Small Rodent Care

Small rodents include mice, rats, and hamsters . These small fuzzy pets are generally easy to care for and live an average of 2-3 years.


• Lab or rodent blocks: Should be available at all times and should make up 90% of the diet

• Treats: May include small pieces of vegetables, fruit, unsweetened cereal and hay

• Seeds and treat sticks are not recommended as part of the diet because they are high in fat and low in protein and calcium

• Water: Should be offered in a sipper bottle or a spill-proof bowl and should be changed daily

• Clean bowls/sippers every couple of days


• Cage: Minimum of a 1x 3 foot enclosure with a secure top for each pet

• Cage bottom should be solid (not screen mesh)

• The sides of the cage should be wire for good ventilation (not glass aquarium sides)

• Substrate: Bedding should consist of a paper pulp product (like Carefresh or Yesterdays News), newspaper, or fleece blankets

• Hide box: Provide hiding areas such as cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls and tissue boxes

• Wheel: A running wheel of appropriate size should be provided for exercise

• Wheel should be solid material- not slatted or wire

• Cage-mates:

• Some rodents, such as rats, will do well individually or in group housing situations

• Mice tend to fight unless they are raised together from birth

• Hamsters are generally better off housed alone


• Always use two hands and be very gentle

• Try to avoid exposing them to excessive noise, excitement and over handling

• If children are handling the rodent, have the child sit on the floor and hold it in their lap

• Only allow them to handle the pet with adult supervision!!!

Veterinary Care

• Overgrowth on incisor teeth

• Curled teeth, drooling, weight loss, pawing at mouth

• Lice and Mites

• Itching, fur loss, crusting

• Upper respiratory infection/Pneumonia

• Difficulty breathing, red discharge from the eyes, sneezing

• Wet tail (diarrhea)

• Soft poops, losing weight, low energy, soiled legs/belly

• Tumors

• Fairly common- surgical and/or treating for comfort can make a big difference


• All Creatures Animal Clinic: allcreaturesvet.net, 734-973-1884

• The Rat Fan Club (lots of reliable rat info): http://www.ratfanclub.org/

• Nationwide Pet Insurance: www.petinsurance.com