Top 3 exotic pets for children 0 32

Pet Syrian Hamster

Children don’t always want a run of the mill pet and often like to be adventurous in choosing their new playmate. You might think that exotic pets won’t make a good match for your child, but we’ve pulled together a list of the top three types of unusual pet for children.

Syrian Hamster

Syrian Hamsters are a more unusual breed of your standard hamster.

They love being handled, which is great for kids – once you’ve shown them how to do this properly. You should only get one, or if you want one per child, be sure to house them in separate cages as they’re very territorial and will fight.

They live for about 2 years. Feed your hamster a good quality hamster food and supplement their diet with some fresh fruit and vegetables but avoid citrus fruits as they’re too acidic.

Learn more about hamsters at our sister-site


Rats may not sound like a great pet for a child but they are friendly, active little creatures. They need to live together in pairs but get two of the same sex, otherwise you’ll have lots of baby rats too!

Rats love human company so are great for kids, and they’re pretty easy to look after. They just need a big enough indoor cage, and a nest box for sleeping, plus toys to keep them entertained when they’re on their own.

You can buy ready-made rat pet food at pet shops. They also like grains and vegetables and will need fresh water available.

Rats can live up to three years.


A chinchilla can live up to 15 years so is a big commitment for a child’s pet. Chinchilla’s need to be kept indoors in a cage of about 1m x 1.5m. They also like to be in pairs. They’re nocturnal, so consider this when choosing for a child.

Chinchillas will need exercise outside their cage at least once a day because they’re really active creatures. Feed them Chinchilla pellets which you can buy in pet stores. This will give them a lot of the nutrients they’ll need but they also need a constant supply of hay to munch on. You can give them raisins and sultanas for a treat.

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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.

Discover more unusual pets

3 lizards that are great for first-time owners 0 125


Unusual pets have become more popular and accessible in recent years, with many more people considering exotic pets than before. Reptiles have become particularly popular, with the range of lizards available in the UK wider than ever. Here, we’ll list a few of the best lizards for beginners in terms of pet care.

Bearded Dragons

The single most popular reptile on the market today, bearded dragons are docile and friendly, and have no problem being handled by humans. Aside from this quality, bearded dragons are also a manageable size when fully grown, with the largest species reaching around 60cm tip to tip. This means they’ll be large enough to handle with ease and safety, but not so large that caring for them becomes a burden.

Leopard Geckos

Geckos are another type of lizard that has become exceedingly popular with first-time reptile owners. There are many owners and dealers who strive to own as many different species of gecko as possible. Most geckos are fast, and the sticky pads on their toes mean they can scale walls and escape from handlers fairly easily. However, leopard geckos are slow, docile, and lack the sticky toe pads. This makes them an easy and beautiful addition to your first vivarium. Furthermore, leopard geckos are quite hardy, and not as susceptible to diseases. They’re also smaller than bearded dragons and other common domestic lizards, with adults typically reaching a maximum of 25cm. This makes it easy to set them up with a comfortable and compact vivarium while you get used to reptile care.


Like bearded dragons, uromastyx enjoy human contact, which makes them perfect for owners who have only ever cared for mammals before. Furthermore, unlike many other reptiles, they feed almost exclusively on plants. This makes them easy to shop for, and a no-brainer for anyone who’s squeamish about insects. Having said that, uromastyx can be a strain on your energy bill, requiring a basking spot kept at 35 degrees Celsius to stay happy and healthy. Still, if you can afford this and love the look of these distinctive lizards, a uromastyx can make a great introductory pet lizard.