Warning: If you have Phobias to Reptiles or Creepy, Crawly Things or in short “Herpetophobia”? Then this article is not for you, promise.
Creepy crawly pets are critters that have the potential to bring out phobias in many people.
Creepy animals as pets – Most people don’t automatically equate reptiles with the term “warm and fuzzy”, yet many of those same individuals are not prone to fearing the reptilian skinned creatures.
These creatures often eat small mammals, fish or even insects. They do not make humans a target in order to fulfill their food needs. Those who fear reptiles or other creepy, crawly things are said to have Herpetophobia.
Be warned though: the pets on this list may surprise, shock, or even scare some of your family and friends!
1 – Tarantulas (Large Arachnids)
Tarantulas (as the term is used in North America) comprise a group of often hairy and very large arachnids belonging to the Theraphosidae family of spiders, of which approximately 900 species have been identified.
This article only describes members of Theraphosidae, although some other members of the same suborder are commonly referred to as “tarantulas”.
2 – Hissing Cockroaches
Cockroaches are insects of the order Blattaria or Blattodea, of which about 30 species out of 4,500 total are associated with human habitats.
About four species are well known as pests.
Among the best-known pest species are the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, which is about 30 mm (1.2 in) long, the German cockroach, Blattella germanica, about 15 mm (0.59 in) long, the Asian cockroach, Blattella asahinai, also about 15 mm (0.59 in) in length, and the Oriental cockroach, Blatta orientalis, about 25 mm (0.98 in).
Tropical cockroaches are often much bigger, and extinct cockroach relatives and ‘roachoids’ such as the Carboniferous Archimylacris and the Permian Apthoroblattina were not as large as the biggest modern species.
Okay, not many insects are as universally loathed as cockroaches. But really, these giant cockroaches are perhaps the ultimate in low maintenance pets, and are sturdy and slow enough to be handled quite easily.
3 – Giant Millipedes
Archispirostreptus gigas, the giant African millipede, is one of the largest millipedes, growing up to 38.5 centimetres (15.2 in) in length, 67 millimetres (2.6 in) in circumference, and has 256 legs.
Did you know that millipedes don’t have a thousand legs? Still, a their 100-400 legs and giant size (up to 10 inches long) make African giant millipedes a little scary for many people. However, they are really quite docile and easy to look after.
4 – Emperor Scorpions
The emperor scorpion, Pandinus imperator, is a species of scorpion native to Africa. It is one of the largest scorpions in the world and lives for 5–8 years. Its body is black, but glows under ultraviolet light. It is a popular species in the pet trade, and is protected by CITES.
As far as scorpions go, emperors are the most suitable as pets. At an adult size of 6 inches with good sized claws and a big stinger these chunky black scorpions are pretty intimidating pets. Despite their scary looks, they are quiet, undemanding and quite long-lived.
5 – Snakes
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales.
Many species of snakes have skulls with many more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads with their highly mobile jaws. To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes’ paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca.
Snakes are another pet that some people find absolutely terrifying.
Snakes come in a wide range of types and sizes (which should be carefully considered before getting a snake), and usually become quite tame and make excellent pets.
6 – Rats
Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. “True rats” are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus.
Many members of other rodent genera and families are also referred to as rats, and share many characteristics with true rats.
Rats are typically distinguished from mice by their size; rats are generally large muroid rodents, while mice are generally small muroid rodents. The muroid family is very large and complex, and the common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific.
Generally, when someone discovers a large muroid, its common name includes the term rat, while if it is small, the name includes the term mouse. Scientifically, the terms are not confined to members of the Rattus and Mus genera, for example, the pack rat and cotton mouse.
Rats still conjure up images of disease carrying pests inhabiting murky sewers for many people, but rats are really among the most ideal of pets. They are very social and enjoy interaction with their humans, and they are loaded with personality.
7 – Lizards
Lizards are a widespread group of squamate reptiles, with more than 5600 species, ranging across all continents except Antarctica, as well as most oceanic island chains. The group, traditionally recognized as the suborder Lacertilia, is defined as all extant members of the Lepidosauria (reptiles with overlapping scales) that are neither sphenodonts (i.e., tuatara) nor snakes – they form an evolutionary grade. While the snakes are recognized as falling phylogenetically within the Toxicofera clade from which they evolved, the sphenodonts are the sister group to the squamates, the larger monophyletic group, which includes both the lizards and the snakes.
Lizards are another group of animals that is the subject of many unfounded fears.
Although they are generally not low maintenance pets, they can make great pets for owners prepared for their demands. There are a wide variety of lizards available as pets, and some are quite lovely in both appearance and temperament.
8 – Frogs
Frogs are a diverse and largely carnivorous group of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura (Ancient Greek “an” without + oura “tail”). The oldest fossil “proto-frog” appeared in the early Triassic of Madagascar, but molecular clock dating suggests their origins may extend further back to the Permian, 265 million years ago.
Frogs are widely distributed, ranging from the tropics to subarctic regions, but the greatest concentration of species diversity is found in tropical rainforests. There are approximately 4,800 recorded species, making them among the most diverse vertebrate groups.
Frogs are another largely misunderstood creature. From cute little dwarf aquatic frogs to homely giant bullfrogs, frogs can be very interesting pets. Although not really low maintenance pets, some are quite easy to care for and long-lived, and some are quite vocal with beautiful calls.
9 – Stick Insects
The Phasmatodea (sometimes called Phasmida or Phasmatoptera) are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects (in Europe and Australasia), walking sticks or stick-bugs (in the United States and Canada), phasmids, ghost insects and leaf insects (generally the family Phylliidae).
The ordinal name is derived from the Ancient Greek φάσμα phasma, meaning an apparition or phantom, and refers to the resemblance of many species to sticks or leaves. Their natural camouflage can make them extremely difficult to spot. Phasmatodea can be found all over the world in warmer zones, especially the tropics and subtropics.
The greatest diversity is found in Southeast Asia and South America, followed by Australia. Phasmids also have a considerable presence in the continental United States, mainly in the Southeast.
These nifty little critters are very intriguing – their natural defense is excellent camouflage among the branches they live in. However, many people would not appreciate sharing their home with a four inch insect that excels at hide and seek. They are quite easy to care for and fascinating to watch.
10 – Giant African Land Snails
Achatina achatina, common name the giant Ghana snail, also known as the giant tiger land snail, is a species of very large, air-breathing land snail, or more technically a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Achatinidae.
The name ‘Achatina’ is from ‘achates’, Greek for agate.
Giant African land snails (GALS) are not available in the US, but are surprisingly popular in the UK. These snails are definitely giants, with some species reaching a foot long as adults. Imagine one of the these beauties crawling over your hand! However, they are fairly easy to care for, and they reproduce very readily (one reason they are not allowed into the US!).