On February 20, animal lovers across the nation celebrate Love Your Pet Day. While many people are content with the companionship of conventional pets, others crave the company of more exotic animals. With more and more species being domesticated for sale as pets, potential pet owners now have more options than ever when choosing a fur-ever friend.

While llamas have been owned by South American animal lovers and agriculturists for centuries, these gentle giants are currently experiencing popularity boom in the United States. Llama owners compare the animal’s friendly disposition to that of a dog, saying that llamas are affectionate animals that make the perfect pet. Llamas have even been employed as therapy animals, making rounds at hospitals to encourage and uplift patients of all ages. Additionally, llamas are relatively low maintenance and tend to not smell as bad as other outdoor animals. A prospective llama owner can expect to pay about $500 per llama, but because llama fleece is in high demand, a llama is a pet that can pay for itself. Llamas also prove themselves useful as guard animals as many llama lovers state that these usually peaceful animals can protect property better than a dog when the need arises. Because llamas are naturally social animals, most owners keep a flock instead of a solidary llama. In fact, most llama lovers state that llamas are the potato chip of the animal kingdom: you can’t own just one!

Although stereotyped as smelly and dirty, skunks actually make terrific pets. Skunks have recently begun to be bred and sold commercially. When born in captivity, skunks typically have their scent glands removed so they are not tempted to spray their owners. Following the surgery, skunks are odor-free and playful pets. Skunk owners find these animals to be extremely intelligent, able to open cabinets, door, and even refrigerators! Skunks are also curious and love to investigate their environment, sometimes taking items that don’t necessarily belong to them for further examination. Because skunks are so clever, they require frequent interaction with their owners to stay entertained, and a skunk’s diet must be carefully monitored to ensure their nutritional needs are being met. However, skunk owners say this high-maintenance pet is definitely worth the work.

A rarity even as exotic pets go, some wealthy animal lovers have purchased anteaters for companions. Perhaps the most famous of these adventurous owners was Salvador Dali, the surrealist painter who caused quite a stir when he walked his pet anteater down the streets of Paris, France. Anteaters are known for being difficult pets to manage. Besides being difficult to house break, these critters have a notoriously poor immune system, making them vulnerable to respiratory diseases. Furthermore, it is often difficult to locate a veterinarian willing to treat an anteater. Nevertheless, anteater owners take pride and pleasure in their unorthodox pet. The challenge of caring for an anteater along with the animal’s inherent uniqueness make this crazy critter the perfect pet for some.


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