The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : If You Could Own Any Exotic Animal - Which One Would It Be and Why? The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : If You Could Own Any Exotic Animal - Which One Would It Be and Why?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

If You Could Own Any Exotic Animal - Which One Would It Be and Why?

I have always been fascinated by exotic animals, but never had the desire to have one as a pet. An exotic pet is a rare or unusual animal pet, or an animal kept as a pet which is not commonly thought of as a pet.

The reasons for owning exotic pets are as varied as the species of the pets themselves. One may buy a pet for the aesthetic qualities of its coat, the impression that owning such a rare or expensive animal makes on others, or even for the unique offspring that may result from its union with another rare breed.

If I could own an exotic animal, my choice would be the Hyacinth Macaw…if I could afford one! I love this bird because of its beautiful majestic look, its easy going demeanor and that it can be taught to talk!


Bearded Dragons

The two most common pet bearded dragons are Pogona Vitticeps and Pogona Barbata. They are found in the rocky, semi-desert areas of Australia and Tasmania.  Bearded dragons are ground dwellers, but will climb rocks and low branches.

The name Bearded Dragon comes from the beard of adult males
  • Adults will reach a total length of 15-20 inches.
  • Always provide a water pan that is large enough for the whole dragon to soak its body.  Lizards often defecate in their water, so it must be replaced daily and the pan disinfected at least once a week.
  • Bearded dragons make excellent reptile pets.
  • They have the best temperaments of all lizards.
  • They are generally docile
  • Adults typically are 19-23 inches and weight at least 3/4 of a pound
  • They are active during daylight hours
  • Their color ranges from the sandy, tan, beige, red, orange, and gold.
  • They are omnivores, they need a balanced diet of meat and vegetables.
  • Some foods that you may feed your bearded dragons -crickets; pinhead crickets, mealworms, wax worms – (high in fat, so feed sparingly), king worms, earthworms and cockroaches.



For those of you who are not familiar with chinchillas, they are members of the rodent family, and originate from the rocky mountain range of the Andes in South America. They were discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500's, they were named after the Chincha Indians

They are a type of rodent, but some find them to be much cuter than mice, rats or hamsters.  They are around 12 inches long and usually weigh between 18 and 20 ounces.

  • Most are shy
  • They are agile jumpers and can jump up to five feet above their head.
  • They must regularly bathe in dust or volcanic ash to remove oil and moisture that gathers in their thick fur.
  • They  have very sensitive digestive systems, and feeding a good quality diet appropriate for chinchillas is essential to their health.
  • There are three basic things that they need in their diet, pellets, hay and treats.  Pellets and hay do make up most of the diet, but treats are still important.
  • They like to chew on things to keep their teeth sharp.
  • Today, hunting the wild chinchilla is banned and they are protected by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Animals.



Chimpanzees are great apes that are closely related to humans. Male chimpanzees are larger than the females. They have very long arms, and a short body. Much of their body is covered with long black hair, but the face, ears, fingers and toes are bare.

They are mainly found in rain forests and wet savannas, and they spend equal time on land and in trees.

  • They live to be 50 years old and grow almost as big as a human male
  •  Live in groups called troops, of some 30 to 80 individuals.
  • They are among the noisiest of all wild animals, and use a complicated system of sounds to communicate with each other.
  • They hold hands and groom each other
  • They are difficult pets
  • A full-grown chimp will climb your curtains, overturn your furniture
  • Veterinarians who can treat primates are both uncommon and costly
  • If you get one as a pet expect it to have a strong, sharp smell. It's a smell that would be hard to get rid of because chimps are afraid of water
  • Most will defecate whenever, and wherever they want once they learn to remove their diapers.
  • A cage that can hold a chimp is costly.
  • They look for food in the forests during the day, eating leaves, fruit, seeds, tree bark, plant bulbs, tender plant shoots, and flowers. They also eat termites, ants, and small animals.


Bengal Cat

The Bengal is a large, sleek and very muscular cat with its hind-quarters slightly higher than its shoulders with a thick tail that is carried low. Its wild appearance is enhanced by it’s distinctive spotted or marbled coat. The different coat patterns are either leopard spotted or marbled, on a background color of brown, or sometimes white.

They prefer the company of other cats, however, they demand a good deal of attention and affection,and enjoys being an integral part of the family.

  • They are very demanding.
  • Bengals use their paws like hands and will cradle their toys, on their chests and hide them from other pets.
  • Very energetic
  • Bengals like water
  • Bengals should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors as they can be stolen, and later sold.
  • They should not be fed commercial cat food.
  • Their diet should be very high in protein.
  • They tend to climb inside the food bag before you can pour it out, and treats such as chicken pieces are carried off and guarded proudly.
  • Some bengals can suffer from lifelong Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • If you live in a large city try and find a specialty pet store that carries products to help minimize bowel distress.
  • Please consider speaking with Bengal breeders before purchasing one.


Sugar glider

Sugar Gliders are marsupials, the same family as kangaroos and koala bears.They make wonderful pets. They are very social, should have a good deal of social interaction with their owners.
  • They can live to be 12-14 years in captivity.
  • Female sugar gliders have a pouch on their belly where they raise their babies for two and a half months after they are born.
  • They  are not great housetraining candidates.
  • Their nails are sharp and will scratch if they need to dig in while climbing or landing on you.
  • They also have sharp teeth, and will bite if they feel threatened or frightened.
  • It’s always best if you have more than one Glider.
  • Spend as much time with it as possible, playing and enjoying its naturally friendly nature
  • Male sugar gliders go bald. They have one bald spot on their head, which is really a scent gland.
  • Their diet consist of  fresh fruits and vegetables, veterinarian-approved protein-based pellet food and a veterinarian-approved multivitamin.



The Kinkajou, also known as the honey bear is a rainforest mammal.
Related to the olingos, coatis, raccoons, and the ringtail and cacomistle. Kinkajous may be mistaken for ferrets or monkeys, but are not closely related. A native to Central and South America, closely related to the raccoon and coati.

  • They will throw food
  • They are a common pet in El Salvador, and often called micoleon, which translates to “lion monkey”
  • They are nocturnal and that has become the most common complaint from kinkajou owners.
  • Most active in between the hours of 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.
  • They do not like being awake during the day.
  • They can be become stressed and possibly aggressive if their sleep is disrupted.
  • They need to sleep somewhere quite, away from everyone else.
  • This pet does not have a noticeable odor but can be messy.
  • They will eliminate when and where they see fit.


Squirrel Monkey

You should never purchase a pet monkey on a whim. They require caretakers who are knowledgeable in their husbandry. Most primate species will live 25 years in captivity, with Capuchins  living up to 50 years in captive settings. Most people think they want a monkey until they see what is really involved in caring for one.

Squirrel Monkeys are commonly seen in the Central American rainfores. even though. They average about 1 foot in length, with the their tails adding on another full foot. Squirrel monkeys weigh 1.5-2.5 lbs.
  • They are very shy and skiddish
  • Are active during the day and rest at night.
  • Their tails help them balance over trees and is not used for climbing.
  • The female monkey has a pseudo penis to show dominance over smaller monkeys.
  • They are free spirited animals meant for the wild, so keeping squirrel monkeys as pets is a big challenge.
  • They should be fed twice a day.
  • Vet care is expensive, about 3-5 times more than dog vet care because an exotic animal vet is required.
  • Make sure that fresh water is available at all times.
  • Make sure that your fresh vegetables and fresh fruits are washed before feeding.
  • A varied diet is very important to avoid boredom and loss of appetite.
  • Commercial primate diet should be included in their meal because it is very balanced and therefore healthy food for your monkey.
  • Depending on the size of your monkey you may have to the food in bigger or smaller pieces.
  • Their diet consists of fresh fruit like mango, apple, papaya, grapes, banana, fresh vegetables like carrots, cucumber, fennel, onions, cauliflower and tomatoes.
  • They like cooked vegetables like peas, cauliflower, green beans, baby cereal, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cooked meats like chicken and turkey, cooked fish, rice, seeds, grains, nuts, insects like mealworms and grasshoppers


Reticulated Python

Snakes are fascinating, and with regular handling can be quite tame. However, snakes are not the right pets for everyone. Often regarded as a more challenging snake to maintain, the reticulated python can be a rewarding animal to keep as long as you understand their needs.

A native of  tropical Southeast Asia, the Reticulated Python is full grown at approximately 14 to 18 feet in length
  • Requires a very secure enclosure
  • Always keep its head pointed away from you and others at all times, especially with easily spooked animals
  •  Needs  two people be present to handle it.
  • It has an extremely low metabolic rate, and can go without food for long periods of time.
  • They extremely food oriented animals, and they love to eat
  • Their natural diet includes warm-blooded prey; mostly mammals and occasionally birds. Small pythons (up to 10-12 feet long) eat mainly small rodents like rats. Larger pythons eat prey such as other primates and pigs
  • Grow very large and have a reputation for nasty temperaments
  • There have been a number of cases where large pythons have caused serious injury and even death to humans


Ball Python

Ball pythons are so named because when threatened they roll themselves into a tight ball, tucking their head inside their coils. Young ball pythons grow about a foot a year for three years. Adults generally do not grow to more than 90–120 cm (35.4–47.2 ) in length, although some specimens have reached 152 cm and even 182 cm (5–6 feet), but this is very rare.

The natural range of the Ball Python is western Africa to central Africa. They can be found in open forests, as well as drier Savannahs. They can live for a long time with proper care - up to about 50 years, although 20-30 appears to be more typical.

  • The Ball Python is generally well-mannered, and will seldom bite
  • .They prefer dark places for sleeping and, as they are nocturnal, they like the dark place during our daylight hours; they also like to sleep in something that is close around them.
  • Routine veterinary care for newly acquired snakes is essential.
  • Many of the parasites infesting ball pythons and other reptiles can be transmitted to humans and other reptiles.
  • Females tend to be slightly bigger than males maturing at an average of 4-4.5 feet. Males usually average around 3-3.5 feet.
  • In the wild, the diet consists mostly of small mammals, such as African soft-furred rats, shrews and striped mice.


Hyacinth Macaw

The Hyacinth Macaw is found primarily in riverside topical rain forest and palm swamps. It is the most majestic of all parrots. The price of a weaned, domestically bred hyacinth macaw, 8 months to 2 years of age, is approximately $8,500.00 U.S. dollars.

  • The most easy going of all macaws.
  • If you plan to get one as a pet, get a young one after weaning or one that has been socialized.
  • Very affectionate
  • They need attention and love.
  • The largest flying parrot species in the world
  • They have a very strong beak for eating their natural foods, which include the kernel of hard nuts and seeds.
  • They should have veterinary checkups annually or every 18 months
  • They are mature and begin breeding at seven years of age.
  • The Hyacinth Macaw is an endangered species due to over collection for the cage bird trade and habitat loss.
  • Hyacinths eat mainly raw nuts in shell such as macadamias, Brazil nuts, walnuts, filberts, almonds, and hazel nuts and fresh coconut.
  • Hand rearing of this species can be difficult and, tragically, many chicks die each year at the hands of inexperienced hand-feeders.


Mona Monkey

The Mona Monkey has brown agouti fur with a white rump. Its tail and legs are black and the face is blue-grey with a dark stripe across the face. The mona monkey carries food in cheek pouches.

There is an introduced population of mona monkeys on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. They can be found primarily in rain forests, toward the middle and top of the trees.

  • They are diurnal and active mostly during the early morning or late afternoon.
  • They are loud and noisy
  • Height is 13 to 21 inches. Males weigh about 10 pounds; females, about 6 pounds.
  • They live for up to 30 years
  • Mona monkeys respond to danger by freezing in place.
  • Mona monkeys live in groups of 8-35 (average 12), typically consisting of one male and numerous females. They are diurnal and arboreal, and move quadrupedally through the forest.
  • Their diets consist of fruits, small leaves and even insects


White Lion

The White Lion is the most expensive pet in the world, however, it is a cat. It’s no house cat, though. The white lion cub can cost as much as $138,000 and hails from South Africa, where it was seen as a divine creature by some locals. Its rarity can be attributed to the fact that the white lion is not a subspecies of lion but, rather, the result of a recessive gene.
  • The white lion’s coat lends itself less to hunting and more to being hunted
  • They are not albino as they have pigmentation which shows particularly in eye, paw pad and lip color. It’s white lion's eye color is similar to the regular lion.
  • Due to its price, demand, upkeep and scarcity, the white lion remains one of the most difficult animals in the world to obtain.
  • The white lion is exactly the same as a normal lion, but with one key difference, their fur is a dazzling snow white.
  • Just like with normal lions, the white lion can reach an excess of 500 pounds when full grown.


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