Three Tiny Critters that Make Great Pets
Good things come in small packages! These three cute, minute critters make great pets, especially for owners with small homes. Find out which of these half-pints is right for you!
Don't be deterred by their spiny exterior--hedgehogs make terrific pets, says Dr. Katherine Quesenberry, exotic animal expert and veterinarian at Animal Medican Center in NYC. A hedge is a chill companion: It's quiet, hypoallergenic, odorless and will usually stay under two pounds. Make him a home in a six-square-foot cage with an exercise wheel and feed him a protein-rich diet. Special food can be foudn online or in many pet stores, but some hedgehogs are even cool with cat food.
Beloved for their squeals and purrs of delight, these friendly (and vocal!) fur-balls are easy to care for and love to be petted and cuddled.. Though they'll usually stay less than a foot long, guinea pigs do need some space: at least four square feet of cage for lots of exercise and play. As for diet, guinea pig pellets with a side of veggies will keep these cuties healthy, Quesenberry says.
These astoundingly soft rodents hail from South America and look like a squirrel-bunny love child. Their inquisitive, perky personality makes for an entertaining pet, plus chinchillas live much longer than most rodents (up to 20 years, versus the guinea pig's 9). They do requrie some care: Baths with store-bought chinchilla dust are a necessity (it's how they clean off excess oil and dirt; water's bad for their fur), and they need to follow a strict diet of chinchilla pellets and grass hay. Quesenberry also says to give them something gnawable, like a branch, to prevent tooth overgrowth: Those are some serious chompers!