Sometimes the only thing to keep you company on a cold winter’s night is a pet cockroach.

Check out these 15 examples of unusual pets kept around the world. Then next time you’re caught in the midst of some tedious debate between a cat lover and a dog lover about which is the better pet, you can just turn to them and say, “Actually, I’m more of a hippo person myself.”

1

Bearded dragon lizard

Bearded Dragons, which come from Australia, are friendly and chill. They like leafy greens, insects... and being licked by dogs! Photo by Christina Spicuzza.

2

Crocodile

You've gotta be slightly concerned about having to muzzle your own pet. Still, some people are willing to keep an animal that would happily bite the hand that feeds them. More information can be found here. Photo by amyelyse.

3

Hedgehog

As well as being docile, friendly, and super-cute, hedgehogs enjoy being handled and can purr, whistle, and snuffle to boot. Just don't call your hedgehog "Sonic," unless you want it to spend all day curled up in a ball, hurtling around the house killing enemies. Photo by The Hadfields.

Intermission
3

Recession-proof your pet

by Robyn Johnson
29

Meet Matador pets

by Nancy Harder

Scoop that dog poop or be tracked via DNA!

by Candice Walsh
4

Hermit crab

Looking like a strange cross between a lobster and a snail, land hermit crabs can make good pets if you look after them right. Thing is, they are neither a true crab, nor are they hermits, and they love to have a bunch of buddies to hang out with. Photo by blhphotography.

5

Stick insect

With a face like the alien out of Predator, stick insects are hardly the prettiest of pets. But they're popular for children and in schools, though you have to be careful when handling them: some can bite, some have a poisonous spray, and some are very prone to losing their legs. Choose your stick carefully! Photo by SpindlierHades.

6

Hippopotamus

Even hippos can make good pets under the right circumstances. Retired South African game warden Tonie Joubert keeps a pet hippo called Jessica. It is believed unlikely that Jessica was the mother’s first choice of name. Photo by garlandcanon.

7

Potbellied pig

Smart and affectionate, potbellied pigs can make great pets as long as you train them not to wreck your house. But weighing in at up to 150 pounds, christen it “Babe” at your peril. Photo by maveric2003.

8

Madagascar hissing cockroach

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is not your ordinary roach. They can grow up to 3 inches long, and sometimes live as long as 5 years. And in case you're wondering, yes, they hiss - by squeezing air out of their breathing pores. Sounds like perfect pet material. Photo by Muffet.

9

Llama

Llamas aren't just livestock. This Russian bear trainer decided to adopt one as a pet. It lives with him in his apartment, happily snuggles up in the back of his car, and performs with him at children's parties. At least it's safer than having a bear around the house. Photo by orazal.

Intermission
2

7 animals that like to play with iPads

by Joshywashington
10

So You Think You Want a Dog?: 4 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Dog

by Rose Schwietert
6

Wildlife of South Georgia Island [pics]

by David Shaw
10

Axolotl - Mexican dog fish

The Axolotl is a type of Mexican salamander that doesn't undergo metamorphosis, so the adults retain their gills and remain aquatic. Although critically endangered in the wild, they are kept as pets around much of the world. Fun fact: in Japan they are sold under the name "Wooper Looper." Photo by dragonsinger.

11

Skunk

Naturally curious, sensitive, and very intelligent, skunks can be kept as pets in the same way as cats and dogs. You have to handle them a lot and treat them with lots of TLC so they don't turn out mean and vengeful. Remove their scent glands at an early age to avoid your house smelling of skunky lovin'. Photo by Rosa Pomar.

12

Scorpion

Having a pet that doesn't like to be handled, and can both sting and pinch you, seems kind of strange. But Emperor scorpions are such popular pets that they are threatened with extinction in the wild. It might be because they can reach around 8 inches in length and live up to 8 years. Or it might be because they glow blue-green when exposed to UV light. Popular with ravers! Photo by Furryscaly.

13

Sugar gliders

Sugar Gliders are nocturnal, gliding marsupials native to Australia, Indonesia, and New Guinea. Although lively, inquisitive, and undeniably cute, they are delicate animals that can be difficult and expensive to care for properly. Photo by SignalPAD.

14

Giraffe

It's unlikely giraffes will ever be that popular as pets - you just can't get the cat-flaps for them. But Kenyan couple Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley keep 8 of them on the grounds of their estate. Granted, they aren't pets as such, but they do sometimes pop by for breakfast. Photo by badjonni.

15

Pet rock

15. Cheap and easy to maintain, and in the right environment living for millions of years, a rock is the perfect pet for the young professional who has no time or energy to waste on living organisms. Although many people believe rocks to be repositories of great intelligence, there is scant evidence this rubs off on the owner. Photo by flattop341.