to not buy DD a pet I'm scared of?

(122 Posts)
Fink Wed 17-Feb-16 16:38:38

DD (6) wants some sort of lizard as a pet, a bearded dragon to be precise. Bless her, she is trying to be considerate as I am allergic to pet hair (as is she) so we can't have any of the more normal pets (her first choices were guinea pig or rabbit, both of which I would have been fine with were it not for the allergy). However, I am freaked out by the things.

You have to feed them live insects, which I wouldn't look forward to (to say the least). You have to handle them for a considerable amount of time each day. I am really not a reptile lover. Not exactly phobic, but really not a fan.

My current thinking is that I would get her one, if she still wants it, when she's old enough to look after it without me having to handle it (I have no clear idea of what sort of age this would be). I could cope with having it in the house so long as I didn't actually have to touch it. Due to space restrictions, we would probably have to keep the vivarium in my office/study, which I wouldn't be overjoyed about but I can imagine putting up with.

AIBU?

Oysterbabe Wed 17-Feb-16 16:40:37

They don't make good pets for a child. How about a fish?

Excited101 Wed 17-Feb-16 16:41:23

I would really really suggest that a technical pet like a reptile is not a suitable present for a child. They require quite a bit of care and maintenance and like you say, handling each day. Can you not look into certain species of easier animals which are better suited for allergies. Or fish?! Even stick insects can be good first pets

Stratter5 Wed 17-Feb-16 16:43:02

Fish are not easy to look after properly. You can't just bung them in a bowl - a decent set up for goldfish (who are filthy fish) is pretty spendy.

Oysterbabe Wed 17-Feb-16 16:43:12

Oh stick insects are a good call. Giant snails?

Toomuch2young Wed 17-Feb-16 16:46:03

Not good, very hard to care for properly, plus some reptiles can transmit salmonella.
What about sea monkeys (brine shrimp) or giant snails or stick insects?

Flossieflower01 Wed 17-Feb-16 16:48:01

Bearded dragons are very smelly unless you clean them out every day. They need live insects weekly and I struggle to buy them in the winter as the pet shop doesn't get them in in case they die in transit. They also need fresh veg at least twice/week. The tank needs two light bulbs- a heat one and a UV one- the bulbs need changing regularly as they don't give off the right wavelength indefinitely. I wouldn't buy one for a.six year old!!

Giant African land snails however are brilliant pets- very low effort, easy to handle, cheap (buy them on eBay, they come in the post!) and they eat fruit and veg so easy to feed!

landrover Wed 17-Feb-16 16:48:55

God no, tell her she can get a pet when she has her own house!(Im so mean grin. Seriously, we got a snake for our ten year old who was "desperate". She got it out once, yes ONCE I kid you not. Who ended up cleaning it, feeding it mice etc? We found a home for it after a year or so, it was far too cruel to keep it in a small tank, So CRUEL. please don't do that to any animal. And don't talk to me about the horrendous time that rabbits in hutches have! sad

somewheresomehow Wed 17-Feb-16 16:50:06

I wouldn,t go for a beardie as a first pet especially as she is only 6.
They need a large viv, heat mat, uv lamp, veg and live food
www.thebeardeddragon.org/
Why not go for a couple of goldfish in a suitable tank only need a filter , water changing occasionally and flake food
So much simpler
Or stick insects, eat bramble and privet and dont need handling if you dont want to

Katedotness1963 Wed 17-Feb-16 16:50:48

How about a tortoise? We had one who used to chase the cat across the living room. They are not as slow moving as you would think!

Twitterqueen Wed 17-Feb-16 16:53:04

Stratter5 Fish can be very easy! Why do you say they're not? We bought a small Bob the Builder talk for around £25 for Inky and Splodge (goldfish types). They seemed to like it well enough. (And actually, so did I).

shutupandshop Wed 17-Feb-16 16:54:13

Have you looked into how long Bds live? We have a lizard, a small one and thry live 25 years! Dd2 got it when she was 8 i was pregnant, hormonal and stupud

Tbh DH helps with it, if needed. I just buy the live feed and remind dd (now 11) to clean and feed him. I have never handled him. He does nip. shock

BDs are supposed to be less nippy than geckos.

Fink Wed 17-Feb-16 16:57:19

Hmm, stick insects might be an option. Giant snails would be even worse than a huge lizard.

The only thing is she specifically wants a dragon as we read that they like being handled, I think she wants something more responsive than a fish or invisible stick insect (I'm still rubbish at distinguishing them from actual sticks, which I know is kind of the point but even so). I don't suppose there's anything in that category that would be suitable? [eternally optimistic face]

Wanderingwondering Wed 17-Feb-16 16:57:41

How about an axolotl?

shutupandshop Wed 17-Feb-16 16:59:02

Dd3 borrowed the goant snails from nursery, they are quite fun, you can race them

Fink Wed 17-Feb-16 16:59:34

They live around 12 years I think (although up to 20 max), so we'd have it till she's 18-26. I don't mind a long-lived pet, as long as it's one I get on with.

SnakesandKnives Wed 17-Feb-16 16:59:36

Giant snails are cool....as long as you never want to eat cucumber again yourself anyway!

I don't think you're being at all unreasonable.....she probably is a bit too young to look after a lizard herself and whilst dragons are extremely easy to keep, you do need to know what to do re: UV and calcium supplements etc to keep em healthy. Actually that's about all you really need to know. not sure about the regular handing to be honest - mine hardly ever gets handled but (aside from being generally grumpy) is fine when she is. The live insect thing is definitely unavoidable though.

are you sure you are allergic to all pet hair? Its a different immune response for, say, cats and guinea pigs.... (apologies if patronising)

pygmy hedgehog? (assuming you're happy to co look after something that doesn't give you the creeps!)

pigsDOfly Wed 17-Feb-16 16:59:59

Buying any type of pet for a six year old is not a good idea really unless you are prepared to be the main carer.

Anything you're not prepared to be fully hands on with is a no no until she's completely committed to caring for it.

The age at which that happens though very much depends on the child and would, except for the most exceptionally committed child, definitely be a lot older than six.

DixieNormas Wed 17-Feb-16 17:02:43

No don't do it. You will be the one who ends up looking after it voice of experiance

Stratter5 Wed 17-Feb-16 17:02:45

A small tank without filtration is not suitable. They may well survive, but it's not kind.

To give you any example, I have a single freshwater puffer fish in a 3' tank with double filtration (a canister filter and an internal HOB filter). If you hav an animal, any animal, you look after it to the very best standards or you don't have it at all.

DeadPooled Wed 17-Feb-16 17:03:36

Skinny pig? (Bald guinea pig)

expatinscotland Wed 17-Feb-16 17:04:15

Don't get her one. They are very expensive to maintain as they need a heat lamp, too.

Ketsby Wed 17-Feb-16 17:10:11

Um, no, for all the reasons she mentioned. She's only 6. She'll be 'into' parrots next week, then hedgehogs the next.

What about a hamster? Will that hair irritate you?

Fink Wed 17-Feb-16 17:11:24

I did think of a pygmy hedgehog, I really wanted one a few years ago before she was born. But I thought that would probably be even less suitable for a young child? Although I would be willing to be primary carer for a hedgehog (the live insects still a bit of an issue) I would like it to be something she would enjoy and, apart from any other considerations, that probably means that a nocturnal animal is not the best bet.

I'm not sure about her allergy since we keep away from possible causes because of me. I know she's definitely allergic to horses (unfortunate attempts to learn to ride). My allergy is worst with things which shed hair, cats are worst, but it is with rabbits and guinea pigs too. I used to have guinea pigs as a teenager and I did sort of build up an immunity to them to an extent but there was a constant low-level hayfevery type sniffling and eye watering.

OhYouLuckyDuck Wed 17-Feb-16 17:12:11

If you get stick insects you need to remember that you will soon have thousands of eggs and most of them will all start hatching around the same time and then you will be giving stick insects to your close friends, then neighbours and eventually you will resort to begging random strangers in the street to take them, you might even find yourself googling if they can survive outdoors (they can't, at least not in England)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now