If you’re looking for a pet that’s a bit more unusual than the traditional cat, dog, bird or fish, we have a list of fun and interesting pets you might want to check out. Always check your local and state laws regarding any non-traditional pet you might be considering. Some pets are categorized as “exotic” or “farm” and might not be legal in your area or could require a special permit. Also make sure to consider the space requirements for any pet as a number of unique pets need more room than a traditional pet. Without further ado, let’s dig into our list!
Chinchillas are plump, adorable and super-soft animals from the rodent family. Chinchillas are very active and social animals, so it’s best to get a pair instead of an individual. Chinchillas require plenty of room to run and play. Interesting fact: a chinchilla’s luxurious soft fur is too dense for water baths. Chinchillas clean up in a dust bath with dust from volcanic rock. Chinchillas aren’t recommended for small children and are best suited to the care of adults and older children/teens.
Hedgehogs are known for their spiny backsides and soft underbellies. Hedgehogs are usually not social and prefer to have their own enclosure. They are mostly nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and sleep during the day. News stories recently warned of hedgehogs carrying salmonella and spreading it to children who kiss them or handle them and then touch their mouths. If you choose a hedgehog for a pet, only allow children to handle them under your supervision and ensure they wash their hands after, similar to the protocol for reptiles. Also, be sure to get your hedgehog accustomed to being handled by you before allowing children near them.
Few people would think of a skunk when looking for a pet, however, quite a few people have them. Pet skunks generally have their scent glands removed when they are neutered or spayed as babies. Note: Many animal activists are against removing skunk scent glands in order to make them suitable as pets and view this practice as unnecessary and inhumane. Skunks require plenty of attention and lots of time to roam. They dislike being cooped up in cages. They can be very affectionate and playful as pets. There are a large number of states that do not allow skunks as pets or require a permit to own one.
A sugar glider is an adorable marsupial with large eyes and a stretch of skin along each side that helps them “fly” or “glide” through the air. Sugar gliders are highly social critters so it is preferable to have at least two. They are very active and require a much larger enclosure than would be needed for a different pet of a similar size. They also require more toys and structures inside their enclosure to climb and jump on. Sugar gliders do have a slight natural odor, similar to a ferret. Sugar gliders are nocturnal and tend to be talkative so expect your pair to be up chatting late into the night.
The teacup pig is also known as a mini, micro or pixie pig. Before choosing this pet, keep in mind that they do not stay small. Of the 15-20 breeds of mini pigs, all of them are at least 150 lbs. when full grown, around five years old. These little piggies live to be around 20 years old so choosing this pet is a long-term commitment. While teacup pigs are very social and hate to be alone, it can also take them several months to bond with humans and other pets in the home. They also need plenty of space outdoors to run and play. Oh, and they need a lot of food. A lot.
If you’ve seen any of the numerous YouTube videos of pygmy goats in pajamas or sweaters bouncing around a barnyard, you might have a sense of the activity level of these little goats. These pets need plenty of land with both sunny spots and shade, as well as escape-proof fencing. Goats are notorious for their tendency to escape or get caught in fencing that isn’t well kept up. Pygmy goats typically live between 15-18 years and reach a maximum size of just under 100 lbs. These animals are smart and independent, yet social so it’s best to have two or more.
Most of these fun and unusual pets also look stylin’ in a Bark Appeal harness (except for the sugar gliders, perhaps). Do you have one of these or another type of unique and fun pet? Send us a picture of your unusual pet looking sharp in their Bark Appeal gear through our facebook page or #barkappealharness on instagam and we’ll share it!