April 11th marks National Pet Day in America. The day was founded by Animal Welfare Advocate Colleen Page in 2006 to lionize our furry little friends, whose mere existence improves our lives, as well as to bring awareness to the quandaries of shelter animals around the world. One might celebrate the day by donating blankets and pet food to a local shelter, showering your critters with new toys, or even adopting a pet from a local animal rescue.
At Viral Pirate, we often sail to uncharted territory, in the direction of what’s weird and unusual. Here’s a list of some bizarre animals who can become your next pet.
Often referred to as a fennec, these little foxes are native to the Saharan desert in North Africa. Fennecs are nocturnal and known for their very large ears, which help counteract the effects of desert heat. They like to eat small animals, birds, and insects and can live up to 14 years in captivity! While exotic and expensive, fennec foxes can be kept in any state that authorizes the ownership of exotic pets.
A member of the possum family, sugar gliders are nocturnal critters native to Australia. In their natural habitat, they glide from tree to tree in the night to hunt. While they’re often confused with the flying squirrel, sugar gliders are actually social marsupials best owned in pairs. Though they have sharp teeth and claws, they will surely bond with their owner when handled properly. Feed your sugar glider veggies, raw nuts, cooked meat and eggs, as well as insects, leaves, and fresh branches. Most states allow sugar gliders to be kept as pets.
Muntjacs are a small species of deer and the oldest known on the planet. They are indigenous to Southeast Asia and known as the “barking deer” for the noises they make. They were introduced in England around 1900, where the Reeve’s muntjac now threaten local wildlife and forestry. The little deer are affectionate once comfortable around the owner and can even be litter-trained. Muntjacs are playful and can be taught children’s games like hide-and-seek. They are able to jump up to 6 feet high. Muntjacs can be kept indoors and outdoors in states that allow such exotic animals.
The largest rodent in the world, capybaras are like super-sized guinea pigs. Local to South America, capybaras measure 4 feet long and can weigh in at over 100 pounds! Because they are semi-aquatic, capybaras require an outdoor space to swim. It’s important to handle them a lot when they are young to establish a human-rodent relationship. They like to eat grass with their large teeth and are not for young families. They are legal to own as pets in Texas and Pennsylvania, but other jurisdictions might make exceptions.
Now why wouldn’t you want to own your own Pepé Le Pew? Ignore their rank reputation! Skunks are very smart critters with high levels of intelligence and curiosity. Their scent glands can be removed at 4 weeks of age, so owners do not have to live with a stinky skunk. When held often at a young age, skunks will become tame and good house pets. They can be litter-trained and eat a ferret’s diet of dried food and fresh veggies. Pet skunks can live over 10 years, but few states allow them as pets, so check with local laws before taking in a little stinker.
Just hear me out. Cockroaches are large, hissing love bugs who are simply misunderstood. They can climb really high and make pretty cool sounds. They do not fly, bite, or sting and make great first pets for kids who like creepy-crawlies. They only require small living spaces and will eat a diet of fresh veggies and dog food. What’s really cool is they hear with their feet by sensing vibrations. The like to hide away from the light and are very easy and inexpensive pets to love and cherish.
Whether you choose a cat or a cockroach to call your own, give them some love today. And remember folks, never take animals out of their natural habitat to make your own pet!