Pet Guide: Best Exotic Pets for Children

green reptile

Discover the world of exotic pets for children! From guinea pigs to tarantulas, find the perfect companion. Subscribe now for more pet guides!

by Atomic Mommy Editors

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Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary adventure into the world of exotic pets? Buckle up, because we’re about to take a walk on the wild side! Forget about the usual suspects like dogs and cats, because we’re diving into a menagerie of unique and fascinating creatures that will captivate your child’s imagination.

From cuddly guinea pigs to slithery reptiles, and even some eight-legged friends, these extraordinary pets bring a whole new level of fun and learning to the table. So, grab your safari hat and let’s explore the wonderful world of exotic pets that will make your child’s heart skip a beat and their curiosity soar to new heights!

1. Guinea Pigs

Benefits for Children:

  • Low Maintenance: Guinea pigs are relatively low-maintenance pets, making them an excellent choice for children who are learning about pet care.
  • Affectionate: These gentle creatures often form strong bonds with their human caregivers, providing a sense of companionship.
  • Social Interaction: Guinea pigs thrive on social interaction, teaching children about empathy and the importance of companionship.
  • Educational: Caring for guinea pigs can teach kids about basic animal biology and health.

Bonus Tips:

  • Guinea pigs are best suited for homes with ample space, such as houses with dedicated play areas.
  • They can adapt to apartment living, but a spacious cage or dedicated playpen area is essential.
  • Activities include gentle petting, feeding, and allowing them to explore safe, enclosed spaces.

2. Large Pigs

Benefits for Children:

  • Pigs are intelligent animals, which can provide a fun and interactive experience for children.
  • They are sociable and can form strong bonds with their human companions, teaching children about friendship and companionship.
  • Pigs can be trained easily, allowing children to be actively involved in their care and training, fostering responsibility and discipline.
  • They have a playful nature, providing hours of entertainment and fun for children.
  • Pigs can teach children about empathy and compassion, as they are known to be highly sensitive and responsive to their environment.
  • Taking care of a pig can be a valuable learning experience for kids, teaching them about basic animal biology and health.
  • Pigs are gentle and generally safe to interact with, making them suitable for children of various ages.
  • Having a pig as a pet can instill a sense of pride and uniqueness in children, as pigs are not as common as other traditional pets like dogs or cats.
  • Pigs can live indoors or outdoors, depending on the space available, making them adaptable to different living environments.
  • Overall, pigs can offer children a wonderful opportunity for learning, responsibility, and companionship.

Bonus Tips:

  • Suitable Environments for Pigs:

    • Pigs are best suited to live in spacious and well-ventilated areas, such as rural farms or dedicated pig enclosures.
    • They require access to outdoor spaces where they can root, forage, and engage in natural behaviors.
  • Special Care for Pigs:

    • Pigs need a balanced diet consisting of grains, vegetables, and proteins to maintain their health.
    • Regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations are essential to prevent illnesses and ensure their well-being.
  • Activities Children Can Do with Pigs:

    • Supervised feeding: Children can assist in feeding pigs while learning about their dietary needs and proper portion sizes.
    • Grooming: Kids can help brush pigs’ coats, keeping them clean and fostering a bond with the animals.
    • Educational interactions: With proper guidance, children can learn about pig behavior, their role in agriculture, and the importance of responsible animal care.

3. Reptiles

selective focus photography of red and green reptile
Photo by Egor Kamelev on

Benefits for Children:

  • Educational: Reptiles offer children an opportunity to learn about cold-blooded animals, habitat design, and reptile behavior.
  • Low Allergenic: Reptiles are hypoallergenic, making them a suitable choice for families with allergies.
  • Independence: Reptiles require minimal social interaction, making them suitable for children who prefer observing animals from a distance.
  • Longevity: Many reptile species have a relatively long lifespan, providing a sense of continuity and responsibility.

Bonus Tips:

  • Reptiles need specialized enclosures with temperature and humidity control.
  • Space requirements vary, but larger reptiles may need more extensive enclosures.
  • Children can engage in activities like feeding, cage decoration, and supervised handling.

4. Hamsters

Benefits for Children:

  • Small Size: Hamsters are compact pets, making them suitable for families with limited living space.
  • Low Maintenance: They require minimal grooming and are relatively easy to care for.
  • Nocturnal: Hamsters are active at night, which can be appealing to children who are more available during the evening hours.
  • Teaches Responsibility: Caring for a hamster helps kids develop a sense of responsibility and empathy.

Bonus Tips:

  • Hamsters can thrive in smaller living spaces like apartments.
  • Provide a hamster wheel for exercise and chew toys to prevent overgrown teeth.
  • Children can interact with their hamsters by gentle handling and supervised playtime.

5. Hermit Crabs

brown and white sea creature on the body of water
Photo by Tom Fisk on

Benefits for Children:

  • Unique Pets: Hermit crabs are intriguing creatures and can introduce children to the world of crustaceans.
  • Low Maintenance: They require minimal daily care and can be left alone for extended periods.
  • Educational: Hermit crabs provide an opportunity to learn about marine life and adaptations.
  • Interactive: Children can observe hermit crabs changing shells and creating burrows.

Bonus Tips:

  • Hermit crabs are ideal for smaller living spaces like apartments and flats.
  • Provide a suitable enclosure with a variety of shell options and a shallow water dish.
  • Children can engage with hermit crabs through shell changing observations and occasional handling.

6. Birds (Budgerigars or Cockatiels)

Benefits for Children:

  • Sociable: Budgerigars and cockatiels are known for their social nature and can form strong bonds with their human companions.
  • Educational: Caring for birds teaches children about avian behavior, diet, and communication.
  • Communication Skills: Birds can mimic words and sounds, helping children improve their language and listening skills.
  • Entertaining: Birds are known for their playful antics and can provide hours of entertainment.

Bonus Tips:

  • Birds require a dedicated living space within a home, as they need room to fly and exercise.
  • Interaction with children is essential to keep them stimulated and happy.
  • Activities include talking to the birds, teaching them tricks, and providing toys for mental stimulation.

7. Tarantulas

Benefits for Children:

  • Fascination with Arachnids: Tarantulas can spark a child’s interest in the world of arachnids and biology.
  • Low Maintenance: They require minimal attention, making them a suitable choice for children with busy schedules.
  • Educational: Tarantulas can teach kids about arachnid anatomy, behavior, and the importance of respecting all creatures.
  • Independence: Tarantulas are solitary animals, allowing children to observe them without the need for constant interaction.

Bonus Tips:

  • Tarantulas are suitable for smaller living spaces, like apartments, as they are kept in secure terrariums.
  • Ensure that the terrarium has proper ventilation, substrate, and hiding spots.
  • Children can observe tarantulas’ behavior, feeding, and molting processes.

8. Scorpion

close up photo of spider
Photo by Michael Willinger on
  • Fascination with Arachnids: Scorpions can spark a child’s interest in the world of arachnids and biology.
  • Low Maintenance: They require minimal attention, making them a suitable choice for children with busy schedules.
  • Educational: Scorpions can teach kids about arachnid anatomy, behavior, and the importance of respecting all creatures.
  • Independence: Scorpions are solitary animals, allowing children to observe them without the need for constant interaction.
  • Unique Pet: Owning a scorpion can give children a sense of pride and uniqueness, as they are not as common as traditional pets like dogs or cats.
  • Space Requirement: Scorpions can easily live in smaller living spaces like apartments, as they are kept in secure terrariums.
  • Observing Behavior: Children can observe scorpions’ behavior, such as hunting, digging, and molting, providing a hands-on learning experience.

Bonus Tips:

Special Foods for Scorpions:

  • Insects: Scorpions primarily feed on small live insects such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms.
  • Feeder Insects: It is important to provide a varied diet, including other feeder insects like superworms and waxworms.
  • Gut-loaded Insects: Feed insects with nutrient-rich foods before offering them to the scorpion for optimal nutrition.
  • Avoid Toxic Prey: Avoid feeding scorpions toxic insects like fire ants or beetles, as they can harm the scorpion.

Equipment Needed for Scorpions:

  • Terrarium: Secure terrarium with a well-ventilated lid to prevent escape and maintain the desired temperature and humidity.
  • Substrate: Provide a suitable substrate for burrowing, such as coconut fiber or sand.
  • Hiding Spots: Include various hiding spots like rocks, bark, or small caves for the scorpion to feel secure.
  • Heating and Lighting: Use an under-tank heating pad or heat lamp to create a temperature gradient. Scorpions are nocturnal and do not require UVB lighting.
  • Water Dish: Provide a shallow water dish for drinking and maintaining humidity.

Scorpions to Avoid Bringing Home as Pets:

  • Highly Venomous Species: Avoid keeping highly venomous species like the Deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus) or Arizona Bark Scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) as pets due to their potent venom and potential danger to humans.
  • Large Species: Some larger species, like the Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator), may require more specialized care and handling due to their size and potential defensive behavior.
  • Wildlife or Protected Species: It is crucial to avoid capturing and keeping scorpions from the wild, as it may harm natural populations and be illegal in many areas. Purchase scorpions from responsible breeders.

Please note that scorpions require specific care and handling protocols. It is essential to research and understand the specific requirements of the species you intend to keep as a pet.

Activities for Children with Exotic Pets

Beyond basic care, there are various activities children can enjoy with their exotic pets:

  1. Observation: Encourage children to spend time observing their pets, noting behaviors, eating habits, and any changes in appearance or mood.
  2. Feeding: Involve kids in the feeding process, teaching them about proper nutrition and portion sizes.
  3. Habitat Maintenance: Teach children about the importance of keeping the pet’s habitat clean and well-maintained.
  4. Handling (when appropriate): Under adult supervision, children can learn how to handle their exotic pets safely and gently.
  5. Educational Projects: Engage in educational projects related to the pet’s species, such as creating a habitat diorama or researching their natural habitat.

In Conclusion

Introducing children to exotic pets can be a rewarding and educational experience. Each exotic pet offers unique benefits, from teaching responsibility to fostering empathy and curiosity. When selecting an exotic pet for your child, consider factors like living space and your child’s preferences.

By involving children in the care and observation of their exotic pets, parents can create a lasting bond, provide valuable learning opportunities, and inspire their children’s imaginations. Happy pet ownership!

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