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13 Best Exotic Pets that are Legal to Own

Exotic pets are way cooler than the traditional pets people are known to keep. They can also be fun to play with and some even make great animal companions. Unfortunately, not all exotic pets can be legally owned. You can indeed get into trouble with the law if you get an animal that has been banned by your state’s law.

This article focuses on the 13 best exotic pets that are legal to own. Before proceeding with this, though, it is important to touch on the list of illegal exotic pets.

Illegal Exotic Pets

Depending on the state to live in, some exotic animals are likely prohibited from being kept as pets. If you live in Hawaii, though, just assume any exotic animal is illegal as the state has the toughest animal laws in the US.

The list of exotic pets that are illegal to own in America mostly includes bats, sugar gliders, big cats, skunks, hedgehogs, penguins, slow lorises, fennec foxes, monkeys, quaker parrots, Bengal cats, and wolves.

Some pets like ferrets and Tokay geckos can’t really be categorized as illegal since they are common pets in households across the US; there are, however, some restrictions you may want to check out before keeping these creatures.

Now that that has been taken care of, it’s time to proceed to the 13 best exotic pets to own legally.

  1. Bearded Dragon


This isn’t just an awesome exotic pet, it is also one of the best pet reptiles to own. It is a cool animal, and despite what its disposition suggests, it is quite gentle too. If you want an exotic pet you will be able to handle, then this should definitely be your first pick. Do be careful when carrying it, though, as it has sharp claws that may accidentally scratch you.

Caring for a bearded dragon isn’t stressful. It does need a cage that is well-built to resemble its natural habitat and also a feeding schedule that won’t be neglected.

  1. Piranha

If you’re into fishes but think goldfishes and the likes are pretty lame, then this small carnivorous aquatic beast is the best pet for you. Piranhas feed on tiny fishes, insects, and worms and actually prefer to hunt their meals. This means you have to consistently provide live prey for your pet to feed on.

You will also have to clean its tank more regularly as the sharp-toothed fish is likely to create more waste than conventional pet fishes.

  1. Scorpion

If you’re some sort of daredevil that doesn’t mind being stung by a poisonous little creature then you can get a scorpion. Who knows, you may go on to become scorpion king…or queen. On a serious note, you’ll probably die if you get stung.

Still, a scorpion is a cool exotic pet you can keep. It actually requires very little effort since you won’t probably be handling it. Just make sure its cage is kept clean and the creature is regularly fed.

  1. Chinchilla


This little guy is basically an exotic alternative to a hamster. It is one of the best low maintenance pets that like to cuddle. It is an awesome pet you can get if you live in an apartment. It can also be an ideal exotic pet for a kid. You have to teach the kid how to properly care for the animal, though, because its needs are quite different from those of a hamster.

  1. Tarantula

Tarantulas are basically the Goliath of spiders. If those tiny web-shooting creatures make you shiver then this sub-species will certainly give you a seizure. If you’re cool with spiders, though, then this is definitely an amazing pet to keep and one of the best exotic pets out there.

  1. Hermit Crab


Crustacean animals are among the most exotic creatures you’ll ever find. Some are also incredible food…sorry pets. Unfortunately, a lot of animals in this category are illegal to own as pets. Thankfully, the hermit crab isn’t among.

There is probably no cooler animal than this crab species, which secures abandoned shells belonging to other animals and uses them as armor to protect it from predators. Due to its sharp claws, it may not be ideal for handling; still, it is an awesome pet to keep.

  1. Chinese Water Dragon


This awesome lizard has the potential to be an amazing pet. It is gentle but can also be playful. It is a visual spectacle that is quite alluring to look at.

Caring for this medium-sized lizard can be tricky as it requires a tank with similar conditions to its natural habitat. Oh, and there must be lots of water in its tank, after all, it is called the water dragon for a reason.

  1. Iguana

If you’re looking to increase your level of badassery, then the iguana is just the exotic animal you need. It is basically the big brother of the water dragon, except more fierce-looking. Don’t be fooled by its disposition, though, it is a gentle animal that rarely gets violent.

You do need to get a massive tank if you intend keeping this creature as a pet, and you must also ensure that it is properly taken care of.

  1. Tokay Gecko


This is perhaps the most ideal exotic pet you can get if you’re a person that is cautious about safety. It is definitely one of the best pets for kids under 10. Like most geckos, it is nocturnal so you’ll have to adjust your schedule to suit the animal, which shouldn’t be difficult.

  1. Capybara


If you think guinea pigs are not big and exotic enough then this massive rodent-looking animal should be a suitable alternative. There are a lot of things to consider when acquiring this animal as a pet.

Firstly, it is a very social animal, so you’ll probably have to get more than one. Another thing to look at is its living condition. Being a semi-aquatic animal, the capybara needs a home with a stream or river nearby; so if you don’t have such living facilities, just don’t bother with this animal.

  1. Russian Tortoise

Tortoises are certainly fascinating animals, though, most are just too large and wild to be raised as pets. The Russian tortoise is, however, smaller when compared with others, which is what makes it an ideal exotic pet.

It does have a lifespan of about 50 years so if you have commitment issues, it may not be a good pick for you.

  1. Stick Insect

For insect guys, you’re also covered in the domain of exotic pets. The stick insect is one of the best exotic pets you can keep as it takes very little space and requires minimal care.

You should, however, ensure that its cage is modified to match the conditions in its natural habitat.

  1. Macaw

This wild parrot is a very playful bird that ranks among the best exotic pets you can legally own. Unlike most birds that pretty much prefer to mind their business, the macaw is an affectionate bird capable of developing a bond with its owner.

The numbers of this species are dwindling in the wild, though, so keeping one in captivity may not be morally right. If you, however, have a conscience that is as thick as the macaw’s beak then you will probably sleep well at night.

49's Team

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