Allergies. Fears. Space. There are countless reasons why some people can’t have cats or dogs. That doesn’t mean those people can’t have a pet. These people need to research nontraditional pets, such as rabbits, birds, lizards, fish, and guinea pigs, among others.
These guys often need more care than most people anticipate, but there are some that are not so challenging. They are known to be great for beginners.
-Bearded Dragons & Blue Tongued Skinks are both lizards that actually enjoy human contact and will seek it out if given the choice. They do require exposure to special lighting and temperature control, but these guys are known to actually be interested in interacting with people. They are really cool because they don’t require live food, something many out there will appreciate. They are best on their own and need to be fed every few days.
-Leopard Geckos are lower maintenance than those above and are very common in pets stores. They are colorful and nocturnal. They eat insects and only need to be eat every other day. Geckos prefer two temperature zones but only need a small tank.
-If you prefer your reptiles legless then consider a Corn Snake or Sand Boa. Neither require special lighting though both do like a warm basking spot. Both are very colorful and docile. They do eat mice, but they do not get terribly large and have been proven to be good pets.
The first thing you need to decide is if you want a bird who enjoys interaction or one who prefers to hang out on their own in their cage.
-Canaries and Finches are known to be good songbirds but prefer to be left to their own devices. They generally don’t want to be handled much. These birds are social and need to have a few other birds in their cage with them. Plan to make a large cage with some natural foliage and room to fly.
-Parakeets (or Budgies as they may be called) and Cockatiels are more social. They like to be in contact with people and are trainable. They are smaller and more manageable than larger parrots, come in a variety of lovely colors, and can possibly learn a few phrases or whistles. Be certain that you buy these from a responsible breeder to avoid genetic issues and sicknesses. Plan to spend at least 15 minutes a day interacting with these birds. If they are well socialized they will be happy to ride on shoulders or in pockets.
There are some out there who cringe at the very thought of a rodent living in their home but they can make fabulous pets.
-Rats probably have the worst reputation of any animal on this list. I will admit to having a bias but they are very smart and hygienic and love human contact. They come in a variety of colors and are not as flighty as their smaller cousins, mice.
-Ferrets have a mixed reputation. Some love their ferrets and others hate ferrets. They can be great pets, the thing to realize is that ferrets come from a family of creatures that are carnivores in the wild. They like to play and need interaction. Like a kitten or puppy they have to be trained not to nip and need lots of socialization when young, but they have a long life span and with the right exposure love human contact.
-Guinea Pigs are sweet and social but require plenty of room. They also prefer to have a guinea pig companion with them. If you keep their cage clean then they have a limited odor, if any. They are strict vegans.
-Rabbits can be a good pet. Like the ferrets they have a mixed review. Generally the main point is to contain them away from things that could harm them when you are away but they need lots of time to be loose and free and get exercise. They prefer a quiet calm atmosphere.
I intentionally did not mention fish, because that is a topic that could take an entire article on its own. It depends on if you want fresh or saltwater and how big of a tank you want and the list could go on and on but the point is that if you are interested in fish find a store that specializes in them, not the large chains like petsmart and discuss with an expert what you have time for what your don’t, and how much money you are willing to pay. That is the best way to start with fish. The most important thing with choosing any pet is to go slowly, and not rush into making that decision.