What is an exotic pet? They are obviously unique. These are the kinds of pets that people would not normally expect you to have within a domestic household. Yes, exotic pets are the rare snakes and birds that make many of us wonder how much farther can man push the boundaries of being an animal’s best pal. There are many exotic pets but it is not legal to have some of them. Ross’s Marcel ring a bell? Anyway, here is a list of the best exotic pets that you can legally own. Some of the animals on our list are very famous; they are almost celebrities.

1. Hyacinth Macaw

Before choosing to get one of these beautiful birds, you should know that these are listed under “Vulnerable species” and there is a proposition to list it under “Endangered Species”. So it may not be easy to get your hands on one now. But if you get one, go nuts on the nuts! They love nuts from native palms such as acuri and bocaiuva palms. Their beaks are extremely strong and can crack coconuts, the large Brazil nut pods and macademia nuts. They also eat fruits and other vegetable matter. They have a bone inside their smooth tongue, which helps them tap into fruits. They also have nectar and various kinds of seeds. This bird is native to central and eastern South America. It is also the longest species of parrot there is measuring up to 100cm from the top of its head to the tip of its long pointed tail. It is also the largest macaw and largest flying parrot species.

2. Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

As the name suggests, they are from Madagascar and are the largest species of cockroaches. They grow up to 2 to 3 inches when they reach maturity. And you would be surprised to know that, unlike other cockroaches, these are wingless. But they are excellent climbers and can scale smooth glass. Which is probably why they are also known as Hisser. They require a small space to live in with a place to hide because they are not fans of the light. But keep in mind that they are very good climbers and so it is better to apply petroleum jelly on the few inches of the perimeter so that they don’t get out. You can feed them dry dog food or fresh vegetables or any kind of pellets. This has starred in movies such as Bug, Damnation Alley and Men In Black and also in one episode of the famous television series Criminal Minds.

3. Pygmy Goat

This is a breed of miniature domestic goats. One major advantage of owning one of these is that they can adapt to any climate. They primarily survive on greens and grains. Oh and they drink only fresh water. You could say that they are fussy about that. They love jumping around and like having something to jump over. Make sure you keep them in a shed and they have access to open spaces at all times. Remember that they are prey animals and so keep them in a protected predator-free enclosure especially at night. These goats can also be trained but it’s not very easy. And even though they can adapt to any climate, you should keep them warm and comfortable in winter.

4. Tarantula

Tarantulas make for noiseless creatures and require very less space and they just need insects to survive, crickets being the most common. And remember that tarantulas are cannibalistic. So don’t keep to together. And they are excellent escape artists. So keep them securely enclosed. FYI no species of Tarantula is fatally dangerous to humans. But only some species of tarantulas are in the exotic pet trade. Some of these are:

  • Chilean Rose (Grammostola rosea)
  • Costa Rican Zebra (Aphonoplema seemani)
  • Mexican Redknee (Brachypelma smithi)
  • Mexican Redleg (Brachypelma emilia)
  • Desert/Mexican Blonde (Aphonopelma chalcodes)
  • Curly Hair Tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum)

5. Bengal Cat

These look like miniature leopards. You should know that these cats are a result of Asian Leopard Cats and domestic cats being cross-bred. So they have a wild side. They are incredibly intelligent and absolutely love water. You will find that some of these cats have a peculiar quality of dipping their paws into water and licking it off instead of drinking directly from the bowl. They feed on regular commercial cat food and raw meat.

6. Hedgehog

Though you may think that hedgehogs look really cute, you should know that the skin is covered with sharp pines. They are noiseless and very easy to maintain. Most hedgehogs require their cages to be cleaned only once a week, well if you are lucky. They feed on dead animals like lizards, snakes and other small animals. You get commercial hedgehog food as well. But if it’s not available, you can give them commercial cat food.

7. Kinkajou

Kinkajous got famous when Paris Hilton got one. They are native to              Central and South America and are also called Honey Bears because they love to eat honey. They eat a variety of fruits like mangoes, guavas and bananas. They also eat plants, flowers and insects. Keep in mind that they are wild animals and should be hand-raised and hand-fed as babies. And you should also know that they can chirp, yelp, shriek and whistle. And since they are nocturnal, they can be particularly loud at night. Trying to change their nocturnal behavior may cause other unwanted behavior. And also remember that they are wild and they may bite and scratch when upset.

8. Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons are medium sized desert lizards and can grow up to 24 inches long. Their set up in your home should give them a source of warmth. Bearded Dragons are typically advised to be raised in glass chambers with 2-3 inches of calcium sand. Try and replicate a desert scene as much as you can. They are solitary creatures and don’t like to be disturbed. They will feed on insects, fruits and vegetables.

9. Chimpanzee

This little fellow here made headlines when Michael Jackson bought his pet chimp ‘Bubbles’. Before getting one, you should know that when chimps grow and become mature, they become very strong and develop intelligent minds of their own. And this intelligent mind of theirs will enable you to train them to do a lot of stuff that you can expect a 5-year-old kid to do. They are omnivores and eat everything that you would eat.

10. Silver Fox

The tame Siberian fox, also known as the Silver fox, or the Russian red fox, is a color mutation of the red fox (although some are still red) and is, therefore, a large fox. They can grow up to 22 inches high and weigh around 20 lbs. They jump over 6 feet in the air and can dig and swim. So make sure the fences of their enclosure are buried at least 5-6 feet underground and are more than 6 feet tall. As domestic pets, they can be fed dog food mixed with fruits and vegetables.

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