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Which Pet Rodent Lives the Longest? 

Last Updated: 26.02.20


Keeping a domesticated rodent as a pet is something many people do these days and the reasons behind that are various. They are cute, small, and with requirements that can be easily fulfilled. Not all of them live long, though. Find out more info here about the pet rodents with the greatest lifespan. 

You might have heard people saying that a house without a pet is not a home. There are so many reasons that support the truth of that. History traces pet raising way back in our evolution as a species and certain animals have been kept as pets for so long now. 

It seems even easier to keep animal companions with all the products available for sale these days. Most pet shops include anything you need to care for your pet, from pet houses to food and toys. 

If you see only benefits when it comes to keeping a pet and you’re interested in getting pet rodents but you’re a bit worried about their short lifespan, here are some things to help you make an informed decision. 


Factors to consider before getting a pet rodent 

When it comes to pets, any pet, there are various things to take into account before getting one. The desire to share your home with a furry or feathery friend and the emotional rewards that come with such a step might make one ignore certain aspects regarding the pet’s habits and needs.

Paying attention to what a pet rodent needs in order to be healthy and happy is a form of respect you pay to the animal. Think of the time you have at disposal as well as of the material things needed for your rodent to thrive. A pet needs to be cared for on a regular basis. It is a being that needs to be fed, cleaned, and looked after to stay in good physical and mental shape. 

Once you’ve considered all that and, if you’ve reached the conclusion that you can care for a pet rodent properly, there are a few other factors to keep in mind in order to choose the rodent species that is best for you. Consider the size of the pet rodent you’d like to have. Rats and Guinea pigs are larger and thus require bigger cages. 

Mice, gerbils, and hamsters are smaller yet they are also more fragile and handling them must be done carefully, especially when children are the ones playing with them. While some of the rodents that can be kept as pets prefer solitary living, others are happier when living in a group. 

Guinea pigs, gerbils, and rats are social rodents and thus do best when living with other pets of the same species. They usually prefer living in same-sex pairs. Mice and hamsters might fight if kept with a companion; therefore, after considering the size of the pet rodent you’d like, consider the number of pets you should buy in order to keep the little ones happy. 

A pet is a being that needs attention. While some rodents such as mice and hamsters tend to get a bit nervous when there are people around, others including Guinea pigs and rats are less likely to bite and actually seek human interaction. Caring for a pet might thus include playing with them as well. Make sure you have the time to do that before getting one.

Rodents are nocturnal or diurnal, depending on their species. Rats and hamsters are active during the night and will most probably sleep during the day. Guinea pigs, gerbils, and mice are diurnal creatures, so, if you prefer a rodent that is on your daytime schedule, you might want to try one of these little companions. 

Pet rodents and lifespan 

Checking all the boxes mentioned above is not enough to help you make an informed decision when buying a pet rodent, though. Another factor that plays a key role is the pet’s lifespan. Rodents are easier to care for when compared to bigger pets yet their lifespan is significantly shorter and that’s probably the biggest downside of keeping them as pets.

Getting attached is almost inevitable and saying goodbye to an animal companion is not easy. However, the rodents’ short life shouldn’t stop people from having them as pets. The beauty is in caring for them and providing them with what they need to live happily. Plus, there are rodents that get to live even up to 7 years as some pet rodent parents have reported. 

Guinea pigs are probably the safest choice when it comes to pet rodents that live longer. Such pets live five years on average. However, well-cared individuals can live up to 14 years as it has been reported yet that depends on their species as well. If you want a pet that will be part of your life for a long time, you might thus want to consider this rodent. 

Domesticated rats should also be taken into account. Their average lifespan is 2-3.5 years yet if they are well-cared-for, they may live longer. Although rare, there have been cases of rats living 7 years or so. As is the case with other pets, nutrition and the quality of life count a lot as far as longevity is concerned. 

Gerbils are also a great option since they generally live up to 4 years. You could stretch their lifespan a bit if you take good care of them, though. Well-cared gerbils can reach up to 5 years with rare cases of individuals that reached even their 8th birthday. 

If you like mice a lot and you’d want one to keep as a pet, learn that they live 2 years on average. Cases of a 3-year lifespan are not uncommon, though, yet pets require a healthy diet, a stress-free life, and a healthy environment in order for such happy outcomes to occur. The maximum lifespan reported is 7 years, which sounds hopeful. 

Hamsters are also part of the most popular pet rodents, given their relatively simple habitat requirements and the caring-related aspects involved when keeping such a pet. Their lifespan rarely exceeds 5 years, most of them generally living for 2-3 years. 

Still, there have been cases of hamsters reaching a 7-year lifespan. The quality of life, nutrition, and the environment have a lot to say; therefore, providing your pet rodent with the best might add years to the pet’s life. 

Caring for a rodent 

As we’ve said before, getting a pet might seem like a lot of fun and it is so indeed, yet it requires a responsible pet owner or parent. They are beings and have needs that should be fulfilled on a regular basis in order for the pets to thrive. 

Taking care of the things mentioned below will help you create a healthier and more comfortable environment for your pet even if the little one has a shorter or longer lifespan. Start by getting the right house for your rodent. Choose one that will allow the pet to move freely and exercise. Stimulating your pet both physically and mentally is a must in order to support its health. 

Guinea pigs and rats require larger cages, given their size. Not to mention that if you keep several pets, then a modular cage that features several floors is recommended. Use tunnels to connect the different rooms and add exercise wheels and toys that will keep the pets entertained. 

Rodents are called so for a reason: they love to chew. Make sure the pet’s house includes safe toys the animal could chew on. Provide the pets with foods that were specifically formulated for them. Pellets are a favorite food among rodents yet fresh produce should also be added to the pets’ diet. 

Guinea pigs have some special requirements as far as nutrition is concerned. They need to have foods rich in vitamin C and fresh hay. Plus, provide your rodent with fresh water and thus change it daily. 

Keeping the pet’s house clean also contributes to the pet’s well-being. Today’s pet stores offer absorbent bedding that prevents odors and keeps the air fresher for longer. Plus, use a litter-box to train your pet to defecate in a dedicated area and thus keep the cage cleaner. 

Taking care of a pet rodent is nothing complicated but it is something constant. Even so, the benefits of having a pet rodent are many and thus worth every single effort. 




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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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