Although not as popular as cats and dogs, plenty of residences are home to insects and other invertebrates. Many people might be curious about insects as pets and if these critters are the right fit for them, and those people may be surprised to learn just how rewarding it can be to keep insects as pets.
When compared to dogs, cats, small rodents, and birds, insects take up much less space and require considerably less maintenance. Insect food is less expensive than dog and cat food, and sometimes a certain insect can be bred to feed another pet insect, saving owners even more money.
Another practical component to insects as pets is that they don't cause as many allergic reactions as other pets. Since they do not give off dander or secrete saliva, insects won't produce the allergic reactions created by cats and dogs. Many insects are harmless and, in spite of certain assumptions about bugs, they can be quite clean.
Before bringing an insect or arachnid home as a pet, check with local government agencies to ensure such a decision is legal. Some insects are protected species and are not available for sale or distribution. You may be prohibited from keeping invasive insects as pets because of the risks such pets pose if they escape.
It's important to research the type of insects that make good pets. Providing the right environment for the pet is key to good health and can be tricky if you aren't well-versed in caring for insects, some of which may require fresh vegetation or other insects to survive. Think about whether you'll be comfortable or capable of providing such diets.
Some insects are hardy, while others are more delicate. Venomous animals are not a good match with children, nor are insects that are extremely fragile. If you have children, do your research to determine which insects will make a good match for your home. Some tarantulas shed irritating hairs if they feel threatened. Even mildly venomous spiders (equivalent to a big sting) can pack a painful bite. It's important to learn how to best avoid bites and what to do should an insect bite.
Stick insects, mantids, hissing cockroaches, and doodlebugs (antlions) can make good first pets. They are harmless and interesting to observe and can usually be handled easily. Antlions go through a larval and transformative stage. Eventually they will form wings, so the tank should be covered to prevent escape.
When considering adding a pet to your household, do not overlook insects, spiders and invertebrates. Though they might be unconventional, they are nonetheless fascinating.