Exotic pets are becoming more popular with aspiring pet owners, but buying one without doing your homework can be risky.
While certain animals are freely sold as pets, they might not be naturally suitable as pets. Gumtree, for example, does not allow the sale of sugar gliders on our site for that very reason. They are nocturnal, vulnerable to disease, and despite being so mall, they require huge amounts of room to move about (as well as close skin to skin contact). Most pet owners are unable to cope with their demands and often these little creatures end up suffering as a result.
It’s also important to make sure that the animal is sold legally and proper permits. For example, it’s not legal to sell indigenous species – and many unscrupulous traders will try to pass off an indigenous hedgehog or tortoise as an exotic species to avoid penalties. You may unwittingly be participating in the illegal trade of local species accordingly.
Exotic animals may also be exposed to cruel practices – such as declawing – to make them less dangerous. (Predators are particularly vulnerable). This can cause lifelong pain and your pet may require surgery to correct the practice.
Do your research before purchasing any pet, but particularly exotic pets; this includes:
- Determining the habitat the animal will require. Some animals require huge amounts of space, others require darkness and air conditioning or heating.
- Determine the permit you will require to keep AND transport the pet.
- Determine the proper diet of the pet and whether or not your local vet will be able to treat the animal. If your snake will require a steady diet of expensive crickets or mice, you have to find a pet store that can supply these items for you locally – very few do! Your local vet might also refuse to treat primates or reptiles, and finding an alternative is not easy.
- Determine the health risks of owning a pet. Some pets, particularly primates, can become seriously ill from common illnesses your household may suffer from – such as cold sores or the common cold.
- Determine whether or not the animal can remain solitary. Most wild animals require companionship from their own species – and primates in particular have personality clashes with others, so pairing them up with a friend is not as easy as you may think!
Lastly, question whether or not it is kind to keep an exotic pet in your home or garden. Exotic usually equals “undomesticated” which means that the pet you may chose may not be suitable to life in captivity. Ask questions from other pet owners and your local vet to determine whether your exotic pet of choice will suit you; if you still want to proceed, make sure that you use proper channels when buying your new companion.