A hamster looks at the camera.

Most owners of rodents are initially drawn to them on account of their cuteness, which can quickly go into overdrive. With their short legs, furry bodies, and bright, shiny eyes, many rodent species have burrowed their way into the hearts of many. 

Found in just about every terrestrial habitat around the world (including environments made and shared by humans), all of these small mammals come equipped with a single pair of ever-growing incisors. With hundreds of species out there, it can be hard to know which one is the right match for you. The team at Wheaton Animal Hospital has narrowed the list down to today’s 10 best rodents.

All Around Us

Rodents are native to every land mass on earth except Antarticia and New Zealand, but they have been introduced by humans. Their order can be represented by over 2500 different species. With so many different rodents, including squirrels, beavers, prairie dogs and porcupines, only a small percentage make perfect pets. 

Due to their two rows of incisor teeth, rabbits (who were once characterized as rodents) now belong to the sister order Lagomorpha. 

Personality Traits

Some of the best rodents to bring home and care for have big personalities. Depending on your choice, they may be highly social. They benefit from companionship and communication with a close friend of the same species (always be sure to adopt same-sex pairs!). 

You may be surprised by their dietary needs. Some of the best rodents are strict herbivores, and enjoy only plant foods like hay, leafy green vegetables, and pellets. The other best rodents are omnivores that enjoy a variety of nuts, seeds, pellets, and vegetables. 

Giving your pet rodent a cozy, clean place to live is paramount to their successful transition. They like places to burrow and hide, and some like wheels or climbing tubes. It’s always fun to watch rodents explore and play, but some are only active at night.

The Best Rodents 

Knowing which type of rodent would be happiest in your home is crucial. We recommend choosing from this list of the top 10 best rodents (in no particular order):

  1. Guinea pigs
  2. Dwarf hamsters
  3. Mice
  4. Gerbils
  5. Syrian hamsters
  6. Rats
  7. Degus
  8. African Dormouse
  9. Dumbo rats
  10. Chinchillas

Like owning exotic pets, such as fish, birds, reptiles, and other “pocket pets”, caring for any of the above best rodents isn’t necessarily low-maintenance. They rely on careful owner interactions, safe living conditions, and proper diets. 

If you have further questions about which rodent would be best for you and your family, the team at Wheaton Animal Hospital is always here for you.