When you fill out your ESA letter, chances are that you’re going to choose a cat or a dog as your companion. These would be sensible choices, as both animals display loyalty (well, dogs do at least), intelligence and are fun to be around. However, there are a number of pets that are a little more, shall we say, quirky and, whether you would want them to be your emotional support letter or not, they’re definitely fun to check out.
If you’re still musing over your emotional support animal registration and are wondering which ESA to go for, maybe this list of the world’s most unusual pets may spark your imagination. It’s important to note that laws vary from state to state and you should check to see whether you can live with your ESA as well as travel with it before filling out your ESA letter.
We thought we’d start with the weirdest and most exotic sounding animal. Originally from Australia, these scary little fellows were not introduced to the US until the ’90s but can now be found in most pet stores. Despite their intimidating name – the ‘bearded’ element stemming from spikes and scales that surround their necks look like, well, you guessed it, a beard – they are pretty chilled out and easy to look after. With a lifespan of 5-8 years, this could actually be a decent choice for your ESA letter; provided that it doesn’t learn to breathe fire, that is.
Another addition from Down Under, this cute marsupial will hop out of the wilderness and into your hearts – provided you have space for it. Smaller than a kangaroo but bigger than a wallabee (can you guess where it got its name from?), a wallaroo lives for 15-20 years and comes with a financial responsibility as well as an emotional one. If you want one for your ESA, be prepared to shell out $4000 to purchase one and then another $200-400 in food every month, no to mention guaranteeing yard space in which it will bounce around.
We’re hopping to the other side of the world now, crossing continents to South America where this furry little guy originated. As it is actually from the Andes, you can understand why its fur is so dense; it gets pretty chilly up on those mountains. Becoming more and more popular as pets over the last few decades, these adorable little rodent are best kept away from small children as they may give a territorial-stating nip if they get too close.
Sticking with the mountain theme but this time heading over to West Africa, Cameroon to be more precise, we meet the Pygmy goat. These beautiful little animals can be kept as ESA pets and can adapt to pretty much any climate; however, you have to make sure that you have space for it to run around in before you decide to write one down on your ESA letter. Also, as they’re herd animals, you should never keep fewer than two. Double the fun!
Staying in Africa but moving more central and southern, a serval (also known as a tierboskat) is a wild cats that you need to think twice about before registering as your emotional support animal. With a 50% kill rate, they’re officially the most successful hunters of all wild cats. This may be great if you’re living on a farm that’s overrun with rats; however, if you’re looking for a cozy companion to cuddle up to, you’ll have to reconcile with the fact that it will sleep with one eye open, claws sharpened and ready to pounce at any given notice.
Another marsupial that has made its way from Australia (as well as Papua New Guinea and Indonesia) is the curiously-named sugar glider. Weighing in at just over 1 kilo, what’s particularly unusual about this tiny little possum is that its skin membranes between its front and rear legs stretch out, allowing it to ‘glide’ through the air for up to 150 meters. Oh, and as it’s a marsupial, it carries its young in its pouch. So if you do want it to be the emotional support animal on your ESA letter, it will already be used to air travel.
These bat-eared little foxes are found in the Sahara of North Africa and use their unusually large ears in a variety of ways, including dissipating heat from the rest of their body and listening for prey that are burrowing underground. One can only imagine what it would be like for an insect to be tunneling underneath the sand and pop up only to see this bizarre-looking creature lying in wait.
We’ll end with a slightly more commonplace entrant, as pot-bellied pigs are actually becoming a relatively popular choice amongst emotional support owners when filling out an ESA letter. These Vietnamese-origin swine may start off small but will grow to be the size of a large dog and are thus taken around on a leash. They’re no way near as fast as dogs though, so feel free to let Babe off in the park, just so long as there aren’t any opportunistic butchers wandering around.