Pet rodents: what you need to know before adopting

Do you want to adopt a pet rodent? At Chico, we believe that being well-prepared is essential before welcoming a small animal into your home. To ensure your new pet thrives, you should know their physical and behavioural characteristics, as well as their nutritional requirements and ideal living environment. Here’s an overview of the most popular pet rodents and their needs.

Chinchillas are nocturnal animals that can live for up to 10 years. They have a sensitive digestive system and require plenty of hay and high-quality food. Since chinchillas love to chew, they should never be left alone around electrical wires.

Guinea pig
Guinea pigs require a healthy diet that consists of fruits, vegetables and vitamin C supplements. They’re very sociable and playful animals that live for about five years.

Gerbils are native to the desert, so they don’t do well with high humidity or drastic temperature changes. They can live up to five years and are easy to tame but require a lot of social interaction.

Hamsters are small, solitary animals that don’t usually live for more than two years. They’re nocturnal and usually sleep throughout the day so they’re perfect for night owls.

Rabbits are territorial animals that can live for up to 10 years. They need quite a bit of space to roam around and should be let out of their cage regularly.

Mice are easy-going animals that can live for up to two and a half years. They’re very social and enjoy living together. Females can happily live in pairs, trios or even small groups. However, males may fight if left together.

Rats are omnivorous rodents that can live for up to three and a half years. They need large cages because they enjoy climbing. Rats are affectionate and intelligent animals that often develop an incredibly strong bond with their owner.

Before deciding which rodent you want to adopt, it’s important to do your research and gather as much information as possible. When selecting your pet, base your choice on how they behave and interact with others, not how cute they are.

4 essential supplies for a happy pet rodent

You should never keep your pet rodent in a plastic storage bin or flimsy cardboard box. In addition, a rabbit can’t live in a cage designed for a hamster and vice-versa. For your new family member to thrive, you must provide them with these 4 essential supplies:

An appropriate cage

A hamster cage should have at least one opening on the side, so you can easily take them in and out without frightening them. A rat cage should be taller than it is wide and provide adequate ventilation — rats don’t like the smell of their own urine. A dwarf rabbit, on the other hand, needs a cage that’s at least 60 x 100 cm.

In short, each rodent requires a certain type of cage. If you need help deciding which model is right for your new pet, the knowledgeable staff at Chico can help.

Comfortable bedding

A clean, healthy and dry environment is essential for the well-being of your pet rodent. Several materials can be used as bedding including recycled newspaper, wood chips, pellets, diatomaceous earth and hemp.

You should choose a dust-free, hypoallergenic substrate with no artificial fragrances and change it as often as necessary to maintain a hygienic environment. If you need some guidance, the sales staff at Chico would be happy to help.

Nutritious and balanced food

Each rodent requires a specific diet. Some need granulated food and hay, while others need raw vegetables and fruit. To encourage growth and avoid digestive problems, make sure you know your pet rodent’s dietary needs and purchase high-quality food and treats. Veterinary clinics and pet stores like Chico carry specially-formulated food blends to meet the needs of your pet.

Accessories and toys

You shouldn’t leave your pet rodent alone in their cage without any entertainment. This would be negligent. Purchase items such as ladders, tunnels, exercise wheels, sticks, swings, wooden chews, huts, walkways and more to keep them active. Providing your pet with these types of accessories will keep them happy when you don’t have time to interact with them.

Finally, providing your pet with a safe environment and planning regular visits to the vet or groomer will help keep them healthy for as long as possible. If your pet rodent starts coughing, has runny eyes or won’t eat, contact a veterinarian immediately.

Expert advice and quality products

At Chico, we offer several leading brands of rodent products such as Oxbow Animal Health, Marshall, Living World, Hagen and more. Our in-house brand Chico Gourmet small rodent food is also a great choice as it’s made from high-quality ingredients. If you’re thinking about adopting a pet rodent and have any questions, visit your local Chico store for expert advice. We look forward to seeing you!