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Best Pet Rodents: 8 Types of Rodents to Keep as Pets

The best pet rodents include hamsters, common pet rats, gerbils, chinchillas, guinea pigs, pet mice, common degus, and the African dormouse.

Rodents make great pets. They are intelligent, sociable, and friendly creatures that can provide many hours of entertainment. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of pet rodents typically kept as pets. 

Whether you’re looking for a new furry friend or just doing some research, continue reading to learn more.

Rodent Pets List

There are many different types of rodents to choose from if you’re looking for a pet. 

Each has their own unique personality and set of needs, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision. 

Here is a list of the best pet rodents:

  1. Hamster
  2. Common Pet Rat
  3. Gerbil
  4. Chinchilla
  5. Guinea Pig
  6. Pet Mouse
  7. Common Degu
  8. African Dormouse

1. Hamster

Scientific NameCricetinae
Common NameHamster
Animal ClassMammalia
DietSeeds, small quantities of greens, cleaned root vegetables, pieces of fruits
HabitatWarm, dry areas like sand dunes and edges of deserts

The hamster is a small, docile creature that makes for a great pet. Hamsters are relatively easy to care for and can be kept in a small space, making them ideal for those who live in apartments or other small dwellings. 

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, so they are often most active at night. This can make them a bit of a nuisance if they are kept in a bedroom.

They are omnivorous and eat almost anything, but it is important to provide them with a balanced diet. 

Pet hamster diets should consist of hay, fresh vegetables, and a small amount of pellets or seed mix.

Hamsters are social creatures and do best when kept in pairs or groups. If you are keeping more than one hamster, make sure they are of the same sex to avoid unwanted mating.

2. Common Pet Rat

Common Pet Rat
Scientific NameRattus norvegicus f. domestica
Common NameRat
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFruits, vegetables, cooked eggs, citrus fruits, onions
HabitatRural and urban areas

Rats have been kept as pets for centuries, and with good reason[1]. They are intelligent, social creatures that bond easily with their human companions. 

As far as rodents go, rats are relatively clean and easy to care for. They also don’t need a lot of space, making them ideal pets for small homes and apartments.

If you’re thinking of adding a pet rat to your family, there are a few things you should know. 

Rats are social animals and do best when kept in pairs. They also need plenty of exercise, so be sure to provide them with a large cage or enclosure. 

They are also curious creatures and love to explore. Make sure their cage is well-stocked with toys and climbing equipment.

Rats are relatively easy to care for, but they do have some specific needs. They should be fed a diet of high-quality rat food, supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. They also need access to clean water at all times.

3. Gerbil

Gerbil Pet
Scientific NameMeriones unguiculatus
Common NameGerbil
Animal ClassMammalia
DietFruits, seeds, vegetables, insects
HabitatDesert, sandy territories

Gerbils are small, active rodents that make great pets. They are social creatures and do best when kept in pairs or groups. They are very active and love to play. 

Gerbils are easy to care for and require a diet of pellets, hay, vegetables, and water. They are also known to be clean animals and groom themselves regularly.

When it comes to choosing a home for your gerbil, there are a few things to consider. They need a cage that is at least 24” x 12” x 12”. The cage should have a solid bottom and wire sides to allow for ventilation. 

Gerbils also need a place to hide and nest. A hiding box or tunnel is perfect for this. 

As active animals, they need a wheel for exercise. Choose a wheel that is the correct size for your gerbil. They can injure themselves on wheels that are too small.

Gerbils are fun, active pets that are easy to care for. With the proper cage and diet, gerbils make great pets for first-time rodent owners and experienced pet parents alike.

4. Chinchilla

Pet Chinchilla
Scientific NameChinchilla
Common NameChinchilla
Animal ClassMammalia
DietHigh- fiber grass hay, fortified pellet diet, fresh produce
HabitatRocky slopes of the Andes Mountains, western coastlines of South America

Chinchillas are native to South America, and have been kept as pets for centuries[2]. These days, they are one of the most popular rodent pets in the world.

Chinchillas are small animals, measuring just 30cm in length on average. They have thick, soft fur that is available in a wide range of colors, including:

  • Silver
  • Grey
  • Brown
  • Black

They are active creatures and love to play. They are also intelligent and can be trained to do simple tricks.

One of the most important things to remember if you want to keep a chinchilla as a pet is that they are sensitive to heat. 

They should never be kept in an environment that is too warm, as this can cause them serious health problems. If you live in a hot climate, it is best to keep your chinchilla in an air-conditioned room.

Related: Are Chinchillas Easy to Care For?

5. Guinea Pig

Guinea Pigs
Scientific NameCavea porcellus
Common NameGuinea Pig
Animal ClassMammalia
DietCommercial guinea pig pellets, greens, fruits, vegetables
HabitatThorn forests, scrub desert, moist savannas

If you’re looking for a cuddly and low-maintenance pet, the guinea pig might be the perfect fit for you. These small rodents are social creatures that enjoy being around people and other animals, making them ideal pets for families. 

Guinea pigs are relatively easy to care for, as they only need fresh vegetables and hay to eat. With proper care, guinea pigs can live for up to five years.

If you’re considering adding a guinea pig to your family, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

They need plenty of space to run and play, so make sure you have a large cage or enclosure for them. 

Guinea pigs are sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, so it’s important to handle them gently. 

Because guinea pigs are social creatures, it’s best to adopt two of them so they can keep each other company.

6. Pet Mouse

Pet Mouse
Scientific NameMus musculus
Common NameMouse
Animal ClassMammalia
DietRaw nuts, cereals, seeds, grains, breads, cheese
HabitatWire cage, quiet and undisturbed place

Mice make great pets. They are small, relatively easy to care for, and typically friendly animals that enjoy human interaction.

Mice are social creatures and do best when kept in pairs or small groups. This means you’ll need to buy at least two mice, preferably of the same sex to avoid unwanted mating.

They are also active animals and love to play[3]. They need a large cage with plenty of space to run around and explore. 

The cage should also have a few hiding places for your mice to retreat to when they want some privacy.

When it comes to food, pet mice are not picky eaters. A good quality mouse food pellet will provide all the nutrients they need. You can also supplement their diet with some fresh fruits and vegetables.

7. Common Degu

Pet Degu
Scientific NameOctodon degus
Common NameCommon Degu
Animal ClassMammalia
DietGood-quality hay, leafy vegetables
HabitatThickets, rocks, stone walls, dig burrows

The common degu is native to Chile and has become popular a pet in recent years. They are social creatures that enjoy being around other degus, so it’s best to keep them in pairs or groups. 

Degus are active and playful, so they need a spacious cage with plenty of toys and enrichment items. 

They are also intelligent animals that can be trained to do simple tricks.

Like all rodents, degus have sharp teeth that need to be regularly trimmed. They also have a strong natural inclination to chew, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of chew toys. 

8. African Dormouse

African Dormouse
Scientific NameGraphiurus
Common NameAfrican Dormouse
Animal ClassMammalia
DietNuts, seeds, bird eggs, vegetation, insects, 
HabitatAfrica, woodlands, grassland, rocky mountains

The African dormouse is a small rodent native to Africa. It is a popular pet in many parts of the world, and its small size makes it a good choice for people without a lot of space. 

African dormice are gentle and affectionate animals. They can be trained to do simple tricks. They are also known for their playful nature, and they can be a lot of fun to watch. 

They are generally not aggressive, so they make good pets for children.

If you are considering buying an African dormouse as a pet, there are a few things that you should know. 

The African dormouse needs a warm place to live. They can’t survive in cold climates. If you live in a place with cold winters, it is important to provide a heated cage. 

They also need a diet that is high in proteins and fats. A good diet for an African dormouse includes nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

What Is the Fastest Type of Pet Rodent?

The African dormouse is the fastest type of pet rodent. These animals can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

African dormice are fast runners and good jumpers. They can leap up to six feet into the air. 

If you are looking for a fast and playful pet, an African dormouse is a great choice. Be sure to provide a warm home and a good diet, and your pet will be happy and healthy.

What Is the Fastest Type of Pet Rodent

What Is the Smallest Type of Pet Rodent?

The dwarf hamster is the smallest type of rodent kept as pets. Dwarf hamsters are small, reaching about 4-5 inches in length when fully grown. 

They are also very low-maintenance, which makes them a great choice for first-time pet owners. 

If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to your furry friend, dwarf hamsters also make great pets.

What Is the Biggest Type of Pet Rodent?

The guinea pig is the largest type of pet rodent. They are native to South America and were first domesticated by the Incas. Guinea pigs have since become popular pets around the world, due to their docile nature and cuddly appearance.

Guinea pigs come in a variety of colors and coat types. The most common coat type is the short-haired, or smooth-coated, guinea pig. 

There are also long-haired guinea pigs, which have flowing locks. These need more extensive regular grooming.


The best pet rodents include hamsters, rats, gerbils, chinchillas, guinea pigs, mice, degus, and African dormice. These can all get used to human interaction, and are generally easy to care for.

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

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