Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

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Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby lurinmichelle » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:05 am

Who owns/has owned one? Which might be the best choice for a 6-year-old to help take care of and play with? My son has been begging for a hamster ever since he saw them at the pet store several months ago. That's the only gift he requests for Christmas, and my husband thinks we should get it at his gift from Santa. I've done a little research and it sounds like hamsters may not be the best choice because they are more prone to biting, but guinea pigs (who are supposed to be "cuddlier" and more kid friendly) are bigger and therefore need more space. Am I crazy to even consider this?? I have a feeling that I'm the one who will end up taking care of it, so I have a little (a lot) of hesitation about getting a pet.
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Re: Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby LizAnn » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:15 am

My sister had a guinea pig. I remember my mom always arguing with her about cleaning the cage... That is really my only memory of it. :dontknow:

I would say if you accept that you are probably going to be the one taking on the responsibility of cleaning the cage and feeding it, then go for it. My sister did LOVE hers, just not enough to clean the cage... ;)
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Re: Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby jennelled » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:49 pm

Would he be open to a cat? I feel like that's easier / the same to take care of, and a little more exciting than a guinea pig. :dontknow: Boy cats are snuggly!
Jennelle: wife to Matt 06.07.08, mom to Audrey Grace 02.05.12, Clara Rose 08.06.14, and Corinne Elise 09.24.17
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Re: Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby mrs.shea » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:00 pm

I had a hamster as a kid. I wouldn't get one for my kids. They're nocturnal so they're making noise all night while you're trying to sleep...running in their wheels or chewing on stuff ALL THE TIME! Ours never bit us so that wasn't an issue...well, except once with my sister. It's fun to put them in those balls to let them run around the house but ours would always pee in them immediately and then you'd have to give the hamster and the ball a bath EVERY FRIGGIN TIME! Can you tell I'm not a fan?

I had a parakeet too and it was more fun. If you cover their cage, they sleep at night too! :laughing:
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Re: Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby Carrie » Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:46 pm

We had guinea pigs when I was a kid. We had a male and a female and they had babies often that we would barter for guinea pig food from the pet store. They aren’t as active as gerbils but they are definitely more easily handled. Ours loved to be pet, held, and talked to. We had them in a large aquarium in our finished basement.

Towards the pigs’ later years my mom definitely did all of the work.
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Re: Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby AshleyH » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:57 pm

I had a Guinea pig as a kid - warning, if they’re well taken care of (and hopefully it would be!) they live for a long time - mine lived for 8 years I think? She died when I was a senior in high School and it was super traumatic (my parents were probably relived). Guinea pigs are social animals, so they do best in pairs, or they need a lot of attention. They are totally trainable though, and super sweet. They’re a lot of work (socializing them, trimming nails, cleaning cages) and need a good amount of space compared to a hamster or gerbil, but I had a big fish tank prior to that so it wasn’t anything big for me to take care of her (I was also older, though).

You may also want to consider a rat- my husband had rats as a kid and still talks about how amazing they were - he can’t wait until we have kids old enough for rats. Rats are CRAZY smart and extremely trainable, too.
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Re: Small animals- guinea pig, hamster, gerbils, etc.

Postby lurinmichelle » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:22 am

AshleyH wrote:You may also want to consider a rat- my husband had rats as a kid and still talks about how amazing they were - he can’t wait until we have kids old enough for rats. Rats are CRAZY smart and extremely trainable, too.


I had friends with rats growing up, and I tried to convince my husband that they're not the dirty creatures that he's imagining (they really are SO smart!), but he wouldn't even consider it. I'm sure if he actually did some research he might not be so turned off by the thought of it, but I've given up on it at this point
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