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Pets for Small Children

Lil Community: Suggestions For a First Pet?

Adding to the family often includes an animal with four legs. Betty Wayne asked this question in The Mommy Club group.

I'm planning on getting my four-and-a-half year old a pet . . . she's mature and good with animals. I have a 10 gallon tank and would rather not have to buy a new one. I'm leaning against a small animal like a mouse because I don't want it to get away and crawl under the couch while she's holding it. I'm leaning toward either a guinea pig or a bunny . . . any suggestions?

Do you have a treasure trove of sweet baby shower suggestions or a question for other moms who have been there and done that? Start asking questions and sharing your advice and tips in The Mommy Club! Here's a detailed guide to posting questions or posts to groups if you are new to the PopSugar Community.

CourtneYtB873 CourtneYtB873 6 years
i think a bunny is a good idea too, but be careful and keep a close watch because i had 2 bunnies growing up, some days they LOVED to be held, played with, etc and other days they would BITE because they didnt want to be messed with...also they are very easily scared...sudden movements, loud noises, i would read about the kind you are looking at getting first to have an idea :) but i def think its a good starter pet!
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I mean **them** chrysalis up...
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Thank you all for your suggestions! A couple things I should have mentioned: I have a small dog and can't handle any more free-roaming animals. I also already have a fish tank. I've decided to go with... none of your suggestions, for now. There's a website where you can order live caterpillars and watch then chrysalis up and hatch and fly away. I'm going to get her that for now. Once autumn hits, I actually think gerbils or teddy bear hamsters or a snake or small lizard are the animals I'm most interested in. I think I'll either check at local animal shelters or search Craig's List and see what she and I can both agree on. I'm quite enthusiastic about rescue dogs & cats so it only makes sense for me to see what sort of small animal she and I can adopt. Thank you all so much for your suggestions. You've certainly given me some fun pet ideas!
ShaynaLeah ShaynaLeah 7 years
Lose the tank and start to think more practically --- tanks are inappropriate for most mammals! Go with a rabbit - they litter box train themselves and are too big to get lost in the house easily, and frankly, guinea pigs are annoying - they are messy and noisy! You can find me at Life: Forward ( talking about women, the wage gender gap, and body image.
GregS GregS 7 years
We had hamsters. They didn't live very long so my son learned about death that way. Plus one of them was suicidal and it ended up succeeding. I'd pick a cat. 10 gallon tanks aren't big enough for much.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 7 years
Most rodents smell, will potentially bite, and need to be handled regularly for short periods of time or they won't stay accustomed to it. They will also pee on you while you are holding them. If you don't want to get a cat (going to a shelter would help you find ones that have already been evaluated for temperment), or fish, try a hermit crab. These are popular and kids can decorate the tank and buy decorative shells for them. Sponge Bob is a popular theme.
easybreezy88 easybreezy88 7 years
At 4 1/2 Your child should be well aware of right and wrong and what hurts animals and what dosent. You say a tank and a mouse but i say no not at all mice BITE. I am going to suggest something and dont think i am crazy but maybe a kitten is a better option potty training is a breeze you just get a small litter box but it and the kitten in one room for about 2 days and then let the kitten explore for about an 2 hours for the next 2 days at the end of all 4 days your kitten should be potty trained and kittens are actually very easy pets and they love thier owners and are very faithful pets i would say a kitten is your best option at this point. Think about it FISH - boring to a little kid Turtle- boring Mouse - boring Hamster- bites SNake - just no DOG to hard to train kitten is the best option
sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
I agree with anonymous #8, rabbits are not good pets for children. I had one when I was young and all I wanted to do was carry him and hold him, but he was less then thrilled. Also, falling from even a small height is very serious, and with a kid you never know... Cats, on the other hand, are great if they're raised properly, ie, if you give them LOTS of attention from day one (and you bring them home as young as possible). I've had three and they're all were very docile and friendly, and they pretty much take care of themselves... I think you should consider one.
lickety-split lickety-split 7 years
Hamsters BLOW as pets. We got my then 8 year old one for her birthday. Bit my daughter, bit me. Stinky. Recommend not getting a hamster.
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
Had to comment further....I've had a lot of pets growing up and have to say gerbils (very fast and quick to bite) and cats are not good with kids (in my experience anyway). Rats, although not very cute and cuddly, are actually a good suggestion. And if you do get a guinea pig or rabbit you will definitely need a bigger tank (I just noticed you wrote you have a 10 gallon). They are definitely good with kids though. Guinea pigs do get lonely alone and get very noisy and loud if they don't get attention (very sweet and cuddly though).
Angelica Angelica 7 years
I'd go with a bunny! They are small and can be kept in a cage, and played with outside. Plus, they are so sweet with kids. You just have to be willing to deal with their lil stink.
flynnN flynnN 7 years
i suggest a kitten. they are super sweet and great cuddlers!
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
We got my daughter a teddy bear hamster when she was about 3. It was super mellow and she was able to pick it up easily because of the size. Plus they aren't very fast so I don't think it could get away under the couch easily.
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