Pets come in all shapes and sizes. Some pet owners love small rodents and pocket sized pets. If you are a housesitter who is asked to care for rodents and small pets then read on. In this article we offer top tips on how to become a master rodent sitter.
Expanding your skills – Become a master rodent sitter
Rodents are one of the most popular pets after dogs and cats.
Rats, guinea pigs, degus, chinchillas and, notably, hamsters, which MarketWatch assert have enjoyed a surge of popularity in the USA, are beloved across the world for their unique personalities, cute features and relatively low level maintenance – at least compared to cats and dogs. That being said, rodents have very particular needs that must be met. It’s a myth that you can simply feed them and leave to their own devices. One of the most important factors in rodent care is habitat.
Keeping their home clean
Most rodents live in a somewhat erratic manner. They eat throughout the day, grazing, sleep in short cycles, and do their business wherever they like. As a result, most rodents will produce an astonishing amount of poop in any given day. This is actually really healthy, and to be expected. What this also means is that their environments rapidly become covered in waste, and that’s why, according to the Humane Society, thick and absorbent bedding and nesting materials must be provided. Furthermore, different rodents require different substrates – guinea pigs are best on fleece, whereas wood pulp is good for hamsters.
Knowing how to clean hamster poop, or any other rodent, is important too. Use non-chemical cleaning products to prevent them becoming ill and perform daily spot cleaning to remove large build-ups. Then when the bedding starts to become saturated, change it. Throw out the old. Put the rodent in a safe area while you work.
Keep the rodents fed
Most rodents require constant food. Their teeth grow constantly, and they need to be worn down from regular chewing. Furthermore, there are aspects of their biology that need constant nutrition to keep moving. Guinea pigs, for instance, have very sensitive guts. Their guts will shut down, causing illness or death if they don’t eat for 24 hours. It’s also important to note that not all rodents eat the same food. Whereas rats will enjoy nuts, seeds and other proteins, guinea pigs are strict vegetarians. Don’t feed the grains.
Letting the rodents play
Rodents require a low time investment as they’re generally very independent. It can be easy for them to get bored, however, especially if they’re not solo animals. While Syrian hamsters are territorial and independent, guinea pigs need company to avoid depression, and the same goes for rats. Even then, they need boredom breakers. Providing hamsters with plenty of time in running wheels and balls, for example, will help them to stay active and happy. The owner should provide these toys – make sure they’re used. Note that not all animals will enjoy these devices. Guinea pigs, for instance, should not be put in exercise balls, as they risk injury.
Master rodent sitter – Summary notes
What this should tell you is that no one rodent is the same. Before heading into any house-sitting job with rodents to care for, find out what animal you’re looking after. Investigate exactly what they need. Treated right, and kept fed and happy, rodents will be fun little companions. They can provide you with lots of laughs and possibly cuddles, too.