Cool pets you can have (legally) in Colorado!

Olivia Hornsby, Dedicated Writer

Dogs and cats are awesome and by far the most popular pets. But, there are a lot of other pets you can own in Colorado. No, I’m not talking about hamsters, Guinea pigs, etc(even though all of those pets are great!). I’m talking about animals that you would be shocked to see in someone’s house, but you wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the wild. Like, what if you saw a reindeer in your neighbor’s backyard, or a yak walking down the street, or an emu running around your neighborhood! I will also tell you how to take care of these animals, even though chances are you won’t be adopting one anytime soon. I hope you enjoy learning about the coolest pets you can have in Colorado!

Before I start, I am finding all of the animals from Colorado Parks And Wildlife, because it is the most trustworthy website, and it is the official website of the Parks and Wildlife people.

Reindeer

You can actually have a reindeer in Colorado! Even though they would be more used to places where it is pretty cold year-round, like Alaska, I guess they can be in the heat, too! If you adopt a reindeer, you should give a heads up to your vet, because they can be tricky to take care of. As for taking care of them besides the vet, they eat lichen and grasses in the wild, but in captivity, they need to eat grains and roughage (foods with lots of fiber). You need to keep them in a mostly cold area throughout the year, so having a sheltered area with a way to keep it cold inside is a good idea. If you have more than just one boy and one girl or just one reindeer, separate them during mating season by girls and boys so they don’t get into fights. I think a reindeer would be really fun to own, but also pretty hard to take care of. Reindeer can be pretty easily trained to be gentle companions but can get aggressive during mating season because they fight each other over the females. You can pet them, but as I said before, you should be careful during mating season. If you have Siberian Reindeer, you can actually ride them! They CAN pull sleighs, but they can’t fly. Reindeer lose their antlers every year, but they grow back stronger and bigger! People might want to own one because reindeer are super cool (in my opinion) and who wouldn’t want to ride a reindeer?

Websites I used to find information: Mother Earth News, FDA, Today I Found Out, Culture Cheese Magazine, PBS, and Pets Mom.

Yak

If you don’t know what a yak is, it’s basically a bison, and you can have one as a pet! It would be hard to keep it inside, though, because they are very, very big! They are 8-11 feet tall and 500-1300 pounds!  They probably need lots of space because they are so big. They need shelter so they can be more comfortable and not overheat or get too cold. Yaks eat good quality hay and a cattle vitamin and mineral mix. Yaks are surprisingly calm and gentle, so they are easy to be around. You actually do not need any special permit to own a yak, and they are pretty easy to take care of because all you have to do is make sure they have enough space to get some exercise, shade/shelter, clean water and to be fed 1-3% of their body weight (3lbs for calves and 15lbs for adults) you can make clothes, tents, ropes, blankets, etc. with a yak’s fur. It would be pretty hard, but possible to learn. Yak fur is warmer than wool but softer than cashmere. It is also more sustainable and planet-friendly than wool. People do eat yaks, but it is not super popular. Yaks are usually really friendly and gentle around people they know, so that would make taking care of them easier! Yaks would be fun to own because they are intelligent, docile (not stubborn and really obedient), and social!

Websites I used to find information: Hobby Farms, Sierra Valley Yaks, Google, International Yak Association, Chews Happiness, and PowerYak.

 

Camel

Yes, you can own a CAMEL in Colorado! You would think, opposite of the reindeer, that they would need to be in hot places only, but I guess they don’t have to be! To make sure a camel feels at home, try to replicate its natural habitat, the desert. Since camels are sensitive, try to make sure they are not stressed out. Stress can be caused by the environment, training and holding the wrong way, separation, parasites, workload, or diet. Also, when camels get sick, it takes a while for them to show it, so be on the lookout for early signs of illness. You should get a camel de-wormed so they don’t attract parasites. Camels will eat almost any type of grass, herb, or shrub, but you need to make sure that they are eating a lot, and they should have a diet that has plenty of food. Camels also need salt, so you can get them loose rock salt with no additives, and put it in a bucket so they can eat whenever they want. Overall, camels seem like a bit of a challenge to take care of, but I think it would be totally worth it! You can ride camels, but it is a challenge, and if they don’t like something, they WILL let you know. Be careful not to sneak up on them, and try to stay calm. Camels have three sets of eyelids, so sand doesn’t get in their eyes! According to a camel expert from On the Go Tours, camel riding is hard and requires lots of practice, but it is also really fun! 

Websites I used to find information: Camel Connection, On the Go Tours

Emu

Emus are really cool, but they are probably hard to keep fenced in, because they can run FAST, like 31 mph! That’s pretty fast because cheetahs run 50-80 mph, so an emu is only 19-49(compared to the fastest cheetah) mph slower! Emus need high fences and plenty of space so they get enough exercise but can’t escape. They should have 20 by 100-foot fencing, and it should be 6 to 8 feet tall. They also need shade so they don’t overheat. Emus need commercial diets (you can buy them from places like Mazuri.com, and they are high-fiber pellets), and you can add in vegetables and greens for extra nutrition. Just be careful not to overfeed them! Emus also love to play in the water, and they also like big, colorful balls. You should probably get 2 emus so they don’t get lonely. Do NOT crowd or corner an emu, because they will get scared and run away. To calm them down, you can cover their eyes. Be sure to be gentle when you are handling them because they are sensitive. According to Acreagelife.com, “Emus are generally easy to work with and possess fairly calm dispositions, and even though they are shy, they can be quite curious and are especially interested in shiny objects, which they will peck at. When in a playful mood, emus can be energetic and rambunctious—and downright hilarious to watch.” Emus seem like they are fun to own, and pretty easy too!

Websites I used to find information: Open Sanctuary, Google, Mazuri, Acreage Life

 

Peafowl (peacock)

Peacocks are so pretty, and a super cool pet! Peacocks can be pretty aggressive, but they do get used to you. If you are trying to decide which type of peacock to get, get a blue peacock because they are friendlier than the green ones, and the green ones are endangered and should not be kept as pets. Peacocks need a tree they can perch in at night so they are safe from predators. It might also be a good idea to have a treehouse for the birds with doors that only open during the day, so they can’t get out and predators can’t get in. You should feed peacocks 1/4 cup of food in the morning, and another 1/4 plus a little more at night. They eat bugs, small amphibians, grains and vegetables, berries, and even a little bit of pet food. They need 100+ square feet to live in per adult peacock. It may seem like a lot of space, but you don’t want them to be cramped, and each male peacock can take up as much as seven feet of space! They should also have fresh water available at all times. Peacocks can be kind of loud at night, even louder during mating season. if you want to find out what they sound like, go to youtube and search “peacock sounds” because it is hard to explain in words what they sound like. Unfortunately, you can’t quiet them down like you can stop a dog from barking, so just make sure they don’t live super close to your house. Peacocks would be a challenge to take care of, but also super fun and cool to own!

Websites I used to find information: Nelson Road Vet, Animals Mom, Sciencing, Petshelpful

 

I hope you enjoyed learning about 5 of the coolest pets you can own in Colorado! There are many more that you can own, but these are the coolest that I could find because most of them are not native to Colorado, and they are also just cool to look at, and even cooler to own and take care of! Did you know in Cocoa Beach, Florida (specifically Cape Canaveral), there are peacocks just roaming around! They are like the squirrels and rabbits that most people here have in their neighborhood, but make it peacocks! That’s pretty cool if you ask me. If you want to find out about more exotic pets you can legally own, check out Colorado Parks and Wildlife.com.

 

Results from a google form:

I made a google form about whether or not you would own these animals, and here are the results!

First of all, do you like the idea of owning exotic pets?

Yes-34.6%

No-19.2%

Eh, kind of-46.2%

Would you own a Reindeer?

Yes-15.4%

No-61.5%

Maybe-15.4%

It depends-7.7%

Would you own a yak?

Yes-15.4%

No-73.1%

Maybe-11.5%

It depends-0%

Would you own a camel?

Yes-34.6%

No-57.7%

Maybe-3.8%

It depends-3.8%

Would you own an emu?

Yes-15.4%

No-76.9%

Maybe-7.7%

It depends-0%

Would you own a peacock?

Yes-46.2%

No-26.9%

Maybe-23.1%

It depends-3.8%

Would you own a big cat?

Yes-50%

No-34.6%

Maybe-7.7%

It depends-7.7%

Finally, what is your favorite exotic or wild animal and why?

I can’t fit all of the responses in, but here are some of them!

A liger

Penguin, they walk like me on snow/ice

I like tigers they look super cool and cute and I don’t want a pet that poops everywhere

My favorite would be a monkey because they’re very smart and funny. (A lot of people said monkey!)

wolf, it’s like a dog

I don’t really get one but I think it might just be a panda or a monkey because they’re both cute

I like narwhals because they are cool.

Dinos because if I hated it, it would eat me.

 

There were a LOT more responses, but I don’t want this to be too long, so I’ll just put these in. Thanks for reading!