Small pets are getting pretty big, according to a market research firm.
Ameicans now share their space with 116 million fish, birds, small animals and reptiles, says a report from the firm, Packaged Facts.
After a noticeable recessionary slump, ownership of exotic animals is on the rebound, the report says. That's also appears to be true in Denver, according to a couple of store employees.
"It's picked up in the past year or year-and-a half," said Clint Sell of Reptilian Paradise in Denver. "It's coming back pretty well."
An employee of African Grey, a parrot store in Denver, added that while sales aren't booming, they're getting better.
Further evidence can be found in the Critter Corner at Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, where 450 exotic animals await homes. Spokesman Jennifer Strickland said that while she hasn't noticed a an overall population explosion, the shelter has been getting more exotic birds. A factor in that could be that such birds live a long time and need a lot of human contact - perhaps more than some owners can give.
According to a story in Marketing Daily the recent report, “Pet Population and Pet Owner Trends in the U.S,” says that fish tanks can be found in 7.2 million households and bird cages in 4.6 million. Reptiles are pets in 1.8 million households.
The report finds that 15.6 million adults reside in households with fish and 10.4 million own birds and 2.5 million have rabbits.
These pet owners represent big business for the pet industry, the story said. "They groom and board their birds, buy toys for their iguanas, purchase medications for their turtles, take their gerbils to the vet and light and decorate their fish tanks. Food is bought for all of the tens of millions of pets that are owned in addition to cats and dogs."
Compared to pet owners who have cats and dogs exclusively, owners of fish, reptiles and small animals are much more likely to have children under the age of 18 in their households (57 percent to 34 percent). Nearly 90 percent of households with hamsters have children, and 87 percent of these have children under the age of 12.
Around 60 percent of households with fish, rabbits and reptiles have children under the age of 18.
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