44 Most Exotic Animals People Keep as Pets

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Americans love their dogs and cats — they’re by far the most common pets in the U.S. Some prefer cold-blooded reptiles like snakes and turtles, and care for them just as tenderly. Others go for the exotic and unique. Have you ever considered having a four-eyed possum as a pet? How about a little rodent that goes by the name of degu?

24/7 Wall St. identified 44 particularly exotic animals that people actually own as pets. We reviewed news, pet expertise websites and other internet sources to compile our list. Not one of these animals is native to the United States, but some may be imported as pets.

It’s important to note that not all of these foreign creatures are allowed to be kept as pets in every state, and some are illegal everywhere in the U.S. For example, the fennec fox, which is native to northern Africa, is one of the fox species most commonly owned as a pet in the U.S. But as of 2014, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, and Washington have banned possession of fennec foxes. Another handful of states — Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas — require a permit or health certificate to have a fennec fox as a pet.

Some of these exotic animals are rarely kept as pets, but they can be, if desired. The zorilla, or striped polecat, for example, has gained the reputation as one of the smelliest animals on earth, and for that reason is not a popular pet. Its North American cousin the skunk is more likely to be welcomed into the household as a pet, if that is an indication of anything.

Click here to see the most exotic animals people keep as pets.

24/7 Wall St. identified 44 exotic animals that people own as pets by looking at sources, namely news site Words I Seek and pet expertise website Pethelpful. Not one of these animals is native to the United States, but some may be imported as pets.