Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Pet Talk

October 22, 2012

Exotic pets: Before buying, understand the obligations

(Continued)

Another important step before purchasing your exotic pet is to estimate the total cost of the animal. While the pet itself may be inexpensive, the cost of things such as housing, food, supplies, and veterinary care can quickly add up. This research is crucial beforehand to ensure that you can provide everything your pet will need to keep it healthy.

“Costs are dependent on species,” Hoppes said. “A rabbit cage, enrichment, and diet are not that much more or less than a dog, but a large parrot will need a large cage which can be $500-$1,000. Veterinary care for exotic pets is also high, a healthy bird exam can be several hundred dollars, and a sick bird exam can be a $1,000. Most exotic pets have to be sedated or anesthetized for any handling, so even a physical exam with anesthesia and monitoring can be expensive.”

Making sure you prepare your home for exotic animal life is also a significant step before bringing home your new pet. Setting up the animals housing beforehand and making sure that their habitat’s temperature is right is essential to ensure that your pet is immediately placed into an appropriate environment upon arrival.

“Preparing your home means an appropriate cage, with bar strength and bar spacing appropriate for the animal,” Hoppes said. “Make sure that the cage is large enough, escape-proof, and that the animal has protection from cold, heat, and rain if housed outdoors. If the animal will be indoors, and out of the cage, animal proofing a room can be similar to making a room safe for a child, such as covering electrical cords and outlets, etc. When buying a cage, you must prepare for the adult size of the animal. A baby iguana is only 6 inches long, but an adult can be 6 feet long!”

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