Choosing Your Exotic Pet

Things to Consider

If you are thinking about getting an exotic pet then do think twice before that impulse buy. Your choice of exotic pet needs to be based on your ability to provide adequate housing, space, attention & veterinary care. This is because inappropriate housing, environment and diet are by far the most common health issues we see. It is important to get it right, and we can help check that your potential choice of pet can fit with you.

Some general considerations:

  • You should learn all you can about a potential pet before bringing it home and have all the necessary equipment and supplies ready.
  • Consider what size and type of housing will be necessary. Bigger housing is often better. Climbing species require more vertical height than ground space.
  • Think about what special equipment may be needed such as ultraviolet lighting which may need changing every 6 months, hygrometers for humidity and thermostat controlled heating sources.
  • Keep in mind that housing, supplies, food, veterinary care, and other expenses are often far greater than the cost of the pet itself. Carefully consider what you can afford when choosing a pet and look at pet insurance.
  • Consider their potential size: Larger pets need more space and exercise, and may be more difficult and dangerous to handle. Iguanas can grow to 6ft (1.8m) and are incredibly strong.
  • Do you want a pet that enjoys human interaction and can be held? or a pet that is happier without regular handling? Some species are more social than others.
  • Commercially prepared food may be available for several exotic pet species, but most will require freshly prepared foods. Foods may vary depending on age & life cycles. This may include a variety of fresh vegetables for herbivores, live insects for insectivores and even frozen mice and chicks for the carnivores.
  • If your life circumstances change will you still be able to care for your pet?
  • Will a new pet get along with other pets in the home?
  • It is a good idea to have a veterinarian lined up to care for your pet as not all vets are able to deal with exotic pets.
  • Some species can live a very long time and are a life-long commitment. Tortoises can often outlive their owners, and may require provisions in your will.
  • Some pets are very active and require lots of exercise, others will be quieter.
  • Some animals carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans (Zoonotic Diseases). This is an important consideration if there are household members with vulnerable immune systems as some Salmonella can be commonly found in all reptile species. Also some pets can be aggressive, dangerous, or even toxic.

Please contact us if you would like any further advice or information about things to consider when purchasing an exotic pet.