Exotic Pets

Buying an Exotic Pet

Many exotic pets have demanding care requirements and you will need to do a lot of research to learn how to provide the correct lighting, heating, humidity, diet etc, in order to keep them healthy. Some exotic species can grow very large and some live for 50 years or more. Many are only suitable for experienced keepers.
Can you commit to providing care for an exotic animal, and afford the costs, throughout its entire life?

Did you know:
Exotic pets, like all animals, need five things to be healthy and happy; these are called the ‘The Five Freedoms’. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2013, a pet owner has a legal duty to ensure the welfare of his animal (s). A pet’s welfare needs include:

  1. Environment – a suitable living environment
  2. Diet – a proper diet
  3. Behaviour – to be able to express normal behaviours
  4. Companionship – to have appropriate companionship
  5. Health – to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

If you decide to buy an exotic pet, IPAAG recommends the following:

  • Research before you buy. Be sure you fully understand and appreciate the needs of the species you are interested in, and will be able to afford to meet them for the lifetime of the animal. This includes costs such as electricity to constantly run equipment such as lights and heaters.
  • Consider contacting your local animal rescue/rehoming Centre.
  • Seek advice from reputable books and websites, local interest groups and your local veterinary practice who may also be able to recommend a suitable expert for additional advice.
  • Ensure you know what facilities are necessary to provide a suitable environment for the type of animal you are thinking of keeping – e.g., vivarium, temperature, humidity, light quality, etc.
  • Ensure you buy from someone who specialises in the animal you are interested in.
  • Visit the animal you are intending to buy.
  • Check that the animal’s accommodation is clean, it is supplied with the appropriate food and water, and that special equipment for maintaining the animal’s environment (e.g., heat lamps or UV lights, etc) are working properly.
  • Ensure that all relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit. This could include any necessary permits such as CITES registration documents, Dangerous Wild Animals Licence or other documentation.
  • If any paperwork is unavailable and has to be sent on, obtain a written commitment as to when it will be delivered.
  • Ensure that the animal you are buying is healthy and free from signs of injury or disease.
  • Exotic animals often require specialist care from a veterinary surgeon and may require referral to a specialist which can be very expensive.

There are many species of animal sold online for a quick profit and often raised without proper care, love or attention and sold to unsuitable households.  These animals often end up being unwanted, abandoned each year – due to behavioral issues or simply because they are just not the right type of pet for the family.  It is important when getting any new pet that you choose carefully and that it is an informed decision with the entire family.  If you decide to buy a pet online, check the website complies with IPAAG Minimum Standards.

Remember, some exotic species can grow very large and some live for 50 years or more. Many are only suitable for very experienced keepers.