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Can anyone recommend a good pet for a 10 year old boy, please?

(30 Posts)
SomekindofSpanish Thu 19-May-11 11:28:08

Hi all. As title says, any recommendations?

Ds1 wants one for his birthday and has been asking for ages, so have given in.

He is willing to do the majority of caring duties, but he also has two younger brothers who will want to get involved.

Basically, we are looking for a pet that will be fun, pretty simple to care for and is small. We have not agreed to having a snake, which was his first choice hmm.


Summersoon Thu 19-May-11 20:29:08

Then let me be the first person through the virtual door with a vote for a guinea-pig grin or better two gp's as they are social animals (though I have just the one):
very tame, especially if kept indoors, do not bite unless severely provoked
not nocturnal (unless hamsters, which are also great fun, less affectionate but arguably more entertaining)
live to 5-7 years (unless hamsters who live to only about 2)
simple food requirements (hay and lots of it, some dry cereal, veg and the odd bit of fruit)

Completely agree with you re the snake btw!

deepdarkwood Thu 19-May-11 20:32:32

Ohh, was just coming on to rave about Guineas grin. We've had two girls for about a month now (indoors, as Summersoon suggests) and they are an utter delight. They squeal greetings to you in the morning, run around like loons, are hugely tolerant of cuddles & general man-handling.

BUT I wonder if they're 'cool' enough for a 10yo boy....

I think snakes are lovely, though smile

lljkk Fri 20-May-11 07:46:08

Hamster, I would say a pair of rats otherwise, but they are not low-maintenance or low-cost. I'd say the short lifespan is a bonus, by 13yo he won't be interested any more & you'll be lumbered with GPig care duties.

I do holiday care for some GPigs... one is lovely, a right lap-pig. One is okay, easy enough. And one is Horrid, very high strung. In spite of the lovely lap-pig, the high-strung one (has bitten and scratched many times) has put me off ever owning my own piggies.

ilovesprouts Fri 20-May-11 07:52:46

rabbitt ,hamster .gpigs

Summersoon Fri 20-May-11 21:53:10

@ lljkk : ah, but by the time he's 13, the OP will be a convert! Our gp is officially DD's but we all know exactly whose GP he really is grin

aristocat Tue 24-May-11 22:42:36

dwarf hamster fans here smile

TheVisitor Tue 24-May-11 22:46:59

Ratties! You can train them to respond to their name, litter train them and if you handle them from very young, they won't bite you. They play hide and seek and will chase a piece of string like a kitten does. They're so much fun and I'm now a little bit allergic to them, more's the pity.

Beamur Tue 24-May-11 22:49:10

I'd avoid reptiles altogether.
We've had gerbils, hamsters and I've also had guinea pigs and rabbits. Guinea pigs have loads of character and provided you don't get a 'highly strung' one they are usually ok to handle. Rabbits can be a bit more of a handful.
Hamsters are a PITA (sorry hamster lovers) they smell, often bite and are really boring - they sleep all day and will drive you mad trundling around their pesky wheels all night. (I've had dwarf, roboroskis and syrian - the dwarf were great, the others were all pretty awful)
Gerbils are not handling pets, but are alert and interesting and not nocturnal.
I've never had a rat, but they are supposed to make great pets but need daily cleaning as they can smell.
Would you consider a cat? No hassle with cages etc, nice to handle, fun to play with, but obviously longer lived and more expensive with vet bills etc.

TheVisitor Tue 24-May-11 23:42:01

My ratties didn't need daily cleaning. I litter trained them and they just used that one area. I cleaned them twice a week and they didn't smell.

ResurrectionByChocolate Tue 24-May-11 23:46:22

Two or three female rats are fun and easy to care for (the males are smelly). The only problem is that they need a large cage. BTW you need more than one - they are social animals.

Beamur Wed 25-May-11 19:09:52

I stand corrected on the smelliness of rats - our gerbils also have a latrine area they use which makes it easier to keep them clean.
I'd imagine a couple of rats would be cool pets for a 10 yr old.

bellavita Wed 25-May-11 19:17:05

A hamster!!

dS2 got a hamster last year - he adores him and the hamster DS2 grin

Actually, I am a little bit in love with him too especially after ds2 left his cage open one night and the hamster came all the way upstairs and knocked on our bedroom door grin. Out of all the rooms open upstairs, he came to ours and the door was closed, for over half an hour I heard this noise and I kept thinking it was a bird flapping outside trying to sit on the window ledge, but nope when DH went to investigate and opened our door, in trots the hamster as calm as you like... grin

Even my mother loves him and she doesn't "do" pets.

bellavita Wed 25-May-11 19:18:56

Ooh and get a boy hamster they are much calmer than girls and less likely to bite. He does not smell in the slightest either - we have lemon scented wood shavings in his cage.

NettoSuperstar Wed 25-May-11 19:25:11

They are like teeny dogs.
They are cute, loving, fun, intelligent (answer to their names and can be trained), not nocturnal, and easy and cheap to keep.
They can also be walked on a lead. DD walks ours every day.

They don't smell if they are cleaned.
We change the litter in ours twice a week (takes 10 minutes) and the whole cage once a week (half an hour).

I have girls, though I've heard males smell more?

We have one small one who makes snuffling noises, and one big fat one, who never stops eating!

stickyj Wed 25-May-11 19:33:33

We have twop kittens, well we had them at 9 weeks and one of them belongs to DS4. He's 12 and loves his cat! The other was a pressie for my DH, who was gutted, as we all were, when our lovely cat died. We couldn't face another cats for three years, but the kitties are 1 now and lovely. Make him responsible for food charts, water bowls etc and he'll have

Beamur Wed 25-May-11 20:30:09

We had a male hamster - drew blood every time it was handled.

bellavita Wed 25-May-11 20:45:33

Really Beamur shock

Beamur Wed 25-May-11 22:05:40

We had to be careful even picking the cage up as he would bite through the bars. My DP is extremely skilled at handling rodents but even he couldn't manage this one.
Syrian hamsters seems to either be delightful or psycho.

bellavita Wed 25-May-11 22:22:16


DS2 kisses him, cuddles him, puts him in his dressing pocket.... He was the last one we looked at the in the pet shop and DS said I want that one - all honey coloured and lovely. Even when DS's friends come round, the hamster is passed from pillar to post and it doesn't bother him especially if they feed him his chocolate buttons and raisins grin

hellymelly Wed 25-May-11 22:24:31

another vote for a rat.They are brilliant pets,clever,sociable,affectionate. I would love a ratty for my dds but my aged terrier would go bonkers trying to chase it.

poorbuthappy Wed 25-May-11 22:31:29

And another vote for rats. Absolutely brilliant pets...can be trained like dogs. We used to have obstacle courses laid out in the living room for ours grin. But the little gits will pinch anything...jewellry, money etc. Which isn't so bad as long as you know where to find it!

CandyS Thu 26-May-11 23:21:21

Rat; fantastic & smart, my number one 'pets for children' choice.
Hamsters & Gerbils can be a bit boring for kids, seeing as they're either asleep or eating.
Not judging you or your children but I would say a deffo no-no on rabbits, they can live for anything between 8-15 years, so are not a good option unless you're willing to live in cardboard city for the next decade (our two have eaten through many, many cables/shoes etc) & are sure your children will not get bored of it.
I would also say no to G.Pigs, as they're bloody chatty little things! Not so good for when your DS moves into secondary school and can't sleep at night because the G.Pigs are gossiping all night!

lljkk Fri 27-May-11 04:11:35

My (not little, either) DC twice badly injured our pet ratties. sad
The girl rats cost a fortune in lump removal (they usually died soon after anyway).
My male rat killed (& ate) another beloved pet.
Males can fight like the dickens (females not necessarily nicer, one of our females seriously savaged her cage mates).
Ratties need an hour or so out of the cage everyday.
During that time they need to be closely supervised or they will get hurt; chew things they shouldn't.
They are a lot like puppies, in other respects.
Have not had these problems with any other rodent pets.
Better to get ratties from Rescue if you must.

TheVisitor Fri 27-May-11 12:15:47

My female ratties were soft as shit! One of them used to sleep at the back of my neck buried in my hair. My boy ratties were just dopey.

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