For most people, a pet means getting a dog, a cat, or perhaps a rabbit. These are among some of the easiest animals to look after and one of the reasons that they are also among the most common. However, for some people, the idea of having an exotic pet is much more appealing.
But there is the issue of care, and with these animals, there is often a lot more involved. But that doesn’t mean to say that beginners cannot successfully look after an exotic animal.
One of the biggest draws of the exotic pet is that they are much more unique and often have interesting quirks that make them more appealing to animal lovers.
While they do require a certain degree of specialist care, things like leopard geckos, chipmunks, and certain species of snake may be easier than you thought.
We certainly aren’t saying that these animals should be neglected but their care can be easily incorporated into your routine and you’ll be rewarded with an incredibly interesting pet.
What Is An Exotic Pet?
When you think about exotic pets, you may instantly think of things like snakes and spider. It’s true that these animals do fall into this category but you may be surprised to learn that there are many other types of exotic pet that aren’t so easily recognisable.
For example, did you know that a hamster is classed as an exotic pet? Despite being one of the most popular pets for families and children, these animals require a specialist vet and a stringent level of care.
The easiest way to determine what an exotic pet is, is to think about its domestication. Exotic pets are animals that are not considered to have been domesticated.
Animals like dogs and cats have been introduced into human homes for thousands of years and have, as a result, become very comfortable living alongside us. Many of these animals would find it extremely difficult to live in the wild.
However, an exotic pet is an animal that is still very primal and wild and despite being owned as a pet, would still very much thrive in a wild environment. But wait, there’s more…
Since these are considered to be ‘wild’ animals, keeping them in captivity means that their well being could be threatened if proper care is not taken.
These creatures have very diverse and complex needs, making them much more difficult to keep as a domestic pet.
This isn’t to say that it cannot be done, because people all over the world are successful with this. However, even a beginner pet still requires more care than your average cat or rabbit.
What Makes An ‘Easy’ Exotic Pet?
We cannot stress enough that even though these animals are much easier to take care of than some exotic pets, they will still have complex needs. If you are going to take one of them on, it is vital that you research things first and make sure that you are able to maintain a good level of care.
With that in mind, below is a list of things that make beginner exotic pets a little less challening.
- The animals do not produce a potent smell.
- The animals are not aggressive or destructive.
- The animals have a basic and easy to manage diet.
- The animals do not have complex social needs.
- The animals do not require a large or overly complex enclosure
Top 5 Beginner Exotic Pets
Owning your first exotic pet can be a very exciting time but you may find that you struggle to choose the right animal. Of course, your personal preference goes a long way and with this in mind, we have put together a list of 5 very different, yet equally easy to look after, exotic animals that are great for beginners.
#5 Bearded Dragon
Bearded dragons are very common exotic pets and there is little wonder when you consider how easy they are to take care of. They make a great starter pet for young people who are looking to break themselves in gently to caring for more complax animals.
The bearded dragon has a very placid temperament and is generally not an aggressive lizard.
Furthermore, since the bearded dragon grows to around 60cm, they do not require a massive enclosure but are large enough to handle without feeling as though you are going to harm them.
These lizards are native to Australia but are now housed in captivity around the world. They have a very manageable diet that consists mostly of insects including crickets which are widely available.
They also need to eat plant-based foods and while there are some that are unsuitable, the choices of appropriate fruits and vegetables are quite vast.
Bearded dragons do require a temperature-controlled enclosure with conditions that mimic the desert and do not need a lot of humidity. This is very easy to maintain for beginners and there isn’t much you can get wrong.
Finally, since bearded dragons are so widely available, they are not expensive to get started with. Furthermore, they don’t typically require huge investments to keep in the long term.
#4 Ball Python
Snakes are a very popular choice of exotic pet but depending on your level of experience, there are some that you may find more challenging to care for. A ball python is one of the easier snake species and a great choice if you are looking to get into snake care.
While there are a lot of pythons that grow to extreme lengths, the ball python is much smaller and so doesn’t need a huge cage. On average, these snakes will grow between one and two metres, but this is largely dependant on the individual; their enclosure need only be the length of the snake.
Many people are under the impression that all snakes are aggressive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, especially when considering the ball python. These animals are incredibly placid and don’t mind being handled.
Their diet is easy to maintain and while younger ball pythons may eat insects, their adult counterparts feed mainly on small mammals. These are widely available in most pet stores.
However, the ball python is known for its tendency to stop eating from time to time. The good news is that this is normally not an issue and the animal will resume its diet without the need to be seen by a vet.
#3 Chile Rose Tarantula
For some people, spiders are an absolute no-no when it comes to keeping a pet. However, if you have a love for our eight-legged friends then the Chile Rose tarantula is a great place to start learning more about these amazing creatures.
These spiders are extremely common pets and as such, you will likely be able to source one in any pet store that sells exotic animals. Furthermore, they are very inexpensive to purchase and do not require a huge setup.
If you’re looking to test the exotic pet waters and don’t want to make a significant initial investment, the Chile Rose tarantula will meet your needs.
These animals, despite their reputation as being creepy are, in fact, extremely interesting and when it comes to observing them, you’ll be rewarded with a lot of interesting behaviours. Furthermore, if you want to handle your pet, these spiders are very docile and rarely become aggressive.
Their diet is made up largely of insects and offering live crickets is one of the most common methods. What’s more, it won’t cost a lot to sustain your pet since the Chile Rose only eats around once a week.
The vivarium of the Chile Rose does need to be heated but mildly so and there is not a lot of maintenance involved in this.
The spider will live as long as ten years, so while this is considered to be a beginner pet, they will be with your for a long time when well taken care of.
#2 Fire Bellied Toad
Amphibians can be tricky pets but there are some species, such as the fire-bellied toad that are much easier to manage. These bright and beautiful creatures are great for beginners and the excellent news is that they can be kept in groups. If you want a pleasing display, then these animals may be right up your street.
In addition to this, the fire bellied toad is very easy to breed. If you are new to exotic pets and want the opportunity to see a colony thrive, then there isn’t a lot to it. Furthermore, with the frogs only growing to a couple of inches in size, they won’t need a huge enclosure.
But size is just one thing to consider when it comes to animal husbandry, and the good news is that fire bellied toads don’t need a lot in terms of their setup.
They do not need additional heat or light so they are typically much less expensive to take care of. When you buy the toads, you won’t need to part with a lot of cash upfront since they are available at a very low cost.
Feeding your fire bellied toads is extremely easy since these are carnivorous animals that can be fed on a diet of crickets and other insects that are widely available.
The axolotl is an animal that many people may be unfamiliar with. It is only recently that these stunning creatures have made a welcome appearance on social media – there’s even a game that allows you to take care of a virtual axolotl.
However, if you prefer your pets to be living and breathing, keeping an axolotl might not be as tricky as you first thought. These are truly astonishing creatures that live in the water. However, if this dries up, they have an ability to morph into a terrestrial animal until they find another body of water to call home!
Of course, when kept in captivity, we’d like to think that owners would always provide plenty of water for their pets. Your axolotl will grow to around 30 centimetres and do not require any additional heating in their tanks.
This is great if you are looking for something low-maintenance. You should keep in mind, however, that your pet will require a filtration system to ensure that the water remains clean.
The axolotl has a varied diet yet one that is simple to provide. They will eat regular fish food as well as live insects and titbits of meat. However, they are predatory and as such, should never be kept with fish.
There are some exotic pets that require an insane amount of care and maintenance and this can put off potential owners. You might think that this means there is no way for your to get into caring for exotic animals, but the opposite is true.
There are several exotic pets that are easy to care for, inexpensive and yet very rewarding. That being said, it is still very important for pet owners to be aware of their pets unique needs and make sure that they are able to meet these.