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Current Guidance on

how to correctly keep

Rodents for Pets

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Introduction to the Rodent as a Pet

A rodent is defined as a member of the order of mammals
characterized by having two upper and lower incisors (front
teeth) that keep growing throughout the life of the animal,
and so must be kept ground down by gnawing. The word rodent
comes from the Latin word "rodere," meaning "to gnaw" and
the Latin word "dens" or "dentis" meaning tooth.

Rodents are found in amazingly large numbers on every
continent but Antarctica, including on most islands, and
they live in all types of habitats except in the oceans. It
is said that forty percent of all mammal species are
rodents! Most rodents are small, eat a wide variety of
foods, and are prolific breeders, which probably accounts
for their numbers. There are multiple species of larger
mammals as well as birds that depend greatly on rodents as a
staple part of their diet.

Members of the order Rodentia (ro-den'che-ah), commonly
known as rodents, include rats, mice, hamsters,
squirrels, chinchillas, marmots, chipmunks, multimammate
mice, gerbils, groundhogs, beavers, porcupines
and lemmings. (Although rabbits and hares have similar teeth
they are not classed as rodents but are in the order

Scientific classification of Rodentia Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Subclass: Theria
Infraclass: Eutheria Superorder: Glires Order: Rodentia


There are some things to be considered before you decide to
keep and breed any rodent:

* Rodents and their cages, if not kept meticulously clean,
and sometimes even if they are kept clean, can smell very
bad very quickly. This is especially true of the males.
Cages need to be cleaned one to three times per week
depending on the size of the cage and how many animals you

* You can't keep multiple members of some rodent species in
the same cage as they are territorial and will fight and
even kill each other, so you may need a number of cages if
you plan to breed your pets.

* Most domesticated rodents make good pets, but they don't
have long life spans. The average lifetime of a rat is about
four years, and mice seldom live past three years old.
Rodents in captivity need a lot of care and attention, and
you must be prepared to care for them daily and to lose them
fairly often.

What you will need:

To keep and breed rats and mice or most other types of
rodents, you will need the following basics:

- a cage, cages or a large container that they can't chew
through or climb out of. - enough room for exercise and
comfort - a variety of good quality fresh food and clean
fresh water at all times - a supply of bedding suitable for
the species - a shallow container for food - a rodent water
bottle or other safe waterer - and last but not least, the

Be sure to read our other articles on rodent care

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