Our family has a wide selection of "zoological companion animals", as defined by the American College of Zoological Medicine. We have a pure-bred Samoyed who comes from a show line, we have a mutt that appears to be mostly flat coated retriever, we have a stray cat named Stanley and we have 2 exotic degus. "Exotic" refers to a species not native or indigenous to the owner's locale. Our degus aren't very exotic, they are a combination of a chinchilla and a guinea pig. But the list of exotic pets has grown: chinchillas, hedgehogs, sugar gliders and various reptiles are becoming very common pets in American households. Here in Maine, you must get a permit from the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to own some species. Animal Control officers are also receiving additional training to deal with the growing number of exotic pets. However, there are many species that are a threat to public health and safety, as well as animal welfare, when kept as pets. The average pet owner can't provide the care that these animals need in captivity. And honestly, the story of how some exotic pets arrive in our country is horrific and heartbreaking.

Maybe you and your family would like to meet some exotic pets without actually owning them. I found The Zoo Crew, a family run travelling exotic petting zoo available for parties. The Gray Animal Farm is also a great way to see wildlife up-close.

Have you had an experience with an exotic pet? Share it on our Fan Page or tweet #exoticpet

We spoil our pets, and they spoil us back with love.

Celeste