Chinchillas, Gerbils, and Rats

Here are some facts about these small mammals when kept as pets:

1. The decision to own a gerbil, rat, or other small mammal should be based on careful thought and knowledge, not whim or impulse.

2. Some small mammals are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day. This does not fit well with every household. Also, because they have many natural enemies, they are susceptible to stress, including noisy surroundings and the presence of larger household pets. Careful consideration should be given to cage location.

3. If children are part of the family, the age of the child is important in determining which small mammal is appropriate.

4. All of these pets are fragile and can be squirmy, especially in a young child’s hands. If accidentally dropped, they can suffer severe injuries or death, or may run away and hide.

5. As with any pet, medical expenses should be anticipated in the event of injury or illness.

6. Handle your pet regularly, so you can notice any signs of trouble. Safe, supervised exercise time outside their cages is a necessity.

For more detailed information, browse our collection of books in the Pets Neighborhood.

Gerbils: Everything about Purchase, Care, and Nutrition by Engelbert Kotter provides inforation on feeding, health care, caging, breeding, and more. This books outlines the duties and pleasures of owning one of these small pets. This is an ideal source for an older child getting ready to become a gerbil caretaker.

In Chinchillas by Juliana Bartl, the reader finds out that these furry little creatures are quite easy to tame and readily bond with their owners. As with all Barron’s pet books, this outlines the purchase, housing, feeding, health, and care of the pet chinchilla.

 Find these and many other books about small mammals in out Pets Neighborhood.

Marta Miles

My name is Marta Miles, and I have been a reference librarian at TSCPL for 32 years. I'm a life-long animal lover and owner. I've owned guinea pigs, hamsters, fish, dogs, rabbits, and birds. I currently share my abode with a Bernese Mountain Dog named Boomer and a cockatiel named Piper. Come see me if you have questions about the Pets Neighborhood. You can also contact me if you have questions about books in our Home Neighborhood.