Are you looking for small easy to care for pets? Cute ones, fluffy ones, slimy ones, scary ones and loving ones – pets can be a valuable member of any family. However with today’s hectic and busy lifestyles it can be hard to find time for looking after our furry friends. So here are 17 Bright Ideas for small easy to care for pets that suit smaller environments and busier lifestyles. Note that most Australian Native animals cannot be kept as pets. The NSW government issues a list each year called the NSW Native Animals Keepers Species List, informing you which animals you can keep (although with a license).
Guinea Pigs – Require interaction a few times a day including a run around on the floor. Prefer to have a friend. Best housed indoors, away from predators. They eat vegetables and pellets and only require washing every few months. Make sure you talk to your pet shop about what is a good shampoo.
Chickens – If you have a backyard with a bit more room, or live in a rural area then chickens are a great pet. This blew me away when I found it – you can rent chickens! Rentachook.com.au allows you to rent chickens and the coup and give them a try before you commit to buying them outright. As you are renting you can return them at any time if you don’t enjoy the experience. Now that’s a bright idea.
Hermit Crabs – Inexpensive, small, easy to care for. They love to climb so they need some toys in the tank. They have a varied diet including fruit and vegetables, and meat (cooked and raw). Don’t paint their shells though – it’s not good for them.
Fish – Fish make fantastic pets, as they are low maintenance, don’t take up too much room and are easy to care for. This fantastic article from Hub pages details the Top 7 Fish for Kids.
Lizards – The Australian Reptile Park has some fantastic information about keeping reptiles as pets. Popular pet lizards include Geckos, Blue Tongue lizards and Bearded Dragons.
Small Birds – Bird Channel.com has a great article on the 9 Best Birds for Kids. Included on the list are canaries, finches, budgies and lovebirds. The article also includes some great tips on knowing if your child is ready for the responsibility of a bird. Even small birds like to be entertained in their cage so check out what your pet store has to add to your birdcage.
Cats – Maybe not quite as cheap and easy as some of the other options on the list however they keep themselves well groomed, require some daily attention but are happy to stay home alone during the day and can make a great companion. Watch out for longhaired varieties though. Easy to care for breeds include the British Shorthair, American Shorthair, or a mixed breed domestic Shorthair. If you are going to leave them at home for a long period of time, invest in some cat toys to keep them happy.
Dogs – small varieties of dogs include Maltese, Shih Tzu, and terriers. If you are thinking about getting a dog there are so many considerations. The Select Smart site has a great tool for selecting a breed of dog that suits your needs and lifestyle and Pet Palace has all the food and accessories your going to need to keep your dog happy.
Rat / Mouse – These make great easy to care for pets. They can even be trained to do some tricks if you spend enough time with them. Rats love company and get lonely so it’s best to have two in a cage.
Turtle – There are various laws that surround keeping turtles and in some states such as NSW you need a license. However turtles (especially these cute little tiny baby ones) are easy to keep and manage. Canberra Exotics give some great advice on choices and management.
Ant Farm – Wiki How shows you how to build an ant farm in 6 easy steps. Its very cheap, you can do it all yourself, and when the kids get bored you can just set them free. Great choice to test your kid’s enthusiasm for a pet.
Spider – Wouldn’t be my first choice (neither would the snakes mentioned below but that’s up to you!). If you like the thought of a spider for a pet don’t just go and pick something from the backyard. Pet stores sell non-venomous spiders and my local shop has spiders called bird-eating spiders that are the size of the palm of your hand. Tarantulas are also popular.
Silk Worms – If you have a Mulberry tree handy then silk worms are a really interesting pet and super easy to care for. Beware though they eat a HUGE amount of the Mulberry leaves so may leave it looking a bit bare.
Snakes – The keeping of reptiles in Australia is regulated so make sure you check out the regulations in our State. Some snakes to keep as pets include carpet pythons, eastern and northern tree snakes or crowned snakes. Not for the squeemish or faint hearted. They love to eat live food – arrrhh.
Pet Rock – The ultimate in mess free, work free pets. Exercise your creative side by designing your own bespoke pet and love it forever.
Stick Insects – The Australian Museum has some fantastic information on ownership of stick insects. It tells you how to make your own cage (easy using general household items), what they eat (gum leaves), and how to hold them.
Frog – Some species of ground frogs and tree frogs can be kept as pets. The tank set up requires some work however once this is done frogs can have very long lives. Kiss yours to see if it turns into a prince!