Loving the Strange: Five Great Exotic Pets You Must Own

Sugar gliders in their food bowl.
Sugar gliders in their food bowl. | Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

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 FusedJaw.


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

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Comments 57 comments

homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

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!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean

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.

Cammiebar profile image

Cammiebar 5 years ago from Upstate New York

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!

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

VeronicaFarkas profile image

VeronicaFarkas 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

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.

truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

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.

Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

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

vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

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

kikalina profile image

kikalina 5 years ago from Europe

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

Jangaplanet profile image

Jangaplanet 5 years ago

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

justateacher profile image

justateacher 5 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

As children, my sisters and I had many tarantulas as pets...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!

alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

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.

epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..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.

lake erie time ontario canada 8:50pm

cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 5 years ago from Cebu

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

Sherry Hewins profile image

Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

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

BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

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

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 5 years ago

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.

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leann2800 5 years ago

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

alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

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

formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

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

Voted up and interesting.

mariofa profile image

mariofa 5 years ago from Italy

really nice article, well written and interesting

stephaniedas profile image

stephaniedas 5 years ago from Miami, US

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!


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 5 years ago from North Carolina

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!

robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey

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

Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

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

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KatrineDalMonte 5 years ago

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

albertsj profile image

albertsj 5 years ago from Pittsfield, Ma

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,

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 5 years ago from California

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

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

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!

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iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

I want a sugar glider!!!

alocsin profile image

alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

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

idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 4 years ago from United States

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

search engine promotion services 4 years ago

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

Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

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

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

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!

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

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

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

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.

Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

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.

jennzie profile image

jennzie 4 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

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!

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks Melovy.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks, ishwaryaa22.

thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

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!

Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)


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

Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

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!

Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

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

sradie profile image

sradie 4 years ago from Palm Coast FL

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

Dale Hyde profile image

Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

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. http://thepetglider.com has some wonderful pictures, plus it is where I work. :)

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

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

That is so interesting Dale, I had no idea.

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

They are a lot of work, Daisy.

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

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.

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 4 years ago from United States

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

Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

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!

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Marntzu 4 years ago

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.

austinhealy profile image

austinhealy 4 years ago from Treasure Coast, Florida

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

alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

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.

T. 2 years ago

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

edward 2 years ago

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.

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 http://www.tarantulapets.com/ to find out more about these awesome creatures

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