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Subject: Need small pet recommendation for 6yo girl rss

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My 6yo daughter loves animals. I want to get her a pet, something smaller than a cat or dog. Maybe a mouse, gerbil, etc.?

The ideal pet for our family right now would be:

- Low cost.
- Low maintenance, low effort. We don't know much about pets in our house.
- Something she could hold and not worry about biting her.


Please help me find a good pet for my daughter.
 
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David Kahnt
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It's fun, it's healthy, it's good exercise. The kids will just love it. And we put a little sand inside to make the experience more pleasant.
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Hermit Crab.

Or Tribble.

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Steven Heinrich
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Chinchillas!!!

They live 20-25 years, so they are a long term pet and they are as smart as some dogs.

You do have to do a little studying up on them, but they are VERY loyal to their "person" and will mope when their person leaves on vacation or such.

They don't take up a lot of room, unless you get one of the really fancy cages. They can be trained and if you have docile dogs or other animals (sometimes even cats) they will get along with them.

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DKahnt wrote:
Tribble

I've heard they can be trouble.
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That is not Depeche but rather
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My personal recommendation would be a rat. Some people are put off by the fact that it's a rat, but they really are very smart, clean, and affectionate animals.

They've got a lifespan of 2-3 years.

They do need daily time out of their cage to be social though.

I'd stay away from mice. They are prone to biting.
Gerbils are alright, but can be difficult to handle because they move fast.

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The Steak Fairy
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What child doesn't love a rabbit?
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Melissa
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Guinea pig?
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Goldfish.
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Hobbespm wrote:
Goldfish.


This. Future pet opportunities are contingent on how well she can keep it alive.
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Jorge Montero
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Nothing is lower cost than a pet rock.

And for the coolest: A Komodo Dragon. Only slightly less dangerous than a tiger, and capable of scaring the living shit out of burglars or neighbors that throw a ball into your backyard.
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Billy McBoatface
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I'd say rat or goldfish. If you get a "feeder goldfish" they can be incredibly inexpensive (as in $0.10 to $0.25 each), and can be quite hardy. In the past I've kept a couple in a 1+1/2 gallon tank with no filter, heater, or aeration for several years. And if she mistreats it and it dies...well, it was a feeder goldfish, that is it was intended to be fed to a carnivorous pet fish, so it's not like it had a long and happy life ahead without her.

If she wants something she can hold, then a rat is probably about the lowest maitenance you can get. And the lifespan is shortish, so if she gets bored and ignores the animals, the parents won't be stuck caring for a pet they don't want for all that long.
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Ken
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We've been investigating the same thing for our six year old.

Though we haven't decided yet, our research is leaning heavily towards rats.

They're smart (will come when you call them), mild tempered, clean and will tolerate a higher level of abuse that children can inadvertantly inflict.

The only issue I can't reconcile yet is the tail.
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Billy McBoatface
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artfuldodge2 wrote:
The only issue I can't reconcile yet is the tail.
Just imagine that it's an eldritch tentacle.
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Thanks for the replies so far. Goldfish and fancy rats (rats?) are sounding good. Googling has been saying much the same thing.

I'm still considering all options, though. Pet rock.. hm, no downside that I can see.
:laugh:
 
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I'd also have to agree on a Rat for a pet.

They are very friendly, loving and clean. They like to be around people and our two get along well with our cats. The only drawback is their short lifespan (2-3 years).

Chinchillas are cool, but their cage is very messy - they need to be in a special "dust" that keeps them clean. It gets EVERYWHERE!

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Erik D
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Russian Box Tortoise. You only need to feed them every other day and clean their living space once a week. It's also cool to let them wander around the house or yard. They're about the size of a softball and can live 50-100 years!
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That is not Depeche but rather
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tesuji wrote:
I'm still considering all options, though. Pet rock.. hm, no downside that I can see.
laugh

Well, you would have to house train it.



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Pat T
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What about a bird?

Or a very small dog?
 
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Josh
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We had a rat, and she was really cool except that when she got out of the cage she would chew through every electrical cord in the room. It was incredibly problematic.
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JessA
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We recently made the same decision a year ago with my daughter. Here is our experience:

I heard that hamsters could bite and guinea pigs were a bit delicate. So, we decided to go with a rat UNTIL I looked at them in the store and I just couldn't do it. (i'm sorry, I'm ratist)

The pet shop owner suggested mice. He had a cage of them and they were very friendly, you could hold them and they didn't bite and they were cute.

I read up on mice prior to buying. Mice are social animals and it is cruel to get only one, so we decided to go with two.

Sadly, they were not the same sex like the pet shop owner assured us and a full four months after we bought them the one had babies. The babies all died immediately and the mother died that day.

That day was a miserable day in our house.

Well, since the other mouse was a male, we couldn't get a companion for him because the males are very territorial. I read about acclimating him to another mouse and it was just way more work that what I was willing to take on.

So, Fudgie lives alone, I guess his life is better than it would have been had we not bought him because he would have been snake food. However, ever since Peanut died Fudgie has gotten a little grouchy. He does bite now and he chews his cage bars incessantly. It's a bit sad. But, my daughter loves him and plays with him. We put him in the ball and she sets up obstacle courses for him. She has a pair of gloves that she wears when handling him so she won't get bit.

He isn't a lot of work, you have to clean the cage once a week. I will say that the cage is stinky, even when you clean it, it just stinks. It doesn't stink up the whole room, but no matter what I clean it with, it smells.

My daughter now wants a rat and I think we might go for it next time. She's been a good owner to poor, lonely Fudgie.

Other suggestions:
My eldest daughter had a beta fish in her room in a small aquarium. It was a nice companion for her at night. It was a night-light for her.

A fish might be good practice for your daughter to show she's responsible enough to take care of a bigger animal. Beta fish are nice because they are pretty, they don't need to be fed often, they don't need heated water and they can do very well in water without a filter.

I've had birds and I think a bird is a step up in commitment from a rodent. We loved all our parakeets, they are highly entertaining.
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Stuffed animals make very little mess, don't need to be walked and can be kept indoors.

Pets are way too much work for busy people. I have no regrets about getting rid of our animals. A cleaner, quieter house is so much better.
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Dave Nellis
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tesuji wrote:
low effort


Teddy bear. Or maybe fish. Definitely not any sort of mammal. Pets deserve the attention they need, not the attention you can give them.
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col_w
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Gerbils are good - small, cheap and clean. They are originally desert animals, so to conserve water they excrete very little, which means their waste is pretty dry and therefore non-smelly.

They are gnawers though so you will need to keep them supplied with wood, and you can't use a plastic cage. We had a glass aquarium filled with sawdust, which they tunnelled through.

They live for around 3 years. If you get a male and female they'll definitely have babies.
 
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Kunnagh Scott
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tesuji wrote:


Something she could hold and not worry about biting her.



Did the people who keep suggesting fish of various kinds miss this bit? I keep a bunch of fish, and unless I'm doing it wrong they don't respond that well to being picked up and petted.

Great pets, but maybe not for the 6yo who wants something to snuggle...
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Branko K.
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MisterCranky wrote:
What child doesn't love a rabbit?


Children love rabbits, but this doesn't mean they should get one.

I've heard just one time too many about another case of a post-Easter dead bunny which was mishandled by a kid unaware they are holding a living animal, not a plushie. Bunnies don't like to be held, carried and they WILL kick and bite if mishandled. Those hindlegs are powerful, btw. Not to mention that pet shops tend to sell baby rabbits who often aren't even a month old and need VERY special care and food to survive.

IMHO a 6yo isn't really capable of handling a fragile creature like a rabbit. A dog or a cat could handle kid "abuse" much more easily. A bunny can't. They are quiet, tame creatures who crave peace and gentleness. Also, they require as much care as an average dog or a cat, and their lifespan is quite long - it can be over 10 years, if cared for properly.

Bottom line, I don't want to be a grouch, but mishandling bunny rabbits is VERY common, especially because they appear "small and cute", they are cheap and are bought VERY frequently by tardy parents. I'm not saying DON'T buy a bunny, I'm just saying that if you do, I hope you will be responsible with it.

P.S. Contrary to popular opinion, a bunny cannot survive on its own in the woods. If you decide that it's too much work and you won't to get rid of it, the cruelest thing you can do is leave him alone in the nature. People who do that just sentence the poor animal to slow, painful death (unless the creature is lucky enough to get killed by a predator quickly).


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