There are many pets beyond the family dog or cat available for children today. Dogs and cats require a lot of work and are not allowed by some landlords, leading many families to look for alternative pets to join their family. Look at the list below to get some new ideas for the perfect pet for your family.
1. Sea Monkeys
These little creatures are actually brine shrimp and require almost no care aside from a few minutes of initial set-up time. This is a great idea for the youngest child who wants the thrill of living creatures but is not ready for the added responsibility of most pets. These guys come prepackaged in kits that include small tanks. They last for several weeks, from hatching to reproduction. This requires little financial investment and lets your child observe the entire life cycle.
2. Betta Fish
Betta fish are hardy, bright blue fish that live happily in small, wide-mouthed bowls. Change his water a couple times a week and sprinkle some food in the top of the bowl. Betta fish fight each other, so don’t pair these little fish up in a bowl. These fish make better pets for children than the typical but more finicky goldfish.
An ant farm lets your child explore the world of insects in a contained environment. Buy an ant farm at your local store or collect some neighborhood ants and place them in a soil-filled jar for observation. Cover homemade ant farms with a piece of paper that slides off the jar. This makes a dark environment for the ants while allowing children to take a peek at these busy workers whenever the urge strikes. Add a water-soaked cotton ball and a couple drops of honey or sugar to the jar every two to three days to keep your ants well-fed. This makes a great science fair project for younger children as well.
4. Hissing Cockroach
A Madagascar hissing cockroach grows over 3 inches long. Though it makes a fierce hissing sound, it does not bite and requires minimal care. The cockroach makes the perfect pet, as long as you’re not looking for something furry and cuddly.
5. Pot-bellied Pig
This is not a pet for a family looking for less work than a dog or cat represents, but it’s perfect for anyone who wants a one-of-a-kind animal in the neighborhood. Pot-bellied pigs actually act much like a dog, behaving socially with the family and responding well to training. Although cute little piglets are even smarter than dogs, they also grow larger, reaching up to 150 pounds at maturity. Like puppies, the pot-bellied pig must be potty trained when they are little. They will use a litter box, but will not take to it instinctively like a cat and must be trained to go only there. If you plan on having an indoor pig, better plan on keeping some pet odor remover handy for those little accidents that are bound happen. Remember, pot-bellies pigs live 12 years or more, so this is a long-term commitment and should not be taken lightly.
These suggestions will get you on the path to choosing a fun and unusual pet for your children. Whether the kids want a colorful fish, a not-so-cuddly insect or a large mammal, this list represents just the beginning of the possibilities. Always check with a pet store for more information on any pet before your purchase. This ensures that you know what the animal needs in the way of food, maintenance and time to thrive as the newest member of your family.