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List of Pet Rodents

Updated July 20, 2017

When choosing a pet rodent, make sure you are aware of the choices available by researching the different types of rodents, to choose the one that best suits your personality and lifestyle. Many rodents are social and will require daily attention and interaction with you and your family. Keep in mind that rats are nocturnal creatures.

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Pet hamsters may be categorised as short-haired, longhair or European. Hamsters are known to be clean animals. It is important to know that hamsters must be individually caged. An interesting fact about hamsters is that they are considered hoarders because they have cheek pouches where they enjoy storing food, and they may then move the food from one location to another. Generally, adult hamsters are between four and five inches long. As long as hamsters are properly cared for, they can live from two to three years. It is best to feed hamsters high-quality hamster food. Make sure food is constantly available. Hamsters do best in average household temperatures. Hamsters like to have one to two inches of bedding in their habitat. Bedding may be wood shavings but not cedar wood. Hamsters are healthy if they are active, have clear eyes and eat and drink regularly.


Rats are actually intelligent and social creatures that enjoy human interaction. The average rat is eight inches long. Rats can live up to five years with proper care. It is best to feed rats high-quality rat food. Food and water should always be available to your pet rat. Discard uneaten food after 24 hours. Rats do best in average household temperatures. Avoid extreme temperature changes. As with hamsters, wood bedding is OK, as long as it is not cedar wood. Healthy rats are active, eat and drink regularly and communicate with squeaks. Do not house pet rats with other small animal pets.

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are pets that are very social and require daily interaction with their humans. They make many different sounds and jump in the air when they are happy. Adult guinea pigs grow to be anywhere from eight to eleven inches long. Feed guinea pigs high-quality guinea pig food. They also require 50 mg of vitamin C daily, which can come from vitamin supplements, parsley or fresh fruit. Always keep fresh food and water available. Discard uneaten food after 24 hours. Guinea pigs do well in average household temperatures, but sudden temperature changes should be avoided. Bedding requirements are the same as for rats and hamsters. Make sure that adult males are individually housed.


Pet mice come in a wide variety of colours and markings. Mice are social, alert, active and adaptable pets. Adult mice are generally three inches long. Mice live to be three years of age when they receive the proper care. Feed mice high-quality mouse food. Alternatively, feed them fruits and vegetables. Keep food and water available at all times. Be sure to house mice in average household temperatures. As with many animals, try to keep extreme temperature changes to a minimum. Mice require two inches of proper bedding, such as wood shavings. Again, stay away from cedar wood. Keep mice housed separately from other types of small animals. Mice are frightened by loud noises. You know your mouse is healthy if she has clear eyes, squeaks and eats and drinks regularly.


Gerbils are known to be very social animals with a sense of curiosity. Your pet gerbil will enjoy watching your household activities. Gerbils like to play in tubes and boxes. Gerbils are about four to five inches long on average. When cared for properly, gerbils can live to be five years of age. It is best to feed gerbils high-quality gerbil food. Small amounts of fruits and vegetables may be fed to gerbils, as too much may cause diarrhoea. Keep plenty of fresh food and water available at all times. Fruits and vegetables not eaten in 24 our hours should be thrown away. Average household temperatures are fine for gerbils. Keep them away from drafts or direct sun. One to two inches of bedding is sufficient. Use wood shavings, pellets or recycled bedding. Do not use cedar wood. Remove wet bedding daily. Do not house other small animals with gerbils. Gerbils do not need baths. Your gerbil is healthy if he is active, has clear eyes, eats and drinks regularly and breathes and walks normally.


Chinchillas are both curious and gentle. They have a lot of energy and require a large habitat to give them room to run and play. They also like to jump and climb. Multi-level habitats are best. Chinchillas generally grow to be twelve inches long. Their average lifespan is ten years when cared for properly. Feed your chinchilla high-quality chinchilla pellets, small amounts of vegetables and Timothy hay. Keep fresh food and water available at all times. Discard fruit and vegetables that have been out over 24 hours. Average household temperatures are fine for chinchillas. Avoid direct sunlight and drafts. Keep about one and a half inches of bedding in the cage. Use hardwood shavings or pellets or a recycled product. Avoid cedar wood shavings. Be sure to remove wet shavings daily. Keep chinchillas separated from other small animals. If your chinchilla is well socialised, he will enjoy being cuddled and carried. Chinchillas rarely need baths. Healthy chinchillas are active, sociable, have clear eyes, eat and drink regularly and breathe and walk normally.

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About the Author

Jolene Wipf has been writing professionally since 2003. She has been published in the "Rick Alviti Newsletter" and the "Argus Leader." Wipf has a Bachelor of Arts in accounting and business administration from Augustana College and a Master of Arts in educational ministries from North American Baptist Seminary. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies at Globe University.

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