7 Unique Pets You Can Own ...

Have you found that normal pets just don't excite and entertain you as much as certain wild animals do? Or maybe you've just always loved being unique and want a unique pet to reflect that aspect of your personality. Well I'm here to give you a list of 7 unique pets you can own! Just be aware that before committing to adopting one of these adorable critters that you do your research as some of them may require special care and also may be illegal or need licensing to own in your area!

1. Hedgehogs

Of all the unique pets on this list, this is the only one I've personally owned as a pet. Hedgehog domestication only just became popular in the early 1980s so they still have much of their wild behavior, which includes a fear of predators - especially humans. Buying them from a responsible breeder and proper handling will do a lot to ensure a friendly relationship with your new prickly little friend. Hedgehogs prefer a warm climate above 72°F and normally live 3-8 years. In the wild they eat a diet of mainly insects, but domesticated hedgies have a diet composed primarily of high protein low fat cat food, with regular treats such as mealworms, fruits, vegetables, and cooked unseasoned meats. Other than their obvious "cute factor," there are many reasons why you may consider owning a hedgehog. Hedgehogs do not trigger allergies, they are very quiet, and are small so they won't take up too much space in your home (although you should get a decent sized cage for them to run around in). Make sure to check with your state's regulations regarding keeping hedgehogs as pets because some places like Pennsylvania, California, and the 5 boroughs of New York City consider owning a hedgehog to be illegal.

2. Sugar Gliders

What could be a more unique pet then having a tiny flying squirrel-like creature in your home? Sugar gliders have become quite popular as pets in the United States, which means that most cities and states now allow sugar gliders as pets, with some exceptions including California, Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts and Minnesota. Their name is derived from their diet and from the flap of skin they have between their wrists and ankles that allows them to glide between trees. Their food in the wild includes nectar, fruit, insects and even small birds or rodents. They are used to living in social families in the wild, which makes them inclined to bond well with their human family. However, if they are deprived of social interaction, they will not thrive and can even become depressed to the point where they die. This is why you should get two or more sugar gliders if you are not home enough to keep them company. Sugar gliders make endearing, playful, and entertaining pets. In addition, they tend to be fairly healthy and can live to be 12-14 years in captivity!

3. Chinchillas

Chinchillas have become one of the most popular exotic and unique pets recently. Personally I have seen them in many pet stores including ones in NYC! If you're considering adopting a chinchilla, make sure you are able to take care of it for the long term because they can live as long as a dog at about 15 years, but 18-22 years is not uncommon! With gentle handling from a young age most chinchillas will become quite tame and bond closely with their owners. However, sometimes they do not like to be held or cuddled so this is not a pet to get if you want constant companionship. They are very active and playful pets and their fur is so dense (and not to mention luxuriously soft) that it's very difficult for water to penetrate to its skin. Thus, to clean themselves, chinchillas bathe in dust, which absorbs dirt and oil from their fur. It is actually extremely adorable and funny to watch these little guys take dust baths. Chinchillas tend to be great starter pets when it comes to owning an exotic animal because they are quiet and very low-maintenance, which makes them great pets for most people.

4. Capybara

Most likely, a lot of you have no idea what a capybara is and seeing a picture of them for the first time may freak you out. The capybara is the world's largest rodent, weighing up to 150 lbs! They are originally from South America and can live to be 4-8 years old. They love the water and need some kind of area to swim in with their webbed feet in order to be happy and exercised. They can even eat and sleep in the water with their noses popping out. Capybaras are only suggested pets for experienced pet owners as they require a lot of unique care. Their teeth don't ever stop growing so be wary that they will chew everything unless given something to chew on constantly. Like Sugar Gliders, Capybaras need to be kept socially interactive as they are used to being in groups. If you can't provide enough time to be with your Capybara, consider getting two… if you have a big enough house to have two that is!

5. Skunk

Although stinky, skunks are adorable! So its no wonder why some people want to keep them as unique pets. Domesticated skunks can be adopted through breeders, rescue associations, and even some pet stores. However, they're only legal as pets in 17 states and often require a permit so make sure to do your research before considering one as a pet. Don't worry about the stink! Domestic skunks usually have their smell squirting sacks surgically removed. With the right care, a skunk can live up to 12 years in captivity. They are partially blind creatures though and require enclosed spaces where they can't wonder off and get lost. This is another pet that should only be considered by experienced pet owners because of their special needs, so be sure to do your research before adopting one of these little guys!

6. Fennec Fox

The fennec fox is a beautiful, small member of the canine family. They behave much like dogs, but since they are not domesticated they do require careful socialization as well as precautions against escape as they are very fast runners. As always, before deciding on adopting one of these beautiful little animals, be sure you will legally be allowed to keep them where you live. Fennec Foxes are known to live 10-16 years and originate from Northern Africa. They are very active, quick and agile, and have a high pitched yelp. They are nocturnal in the wild although pet fennecs can adapt to their owner's schedule. They are also clean animals and can even be litter trained! Like I mentioned before, Fennec Foxes are quite similar to dogs, and hand raised pups will usually only bite if they feel threatened. They can even be trained to walk on a leash and to come when called. Because they are not fully domesticated yet, they are only recommended for experienced owners.

7. Teacup Pig

A Teacup pig, Micro pig , Mini pig, and Nano pig are all slang words used by breeders to describe their pigs. Teacup potbellied pigs and mini pigs are becoming increasingly popular as domestic pets mainly because they are much smaller than the standard farm pig and the regular potbelly pig that some already keep as unique pets. Compared to a full grown regular pig at 600-800 pounds or a full grown potbelly pig at 120-200 pounds, Teacup pigs normally weigh in at 30-65 pounds. They have a projected lifespan of 15-20 years, and are relatively low maintenance pets, requiring roughly the same amount of daily care as a dog. Teacup potbellied pigs and mini pigs make enjoyable pets because they are very intelligent and affectionate. Some people even think their intelligence rivals that of dogs! However, like many animals, they are prone to laziness and aggression if not properly exercised and socialized.

Like I mentioned earlier, exotic pet laws in the U.S. vary from state to state as do requirements for some pets care, so be sure to look into local regulations before bringing home your new furry friend. For example, I ended up moving to NYC for school, where my hedgehog that I owned at the time, was illegal. Sadly, I had to give him up, but I made sure to find a great hedgehog breeder to adopt him and keep him happy with other hedgies! Make sure you know you're not going to move during your pets lifespan to an area they aren't allowed to avoid my sad situation! Have you ever owned a unique pet or wanted to? How did it work out?