Dogs and Cats Too Tame? Check Out These Wild Adoptable Pets Around DC.

Chickens, massive tortoises, and goats are up for grabs.

Gary, an orphaned goat, is up for adoption. Photograph courtesy of Lost and Found Horse Rescue of Maryland.

There are lots of cute shelter dogs and cats looking for new homes. But if your taste is a little more exotic, check out these furry, scaly, and swimming alternatives—all up for adoption around DC.

Who they are: Gary and Annabelle, a bonded pair of short-haired goats.

What they’re like: You know the Gary and Annabelles of the world. Gary is “overly-friendly”—their words, not ours—and can “get pushy for attention and treats.” Annabelle is “sweet and quiet.”  The yin to Gary’s yang. Except when Gary gets drunk on Thanksgiving and head-butts a wall, but you’ll figure it out. 

Who they’re best for: A human couple named Gary and Annabelle, obviously. Or anyone with a pasture to let these goats roam (no dogs or kids, please). 

Available through: Lost and Found Horse Rescue of Maryland.

Who they are: Bert and Blakely, bonded male gerbils. 

What they’re like: Bert and Blakely are “social animals,” and are “super cute and fun to watch.” They’re fond of fresh veggies, yogurt, wee portions of lean meat, and the occasional piece of tofu or unsalted nut. We’re pretty sure Bert and Blakely have matching mini-Pelotons, too, and enjoy a paw wax for summer. 

Good for: Any gerbil enthusiast who’s able to provide a “a good-sized housing set-up with proper bedding”—we’re talking Brooklinen, not Bed Bath & Beyond. 

Available through: Humane Rescue Alliance.

Who they are: Unnamed male and juvenile sulcata tortoises 

What they’re like: “THESE ARE COWS WITH SHELLS THAT DO NOT HIBERNATE” (If that description from the Mid-Atlantic Tortoise Society is daunting, stop here). Grown sulcatas can reach 100 to 200 lbs. Per the adoption agency: “They eat like cows, and what goes in must also come out, if you get the idea.” Also, even juveniles “can go through chain link fencing and dry wall.” They’re best kept alone, or in (good God) large groups. 

Good for: The wild, a zoo, a tortoise tamer—basically any environment that’s natural or professional. 

Available through: The Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society.

Who he are: Sidney, an aquatic pink-bellied turtle 

What he’s like: If you were scared shitless by the sulcatas, but still want a turtle, Sidney is a good option. He’s “a little shy” but will become more curious in the right aquatic habitat with enough room for basking and hiding. 

Good for: Calm personalities who can splurge on a 55-gallon aquarium, and are ready for a companion for the next 20 to 30 years. 

Available through: The Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society.

Who he is: An extra-large “common snapping turtle

What’s he’s like: So, you still want a turtle. Something between an aggressive, poops-like-a-cow sulcata and shy little Sidney. Well, a snapping turtle seems like a good fit. Sure, this guy is “very active,” and “DOES NOT like to be handled.” But he’s also kinda sweet.  His shell is “a bit too small” because he wasn’t well cared for in his youth. And he likes strawberries (aww).

Good for: Anyone who hates cuddles and can provide a 300 gallon stock tank with a strong filter. Or a pond with “an escape-proof yard.” Basically: serial killers. Just turtle enthusiasts and serial killers.

Available through: The Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society.

Who she is: Desperaux, a white female mouse.

About: No sorrow here—Desperaux is a mom whose babies have all grown up and she’s ready for her next tale. Favorite pastimes include spinning (cage wheels only), eating fresh fruits and veggies, and living a nocturnal lifestyle.

Good for: A like-minded night owl who keeps a neat home and healthy diet.

Available through: Humane Rescue Alliance.

Who they are: Lenny, Ernie, and Bernie, cold water piranhas. 

What they’re like: Not much is known about this mysterious trio. They’re cold-blooded, silent creatures, who can feed on other fish (but don’t have to). They may be in the mob—but they’re not talking. 

Good for: The type of person who keeps piranhas in their house.

Available through: Montgomery County Animal Services & Adoption.

Who he is: Roo Paul, a fashionable young rooster.

What he’s like: Roo Paul is a “fairly chill guy” who’s currently housed with Cluck Norris, and the brilliant mastermind who came up with their names. Unfortunately, Cluck Norris is not up for adoption. BUT. Look at Roo Paul’s tie! Cock-a-doodle-doo-me.

Good for: We imagine Roo Paul matching well with an equally fashionable, back-to-the-land type who’s embracing a quiet life in the suburbs (note: it’s illegal to keep chickens in DC without a permit).

Available through: Mabel’s Orphaned Angels Rescue.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.