Maybe you’ve always wanted a reptile, and you’re finally in a place where you feel you can care for one. Or you want a fuzzier pet, and you’ve heard about what great companions a pair of guinea pigs can be. If you’re looking for an exotic pet to join your family, your first stop shouldn’t be the pet store. The first thing you should do is call a rescue.
Adoption isn’t just for cats and dogs. Exotic animals also find themselves in the shelter all too often. Here are some reasons you should consider adoption first and some resources for finding the right rescue… and the right exotic pet for you.
why adopt an exotic pet?
Exotic pets aren’t as exotic as they used to be. Reptile ownership has skyrocketed by 68% in recent years, rabbits are the third most popular pet after cats and dogs, and birds have also increased in popularity. Unfortunately, more popularity means more animals ending up in the shelter.
If you’ve attended a reptile expo, then you’ve experienced the startling sight of rows of vendors with reptiles stacked up in plastic bins. Most breeders have a passion for their reptiles and want to share that with other enthusiasts. Sadly, in attempting to keep up with the demand for beautiful reptiles, too many are being placed in homes that either can’t handle them or outright neglect them.
This isn’t exclusive to reptiles. Right now there are at least 50 rabbits at Oakland Animal Services… and even more in the care of foster homes. These rabbits are waiting for a second chance at a happy home. When it comes to exotics, the situation in rescues is more dire than people realize.
Unfortunately, when it comes to rescuing a pet, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and other exotics are the last things that come to mind. This is an idea that needs to gain traction, and if you’re looking for a pet, you can help by adopting your pet from a local rescue and promoting the idea to others you know who are looking for an animal companion.
oakland exotic pet rescues
Luckily, here in Oakland, we have access to multiple rescues if we’re looking for a new addition. Birds, rats, rabbits, and reptiles,... we have resources to help you find and adopt the perfect pet.
Oakland Animal Services- This is a good place to start if you’re looking for a rabbit or a guinea pig. You can view adoptable animals online and submit an application or come in and meet them in person.
Peninsula Humane Society- Peninsula Humane Society isn’t just a great place to find your perfect rabbit, guinea pig, or rat. They also have reptiles and farm animals available for adoption. If you’re looking for a bearded dragon, a tortoise, or a chicken, you can contact them and make an appointment to find the pet that is a perfect fit.
East Bay Rabbit Rescue- East Bay Rabbit Rescue is an all-volunteer organization and the largest rabbit rescue in the Bay Area. Call for an appointment to meet their adoptable bunnies.
OaklandStreetBunz- Unfortunately, pet rabbits being dumped in parks is placing a strain on many rabbit rescues. Jessica Peters of the OaklandStreetBunz Instagram page has stepped up and is rescuing these “Street Bunz”. Check out the adoptable rabbits on her Instagram, and contact her if you are interested in adopting.
Kay’s Rescues and Rehabilitation- Kay provides a safe haven for reptiles and accepts reptiles that need to be rehomed, no questions asked. Watch her Instagram to follow the journey of the reptiles she rehabilitates, and keep your eye open for adoptable reptiles as they become ready for new homes.
JnW Reptile Rescue- JNW provides a slightly different, but very needed, rescue service. This husband and wife team safely and humanely removes reptiles from your residence. They promote reptile education and run their rescue service with the purpose of saving Northern California’s native species. In addition to removal and relocation, they provide rescue and rehabilitation services for reptiles.
Palomacy Pigeon and Dove Rescue- Pigeons and doves make wonderful companions for bird lovers, whether they are safe in an aviary or even as house birds! Palomacy rescues, rehabilitates, and finds homes for domestic pigeons and doves who have been “released” or lost and have no way to survive on their own. Palomacy also provides helpful resources to new pigeon and dove keepers, so they can provide their birds with safe and happy homes.
Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue- Parrot-type birds have extremely long life spans and complex social needs that some people just aren’t ready for. This means there are always birds ready to be adopted into a home that is prepared to care for them. Mickaboo requires potential adopters to take a free care class so they truly are prepared. For the health and safety of the birds, Mickaboo requires their birds not to be rehomed, used for breeding, or sold. Once a bird has been rescued by Mickaboo, they always have a place there.
Ratical Rodent Rescue- Even rats and hamsters can end up in a rescue. Fortunately, Ratical Rodent Rescue is there to help them find the perfect placement. If you are interested in a rat, hamster, mouse, or chinchilla, call to set up an appointment and give a rescued rodent a chance.
If you want to help, but you aren’t quite ready to adopt, there are other ways you can help rescued exotic pets. There are volunteer opportunities with every rescue, so don’t hesitate to reach out. If you are on the cusp of adopting but just aren’t sure, consider fostering. Foster homes provide animals with a safe, stress-free environment where they can decompress and even learn to socialize properly. It also frees up valuable space at shelters that are currently being overrun.
Before you adopt, make sure you’re prepared for the work it entails. Here are a few blogs with care tips to help you decide if you really are up for the challenge.
If you’re interested in a reptile, take a look at these care tips.
Birds need enrichment to live their best lives, you can learn more about it here.
Interested in guinea pigs? Take a look at our guide to guinea pig care.
Have a question about an exotic pet and whether it’s right for you? We can help! Send us a message, and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.