Guaranteed entry to the rarefied world of gymkhanas and pony clubs (eek!) but beware the time (they need to exercise every day), money (they are among the most expensive animals you can own), and work (mucking out – and believe me, you’ll end up doing most of it).
Man’s best friend and most popular pet ever. Dogs need plenty of exercise every day, plenty of food and showering with endless attention.
Independent, tactile, fastidiously clean and mouse-catchers to boot. They’ll do what they want to do, when they want to do it (which often means disappearing for long stretches of time) and that includes being stroked – it’s a feline prerogative.
Cuddly, playful, and easy to take care of, but they can’t be house-trained and they generally have to live in a hutch outside.
The most gentle of all pets, guinea pigs are easy to handle and love human companionship. Less hardy than rabbits (they start shivering when the temperature drops below 21º) they’ll need to be brought inside during the winter months
Easy to handle, low maintenance pet you can keep indoors. But will you ever see it? Hamsters are nocturnal creatures and most definitely solitary.
Unlike hamsters, mice love the company of other mice and with practise (they are determined wrigglers) are easily handled. Be warned though, that escape is their raison d’être.
A great starter pet and one of the easiest to take care of. They don’t just swim round either – goldfish can be trained to swim towards you when you whistle.
They look scary – and weird – and that’s why children love them. A cool choice of pet for older children, and although their appearance belies it (monster from outer space) they really are harmless and low maintenance.
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