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5 Rodent Pets to Choose From (Pros and Cons)

May 16, 2018

Rodents are mammals which belong to Rodentia order and have extra-large teeth. They use these teeth or incisors for crunching the food. Since the rodents are usually small in size, they might use their teeth for safeguarding themselves. They are often attacked by larger animals, and they use the large teeth as a defense. Also, the rodent pets use the teeth to sense danger and help them to escape from the danger easily.

Categorically, the rodents can be classified into three main groups namely the squirrels, cavy-like rodents and the mouse-like rodents. Rodents are also treated as household pets, and some of the commonly kept rodents are mentioned further. The list of rodents that make good pets shall help you to choose your companion properly.

5 Best Rodents Pets

Gerbils 

– It is a small furry animal, and the color of the fur might vary from black, brown, gray, orange and white. The appearance of the gerbils is similar to that of hamsters. Still, there are few exceptions as the gerbils have a bigger head with small ears and slim body. Gerbils also have long tails, and it amounts to four to six inches long including the total length of the mammal. They are the native of Africa and Asia. It is a decent household pet, and if you wish to get a companion for your children at home, then the gerbils are the ideal options. It is better for the youngsters to watch the pet move around in the home as they tend to nip and thus should be carefully handled. In fact, they should not be picked by its tail as it can cause injury to the pet.

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Apart from this, the gerbils also take a number of naps throughout the day and save the energy to carry out a lot of activities. They are social and love to live with their species with an average lifespan of two to four years. The gerbils are not found in Hawaii or California as they are prohibited there.

Hamsters 

– These rodents belong to the Cricetinae subfamily and one of the popular household pets. These are also used as laboratory animals. They have the tendency to hide underground during the daytime in case they are caught by the predators. A prominent feature in the appearance of the hamsters is that they have long cheek pouches up to the shoulders that help them to carry food.

The length of hamster is from three to five inches with a large eye as compared to their body size. They have a short tail that makes them look more lovable. It is a suitable one as household pets. Here again, they are available in multiple color ranging from gold, white, cream and many more. As already mentioned earlier, these pets remain inactive during the daytime and are active during the night. On a different note, the hamsters do not prefer to stay with other mammals from the same species as the gerbils do. They love to play with chew toys to prevent the teeth from breaking. Similar to the gerbils, the hamsters also live for a lifespan of two to three years.

Guinea Pigs 

– This is a chubby little tailless creature that weights to two pounds during their full grown stage. They are also known as cavies. With round eyes and rose petal-like ears, they are curly haired mammals that come in various color combinations. The guinea pigs are available in both long and short hair depending on their breeds. In this respect, the curly-haired guinea pigs are called Texel. Among the ones that you wish to pick at your home, this is the best one as they never bite. They are social and love being cuddled, but you have to hold them securely without trying to turn them on their backs. Gradually, they try to recognize the caregivers and start to reciprocate them by signs.

Researchers are of the opinion that the guinea pigs require a lot of space and should be kept in a well-ventilated space. To give them some playing time, you can let your pig run ensuring they are safe. It would also give them some enrichment. When it comes to socializing, they love to live with other species of the same sex. They live for a long duration of five to eight years.

Mice 

– These are the smallest form of the rodents that can be kept as pets, but then the size of the rodents varies depending on the breed. The size of the mice varies from four to six inches measuring from their nose to the tail. They have glossy fur, and the color of the fur may vary from any dark color to light color. They have round and prominent eyes with long tails. They live for the duration of one to two years, and female mice reproduce when it is six weeks old. They are entertaining to watch them play.

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It is further believed that the domesticated mice remain cautious from human beings and take time to become familiar with human contact. Only after regular contact with the person, they will trust the person and step into their hand without biting them. They also remain active during the daytime and love to chew safe items all day long.

Chinchillas 

– It is another form of rodent that is wrapped with a furry tail and outer covering on its body. They are of the same size as that of the guinea pigs and have large eyes and ears. They are ten inches in length with an addition of five inches that covers its tail. They are mainly of grey or beige color with a dark-colored coating on its top. The female group is dominant over the male group and is very fond of social interaction and evident from the fact that they love to live with members of other species.

The chinchillas live up to ten years, but some exceptions also live up to twenty years or more. This category of rodent pets finds it difficult to survive when there are too much noise and activity. So, if you have to keep the Chinchillas at home, then you have to minimize the sound making it comfortable for the rodents to live.

According to studies it can be said that they are nocturnal but should be given some time out of their cage. You should tame the animal carefully such that it trusts you completely and it calls for frequent handling of the same and cuddling it suitably.


Rodents should be given proper care

Whichever category you wish to keep as your household rodent pets, you have to ensure high quality of care of them. You should be good knowledge about the behavior and the biology of the pets. The needs of the rodents can vary from simple to complex, and you have to take care of the pets accordingly. A little research shall help you to go on the right path and give your pet the requirement comfort. Caring for your rat or rodent is rewarding and fun if done in the right way. According to the animal welfare act, you should take proper care of your animal.

When you wish to keep rodents at your home, especially hamsters, should be given secured cage and every comfort required to keep them in a good state. The cage that you prepare for the rodent should be a spacious one and should be made of stainless steel, glass or plastic. It would prevent the rodents from chewing the materials. The height of the cage should be such that the pet can rest and move around in the same freely.  For the cage, shredded or recycled paper should be used. In addition, the water in the cage should be refreshed every day, and the container should also be cleaned after regular intervals. Further, you should provide the animal with water bowl or tube. It should be known to you that your pet will be used to only none method of drinking and would avoid switching methods. It is applicable to its other habits as well.  

Rodents and rats are infectious for the carriers of different diseases that can result in serious illness. There are several routes that through which the disease might transmit and some of them are mentioned further.

The disease might transmit from the bite of infected rodent or insect.

The transmission can also take place from skin to skin contact when someone is handling the infected rodent or insect.

Exposure to waste of the infected insects and the rodents also results in various diseases.  It includes urine, saliva, etc.

Diseases transmitted by rodents 

*  Hantavirus 

It is a life threating disease that occurs throughout most of North and South America. The disease is carried by a cotton rat, rice rat, and no specific treatment or cure has been found yet. The symptoms of the same include fatigue, abnormal pain, vomiting, muscle pain. It spreads through direct contact with the rodents or their excreta. Also, breathing the air that is contaminated with the rodent urine might causes the disease.

*  Plague 

Here, the bacteria works as the agent to carry the disease, and it spread from the bite of an infected flea or when someone comes in direct contact with the infected animal. It occurs in parts of Southern America, Africa, and Asia. The wood rats, fox squirrels and other types of ground squirrels are involved in transmitting the disease. The intensity of the disease is classified according to the level to which the disease has reached inside the body such as immune system, blood system or the lungs. The possible death of the patient can be prevented, and the patient should be treated with antibiotics.

*  Salmonella

The symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, nausea. Rodents like cat and mice are involved in causing this disease. When you eat or drink water that is contaminated by the infected waste of the rat results in the illness. It occurs worldwide and needs to be treated in the early stage.

*  Tularemia

This illness is found among rats, rabbits and it is caused by the bacteria named as Francisella tularenis. It is most commonly transmitted to humans when they come in contact with the infected animal. As per the reports in most parts of America, it is a life-threatening disease that can be cured with the help of antibiotics. The disease spreads by eating or drinking infected food or drink.

*  Rat Bite Fever

This disease is spread when an infected rodent bit a person or when any individual handles an infected rodent. The symptoms of the same include fever skin rash, vomiting and muscle pain. The rodents involved in carrying this disease involve rats and mice. This disease occurs in parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.  

How to prevent rodent-borne disease?

Therefore, you should be aware of the precautions that shall help to prevent diseases that are caused by rodents at home. You should clean up the waste materials of the rodents properly and after regular intervals. You should wear gloves before cleaning the wastes and wash your hand with the help of hand soap and warm water after taking the gloves off. Apart from this, you should clean the area with the help of a disinfectant.

Also, you need to keep your house clean, and for the same, you should repair the necessary damaged. In exposed areas such as air outlets and pipes, you should use wires to prevent the growth of the disease. In case none of the manual processes helps to get rid of the diseases, then you should try to contact a professional who would help to get rid of the rodents easily. The disease should be treated at the early stage.  

Thus, apart from all these, you should also be careful while feeding your pet. It is required to feed your pets with nutritional foods to maintain your pets in healthy condition.  

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