There’s a lot of arguments about when humans first started keeping animals as companions. Some think most hunting peoples kept an animal or two and it may even pre-date humans as we know them. Others think it started with the domestication of dogs anywhere from roughly 13,000 to 30,000 years ago. After dogs would come domesticated animals used largely for food, milk, and labor, followed by cats kept as companions like dogs before them. As centuries have gone on many people have become bored with the same old pets and have explored the idea of domesticating more exotic animals as companions. These animals generally cost a good sum of money not to mention the cost of upkeep. Here are some of the more expensive animals to be kept as pets if “man’s best friend” isn’t exciting enough for you.
10. White-Tufted Marmoset – $2,000
It’s become increasingly popular to keep monkeys and apes as pets and this little guy is one of the more popular primates to keep as a pet due to its tiny size. Don’t let the size fool you into thinking these are easy critters to take care of. While food won’t send you to the poor house other aspects of upkeep might. A vet familiar with the species is necessary to have on hand in case it falls ill. They also live 20 years on average so unless you teach them how to use the toilet (which might be hard considering their tiny size) you’re looking at twenty years worth of diapers. Another downside of their size is they’ll more than likely need to be caged at night so they aren’t lost or even sat on when you wake up in the morning.
9. Rhesus Macaque – $4,000
The Rhesus Macaque, like the Marmoset, incurs high maintenance costs due to a long lifespan. These creatures have an average life span of 25 years. They also eat a varied diet much like a human that includes whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, and even some fully cooked fish and yogurt. Over time their diet has become rather varied due to humans keeping and breeding them mainly for experimentation. If you’re going to own one of these guys be prepared have the equivalent a son or daughter who has decided to not grow up, get a job, and leave the house.
Rhesus Macaques will also need a specialized vet so their health care cost is higher than most domesticated animals. Be warned: Health care costs won’t stop at the Macaque. They’re known to carry a range of diseases so you might find yourself in and out of the hospital as well. They’re also known to get agitated and attack their owners from time to time.
While a number of primates make the list, it should be noted it is not recommended. Another added cost is fines around $5,000 in areas that don’t permit these types of animals as pets.
8. Hyacinth Macaw – $6,000-12,000
These beautiful creatures are one of the most expensive birds you can own. Don’t think you can buy just any old bird cage though. These birds can get to be about 3 feet in length with a wingspan of 5 feet!
This is another pet where your own hospitalization could be part of the upkeep cost: Their beak can easily take off a finger if they aren’t socialized with humans almost right away. Be prepared to take some time off work so you can spend time with them when they’re young.
These vibrantly colored birds are on the endangered species list and are not supposed to be kept in the United States. If you live in the U.S. and want a Hyacinth Macaw, prepare to pay a fine or two.
7. Mona Guenon – $8,000
The Mona Guenon, also known as Wolf’s Mona, is a popular Old World primate to be kept as a pet though some countries or states may still not allow them to be kept in captivity. In fact they’ve been common enough in human areas that it’s been discovered that when let free these creatures can adapt to almost any environment; living everywhere from swamps to agricultural areas.
In the event it is legal to keep a Mona Guenon the insurance on these animals can cost a small fortune. There is also a very good possibility that even if you keep a Mona Guenon as a pet, it might be perfectly friendly around you, but might not be so kind to outsiders.
6. The Domestic Dromedary Camel – $10,000
The Dromedary Camel is very easily domesticated, so much so it is believed that they only exist as a domesticated species and none exist in the wild.
It’s quite possible these camels are the most pet friendly species on this list. Much like a dog, the dromedary camel likes to be pet and scratched, and they even respond to treats. You won’t need much other than a fence and land to pasture to keep them. Of course, as with everything, you will need a specialized vet and it will require learning how to take care of a large herd animal.
On top of actually making a pretty good pet there are other advantages to having a camel. They can be trained to ride, as a work animal, and their feces makes an excellent.
Unfortunately, because they are so big, food cost can be high.
5. De Brazza’s Monkey – $10,000
With an average life span of 22 years here is yet another primate with a long life expectancy, so think of this animal as a life time commitment.
Named for a french explorer that first discovered them, a big part of the cost of the De Brazza’s monkey is their rarity. This is due to the fact they are shy and very good at hiding. This has led to an inability to get an accurate count of these creatures. Luckily they are not believed to be endangered.
While one of these primates might be loyal and friendly to their owner, they are protectors of their group, so it’s very possible your otherwise friendly monkey could attack your friends and family if they feel they are a threat to themselves or their owner.
4. Capuchin Monkey – $10,000
These little guys are easily trained and often used to assist humans that are blind or have other physical disabilities. They are no stranger to wearing clothing and most would probably know this species as the “organ grinder” monkey.
While extremely cute and incredibly helpful when trained, these monkeys are known to turn on their owners once they begin to reach adult hood. It’s because of things like this that the fines and insurance on keeping primate pets is very high. If you live in the United State, 21 states ban pet primates and will fine any violators, only 14 states allow them, while the other 15 require permits and licensing.
3. Goliath Palm Cockatoo – $16,000
The Goliath Palm Cockatoo have become rather popular as an exotic pet but have become endangered in the while as a result of hunting and the destruction of their natural habitat from bauxite mining operations.
These birds used to be fed food as inexpensive and as easy to obtain as dog kibble, but as more humans have kept them as pets it’s been discovered they have much greater nutritional needs. The Palm Cockatoo’s diet may consist of an assortment of fruits, nuts and vegetables, sweet potatoes, and current super-food kale.
They are in high demand for there black color, bright red cheeks, and unique crest.
2. Lavender Albino Python – $20,000
This snake is in high demand for its rare and unique color scheme. It looks like a typical albino python yet with a lavender stripe and ruby red eyes.
The Lavender Albino Python also comes with a load of maintenance costs. As it’s a cold blooded creature it needs equipment to keep its body temperature regulated and they are known for a variety of health issues such as mouth rot, being attacked by their own food (rats and mice), respiratory illnesses, and issues shedding in captivity.
They are skittish as babies but can be trained to be very tame and friendly adults.
1. Ashera Cat- $22,000
Luckily exotic pet enthusiasts no longer have to pay $22,000 for this cross-breed of African Serval, Asian Leopard, and house cat. Mainly because it doesn’t exist.
Lifestyle Pets claimed to have been breeding these animals when in fact they were just marking up Savannah Cats. DNA evidence later proved the speculations. Savannah Cats are just a cross-breed of the exotic Serval and a house cat but will still set you back about $7,000.