Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Small Children and Animals can't Mix, Right??

Yesterday was a hectic day for little Benedict. Babies don't understand the importance of voting, all they care about is having their fun. So, what does a baby do when nobody is paying attention to him?? He makes some mischief--and I mean MISCHIEF. I had my "hamster wonderland" on the floor-- I had recently created an enormous exercise playland for Peanut out of cardboard boxes, and water bottles with both ends cut off, not to mention some toilet paper tubes......It was a lot of hard work, I'll say! Benedict ran over to it and started to tear everything off, and somehow, he found a piece of hamster food inside it. He must of attempted to eat it, and minutes later we were noticing chewed-up hamster food bits on the floor. Benedict is fine, but this could have been much worse--so, what do you do?

Small children are fascinated by animals, but they don't realize that animals have feelings too. The first reaction to a dog or cat is to run towards it and squeeze its neck or pull its tail--and not all animals are as tolerant as some I know. You just don't know what the animal may do. A cat who curls up in your lap and licks your face or a dog who is the most loyal dog you know won't always do the same to a screeching baby. The defense system for a small animal is fight or flight. A young child may become upset if your pet bunny runs under the bed--and even more upset if he gets a little nip on his finger from time to time. If you have a four year-old who wants a pet snake--chances are, he really doesn't want the pet for the true responsibility, he just wants one because snakes are "cool", and he'll likely get tired of it in a few weeks. Therefore, you shouldn't get a pet that more fits the age of 9 and up for a smaller child, because he'll not only leave the care to you or another sibling, he'll also treat the snake(or other pet) the wrong way. A responsible child needs to prove he's ready for his own pet, and for now, the best starter pet is a fish or a frog--they make interesting pets to watch, so you don't have to worry about a lot of care--just feed him and clean the tank--your young child will enjoy taking care of them(under adult supervision, of course).

Before I end today's post, here are the guidelines for children and animals, please enjoy!:

Fish: ages 4 and up. Just always help with the tank cleaning and watch the amount of food which is being fed.

Hamsters(golden hamsters)ages 6 and up--also a great family pet! These hamsters, unlike the dwarf breed, rarely ever bite or scratch. The cage cleaning, feeding, exercise, and other care should be monitored if your child is under the age of 8 years. The whole family can help with the hamster's care and playtime.

Bunnies: ages 8 and up. If you research the breed and personality, you will be rewarded with a loving pet. Keep the cage in an area where the rabbit can be around your family most often(such as a living room).

Rats, dwarf hamsters, mice gerbils: ages 10 and up. These animals require more exercise and you have to make sure the animal is not being handled roughly. The cage needs cleaning attention every week, and you should feed them and water them when it is needed. They should be not left alone, as a rat or hamster may run away or get stuck if they are not trained to be good.

Chinchillas, skunks, sugar gliders, hedgehogs: ages 11-12 and up. These pets are very rare, exotic animals. They need very special requirements, and they are usually not seen in a normal pet store--they can only be found at an exotic pet store, so if you find one of these in a normal pet store, don't buy them, as they may have a disease because they have not been cared for properly.


  1. Wonderful advise. I rememember when we had Baily and the day we brought her home the neighbor kids came running outdoors and scared her half to death, with their shrill screams of delight.

    1. The tip is when you first bring your pet home, you should always introduce them to others gradually: Family first, then friends. If you have a grumpy, "sensitive" pet who only interacts with you, it's best not to introduce them to people outside your family--they might get bitten by your feisty little guy, and the pet could be scarred for life and may never be nice to anyone again.


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