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Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child 5

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Many children are attracted to rodents. Their small size and popularity in cartoons and movies for young audiences make these animals very appealing to our little ones. However, not all rodents are suitable for children, as their sensitivity to stress varies depending on the species, and some of these animals may require more care than others.

Furthermore, when choosing a rodent for a child, it is not simply a matter of picking one on a whim, thinking that the animal will be nothing more than a living toy. It is important to teach children about the responsibility of caring for a living being, so they understand its importance, under the supervision of parents, of course.

Therefore, choosing the right rodent for a child is crucial for the animal to live happily and in good conditions, as well as for the child to satisfy their curiosity towards their little pet.

Rodents to Avoid for Children

Firstly, it is not advisable to get a rodent for a child under 6 years old, as they may not fully understand the animal and how to interact with it. They might unknowingly behave in ways that could harm the well-being of the animal.

As we all know, children are curious. They need to observe and touch the animal to be satisfied, and not all rodents are capable of meeting their demands. Some rodents may become excessively stressed, leading to illness and even death, while certain species do not enjoy being handled and may bite in self-defense, which is obviously not suitable for a child. Here is a list of rodents to avoid for children:

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

    • The Dwarf Rabbit

For most people, rabbits are considered one of the most suitable rodents for children because they have a plush appearance. However, this is not the case for dwarf rabbits. While an adult rabbit accustomed to humans can coexist with a child, a dwarf rabbit, which is often adopted at a very young age from pet stores, will be much less adaptable.

These animals are naturally very timid and stressed, in addition to having fragile health. They require a level of patience that many children may not have. A young dwarf rabbit cannot be expected to be handled in all directions from an early age, and excessive stress in these animals often leads to severe diarrhea, which is often fatal.

In addition, dwarf rabbits require daily care and need a significant amount of space, as they require a cage with a minimum width of one meter. Therefore, this species is not highly recommended for children.

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

    • The Gerbil

Gerbils may be visually appealing with their lively appearance and curious nature, but they are not recommended for children.

Firstly, it is important to know that gerbils are social animals that need to live in groups. However, these rodents, with their unique personalities, may engage in fights, sometimes resulting in death. This is a spectacle that should be avoided when children are present.

In addition, gerbils are not animals that can be handled carelessly. They are quick to bite if they feel disturbed, and they have the ability, similar to lizards, to detach their tails when caught by them. However, unlike lizards, the tail does not regenerate, which leads to significant balance issues for the gerbil. A child whose desire to touch blinds their reason could unintentionally harm the gerbil by grabbing it by the tail.

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

    • The Golden Hamster

Among all species of hamsters, one is less suitable for children than others: the golden hamster. While dwarf hamsters (Chinese hamster, Russian hamster, etc.) are perfectly suitable for children, golden hamsters have a tendency to bite, and their bites can be very painful.

A child who frequently tries to handle the animal, sometimes clumsily, runs the risk of being bitten and subsequently developing a fear of the animal, eventually neglecting it. It is better to avoid this animal for children.

Rodents Suitable for Children

Although some rodents are completely unsuitable for children, others can get along very well with them.

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

    • The Dwarf Hamster

Unlike golden hamsters, dwarf hamsters (Roborovski hamster, Chinese hamster, Russian hamster, and Campbell’s hamster) can be perfectly suitable for a child. These small hamsters are not prone to biting, and even in rare cases where it might happen, the small size of their teeth does not cause much harm.

Furthermore, they do not require complicated care and do not need a lot of space.

However, it is important to only allow a child to handle this animal under adult supervision, as their small size makes them naturally fragile.

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

    • The Guinea Pig

A guinea pig is a perfect alternative to a dwarf rabbit. They have a similar “plush” appearance, which is very appealing to children, but they are less sensitive to stress and have a more robust health.

They also require slightly less space than dwarf rabbits (a cage with a minimum width of 80 cm instead of one meter), but they still require significant care (which can be a good way to teach a child about responsibility towards a living being).

Handling them is possible, but it should be done progressively and gently.

Choosing a Domestic Rodent for a Child

    • The Rat

Rats are the most recommended rodents for children because they are very social animals that enjoy human interaction. Moreover, these animals are highly intelligent, and if desired, children can even teach them some tricks.

They do not require complicated care, making them ideal for teaching children the basics of responsibility towards animals.

The only downside is that rats have a relatively short lifespan (two to three years maximum).

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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