Exotic Pets-are they right for your family?

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Exotic Pets-are they right for your family?

~~One of my first pets was a hamster.  I also had gerbils, a turtle, guinea pigs and several chameleons before I finally graduated to cats, dogs and horses.  Having small mammals (hamsters, gerbils, ferrets, guinea pigs, etc) is fun but it’s important to remember that they require very specific care and are completely dependent upon humans for their food, comfort and wellbeing.  Owning one of these animals should not be based on a quick decision in a pet store, it is important to consider what they will need in terms of long term care prior to taking one home. 

Some of these animals have shortened life spans compared to a dog or cat and some have much longer life spans.  Remember that when you commit to having one of these pets, you are committing to lifelong care.  It is important to remember that many of them are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and are active at night – this doesn’t fit with every household.  These small creatures may be very susceptible to stress due to noise and/or other pets in the household and you may have to alter where you keep them or your lifestyle to ensure their needs are met.   

Having small mammals as pets is not recommended in households with children under the age of 7 years.  Although well intentioned, kids may want to handle these pets frequently and this isn’t always what is best for the pet.  These little creatures are fragile and cannot be dropped.  Kids of a young age should always be supervised while around animals of any kind in order to ensure everyone’s safety. 

These pets tend to be fairly affordable to buy as is their housing and food.  Don’t let this devalue the pet.  It’s important to be prepared financially for an injury or illness in these pets and to consult a veterinarian if you need to. 

These pets are a pleasure to have and their company is very rewarding!  Think carefully prior to getting one to be sure you can provide everything it needs not only for housing and food but also your time and effort to ensure its quality of life. 

We look forward to seeing you!