Wildlife Informer is reader-supported. When you click and buy we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What is Considered an Exotic Pet?

We hear the term “exotic pets” thrown around often and don’t think much about it, but what is considered an exotic pet? How do you define exotic pets? Well there are actually several ways to define the term exotic pet, but below is how I explain it and the definitions I like best.

What is considered an exotic pet?

An exotic pet is typically an animal that is:

  • Not a normal house cat or dog
  • Not domesticated and may be considered a wild animal
  • Unusual, rare, or unique
  • Often not native to where you live
  • Sometimes even illegal to own as a pet, or a special permit is needed

What are some examples of exotic pets?

Sugar Glider | Pixabay.com

Because the definition of the term exotic pets can be interpreted in several ways, it can include many different types of animals. Here are some of the most common exotic pets you here about.


  • Parrots
  • Cockatiels
  • Parakeets


  • Red-tailed Boa Constrictor
  • Ball Python
  • Burmese Python


  • Geckos
  • Chameleons
  • Monitors
  • Tegus
  • Bearded Dragons


  • Horned Frogs

Other amphibians

  • Axolotl
  • Salamanders

Arachnids and spiders

  • Tarantulas


  • Hamsters
  • Rats
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Chinchillas
  • Gerbils

Big cats

  • Tigers
  • Ocelot
  • Serval

Other mammals

  • Ferrets
  • Fennec Foxes
  • Sugar Gliders
  • Hedgehogs
  • Pot-bellied Pigs


  • Chimpanzee
  • Capuchins
  • Macaque
  • Tamarin
  • Squirrel Monkey
  • Marmoset

Do exotic animals make good pets?

Caged Tiger | Pixabay.com

It depends on the owner, but exotic pets can make great companions for many people. However some animals are too wild and are meant to live in the wild, like the tiger above.

Growing up I had many types of reptiles and amphibians as pets and really enjoyed having them and taking care of them. It taught me responsibility as a pet owner and I learned a lot about these unique animals.

They can be very high maintenance, and high-cost compared to domesticated animals and that should always be taken into consideration before deciding to own one.

So while I wouldn’t recommend just anyone to go out and buy a Burmese Python, an exotic pet can make a wonderful pet if you are a responsible owner that knows what you are getting into.

Pros and cons of owning an exotic pet


  • Unique and interesting to own
  • Good for people with pet allergies
  • The can have a very long life span
  • Often take up less space – better for smaller living spaces


  • Harder to care for, higher maintenance
  • More costly in most ways
  • Are often anti-social
  • Many people think they “belong in the wild”
  • Prone to carrying diseases


We’ve given you a definition to the question that many people ask “what is considered an exotic pet” along with several examples. Exotic pets aren’t right for everyone while for other people they make loving companions and in many cases for many years.

In the end you should do your research and choose an exotic pet that best fits your personality, living situation, and lifestyle. If it doesn’t work out it is much more difficult to put an exotic pet up for adoption over a cat or a dog. Which is exactly why Florida has a big snake problem in the Everglades.