Plant-eating exotic pets

So…you like the idea of keeping an exotic pet but don’t want to feed it live food or keep tubs of dead insects and small mammals in your freezer. Perhaps you’re vegetarian or vegan or have other beliefs. Is your exotic pet-keeping dream over?  

Not at all! Here is some helpful information on exotic pets that can thrive on a plant-based diet.

As more people in the UK become interested in animal companionship, the demand for exotic pets has increased. While many traditional pets, such as dogs and cats, are carnivorous, there are also a wide variety of exotic pets that can eat a meat-free diet – we bet you’re breathing a sigh of relief! 

However, there are many species of pet reptiles that can thrive on a non-meat diet.  

These include certain species of turtles, snakes, and lizards. For example, some species of turtles, such as box turtles and tortoises, are omnivorous and can be fed a diet consisting of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits. Similarly, many species of snakes and lizards can be fed a diet consisting of a variety of vegetables and plant material.  

Some examples of non-meat foods that can be included in a reptile's diet are leafy greens (such as romaine lettuce and collard greens), vegetables (such as bell peppers, squash, and carrots), and fruits (such as apples and berries).  

By choosing an exotic pet that does not eat meat, you can ensure that your new companion is able to live a healthy and happy life while also aligning with your personal dietary preferences. 

It is important to research the specific dietary needs of the reptile species you are keeping as a pet to ensure they are receiving the proper nutrients and to prevent any potential health issues. 

It's important that you do thorough research before adopting any exotic pet to ensure that you can provide for their specific needs and that you are legally able to own the species in this country.  

Other plant-eating exotic animals that can currently be kept as pets in the UK include the African pygmy hedgehog and the sugar glider. However, both species have complex care requirements including the need for a lot of space and wild behaviours they need to exercise to thrive. For example, the hedgehog would forage for insects in the wild, sugar gliders are tree dwellers, and both are nocturnal; neither of these makes ideal domesticated pets.

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