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Which small furry animal?

(12 Posts)
UnMasterChef Sat 22-Nov-14 19:55:05

We've agreed to get DD (aged almost 6) a pet in January. I've been through the following thought process, can you let me know if I'm on the right lines and if there is anything else I need to think off.

Gerbils - would need to get 2, are good for cuddles with children, could possibly live in a cage in DD's room
Guinea pigs - had them a child, loved them, good for cuddles, but not sure where we would put them
Hamster - nocturnal, so not great for cuddles, if it's up all night can't put the cage in the bedroom, could be in the kitchen
Chinchilla - all anyone tells me is that they chew everything in sight
Degu - don't know much about them, need to have 2

Any advice greatly received, I know I'll do most or all of the care

Ohmygrood Sat 22-Nov-14 19:59:30

For a 6 year old - guinea pigs.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 22-Nov-14 21:52:13

I've had guinea-pigs and mice ( but you don't have mice and rats on yur shortlist so I'm guessing that's a 'no'. Mice are sweet but waaaaaay to skittery )

Guinea-pigs are lovely, cuddly, pretty good tempered (you will always get a rogue one that's a nippy devil)

They are quite big so your DD would need you to pick them up (they need yo feel secure, if they don't, that's when they panic ) .My DD says ours are "Two Hand Hogs". She's 12, she can pick them up confidently (we've had pigs for 3 years, I had them when I was 9yo too)

They do need room. Lots of it.
To keep them happy and healthy, they need space, hiding spaces, lots of hay, protection from heat/cold/damp/draughts/extremes of temperaure.

You will be doing all the work, even if your DD is 100% keen, you cannot expect her to do alot.

You need to make sure she's not allergic to fur or hay (my DD was fine with our 2 boars but allergic to our newest boar. She gets a rash from his fur.She still cuddles him, but I try to keep him away from her face. Doesn't work, she gets a red rash )

I have no idea but degus and chinchillas but my NDN has one. D'you how long chinchillas live? ( Up to 20 years shock )
That's another thing to check too, and why hamsters have appeal, they have a 3 year average.

MrsEricBana Sat 22-Nov-14 22:00:59

We have two lovely guineas. My children begged for them. They were interested in them for 24hrs. They live for up to 12yrs. I do everything. I am out dealing with them in all weathers. They poo for Britain. I would definitely go for a hamster as they live indoors so much easier for you and children to deal with them / play with them etc. They have a much shorter life span so if the children are not mad keen it is not such a long term commitment.

UnMasterChef Sat 22-Nov-14 22:16:09

We'll have to have a longer think about if there is somewhere guinea pigs could live. We need to decide if we are happy for them to be in the spare room. There is plenty of room outside for summer if that seems like a good idea. We should be OK with fur and hay, we've been around horses, cats, dogs etc.

fridayfreedom Sat 22-Nov-14 22:26:17

Bear in mind that most gps in rescues are brought in when children loose interest.
Please don't buy them unless you are willing to look after them for their lifetime if your child loses interest.
Also if one dies will you be prepared to find a rescue who will help you to pair the remaining one up with another. Most gps don't like being on their own.
Sooty to be negative but have been to our local rescue for supplies today and they are inundated will gps where children have lost interest.

Inkspellme Sat 22-Nov-14 22:41:37

my ds got 2 gerbils for his birthday. I am impressed so far. they are not nippy, are very active and sleep for periods during the day and night. They are very fast and take practice to catch but seem quite happy to be held and will happily come over to your hand.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 22-Nov-14 23:17:30

YY to the cycle of 'the next pig' when one goes.
We;ve had to match up a lone boar twice in the past year, our original boar brothers when they've gone (hence the trio we have now, softens the blow a bit when one goes and there are two left)

Hamsters have a variety of breeds, some do need to be solitary, but they are nice , chunky little things.
You can make a whole range of tunnels and activities for them .
You need to be careful where you get them, like all rodenty things, the early days are important to socialise.

I was sitting wih GP5 on my lap yesterday and thought "Oh, she's sitting there and quite ameanable. " She's a lovely little thing, never bitey but when she arrived, she would try to leap off my knee or climb onto the back of the sofa. It took her a good few months to really settle. ( But I knew when I got her she was feisty and because I go her from Rescue if for any reason I couldn't keep her , they would rehome her. Being as mad as a box of frogs isn't a reason though)

PixieofCatan Sun 23-Nov-14 21:40:25

I know that they aren't on your list, but I'd like to suggest rats. Super friendly, adjust to your routines, easy to handle, intelligent and, wrt kids who may get bored, only live for 2-3 years.

You need them in pairs or more (we have two trios) but they're quite easy to control! Only one of ours chews wires and he only started doing it last week blew my fecking computer doing it. 5 of our six are from breeders, three from one very good family-run breeder whose infant aged children handled them without any issues.

I haven't had GPs, I'd like some one day (if I have a garden and can get over the eeping!) but I do think rats are the perfect pet for kids because I'm not at all biased

CleaninQueen Sun 23-Nov-14 23:53:53

I second rats, my DSD has 6 of them grin They've never bitten anyone and are very funny to watch.

fortifiedwithtea Mon 24-Nov-14 12:46:13

I have guinea pigs and second all that 70 has already said.

Never had rats but PixieofCatan gives good reasons why you should consider rats. Rat owners have posted adorable pictures of their rats on SFA and I always think if I didn't have the guineas I would have rats.

PixieofCatan Mon 24-Nov-14 12:52:27

Here are my rats:
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/super_furry_animals/2160097-Rats-rats-rats

Older thread, I have six now smile Got a runt on the 1st of November and he's an absolute darling, has his own FB page and everything now grin

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