10 Best Small Rodents to Keep as Pets


10 Best Small Rodents to Keep as Pets

There is a range of small rodents commonly kept as pets. Some are fairly easy to tame and enjoy human interaction while others are more timid. Several tend to be more active at night, which might not fit with some people’s lifestyles. Still, they are fairly low-maintenance pets if you provide them with the appropriate housing, exercise, and diet. If you’re looking for a small, furry companion, here are 10 of the best small rodents to choose from.

Read also: 12 best exotic pets for apartment living


1. Syrian Hamster

Also known as golden or teddy bear hamsters, Syrian hamsters live around two to three years. They are typically solitary animals that need their own housing. Hamsters handled from a young age usually have an agreeable temperament. But they are nocturnal and can be grumpy if woken during the day.

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2. Dwarf Hamster


Some dwarf hamsters can be social with other hamsters of their own species and can be housed in same-sex pairs or small groups. They can live up to three years. Although dwarf hamsters have a reputation for being a little nippy, most are easy to handle with a gentle touch.

3. Chinese Hamster

Although they aren’t true dwarf hamsters, Chinese hamsters still are quite small. They’re less common pets than other hamster varieties. Because they’re so small and quick, they might be a challenge for some people to handle. They require a cage with bars they cannot squeeze through (or a glass aquarium).

4. Mongolian Gerbil

Gerbils are very active and social animals, and they are happy in a same-sex pair or small group. It is best to acquire them when they are young for easier bonding. With regular handling, gerbils can become quite tame. But their high energy level can make them difficult to hold.

5. Fancy Mouse

Although they’re quick and skittish, mice can become quite tame if handled regularly. Many learn to take food from their caretaker’s hand. They live one to three years on average. As social animals, females often do well in same-sex pairs or small groups, but males tend to fight other males.

6. Common Rat

Rats live an average of two to four years. They are very social, so it’s best to keep a same-sex pair. With regular handling, they can become very tame and enjoy human companionship. They need out-of-cage time for social interaction and exercise and can even be taught some simple tricks.

7. Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs have an average lifespan of five to seven years. They’re typically easy to handle and rarely bite, even when stressed. As social animals, they do well when kept in same-sex pairs. They have somewhat demanding diets, requiring fresh hay and veggies, as well as adequate amounts of vitamin C.

8. Chinchilla

Similar to rabbits in appearance, chinchillas are active and playful animals. They are largely nocturnal and prefer a quiet spot during the day. They don’t tend to like being held, as they would rather be moving and exploring. But many still can learn to enjoy the company of their caretakers.

Read also: 8 top brightly coloured pet birds

9. Dormouse

The African dormouse is a tiny, squirrel-like rodent that’s highly entertaining to watch. But because they are so quick and agile, they need a very secure habitat to prevent them from escaping. They require a roomy enclosure, such as a 20-gallon tank, with ropes and other items they can climb.

10. Common Degu

Native to Chile, degus are quite social animals that live in communities of up to 100 in the wild. They do well housed in same-sex pairs or small groups in captivity. These rodents are easily tamed when handled from a young age, and some even enjoy cuddling with their caretakers.

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