There is no one-size-fits-all answer for “what is an exotic pet?”, But in general an exotic pet is considered to be a rare or uncommon animal and may have unusual maintenance compared to other common animals such as a dog or cat. Exotic animals are more likely to be wild animals that were captured and not bred in captivity to be domesticated.
As certain types of animals become more common, they may no longer be considered exotic. For example, some reptilian pets such as snakes and some small rodents such as hedgehogs were once considered rare, but have become increasingly popular as a type of pet and are now bordering on the exotic.
Legal aspects and factors related to the possession of exotic pets
The legality of owning an exotic pet varies. Some countries completely ban certain types of pets, sometimes it is a gray area depending on how the animal was raised or captured, and others fully support the idea of having certain animals as pets.
Before considering having an exotic pet, check the local and national laws pertaining to that type of pet.
The different types of exotic pets
There are hundreds of different types of exotic pets, but in general, the largest or most popular categories include:
Exotic amphibian animals
Frogs and salamanders can be popular exotic animals given how rare and colorful they can potentially be. Fire-bellied toads can be a beautiful mix of black, orange, and green.
Exotic bird mascot
Parrots in particular can be fun because of their beautiful feathers and intelligence. Some parrots such as the cockatoo are known for their fun and trainable repetition of human words. Some may even carry on conversations.
Exotic arachnids and domestic insects
Arachnids and large insects can also be exotic pets. Large insects like Madagascar hissing beetles and stick insects can be interesting to watch. Tarantulas are also gaining popularity as pets. They have a mild poison and can usually be held in the hands without any problems. They are also very easy to maintain as they only need to be fed once a week. Scorpions are another type of exotic pet. Like tarantulas, emperor scorpions possess no deadly human venom and are relatively harmless.
Exotic cats and big cats as pets
Exotic big cats are an entirely different category of pet ownership. Big wild cats like tigers or leopards have gained popularity over the years. But make no mistake, these animals are extremely dangerous, expensive to own, and increasingly regulated. This makes it difficult to keep large cats as pets. Currently, there are more domestic tigers in the United States than in the wild. Animals A to Z do not allow pet ownership of big cats of any variety.
Exotic pet rodents
The word “rodent” may give a first impression of a giant mouse or a common wild mouse, but the exotic rodent category is gaining popularity and includes many fun and cuddly animals such as chinchillas, hamsters and prairie dogs.
Other types of exotic pets
People are known to have a wide variety of pets as animals, including primates such as monkeys, giant African snails, reptiles, and even skunks. There is really no limit to the variety of exotic pets that humans have had over the years. However, the vast majority of wild animals, including those kept as exotic pets, are not suitable for home life.
A list of the best exotic pets
Which exotic animals are considered “best” is completely subjective. For the list below, we’ve picked the most popular ones that are also widely (but not universally) capable of being legally owned as pets. Check with local and national jurisdictions to confirm before adopting exotic pets.
Much like another exotic pet, the sugar glider, flying squirrels are more common and easier to care for.
The savannah cat is a rare and exotic pet. Savannah cats are a hybrid breed of cats crossed with a domestic cat and a serval. They are larger than most standard domestic cats, with the exception of the Maine Coon cat, and are known for their impressive jumping abilities and beautiful leopard markings.
Savannah cat, exotic pet, lying on the ground
Savannah cats are exotic animals known for their markings and great jumping ability.
Yup! Many places allow you to keep an untamed dog such as the fennec fox as a pet. With their famous 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, curled up sleeping on someone’s lap