Caring for an Exotic Pet

Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by ellen

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When you consider what is involved in caring for an exotic pet, you’ll soon realize that there is quite a bit of variation in the care involved in different species. Here are some basic care tips for various exotic pets you should consider before you make your decision. 

Caring for an Exotic Pet [What to Consider First]

Caring for an Exotic Pet

When considering adding a new pet to your home, the primary concern should be how happy the pet will be with you. Yes, it’s tempting to put our wants first, but the health and well being of your pet should be your primary concern.


Parrots run the gamut from fairly easy to care for to very challenging. This is because there are so many different types! Here is a partial list of some of the more commonly available parrots that are kept as pets.

  • Parakeets (budgies)
  • Amazons
  • Macaws
  • Lovebirds
  • Cockatiels
  • Cockatoos
  • African Greys

Parakeets and cockatiels are considered fairly easy birds to keep, but there are some specific characteristics and care that they need. All exotic birds need large cages, a selection of bird toys and a lot of time outside of the cage each day. The larger the bird, the more intelligent and challenging they are.

Treat Play-N-Learn Cage ParakeetTreat Play-N-Learn Cage ParakeetKaytee Fiesta Yogurt Dipped Mango Flavor Treat for Large Hookbills, 3.5-oz bagKaytee Fiesta Yogurt Dipped Mango Flavor Treat for Large Hookbills, 3.5-oz bag2020

Newspaper lining on the bottom of the cage should be changed each day, and perches and ladders will need to be scraped periodically to get rid of feces. Food and water must be given fresh daily, and a high-quality food will need to be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Non-parrot birds like canaries and finches are usually considered exotic pets, too. Despite their small size, they need large cages, too. And these birds cannot have their wings clipped, so they will need to be let out to fly each day in a safe area with windows and mirrors covered.


Beginners can often do fine with a docile, small snake if they know how to handle it. Corn snakes are said to be the easiest for beginners, as they are not picky eaters and are docile. Here are some care tips for snakes.

Zoo Med Laboratories SZMNTS21 Reptihabitat 20 Long Snake Starter KitZoo Med Laboratories SZMNTS21 Reptihabitat 20 Long Snake Starter KitExo Terra Primate Skull Terrarium DExo Terra Primate Skull Terrarium DZoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding, 24 QuartsZoo Med Aspen Snake Bedding, 24 Quarts

Choose a large enough cage or tank that your snake can stretch out to its full adult length (and you’ll need to find out what that is!) inside the cage/tank. Most snakes eat live animals of some sort, such as crickets or mice. If you use pre-killed or frozen food, you may need to make the food “look” alive by wiggling it to get the snake’s attention. Snakes are cold-blooded and need to be kept warm.

Reptiles and Amphibians

From chameleons to iguanas, turtles to frogs, you will find that these animals are fun to watch and fairly easy to keep. They need to be kept warm and given proper food, which is often live food in the form of insects.

Smithsonian Eco Dome Habitat with TriopsSmithsonian Eco Dome Habitat with TriopsBio Bubble Wonderbubble - Black BaseBio Bubble Wonderbubble – Black BaseZoo Med Aquatic Frog and Tadpole Food, 2-OunceZoo Med Aquatic Frog and Tadpole Food, 2-Ounce

All reptiles and amphibians will need water in their environments, but the amount will vary according to the species (iguanas, for instance, will only defecate if they can immerse themselves in water). Warmth is important, so a heat lamp will need to be a part of your set-up. Bedding and other accessories inside the tank will need to be cleaned daily, and a total tank clean-out needs to happen about once a month.

These are just some of the interesting exotic pets that are out there. Just make sure to read up on the specific care of whatever species you choose.

Do you have any questions about caring for an exotic pet? Have you ever thought about keeping pet snails?

8 thoughts on “Caring for an Exotic Pet

  1. We used to own exotic birds, one at a time. Great pets but they require a lot of attention. Once we had a child, we got rid of the bird and are now dog only people.

  2. OK, yes on the parrot but heck no on the snakes and reptiles! I always thought parrots were fascinating but don’t know a thing about keeping them or birds for that matter.

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