If you’re interested in owning an exotic pet but you have children, you need to tread carefully.
Not all exotic pets will be kid-friendly.
What are the exotic pets to avoid?
Anything poisonous, such as snakes and spiders, should be avoided, especially if your children are too young to realize the danger of these animals. Other animals that can be aggressive, such as monkeys when they reach sexual maturity, are best not to keep as pets if you have kids.
That said, there are plenty of exotic pets that are safe for your kids and which will bring a rewarding experience for your curious children who want a pet more intriguing than a domesticated one.
With that in mind, let’s look at the best exotic pets for your children.
Best Exotic Pets For Kids
These are cute and soft, and they are rarely known to bite, which makes them safe for your kids to be around and interact with.
Another benefit of guinea pigs is that they are active during the night as well as day, so your kids can interact with them when they’re awake.
Children of various ages love being able to cuddle their pets, and guinea pigs love to be petted and scratched.
Your kids are sure to love sugar gliders.
They’re interesting pets to own, partly due to how they can jump from one surface to another thanks to their skin that folds from their wrists to their sides – when they do this it looks like they’re flying!
Known as “pocket pets,” once they get used to being around their humans they will love to climb into their pockets.
They can be trained to do this with enough patience and persistence. Your children should be instructed to hold sugar gliders gently because they’re very sensitive.
However, they’re sure to have lots of fun with these exotic animals because sugar gliders are very playful and social.
These geckos are striking with their yellow coloring and black spots, but kids will love them because they move slowly and they like to be held.
They don’t become aggressive easily and children will be entertained by how these reptiles love to walk across their hands.
Leopard geckos are nocturnal, so kids won’t always be able to spend a lot of time with them.
That said, they’re docile animals and as long as you tell your children to treat them gently, they’ll get along just fine.
Another bonus of letting kids have leopard geckos is that these reptiles can live for up to 20 years! This makes them great pets, especially if your children become attached to them.
While you might not think of bringing rats into the house, there are many good reasons why these exotic pets make excellent companions for children.
They are very intelligent and can be trained to do various things, such as sit, stand, and even shake. They love being around people.
After a while of bonding with your children, rats will be letting them hold them and sitting on their shoulders while they do their homework.
If your child has experience with having dogs as pets, a rat will be a great alternative because of how affectionate it can be.
These reptiles have the perfect temperament to be considered safe around children.
They love being held and they’re also easy to look after. Bearded dragons need to be fed insects and worms, such as horn worms, crickets, and super worms, as well as vegetables such as mangos, okra, papaya, and sweet potatoes, which your kids will love to feed them!
These animals get used to a routine, so setting times for your children to play with your bearded dragon can help them to bond with each other.
Exotic Animals To Avoid If You Have Kids
Although they seem perfect for kids because they’re relatively low-maintenance, turtles are known to carry salmonella, bacteria that can be dangerous to your family.
In fact, it’s been said that children under the age of eight shouldn’t have turtles as pets.
This is because children who are very young don’t always follow proper hygiene habits, such as washing their hands after making contact with the turtle or any surfaces the turtle has been on.
Salmonella infections can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps.
That said, if your child is old enough to practice healthy hygiene habits and is older than eight, they could have turtles as pets.
Although they are cute, ferrets are not safe to have around very young kids.
If your child has his or her heart set on owning a ferret, it’s always advisable to ensure that they are older than five years old as this ensures they’re at a lower risk of getting a serious injury from ferret bites.
Ferrets are quite fussy when it comes to how they’re handled, and since children tend to make mistakes if they’ve never been around ferrets, this could result in bites.
In addition, ferrets are curious and make excellent escape artists, which could be difficult for children to manage, unless you’re going to be their primary caregiver.
While it might sound crazy to say that rabbits aren’t a good choice of pet for your kids, they’re really terrified of being around people.
They tend to wiggle and run away if you try to hold them, which can cause distress to the animals. This can also be very upsetting for your children who will want to hold and love furry, big-eared rabbits.
What To Do If Your Child Is Afraid Of Exotic Pets
If you already have an exotic pet and your child is afraid of it, there are ways to help them feel better about the animal and even learn to love it.
Here is how to help your children become comfortable around exotic pets while still being safe around them.
- Keep them at a distance from the animal. Slowly introducing your child to the exotic pet will help them get used to them. Whether the animal is in an enclosure or cage, the child should watch the animal from a distance for a while to see what it does and learn its behavior.
- Let the child watch you interact with the animal. Whether you’re picking it up, petting it, or feeding it, when you spend time with your exotic animal let your child watch you do so. This will show the child that the animal isn’t dangerous, as well as teach it how to behave around the animal so as not to cause it distress.
- Teach the child about the animal’s nature. While a monkey or reptile might initially frighten your child, if you teach your child about what the animal’s about as well as its nature, feeding habits, requirements, and so on, this will help to remove your child’s fear about the animal. As mentioned above, you should also let the child simply watch the animal from afar.
- Teach the child about pet safety. Of course, if you have an exotic pet it’s never going to be domesticated and this is something to teach your children. In addition, teach them about how to be safe around the animal. If you own a snake or lynx, for example, it’s essential for your child to always maintain a distance from it. Not all exotic pets want to be cuddled!
- Teach your child to treat the animal with respect. You should lead by example when it comes to teaching your child how to look after exotic pets, such as by being gentle and respectful with them. Your kids could also help you take care of the pet, such as by cleaning out its cage or feeding it, which is a great way to make them feel comfortable around it.
- Make sure you always supervise your exotic pets and kids. You never know what can happen when you’re not around and children can make mistakes when dealing with pets. While children could be left alone with certain exotic pets once they are used to them, such as rats, guinea pigs, and fish, others can potentially be dangerous. For example, if your child is a bit rough when handling a sugar glider, this could cause the animal to feel scared and bite the child. Being around to guide the child can prevent such problems.
Exotic pets can be exciting and stimulating pets for kids, who will love trying to bond with them.
That said, not all exotic pets and kids inherently get along.
In this article, we’ve outlined the best exotic pets for kids, as well as featured some exotic animals you should avoid bringing home if you’re a parent.
Ultimately, by adopting the tips and advice we’ve outlined, you can ensure that your exotic pets and kids live in harmony.Last updated on: