Exotic pets can be risky so you want to make sure you get one that brings your child more joy, not frustration. Here are a few options to consider.
Owning an exotic pet is exciting for any child. When you give in to your kid’s request for a new, rather unusual friend, you have to take a lot of things into account. Adding the word “exotic” before “pet” already means that this type of animal will require a little more care and attention than your regular house cat.
Exotic animals can be hard to handle since they aren’t normally domesticated. They can also be hard to accommodate due to their size or environmental needs. You don’t want to have to give away an animal you went through all the trouble to adopt, so think carefully about which pet you add to your family.
Whether your pets are exotic or not, they are living beings and their lives are almost equally as important as ours. I mention this because the intentions behind adopting an exotic pet and the animals people select are sometimes highly questionable.
Don’t just get your child an animal because they think it would be ‘cool to have one. For example, after the release of the movie ‘Finding Nemo’, children went crazy about having their own ‘Dory’ (a Royal Blue Tang). Parents, out of love, bought these exotic fishes for their kids but ended up not tending to them. So, I remind you to make sure you and your child are both ready to shoulder the responsibility of owning an exotic pet.
Some exotic pets look great but can greatly jeopardize the safety of your family. Reptiles are the most concerning, so be careful when browsing through the pet store. Luckily for you, the solution to these problems isn’t too far. I’ve compiled for you a list of exotic pets that will most likely be perfect for your child.
Since I already mentioned that reptiles are a risky choice, we’re going to look at one that’s most suitable as a pet. If this is your first time owning an exotic reptile, you will most definitely enjoy caring for a bearded dragon.
Bearded dragons, despite their name, are very docile and will respond to their owner’s gestures and calls in a calm manner. They’re very easy to handle and accommodate; just make sure their enclosure has a UV light installed (or just place it near a window) and add moisture (by spritzing water) regularly. Their diet consists mostly of grubs. Fortunately, there are plenty of dubia roaches for sale online, so you won’t have to worry about finding the correct food!
Moving on to some furries, our first contender is the chinchilla. Chinchillas are beautiful and soft bundles of joy. They are surprisingly low maintenance – they clean themselves most of the time if you give them dust baths. They are pettily tamed and easily form a loving bond with their owners. These creatures are nocturnal, however, so if you don’t want them to keep your kids up, put them in a separate room before bedtime.
Chinchillas are great to have if you live in warmer areas. Regarding their other needs, just make sure you give them enough chewy toys, pellets, and grass hay.
Another adorable option for you is to get a guinea pig. These gentle creatures will quickly befriend your kids as they are very responsive and affectionate by nature. They are fairly easy to handle. Your guinea pig will most likely be very energetic, so get them exercise wheels to run on or regularly have them run around in your yard. As for food, you can give them something fresh and nutritious, especially ones that contain vitamin C.
If your child is a fan of Tom and Jerry, then why not consider getting them a mouse? Mice are very easy to care for and don’t usually need a lot of space. You might want to opt for female mice, rather than male ones; male mice are very agile in nature and tend to run around a lot, making them hard for kids to handle.
Mice like to eat fruits, vegetables, and mealworms. Therefore, their dietary requirements won’t weigh you down too much.
Having rats as pets is often overlooked, mainly because when you think of rats you immediately associate them with sewers. Contrary to how they are generally portrayed, rats are highly intelligent, and like cats, they too have personalities. Like chinchillas, they regularly groom themselves, believe it or not.
Even if they’re nocturnal, they’ll eventually sync themselves with your schedule. Give them plenty of room (a large cage) and a companion too. The best thing about having a rat is that they don’t bite. So if your child wants to bring home a ‘Remi’ after watching Ratatouille, you don’t have to give it a lot of thought.
Hamsters are a great starter for pets, but like the ones mentioned above, they are also nocturnal. These little guys don’t adapt to your sleep schedule unfortunately and get fairly aggressive (they will bite) when they are tired.
It’s best to keep one at a time to avoid any injury. With a lot of patience and careful handling, your hamster will come to love your child! To make things fun for your kids and their little friend, buy an enclosure with an obstacle course (pipes and wheels) so that they can run around and remain active. The only thing you need to be mindful of, other than biting, is that hamsters require a constant supply of fresh clean water.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the more adventurous choice for a pet: Tarantulas. Personally, I’m not a very big fan of spiders. Surprisingly though, they are a very popular exotic pet to have. Your child might be brave and have a keen eye for studying spiders up close – I would still recommend that you get one when you think they are old enough.
There are many non-venomous, docile, and beginner-friendly varieties of tarantulas available. The Skeleton tarantula is one such example. They usually only need a decently sized glass enclosure where you should fashion its nest to look like a tropical rainforest! You have to adjust the moisture every now and then and feed them mealworms, roaches, or crickets.
Now that you’re filled in, it’s time to sit down with your kids and talk to them about the pets before getting them. You must supervise them properly and teach them to be responsible pet owners. It’s also important that you get them accustomed to feeding their pets on their own, as you can’t always be there for them. Good luck!