8 Good Starter Pets for 10 Year Olds (Pictures)

Showing your 10 year old child how to care for a pet is a wonderful way to teach them responsibility and respect for animals. Pets also provide companionship and enrichment, but not all animals make good starter pets for 10 year olds. Some animals require a high level of care and maintenance that most children just cannot provide. Let’s take a look at what animals make good start pets for kids.

8 Good starter pets for 10 year olds

While most people immediately go for a dog or a cat when getting a pet for their children, these two domesticated animals may not always be the best choice. Good starter pets for 10 year olds are relatively easy to care for, low-maintenance, and have a good temperament. Smaller animals such as fish, hamsters, and guinea pigs are usually good choices, but you can also add reptiles and insects into the mix as well.

1. Fish

Aquarium fish
Aquarium fish

Fish may not be a cuddly pet, but they are often one of the easiest animals to care for, which can make a wonderful introduction to pet ownership. Additionally, with the vast array of different fish out there, you will have no shortage of options. With that said, however, some breeds of fish do require more care than others, so make sure to do your due diligence to find a breed that is right for your 10-year-old.

Watching fish can also have a calming effect and they can be entertaining and educational to watch. They are also quiet and won’t make a mess throughout your home.

However, they are not without their disadvantages. Some children find fish lackluster since they cannot cuddle or touch them, and they do require regular cleaning and maintenance of their tank.

Here are five types of popular fish that 10 year olds might enjoy:

  • Clownfish
  • Betta fish
  • Goldfish
  • Neon tetra
  • Guppy

2. Hamsters

Hamster on a wheel
Hamster on a wheel

The hamsters are one of the most common starter pets for kids of all ages. They don’t require much space, are relatively easy to care for, and are entertaining to watch.

Hamsters are also an affordable pet that is readily available at pet stores across the country. However, these small mammals can become scared and frightened easily. Additionally, because they are small and delicate, children can accidentally harm them if they are not careful.

Here are five types of popular hamsters that 10 year olds might enjoy:

  • Syrian hamster
  • Dwarf hamster
  • Roborovski hamster
  • Chinese hamster
  • Campbell’s dwarf hamster

3. Guinea Pigs

guinea pig on a lap
Guinea pig on lap | Image by Livia Novakova from Pixabay

The Guinea pigs are a good starter pet for 10 year olds that are a bit larger than a hamster or a gerbil, but not nearly as big as a cat. They don’t usually bite and are less skittish than their smaller counterparts. Furthermore, guinea pigs are friendly creatures that will play and interact with their owners.

These animals will require cleaning their hutch a few times a day since they are known to poop a lot. They also require more space than hamsters and gerbils, and trying to force them to live in a small pen can cause them to become stressed and irritated. Guinea pigs are also social creatures and will need a companion, so plan on adopting or buying more than one guinea pig.

Here are five types of popular guinea pigs that 10 year olds might enjoy:

  • American guinea pig
  • Abyssinian guinea pig
  • Peruvian guinea pig
  • Teddy guinea pig
  • Skinny pig

4. Turtles

Turtle in hands
Turtle in hands

Turtles make good pets for children, since they are docile creatures. However, turtles also have some downsides that you should consider before getting this reptile as a pet. The first is that they can carry the potentially dangerous bacteria salmonella.

Thankfully, purchasing the turtle from a reputable breeder or pet store will help reduce the chance of salmonella. Another thing to consider is that they do need specialized care since they are not living in their natural habitat.

Here are five types of popular turtles and tortoises that 10 year olds might enjoy:

  • Red-eared slider turtle
  • Painted turtle
  • Box turtle
  • Russian tortoise
  • African spurred tortoise

5. Tarantulas

Tarantula pet
Tarantula pet | image by savageblackout via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Tarantulas make good pets for young kids since they are low maintenance and fairly easy to care for. They also provide a unique learning opportunity that can help teach kids that spiders are not harmful or scary, and are instead interesting creatures.

The downside to tarantulas is that, while you can handle them if you are careful, they are not cuddly pets and are not known to bond with their owners.

Here are five types of popular pet tarantulas that the right 10 year old might enjoy owning:

  • Mexican redknee tarantula
  • Chilean rose hair tarantula
  • Brazilian black tarantula
  • Costa Rican zebra tarantula
  • Pinktoe tarantula

6. Lizards

Bearded dragon pet
Bearded dragon pet

There are a variety of lizard species that actually make good start pets for 10 year olds. Depending on the species, lizards can live between 3 and 12 years, and can usually be handled if you are gentle and careful with them.

However, lizards are typically kept in a terrarium with special lighting and heat. This terrarium will require regular cleaning and you will need to feed your lizard insects and invertebrates, such as crickets, mealworms, and roaches.

Here are five types of popular lizards that 10 year olds might enjoy:

  • Leopard gecko
  • Crested gecko
  • Bearded dragon
  • Green anole
  • Blue-tongued skink

7. Hermit Crabs

Child holds a hermit crab
Child holds a hermit crab

Hermit crabs are a common sight in gift shops around beach destinations, thanks to their colorful shells and low maintenance. Unfortunately, these creatures are sometimes considered a “throwaway pet.”

This could be due in part to their cheap price tag and that they are often not treated with the respect they deserve. If given the proper care with the right housing requirements, a hermit crab can live for over 10 years and provide companionship and entertainment.

Check out these types of hermit crabs that 10 year olds may be interested in:

  • Caribbean hermit crab
  • Ecuadorian hermit crab
  • Strawberry hermit crab
  • Blueleg hermit crab
  • Halloween hermit crab

8. Rabbits

Girl with pet rabbit
Girl with pet rabbit

Rabbits, often referred to as bunnies, can make a great option for children who would want to hold and pamper their pet. Watching these cute little creatures hop around can be fun for children to watch.

These animals are also not usually aggressive and most breeds have a docile nature, though some are more friendly than others. They also don’t require much maintenance and have relatively low requirements in regards to their care and food choices.

However, rabbits are delicate and can easily be harmed if your child is too rough with them. That is why it is important to teach your kids how to properly handle and interact with the rabbit.

Additionally, rabbits do have the ability to scratch and bite, but this usually occurs when they are mistreated or not handled properly. Their pens will also require regular cleaning to help reduce the odor from their excretions.

And finally, here are five types of popular rabbits that 10 year olds might enjoy!

  • Holland Lop
  • Netherland Dwarf
  • Mini Rex
  • Lionhead
  • Flemish Giant