Exotic Pets Gain Popularity - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Exotic Pets Gain Popularity

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House pets aren't limited to dogs and cats anymore. Exotic animals are becoming increasingly popular. A sugar glider is not your typical pet, but more people are bringing them home every day.

"There's a lot more interest in exotic pets these days than there used to be. Part of it is that people want something different. You know, a dog or cat is boring. You've got a lot of people who are living in apartments that don't allow dogs or cats. And allergies, too. If you're allergic to things with fur or feathers, a reptile makes a good pet," says Jessica Stephens, Kt Animal Supply.

But she says it's important to do your research before buying an exotic pet. Sugar gliders, for example, demand a lot of attention. And it can take a lot of time for it to bond with it's owner.

"It took us up to six months to bond with him. And now, he's finally bonded with Brad. I'm trying to bond with him now. It's taking time," says sugar glider owner Marissa Schmidt.

It's also important to keep the right food in the house. It can be expensive. Schmidt's glider eats fresh fruit, as well as sugar glider food. And these high-maintenance pets aren't for everyone.

"I would not recommend a sugar glider for a little kid. They're too delicate and they are too easy to spook. You know, they're a prey animal. And they're active at night. And things can set them off. If they go running, you're going to have a hard time catching them. And not to mention, if they get spooked, their first reaction is to bite or scratch," says Stephens.

Stephens recommends other animals, such as guinea pigs for smaller children.

But she says if you do your research and put in the time, the little critters can make great pets.

"He's an awesome pet, I'll tell you that. He loves to play. He loves to walk around in his cage. He likes to drink water, swing around on the rope, and you know, just have a good time," says sugar glider owner Brad Ensz.

The up-front cost of bringing a sugar glider home is between $500 to $1,000.

Stephens says sugar glider owners should plan to dedicate at least an hour a night to the animal.

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