Best family pet? Here's a chequered history of my pets....

What pets did you have as a child? Mine have ranged from the traditional to the bizarre, and now I have a 5 year old I do wonder what I should pick.

The first pet we had was Pippi the hamster, I'm afraid I was not hugely into small, furry, scurrying animals so most of his care fell on my mum which she dutifully did until one day he disappeared. For hours we searched the house high and low - until suddenly he appeared, black as coal - as he'd gone on an adventure up our chimney.

Following a gap after Pippi came our most beloved baby tortoise Ninni, who was literally a Yugoslavian refugee. While on holiday there my grandparents stopped by the road and were met with a matchbox with rose petals and the sweetest, tiniest little tortoise who we all fell in love with. After smuggling her back into the UK in my mother's pocket, we adored her tiny features and feeding her her favourite food of pizza and lettuce, watching her little mouth and tongue take minute bites was wonderful. Sadly Ninni came to a sticky end - his shell became soft from the lack of sunlight so we took him on holiday, where my mum left him out on the patio in the baking sun one day. We were all devastated.

Our next pets also met unfortunate ends - we had goldfish who kept inexplicably dying on us until one week we went on holiday and a neighbour kept an eye on them. We were delighted on our return to see they were still alive! Only to be told they had been replaced twice in our absence.

We also had Pepsi the budgie who we also adored, who accidentally drowned in a small cup of water left out while he was flying free.

And finally - one year I was totally stumped what to get my parents as a Christmas present and saw someone in the Physics department at school was selling stick insects for 50p each - hurrah ! What a unique gift!! I presented them in large cardboard boxes to further disguise my clever gift! Stick insects are truly fascinating, I read they can change gender if one is lacking in order to mate. This is amazing until your pair of stick insects decide to make babies and babies and babies and babies (imagine at least 100, was hard to count them) the imagine they start escaping around your house (picture yourself reaching for a towel after showering and a friendly little creature greeting you) and then picture them starting to die and eat each other. It was at that point my mother thought enough was enough and let them go their way. If only we'd thought of selling them on for 50p each! 

Right now my pet of choice would be an African snail or a bearded dragon (we don't have the space for a cat/dog) but I would love to know what pets you've had or have now! 

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