“Dogs are man’s best friend.” Nothing against our canine companions, but this old bromide has a way of narrowing our perspective on what makes a good pet. But there are 8.7 million species of animals out there. That’s a whole menagerie of animals that can become your new best friend. Here are four exotic animals you didn’t know you could bring home.
Before purchasing any exotic pet, make sure to check your region’s laws regarding the species of pet you want to adopt. You also want to procure your pet through a humane source, not by traipsing out into the wild and stealing one from its natural habitat.
Between tiger sharks and skydiving spiders, Australia is home to some truly terrifying critters, so most people wouldn’t consider adopting anything from the outback. But the wallaby—the smaller, cuddlier cousin of the kangaroo—makes a fantastic pet. They require a large, outdoor enclosure and a lot of attention, but they’re also affectionate, fun, and relatively clean.
Can’t decide between a dog and a cat? Try picking both by picking neither. Fennec foxes, small chihuahua-sized foxes hailing from the Sahara, have a cat’s independence and house-training capabilities with the aesthetic of a dog. They may need an enclosure or kennel, but they can free-roam the house while you’re there to supervise.
Poison Dart Frog
Typically, you wouldn’t want to bring anything with the word “poison” in its name into your home. But these jewel-colored, Amazonian amphibians are only poisonous when they eat certain insects present in the wild. When bred in captivity, they’re harmless additions to your home. Still, it’s best to keep them as a “hands-off” pet since handling them too much can be harmful to their health.
Crocodiles are another exotic pet you wouldn’t think you could bring home, what with the razor-sharp teeth and all. Even so, experienced reptile owners have been bringing spectacle caimans into their homes for years. As juveniles, these animals are the size of your average lizard, but as adults, they can grow into six-foot-long behemoths. So you’ll need to put a little more effort into their enclosures than a coat of paint and a heat lamp.
It’s a jungle out there, so why not go off the beaten path when it comes to your choice of pet? Before you know it, the whole animal kingdom will be your best friend.