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Most Unusual Pets To Own

These are the most unusual pets to own - at least, the strangest ones that are still legal in the US.

By Ossiana TepfenhartPublished 7 years ago 7 min read

The exotic pet industry is booming, especially as people begin to see pets as an extension of themselves. After all, who would want a regular cat when they could have a serval? Who would want a dog when they could have a legit fox?

Because of the exotic pet boom, laws are starting to get stricter about what pets are legal to own - and are also making a point to warn newbie pet owners against trying to have a more unusual pet. Despite the government warnings, exotic pets are extremely popular.

Though there are many legal but weird pets to own out there, only a handful can really be considered the most unusual pets to own. Here are coolest, most unusual (yet legal) exotic pets we've seen in the United States.

Fennec Foxes

Yes, it's legitimately legal to own your own fox. Fennec foxes are tiny desert foxes that are technically wildlife. That being noted, they don't take as well to domestic spaces as others on this list.

They can't be trained, but they are adorable, have big ears, and owners tell us that they tend to act a lot more like cats than dogs. Oh, and they also look a lot like a real-life Pokémon. Partly because of the Pokémon resemblance and the fact that they are so rare, they make the list of the most unusual pets to own in the US.


Of all the most unusual pets to own on this list, skunks might be one of the most notorious. In many states throughout the US, skunks are actually 100 percent legal to own. These fluffy-tailed fellows do have certain stipulations worth noting in most cases. Most commonly, states will require you to de-scent the skunk before you have it as a pet.

Owning a skunk means that you may have a bit of a problem with keeping it indoors. They tend to dig into things, claw at wooden floors, and are notoriously hard to paper train. Due to bad eyesight, if the skunk wanders away, it also won't come back home.

Realistically, this is a wild animal pet that probably has no business inside someone's home. You would have to be very careful on how you raise it. Even so, skunks are cool and we totally see the appeal.


Most people don't even know what a coatimundi is, making it a seriously exotic animal to try to domesticate. This bear-raccoon hybrid-looking creature is an animal that's local to Central and South America. Though coatimundis are wild animals, they actually take fairly well to domestication.

According to owners, they're incredibly playful and tend to have a lot of activity. Often likened to having a furry two-year-old, coatis might be one of the most fun yet low-maintenance pets on this list. Even if they are low maintenance and cool, it's hard to deny that a coatimundi is definitely one of the most unusual pets to own in the states.

Flying Squirrels

No, not sugar gliders. Those are relatively common compared to most of the pets on this list. Flying squirrels are a totally different yet very similar kind of animal. Sugar gliders are marsupials, while flying squirrels are rodents.

Even so, they look almost identical, can glide from perch to perch, and are small enough to be very apartment-friendly. If you love sugar gliders, then flying squirrels will be equally awesome for you. While they're not the most unusual pets to own on this list, they're adorable enough to warrant mentioning.


Remember how you'd watch Clarissa Explains It All, and the main character would talk about her pet crocodile? Well, believe it or not, crocs are legit pets in many parts of the United States.

These scaly, terrifying pets are most commonly found in Florida, but they are also legal in a number of states. Somehow, we're willing to bet that having a guard crocodile is a good way to ensure that you won't have any robbers anytime soon.


Wallabies, as most people will tell you, are a lot like mini kangaroos. They're popular among fans of exotic pets, and it's easy to see why.

That being said, if you want a three foot high wallaby, you will need to live in one of the few states that allow for it. Additionally, wallabies really need a lot of space in order to move around. Otherwise, they may get aggressive.

If you have the space for a wallaby then, by all means, have one. They are cute, loving, and bouncy fluffballs that will guarantee that you have one the most unusual pets to own in your state.


We don't really know what kind of a mentally ill lawmaker would allow people to own piranhas as pets. If you've seen the Munsters then you may have remembered that one scene where they'd "feed the fish" only to have piranhas devour giant lamb shanks in seconds. That wasn't special effects; those were real piranhas.

There's legitimately no good reason why anyone would have a piranha as a pet without having an evil lair, a need to take over the world, and maybe a supervillain lifestyle. (Okay, we got it, Trump might own piranhas, still, that's just one dude.)

Even so, it's one of the most unusual pets to own - even if it's not a good idea at all.


This large cat can grow up to a whopping three feet in length, and believe it or not, it's not totally domestic. Technically, this cat is a hybrid of a number of species - and is made to be an exotic pet. A serval is a weird pet to own, but let's be real, it's got cool factor through the roof.

Servals are large cats that come from the plains of Africa, which are then bred with domestic house cats. The end result is a cat that is massive in size, can be walked on a leash like a dog, and also looks like a leopard.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches

These cockroaches aren't cute, nor are they the same as the ones that crawl around your kitchen at night. They're way larger, make threatening hissing noises, and if they escape their box, they will turn into your landlord's worst nightmare.

We really don't know what kind of twisted individual would want one of these things as a pet. They aren't cuddly, they don't do tricks, they hiss at you, and they're an upgraded version of things exterminators are paid to kill. Enjoy.


A jungle relative of the raccoon, this quirky brown critter is adorable in its own right. This bear-like raccoon is known for being playful yet quiet, adaptable, yet at the same time, filled with cool surprises.

That being said, kinkajous do not do well around loud noises or too much light. They also require a ton of attention and will react badly to being left alone for too long.

Overall, though, kinkajous are a great pet to own and they're funny acrobats to watch in action. As long as you can be around them for a while every day, you're good to go.


Opossums are also legal in the majority of US states - as long as they aren't the wild, potentially rabid, psychotic-looking possums you'd expect to see in your back yard. Specifically, most exotic pet laws look to see if the possums are from an approved species list.

That being said, even if they are weird pets to own, many possums are downright adorable, are incredibly agile, and also tend to be very active at night. Among cuter opossum breeds you can adopt are the Four Eyed Opossum, the Indo Striped Opossum, and the Brazilian Short Tailed Opossum.

Capuchin Monkeys

On a very loose technicality, Capuchin Monkeys are considered to be legal as pets in the United States. Or, rather, they're allowed to be kept in homes in certain states. These tiny, inquisitive monkeys are pretty high maintenance and can be very destructive if you aren't trained in dealing with exotic animals.

Though they can be crazy pets, they can be domesticated and trained. In fact, up until 2010, they were used and trained to give disabled people water and other goods. So, at the very least, they are trainable to a point.

Even though they're legal to own, they aren't really that easy to find. As a result, they have to stay on the list of the most unusual pets to own on principle alone.


Tarantulas are terrifying for any arachnophobe, and the fact is that it's really hard to imagine why anyone would want to own one of these things. They aren't cuddly, they can't do tricks, and really, the only reason most people would want them is to prove that they are edgy and fearless. Some are even venomous.

In spite of being venomous, occasionally biting owners, and just not really doing much aside from being giant spiders, people still like them. We don't understand it, either.


Fans who love the overall chubby yet rodent-y look of guinea pigs will fall in love with the giant version: the capybara. These massive rodents are currently the largest in the world, and grow up to a whopping three feet in size.

Generally speaking, they're very docile and happy creatures that tend to play well with others. They enjoy water and, like other wild animals in this list, need a ton of space.

Fun fact - baby capybaras look a lot like grown up guinea pigs. In fact, it might be easy to mistake the two if you have an untrained eye.

Bush Babies

Bush babies might not be one of the most unusual pets to own in Australia, but having one here will definitely turn heads! These agile, large-eyed lorises are known for being super cute and surprisingly quiet as pets.

Though they technically are legal to own in some states, it's worth noting that bush babies do not do well in cages and will get very stressed if enclosed. If you can't create a tree-like area for them to play in, it may be best for the welfare of the animal to just leave them in a zoo-like area.

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About the Creator

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of New Jersey. This is her work account. She loves gifts and tips, so if you like something, tip her!

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