Beyond Cats and Dogs: Exotic Pet Ownership

Exotic Pet Ownership

When someone tells you they own a pet, your mind likely goes to a cat or dog. These two furry companions are the most common household pets by a large margin.

They aren’t the only pets available, however. Exotic pet ownership has been increasing rapidly as more people discover the benefits of owning these less common animals. Keeping exotic animals as pets may seem like a strange concept, but there are actually some benefits to choosing a unique companion to join your family. There are also some downsides to owning an exotic pet, such as increased home insurance rates and potential legal trouble. Your preferences will help you determine whether these unconventional animals’ pros outweigh the cons.

What is an exotic pet?

Understanding what exactly qualifies as an exotic pet can help make the decision to get one easier. While your mind may instantly go to extremes, such as tigers or monkeys, you may be surprised to learn that reptiles are also classified as exotic pets.

Any animal outside the most common — dogs, cats, and farm animals — is commonly considered an exotic pet. This could include snakes, lizards, birds, hedgehogs, ferrets, insects, rodents, and many more.

There are more extreme examples, such as large cats, primates, alligators, and bears. These still fall into the category of exotic pets but require much more specialized care and plenty of space.

While not everyone may agree with classifying more common animals as exotic pets, they are still included due to their unique needs and less common ownership statistics.

The Pros of Choosing an Exotic Pet

It may seem overwhelming to imagine the thought of owning an exotic pet. However, there are some benefits to choosing a more obscure option over a common one. These benefits most commonly apply to smaller examples of exotic pets, such as reptiles, insects, and rodents.

These animals typically require less maintenance than cats or dogs, as they often remain in cages or enclosures. You won’t have to worry about keeping them entertained or taking them outside, as they are completely content in their own space.

Smaller exotic pets will also likely take up less space in your home while also making less mess. Since they spend most of their time in their enclosures, you won’t have to share your entire house or make any home modifications as they only require a tiny space. You can also expect less cleanup, as these animals commonly won’t shed.

Little to no hair makes these animals an excellent choice for anyone with allergies. No dander means no allergic reactions, allowing you to enjoy your time with your pet comfortably.

Exotic pet ownership

The Cons of Choosing an Exotic Pet

The benefits of choosing an exotic pet may be enough to win you over, but these critters aren’t without their cons. You must consider all aspects of an animal before deciding to bring it into your home.

Exotic pets will often require highly specialized care, such as enclosures set to a specific temperature and humidity and a unique diet to fit their nutritional needs. Because they are exotic, feeding them is not as easy as running to any store and picking up a bag of kibble.

Depending on your pet type, you may also see an increase in your home insurance. While some exotic animals have little to no effect on your premiums, certain pets can cause a high rise in cost or possibly cause you to be denied. In this instance, you may need to increase your home insurance liability coverage or even purchase a separate policy for your exotic pet. However, don’t expect to save money with these policies, as they can be pricey.

You may also find yourself in a legal battle depending on where you live and which type of pet you choose. Many states have bans on specific types of exotic pets, so it’s essential to do your research before selecting an animal to bring into your home.

Pros and Cons of Choosing an Exotic Pet

If you’ve been considering an exotic pet, these pros and cons can help you decide if these animals are the right fit for you. While you should be cautious before choosing any animal to welcome into your life, exotic animals should take a little extra consideration.

These pets have many pros, like lower maintenance, less cleanup, and minimal allergy triggers. However, they are not without their negative aspects. Specialized care, potential home insurance cost increases, and possible legal troubles are some of the difficulties with owning an exotic animal. Whether you choose a common or exotic pet, bringing an animal into your home is a long and serious commitment. Be sure to research and select a pet that fits your lifestyle and needs.

Alexandra Arcand

Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, She is an insurance expert and animal lover of all kinds, so she enjoys sharing her pet knowledge with others.