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Low maintenance mammal

Hedgehogs, Rabbits, Skunks, Squirrels, Bats, genets, civets etc.

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tmazanec1
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Low maintenance mammal

Postby tmazanec1 » Tue Nov 26, 2013 4:37 pm

I am thinking of getting a pet that is less difficult to maintain than a dog or cat. I am slightly autistic (Asperger's syndrome) and need some help just to take care of myself, but if I bother to get a pet I would want something more affectionate than a snake or fish.
I live in Twinsburg, Ohio.
Would I make a good pet owner, if there is a suitable species?
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Juska
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Juska » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:08 pm

Part of having a pet is the challenge of maintaining it. The reason most people keep fish, including myself, is the challenge. That's why people get crazy species of fish that are hard to care for. Same with exotics.

No pet is "easy", to be honest. Even a hamster or mouse requires weekly cage cleaning, and taming of the actual animal to make it friendly. Contrary to popular belief fish aren't just things you throw in water and feed. Tank maintenance is hard work, if you want to do it correctly. And snakes are a whole other matter. They can be finicky eaters for one.

Honestly, I don't think we can "tell" you what kind of pet to get. You have to want it and have a passion for it. Otherwise the animal will probably lack quality of life.

When I worked at PetSmart I got this question all the time. But I didn't like to try and answer it with one animal or another. You shouldn't have to ask another person what kind of animal YOU want.

If you watch TV at all, or just go on Youtube, you can try watching animal shows/videos and seeing if any of the animals looks like something you're interested in.

Do some research; find something that interests you. If you don't find one...maybe you're just not destined to own a pet. If that's the case, maybe try to find a hobby that is less dedicated and expensive? Do you play games or build stuff? I play a lot of PC games and I find a lot of enjoyment in modding them.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Ash » Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:40 am

Hi, and welcome to the forum. :) It's great to have you here.

I agree with Juska. Even the smaller mammals need to have their cages cleaned at least weekly. I kept a live mouse for two weeks to feed to my picky snake (she wouldn't take pre-killed food for the longest time) and it was hard work! She also stunk up the house. Granted, I wasn't trying to keep her as a pet, so she didn't have the best (like tunnels, proper caging), but she was a lot of work!

Oh! Have you thought about a guinea pig? They can be very fun, docile animals, and they don't stink like rabbits. You need to change their bedding at least once a week, but they can be great pets. Maybe look into those.

But as Juska said, make sure it's the animal that YOU want. We can give you suggestions, but ultimately you'll be the one taking care of it. So be sure you get an animal you'll love and enjoy being around.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Nìmwey » Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:12 am

Agree with the rest. :)

I BTW have Asperger's as well, so maybe I can relate more. Though I've had animals all my life (started taking care of hamsters of my own when I was 8-9), and we're of course still individuals.

Can you be a little more specific in how much you can dedicate to an animal?
Feeding, cleaning, playing and stimulating, how long it should live, etc.
My main interest is in parrots, dogs, toothed whales and snakes.
Future animals I want to have when we have land are camels, wolfdogs/wolves, coyotes or jackals, striped hyena or aardwolf. Also poultry, rabbits water buffalo and/or yak for livestock.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Juska » Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:06 pm

My boyfriend has high functioning Autism (formerly known as Asperger's).

He used to keep fish, but after he go out of high school, keeping pets kind of faded from his interest. He's had dogs and cats but they weren't really "his". When we lived together I had three pet rats, and even though he became very allergic to them, he loved playing with them.

But keeping personal pets just isn't something he's interested in; not that he's bad at it or wouldn't make a good pet parent, it's just not for him. He's got other things he's more invested in.

Of course every person is different, like Nimwey said, but you really do need to have a passion for animals when you adopt/purchase a pet.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:05 pm

Ash wrote:Oh! Have you thought about a guinea pig? They can be very fun, docile animals, and they don't stink like rabbits. You need to change their bedding at least once a week, but they can be great pets. Maybe look into those.


I would go with a rat over a guinea pig. Smell is about the same as a rabbit actually, worse if you don't clean enough because they have that rodent smell. Only my rabbits litter box smelled and only if not changed frequently. They are also herbivores like rabbits. That makes for them being more delicate diet wise than rats. Easy to get dental problems or impaction from not enough fiber or grooming too much fur and the like. They are horribly messy too. they poop and pee almost constantly. I was a bit overwhelmed with the darn things(dumped on me but found them homes). Once a week cleaning is not enough.

At least with a bunny they potty train, at least mine was. You still need to be very attentive to signs of blockages or dental issues and act quickly and right diet, and chew things to help prevent it.

My wild deer mice were real easy but they were hands off. I had an atrium with dirt and a little "tree" for them to climb and a cardboard house. They would cram that thing with bedding and food, and only use one corner as a bathroom so I'd just snatch the house occasionally when they were out of it and give them a new one. Don't know where you'd get them but you can buy other types of mice.

If you want a more hands on animal then rats maybe.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Juska » Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:34 pm

Male rats can be pretty smelly as well, and they can be little buggers sometimes with chewing and urinating on things.

They need a LOT more attention than most small animals. They'll become depressed if they don't get enough play time. Just saying. I usually recommend rats to people but you REALLY need to have time for them. They're not something you can leave in the cage all the time and only take them out once a week or when you have time. They want to be with you all the time; at least my boys did. I wouldn't consider them low maintenance at all. Cleaning a large, expensive cage once a week can be a huge job, and if you don't clean thoroughly, it will smell awful. At least 20-30 minutes a day of free roam time or they can get depressed/sick/retract from people socially.

Just something to consider.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Ash » Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:00 pm

I guess I don't really remember the rabbits my mom got when I was a kid, so I can't really compare them well to the guinea pig we had. They were indoor bunnies, but I remember them being really smelly and needing to clean up after them daily--but I don't remember what diet we had ours on or anything. We didn't know much about animals back then, so it may have been a crummy diet.

I don't know much about mice either, but owning "Squeaker" for a while was a rough experience for me. But I'm sure if I bought her as a pet and was prepared to keep her she would have been much easier to care for. It was more of a pain to keep her since I wasn't wanting her long term or as a pet or anything like that. Not to mention she was a constant reminder that my snake wasn't eating, lol. A different attitude would probably have made keeping her much easier. :)

Are you sure you wouldn't want to go with a reptile? They're... "affectionate" in their own way, and I have found my four snakes to be very rewarding and a joy to keep. Ball pythons and hognose snakes are the best!
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Trefoil » Fri Nov 29, 2013 3:24 pm

Rats are a very smart and affectionate pet. They are a lot less work than a dog or cat. Just get a large cage to start with. A hedgehog would also be a option, but they need specialized diet and are less affectionate.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:31 pm

Guinea pigs poop and pee even more than rats it comes with being an herbivore. If they had only pooped and peed as much as rats it wouldn't have been as bad for me. But like Ash and her mouse I hadn't wanted them in the first place. My anteaters are plenty messy and tons of work but I love and want them around. But still I'd let them out to play in a 4x8 area and they'd have tons of poop pellets trailed all over it and pee spots in no time flat. To me it was just way too much to deal with but that's where personal tastes come into play.

Also Guinea pigs are social animals. They live in large family groups in the wild. So like rats should be bought in pairs, same sex or get the male neutered. They aren't as needy for human attention as the rats you had were. I got them as adults though and they would come to great me once they tamed down but since they had each other they weren't dependent on needing my attention. They were cute but I personally thought they were more work than they were worth. It comes down to personal taste and attraction though. Still despite their being common I would not lump them in as easy.

Tons of info here though if anyone is interested in the little poop machines http://www.cavyspirit.com/

Bunnies are good the main thing is to watch their diet and not let them get too hot. Keeping them in your home that is normally easy if you are comfortable the bunny should be okay too. Then just make sure they get tons of hay and rationed pellets. Their pee is stinky but if they use a littler box then you wont smell it long as you keep that clean. I used pine pellets they are great at odor control. If you just line the whole cage with bedding and they go anywhere and everywhere then yeah that'll get nasty quick. Jupiter had a box and an elevated place to sleep but no bedding in them as then he'd start peeing there too but no bedding and he wouldn't and he was not in a cold room so didn't need it. And even if given something soft he would choose to sprawl out on the floor anyway.

I agree on mice being smelly. I've had domestic mice though I kept those typically with the whole tank bedded with shavings. My wild mice I used dirt and they only ever pooped and peed in their house and in one corner of it.
http://pet-mice.com/

I hear hamsters are good about going in one place. They will even use a litter box. But of all we've discussed so far they are the least social. I had one once and it bit the heck out of me any time I touched it. Plenty of people have hamsters that are handable though. I'll see if I can find an old friends videos. Here's were potty trained and she played with them all the time. They would be the least smelly and least work of all listed so far I think. You also only need one. Some basic info http://pethamstercare.com/
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:56 pm

Here's the hamster lady's photos stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/chmurka/sets/

And her YT https://www.youtube.com/user/puchikumo

She almost makes me want one.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Trefoil » Fri Nov 29, 2013 9:02 pm

The good thing about rabbits is that they can be house broken.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Juska » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:44 pm

I agree with TG on the guinea pig thing. I cleaned their habitats WAY more often than the other small animals when I worked at PetSmart. We had a weekly cleaning schedule, but I found that they were more messy (kicking things around, flipping dishes and hideaways), their waste would cake to things and they went a lot more often, so I could do small cleanings every 3 days instead of once a week having to completely overhaul their habitat.
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby Ash » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:53 pm

Interesting info. :) I must not remember my guinea pig as much as I think I do, lol. Makes me want to think twice before getting another one. This time I'd like to do more research on them so I can give it proper care (if/when I get one again).

Yeah, our rabbits weren't litter-trained. I didn't realize you could even litter-train them, though maybe some breeds are better than others? My mom just let ours hop around our laundry room at night (tiled floor) and then would clean it each morning. Too bad none of us knew that they could be trained. Our lop-ears were fun and cute, but then we got a little dwarf one that was kind of mean. Do you know what types of rabbits make the best pets?

Just throwing out the idea of another small mammal, but I imagine it's care is probably a little more advanced. What about a hedgehog? Other than diet, does anybody know how difficult they are to care for? Since they're insectivores they eat worms and stuff, so that might not be fun for someone looking for and easier pet.

I do think considering a reptile could be a good way to go, if you like them. They can really be fun, and I could suggest some species if you'd like. :)
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Re: Low maintenance mammal

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Dec 01, 2013 1:29 am

Usually the larger the breed the more mellow and friendly, for rabbits, and the tiny ones more "wild" type. Jupiter was guessed by rabbit folks to be a mini rex - dutch mix. Maybe it was his dutch side but he was REAL friendly. So friendly I felt guilty for not giving him enough attention. When I had the store he'd great customers and a follow them around and he'd happily sit for hours in my lap long as he was being pet.

Edit: I don't know tons about hedgehogs but they can die from getting chilled. They also poop when running on their wheels, which is messy and are very nocturnal.

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