5 Great Pets for Beginners

If you are looking to get a pet for the first time — either for yourself or your kids — but don’t know where to start, you might be surprised to know that not every animal is going to work. The appropriate care and products are as different as the animals that require them, and it may not be something you’re ready for, depending on your situation. These pets are excellent options for first-timers, offering both convenience and adorableness.

1. Rodent

Guinea pigs, gerbils and rats are all rodents that are perfect pets for beginners. Each of these critters is easy to care for and handle, which is an expected requirement for households with children. Guinea pigs are naturally healthy creatures that live long lives, which means you can build a lasting bond with them. And if you are not fond of animal odor, rats are habitually clean by nature, which means a less smelly cage. Gerbils, meanwhile, are the least likely rodent to bite. Additionally, all these critters are furry and entertaining to watch.

2. Parakeet

The term “parakeet” is broad and encompasses an array of small and medium bird types. Each bird has its own unique size, diet, personality and more. And because it is so broad, you can choose one that fits what you are looking for in a first-time bird. For example, some parakeets are loud while others are quiet. A noisy bird may not work well if you live in an apartment, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your desire for a pretty feathered companion. The average lifespan of a parakeet ranges from 8 to 40 years, so no matter what bird you choose, you can build a lasting relationship.

3. Gecko (Leopard or Crested)

Like any reptile, geckos don’t require a ton of space, don’t need to be fed every day and are calm and quiet in nature. These qualities make them terrific first-time pets, especially for young children. Geckos are especially great because they are easy to handle and have unique, adorable faces and patterns (called morphs) that set them apart from other lizards. Geckos have a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years, so youngsters can grow with their pet lizard.

4. Freshwater Fish

Wonderful freshwater starter fish include swordtails, goldfish, danios, guppies and tetras, to name a few. Goldfish and some tetras require a cold water aquarium, while the rest need heated aquariums. Heated aquariums cater to more fish varieties, but no matter what aquarium type you choose, each is easy to care for. Each fish type comes in a variety of colors and sizes, providing a beautiful spectacle without hassle. Freshwater fish are terrific options for first-timers who are children or even busy adults.

5. Turtle

The red-eared slider, painted turtle and box turtle are widely considered the best turtles for beginners. Because most turtle breeds generally live long lives (about 20 to 50 years) and require a large living space, they are perfect if you are a first-time pet owner who doesn’t want a pet in a little cage or tank but does want a pet that is a lifelong commitment. With their unique personalities, shell patterns and diets, turtles are fun companion pets.