The keeping of small animals such as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, rats, and mice is becoming quite popular today. You can even choose from more exotic small animals such as chinchillas, ferrets, hedgehogs, and prairie dogs. Whichever one you choose, you can be assured that it will bring you a lot of joy and fun. Small animals make super pets because they are generally very playful, quite adorable and lovable, a lot of fun to watch and be with, and relatively easy to take care of.
Like other pets, small animals will first need to have their basic living necessities taken care of, such as food, water, clean bedding, and a roomy-enough, escape-proof place to stay. However, small animals are also relatively intelligent, interactive, curious, and energetic little creatures that must have things to keep them occupied in order for them to thrive and be happy.
To make their lives much longer and happier, and for your satisfaction and enjoyment as a pet owner, you should provide them some things for activity, exercise, and play. Thanks to the great variety of toys and accessories available for small animals today, this is quite easy to do, even if you do not have a lot of time or energy to spend with your pet.
Scampering and Running Around
Scampering and running around are some of the favorite activities of most small animals, especially hamsters, mice, rats, and other rodents. The exercise wheel is a great accessory to satisfy that need for scampering. It provides fun activity and great exercise for any small animal that you do not have the time and energy to play or exercise with outside of its cage. An exercise wheel is also ideal for the very small and quick rodents because it may not be a good idea to handle them outside their cage very often, if at all, as you may lose them if you let them scamper around your home!
A popular variation of the exercise wheel is the plastic exercise ball. Just put your rodent or other small animal in it and watch it go! Most rodents love these balls, as they can zoom around the house without getting hurt or stepped on. It is a lot of fun to watch your rodent run in one of these too, as you never know where they are going to go. If you would like to keep an eye on your rodent and control where it goes, you can make it stay on specially made tracks. Your pet can overexert itself, so do not keep it in the ball for more than half an hour at a time. Also, you do have to be careful that they do not fall down the stairs anywhere.
Exercise wheels and plastic exercise balls come in many sizes and colors. Metal exercises wheels often will work best, as they can not be chewed up and are more sturdy. If your wheel squeaks, try putting a little vaseline on the rotating shaft. Plastic exercise balls may range in size from as big as a basketball for rats and other large rodents, to some as small as a grapefruit for mice or dwarf hamsters.
Burrowing and Tunneling
Burrowing and tunneling are also favorite, natural, and common activities for many small animals. Great toys for simulating and enhancing these activities are funnels, tunnels, tubes, and various hiding places.
For even more fun, there are special playhouses and funhouses made for small animals that will keep them occupied for hours with plenty of antics. These houses usually have built-in tubes, wheels, and other exciting accessories for your small animal. The houses are also great for them to sleep or hide in. Playhouses and funhouses for small animals are available at your local pet store or in our online store.
How would you like to walk your rodent or small animal around like a dog? Think of all the attention you would get! Harnesses and leads work well with some of the larger small animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits. They allow you to keep your pet from getting away from you and from getting into things. Most harnesses can be adjusted to fit the size of animal that you have. Keep in mind that some animals such as mice are simply too small and easily frightened for a harness, while some others such as ferrets may be too wild and active for harnessing up.
Be creative and have fun with your small animals! For example, if you have two or more rodents, you can try putting them side by side in a little track, or even in a maze with some cheese at the end, and let them compete in races. They can be unpredictable, but once they get going, these little guys can really move!
In addition, remember that most small animals can be trained to perform easy tricks. Often, they are trained with the use of food rewards and a little patience. Some of the bigger small animals such as ferrets also love to go places with you, riding on a shoulder or in a bag. Ferrets can be also be trained to do tricks and play games much like cats and dogs.
If you are looking to get a small animal, take a little time to find out which one best suits you and your home, and see what activities are most fun for you and your small animal. Your reward will be a very happy pet and you will have a great friend.