16 of the World’s Most Sought After Exotic Pets

Some people are content to own regular pets such as cats, dogs, birds, and gerbils while others prefer the more exotic, such as chinchillas, sugar gliders, monkeys, pythons etc., wanting the status of having owned an exotic animal.

It is the owner’s choice if they want to take on the many responsibilities that are involved in taking care of an exotic animal. And for those who seek the exotic, unusual and lavish, these pets can help fulfill that desire while adding to one’s status symbol.

There are many exotic pets that are legal to purchase [some even require special licensing] under the correct circumstances, ranging in price from approximately $800 to $138,000.

Most of them are available whether you are rich or poor, however all of these pets demand high attention and lots of time.

Considering how cool these pets are it may be even cooler to get them the best environment for them to live in, which also may be a bit expensive. Either way, you may need to get a bump in your cash flow to make it work.

Bengal Cat

Bengal cat

No relation to the Bengal tiger, the Bengal cat is a hybrid creation featuring pre-designed genetic characteristics that are crossbred with the likes of something more exotic, such as the Asian leopard cat.

The Bengal cat is a fun loving, always on the go cat that you won’t find resting very often.

The result is a new feline breed that acts much like a mellow domestic, but looks like he just walked off the Savannah plains.

Savannah Cat

savannah cat

Bred in a similar process to the Bengal Cat, the Savannah Cat is bred by mating the African Serval with a smaller domestic cat.

The Savannah inherently has a much more difficult breeding process, because an African Serval is 40lbs and undomesticated and breeding it with a domestic house cat is problematic.

Concurrently, the gestation periods between the two animals are different.

Chinese Crested Hairless Puppies

Chinese Crested Hairless Puppies

These chinese crested hairless puppies weigh about 5 to 12 lbs and are very vivacious, alert and friendly animals. Considered to be one of the rarest dogs, these dogs are prone to sunburning on a hot and clear day.

The dogs first originated in Africa and the animals is most often found to be a very pleasant companion that lives for over 10 to 12 years.

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth macaw

The hyacinth macaw weighs in at four pounds, and the world’s largest parrot species also enjoys a tremendous four-foot wingspan.This South American native mates for life, is easily domesticated and will probably outlive you. In the wild, he eats the nuts from two kinds of palm trees, but one of them, the acuri, he only eats after it has passed through the digestive system of another animal.

Kinkajou

Kinkajou

This nocturnal rain forest mammal is friendly and affectionate by nature and, therefore, enjoys some popularity among exotic-pet owners.

Despite their sharp, carnivorous teeth they eat bananas, eggs, mangoes, fruit loops, marshmallows, and gummi bears. This preserves their wicked, bacteria-loaded bite for when threatened or scared.

Sugar Glider

Sugar glider

These popular little nocturnal marsupials from northeast Australia weigh no more than about five ounces.

Their lively and curious nature helps them to bond easily with humans. Unfortunately, they’re also social and nocturnal, and want your attention when you can’t give it – at night.

For that reason, it is recommended that you keep at least two.Owners should also provide an environment with branches or vines to satisfy the sugar glider’s desire to climb.

Snow Macaque

snow macaque

The Japanese Macaque, also known as the Snow Monkey, is a terrestrial Old World monkey species native to Japan.

The Snow Macaque is considered a threatened species as we continue to encroach on more and more of the animal’s habitat. Due to this fact, coveted licenses and special permits are mandated to own this very rare animal.

The Snow Macaque is a smaller primate with a lifespan of over 25 years with the distinguishing feature of a hairless red face.

Squirrel monkey

Squirrel monkey

Hailing from Central and South America, the squirrel monkey is omnivorous, measuring in at about 2.75 pounds; they have a number of predators, which is one reason they run with a posse that can number as high as 500.

Speaking proportionately, they have the largest brain of all the primates (that includes humans). Couple that intelligence with a social and affectionate nature, and things like house-training come relatively easy to this monkey.

Mona monkey

Mona monkey

This West African native is an Old World monkey who peaks out at about 15 pounds and lives into his early 20s.

Like any other monkey, this mona monkey also needs to move those crazy limbs. Owners should provide them with an enclosure that permits climbing, swinging, goofing around, and even hiding.

The most difficult job may be monkey-proofing your home, since he can outsmart or out-jiggle most baby-proof methods.

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

Eerily analogous to humans in life span, behavior and even DNA (we share 94%), chimps have a hold on human fascination and attract the likes of scientists, zoo-goers and potential pet owners.

This remarkable similarity also hints toward why they make for such problematic and unmanageable pets. Chimpanzee can be house-trained, but he’s intelligent enough to have a mind of his own. If he wants to raid the fridge, but fails to outwit you, his 115-pound frame has another option- take it by force.

His average upper-body strength is five times that of a human. With a more sophisticated gripping capacity he could show you up at the gym, but why bother? He can just maul you to death.

Chinchilla Lanigera

Chinchilla

Chinchilla‘s lifespan is typically about 15 years, but 18-22 years is not uncommon. Its Body length is about 10-14 inches; tail is another 5-6 inches or so.

With gentle handling from a young age most chinchillas will become quite tame and bond closely with their owners, although sometimes they do not like to be held or cuddled.

They are very active and playful. Chinchillas can be kept singly, and usually will do fine as same sex pairs especially if they are littermates or introduced at a young age.

White Lion Cubs

White Lion Cubs

According to Forbes (America’s Priciest Pets), as a pet this cub is the world’s costliest animal. The white lion is not a species unto itself; he’s your standard lion with a potentially fatal flaw. The flaw is a recessive gene that alerts both potential prey (wildebeests, hippos and adult elephants) as well as predators (hunters) to his presence.

The problem with raising a cub is the same as raising some puppies — they grow up. In the case of a white lion, that can mean reaching 500 pounds.

Ball Python

Ball python

There are two types of people: those who like snakes as pets and those who don’t.

It’s doubtful that the red eyes or exotic colors of some of these rare variations will entice the uninterested.

After all, ownership in this case means keeping your 5-foot-long ball python in a 30 gallon tank and feeding it dead mice, rats or gerbils every 10 days for the next 30 years.

Reticulated Python

Reticulated python

Hailing largely from Thailand and Indonesia, reticulated pythons represent the longest known species of snake in the animal kingdom.

How do you keep this monster happy? Start with a fairly large tank for a habitat in which humidity levels and high temperatures must be regulated with some discipline.

Breeders recommend getting a second person to help you feed your reticulated albino type II tiger python ; someone needs to call an ambulance when it mistakes you for a carcass.

Lavender Albino Python Female

Lavender Albino Python

This Albino is very different from the more common form of albinism. The white areas have a nice lavender color and the eyes are a very deep, ruby red. The trait is a simple recessive and is represented in captivity at this time.

Also available from python breeder Bob Clark, the rarity has fueled demand.

Leopard Gecko

Leopard gecko

Leopard geckos may live about 20 years. Leopard geckos reach approximately 8-10 inches in length.

Leopard geckos are commonly yellow and white with black spots (hatchlings start out more striped, and gradually change to the spotted appearance). There are several color and pattern (e.g. jungle) variations.


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  1. Mark says:

    Chinese Crested Dogs are NOT exotic animals.. they have the same DNA as regular dogs.. and are not that rare…I have looked into owning them myself except they often have teeth issues requiring major surgery. Many exotics do not benefit by being pets, the way dogs do, and people only desire to own then because they think it will make them cool.

  2. samia says:

    Chinese crested dogs are really no different from any other breed, with the exception of skin care. I currently share a home with two of them, and they are a very loveable source of happiness.

  3. jrd says:

    Some of these are NOT exotic pets, and exotic pets are wrong, anyway.

  4. Elias says:

    Tons of people have leopard geckos, I have one my self, so I don’t think they’re one of the most sough after pets. They’re not that hard to find.

  5. Nancy says:

    I completely agree with you mark

  6. Ben says:

    this is absolutely sick… most of these animals are endangered or under threat, regardless of that, they are mostly exotic and WILD animals, and should be left in the WILD.

  7. kelly says:

    NO ONE should own any of the animals.They are wild and deserve to live in the wild not in a cage eating Gummi Bears….give me a break…we were not meant to keep these animals as pets..its wrong!

  8. Britt says:

    Great post. I don’t think leopard geckos are very rare, at least not in the US pet market. They are captively bred all over the country, and sell in pet stores for about $50-100.

  9. Debra says:

    Ditto Chinese Cresteds not be that unusual. If you want to put an unusual dog breed on your list, consider the Xoloitzcuintle. They are a Mexican breed, once raised for meat. They are also occasionally naked, like the Crested. I believe litters can have haired and hairless pups.

  10. Kathleen Boyle says:

    Exotic Pets should be left in thewild

  11. Archon says:

    The one i find most disturbing is the whithe lion cubs..

    Its not right they are abinos so suffer from poor eyesights AND inbreeding to ensure cubs re white(reccessive gene so two whites must mate normally) means they have various medical problems. IT IS NOT ethical.

    Apologies for my english it is my second tongue. :)have poor eyesight

  12. Blank! says:

    Exotic animals belongs in my belly!

  13. limbojoop says:

    Wanting to own any of these animals has nothing to do with love for animals but only woth selfishness

  14. limbojoop says:

    ahum wish would be a better choice of words

  15. Sidris says:

    Rather than tout most of these animals as potential pets (excluding the Cresteds) perhaps you’d garner more visits (and respect) for your site by presenting them as what they are – beautiful, wild, possibly endangered, exotic “animals”.

  16. Adam says:

    Man, you environmentalist yuppies sure bitch a lot. How many of you drive a big SUV, or eat fruit grown on foreign, deforested land? How many of you pay for cheap chinese goods, manufactured in a facility built over a habitat belching out toxic waste?

    While some of the animals should not be exposed to humans, many of the others get along very well with humans and enjoy their presence. Merely keeping and taking care of one is not wrong just so long as the proper facilities are available.

  17. Chuck King says:

    It’s a sad statement, but you’re essentially contributing to the inevitable extinction of these amazing animals. I think you should attempt to educate people NOT to try to attain these animals for pets, if they do it supports the black market that doesn’t care about anything but the money, and the animals lose.

  18. Marc says:

    Where are the recipes?

  19. Brian says:

    There really aren’t all that exotic – where are the Stomatopod and Cephalopod keepers? I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  20. Artemis says:

    I think that if you treat the animals with love and care, then you should be justified to own one as a pet. However, if it’s just a status symbol of insane wealth or for bragging rights, then I’d be highly ashamed of the owner. I know personally that if I owned any of these, I’d take great care of them. However, some don’t, and therein lies the problem.

  21. anthony says:

    just because animals are “Exoctic” does,nt mean they have to be treated any diffrent from normal pets i have a minature dachshund i treat her like a princess if i had a chineese crested dog or some other type of rare dogs I would treat them the exact same the exoctic pets are really NOT that special

  22. anna says:

    Instead of the crested what about Hyenas lots of people in Africa have them as pets and some seem to be quite happy(not that they SHOULD have them as pets of course its wrong but its only a possibility
    any animal can be tamed even if its endangered or not)

  23. Al says:

    lol. peoples opinions are so… boring. you either want to bitch about something so people think you’re smart, or you just complain because you have nothing better to do. Me, I have nothing better to do :) and I bet Mark was sexually harassed by a Chinese Crested dog.

  24. Sam says:

    my wife and I have 3 chinchillas. beware! They need to be kept cool because of their thick coats and the fact that they dont sweat. Your energy bill in the summer will be mighty highh. All in all, I keep asking her “What do they do?” I regret having htem. Not a cool pet if you want something that does more than jump around a cage andchews on stuff

  25. kelly says:

    chinchillas make wonderful pets, as long as you maintain their care. if it were not for domestication it is very possible that these animals would already have become extinct from the fur trade. not all animals on this list are ‘wrong’ to keep as pets, although i agree that interbreeding causes a multitude of health concerns and is unnecessary. however, the day that a miniature panda or koala comes on the market you bet your but i will be at the breeders!

  26. Heather says:

    For all the people saying that these animals need to stay in the wild, most of these animals nowadays are not taken from the wild (at least not in a legal sense) they are captive bred. Which means if they were to be released into the wild the would not know how to survive on their own and die.

  27. Talia says:

    You might not want a koala, I understand they are quite nasty. :P

    Fun and interesting article. And yeah, the people getting their panties in a bunch need to relax.

    This from a animal-loving semi-vegetarian liberal.

  28. Mac Myers says:

    Heather is correct. Most will not exist outside of captivity in a few years. This makes captive breeding programs all the more important.

  29. Kat says:

    Anyone who thinks they are going to keep a 500 pound loin as a pet is a moron. These cubs grow up… as the blurb stated. Plus, what kind of a monster would strip these cubs from their mom, just for the sake of a status symbol. This is mostly just a stupid article.

  30. Lucii says:

    I want a Sugar Glider!

  31. woundedduck says:

    Captive breeding is even worse, because at least if the animals are taken from the wild they had some measure of happiness. Captive breeding is, in most of the world, extremely cruel. Anyone who wants an “exotic” pet is just a stupid, ego maniacal turd. Why don’t they go down to their local shelter and get a mutt that’ll love you ’til the day you die?

  32. Ramadasa says:

    My exotic pets are rescues. But it is true that these animals need more attention than a domesticated animal.

  33. Mokevo says:

    WOW! I wish that i could have Bengal Cat when my other cat harry dies!!!

  34. vicarious1 says:

    FOR YOU ALL OUT THERE. Some are funny, I Googled your pet. “Cephalopod” HOW lovely to have an OCTOPUS. Is he or she clinging nice 2 you?lol.

    Lions cubs should NOT be kept as pets. Hyenas in AFRICA as pets! U must be joking.They are used to intimidate people by guerrillas and gangsters. I spend 10 years in Africa and they are NOT friendly pets when kept. In the wild they can get VERY CURIOUS I have chilling photos with the jaws that can BITE off a leg or arm in ONE bite smelling the boot of the ranger. Monkeys should stay in the wild or a zoo for survival breeding especially the ones listed here. Beside the Chimps that have 2 sides.

    One is friendly north of the Congo River and the ones south of the Congo can be killers, carnivores and cannibals NASTY NASTY and clever! Only a FEW here I accept as PETS such as the DOG and Bengal Cat. The rest should stay in the wild or special programs but NOT your average COOL Joe.

  35. Dan Cronk says:

    An animal is an animal. Why does everyone not understand that every “pet” animal is just an animal thats been bread by people to be domesticated. How do you think this happened? Magic? Or maybe they took dogs and cats out of the wild. Its wrong to own any pet for the sheer reason of a status symbol or to look cool but if someone wants to own a whale and they have the ability and time to take care of it then it will most likely live a longer and more pampered life in captivity.

  36. Chelsea says:

    The white lions (if you read) would die on their own in the wild, because they lack camoflauge. If you have the means to care for one, then you would actually be helping it. This would obviously mean a large pen or enclosure. It can be done.

  37. Stormoak Lonewind says:

    Lets leave the wild animals to the experts and to a good amount of habitat where they can be themselves. There are plenty of cats and dogs around who need homes.

  38. brad8134 says:

    all animals are only wild if they are raised in the wild as long as you give these animals all that they require; Food(to fit their diet), shelter(to fit their needs), and space(to accomidate their natural being any of these animals can be kept as pets. most people don’t hold these standards and if they don’t they should not be allowed to own a pet (whether the breed is wild, domestic, or exotic. If you own a dog give him room to run, period (whether a wolf, doberman, wild dog)

  39. Kellyg says:

    I think the picture of the bengal cat doesn’t really show its true markings. Still a pretty cat. My mom has one, and she always trying to impress you, like chewing on your homework. Yes, I had to use that excuse: the cat ate my homework. She likes to dine with you, help you disorganize your work, get into things that she shouldn’t be in etc. But, we still love her when she is in “sweet kitty mode.”

  40. Grant says:

    Okay, some of these are NOT exotic pets. Chinese Crested Dogs, are still Canis familiaris. Same as a Pomeranian, Poodle, Beagle, or any other dog. Bengal Cats shouldn’t be considered exotic pets either. They aren’t that uncommon. Neither should Leopard Geckos or Ball Pythons. Those are the two of the most commonly kept reptiles in the world. I own many Leopard Geckos and I frankly don’t think they are very exotic. And to the people who think having exotic pets is “wrong” and that the people who have them only do it to be “cool”, you are wrong. I own reptiles of many species, and know many people who do too. They take proper care of the reptiles and the reptiles will live LONGER in captivity than they would in the wild. So just because it’s not a cat or a dog, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

  41. Mike55 says:

    Well some are not exotic like the hairless dog,leopard gecko,ball python and chinchillas.

  42. buzzup.com says:

    16 of the World’s Most Sought After Exotic Pets…

    Some people are content to own regular pets such as cats, dogs, birds, and gerbils while others prefer the more exotic, such as chinchillas, sugar gliders, monkeys, pythons etc., wanting the status of having owned an exotic animal….

  43. karli says:

    okay the dog and lizzard and chinchuila is one thing but mixing wild animals and domestic is extremly wrong! we already have the huge liger apidemic why make others? snakes and monkeys if you have them as pets and they hurt or kill someone or something you love, you had it comming they dont belong with you

  44. Christine says:

    Defining exotic has become difficult in light of various state laws. Unfortunately, there aren’t yet universal rules about these animals being purchased and kept, which is why often they end up in bad situations; here in Florida some dummy had a huge python as a pet that attacked and killed their little girl. Was it the snakes fault? Not really, no; the snake was going on it’s natural instincts and probably wasn’t fed adequately. This goes along with problems of easy ownership of real exotics in states like Texas. And also, there has been such a huge problem with irresponsible owners dumping pythons, monkeys, caimens, and iguanas in the Everglades that they have sanctioned hunting seasons ( for the pythons at least) because these exotics are killing off the natural wildlife of the area. I believe there are a few liscensed, educated keepers out there who can care for such animals well; I just wish the purchase of such animals was more tightly regulated for everyone’s safety, especially the animals’. Every so often there are stories in the paper about lions, bears, monkeys, etc. getting loose from an illegal owner’s property and either hurting someone or just plain being shot because they are seemingly threatning. Let us not forget the idiot woman with the chimp that mauled a woman’s face off…. as if we needed a clearer example of bad stewardship…..

  45. Robert says:

    It’s very hard for me to take a side on the issue of exotic pets. I do believe the larger dangerous animals should be banned but I am undecided about some of the other animals.I have read both sides of the issue here and on other sites and I believe both sides have very good points. The problem I have with banning the smaller timid species is that if we deny someone the right town them then we come closer to invading ones personal liberties. As long as the animal is cared for properly and does not present a danger to other people then I see no reason for banning them as pets. But on the same note research must be done by impartial parties to determine which animals could exist and have a fruitful life as a pet. As far as the crossbreeds I don’t see a problem as long as the end result meets the criteria I mentioned before.

  46. Soft Paws Cattery says:

    White lion cubs are so cute!!!

  47. ben williams says:

    lol I have to of the worlds most exotic pets i dident know it, and ironically im only 13 years old.

  48. Lucy says:

    I think Robert has a very good point.

    I am an animal lover and I think it is wrong to keep animals that should be in the wild as pets. However, for animals that wouldn’t survive without care it is acceptable AS LONG AS THEY ARE PROPERLY LOOKED AFTER!! Animal cruelty needs to stop, this is one thing I am very converned about.
    As for the white lion cubs, I disagree that animals like these should be kept as pets as they were not intended for this. They need to be cared for by experts.
    Breeding animals for the sole purpose of domestication and pets is not right. Animals have rights too, you know!

    Sorry it’s long winded, I’m quite passionate on my topic even at 15…

  49. Some people are content to own regular pets such as cats, dogs, birds, and gerbils while others prefer the more exotic, such as chinchillas, sugar gliders, monkeys, pythons etc., wanting the status of having owned an exotic animal.

  50. cwdsarerad says:

    I own snakes myself, and I can honestly say that if it were my choice, none of these “exotic” animals would ever be kept as pets. As much as I love my snakes I would give them up in a heartbeat if it meant the whole exotic pet trade would disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the facts. The facts are, there are millions of exotics out there that need a loving home. You can only hope people are giving them that!

    …who the hell owns monkeys and tigers!??! That’s beyond exotic, that’s a WILD ANIMAL!

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