Before you buy
What's your motivation?
If you are thinking about an exotic pet for the 'cool' factor, please reconsider choosing an exotic pet. This is not enough to ensure you meet the long-term commitment, as it can be overwhelming once the novelty wears off. Consider whether an exotic pet is truly going to meet your expectations and fit into your long-term plans. Your choice of exotic pet must also be based on your ability (in time and money) to provide adequate housing, space, care and attention.
Is the pet legal?
First and foremost, find out which kinds of pets are illegal in your area. Don't ignore the laws (even archaic ones) just because you might get away with it; legal problems and heartache are a possible result. It is not worth the hassle.
Adult size and longevity
Larger pets need more space and exercise, and may be more difficult to handle. Will the pet still fit in your surroundings once it is fully grown? Do your research. Also some reptiles have a life expectancy that is as long or longer than humans: who is going to live longer – you or your new pet?
Keep in mind that housing, supplies, food, veterinary care and other expenses are often far greater than the cost of the pet itself. Carefully consider what you can afford when choosing a pet.
Compatibility with children and other pets
Some exotic pets are ill-suited to live with small children. Make sure you consider this, now and into the future. Plus, will a new pet get along with any other pets in your home, or be stressed out by other pets in close proximity to them?
Single vs multiple pets
Some pets are happiest as single pets (territorial and will fight), but others will be much more content with a companion of the same species. If pairs or groups will be kept, though, same sex pairs are preferred to prevent reproduction. For yet others, pairs of females will get along while males should be kept singly.
Availability of pet sitters
Do you have someone who will look after your pet if you go away? Some of the more rare pets may be a challenge when it comes to finding pet sitters. For example, not everyone loves snakes or giant spiders!