About Small Animals
Domestic pet keeping goes beyond taking care of a domesticated animal such as dogs or cats. Small mammals are popular choice, too. In the US alone, an estimated 6 million households own a small animal as pet.
Small animals as pets cover a broad range of the animal world, ranging from docile animals (rabbits) to aggressive ones (ferrets). Because of their smallness and furry cuteness, they are often referred to as pocket pets. The most common small animals kept as pets are guinea pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits, and chinchillas. Some of these animals, such as rabbits, have been kept as pets for years, while some, such as hedgehogs and gliders, are new additions to the pocket pet group.
Unlike other small pet animals such as reptiles and amphibians, pocket pets are generally non-aggressive and display amicable disposition. They are easier to feed and care for, and adapt to home conditions more easily. They don't need to be kept in a controlled environment in order to survive; a cage is often enough. They are inexpensive to keep as their feeding and maintenance requirements are minimal. For the most part, pockets are social and friendly, making them more as suitable as companion pet. The term pocket pet can refer both to exotic animals (e.g. hedgehogs, ferrets) and non-exotic animals (sugar gliders). These have interesting habits that many of these small animals are used in laboratories for observation or for research.
Just like with other members of the animal kingdom, the housing, feeding, and handling needs of small animals vary across species. Personalities are diverse, too. Some are frisky, some are playful. Some are nocturnal, while some are active during the day. Some have very short life spans, while others can live as long as a dog or cat. Some, like rats, can be trained and taught to do tricks. Because of their small size, however, most these small animals are delicate. Proper and gentle handling is required to prevent injury.
Small pet animals as hobby: Small animals are valued for the companionship and entertainment they bring. As hobby, they are most popular with children and people who live in limited living spaces such as apartments and townhouses. Children seek them because of their docile and cuddly personalities. Some parents also give them to kids to teach about responsibility. Many children are also fascinated by animals, and pocket pets provide them the opportunity for interaction and observation. Since they are easy to care for, no advanced hobby skill is required.
They have also become a popular option for urban dwellers living in a limited space, in a house with no yard, or in rented places where large animals are not allowed.
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