Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Mice! Gerbils! Guinea pigs! Hamsters! Oh my! All of these little critters can make fun and easy to
care-for pets. Remember that they
do reproduce very quickly and early, so make sure to get same-sex roommates if
getting more than one, unless you intend to breed them! They all like a variety of pellets,
fresh or dried veggies, fruits, whole grains, cooked legumes, greens, seeds,
and nuts. Guinea pigs must have a
fresh source of vitamin C every day, to prevent scurvy, or a defect that can
cripple them. A small slice of
orange, kiwi, strawberry, or other berries can provide this without the
additional sugar found in many commercially available vitamin C treats.
make good enclosures, just make sure the flooring is kept clean so that ammonia
smells from urine do not build up and affect their breathing. Similarly, cedar chips and
strong-smelling bedding is often too strong for these little animals, even if
they smell nice to us. Tunnels and
wheels can provide entertainment and exercise for these animals. Many appreciate small cardboard boxes
or paper tubes to hide in and play in.
The cardboard is fun for them to chew on as well. All rodents have teeth that
continuously grow throughout their life.
These teeth are sharp if they do decide to bite. Siberian hamsters, although adorable,
have a reputation for being sharp biters!
Instruct children to handle these tiny creatures gently, so they are not
squeezed or dropped.
small mammals like the small plastic balls that allow them free range of the
house while keeping them safe. As
with all pets, they should always be supervised when out of their safe
enclosure. Monitor their coat for
any changes or parasites.
Occasionally they can get parasites or infections, although they are
generally fastidious groomers with soft clean fur.