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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Fish, Frog, Snake or Turtle?

I'm interested in getting the kids something that is containable yet educational (and fun). Our dog is 15 years old and he's not interested in playing anymore. Dh is talking about a puppy (no way!) so I need to distract/satisfy Dh and satisfy my own requirements.

All of the animals we're considering would require an aquarium. I have books coming from the library so I can make an informed decision but here's what we're considering.

1. Fish
I hate to say this but easily replaceable, beautiful. Requires medium maintenance depending on type (aquarium filter, water temp, etc.) Unsure about the educational portion of this, watching fish swim doesn't really spark an interest in science. 2 stars out of 5

2. Frog
Walmart has fire-bellied toads and they look very cool. If we had a frog it would be a spectator pet like the fish, eats crickets. Fire-bellies require heat lamp. Educational - 3 stars out of 5.

3. Snake
Very cool, but very creepy. We're considering corn snake or ball python. The icky part is feeding of mice which can be live or frozen. Heat lamp, shelter, needs secure aquarium (slide lid or something better than screen). Will need to provide mice, eek. Very educational- sheds skins, kids will be interested for a while.

4. Turtle
Heat lamp required, aquarium 1/2 aquatic, 1/2 land. Depending on type they eat various plants/animals (crickets, fruits and vegetables). Educational quality? Hmm, maybe 3 out of 5 stars. If we get a turtle, I want the kids to be able to handle it. I like the idea of a turtle the best because if it escapes (which is unlikely), we'll be able to find it better than a frog or snake.

What are your experiences? I've never had any of these animals as pets. I'm a dog person. We did try guinea pig, that didn't work out. I want an aquarium-kept animal.



My Twenty Cents Keeps Moving said...

We did the grow a frog one time and really enjoyed it. The frogs met their unfortunate demise when we went on a mission trip and my friend frog-sat them, but we enjoyed watching them grow from tadpoles.


eclecticeducation said...

You might want to check the laws regarding turtles. I have read something about they have to be bigger than 4 inches or it is illegal to own them. Just wanted to give you a heads up. I think a frog would be a cool pet, but I'm more of a guinea pig person! :)

Sleep-Deprived said...

I grew up on a small farm so I had LOTS of pets- but as an inside pet I had a few box turtles. I do remember having a lamp for them. They were pretty low maintenance (could eat a lot of different foods). We kept a glass pie dish in their box for them - they liked being able to get in and out of the did have to be cleaned out almost daily (the water), but I really enjoyed them. We gave them away to friends after a few years. None died on us, and it was fun to see them close-up in their shells.

Can't say I learned a whole lot about them, but they were fairly easy to keep.

On another note, we just freed a praying mantis that we caught and kept for three weeks. That was the most interesting thing we've kept (though I got tired of "hunting" insects for it). All three boys were VERY interested (ages 5, 3 1/2 and 2) and we learned a lot about insects in general and the praying mantis in particular.

Anonymous said...

Jessica.. We have done all four pets you mentioned so I will just go w/ what we know!
1) Fish: daily feedings, if you feed them live guppies, the coloring gets better. Maintaince is higher to me w/ these, cleaning the tank (depending on size can be a pain!) Educationally? Other that care, I'm not sure how much you'd learn, however... they are very relaxing to watch- they can calm my 4 yr old easily (she likes to sit & watch them)Lifespan can vary greatly on fish & crabs. You can feed them flakes (low maintainance feedings.) We feed ours frozen bloodworms & corn for color.
2) Frog- easy care. Clean tank 1 a week, just make sure they have water & eat crickets a few times a week. Baby crickets run $.09 a piece. You'll be running to the pet store every few days. You can also raise crickets or have them delivered. They are cool to watch. There is alot of info & library books you can read on them. Life is maybe 1-2 years at best.
3) Snake; easy care, clean tank once a week. I STRONGLY advice you feed it frozen (defrosted)mice. They run $1.09 at Petsmart. You won't have to run to the store every week as you can buy a month supply at a time. You also have to keep in mind it needs to be held pretty much daily (we take turns holding ours while reading) to keep it tame. It only eats once every week & a half or so when it gets older. The thing to keep in mind w/ snakes is they have a LONG life span and grow rather large. Our corn snake is said to grow about 4-5 feet and live 15ish years. Thats a pet commitment for sure! (also why you have to hold them daily). The shed factor is awesome and they are very cool to watch.
4) Depending on where you live depends on the turtles you can have. Here in Cali. we can have box & desert turtles no problem... The desert turtles can't really leave California or Nev. b/c of weather (oh and the law).... Turtles rank high for me b/c they are fun to watch yet they hibernate so I get a few months break from them. They eat cat food, flowers, veggies, etc. Once they get big enough, you can leave them outside.
another addition..
bearded dragons. We have two. They eat veggies & crickets now & then. they also eat worms which means I can stock up on a months supply & not run to the store weekly. We have ours in a 55gal tank but they are two years old. They also require a heat lamp but we take ours outside a few times a week instead. These can be held but also be spectator pets as well. They live in sand so its easy to clean up after them.

Good luck & let us know what you pick. For the record, if i wanted a dog.. none of the above animals would do it for me. lol..


Barb said...

Hi Jessica,

Fish are fun but not very least I haven't been able to find a way to tie it in. I do enjoy having fish but they are more of a "habit training" pet than anything else. (NOTE: I usually clean the tank.)

Turtles are a lot more work and there is the added concern of salmonella...must wash after handling. Tank gets dirty fairly fast.Food was an issue.

Our newest pet is a fire-belly toad and he is a lot of fun to watch. It has tied into our study of biology and found that he is very easy to take care of. He eats crickets which we we purchase once a week at the feed store; 40 crickets for $2.00. So far, our favorite indoor pet. The boys do all the care for the toad. We are thinking of getting an additional toad since we were told they are "social" creatures.

We have never had a snake but we did have iguanas. Way to hard to take care of.....heat lamps, special diet, worry of them getting loose, salmonella again was an issue. I would never do that sort of pet again. Also, it was hard to find someone to take care of them when we were out of town.

Just some thoughts about our experiences.

Hope you find something that works out for your family.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom

teacher of one said...

We have marvel how our 12 cent feeder gold fish has grown into a 5 inch beauty with a glamorous tail. And (s)he practically hops out of the water and swims circles when we come down in the morning, begging for food.

Very Easy!

Mom2legomaniacs said...

Hi Jessica,

What happened to that other dog you had for a while? I must have missed that one.

I'm praying for you all dear.


christinemm said...

We have an aquarium, fresh water with African Cichlids. They are very interesting fish to watch. Their colors vary but many are the bright blues and yellows which we normally assume are only colors of salt water fish.

Ours dig caverns, tunnels, and hide in caves. They come up to ask to be fed. They are very active and interesting.

I advise that you read about them a bit if you think you might want them then be sure to buy ones which are compatible and get the right kind of tank decorations. I had a few issues as the fish store owner didn't tell me this stuff and one bullied the others and caused problems (bullying some to death basically--sad).

But anyway...they are fun!