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Old 05-24-2016, 10:26 PM   #1
GleamEyes
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Default Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

Hi there!

I haven't posted much, I mainly lurk, but I've learned a lot and would like to get opinions on other small animals because I'm considering getting another family member!

A little about me first ~

My husband and I are in America and have rescued 3 cats (1 special needs), 2 Corgi-mixes, and 1 Chinese dwarf hamster. Before our current 6 pets, I had a black Syrian hammy and 3 amazing rats.

IMHO, I have the best job ever: I work at a no-kill humane society, so I get to interact with cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice, and gerbils. My new Instagram page is dedicated to all the wonderful animals I get to play with every day: cats_corgis_and_cuteness/


Anyway, I'd like recommendations for which small animal to get next because there will be info and experiences from people here that I haven't come across elsewhere. Maybe there's a wonderful creature out there that I haven't even considered yet!

As much as I'd like to have rats again, they require a lot of space and I know I'd need to get at least 2 again, so I'd rather get something tiny and low maintenance for now, similar to my Chinese dwarf. I'd like to have a pair of guinea pigs and a pair of ferrets one day, but again, they need a lot more space and maintenance than a dwarf.

I wanted a winter white hammy, but after reading this thread, have given up searching for a nearby breeder.

I will admit I've gotten all of my previous and current rodents from Petsmart or Petco (which claim to have winter whites). I'd like to rescue, or get something from a breeder to ensure my buddy is well-socialized and doesn't have future health issues, but breeders aren't exactly plentiful in America, and rescues sometimes don't have the small animals people are looking for.

We haven't had any gerbils at the shelter since I started working there so I have no experience with them other than what I've read online. What're they like compared to hammies and rats? Recommended solo, pair, group?

I think I'm leaning towards getting another hammie or getting my first gerbil, but if I can't find a rescue or a breeder, I'd have to get them from a pet store. What has been your experience with American pet store gerbils and hammies?

Thanks :3
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:53 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

How about a Syrian hamster? Smaller than a rat, bigger than a dwarf hamster lol. I don't know much about gerbils I'm afraid, other than they need a lot of deep bedding and height to climb - hence gerbilariums being like large glass tanks with cage toppers.

If thinking about housing helps - you'd probably need at least a 40 gallon breeder tank for a Syrian hamster - with a lid. Or an Ikea detolf hack can be an amazing home for them and only costs $60 (lid needs making with wood and mesh but there are lots of tutorials on this and it's fairly basic diy).

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ha...5MCC0Q_AUIBigB
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:01 AM   #3
cypher
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

That does sound like a great job!
I don't know a lot about gerbils either tbh but I'm pretty sure they do need to live in pairs or groups rather like rats do so if you just want one animal that doesn't require too much space (compared to some other animals that is) I'd go for another ham too.
Quite a lot of people on here have both syrian hams & the russian hybrids (what the pet stores generally call winter whites) & most seem to do well, do you not get any hams at the shelter where you work that you could give a nice home to?
Both Russian hams & syrians, or even robos are quite different to Chinese hams so it would be a new experience even though still a hamster!
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

I am biased obviously This is our Syrian hamster









They can really bond with you. But if you might be time short for bonding and interacting, then a Roborovski could be good - they are more interesting to watch and entertaining.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCe6eO0oO1I

This is a clip of some Robos in the wild

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dlXYLtEhPY
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:32 AM   #5
GleamEyes
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

Thanks, Serendipity and cypher!

Wow, that link had some amazing habitats! We <3 Ikea and my husband loves to build stuff, so I'm going to show him these to see if we can make one

I'm happy to say hammies get adopted quickly where I work. We've had two since I started there, a super cool Syrian with fur that went in all sorts of crazy directions and a beautiful Syrian tortoiseshell. We don't get hams often, maybe once every couple months, but I'm told they're always Syrians and they're usually only there for a week or two before adoption. I was going to get the tortoiseshell because she's very sweet, even with people she's never met before, but someone applied for her the day I was considering getting another small animal, so she's going home :3 I also checked PetFinder.com and AdoptAPet.com, but all the hammies are Syrians. Since I've had a Syrian before, I'd like to try something different.

I might go check out the Russians and robos (and rats!) at the pet stores in my area. There should be some local stores too where I can ask where their animals came from.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:38 AM   #6
GleamEyes
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

Thanks for the photos and videos, Serendipity!

So robos aren't prone to cuddling, even the males? I've seen videos where some sleep on their backs in people's hands, but generally I've read online that they're more for watching rather than holding. What about the Campbell's and WW? What could make them so comfortable as to sleep in people's hands? My Chinese will sit in my hand or wherever, but he'll cling to my fingers if I try to pet his belly.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:40 AM   #7
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

The detolf is good for robos to I love this set up - it's amazing

Naturnahe Hamstergehege: Detolf Vitrine f

It's just a glass cabinet, you tip it on it's side and leave the door off - and then it's a tank - it's just a lid that needs making
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:47 AM   #8
cypher
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

Robos can be cuddly but usually only if they've been handled from a very young age which isn't common with pet shop hams, my Russians have all been different, all easy to handle & enjoyed sitting in my hands & I did have one boy who would practically throw himself out of the cage door for cuddles & whisker kisses, you really wouldn't know until you got one & had taken some time to bond with it but even the less cuddly ones are adorable
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

I would say most hamsters aren't naturally cuddly - they don't like to sit still long. The tamer they are, the easier they are to handle - but personality comes into it. Even within the different species you'll get different personalities - some more placid, some lazy, some very active. Our Syrian only sits for a cuddle when he's half asleep lol.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:08 AM   #10
GleamEyes
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Default Re: Small Animals Opinions Wanted :3

Thanks a ton, you guys!

I've been doing a lot of research the past few days to decide what to get, and one thing I've noticed is the wildly varying opinions on some dwarves. For example, many sites say to get one of the Russian species because they're "easy to tame" but avoid robos and Chinese because they're very quick, unfriendly/aggressive, and generally don't like being held. But the main reason I got my Chinese was because he was the first hamster that didn't try to bite me as a total stranger XD I was fully expecting him to when I first held him at the store, but he just sat in my hand and I fell in love with him. He never tries to bite, run away, or kamikaze jump off me, he just likes to sit or burrow in my clothes or blanket. If he wants to go back to his habitat, he'll let me know by trying to walk away from me.

I know from personal experience that rats bond easily and deeply with people and actively seek affection and play time, and though my Chinese prefers to be in his habitat (maybe because he's nocturnal), I'm hoping he will eventually enjoy my company for more than 5-15 minutes at a time with continued gentle petting and hand-fed treats. I'd like to get something that will enjoy being handled but not need as much space as rats. Does it really just come down to the individual animal's personality more so than the species? Or does choosing a species really matter for dwarves?
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rats, small, animals, dwarf, breeder, gerbils, pair, lot, experience, current, guinea, rescue, pigs, chinese, people, hammy, space, hammies, winter, pet, maintenance, store, cats, opinions, day

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