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What are the most popular pets that are not cats or dogs?

Sure, cats and dogs are popular pets, but what are the other most popular pets in each state? (Photo: Getty Creative)

Sure, cats and dogs are popular pets, but what are the other most popular pets in each state? (Photo: Getty Creative)

Whether it’s an adorable golden retriever or Siamese cat, it’s no surprise that cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the U.S. According to Pet Keen, a pet information site featuring articles from veterinarians, animal trainers and pet psychologists, dogs are the most popular pet of all, and can be found in 69 million U.S. houses. Following just a few paws behind, cats can be found in approximately 45 million houses across the country.

However, there are other pets that are a bit more rare, from your neighbor’s guinea pig to that Instagram account you follow dedicated to someone’s pet pig. According to data provided to Yahoo Life by Chewy, an online pet supply retailer and pharmacy, the most popular pets aside from cats and dogs include small pets like rabbits and mice, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.

The most popular pets that aren’t cats and dogs

Small pets — rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, mice, rats and sugar gliders are the most popular pet in 45 states and Washington, D.C., according to Chewy. In Texas, horses are the most popular pet other than cats and dogs, while in New Mexico, the popularity of feeding and attracting wild birds as “pets” is on the rise. In Arkansas, fish are the next most popular pet after Kitty and Rover.

For those who own small pets, Chewy’s research shows rabbits are the most popular in 33 states followed by ferrets in 13. In South Dakota and Wyoming, guinea pigs top the list and in Washington, D.C., mice and rats get the most love.

Why own an exotic pet?

But what is it about these unique and sometimes exotic pets that speak to pet owners?

Amber Clavette, a 22-year-old from Connecticut, grew up with a pet snake named Orange. “She wasn’t super hard to take care of,” she says. “Corn snakes are generally good for beginner pet parents, but we did have to buy frozen mice a lot and we had to thaw them out in hot water before feeding her which was always a little unsettling.”

When it came to maintenance, taking care of a snake was a bit different than picking up dog poop or changing kitty litter. “We cleaned the tank probably once a week,” Clavette recalls, “taking everything out and wiping it down while someone held the snake for a bit.”

Owning an exotic pet can be an adventure: Clavette remembers a time when Orange the corn snake figured out how to get out of her cage. After searching the house for her escaped pet, the snake was found curled up in a backpack. She also recalls that people’s initial response to finding out she had a snake was “to scream and panic.” However, after a few minutes, she found people became surprisingly comfortable spending time with this commonly-feared reptile.

“People who were scared and held her anyway ended up warming up to her pretty fast,” Clavette says. “I think it was more the initial touching at first that was scary, but once they realized she was sweet and wouldn’t hurt them, people tended to calm down.”

Nicole Stanley's pet ferret, Pluto. (Photo: Nicole Stanley)

Nicole Stanley’s pet ferret, Pluto. (Photo: Nicole Stanley)

Nicole Stanley, a nail technician from California, owns a ferret named Pluto, who she adopted in a turn of events the 22 year old considered lucky.

“I’ve had her for about a year and a half now,” she shares. “My friend was graduating and needed to rehome her and I was more than happy to take her since I had already wanted one for so long.”

While Clavette’s snake was met with trepidation from friends, Stanley says people adore her ferret. From friends who come to visit to those who pass Pluto on car rides with her owner, the furry animal has fans wherever she goes.

“The funniest encounter I ever had with her was when I was going through a drive-through getting food,” she shares. “The person taking my order took a picture of her in my front seat with the iPad they were using to take my order. She is quite the crowd pleaser.”

The most popular pets in each U.S. state, aside from cats and dogs, according to Chewy:

Alabama: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Arkansas: Fish, small pets, wild birds, horses, pet birds

Arizona: Small pets, pet birds, wild birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

California: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, chickens and farm animals, fish

Colorado: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Connecticut: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Washington, D.C.: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, chicken and farm animals, fish

Delaware: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Florida: Small pets, pet birds, wild birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Georgia: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, chickens and farm animals

Iowa: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians

Idaho: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chicken and farm animals

Illinois: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Indiana: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians

Kansas: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians

Kentucky: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, horses, fish

Massachusetts: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Maryland: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, chickens and farm animals, fish

Michigan: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Minnesota: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Missouri: Small pets, fish, wild birds, pet birds, chickens and farm animals

Mississippi: Small pets, horses, wild birds, fish, pet birds

Montana: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, chickens and farm animals

North Carolina: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, chickens and farm animals

North Dakota: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, horses

Nebraska: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

New Hampshire: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

New Jersey: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

New Mexico: Wild birds, small pets, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Nevada: Small pets, pet birds, wild birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish

New York: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish

Ohio: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians

Oklahoma: Small pets, fish, wild birds, pet birds, horses

Oregon: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Pennsylvania: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Rhode Island: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

South Carolina: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, chickens and farm animals

South Dakota: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians

Tennessee: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, horses

Texas: Horses, small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds

Utah: Small pets, pet birds, wild birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

Virginia: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, chickens and farm animals

Vermont: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, chickens and farm animals, fish

Washington: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, chickens and farm animals, fish

Wisconsin: Small pets, wild birds, pet birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians

West Virginia: Small pets, wild birds, fish, pet birds, reptiles and amphibians

Wyoming: Small pets, fish, wild birds, chickens and farm animals, horses

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