Small pets offer a lot of great benefits. Which one of these is right for you?
Rabbits are the most popular small animal. Due to their small size, ability to be easily litter-trained, friendly dispositions and quiet nature, rabbits make great pets for people who live in small spaces.
They evolved as prey animals, always alert to the approach of predators. For that reason, loud noises and the sudden movements of children can startle rabbits. They also have a delicate skeleton and should be handled with care to avoid injury. Support their torso and back feet when holding them, and never pick them up by their ears.
Due to the structure of the rabbits head, and the placement of their eyes, rabbits can see behind them! However they have a blind spot right in front of their face above their noses.
Guinea Pigs are the second most popular small animal. They make great pets for younger children (with adult supervision) due to their gentle disposition. They rarely bite. In the wild they are herd animals, and they prefer to be kept in groups of at least two.
One of their endearing traits is that they squeak when they are excited – especially when they hear a treat bag opening or a favorite person comes in the room. Guinea Pigs are relatively scent-free, except for their waste, and require their cages to be cleaned at least every week.
Ferrets are full of energy and require ample time to play, but always under supervision! Ferrets are very mischievous and clever, and they love to explore – often compared to “kittens that never grow up.”
They can be litter trained, taught commands and leash-trained, making them an excellent combination of dog and cat! Ferrets are also well known for having a strong natural odor. Though they typically come with their scent glands removed (“descented”), they require constant bathing to keep the odor to a minimum. Ferrets are best suited for older children or adults.
Hamsters are widely known as a popular “starter pet” for kids. They are cute, easy to care for and take up very little space – making them excellent pets to keep in a child’s room.
The most popular hamster is the Syrian hamster, is also widely known as the golden or teddy bear hamster. They can only cohabit peacefully in the same cage before they reach maturity. When they become adults, Syrian hamsters are solitary animals that are best housed one-per-cage.
Other types of hamster, such as the Russian and Siberian dwarf breeds, are social animals that are best kept in pairs. Unfortunately, they’re also more likely to bite
Rats are some of the smartest animals that are commonly kept as pets, and are often equated with having the intelligence of a two-and-a-half year old child. Rats are also very social animals, traditionally living in groups called “rascals”, so keeping more than one together is recommended. However, if males and females are kept together, remember they will breed quickly. They should be spayed or neutered.
Although adaptive to many different environments, rats can’t tolerate heat. Keep rats out of direct sunlight. During heat waves, keep them in an air-conditioned room or provide frozen water bottles wrapped in a towel.