I have to mention what good pets Bettas make. They are the fighting fish you buy in the little jars at the pet store. Of course, they need bigger bowls to be happy, like a goldfish bowl or a little bitty tank you can buy for a couple of bucks at Walmart, about the size of a margarine container.
Here is how to care for them:
They love to eat dried bloodworms. Mine eat about 5 times a day, about six worms at a time. I supplement the food with other fish food too, but they love the worms the most.
This is so funny, they wag their fins when they see you coming to feed them. They like you to talk to them and they love to be in the center of activity so they can watch what is going on. I taped a mirror on the side of the tank, and it makes the fish feel he is not alone. He doesn't fight it, he loves it. He has learned to not jump into the tank after I have cleaned it. He goes right up to the edge of the bowl and looks but won't jump.
They have emotions, believe it or not. Sometimes I have to move the tank out of the kitchen because it is so cold in there. He sulks the whole time he is in the living room. He loves the kitchen on the stove, that is his favorite place.
One thing, they jump, so be careful. I learned this the hard way and lost one to this bad habit they have of being jumpers or going after a fly on the top of the bowl or tank.
Changing the water: Mine has grown so large that I have to change the water every day. I pour a mixing bowl full of water and put the amount of water conditioner to get rid of chlorine in the bowl. It is just a normal size mixing bowl and I put two drops of dechlorinator in there. I make sure the water is room temp, better to be warm than cold.
Then I scoop up the fish and water in the cup, careful of not touching it at all. Nets can hurt the fish by making sores from contacting the fins and scales.. Put him in the new water. I then pour out the old water and then pour a little of the new water in the now clean tank and then scoop the fish out of the bowl with the cup, and then pour the rest in.
The fish has come to love this routine. He is a doll. When I go to wash my hair in the kitchen sink, he loves it and gets all waggly and wiggles all over the tank. I have had this one for about a year, he is so beautiful.
Rabbits make sweet pets too. Lop ears are great and Florida Whites, that is all I have experience with.
I had a Japanese hooded rat that was aggressive, we rescued it from the shelter, but couldn't handle it, it had been abused and hated people. He bit me so bad, I had to soak the finger in Betadine over a period of four weeks before it ever healed and then had to get a tetanus booster. Rabbits don't seem to bite and guinea pigs don't seem to bite either, although I am sure there are exceptions. I have never had a hamster that did not bite, and gerbils are so fast you cannot really handle them to get bit in the first place, but I love them just the same.
Crickets are fun pets to get, they are so nice and easy. They shed their skins like snakes and the males sing.
Ferrets are cute and sweet but they bite habitually until you train them out of it and they are so smart they require a lot of care and attention. Mine used to hear the door open and run next door to scare the lady who lived there. I never got mine housetrained to a litter box, but they got sick a lot it seems like. My vet told me you cannot put lots of little ones together because of the "slime", an infection they can pass to one another. I love ferrets though, they are hilarious.
I hope this helps anyone thinking of a small pet and wondering about how they act and react to children and other caregivers.
Remember, until all animals have a home, adopt a friend from the local shelter. Please have your dog or cat spayed or neutered for it's own health and safety. And for all the dogs and cats out there who did not ever find a home, who are waiting for a home over the rainbow bridge. Please consider adoption! :)
By Robyn from Hampton, TN