What type of rodent is right for you?

What type of rodent is right for you?

If you have decided that it is time to get a new pet or start keeping a whole new type of animal, rodents have a lot to recommend them. Popular with people of all ages and available in sizes from tiny to very large, rodents can make for versatile, interesting and affectionate pets, and can really enrich the lives of their owners. But the simple popularity of pet rodents means that there are a lot of different options widely available in the pet trade, and this in itself can make choosing what sort of rodent you might like to own rather confusing!

In this article, we will take a brief look at five of the most commonly owned and popular pet rodent species kept in the UK, and the pros and cons of each of them when it comes to keeping them as pets.

Read on to learn more!


Mice are the smallest of the domestic pet rodents, and by far the cutest! Whilst their cage or enclosure should of course be large enough to comfortably house them, they do not need as large an enclosure as some other rodents do, and simply keeping a couple of pet mice is generally something that people with even the smallest of homes can manage!

Mice, however, are also very delicate and fragile, and need to be handled with great care, and also, their small size makes it hard to tell males from females, something that is of course very important when deciding how to set up your cages! One lone mouse will not thrive without company, and they can also be rather messy, meaning that they will not be the right choice for everyone.

Fancy rats

Fancy rats are significantly larger than pet mice or wild rats, and come in a range of pretty colours and patterns. They are highly intelligent, very active and always looking for something to play with, and when correctly handled and socialised, often bond very strongly with their owners, and are very affectionate.

Like mice, however, they are not particularly clean animals, and as well as needing a lot of attention to be paid to keeping their enclosure clean, you will also need to rat-proof the room of your home that you intend to let your pet out into! They need plenty of company, interaction and things to play with, and this often means spending a reasonable amount of money and effort making their enclosure rewarding and suitable.


Hamsters come in various different types, each with their own distinctive traits and personalities, but one thing that most hamsters have in common is that they are not particularly social animals, and in some cases, cannot live with another hamster without fighting. So if you are looking for a small rodent that can be kept alone, the ever-popular hamster might be the perfect pet for you. While they are small, cute and entertaining and will often become tame when properly handled, hamsters are also generally regarded as less personable than virtually all other rodent species, and will often deliver a nasty nip if they feel threatened or are not interested in being picked up!

For this reason, the hamster is possibly not the ideal pet for children that many people assume that they are.


The chinchilla, and their close relatives the degu are very large compared to rats, mice and hamsters, and also have very different care requirements too! While they are housed in a cage in the same way as smaller rodents, there the similarities stop, and keeping a larger rodent like a chinchilla has little in common with keeping a rat or mouse!

The enclosure for a chinchilla needs to be large and well-furnished to provide snuggly beds and also, plenty of entertainment, and chinchillas also need a dust bath to keep their fur in good condition, something that can prove very messy!

However, chinchillas can be very loving, entertaining and rewarding pets for people of all ages, and so if you have the room and are prepared to do your research, this might be the right choice of pet for you!

Guinea pig

Finally, the Guinea pig, the most popular large rodent kept as a pet in the UK. The Guinea pig is often kept outside in a hutch and run, much like rabbits are, but today they are just as likely to be kept inside of the home instead. Guinea pigs are very gentle, kind and potentially loving pets, and need careful handling and gentle treatment, as they are very easily scared and stressed out.

They also need the company of their own kind, and a lone guinea pig will not thrive; nor will one that is kept with a rabbit, as used to be common practice, rather than another Guinea pig.



Pets for studWanted pets

Accessories & services

Knowledge hub


Support & safety portal
Pets for saleAll Pets for sale