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Buying a Pet as a Gift

By: Jonathan Milward - Updated: 31 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Pet Gift Unusual Original Exotic

Looking after animals can be hugely rewarding and for the right person a new pet can make the perfect gift. If you are considering purchasing a little creature for someone the chances are you have already thought of the obvious options like a hamster, kitten or puppy. However, there may be some more interesting options you haven’t yet considered.


Chameleons are peculiar little reptiles that are usually found in Africa, Madagascar, and other tropical regions, but are becoming more and more popular as household pets in the UK. There are various species available, with the adults ranging in size from just a few centimetres up to nearly 2 feet in length. What makes chameleons so interesting is their ability to rapidly change the colour of their skin in order to blend in with their surroundings. They also have extremely long tongues which they are capable of rapidly shooting out of their mouth in order to catch prey, making them truly fascinating creatures to own and take care of. It should be noted that these exotic lizards do require specialist equipment including a climate controlled tank. However, these are all available from any good exotic pet store.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs might not be on the top of the majority of people’s lists of possible household animals. However, people might be surprised what intriguing little critters they can be. They can climb, dig, bathe themselves and even make amusing clicking noises. Possibly the most enjoyable part of owning hermit crabs is in creating a suitable tropical environment for them complete with sand, foliage, toys and a vital artificial beach area for them in which to keep moist. They make an excellent exotic pet for beginners as they are relatively easy to take care of and due to their size will not take up too much room. You can even buy novelty decorated shells for them that they will eventually move into as they moult and grow larger. As with exotic lizards, these animals require a climate controlled tank.

Praying Mantis

If you are familiar with praying mantises you will know what bizarre yet mesmerising little creatures they can be. They are truly fascinating to watch and can make great pets, being easier to take care of than many other exotic insects. They range in size from less than an inch up to 6 or more inches in length, depending on the species and sex, and usually live for about a year. They have a ferocious appetite so making sure they have plenty of food is the most important aspect of their day to day care. They can be relatively sociable creatures but do have a tendency to eat each other from time to time so it is recommended that they are kept alone.


If you are looking to buy a pet for someone who may not be too keen on colour changing reptiles or cannibalistic insects, then why not consider something cute and fluffy like a chipmunk instead. These hyperactive little rodents are fairly easy to look after and can be highly amusing with their endless acrobatic displays and cute little chirping noises. They are sociable animals and so are best kept in groups of two or more and do need a reasonable amount of space in which to run and jump around. They are extremely agile, intelligent animals that tend to get bored easily so a large, well equipped living environment is essential. Unlike exotic pets, they do not require a specially heated tank or unusual hard to find food and many would argue that they are far more entertaining and rewarding to keep as a pet than your average cold-blooded lizard or insect. However, these furry little animals are not recommended for anyone without a lot of space who is going to be bothered by scratching or habitual chipmunk chatter.

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