Do you have pets? The majority of households have a dog or a cat (or both), and many kids have pets like hamsters, gerbils or fish. One of my kids’ friends has two snakes for pets! We have two cats, and I love watching the kids interact with them. One kitty in particular tends to stay away from my daughter, because she’s loud and he’s timid; at night, though, guess where he sleeps? Right in her bed!
Pets are a joy, to be sure, and can be treasured members of the family. If you are looking to add a pet to your household, you might be wondering what the options are besides dogs, cats, small rodents and fish. Snakes are always a possibility, of course; if you’re a bit too squeamish for that, though, here are some more exotic pets to consider:
- Pot Bellied Pigs One of my friends had a little pig as a pet when we were teenagers. Pot bellied pigs grow to be up to about two feet tall and can weigh 125 pounds or more. They are active and curious, much like a puppy. You can keep them indoors, if you are careful to pig-proof your home, but many people prefer to keep them outside. A pot bellied pig requires a lot of patience and training, so having one is only a good idea if you have the time available to socialize and teach the pet. A pig might also be too much for a household with small children, as it will squabble with them over who is the dominant piggy; you don’t want the pig to think he’s “alpha” above your kids! Finally, your area may have zoning laws that prohibit this sort of pet, so be sure to look into it if you are considering adopting any type of miniature pig.
- Lizards From anoles and geckos to iguanas and large monitors, lizards are increasingly popular pets. Lizards can be surprisingly friendly and they can live for many years, both factors that families often find appealing. Some lizards can grow quite large; if you are considering this type of reptilian pet, be sure that you understand in advance how big your little hatchling will grow! Also, while the animal itself might be inexpensive, all of the accessories that go along with it might be quite pricey. Remember that lizards can carry salmonella, so you and your child must always wash your hands well after handling, and that lizards aren’t vegetarian: You’ll need to provide prey that was once alive.
- Ferrets When my husband and I first got married, a ferret named Ebeneezer was our first pet. Eb was as sweet and cuddly as a kitten, and he slept in a hammock, which was adorable, but there were a few drawbacks: His kittenlike behavior included some misbehavior, like hiding our keys (true story!) and attacking our feet in the middle of the night. Also, ferrets are known for having a rather pungent, musky odor. This can be managed with weekly baths, but not eliminated. Ferrets are snuggly and make great pets for kids, as long as you know what you’re getting into ahead of time.
Do you have any exotic pets? Tell us about them!