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Top 10 Exotic Pets

Here at Cascade Kennels, we are known for our care and boarding of dogs and cats; you know, your typical domesticated pets. However, most of you may not know that we also care for Exotic pets as well. In fact, as you peruse our page about Exotic pet boarding, you will find a number of resources available, provided by our friends at The Center for Bird & Exotic Animal Medicine,  detailing how to care for your exotic pet. Since we spend so much time sharing tips about dogs and cats, we thought it would be a nice change of pace to focus a bit on exotic pets…..specifically the top 10 exotic pets. Here’s our list along with some tips on how to care for them.


Before we dive into the list of most popular exotics, let’s take a minute to define what an “exotic pet” actually is. An exotic pet is defined as a rare or unusual animal that is kept as a domestic pet. In other words, an exotic pet is anything other than a dog, cat or farm animal that is kept as a domestic pet.   Many exotic pets come from other parts of the world. The first few on our list may not seem exotic, but because they are not the “typical” pet, they fall into the “exotic” category.

  • Rabbits- Rabbits are considered exotic since they are not the typical domestic pet, although chances are, you may know someone who has or has had a rabbit at some point in time.
  • Mini-Pigs-True, pigs are a farm animal, but if you keep a min-pig in your house then you have an exotic pet. Here at Cascade Kennels, we welcome mini-pigs into our exotic boarding facility.
  • Turtles– Turtles are among the more common “exotics” because, like rabbits, you likely know someone who has had a turtle at one point. Turtles are pretty easy to keep. They are extremely mellow and are moderately sized making their habitat manageable. If you are considering getting a turtle, make sure it has access to some shallow, fresh water in addition to dry land.
  • Hamster- Hamsters tend to have a shorter life span than most exotics, only surviving about 2-3 years of age. Some live longer, however. They tend to be very inquisitive so providing a large habitat for them to live in and explore is advised. They also tend to be loners. Chances are you or someone you know has owned a hamster at some point so this may not seem like a very exotic animal, but since it’s not quite as common as a dog or cat, it does fall into the exotic category.
  • The Bearded Dragon Lizard- this reptile tends to be very gentle and quite low maintenance as far as pets go. Sure, it doesn’t look like an animal most people would want to snuggle with but it actually likes being petted and it enjoys a misty shower from time to time.
  • The Chinchilla- These are cute little animals that can live up to 20 years if they receive good care. They are considered part of the rodent family and are similar to hamsters and guinea pigs. For being such small animals, they tend to have a lot of energy.
  • The Hedgehog- Hedgehogs can tend to be a bit shy but if they are handled well by their owner, they can become well socialized exotic pets.
  • Green Iguanas- These reptiles are quite mellow and while their green color is quite stunning, they are a reptile, so the cute factor isn’t quite there. However, with good care, they can live to be about 25 years of age. If you have a pool or other small body of water in your yard, your iguana will be very happy since they are excellent swimmers. They are herbivores, and should always be fed a very strict vegetarian diet.
  • The Boa Constrictor- This is an exotic pet that is NOT for the faint of heart. They tend to get rather large, so if you plan to keep a boa as a pet, make sure their habitat is large enough to house them comfortably and that it is kept warm. Boas are indigenous to warm climates so a warm habitat is essential.
  • The Parrot- This is another fairly common exotic. Parrots are popular because they are quite beautiful and they are also rather amusing. Most species of parrots can be quite loud and they are higher-maintenance animals. Many like lots of toys and are very social and require regular interaction from their owners. It is also important that they have a well-maintained habitat that is large enough for them to move around.
  • Ferrets- Ferrets have been domesticated for many years. They tend to be friendly pets that develop strong bonds with their owners and are very adaptive. With good care, they can live 7-9


It’s important to remember that if you plan to purchase an exotic animal be sure that you do your research ahead of time and are very familiar with they type of habitat they will require and that you have a very good knowledge of their basic care needs.  Also, there are some states and municipalities that do not allow certain types of exotic animals as pets, so be sure you know the laws that govern this issue before you proceed.

For more information on boarding exotics, contact us or visit our website.

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