Top 5 Exotic Pets for Kids

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There are many suitable exotic pets for kids available, but some are much better choices than others. Consider this list along with the characteristics you are looking for in an animal before making a decision on an exotic pet for your child.

  • 01 of 05

    Guinea Pigs

    Guinea pig
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    We love cavies for kids for several reasons: Guinea pigs don’t typically bite, are not as fragile as the more popular hamster, and are low-maintenance. They live between 5-8 years on average, which is much longer than a hamster will last, and love to be pet and scratched.  Some guinea pigs even enjoy running around in a large hamster ball to get exercise.

  • 02 of 05

    Rats

    Pet rats in cage
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    These rodents are so smart! They have unique personalities and love to play with toys and puzzles. Rats are hardier than hamsters and typically live longer than them too. Rats don’t have the reputation for biting like hamsters have either. If you can get past their tail then you'll learn to love them - and so will your kids!

  • 03 of 05

    Leopard Geckos

    Boy holding leopard gecko to nose, profile, close-up
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    These little lizards don’t require a large tank like many reptiles do and are very docile for children to handle. They don’t have the tendency to bite, especially when raised from the common 3- or 4-week old hatchling. They don't even need fresh fruits and veggies prepared daily, and leopard geckos don’t smell. They're also quiet so there's no need to worry about squeaky hamster wheels turning in the middle of the night. They come in a variety of different colors or morphs, too!

  • 04 of 05

    Rabbits

    Pet rabbit at home
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    There are so many different breeds of rabbits to choose from, but the more common varieties are hardy pets for kids. They aren’t usually biters, live longer than hamsters, and are very personable. Rabbits can be litter trained, play with toys, are quiet, and super cute!

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Bearded Dragons

    Bearded dragon
    Bearded dragon. Getty Images/annedde

    Like leopard geckos, beardies are gentle creatures.  A little hardier than the geckos, bearded dragons don’t typically bite and are the perfect size for small hands. These lizards love to hang out on a child’s shoulder while homework is being completed, are quiet, don’t smell, and live up to 20 years. Once you have their enclosure set up appropriately they don't require much management.