If dogs and cats are out — because of allergies, expense, time commitment, destructive potential, housing restrictions, etc. — don't despair.
And always remember: A pet is a family affair, so even if your kid wants to be the primary caretaker, parents must always be involved.
Sources: PetSmart.com; Petco.com; ASPCA.org; petplace.com; Holly Nash, staff veterinarian at Drs. Foster and Smith and Scott McKay, staff vet at Drs. Foster and Smith, Rhinelander, Wis.; Jay Hreiz, district officer at American Rabbit Breeders Association, Bloomington, Ill.; Lisa Vible, education director at the American Ferret Association, Annapolis, MD.; Mike Selig, staff vet at Barberton Veterinary Clinic in Norton, Ohio; Richard Nye, vet at Nye Veterinary Services in Batavia, Ill., and consultant at Ness Exotic Wellness Center in Lisle, Ill.
ACTIVITY LEVEL (1-3)
1= never leaves cage/tank
2= sometimes leaves cage/tank
3= leaves cage/tank daily
PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT NEEDED (1-3)
(Recommended for kids: red-eared slider)
Activity level: 1
Parental involvement needed: 3
Good for ages: 12 and up
Kid's daily commitment: Feed once per day or every other day, depending on age and type. Clean tank weekly, more if necessary. No playing or handling necessary, but observe daily to make sure it's OK.