Pet for a 5yo - Guinea pig or leopard gecko

(36 Posts)
Allfednonedead Thu 01-Sep-16 19:33:01

DS(5) is mad to have a pet. He has diligently fed our cats for two months plus, to show his commitment.
I approve in principle, but am having cold feet about taking on another pet alongside the two cats - not to mention DS(5) and DTs(3).
Can anyone advise on whether a leopard gecko or a Guinea pig would be a better choice and help me feel ok about the commitment?
How much trouble are they? Is there anything easier?

lavenderbongo Thu 01-Sep-16 19:38:03

I know nothing about geckos but we have three Guineas and they are great but quite demanding. Please don't get one as they are very social creatures and will be unhappy on their own. They are cuddly and great fun to watch but need cleaning out regularly and lots of care and attention.

P1nkP0ppy Thu 01-Sep-16 19:40:30

From bitter experience when my DCs were that age the novelty wore off re: guinea pigs after about two months so which would you prefer to take on? I don't think feeding a cat is quite the same as mucking out, feeding and handling a guinea pig or a gecko (the latter's certainly less cuddly 😟)

How about a dog? Then the whole family could be involved?

MusicMania Thu 01-Sep-16 19:41:26

IMO the easiest pets are cats! Guinea pigs can't live alone so you'd need two. Gecko's have very specific dietary and husbandry requirements, as do guinea pigs so in short neither are particularly easy pets and I'd advise doing a fair bit of reading before taking on any animal you're unfamiliar with.
And obviously they would ultimately be your responsibility.
Sorry to be be such a Debbie downer but I work with animals and have seen some horrific results of parents leaving pets to be looked after by children.
If I had to recommend anything it would be rats, they really do make good pets for children, less bitey than hamsters and slightly more sturdy. They can be very affectionate too, just keep them away from the cats!

Mol1628 Thu 01-Sep-16 19:43:58

Having had both...neither.

A leopard gecko you wouldn't see very often as they are nocturnal. Keeping their insects isn't fun.

Guinea pigs are messy, can cost a lot in vet bills and aren't always tame.

OdinsLoveChild Thu 01-Sep-16 19:48:37

I would say a rat is better than either of those. My sisters rat was brilliant, she knew her name and would sit next to you watching tv and stealing your pop corn.
I hate Guinea Pigs, I got bitten by one as a child and I've never forgiven them as a species blush.
Gecko's are quite specialised aren't they? I don't think they're considered easy to look after.
As P1nkP0ppy said, what would you want to look after in the event you are left looking after it? As it happens I have been left with 2 dogs to look after following months of nagging and begging to replace our previous dog. I gave in because I missed him myself and really did fancy another one so I got 2 (one for each nagging child). They love me more than the children do anyway so I don't really mind blush

Soubriquet Thu 01-Sep-16 19:50:48

Geckos are not the most ideal

You've got to check the temperature daily, the moisture needs to be just right to help shed the skin, then you have to feed live insects that need a good diet themselves and dusted with calcium. Plus if your child accidently picked up the gecko by its tail, the tail would drop off. It never grows back to the beautiful condition it was before

Allfednonedead Thu 01-Sep-16 19:57:25

Thanks for those (not very) encouraging replies!
We have two cats already, so I assumed rats are out - they would have been my first choice otherwise.
Given he's only 5, I wouldn't expect him to be wholly responsible for a pet, but I'm confident he'd take it seriously.
There's no way we're getting a dog. I don't like 'em much, and certainly don't want that much of a commitment.
So are there any low-maintenance pets? Are stick insects worth it?

Soubriquet Thu 01-Sep-16 19:59:06

Stick insects are pretty low maintenance but they can be a bit boring for a 5 year old

OdinsLoveChild Thu 01-Sep-16 20:00:10

My friend has snails. Initially out the garden and she agreed if her children kept them alive for a year they could have those big ones. She's got 4 African land snails now and about a million extra garden snails to go with them grin

Soubriquet Thu 01-Sep-16 20:00:46

Giant land snails are an excellent idea

P1nkP0ppy Thu 01-Sep-16 20:01:27

Any pet has a level of maintenance, I honestly can't think of any pet suitable for a 5 year old unless you're prepared to take it on too.

P1nkP0ppy Thu 01-Sep-16 20:03:32

Don't they breed at an incredible rate of knots OdinsLoveChild?
-shudders at the thought of even considering a snail let alone a Giant version--

glenthebattleostrich Thu 01-Sep-16 20:07:19

Gerbils are ace. Get a couple of them. They are much more fun than hamsters, can become quite tame with proper handling (one of my boys used to enjoy sitting on my shoulder grooming me) and tend to be quite lively when children are awake. They are fairly easy to care for as long as you have room for a decent sized house for them.

Guinea pigs are brilliant but lots of work and are delicate little sweethearts.

Iggi999 Thu 01-Sep-16 20:07:54

My 8 year old age just got pigs and I suspect that is about the youngest. The 4 year old sibling loves them, he would love them to death if he got left alone with them.

purplepixy Thu 01-Sep-16 20:08:08

We have a created gecko, easy and hardy. Would recommend for beginners, we have had ours 3 years. You don't need to feed them live they are fine on repashy and occasional treat of baby food fruit. No worries about temperature, normal house is fine in winter and summer as we have the heating on and his is in a nice warm bedroom. My son was older though at 7 but he still loves his and gets him out everyday.

Allfednonedead Thu 01-Sep-16 20:22:35

P1nkpoppy, I have no intention of leaving a 5yo in charge, don't worry. the need for a low-maintenance pet is my benefit more than his!
But you are all convincing me I shouldn't do this at all. Poor boy. How will I break it to him?

Allfednonedead Thu 01-Sep-16 20:23:53

Crested gecko, you say, purplepixy? Hmm. He's very keen on reptiles, so that might be an option.

Potentialmadcatlady Thu 01-Sep-16 20:32:06

If I had to choose between Guinea pigs and reptile ( have had both..and cats,dogs,rabbits,gerbils,chinchillas,turtles and hamsters over the years) I would go for reptile but ONLY if you have enough money to get your set up sorted out really well right from the start.. If you do your research and get the correct viv with lights/heating etc they are really easy to look after, don't smell and easy to keep clean...I had a breaded dragon ( was a rescue) and he was fab and had quite a personality.. He loved to get out for a wander round the living room with the cats...

Soubriquet Thu 01-Sep-16 21:30:02

Make sure you have an exotic vet nearby if you plan on getting a crestie

A lot of vets are not best clued up on reptiles

greathat Thu 01-Sep-16 21:41:07

African land snails breed like anything. Plus I think you only need one and you still get babies.... They are determined!

neonrainbow Thu 01-Sep-16 22:35:51

Guinea pugs can live a long time. Id get something short lived like gerbils in a tank so less chance of the cats getting to them.

Wolfiefan Thu 01-Sep-16 22:38:22

Can you get a rat (well two) and keep the cats separate?
Of the two you mention I would think guineas would be less specialist.
What does your DC want?

LauraCRyan Wed 07-Sep-16 09:57:55

Created geckos are great and lower maintenance(and don't need live food!) than leopards but geckos live for 20 years so it's a long term commitment!

Allfednonedead Wed 07-Sep-16 10:17:29

The deal is that if the gecko is still alive when DS goes to university, he takes it with him.

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