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Small pets

small furry animals happiness

12 replies

NordicPrincess · 23/09/2010 12:55

Ive always loved animals, but I wonder how we can know if they are truly happy. People say syrian hampsters should be kept alone but dont they get lonely?

guinea pigs always seem so scared, how can we make them happy?

an ALL hutches/cages seem so small, who decided what the right size is?

OP posts:
FernieB · 27/09/2010 10:00

Hamsters are usually solitary and have been known to attack each other/eat each other if 2 are together. As for guinea pigs - I think scared is their natural facial expression! Just like all boxer dogs look depressed!
I don't know who decided cage sizes but there are experts out there who have done their research and I just trust in them. If the animal is eating and active, then I would say it is happy.

AMumInScotland · 27/09/2010 10:26

I think you have to consider whether the animal is getting the chance to do the kinds of things it would do in the wild - eg if an animal lives in groups in the wild, you should keep it in a group, as it will be happier that way. But if they live alone in the wild, they'll be unhappy having to live in a group - so hamsters genuinely prefer to have their solitude, but guinea pigs prefer to have company.

Being scared is, to a fair extent, natural to an animal that is on the lunch menu in its natural habitat - but they will be less scared if they have a secluded corner they can hide in.

And to an active animal like mice or gerbils, having "toys" to keep them occupied is important, but guinea pigs just want peace and quiet and something to chew!

ragged · 01/10/2010 13:35

Guinea pigs are a very domesticated species (perhaps over last 7000 years), they like being indoors and not doing much except hanging with their family. And nobody even knows what Syrian hamsters would do in the wild as they are extinct as a wild species (apparently).

I actually think it's quite hard to assure a high quality of life for most pets, tbh. One reason we only have pet mice is because meeting their basic needs is so simple.

thumbwitch · 01/10/2010 13:40

I have found that guineapigs like company but they also like being part of the family - I have kept all of mine indoors so that they are included in every day life and find them generally far more responsive than those of friends, who keep them in outdoor hutches or in the garage or shed. I have had them in singles or pairs - they are supposed to prefer to be with a friend - but that rather depends on whether they get on or not!

My best guineapig was my first one - because it was just him and me, I used to interact with him much more than any of them since - he used to sit on my lap in the evenings until he got bored, then he'd run down my legs and go exploring. I had him semi-house-trained - he could climb back into his tray by himself (and out again if the lid wasn't on) and he would come when called. I still miss him...

FernieB · 02/10/2010 15:18

Agree with you thumbwitch! I had rabbits when I was a kid, but they were outside in hutches. Now we have a housebunny - she is such a character. I think the more you are around them, the more of a character they display. She comes when called and understands about 15 words. If she wants a snack she comes into the kitchen and begs next to the fridge. She has her own blanket next to the radiator and loves to watch cookery shows! I wouldn't be without her.

purpleduck · 02/10/2010 15:25

fernie - do house bunnies chew electrical cords?

I would love one but we have 2 dogs. One dog would be fine, the other (a greyhound)....hmmmm, I wouldn't want to risk it Wink

FernieB · 02/10/2010 15:32

I wouldn't have one with 2 dogs. They can chew wires. The first year we had ours, she waited until we had completely decorated the Christmas tree then chewed happily through the cable. We then had to dismantle everything to get the lights off! She is now more grown up and no longer chews inappropriately. We used a water spray to train her. Sounds mean, but it was a gentle spray with warm water. She just used to take advantage of being wet to have an extra good groom.

purpleduck · 02/10/2010 16:09

aww she sounds lovely :)

I'm thinking the mini pig is out of the question with our dogs too Grin

thumbwitch · 03/10/2010 00:19

'fraid so, Purpleduck - not fair on the rodent or the dogs to have them together, because the rodent will be terrified and the dogs will get into trouble if they do eat it.

purpleduck · 03/10/2010 10:51

Yeah, the kids and I have had that conversation... everytime we go to Pets at Home and see the adopt a pet area Grin Would love one though :)

thumbwitch · 04/10/2010 00:05

Weeellll - you could have one but it would have to be in a VERY good cage with no prospect of the dogs being able to get into it, and the DC would only be able to have it out when the dogs were elsewhere.

My mum used to pig-sit my guineapigs whenever I went away for a while and her cat used to sit a little way away from the cages, trying to work out what they were - they looked like hamsters but were way too big - I think she was more scared of them than they were of her!

FernieB · 04/10/2010 08:29

Our rabbit does not like cats, but did accidentally meet our neighbours huge dog. Luckily it is a soppy thing and the 2 of them had a happy sniffing session.

I think people do manage to have houserabbits and dogs, but would depend very much on dog's temperament. Would also need to be supervised at all times when they are both loose in the house.

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