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For some reason, humans like to have things to call their own—some have kids, others say no thanks, I think I have enough with a pet. Then there are the greediest ones who have both. But that is not the topic for today. 

I don’t think I need to explain why people have pets—the reasons are apparent enough—but we’ve passed the point of only keeping cats, dogs or hamsters. Now, some people want something more… unique—more exotic, if you will. And as always, some of them also like to take things a little too far away.

With no further ado, here are five animals you could totally have as your pet if you wanted—some more common, some less—and trust me, there are people who do have them. 

5. Fennec Fox 
You might think that keeping a desert animal in a home environment is like trying to make a fish live out of water, but in fact, fennec foxes are quite adaptable and will live a good life with the proper owner. You can keep them in a multi-level ferret enclosure, or if you only have something smaller, be sure to let them out to play daily. They weigh as much as a Chihuahua and are usually docile—and you can’t deny they look incredibly cute, too.

4. Raccoon
With all the hype about Guardians of the Galaxy and Rocket Raccoon, maybe you’ll want to get one now. If it’s like that, a word of warning: you will have to be prepared for a little mischief—or maybe lots. Raccoons are illegal in many areas, so first check if you’re even allowed to get one. If all’s clear, you can go for it! Raccoons are somewhat complicated to handle, so you have to make a commitment to care for them. If possible, do not cage them but rather provide them with their own room and a bed with pillows, blankets and sheets, so they’ll have enough space to be on their own and feel safe. They’ll love infant and toddler toys, be sure to give them plenty. Even if raccoons are destructive, if they learn from early time on, they’ll just tend to their own stuff and leave yours alone. However, it’s still better to have all your cupboards locked, since raccoons are very good climbers—nothing is out of reach for them.
Other than that, most who live with them say they’ll make a fascinating and fun companion.
And now watch out, because we’re stepping up the game for the last three.

3. Boa Constrictor
If you think snakes are cool, why not go all the way and get a boa constrictor? This thought may cross your mind, like it has crossed many other people who own a boa constrictor. However, there are many types of boas, not all behave the same, and of course these are things to take into account before purchasing (or better, adopting) one. They can live up to 30 years, which means a lot of dedication and care. They can also reach a size up to 4,2m, so be prepared to have space, too. It is also important to leave your new pet snake alone in their cage for some time, so they can adjust to their new home before you start feeding them and taking them out to play. The process of getting your boa used to you takes a lot of time and patience, you don’t want your snake to lash out to you—if you don’t have any of that, it’s probably better to think of another pet.

2. Alligator
We all know the rumours that alligators live in New York City’s sewer system. Well, what is very true is that there was once a couple in Connecticut who kept no more and no less than three alligators in their home. They had everything set up in their backyard—a big tank and even a pond surrounded by a two-meter tall fence. Their neighbours weren’t so keen of them, though and they ended up calling the police, who confiscated the gators. Thankfully, another exotic pet lover in Pennsylvania came to the rescue and offered to keep their gators on her property, where the laws allowed it. The three gators got very lucky—they now live on an entire first floor set up only for caimans, gators and other wild species.
Keeping a gator obviously isn’t easy, but rather dangerous and a promising adventure. If you’re brave enough, and your place allows you to have one, I wish you the best of luck.

1. Shark
With so much pop culture about sharks, it’s no wonder that some people have thought about owning sharks as pets. There are actually quite a few species you can choose from, always keeping in mind how much space you have and how big your shark will get. If you’re rich like Ice T or Nic Cage, you can afford a swimming-pool sized tank and then there’s no problem about size. Both of them have had sharks, by the way. Also depending on species, you’ll have to take care more or less of them, so that’s a thing to take into account, too. If you’re sure you have all that covered and still want to get your shark, I’m not going to be the one to say no.
… If I have convinced some of you to get a pet shark or a boa constrictor now, I deeply apologize. Should you get one, though, I am sure you’ll need a special doctor for them. Dr. Susan Kelleher’s specialty is exotic animals, so you might want to give her a call. Maybe you can start by watching her show, Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, premiering in October on NatGeo, and then make a decision. And even if you’re not interested in getting your own exotic companion, you can still tune in to watch the show!