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Pet For My Niece

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gdp1219, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Gdp1219

    Gdp1219 New Member

    My niece is a young animal lover with a father with the the most severe possible allergies. (cat or dog hair on a friend's clothes is enough to set off an asthma attack). Niece is in the market for her first pet but we are a bit undecided. She is a home schooled kindergartener, but extremely bright and animal centered. Her main priority is something she can touch, and her mother's is something fairly low maintenance. No idea is too odd. Someone suggested stick bugs but we fear they may be a bit fragile. I was thinking of maybe a tiny baby snake she could grow with possibly? (I have had many myself in the past). She also loves lizards (she leaves food and "nesting" outside for the wild geckos where she lives in Georgia) but again, I also worry about them being fragile.

    My million dollar question is this: what fur-free non traditional creature would be an easy (possibly educational) pet that is hardy enough to be handled (under supervision, of course), yet simple enough to teach a tiny animal lover responsibility? No answer is too strange. If it's hairless and hardy it will be loved beyond its understanding and be treated like royalty! What better crowd to ask than all of you? :)

    Thank you for your help,
  2. Buggy0123

    Buggy0123 Established Member

    You should look into leopard geckos and bearded dragons. Both are good reptiles for people who may not have kept animals before. Bearded dragons are a bit more high mantinence and get a lot bigger than leopard geckos, but they both can be just a rewarding. If you're looking for something cheaper, go with the leopard gecko. They stay small, max I've seen them is about 8 inches from head to tip of the tail (excluding Giants). Bearded dragons could reach two feet. They're completely docile though which you may not guess from their looks and size (docile of treated correctly ;) ). So if I were you, take a look into these, they're pretty cool and maybe along the way you'll come across something else that may suit your niece more. Happy hunting.
    Kristof likes this.
  3. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Some other choices would be either a corn snake, Honduran milk snake, or maybe a ball python, on the snake side of things. All are reasonably good starter reptiles. Ball pythons tend to be calmer in the hand and bigger around, but can occasionally have some issues feeding that can be stressful for the keeper, but not usually for the snake. Corns and milks tend to be much more active, both while handling and in their cages. None will normally bite, except as hatchlings sometimes when they think everything is going to eat them.
    Another lizard to consider is the crested gecko. While they are more expensive than leopard geckos normally, their setup can be much simpler, since they require no special lighting, nor do they need heat unless your house is kept especially cold in winter. They also can be raised and live entirely on prepared diets, one of the few reptiles that can, where as the other lizards mentioned will need live bugs, and the snakes will need rodents, though the vast majority will accept frozen/thawed rodents.
    So this should give you some ideas at the least. Best thing would be to read some caresheets here on the different species mentioned and get an idea of what is involved with taking care of each, and see how that will fit what you want.
    Kristof likes this.
  4. Gdp1219

    Gdp1219 New Member

    How would a small tortoise fare as a pet for a small person like my niece? Is this something she could handle while supervised without it having a little tortoise heart attack? Their veggie diet would be a great fit for this vegan family, so it would eat like a king under their care :)
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Can't say for sure, as I don't really have enough hands on experience with tortoises to say, but they definitely are not going to like being carried around and pestered constantly. If they aren't kept reasonably level, it puts pressure on their internal organs, which isn't fun for them. Also be aware some of the more common species get very large, and most will live an extremely long time.
  6. Kristof

    Kristof Well Established Member

    Hermann's tortoises don't get very big & they are SUPER friendly :) One of those would be awesome! Just know they can live like 80 years.
  7. Yonoi

    Yonoi Member

    Tortoises often get very large and require a big enclosure. I think something like a leopard gecko or bearded dragon would be more fun for her. They are relatively low maintenance, won't break you budget and can be very tame! She might have fun preparing fruit and salads for a beardie.
    On a side note, leopard geckos are a little more fragile than a bearded dragon and may drop their tail if handled roughly.

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