Small pets, like rodents, fish & some birds, may sound easier to care for than large pets, like dogs & cats, don’t get it twisted:
You still have a living breathing thing completely dependant on you for its survival.
& With small pets, they literally cannot access clean bedding, food or clean water without you. They’re literally trapped inside a cage (For their own good, but still).
Small pets can be (roughly) categorized accordingly:
- Mammals & Marsupials
While you may not consider some of these animals to be pets, they are & we’re going to briefly talk about all of them.
🦔 Mammals & Marsupials
(Some of) These pets are the most common & that’s because the “beginner” varieties are rather easy to care for. That being said, I’ve known rodents to have attitude problems more often than other small pets, tho that is all a matter of the handler from the get-go. Often called “pocket pets” for their size, all of these pets live in cages, tho what kind of cage depends on what kind of mammal or marsupial you have.
The right small animal diet, a clean and dry habitat, fresh food and water, safe toys, and attention every day are important elements that will make your small animal happy and healthy (source).
Beginner: Hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, rats,
Expert: sugar gliders, chinchillas, squirrels, hedgehogs, foxes, skunks, ferrets,
Herptile is an umbrella that reptiles & amphibians sit under together. These pets are good options for those with for fur / dander allergies, but aren’t really meant for beginner pet owners. These pets have very specific needs & there are very unfortunate consequences otherwise, which could be a lot to ask of someone.
Being cold blooded, these animals need far more than just a cage (some don’t even need a cage). Many herptile handlers opt to house them in terrariums. Many reptiles & amphibians require heat lamps to manufacture the tropical or desert climates they’re used to. For tropical varieties, a water feature may also be essential. There isn’t a one size fits all guide when it comes to caring for reptiles & amphibians, care is very dependent on the species.
Snakes, dragons, turtles, frogs, salamanders, skinks, geckos, tortoises, pythons, newts, anoles, iguanas, chameleons, monitors, lizards, toads, basilisks, axolotls,
Birds require very high air quality all the time & tropical species need constant heat, like reptiles & amphibians. Some birds can mimic, some can hold conversation & some only chirp.
The right pet bird diet, a clean cage, fresh bird food and water, safe bird toys, exercise, and lots of attention are the basics. Pet bird cages should have plenty of space for activity and a grate to separate your pet bird from the substrate (source).
Parrots, canaries, finches, cockatoos, parakeets, lovebirds, cockatiels, macaws, crows, doves, conures, lories,
Fish, like herptiles, are a great option for those with animal related allergies. Most fish owners will never have to physically touch their fish, using nets & transport tanks instead. Furthermore, fish do not give odor (an unclean tank might) or require much effort on the handler’s part.
Salt water & fresh water environments are very different. A contained environment can be one or the other, so you’ll have to pick one in order to pick your fish. Fresh water is more common & easier to take care of. Salt water opens options for things like real coral & shrimp.
It is important when choosing a fish that you can provide the right environment for it to thrive. The needs of tropical freshwater fish, coldwater fish and tropical marine fish are all different. Before deciding you might first want to go through this simple checklist (source).
Fish bowls & tanks can add beauty & even ambiance to any room, but must be kept after diligently to ensure the health of those living in it. Certain species can be added to your tank that can help you out between cleanings.
Freshwater: Goldfish, Betta, Catfish, Guppies, Tetras, Swordtails, Discus, Angel Fish, Barbs, Loaches, Cichlid, Oscars, Mollies, Gouramis, Killfish, Rainbowfish, Gobies, Sleepers, Platies, Livebearers, Botias,
Saltwater: Anglers, Frogfish, Basslets, Boxfish, Cowfish, Butterfly Fish, Clown Fish, Wrasses, Dragonettes, Flounders, Gobies, Groupers, Snappers, Eels, Sharks, Stingrays, Oddballs, Seahorses, Sweetlips, Tangs, Grunts, Triggers,
🦐 Invertebrates (Bugs & Crustaceans)
Bugs & Crustaceans (bugs of the sea) aren’t the most widely popular pets, but those who do keep them, love them dearly. These kinds of pets require extremely specific housing, food & all around care. You can’t stick a lightning bug in a jar, give it a name & call it a day. What would he eat? Where would he rest? Bugs have all the same basic needs of any other living thing.
Ants, crabs, bees, spiders, shrimp, scorpions, tarantulas, cockroaches, mantis, centipedes/millipedes, stick bugs, lobsters, stag beetles, snails
YOU SHOULD NEVER….
- Buy any pet “on a whim”
- Buy a pet for something else without asking them first
Pets aren’t play things. They’re living beings whom rely on & grow attached to their handlers. Purchasing a pet without preparation is a recipe for disaster.