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A Pet Is For Life…And It May Be A Long One!

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As Christmas whizzes towards us once more you may be considering purchasing a pet for your little ones. The importance of learning the responsibility of taking care of another living creature is an important one and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Think carefully – do you really know just how long you can expect the new addition to stick around?

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One of the most important things to consider when selecting a pet is its average lifespan. How long you can commit to any one animal should be the ultimate limiting factor, as most pets abandoned in adulthood never find a new home.

Below, in ascending order, are popular pets (aside from cats and dogs) and their average lifespans.

Fish

Fish are not the most cuddly of pets, but they are beautiful without demanding too much care. If you can keep the tank clean and the fish fed, they’re usually happy.

Believe it or not, goldfish are very long-lived and can survive for over 25 years. The fact that many only live for a few years is due to poor care. Other fish, like Bettas, only live for a few years.

Average Lifespan: 1 – 10 years

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Hamsters

Hamsters are engaging little rodents that, like mice, are easy to care for. Hamsters are famous for their bulging cheeks as they store food.

They are relatively short-lived. Dwarf hamsters generally do not exceed two years, while most regular hamsters are very lucky to make it to 4.

Average Lifespan: 2 – 3 years

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Lizards

Like snakes, lizards require careful environmental manipulation to keep healthy. There are a multitude of species to choose from, ranging from tiny geckos to enormous monitor lizards.

Lifespans vary wildly. One of the shortest-lived captive lizards is the chameleon, which usually tops out at a paltry three years. By contrast, geckos can live into their 30’s.

Average Lifespans:
Bearded Dragon: 5 – 7 years
Gecko: 8 – 12 years
Iguana: 13 – 17 years
Savannah Monitor: 10 – 12 years

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Rabbits

Rabbits are one of the most popular pets today, due to their cute appearance, docility, and fairly low-maintenance care. Although somewhat skittish, many rabbits can bond with their owners and enjoy human contact. Rabbits kept indoors can live into their teens, so long as they are given proper health care and food. 

Average Lifespan: 8 – 12 years

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Birds

Being highly intelligent and fairly small, birds are popular pets for those that can stand the noise.

Most species of parrots are exceptionally long-lived, with reports of birds reaching and surpassing 100 years old.

Average Lifespan:
Parakeet: 10 – 15 years
Cockatoo: 30 – 40 years
African Grey: 40 – 50 years

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Turtles

The aquatic turtle and land-dwelling tortoise makes a great pet for those who can control their environment and keep them safe. In September 1968 two tortoises flew to the Moon, circled it, and returned safely to Earth on the Russian Zond 5 mission. Accompanied by mealworms, plants, and other lifeforms, they were the first Earth creatures to travel to the Moon. 

Turtles can live up to 30 years, and tortoises can feasibly live for hundreds. Common pet tortoises, however, will live to be about 70 at a general maximum.

Average Lifespan:
Turtles: 10 – 20 years
Tortoises: 50 – 60 years

So choose your chum with forethought, either that or plan who inherits your pet in your will!

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