A team of scientists wanted to know which animals, not traditionally pets, that might make safe, happy, friendly companions. After all, it’s not just being cute and furry that we look for in a pet. We also need to know an animal will be comfortable living with humans and that we can take care of them responsibly — all without posing risks to us or our neighbors. The five animals below were rated overall as suitable pets.
1. Sika Deer
Sika deer are found mostly in Japan, Russia, and parts of China. They typically come out at dawn and dusk and eat bamboo, grasses, and shrubs. So who knows, you might be able to talk them into doubling as lawnmowers.
2. Agile Wallaby
Agile wallabies are mostly found in Australia and New Guinea. They live in small groups of about 10, which may help them find more time to look for food when there are predators around. They’re very common — so common that ranchers in Australia are upset by how much damage they can do to pastures.
3. Tammar Wallaby
Tammar wallabies, the smallest type of wallaby, make sounds like coughs, clucks, and foot stamps to communicate with each other. They’re sometimes hunted by foxes and cats.
Llamas are used in South America as pack animals, but if their load is heavier than they want, they show it by lying down or spitting. They’re also sometimes used to protect sheep and other livestock from predators.
5. Asian Palm Civet
These are the cats you may have heard of for their taste for coffee. But it’s not just coffee berries they eat — they also play a key role in spreading larger fruits across forested areas. They are mostly nocturnal but do adapt pretty easily to living around humans. They can travel on wires and sleep on roofs.