Although, rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents, birds and reptiles are becoming increasingly popular, they do still count as exotic species. As exotic pets are often less domesticated than cats and dogs, they require the same needs as they would in the wild. Environmental, dietary and behavioural requirements can be challenging to maintain.
We urge anyone considering an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re a realistic pet. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that their needs are met and meet the Animal Welfare Act standards. The Animal Welfare Act ensures that animals are provided with the five welfare needs, which includes:
Need for a suitable environment
Exotic species often require a carefully controlled environment that mimics their natural habitat. Environments may require specialised heating and lighting, as they may become ill
without a suitable UV light. The environment must also allow for natural behaviour, such as burrowing, climbing or basking. It is also important to pick an environment that will account
for how long they’ll live and how large they’ll grow.
Need for a suitable diet
Exotic species often require a specialised diet, it is important to research what they will eat, how often and how much.
Need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
Exotic species need to be able to express the same behaviour they would in the wild. In order to do this, the five freedoms must be met, to provide companionship, housing and dietary
enrichment. Furthermore, it is important to research if the animal’s behaviour will fit in with your own lifestyle; some exotic species are nocturnal or diurnal and may affect your own
routine. It is also important that exotic species are fed at appropriate times, which may not always be achievable.
Need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
Some exotic species require companionship from other animals, however, others do not. It is also important that the companions do not fight or accidentally mate.
Need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. All animals have the right to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. If you are going to get an exotic pet, it is important that you register with an appropriate vet.