Not all Ferrets STINK, but they do still have a skunky smell to them even when operated it just isn't as foul. Our little girl is a doll but not all ferrets are friendly too, they have to be taught at a young age not to bite or they will grow up to be biters. And yes, they are very hyper and get into everything. Ferrets are also very high mantainence. They need to be cleaned at least every 3 days and they need their nails clipped often or they can scratch rather deep. Not perposely but being so active when you try to hold them they just want to move. Ferrets sleep about 18 hours a day so when they are awake they make up for it. lol. They also need a large cage with a litter in it and lots of toys and out time. Our ferret has her own room with patio doors so we can watch her when she is out. She is an awesome pet but I couldn't see my 9 year old caring for her soley.
Oh, and when they poo it stinks! only for a little while but if your in the same room you know! lol. That is why the frequent cleaning of the litter.
If he wants to go mammal I'd go with a rat (I know he doesn't like them but if you get them small enough they are cute and you can get used of them rather quickly) or a baby cockateil. Teils are awesome pets too, if they are alone they usually dont make much noise and can come out for play. My guys stay on top of their cage from about 9:30 am till 9pm and they rarely ever come off on their own. They have everything they need right there, perches to play on food, water, latters to climb, and toys to play with. Setting up a nice bird cage is a bit costly though but so is a cage for any herp that needs uvb.
I also like chinchillas but I wouldn't recomend these as pets for younger children eithor as they can be really nervous animals.
Please let us know what he decides. Too bad the dad wasn't more open minded about rats or snakes, they make excellent pets.
Herps are like pringles, you can't stop at just one.
'believe me I know!!'