Somewhere between a puppy and a pet rock lies, flies, or swims the perfect low-hassle pet for a family with young kids. Here are a few pets that will do the trick: low on time, money and space commitment, but still capable of teaching responsibility and being a fun addition to the family.
A fan favourite for young children as they are relatively easy to hold and interact with and, bonus, they make noise. They are social animals that appreciate human contact but are still very easy to take care of, needing solely a cage, some straw, and daily food and water. It’s ideal to keep them in pairs as they are very sociable creatures. One thing to keep in mind is that they live for around four to eight years so it’s important to decide whether your family is ready for the commitment or if you should stick to something a bit more short-lived, such as a hamster or gerbil. Finally, if you or anyone in your family is allergic to cats then beware of guinea pigs as they often trigger the same allergies.
Aesthetically pleasing for the home and a fun source of entertainment for your kids. The key is to choose the right bird for you and your family. Many small bird breeds don’t need any human interaction to remain happy and healthy. They just need a cage with a bit of room to fly, some food, water and somewhere to sharpen their beak. Finches and canaries are content just to be left alone while cockatiels or parakeets need time out of the cage to fly and socialise. They also vary greatly in terms of lifespan so, moral of the story, do your research.
Hamsters or gerbils
The classic first pet. Cute, fluffy, quiet, and can be kept in a relatively small cage out of the way. With an average lifespan of two years, these small rodents are a perfect way to introduce your children to care for animals. There are many different breeds to choose from so it’s best to go to a licensed pet store to get to know your options and meet some of them first-hand. Some breeds are very sociable whereas others prefer to live alone. On top of that, they require cautious handling as they are very delicate and are nocturnal.
Another great starter pet. Highly intelligent and very inquisitive, more and more people are beginning to choose rabbits as soft new family members. Both indoor and outdoor rabbits love to socialise so its best to get a pair unless you want to spend a good amount of one-on-one time with your rabbit each day. Rabbits can even be walked on a leash, providing good preparation for a puppy down the road.
The most simple of pets, all that’s really needed is a bowl, fresh water, and a bit of food each day. Essentially, these pets are a good way to test responsibility and readiness to take care of a living being each day.
Quiet, cute, and they can’t run away very fast – tortoises are low-maintenance pets for kids. The main point to consider with a tortoise is their diet. They need a large variety of food and often eat a pretty hefty amount. Tortoises need quite a lot of room too; possibly an outdoor pen brought inside if it’s too cold. Hibernation needs should be taken into account also. Again, because of differing lifespans make sure you research the specific breed you want before making a purchase!
Lizards are incredibly unique pets for kids and can expose your child to an exciting new type of animal to an early age. First of all, you need to decide what kind of lizard you want. A good starter lizard is a leopard gecko as they do not require UV lighting. Other popular choices are bearded dragons, iguanas and chameleons. The most important facets of owning a lizard is providing the right heat and light in their environment and feeding them live prey like insects.