Before adopting a small pet, read this
By Dorothée Pâris Pasturel • 25 January 2021
You will be surprised to learn how much there is to know before adopting a small pet.
Exotic animals, or small pets, mean pets other than dogs and cats. Rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles and small rodents, for example. Before adopting one of these animals, you must learn the answers to the following questions:
- Is the animal awake during the day or at night?
Nothing is more exhausting than a hamster running in its squeaky wheel, all night, in your child’s room! Knowing in advance that the hamster is a nocturnal animal, you can think of a better place to house it.
- Does the animal prefer to live alone or in a group?
Guinea pigs and rats are much happier when living in pairs or in groups. It is important to consider that to better assess the size of the environment and the care required.
- What size cage should I buy?
Each exotic animal has its own specific behaviours, i.e., digging, jumping, hiding, climbing, running, etc. Thus, a rabbit needing a lot of space to run will be happier in a large enclosure or completely free, while the rat will especially enjoy a cage with several levels and hiding places.
- What does this animal eat?
Did you know that eating too many carrots can be harmful to rabbits? Did you know that guinea pigs need extra vitamin C? Each species has a different diet and it is very important to respect it, in order to keep your animal healthy. Just because our animal eats something does not necessarily mean it is good for him. In fact, rats are real foodies who would eat anything, even pizza!
- How many years can it live?
Want to give your eight-year-old daughter a bunny for Easter? Will she still want it when she turns eighteen? From two to three years of life expectancy in hamsters, to sixty years in some parrots, longevity can be a very important factor to consider before adopting.
- Will my pet require special care?
First of all, veterinarians specializing in exotic animals are scarce. It is therefore good to find out where the closest specialist it. Basically, some animals will not require much veterinary care, such as mice, for example. For others, it will be necessary to be vigilant about the growth of teeth, neutering, nail clipping, lice, etc. Like all animals, these are living beings who can also get sick!
- Finally, probably the most important question of all: what is this animal’s temperament?
Choosing a hamster because it takes up little space or a chinchilla because it is soft is a mistake. You should read about the animal’s behaviour and, if possible, get to know some of them before adopting.
This is a brief summary, because every little creature has a world of its own. If you want to adopt, the best advice would be to find out any information you can beforehand. Choose an animal that suits you and be curious about it. You will see that, despite their small size, these animals have wonderful personalities and amaze us every day.
Proud mother of the late Timbit the hamster and foster mother of Canelle the rat and her eleven babies, as well as the wonderful rabbit Iris, aka “the pigheaded one.”