Confession: I'm one of those animal-obsessed people who, on any given day, fantasizes about owning everything from an emu to a kangaroo. Actually, I love just about any creature with furry paws. And I know I'm not alone.
According to the Humane Society, there are about 77 million dogs and 93 million cats living it up in U.S. households today. (That's a lot of poop-scooping, considering there are about 308 million American humans.) And even if you're not a celeb who changes pets like she does accessories, few people can resist cooing at animals that could easily fit into a purse -- or pocket.
So, in case you're in the market, here are 10 mini pals -- from palm-size sugar gliders to a 3-lb. fox with 6-inch ears -- who are probably some of the most adorable critters you'll ever find ... and have yet to be adopted by Hollywood.
These Chilean cuties -- affectionately called "pocket degus" because they like to cozy up inside your shirt -- have a keen ability to recognize people. Plus:
Degus can live up to seven years, and they only reach about 6 inches in length. Pet peeve:
They constantly gnaw to keep their teeth in check, so stock their nests with wood blocks and pumice stones to avoid chiseled furniture.
These tiny oinkers can grow 12-16 inches tall and weigh between 40 and 65 lbs. as adults. Crossing four different breeds of pig produced this wonder Wilbur, known for being clean, intelligent and affectionate. Plus:
Micros can be litter trained and are a good sub for people with dog allergies. Pet peeve:
Expect to shell out $1,500 per piglet.
At only 2 inches long, dwarf seahorses come in a variety of colors, including white with black dots. If you have males and females, they do a fascinating shiver-and-shake mating dance. Plus:
Given their size, you can buy more than one, which is recommended to keep them happy. Pet peeve:
You'll need a steady supply of live baby brine shrimp for their supper.
Jersey Wooly Rabbit
A breeder in New Jersey first produced this 3-lb. mini bunny in the 1980s. Because they're popular on the show circuit, they now come in such glam shades as smoke pearl, blue tort and Siamese sable. Plus:
Gentle, smart, cuddly and very chill. Pet peeve:
Their puffy coat requires regular brushing.
These black-tipped-tailed desert dwellers love belly rubs and greet you by standing on their hind legs and barking. Unlike other small critters, they're active during the day. Plus:
They're fiercely loyal and can live up to 12 years. Pet peeve:
Prairie pups need consistent attention and social stimulation, and it's best to own them in pairs.
Once they bond with you, sugar gliders feel most at home peeking out of shirt pockets or wrapped around your finger. Plus:
Low maintenance and brainy for their size, gliders can be taught to recognize their names and do tricks on command. Pet peeve:
Calcium deficiency is common among these critters, so you need to buy supplements.
The low riders have short, dachshund-like legs, and come in nine types, including hairless. Plus:
Friendly, outgoing and intelligent -- not to mention freaking adorable. Pet peeve:
There's some controversy surrounding the felines, since they carry the cat version of the dwarf gene. Do your research and go with a reputable breeder.
When they unfurl from ball pose, hedgehogs have fluffy white tummies, tiny pink feet and twitching button noses. They even purr like cats. It's no wonder Beatrix Potter was a fan. Plus:
The most low-maintenance critter on our list. Pet peeve:
It's important to find a good supplier, so the hedgehog is well-socialized and ready to bond.
These 5-inch-long fellas have sleek racer stripes down their backs, large cheek pouches that bulge when they nosh, and bushy tails. Plus:
Unlike other small mammals, Siberian chips can live up to 10 years. Pet peeve:
They require ample-sized abodes, like a cat cage, so they can climb -- and plenty of things to chew. A monthly dust bath is also a must.
Snow white fur. Giant pink ears. Silky whiskers. 3-lb. weight limit. Enough said. Plus:
Active, energetic, curious and quick to bond. Fennecs can be walked on a snug-fitting harness. Pet peeve:
They're slow to housebreak, but they will use a litter box. You must fox-proof your house because they love to hide. In other words, you need patience, perseverance and a lot of time.