Adopting An Exotic Animal As A Pet

21 May 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Although all animal species do best in their own natural habitats, exotic animals (particularly those born in captivity) that could do harm or be harmed if released into the wild sometimes need homes where they will receive the attention and care they need.

While each state has its own laws regarding whether you can keep an exotic animal as a pet, many states that allow exotic pets have restrictions on what kind of animals you can keep. Some also require permits to keep wild or exotic animals. Local governments often have laws regarding exotic pets too.

Even if it's legal where you live to buy or adopt a particular kind of exotic pet, there still are a number of factors to take consider:

  1. Many exotic species do not thrive well in a captive environment.

  2. Animals from the wild can be dangerous to people and domesticated pets.

  3. Exotic animals (large or small) need special care you may not be able to provide relating to their diet, confinement, and environmental lifestyle. The care of some exotic pets requires a significant amount of time. Many are social animals and don't like being alone.

  4. Some exotic animals can pass infections, including salmonella and herpes B-virus, to humans.

  5. Certain species of wild animals grow to be quite large.

  6. The cost to care for an exotic pet can be expensive.

If you choose to own an exotic pet and can do it responsibly by ensuring the animal's health and well-being, as well as understanding its behaviors and needs, there is a lot you can learn by caring for these animals. However, if you rent rather than own your home, make certain your landlord is aware that you want an exotic animal as a pet and will allow it.

When adopting an exotic pet, the application generally asks:

  • Who in the household will be primarily responsible for the pet's care

  • Whether you currently have any other exotic pets in your household

  • If you have the required permits to possess the animal (if yes, provide the permit type, number, and expiration date)

  • If you've ever been convicted of an animal cruelty offense (in many states animal cruelty is a felony offense)

  • If you've ever been convicted of violating state or federal wildlife laws

If you already own other exotic pets, the application may ask you to list the following information for each of the pets:

  • Species

  • Animal's age

  • How long you've owned the animal

  • Whether you purchased the animal from a pet store, breeder, classified ad online, or exotic pet rescue group

Exotic pet adoption applications also often ask for information regarding your knowledge of a particular exotic species of animal. You may be asked to indicate:

  • Whether you have previous experience caring for this particular species of animal

  • Where you learned about taking care of this type of pet

  • If you know what the animal eats

  • If you know how big the animal grows

  • If you know for how many years the animal generally lives

The application may request the name and contact information of a veterinarian who is willing (and able) to treat the exotic animal species you want to adopt as a pet.

For more information, contact Pilot Knob Animal Hospital or a similar location.