Not everyone is comfortable having a big pet in their home. Some people just want a little animal they can touch and care for without having it run up and down the house. This is the reason why some people opt for small rodents as pet.
The family of small rodents that can be used as pets include rats, mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils. These animals can easily be purchased from pet stores and they have been a favorite for many young children over the years.
While all these creatures are rodents, their care needs vary, their social interaction qualities vary, and they also possess different qualities as pet.
The comparisons featured in this article will help you choose which of these rodents best suit you.
Table of Contents
- Keeping a hamster as pet
- Keeping gerbils as pets
- Keeping mice as pets
- Keeping rats as pets
- Keeping guinea pigs as pets
Keeping a hamster as pet
Golden or Syrian hamster live about two or three years on average and adult hamsters grow to become about six inches in length. Hamsters are typically solitary animals and they should be allowed to be themselves in a spacious cage.
The basic minimum cage size for an hamsters should be between 12 to 18 inches and also 12 inches tall. However, because hamsters can be very active, it would be best to make provision for a bigger cage because the bigger, the better.
If you handle a Syrian hamster from babyhood, it is most likely to have a very agreeable temperament. However, if you do not handle your hamster much it may grow up to become defensive and ditch out a pretty painful bite.
Hamsters are also naturally nocturnal so it could be difficult to get them to be active during the day and they can become grumpy if you wake Them up.
Hamsters are very fragile because they are small animals so it is vital that wish children are having fun with them, they are been watched and play activities should be done on the floor. The best part however is that hamsters make a wonderful beginner’s pet and they are widely available in pet stores.
Plus, you do not need to have more than one hamster to keep them happy and active majorly because hamsters are solitary animals ( except for a particular kind of dwarf hamster that can be social sometimes with other dwarf hamsters).
Keeping gerbils as pets
The same way hamsters live up to two or three years, gerbils can live that long too but in some cases it has been reported that they live up to five years. Gerbils have a furry tail since a body length of up to four inches.
The furry tail of a gerbil makes it different from a rat, and their tail can be almost the length of their body but that’s never a good enough reason to pick a gerbil up by the tail.
Gerbils are very social and active so they can do well in groups but if you are getting more than one hamster make sure they are either all make or all female so that you do not have too many baby hamsters.
Getting more than one adult gerbil is calling for a fight, so it is better you get two hamsters from the same litter or you get them as babies.
The minimum recommended cage size for a pair of gerbils or a small community of gerbils is about 12 x 24 inches with a height of 12 inches but more space is always the best option.
If you are wondering how to get your gerbil to become somewhat tame, handle them regularly and watch how they become interesting to watch as they have fun with their fellow gerbils.
Gerbils have been discovered to be more safe to handle than some hamsters as they are less prone to biting. An additional advantage is that Gerbils are energetic and active rodents so it might be difficult for little children to handle them.
Keeping mice as pets
While a lot of people hate the presence of mice in their homes because of how destructive these little fellows can be. But it can be really fancy to have some cute move in a cage for your kids to play with.
Pet mice can live between on top three years on average and they are very easy to take care of. Mice are the smallest of the rodents featured in this article with their body growing up to only about three inches in length and a hairless tail that looks like that of a rat.
Mice are very social rodents subs female mice are great in the company of their peers unlike make mice who are in the habit of fighting when kept together in a cage. Mice require only a minimum sized cage of at least 12 x 18 inches and 12 inches tall.
A larger cage is however a better option if you are looking to have two or more move in your custody. Mice can become friendly if they are handled on a regular basis, but you still have to be careful with them as they are pretty fast, skittish, and tiny.
Mice are very interesting creatures to watch, they are low maintenance, and also very active so your children will be happy to keep some.
Keeping rats as pets
Rats can live a little longer than mice with reports of some pet rats living up to four years. Rats are very social rodents so you just may need to keep more than one. However, keeping a same sex pair is the best option to avoid excessive breeding since rats give birth a lot.
Rats are easier to handle than most of the rodents listed in the article as they grow up to eight inches in body length and poses a hairless tail that is as long as their body’s length.
With regular handling, your rat can enjoy human companionship and become very tame. Rats are very intelligent and less unpredictable unlike hamsters that can randomly jump from their owner’s hand.
Rats rarely bite and that makes them a good choice for beginners. Rats have been compared to dogs because they are able to bond and interact with humans, they are also able to learn some simple tricks with the right training.
Keeping guinea pigs as pets
If you are looking to keep a rodent that wouldn’t die anytime soon, then a guinea pig is not a bad idea. Guinea pigs live longer than all the other rodents featured in this article with reports of some guinea pigs living up to ten years.
A fully growth guinea pig could weight up to two or three pounds and be about 10 inches in length. Guinea pigs are easy to handle because of how big they grow to become. These guys are calm, rarely bite even when they are stressed and are super friendly.
These qualities have made them one of the most highly sought after pet rodents. Guinea pigs are very sociable animals so it is best to keep them in a large cage and allow the kids play with them outside the cage as much as possible since they never make attempts to escape.