Some of Small Animals are nocturnal, most active at night, so you need to be aware of this before buying them as they will sleep all day. If startled or not allowed to get the sleep they need, they become grumpy and will sometimes bite. For this and other reasons some are better for younger children than others. Below we will discuss the pros and cons of each briefly.
Remember that not all small animals are legal to own in all states. Check with your local animal shelter or a veterinarian for the regulations in your area.
If you get a young animal consider the size of the animal when full grown so you can tell if you can accomodate the size cage that it will require. It will need to be large enough for them to have a place to sleep, a play area with accessories, and a feeding area. If the pet will be allowed out of his cage daily for exercise, you could use a smaller cage for sleeping. If the bottom of the cage is wire, be sure that the spacing is small enough that the pet’s feet do not get caught in the wire. Even if you cover the floor with newspaper, remember that the pet might tear the paper.
Some of these small animals are escape artists so you need to be sure the cage you get is escape proof, or you will be looking for your friend all over the house. The size of the wire on the cages for small animals varies. The cage might be the right size but not have the right size wire for your particular pet. If you are thinking about breeding your pet, remember that the babies will be small and you do not want them to escape either.
Get the right litter for the pet’s bedding. Not all litter is the same; some animals require pellets and some shavings. Even the type of shaving may make a big difference. Some animals will develop respiratory problems when cedar shavings are used. Newspaper may be all that you need.
Most small animals need a nest box or appropriate sleeping quarters. If the pet is nocturnal, the nest box will help him cope with the sunlight during the day. If the box is made of wood or plastic, and the pet likes to chew, you will need to use something like wood blocks for him to chew on.
Food and water dishes may need to be secured to the cage since some animals burrow under the dishes and turn them over. Some may chew on their bowls if they do not have something else to chew on. Water bottles are better than water bowls because the water stays cleaner, and the pet cannot play in the water or turn it over.
Get the right food for the animal; each needs a certain diet. Some need fresh fruits and veggies and others do not. Some need seeds, and some need pellets. There may be certain vitamins or minerals that your pet may need so what you feed him does make a difference in his health. Do not over feed your pet.
Give treats that are designed for the specific animal. Treats are just that – treats. They should not constitute a large part of the animal’s diet. Treats could be in the form of a bar, or you might use fruits and vegetables if the pet does not require them regularly. Treats can be used for training your pet; if he likes something, he will likely do most anything to get it.
Things to gnaw on like wood blocks or hard alfalfa cubes are not treats. Rabbits and guinea pigs have teeth that keep growing unless they have something to wear the teeth down. If you do to give them something to chew on, they will chew on their bowls or nest box.