At We Love Pets, we’re mad for all types of animals: from furry friends, such as cats and dogs, to scaly snakes and lizards, and everything in between! We see a variety of reptiles and amphibians in our care and have narrowed down the top 5 exotic pets for beginners.
As they’re not quite as commonly kept, when it comes to introducing an exotic pet to your life, it’s important to understand that their needs can be more complicated than other animals. However, adding an exotic to your life can be an enjoyable challenge! If you’re a first-time owner, here’s what you need to know.
First things first
Most exotic animals need to be kept in an environment that is similar to their natural habitat, and there are many different aspects that need to be controlled.
These include factors such as:
• Humidity levels
• Substrate food
• Size of the tank
• Environmental props and decor
All these different aspects will vary depending on the type of reptile you choose, as each of these animals have unique requirements for a safe, happy life in your care. So, when considering ownership of an exotic pet, it is extremely important to fully research the animal that you have chosen to be in your care as you need to make sure their environment is perfect.
Some things to think about:
• How long will they live and how large will they grow?
• Dietary requirements.
• Size of the enclosure.
• Whether the animal can be kept alone or with others.
• Whether the animal’s behaviour fits in with your lifestyle – will they be active at night (nocturnal) or during the day (diurnal)?
• Do you need a licence or paperwork to keep them?
• Is there a specialist vet nearby who can treat this animal if they become sick?
Best exotics for beginners
These five pets are ideal for first-time exotic owners, due to their friendly natures and low maintenance lifestyles.
Of all the pet snakes available, these are brilliant for beginners as they’re generally docile and easy to handle. Occasionally they may be finicky eaters, however they’re not too expensive and you can give them a lot of love.
A distinctive spotted pattern and friendly disposition make this exotic lizard stand out. They enjoy being handled and interacting with people – where other types of lizards don’t necessarily. Additionally, their living requirements aren’t very extreme as they only need a small tank and are easily fed with readily available insects that can be found in pet shops.
These beautiful snakes are also docile, easy to care for and don’t grow to be very large. The requirements are simple when it comes to housing a corn snake, however, you must make sure your tank is secured as corn snakes are unrivalled escape artists and will use their noses to push against the tank to find any signs of weakness.
Similar to the leopard gecko, bearded dragons are easy lizards to keep and are very friendly animals. These are excellent beginner lizards because they are good with children who handle them responsibly. They also don’t grow to a large size, which means you don’t need a very large habitat.
This salamander is super popular and quite low maintenance, not to mention cute! Their habitat is relatively easy to keep but does require cleaning the tank and making frequent water changes. The axolotl’s diet is quite simple as they can eat frozen, freeze-dried, or fresh bloodworms. These animals are not only interesting, but a joy to care for.
It is important to bear in mind that there are some concerns with regards to acquiring and owning exotic pets. At We Love Pets, we value animal welfare above all, and firmly oppose the cruel, wild-caught animal trade. When it comes to purchasing an exotic animal, it is imperative to ensure you have all the correct legal details and documentation to prove that your pet has not been taken from their home in the wild. Furthermore, some exotic species – such as primates – have extremely complex needs which cannot be met in a traditional home environment. It’s worth keeping in mind the limits of your space, budget, and handling skills when deciding on a pet.
Again, we recommend doing thorough research prior to adding an exotic to your family, to ensure that you will be able to meet their needs and provide them with a loving home!