Top 8 Easiest Rodents To Keep As Pets

Easy Rodent Pets

Easiest Rodents To Keep As Pets

There are several reasons that one may be looking for a low-maintenance pet – you may be someone who travels frequently, you may be someone who works a lot of hours or has many hobbies outside of the house, or you may be looking for your first-ever pet. Whatever your reason for looking for an easy keeper of a pet, you can’t go wrong with a rodent. 

What are the easiest rodents to keep as pets? Rodents tend to be very low-maintenance pets, requiring a relatively small time commitment and having pretty straightforward care requirements. The eight easiest rodents to keep as pets are:

  1. Mice
  2. Syrian hamsters
  3. Dwarf hamsters
  4. Rats
  5. Guinea pigs
  6. Gerbils
  7. Chinchillas
  8. Rabbits 

If you’re ready to pick a new furry friend, read on for a detailed look at each of these easy-to-care-for rodents!

Top 8 Easy Rodent Pets


Mice can be quite friendly with humans, but they can also be excellent observational pets, making them the ultimate low-maintenance animal to keep.

They are very active (even during the day, though they are technically nocturnal), so you can get a lot of enjoyment watching them and their adorable antics.

Mice are also a low commitment in terms of lifespan – if your lifestyle is likely to change in a few years, a couple of mice may be a good choice as pets since their typical lifespan is only between 1 and 3 years.

Mice are very social animals, so they do need to live with others of their kind (of the same gender, of course, to avoid more mice). They are also small and quick, which can make them more challenging to handle.  

Syrian Hamsters

The Syrian hamster is one of the most popular rodents to keep as a pet. These are the larger of the hamster species, available in both short hair or the popularly seen long-haired variety (with the skirt in the back).

Syrian hamsters are friendly animals but do not need human interaction to thrive. They also do not need the company of other hamsters – in fact, they will fight, even to the death, if kept with another of their kind. 

Syrian hamsters live only for 2-3 years, making them a popular choice for parents who are concerned about the fleeting interests of their children. While they do need a cage of ample size, they can happily spend the majority of their lives inside of that cage, content to be left alone.

Dwarf Hamsters

There are a few species of dwarf hamsters kept as pets, and they are all very easy to care for. Unlike Syrian hamsters, some dwarf hamsters can live in same-sex groupings, though they can just as happily live alone – making it your choice whether you want to keep one or multiple.

Like mice, they make wonderful observational pets – they are quite timid, small, and quick, making them difficult to handle. Most dwarf hamsters have a lifespan of between 1.5 and 3 years. 


Rats are a great choice for someone who wants the easy care requirements of a rodent coupled with a personality similar to that of a dog.

Rats are extremely social and intelligent – they enjoy spending time with their human keepers, and they will become very depressed if kept without others of their kind. They are happiest when allowed to spend time outside of their enclosures, so are not the best choice if looking for an observational pet only. 

Because rats are larger than mice and dwarf hamsters, they will require a slightly larger enclosure. They have an average lifespan of 2-3 years.

Guinea Pigs

Easy Rodent Pets

Guinea pigs are popular first pets for children and adults alike. They are quite a bit larger than hamsters and mice.

Their size, combined with their generally docile temperaments, make them relatively easy to handle when compared to hamsters. They are very social and will need another of their species to keep them company.

Because of their size, guinea pigs will need a larger cage than the previously listed rodent pets. This cage will also take up more floor space, as single levels are best for these animals (they are not climbers and prefer to stay close to the ground). Guinea pigs live an average of 5-7 years.


Gerbils are similar in both size and care requirements to hamsters. As opposed to hamsters, however, they are quite social and must be kept with others of their kind.

Gerbils take up little space and tend to be diurnal, meaning that they are awake during the day and sleep at night – this makes them an observational pet that you can enjoy during the day and sleep peacefully with in the same room at night. Gerbils live an average of 3-4 years.


Most of us have stopped to observe the adorable chinchillas commonly sold in pet stores. They have fluffy tails and look to be just about the softest animal one might have the honor of petting.

Chinchillas need a larger enclosure than the other rodents previously listed – around 9-10 square feet of space is ideal, and one that is tall, as they love to climb.

They are social animals and need the company of at least one other chinchilla to thrive. They also enjoy spending time with their trusted humans. 

Most of a Chinchilla’s diet will come from hay as opposed to pellets and blocks. Chinchillas live for an average of 10 years.


Rabbits are fun pets to keep, and while still relatively easy keepers, are not quite as low-maintenance as the other rodents on this list.

Rabbits, while happy to sleep and spend quiet time in an enclosure, really should be given significant space and time with which to exercise. Many keepers litter-train their rabbits, thus allowing their rabbits to roam the house while they are home.

Others rely on a large exercise pen in which their rabbits can get their wiggles out. If you allow your rabbit to roam the house, make sure that your home is “rabbit-proof” – rabbits are chewers and have been known to make a mess of the electrical in a home when tempted with wires.

Rabbits are social and prefer to live in bonded pairs. Like chinchillas, rabbits will require the majority of their diets to come from hay. They live an average of 8-10 years.

What Makes A Rodent An Easy Pet?

Rodents may vary in size and disposition, but they do share very similar care requirements. Some of the qualities that make a rodent an easy pet to care for include:

  • Small time commitment – all rodents need regular exercise, but in most cases, this exercise can come in the form of running wheels, tunnels, or other cage accessories. And while many rodents enjoy the company of others within their species, as a whole, they do not need a lot of attention from their human keepers. So if you don’t have the time to commit to a pet who needs a significant amount of love and attention from you (like a dog), a rodent can be an excellent low-maintenance alternative.
  • Small space requirement – if you have only a small space available for a pet, a rodent would be a good choice. Most rodents on this list can live the majority of their lives in a cage. While the cage should be large enough to provide stimulation and exercise for your pet, this will take up a relatively small space in your home. 
  • Easy to feed and hydrate – if you have a dog or a cat, you will need to be available to feed them 1-3 times per day and provide fresh water daily (or more often if you’ve got a picky drinker). Most rodents are easier to feed and keep hydrated – a larger water bottle can provide clean water to your smaller pet for up to several days. And since most rodents free-feed, you can leave extra feed blocks or pellets in the enclosure if you’re going to spend a long weekend away. 
  • No potty breaks needed – with a rodent, you don’t need to worry about near-constant potty breaks. Their small, quick digestive systems make for frequent eliminations, but that’s not a problem when you have them in a cage. Of course, you will need to keep the cage clean, but this can be a quick chore done once per week – a significantly smaller time commitment compared with other pets.

Rodents As The Ultimate Low-Maintenance Pet

You can’t beat a rodent when it comes to keeping an easy, low-maintenance pet. Most of them can thrive without much human interaction, live happily in an enclosure that only needs to be cleaned every week or so, and can regulate themselves in terms of feed.

To top it off, most of them require very little space when compared to other pets. If you are someone who wants the companionship of a pet but cannot commit to a dog or a cat, a rodent would be the way to go.

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