An important part of our mission is to educate families about proper pet ownership decisions, inclusive of the fact that caring for exotic animals can be challenging, time-consuming and a long-term commitment. As many of you know, most of our Animal Ambassadors are former exotic pets and came to us from families that could no longer care for them. Exotic pet ownership can help provide lessons about responsibility, commitment and respect, and many exotic creatures even offer boundless affection. It is, however, important to choose the right animal for your family.

The following is a list of questions which potential exotic pet owners should ask themselves before bringing an animal into the family:

  • Which member/s of our family will be caring for our pet?
  • How much time daily must be spent on cleaning, feeding and socialization/interaction with our pet? Do we have time in our daily schedules to accommodate the time needed?
  • What is the life span of the pet we are considering? Can we care for our pet for its lifetime? 
  • If my child is the main caretaker, will my new pet provide enough socialization/interaction for him/her & keep my child engaged and committed?
  • What will happen if my child goes away to college or we move to a home that does not allow pets? Who will care for our pet?
All of these questions will help you to determine the suitability of a particular pet for you and your family. 
In addition to cleaning and feeding, many exotic animals require special care such as supplemental heating and lighting, filters for aquarium pets, dust baths, fresh produce, specialized diets and size-appropriate enclosures.
For example, a baby Sulcata Tortoise grows quickly and adults can weigh in at 100-150  pounds! The life span of this species is long - 60-100 years in captivity. As a pet, this tortoise is not only a life-time commitment but can also outlive its humans. Pictured above are young Sulcata Tortoises side by side with their adult counterpart.
Another good example of a pet requiring a long-term commitment and specialized care is that of parrots. Large parrots have a life span of 60 years or more. Parrots are very intelligent animals and require a great deal of attention and interaction to keep them stimulated, healthy and happy.
Like parrots, many exotic animals require social interaction and "enrichment." Behavioral enrichment is an animal husbandry principle that enhances the quality of captive animal care by providing environmental stimuli necessary for psychological and physiological well-being. This really must be considered carefully. Research must be done with regard to the specialized "toys" and activities your pet requires.
Pictured above is an Axolotl. Like many exotic animals, this amphibian species has temperature sensitivities and must be maintained in cool temperatures of 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit. This fascinating creature is unfortunately an endangered species, but children can learn so much from their history and status in the wild. On the other hand, this is not an animal that can provide an inquisitive child with hands-on interaction. 
Please do ample research before bringing an exotic animal into your family.  There is a plethora of information available online to guide you in your decisions. Consider adoption as well. There are many reputable organizations and shelters who help to re-home exotic pets who have been surrendered. The animal adoption process can instill in children lessons of responsibility and kindness to all living things. 
Pictured above is an Axolotl. Like many exotic animals, this amphibian species has temperature sensitivities and must be maintained in cool temperatures of 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit. This fascinating creature is unfortunately an endangered species, but children can learn so much from their history and status in the wild. On the other hand, this is not an animal that can provide an inquisitive child with hands-on interaction. 
Please do ample research before bringing an exotic animal into your family.  There is a plethora of information available online to guide you in your decisions. Consider adoption as well. There are many reputable organizations and shelters who help to re-home exotic pets who have been surrendered. The animal adoption process can instill in children lessons of responsibility and kindness to all living things. 

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