet stores, you may want to do your own research on how to prepare its meals. Fortunately, many exotic animals such as snakes and geckos are relatively easy to feed and have a variety of easily obtainable foods available on the market. Before buying an exotic pet, take time to consider how you’re going to accommodate its diet.
When seeking out a pet, one of the largest determining factors on if you are capable of caring for it or not will be its medical expenses. Unfortunately, specialized exotic vets can be difficult to come by. They also tend to be more expensive than traditional veterinarians. By speaking to other exotic animal owners, however, you should be able to find one with little difficulty. If you believe that your animal may have particularly expensive vet costs, opting for pet insurance is advisable.
Legality When Buying an Exotic Pet
When buying an exotic pet, one of the first details that you should research regarding owning it should be legality. Many of these animals require some restriction or permit in accordance with keeping them. Some states and countries outright ban them. This is typically done due to concerns about the impact this pet may have on the local environment or how safe they are to keep. Ferrets, for instance, are illegal to own in California. For a country-wide example, pet owners can’t keep rabbits in Australia.
Overall, simply be sure to do your research when seeking out exotic pets for sale. No matter which exotic pet you plan on keeping. If you have a clear understanding of the laws regarding keeping such an animal and are able to get your permits arranged ahead of time, you should have little issue.
Note: Consider that just because an animal is for sale in a certain area doesn’t mean it’s legal to own in that place. Always double-check.
Buying a new exotic pet doesn’t have to be a difficult, frustrating ordeal. With a little bit of know-how, you will be purchasing from reliable sources who are selling quality stock in no time. If you know what you’re getting into, you’ll have a better chance of establishing a happy, mutually beneficial relationship between pet and owner. Simply avoid rushing into ownership, and take time picking and understanding your pet.