If you are considering getting a pet, there are a few things you need to consider. What is your budget? Can you afford to maintain the lifestyle of a dog, or is a lizard better suited to you? Where do you live? Do you have space for a dog to run around? What is the purpose of getting a pet? Do you want a companion? Or do you want to teach your kids responsibility?
After asking yourself these basic questions, you may conclude that getting a pet is no small feat. It’s sort of like having a baby. You need to feed it, entertain it and care for it. The level of care depends on the pet you get, so lets have a look at what pet is best suited to you and your lifestyle.
The thing with dogs is that they love you, even if you aren’t really a dog person. They are loyal and great companions. They are also your personal security guard. You don’t need an alarm in your house; you just need a good dog.
Even if you have limited living space, you can still have a dog as long as you make the effort to take it out for a walk. Bring him along with you when you are at the beach. Most beaches in Vanuatu are dog friendly. Dog food is pretty expensive, but the Bon Marche butchery gives out free bones, and if you’re like the rest of the residents in Vanuatu, leftovers will do. Islands dogs are pretty resilient because they can eat almost anything! In fact, if you are considering getting a dog, consider getting a mixed breed dog instead of a pure bred, as they are known to fare better in health in the tropics.
Cats are relatively low maintenance. They don’t need to go the vet as often as dogs do and the most costly vet bill would probably be getting her or him snipped. Cats can eat anything and as independent creatures, they will happily roam in and out of the house. They are ideal for people who have busy lives, as you don’t need to engage with them as much as you would with a dog.
A horse is the most expensive animal to maintain. We are talking at least 10 000vt a week for their upkeep. People who own horses don’t play with them – they ride them. Lessons can cost a fortune and horse food and vet bills are also expensive. They are also high maintenance. You need to groom and wash regularly and every time you take them for a ride, you need to clean them thoroughly after.
You also need to consider the costs of your own riding gear including appropriate riding clothes, helmet, saddle, etc. Obviously you don’t need to buy a horse if you want to go horse riding and there are classes available at Club Hippique and Bellevue Ranch but it’s still quite expensive for a lesson.
The most popular bird you can keep in Vanuatu is a parrot. If you clip its wings, you don’t even need to keep it in cage. If well loved, they will love you right back and follow you wherever you go. Just make sure there aren’t any other animals around to attack it! They will happily eat fruit and drink water, so they are quite easy to maintain.
Unless you have the intention of eating your pet pig, these animals are usually suited to those with alternative lifestyles. There is also a limited time for you to have them indoors, because these guys can grow massive! If you get a pet pig, make sure you have plenty of outdoor space and plenty of food. They love eating and need to eat a varied diet of vegetables + pig pellet twice a day.
Snakes and Lizards
If you want a pet snake or lizard, you don’t go to the pet store (as it’s non existent in this country), you just go the garden and hopefully find one. You need a chicken wire fence or some kind of fencing to house them in. They also need shade and hiding spots, which can be done with a bit of wood and sticks, even a plant. The problem is feeding them. If you have a green lizard, they love hibiscus flowers but snakes like rodents, worms and insects. Although they don’t need to be fed every day, you will have to try source its food – good luck!
Fish are fairly low maintenance but it depends on the type of fish you get and how you intend to house them. You need to have a clean tank. If you have saltwater fish, you need to have the right amount of saline and make sure you get fish that won’t kill each other.
If you have children, the best type of fish to get them is goldfish (however they aren’t easy to get in Vanuatu. You will need to ask around). Goldfish can be kept in a pond or a bowl. Buying their food would be the only expense and you can get fish food from Vanuatu Agricultural Supplies.
Chickens are not the most exciting pets to have, but they are relatively low maintenance. You will need to have a patch of land for them to roam and have them fenced in with chicken wire. They also need some shade and if they are laying eggs, you need to provide a nest. Feeding them is easy. A bit of chicken feed, fruit and water will do. They are great for maintaining the garden as well as for providing fresh eggs.