December 10, 2017

Exotic furballs

There’s a reason why hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils are popular first pets for many kids: they’re harmless, gentle, spatially efficient, inexpensive and low maintenance companions who don’t need to be walked or groomed like a dog does. But these critters typically don’t live long (a hamster’s lifespan is as short as two years), and children often lose interest after a while with these ubiquitous pocket pals. As they age, kids often crave more unique animal mates that fascinate and entertain as well as impress friends. While you’ll probably be quick to quash requests for a snake, tarantula or piranha, here’s an idea that could work: consider an exotic small mammal species, including rarer breeds like a chinchilla, hedgehog, degu or sugar glider.

Discover more about these lesser-known compact companions by reading my latest article for Chicago Parent magazine, available here.