Are There Any Safe Exotic Pets for Beginners?

If you were one of the millions of people who watched Tiger King, you might be dreaming of owning an exotic pet. Although joining the 10,000 people who own a tiger may be tempting, many other exotic pets are easier and safer to bring home. 

Owning an exotic pet lets you welcome an unusual animal into your house. Many exotic pets are legal to have and will thrive in your environment. 

This guide looks at the top exotic pets to add to your family and what you need to know about them. 


These safe exotic pets look like a combination of a hamster and a guinea pig. You’ll need to buy the degu in pairs as they are social creatures. Make sure you get degus of the same gender, or you’ll have many baby degus on your hands! 

When planning for your degu, you can use the same cage and toys a rat or ferret would use. Keep in mind that they are active in the daytime and sleep at night. 

This animal is illegal in certain states like Georgia, Connecticut, and California. Double-check your state’s rules on owning this animal before bringing one home. 


These unique pets look like a cute, pink salamander. They come from Mexico, but you can find them in many specialty pet stores. You can buy axolotl online for an even easier way to get one into your house. 

You don’t need a lot of skill to care for this pet. Make sure to buy a large tank and fill it with fresh water. The tank needs a good filter as this animal tends to make a mess. 

The axolotl loves to eat bloodworms, shrimp, and ground beef. Besides feeding them, you’ll need to regularly change their water and clean their tank. 


These interesting pets have quills on their heads, sides, and back with a furry belly. When threatened, they roll into a ball. With gentle practice, you can get them to stop this practice as they get more comfortable with you. 

These animals stay small, with an adult hedgehog only reaching eight inches long. They don’t need a lot of grooming or attention, but they do act up more at night. 

These pets need to have their own cages, as they don’t do well with other animals. Be aware that hedgehogs can transmit diseases like ringworm and salmonella to humans. 

Hyacinth Macaws 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful animal to call your own. These fun pets have beautiful colors and live a very long time. 

You’ll need a big enclosure for your macaw. These birds are brilliant and require a lot of daily attention. If they get too lonely or anxious, they can get very loud. 

Don’t let the size of these birds intimidate you. They are very affectionate creatures who can form an incredible bond with you. Make sure you have bird experience before making a macaw part of your family. 


This rodent isn’t hard to find and is not very difficult to take care of. Their large ears, plump bodies, and long tail will enchant you. Chinchillas are affectionate but can also be shy. 

If you own one of these animals, you’ll have to be extra observant of the temperature they live in. Chinchillas don’t do well in hot or humid environments. Make sure to keep their living space cool and dry, so they don’t get sick. 

Leopard Geckos

Are you hoping to add an exotic lizard to your home? If so, a leopard gecko is a popular and friendly lizard to own. 

You’ll need a large tank for your gecko to live in. If you choose to add ultraviolet light to your dank, make sure there is also a place for your gecko to hide. Your leopard gecko will live on a diet of insects you can find at most pet stores. 

Bearded Dragon

Another popular exotic pet to own as a beginner is a bearded dragon. These pets are calm, happy, and not hard to care for. 

You won’t need to worry about these lizards growing to a huge length, but you will need to make sure their tank is big enough. They should have both hot and cool areas in their tank to retreat to. You’ll feed your bearded dragon living insects and fresh vegetables. 

Like all reptiles, these animals can transmit salmonella to humans. To avoid this, always wash your hands after touching them. 


If you are someone who loves insects, a scorpion may be an exotic pet for you. These pets are easy to care for and don’t need much space. When you get a tank for your scorpion, make sure it is humid and warm enough. 

Scorpions like to eat crickets and drink fresh water. They are nocturnal animals, so make feeding them part of your nightly routine. 

These animals molt, which means they shed their outer shell. You don’t need to feed a scorpion when they are in the molting process. 

The downside of having a scorpion is that you can’t cuddle with it. If it stings you, its venom can cause a lot of pain. 

With Careful Thought, Owning Exotic Pets Can Be a Fulfilling Activity

Before buying any exotic pets, you need to do your research. Many exotic pets aren’t challenging to take care of, but some have specific needs. Checking your state laws before buying your exotic pet will ensure you don’t have an illegal animal. 

Do you already have a pet as part of your family? If so, check out our pet blogs today for more pet tips!

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