Exotic Pets: Do your research before you buy!

Over the years, my husband and I have owned many different types of animals…..some rather common and others were considered slightly more exotic pets. So far, we have had snakes, lizards, ferrets, fish, dogs, birds, frogs and crayfish. Yes, we actually had crayfish as pets…they were cute, however they had a tendency to eat everything else that was in the tank with them…including the fish and frogs. That was a learning experience. Several years ago, my husband decided he wanted to get a bird and we started doing some research. (NEVER buy a pet without lots of research or you will end up with killer crayfish)  We considered the African Grey but they were ‘one person birds’ and not really a great pet for families. We looked at Cockatoos but they are very needy in terms of attention and with two small kids we knew our time would be a bit limited. We decided on the Sun Conure (AKA the Sun Parakeet)…playful, intelligent, beautiful and friendly. He’s also a screamer but we didn’t know that at the time! We found a decent breeder through a bird show in our area and several months later brought home our new baby bird:

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Exotic Pet sun conure

Petri (named by my daughter after the Pterodactyl in The Land Before Time) is everything we though he would be. He is incredibly smart and we have taught him several tricks. He will play fetch, roll over, and loves to lie on his back for belly rubs. The books were all right about what a great pet the Sun Conure makes. Apparently, lots of other people also know what a great pet the Sun Conure makes because I was shocked to learn that they are on the endangered species list! I actually OWN an endangered species! It is because of their popularity as exotic pets that their numbers are being threatened in the wild.

Think About This

exotic pet

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Exotic Pets: Photo Courtesy of Animal Planet


The Sun Conure isn’t the only pet listed on the endangered species list. In fact, many exotic pets are on the list of animals that are threatened in the wild. Think About This:  In the last three years, more than 650 million exotic animals were legally imported into the country. Then, you have the animals that come in ILLEGALLY. Most of those animals are brought into this country under horrible conditions and because they are wild caught are not considered an actual domestic animal. Their behavior can be a bit unpredictable and they do not make great pets but the status some people feel by owning an exotic pet is more important than the actual pet itself.

If you are considering an exotic pet as a fuzzy, feathered or scaly addition to your family, please make sure you do your research. The exotic pet trade is a $15 billion dollar business in the United States. Breeders and dealers often sell these animals over the Internet or in trade magazines. Looking into the requirements in terms of feeding and housing of your exotic pet is important but equally important is knowing where your exotic pet actually CAME from. Make sure you choose a reputable breeder who breeds animals already in captivity instead of plucking exotic pets from their wild habitat.

If you are considering getting an exotic pet, please check out the following resources first:

Learn about the ASPCA’s Position Statement on Exotic Animals as Pets. www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=adopt_exotics.


And remember…do your research! Every exotic pet that is brought into this country illegally is one less wild animal that is left in it’s native habitat. This not only threatens the species itself but throws the rest of it’s native environment off kilter as well, leaving it open to overpopulation, disease, and an assortment of other problems. Exotic pets are fun to own but only if you do your research first!



6 thoughts on “Exotic Pets: Do your research before you buy!”

  1. No exotic pets for us either. I hadn’t thought about them being brought into the US illegally though. Definitely something to do research about before purchasing.

  2. I have heard that Sun Conures make great pets. Yours is very pretty! We have a pet parakeet and he can say a few words and he can be quite loud at times. I would of never thought that a Sun Conure being an endangered species.. Loved your post

  3. We bought a bearded dragon on Craigslist a year ago knowing NOTHING about them only because our daughter loves dragons. Yikes! It arrived skinny and dirty. We immediately began researching and within 2 months our dragon was looking great. He is high maintenance. Little did we know! We visit the pet shop often for crickets and see exotic birds there. Never thinking they may be endangered! Thank you for this article.

    • I’m glad you found this helpful! I agree, bearded dragons are not easy critters to own! I do love our 2 beardies but I wish I had known just how much work they were going to be…driving to the store to get crickets once or twice a week can get old!


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