Ds wants a pet for his 8th birthday- I'm pretty sure he's sensible enough but I wondered if there is a good age guide? The pets at home leaflet says they are not suitable for "young" children- not quite sure how young this is though??!!
We bought a gerbil when dd2 was 8. As long as I supervised, she looked after him really well. Gerbils are really cute and funny, but fast and skittish, ours have never just sat in our hand. I think hamsters are more docile, or at least the one we looked after was.
My son got a syrian hamster at age 7. He was very sensible and it helped that dh and I love hamsters and helped with taming it. Do not go with a dwarf species. They are not suitable for any child who wishes to hold it!!!!
We had a lovely hamster (Syrian) we got from a rescue centre. Get the biggest cage you can, we got a palace for ours and he was lovely and lived a long and happy life (about 2 years plus). DD was 6 when we got him but I did need to supervise her to avoid him falling from a hight or running away. They can get out of the exercise ball thing so need to be watched. They make an excellent pet for children. Ours was just lovely.