We love cats and dogs—how could we not? Their fur, love, attention and personalities make them absolutely fantastic companions. But the two most popular pets aren’t the only ones who deserve some love. So we compiled a list of six other slightly unusual pets who are just as deserving of a fur-ever home.
But remember, unusual pets require unusual care
I’ll make no attempt to hide that rats are my absolute favourite pet. I know the general consensus is that rats are gross or creepy, but in reality, pet rats are the cutest things in existence. They’re basically like tiny dogs! They hop, steal food, and snuggle like champions–and are super easy to carry around on your shoulders.
Rats are pretty easy to care for, requiring a cage with toys, bedding, food and wheels for exercise—and they usually love to be cuddled. They’re the best pet to nap with; mine would often break out of their cages, not to cause mischief (though that did happen a lot), but to jump into bed and snuggle into my neck.
The hardest part about rat ownership is their tiny lives and respiratory health issues—they generally only live 2-3 years at most. But I promise you, for those 2-3, and many, many after, they’ll have your heart wrapped in their curly tails.
Remember: rats are very social creatures, and can become depressed alone–so always make sure to have more than one!
They’re probably the closest we can get nowadays to owning a dinosaur—so that fact alone will make them a great sell for kids.
Due to their small-to-medium size, they’re pretty easy to cater for, generally growing between 12 and 24 inches from head to tail, and live around 8-14 years in protected captivity. Bearded dragons usually live in desert climates, so they’re pretty hardy, but still require tender love and care to thrive. They’re low maintenance, and generally love to be cuddled with a great temperament if raised with good handling. Plus, even their name is cool!
Unfortunately, unlike The Little Mermaid’s Sebastian, most hermit crabs don’t talk, and certainly don’t sing under the sea with an underwater orchestra. But that doesn’t make them any less cool!
Hermit crabs are excellent pets. They’re easy to house—but can be very sensitive in their conditions. Hermit crabs require large aquariums, and high levels of humidity (about 75%) in their enclosures for optimum comfort. Humidity lower than 70% will cause the pets to suffocate, killing them slowly over several weeks or months.
I remember the first time I saw a turtle. I was absolutely mystified by their ability to hide themselves within their shell, and became even more interested in the creatures after discovering Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While your pet turtle might not eat pizza and fight crime, they will be pretty damn cute, as well as low maintenance. Plus, kids absolutely love them!
But remember: turtles require an enclosure with enough water for them to swim in, when they decide they want to take a dip.
While some alpacas can be very anxious and distrusting, others love human interactions—especially if you have apples! Alpacas are soft and absolutely adorable, though they do require a little different kind of care to the other pets on this list: they need space!
If you want to own alpacas, you need a property with an enclosed area large enough for them to roam, as well as shelter from the weather. You also have to accept that sometimes your alpaca might not be in a great mood—something they’ll clearly show through their body language, and spitting.
They also eat about 2% of their body weight each day—which works out to be around 27kg of grass hay per month each, so alpacas are not for the faint of heart or wallet.
While spiders personally make me hyperventilate, I’ve got to admit: these little guys are pretty cute. Surprisingly, tarantulas usually have a pretty good temperament: they’d prefer to run away than fight. However, these unusually furry critters can be skittish and show aggression when provoked—so treat them with love and respect, taking note of their behaviour.
Have you got an unusual pet? Let us know in the comments!
I’m a journalist with a passion for all things wacky and strange. Like me on Facebook (Zoe Simmons Journalism) and follow me on Twitter (@ItBeginsWithZ) for more!