Updated: Sep 16, 2022
For anyone considering adding a pet to their family but looking for something less traditional than a dog or a cat, there are many low-maintenance, family-friendly exotic pets available that can bring you and your family great joy for many years to come.
While there are many types of legal exotic pets on the market, this article will focus on the five best exotic pets, in no particular order, to add to your family based on ease of care and the pet’s reputation for being the friendliest toward humans.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of the five best exotic pets to add to your family:
In addition to being super soft and cuddly, rabbits are pretty darn awesome and incredibly people-friendly. They are known to bond closely and often love to interact with their humans, especially children, and even other family pets such as cats and dogs. Of course, any interactions with other family pets should be under the strict supervision of the pet parents or some other responsible adult.
Introducing a pet rabbit into your family can be a truly fulfilling experience for everyone. Many first-time rabbit parents are surprised to find that rabbits have very distinct personalities. Some are shy and reserved, while others are known to be quite mischievous and outgoing. Just remember that, like cats and dogs, rabbits also require regular vaccinations.
Other great reasons to add a pet rabbit to your family include:
· Longevity: A rabbit can live well into its teens as long as it is cared for properly.
· Companionship: Rabbits make awesome companions and are known to bond closely with their caregivers.
· Cleanliness: Just like cats, a rabbit can be easily litter trained.
What’s great about guinea pigs is that they are the perfect first-time pets for younger children. These hardy little rodents are easy to care for and perfect for teaching school-aged children the important responsibilities that go along with being a pet parent.
Guinea pigs are generally quite mild-mannered and sweet-tempered, particularly with their humans. They are often very vocal, known for making adorable noises, like “wheeking” and purring. They also get along quite well with fellow guinea pigs as long as they were raised together. However, be careful to avoid housing females and males together, or you might wind up with more guinea pigs than you bargained for.
Best of all, guinea pigs are just bursting with personality. They have no problem letting their caregivers know about what they like or dislike through the use of different behaviors and sounds. With all of these great traits, it is no wonder that guinea pigs are one of the most popular exotic pets for families.
There are many misconceptions about rats, which often causes many people to shy away from these fun-loving rodents. However, that is unfortunate because rats make for one of the perfect exotic family pets.
One of the most common misconceptions about rats is the negative commutation that they are somehow dirty. The truth is, rats are known to be fastidiously clean and incredibly neat. They are considered the smartest of all rodents and typically enjoy the challenge of a maze or a food puzzle. Rats have been known to enjoy chilling out and snuggling with their owners. Rats come in different colors and with various hair lengths, with endless possibilities for ultimate cuteness.
If you decide that a rat would be a good exotic pet to add to your family, remember that male rats are exceptionally more friendly and calmer than female rats.
Cockatiels are popular exotic family pets because they are just so darn cool! Cockatiels love to learn, and they can learn to use words, sing songs, respond to music, and dance. Hand taming a Cockatiel is relatively easy, and they also make a great first pet for young children.
Cockatiels have an average lifespan of more than 20 years. They are incredibly social pets who often make strong lifelong bonds with members of their human families. They are also social eaters, which means that they love eating at the same time as their humans!
Bearded dragons are sometimes called the “kings of chill” because they are one of the most gentle, easy-to-handle reptiles. They are the perfect exotic pet to add to your family, especially if someone in your household is allergic to feathered or furry pets.
Bearded dragons definitely have personalities and can respond to and recognize their humans. They communicate with fellow bearded dragons using head bobbing and hand waving. Since they don’t generally grow to more than two feet in length, they are a considerably manageable first reptile pet. Don’t be surprised if your bearded dragon wants to cuddle with you once it reaches adulthood because, you guessed it, bearded dragons love cuddling.
Why Adding an Exotic Pet to Your Family is a Great Idea
Far too often, families worry that exotic pets will be more labor-intensive and challenging to care for than more traditional pets like cats and dogs. However, that notion couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are plenty of fun, gentle, good-natured exotic pets, like the five outlined in this list, that are relatively easy to care for.
Whether you choose from this list or choose another exotic pet, there are so many to choose from that making the right decision can be somewhat overwhelming. Each species has its own merits and fits certain family lifestyles better than others.
The best thing for you and your family to do before bringing a new pet into the home is to educate yourself and establish relationships with individuals who are knowledgeable about the exotic pet you are considering as an addition to your family. That includes veterinarians, groomers, and exotic pet sitters who can advise you on proper care and routines.