By: Bob Benson
If you're searching for really terrific pets, you may want to take a little walk into the unusual. While dogs and cats - arguably the two most common and beloved pets - are good choices, there are some other animals out there that may very well be better suited to your lifestyle.
To find the perfect pet, start by examining your reasons for wanting to take this step. That reason is very important. For example, if you're looking for companionship, a turtle probably isn't the best answer. But if you have a child and you're looking for a pet to help teach responsibility, a turtle may be just what you need. Here are some other pets that may not have immediately come to mind.
Gerbils, hamsters and mice
Yes, they're rodents and that may be an immediate turn-off for some people, but these little guys can be really good pets for several reasons. They don't take up much room, they don't eat much and they're fairly easy to care for. On the downside, they also tend to have shorter life spans than some other animals, meaning the kids (and adults) who become attached to them face the heartbreak of losing their pet sooner. Remember that they still take care, even though they're very small. Cages can become very smelly if not cleaned regularly.
These are a recent hit with many people and you'll find that hermit crabs are readily available in malls and pet stores. They're not cuddly and they're very shy, but there are some positive points. If handled carefully and often, they can become quite friendly. Children can learn a lot from watching them drink, burrow and change shells. Care is minimal and the biggest routine chore is probably keeping the sponges wet (hermit crabs drink from a sponge).
Quite a few people have discovered that these furry little guys make great indoor pets. They're inquisitive and most have very unique personalities. If raised in captivity, a prairie dog will typically be happy to remain inside with no attempts at escape. They can be litter box trained and many families report that their prairie dogs have free roam of the house. The downsides include the fact that these animals like to chew. If trained well, they'll chew only in designated places, but furniture and clothing can become casualties of their need to gnaw. Remember, they're wild animals and you should be careful of your source to be sure you have a healthy animal.
There are plenty more options that you may not have considered. If you're looking for great pets, don't immediately assume that a cat or dog are your only choices.
Bob Benson is the founder of Pets online. We provide information on Owning a pet.
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