Best Small Animals as Pets
There are many different kinds of pets from the huge to the tiny type of pets. For those who prefer the smaller variety of animals for pets, this article is for you. We will go through some of the best small animals you could own as the newest member of your home.
Let’s do it!
"This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links."
Guinea pigs are a darling to keep as pets. Not only are they cute but they are quite easy to maintain, and they do not require too much care as a pet. Guinea pigs are quite hardy animals, and with proper nutrition, they will rarely need to see a vet. However, this does not mean they do not get ill. If it happens, ensure that they see a veterinarian immediately! They feed mainly on fresh vegetables, hay, vitamin supplements, and pellet foods for guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs survive best in cool climates and may not do well in humid to hot areas. They have a longer lifespan compared to rats and hamsters, at five to seven years as compared to rats’ three-year lifespan. They may look the same, but all come with unique qualities, such that some are shy and others bold and more curious. Therefore, it would be advisable to interact with one before adoption.
If you are looking for something smaller than a dog or cat, exotic, cute, and cuddly, then the sugar glider is the pet for you. Originally from New Guinea, the sugar glider is a small and cute pet the size of your hand. Generally healthy animals, sugar gliders are hardy and less susceptible to disease.
Sugar gliders are also low maintenance animals, and would generally need the same level of care that you would give to a cat. Sugar gliders live in colonies and are quite a social animal. It would be advisable to keep at least two sugar gliders to ensure that they have each other’s company. The sugar gliders will also need your attention, as they are curious, energetic little animals that love playing with human beings.
These pets feed on a wide array of food from vegetables, fruits, protein, insects to several common household foods. They are quite competitive when it comes to food, and the best practice would be to have more than one feeding station for the pet.
Ensure that you have enough room for your sugar glider when constructing their habitat.
Hamsters are adorable and inexpensive pets to keep. They rarely need to see a veterinarian, and a proper diet is the best way to keep them healthy. Most hamsters are bought when they are young; however, rescue hamsters exist and can also be adopted. They are relatively easy to maintain although they come with their own little needs, which should be met, such as changing their water daily and ensuring that their food does not run out.
The nesting area for the hamster should be spacious enough to accommodate your hamster comfortably. In addition, hamsters need playthings and exercise toys in their cages, such as a hamster to keep them occupied and happy. In terms of sociability, hamsters are quite social with humans and require playtime and some attention from their owners.
Hamsters have a lifespan of around two years and are nocturnal animals that like to chew on basically anything they can get their paws on. Hamster cages require at least weekly cleaning. Hamsters also take some time to get used to their new owners, and should, therefore, be allowed enough time to adjust to their new environments.
Degus are small guinea pig-sized animals with brown fur and a long thin tail. They have round bodies with around 12 inches of length from the nose to the tail tip. They are brilliant animals with the capability of a normal and nocturnal schedule. An odd thing about a degu is the capability to develop conditions associated with humans such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Most degus are social animals and are happier in the company of other degus, and therefore getting two degus would be the best option. However, it is best to prevent male degus from staying together as they may fight.
Degus have a lifespan of around nine years and can form close bonds with their owners. They are strict herbivores and prefer grass and shrubs with an addition of seeds. They are constantly chewing with molars that continually grow. Therefore, it would be advisable to house them in metal cages to prevent them from chewing through the cage. Degus require regular sand baths, which helps with their fur quality.
These pets are known to nibble their owners affectionately, and they quickly bond with persons that spend enough time with them. They also come with highly evolved communication techniques, which comprise of up to 15 different sounds.
Gerbils are cute small animals, which have become increasingly popular with many households. They are initially from Africa and Asia, with furry tails, a little tuft, and a grey yellowish and black white hair at the belly.
Gerbils are nocturnal animals, with a lot of energy, curious to explore anything that grabs their interest. They are also quite social and would be the best fit to have company as opposed to owning just one gerbil.
These pets are best kept in cages, with enough room to provide comfort. However, it advisable to include a nest box for them, as they prefer to hide out for some time, and also use the nest box to sleep. The cage should also come with enough playthings for the gerbil pleasure.
Gerbils feed on formulated gerbil food. They are quite healthy and sturdy animals; however, they are susceptible to injury, stress, and heatstroke.
Socializing with your gerbil takes a few days. They will require patience and some treats. Give the gerbil some treats through the cage, and later as the gerbil accepts more treats, star-placing them outside their cage and eventually on your hand, and wait for them to climb on.
Stick insects are one of the odder pets on this list. Getting its name from the resemblance it bears to sticks, stick insects have become more and more popular, with increasing numbers of people opting for the insect as a pet.
The best way to keep a happy and healthy stick insect is to ensure that you mimic their natural habitat, through adding foliage and other objects found where stick insects live. They are friendly and known to sit on their owner’s arms; however, care should be taken in handling them as they are quite fragile.
Stick insects are also quite low maintenance pets and can be left up to a week without any necessary upkeep. They require cages that are big enough to ensure they have enough space, with three times the size of the stick insect being the standard size. They also require some humidity with care taken to prevent mold growth.
These pets are herbivorous, and they feed on a variety of things from raspberry, pivot hawthorn, oak rose branches and other plant leaves and herbs. However, take care and ensure food given is free of pesticides and herbicides as it can be lethal to the animal.
Another adorable exotic pet you can keep is a chinchilla. Active at dawn and dusk, chinchillas are semi nocturnal, and mostly keep to themselves during the day. They can also become quite attached to their owners. They are generally skittish and do not like to be held; however, if properly introduced and treated, chinchillas will not mind being held. They have a lifespan of around fifteen years. Therefore, interested owners should take their time in deciding whether they want a chinchilla so that they are not fed up, on the course of the pet’s life.
Chinchillas are gentle pets with a playful nature and are comfortable living single or with other chinchillas. They are habitual animals that prefer a routine in terms of handling and feeding. Owed to their playful nature, chinchillas require a roomy cage, which can allow for their movement. The chinchillas’ cage should also come with toys that can keep the animal occupied. Chinchillas also prefer cool temperatures over hotter temperatures.
These pets mainly feed on roughage with a combination of grass and pellets specially made for their diet. Toys are also crucial for the chinchilla to keep them busy and entertained.
Hedgehogs are amazing little creatures, with a lifespan averaging four to six years, weighing around a pound. They mostly feed on vegetables, earthworms, and crickets. Petting a happy hedgehog is like rubbing a brush while petting an angry hedgehog is like petting a cactus. If correctly assimilated into the family, hedgehogs are a darling and get attached to their owners.
Their quills speak a lot about what the pet is feeling. When calm the quills are flat. If the quills have risen, then the hedgehog can be uncertain, frightened, or hungry. A hedgehog will climb the owner’s body when happy and will also steal some stuff when if feisty.
They have a weird streak attached to them, such that anything with an odd or unusual smell will be rubbed on their body. They have been known to rub cigarettes, carrots, and many other things on their bodies, in their effort to mask themselves with these smells.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and should not be coaxed into daytime activities. At night, however, the hedgehog bursts into activity and will jump, explore and have fun. They are also high maintenance creatures with a requirement for specialized veterinarian care.
Small exotic pets generally need care while handling as their size makes them prone to injury in case of any mishandling. They are a great addition to the family and can provide great company for the kids, while at the same time teaching them how to care for animals. However, it would be essential to research on the legality of owning one of these exotic pets, and ensure you buy from reputable breeders.