Rodents, although small, do require quite a bit of pet care. They are basically tiny escape artists and can be ultra-sensitive to sound and light.
Basic Requirements of Rodents
- Housing in stable and compatible groups. You should take into account the gender, age, reproductive condition, familiarity, and general past of your rodents before housing them together
- Enclosures should cause minimum disturbances to animals. Be careful with placement especially if you have other larger pets in the home.
- In said enclosures there should be enough space for exercise and normal social behavior. There should be some things like toys and other items that will reduce the stress and aggression that could occur by the rodents being caged.
- Make sure they have enough height in the cage for scanning, exploration, and play – – around 12cm for mice, 18cm for gerbils and hamsters, and 30cm for rats.
- Solid floors with enough depth. The foundation should be 1cm of dust free woodchip for mice.
- Material to gnaw on is essential to prevent their teeth from overgrowing.
- Nest boxes for resting and security and managing social interactions.
- Vertical barriers or tubes for cage complexity and exploration.
- Nesting material for comfort
- Appropriate lighting levels and regimes. Low light levels and racks with shaded tops where they can hide from too much light will reduce the risk of retinal degeneration.
- They will need a varied diet and the ability to forage. You should scatter the food to encourage this behavior.
- Regular cleaning which will help balance hygiene and the reduction of stress
- Gentle and frequent handling from early in life so they will get used to you
- Maintenance of temperature and humidity
Food for Small Rodents
Some rodents have a flexible diets where others are strictly one or the other. Rats and mice consume plants on a regular basis along with grains, grass, seeds and small twigs. Most rodents are also nut eaters. In natural settings rodents will consume fruits and berries. Rats are especially prone to eat meat and fish. Depending on what type of rodent you have, you may have to try a few different types of food or consult your pet care professional on which food would be best.
How To Select
If you are not sure which rodent you should get as a pet I suggest you check out this article : https://www.thespruce.com/small-rodents-as-pets-1237271 This article covers hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, and guinea pigs. It also goes on to say that other options include chinchillas, jirds, degus, dormice, duprasi, chipmunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, Patagonian cavies, and more. Also what should be taken into consideration is their sleeping pattern. Pet hamsters and rats are nocturnal creatures, which means they’ll be up playing when you’re asleep and tired out when you’re awake. Gerbils, guinea pigs, and mice are more likely to be on your daytime schedule.
How Many Should I Get?
Hamsters and Mice tend to fight when kept with a companion. If you must get more than one hamster or mouse, you should definitely make sure that they have plenty of room to get away from one another and have their own space, if you can’t get two separate cages. Gerbils, guinea pigs and rats are social and should definitely have a pal if you want a happy small pet. If you want to socialize your pet into your family they require daily attention.
Worried about what to do when you have to leave home without your caged babies? Call on us!