Are you a dog person or a cat person? How about birds or fish? What is your favorite pet?

While mankind first domesticated animals to provide food (cows and pigs), transportation (horses and camels), or as beasts of burden (oxen and donkeys), we have since come to rely on the companionship and joy of keeping animals as pets. There are several very common household pets. The best to start with is a goldfish. They are pretty easy to care for and can give you an indication if you are able to care for more than yourself. You can advance to more complex fish to care for in a fresh or saltwater environment, if you have some success with old goldie. Birds are very intelligent and make great pets but require a bit more care than fish. They require daily attention and a good bit of cleaning. Hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs make for fun pets as they scurry about. Bites are possible with these creatures. Cats make great pets and they are very independent, just make sure no one is allergic to their fur. It is the most common pet allergy to humans. The classic cuddly puppy dog always makes a great pet, but dogs require the most care of all pets. Dogs also need to a good temperament to be around children.

The following worksheets explore the characteristics of various popular pet animals, including dogs, cats, and other small mammals, birds, fish, and even reptiles. Each reading passage is accompanied by two different question sheets. Fun Fact: In the United States, more than 63% of households report owning at least one pet. Dogs are the most popular choice.

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Birds Reading Page 1

Children and parents alike often delight in birds. They are fascinating, beautiful, and make great pets.

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Birds Page 2

The type of food you will need to feed your pet bird will vary depending on the breed and age of your bird.

Multiple Choice Questions

The life span of a bird varies, but a general rule is that the larger the bird, the longer its life will be.

Short Answer Questions

Birds can be noisy, too! Be sure that if you are purchasing a bird as a pet, you are ready to have some chirping, singing, and maybe even talking!

Cats - Reading Passage Page 1

Cats are very popular pets and can be found in many households across the United States.

Cats - Reading Passage Page 2

A cat should be fed cat food twice a day. There are various types of cat food available, which can be selected based on the age of the cat, and it's size.

Multiple Choice Questions

Cats are often associated with allergies. If you are considering becoming a cat-owner, make sure that you are not allergic, as you will find yourself sneezing all the time!

Dogs - Reading Passage Page 1

What makes this lovable animal such a wonderful pet that many American families count a dog as part of the family?

Dogs - Reading Passage Page 2

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association, there are 62,300,000 dogs in America. That is a lot of dogs!

Multiple Choice Questions

The average lifespan of a dog is between 10-12 years, but this may vary depending on the breed.

Short Answer Questions

When people are considering getting a pet dog, there are a number of important factors that need to be considered.

Rabbits - Reading Passage Page 1

Rabbits are considered fairly high-maintenance pets. Rabbits have long life spans of 9 - 12 years.

Rabbits- Reading Passage Page 2

Rabbits do not need to be bathed, but they do need to be groomed. Their nails need to be trimmed, and they need to be brushed.

Multiple Choice Questions

Where will you keep a pet rabbit? Typically, bunny-owners keep their rabbits in an enclosed, well-ventilated room with a clean living area or hutch.

Short Answer Questions

Rabbits can be fed fresh grass hay and vegetables, with some special rabbit pellets.

Ferrets - Reading Passage Page 1

Be careful around ferrets – they tend to bite, and even though they might not mean to hurt you, they certainly are capable of causing pain!

Ferrets - Reading Passage Page 2

A ferret is not a rodent like some people believe. They are from the mustildae family with cousins consisting of the mink, weasel, otter, skunk, badger and European polecat.

Mountain Gorilla - Multiple Choice Questions

Because a ferret has so much energy and hates to sit still, it requires at least 3-4 hours outside of the cage every day for "play time."

Short Answer Questions

Ferrets can get caught under recliner chairs, so any chairs like this cannot be in the home as they are very hazardous.

Guinea Pigs - Reading Passage Page 1

Females are called sows, males are called boars, and babies are called pups. The latin name for Guinea pigs is Cavia percellus, and they are sometimes called cavies.

Guinea Pigs - Multiple Choice Questions

Guinea pigs are quite social; so many families welcome more than one into their family.

Short Answer Questions

Guinea pigs can be kept in a large cage, and may be timid at first but generally become quite tame.

Hamsters - Reading Passage Page 1

A pet hamster is a fun addition to any family. Is a pet hamster right for you?

Multiple Choice Questions

Chinese hamsters are about the same size as dwarf hamsters, and only sometimes get along with other hamsters. Different species should never be paired together.

Short Answer Questions

Hamsters live in cages. The cage should be large enough that the hamster can run around and enjoy himself.

Fish - Reading Passage Page 1

Fish are a fairly low maintenance pet that the whole family can enjoy. A fish is also a great pet for someone with allergies!

Multiple Choice Questions

While a fish might seem like a very simple pet to own, it is important to realize that it is still a commitment, like any other pet.

Short Answer Questions

Fish come in many different types. One of the most popular types for family pets is the Betta fish (also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish).

Iguana - Reading Passage Page 1

Not everyone wants a cuddly, fluffy pet! Some people prefer something a little more…amphibian. An iguana is a fantastic pet for someone who is interested in reptiles.

Iguana - Reading Passage Page 2

Iguanas generally need an entire room or at least a portion of a room. Iguanas can be kept in an aquarium - a 55-gallon aquarium in usually purchased, but the iguana will likely outgrow it.

Iguana - Multiple Choice Questions

Iguanas can be fed green vegetables as well as fruits and squash. Food should be chopped up finely, and most iguana owners will tell you that iguanas appreciate variety.

Short Answer Questions

Iguanas need to be bathed - this can be done in the bathtub. Iguana owners must wash their hands with an antibacterial soap after handling their pet, because iguanas carry salmonella.

Mice - Reading Passage Page 1

Mice are nocturnal creatures, which means they are most active during the nighttime. T

Mice - Multiple Choice Questions

Mice should be kept in a wire cage with a tight fitting lid. The cage should be escape-proof, and mice will enjoy climbing about inside.

Short Answer Questions

Pet mice are fairly low maintenance pets and are quite inexpensive to purchase and keep.