Exotic Pets Reptiles Small Pets

What Is an Exotic Pet?

what is an exotic pet
Written by Arlene S. Lane

What are exotic pets is something that every pet lover looks for online. This is because exotic pets are something that falls into the category of edgy and uniquely beautiful pets categories after all. We all know about cats, dogs, and birds as pets. We mostly think about them when it comes to pets. However, some people go one step further and tend and will go for some of the most unique animals as pets that we normally don’t see and think about. While exotic pet is a term that doesn’t have any good definition, in a general sense we can call animals that aren’t dogs, cats, and farm animals pets.

There can be wild animals kept in captivity and these can be the best answer when you ask what are exotic pets. Some states have special laws regarding exotic animals as pets and they do require special permission before adopting them. Also, some type of exotic animals is so rare that keeping them is illegal all around the globe. 

Why There Is No Exotic Animal Definition?

You may wonder what are exotic pets but couldn’t find any good definition. The problem with the definition of exotic animals is that for many people the term “exotic” refers to any animal that is wild and non-domestic. However, these definitions will not fit after some time when an animal or bird has been in captivity, bred, and once wild became “domestic” which is why there is no concrete answer to “what are exotic pets”  There are the wild animals that have been in captivity, bred and now they have started to look way different than their wild counterparts. This also means that the “exotic animals” meaning will be changed because they are tamer than ever. Some may consider them “wild” and “Rare” as well but still they cannot be called concrete exotic animal’s definition. This is why there isn’t any exotic animal definition available.

Types of Exotic Pets

There are different types of exotic pets or animals that fit under the exotic animals definition, If you just search for what are exotic pets you will surely get the following recommendations.


These are the animals that can live both in water and on land. So you will need a tank designed in a way that can make them feel fulfilled. They can become great pets and they do not require hard maintenance. However, the owner of the pet should handle them with some thick gloves because their skin can be very thick and sometimes poisonous as well. You should wash your hands after touching them. To feed them in the right manner, you can give them pre-killed insects that would be great and close to their natural wild diet.

Some Exotic Amphibians Breeds are:

  • Northern leopard frogs
  • African clawed frogs
  • Dwarf clawed frogs
  • Fire-bellied toads

Insects And Arachnids

They fit under the exotic animals definition because of their looks and nature. The major problem with insects or arachnids is as pets are they being venomous. While not every insect and arachnid is venomous but they do have some natural ways to secure them from their hunters that can be poisonous or cause allergies to humans so you should search for them first before keeping them as pets. They fulfill the exotic animals’ definition in a way that they are rare pets and wild by nature and hard to tame so they somewhat fulfill the “requirements” of exotic animals’ meaning. They are also very low-maintenance pets that require little care. Some arachnids like tarantulas can live up to 10 years so you will need to make sure that you can commit to taking care of them. The most commonly adopted breeds as exotic pets include:

Some Exotic Insects And Arachnids

  • Praying mantises
  • Tarantulas
  • Madagascar hissing cockroaches
  • Scorpions


The regular exotic animal definition that includes “wild”  can be challenged with the birds as exotic pets. Even as the rarest pets, they are one of the most low-maintenance pets. However, the major problem is attention that they thrive because they live in flocks and they will want to socialize most of their life. The diet consists of leafy greens, many other vegetables, some fruit, grains, nuts, pellets, and seeds which is usually low cost.

Though birds normally can live in small spaces in the case of exotic birds, they will require adequate cages that should have enough space. To keep their health good you will need to bring them out of their cage as well. Just make sure the windows and doors are closed. They can fly away if you didn’t care. Several household items can be toxic for them. Because they have been living in captivity for quite some time and domesticated, once again the exotic animal’s definition will not consider them exotic even though they will be because them being rare. . There are birds, like finches and cockatiels, that are considered domesticated.

Some Exotic Birds Include:-

  • Toucans
  • African grey parrots
  • Cockatoos
  • Lories (lorikeets)
  • Canary-winged parakeets (bee bees)


A number of avid pet lovers and owners, looking for some good recommendations for unique and exotic pets wonder “are snakes exotic pets” and the simple answer could be yes. The world of reptilia is filled with exotic animals such as snakes, lizards, turtles, and tortoises. Some pet owners choose the reptilia route because they think it is cool to have such unique pets. However, another reason is that they don’t require much care every day. But their requirements are much different than the cats and dogs. They cannot be cuddled like cats and dogs because of their skin which can be harmful and they may carry some sort of diseases that can be dangerous to humans. So if you wonder if are snakes exotic pets then yes, they are and can be greater than they seem.

If you have ever wondered what are exotic pets then reptiles can be one of the easiest answers.  They fit under the exotic animals definition. Because of their wild nature, they should be kept in cages all the time. Some reptiles can grow quite large so you will need to put them in an adequate cage or tank from the start. Furthermore, reptiles are cold-blooded creatures so getting them UV light is crucial. Though snake is an exception to this rule but not all of them. They require such sources to regulate their body temperature.

Their nutrition requirements are also different. Some of them are carnivores such as snakes. You will need to feed them with pre-killed rodents. On the other hand, lizards have more versatile needs to be fed. Some of them are carnivores and require only insects. Some breeds are herbivores and some are both. You will need to feed them accordingly. The third type of lizard will require a broader range of diet than snakes.

Turtles and tortoises will require a wider range of vegetables and fruits. Giving them one type of veggie may feel like a good idea but it will fulfill its nutritional requirements. You should search for exotic pet guides to learn about their diets and behavior before getting one.

Some of The Best Exotic Reptiles are:-

  • Ornate box turtles
  • Bearded dragons
  • Anoles
  • Burmese pythons
  • Chinese water dragons

Rodents and weasels

If you wonder about the exotic animal meaning and if they are cute then rodents and weasels can be the best answer. These fluffy fellas tend to sleep during the day and are active at night so one should have them in mind before adopting them. Some of these exotic pets, like ferrets, are carnivores. You will need to look for specific kibble and another nutrition-filled diet for them so they will stay healthy.

Some may consider rodents domestic animals but they are still exotic such as:

  • Rats
  • Mice
  • Gerbils
  • Chinchillas
  • Prairie dogs
  • Ferrets

Other exotic pets include:

  • Kinkajous
  • Coati
  • Primates
  • Skunks
  • Wallaroos
  • Genets
  • Hedgehogs
  • Sugar gliders
  • Short-tailed opossums
  • Giant African land snails

How To Select The Exotic Pet For You?

If you understand exotic animals meaning then you will want to adopt one for yourself. This can be a daunting task because you will need to think about some major considerations such as

Housing Space

exotic animal means something extra ordinary that we don’t see every day or know normally. will require a place that will look like its natural habitat. This is crucial aś this is what an exotic pet is known for. After all the actual exotic animals meaning (somewhat) defines the same. This is the major distinction between regular pets. Some exotic pet types like ferrets can roam around the house without causing any problems but not all of them. Consider searching online about their living environments, their required spacing, and how large they can grow. Some exotic pets such as snakes can grow significantly which is why you will need to consider getting a tank in advance for their growth adjustments.

Dietary Status

Exotic pets though sometimes can live on food that is suited for dogs and cats but not all the time. Lizards, frogs, snakes, and arachnids require natural food such as insects and pre-killed rodents.  You should check their dietary habits first before adopting them. This can be a daunting task for a new exotic pet owner.

Vet Consultation

Visit your local vet and discuss the pet you are going to adapt to. Ask them if they have any experience in taking care of exotic pets and if they can guide you about taking care of the pet. You can discuss the overall cost of vet visits, recommendations of good breeders, and laws regarding exotic pet owners. 


Just because you understand the exotic animal’s definition or have information about them, you cannot get them. Exotic animals are nigger responsible and their requirements are much different than the cats and dogs. Make sure you understand them and then you should adopt them. For more exotic pets guide and information, keep browsing our blog.

About the author

Arlene S. Lane

Arlene S. Lane is a veterinary technician and hospital manager with over 12 years of experience. Arlene has been contributed expert content to The Pet's Rise for over 10 years.
Arlene has worked in veterinary medicine since 2017. Arlene's veterinary experience ranges from routine wellness care and preventive medicine to emergency and specialty care, where she has performed duties ranging from specialized nursing to clinical administration.

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