Owning a pet for the first time can be an exciting and fun experience. However, introducing a dog or cat into your home is also a big responsibility. Some families schedules aren't conducive to owning a dog or cat, plus the allergens introduced by pet dander can aggravate kids and adults. If you're ready to take the leap into bringing a family pet home but not ready for the commitment of a dog or cat, we've got five possible perfect first time pets.
1. Leopard Gecko - These calm and friendly reptiles make great companions for children. They can easily be handled without fear of having one run away or escape. If they find a nice warm spot they will sit for hours.
2. Guinea Pigs - These South American rodents can make a great pet for the right family. Don't let the term rodent scare you. Guinea Pigs are very affectionate and social animals, which is why its best to have two of them together.
3. Corn Snake- For those that might be hesitant about keeping a snake in the house, let me assure you corn snakes are a great option. They don't get very large (3-5ft) and have a beautiful red and light orange coloring. One thing you might have to get past is feeding your new pet snake a live mouse. Some snakes will eat thawed dead mice but this may take some getting used to.
4. Chinchilla- Chinchilla's are active and social pets. Because of their inquisitive and affectionate nature, they are best suited for homes with older children that can properly handle and care for their new chinchilla friend. Make sure to include a wood or chew toy for your Chinchillas teeth.
5. Rat- Most people prefer to keep rodents out of their home instead of intentionally making them a welcomed guests. But, you may be surprised to find out that rats can make excellent companions. Rats are very intelligent and highly social animals, they've even been shown to bond with their owners. If you decide to bring home a rat, keep in mind that they can be clever escape artists.
Considerations when determining your next family pet:
- Nutrition, Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
- Enclosure Requirements
- Enrichment Needs
- Possible Allergies
- Cost. Consider the long term care cost of the animal
- Do you have any current pets that may not get along with the new animal
- Veterinarian Care. More unique animals may require a specific veterinarian
- Will you be able to provide a home for the animal during its entire lifespan.
Having any pet is a really big responsibility. It can be a very rewarding experience, but is also a lot of hard work ensuring proper care of another living being. Make sure to do lots of research and ask friends and family members who have cared for the specie you are interested in getting for advice and their experience. Try also to get experience with the animal first hand by volunteering at a local shelter or babysitting a friends pet.
When looking for a pet seek out your local shelter, rescue or adoption center. There are always animals in need a home. If the animal you are seeking is not currently up for adoption, wait patiently. Shelters are always caring for new animals that will get placed on the adoption list.