20 Mini Exotic Pets (that are easy to keep)

The popularity of mini exotic pets is on the rise and they’re not just for show!

These little ones have a lot of personality and are perfect for those who live in small spaces or don’t want to take care of big pets.

In this article, I am listing down some amazing mini exotic pets that you can consider getting.

Fennec Foxes

Fennec Foxes

The Fennec Fox never grows larger than the Chihuahua. If you’re in the market for something small and adorable, this is the pet for you.

Also called the desert fox, the animal is native to North Africa, specifically the Sahara region.

What distinguishes the Fennec Fox is a tiny body juxtapositioned with oversized ears. While growing in popularity as pets, they are not the perfect indoor creature.

These foxes aren’t always great with people. Being prey animals of the wild, they’re skittish and easily startled.

They are nocturnal. It will be a task managing their energy levels as they’re active when you’re trying to sleep.

Fennecs are curious and cautious. They bite when angry. With proper socialization, they can coexist with other pets.

Axolotls

Axolotls

The axolotl is a salamander. Axolotls can shift the hue of their normally dark-colored skin, camouflaging themselves.

With their fascinating appearance, the fish is low maintenance, making it a perfect beginner pet. They need only a clean tank with proper cleaning.

They are freshwater and can be messy, so a good filter is necessary. Axolotls eat fresh or frozen bloodworms, ground beef, and shrimp.

An endangered species, these animals went from 6,000 per square half-mile in their natural habitats in 1998 to 35 per square half-mile in 2008.

Researchers use Axolotls to study the regeneration of limbs. Axolotls can reproduce lost limbs, hearts, lungs, jaws, spines, and parts of the brain.

Degus

Degus

The degu is a friendly animal. To ensure comfort, it’s best to keep them in pairs. It’s good to have one of each sex. Males will fight for dominance.

These rodents can stay in cages used for rats or ferrets. Degus also like to play with the same types of toys and accessories.

Like chinchillas, degus need dust baths. The creature can run an impressive 10 miles per hour.

Chinchillas

Chinchillas

Being members of the rodent family, chinchillas are hard to come by.

They don’t require significant grooming and are best cleaned with dust baths, which they should take twice a week. They’re also nocturnal, doing a lot of running around after dark.

As long as they get their needs met (adequate cage size, draftless, warm area, and proper diet), they’re relatively easy to manage.

Shy and affectionate, some enjoy touching and carrying. Others do not.

Do take care as chinchillas are fragile. Don’t squeeze them, especially around the rib cage.

Their teeth never stop growing. Make sure they have mineral chews or wood chew sticks. If their teeth get too long, see the vet.

A multi-tiered habitat is highly recommended. Wire habitats with solid bottoms are best. Wire spacing should be no bigger than an inch.

Sugar Gliders

Sugar Gliders

A member of the marsupial family, the sugar glider has similarities to the flying squirrel. Both have a skin of thin membranes on both sides of their body.

The characteristic allows them to leap from high points and glide to a second location.

Small, active, and loving, sugar gliders make great pets. But they are also messy and not house-trainable.

Sugar gliders are very social and best kept in pairs in a flight cage. They’ll need company when left alone. A sugar glider will bond with its owners.

Sugar gliders get specific diets recommended by zoos and experts. Blended diets may include honey, fruits, baby food, vegetables, and insects.

Quaker Parakeets

Quaker Parakeets

The quaker, or monk, parakeet are different from the common bird pet. Many states have made ownership illegal, and in others, you need a permit.

The ban is due to a quaker’s potential to be destructive.

One common tick with quaker parrots is a tendency to pull out their feathers. They are frequent sufferers of fatty liver disease, the result of a diet high in fat.

Good diets consist of a pellet diet, fresh vegetables, and fruit, seeds, and approved healthy table food.

Categorized as an invasive species, the quaker parakeet still manages to be an excellent pet. Distinctive characteristics are head-bobbing and body-shaking, which may look like stress but is not.

It is an active, social, and intelligent bird that loves human companionship. If you cannot provide that, have a second quaker so they can entertain each other.

Quakers are prone to neurotic and depressive behavior. They can wake the soundest sleepers and can disturb neighbors.

They’re great talkers, though, ready to learn words and phrases. They learn tricks and are highly trainable.

Halloween Moon Crabs

Halloween Moon Crabs

The Halloween Moon Crab is a colorful creature dressed in reds, yellows, purples, and oranges. They are incredibly inexpensive and not necessarily hard to find.

While social creatures, they can also be combative. If you decide to have two, make sure you have two tanks or a removable barrier if you need to separate them.

You can place one or two in a tank with 15 or 20-gallon capacity. Use about six inches of sand substrate and plenty of driftwood and rocks so that they can climb.

Equip the tank with both fresh and saltwater pools that need daily changing and cleaning.

Your colorful moon crab will happily chomp on vegetables, fruit, or cooked meat.

As terrestrial creatures, you’ll have to monitor the humidity and temperature of the tank to keep them comfortable.

Take note that the Halloween moon crab and rainbow crab are different species. The rainbow species is far more aggressive. Make sure you get the right one.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragons

These mini exotic animals are docile, friendly, and an excellent choice for kids or beginners. Unlike most lizards, the Bearded Dragon doesn’t expand to a large size.

The bearded dragon is sociable and friendly. Observers claim to have the animal wave at them.

They eat a broad range of foods. The dragons are active during the day and can be pretty gentle. They are inexpensive, low maintenance, and readily available.

They’re found living in rocky, arid areas in the wild, taking refuge in trees, rocks, cool bushes, and shaded areas.

The bearded dragon is a popular pet lizard and is legal pretty much everywhere besides Hawaii.

The one problem you need to consider is salmonella. Most lizards excrete oil that transfers the condition. Always wash hands after handling the bearded dragon.

Teacup Poodle

Teacup Poodle

The teacup poodle is a full-grown poodle compressed into a small package. They never grow beyond inches at the shoulder, and their weight maxes out at five pounds.

That makes the teacup even smaller than the toy poodle. These pooches are hypoallergenic, meaning they don’t shed and won’t impact people with allergies.

These animals love water, but they shouldn’t be in deep water, especially at the beach. They could be quickly swept away.

The teacup poodle seems to know it’s adorable. It will seek your attention. The dog also suffers separation anxiety. If it’s going to be alone for long periods, it’s not the dog for your household.

They have a moderate activity level. Short walks and decent amounts of playtime will keep your dog happy and healthy.

Despite their mini size, this is a fine watchdog. Unless properly trained, the teacup can bark excessively. But they’re intelligent and take to commands readily.

The dog has a pleasant disposition, and socialization comes easy to them. They’re also good with older kids instructed on how to interact with mini dogs.

Brookesia Micra

Brookesia Micra

The Brookesia micra is a chameleon so small it can sit on top of a match with no problem; now that’s what you call exotic! The Brookesia Micra grows to a mere half-inch from nose to tail end.

Researchers say because of their size, they are near impossible to find but easy to catch. Because they sleep at night, there’s no problem picking them up.

Found in the northern wilds of Madagascar, the mini chameleons feed on small insects. Their coloration allows them to play dead and hide among fallen ground debris.

Millipedes

Millipedes

As far as mini exotic pets go, the millipede is easy to take care of. It can go in a small aquarium as it needs minimal space.

The usual pet is the African giant millipede or the North American millipede, capable of growing to 10 inches.

Millipedes will require particular heating, substrates, and lighting for appropriate temp and humidity.

Millipeds have segmented, round bodies. They have two dozen legs or hundreds. In natural habitats, they like rotting logs, rocks, and leaf litter.

Millipedes like to burrow. They’re slow-moving, and their physicality causes them to travel in a wavelike pattern that’s fascinating to watch.

Herbivorous, the millipede feeds on fresh vegetables and fruits. It will also need a calcium supplement.

It’s best to handle millipedes with gloves as some react to a substance that irritates the skin. Otherwise, they do not bite and are easily handled.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crabs

These tiny crustaceans live on dry land. They don’t need a huge tank and make great pets for beginners and small apartments.

Docile, they rarely pinch and need little daily care. You can keep multiple pets as they’re sociable.

When choosing a hermit crab, make sure you get a healthy one. Make sure they have three pairs of walking legs. Check the shell for damage, especially around the head and thorax.

Get a guarantee there are no small bugs or parasites on the crab or in the seller’s living space for the crab. You should also make sure the crab is lively.

While hermit crabs will be small, the larger ones will be harder. If you plan to have more than one though, keep the sizes close, or you’ll get territorial combat.

Other crabs make their shells. The hermit crab finds shelter in discarded animal shells. They’re constantly on the prowl for new shells.

There are two drawbacks to owning a hermit crab. The crab is quiet and nocturnal, so you won’t see much of them in the day. Second, they aren’t exactly pets that interact with humans.

Hermit crabs can have algae or other organisms growing on their shells (not parasites!), and they manage symbiotic relationships with organisms like anemones.

Scorpions

Scorpions

Scorpions may not be the exotic pet for you. They have a fearsome reputation and appearance, but they are easy to keep.

They sustain well in small spaces that provide appropriate humidity and temps. This is not a pet for cuddling. They sting, and that sting won’t be toxic but it will be painful.

Considering that, keep scorpions in tanks. The large scorpion family (called the Buthidae) includes the Fat Tail, Psuedo, Blue, Red, and Emperor Scorpions.

Despite the similar look, each scorpion is unique in shape to color.

The scorpion is a natural predator, especially of insects and invertebrates.

They move with a characteristic forward curve of the back with a stinger ready to strike. In the wild, their natural habitat is the desert, but they’re also found in the cold of Antarctica.

The vast majority of scorpions are not a threat to humankind. Healthy adults normally require no medical attention after a sting.

Ball Pythons

Ball Pythons

Keeping a reptile is exotic enough, but the tiny ball python fits the bill as unusual. Being as docile as it gets, these snakes are easy to handle.

They are picky and will refuse to eat. They live on live or frozen rodents, but they do turn their nose up at food.

Their cages need a strict design to ensure a sturdy basking area, as well as sufficient heating and humidity.

Ball pythons are best kept in habitats one time the width and twice as long as their length. If you buy a small one, imagine they will grow at least four feet in length.

At this length, go with an enclosure no less than eight by four feet. Their habitats are best longer than taller so they can move around comfortably.

The best materials are plastic, glass, or Plexiglass. Make sure the enclosure’s secure. Snakes crawl on surfaces at all angles, making them exceptional escape artists.

This reptile isn’t expensive, but there are unique species that can run you thousands of dollars.

Short-Tailed Opossum

Short-Tailed Opossum

The short-tailed opossum isn’t a rodent. It’s a marsupial like a koala and sugar glider. These solitary creatures are best caged alone.

Their cages are similar to the gerbil. Nice, spacious, and hopefully multi-tiered, with exercise wheels, water feeders, and good bedding.

They need a diet high in animal protein. You can use an omnivorous mix of foods suited for ferrets and dogs. But you can also add in vegetables, insects, and fruits.

These opossums are escape artists, so make sure your well-ventilated tank has a narrow mess and a tight lid.

The short-tailed opossum is on record as being the first marsupial to have its genome sequenced.

Kenyan Sand Boa

Kenyan Sand Boa

The Kenyan Sand Boa is a good choice for beginners or for snake lovers that want an animal capable of outgrowing them.

Their caging can be simple. You only need appropriate substrates. The sand boa loves to burrow, and items will only get in the way.

These critters do bite. It’s usually because the snake mistook a hand as food or because the owner mishandled the animal.

In general, these snakes have decent dispositions and are environment-friendly. Set up their caging with coconut mulch, aspen bedding, or newspaper.

Stay away from cedar shavings, corncob bedding, and gravel.

Also read: Can Snakes Show Affection to Their Owners?

Oriental Fire-bellied Toad

Oriental Fire-bellied Toad

Frogs and toads are already a popular pet, but you should check out the Pacman frog, the dwarf clawed, or tree frog.

But even they can look large beside the Oriental Fire-Bellied Toad. The bellied-toad maxes out at a two colorful inches.

Found in Eastern Asia, these amphibians are also bred for captivity. While easy to care for, they’re also territorial, and you should be careful when handling a Bellied Toad.

The frog uses an excreted toxin to ward off predators. They do not limit to nonhumans. The frog may not do it deliberately with its owner.

You should avoid contact if you have sensitive skin or if you have any cuts that may react to soaps or oils.

These toads have a lifespan of 30 years, so have a long-term game plan for their ownership.

Cockroaches

Cockroaches

Yes, the cockroach. In many parts of the world, they are mini exotic pets.

Among the more famous pets are the death’s head cockroach, the Madagascar hissing cockroach, the Cuban cockroach, and the Indian domino cockroach.

No, you can’t hold them, and they’re not affectionate, but cockroaches are easily handled. They don’t require a large aquarium and are best kept in groups.

Make sure you use a locking lid as they are prodigious climbers and famous escape artists.

Cockroaches eat anything, so you can feed them leftovers, fruits and vegetables, wood and leaves, and even fish pellets or flakes, and cat kibble.

Considered an invasive species, some cockroaches are only allowable with a permit from your state’s agriculture department.

Gerbils

Gerbils

Unlike the more popular hamsters, gerbils are very sociable. They prefer cohabitation with other groups or gerbils or same-sex pairings.

Compared to other rodents, gerbils are easy to handle and tame. They also adapt to limited living areas, but it’s suggested you give them a large space.

A large space is best. These animals shouldn’t run around the house free but they need room for play.

Gerbils go through several cycles of sleep during the day. When awake and active, they’ll explore anything which makes watching them entertaining.

If you want to handle a gerbil, prepare them beforehand. Let them acclimate to the new environment over a few days before approaching them.

Give them a treat between the cage bars. Once they’re used to regular treats, proceed to offer treats through the open cage door.

Eventually, you can get them to take the treat from your open hand. Teach the pet to climb your arm to fetch more treats.

Soon, you’ll be able to touch the gerbil, but avoid contact with its tail. Much like a cat, you can gently grasp the scruff of a gerbil’s neck to reposition it.

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs have quills on their upper body and fur on the underside. They famously roll into spiny balls to protect themselves.

This might make them unlikely options for pet lovers. Handle the animal with patience and gentle diligence.

Hedgehogs don’t need a lot of attention. They’re quiet, don’t need a lot of grooming, and are capable of keeping themselves happy.

They are nocturnal and may be active when you’re ending your day. They’re also best kept alone. If you have more than one, use separate cages.

Make sure your pet is safe. They’re known to transmit salmonella and ringworm to humans.

In the wild, hedgehogs create homes of nests and burrows. Burrows can be 20 inches deep. The animals build nests of branches, leaves, and other vegetation.

They often build on unfinished burrows or nests left by other animals.

Conclusion

Give a lot of thought to getting mini exotic pets. Many people like the idea of owning something unique until they do their research.

They don’t consider the needs of exotic animals or tiny pets. Compared to “regular” pets, smaller animals need specific diets, grooming, habitats, and more.

Some may need permits. Others may need an environment that requires distinct characteristics. There may also be a permit involved that allows you to keep the creature in your home.

This is unfair to any animal. More so, it’s dangerous. Many cases of abuse privately owned animals suffer are the result of either a lack of knowledge or deliberate neglect of their needs.

There is plenty of information — like what this article shares — that can help. You can also get valuable info from pet shops, vets, and breeders. Feel free to share this with others.

If you’re getting a pet for a child, be sure the gift’s age-appropriate and that you closely supervise the child’s interaction with the animal.

Before getting a mini exotic pet, know the laws and requirements that will keep the animal safe.

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