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Loving the Strange: Five Great Exotic Pets You Must Own

Sugar gliders in their food bowl.

Sugar gliders in their food bowl.

Dogs and cats are popular pets because they’re warm and fuzzy, respond to affection, and are fairly easy to care for. That may not be enough for a sophisticated person like yourself who prefers something more distinctive and challenging. These five great exotic pets can provide the novelty you crave.


As friendly as a dog and as curious as a cat, a hedgehog is an ideal exotic pet to begin with. It has a cute face and responds to affection. Their uniqueness lies in the coat of short spines that stick out when they curl into a ball for protection. But cannot harm humans. Unlike hamsters, rats and other rodents, these creatures live 4-to-7 years, are generally clean and odorless, and can be trained to go in a litter box. They are also active during day and night.

Hedgehogs average about 5-to-8 inches and require only four square feet of cage. This makes them easy to carry when you travel. Though in the wild they eat beetles, pet varieties can subsist on dry cat food, supplemented by vegetables, fruits, crickets and mealworms. For more information on pet hedgehogs, consult the International Hedgehog Association.


If you’re willing to take responsibility for maintaining a saltwater aquarium, then you can take care of these exotic creatures. Seahorses are actually bony fish whose skeletons are located on the outside. They range in size from about 1.5 inches for the dwarfs to one foot for the giants. Most pets are between 4-to-7-inches in size. They can display colors from a subtle brown to bright orange and yellow. But they can change their hues for courting or camouflage. They generally prefer their own tanks but can tolerate some small animal species.

Though seahorses are plentiful in the wild, you want to buy captive-bred varieties that have been raised by experts. These versions tend to be free of diseases and live from one-to-four years, depending on type. They are also usually trained to consume frozen mysis shrimp instead of hard-to-care-for live creatures. For more information on seahorses, check out this guide from PetMD.


Though rating high on the creepiness factor, tarantulas are quiet, usually gentle and can live in a small space like a 5-to-10 gallon dry aquarium, though larger species require bigger spaces. They range in size from 2.5-to-10 inches and are generally colored brown to black, with some markings in white, yellow or orange. They do not tolerate frequent handling because some species have hairs under their bellies that can cause itching. They are also venomous. Though the poison is only harmful to insects, it can cause the same allergic reaction as a bee sting.

They subsist on live insects, particularly crickets, given every few days. Females live far longer than males. Some species, such as the Brazilian Black Tarantula, survive up to 20 years or more. For more information on these spiders, check out the Tarantula Guide.


Graceful and hypnotic, these bell-shaped creatures are more properly called jellies since they are not fish and are mostly made up of water. Their delicate nature means they cannot survive in ordinary rectangular aquariums where they can get caught in corners and torn up by filters. They require special curved containers but are otherwise as easy to take care of as any freshwater fish. They subsist on either frozen plankton food or live brine shrimp.

They range in diameter from 2.5 inches for the transparent moon jellies up to 18 inches for blue blubber jellies. They live about from one-to-three years. The transparent moon jellies are particularly attractive under multicolored LED lights. For more information on jellies, see JellyfishArt.

Sugar Gliders

Sugar gliders, also known as sugar bears, win first place in the cuteness competition for five great exotic pets. They have furry, squirrel-like bodies; long tails; big black eyes; and grasping hands. These marsupials are small enough to keep in a pocket and can be trained to go to the bathroom only once a day. They are affectionate, curious, social and can subsist on commercial pellet foods supplemented by fresh fruits and vegetables. A cage that is 30 inches wide, 18 inches deep and 36 inches tall makes a sufficient home. The enclosure must have powder-coated bars that are too small for the creature to slip through.

When buying sugar gliders, make sure the dealer has a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information on these lovable pets, see the Association of Sugar Glider Veterinarians

© 2012 Aurelio Locsin


edward on December 06, 2014:

Great info! I myself personally own Tarantulas and they have been wonderful to care for. If I could, those jelly fish would definitely be on my list as far as unusual pets.

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Not trying to promote any sites but, if anyone like me owns tarantulas or would like to find about more about them I would definitely recommend to find out more about these awesome creatures

T. on September 06, 2014:

I am considering a hedgehog...but i read they can get mites which bothers me ..also considering a chinchilla.....

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on October 04, 2012:

Actually, austinhealy, I used to take care of smaller snakes and liked them as pets because they were clean and didn't transmit diseases. I'd prefer the hedgehog as well, though. Thanks for stopping by.

Bernard J. Toulgoat from Treasure Coast, Florida on October 01, 2012:

Very interesting and cute hub. I was alarmed by its title which is why I read it. I was relieved and pleased not to find any snake in your list, especially pythons. They may be cute when small, but they grow and people dump them in the wild. The Everglades park in Florida is now infested with pythons the length of a 1959 Cadillac and even alligators can't get rid of them . Wait till they start moving into Miami suburbs. Back to your hub, the hedgehog is definitely my favorite, not only they are cute, they are also very useful provided you leave them in your garden. Thanks for a great read

Marntzu on September 30, 2012:

I had a hedgehog that lived in the shed next to the house my family had in Germany when my parents where stationed there. even though it was a wild hedgehog it was as gentle as any domesticated animal and would let you hold it without any issues. good article voted up and interesting.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on September 30, 2012:

I think I'll pass on the tarantula! But the sugar gliders do look awfully cute. Thanks for an interesting and useful article on these exotic pets! Voted up and shared!

Jill Spencer from United States on September 30, 2012:

Sugar gliders are so cute! Fun hub. Really enjoyed it. Voted up & awesome. (: --Jill

Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 30, 2012:

I have a friend who has two sugar gliders. She says they are wonderful pets. For now I'll just stick to my spoiled dogs.

Great Hub. I voted it UP, will share and Pin.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on September 29, 2012:

They are a lot of work, Daisy.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on September 26, 2012:

That is so interesting Dale, I had no idea.

Dale Hyde from Tropical Paradise on Planet X on September 26, 2012:

Wonderfully done! Awesome that you included Sugar Gliders. As an assistant to a breeder and a caregiver to sugar gliders, I can vouch they make wonderful pets. Yes, we are a USDA licensed breeder of sugar gliders. has some wonderful pictures, plus it is where I work. :)

Voted up, interesting and useful and I will be sharing as well!

sradie from Palm Coast FL on September 26, 2012:

If we didn't already have three dogs, I would be tempted to get a hedgehog or sugar glider. Thanks for the informative hub.

Kris Heeter from Indiana on September 26, 2012:

I'll skip the tarantulas but will take a sea horse or jelly fish! What a cool and interesting hub.

Mike Robbers from London on September 26, 2012:

Wow ,, I would love to have Jellyfishes for "pets"! They should a uniquely beautiful & hypnotic presence in your living room ..

Great Hub , voted & thanks for sharing!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on September 25, 2012:


I shivered when I read your article. It's fascinating information, but I don't think I would want an exotic pet.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on August 29, 2012:

Alocsin, this was an awesome hub! Never thought about going exotic for a pet. The sugar glider is by far my favorite. I hate spiders. I wouldn't mind jellyfish either. They mesmerize me for some reason. Cool stuff pal!

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on August 14, 2012:

Thanks, ishwaryaa22.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on August 14, 2012:

Thanks Melovy.

Jenn from Pennsylvania on August 14, 2012:

Unfortunately hedgehogs are illegal here in PA, which sucks because they're so cute! I also think sugar gliders are adorable, and all the other animals here would be interesting to have as well except for the tarantula (I hate spiders!).

Voted up!

Yvonne Spence from UK on August 14, 2012:

Oh, I so want a sugar glider or 2! They are so cute. I didn't realise they could be kept as pets.

I love sea horses too. I don't think hedgehogs are kept as pets in the UK unless they are ill, but sometimes people feed wild ones that come looking for food. We used to when I was a kid, but haven't got any near us now.

As for the tarantula - no thanks! Actually I expected this hub to be full of spiders and snakes so I'm glad you chose other animals!

And congrats on your hubbie award.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 14, 2012:

Aurelio, what a fantastic list of some unusual pets. Were it not for your hub I would not known that these could be kept as pets. Surely, I found the sugar gliders the cutest and the sea horses the most graceful.

Voted up and interesting.

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on August 14, 2012:

An entertainingly informative hub on exotic pets! I have not heard about these creatures being used as pets except tarantula spiders - I have seen in movies! I am surprised to see hedgehogs, seahorses and jelly-fish being listed in this engaging hub! Also this is the first time I learnt about sugar-gliders which is totally new to me! A fetching hub! Well-done!

P.S. Congrats on winning the Hubbie award! Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 05, 2012:

I loved watching the videos of the seahorses and the sugar gliders. The latter are surely cute! I think I'll stick with dogs and cats for now but truly enjoyed this hub. Voted up and interesting. Thanks!

Shaddie from Washington state on June 24, 2012:

I've always wanted a jellyfish tank!! :D

search engine promotion services on June 10, 2012:

Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

idigwebsites from United States on February 24, 2012:

These pets are just amazing...i wish i would have one of them.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on February 10, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by. I'll have to agree with those who picked a sugar glider -- it's my favorite too.

iamaudraleigh on February 10, 2012:

I want a sugar glider!!!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on February 10, 2012:

I never realized you could have jellyfish as a pet, but it sounds interesting. I am thinking about buying fish again (as opposed to becoming the crazy cat lady!), so I am going to look into it. A hedgehog sounds pretty cute, too! Thanks for the info!

Audrey Howitt from California on February 10, 2012:

I have never heard of a sugar glider before--but they sure are cute!

jacy albertson from Sanford, fl on February 10, 2012:

Wow, I know only from Dogs, in fact was just writing about that. I'm more of...say...a mainstream pet person, but I liked this very educational information. Great hub. Voted up,

KatrineDalMonte on February 10, 2012:

Wow, sugar gliders? Never heard of them! Interesting and informative :-)

Sondra from Neverland on February 10, 2012:

Okay, now I want ALL the critters you listed - except the spider! brother has a shop with unique/exotic animals and he has spiders, snakes, scorpions, hissing cockroaches, and HUGE centipedes

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on February 10, 2012:

I dunno-- maybe I could deal with a hedgehog. I sure like the hedgehog meme online-- but a tarantula or a jellyfish ??? nooooooooooooooo. I just stick to the mini poodle-- but this is a great idea for a hub and I really enjoyed reading it so voing it up all the way around

Tammy from North Carolina on February 10, 2012:

How cute! I love exotic animals. I am not sure I would want a bird though. They bit and always try to eat my earrings off in stores. :) The sugargliders are adorable! This is an outstanding hub!

Stephanie Das from Miami, US on February 02, 2012:

Sorry, not trying to promote myself, but I couldn't resist because this is the perfect opportunity...I love your list, but I think the only one I would want for myself would be a hedgehog...they seem like the most fun and easiest to care for. Also, they're a lot cuter than tarantulas.

This is my dream exotic pet: A muntjac!

mariofa from Italy on February 01, 2012:

really nice article, well written and interesting

formosangirl from Los Angeles on January 31, 2012:

I have never heard of a sugar glider. Definitely exotic.

Voted up and interesting.

Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on January 30, 2012:

Thanks for stopping by. BlissfulWriter, what an interesting pet -- I'll have to investigate that.

leann2800 on January 30, 2012:

I have never seen a sugar glider. They are so cute. Great hub. Thanks for sharing.

Dianna Mendez on January 29, 2012:

Great hub article. My nephew has a tarantula spider that is about twelve years old. He takes it out once in a while and lets it roam his room. Not a fan of these creatures. I loved the jellyfish video. The music and fish floating in the bowl is so relaxing. I could possibly enjoy these as pets.

BlissfulWriter on January 29, 2012:

There is also a the GloFish pet, which is a genetically modified fluorescent zebrafish with bright red, green, glowing colors. Just google "Wikipedia GloFish"

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 29, 2012:

I shared your hub on facebook and my friend Glo loved it and she shared it too. Hope you get lots of visitors.

cebutouristspot from Cebu on January 29, 2012:

I vote for sea horse :D something about aquatic creature that relaxes me. I would have voted for jelly fish but the memory of what they did to be always pop up into my mind hehehe.

Interesting hub and voted as such

epigramman on January 29, 2012:

..another one my fine friend with an attention grabbing hub title - lol - like your million dollar hub - and yes - destined for greatness on my Facebook page with anoher posting and a direct link back here - your research and content is world class all of the way too.

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Aurelio Locsin (author) from Orange County, CA on January 29, 2012:

Thanks all for stopping by and giving me your thoughts. This is my first pets hub and didn't think it would be all that popular. Glad I was wrong.

LaDena Campbell from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz... on January 29, 2012:

As children, my sisters and I had many tarantulas as an adult I don't think I want one in my house!

I would love a hedgehog and a sugar glider, tho!

Thanks for SHARING!

Jplanet on January 29, 2012:

Remarkable. Pets never fail to amaze. Like any animal, they still require love, care and specific living arrangements to keep them happy and healthy. The Hedgehogs look amazing- yet curious to watch them. Interesting fun hub and learned something new!

Thanks for SHARING

kikalina from Europe on January 29, 2012:

I like the idea of the jellyfish although I amnot sure what they eat! Thanks for SHARING

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 29, 2012:

I vote for sugar gliders, since furry is an important factor in a pet (for me, anyway). Voted up and interesting!

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on January 29, 2012:

I know only dogs and cats as pets. Thanks for this interesting article.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on January 29, 2012:

Good information here. It's important to understand how to care for your new pet before you buy. Some people just into getting a pet and are unprepared to care for it. I did not even know you could have a jellyfish as a pet. Thanks for all the useful information.

Veronica Roberts from Ohio, USA on January 29, 2012:

I worked at a pet store while in high school. I saw some of the strangest animals as pets (people were allowed to bring their pets into the store w/ them). The sugar gliders are adorable! I'm w/ homesteadbound - I don't think that I could care for a spider of any kind.

I never would've thought a jellyfish would make a decent pet. Interesting!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 29, 2012:

I like this so much I'm voting up and SHARING on facebook

Cammiebar from Upstate New York on January 29, 2012:

Before I bought my exotic pet, a chinchilla, I gave serious consideration for a hedgehog. I still think that I want one. Thank you for the interesting post!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 29, 2012:

Alocsin, I still say "eeeeeee" at the thought of petting any of these creatures, but the information you shared is very interesting. The name "seahorse" is very misleading; I'd be ashamed to say what I thought it was. Thanks for the education.

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on January 29, 2012:

I have long wanted a sugar glider, but I haven't gotten one yet.

I don't like spiders, and the thought of a 10" tarantula sent chills down my spine!

Great summary of each animal. Thanks for SHARING!

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