- Avoid rushed decisions/ impulse buys- any new exotic pet is a long-term commitment.
- Don’t forget to include costs of housing, supplies, food, veterinary care etc.
- Try to obtain as much information as possible before buying your chosen pet.
Consider some of the following factors before making your choice:
- Longevity: Some species are very short lived (eg gerbils / mice ), some may outlive humans (eg parrots / some reptiles).
- Sociability/Activity Levels: Birds and small mammals tend to be more social, however this can be nocturnal. Reptiles and snakes have much lower activity levels.
- Adult Size: This will obviously affect housing considerations as the pet grows.
- Housing: Certain species especially reptiles can have very specific environmental requirements and will need specialised vivariums with light and heat sources to ensure correct temperature and humidity.
- Single vs. Multiple pets: Some species are sociable and should have company whereas others may be territorial and should be kept alone.
- Wild animals: Is it ethical to keep your chosen pet in the sort of captivity that you are going to provide?
- Prepare: Finally ensure you have all the necessary supplies and equipment ready before bringing a new pet home to ensure he/she settles in quickly.
Compatibility within the family
- Compatibility with children: Obviously some pets will not be suitable for small children. It’s also important to remember that even though a small pet may be purchased for a child, it should ultimately be cared for by a responsible adult.
- Compatibility with other pets: Consider how the new pet will interact with any current pets Predated species will be very stressed if housed near potential predators
- Destructive/Aggressive tendencies: Consider temperament and natural tendencies such as digging/chewing
- Human health concerns: Some exotic pets may harbour certain diseases that can be transmitted to humans
Where to buy & which to select
- Always opt for a good reputable pet shop/supplier especially if your pet needs to be ordered/ imported. This should ensure legality and health.
- When choosing from a group of animals, particularly small mammals, look for the following traits: active, alert, sociable, clear bright eyes, eating and moving normally.
- Avoid the following: Pets with discharge from eyes/ nose, wetness around face, diarrhoea / dirty bottom or any pet housed with other animals showing signs of illness.
- Once you’ve made the final decision ensure you register your pet with your Veterinary Practice and discuss any preventative treatments required.
- With all of this in mind you can look forward to a happy, healthy future with your new pet!