Fascinating furkids

Fancy owning an exotic pet? You can if you live in these countries.
By Darishini Thiyagarajan and Latasha Seow
Published on Thursday, 11 May 2017

While Fido and Puss are irreplaceable, it doesn’t stop us from cooing over online videos of adorable exotic furkids like meerkats and ferrets. Read on to find out where people are allowed to keep unusual animals as domestic pets and why they are so sought after.

SUGAR GLIDER

Legal as pets in: The U.K.
About: True to its name, this adorable critter has a sweet tooth. Classified as marsupials, female sugar gliders raise their young in small pouches on their bellies. The animal has large, hairless ears that move independently of each other to pick up sounds while in motion. Its tail is used for stability and balance while gliding—it acts as a rudder to control flight direction.  It also has a membrane of skin reaching from its wrist to its ankle that gives it the ability to glide.
Care: Sugar gliders require tall and big cages; birdcages usually work as excellent homes for the animal. It is important to keep a glider entertained, especially if it is left home alone most of the time. Bird toys, ladders, a bone for chewing, and tubing for hiding will keep this curious little critter occupied. Sugar gliders enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, but small pieces of cooked meat or tofu can be added to their meals occasionally to provide some protein. Live insects such as mealworms and crickets, or raw unsalted nuts can be given as treats every now and then.

FERRET

Legal as pets in: The U.S.
About: Fuzzy and extremely adorable, ferrets make cheeky, playful pets. They are mischievous and will hide anything they see lying around the house. Squeezing into enclosed spaces is a favourite pastime of these curious critters. Ferrets are born with scent glands that produce a strong odour to repel animals that threaten their survival. These glands are usually removed before they can be kept as pets.  
Care: Ferrets are fairly clean creatures and do not require a lot of grooming, so occasional brushing should suffice. If it gets dirty, you can give it a bath—or simply sprinkle talcum or chalk powder on the ferret’s coat before brushing it off. They are strict carnivores and are unable to digest carbohydrates. Commercial ferret food provides complete nutrition to the critter, but they can also be fed high quality cat food. They sleep for up to 16 hours a day. 

To find out more on adorable critters that are kept as domestic pets overseas, flip to Around the World (pg 20) of our Apr-May 2017 issue!