Practical tips for new exotic animal owners

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If you are one of those who has opted for a store aimed at exotic animals or if you have a section of your business dedicated to them obviously already know these basic tips.

But, if in your establishment you sell some product or other for exotic animals having this way the offer and you do not know in depth the essential guidelines of these pets here are the main guidelines that you must indicate to a customer who is curious about having an exotic animal as a pet and ask you for advice.

Exotic animals can be very attractive pets, fascinating companions, but before adopting one you have to see if you will be able to maintain it in optimal conditions.

Many future owners of exotic animals (and many that already are…) do not have enough knowledge to take care of their pet. This leads to situations in which the animal suffers the consequences of inadequate housing, handling that does not respect their natural behavior, feeding with serious deficiencies, etc.. and can also carry a danger to the owner, his family and the environment.

Apart from the problems that the animal may suffer for not having the appropriate attention, receiving a bite, a scratch or a poisonous bite, end up introducing an invasive species in an ecosystem in which it can be very dangerous or even contribute to the illegal trafficking of species are consequences of an exotic pet ownership little responsible.

When a client asks if he or she can adopt or acquire this or that reptile, bird, spider, insect, etc., you can consult the website of the Government of Spain on the CITES agreement, which explains which animals can be bought and which can’t, what documentation must accompany the pet and the owner must have, etc.

Important details to consider for future owners of exotic animals

The size of the animal must be taken into account when it reaches adulthood. Pets that may seem “very cute” when they are small can grow up to sizes disproportionate for a house (or a terrarium): a green iguana can reach 2 meters in length, an adult Vietnamese pig usually weighs between 100 and 150 kg, a Burmese python will measure up to 5 meters…

Exotic animals are not domestic animals and their behaviour is typical of wild animals. Many do not tolerate handling well or may even be dangerous for owners and their families.

Feeding exotic animals is not easy. Problems resulting from inadequate feeding are very common when these pets visit the vet: parrots that only eat seeds, reptiles with severe bone malformations due to lack of calcium in the diet… On the other hand, it is possible that what the so desired exotic pet needs to eat is difficult to achieve. Is the owner willing to provide it every day of his life?

It is necessary to foresee a suitable lodging. What size will have to have the terrarium or the cage where the animal is maintained? What temperature? What humidity? Will it be necessary to introduce perches to different heights, special lands, rocks, a UV lamp…? Accommodation that does not respect the welfare conditions of the exotic pet will be detrimental to its welfare and health.

Have you taken into account the expense your pet will cause you? A pet, exotic or not, involves a series of expenses that must be planned: specific food, reviews and veterinary care or material for their accommodation, among others.

How much will that mean per month? Unfortunately, during the years of economic crisis one of the most common reasons for abandonment of pets has been the economic impossibility of maintaining them.

What legal requirements are needed to have a certain exotic animal as a pet? Many are listed as potentially dangerous, which requires special documentation … and be careful, many species can not be legally kept as pets.

Will the pet have access to specialized veterinary care? Not all veterinarians know about exotic animals. Rather, there are few who specialize in birds, reptiles or other pets that are even less common. The new owner needs to know where he will have a qualified professional who can provide the right health care for his animal whenever he needs it.

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