KEEPING YOUR PET RODENT HAPPY
Unfortunately, when most people think about the word rodent, they reach for the phone to call the exterminator. While you don’t want an infestation in your home, many varieties of rodents make excellent pets. Sometimes people forget that favorites such as gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, and chinchillas are all rodents. Plus, domesticated mice and rats are some of the best pets you can ever have.
Today we are going to talk about what a pet rodent needs in order to be happy, and to stay engaged.
Most rodent species love to be in groups or at least to have one good buddy, so unless you plan to spend a few hours per day with your pet rodent, you may want to get two or more. Obviously, unless you plan on breeding, you are going to want your pets to be of the same gender. There are a couple of exceptions to the rule. Female guinea pigs will get along a lot better than males in close quarters. Hamsters are the one antisocial rodent, so if you have more than one, they should have separate dwellings.
Be careful not to overcrowd your pets. They may love company, but two rodents will need double the space of one in order to thrive.
Additional Needs of a Rodent
- Light – Most rodents sleep during the day. Don’t leave the cage in direct sunlight or they may get too hot (not to mention an overdose of vitamin D). They need a place in the cage to hide from the light as needed, or you may end up with a stressed-out little companion.
- Bedding – What you use for bedding will change from pet to pet, but the key is to change it out frequently enough to keep ammonia from building up. Don’t change all of the bedding at once, or your pet will think you moved them to a completely new home. Smell is important to rodents.
- Toys – Your rodents will be a little calmer and less likely to attempt an escape if they have something to play with, something to gnaw on, and places to burrow.
It really doesn’t take a lot to keep rodents happy. You may find they are very enjoyable pets.