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The best Christmas gifts for the furry friends

Main image: cat lamp, £135, Liberty

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

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On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
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The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral