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10 Outrageous Pets That Are A Little (Or A Lot) More Intense Than A Dog Or Cat

Everyone looks for something different in a pet. Some people love to stay active and exercise with their pets, while others are looking for a couch potato to share their quiet life with. Whatever you're looking for, odds are there's some type of dog or cat that's perfect for you. But why stop the search there? It's true that unusual pets like parrots, hamsters and guinea pigs are very common now, but most people have never owned anything but a cat or a dog.

All of the families on this list have discovered that the perfect animal for their lives is a little unexpected. Maybe someday kangaroos and other weird creatures will be regular old house pets, but for now they're in a league of their own.

See if any of these 10 animals would suit your home!

1. Aardvark

Erika de Jager from Namibia didn't expect to adopt Gertie the aardvark, but after a trucker found her abandoned on the side of the road she couldn't bring herself to say no. She says that aardvarks don't make very good pets, but Gertie seems to get along pretty well with de Jager's dogs.

2. Llamas

Farmers love llamas for their soft fur, but they're becoming more and more common as pets. While they have a bad reputation for spitting on people (it's a defense mechanism) llama owners say their pets are very loyal, curious and intelligent - a cross between a guard dog, a sheep and a giraffe. Just stay on their good side!

3. Grizzly Bear

Just to be clear, you should not try to keep a grizzly bear as a pet, even though the Kowalczik family seems very happy with theirs, who they call Jimbo. They run a wildlife rescue center, and have bonded with their bears since birth, which explains why Jimbo snacks on marshmallows instead of the Kowalcziks.

4. Donkeys

Honky and TonkySplash

Another farm animal with a growing reputation as a family pet, Reese Witherspoon owns 2 of these gentle animals (named Honky and Tonky, of course). They fit right in with the star's menagerie of pigs, goats, dogs, chickens and a horse, but they would be happy in any home willing to put up with their stubbornness. Witherspoon says she makes her kids clean out their stalls - an important lesson in responsible pet ownership.

Click the next page for more unusual pets, including a 1,200 pound bison named Wild Thing!

5. Monkeys

Monkey owners have made the news a lot lately, and usually for pretty bad reasons. First, Darwin the monkey was abandoned at an IKEA, then Justin Bieber's pet monkey was confiscated by German customs officials. But like all pets, there are good monkey owners and bad monkey owners. Teresa Bullock, who's recorded herself brushing her pampered pet macaque Angel's hair, seems to have no trouble looking after him.

6. Bison

It's not unusual for pet owners to spoil their animals by giving them their own room of the house, or letting them watch TV, but letting a 1,200 pound bison wander around your home is a little strange. The Bridges from Texas call Wild Thing their baby, and the massive mammal was even the best man when they renewed their vows a few years ago.

7. Skunks

We know, we know, who would let an animal as notoriously stinky as a skunk into their home? There's actually a large market for pet skunks, who have their smell glands removed at a young age. For the rest of us, it's best to keep some homemade de-skunker handy.

8. Raccoons

Raccoons, or "trash pandas" as they're lovingly called, are generally considered pests and vermin. But Laura Young opened her heart to baby Pumpkin when she found him injured and alone, and he's since become a star on Instagram. Of course, raccoon-proofing her house was a challenge - imagine if your dog or cat could open doors!

9. Kangaroos

While it's rare to own these animals as pets, the Australian government is considering new laws to encourage locals to adopt native species like kangaroos, quokkas and wallabies.  The king of rock and roll would definitely approve.

10. Lizards

Most pet stores stock lizards now, but for years there was a prejudice against these cold-blooded critters. Social media darlings like MacGyver, an Argentine red tegu with a jiggly face and almost 150,000 Instagram followers, have helped to change peoples' minds about these scaly sweethearts.

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I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com