Ok I never post in the forum (at least, I can't remember the last time I did), but I just saw this thread and found it naturally interesting so popped on to leave my own little comments (hopefully not too long.)
I currently own 5 birds (as a family, only 2 are mine personally), 4 Indian Ringneck parakeets (also known as Asian/Australian parrots) and a green cheek conure.
I personally own a 4 1/2ft female Okeetee corn snake and hope to purchase more exotic rat snakes in the future. (As soon as I am sure I have the capability of keeping them alive)
My sister owns a giant bearded dragon (probably not considered exotic)
I will say though to anyone looking into purchasing a bird (first time), whether a budgie or a macaw: Out of many pets I've had over the years, hamsters, guinie pigs, dogs, cats, horse, fish, snakes, lizard, and turtles, and out of any of the pets I used to care for when I was volunteering at my local petstore (where my job was to tame the wilder animals brought in to be resold), Birds are by far the most work. Cleaning is constant. They throw things, more or less depending on the bird. Some birds scream incessantly, and it can actually lead to loving pet owners having to rehome them. They BITE when they feel like it (especially the closer to get to a parrot, and I don't mean size wise. Parrots have some attitude, and some other, smaller breeds have the same thing).
That's not to say I haven't enjoyed my birds more than any other pet I've had. I started with budgies and learned no two are the same. I can not stress this enough! One bird will be the most loving animal you can imagine, and the next will be a living nightmare, biting you and others and throwing itself at the bars on the cage. My current birds are loud, and they vary in sweetness. All four were hand raised, I hand fed 3 of them from 3 weeks old and my sister hand fed hers. *they pick their people*. Which means you could buy a bird for yourself and it could choose to love your sister, brother, mother, daughter, etc. more than you, and for no apparent reason.
Birds can be extremely appealing. Some can learn to talk, very well. Some cuddle. Most are highly intelligent and with daily training can learn tricks you could never dream of. They vary in appearance and can be quite stunning.
Basically my point boils down to this (and again, I'm sure most people know this I just can't help myself after seeing so many honestly clueless people walk in and adopt a bird that they find out they either can't afford or care for in a matter of weeks)
NEVER buy a bird on a whim! Do not research one bird and think you can handle another (even if it is smaller) bird without getting the facts![/b] These animals are costly, and it can be very hard on a fragile animal like that to flip flop around homes. Just because an "exotic" pet is right for someone doesn't mean it's good for everyone. Unfortunately these animals do have a reputation for being "cool", "rare" , some of them "strange", and it leads to a great deal of suffering for the animals. To those who think one move won't affect a bird that much, hold the shaking animal in your hands, watch it flinch every time you near it with food (because it is too shaken now to eat on its own), and then talk. There is never a one size fits all when it comes to pets. I applaud all pet owners, Of any kind, dog, cat, mouse, elephant (ok you get the point), who do the research and really know what they are doing before they get their pet. Yes, accidents and tragedy will still happen, and some pets will be left in poor positions and homeless, etc. But the very best thing you can do to ensure a happy life with your pet (remember with birds that COULD be quite a while) is to know the animal before you meet it.
Once again not lecturing anyone, just had to get that off my chest. Haha sorry for the rambling. ANd hope you're all enjoying your exotic pets, I know for a fact I'm having a blast