How to prepare to buy an exotic pet?

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How has terrarium hobby changed over the years?

In recent years, exotic animals have become more and more popular and easily accessible. They are very nice animals that give a lot of satisfaction, but with proper care.

Many people think that terrariums is something new that appeared in Poland a few years ago. The truth is that such animals were kept in homes hundreds of years ago, even in antiquity, and it was extremely expensive, very troublesome, certainly not for the average bread eater. We have photos of terrariums from 1819, which were heated with a drawer in which heated stones were placed. Therefore, it is easy to imagine how much work was needed in such a terrarium to ensure a constant, sufficiently high temperature, without major fluctuations, to ensure the animals’ welfare. Back then, the possession of exotic animals was only for very wealthy people who could have a large service that looked after such a terrarium.

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But times have changed. There is electricity, there are many devices to ensure proper conditions in the terrarium (e.g. special heat or UV-B radiation emitters, heating cables and other solutions). Animal prices also began to decline. Several years ago, when I was looking for animals for my breeding, sometimes I had to go 300-400 kilometers, look for contact with sailors and wait long months for someone to bring me something from the cruise. In the meantime, I spent weeks in libraries looking for data on the climate in a given place in the world, and then trying to reflect it in a small, artificial tank, the terrarium. There were no ready-made devices, so you had to do everything yourself. You had to act like MacGyver, but it gave enormous satisfaction. In those days, exotic animals were taken care of by people for whom it was a real passion, because having such a pet was associated with a number of sacrifices and a huge amount of work that had to be put into it all.

Red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)
Red-kneed tarantula (Brachypelma smithi)

This has not been the case in recent years. In every major pet store, you can buy a snake, lizard, turtle or, for example, a tarantula spider for little money. Is it good to have unlimited access to exotic animals? I think not.

Once, as I said, this was done by enthusiasts. Now any first-time passerby from the street can come in and buy such an animal, not always with a good result for the animal. More than once I have seen situations where in pet shops, mother and child look at animals, the child notices some pretty, colorful lizard, starts screaming, stamping his foot “Mom, buy it!”. And child’s mother buys for the peace of mind. Then it turns out that this animal is not as easy to care for as the seller assured, that it can get sick (and every living creature can get sick), but veterinarians who can treat such exotic animals are few, so the cost associated with treating such animals, unfortunately, it is not low, and access to doctors is not easy. It happens that animals are abandoned in such situations, or they suffer for months or years. Therefore, it is very important to prepare for the purchase of such a pet.

What should we know before we buy an exotic pet?

If we want to have a pet at home: turtle, snake, dog, hamster, cat, no matter what it is, we should prepare ourselves properly: spend at least six months reading and learning about the species that interest us. Then, when we have at least a bit of this theoretical knowledge (what our chosen pet eats, what lifestyle it leads, what is the average life expectancy, what conditions it needs, how to care for it), we will know how to provide it with basic conditions, we can proceed to building or arranging an appropriate terrarium, cage, bed, etc., depending on the species. Finally, we buy an animal from a reliable and proven source.

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Golden Felsum (Phelsuma laticauda)
Golden Felsum (Phelsuma laticauda)

It can never be a purchase driven by an impulse, a momentary delight. “Oh, a beautiful pet at a low price” – there is an opportunity – I am buying. Not. We must prepare ourselves thoroughly for this. All household members must be aware of, must agree to our idea, because we must take into account that these animals live for several or even several dozen years and we are responsible for them throughout their lives. We must be aware of what will happen with the pet if we want to go on vacation. Will there be anyone to look after him? What will happen in case of any unexpected mishaps? Will someone be able to take care of the pet? You need to think about all of this first, before this animal comes to us.

Where to get knowledge about an exotic pet that interests us?

We currently have a lot of books about exotic animals on the market, and you can also search for information on the Internet. You have to be careful with them because the quality of these materials varies. If you decide to buy an exotic animal, you can contact the Lublin Exotarium or the Epicrates Foundation – we will help You. A good solution is also to look for contact with breeders from whom we will obtain decent, reliable information. And if we buy an animal, try not to buy it in a store, but to reach the breeder. The pet should be born with us, in Polish breeding, then we have a better chance that it is healthy and we will not have any major problems with it.

Agamy brodate (Pogona vitticeps)
Agamy brodate (Pogona vitticeps)
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Animal at home is a project derived from the Polish portal dedicated to domestic pets, which I run. This blog category features the best articles I have created with pet experts. Together, we help educate their current and future owners.

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Jakub Markiewicz
Jakub Markiewiczhttps://jotem.in
Hi, I am the author of the Jotem.in blog and series of thematic portals since 2013. I have nearly 15 years of experience in working in the media, marketing, public relations and IT. If you are interested in cooperation, you would like me to write about something or test a product - let me know.