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The weirdest pets ever

by Sarah Walker

Instagram @exoticpetscv

Owning a pet is said to help improve health in countless ways, even if said animal is “weird.” What do we mean by “weird”? Check out these 20 unique animals to find out.

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Horned lizard

Shutterstock

“Everyone loves these cactus dragons!”, posted this user on Instagram about the animals she’s come to call family. “Horned lizards are so fascinating. They eat venomous ants and when they’re threatened they shoot blood out of their eyes at predators!”

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Red-eyed tree frog

Instagram @exoticpetscv

Next up in the world of “weird animals people own” is this little guy — a red-eyed tree frog. He was snapped snuggling up to his veterinarian during a routine visit. According to National Geographic, the amphibian can live for five years.

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Spotted gecko

Instagram @exoticpetscv

Why snuggle up to a cat or dog when you can cuddle with a spotted (a.k.a. leopard) gecko? They’re common pets in Asia and India.

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Bearded dragon

Instagram @super_pringle

Pringle is a chill bearded dragon living in Geelong, Australia, who’s become Instagram-famous for his unique glamour shots. It makes sense given Pet MD has dubbed the scaly creature“ one of the most easy-going and relaxed” reptiles in the world. “They are amongst the easiest to leash train, and will even casually allow their owners to dress them in clothing.”

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Cockatiels

Instagram @jackthecockatiel

Cockatiels are one of the most popular bird breeds to own, largely because they carry on like they’re human. They talk, whistle, sing and even play. They’re also big sleepers — some require up to 14 hours of rest a day! This particular parrot became famous for his unique poses with everyday objects.

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Chinchilla

Instagram @cute_bubu

Cute BuBu is, quite possibly, the cutest chinchilla on the planet. The eight-year-old can regularly be seen cuddling up to her co-pet, Bella the cat, or playing with toys like a scooter.

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Emerald tree boa

Instagram @exoticpetscv

Perhaps this emerald tree boa is more cuddly than it appears, because it’s definitely not something we can picture ourselves snuggling up to after a hard day of work. The green beauty is a non-venomous boa, and is most typically found in the lush rainforest regions of South America.

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Hermit crab

Instagram @dnyrockstone

The person who owns this “Coenobita perlatus” gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “seafood lover.” The hermit crab is, apparently, a favourite of amateur aquarium owners, especially in Southeast Asia, its native habitat. Some say they make a great pet because they’re relatively docile (for a crab).

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Stick insects

Instagram @mynurturednest

It may be hard to believe, but there are over 3,000 species of stick insects on Earth. This one is owned by a woman in the U.S. In fact, she seems to have bred the creature. According to National Geographic Kids, the insect is related to grasshoppers, crickets and mantises.

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Snails

Instagram @lunar.babe

Why catch a glimpse of a snail in the forest when you can snuggle up to one every day? This little lady — dubbed Daisy by her owner — plays with objects in her mom’s home in Cleveland, and often enjoys walks with her friends on leaves and greenery.

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Praying mantis

Instagram @_missbuglady

“The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer,” notes National Geographic. And though they’re common in the wild (especially in forests), it’s rare to see them being kept as a pet; they will bite if provoked.

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Scorpion

Instagram @lowcountryexotics

Anyone who owns a scorpion could be taking their life into their own hands… depending on which species they snag (1,750 varieties are known to exist). Perhaps people like owning them because they change colour. “Under UV light such as a black light, scorpions are known to glow due to the presence of fluorescent chemicals in their exoskeleton,” notes Science Kids.

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Tropical screech owl

Instagram @exoticpetscv

Given its name, the tropical screech owl isn’t something we think we’d want to own, but given its handsome appearance perhaps we could be persuaded. This little guy was seen posing with his veterinarian after a checkup. According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the owl “is one of the most successful and adaptable species” in South America.

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Chameleon

Instagram @exoticpetscv

There are so many amazingly interesting reasons to own a chameleon, we don’t know where to start. First, they change colour to regulate their body temperature. Next, their eyes can swivel around in just about any direction. Lastly, watching them walk is hilarious. (Check out more fun facts at Mental Floss.)

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Hedgehogs

Instagram @exoticpetscv

Hedgehogs may not seem like a weird pet choice, but there has to be something off about owning them when you consider they’re banned in some parts of the United States. They’re also spiky little creatures that have between 5,000 and 7,000 quills that can pr*ck and pierce skin. On the bright side, unlike porcupines, their spikes aren’t poisonous.

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Panda pied ball python

Instagram @exoticpetscv

This is definitely one of the weirdest-looking pythons we’ve ever seen. At least the name fits! Dubbed panda pied ball pythons, they’re thought to be extremely rare and highly sought-after by weird pet lovers. They’re also, interestingly enough, wholly unique (no two ball pythons are alike!).

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Axolotl

Instagram @cakerz519

This little guy is known as a Mexican walking fish even though he’s not really a fish, he’s an amphibian. The long-living creatures can grow to be the size of a teacup, and are a much-beloved pet of folks in Mexico because of their weird features. (They keep their larval look through adulthood, according to National Geographic.)

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Giant African land snail

Instagram @feedawg

If you don’t like snails, you definitely wouldn’t like snuggling up to this guy: a giant African land snail. Despite warnings that people should avoid owning them as pets (they’re pests, after all!), “many people in the U.K. and Asia keep these snails as pets, describing the snails as having cute faces and expressive eyes,” The Spruce Pets notes.

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Hairless rat

Instagram @0__bioluminescent_alien_0

You’ve probably heard of hairless cats (and even hairless dogs), but have you ever set eyes on a hairless rat? Yes, some people like these creatures because they’re “cute” and allergen-free. Also known as a sphynx rat, they often feel like a walnut.

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Ivory millipede

Instagram @our.tiny.zoo

Perhaps it’s the overwhelming abundance of these creatures that makes them a go-to pet for some. Known as ivory millipedes, these little guys like to live in dark, damp conditions, making them ideal inhabitants of household plants. Surprisingly, they can live for up to 10 years.

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