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View Full Version : Best pet for 9 year old? Update- got a leopard gecko!



Pembroke_Corgi
07-01-2010, 03:33 PM
My nephew moved in with us and is a huge animal lover, but has never had a pet before. He is really good with the dogs and cats and would like to get a pet of his own. I don't mind him getting a pet provided it will work in our household. We have 3 dogs and 3 cats, so I don't think a small mammal is a good choice for the animal's safety.

What kind of small pets are best in a household with other animals? The pet would stay in my nephew's room away from cats and dogs.

Also, I know that I will be the one mainly responsible for the pet, which is ok with me, but a pet that is not too hard to care for would be best so he can take care of it, too.

Thanks for any input! :)

ETA: Well Kenny decided on a leopard gecko which I think was a good choice because the other pets don't seem interested at all (though the door to his room is going to stay shut just in case). We just brought "him" (don't know if it's really a boy) home today. What a cute little guy! Kenny named him Coconut. He seems to have adapted to his new home very quickly and already ate several mealworms. I'll try to update with some pictures in a few days. :)

Husky_mom
07-01-2010, 04:02 PM
another kitty perhaps... besides you won´t be having to buy a whole new habitat for it..

a rabbit, gerbil, guinea pig, hamster would be nice.. but considering they are small mammals.. as well as a bird.. thye all would require diff living spaces food etc.. and constant supervision as all would be "prey" material..

a fish might be nice too.. but my bet is another kitty or puppy.. but kitty space-wise..

pomtzu
07-01-2010, 06:24 PM
Perhaps a dwarf bunny or a parakeet.........:)

Karen
07-01-2010, 07:48 PM
I'd vote for a guinea pig, as they can be happier in a confined space than a rabbit would, and both dogs and cats tend to see bunnies as prey. A guinea pig can be in its cage, and can come out for playtime in a ball to run, or fence off an area for them to run and play ... they are sturdier than a hamster, and easier to interact with than a gerbil. A parakeet's noises might prove irresistible for the cats, and one cannot underestimate the persistence of a curious feline.

Husky_mom
07-01-2010, 07:55 PM
A parakeet's noises might prove irresistible for the cats, and one cannot underestimate the persistence of a curious feline.

add to that the mess.. parakeets are messy (feathers, seed, water.. all over the place)... one can handle that but a 9 yr old might consider it too much...

the guinea pig is probably the best as Karen said.. can do well confined and he gets interaction with it..

KBlaix
07-02-2010, 07:10 AM
My vote is for a pair of guinea pigs too. If you're looking for something smaller I'd probably go for a lizard, maybe a leopard gecko.

Suki Wingy
07-02-2010, 07:32 AM
Ooh actually leopard gecko is a good idea. I know a few belonging to kids.

JuniorxMyxLove
07-02-2010, 09:12 AM
I'd say guinea pig as well :) I got Pepsi when I was nine [which means he's about 7 years old right now] and I took care of him all by myself :)

I have found guinea pigs to be much more affectionate than hamsters, and if you are careful with supervision they can actually interact quite well with dogs and cats [my one cat is VERY protective of Pepsi, and the dog/other cats tolerate him]. They do require a bit more care than some of the other small mammals, but I think it's worth it in the end. Plus, they're quite happy to chill in their cage or on your lap, and they're so darn cute!

One thing I would say though...guinea pigs are quite social so if you are considering a piggy, you might want to think about getting two.

Pembroke_Corgi
07-02-2010, 03:56 PM
Thanks for all the input! My nephew would really love to have a cat, but I don't think that's the best idea since our cats all get along really well and I don't want to change a good thing. Plus, he can help care for and play with the cats we have, and they like having someone who plays with them often.

He is leaning towards a leopard gecko for his own pet. I've been reading up on how to care for them and am nervous about having a cold-blooded pet. As long as you have a heat source and cooler area for them, is it pretty easy to keep them the right temperature? I've never had a reptile before!

I'm going to have my nephew read up on leopard geckos before we get one so he can help select the right home for it, etc. I'll update when we get the pet (maybe next week) with pictures! :)

snakemama
07-02-2010, 06:59 PM
He is leaning towards a leopard gecko for his own pet. I've been reading up on how to care for them and am nervous about having a cold-blooded pet. As long as you have a heat source and cooler area for them, is it pretty easy to keep them the right temperature? I've never had a reptile before!


I use under-tank heaters (like thin plastic sheets that stick to the bottom of the tank) for my reptiles, and I bought a thermostat to keep them at exactly the right temperature. Once it's set up, it's very easy to keep the temperature correct. Set-up is pretty straightforward too!

If you have any more questions about leos or reptiles in general, I'd be more than happy to help you out.

dab_20
07-02-2010, 10:54 PM
I had a guinea pig when I was about 10 and I loved her! I took care of her by myself, she was affectionate and loved to be held.

If he is leaning towards a reptile (like many little boys would!) I think they are not too hard to care for. I know my brothers had a few Iguanas... they were about 15 at the time. As long as you help set up the cage and thermostat, I'm sure he'll do well to care for it everyday with minimal help.

Good luck with finding him a pet :)

KBlaix
07-03-2010, 06:50 AM
I had a guinea pig when I was about 10 and I loved her! I took care of her by myself, she was affectionate and loved to be held.

If he is leaning towards a reptile (like many little boys would!) I think they are not too hard to care for. I know my brothers had a few Iguanas... they were about 15 at the time. As long as you help set up the cage and thermostat, I'm sure he'll do well to care for it everyday with minimal help.

Good luck with finding him a pet :)
I'm going to disagree with that. In general I think reptiles are more difficult to care for than other little pets. Because of their very large size and complex diet I definitely wouldn't recommend an iguana. Don't get me wrong, I think iguanas are awesome pets (one of my favorite), we had one for years (died last year of cancer at age 11), but they aren't for most people.

I do think leopard geckos are nice little reptiles and a great beginner reptile, especially for a kid. They're (in my opinion) one of the easier reptiles. They stay small, but are big enough to hold. They're diet isn't too complex, and like Snakemama said they're setup isn't too difficult and it's pretty easy to maintain. We've used both under the tank heaters and overhead heat sources and have found we prefer overhead. It's really just preference, the important thing is they have a heat source (and never use a hot rock- NEVER).

IRescue452
07-04-2010, 03:28 PM
From what I've seen of leopard geckos, they are pretty hard to care for properly. Whenever I see one in a rescue or privately owned, they seem undernourished. I'd say a uromastyx is more sturdy for that age of a child who may want to handle it more often, plus their diet is easier imo. They get much bigger than a gecko though.

Pembroke_Corgi
07-05-2010, 05:03 PM
I use under-tank heaters (like thin plastic sheets that stick to the bottom of the tank) for my reptiles, and I bought a thermostat to keep them at exactly the right temperature. Once it's set up, it's very easy to keep the temperature correct. Set-up is pretty straightforward too!

If you have any more questions about leos or reptiles in general, I'd be more than happy to help you out.

Thanks! I'm sure I will be back to ask questions when he gets his pet.

snakemama
07-05-2010, 06:39 PM
From what I've seen of leopard geckos, they are pretty hard to care for properly. Whenever I see one in a rescue or privately owned, they seem undernourished. I'd say a uromastyx is more sturdy for that age of a child who may want to handle it more often, plus their diet is easier imo. They get much bigger than a gecko though.

It is common for new lizard owners to not realize that their pet needs supplementation in the form of dust for their crickets in order for their skeleton to form properly. Thus, a lot of leopard geckos in the hands of newbies wind up with metabolic bone disease. Pembroke_Corgi is researching NOW so that she doesn't miss any of these things.

Leopard geckos do not require special lighting, and they are strict carnivores, eating only insects. The insects should be "gut-loaded" by feeding them a nutritious cricket diet for a day before feeding them off, as well as dusted with calcium powder. One adult can comfortably spend its life in a ten gallon tank.

Uromastyx are omnivorous, thus the need to both gut load/dust insects and cut up appropriate vegetables for them regularly. They need a tremendously hot basking spot(120 degrees or higher!!), as well as UV lighting, which can be expensive and needs to be replaced at least 2x a year. (Not to mention the possibility of a small child burning himself on the light) Plus, they need larger tanks.

Not that I'm knocking Uros, they are fantastic little animals, but I feel strongly that a leo is more appropriate for a beginner to the hobby, and MUCH MUCH easier to care for.

ramanth
07-06-2010, 09:54 PM
Crested geckos are really hardy. I don't have any supplemental heat for mine. And if insects bother you, you can simply feed them Crested Gecko Diet (powder you mix with water).

molucass
07-08-2010, 01:01 PM
I was going to suggest a Crested gecko rather than a Leopard gecko as well.

ginalovesfelines
07-09-2010, 07:59 AM
I agree that leos are not that hard to take care of. With a good tank, heater, and thermometer (http://allmypetsupplies.com/p-1827-thermometer.aspx) you will be ready to go. Their diet is pretty easy also. It would be my first pick, esp for a 9yr boy!

Cataholic
07-27-2010, 02:21 PM
I am more of a mammal lover myself. So, I suggest you get him a horse. Big enough to feel manly, doesn't eat other animals, doesn't need a heat source, and the manure has a positive bio impact. Plus, your daughter would love the horse, too.

:D

Catherinedana
07-28-2010, 01:40 PM
I think guinea pigs are great companion animals for young people because they are usually very laid back (at least in my experience) although there is still the chance of a problem between them and the cats.

Please do not get him a bird. So many budgies have gone to the bridge because they are thought of as "starter pets" but they are not. As mentioned before they are a bit noisy, definately messy and unless you get more than one, they will be disfunctional if he decided he doesn't want to interact much with it. Budgies are highly intellegent and get a bad rap. And I won't even mention about them looking like a lovely light snack to the cats.

Perhaps waiting a while to see how he interacts and cares for the animals already in the house will lead to an easier decision process.

Miss Z
07-28-2010, 05:43 PM
No-one suggested rats? :eek:

KBlaix
07-31-2010, 04:05 PM
No-one suggested rats? :eek:
Wow! Where's my head? Rats have always been one of my favorite kid-friendly pets. I had always hoped to get Nathan rats when he became old enough for "his own" pet, but as of now (he's only 3) he much prefers reptiles. My husband is thrilled that Nathan shares his love for herpetology. Maybe Topher will be a rat kid?

Pembroke_Corgi
07-31-2010, 05:31 PM
I am more of a mammal lover myself. So, I suggest you get him a horse. Big enough to feel manly, doesn't eat other animals, doesn't need a heat source, and the manure has a positive bio impact. Plus, your daughter would love the horse, too.

:D

I wish!! :D

Christmas_Hamster
08-03-2010, 10:05 PM
No-one suggested rats? :eek:

I was going to a little while ago but I got here late and it looked like it had been settled on reptiles. :P