Britons are a nation of animal lovers. For some, their dogs are their bezzies, their feline friends
are family, and their bunnies are like babies. But we also have some animal hangups.
There are some pets that have just never made it big in the mainstream here in the UK. And for
many of them, there really aren’t fair reasons. Some are being tarred by the same brush as their
wild companions, and some are just completely misunderstood.
Rats are a big one, and they truly divide opinion. For those pet owners who have taken on some
ratty furbabies, you will receive a completely different opinion than from non-owners. The
majority of Brits see rats as vermin and pests, spreaders of disease and lurkers in dark corners
on city streets, rummaging through bins. But rats are intelligent, very clean, empathic and loyal.
They are excellent pets for apartment dwellers, and those prepared to give and receive lots of
Snakes give some people the heebie jeebies. Their reptilian scales are a turn off for pet owners
looking for a fluffy friend, but some snake varieties can be great pets. A Corn snake, for
example, is a great snake to keep as a pet. Docile, easy to care for and handle, the Corn snake
also stays a reasonable size to keep as a pet. They are very easy to care for (as adults only
need feeding every two weeks) and can get used to handling with regular, careful human
Like rats, many Britons see mice as unwelcome house visitors who skitter about, delving into
food cupboards and spreading disease. But, also like rats, domesticated mice are actually very
clean animals. They are adorable, social little creatures, and are so intelligent that, with a little
training, they can be taught tricks. Each mouse has a unique little character to get to know, and
lots of love to give.
There are several breeds of dogs in the UK that are misunderstood as vicious, dangerous or
nasty. But a dog’s breed has certain characteristics that can be brought out by an owner, both
positive and negative. Rottweilers are calm and brave dogs, but most importantly, they’re very
Although rottweilers do have very strong territorial instincts, these can be dissipated through
good socialisation with other animals and humans from a young age. If that is done, rottweilers
are both loyal and protective of their owners, yet friendly towards others. They need
companionship, socialisation and obedience training – but in capable hands, the rottweiler is
calm, intelligent, capable and loyal.
Arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias amongst Britons. Hairy bodies, long
creeping legs, spinning webs coming from the ceiling, quick scuttling movements across the
floor…all these are enough to make the hair on the back of the neck stand up if you’re not a
spider fan. But spiders, too, can make fascinating pets. Active hunters are easier to keep than
web builders, and a breed like the tarantula is a popular pet shop find. Most spiders don’t enjoy
handling, so they’re more of a spectator pet. Spiders are tidy and clean pets which can live very
happily in a small terrarium. They need little to no socialisation either, meaning they’re a pet that
won’t get lonely!