Focus is always on dogs and cats in the pet world, but what about those of us who can’t own a larger animal?  Don’t overlook the benefits of small pets—they can be good pets just like any other animal, and are often easier to take care of.  There is a large variety to choose from so it’s hard to pick just one, that’s why we broke it down for you so you can decide which pet is right for you!

•    Rabbits: These furry animals are social and friendly, and adapt very well to human companionship.  They actually have longer life spans compared to other pets—in fact, some rabbits live to be 7-10 years old!  Rabbits are kid friendly—but a downfall is that you need lots of room indoors for them.  They also need to be socialized just like a dog, so if you’re very busy and don’t have time for that, rabbits probably aren’t right for you.

•    Birds: Pet birds have been known to reduce depression in owners because of the color and charming, calming sounds they bring to the home.  They are one of the cleanest animals and only need to take up a small area in your home.  Several birds have been selectively bred for human ownership and adapt well to domestic life, including finches, cockatiels, canaries, parakeets, and lovebirds.  Some downfalls are that some birds, such as parrots, are better off in the wild and can be loud and destructive.  When deciding to purchase a bird, you must consider getting two because most birds are flock animals and need a friend to keep them company.

•    Hamsters: These small animals are cuddly, friendly, and inquisitive.  They do not require a large amount of attention, so they’re great for people with busy lifestyles.  A downfall is that they are nocturnal, so if you’re planning on keeping one in your bedroom you may want to reconsider so you can sleep.  They can also bite and carry diseases like salmonella, so you should handle them carefully and wash your hands after touching them.  Hamsters also have very short lifespans—if you have small children in the household, be prepared to explain death after 2.5-3 years.

•    Ferrets:  These are very fun and engaging small pets with playful attitudes.  They have long life spans and become very cuddly as they age.  You must keep a close eye on them when they are out of their cage, and you should not keep one in its cage for a long period of time.  Ferrets can get pretty smelly and it takes time to keep them clean.  But if you have the time and energy, ferrets are probably perfect for you!

•    Guinea Pigs: These pets have a lifespan of 5 to 7 years and are very sweet and social.  They require grooming and do better when they have another guinea pig for companionship.  Like hamsters, they can carry salmonella and other diseases so it’s important to wash your hands after handling one.

•    Chinchillas: These small pets also have a longer lifespan of 5 to 10 years and are quite adorable.  They tend to be solitary so there’s no need for a companion.  Chinchillas are usually clean and odorless and friendly to humans.  A downfall is that they require dust baths at least once a week and should be handled very carefully because they are easily startled.  They can get to be large and hard to handle.

There are so many small pets to choose from—hopefully you are able to determine which small animal is right for you!