So you’ve got the flat, but it’s the size of a postage stamp. Think that a pet’s out of the question? Think again. Flo Wales Bonner meets four Londoners and their pint-sized companions…
PETER AND HIS RABBITS
Peter Bloxham, 28, a writer, lives with his rabbits Otto and Hester in a shared flat in Kentish Town.
‘Rabbits are great city pets – you don’t have to walk them and they don’t smell. There’s a misconception that they just eat and poo, but Otto and Hester thrive on love and attention. It’s so nice having a little presence in the house to come home and cuddle up with after work. They do chew everything, though. In the space of two weeks Otto got through five iPhone chargers, and he once polished off a bar of Green & Black’s chocolate – we caught him with it all around his mouth.’
Cost of upkeep ‘£15 a month per bunny for food and hay.’
Living arrangements ‘A cage in our bedroom.’
Pros ‘Bunnies are intelligent and largely self-sufficient.’
Cons ‘They will destroy your stuff. Make sure to rabbit-proof.’
HOLLY AND HER HEDGEHOG
Holly Houghton, 28, works in design. She lives in Newington Green with her boyfriend and Snoop Hogg, an African pygmy hedgehog (top pic).
‘I wanted a pet that would be happy in a tiny flat, so a hedgehog is perfect. When we’re home we let Snoop out of her cage and she just runs around on the sofa. She’s adorable. And for some reason she loves loo rolls. If she sees one she’ll sprint towards it and just roam around with it on her head. Obviously, hedgehogs aren’t loyal pets, and they can be moody. But it’s so nice having a little thing to look
after and play with.’
Cost of upkeep ‘£5 a month, for a box of dry cat food. It’s the best food for hedgehogs.’
Living arrangements ‘A cage in the lounge.’
Pros ‘She’s incredibly lowmaintenance.’
Cons ‘Every now and then she’ll leave a little present on the sofa
CHARLOTTE AND HER AXOLOTL
Charlotte Kingston, 26, is a content developer from Hackney Wick. She shares a flat with Caspar, an albino axolotl (a kind of salamander).
‘Caspar is easy to look after – his tank only needs cleaning every couple of months. Everyone has a different reaction to him – some think he’s fantastic but others think he’s the weirdest thing ever. I love his permanent little smile and the pink frills round his head. He’s not the kind of pet that will give you cuddles, but just looking at him makes me happy .’
Cost of upkeep ‘£5 a month for trays of frozen bloodworms.’
Living arrangements ‘A tank in the kitchen.’
Pros ‘He can go without food for two weeks at a time.’
Cons ‘I had three in a tank and Caspar had one of his arms eaten. Keep your axolotls apart!’
DANNIE AND HER DRAGON
Dannie Carr, 37, a company director, lives in Leyton with Ferdinand, a bearded dragon. She also owns a gecko, Betsy, and two guinea pigs, Matilda and Vanilla.
‘Ferdinand is quite communicative, and responds to his name. He loves climbing in things: I often find him sleeping in a pair of my platform shoes. Betsy, my gecko, is more lazy,
but she she’ll run up and down your leg quite happily. I got my guinea pigs after a friend found them in a stairwell. I’m a total softie when it comes to abandoned animals.’
Cost of upkeep ‘£35 a month for Ferdinand, £8 a month for Betsy, £5 a month per guinea pig.’
Living arrangements ‘Two vivariums in the living room, and a hutch in the garden.’
Pros ‘They’re great company.’
Cons ‘Sometimes one of them hides and I panic!’