People in India rarely think beyond dogs as pets. Partly the reason for this is the easy availability as well as the loyalty associated with these animals.
Cats are considered animals bringing bad luck in India and are therefore not among the most popular pets. Among the other pets we commonly get to see as pets the rabbit is the most common.
The fact that rabbits breed rather fast is often a factor that dissuades owners from keeping them. Add to this the fact that rabbit cages need frequent cages also prove detrimental in their finding acceptance in homes. But apart from these few drawbacks, rabbits can be charming pets.
Rabbits have been kept as pets from as early as the 12 th century (of course at that time they were primarily meant to be a meat source). Of late they have been bred specifically as house pets. The reason I feel that rabbits will slowly gain acceptance is that they are attractive and hardly need any looking after. They are rather healthy with few ailments. If proper hygiene is maintained then they can live up to 6 to 7 years.
In my college days the guinea pig fascinated me a lot. Unlike its cousin the hamster that was notorious, the guinea pig was a pleasure to handle. We had a class in management of laboratory animals and the silver lining to this rather dull lecture used to be the time we got to handle the guinea pigs.
These gentle creatures also known as the cavy come in a variety of coat colors. They are easy to tame and control. Their short legs prevent any fast movements and they rarely jump. They use their front paws to feed as well as to groom themselves. These animals need lots of space to exercise. They prefer cooler climates and are easy to maintain. They are totally herbivorous in captivity. Fresh vegetables and pellets along with lots of water are adequate to feed them.
For those people who want to keep a pet and yet have low monthly bills with regards to food and other expenses the guinea pig is a good option.
Birds also form a sizeable proportion of pets. In Delhi the majority are parrots. Some people also keep turtles but to maintain them in a house, one would need permission from the Wildlife authorities.
It is often surprising to see that in the West the list of pet’s ranges from spiders, snakes, and pigs to exotic reptiles. Yet in India the pet lovers seem to shower their affections on a more conventional set of animals.