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Small Pet Guide

Small Animal Pet Guide

Small animals make great pets thanks to their cute, cuddly, active, social and friendly nature. Because they’re all so cute, it can be tough to choose which one to bring home, so here’s a cheat sheet that will help you decide which small animal--hamster, guinea pig, ferret, chinchilla or rabbit--is right for you. While the below is a great start learning about the behaviors and characteristics of these small animals, we encourage you to visit a Petco store and browse the animal care sheets on our website as well as conduct additional research, to learn more about each pet and if you would like details about other types of small animals.

Tip: As a general rule of thumb, we do not recommend mixing multiple species in same habitat.

  • Hamster

    Level of Interaction
    I’m usually pretty easy to handle but may nip if suddenly awakened or startled. If I don’t want to be held, have fun watching me hoard my food or running in circles on my wheel!

    Size
    2-5 in.

    Life Expectancy
    Up to 2-3 years

    Nocturnal?
    Yes

    Compatibility?
    I prefer to keep to myself.

  • Guinea Pig

    Level of Interaction
    I’m highly social and require daily interaction.

    Size
    8-11 in.

    Life Expectancy
    Up to 8 years

    Nocturnal?
    No, but most active at dusk and dawn

    Compatibility?
    I love playmates! Please make sure to introduce us first before we share a habitat. Note: Must be same-sex.

  • Ferret

    Level of Interaction
    I’m highly social and require daily interaction.

    Size
    15 in.

    Life Expectancy
    Up to 8 years

    Nocturnal?
    No, but sleep up to 18 hours per day

    Compatibility?
    I love playmates! Please make sure to introduce us first before we share a habitat.

  • Chinchilla

    Level of Interaction
    I’m highly social and require daily interaction. Note: Chinchillas have fragile rib cages, so be gentle and do not squeeze.

    Size
    12 in.

    Life Expectancy
    Up to 10 plus years

    Nocturnal?
    No, but most active at dusk and dawn

    Compatibility?
    I love playmates! Please make sure to introduce us first before we share a habitat. Note: Must be same-sex.

  • Rabbit

    Level of Interaction
    I’m highly social and require daily interaction. Note: When handling, ensure you fully support body (especially hind legs) and do not pick up rabbit by ears or try to hold on its back.

    Size
    12+ in.

    Life Expectancy
    Up to 10 plus years

    Nocturnal?
    No

    Compatibility?
    I love playmates! Please make sure to introduce us first before we share a habitat. Note: Must be same-sex if not spayed or neutered.

 

If you have decided which small animal may be right for your home, start doing research on what supplies you will need to keep the species you bring home happy and healthy.