Many of us love to have a pet in our lives. They provide companionship, love, and entertainment. Traditionally, dogs and cats fill the pet-shaped spaces in our lives, but more and more people are turning to exotic pets.
There are currently over 13,000 different exotic pet species being kept in the UK and 4000 wild animals being kept as pets. So big has the hobby become that over the past 20 years, its popularity has doubled.
What, though, are the most unusual pets you could keep in the UK? We thought we’d take a look and see what could become your next family friend.
Yes, that’s right – you can keep an octopus as a pet in the UK. Whilst goldfish and guppies may be the popular choice for aquatic pets at home, these 8-legged beings have grown in popularity. Incredibly intelligent, visually appealing and fun to engage with, the octopus can be suitable for all ages, as long as it’s looked after correctly.
Octopi have a relatively short life span (usually around 12 months) and can often hide away when feeling scared. Once they feel comfortable in their new surroundings, they will interact with you and enjoy playing with toys in their tank.
Enjoying a diet of shrimp, crab and the occasional cockle, feeding can be expensive as they require many meals to help their body function. These meals also mean that there is a lot more waste to clean out!
Excellent escape artists too, the challenge of caring for an octopus can be tough, but if you do things right, they make beautiful pets.
This Australian marsupial can be a friendly addition to any pet-loving home. Once you are in the process of regularly handling them, they can be extremely engaging. Needing a large cage and a fellow sugar glider for company, these furry characters can be both fun and challenging. However, as they mark their territory with what could be described as a ‘fruity scent’, cleaning them out can often cause unnecessary stress, resulting in even more scent being produced.
A diet low in sugar (despite the name!) keeps them energised. This consists of a fruit and vegetable mix, infused with other proteins and nutrients. As they are nocturnal, most of that energy is used up at night, meaning that sugar gliders may not be the best pets for children.
African Pygmy Hedgehog
These are for those that love something small and cute. The African pygmy hedgehog is a solitary creature that despite its small size, needs a large space to live. It is suggested that at least 1 metre of floor space is sufficient. Creating a hiding area for sleep and comfort and adding a wheel for playing, the set up for a pygmy hedgehog is relatively simple.
These creatures are nocturnal, so you won’t see much of them during the day, but when they are out and about they can be enthralling to watch. Much smaller than the hedgehogs you tend to see in the UK, the pygmy loves to roam and explore. Thriving on a diet of crickets, mealworms or small invertebrates, their inquisitive nature means hunting for food can be fun to watch.
They can be shy to begin with and may reject attempts of handling, but over time they will grow accustomed to you.
These giant guinea pig lookalikes have made their way over from South America and are proving to be very popular in the UK. You need a specific licence to own one and a fair bit of space! Being semi-aquatic means you will also need a pool for them to swim in. This should be at least 4 feet deep and include an access ramp.
They only eat fruit and vegetables, although cattle pellets are also recommended. Along with providing a suitable diet, they will need plenty of durable items to sink their teeth into. Chewing sticks or branches are recommended as their teeth are always growing.
Capybaras tend to be at the more expensive end of the scale for exotic pets. One alone needs an outdoor space of at least 20 ft square. An indoor area for sleeping or keeping warm will also be required.
Due to their large weight and size, capybaras are not the kind of pet that is regularly handled. They are, however, interesting to watch as they play and explore.
Maybe these aren’t unusual anymore, but with the huge variety of species available, more and more people are considering them as pets.
For those considering their first tarantula, a Chilean Rose will allow for easy care, feeding and handling. It is a very relaxed spider and needs a hiding area, a shallow water dish and a suitable substrate. Heat mats are often recommended (but not essential) and cleaning them out can be as infrequent as every 6 months.
A diet of crickets or similar insects is sufficient and, in most cases, only needs to be offered once a week. Sometimes they can go without feeding for weeks at a time!
These creatures can bite if aggravated, but the Chilean Rose would only consider biting if extremely angry. They will also occasionally flick hairs if stressed – these can be mildly irritating, but won’t cause you any harm.
Very docile, you won’t see a lot of movement from a Chilean Rose; however, this calm nature facilitates very easy handling.
Have you been tempted by our 5 unusual pets? When considering any pet, it is important to check that you can look after it properly. PBS are an experienced reptile courier in the UK and can facilitate pet travel, both at home and abroad. If you are in need of assistance, contact our experienced pet-loving team today. We can offer a free quote for any of your pet transportation requirements.