When I was a child, stick insects were the thing to have. I can remember someone bringing their stick insects in to school once and everyone in our class thinking they were just about the coolest thing they had ever seen. They didn’t seem to do anything, they just sat there, looking sort of sticky.
As a parent, I can see the appeal in a stick insect as a pet. They seem pretty low maintenance, and even if anything happened to it you could probably persuade a young child otherwise – ‘there it is,’ you could say, pointing at a twig, ‘it’s fine!’
That’s my kind of pet.
As a busy working mum, (living in a rented house with cream carpets), I simply don’t have the time or the money to be keeping a dog, cat or gang of bunnies. As cute as they might be, you just know that I would be the one left walking a bouncy dog in the dark late at night. Not my idea of fun.
If you have similar feelings about pets, here are four ideas for animals that don’t need to run around a field every day:
Fish are the dream pet for reluctant pet owners. They don’t scratch your sofa, they don’t wee in your shoes and they stay in one place. Or do they? We had a goldfish once (a beast of a thing that lived to be about ten years old) who jumped out of his tank twice. Top tip – get a nano aquarium with a lid.
We had a hamster when I was little. It was quite fun to build it little houses out of toilet rolls and feed it seeds until it looked like its face was going to explode. Unlike most rodents, hamsters are solitary creatures, so even that can help cut down your food bill. Hamsters are pretty low maintenance but do think carefully about where you put the cage, as they can be noisy.
I know right? Who’d have thought of having a crab as a pet? Hermit crabs though make great pets for children as they are very hardy and are smell, fur, feather and dust free, so won’t cause any allergies. Despite their names, hermit crabs are fairly sociable creatures and although they can live alone do prefer to be in groups of three or more.
If you really can’t be doing with any sort of live creature in the house, how about encouraging an interest in pebbles? You can draw on little faces, make nests for them in matchboxes, and even take them out for walks in your pocket if you want to. Vet bills are low and no specialist food is required. Now that’s what I call an easy pet.