Not everyone has the same taste or preference in which animals they wish to give a forever home. Some households choose to adopt puppies or dogs while others elect to swoop in a singing bird or two. One pet that may not be for everyone is a rodent--whether it is a mouse or rat. These critters have long gotten a bad reputation for being dirty, frightening and devious, however, they can make excellent, loving pets. These five tips are helpful for anyone looking to add a cute little rodent to their family.
1. Should I Neuter/Spay my Mouse or Rat?
This may not have crossed your mind, since you may only be interested in adopting one little rodent. However, there are some important things to consider when trying to decide if you will neuter or spay your new family member. This post is a great source of information for making that decision and reasons for and against especially male rats. Aggression may become more noticeable, especially in male species, if you choose not to alter your pet.
2. Feeding the Best Foods from the Start
First it is important to know that rats/rodents are omnivores--they eat both meats and plants. A common misconception is that a pet rodent will feast solely on vegetables sticks and lettuce but they actually need animal proteins to stay healthy. If you want to give your new furry friend the best start, choose whole, fresh foods if possible. Most rat foods you find in stores is not well-balanced enough for them.
3. Timing of Feeding is Important
Most rats/rodents are happier to eat at night time versus daytime, since they are more nocturnal creatures. However, be aware that rodents love food in general. They will eat basically whenever you put food in front of them, with little care if they just ate a few hours ago. This could lead to health problems such as obesity so it is important to make sure you are timing their feedings properly and not overfeeding. This is especially true for sugary foods--rodents love junk food just as much as we humans!
4. Provide Adequate and Appropriate Shelter
When you are shopping for the perfect home for your new pet, you should take into consideration some key factors. Choosing a cage with proper bar spacing will ensure your pet rodent stays inside their cage when you wish to have them safe and secure. The proper spacing should not be any more than ½ inch apart. Along with bar spacing, you should make sure to use enough bedding inside the cage to keep your rodent pal comfy and give him a place burrow in at sleep time. You will also reap the benefits of using a good bedding, such as paper pellets, since they work to absorb urine and odor.
5. Give Opportunity for Exercise
Aside from providing an in-cage wheel for running and exercise, think about ways your rodent can exercise out of his cage. You can purchase exercise balls where you place your rodent inside and they can freely roam your house. Other options are creating mazes of PVC piping for them to climb, tunnel and run. Exercise is just as important to your new pet’s health as proper nutrition.