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 Exotic Animals
       

Bearded Dragons

I've had a couple bearded dragons, and they've both made great pets. They were both very young when I got them, so it was neat to watch them grow and mature. Caring for Beardeds is fairly simple. They need heat lamps in order to regulate their body temperature, a diet of live crickets/mealworms/roaches and greens, and a suitable environment to live in. They can be expensive, but are not hard to care for at all. The only thing I would be careful of is to make sure their cage isn't placed where they could become stressed by too much activity. Beardeds live close to 10 years when well-cared for.

     
         
             
           

Flying Squirrels

Yes, you heard correctly. A flying squirrel. That's what I had to say when people heard about what kinds of pets I had. My squirrel was named Rocky (after Rocky and Bullwinkle), and turned out to be quite an interesting pet. He didn't like to handled very much, so I needed to get him into an enclosed space and try to catch and hold him. Flying squirrels are very soft and light, so it's neat to be able to hold them. He was very fast, so if you're looking for a mellow pet this is NOT the one for you (go for a fat hamster if that's the case). As with all exotics, flying squirrels require specific care, so you should not get one if you don't have a lot of time on your hands. These squirrels need a lot of exercise room. They can live 10-12 years with good care, but I was not careful enough, it seems.

   
           

Veiled Chameleons

Definitely the most difficult animal to care for, that I've had experience with. I bought a pair of Veileds and was told that they were a male and female. They're VERY expensive, so you need to think about affordability before being able to care for Veileds. Though they required a lot of care, they were by far the coolest animals to watch and hold. Their slow motion and eating habits could keep you entertained for hours. However, female Veileds lay eggs even if they're not fertile, and it turned out that both my chameleons were females. When this happened, their bodies were drained and there wasn't much we could do to save them. That is just my experience with them; if I could start over, I probably would get a male. The average life span of a Veiled is about 5 years.

       

Parakeets

Parakeets, or Budgies, are the most common species of captive pet birds. They're smaller, and less expensive, than cockatiels and parrots, which is always a plus. They can be trained to do tricks and say words, but I never had any luck with my parakeets in that area, hard as I tried. Parakeets need social interaction, so you should consider getting more than one, or expect to spend a considerable amount of time with them. Caring for them is fairly simple, and you can clip their flight feathers so that you can hold them without fear of them flying away. Their lifespan can be very long, about 15 years, if well-cared for.