Well, who’d have thought it!

Following on from my blog a few weeks ago about the top dog breeds in the UK, I thought I’d Google around a bit more and look at what were the most popular pets. I was somewhat surprised by what I discovered…

In 2014 it was estimated that 13 million (46% of) households had pets. The total pet population stands at around 65 million ­– which sounds huge – but that does including fish. I’m sorry, but I never really think of fish as pets as they are cold and wet and you can’t stroke them, or ‘pet’ them as such, but clearly I am in the minority here!

So, here’s what is widely regarded as the UK’s top ten pets:

1. Fish kept in tanks: 20 – 25 million (9% of households)
2. Fish kept in ponds: 20 million (5% of households)
3. Dogs: 9 million (24% of households)
4. Cats: 7.9 million (18% of households)
5. Rabbits: 1 million (2.4% of households)
6. Domestic fowl: 1 million (0.8% of households)
7. Caged birds: 1 million (1.4% of households)
8. Guinea Pigs: Half a million (1.1% of households)
9. Hamsters: 400,000 (1.4% of households)
10. Lizards: 400,000 (0.7% of households)  

Lizards… really? The tenth most popular pet ahead of horses and ponies? Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather from one of the 1 million of No.6. And it’s slightly unnerving to envisage half a million Guinea Pigs chomping away in their little cages, but they are sweet pets and one of my daughters was totally besotted with hers.

Other popular pets are, unsurprisingly, horses and ponies (400,000 – 0.3% of households), snakes (400,000 – 0.5% of households), pigeons (300,000), tortoises and turtles (300,000), frogs and toads (100,000), newts/salamanders (100,000), gerbils, rats, mice and insects (100,000 of each).

I’ve clearly led a sheltered life where pets are concerned, my own selection being restricted largely to dogs and most of those being spaniels. What pets have you owned? Are you conventional, like me, or have you been seduced by salamanders or been besotted with a budgie? I’ll bet there are some unusual ones out there… I’d love to hear about them!

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