As one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth, Mexico is the home of many interesting species of animal including mammals, birds and sea life. Some of these have been tamed and domesticated over the years and are now kept as beloved pets all over the world. In many countries, the parakeet or the flying squirrel makes an exotic and fascinating pet, whereas the chihuahua has become one of the most common and popular companion dog breeds on the planet.
For pet owners across Europe and North America, the closest that they’ll get to the vast landscapes like those found in Mexico is the satellite mode on Google Maps, Jungle Spirit: Call of the Wild on PokerStarsCasino or the immersive worlds of the Assassin’s Creed series. However, with an exotic pet, they can have a piece of those far-off lands living in their house. Here we’ll take a look at some of the animal species originating from Mexico that have made it into the global pet game.
Perhaps Mexico’s most famous pet export is the chihuahua. A small breed of dog hailing from, you’ve guessed it, the state of Chihuahua in north-west Mexico, it has links with the ancient Mesoamerican Toltec dogs called techichi. Small in stature but strong in personality, the chihuahua breed has diversified in modern times to include long haired, short haired, apple head and deer head variations. There are many colours of chihuahua, from black all the way through chocolate, red and fawn to white. But they all have one thing in common – they are fiercely loyal to their owners and make rewarding companions.
Not yet as popular outside of Mexico is the stately xoloitzcuintli or xolo dog. These beautiful animals are also known as the Mexican hairless dog, on account of the sparsity of their fur. It’s thought that this breed has existed alongside humans for thousands of years, and in their home country their close connection with the people there is honoured with the title of National Dog of Mexico. In Aztec mythology, it was the xoloitzcuintli that guided people through the dangers of the afterlife towards heaven. These days, xolo dogs come in all sizes and colours, from the tiny toy coated one to the standard sized hairless one. They are highly intelligent and make challenging but worthwhile pets.
Despite the xolo dog’s connections to the afterlife, the strangest and most otherworldly animal on this list is the axolotl. It’s other name, the Mexican walking fish, might give a better clue of what it looks and moves like. Wild axolotls are a greeny brown and gold colour, appropriate to their native habitat at the bottom of a lake. However, captive axolotls can be pale pink, a beautiful golden hue, pale grey or even black. They have become very popular as pets due to their unusual looks but require careful management in order to thrive. One of the most fascinating aspects of the axolotl is its ability to regrow lost limbs or even parts of its brain! They are truly incredible creatures, though perhaps not the cuddliest.
Birds are very popular pets in Mexico, including native species like certain types of parakeet and parrot. Both the Monk parakeet (or Quaker parrot) and Barred parakeet (or Catherine parakeet) are found wild in Mexico. They are small, usually green birds with differing plumage that make colourful, beautiful pets. The Monk parakeet is intelligent and loves to socialise; this makes them great companions and very amusing due to the ease with which they mimic human speech. The Barred parakeet can have many colour mutations, providing more choice when it comes to choosing a pet, but all are quiet, affectionate birds. They love mist baths and can easily be taught how to talk.
Parrots make popular pets all over the world, due to their high intelligence, sociability and long life span. Amazon parrots are native to South America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and come in a startling array of different colours. The red-crowned parrot is a brilliant green colour with a jewel-red cap across its head. They make a loving companion as they are very affectionate towards the people they’re closest to. They live an incredibly long time, sometimes in excess of 75 years, so can provide companionship for an entire human lifetime or across generations of the same family. Although, if not kept entertained, they can turn their big brains towards mischief.
Although many of the animals listed here have become accepted pets across the world today, it is worth mentioning that some are endangered species. Capture of wild animals and irresponsible captive breeding can lead to the decline of many incredible species, so make sure that you research your chosen pet before buying or adopting responsibly. All of the pets on today’s list make gratifying, appreciative and fascinating pets when cared for properly, and all owe their ancestry to the great country of Mexico.