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Small Pet Selection Guide: Which One for Me?


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Important Characteristics of Small Animals

The following table provides important information on the life span, weight, reproduction, and recommended environmental temperature for various small animals often kept as pets. Most of the values are given in ranges, and depending upon the source, you may find somewhat different ranges provided elsewhere. Numbers may differ since information gathered from various breeds, species, and husbandry practices can affect the values.

  Life
Expectancy
Average
Weight
(grams*)
F=female
M=male
Length of
Pregnancy
(days)
Litter
Size
Weaning
Age
Recommended
Environmental
Temperature
(ºF)

Chinchillas
8-10 years F 550-800;
M 450-600
105-118,
average 111
1-6, usual
2-3
6-8 weeks 50-75

Gerbils
3-4 years F 50-75,
M 50-120
23-26 3-7 21-30 days 65-75

Guinea Pigs
5-6 years F 700-900,
M 900-1200
59-72,
average 68
1-10, usual
2-4
3-4 weeks 60-85

Hamsters
18-30 mos. F 95-125,
M 85-120
15-17 5-10 20-25 days 70-75

Hedgehogs
5-7 years 300-1500, depends on species 34-38 1-7, usual
3-4
4-6 weeks 70-80

Mice
12-36 mos F 30-60,
M 38-60
19-21 9-12 18-28 days 70-77

Rabbits
6-11 years, depends on breed 2-8 kg 30-33 4-10 5-8 weeks 40-80; never over 85

Rats
26-48 mos. F 225-325,
M 275-500
21-23 8-12 4 weeks 70-75

Sugar Gliders
8-10 years F 100-135,
M 120-160
16 days, then move into pouch; emerge from pouch after 60-70 days 1-2 110-115 days 70-80
* There are 453 gms (grams) in a pound. A kilogram (kg) is 1000 gms.
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