Furry and Cute: What’s Not to Love About Small Animals??

Though small animals aren’t as commonplace as pet cats and dogs, they are very popular pets!

These little furballs are loveable and fun to watch! However, just because they’re small doesn’t mean they are any less of a commitment. For example, rabbits can live up to ten years, sometimes longer! It’s important to know what to expect, as well as knowing all about your animal’s specific needs. Here is some basic information on the most popular small pets!

Hamsters

Life span: 2-3 years

Things to know:

  • Pet hamsters go by a few different names: dwarf hamsters, teddy bear hamsters, and golden hamsters. The golden hamster, or more officially, the Syrian hamster, is the largest and must have its own habitat.
  • Hamsters are active mostly at night, and when they are awake they keep busy – running on their wheel or burrowing in their cage. It’s probably best to keep their cage out of a bedroom if you’re not used to background noise.
  • Hamsters are known for escaping and are excellent at finding hiding spots. Make sure your hamster has a secure habitat and watch them carefully when they are out of the cage!

Guinea Pigs

Life span: 4-5 years, but can live up to 8 years

Things to know:

  • Guinea pigs should be handled properly early in their life so they get them accustomed to being picked up without scratching or biting.
  • Guinea pigs are most happy when living in pairs or a group. Without a partner, a lone guinea pig is likely to be stressed or depressed.
  • Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs are not escape artists and are timid about exploring

Ferrets

Life span: 7-10 years

Things to know:

  • Ferrets can sleep up to 18 hours per day, and can enter a “dead sleep” where they can’t be woken up even if they are picked up or moved.
  • Ferrets are known for getting into places they shouldn’t (like the inside of your recliner!), and for stealing taking small things. If you’re keys are missing, your pet ferret could be to blame. Because of this, ferrets should always be supervised when they’re not in their cage.

Rabbits

Life span: 10+ years

Things to know:

  • Rabbits can be kept in a protected hutch outdoors, in a cage inside, and can even roam free in a designated space indoors. Outdoor hutches are a good way for rabbits to get fresh air and daylight. Using a combination of inside and outside cages is not uncommon.
  • Bunnies’ bones are very fragile, and they must be picked up with full support given to their belly and bottom.
  • You can teach your rabbit to use a litter box, and come to you when he or she is called. Rabbits also have their own special personalities!

Other popular small animals include gerbils, chinchillas, and hedgehogs! Have you ever owned a small pet, or do you now? If so, share your advice and stories in the comments!

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3 Responses to Furry and Cute: What’s Not to Love About Small Animals??

  1. Dawn H. says:

    I’ve had rabbits for 20 years and while I love them to death- they really need the proper care and attention. They need a small animal vet, proper diets, proper handling, proper housing and lots of things to keep them busy and to chew on. Rabbits teeth continuously grow, so they always need chew toys or untreated willow/wood or they can get molar spurs and abscesses. They can get sore hocks, so they should not have just cage flooring. If they stop eating, they need to be force fed with critical care and kept warm and hydrated (12 hours without eating is a death sentence) until you can get them to a vet. They need social interaction and love. They need to keep their nails trimmed. Rabbits can’t throw up, so a hairball is deadly to them – they molt often and need to be brushed to keep them from licking and eating the loose hair. If you think this is a lot of work, don’t you go through the same activities with your dogs and cats getting shots, proper diets, toys to play with, walks, lap time, etc? It’s just a different set of rules. Pets are our family, and in my case, they are my kids. It’s our responsibility to know how to take care of them. Don’t get a rabbit unless you are seriously going to spend time with this special animal and understand their needs. They are not an animal to be stuck in a cage and stared at. They are a lot like cats in their need for social interaction and they LOVE to climb. Visit rabbit.org – the House Rabbit Society to learn more.

    • I didn’t know a thing about rabbits when I found Pelle sitting in the dark outside. A black dwarf lion. Long story followed but now he lives inside with me and my cat. And he’s the funniest little guy. And all what you say above is what I had to learn, much by using Internet. If only people would care enough when they get a pet. Pelle shouldn’t have had to sit outside in the snow for months. Now I’m afraid this period may have been tough for his stomach, but he’s active and seems to feel ok, so I hope for at least another 10 years in his and my cats company!

  2. Dawn says:

    My mom has rabbits… Bella, Buck, and I can’t remember the names of two others. They are very sweet and gentle. I’m not into small animals as pets too much. I really like the loyalty and love that dogs give. But I have to admit that when I volunteered at a wildlife rescue facility, I really enjoyed the small wild baby bunnies. And I love the farrets one of my friend’s has. They are stinky, even with the de-scenting, but very entertaining.

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