Many people own dogs and cats, and the first pet for many kids may be a bowl of fish or a cute, fluffy hamster. But some people seek something more novel—an exotic pet to make them stand out from the crowd, because unusual animals are interesting.
If you are seeking a distinctive and one-of-a-kind animal to add to your family, here is a list of 10 of the weirdest pets you’ve never considered:
Rats have long been used in labs because of their docile nature and gentle disposition. Although many people find the long, hairless tails to be off-putting, rats actually make excellent pets, with inquisitive, social natures and intelligent, calm manners.
There are fanciers like the American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association who define breed standards. Fans of rats even hold competitions and shows featuring exotic breeds like Siamese rats with the same coloring as Siamese cats and hairless rats with wrinkled skin and curly whiskers.
2. Potbellied Pigs—
Brought into the public spotlight by Max, the pet potbellied pig once owned by famous actor George Clooney, these porcine pals are as smart as dogs and grow to be as large as 125 pounds, making them pets only for people with adequate space and no small children. Surprisingly clean and highly trainable, potbellied pigs require plenty of exercise because they can very quickly become overweight.
Because of their noxious scent glands, most people a fearful of skunks, but if the scent glands are removed (usually around 4 weeks of age) smell is no longer an issue for these strikingly striped creatures. Like cats, they must be spayed or neutered, and can even be litter trained.
4. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches—
Despite the unnerving hissing noise they make, these giant cockroaches make entirely original, harmless pets. They don’t bite, sting or fly, and require a small living space with dark places to hide out. These bugs make great pets for kids or anyone who isn’t afraid of creepy-crawlies, and can live on a variety of foods.
While not the safest pet for a beginner, you can’t deny the thrill factor that comes with owning a tank full of scary predators like piranhas. Be prepared for grisly life lessons about the food chain if you decide to get these destructive fish, and keep hands and kids safely out of the water.
They look somewhat prickly; they are entirely touchable and gentle, especially when socialized from an early age. They need a larger cage with an exercise wheel, and are nocturnal, eating crickets, fruits and food blends specially made for hedgehogs.
7. Sugar Gliders—
Because they have teeth and claws, sugar gliders are not recommended for children, but if handled often by someone who knows how, they can become very safe, tame pets. Native to Australia, with big, round eyes, sweet-looking Sugar Gliders are social creatures and should be kept in pairs.
As long as you’re not spider-phobic, tarantulas are gentle, slow, fuzzy pets that require minimal maintenance and are completely non-aggressive. A tank with sand, rocks and some crickets for dinner will keep these arachnids happy.
9. Pac-Man Frogs—
Known for biting anything in their path, these frogs are not recommended for first time frog owners. With their hilariously round, cartoon-like faces, Pac-Man frogs eat everything from crickets to baby mice, and even smaller frogs. These cannibalistic creatures will swallow any friends you try to introduce to them, so don’t waste your money.
10. Miniature Livestock—
Many of the large farm animals you know and love come in miniature form, such as horses, donkeys and goats. If you have a decent amount of fenced-in land and are zoned for livestock, a herd of miniature donkeys, miniature horses or pygmy goats can be an adorable way to control your grass growth, saving you the trouble of having to keep an area mowed.
If you’re bored with the same old pets and want to get to know a species you’ve never experienced before, you might consider giving one of the unique and different animals described above a place in your home. It might be quite an adventure!
Briana Cameron is a professional blogger and marketing expert. She translates her love for dogs into her work by writing about dog kennels or dog boarding Toronto.