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Little friends, big love

By Wang Zhenghua, Zhang Wei | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2015-01-18 10:27

Little friends, big love

Birds with distinctive and beautiful singing ability are very popular in Shanghai. [Photo by Wang Zhenghua/Shanghai Star]

Big is not always better, especially when it comes to pets. Wang Zhenghua and Zhang Wei look at the benefits of looking after small animals.

Small pets are great companions and require less energy and time to take care of than cats and dogs. They are more feasible to look after for people living in a small space or who are allergic to feline or canine hair.

But selecting the right small pet is no small feat: with all the adorably tiny options, it can be difficult to determine whether your family’s new addition should have fins or fur.

After all, some animals need more attention, while others prefer to be left alone. It all depends on how much time and effort you're willing to devote to become a pet owner.

So we searched out the two major pet markets in Shanghai for the seven most popular small pets in the city to help you to choose the perfect companion.

Pet fish

Pet fish are easy to take care of and soothing to watch. Providing your pet fish with a clean environment by changing 10 to 25 percent of the water every week and making sure that they get small portions of food and nutrition such as fresh veggies or bloodworms twice a day, you can have their companionship for around six to seven years. Fish will recognize you if you spend time with them. They will associate you with food, or dart out to greet you when you walk by. The price of pet fish varies from 2 to 20,000 yuan.

Turtle or terrapin

Turtles are more exotic than fish and have a lifespan of 50 to 80 years, which requires a great amount of responsibility and maintenance. Some turtles are plant eaters and some eat only meat. But since turtles are an ectothermic animal, they hibernate for the winter. So you don’t need to worry when they slow down and stop eating on chilly days. The turtle recognizes its owner as a food provider, so it will move close to you and become excited when you come to feed them.


Some people enjoy cricket song, as the chirping brings them closer to nature. Crickets are easy to care for and take up little space. All you need to do is providing them with a supply of soy beans or carrots once every two days as they are not picky about food. But remember, do not leave any standing water in your cricket's jar because crickets will drown very easily. You can put a small damp sponge or moistened cotton wool in its cage to prevent its environment from being too dry. A cricket can live for around 100 days and they are priced from 15 to 40 yuan. It is also possible to adopt one in winter as long as you keep it in a warm environment.

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