recomend a small fuzzy animal for me!

I want more pets. Right now, I just have a pair of gerbils (who I adore, but I’d like more of a managerie). What I’d really like is a dog, but that’s going to have to wait until I have the space for one, which I don’t yet.

Anyway, here is a list of what I’m considering:
Rats - perhaps bald ones? I think they’re cute
Maybe a hedgehog, though I’ve heard they’re kind of grumpy pets, and I want something I can play with.
Maybe a chinchilla, but I’m not sure - I don’t know that much about them, I just think they’re cute. Anyone have any experience?

Some things I know I don’t want/can’t have:
Sugar gliders - I’d love a pair, but I’m also thinking ahead - if well-cared for, they can live for up to 15 years, and they need a lot of attention. I have time to give them attention now, but I’m planning on having kids in the next few years, and won’t have time for them later. I don’t want to get a pet that I’ll bond with and then need to give away. Not good for the pet or for me
Hamsters - cute, but evil. Also, I’ve had many hamsters over my lifetime, and want something new. They’re solitary, and I’d rather have pets I can have a pair or trio of.
Mice - too small and hyper
Bunny - I don’t have enough space, or a bunny-proof area for one to play in.
Guinea pig - same reason as bunny

Anyway - I’d like something unusual, though at the moment I am leaning towards getting a pair of ratties. Anyone have any experience with the above animals, or with something interesting not mentioned here? I need something that will be happy in their cage while I’m at work, but will want to come out and play with me also.

Also, any pet I get will either come from a breeder or from the MSPCA.

My son kept ferrets for years. They were pretty cool and he enjoyed them.

You mentioned a dog but not a cat.

Cats do make great indoor pets and they are loving and affectionate. I had a cat for 22 years and he never went outside. Make sure you keep a scratching post handy otherwise your carpet and furniture will get shredded unless you declaw the fronts.

You could get a cat and trim it’s claws, or use caps that fit over it’s clawtips. Putting these links up here, to try and keep things civil. (FTR, the “declaw” word usually brings about a big argument between those who are pro, and those who are con.)

Ah, I knew I forgot something. My roommates have cats, and we don’t want more in our apartment. I’m fine with that, as I’m much more of a dog person than a cat person, so I’d rather just wait. Cats are nice, but they’re not for me.

Oh, and I keep my bedroom door closed and locked at all times, to keep the cats out of my room and away from my gerbils, and any other pet I may acquire.

Ferrets typically don’t get along with rodents, and most rodents seem to be instinctively terrified of them, even of their scent. There are exceptions, but my best guess would be that ferrets would be extremely interested - and not in a pleasant manner - in your gerbils’ cage. I made this same mistake when I owned a hamster, and had to be vigilant about keeping the two apart. One night I heard terrified shrieking, and discovered the hamster had managed to slide parts of his habitrail system apart, escape, and become cornered by the ferret in a spot the ferret wasn’t quite yet able to get into, but was rapidly working out a way to do so.

Ferrets can be higher maintenance than cats, and than many/most dogs. They should be in a large cage when you’re not able to supervise them. They can squeeze through very small areas, typically the size of a quarter or so. They love to chew on rubber and sponge, which can be swallowed and cause an intestinal blockage typically requiring surgery to save the animal’s life. In temperatures in the upper 70s and higher, they start to be at risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Finally, they require a diligent owner to properly socialize them - ferrets have tougher skin than most other animals they might encounter (dogs, cats, humans), and part of their play with their littermates includes biting each other. It takes some time and careful work to socialize them to learn that humans have softer skin and do not like biting.

Oh, and they’re not legal in all areas, including the entire state of California. Contrary to the hysteria of some of these anti-ferret folk, they do not kill/maim children and livestock (they don’t cause more harm than another animal their size, and yet dogs and cats are not outlawed), they are not big rabies carriers and there are effective rabies vaccines for them, and they cannot survive in the wild for long.

There are many bonuses to owning ferrets, and I adore them, but I don’t recommend them for everyone. There are a lot of good books and websites out there about keeping ferrets as pets, and reading up on them will help you make an informed decision.

Ferrets are cute and absolutely hilarious to watch, but I would NEVER want to deal with owning them. I’d rather visit friends and be entertained by their ferrets, but between the smell, the pooping in corners, the burrowing, the nipping, and the hiding food inside, behind, and under every conceivable object, I know better than to even consider getting one of my own. Plus, at least with the ones I’ve seen, you can never totally socialize them to be friendly and affectionate like cats or dogs. My friends’ ferret was a laugh-riot, but she didn’t recognize her owners or give a crap about them.

Meanwhile, rats are surprisingly clean, quite smart, trainable, and cute. I wouldn’t want one of those either (for me it’s cats or nothing), but my first college dorm roommate had a rat and I liked it just fine.

Sorry, I meant to expand upon this point - large as in multi-level, typically. They should have places to play, room for at least 1 litter box in a spot away from their food and water, and at least one area they can hide in. Their wild ancestors (and modern-day relatives) are burrow-dwellers, and ferrets can become stressed and nervous if they never feel like they have somewhere to hide, at least in a little sleeping bag.

Our ferrets have always been pretty interactive with us and affectionate, but typically from what I’ve seen, many are like cats without the desire for lap-time cuddling. This can vary a lot - our current two are very sociable and loving, but can still get riled up if overexcited and might bite (not intending to harm, just out of a “play!” desire). Our female is “daddy’s girl” and will seek out my husband to play with him; she bonded more closely with him as a kit when I was spending most of my time caring for an older female with various health problems (digestive, heart). Both will lick our faces as well.

Rats are excellent pets! I’d say their only downside is their short lifespan. They’re smart, adorable, and great all-around.

How long do rats typically live? If I got a pair, I’d want the larger variety.

I’d considered ferrets, but I they’d be confined to my room even when out of the cage (b/c of the cats), and I don’t think that would be good for them.

I’m still looking for some more info on hedgehogs. I looked up some info online, but I’d like personal experiences if anybody has owned them before.

A husband can be a wonderful housepet. Though they can be messy, oderous and surly when they don’t get the remote.
:smiley:

Hehehe…I’m going to have one of those in January of 2007 (possibly sooner) :slight_smile:

The rats (or other fuzzy-wuzzies) are just to tide me over for awhile. Also, they won’t want the remote (except maybe to nibble on).

from this site.
Start here, I’d say. Unless those who own a hedgehog know of a better research resource online?

Chinchillas are cute, but don’t expect to spend time cuddling it. They can live for up to 20 years, and need a large cage (probably at least four feet tall) with lots of ledges so that they can jump. If you got one, in addition to the cage, you’d need bedding, a dust bath, and dust for it to roll in, chewing blocks, food and treats.

If you have kids, just know that a chinchilla will bite anything that is stuck in it’s cage, including fingers. My friend’s pet never did much damage, but if it did have the ability to bite harder if it wanted to. These pets are also very small (they’re mostly hair) and have the ability to squeeze into all kinds of holes that you didn’t know existed. They also have the habit of digging through the thin cloth at the bottom of a box spring or a couch and getting stuck. You could get a rodent ball for it, but I’ve known three chins, and none of them liked them.

Some chinchillas will learn to ride on your shoulder, sit in your hand, or to come when they hear the treat bag, but that’s about it. No litter training, learning its name or anything else.

If you want personal experience on hedgehogs, head over to chins and quills. It’s a forum for chinchilla and hedgehog owners.

Rats are the very bestest of the small, furry, cage-dwelling critters. I had five. I still would have some, but I developed a very severe allergy to them and when my original boys died I didn’t replace them. They lived about three and a half years.

Rats are playful and social. You need to keep more than one or he will get very lonely which will make him antisocial, bitey, scared…etc unless you give him TONS of attention. Just get two and they can play together and you can get your housework and what not done. I let mine roam my bedroom–please tie up all electrical cords and what not. They destroyed my bedspread with their chewing–rat lovers call it ratty lace. When I came home in the evening they would run up to the side of the cage to say “HELLO! Feed us! Love us!” They do a thing called “bruxing” where they click their teeth together making a swishy clicky noise. It looks weird because their eyes bug out when they do it, but it’s akin to a can purring and is nice once you get used to it.

Gee, I wish I could have a rat again. :frowning: If you get some, please kiss their little heads for me.

That’s a cat purring. I’ve never heard a can purr.

Btw, if you have any questions about the care and feeding of rats, things to do and don’t, email me!

We’ve had rats, hamsters & guinea pigs … the rats by far were the most sociable & easy to care for. Been through a lot of them, though … 2-3 years is max for a rat lifespan.

You already have my favorite of the small fuzzies. I love gerbils.

Have you seen the giant gerbs? I don’t know anything about them, but they are some big gerbils!

I looked into hedgies a while back but decided against one for myself. To be honest, I don’t remember why.

I’ve only heard good things about rats. I think they sound ideal for you.

My only complaint about rodents is their short lives.

Grasshopper mice would be awesome, if people actually CAN keep them as pets. They are carniverous desert mice that prey on insects, and they stand up on their hind legs to squeal–their equivalent of a wolf’s howl. They are really cute (despite being dangerous hunters), but again, I don’t know if anyone actually breeds or keeps them.