Have you ever thought of letting your children keep insects as pets? If you are thinking of getting a pet for your children, you should definitely consider insects! Here are the 10 reasons why your children should keep pet insects.

Low cost in keeping insects as pets

Have you ever thought of letting your children keep insects as pets? If you are thinking of getting a pet for your children, you should definitely consider insects! Here are the 10 reasons why your children should keep insects as pets.

A cat or dog can cost you up to a few thousand bucks, depending on the source and breed. Of course, you can always adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue, which either costs you nothing to a few hundred bucks depending on where you live and where you are adopting from. The truly expensive parts come later: vaccination, medical, food, and insurance. 

With insects, however, it is really cheap! You can catch your insects in the backyard for free, or buy one from a store which costs you probably 20 to 30 bucks.

If you are buying a rare insect species, it might be more expensive but it is most likely still cheaper than a cat or dog. Depending on the type of insects that you are keeping, their foods are either very cheap or cost nothing. And the best part is, you do not need to bring them to vets (not that a vet for insects exists…). 

Lesser commitment in keeping pet insects

Roaches are good pet insects for beginners
Keeping insects as pets are simple! Photo by jonathan donovan @ Flickr

A cat or dog would almost always require your attention. They like to play with you and love to be fondled by you. But sometimes we do not have the luxury to pay attention to them.

My son attends a full day kindergarten. When he reached home at 630pm, he would play around with the kids in the neighborhood for an hour. After dinner, bath and homework, it is about time to sleep, and he only gets to play around with our playful 6-month old kitten for a few minutes. Sometimes we go out for the whole day over the weekend! We felt pity for the kitten and had to give it away. With insects, you do not have such an issue. You do not have to play with them if you do not want to! Trust me, the insect will not be sad! 

Sometimes kids grew bored with their pets. The pets no longer feel as cute as when they were first bought. Or, they just cannot commit themselves to taking care of the pets and decided to give up! With insects, you can either wait till they die (insects have short lifespan) or just release them to the wild and they will survive. You cannot do that with cats or dogs! Do note that not all insect species can be released to the wild, especially the non-native species. 

On top of that, you do not need to bathe your pet insects or clean their poops. They will clean themselves and their poops do not smell. You also do not need to fix a schedule to “walk” your insect outside every day. 

Lesser attachment and easier replacement in keeping pet insects

There are a few ways to lose your pets. They die, or they are lost. You cannot just replace a kitten with another one because most likely your kid will tell he wants the exact same kitten! My son sometimes misses his kitten so much that he gets too emotional. There is nothing much that we can do except to comfort him. But if it is an insect, there is an easy way out!

A few weeks back we collected a cocoon from our yard and kept it until it turned into a butterfly. My son released it in the morning, and got very emotional at night as he missed the butterfly so much.

We spent an hour convincing him the butterfly will come back to look for him one day. In the morning a few days later, there was a butterfly flying into our yard and my son was so happy that the butterfly came back to visit him. Well it is unlikely the same butterfly but to kids, they look just the same, so they must be the same creature!

No pet sitting for pet insects

We all go for vacation, and sometimes we just cannot bring our pets. With pet insects, however, most likely you can bring them along in your bag. If you really cannot bring your pet insects along, just leave them at home, alone! The insect will take care of itself!

You just need to prepare enough water and some food for the insects. Most of the insects will survive for more than a week without food. By providing them some food, you can rest assured that they will survive until you are back. Most of them do not mind consuming food that you have put there for more than a week, so you can give them extra food if you want.

Having pet insects is unique and cool, and there are a lot of choices

All of us want to stand out from our peers, so do our children. Getting them a pet insect is so cool that it will make him so confident in front of their peers when sharing about pets.

A pet insect never fails to become a conversation starter because it is just so unique. Moreover, because insects typically have a shorter lifespan, your children can try different insects. It can be a butterfly today, a Carolina mantis next week, and a walking stick 3 months later! Isn’t it cool to have new pets now and then?

Insects take up only a small little space for their activities

With insects, you do not have to scratch your head allocating and preparing a space for them to rest and poop.

Most insects can live in a small container, and you can just put it anywhere you want: in your drawer, besides your TV, on a bookshelf etc. You can basically place them anywhere that can fit the container as long as it is away from sunlight and excessive heat. You do not need to worry about “no pets allowed” venues at all!

Having pet insects allow your children to learn via observation and play

The best ways for a child to learn are through observation and play! Each and every insect species has different behaviors. For instance, ants are eusocial insects and take command from their queen while mantis play solo.

The children can observe the queen ant keeps laying eggs even without the king, or how a male mantis gets killed by a female mantis during copulation. Keeping a pet insect allows our children to learn all these without reading a book.

Starting an pet insects project improve parents-children interaction

Keeping an pet insects without guidance from parents is difficult for children as they often lack the basic knowledge on insects. More often than not, it will be a parents-children project. You and your children will spend time together studying insects, catching or shopping for insects, building or buying them a suitable home, and observing them to discover something new.

Every time you start with a new insect, it is a new project and new learning, and that gives you an opportunity to have a better quality time with your children. 

Keep insect as a pet if you are concern on the environment

If you are concerned about the environment, you should choose insects over cats and dogs as your pets! In layman terms, we can feed at least 5 million Americans, or the whole Colorado if 1 quarter of the calories from cat/dog food are consumed by humans instead.

Do note that no one is asking you to eat pet food. The research simply implies that we might want to reconsider how and what we prioritize. And of course, producing that many calories will have a toll on the environment.

You can keep you dead pets with you as a memento

Everyone dies one day, so do pets. With cats and dogs, you would probably find somewhere to bury them, or maybe a cremation, and mourn for them.

With insects, you can keep them with you, in a beautiful way! Insects can be easily preserved either in resin or as a dry mount, both do not cost you much. Imagine your son showing off his mantis-resin necklace or keychain to his friend! If done correctly, your kids can even showcase their collections to their grandkids! Here goes another fun family project for you!

If you are convinced to start keeping pet insects, do check out my list of beginner pet insects that you can start with.