Although dogs and cats remain by far the most common pet to rescue and adopt, other kinds of animals do end up in shelters. From farm animals to small rodents and even reptiles, there’s plenty of options if you’re looking to bring home a different kind of furry — or scaly — friend.
While some of these animals end up in shelters because an owner moves away, plenty of them are abandoned by “impulse buyers” who change their mind after buying a needy breed of pig or chinchilla, experts say.
For that reason, Dana Puglisi of AdoptaPet.com, which has listings for more than a dozen species of shelter animals, said that it’s important to read up on animal needs if you’re interested in adopting an atypical pet.
“It’s very easy to look at an animal and say, ‘That’s such a cute animal, I want it to be a part of my life,” Puglisi tells NBC. “It’s another thing to take on the actual day-to-day responsibility for caring for that pet.”
In addition, some states have restrictions on what kind of animal you can keep as a pet, so Puglisi said she also suggests checking local laws before reaching out to a shelter.
Below are some of the unusual shelter animals you may not have known you could adopt: