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We serve all pets, great and small

Exotic pets, often called pocket pets, deserve expert care, too! When your exotic pet needs help or a regular check-up, we can treat them at the Arbutus West Animal Clinic.


What is an exotic pet?

Exotic pets include hedgehogs, sugar gliders, hamsters, ferrets, guinea pigs, gerbils, rats, chinchillas, mice, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and many other kids of animals. Many of these are nick-named pocket pets, because they fit so well in a pocket, hood, or purse!


With tiny pets comes great responsibility

Some individuals new to exotic pet ownership encounter unforeseen challenges because of assumptions that a pocket pet would be less work, live a shorter life, cost less, and have fewer shelter requirements than a cat or a dog. However, many exotics have extremely precise habitat requirements, a very long lifespan, and require a great deal of attention. The key to happy exotic pet ownership is thorough research before taking responsibility for one. Consult a veterinarian who has specific knowledge of the pet you are considering, take some books out of the library, read online, and talk to others who have experience with this pet. Once you have a solid concept of how much these pets cost to acquire, how much their food and enclosure will cost year by year, what the veterinary expenses tend to be for this type of animal, and what kind of care and attention they will require, you will be in a good position to make an informed decision on whether this companion is right for you.


Why own a pocket pet?

Some people bring a pocket pet into their life due to pure fascination for these rare and unique species. Alternatively, many urban dwellers have turned to exotics for a companion that will occupy less space than a cat or a dog typically does.


Legal considerations

Even though you may be eager to foster a wild creature in your own home, keep in mind that BC has restrictions on what animals can be kept as pets, and some are strictly illegal due to risk to health and safety. For instance, tigers, caimans, monkeys, marmosets, lions, cobras, poison arrow dart frogs are prohibited. You can read the B.C. Wildlife Act’s Controlled Alien Species (CAS) Regulation, or search through the list of more than 1000 species of exotic animals designated as Controlled Alien Species here.

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