|Photo via stanhua|
Because a lot of these animals aren't as popular as dogs or cats, I don't write about them as much. You'll probably be subjected to a few more than usual small and exotic pets posts this month for Small Pets Month. To start things off, let's have some fun! Here's a list of 8 small exotic pets you may have never heard of before.
African Pygmy Hedgehog
African Pygmy Hedgehogs are very popular pets. Yes, they do have quills but with a little practice they are easy to handle and hold. They are mostly nocturnal animals, which means they'll be most active during the night. As cute as they are, they are still illegal in a few states. You'll want to check your state's laws before considering keeping one as a pet.
Sugar Gliders are very small marsupials that can easily fit in the palm of your hand. They are kind of like a miniature flying squirrel. Sort of. Popular because of their extra cute looks and how easily they bond with their owners. Sugar Gliders are also nocturnal animals, spending most of their time awake at night.
|Photo via Alex Archambault|
Be committed because these guys have a lifespan of 12-15 years. I personally knew a 12 year old Sugar Glider named Taz. As cute as they may be, I will admit that I'm scared to death of them. They weren't too happy when getting their nails trimmed at the vet's office and they have some pretty intimidating teeth! Their long sharp teeth are used to chew through tough bark in order to reach sap to eat in the wild.
Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in Chile. I recently published an article about how they take baths in dust. Known for their super soft fur makes them an unfortunate victim of the fur coat industry. Chinchillas are rodents who eat a diet of mostly hay and some pellets. They are very fast critters and great jumpers. Again, be committed because a Chinchilla can live to be up to 20 years old!
|Photo via Daniel|
These lizards get their name for their beautiful spots all over their scaly bodies. One of the easiest and most popular lizards that are kept as pets, they are also relatively low maintenance as far as reptiles are concerned. They are native to Asia and live in the deserts there. Their diet consists of bugs like crickets and mealworms. Yum!
|Photo via Jessi Swick|
These animals resemble cats but are not. The Spotted Genet is a carnivorous animal that comes out at night. They have very long tails and a beautiful spotted coat. They are native to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
|Photo via ebolaoutkast|
Genets are an animal I would actually discourage from keeping as a pet. I have met one before that a client purchased from a pet store. The Genet had an injured tail and needed to be anesthetized for several procedures. Let me just say that this was definitely a wild animal that I could never imagine being kept as a pet. But to each their own. Maybe there is someone out there with more experience keeping them.
OK, so I'm sure you've all heard of Prairie Dogs before but did you know they are now fairly popular pets? I didn't know until a few years ago when Prairie Dogs were making their way to the vet clinic I worked at on a regular basis. These guys eat a diet of mostly hay and are very curious creatures.
Again, I have to admit that they are a little scary to me. Most were not friendly at the vet's office, although their owners claimed they were so sweet at home. My brother actually had a Prairie Dog for a short period of time, but had to return it due to allergies. His Prairie Dog did seem pretty nice judging from the time I spent with it.
While I have never personally met a Degu before, I would really like to. They kind of resemble a rat and a Chinchilla mixed together. These cute little rodents come from Chile and are related to guinea pigs and Chinchillas.
|Photo via stanhua|
The Uromastyx is a lizard that comes from North Africa and the Middle East. They are mostly herbivores, meaning they eat plants, but will sometimes make a snack out of a bug or two. They enjoy basking in the warmth of the sun as many lizards and reptiles do.
|Photo via Squamata55|
The cool thing I like about these lizards is how much they resemble a little dinosaur. I don't know what it is, but it's what I think of every time I see one. It must be their tail, which is spiky.
What unusual small exotic pets would you have added to the list? Were there any here that you've never heard of before? Let us know in the comments!