• December 8, 2023

Does Your Child Want a Pet Rodent?

Handling Mice and Rats – Exotics Vets

At one time or another your child may decide he or she wants a rodent for a pet.  Many parents are used to exterminating rodents not having them in their house as pets.  Domestic rodents are very different from wild rodents. They make great pets and bring you child joy and they teach responsibility.

If you decide to let your child have a rodent for a pet you must take your time and chose the right one.  There are 5 different types of rodents kept as pets and each one has a little different requirement.

Hamsters are the most common type of rodent kept as a pet.  When they are paired up they will tend to fight.  Hamsters need to be kept alone for best results.

Gerbils and Hamsters are very similar in many ways.  Gerbils are more playful and outgoing than Hamsters. They are happier when  they are kept in pairs or groups.  Some of the states will not allow you to keep a Gerbil as a pet.

Believe it or not mice make loveable pets.  They are a little more nervous than hamsters and gerbils.  Male mice do well in pairs or small groups.  Males will fight with each other and cannot be kept together.

Rats are social and get along great in pairs of the same sex.  This is not recommended unless you want an overpopulation of rats.  Rats are a good choice for a Childs pet.  They rarely bite and they will bond with their owners.

Guinea pigs are good if you are looking for a larger and less rodents looking pet.

Your child may decide they do not want their pet rodent and for this reason sometimes the lifespan is considered when picking a pet rodent.  Guinea pigs usually live longer than the other species of rodents that are kept as pets.  They will live from 5 to 7 years with proper care.  Rats will live 2 to 4 years with proper care.  Hamsters and gerbils usually live 2 to 3 years with proper care.  Mice can live to be 3 years old but sometimes they will only live 1 year or less.

Some rodents are not good pets because of their schedule.  Hamsters, rats and mice usually sleep all day and are up all night.  They will be up playing when your child is sleeping.  When your child is up and wants to play they will be sleeping.  The noise they make in their cage can be nerve racking at all hours of the night.  Gerbils usually sleep at night and are awake during the day.  Guinea pigs can be awake during the day or they may sleep all day and stay awake at night.

Do not buy any rodent that shows signs of being ill such as a discharge from the eyes, nose, and mouth or coughing, sneezing or wheezing.  The rodent should be alert and active.  It should not panic when being handled.  Examine the animal’s tail to make sure it does not have diarrhea.  All rodents make great pets for the right people.

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