The 6 best pets for young children

Pets are a fantastic way for children to learn about the natural world while also encouraging them to take on the responsibility of caring for a living creature. Kids are endlessly fascinated by animals, and a respect for nature often translates into a more empathetic, kinder adult. Not all pets are well suited to young children, though, so here’s a list of the best.

#1 Goldfish

Perhaps the world’s greatest starter pet, the right kind of fish can be extremely easy to care for. Avoid tropical fish with special needs and go for the elegant and refined goldfish instead. Care amounts to keeping the water clean (filters and regular tank scrubs are essential), ensuring light and, of course, maintaining a feed schedule.

#2 Tortoise

Although rarer than they once were, tortoises still make excellent first time pets. Their ponderous speed makes them easy to handle and you’ll never have to worry about them escaping! They’re also quiet and don’t make an excessive mess. Food can be an issue, however. Not only do tortoises require a varied diet but they eat much, much more than most people expect.

#3 Lizards

Lizards like iguanas and leopard geckos are low maintenance and interesting pets. Bearded dragons and chameleons are popular choices too. Although fairly easy to care for once installed, lizards do require some specialist kit to keep them healthy and acclimatized. If you’re considering bringing a lizard into your home, it’s important to research pet supplies in Maricopa first to ensure that you can source everything you need. That will usually include an aquarium, UV lights, rocks and heaters.

#4 Rats

Rats have gained an unfairly bad reputation over the years, mostly due to the black rat. Domesticated rats are a completely different breed and they make the perfect starter pet. Rats are affectionate, sociable and highly intelligent. That means that they’re eager to play. They adore puzzles and games, and most love to be handled – they’ll even seek out human company! Due to their sociable nature, rats should be kept in pairs.

#5 Birds

With their bright plumage and loud chirps, birds are an attention-grabbing pet that’s also majestic and interesting. They come in all shapes and sizes so research is important (macaws, for example, can live for decades and require enormous amounts of care) but a small bird like a budgie or even a parrot makes a fantastic first time pet. You’ll need a large cage, and be prepared to clean up droppings. Birds are friendlier than you imagine and many will sit on your head to say hello!

#6 Hamsters

The quintessential child’s pet, hamsters have been popular for years. They’re small enough not to require vast amounts of room and friendly enough that they won’t bite. Hamsters enjoy being handled and are extremely tame, but they can’t be just put into a cage and forgotten about. Despite their size, these are intelligent creatures that need stimulation. Puzzles and wheels will keep them occupied, as will some hay for burrowing.

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