EXOTIC PET CAREHere at Pleasant Plains Animal Hospital, we strive to help care for animals of all shapes and sizes. For those who own exotic pets, it can be a challenge to know how to best take care of them, and for those thinking of purchasing an exotic pet, it can be overwhelming figuring out where to start. We want to take the opportunity to help educate you on exotic pet care so you can better understand their needs and best take care of your critters!


It is important for your bird’s health to clean its care on a regular basis. Your bird’s cage has several components to it that will need to be washed off at various times. It is best to establish a routine for cleaning the cage, beginning with the tasks that need to be done on a daily basis and then those that can be handled monthly.

Always make sure your bird has clean bowls filled with plenty of food and water. While it is great to have toys in the cage for your bird to play with, always make sure they are safe and appropriate for your type of bird. Be sure to leave your bird plenty of room in the cage to exercise. The larger the cage the better, especially if you have multiple birds.


If you keep certain amphibians like salamanders as exotic pets, keep in mind that warm water can hold less oxygen which can make it difficult for the salamander larvae to breathe. This can even cause them to suffocate or lead to a weakened immune system. That being said, not all species of salamanders live in water, so be sure to talk with your veterinarian before bringing a new salamander home to make sure you know how to best prepare the habitat for your new friend. It is also important to know that salamanders should be kept only with their own species.

Salamanders should be fed every one to three days by hand or with tweezers. You can feed your salamander a variety of crickets, brine shrimp, bloodworms, nightcrawlers, or mealworms. It is best to feed them in the evening since they are nocturnal.


Before getting a pet turtle, it is important to talk with your veterinarian about the specialized care they require when keeping them as pets to best determine if this is the right pet for you. Most turtles require a lifetime of specialized care in a controlled environment and can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans if not handled properly. We say this not to deter you from having a turtle as a pet, but to encourage you to do your own individual research to make sure you are up for the task of taking care of a turtle.

Your turtle will need plenty of space in its terrarium, so the bigger the better. Be sure to provide an area for water and an area for land. Keeping the water clean is key to having a healthy turtle, so you will need to change the water at least a few times a week. If keeping up with water changes seems like a challenge for you, you may consider getting a land tortoise instead.

Regardless of whether your turtle is going to be living only on land or also in water, be sure to keep the temperature controlled within the habitat. Your local pet store should have all of the supplies you will need for your turtle, including heat lamps, thermometers, and water filtration systems.


Just like it is with many other exotic pets, the key to a happy and healthy snake is maintaining a clean, proper habitat.

Snakes are much more prone to drying out in the summer and always need an alternative to make themselves moist. If your snake’s habitat is not the right temperature it can be more difficult for him to shed his skin and can lead to health problems such as upper respiratory problems or infections in the mouth. Be sure to provide your pet snake with a habitat that mimics daytime and nighttime temperatures. Daytime temperatures should be between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and should drop to no lower than 75 degrees during the night. Heaters that are placed below the cage and heat lamps can help to maintain these temperatures. Be sure to research your specific type of snake as some require different temperatures for their living environment.


Pocket pets are great additions to your family. Small rodents and mammals are usually considered pocket pets and can include hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs. These pets have relatively simple care instructions but do need regular veterinary attention.

The habitat for your pet will be largely dependent upon which type of pocket pet you have. However, as a general rule, you will want to make sure your pet’s home is cleaned regularly and furnished with plenty of food, clean water, and toys that are appropriate for the type and size of your pet. You will want to ensure that your pet gets plenty of exercise and maintains a healthy diet.

Just like with a cat or a dog, your pocket pets will need to have routine wellness exams with your veterinarian. The veterinarian can do an inspection of your pet to make sure he or she is in good health. Depending on the type of animal you have, your vet may also perform routine vaccinations. Animals like ferrets require a distemper vaccination when they are very young as well as a rabies vaccination once the animal reaches 12 weeks of age. Taking your pocket pet to the veterinarian’s office is a great way to keep your pet healthy and happy. For a hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig it is estimated that they will see the vet two or three times in the course of their life.

We also encourage you to consider spaying and neutering your pocket pets. Not only does this help with population control, but it also helps protect your pet from certain diseases such as anemia, cancer, and frequent urinary tract infections.


Regardless of which type of exotic pet you may have or maybe considering getting, the most important part of keeping them healthy is maintaining a healthy, clean environment in which they can live and making sure they are well-fed and well-loved. Be sure to do plenty of research on your specific type of animal before bringing one home, and ask your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns. For more information about how you can better care for your exotic pet or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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