Most folks categorize them-selves as one of two sorts: a dog person or a cat person. But we all know those aren’t the only animals that people keep as companions. Whether you’re interested in bringing one of these exotic creatures into your home or just curious about what sorts of pets people keep these days, there’s a whole world of unusual animal pets to learn and love. Rodents and cavvies are popular picks in classrooms; mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs are much-loved by many children, but poorly understood by many. They have short life spans and are generally inexpensive. Mice, gerbils and hamsters don’t require a lot of room (though a fishtank should not be considered as a habitat for them) and rats and guinea pigs don’t require much more space. As a bonus, there are lots of care guides available to help you. Looking for something a little less furry? Go scaley! Lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs and reptiles are surprisingly wonderful pets (I promise!) Their care and keeping is fascinating to children and adults alike, requiring a bit of study and understanding to best provide for these animals. Their habitats are often wet and sunny, and these animals often consume other animals, so they may be expensive to many pet lovers. However, their rewards are many--they’re always a conversation starter and they’re a lot of fun to play with and enjoy. Birds are a perrenial favorite pet. From small lovebirds to large parrots, different types of birds suit different lifestyles. Larger bird varieties often require a lot of attention and handling while smaller birds require different care. What about a larger animal? People in Kentucky have kept a number of awesome large animals, including alpacas, llamas, ostriches, zebras, buffalo... the list goes on and on! These animals are for you if you have a large farm property and the facilities to care for an exotic large animal. There are pitfalls to avoid in unusual animal ownership. Picking a pet based on its unique appeal is a bad idea. Unusual pets are often expensive and finding a veterinarian who can care for your pet can sometimes be difficult. These animals often have highly-specific habitats which often requires elaborate means to recreate the animal’s living conditions. Many exotic pets are illegal or traded by shady, cruel people. Learn as much as possible about the trade of each animal, the legality, the care needs and your overall commitment before you buy. Many people are fascinated by monkeys, and rightfully so; monkeys are playful, curious and a unique companion animal. However, monkeys also require a great deal of handling and socialization. There have been cases of monkeys attacking their owners. Keeping a monkey is a decision that an animal lover should not take lightly. Finding an animal in the wild and calling it “pet” is a poor choice in almost every situation. Many bear disease that is dangerous to yourself and your other pets. Wild animals aren’t trained for life indoors and live on their instincts. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a great many animals out there that are perfect for someone looking to befriend a unusual pet. Do your research before you dive into ownership of any animal. Owning an unusual pet is often rewarding and fun, so enjoy! Editor’s Note: I recently had the great pleasure of seeing a man walking his miniature horse near our new offices on East High Street!