Yearly upkeep cost: $50-$150 (food, vet bills).
Life expectancy: 40 to 60 years.
Pros: Quiet, take up little room, live a long time, interesting to observe.
Cons: Carry salmonella, which can be picked up by children and those using poorer hygiene techniques. The sale of small turtles, with shells less than four inches long, is illegal.
Activity level: 3 (but with supervision; ferrets are good at getting into small spaces)
Parental involvement needed: 3
Good for ages: 13 and up
Kid's daily commitment: Three to six hours of play outside the cage per day. Have food and water available at all times. Clean litter box daily and clean habitat weekly. Bathe if dirty, clean ears regularly, cut nails biweekly. Be watchful of what ferret plays with.
Initial cost: $100-$500 for the ferret; $340-400 for other start-up costs (cage, bedding, food)
Yearly upkeep cost: $300-$1,000 (ferrets are genetically predisposed to certain medical problems, and may need multiple surgeries)
They eat: Meat. These obligate carnivores can eat whole prey (mice, baby chicks) or special ferret food balanced with the vitamins and minerals they need. They also can have scraps of meat as treats.
Life expectancy: 6 to 8 years
Pros: Fun to watch, interactive, sociable.
Cons: High-maintenance, may have an odor, and requires ferret-proofing your house.
(Recommended for kids: leopard gecko, bearded dragon)
Activity level: 1-2