It’s Not Always a ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ With Exotic Pets

7. Reptiles and Other Reptiles

Reptiles such as snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises have specific temperature, light and environmental needs, and, among different species, those requirements can vary widely. Plus, many reptiles carry bacterial, viral and fungal infections that are contagious to other reptile species. Finally, even similar species of reptiles may fight when housed together. Therefore, in general, aside from a small number of lizards, tortoises and turtles that can sometimes be housed successfully together with other same-species cage mates, different species of reptiles (and even members of the same species) should not be housed together.

8. Amphibians and Reptiles

Just as different types of reptiles have specific dietary and environmental requirements, so do different species of amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders). While some similar species of amphibians can be housed harmoniously, in general, amphibians should not be kept with reptiles, as these two broad classes of animals have differing nutritional and environmental needs and potentially carry diseases to which the other is susceptible.

Each type of domesticated exotic animal — birds, rabbits, rodents (guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, chinchillas, degus), ferrets, reptiles, amphibians and hedgehogs — has its own merits as a pet and its own specific requirements to remain healthy and happy. To stay safe and well, most of those animals should not interact with other species, even if their owners perceive them as lonely. In general, with a few exceptions, such as sugar gliders and some species of rodents (e.g., some guinea pigs and rats) that need to be with same-species counterparts or they may develop behavioral issues, most of the animals do fine with extra attention from their human caretakers and can make well-adjusted companions for people when they are socialized properly.


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