How to Know if You Are Ready to Care for a Rodent

If you really want a rodent as a pet, check out these tips. Rodents can be very rewarding, intelligent creatures but please don't make the mistake of thinking they don't need much care. Any animal deserves a healthy, enriching environment and company of its own kind (where possible, some rodents must be kept alone.)


Here is some advice to help you keep a happy, healthy fuzz ball in your house or room.

Steps

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    Save up the amount of money to care for your prospective pet(s). You will need to avoid shopping for other things to really save up a lot of money.
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      You need the largest environment you can afford. Remember to make sure you know how many animals you need as some rodents should never be kept alone, but some must be.
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      You will need money for toys and enrichment.
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      Make sure you can afford ongoing expenses for food, bedding and cleaning products.
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      You will need to put money aside for potential vet bills and identify a vet who has experience with your chosen rodent.
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    Read up on your prospective pet in books and on the Internet. If you can, talk to people who own rodents for advice.
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      Make your lifestyle ready for a rodent and remember it is your responsibility for the rest of its natural life.
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      Try registering for some forums and talk to other rodent keepers.
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      Having a cat is not a very good thing if you are going to own a rodent, as it makes its environment very stressful. Remember also that you can NEVER trust a cat around rodents, even if they show no interest it doesn't mean that one day they won't decide to attack.
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    Remember you need to have a lot of time, patience, and most of all love for your pet(s).
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    Go rescue or an ethical breeder. Surprise litters are handed in to rescues all the time due to pet shops mis-sexing so you can still get them as babies. In addition, they are likely to be healthier, more social and you won't run the risk of supporting a rodent farm.
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    Take your pet(s) to the vet where needed. Tumours can be removed by a good vet, and even mice can be neutered by an experienced vet. If you notice any changes in your pets condition always get them checked out.
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    Buy a balanced food that caters to your specific pet(s)' needs
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    Handle your pet (unless otherwise), let them out in a safe place to play, and do regular maintenance checks (nail clipping, check for abscesses, tumors, etc.).

Tips

  • Use absorbent bedding, such as CareFRESH (or Critter Care), aspen, or soil (see related wikiHows).
  • Clean its cage every week. That is the best way to keep the smell away.
  • Wash the food dish every day.
  • Get a water bottle for it so it will not get mess it with bedding, urine, feces, food, etc. in the water bowl.
  • Clean the water bottle/dish once a week.
  • Change the food every day.

Warnings

  • If circumstances change beyond your control, never abandon your animal; take it to the local shelter. Don't listen to anyone who says you can release a tame animal into the wild - it will be killed.
  • Always go rescue or breeder. Your animals will be more sociable, healthier and you don't then run the risk of supporting rodent farms.
  • Some animals must be kept alone and some must have company. Make sure you have researched your chosen pet.
  • Modular systems such as Rotastak or Habitrail are not suitable for any rodent as they have a host of space, ventilation and enrichment problems.
  • Taking care of a pet is a huge responsibility. Neglecting your pet is against the law, and you can get in trouble for it. You should never get a pet if you are not prepared to take care of it in a healthy, happy environment for the entirety of its life.
  • Remember your pet will grow unless he/she is an adult. Always get as large a cage as possible and do your research. Many pet shops sells cages that are far, far too small for permanent accommodation . Would you want to be trapped in your bedroom for your entire life?
  • Do not think that because you know all about hamster, that you can care for a gerbil. Every rodent has different requirements.
  • Try to keep it away from drafts, radiators/heaters, direct sunlight, other pets, and unhealthy foods.
  • Don't get a pet if you don't have the money for it, a good home, the time, patience, the commitment, or the love.
  • If you must go pet shop, then make sure you double check the gender of your rodents. They are frequently mis-sexed and you don't want a surprise litter later on!

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Small and Furry