All rodents are characterized by their remarkably long incisors, which grow continuously. Consequently, they must have the opportunity to gnaw so that the incisors are worn down at the same rate as they grow. Many rodents, especially hamsters, are nocturnal, predominantly active at night. This factor must be taken into consideration when acquiring a rodent as a pet, as their quiet times often fall during the day. Rabbits, guinea pigs and chipmunks are usually active during the day.
When keeping these small pets, you should always make sure that the cage or hutch is big enough and equipped to suit the needs of the animal(s) in question. The need for exercise can be satisfied by introducing climbing options and obstacles. Hiding places are also important. Dust-free wood shavings or soft straw make ideal bedding for most rodents. The entire bedding should be replaced at least once a week and fresh drinking water should be provided on a daily basis. Some rodents such as guinea pigs and chinchillas should be kept as a pair or more. As they are quick to breed, it is recommended that males and females are kept separately or that the males be castrated.
Depending on how the cages or hutches are furnished, most rodents do not have the opportunity to wear down their claws, which means that they become very long and twisted. Claws should be checked regularly and carefully so that they can be trimmed, as required.