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What Is the Cleanest Pet Rodent?

Last Updated: 26.02.20


People have kept rodents as pets for so long now that having a hamster or a Guinea pig as your animal companion is no longer something out of the ordinary. Choosing the cleanest pet rodent for your place is easier if you consider their requirements and lifestyle. Consider this list if you want to get a pet rodent yet keep the gerbil cage setup or pet house tidy. 

They say a house is not a home without a pet. If you think so, too, and you’d like to get a rodent as a pet yet you don’t know where to start, there are a few things you might want to consider to make an informed and satisfying decision. From gerbils to hamsters and Guinea pigs, the list of rodents that have been adopted as pets and have done a great job being so is quite generous.

Think of the space and time you have at disposal, though, in order to make sure that your pet will get the necessary attention, room, food, and other habitat-related things in order to stay healthy and happy. If you’re interested in a rodent that won’t make too much mess, then the options mentioned below might be of help. Check out our list of rodents before deciding which one to buy.



Some of the most popular rodents are gerbils and the reasons behind their popularity are various. Leaving their cuteness aside, these rodents are quite easy to tame. Despite the fact that there are many types of gerbils, the Mongolian one is the most popular, given its physical appearance. 

Gerbils resemble hamsters but have some distinct features such as slightly broader heads, small ears, long tails, and slimmer bodies. Their average length is eight inches, tail included. Their fur colors include gray, black, brown, orange, and white. Gerbils are very active rodents playing a lot during the day. 

You will often see them burrowing in their litter and climbing on whatever can be climbed in their cage. To help them stay active, you need to make sure that the cage they live in includes stairs, shelves, exercising wheels, and other such accessories. Being active will keep them both healthy and happy. 

The average lifespan of a gerbil is two to four years and they prefer to live in groups; therefore, if you want to get such a pet and make sure the animal is happy, you might want to consider getting at least two of them, if possible. 

One thing to keep in mind is that they tend to nip, so, you if you want a rodent you can play with, they might not be an ideal choice as it is safer to watch them play instead of handling them. However, if they are often handled as youngsters, they might overcome this trait. 


Also highly popular, hamsters should be taken into account if you want to extend your family with a pet rodent. Measuring about five inches, they live two to three years and are usually solitary animals. The most common hamsters kept as pets are the Syrian or gold hamsters. 

They are nocturnal rodents, which means that you won’t get to watch them play too much during the day. Also, handling them should be done with utmost attention since they tend to nip. Still, if you handle them a lot as youngsters, they might develop a gentler temperament. It is best to leave them rest or sleep during the day as they might get angry and bite if woken. 

Moreover, they are small and fragile. Consider that as well as their tendency to bite before allowing children to handle them. They are quite active and, even if they could do with a smaller cage, going for a bigger one would help them exercise more and avoid boredom. Hamsters come in a variety of colors ranging from gold to white, brown, grey, sable, and black. 


Guinea pigs

Another option you might want to consider when choosing a pet rodent is the Guinea pig. Such animals make great pets thanks to their calm demeanor, not to mention their cuteness. Weighing approximately two pounds as adults, these rodents have bodily characteristics that set them apart from other rodents including a tailless body, a Roman nose, and rose petal-like ears. 

Depending on their breed, Guinea pigs can have short or long hair and come in a variety of patterns and colors. One of the main reasons why they make such good pets is their non-aggressive behavior. They rarely bite and actually enjoy being cuddled. What they dislike is to be turned on their back. 

Although there is still debate regarding the Guinea pig’s rodent nature, these animals require roomy and well-ventilated houses where they can play and engage in their favorite physical activities. They live well in pairs of the same sex and they require fresh veggies and hay as well as foods rich in vitamin C.

What’s also great about them is that, given their gentle temperament, they’re safe even if you have kids, unlike other rodents that tend to bite. Since they are bigger and they require roomier cages, they might require more cleaning, though. 



Among the rodents that can be kept as pets, you will also find domesticated rats. Forget about any of the negative aspects wild rats are usually associated with. These rats actually make wonderful pets and come in a variety of patterns and colors including brown and beige or black and grey. 

Such rats live two to four years and reach a length of eight inches or so. What adds to the reasons behind their popularity is their intelligence and the fact that they can be easily tamed. Domesticated rats enjoy human companionship and rarely bite. They love to interact with people and they can be trained to perform various behaviors. 

Even if they are nocturnal, their social nature allows them to adjust their time. You can thus play with them even during the day. They will most likely won’t hold back from doing that. They are quite active and require time outside of their cage to exercise more freely. Make sure that you supply your rats with toys in order to cover their urge to chew and be active. 


In case you’re interested in getting a smaller rodent, then you might want to consider mice. Depending on their breed, they can be 4-inch long including their tail. Their glossy fur can have various colors and so do their eyes that can be dark or even red. Their size and bodily characteristics including cute tulip-shaped ears and rounded eyes are some of the reasons why so many people choose them as pets. 

They are not only fun to watch but they also love being handled, so, if you want a pet you can actually play with and get in touch literally, a mouse is an inspired choice. Once domesticated, they are very cautious when they are around humans; therefore, you don’t have to worry about them biting you. 

Mice are nocturnal animals and often engage in physical activities. To satisfy such needs, make sure their cage includes toys to chew on and shelves or stairs they could climb. 


Caring for the rodent 

The pets mentioned above are some of the most popular ones yet the list could go. Chinchillas, certain squirrel species, and chipmunks are also kept as pets. It’s true that some of them have special requirements and need specific habitat-related things to live healthily and happily. 

No matter which one you want to go for, you need to carefully consider the time you have at disposal in order to make sure that getting a pet is not just a momentary whim. As far as cleanliness is regarded, all rodents will create mess more or less. 

You just need to make sure that you provide them with quality absorbent bedding that prevents cage odors and change the bedding regularly. Most rodents are very active; therefore, getting a bigger cage is recommended. This way they will be able to exercise more and perform their natural behavior.

Plus, such cages will make it possible for your rodents to nest and defecate in different cage areas, which will keep your pet cleaner and thus the environment healthier. Moreover, many pet rodents will use an in-cage litter box, if given the possibility. 

From using the right cage to feeding your pet appropriate food and cleaning the pet house on a regular basis, everything counts when it comes to keeping your rodent happy and clean. Consider all that before getting a pet. 




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Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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