Unusual pets that are legal to own
Origin: South America
Fun fact: The capybara is the world’s largest rodent, weighing up to 140 lbs, according to CBS affiliate WDBJ.
Note: Exotic pet laws in the U.S. vary from state to state, as do requirements for some pets’ care, so be sure to look into local regulations before bringing home a new furry or scaly friend.
Origin: Central and southern Africa
Fun fact: In the wild, servals are the most successful hunters of all wild cats, killing one for every two attempts to capture prey. According to CBS affiliate WDBJ, most cats in the wild kill one in every five or six shots.
Origin: Andes mountains, South America
Fun fact: Chinchilla fur is so dense that it’s tough for water to penetrate its skin. To clean themselves, chinchillas bathe in dust, which absorbs dirt and oil from their fur.
Fun fact: The term “wallaroo” is a mix, or portmanteau, of “kangaroo” and “wallaby.” Likewise, a wallaroo is not quite as big as a kangaroo but not relatively as small as a wallaby.
Origin: Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco, central Mexico
Fun fact: The axolotl is a salamander that fails to metamorphose into a land animal in its larval stage, instead keeping its gills and remaining aquatic. According to CBS affiliate WDBJ, axolotls can re-grow most body parts.
Origin: Central and South America
Fun fact: Domesticated kinkajous in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are called “Nicole
Pacman Frog (Horned Frog)
Origin South America
Fun fact: Pacman frogs are named after the famous video game due to their vast mouths, according to CBS affiliate WDBJ.
Fun fact: Degus bond more easily with their owners than hamsters or gerbils due to their intelligence and occasionally “groom” their handlers by giving them gentle nibbles.
Origin: Europe, Asia, and Africa
Fun fact: Hedgehogs exhibit an “anointing” behavior when they encounter a new smell, lick or bite the source of the scent, form a foam with their mouth, and distribute the saliva on their quills. According to CBS affiliate WDBJ, it’s believed by researchers that this is for scent camouflage purposes.
Fun fact: Genets can squeeze through any space ample enough for their head to fit through, according to CBS affiliate WDBJ.
Origin: Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
Fun facts: The sugar glider is a marsupial that carries its young in a pouch like a kangaroo. Skin membranes that stretch between its front and rear legs allow it to “glide” through the air for up to 150 meters.
Origin: Northern Africa
Fun fact: In the wild, fennec foxes hunt at night and use their large ears to listen for prey burrowing underground, such as insects or rodents, according to CBS affiliate WDBJ.
Origin: Cameroon Valley, West Africa
Fun fact: Pygmy goats are similar to dogs in that one human year is seven years to a pygmy goat. According to CBS affiliate WDBJ, pygmy goats can adapt to virtually any climate.
Origin: Central Africa
Fun fact: According to CBS affiliate WDBJ, the name for this python species comes from its defensive maneuver: rolling into a tight ball with its head in the middle.
Fun fact: Bearded dragons can change their color in response to temperature or when engaging in displays of male territorial dominance, during which their “beards” can also expand.
Fun fact: Though many people unfamiliar with pot-bellied pigs believe they remain a miniature size, adult pot-bellied pigs grow to be the size of a medium to the large-sized dog but with a much heavier build.
Origin: Tarantulas can be found in every continent except Antarctica
Fun fact: Tarantulas molt during their lifetime, shedding their old skin and growing a new, softer shell that will harden over several days.