Small animals make excellent economical pets and companions for people of all ages. In today’s post, we would be sharing about the rodent family. This group of pets include hamsters, chinchillas and guinea pigs. Each type of rodent pet species can be further broken down into different breeds.
The Hamsters. As a classic first pet, hamsters are very friendly and easily tamed. There is a vast selection of hamsters which includes: dwarf, robo, golden, fancy, teddy bear, panda bear or black bear. Golden Hamsters and Black Bear Hamsters seem to be the easiest to tame. Their lifespan is about 3 to 5 years.
Their simple care needs and small size make them perfect for anyone! Hamsters only require a weekly cage cleaning or sometimes twice a week and no grooming. And since they are hardy pets, they need few visits to the vet. However, because hamsters are nocturnal, they make noises at night by running on their wheels or rustling in their cages.
The Chinchillas. As they originated for the high mountains, the Chinchillas can move around very fast and hop quite high. They also have very thick yet beautiful soft lush fur to keep them warm. Thus, they must be kept cool at all times with plenty of air ventilation. If it becomes too humid, they may faint or die. Chinchillas also require special care in grooming. Other than that, they are very low maintenance pets. Although they make good pets, Chinchillas do not like to be cuddled too much and can become stressed easily. You need to be very patient and gentle with them.
Chinchillas come in a variety of colours with the most common being silvery grey. They also come in white, beige, black or violet. And they can live for 12 to 20 years, relatively long for a rodent. Like hamsters, the Chinchillas tend to be awake at night.
The Guinea Pigs. These cavies are herbivores unlike the Hamsters and Chinchillas that are omnivores. Cuddly and comical, they are very chatty, producing squeals, chirps, squeaks, and whistles. They are very sociable animals and require a lot of your attention (unless you have more than one for them to be each other’s company!) They are also very active but guinea pigs should never, NEVER use an exercise wheel (contrary to the Hamsters and Chinchillas) as it may result in damaged backs and injured feet. Instead, give them enough open space to run around!
The Guinea Pigs have a lifespan of 5 to 6 years. And their hair comes in a wide range of colors and the hair may be long, short or short and curly, and in any combination of black, white or brown.
Besides a staple diet of dried food, these pets may also require timothy hay to aid in digestion and, assorted treats to provide nutritional variety and support natural foraging habits. Not to forget, they would need sufficient fruits, vegetables, salt/mineral blocks and vitamins as well. Chew sticks should also be available to keep their teeth trimmed.
Their cages can come in different materials – wire, plastic or an aquarium. No matter what type of choice you make, it is always best to select one which gives them ample space for them to play around and grow to love.
Like how we have furniture, fixtures and fittings in our house, these pets would definitely love to have several hideouts to sleep in, be able to have a good workout. An exercise wheel to burn their calories, maybe? (Too much good food!) And lots of foraging opportunities to keep them busy! Bedding materials should be within reach so that they can build a ‘nest’ and chill out.
Which pet is the best choice for you? Remember, always opt for the one which matches with your lifestyle!
And… just for fun, why not try this to have a gauge on what type of pet suits you? ‘What Pet is Best for You?’ Quiz