The most unusual pets ever owned will have you taking a trip down memory lane. Remember Bubbles the Monkey, Audrey Hepburn’s Pippin the Fawn and Salvador Dali’s anteater who he took for a walk on the wild side (quite literally) when in Paris?
But the rich and famous aren’t the only ones with wild aspirations and dreams of domesticating the most unusual pets ever owned. How about the couple with a pet puma in their apartment? From sugar gliders and cockroaches to axolotls and bush babies, the world is full of different and unusual but just as wonderful animals, some of which make for the perfect companion.
Just like the rarest dog breeds, or the friendliest dog breeds and the best small pets for compact homes or the best first pets for children — every pet parent has a set of criteria they're looking for when searching high and low for their first (or next) furry friend. But if you’ve landed on this page, the chances are you’re looking for something a bit more unique. So, to find just that, do keep reading to discover the most unusual pets ever owned.
32 of the most unusual pets ever owned
1. Fennec Fox
The jury is out on these cute canids. From your family’s new best friend to aggressive and impossible to domesticate. While opinions vary, we can all agree that these bat-eared bundles make for an undoubtedly wild pet.
2. Sugar Gliders
The eyes will draw you in and the glide will make you stay. This half squirrel, half hang-glider pocket pet will have you hanging out in the wild-side without so many risks. But should you keep sugar gliders as pets? Read this guide and we’ll let you decide if you’re up to the challenge.
Not to be dismissed by its low maintenance lifestyle, it’s very skin-crawling nature can make a cockroach quite the head-turning pet.
Famously owned by Audry Hepburn, her four-legged, doe-eyed co-star Pippin remains a prime example of the unusual becoming usual, that is, if you have the space, money, and time to bag yourself a Bambi.
5. Bush Baby
Whether known as a bush baby or night monkey, these saucer-eyed primates are hard to find, purchase, and keep legally yet not impossible. This makes them a challenge some are more than willing to accept.
6. Pygmy Goat
Their noise and somewhat savage nature make them an unusual pick. But for those who see past this, Pygmy Goats are excellent pets for all.
7. Dik Dik
Heard of a dik dik? A dik dik’s sweet features and doe eyes make people swoon and it seems being coined as an ‘unsuitable pets’ makes these miniature antelopes with a questionable name all the more desirable.
Feeling stressed out? No prob-llama. As a slightly more niche choice of therapy animal, llamas and their cool temperament are up to the challenge.
9. Miniature Donkey
Everybody deserves an Eeyore. Especially one you can hold between your arms! Weighing in at somewhere between 200 and 450lbs, miniature donkeys are docile and affectionate mammals and all the more unusual when pint-sized.
10. Spotted Genet
The Spotted Genets appearance, drawing comparisons with a ferret, causes them to be mistaken for playful, affectionate mammals. But they are rather aloof and highly independent. Despite their apparent aversion to humans, some have gone on to share their spotted genet success stories.
11. Marmoset Monkey
They tick all of the wild, unusual and unique boxes. But when taking on a Marmoset you’re signing yourself up for close to an 18 year-long commitment with this primate which has a toddler-like temperament.
It turns out you can have an axolotl as a pet in some US states. These amphibians are known best for their sweet smiles, adorable yawns and feathery gills. There is nothing ordinary about these extraordinary salamanders.
Two pairs of hands are better than one, or so the saying goes, so what about four? These beautiful saltwater sea animals are incredibly intelligent and admirable pets. For their short lives, they are a huge commitment but worthwhile for the added wow-factor in your aquarium.
While unusual for most, tarantulas are favored by many. The various species have an eight-legged, brightly colored, hair-raising spectrum of strange for you to pick from.
15. Dwarf Pig
If you can accept the risk of ending up with a full-grown pig ruling your roost, with a bit of luck on your side you could own a pocket pet to be proud of.
If it’s good enough for the White House, it’s good enough for us. Beyond their sweet faces and mask markings, raccoons are a high-maintenance and unpredictable animal with an aggressive streak. But if you’re up for the challenge, you could have the next Rebecca Raccoon on your hands.
Wallaroos are middle-range marsupials falling between a kangaroo and a wallaby and have been known to hop into the hearts of many. It is not unheard of for wallaroos to find comfort in living alongside humans in the home. However, you best have nappies on hand for these fur babies as they do not house-train easily!
An Agouti is seen most during the day, never straying too far from somewhere to hide. Their nervous nature and the challenge of bringing these rodents out of their shells in captivity seems to draw people in.
19. Prevost’s Squirrel
If you’re happy to part ways with $2,000, you could treat yourself to a Prevost’s squirrel. If you can spare the upfront cost, you will acquire an active, agile, and unusual omnivore who will have you wrapped around their tiny paws.
Did you know that a capybara is the largest living rodent? Their chilled way of life and relation to the humble guinea pig makes this furball a desirable pet. If you think a guinea pig is more suited to your home, check out how long guinea pigs live for which might help you make a more informed decision.
Despite being not as smelly as you might think, due to laws and licenses skunks remain relatively rare pets, however they are known to be sweet and playful companions.
22. Muscovy Ducks
Muscovy ducks are hardy, affectionate and non-quacking and are legal to keep in most states. Taking this duck under your wing is the perfect compromise between unusual and maintainable.
23. Serval Cat
They look like a cat, feel like a cat, and have been known to be affectionate towards humans but serval cats are wild animals with instincts to be met. These felines are not your typical lap cat and need space beyond your backyard to run, swim, hunt, and climb.
24. Ring-tailed Cat
Coming with whiskers of a fox, the body of a cat, and eyes you could drown in a ring-tailed cat makes for an unusual pet.
Bobcats are socially distanced scavengers. Whilst appearing like many domestic cats we know and love, these lynx cats pay little attention to humans.
Salvador Ali owned one. So technically you can, right? Generally speaking, yes you could swap out your kid's ant farm for a full-grown anteater. Having similar personality traits to a cat you are essentially adopting 100 lbs of a lovable insectivore.
Untame with unruly appetites, the care needs of a giraffe are a tall order. Not to mention finding the space and adequate trees for them to feed without upsetting the neighbors.
Alligators have been known to be kept illegally in pools, bathtubs, and swimming pools only to be abandoned in wetlands, rivers, and lakes by those desperate for dealings with these unusual creations.
Looking to live life on the edge? Owning an animal that could quickly put your life at risk is just the thrill some look for. Despite their deadly capability anacondas, when cared for correctly, aren’t usually interested in us and make for a definite head-turner-of-a-pet.
Kangaroos are quite the handful. With unintentional stand offs and reports of injuries to those who have tried to home these bouncing beauties, kangaroos are definitely not your usual pet.
To even attempt to domesticate this critter is the most emotional, expensive and exhausting venture you will embark on. But you wouldn’t be the first.
In some states, owning a tiger is easier than a dog. So it comes as no surprise that many take a chance on this wild card. People have opened up their hearts (and their homes) to these primates.
Wondering what are the most expensive animals in the world? Or curious about the cutest dog breeds? Head this way. We’ve also got guides on the rarest dog breeds and answer what dog breed is the smartest.
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Becks is a freelance lifestyle journalist who has more than 9 years of experience in the world of digital and print journalism. She covers health, wellness and family interests for a range of titles. When she's not putting pen-to-paper (or finger-to-keyboard) she's reading, in the gym, or taking her Dog Aunt title very seriously looking after the handful of four-legged creatures in her life.