This article is contributed by guest writer, David Girard (Author at Tankarium.com)
15 Low-Maintenance Pets For Kids
Many kids want a pet. But the job of looking after the creature often falls to the parents. So, if your lifestyle is hectic, you want a low-maintenance companion animal that your children can enjoy without it taking up too much of your time.
Read this guide to discover 15 low-maintenance pets for kids.
Before We Start …
Before we begin our list, it’s important for would-be pet owners to understand that all creatures require some degree of care. There’s no such thing as a set-and-forget pet!
That said, some animals need less care than others, which is why they made it onto our list. So, before you commit to taking on a pet, research its needs thoroughly to make sure that you can devote the time to the care that the animal needs.
Fish are frequently regarded as low-maintenance pets, but that’s not really the case at all.
David Girard, Managing Editor of Tankarium and lifetime betta fish enthusiast recommends that you choose a betta as a kid’s pet.
“Bettas are not only beautiful, but they’re also very hardy, intelligent, and you don’t need a huge tank,” says Girard.
You can always find betta fish for sale in your local fish store, but if you want an unusual variety, it’s also possible to buy a betta fish online.
A pet rat can be a wonderful companion for an older child. Rats are super-bright and love attention, even learning simple tricks and responding to their name!
You’ll need to provide your rat with a spacious cage that has lots of different levels, climbing poles, and toys to keep him entertained when you’re not around. The cage will need to be kept clean and the rat will need feeding every day. However, compared with a dog, a rat is a pretty low-maintenance pet option.
Hamsters are another rodent pet that many kids love. Although not as friendly or pettable as rats, hamsters can be fun to watch, as they are playful little critters. However, hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so your kids might not get to see much of their furry friends if they go to bed early.
Hamsters need a roomy cage with an exercise wheel and plenty of comfy bedding. Also, you need to feed your hamster every day.
The Chinchilla is a delightful little animal that’s full of energy and loves to be petted, too. These animals live for up to 15 years, which can be great for small children who get to grow up with their beloved pets.
These animals do require some care in that you need to provide a large cage and dust bath, both of which need maintenance. Also, Chinchillas are sociable creatures that need the company of their own kind.
5. Sea Monkeys
Sea Monkeys are actually a species of brine shrimp. These active little animals are the ultimate low-maintenance pet for young children who just want to see something moving around in a small aquarium and feed the Monkeys once a week or so.
Sea Monkeys only live for up to two years, too, so they make a good option if you think your kids will quickly lose interest in their pets.
A cat can make a great pet that’s relatively easy and low-maintenance to care for. Kittens can quickly trash your house, so you might want to go for an older cat from a rescue or shelter.
Cats are interactive, enjoying a game, a grooming session, and dreaming on your child’s lap. Also, cats like to do their own thing. Unlike dogs, cats prefer to spend a lot of their day outside. If you have an indoor cat, you need to provide a litter box for your pet and clean it out regularly.
7. Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are fun pets that are relatively easy to care for. You’ll need to provide the piggies with a roomy cage and an outdoor run and feed them correctly.
In return, your Guinea pigs will entertain your child with their antics, and these cuties also enjoy being held and cuddled.
An often forgotten low-maintenance pet for kids is the tortoise. These critters can live for well over 100 years in some cases, and can even become a much-loved family heirloom.
Depending on the species, you can keep tortoises outside or inside, with the most popular pet varieties being the Turkish spur-thighed and Hermann’s tortoise.
Similar to the tortoise, turtles can make good pets that are relatively low-maintenance. Small breeds, such as the Eastern Box or African Sideneck don’t grow too big so are content to live in a modest terrarium.
Although you need to keep their enclosure clean and hygienic, you don’t need to feed the turtles every day.
Parakeets are gorgeous to look at and certainly have a great presence in your home. These chatty birds enjoy interacting with their human keepers, and they can learn simple commands, too.
When it comes to maintenance, you’ll need to keep the birds’ cage clean and feed them every day.
Butterflies can make an unusual and very educational choice of pet for a child who is in fifth grade.
So, you start by keeping caterpillars, and watching them morph into a beautiful butterfly. The whole process takes from six to eight months and the caterpillars feed on common garden plants. These pets are cheap to keep, require next to no maintenance, and they’re short-lived, too.
12. African Dwarf Frogs
African Dwarf frogs can be kept as companions for betta fish and small, peaceful fish species. These completely aquatic frogs spend their whole lives underwater, although they do need access to the surface to breathe.
The aquarium needs to be maintained in much the same way as you would for fish, but these amphibians are non-interactive. So, simply provide your frogs with a few companions, and feed them every day.
14. Praying Mantis
The Praying Mantis has to be one of the easiest pets to care for. All you need is a cage that’s large enough for the insects to move around. Feeding the creatures is a breeze since they eat other small insects, including moths and fruit flies, and even smaller mantis!
Although they can be bought from many pet stores, if you look closely, the chances are that you’ll find one of these critters living right there in your backyard!
15. Hermit Crab
Hermit crabs are a fun pet for kids to own.
These creatures need a clean, well-maintained aquarium with a sandy substrate that needs deep-cleaning a few times a year. Aside from that, you just need to remove any waste from the tank every week and change some of the water.
Feed the crabs daily with special pellets or scraps of fish and prawns. And when the crabs outgrow their shells, take the kids to the pet store to choose new ones.
If your kids are desperate to have a pet but you’re short of time, any of the creatures we featured in this guide could be just what you’re looking for.
Although we’ve picked out pets that are low-maintenance, it’s important to understand that all these animals require some degree of care. It’s really just a case of doing some research and deciding how much time you have to devote to their care.