Sunday, 2 March 2014

Choosing an Exotic Pet

The term "exotic pet" covers a pretty broad sweep of animals. For most people it conjures up images of lions, pythons or walruses (well maybe not walruses). In practice it usually refers to creatures much more tame and adaptable as pets. Exotic pets provide diverse and exciting alternatives to your typical household animals. Golden Retrievers and Goldfish for instance. Just typing those words bored me to tears.

Owning an exotic pet isn't without its potential disadvantages. They often require more attention and specialized diets. They may need to be actively socialized or else risk returning to a more feral nature. This can include aggressiveness or self-harming behavior. This article talks about a few species that more and more people are keeping as domesticated pets.

Kinkajou - these lovable critters originate from the rainforest regions of Central and South America. They are closely related to raccoons and ringtails. Of all the species considered as "exotic", Kinkajous are among the best suited as household companions. They are quite sociable and unlike some of the other animals on the list, they are not prone to "wild" odors. Kinkajous are most active during the night so they are well suited for night owls (I mean people who stay up late - not an exotic pet reference). Be warned though - Kinkajous can occasionally display aggressive streaks and sometimes even emit a scream or yell when upset.

Monkey - so pretty much everyone knows what a monkey is. What is less commonly known is that there are several species that can actually make for a domesticated companion. Unless you are a zookeeper by day you should probably stick to the smaller varieties more suited to domestic life - namely spider monkeys and white capuchins. Nothing is cuter than an infant monkey but you must be willing to commit yourself to YEARS of hard work seeing to the rearing and upkeep of these animals. One of the more difficult aspects of looking after monkeys includes their specialized dietary needs which often require lots of preparation time. They also become very attached to particular humans and can react negatively to new people being introduced to the household.

Sugar Glider - nothing ranks higher for exotic cuteness than the tiny sugar glider. These small possums are natives of Tasmania and parts of Australia. These animals possess membranes attached to their toes that enable them to glide short distances through the air (hence the name). Like the Kinkajou, these marsupials are primarily nocturnal. They make great companions for folks who have a lot of time to spend with their pets in the evenings. One important point to mention regarding exotic pets is that many states have very strict laws governing the ownership of many exotic species. Sugar Gliders are among the most widely accepted "legal" species within the United States.

Please note that regardless of the type of pet you choose it is very important to take into account your own capabilities, level of commitment and local regulations regarding the ownership of animals. Choosing to own a pet is an important responsibility and shouldn't be entered into lightly.

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