When do you draw the line with getting new pets?

So, my almost 6 year old (he tells me that, he refuses to be “just five” any more) announced recently that he wants a gecko for a pet, for his birthday. He wants to get a terrarium, set it up and keep a gecko, or two, in there. 

I had less than normal pets as a child. I bred and kept stick insects at school (any of my old school mates reading this will fondly remember my stick insect years, I am sure) and also looked after the school garter snake, named Gerald, and was allowed to take him home for holidays and carried him around in my shirt pocket, where he would pop his head out, and scare random people who were near me. We also had cats, and fish, and my brother had gerbils. 

Our current household includes two cats, (well, if you didn’t know that, you are clearly new to this blog) some fish, a hamster called Pipsy, and a Giant African Land snail called Albert. This seems like a fair number of pets, for one family, and whilst I love them, all, and take on my fair share of responsiblity for their care, I just can’t see how we can manage another pet, as sad as I know saying no, to my lovely boy will be. Most of the time, our pet family is very manageable, and we cope, but when we go on holiday we have to make sure that someone is looking after the cats (stopping them from having wild parties whilst we are away, ahem) and the hamster, as well as the snail and fish. Not always as easy as it sounds but part of the consideration you need to make when you get a pet, is to plan for holidays and being away. 

Geckos, from what I remember from my childhood in Bangkok, are not really “pets”. To me they are wild animals, a lizard that isn’t really something children could play with. They move fast, and I think are quite sensitive and high maintenance. They need to be fed live insects (which I am not sure i can stomach) and require a specialist tank, kept at a precise temperature. They also can live for quite a long time as pets, which is fine, but the life expectancy of a pet needs to be something you think about before you get your pet, because you do need to know that your pet may be with you for a long time, and will need care for it’s lifetime and that you are up to the job, within the constraints of your life.

In short, I am not sure that I am up to the job of being mum to a gecko, as well as everything else we have going on, in our lives and I am not sure how to persuade my small son that it really isn’t practical or sensible. He really does want a gecko, and promises me he will love and look after it, but I just am not convinced. Unless someone can convince me that my reservations are unjustified? Am I being silly and a mean mum?

Maybe I can persuade him to get stick insects instead, I could manage those… 😉



Posted in Pet's Corner and tagged being a good pet owner, pet care.


  1. You certainly do already have an interesting array of animals and no, I do not think you are being mean not allowing your son to have a gecko. He may not believe you at first but I think if you explain firmly enough why you have made this decision it will be a valuable life lesson for him.
    I look forward to seeing if a new stick insect makes an appearance on #AnimalTales any time soon though!

  2. no you’re not being a mean mum, I’ve only ever had pets for me, not the kids, who of course have benefited greatly from having them around, it’s about what I can manage and am prepared to pay for, not what they want with the knowledge that the novelty may wear off and I’m landed with an animal I don’t wish to care both, but would not be able to get rid off as I see animals as a commitment and not something to discard if I get fed up with it

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