Sure, dogs and cats make great companions. They’re social, intelligent, and cuddly.
But what if you’re looking for something a little more exotic? Check out this list of unusual pets that could be yours.
1. Madagascar Hissing CockroachAs far as weird pets go, the Madagascar hissing cockroach is certainly up there. As the name suggests, the Madagascar hissing cockroach hisses – by pushing air through their pores. The hissing cockroach can grow up to 3 inches in length and can live as long as 5 years. Why would anyone keep a Madagascar hissing cockroach as a pet? Your guess is as good as ours, but these big bugs are popular as pets among children in a number of Asian countries.
2. Mexican Walking “Fish”Everyone has fish as pets, but what about a fish with legs? The Axolotl – also known as the Mexican walking fish – is actually a salamander that breathes with gills because it stays in the larvae stage. This strange pet can grow up to 6-9 inches long, and really do look like little fish with legs. These carnivorous “fish” can live up to 10-15 years in captivity and feed on specially formulated Axolotl pellets and raw beef liver.
3. Bearded Dragon LizardDespite the fearsome name, bearded dragons are friendly, moderate sized lizards that are native to Australia. They generally eat leaves and insects, and are considered good pets for first-time reptile owners. Bearded dragons also exhibit a number of interesting behaviors that make them interesting as pets – they’re well known for a greeting behavior that pet owners find endearing, where the lizard raises its front leg in a circular motion as if they’re waving.
4. Hermit CrabWhile some people think of hermit crabs as “disposable” pets, they can actually be very affectionate creatures. A well cared for hermit crab can live for up to 10-20 years in captivity. Although there was a craze not too long ago of giving hermit crabs painted shells to crawl into, these painted artificial shells can actually be harmful to the little crabs. Hermit crabs need to have natural shells, especially while they’re molting.
5. Stick InsectStick insects – also known as walking sticks – are fascinating, beautiful bugs. They’re colorful, easy to care for and harmless, making them great pets for children who like bugs. Stick insects generally live around a year and feed on leaves. They can be kept in small plastic boxes, as long as there is a little ventilation. Because they’re native to tropical climates, they should never be kept in rooms colder than 20 degrees Celsius.
Note: Its important not to let your walking stick escape into the wild, as they can breed and become an ecological pest in areas to which they’re not native.
6. CrocodileWhile they’re certainly not common as pets (for obvious reasons), that doesn’t stop people from keeping these intimidating reptiles as pets. Although they’re commonly known for being vicious, powerful hunters that can throw a wildebeest around in their powerful jaws – smaller crocodile species like the spectacled caimans have become quite readily available in the pet trade.
Unfortunately, a lot of people buy them thinking they’d be cool pets to have, only to realize that caring for a crocodile is a lot of work. These crocodiles often get released into the wild, where they can wreak havoc on the local ecosystem.
7. HedgehogThese cute little rodents look a lot like the common hamsters and guinea pigs children keep as pets. They’re friendly, docile, and they love to cuddle, purr, and whistle. If you’re keeping a hedgehog as a pet, its important that you keep him/her well socialized, since they’re lined with rows of quills. While these quills are usually soft, when threatened, the hedgehog can roll up into a little ball with their quills sticking up in all directions.
8. SkunkMost people would never think of keeping skunks as pets – not because they aren’t cute, because they certainly are – but because of their reputation for releasing vicious stink bombs when threatened. Of course, the skunks people keep as pets are disarmed, meaning they have their scent glands removed.
As a pet, skunks are friendly and playful, but they are also very active and curious, and have a tendency to steal soft items to line their nest. They’re not low maintenance and require lots of care and attention from their owners.
9. LlamaLlamas aren’t pets in the traditional sense, since you can’t exactly keep one in your house. They’re generally thought of as livestock in the same category as horses, pigs, and cows. However, they’re extremely friendly, social and easily trained. If you have some grazing room, llamas can certainly make great pets. While they do have a reputation for spitting, this behavior is typically meant for other llamas and isn’t directed at people, provided the llama is properly socialized.
10. Pet RockWhile not really a pet, “pet rocks” certainly qualify as unusual pets. They were all the rage for a brief period in 1975, when a 6 month fad allowed inventor Gary dahl to sell 1.5 million pet rocks. In late 2012, the pet rock was made available again, though it never matched its 1975 success.