Looking After Exotic Pets

Seeking advice from specialists and ensuring purchase from a specialised exotic pet shop, will help you to understand the needs of the creature and the responsibilities you will face as its keeper. All pets come with a great deal of responsibility and commitment and when selecting an exotic species it is imperative that you know just what you are getting and what to expect right from the start.


Getting it Right

Providing the correct equipment and a suitable environment for your exotic pet is a must. It is essential that you are aware of and understand the needs of your pet and have everything in place prior to bringing your pet home. Many exotic pets require additional heating and lighting, some such as tree dwelling creatures, need a home which provides more vertical space, some such as lizards and snakes need a range of temperatures within their enclosure to allow them to bask in heat and then move to a cooler spot.
Keepers of exotic pets will also need to provide environmental enrichment to their habitat, such as rocks, shallow bathing areas, branches, anything which facilitates the natural behaviour of the creature and allows it to hide should it want to or bask if it chooses. Preparation and planning are essential to enable you to set up the correct environment for your exotic pet before you bring it home.

The Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act 2007 has brought about considerable changes to animal welfare law and pet owners responsibility, it covers what are often called the 'Five Animal Freedoms', which cover the requirements of owners to provide the five basic needs. These are:

  • Freedom from discomfort- a suitable environment, correct sized housing/ shelter, temperature, and somewhere in accordance with the species and its needs.
  • Freedom from hunger and thirst- a proper and balanced diet that meets the needs of the species- this also includes providing fresh water.
  • Freedom to express its normal behaviour- making sure the animal has enough space, proper facilities and the company of other animals of their own kind if deemed normal for the species.
  • Freedom from fear and distress- ensuring it feels safe and care with treatment avoids mental suffering or stress.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease- by providing the proper care and preventing them from getting ill or injured by making sure that they are taken to the vets if sick or injured.

Whichever exotic pet you choose to have, you should always give full commitment to looking after it and ensure that its health and wellbeing are catered for.