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The 411 on Little Animals

Here are my experiences of the little fuzzy wuzzies people usually give children for Christmas, and how to avoid making a mistake this year.

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Hamsters:

Little hamsters such as teddy bear or regular hamsters are notoriously grudge-buggies, and have a chip on their shoulder. Just think of a Chihuahua and you have their personality. They do not like being woke up for any reason and will readily bite anyone for any reason. They are good to have if all the child wants is to watch and enjoy through the cage.

The good news is they are great fun to watch and easy to care for. They are not the cuddle-bug type of pet. They just don't like this, and will let you know without hesitation.


Guinea Pigs:

Guinea Pigs are great. Not very likely to bite, they are so accepting of almost anything. They are quite messy and not a day goes by when there will not be water tipped over in the cage, they are great water lovers, and love to play, tip, suck out of the bottle, blow out of the bottle, squeak at everyone going past and jump and generally make a mess. I like using newspaper shredded by hand for a littler. I have to change it too much to buy cedar, but I have before. They are friendly and will get to like being held if fed, when held, a trea, such as lettuce or any kind of vegetable they like.

This is my favorite animal to have as far as the fuzzy wuzzies go. Great to hold but not demanding other then cleaning out their litter everyday.


Rats:

Rats make good pets if handled gently. Make sure it will let you hold it before you buy it. They are smart and interact and want to go everywhere with you on your shoulder. They will eat anything you give them, and like to eat your dinner scraps. They are great pets, I would say to get one, but I used to raise them and sell them back to the store, etc. I like rats and if you have time to spend playing and petting and giving them toys to jump on and around in their cage they will be happy. They live about 2 or three years at the most, they are great!

They usually have to be put to sleep by a vet when they are old due to brain tumors they all get regardless of diet, which is why they don't make good subjects for controlled studies, but that is just my experience with all my rats. Each of them have a special place in my heart.

Ferrets:

I never was successful at housetraining a ferret, and one of my carpets was ruined where they peed, but I loved them nevertheless!

Sometimes these animals are the most fun and then other times they are nothing but troublemakers, but they are worth it. Mine were always escaping into the neighbors garage every time the house door alarm went off. I should have had a gate for them. They chew a lot and bite hard at first until you teach them not too. They are never ending players, and they provide a lot of entertainment. They go to sleep when held by the scruff, any vet treatment needs a cooling off period to make sure they are not reacting to vaccination in a bad way.

I would say they are high maintenance because of their behavior and need for exercise and their intelligence.

I loved having mine though!

Chinchillas

Chinchillas are not really interactive and more of a "watch me" pet than anything else. Mainly for people who are rewarded by just watching an animal and not really interacting with it. I would say this is a bad choice for a child.

Gerbils:

Gerbils are good pets, but more of a "watch me" pet then a cuddly pet.


Rabbits:

These make good pets, they don't stink and they use the bathroom in one spot and I had one I let run loose in the house. Where he chose to go I put papers down and he began to use the same spot. Rabbits will sit in your lap, but make sure and hold it to see if it will let you hold it for a reasonable amount of time. If it doesn't like being held, don't buy it.

Mice: Too small and not interactive and too smelly.

This ends my 411 on little animals. These are the ones I recommend for kids:

Guinea Pigs
Rats, Japanese Hooded Rats from the pet store

Hope you have a great Christmas!

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February 2, 20050 found this helpful

It's true dwarf hamsters can be grouchy, and must be handled often to remain tame. But Syrian hamsters make great pets, they love to explore and can be taught many tricks. I have a lot of experience with hamsters and if you tame them when they are young (1-2 months) then they will remain tame their entire life. Depending on the hamster, some are playful and adventurous, and others are cuddly and docile. My hamsters never got angry or grumpy when I woke them up. Hamsters, despite what you may think do have a bond with their owners. When I go over to my hamster's cage she is happy to see me and comes over to the side of the cage. Hamsters NEVER "readily bite anyone for any reason" as you mentioned above. Hamsters will only bite if the feel threatened or your hands smell like food. There are usually warning signs before a hamster bites, such as a painless nip. I have only been bit twice by my hamsters, and that was only because my hands smelled like food.

PS: Chinchillas also make great pets. They aren't great for children because they are fragile, but they are very curios pets that love interacting with their human companions.

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February 15, 20050 found this helpful

ahh little pets are soooooo cool""

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May 20, 20050 found this helpful

Unfortunately, I've found that gerbils do NOT make a good "watch-me" pet. Sure, their antics are fun to watch, but they need to be picked up and petted every day, and hand-fed treats on occasion.

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June 13, 20050 found this helpful

bunnies are the best!

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July 23, 20050 found this helpful

I was very interested by your post about hamsters. I also was quite confused by the things you said about them. I am a hamster owner. I have had two adorable hamsters and my second one (Gizmo, a Cream-Banded Hamster) loves me dearly. You may scoff, and not believe how I can tell, but from reading three hamster handbooks, I have found the importance of caring for hamsters and much more such as their emotions. I study hamsters very closely, and still care and love for them. Some of the hamsters may be pushy, but always have a lovable side. 1%-100% I would say most hamsters have a 97% of a loveable, kind side and 3% of a mean agressive side. My first hamster,(Hammie, a Teddy Bear Hamster) was also very loveable. He was fun to watch - He did the monkey bars! Also, let me assure you that hamsters LOVE to be cuddled. I may only be an 11 year old girl, but I have had many experiences with hamsters. Each one only bit me once and I'll say why. Hammie was my first hamster, so I didn't quite understand how to handle the hamster and made a wrong move of handling it. Gizmo is my second hamster and he bit me because he was frightened because too many things were moving around him (Such as too many people). And those are the only reasons they each bit me. So you see, everybody hamsters are a great pet for anybody!!!!!!

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August 3, 20050 found this helpful

Hamsters arent throw away pets. They need lots of attention and so do other animals such as guinea pigs, gerbils, chinchillas, ferretts, etc.. They should be taken out every day..

Hamsters may need to be tamed, but after are loveable, affectionate pets. My first hamster (dwarf) just passed away a few days ago :( at an amazing age of 3 years. He was such a sweetheart, loved to eat and play.

Guinea pigs are expensive, yet great pets! There isnt a pet store cage big enough for one, and they need to be kept in pairs. http://www.cavycages.com is an excellent site showing how to make your own cage for way less then a pet store cage. "Cavys" should be taken out for around an hour a day, need unlimited supply of hay, and one cup leafy greens each pig daily. ;) Vet visits can add up to a lot of money. (hundreds to thousands!) They are pretty high maintenance. ;)

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April 13, 20060 found this helpful

No animal should ever be left in a cage, they should be taken out everyday.

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April 13, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you for all your interesting input. I love all the info that was given here. :)

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January 2, 20140 found this helpful

Just wanted to say this is a well written, informational article. I'm not looking for a pet but love animals.

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