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10 Best Exotic Animals to Breed and Sell for Profit

Raising Peacocks for Profit

Do you want to start a business and make money breeding animals? If YES, here are the 10 most profitable exotic animals to breed from home.

People the world over love pets, especially Americans. It is hard to visit a family home and not find one or more pets there. Some of the most common pets one can find in homes include dogs, cats, rodents, and the ubiquitous goldfish. These pets are easy to come by and as well easy to take care of.

But there are people who seek things that are out of the ordinary. This is what led to the observed increase in the demand for more exotic and unorthodox pets— such as ferrets, wall geckos, yaks, and jellyfish.

This new sector and demand provide a booming industry for animal breeders. If you are a responsible and caring person, with a knack for being clean and meticulous, and you have the money and space required, breeding of exotic pets may not be a bad career to consider.

Depending upon your farming practices, interest in revenue streams, and space availability, these pets have distinct benefits to offer, but the most important thing you have to take note of is that exotic pets are very profitable, at least some of them are.

Here are some of the most profitable exotic animals you can breed and sell as pets. Note that not all these animals are meant to be raised indoors, so you should pick the ones you have enough space to raise.

Best Exotic Animals to Breed and Sell for Money

1. Iguanas

Raising Iguanas for Profit

Iguana is a genus of herbivorous lizards that are native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

With proper care and upbringing, iguanas can be rewarding and affectionate pets. Iguanas are able to recognize their owners and family, have a great memory, are affectionate, live 15 to 20 years, and can be trained to eat, sleep and go to the bathroom at desired times and places.

It is imperative to keep their habitats clean and relatively consistent, as iguanas can be very sensitive to change. In breeding iguanas, you should prepare an egg box with a proper mixture of soil, sand, and water.

The Green Iguana, a common pet iguana that reaches six feet in length, can be purchased online or at pet stores for between $15 and $35. Specialty breeds cost a lot more. Cyclura Iguanas, for example, range from $250 to $600. The Satanic Leaftail Gecko sells for $250 a pair.

2. Horse

Raising Horses for Profit

The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature, Eohippus, into the large, single-toed animal of today. The horse today is a pet of many, especially wealthy people who can easily afford the cost of purchase and care.

A Friesian breed costs up to $100,000,000 and has an average lifespan of 25 to 30 years. Horses are useful, as they can be ridden as transportation, and are comfortable carrying a decent amount of cargo. They are also beautiful, gentle, and great companions.

3. Chameleons

Raising Chameleons for Profit

Chameleons are known and loved for their ability to change color according to their environment. This is a defense mechanism used to camouflage them from predators. Chameleons are very sensitive creatures and can be easily frightened or injured.

It is very important to treat them with great care, including making sure they are always properly hydrated. Cuban false chameleons grow up to 7 inches and cost around $500. This pet can and will fetch you good money in the market.

4. Emu

Raising Emus for Profit

The emu is known as the second largest flightless bird in the world. This bird is large, quick, agile, and capable of kicking with its big three-toed feet.

Emus grow to be around 5 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds. They can run about 30 mph, are very territorial, especially during the breeding season, and can live to be nearly 20 years old. Females lay large dark green eggs that weigh a little more than a pound.

Emus are grazers consuming grass and insects. They can also be fed a supplement grain mix formulated especially for them, which includes corn, soybeans, wheat oats, and alfalfa. Optimal management approaches include a facility with pens and gated runs through which to transfer birds.

Day-to-day management is easier than many other livestock breeds. With self-feeders, the birds are fed once a day during spring months (after laying season) and twice a day during laying season. An adult will eat an average of 1 pound of food a day, sometimes consuming all the food and other times eating very little.

Price Determination of Emus

  • Fertile emu eggs – $100/per egg
  • One-day-old chicks – $200/per chick
  • Three-month-old chicks – $300/per chick
  • Eighteen-month to two-year-old emu – $800/per emu
  • Proven breeding pairs – $5,000 to $10,000/per pair

5. Red Tibetan Mastiff

Raising Tibetan Mastiffs for Profit

Dogs may be “man’s best friend,” but this particular friend comes with a hefty price tag. In March 2011, a Tibetan Mastiff became the most expensive dog in the world after it was purchased in China for 10 million yuan (just over $1.5 million).

In China, the Tibetan Mastiffs are thought to be holy animals, blessing their owners’ health and security, and have become a status symbol in recent years. They’ve come to represent affluence and prices for the breed have been driven up 500 percent a year.

Breeding this dog has the potential to be quite lucrative. Some breeders are willing to pay as much as $100,000 to get access to a red Tibetan mastiff’s gene pool.

The average cost of its puppy can average anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000. In general, the Tibetan Mastiff is known for being loyal and fierce. Previous owners of the Red Tibetan Mastiff breed include Queen Victoria, King George IV, and Genghis Khan.

6. Alpaca

Raising Alpacas for Profit

Domesticated longer than sheep and cattle, alpacas originated in South America where they were raised for their fiber, which was used for clothing. Alpacas gained popularity in the United States in the early 1980s. There are two breeds of alpaca: Huacaya and Suri.

Huacayas are more common because of their fluffy, crimpy fleece and teddy-bear-like looks. Suris grow a silky fleece that drapes gracefully, but this breed represents only about 10 percent of the U.S. alpaca population. Alpacas live 15 to 20 years and weigh between 100 and 200 pounds.

They are docile, mild-mannered animals that will occasionally kick with their back feet. While overall alpaca costs can range between $250 – $50,000 per animal, the cost of most alpacas will fall between $3,000 – $10,000 per alpaca. You will find these costs vary based on age, conformation, fiber quality, lineage, facial appearance, and personality.

7. Yak

Raising Yaks for Profit

Members of the bovine family (Bos grunniens), yaks are large animals raised for meat, milk, and fiber. They also are kept for service as pack animals. These animals have handlebar horns, horse-like tails, shoulder humps, and shaggy coats that nearly reach the ground.

The cows weigh 600 to 800 pounds, while the bulls can reach 1,200 to 1,600 pounds or more. Calves weigh about 30 pounds at birth. Yak can live for 20 years or more.

Yak fiber is among the most durable and diverse of the exotic breeds. Yak naturally shed their downy coat, which can be collected through brushing in spring and early summer. The value of yak fiber is a very new proposition in terms of uses and product development.

Yak down is as fine as musk ox qiviut but is of short-staple length so it’s usually blended with merino wool or alpaca fiber. The resultant yarn makes beautiful articles of clothing that command high prices. Yak meat is similar in nutritional values to grass-fed bison or beef. Yak meat sells for $7 to $10 per pound.

Their price range is from $2500 to $4000, with most sold in the $2500 to $3000 range. Their color pattern is more desirable to the pet market, and to some degree for the wool market, as they are very pleasing to the eye, and the white wool is in greater demand and fetches a higher price.

8. Elk

Raising Elks for Profit

One of the largest species in the deer family, elks were once naturally occurring mammals in much of the Northern Hemisphere.

Also called wapiti and red deer, elk weren’t domestically or commercially raised in North America until the 1960s. Modern-day elk stock comes from private breeders; the animals have become larger and more docile through strategic breeding practices.

Compared with cattle, elk are low-maintenance livestock. They are hardy and will eat whatever they can forage, including tree bark, leaves, and shrubs. Grazing on summer grasses, the animals build up fat reserves for winter. Green alfalfa and grains are supplements to a healthy diet.

For centuries, antler velvet (the antler before it started to calcify) has been a significant resource in the production of Chinese medicines. Velvet is said to support health, improve overall energy and stamina, improve joint health and support the immune system.

Starting at the age of 2 years, each bull elk annually produces about 9 pounds of velvet, which is harvested by surgical procedure. As the animal ages, he produces increasing amounts of velvet so that a 7-to-8-year-old bull produces as much as 30 to 40 pounds of velvet a year.

9. Ashera Cat

Raising Ashera Cats for Profit

The Ashera cat can be described as a mini-leopard and is developed by crossing two exotic feline bloodlines—the African Serval and the Asian Leopard—with a regular domestic cat. Its features include distinctive leopard-like spots and contrasting tiger stripes.

One of the reasons the Ashera draws such a high price tag is for a very unique feature: The cat is hypo-allergenic (unlikely to cause an allergic reaction).

Also contributing to the price is its size, it can grow up to 25 to 30 pounds. Lifestyle Pets describes the cat as highly intelligent, very affectionate, and having a great temperament. It requires no additional care than your typical cat and is actually more social.

It acts and plays like a regular domestic cat, but unlike normal cats, an Ashera takes well to being walked on a leash. You can expect to pay up to $125,000 to acquire an Ashera and plan to pay some hefty vet bills with this hybrid species. The Ashera is the most expensive cat breed on the market.

10. Reticulated Python

Raising Reticulated Pythons for Profit

Looking to buy a pet that will grab everyone’s attention? You should set your sights on the reticulated python as this pet is available for a hefty $25,000. The reticulated python is a species of snake in the family of Pythonidae.

The species is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is the world’s longest snake and is listed as the least concern on the IUCN Red List because of its wide distribution. The reticulated python gets its name for the “reticulated” or netlike pattern on its back.

Reticulated pythons are known for having a nasty temperament in the wild, but captive-bred retics (as they’re nicknamed) can make great pets with the proper care and handling. People may purchase a snake of this caliber to breed, but in many cases, it’s the idea of owning a rare specimen that’s the main attraction.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is An Exotic Pet?

According to Wikipedia, “an exotic pet is a pet which is relatively rare or unusual to keep, or is generally thought of as a wild species rather than as a pet”.

  1. What Animals Are Considered Exotic Pets?
  • Birds
  • Rodents (hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, rats, mice)
  • Rabbits
  • Ferrets
  • Reptiles (snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises)
  • Amphibians (frogs, toads), sugar gliders (marsupials)
  • Hedgehogs
  • Potbellied pigs
  1. How Do You Get Exotic Animals?
  • Rescue and shelters
  • Classifieds and Friends
  • Pet Stores
  • Breeders
  1. How Can You Help Exotic Animals in the Wild and In Captivity?
  • If you choose an exotic pet, ensure take all precautions to ensure the animal cannot harm humans, himself/herself, or other animals.
  • Follow all laws regarding the ownership of exotic pets.
  • Always adopt from a reputable rescue.
  • Never release exotic species into the wild.
  • Inform your friends and family members about the problems associated with the exotic pet trade.
  1. What Are The Liabilities Of Owning Exotic Pets?

The biggest liability with owning an exotic pet is if the animal attacks someone. With exotic pet attacks, exotic pet owners may have to face not only the standard forms of liability in their legal jurisdiction but may even face punitive damages if it can be shown that the pet owner acted irresponsibly in their handling of the wild animal.

  1. What Risks Do Exotic Pets Pose To Humans?

Depending on the species, exotic pet ownership can mean a great many risks. As non-domesticated animals, exotic pets retain many of their wild instincts, even when born into captivity. Large, colourful parrots known as Macaws have caused serious injuries to owners.

Owners of these birds have suffered damaged fingers, gauged eyes, and torn lips and ears. Even small reptiles, such as turtles can transmit dangerous salmonella bacteria just by touch.

Among the most dangerous exotic pets include apes, including chimpanzees. Not only are chimpanzees many times stronger than a grown man, they, like other non-human primates, are capable of transmitting serious diseases such as tuberculosis and measles to humans.

  1. What Type Of Insurance Is Required Or Recommended For Exotic Animal Owners?

If exotic animals are to be covered by an insurance policy, they will be covered under a comprehensive homeowner’s insurance policy. It’s advisable to check your individual policy to see exactly what is covered.

  1. What Are The Risks To Exotic Pets In Captivity?

Even when animals survive transit from the wild, or conditions within a breeding operation, many exotic pets die prematurely once they arrive in their new homes. The reasons for this are many. First, many owners do not have the knowledge or financial ability to adequately replicate a wild animal’s habitat within their own homes.

Second, many exotic pets, such as hedgehogs and sugar gliders, are extremely small and can be easily crushed by furniture, closing doors, rowdy children, etc.

Birds specifically have the unique ability to fly away, only to die in temperate climates once the outdoor temperature drops in the winter. Third, not all veterinarians treat exotic animal patients. Even when the owner can afford care, that care may be hard to find.

  1. Is A Lion An Exotic Animal?

Yes, lions belong in their natural habitats and not in the hands of private individuals as pets.

  1. What Are The Problems With Exotic Pet Ownership?

Here are some of the common problems with exotic pet ownership:

  • Some exotic pets can live a long time, in fact, sometimes longer than their owners! For example, tortoises and some parrots can live between 50 and 100 years.
  • Dietary requirements. Exotic pets may have special dietary requirements and it could be difficult to get proper food.
  • Local laws. There are federal and state laws regarding keeping exotic and wild pets.
  • Many reptiles carry Salmonella bacteria and extra care should be taken when handling these types of pets.
  1. How Much Does It Cost To Own An Exotic Animal?

Below are the average purchase prices for a few of the most popular (non-reptile) exotic animals.

  • Lion: $2,000 – $3,500
  • Tiger: $2,000 – $3,500
  • Leopard: $3,000 – $5,000
  • Elephant: $10,000 +
  • Camel: $500 – $2,500
  • Kangaroo: $2,000 – $3,000
  1. How Do Exotic Animals End Up In Pet Stores?

A good number of pet stores buy their exotic animals directly from breeders. Some get theirs from wholesalers that house many different species of reptiles, birds, amphibians and mammals in large warehouses. Wholesalers act as holding facilities, and usually keep the animals in poor conditions.

  1. Is It Illegal To Breed Exotic Animals?

Well, it depends on where you stay or live in the country. Although there is a federal code loosely defining an exotic animal across the United States, most laws governing the ownership, sale, and breeding of exotic pets can be found on the state and local level.

  1. What Organizations Are Working To Protect Exotic Pet Ownership?

These organisations include National Animal Interest Alliance, and the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK).

  1. What 14 States Have Some Form Of Exotic Animal Licensing Or Permitting?
  • Arizona
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  1. What Organizations Are Working On The Issue Of Exotic Pet Ownership?

Various media groups are starting to launch extensive investigations into the exotic animal trade. Netflix’s docu-series Tiger King, for example, has been extremely popular and offers an in-depth look at people on both sides of the exotic pet debate.

  1. What Is The Most Exotic Pet?
  • Leafy seadragon
  • Fanfin Angler
  • Japanese macaque
  • Pink dolphin
  • Atelopus frog
  • Fennec fox
  1. What Is The Best Exotic Pet?
  • Fennec Fox
  • Axolotl
  • Degu
  • Cockroach
  • Sugar Gliders
  • Millipedes
  • Hedgehogs
  • Tarantulas
  1. How Much Does An Exotic Vet Make?

As of Apr 8, 2022, the average annual pay for an Exotic Animal Veterinarian in the United States is $64,135 a year, and this amounts to approximately $30.83 an hour, and equivalent of $1,233/week or $5,345/month.

  1. What Are The Public Dangers Of Exotic Pet Ownership?
  • They are aggressive
  • Difficult to handle in public
  • They can cause dangers
  • They can get lost
  • Owning an exotic animal creates very significant exposure to a personal injury lawsuit.
  1. Why Is It Illegal To Own Exotic Pets?

Many exotic pets are illegal because someone thinks they will harm the environment either by escaping and forming invasive populations or introducing diseases.

  1. How Much Is A Kinkajou Pet?

Expect to pay around $1,500 to $3,000 on average.

  1. How Does The Exotic Pet Trade Harm The Environment?

When exotic species are taken from the wild, these species are effectively removed from the native, breeding population. Exotic animals can also wreak havoc on the ecosystem when released by their owners into a continent that is not their own.

  1. What Is It Like To Have A Pet Skunk?

When born and raised in captivity, skunks can make for friendly, intelligent, and unique pets. They can learn to be comfortable when handled by people, and they can be quite playful and cuddly.

  1. What Happens If You Get Caught With An Illegal Pet?

The punishment for being caught with an illegal pet can be quite severe. In addition to confiscating the animal, punishments tend to include: Heavy fines, potentially up to $25,000, and community service.

  1. What Is The Cheapest Exotic Animal?
  • Green Iguana: $15–25
  • Degu: $10–20
  • Budgerigar: $10–35
  • Hermit Crabs: $5–35
  • Axolotl: $15–35.
  1. What Is The Weirdest Pet To Have?
  • Fennec Fox
  • Capybara
  • Miniature Donkey
  • Hedgehog
  • Skunk
  • Spotted Genet
  • Pygmy Goat
  • Sugar Gliders
  1. What Organizations Are Working To End Exotic Pet Ownership?
  • The Humane Society of the United States
  • The Association of Zoos & Aquariums
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
  1. What Is The Coolest Pet To Own?
  • Chinchilla
  • Cockatiel
  • Iguana
  • Insects and Spiders
  • Sugar Glider Squirrel
  • Hedgehog
  • Wallaby
  1. What Is The Best Pet In The World?

Dogs really are one of the best animals for humans. Loyal and sensitive to human emotions, dogs have gotten along with people throughout history.

  1. Where Can You Get A Fennec Fox?
  • Rescue and shelters
  • Classifieds and Friends
  • Pet Stores
  • Breeders
  1. Can You Have A Platypus As A Pet?

No, the venomous barbs can deliver poison that is thought to be able to kill small animals and produce severe swelling and excruciating pain in humans. But there are many other reasons why it isn’t possible to have a pet platypus. Platypuses are difficult and expensive animals to keep in captivity, even for major zoos and research institutions.

  1. What Is A Good Low Maintenance Pet?
  • Snakes
  • Sea Monkeys
  • Guinea pigs
  1. What Is The Easiest Exotic Pet To Own?

Hedgehogs are a part of the Erinaceinae family, and are neither rodent nor are they related to the very similar porcupine. They are by far the easiest exotic animal to care for.

  1. What Is The Most Expensive Pet?

Macaw remains the most expensive pet to own and cater for. These beautiful birds’ native to Central and South America are known as giants of the parrot world.

  1. What Is The Cheapest Furry Pet?

Rats are the cheapest furry animal to buy and keep as pet. Choosing a rat as a pet might seem like a gamble. But many rat owners say the furry little animals are cuddly if handled often from a young age.

  1. What Is The Biggest Pet You Can Own?

According to reports, the capybara is one of the largest rodents in the world and can weigh up to 140 pounds.

  1. What Is The Captive Wildlife Crisis?

Captive raised wildlife is mainly bred for the sole purpose of profit. Most of these animals are forced to live in extreme confinement in unnatural environments. Once the animals are no longer profitable or deemed inconvenient, they are often destroyed. Most do not have the funds or the space to accommodate additional animals.

Under most circumstances, captive raised wildlife cannot be released successfully into the wild. Once released, they succumb to starvation and other harsh elements that are foreign to them. In addition, most captive raised wildlife kept as pets or used for entertainment purposes have been declawed and altered in other ways for safer handling.

  1. What 12 States Have Partial Bans On Exotic Animal Ownership?
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming
  1. How Much Does A Lion Cost?

Most of the mid size cats, like Servals and Caracals cost $1700.00 to $2800.00 and Ocelots can run as high as $15,000.00. Prices for lions range from $5,000 for an adolescent lioness, to a whopping $140,000 for a rare white lion cub.

  1. How Much Does A Baby Lion Cost?

Typically, a lion cub will cost somewhere between $1,500 to as much as $15,000. The rarer the type, the more you are going to need to put aside as costs

  1. What State Can You Legally Own A Tiger?

Owning a pet tiger is considered legal or is unregulated in eight states, all of which have rather lax regulatory laws concerning animal rights in general: North Carolina, Alabama, Delaware, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

  1. Is It Legal To Own A Lion In Dubai?

No, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has outlawed the keeping of wild animals like lions or tigers, as pets.

  1. Can You Own A Lion In The US?

Yes, but owning your own lion is pretty difficult to achieve when you live in the U.S. Twenty-one states in the U.S. ban all dangerous exotic pets. And big cats fall into that category.

  1. What States Can You Own A Lion?

4 states have no laws on keeping dangerous wild animals as pets: Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

  1. Can You Legally Buy A Lion?

Yes, many people keep big cats like bobcats, tigers, and lions as pets. Tigers and lions are surprisingly easy and inexpensive to purchase as pets. While import and interstate trade are prohibited, they are available in many states from captive breeders.

  1. How Much Does A Penguin Cost?

Based on ads on the internet, penguin costs from $1000 to $22,000. You’ll need a female and male as they’re monogamous. Penguins can eat up to 400 to 500 pounds of fish annually and must be fed daily.

  1. Can You Own A Hippo?

Owning a hippopotamus may be 100 % legal, but just because something is legal; it certainly does not mean that you should have it. A hippo is a double animal, not a pet. They need acres to get around and eat the movable feast. No matter the circumstances, you don’t keep a hippo as a pet, or you risk eventually being mauled.

  1. What Is The Easiest Pet For A Child?

Smaller mammals, including hamsters, guinea pigs, and gerbils, are relatively easy to raise. Also, most will thrive in a relatively small living space, and care is fairly straightforward.

  1. How Much Is A Finger Monkey?

There are different factors on which finger monkey’s cost depends like age, gender, condition, breeder, size and so on. Typically, finger monkeys cost $1,500-$4,000 each.