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 Smaller Animals
   

Hamsters

I've owned quite a few hamsters over the years, primarily Dwarf Desert Hamsters and Teddy Bear Hamsters. The Dwarves can make good pets if you handle them often, but they're very small and fast and don't necessarily enjoy being handled. I've been bitten a few times by both species, as hamsters can be nasty. The Bear hamsters are larger and more mellow than the dwarves. If someone were getting a hamster, that would be the type I'd suggest. I'd say the lifespan of a hamster is around 6-7 years, if taken care of properly.

     
             
 

Gerbils

A gerbil was my first pet and I've had them breed a few times. They're good for children, but they have been known to bite. They are cheaper than hamsters but, in my opinion, aren't as good as pets. Kids need to be careful not to pull on their tails because they can fall off. The lifespan of a gerbil is about the same as a hamster.

Rats

Rats, I must say, are the best pets. That may sound odd, but it's true. First of all, they're cheap. The cage may be the most expensive thing you buy for it. Secondly, rats never bite. Ever. You could hit the thing in the face and it wouldn't bite back. They are also fun to play with; I used to walk around the house with my rat, Maisy, on my shoulder. Male rats are calmer than female rats, and their lifespan is generally 2-3 years.

   
   

Fish

I have really come to hate fish over the years. You can't play with them (except watching them for a few minutes, or hours, depending on how bored you are), cleaning their tank is nasty and smelly, and they're expensive. Need I say more? I haven't had very many good experiences with fish...