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What to Know When Adopting a Small Animal During a Pandemic

 

Looking to get a small pet during (or after) the pandemic? Look no further.

The ongoing pandemic has driven a record number of adoptions for both cats and dogs, which is amazing. It’s great to see mankind stepping up to help out our furry friends.

But, did you know there are numerous other small animals sitting in shelters across the U.S. waiting for adoption that also make great companions?

If you’re in need of a friend during those long days of working from home, or you simply want to show your support to shelters during what are undoubtedly challenging times, there are several small animals that can make great additions to your household.

Just remember, adopting one of these small animals requires an investment in time and love — even when it’s time to go back to work or safer to go out again.

Be sure your lifestyle is ready for a new addition, both during and after the pandemic.

Best Small Animals to Adopt During (and After) a Pandemic

Rabbits

From baby bunnies to full-grown adults, rabbits can make incredible companions and are actually the third most popular pet in the U.S.

Not only are they adorable, they’re incredibly intelligent too. Rabbits are also naturally social animals — so if you’re thinking of getting one, you may want to consider adopting a bonded pair.

As with all small animals, there are a few important things to know about rabbits as pets before you adopt. 

  • Rabbits make great pets for adults of all ages but are not recommended for households with small children.
  • They should be handled gently and although they may look cute and cuddly, they don’t like being picked up all that often.
  • Most rabbits live a long time – we’re talking 8 to 12 years.

To learn more about rabbits as pets, including what to feed them, how to house them and what health problems they may face, check out this in-depth pet profile featured on The Spruce Pets.

Guinea Pigs 

Guinea pigs make great house pets – especially when you’re stuck at home for long extended periods of time. Reason being, these little furballs need to be let out of their cage every day for exercise and love to be social.

There’s no doubt your local animal shelter probably has a few guinea pigs available for adoption, but before you run on over to get one, there’s a few important things you should know about them first.

  • Guinea pigs are happiest living with a companion, but make sure to get a same-sex pair so you won’t have an unwanted litter on your hands.
  • On average, they can live between 5-7 years, making them a long-term commitment.
  • They need their space – we’re talking a big cage that they can’t escape from.

To learn more about guinea pigs as pets, including what types of guinea pigs there are, how to feed them and what to look for when they’re sick, check out this helpful article written by a well-respected veterinary professor at Oklahoma State University.  

Hamsters

Furry and fun, hamsters are amazing animals to adopt — especially as single pets. You’ll want to be careful about bringing hamsters home to your kids, but they are for the most part incredibly independent and entertaining pets when provided with the right toys and great cage setup.

Hamsters are also incredibly popular pets to adopt, but you’ll likely want to know a few important things before you bring one home.

  • Hamsters are nocturnal – meaning they are most active at night when we are sleeping.
  • They live between 2-3 years on average.
  • It’s illegal to own hamsters in Hawaii

To learn more about hamsters as pets, including the startup costs to give one the life it deserves, as well as any health concerns future hamster parents should look out for, check out this informative breakdown created by The Humane Society of the United States.

Mice

Tiny and easy to tame, mice make great pets to adopt because they are relatively low maintenance and aren’t going to chew up your budget to take care of.

While they are entertaining, especially when you have more than one, they can be a bit skittish and hard to handle – especially by children — so be sure your household is ready for these little guys.

Before you adopt a mouse, or a whole bunch of mice, remember these important tidbits first.

  • Mice can be temperamental when handled and have been known to bite.
  • Taking a mouse out of its cage and letting it run loose is likely not a good idea. They are small and fast.
  • They are also nocturnal, so they won’t chew up a lot of your time during the day.
  • They live between 1-2 years.

To learn more about mice as pets, including how long they live, how to handle them and what to be wary of, check out this helpful pet profile from The Spruce Pets.


Every one of the small animals mentioned above would make a great pet, but the list goes on to include the following animals as well:

If you’re looking to adopt a small animal, be sure to do your homework first – especially when it comes to how they may interact with other pets or children. Also, make sure to consult with your local veterinarian should you have any questions or concerns about how to care for a small pet.

Lastly – remember small animals just like some humans love affection, so be sure to treat your new pet well and often.