« hair club for congressmen | Main | lies, truth and hot blogs »

rodent shopping

rodent shopping

I am thisclose to stopping at the pet shop on the way home to buy hamsters/gerbils for the kids (I don't really know what the difference is) and getting rid of our slimy, ugly underwater frogs.

Good idea or mistake?


It's a mistake that will quickly rectify itself - the little buggers never live longer than a couple of weeks anyway.

Don't do it! When I was around 8 I somehow managed to get my mother to buy me two gerbils. They don't do anything, but eat, crap and run in a wheel. Handling is next to impossible. Boring and not worth the trouble. BTW, both of mine lived about 6 years.

Rats make better pets.

I vote for nay. Get a ball python, so you can watch them eat feeder mice. They hardly shit, eat once a week, and require next to no interaction. Best beginner pets.

Feeder mice are about a dollar, and worth the price in entertainment alone. Like having the Discovery Channel in your house!

when i was raising snakes, i used to enjoy inviting people for the 'live animal sacrifice', i.e., the weekly or bi-weekly mouse feedings.

just good clean fun.

If you get hamsters, which I've always loved, make sure you buy enough Habitrail yardage to let them roam the entire house.

My mother's had rodents for years. First it was pet rats. Then, when I was little, hamsters. Now, it's gerbils. They're great. After over a decade, she's figured out how to train them to come out and onto her shoulder without running away or biting.

when i was 10 i convinced my mother that i had to have the 2 gerbils from school that needed a home for the summer. during that same summer they bit me leaving scars, peed on me every time i picked them up, escaped and were later found chewing through all the towels we owned, had babies even though they were both suppsosed to be male and then died.
i'd say a bad experience all around.

that was my anon post by the way, i don't know where my name went...
maybe the gerbils ate that too.

If, despite all the advice here not to, you decide on the hamsters, get separate cages for them. I believe all store-bought hamsters are supposed to be male, and they will fight to the death in the same cage. My roommates and I got hamsters back in the day (1992). Tito and Little Guy ganged up on Bob constantly, so we moved him to his own cage, where he died of loneliness. Then Tito killed Little Guy and ate his brain and one of his eyes. Then, with nothing left to chew on, Tito's teeth kept growing until his jaw fused together and he died of starvation. So, yeah, don't get the hamsters.

Unless this was the kind of educational, circle-of-life experience you wanted the kids to enjoy.

I second the rats. They're a bit messy, but if you play with them enough when they're small, they turn out like dogs in miniature packages.

Be different--get them a tarantula. Just think of the fun of wondering where it went to when it gets loose. At any rate, once loose it would probably debug your house. No more concerns about ants, etc.

I never had a hamster or gerbil that didn't hate me, and they bite hard. So I'd say mistake. It stinks having pets that despise you. Plus, they say they're all male from the pet store, but they're definitely not. One of the ways pet stores restock their hamsters is by buying (very cheaply) the offspring of all those "males" from the poor suckers who bought them. Maybe a guinea pig, instead?

We used to have rats for pets. So sweet. But they only live 3 years or less. It was too sad when they died. But they are wonderful pets.

Hear, hear for rats. They're very sweet. I had gerbils as a kid. They smell. They fight. They overbreed. They bite.

With gerbils, you have to get ones that have been handled from pretty much birth. That's hard unless you know someone that has a breding pair. I've only been bit seriously by mine when I'm doing something stupid, like trying to give it a bath.

I've heard alot about rats being good pets, but that's hard to convince people of.

Hampsters are the devil.

rats are cool. very. hamsters and gerbils are on the hyper/boring side, along with them cute little mice. rats have personality. most people have a fear/dislike of the ratty tail. get passed (past? ugh. i'm so groggily illiterate...) the tail. love the tail. rats really do rock as pets.

ummm... don't buy one from the feed store where they keep them all in a big box. you might end up with 16 babies...

i definitely vote for rats.


Get some turtles, then you can skim them across the Atlantic to me.

Hello. If you are owner of this site, delete this message, please.