Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by ellen
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.
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Table of Contents
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)
- African Greys
Parakeets and cockatiels are considered fairly easy birds to keep, but they need some specific characteristics and care. 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.
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 docile and not picky eaters. Here are some care tips for snakes.
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.
Check out the best bedding for ball pythons.
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.
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.
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Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.