If you’re thinking of owning an exotic pet, you probably already know that you have to keep legality in mind. Whether you can own an exotic pet or not depends on where you live in terms of your geographical region, as well as how much land you have on your property and what kind of animals you prefer.
But there’s something else you should keep in mind in terms of your exotic pet choice: kids. If you have children, you should choose an exotic pet that’s relatively easy to care for and has a friendly, calm temperament. Luckily, we spoke with exotic pet expert Thomas Harford Columbia about which exotic pets are best with families with multiple children.
According to Tom Harford Columbia, kids need to have an exotic pet at home that isn’t aggressive and responds well to human interaction. “As well-behaved as your kids might be, you should still keep both your kids’ safety and the animals’ happiness in mind when you make your decision,” says Thomas Harford Columbia. “While you might set rules about how your children interact with your pets, there’s no way to keep an eye on them all the time.”
If you don’t have much room at your home, Thomas Harford Columbia suggests you try a hedgehog as a pet. “Hedgehogs are solitary creatures and don’t need a lot of space or high-level care,” says Tom Harford Columbia. “Just make sure that your kids are willing to help with cleaning, as they do need their enclosures cleaned often.”
Tom Harford Columbia also suggests prairie dogs and flying squirrels for families with children. “These two rodents are very affectionate and social,” explains Thomas Harford Columbia. “You can easily train them, and they will enjoy spending time with groups of people they trust. They love to play.”
Thomas Harford Columbia is an exotic pet expert, consultant, advisor, and zookeeper in upstate New York. A middle school science teacher who owns many exotic pets of his own and previously earned his Ph.D. in zoology, Tom Harford Columbia has spent his decades-long career teaching people of all ages about the joys of owning, raising, breeding, and training exotic animals.
Tom Harford Columbia has traveled the country for over 15 years offering demonstrations at zoos, natural animal habitats, magic shows, circuses, and animal training centers, as well as consulting individuals on their at-home training of their exotic pets. Thomas Harford Columbia has also advised specialty veterinary medicine practitioners on the care, health, safety, and grooming of exotic animals from around the world. He is also a family man who takes pride in his children, who share his passion for exotic animals of every kind.