The 5 best exotic pets for small homes 0 782

Pet mouse... on a skateboard!

Whether you’ve made your home in a city, or your apartment is just on the smaller side, keeping a pet can be a wish that’s difficult to fulfil. With larger animals like dogs or hutch-based pets like rabbits or guinea pigs out of the question, there are still countless options for types of pet you can provide a loving home to. Here are our top five:

1. Hedgehogs

The perfect pet for the smaller home, hedgehogs take up less space than larger mammals but have more than enough personality to make up for their smaller stature. As long as they have a reasonably spacious enclosure and room to run around twice a day, a hedgehog can make the perfect household companion.

2. Snakes

If you have a vivarium, time to spare and room in the freezer for their food, most smaller snakes can prove to be a fascinating pet that not only offers a unique experience but takes up little space. Content to lie under a fun lamp for the majority of the day, as with most reptiles, snakes are just a beautiful to look at as their more significant, more space-heavy counterparts.

3. Mice

More of a ‘watching’ than a ‘cuddling’ pet, mice are ideal for a smaller home where the atmosphere is calm, and handling is kept to a minimum. Generally, like hamsters and rats, mice are more than happy to go about their day in their home and come in multiple varieties and colours.

4. Tarantulas

For the more adventurous pet owner who is looking for something a little more on the wild side, a tarantula can be the perfect addition to the home. Provided you have a secure, suitable place to keep your tarantula and a ready source of food, these giant spiders tend to prefer to keep to themselves, and need very little else.

5. Tropical Fish

If you’re looking to bring a little of the ocean into your home but space is at a premium, smaller breeds of tropical fish can provide both a focal point and a pet that will always be happy to see you. Guppys, shrimp and even a single Betta don’t need much tank space but provide a beautiful display.

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5 must-know tips for keeping llamas and alpacas 0 55

Llamas and alpacas are unusual pets, but they are becoming more popular with homeowners who have adequate land and time to care for them. These gentle giants are obviously adorable, but they do require a lot of hard work and know-how. Below we share 5 pieces of pet care advice for keeping llamas and alpacas.

1. Outdoor space

Llamas and alpacas need outdoor space that is safe and fenced off. They need enough space to roam and the rule of thumb here is that for every four llamas, you should have an acre of land. Your choice of land is also important as they need to be able to graze. Therefore, if you live in an urban area, keeping llamas and alpacas really isn’t an option unless you have access to somewhere out of town.

2. The importance of specialist vet care

You need to have good links with your vet and they need to be knowledgeable in caring for these type of animals. It’s also important to know that they need regular monthly check-ups as they are prone to parasites. There is obviously a big cost implication to keeping llamas and alpacas, so you should be sure that you have adequate finances to care for them.

3. Stress relief

These animals make great pets as they are fantastic for helping to treat stress. Many individuals choose to keep llamas because they make wonderful therapy pets, especially for children with special needs and individuals with dementia. What’s important to know is that you do need more than one to cater for their own well-being.

4. Diet, fluids and vitamins

Llamas and alpacas forage for food and you need to allow them to do this on your property. You do need to watch their weight as they will eat pretty much anything. Ideally, their foods should consist of 10 to 12 percent protein, so it makes sense to test your grass hay. These animals also need additional minerals, which are easily bought and placed info feeders. Fresh water is also vital to help in the prevention of fungal and bacterial infections.

5. Shelter

These animals do need adequate outdoor shelter to keep them warm and dry. A three-sided shelter should suffice as long as it is deep enough. Alpacas and llamas are conditioned for cold weather, but they will need somewhere to keep them dry and out of the harsh sun.

Photo: Alpaca by TrotterFechan licensed under Creative commons 2

5 exotic pets you hadn’t considered owning 0 132


When we think about owning an unusual pet, we often think about snakes and lizards. They make great pets but there are so many unusual pets out there to choose from, so here’s five you might not have considered:


Octopuses are incredibly beautiful creatures and it is possible to keep them in a home aquarium. You’ll need a pretty large aquarium so consider dwarf or pygmy options as well. They need live food like shrimp and crab which can be expensive to buy, but on the plus side, you’ll spend hours watching them shape-shift and move around the aquarium. Be aware even with the best pet care, they only tend to live about 12 months.


A funny looking creature; a bit like a newt, and a bit like a Pokemon! With the right pet care, they’re really easy to keep as pets. They need a fairly dark aquarium, of at least 45 litres capacity, although you can put in low lighting if you want to watch them. Feed them bloodworm and brine shrimp, which you can buy frozen at pet food stores.

Painted turtle

One of the most popular unusual pets, these turtles live for up to 50 years! To keep this turtle well and happy you’re going to need a large tank with at least 100 gallons of water plus space for the turtle to bask out on land, which it can spend a lot of time doing. You can buy pellets for turtles to eat but also make sure they get their leafy greens and vegetables too!

Emperor scorpion

A fairly large and scary looking creature, the emperor scorpion lives for up to eight years. Scorpions are best observed, rather than handled due to their sting. Keep them alone as they tend to fight, and prefer their own company. Their preferred food is black and brown crickets, with mealworms as a treat!

African pygmy dormice

Looking a bit like a miniature squirrel this dormouse has a bushy tail as long as it’s body. Make sure you get two, preferably of the same sex! These mice need a secure home, as they try to escape often. They need a varied diet so feed them seeds, fruit and vegetables and protein such as mealworms and crickets.

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