Credit: JorgeSaenz/AP
Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
Hedgehog
Fennec Fox

Unique & Exotic Pets

Exotic Pets are a growing trend. From wild insects to rodents bigger than most dogs, people all over are diving into the world of caring for unique and exotic pets. We will discuss some of the most unique, but keep in mind we do not condone the keeping of wild animals and one should read, research and discuss with an exotic pet veterinarian before deciding to bring one home.

Most people are not pleased when bugs are in their homes. They spray, shoo and swat any that accidentally get into their living quarters. However, some people purposely bring bugs into their homes as companions. The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach and the Stick Insect are two popular exotic pet species. The Cockroach requires only a small living space with plenty of places to hide and sticks to climb. They eat fresh vegetables or vegetation as well as some type of protein rich pellet (ie dog food). Stick insects can also do well in a home environment. They require a tall enclosure that allows for hanging. They prefer moderate to humid climates with relatively damp conditions. Stick insects will thrive on a diet of fresh leaves.

If cute and cuddly is more your thing, then look no further than the… hedgehog? Sure they have spines, but did you know they only stiffen their spines when they are threatened? Many people have hedgehogs as pets. They require similar care as a more common pet rodent; cage, water, food (insects, snails, frogs, snakes, bird eggs, fruit), exercise wheel, etc. They are adorable, but can be relatively shy. Hedgehogs will require early and often socialization to bond with the pet owner. Don’t forget they are nocturnal, so are most active at night.

A fox? For a pet? Sure! Why not? Fennec Foxes are legal to own in most states and those that they are not, may just require a permit. Originating from Africa, these tiny foxes are energeic like a dog, but independent like a cat. Full grown, Fennec Foxes only weigh around 4lbs. They are curious exotic pets and are known for digging, so keeping them entertained and housed properly may present its challenges. They are omnivores so owners generally can keep them healthy on a diet of dog and/or cat food, along with fresh fruits and vegetables. 

And if you think bigger is better, how about a Capybara as your exotic pet? These social rodents are the largest in the world, weighing up to 140lbs! They are semi-aquatic so they definitely require some sort of water/swimming pool. They are social animals, so they adapt better to living in groups. The Capybara is not legal to own in many states, so check your local/state legislature before considering one as a pet.

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. Common pets, as well as exotic pets can be wonderful companions for us humans. It is so very important to consider the well being of any animal before you decide to keep it as a pet. Keeping pets healthy is more than just providing food and water. Its considering socialization, enrichment and environmental factors. Its ensuring veterinary care is available when needed. If all these needs can be met, your exotic pet will live a wonderful life and provide you with a unique companion.

[Golden Gate Veterinary Compounding Pharmacy compounds pet medication for ALL types of pets. If you have a unique or exotic pet that requires medication, give GGVCP a call to see how we can make medicating as easy as possible.]