Get Your Goat?  Non-Traditional Pets

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Dogs and cats are nice, but sometimes they just don’t do it for you.  Maybe you’d like to go a little farther afield and take a walk on the wild side (but not so far as to be dinner!).  Humans are fascinated by all kinds of animals, and have sought to tame many of them to be pets, but not all animals are created equal in the pet department.  Dogs and cats have been bred as companion animals for centuries, so it is not always realistic to assume that enough love and pampering will make a pet out of another kind of animal.

They Tried but They Couldn’t Do It

It is important to remember that taming an animal and domesticating it is not the same thing.  Domestication is the process of careful, deliberate breeding for certain characteristics over a period of time, often decades or even centuries.  Many animal domestications have failed due to the fact that the animal in question does not have the necessary social structure and characteristics necessary for successful domestication.  Some notable examples of domestication failures are zebras, grizzly bears, deer, and antelope.  Grizzly bears are unpredictable, deer and antelope bolt when frightened and cannot be penned up, and zebras, although related to horses, do not have the necessary disposition, are bad tempered, and tend to bite unexpectedly.  Although domestication of an entire species might not be possible, occasionally, under the right conditions, taming an individual of that species can be achieved.

Exotic Pets

Want something a bit more unique?  How about a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach?  These bugs are about the size of a man’s hand and hiss by forcing air through holes in their bodies to scare off enemies.

If cockroaches are too gross, consider another bug as a definite conversation starter and genuine exotic pet.  Tarantulas are relatively inexpensive to purchase, costing around the $15 dollar mark.  Contrary to what you might think, not all tarantulas are large; some are quite small – about the size of your fingernail.  They have a long life span, living from 10 to 25 years.  Although you may be creeped out by these spiders, they rarely bite humans.

Spiders not your cup of tea?  Then scorpions are probably not for you either, but in case you change your mind, consider the Emperor Scorpion.  They can reach up to 8 inches in length, so they are quite impressive looking, but are fairly mild mannered.  Although being pinched with the large front claws or stung, will be painful, the venom is very mild and not at all life threatening.

If cute is more to your liking, how about a Sugar Glider (or 2 since they need friends)?  Related to the kangaroo, they are marsupials with markings somewhat like a chipmunk and eyes that are so large, they dominate the face.  They bond easily with humans and get their name from their love of sweet fruit and ability to glide through the air due to skin stretched between the front and hind legs, like flying squirrels.

Explore the Possibilities

Although all of these pets are legal to own, not all will be legal in all states.  Check with state and local governments to see what laws apply in your area.  These are but a few types of exotic pets available, if none of these interest you, check for exotic pet stores or groups in your area to see which one might be right for you.

Photo Credit:  istockphoto.com

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