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How to Adopt Exotic Pets

By: Jane Pullen - Updated: 6 Dec 2015 | comments*Discuss
How To Adopt Exotic Pets

Over recent years the market for exotic pets has developed and increased. Whereas at one time the choice of pet was limited to cats, dogs and small domestic animals, today the choice is so much wider. Looking after an exotic pet requires special knowledge and experience. Some people, sadly, buy exotic pets without being able to care for them properly and these pets often find themselves in animal rescue centres and shelters awaiting new and knowledgeable families who can care for them properly.

What are Exotic Pets?

The term 'exotic pet' is a wide term that is used to describe pets that are different to the norm. This includes:

  • Amphibians – including frogs and newts
  • Invertebrates – including stick insects, praying mantis and tarantulas
  • Reptiles – such as turtles, snakes and lizards
  • Mammals and primates – includes chipmunks and gophers

Care of Exotic Pets

Exotic pets need special care and equipment. Depending on the type of pet this might include expensive housing, lighting or heating equipment. The cost of special equipment is likely to be substantial and this needs to be considered. Exotic pets will also require a special diet. This might involve feeding them live food or small dead mammals and this is not for the squeamish.

This need for special care, however, shouldn't put families off from adopting exotic pets. There are types of exotic pets that are relatively simple to look after and are ideal for children. Stick insects, for instance, can make fun and interesting pets.

Adopting Exotic Pets

Exotic pets can be found in many rescue centres, although specialist exotic pet rehoming centres and shelters will have the widest range. Before adopting an exotic pet there are a number of things to consider and these include:

  • Knowledge and experience – an exotic pet is likely to have ended up in a rescue centre because its previous owners were unable to care for it. A rescue centre, therefore, will look for a high degree of knowledge and experience before rehoming a pet with a family.
  • Expense – looking after an exotic pet is not cheap. It is important to factor in special equipment, dietary requirements and other expenses before considering giving a home to an unusual pet.
  • Vets and health – whereas there is a lot of information readily available about the care of traditional pets such as cats and dogs, there is less information on hand about caring for exotic pets. Not all vets will be familiar with certain types of pet and this can make caring and treating them problematic.
  • Holiday care – while asking a neighbour to pop in and feed a cat is totally acceptable, asking someone to come in and feed dead chicks to an exotic pet might not be so easy. Before adopting an unusual pet, finding a support network who can help look after the pet in times of absence can be useful. The rescue centre may be able to provide information of other exotic pet owners in the area.
  • Danger to other animals – some species may be a danger to other pets. This is an important point to consider before rehoming an exotic pet in a home with other animals.

Finding Exotic Pets for Adopting

Rescue centres are a good place to start. Even if they do not look after or care for unusual pets, they are likely to know specialist centres that do. They will be able to give the phone number and contact details of local centres. Another good way to find information about specialist centres in a specific region is to surf the Internet. There are also a great many online groups and forums where people generously share information and advice.

An exotic pet isn't for everyone and the challenges are significant. They can, however, be tremendously rewarding and give many years of pleasure to a family.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
klaudia - Your Question:
Hi, what centres are available to volunteer at and where are they located?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, rescue centres are a good place to start. Even if they do not look after or care for unusual pets, they are likely to know specialist centres that do. You don't say where you are from, therefore it makes it difficult to advise. Plus, as we are a UK-based site, we can only reference UK-based centres.
SaveAPet - 8-Dec-15 @ 10:02 AM
Hi, what centres are available to volunteer at and where are they located?
klaudia - 6-Dec-15 @ 10:34 AM
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