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Help me find a pet for my 7 year old!

(45 Posts)
twofalls Wed 25-Sep-13 12:21:55

DD is desperate for a pet. We don't want the responsiblity of a dog or a cat, we don't have room for a rabbit or guinea pigs (although I am not adverse to the idea of a house rabbit, but have done no research), I am not overly keen on small furry things such as hamsters but reaslise I might have to get over this aversion. Am also worried a hamster would keep her awake all night (the idea is its her pet and be her responsiblity so something for her room).

Any ideas? Oh, we hve two fish but they are a bit boring.

crochetkate Wed 25-Sep-13 12:31:01

I love rabbits

But house rabbits are hard work, they need ideally at least one whole room to have free reign in, and need to be a pair to be happy.

All electrical cables have to be out of reach, and mine have ruined a carpet.

They also often arent keen on being petted.

nicename Wed 25-Sep-13 12:34:20

what about a mouse, or maybe some kind of creature (tarantula, lizard...)?

GrottlesofGrog Wed 25-Sep-13 12:41:34

Guinea Pigs are lovely and cuddly and can also be house pets (I would personally only have house guinea pigs and rabbits as my ndn's have had several rabbits which have been got by foxes and it is very distressing).
However I would definitely recommend FEMALE rats! Very, very friendly, they love humans. You can train them to do very simple tricks, they love coming out for runs around a room but make sure there are no obvious routes of escape (I once lost my rat in the walls of my house and it took ages to get her back out by coaxing her with food!). They are far more interactive than hamsters and also far more robust. They live around 2.5-3.5 years so a good enough lifespan. They usually also get used to being awake during the day and sleeping at night after a while so won't be up all night (hopefully!). I recommend female ones as they are more energetic and playful, but with rats you should always get two, ideally from the same litter, as they need to socialise.

dittle Wed 25-Sep-13 12:54:18

I would recommend a corn snake. I've had all manner of pets (dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, fish, newts, lizards... I'm sure there's more but I've forgotten) and corn snakes are by far my favourite. They get fed once a week and handled every day and they're happy. They take up about as much space as my guinea pigs did (three foot long vivarium) and make absolutely no noise. The set up can be expensive but if you do some bargain hunting it's not too bad. They need a heat mat, heat lamp and thermostat, aspen for ground cover and some cage ornaments (like hides, plants, branches to climb on etc). They also need water purifier in their water but one bottle of that lasts months. They grow to about 4ft long and live for about 20 years if properly cared for. They eat small mice and rat pups (bigger ones as they grow) but you can buy them frozen (it's safer to feed them already dead food otherwise there is a risk of injury) and they cost hardly anything.

Not some people's cup of tea but if you have any questions, feet free to message me.

DaleyBump Wed 25-Sep-13 12:54:31


DaleyBump Wed 25-Sep-13 12:55:23

Why did that post under a different username? O.o it's me! <waves arms and jumps up and down>

crikeybadger Wed 25-Sep-13 12:57:44

I would really recommend gerbils. My Ds are 7 and 8 and have one each.

They don't bite, don 't smell, don't wee or poo much and are actually really interesting creatures. They come from a desert environment so like burrowing in their sawdust and enjoy chewing bits of wood or cardboard.

crikeybadger Wed 25-Sep-13 12:58:58

Oh and they have cute little furry tails not scaly ones like rats!

strawberrypenguin Wed 25-Sep-13 13:00:40

Rats. They make seriously good pets, love people, are big enough to handle comfortably and unlike hamsters are actually awake during they day.

Floralnomad Wed 25-Sep-13 13:07:10

For that age definitely rats or house guinea pigs ,however unless you're daughter spends lots of time in her bedroom they would both be better being in a family room as both like lots if human contact .They also both need fairly substantial housing and will require a lot of input from yourself . TBH most children want pets but the adults in the house really need to want them as well for it to work successfully .

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 25-Sep-13 13:45:35

It is really important that you want this pet and are prepared to do the lions share of the care.
If you are prepared to do the caring my personal favourite for this age group are rats friendly sociable creatures who are awake urging the day.

twofalls Thu 26-Sep-13 16:31:19

Thank you everyone. Will look into rats. Not sure about a corn snake but thanks for the suggestion. And I recognise that we will be responsible ultimately.

She does love reptiles - apart from snakes, any suggestions in that area?

DaleyBump Thu 26-Sep-13 16:36:24

Bearded dragons are good starter lizards but they do take a lot of care and the upkeep is more expensive.

bruffin Thu 26-Sep-13 16:51:04

Bearded Dragons are gorgeous but they live around 10 to 12 years or longer so a long term commitment.
We still have DHs tortoise that was given to him when he was 10 and DH is 52! and the tortoise had been through a family before that.

bruffin Thu 26-Sep-13 16:54:10

We have also had roborovski hamsters who are incredibly cute. They are not so much for handling, more for watching as they are very very fast. They do come out a bit more in the day than syrians.

Also had guinea pigs, but they dont like being kept alone, and it is difficult not to get into a cycle of replacing them when they day to keep they other one company. We rehomed our last one, because i didnt like the fact he was alone.

DaleyBump Thu 26-Sep-13 17:03:54

Linky about bearded dragons. Wouldn't recommend roborovski hamsters - although lovely to watch, they're not really very good at being handled. They're also really loud because of the speed they go on their wheel.

Rats are really good pets, a friend of mine has trained his four to answer to their names and do tricks shock

bruffin Thu 26-Sep-13 17:30:28

Agree they are not so good for handling which is what i said above, although my ds could handle them ok at that age. We just made sure we took them out over a big box so if they did their kamikaze death leap they were contained. But they are lovely and cute for people who dont want to handle them and happy just to watch their antics. I was very fond of ours.

DaleyBump Thu 26-Sep-13 17:32:17

I was agreeing with you bruffin smile

I had one when I was young. My cat ate it.

bruffin Thu 26-Sep-13 17:41:25

I was just getting a bit nostalgic sad

Pictures of mine on my profile

defineme Thu 26-Sep-13 17:50:40

Tbh I find cats very little responsibility. Dd (age 8) feeds her cat before and after school. We take it to vets once a year for jabs. It has a cat flap so lets itself in and out. It comes for lovely strokes when it wants, but sleeps for about 18 hours a day. My Mum or my neighbour feed and stroke it when we're away.
We got it from the RSPCA who had neutered her already.

The only downside in 2 years has been 2 dead baby birds sad , but I imagine lizards and so forth get through quite a lot of live prey.

dontstopmenow Thu 26-Sep-13 17:54:58

We are looking at guinea pigs for my DS who is 7 in January. They are supposed to be lovely sociable animals, ours however, will have to live outdoors I think.

EauRouge Thu 26-Sep-13 17:59:47

How does your DD feel about insects? We've got some Macleay's Spectre stick insects, they are really cheap and easy to look after and my DDs love them.

saintmerryweather Thu 26-Sep-13 18:07:57

what about leopard geckos?

omuwalamulungi Thu 26-Sep-13 18:11:28

Sorry I know you said no cat/dog but I was just going to post what defineme said, I have 2 cats and they're not much work at all. They used to be more outdoorsy but in their advancing years are contented housecats. If you use the woodchip cat litter it's honestly no more work than cleaning out a hamster cage, they're lovely and loyal, plus they would grow up together. I've had one of my cats since I was 11 and I'm now 26 smile

I understand about potential vet bills and going on holiday and so on though. Just my 2 cents having had hamsters, guinea pigs etc in the past, vastly more work than my cats have been for much less reward. I'm planning to get my DS a cat when he's a bit older.

LOVE the stick insect suggestion though!

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