Animals lovers are almost certain to have a soft spot for rodents. Having a cuddly little fluff ball of your own can be really entertaining, and there’s a variety of pets in this field you can choose from.
As you should when making the decision to get ANY pet, you must think through how much time you can give your new pet so it doesn’t end up in a shelter or back to the pet shop. Most rodents don’t live for very long, so you want to make sure you can give them the most you can in this time.
If you’re still in the early stages of thinking about what type of rodent is going to be best suited for you, here’s a quick guide that goes through the most popular choices and what it takes to give them the best quality of life.
Hamsters are one the easiest to care for when it comes to rodents. You can choose between dwarf hamsters or you can go for the more standard sized Syrian types. Hamsters tend to live alone and sleep a lot, but some of the smaller species can be kept in pairs. You don’t need a massive cage for them either, but the bigger you can get it, the better.
If you’re not about a lot, but still want to get a rodent you can enjoy some play times with then a Hamster could be a good choice for you. While they need caring for obviously, if you’re at work all day then it’s no worries as your Hamster would probably sleep through it!
On average a Hamsters lifespan is between 2 and a half to 3 years, so you’re not going to be tied down too long with them.
These little desert rats are a lot of fun to play with, but just note they can be slightly skittish and are VERY fast. Gerbils need to be kept in pairs at the very least and need a fairly decent sized home so they can dig tunnels through shavings, while having some ventilated space at the top.
As mentioned, gerbils are pray in the wild so they can be a little skittish at first, but the more they get used to you then the more trusting they will become. Like Hamsters, If you have some time on your hands, Gerbils are a good pet to have but if you’re not sure about super fast moving small things, maybe they’re not your first choice!
Gerbils will live anywhere between 3 to 5 years so there’s no need to be committed over a long period of time.
If you don’t know what Degus are, they’re like bigger gerbils but they’re actually closer related to chinchillas. These rodents are very smart and while they can be nocturnal, it’s also possible for them to be active during the day and sleep at night instead. They form very close bonds with their cage mates as well as owners, so you need to keep them in pairs at least.
Degus are very energetic and active and will require a fair bit of attention, especially if they are more active during the day than night. They need a fairly large area to run around in and also like to burrow. If you have a little more free time on your hand and want to spend a lot of personal time with your furry friends, Degus are worth considering.
The lifespan of a degu is usually between 6 to 9 years, fairly long for a small rodent and also a lot of quality time you can spend with your pet. You just need to make sure you’re dedicated for this time.
Ignore anything negative you’ve ever heard about rats, these intelligent animals are very rewarding when looked after properly and can bond very well with owners and cage mates. Rats are very social animals so you need to have at least two but if you can then three or more is probably better.
Rats are nocturnal naturally, but will come out to play in the daytime if you invite them to (usually, sometimes sleep is a bit better!). You can maintain your 9 to 5 routine no problem with rats, but you have to be sure that you give them the attention they need once you’re home. They need a fair bit of space so they can run around, the more rats you have the bigger it needs to be.
A rat’s lifespan is similar to that of a Hamster of 2 and a half years to 3 and a half at the most. They’re very addictive to keep, and if you get them you’ll soon wish they could live longer as you’ll be totally in love!
Of the five rodent species featured here, Guinea Pigs are the largest of the lot. They need a good amount of space and a good amount of human interaction to make them confident with you. This space needs to be fairly flat too, as small drops with guinea pigs can injure them quite easily.
Guinea Pigs live in herds, so you need to get at least two to avoid them becoming stressed or lonely. While some have been known to live alone, it’s not really recommended unless it’s the aftermath of losing a partner. In order for your piggy to get used to you as well, you should handle it fairly often so it’s not scared of you.
Guinea Pigs will live between 4 to 8 years, so you need to make sure you can give them time for this long, and be sure to spend lots of time with them while giving them a good amount of roaming space.
There’s some guidance for 5 start rodent pets. There’s a lot more you need to make sure you research before committing to one of these animals so be sure you do this.
Also, if you already have a house pet such as a dog or a cat, you seriously need to consider if it’s worth getting a rodent at all. Dogs may not be too bothered as long as you keep them seperate, but most rodent cages are not cat or dog proof! Be sure to bare this in mind.
We will return with more guidance on other species of rodents in the future, but if you have any other tips you’d like to point out please drop a comment below!
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