Rodents: The Low Budget Pet
Rodents are often chosen as family pets due to the lack of responsibility needed to keep them as pets and the fact they don’t require any special eqipment. Gerbils, hamsters, rats, mice and guinea pigs are all forms of rodents that are chosen as pets all over the world, each animal having several types and breeds.
Rodents are not exotic animals and can be bought from any local pet store. They require very minimal attention and are often more of a “look at” pet, than one you would handle on a regular basis although some pets owners do as they often squirm, get loose and then you end up hunting for them through out the house for weeks as they are very fast runners by instinct. They are not expensive to buy which is mainly due to their relatively short life spans (2yrs approx) and they are not expensive to keep.
Most parents buy their children a rodent as a first pet because of this so that they get a better idea of responsibility before moving onto larger and more time consuming pets. Some children get so hooked into rodents that they never progress beyond them favouring them as pets against the traditional dog or cat. It is best to always supervise a child when it comes to the cleaning of the pets cadge and it is always a good idea to regulate and make a routine of when it is time to feed your pet.
They are often housed within cages which are made of metal (not wood as they can naw through this) and have plastic bottoms which make them easier to keep clean. The base of the cage is covered with wood shavings and ripped up newspapers, with a bed made to one end as they will often use the other as toilet. A food bowl is needed in the cage ideally next to the bed and a water bottle is hung from the metal part of the cage. Fresh water should be given every day as well as fresh food. The bottom should be cleaned out at least once a week to avoid funny smells and so that your little friend does not have to live in their own muck. Despite speculation rodents are actually very clean animals!
Rodents are also very intelligent and love stimulation in their toys so be sure to give them a few toys to play with as well as ramps and even rodent balls, so they can whizz around the house without getting lost or hurt. Be careful when buying more than one rodent at a time as one of each sex will see hundreds of little ones within a few months, two males will fight all the time and two females will get on.
The most common rodent bought in pet shops is mice and hamsters. These tiny little balls of fluff come in many different shape and sizes. Some are breeds recognised and sort after and can cost upwards of $1,000 where as the more common species can be purchased for around $5.