While we all love cats and dogs, and we can't get enough of them, sometimes we dream of owning a more exotic pet.
While there are plenty of amazing animals that we're not legally allowed to own, there are almost as many awesome exotics that are legal in certain areas. So if you're thinking of adopting a more unusual pet, check your local laws about what pets you can own. Here, we've put together a list of amazing exotic animals that you might just want to bring home.
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However, a word of caution.
While you may feel very comfortable taking care of traditional pets, know that exotic animals are (literally) a different breed. You'll need to follow any and all instructions from your vet and other experts, so that your new friend leads a happy and healthy life. But if you're ready to take on the challenge, then there's a huge variety of exotic pets that you could bring into your life.
1. Fennec Fox
We'll give you a moment to absorb just how cute they are. Fennec foxes are the smallest breed of fox, and their giant ears just take the cuteness level over the edge. They have the playful energy of a dog and the independent streak of a cat, so they can make wonderful pets. These total heart-melters are surprisingly legal in all states except Missouri, Nevada, Minnesota, and Washington.
This cute little ball of fluff is actually a rodent; the largest breed of rodent in the world. They're adorable and sweet, but these guys can grow to be 140 pounds, so they can be a challenging pet. They need to have access to water to swim, and they prefer to live in groups, so you'll want to consider carefully before adopting these blunt-nosed rodents. Capybaras are legal to own in Texas and Pennsylvania, and some other states will allow them if you have a license.
Yep, that's right, you can potentially own this adorable creature that looks like a mini kangaroo. Wallabies are commonly seen in the wilds of Australia, but actually, they're a pet you can own in certain areas of the U.S. These animals need a TON of space to roam, so you should only consider them if you live on a sizable amount of land. While many states forbid wallabies as pets, a large number allow them as well, although they are often not allowed inside city limits. Check out here whether your state allows these energetic animals.
If you're looking for a smaller pet, but still something a little out of the ordinary, why not a hedgehog? These spiky little balls of cuteness require similar care as a hamster or guinea pig — a clean cage, clean water, regular feedings, etc. But unlike other, fuzzier rodents, hedgehogs are prickly and you can get poked. And the best news is that hedgehogs are legal in most states, except Pennsylvania, Hawaii, California, Georgia, Arizona, and Maine. And even in those states, you might be able to get a permit that makes owning one okay.
5. Monitor Lizards
Monitor lizards a are a type of large lizard that range from 2-3 feet in length to 7-8 feet. These impressive animals are highly intelligent, and they can make great pets for people who are prepared to learn about them. Some species are easier to tame and live with than others, so you'll want to do your research. Monitor lizards are legal to own as pets in most states, although many require a permit.
Frequently, those who own ostriches are raising them as alternative livestock for meat. Ostriches are massive birds who need a ton of space, so they'd make very complicated pets to own. However, they are beautiful birds to look at. These animals can grow to 8 feet tall and 350 pounds, so make sure you're prepared to care for such a massive animal. Ostriches are legal in Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
If you're looking for a massive reptile friend, pythons are a very popular choice. These large snakes are beautiful and impressive, if you're not too scared of them. Ball pythons are one of the smaller python breeds, and even they grow to 3-5 feet. Pythons need large cages with warming lights to keep these cold-blooded creatures cozy. Pythons are banned in some states, but allowed in many others. Check this list here to see if they're available in your area.
If you're looking for an exotic pet, but don't want to stray too far from the cuteness of a cat, then a wild cat may be a great choice. One popular type of wild cat is the serval, which is quite a bit larger than a house cat.
Male servals can grow to 2 feet tall and weigh 40 pounds. These cats are not aggressive, but they're still wild, so they must be approached differently than a house cat. They'll need lots of outdoor space and great spots to climb. About half of the states in the U.S. allow servals, but the other half don't, so check your local regulations to see if these cats are legal in your area.
We know, we can't believe it either, but some people keep skunks as pets. While no one is suggesting that you go out and adopt a wild skunk, domesticated skunks have become popular as exotic pets.
Domesticated skunks have their scent glands removed when they're babies, so they don't produce the horrible scent that defines these creatures. And because they don't grow up "attacking" with their scent, they're typically more docile and friendly. If you're interested in a pet skunk, 17 states across the U.S. allow them as pets.