A black, white, and brown gerbil.

Whether you already have a dog and cat and are looking to bring a different species home, or you are not ready to commit to a larger animal, rodents make great pets for a variety of pet owners. Before you bring this new exotic animal into your house, take some time researching some different rodent pets so you know which one will fit best into your home and your lifestyle.

  • Guinea Pigs: Guinea pigs are social creatures that live about 5-7 years. Since they’re happiest in pairs and like to roam around, they need a bigger cage than some other pet rodents. You can often find a guinea pig at a shelter, so consider adopting instead of shopping for them if you want to bring them into your home. 
  • Rabbits: Like guinea pigs, rabbits are social creatures, and tend to do better when they have a friend. They eat lots of greens and veggies and eat frequently throughout the day. These playful animals need to get plenty of exercise to stay healthy.
  • Rats: Rats are very intelligent, which makes it easy to tame them when you have them as pets. These rodents are somewhat social, and usually live between 18-36 months. Since their lifespan is shorter than some other rodents, they might not be the best pet for small children who are not yet familiar with death.  
  • Hamsters: Hamsters are animals that do the best when they live alone in a cage. They are very active rodents and appreciate having a wheel or a tunnel in their enclosures where they can run around and expend some energy. 
  • Mice: These low-maintenance pets are a great addition to any home that wants a little more life and excitement. Like many other rodent pets, they prefer to live socially, and although they can be skittish, they can be taught to interact with their humans.
  • Gerbils: Gerbils can be injured if they are held roughly, which makes them a better pet for older children or adults. They love to explore and will definitely keep you entertained. As with other rodents, they prefer to live in groups.
  • Hedgehogs: Although they do not resemble Sonic in real life, hedgehogs make great pets. They do need large enclosures that allow them to run, jump, and play, but they like to do so on their own. If you want to get more than one hedgehog, keep them in different enclosures.

Caring for Your Rodent Pets

Exotic pets need special care to ensure they are happy and healthy. After you bring a rodent pet home, you should schedule a wellness visit with your Naperville veterinarian so you can discuss proper care needs for your new rodent. Make sure you are fully informed about the kind of food and attention your exotic pets need.

The team at Naperville Animal Hospital is always here to help you give your pets the care they need. From exotics to dogs and cats, we are here to take the guesswork out of pet ownership. To learn more, visit us online or call (630) 355-5300.