Hamsters, gerbils and rats have always been firm favourites as children’s pets but more arid species such as degus and chinchillas are becoming more popular.
Some pets enjoy human contact more than others, so you will need to choose your pet carefully. Important factors to consider are appropriate diet, small mammals can be herbivorous, omnivorous or carnivorous and the choice of diet is vitally important for the well being of your pet. Did you know that a rodents teeth grow continuously throughout its life, 1-2cm every month? The correct diet will prevent problems occurring.
Correct husbandry is very important, housing should be thought about carefully, offering adequate space and the provision of toys, hides and cage furniture, these help to encourage natural behaviours and reduce stress. The provision of heat and correct substrates must be considered.
Register your pet with your local vet even if it is perfectly healthy, you will know where to go in an emergency and your vet will be able to give you advice on routine health care. The key to recognising illness in your pet is to know what your pet is like when it is well. Often an owner will be able to detect subtle changes in their pet’s behaviour or appetite that indicate illness well before anyone else can.