One of the biggest misconceptions of pet ownership is that small pets or pets that mostly live in cages are “short term” pets. However, this is far from the truth. People are often floored to find out that their pets can have such a long life!
The key is the quality of care. A lot of times their reduced life span is due to a reduced quality in life. Whether the owner is unaware to their needs or simply neglectful, small pets don’t always get the best care. Thankfully with a little knowledge, it’s easy to prolong their life and enjoy their company for as long as possible.
Common Life Expectancies for Pets with Proper Care:
- Hermit Crabs– A lot of Hermit Crabs are seen as a seasonal pet. However, in captivity with the right care, they can live up to 20 years!
- Rabbits– A rabbit’s average lifespan is 8-12 years.
- Birds– These lifespans vary depending on the species of the bird. Love birds usually live about 10 years, but birds like the Macaw can live up to 30-50 years.
- Hamsters– When they are cared for properly hamsters can live 2-4 years.
- Lizards– Small lizards, such as the chameleon, have shorter lifespans of up to 3 or 4 years. However, other reptiles, like the gecko, can live into their 30’s.
- Guinea Pig– The longest living Guinea pig was 14 years old, however, they usually live about 5 years.
How to Prolong their Lives:
Give them the optimal environment
If they live in a cage, make sure it is the proper size. It’s better to have a cage that is too big than one that is too small. Also, make sure they always have access to clean water. Keep the cage a a good temperature, not near a drafty window or near an AC/heat vent. Lizards will need a UV heat lamp to keep them warm. Don’t forget to clean their cages often to avoid sickness. Before you decide to purchase a small pet, do all the research about what type of environment they need so you can ensure that they will thrive.
Feed them the proper diet and amounts
It’s important not to overfeed your small pet. Don’t over-do it on the treats, pellets, crickets, or any other food. Talk to your vet or the pet care specialist at the store about what the proper diet is for them. Letting your pet get obese will decrease their quality and quantity of life.
Make sure they get plenty of exercise
Just because a lot of the smaller pets live in cages it doesn’t mean that they always have to stay in there all the time. Spend a few days a week with them out of the cage. Just make sure to supervise them to whole time so they don’t get lost or hurt. Also, you can purchase things like hamster balls, tubes, climbing rocks and wheels to help them get exercise even when they are in the cage.
There’s no reason to treat smaller animals as “temporary pets.” While some will always have shorter life expectancies, they still deserve to live as long as possible. Do you have a smaller pet? Let us know all about them and how you care for them in the comments below!