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Connor Sullivan, 16, and his snake Bob. He says: 'I've always liked animals; it started when my friend had a turtle and he took me to a pet shop in Camden with loads of exotic creatures. I bought my first female gecko, then I started collecting from there.'

The pet shop boys (and girls): Children reveal the pleasures and pitfalls of living with a pet

School stress? Classmates being mean? Sometimes an animal can be a child's best friend.

Your Questions: Which bird would you recommend as a pet?

Q. I have always pondered the idea of having a bird as a pet. The obvious choice would be a budgie, but they seem a bit boring. If you have a bird, which one would you recommend? Vicki from Harrow

Pet of the week: The greyhound

All animal lovers will be aware of the plight of the greyhound. Although many owners of racing hounds take their responsibility towards the breed seriously, some are not so thoughtful, and will discard dogs once they are past racing age (typically about three to four). Their placid nature makes them ideal pets for a happy life in retirement.

Animal Art Fair 2011 – picture preview

The second ever Animal Art Fair opens at London’s Fulham Palace this weekend, bringing a vast collection of paintings and drawings of pets and wildlife under the same roof.

A stink in the tale: Why Britain is swooning over the pet with a pong

The skunk might seem an odd choice for domestication, but Tom Peck is smitten

Your Questions: 'My dog whines and barks whenever my partner and I try to get intimate'

Q. I have a delicate problem: whenever my partner and I try to get intimate, my cocker spaniel starts to whine and bark, even though she's downstairs and we have our bedroom door shut. She likes my partner very much, even though my partner's only recently moved in. Jeff, via e-mail

Pet of the week: The Rhode Island red hen

Friendly and full of character, hens make great family pets, and require surprisingly little space to roam free. More than half a million households in the UK keep chickens as pets, and that number is increasing every year as the lure of eating fresh produce grows stronger. And once you've tasted your own eggs, you'll find that un oeuf is never enough...

Nasty by Nature: Horned lizards

Nasty by Nature: Vampire bats

One man and his Whippet go to Crufts

The biggest dog show on earth is usually the territory of its best-bred canines – and owners. Into this rarefied world step Tom Peck and his rescue hound, Bayda...

The ten best dog accessories

From transporting a tired terrier in style to making Fido shoulder his share of the load, we take a lead and scoop up the best canine clobber...

Click on the image on the right to launch the gallery

Vote a new Humphrey into Downing Street

With a rodent problem at Downing Street having been highlighted by the appearance of rats on not one but two broadcasts from outside Number 10 this week, it seems that Humphrey, the former feline resident, is sorely missed.

Does the hamster need rescuing? That'll be £600, please

Horses in pools, cats up trees... animals cause so many 999 calls. But that could be about to change. Matt Chorley says budget cuts will be bad news for pets in distress

Your Questions: 'How can I ensure my rat doesn't jump out of the window?'

Q. I had a lovely hamster who used to roam around my flat. Last time he disappeared, I found out that he had jumped out of my second-floor window. I've bought a rat now and want to ensure it doesn't happen again. Have you got any advice? Laura, via e-mail

Pet of the week: The Frog Beetle

Beetles are quite fascinating members of the insect world. There are more than 350,000 different types of beetle, more than any other species on the planet, and they are crucial to the life cycle of their natural habitats. They may be small, but they have a huge impact on life on earth.

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HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower