My niece recently had a dilemma. Her little girl really wanted her very own pet. However, they lived in an apartment and this would not be fair to most pets. My niece also works long hours and that further narrowed the pet possibilities.
After careful evaluation of the situation, especially my grand niece's maturity levels, we decided on a rodent. Rodents take very little space and require no vaccinations. So, the only remaining question was what kind of rodent.
Hamsters can easily stress. They are also quite nippy and on occasion deliver a nasty bite. Rats and gerbils rarely bite but, just about any animal can be capable of biting. Gerbils are very easily tamed and are fearless Ė a very small package with attitude. I had one that chased my goose. This was highly entertaining to watch. The gerbilís downfall is that they are awful gnawers. They can chew through a plastic rodent cage in record time.
Another rodent possibility is the mouse. They also like to gnaw. One of my daughter's friends brought a mouse to my rehab facility. The mother had been killed by a cat. This little fellow chewed through the cage very quickly. Of course, you would never choose a wild caught animal as a pet, only domestically bred. Mice have an endearing quality in that they are friendly and affectionate.
The rodent that is my personal favorite is the rat. They are smart, inquisitive and have a friendly nature. They are not inclined to bite.
Pick an enclosure that they cannot chew through. The enclosure should have good ventilation. You will need a bedding material for the cage bottom. Stay clear of pine and cedar. The strong odor can injure their respiratory system. I personally like aspen.
Keep the rodent healthy by disinfecting their cage and accessories. Watch out for strong smelling disinfectants. Make sure everything is well rinsed and aired out.
Use a balanced diet specifically for your rodentís needs. The rodent will need plenty of fresh water.
I cannot stress enough the importance of fresh water, proper food, keeping the cage clean and sanitized, toys and food/water dishes clean and sanitized. Every pet that I have right now in my home has never been to the veterinarian except for shots, checkups, and spaying/neutering. All are in the golden years of their lives except for two ferrets that are still young.
All rodents are very active. They should be provided with a rodent wheel. Don't use the old wire wheel. Many rodents have been injured getting their little feet and tails caught.
Don't put the cage where they will get direct sunlight or where they will get too hot or too cold.
The rodent will need rodent chew sticks because their teeth never stop growing. Gnawing on the chew stick will keep the teeth worn down. The rodent is active and loves to have fun. Supply the rodent with toys. Nurture the little guy or gal with love and affection. Rodents are capable of strong bonds with their owners.
Purchase the rodent from a reputable breeder or pet store. Check that they have alert eyes, shiny fur and have a healthy appearance.
Above all else, enjoy your new pet!
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Good rodent cage for a fair price, in fact this is exceptional.
Super Pet My First Home for Critters, Teal
Rats: Complete Care Guide
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