Why a Cute Rodent Might Make the Perfect Pet


Do cute chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, or rabbits in pet stores make your heart melt? They most certainly made it into stories, cartoons, and adorable greeting cards. Beatrix Potter’s books come to mind when hearing about rabbits, particularly the story of fuzzy little mischievous Peter who broke into a farmer’s garden and feasted before being caught. They are the enemy of farmers, but pet rabbits are another matter. They are just as popular as other rodent species like hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and rats as pets.

Do you still maintain the notion that pet hamsters are more of a “starter pet”, given to children who are angling for a dog, but the parents want to make sure he is up to the job of caretaking, so he is allowed a smaller type of pet needing less upkeep or attention. I’ve seen more than enough classified ads from people looking to rehome a guinea pig or gerbil because the kids have left for college and the dorm they’ll be moving into doesn’t allow pets. Small rodents typically do not live as long as cats and dogs, but they do possess a certain amount of lifespan, making it a real shame if they end up being abandoned. If you are all grown-up and subscribe to the mindset that pet rodents are “just for kids” you will miss out on the fun and enriching experience of rodent ownership. Many devoted pet lovers of all ages own small furry pets that they enjoy. This is supported by numerous competitions, ownership clubs, and shows.

I can tell you quite a bit about their habitat requirements having once owned pet hamsters and a white rat. Now, hamsters and gerbils will be content to live in a cage that is well-ventilated and full of entertaining activities like tunnels and mazes, but rabbits need a much larger home than that. As a matter of fact, rabbit habitats are called “hutches” not “cages”. There must be plenty of space for running around. A rabbit’s habitat is built very much like that of its smaller cousins, though. Rodents are notorious chewers, so durability must be considered when building the house. The majority of tiny rodent residences are built from sturdy plastic or wire. The construction of rabbit homes is similar. Because of the nature of their constantly erupting incisor teeth, rabbits require a steady diet of wood, and hamsters chew on cardboard (think toilet paper tubes, which I always kept for them). The first point is extremely crucial.

Furthermore, rodents are herbivorous, which means that they only eat fruits and vegetables. Additionally, they ought to add nuts and seeds to their diets. There are some undesirables out there that you should avoid giving to your pet. Hamsters should not be given onions, and due to its higher nutritional value, romaine lettuce is a much better choice than iceberg. You can’t go wrong with raw staples like broccoli, carrots, kale, or cauliflower. Fruit, however, should be introduced gradually to avoid the risk of diarrhoea. They also require a lot of good, fresh water, which must be provided in a bottle meant for a hanging cage rather than a water dish like the kind you might give your cat or dog.

Additionally, soft bedding is required for rodents. Although cedar chips are frequently used, I switched to a type of pet store bedding that had better odor control. These furry friends of yours will poo a lot, so odor control is definitely necessary! Because ventilation is so crucial for mice, gerbils, and hamsters, many pet experts DO NOT recommend glass aquarium tanks with a screened lid, which are typical of reptile habitats. They also need a “hideaway” they can scurry away to for safety when they feel threatened, as rodents have many enemies in the wild-it is part of their natural instinct to hide from perceived danger.

Ask yourself if you can prioritize your time to attend to a small critter’s needs because the smaller the pet, the shorter its lifespan may be. The average lifespan of a hamster, mouse, or gerbil is five years. Guinea pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits can easily live to be ten years old. Now, regarding the issue of having more than one, rodents enjoy having a companion around, so two can be preferable to one – ideally of the same gender, mind you, as they will otherwise breed (like crazy!) Therefore, you should be well on your way to successful furry small pet ownership if you can keep in mind the key suggestions above and never underestimate their significance. Enjoy yourself and keep in mind that you can always find other pet owners on discussion forums with whom you can exchange thoughts, learn about new things, or even join a group or enter a contest.

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