Figuring out what type of small pet to get your child is often hard to do. Many people think that it is an easy choice to make, however with it all gets said and done a lot of kids and their parents are disappointed about the choice that is made. Deciding which type of rodent, which cute little pet, should be yours can be a whole lot easier if you know a little bit about them.

Why It's Important.
Choosing one type of rodent over another doesn't seem like an important decision. Let your child loose in the pet store and have them point at the animal they wish to take home. It will all work out from there, right? Well, sometimes, but other times it can be a very hard thing to do. You bring home a pet and find out that it just isn't what it was expected to be. It doesn't act like you hoped, doesn't do the things you want it to do, or worse yet disappoints your child. Knowing a little about each type of rodent before choosing one is really a good thing.

The hamster is the best selling rodent of all time. It is cute, furry, and doesn't have a tail. Plus you can get them in a few different sizes, various fur types, and a whole lot of different colors. It's an inexpensive pet and many people fall in love with them at the pet store. But there are a few things you should know:

  • Hamsters aren't friendly pets. There are always a few exceptions, but as a whole hamsters are solitary creatures and usually prefer to be left alone. This can be a good thing for some children, but is usually not a great thing.
  • Because of their solitary nature most shouldn't be kept in pairs. This leads to accidental births when a male and female are accidentally housed together and even fights to the death.
  • Sometimes hamsters will bite people because they would rather be left alone.
  • Additionally, hamsters are really dumb creatures.

Guinea Pigs.
Another fairly common rodent is the guinea pig. This creature is about the size of a small rabbit. There are a few different fur types and a few different colors. They are also more personable.
  • Most guinea pigs are pretty friendly and if not friendly then they are at least tolerant of people.
  • Unlike hamsters, guinea pigs are community creatures and would prefer to be in small groups. This can be hard for owners who only want one. Some guinea pigs do fine by themselves, others don't.
  • Guinea pigs are less likely to bite people then a lot of other rodents. However, they sometimes confuse fingers for food, which isn't good.
  • They are fairly intelligent and can be more fun to play with. They can learn a few tricks and will also get excited when their people come around.
  • They do require a bigger space then a hamster, gerbil, or some smaller rodents.

Mice are super cute and love to run around. They come in a few different sizes and a lot of different colors.
  • Most are friendly and do well with people. Many that shy from people at first get used to people and even come to love them.
  • Mice are definitely community creatures and don't do well on their own. Therefore they should be kept in same sex pairs or groups.
  • While not common, mice can and sometimes do bite people. Usually this is out of fear and mice bites aren't so bad.
  • Mice are medium on the intelligence scale. They are a lot of fun to watch.
  • Of all the rodents mice take up the smallest amount of space, requiring only a small cage.

These big eyed furry little rodents can be a whole lot of fun to look at. They come in a few different colors, but not many.
  • Gerbils are medium on the friendly scale. Many do just fine with people though they aren't completely thrilled with the idea.
  • Gerbils prefer to be in groups as well, but they do better then other creatures being on their own.
  • A gerbil has a great memory and this can often serve against small children. If they drop a gerbil it is likely that the gerbil will remember and will bite him or her every time they come in contact with each other.
  • They are medium on the scale of intelligence, but not really fun to play with. On the other hand they are great fun to watch.
  • They require a medium amount of space, about the same as a hamster.

Most people shy away from rats as a possible pet. Often it is because of their very name and not really because of their personality. Rats come in a wide range of colors, fur types, and varieties.
  • Rats are very friendly. While they may be shy at first this shyness goes away quickly. They love people and love spending time with them.
  • They prefer groups, both groups of people and other rats. They should be kept in same sex pairs or groups.
  • Rats are very intelligent and they love learning new things, exploring, and even playing games.
  • Because rats are so smart and social they do require more attention then many of the other rodents. They love getting out of their cage!
  • They require a large cage with lots of things to do making them more expensive then a smaller rodent.

This exotic rodent isn't available everywhere, but it should be on the list because more and more people are considering these funny looking creatures as pets. They look sorta like a large gerbil or a chipmunk with grey to brown fur and large eyes.
  • It should be noted that the degu shouldn't be a pet for young children. In fact, you should be at least 14 before owning this pet because they have special needs, need a lot of care, and are delicate.
  • They are friendly and love people.
  • They have to be kept in same sex pairs or small groups or they become depressed and can even die.
  • Degus are very smart and love getting out and about. They love playing and they are just as willing to play with a person as with another degu.
  • They do require a fair amount of space and a large roomy cage with toys.

Choosing the pet for you and your family often requires that you look at their space, their friendliness, and their requirements. Whether or not they will bite your child is also an important part of the decision as well. I will admit that I am partial to rats as great pets for people of all ages. However, the decision is really up to you and your family.