All Women's Talk

8 Points to Consider if You Want an Unusual Pet

By Alison

At some point in our lives, many of us have lived with pets. Typically, these are cats, dogs, birds, rabbits or hamsters. But what if you would love to own something more unusual? Well, the animal’s welfare has to be the most important factor, and there are many points to take into consideration in deciding whether you can meet its needs.

1 Knowledge

I get so irritated when I read about ‘pet crazes’ in the newspapers. People see cute pictures of mini pigs and decide that they want one. I just know that soon there will be another article about how many pigs have been abandoned. You MUST research what a pet needs, and consider carefully whether you can meet those needs.

2 Cost

Exotic pets are far from cheap, and the purchase price is only the beginning. There’s suitable housing, special diet, healthcare … Are you able and willing to pay those costs, whatever they are?


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3 Specialist Vet

Most vets will be used to dealing primarily with cats and dogs, so you would need to find a vet within reasonable travelling distance who specialises in exotic breeds. This is more likely if you live in a city, or near a university with a veterinary department.

4 Holidays

It’s not difficult to find someone to feed a cat or budgie while you’re away, and a dog can go to kennels, but what happens when you’ve got a snake or a spider? Can you find a non-arachnophobe to look after it, or can they be safely left alone?

5 Commitment

Any pet should only be taken on if you intend to make it a lifelong commitment, but this is especially important with exotic pets. It is relatively easy to rehome a cat – and even this can be difficult, so imagine how hard it would be to find the right home for a large python.

6 Environment

Can you provide suitable accommodation for the animal? This includes considering space and environment. For example, reptiles need to be kept at an appropriate temperature.

7 Space

Do you have the room to accommodate the animal’s cage or housing? For example, a chinchilla needs a large cage, so would not be suitable for a very small flat. A cage or tank could well end up dominating a room, so are you prepared for that, and does the animal have space for exercise?

8 Suitability

I despair when I read of people keeping ‘pets’ like monkeys. These animals just don’t belong in a domesticated environment. So consider carefully whether an exotic pet is really suitable, or whether breeding for domestication should not be encouraged.

I know that some of our writers have blogged about their exotic pets, so can no doubt add lots of useful advice to this. Are there any readers who keep exotics, and what would you add?

Top Photo Credit: S.britt

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