Whether it is a tiny chinchilla or a huge monitor lizard, exotic pets are quite popular in some circles. They are also quite unpopular among others. There are many, many types of animals that simply should not be brought indoors and kept in captivity- they are not domestic species and they don’t thrive well under those circumstances. There is another set that is rarely kept indoors, that can be healthy in captivity, but is something of a novelty or specialty pet due to rarity.

It is best to avoid purchasing exotic pets from pet stores or markets- these are often bred by unscrupulous breeders, and if you cannot learn the background of the animal, there is even the potential that it was captured, traded, or bred illegally. In fact, if you are interested in owning an exotic pet, the very best thing to do is adopt one. The National Alternative Pet Association has a list of exotic pet rescue groups and sanctuaries by state.

Of course, before you bring home an exotic pet, you’ll want to make sure it is legal to own in your state. Many states laws may seem outdated or unreasonable, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still in effect. Secondly, you want to ensure that your home is prepared to house the animal, and that you are capable of giving the animal a good home and a secure life. Many people bring home an exotic pet only to discover that keeping it is more than they can or want to keep up with. That is often how they end up in shelters in the first place!