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Ashley's pink toed tarantula, Princess!

Exotic Animals

When we think of exotic animals we normally think of tamed pets like a rat or turtles. The kind of animals we are going to be looking at may not even be from this country. More and more people have been acquiring exotic animals. According to A.P.P.A. (American Pet Products Association), In 2013 alone 19.4 million U.S. households owned exotic pets. In 2017, exotic animals in America were a $69.51 billion dollar commodity. Since then, the total went up by 4.4 billion as Americans spent 72.56 billion on their animals. Ashley Atwater, who graduated from T.A. last year, owns 17 exotic pets of her own!

Below she shares a bit about her interesting friends.

Bella and Theo eating their leafy greens!

I have two Russian tortoises their names are Bella and Theo. I’ve had Theo for three years and Bella for a month. Their favorite food is watermelon. Russian Tortoises are herbivores (plant eaters). They love to eat and generally prefer leafy greens.

Bonnie and Clyde

I also have two leopard geckos named Bonnie and Clyde. I’ve had them for a year and a half. Their favorite food is large crickets. Leopard geckos have an average life span of fifteen years. These beautiful creatures typically like dry, rocky grasslands and desert regions.


These are my two tarantulas! A desert blonde named Chloe who I have had for six months. Princess is a pink-toed tarantula who I’ve had her for a little over a month. The normal life span of a Tarantula is fifteen to twenty-five years. There are more than one thousand different species. Princess is due to have babies. It is common for a single tarantula egg sac to contain anywhere from 500 to 1,000 babies. Anyone want a new pet?

Green iguana is Rex, Red iguana is Mushu.

My two iguanas, are named Rex (who I’ve had for two years) and Mushu (who I’ve had for one year). Mangos are their favorite food!

These oversized lizards can range from 1.5 meters to 1.8 meters! The average life span is about 20 years. Iguanas love their greens, so if you are interested in getting one for a pet, make sure you have lots of vegetables at the ready. They also enjoy fruit occasionally.


This is the Ball Python that I’ve had for a year and a half his names Sylas. “This was my first exotic animal.”

Are you thinking about getting a snake for a pet? If you have never owned a snake before, a ball python is a good choice. They are fairly small and docile, and this type of snake is easy to take care of. On average, they will live 20 to 40 years, so be sure you are ready to make a long-term commitment to your new pet.

All of my pets I’ve gotten at the reptile expo held in New Hampshire or we’ve adopted from Animal Welfare society. My love for animals began when I was younger and my love for them has only grown over the years!

Exotic animals are not like your normal house pets. So if you are considering getting an exotic animal make sure you do the research and find one that you are genuinely willing to take care of in the long run!

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