Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

October 22, 2012

Exotic pets: Before buying, understand the obligations

We all have that friend, the one that sees a picture or video of a cute exotic animal and instantly thinks that it would be a perfect companion for them. Although owning an exotic pet can be a rewarding experience, most people are not prepared for the responsibilities or expenses that are tied with these animals.

“Exotic pets typically need special caging, specialized diets, and forms of enrichment that can all become quite expensive especially in larger exotics pets,” said Sharman Hoppes, associate clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).

Despite these warnings, there are those that see videos like this hungry chinchilla or this playful wallaby and decide that their next pet should be an exotic one. If your heart is set on an animal like these, make sure to follow a few precautionary rules to ensure that you and your new pet stay healthy and happy.

Before purchasing or adopting an exotic pet, make sure to know everything you can about the certain pet you’re interested in. Never buy an exotic animal impulsively. Websites such as provide a great resource for finding special requirements for certain animals as well as proper feeding and handling techniques. Legal research is also extremely important to see if your state and local laws even allow the animal to be kept as a pet.

“Before buying an exotic pet, research everything about them,” Hoppes said. Questions such as “where they come from, their diet, if they climb, their social ability, how big will they get as adults, diseases they are susceptible to, and how long they live” are essential before purchasing an exotic pet.

“Find a veterinarian close by that is knowledgeable and that will see the pet for routine things and hopefully if there is an emergency,” Hoppes said.

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