Having exotic rodents can be very interesting, but when compared to normal animals more care is needed for rodents. The owner has to take the responsibility of the pet. We provide complete information regarding how to choose a rodent?, preparation before rodent come to your home, warnings and tips.
Always start with a same-sex group and buy from a reputable breeder. Exotic rodents can be very expensive and difficult to find. If you have the time to study them, and the money to build a decent habitat and fund potentially expensive veterinary bills, then they can be very rewarding.
What is the peculiarity of rodent pets?
There is a range of small rodent species that offer options ranging from interesting exotic species to placid and domesticated species. Usually they live in enclosed habitat such as a cage, enclosure or hutch, but most will spend time outside their habitat with their human family. Their size and pet status can make them look like a cheaper or easier pet care option. However, rodents still require an investment of time, attention and resources to thrive and provide the best company to their owners.
How to choose a Rodent?
1.Consider how much space you have. Animals such as chipmunks or kangaroo rats require huge habitat. If space is limited, mice, a pygmy in a tank might be a good idea.
2.Look for the type of habitat you need. Harvest mice and African pygmy chickens, for example, need a lot of climbing space and height, an arboreal vivarium is ideal. Multimammate mice can be happy in a wired cage, provided you give them a lot of enrichment. Remember that wire or plastic cages are easy to escape or chew for many rodents. Remember that some rodents may need a higher temperature than others, so you may need to invest in additional heating.
3.Talk to people who own a rodent. There are many exotic rodent forums that can help you find someone with direct experience of the pet you wish to own. You may find for example that your chosen pet is very vocal. Discovering this before owning the pet will help you make sure it’s a good match for your lifestyle. Exotic rodents can have a long life, so you need to attach them.
4.Find out where you can buy the things like food, cages, etc., Does your rodent need a particular type of mineral in its diet? What type of food is requires for your rodent? Megazorb with layers of hay is often a good starting point and many stables will have it as a horse litter.
5.Make sure you can meet their dietary needs. African pygmy blackberries, for example, forms of protein and lots of fruit, as well as need maple syrup as a substitute for nectar. It’s also about knowing what your animals can not eat. Mediterranean lemmings, for example, are intolerant to sugar.
6.Do not forget to make the habitat as natural as possible. Think about the habitats you see when you visit zoos, with lots of nests to hide, and wooden branches and hiding places. Remember that you can use wood from your local wood (provided that it has fallen and is not yet attached to the tree), but you must warm them in oven for at least 20 mins on 200 degrees before giving it to a rodent. This helps eliminate dangerous bacteria or fungi, but limits the size of the branches you can get.
7.Know the dangers for your chosen rodents. For example, pygmy mice can drown in normal water dishes, so you should get something smaller or put pebbles so they can go out.
8.Find out how many animals you need, and what kind of animals. Stick with the same kind you should never reproduce without keeping the animals as pets first as this can be very complicated. Some rodents are colony animals, such as dormice, and should be kept at least three trios and ideally four or more. If they are kept in pairs only, they will be more shy and more stressed. Some rodents should never be alone.
9.Find a good exotic veterinarian. These can be very expensive, especially with animals that are new to the pet trade.
10.Build the habitat. Always go as big and rewarding as you can afford and remember that it is better to focus on one animal or pet, with a fantastic habitat like this for a dwarf hamster than to have multiple types animals.
11.Buy your animals from a reputable breeder. Once you are sure that you have researched and have the money saved for all potential veterinary bills its time to get your animals. Like any pet, make sure that you opt for animals that have clear eyes, a good, neat coat and that move freely. Never go with a breeder who can not guarantee the sex of your pets – if you end up with a single woman with two men, for example, they could potentially fight to the death.
12.Let your new pets settle in their new home. Let your pets get used to their new environment before interfering, especially if you have to travel to get them. Remember that some exotics that you might never be able to handle.
13.Stay in touch with people who keep the same exotic ones. Rodent care is not static, improvements are made all the time, and it’s important to stay informed and get ideas from other guards.
14.Keep your cage secure at all times. It should be impossible to find and trap an escapee.
What type of rodents do you have?
The most common hamsters are Syrian or golden hamsters, but albino hamsters (white with pink eyes) are also available. Hamsters housed in couples or groups can fight, so they are usually kept alone.
Similar in size to hamsters, gerbils are more social and active. Unlike hamsters, gerbils are happier when housed in pairs or in small groups. Potential owners should be aware that buying and keeping gerbils may be illegal in some states.
While mice can be tame and entertaining, they feel nervous than hamsters or gerbils. Female mice do well in pairs or in small groups, but males often fight with each other. The most common mice found in pet shops are albinos, but there are also “fancy” mice that come in a variety of colors.
Rats are social and thrive in couples or same-sex groups. They are larger and easier to handle than some small rodent pet, they rarely bite, and often become strongly related to their owners. Rats are available in different of colors and require a larger rat cage and more attention than small rodents.
The largest rodents generally kept as pets, their size and mild temperament make guinea pigs famous. They are social and also unlikely to bite, and do well in pairs or same-sex groups. They can also be more vocal than other rodents.
Features of pet rodents
Compared to dogs and cats, rodents have a shorter lifespan. The average lifespans are 5 to 7 years for guinea pigs, 2 to 3 years for hamsters and gerbils, 2 to 4 years for rats and 1 to 3 years for mice.
Housing is an essential part of having a healthy and happy rodent. Most cages sold in pet stores are too small for your rodent to have a good quality of life and perform natural behaviors. All rodents should have enough space to move freely. Bigger cages will allow rodents to defecate and nest in separate areas, and many will easily use litter in the cage. Cages must have secure locks because rodents can escape easily. Secure housing is especially important if your family has other pets. When you leave your pet outside his cage, watch him at all times. A pen or bathroom can provide a secure area for your rodent to explore and exercise without the risk of escape or injury.
Rodent pets love to chew! Providing safe chewing materials is important for their physical and mental well-being. Keep rodents away from any hazardous material if chewed, such as electrical wires.
Guinea pigs have more demanding dietary needs than other rodents, they need hay and fresh vegetables. They also need extra vitamin C because they do not produce their own and have to get it from food they eat. Long-haired guinea pigs should be brushed regularly to prevent tangled hair.
Rodents which come with special features that may require special care, such as hairless types that are more prone to skin abrasions and more susceptible to colder temperatures.
Who will take care of your pet rodent?
As the owner, you will be responsible for the physical and mental health, exercise, companionship, shelter and food of your rodent for the rest of your life. Make arrangements in advance for someone to take care of your rodents during a planned or unplanned absence.
Does a pet rodent match your lifestyle?
Because they are housed in cages, rodents can easily be kept in apartments and independent house. Although rodents require less maintenance than many other animals, they still need your time and attention. You should plan to spend time interacting with your rodents each day to enrich their lives and monitor their health and well-being.
Most rodents can reproduce easily and prolifically, so only one sex must be kept in the household. Any decision to deliberately mimic rodents has to be taken carefully, only after you have gained knowledge with this species and obtained the help of an expert veterinarian. Reproducing rodents is not as simple as it may seem, as they can have large litters that will then need to be treated or brought back. Breeding rodents of unknown genetic origin can also perpetuate serious congenital disorders, such as megacolon in the rat.
Rodents and children
Rodents are often kept as pets for young children. Although children must be involved in the care of a pet, it is unrealistic to expect them to be solely responsible. An adult must supervise them. While small and usually treatable, rodents can cause injuries from scratching or biting.
Rodents can be very sensitive to rough handling or falling, and they may learn to avoid or resist handling if they are not treated with care and consideration. When you buy a rodent for the first time, it may not be “softened” (used to be handled). Children should not handle a rodent until an adult has ensured that the animal tolerates normal interactions and handling calmly.
Children should be instructed not to disturb sleeping or resting animals and not to remove them from their nest or nest box, nor to handle them safely, without picking them up by the limbs or tail. Young children should always be supervised when handling animals. They must be aware that rodents have a short life span so they can handle older animals carefully and the eventual death of their pet is easier to understand.
Can you afford a pet rodent?
While rodents can be purchased or adopted relatively inexpensively, you should plan additional costs for housing, food, accessories and veterinary care throughout the life of your pet.
Where can you get a pet rodent?
Animal rodents are purchased in pet stores, directly from breeders and in shelters and other accommodation services. Always inquire about the return or veterinary treatment policy in the event that your pet is judged to be unhealthy.
What should you look for in a healthy rodent?
Avoid animals that seem apathetic or sick, that are housed with animals that have this appearance, or cages where males and females are housed together. Look for sources that can provide genetic and health information about their rodents, well-being and temperament and will take back animals that are not good or that you are unable to keep for any reason.
A healthy pet rodent should not have a discharge from the mouth, eyes or nose. The animal should look alive and should not panic when handled. The rodent should not have any signs of coughing, sneezing. Be sure to examine the area of the animal’s tail. It must be dry and free from diarrhea or stool stuck. This is especially important to check when buying or adopting young hamsters, Hamster babies can have a disease called “wet tail” that can be deadly.
What should you do to prepare for your rodent?
Make sure your pet’s cage contains fresh bedding, nutritionally complete foods designed for this species, and water. There should also be plenty of room for exercise (eg wheels for the appropriate species) and appropriate enrichment for the species. Nesting materials are mandatory for all pet rodents, and they should have a closed refuge such as a nest box. While you will be happy to bring home your new pet, give them plenty of time to rest and adjust to their new living conditions.
A veterinarian must examine any pet rodent within 48 hours of acquisition. This physical exam is essential for detecting signs of illness and helping new pet owners learn the right rodent care. Since many problems are caused by misinformation and inadequate care, the first veterinary visit will help prevent well-intentioned owners from making mistakes that will ultimately contribute to the disease or premature death of an animal.
Not only is your vet the best qualified to evaluate the health of your new pet, but he can advise you on nutrition, pest control, grooming, sterilization, training, socialization and other necessary care to ensure well-being of pet. Your veterinarian should continue to examine your rodent animal at least once a year for any emerging health problems. Early diagnosis and treatment of the disease is more likely to cost less and result in a favorable outcome. When possible, find a rodent veterinarian, who is often referred to as an “exotic mammal”.
When you buy a pet, you accept responsibility for the health and well-being of another living animal. You are also responsible for the impact of your pet on your friends, family and community. Make sure everyone in your family is comfortable with the idea of sharing their home with a rodent, understands that they will need an investment of time and attention, and agree that they will do part of the family activities. A pet will be a part of your life for many years. Invest the time and effort needed to make your years happy. When you choose a pet, you promise to take care of him all his life. Choose wisely, keep your promise and enjoy one of the most rewarding experiences in life!
Additional tips on caring for your rodent pet care
Bedding is an important part of taking care of your pet. To avoid odors in the cage, use an absorbent bedding and change it regularly. Some bedding should be avoided as it may be toxic to small animals, consult your veterinarian before choosing.
Rodents should always be handled with slow, calm movements. A secure area should be allocated in their cage.
To monitor your pet outside his cage, create a safe and clean roaming area on a desk or using a large container or pen. Leashes can be used with larger rodents.
Before buying your pet rodent, consult a veterinarian familiar with the species, and join a club or group to learn from experienced owners.
Pygmy mice can drown in normal water dishes. Make sure you use something more superficial or provide a way out.
Combine the pet with the habitat – never place a dormouse in a cage that is mostly horizontal, or a lemming in something of mostly grand.
Do not use sawdust, cedar-based, as this can cause serious respiratory problems in rodents.
Some animals, such as dormice, must have a higher temperature than normal. Otherwise, they risk falling into torpor, which can be very dangerous.
If your chosen pet is nocturnal, do not expect to see it all the time and remember that light can be scary for them. Consider investing in a red light bulb or similar to watch them at night.