Exotic Pets for Kids

If your child is begging for a pet that is beyond the traditional canine and feline, you might be inclined to say no–or even no way. But think about it: exotic pets for kids are typically much easier to care for than a dog or a cat. Most are low maintenance animals that reside in cages and don’t need to be walked. Before you say yes to a snake or a hamster, check out our list of exotic pets you could consider. Remember, even if your kids say they’ll do all the work associated with having a pet, we know who usually ends up with the bulk of the duties.

Guinea Pigs

Pros: These South American rodents (nicknamed “cavies” after their real name, Caviidae), give families the best of both worlds. They are low maintenance, but also cuddly. They typically live longer than other furry creatures like hamsters and gerbils, sometimes into their teenage years.

Cons: They can be prone to having dental disease and bladder stones.


Pros: Rats are intelligent, social rodents. Kids (who like rats) will enjoy giving their pet rat attention, which rats love. They also like being with other rats so be sure to get at least two, if you are considering them for an exotic pet.

Cons: I mean, they’re rats; they don’t have the best reputation. Some people may find them to be gross, dirty and even scary. Also, they are nocturnal so they might make a lot of noise at night.

Leopard Geckos

Pros: These are popular creatures among exotic pet owners, perhaps because of their cool coloring, yellow with black spots, and perky personalities. Plus, they are slow-moving and usually like to be held.

Cons: Like the rats, these guys are nocturnal. Also, because they are prone to metabolic bone disease, they need lots of Vitamin D and calcium.

Bearded Dragons

Pros: People love to own “beardies” as their first reptile. That’s because they are social, will hang out with you and are fun to watch.

Cons: They aren’t the most low maintenance of the exotic pets. For instance, they require special light bulbs and certain temperatures.


Pros: These furry creatures are cute, playful and quiet. What’s not to love?

Cons: Some people find them to be stinky and they do require baths every now and then.

Getting a pet–exotic or traditional–is a huge decision for your family. We recommend doing your research before welcoming one into your home. Check out The Spruce Pets for information on all kinds of pets. They’ve got the scoop on everything from snakes to sloths.

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