People love their pets; there is no doubt about that. People particularly love their cats and their dogs, with over 86 million cats and 74 million dogs living in homes in the United States alone, not to mention the further millions of each animal living in homes across Europe and Asia. In Canada an estimated 35% of the population owns a dog, while 38% owns a cat.
Though both dogs and cats are by far the most popular pet of choice overall, there are still over 170 million fish in tanks in people’s homes, and nearly 15 million horses in stables across the country. Based upon the numbers, it’s clear people love the companionship that pets provide. While the vast majority of pet owners can share a bond with a cat, or a dog, or even a fish, some just need to go the extra mile and dig deeper into their pocket books. To outdo the rest of the pet loving world they buy an expensive, exotic pet, showing the world that their companion animal is not only cooler, but also more expensive than most; price being a clear indication as to how good a pet the animal will make, of course. Call me crazy, but I’ll take my shelter cat any day of the week. But hey, who am I to judge.
10. The Bengal Cat – $3,000
The Bengal Cat is a species of interbred cats that is common for the exotic pet market. A cross breed between a domestic short haired black cat and an Asian Leopard, the sole purpose of breeding the two together is to dwarf the size of the cat, and create a demeanour in it more akin to a domestic cat, while also maintaining the exotic appearance of the Leopard. Apparently it takes up to five generations of breeding the two together to create the perfect Bengal cat, so be careful what you spend that 3k on.
9. Snow Macaque – $3,500
The primate known for its hairless red face, and an endangered species, the Snow Macaque is a smaller primate that can live up to 30 years old. Having one as a pet would be like having an unruly child. The Macaque needs constant attention not to mention diaper changes, as well as a large enough cage to keep them in for the majority of their time in your home so they don’t get lost, or break out of the house with their opposable thumbs and end up climbing up hydro poles, or just simply running off. Seems like a case of let the wild stay in the wild; endangered or not, private owners trying to ‘rescue’ or domesticate these animals aren’t doing them any favours.
8. Pastel Butter Stripe Ball Python – $7,500
A rare python sought after primarily for the markings on its back, the python has a rare genetic makeup that produces a yellow stripe with a black border, apparently making them clearly different from other snakes. Beyond the exclusivity of owning one as a pet, the snake grows to roughly five feet in length, lives for nearly 30 years and is by and large a passive animal, making it a unique and good, if not great, exotic pet.
7. Capuchin Monkeys – $10,000
Named after the Capuchin Monks that wore robes to conceal their faces, the Capuchin monkeys are adorable, and have unfortunately been glamorized as pets by Hollywood, both in the show Friends, and in the Jim Carrey movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. While it’s true Capuchin monkeys have been utilized to assist the handicapped, they can also be a lot of work and still need to be kept in a cage the majority of the time so as to keep them out of trouble. In captivity Capuchin monkeys can live for up to 50 years, meaning making a commitment to this exotic pet is like having a child who lives at home for 50 years.
6. Camel – $10,000
Camels have been domesticated for over 5,000 years so their use as pets and labour animals is nothing new outside of the west. In the U.S. however, camels are a relatively new domestic pet, and will run you a cool $10,000. Apart from the 10 grand you’ll need to buy your camel, you’ll also have to have the animal shipped from wherever it’s coming from, costing plenty more. You’ll also need to purchase a licence and fill out all the paper work required to own a camel. That’s just to get it here, where it’s recommended you have at least 2 acres of land to let the camel roam. Factor in food and health requirements, not to mention a specialized vet familiar with treating camels and you have a very expensive proposition.
5. Hyacinth Macaw – $11,000
The largest type of flying parrot in the world, the Hyacinth Macaw is nearing closer and closer to endangerment. The bird can have a wingspan of up to four feet and grow to be 40 inches long. They are also extremely strong, so keeping them in re-enforced cages is a good idea to prevent a breakout. Furthermore, prone to biting, the Macaw must be trained early on not to try extract fingers from its owners. Over the Macaw’s 60-odd-year life span it will develop a decent vocabulary and impress party guests of all ages.
4. Palm Cockatoo – $16,000
Another wildly expensive bird on this list, the Palm Cockatoo is in especially high demand as a pet because of its strange look. It really is an interesting looking bird, but it is also an expensive one to maintain as a pet due to its rigid diet, consisting of anything from Brazil nuts and pine nuts to apples, oranges, pomegranate, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli and kale. Furthermore, the Palm Cockatoo lays an egg once every second year, and does not breed well in captivity, so hopes of becoming a grandparent might be slim.
3. Savannah Cat – $22,000
A Savannah Cat is the result of successful mating between a domestic cat and an African Serval, a medium sized wildcat that lives primarily south of the Sahara desert (though Servals are legal to own as pets in many countries as well). The Savannah Cat is apparently quite intelligent, but difficult to actually create. Breeders have difficulty getting the Serval and domestic cat to mate, and most fail outright. When mating is successful, the price of a Savannah Cat is wholly dependent on the amount of Serval in its blood; the most expensive Savannah Cats are roughly 75 percent Serval, while the ultra prestigious F1 has one parent that is entirely pure blooded Serval.
2. Chimpanzee – $60,000-$65,000
Having a Chimpanzee as a pet seems like it could be pretty cool. They are extremely intelligent, very similar to humans in a lot of ways, and always seem like loyal buddies in the movies. They are also a very aggressive, endangered species meant to live in central and western Africa, not a family home, where some owners have gone so far as to remove a Chimpanzee’s teeth to stop them from biting, or remove their thumbs in an effort to stop them from climbing. With a hefty price tag and being insurmountable work to take care of, Chimpanzees may be adorable, but they are expensive and not meant to be pets.
1. White Lion Cub – $140,000
Due to a recessive genetic mutation, nature has given us the white lion that, for a cool $140,000 can be yours to take home with you and raise like one of the other cats in your litter. Extremely rare, white lions are almost impossible to obtain because the majority are born into zoos, and not to private breeders, so your chances of owning a white lion cub are virtually nil. But, there are still those that manage to not only find a breeder willing to part with one but also come up with the cash to pay for the white lion, giving them the ultimate prestige when owning an exotic pet. The one thing they may have forgotten is that the white lion cub grows into a white lion, and having a massive jungle cat roaming the house makes the allure of owning a white lion cub wear off pretty quick.