Pet Rodents

Updated: December 25, 2021
© Raul Baena/
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Owning a pet rodent is an increasingly popular choice for people across the world, particularly families with young children. These animals are sometimes known as ‘pocket pets’, though not all pet rodents are small enough to actually fit in a pocket.

Hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and mice are the most popular choice for pet rodents. These are low maintenance animals that can live in a small to medium sized cage or glass aquarium. They are a good choice for young children or busy individuals who prefer low maintenance pets.

Pet rodents do not live as long as more traditional pets like cats and dogs. Most will live less than five years, though some like the chinchilla can live beyond 10 years.

The Best Small Rodents To Keep As Pets

While the ‘best’ small rodent to keep as a pet is subjective, here is a list of some of the most popular, low maintenance, and affectionate rodents to keep as pets:

Guinea Pig

Guinea pigs are one of the most popular rodent pets in the United States, and with good reason! These small animals are easy to handle, live 5-7 years on average, and do not typically bite. This makes them ideal to be handled by children or newer pet owners.

Guinea Pigs are one of the most popular pet rodent choices

©Gerbil – Creative Commons


Chinchillas are affectionate and active pet rodents that like to snuggle. Their long lifespan of 10 years or more make having one as a pet a long term commitment, but their playful nature means they can be a lot of fun to have around. Though as a nocturnal animal they are most active in the evening.

Chinchilla (Chinchilla Lanigera) - standing against white background

The affectionate and active chinchilla is a popular pet rodent

©Dmytro Leschenko/


Mice are very easy to care for and can be a great introduction to pet ownership for younger owners. Care is relatively minimal. Animal bedding needs to be changed approximately weekly. Water can be refilled every few days depending on the mechanism in use, and they are very affordable to own. However, they are not long-lived animals. Most mice as pets only live 2-4 years.

Mouse Closeup

Mice are affordable and low maintenance pet rodents

©Roger McLassus / CC BY-SA 3.0, from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository – License

Types of Pet Rodents

A Fancy Mouse
Fancy Mouse

Fancy mice are beloved pets with a history of domestication spanning thousands of years!

A Hamster

Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!

A Rat

Omnivores that eat anything!

A Mouse

Found on every continent on Earth!

A Guinea Pig
Guinea Pig

Natively found in the Andes Mountain range!

A Gerbil

Originally known as the Desert Rat!

List of Pet Rodents

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