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6 of the Best Exotic Pets for Life on Long Island

Making Long Island Life a Bit More Exotic...

Regardless of where you live in Long Island, you're never too far away from nature or a nice park. But when you get home after a long day of work, it can sometimes feel like the grass is always greener on the other side. For those of us who desire a closer encounter with nature of a foreign kind, having an exotic pet at home can be an exciting way to satisfy this longing.

But hey, what do we at LIBEVC ,who treat exotic pets and get to see the joy these creatures bring to their owners, know? It turns out that a 2012 census found that 1.1 million pets call NYC home, sweet home. So that says something, of course— and the number doesn’t even include all of Long Island!

So which exotic pet should you bring home to Long Island?

Before you head to the animal shelter or pet store to choose your very own exotic pet, the veterinary team here at LIBEVC wants to help you think about which pets will do well in your home.

To help you narrow down the options, start by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How much space do I have?

  • How much money am I comfortable spending on a pet per month?

  • Do I want a pet that my children can interact with?

  • Can I deal with the smell?

  • If I live in an apartment, am I allowed to have a pet?

  • (This one you will have to ask your landlord)

  • If I want a pet that needs a controlled environment, can I provide that?

Since we know it can be tough to decide and not everyone has all the space in the world, the exotic pet lovers here at LIBEVC have some suggestions.

Here is a list of 5 exotic pets that we think will do well in your Long Island home:

1. Chinchillas

Hamster Long Island

Chinchillas are sweet animals with lots of personality. They don't need a lot of maintenance and though they require a decent-sizes cage, it will not take up an entire room. They might leave a lot of dust around their cages due to the dust baths they take to maintain their soft fur, but sweeping on a regular basis is a good habit for anyone! If you have a 9-5 job, and perhaps a long commute to Manhattan, your nocturnal chinchilla will be awake when you get home to keep you company while you make dinner. With the proper TLC, chinchillas have long lifespans, living up to around 15 years.

Learn more about chinchillas.

2. Ferrets

If you have energetic children at home begging for a pet, a ferret might be just the right choice. Just be sure to ferret-proof your house first so that you can let him or her out of the cage to sniff around and play at least once a day. Ferrets like to take small items and hide them, so this could also be a great way to help your kids learn to always pick up their toys. And while ferrets are happiest in a relatively large cage, at the end of the day it's still just a cage, and they are pretty low-maintenance exotic pets.

3. Bearded Dragons

Reptiles can actually make great pets in small apartments. We have a special soft spot for bearded dragons, otherwise known as “beardies.” These adorable reptiles spend most of their days inside their tanks, but they are known to enjoy hanging out perched on their owner's shoulders and going for walks. With a bearded dragon, the most important issue to take into consideration before you decide on a beardie (or any reptile) is whether you can maintain the right climate for them to survive in your home. On one hand, caring for a bearded dragon can get quite expensive since they need special warming bulbs to be left on for a significant part of the day. On the other hand, they mainly eat salad, so maybe the expenses even out.

Learn more about bearded dragons.

4. African Clawed Frogs

Want an easy pet? Check out the African clawed frog. For one, these particular frogs don't require any kind of special lighting. They are happy as, well, frogs, with life at room temperature. They supply a feeling of companionship, and their hiding and swimming activities can be a great source of relaxing entertainment for the whole family. (Just gather round the cage and watch them jump and paddle.)

Maintaining these frogs does entail cleaning their aquariums once a week, but that's not asking for too much. African clawed frogs are the perfect exotic pet if you want a pet who won’t take up much space and most certainly will not shred your couch to pieces.

5. Rats

You see them scurrying around areas that you don’t necessarily want to be in, so why on earth would you willingly bring one home? Because while rats get a bad rap particularly in NYC, they happen to be very intelligent creatures. They form bonds with their owners and can be quite friendly. They don’t shed, don’t take up much room and won’t break the bank. Plus - kids love ‘em! If you do decide to go bold and get a rat, it is extremely important to purchase your new buddy from a legitimate breeder (as is true for every exotic pet), because you don't want to take home a diseased rat with an aggressive temperament. Most breeds range for around $5, making it a space-saving pet, and an affordable one as well.

What about all the other exotic pets?

There are many exotic animals that would make great pets in small spaces. This is only a short list of a few options to give you an idea of what to think about. Once you make your decision, head on over to the nearest exotic animal vet to make sure your new feathered, scaled or furry friend has a clean bill of health

Want to ask us questions about what exotic pet to buy?

Contact the vets at Long Island Bird & Exotic Pet Vet.

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