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How To Care for Gerbils, Hamsters and Guinea Pigs

Your First Pet: How To Care for Gerbils, Hamsters and Guinea Pigs
Gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs—oh my!  While these small creatures are all members of the rodent family, they all have their own unique temperaments.  Have your sights set on one of these little guys?  Read on to learn the differences among them as well as how to make sure you take proper care of your new friend.


Gerbils
Gerbils are frisky, social little rodents that grow to about four inches long and will live three to four years, if well cared for.  They love companionship so it is a good idea to get a minimum of two, preferably from the same litter to ensure a good match.  Please make sure you do not keep males and females together, or you will unwittingly wind up with a litter of gerbils! 

gerbil

Gerbil


Hamsters
Hamsters are irresistibly adorable and are often on the top of the list for prospective pet owners.  But, before you bring one home, there are two important facts about hamsters to consider.  One: they are solitary and must live alone.  Two: they are nocturnal.  Meaning, hamsters like to sleep during the daytime when you are ready to play with them and they love to zip around in their exercise wheels when you are trying to sleep. 

hamster

Hamster


Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs are expressive, social, docile creatures who can even whistle!  On the size scale, they fall between hamsters and rabbits.  With proper care, they can live five to seven years.  Guinea pigs prefer to live in small groups.  Keep two or more females together and they will become great friends.  If you prefer two males, it is best to choose them from the same litter.  Guinea pigs make an excellent starter pet for older children.

guinea pig2

Guinea Pig


General Rules of Thumb for Rodent Care


•    Gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs all love to play, dig and tunnel.  So, enclosures for sleeping, tubes for tunneling, exercise wheels and toys are all welcome additions to their cages. 
•    Line the cage with absorbent bedding—hay or shavings—and make sure the litter is dry.  Make sure you remove dropping, uneaten food and soiled bedding from his cage every day and change his bedding completely every week.
•    Gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs eat pellets, grains, seeds, cracked corn and nuts but should also be given a small amount of fresh vegetables and fruit every day or every few days.  Make certain you have the correct mix of food for your pet by checking at the local pet store.
•    Please make sure your pet has fresh, clean water readily available at all times.
•    Did you know that rodent's teeth grow continuously?  To keep them in top shape, make sure they have a twig or chew stick for lots of chewing and gnawing. 
•    Over time, you will learn to hand-tame your pet, starting first by offering them treats from your hand and then, gradually, getting them used to being picked up and held. 

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4 vote(s) - Average rating 4.5/5

5/5

Tuesday April, 07, 2015 at 6:10 PM

very helpful thanks

4/5

Sunday October, 19, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Do you have more information on guinea pigs?

4/5

Tuesday October, 14, 2014 at 7:26 PM

LOVE

5/5

Sunday September, 21, 2014 at 12:49 AM

This helped me a lot Thanks!

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