The Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook (2017-2018 edition) shows that over 13 percent of households in the United States owned an exotic pet at the year-end of 2016. Their data showed a 25 percent increase from 2011.
While Arizona has some of the strictest laws regarding exotic animal ownership, several pets still fall into the “exotic” category that you can own legally. Here are some of them:
1. Sugar Gliders
These are small marsupials native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. They were named sugar gliders because of their love for sweet foods and their ability to glide through the air.
In Arizona, sugar gliders are considered restricted live wildlife. This means that you need a license from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to own one.
Sugar gliders typically live for 12-15 years and require a diet of insects, fruits, and vegetables. In addition, they need plenty of exercise and stimulation, so a sugar glider is not the right pet for everyone. Unlike the traditional pets that need cat and dog vaccines, they do not require any vaccine.
These small rodents are native to the Andes mountains in South America. They have been domesticated for centuries and were once considered one of the most expensive pets in the world.
Chinchillas are legal to own in Arizona as long as they are not released into the wild. Their lifespan can be up to 20 years, and they consume hay, pellets, vegetables, and water.
They also need a large cage with plenty of room to run and climb. Chinchillas are very active and playful animals, so they need an owner willing to play with them and give them plenty of toys and enrichment.
Pythons are a type of snake native to Africa, Asia, and Australia. They are some of the world’s biggest snakes, with some species reaching lengths of over 20 feet.
In Arizona, pythons are also considered restricted live wildlife, so you must obtain a license from the AGFD (Arizona Game and Fish Department) to own one.
Pythons typically live for 10-20 years and require a diet of mice or rats. They also need a large enclosure with plenty of hiding places. Pythons are not recommended for first-time snake owners due to their size and care requirements. Also, you need to find a vet clinic (such as Cerbat Cliffs) that provides care for exotic pets in case they get sick.
Wallabies are tiny marsupials that are native to Australia. They look like miniature kangaroos and can reach lengths of up to 3 feet. You need a license from the Arizona Game and Fish Department to own one if you live in the state.
They can live up to 10-12 years. Their diet includes hay, pellets, vegetables, and water. They also need a large enclosure with plenty of room to run and jump.
5. Long-Eared and Pygmy Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are small mammals native to Africa, Europe, and Asia. There are two types of hedgehogs that you can own as a pet: long-eared and pygmy.
Hedgehogs typically live for 4-5 years and require a diet of insects, fruits, and vegetables. They also need a large enclosure with plenty of hiding places. They are nocturnal animals, so they may be active at night when you are trying to sleep. Read here for more info on how you can take care of your exotic animals.
Exotic pets can make great companions but are not suitable for everyone. Before you get one, make sure you do your research and find an animal that matches your lifestyle and personality. Also, find a vet clinic that provides care for exotic pets so you can get your new pet the medical attention they need.