The main small PET options for you in Singapore are:
Rabbit, Hamster, Gerbil, Chinchilla, Fish
"Don't choose a Rabbit if you cannot stand it shooting pee 1.5m away from its cage everyday!"
The first question to ask "Which animal suits me best?"
Rabbits are very cute when small. I had 2 competition rabbits, well tamed, each cost around 800$. But once rabbits reach puberty at 6 months old, the female rabbits may bite if you move within their territory (Even if the reason is to change the bedding, or give it new toys.
Around the same period of time, male rabbits will shoot urine around 1.5m away from the cage to mark territory. The 'marking pee' smell is different from normal pee. It's like decomposed chin chow (Some chinese cooling jelly) with a sour tinge. Rabbits are nocturnal and hence expect to hear a lot of banging noise at night from the cage. To stimulate the banging noise, take any thick book and slide if off your table, or throw it at the wall; that is the type of loudness you will experience, except that it will keep going on.
When rabbits sense something wrong, they will thump the ground repeatedly, its thumping speed like that of a standing motor bike engine.
Price per rabbit:
If you don't know a good place to get one, these rabbits can cost 400$-600$. If you know where to get your rabbits, they can cost 80$-150$. Some places even sell them at 30-50$ depending on breed.
Hamsters are nice to take care of. Much easier to take care of than rabbits.
They don't shoot urine around which trust me... Is one of the main reasons why I gave up my rabbits.
I was waking to a sticky smelly floor every morning, that despite using cage trays and plastic covers which supposedly prevents the rabbit from shooting its urine out of the cage.
Hamsters are great and similar to gerbils except for 3 main differences.
- Hamsters are known to bite once in a while for random reasons, eg to show displeasure over food, or ur hand, or carrying.
- Depending on the breed of hamster, they may not be social animals (meaning some breed of hamsters prefer living alone, and also prefer you keep your juicy 'bite able' fingers out of their path and cage.)
- Hamsters urine and shit a lot. They get smelly and require a you to wash their cage at least once a week.
- They are nocturnal, So they run on the wheel and cage a lot at night. Expect to hear a lot of noise from your hamster cage at night.
- When you carry hamsters out, the first thing they will do is to scamper away from you. It will not think of what danger or obstacle is ahead. It just runs.
Price per hamster:
Depending on the breed of hamster, they may cost from $8 to $15 each. Remember, this cost does not include the cage, food etc that is needed.
Gerbils are similar sized to hamsters but have a furry tail which makes them cute, like dogs with a wagging tail.
Gerbils are very unlike hamsters in terms of character.
(An interesting find: Gerbils are the only pets which are highly recommended for children, and pet owners. I personally would advice this as a pet too! You've no idea how easy it is to care for them. You can read about it here too.)
Here are the differences:
- They are not nocturnal. While you sleep, they sleep too. So you won't hear noises at night.
- Gerbils do not bite their owners. They only bite if someone or something unknown to them tries to catch or restrict their movement (eg. if an unknown person grabs it and refuse to let go even if the gerbil struggles)
- When you carry them out (They only allow recognized care takers to carry it out easily without putting up a struggle), they will climb around your arms and hands, but won't try to run off aimlessly. They will take a few steps, stop, turn around, and walk on you. Sniff around etc, but won't run aimlessly away. (Of course if you let it in the middle of the floor, it will explore the place till I forgets where it's home is, and just wander away.)
- Gerbils do not smell even if you don't wash their cage for 4-5 months. Native to deserts, this animal urine and shit very little. So there won't be noticeable bad smell coming from the tank even after 4-5 months.
- Gerbils are social animals, like dogs. They want to explore and want you to carry them out to play. If you carry them out to play, they tend to be closer to you and eventually allow you to pet them while they rest.
You should try to get 2 same gender gerbils to love together. They will play with each other and make your life much easier.
- However, gerbils need time to recognize you. Mine took about 4 days to allow me to take them out to play. 1.5weeks to allow me to put my hand in the tank, while they climb on for me to put them in the play area. And 2 weeks to allow me to pet them while they rest.
Price per Gerbil:
The first thing to note is that Gerbils live best in tanks, not cages!
The price per gerbil can range from 15$ - 20$ depending on coat colour and origin. It is most recommended getting your gerbils from a known home breeder. This is so that you can tell exactly when your gerbil was born, its genetics and general temperament. Gerbils purchased at shops may have been removed from their parents too soon, and will begin to run away from you every chance it has.
Chinchilla is well liked because of their size. Cuddly and fluffy. Perfect size to hold. They have many characteristics that make them great pets. However, they are not suited for everyone. However, it is not suggested as pets for children because they are small, fragile, and if they are squeezed too tight they will bite!
Here is why Chinchillas are not simple to take care of.
1) Chinchillas are largely nocturnal so will be most active at night. With their relatively huge size, the noise they make can be equal to that of rabbits, sometimes even louder.
2) Some people term them crepuscular, meaning their activity peaks at dawn and dusk.
3) They should be kept in a fairly quiet area during the day.
4) They prefer a consistent routine for handling a feeding times. This means any irregularity in feeding times or changes in routines may stress your Chinchilla.
5) Chinchillas are very active and playful, and need a roomy cage for exercise as well as daily playtime.
6) Chinchillas should not be kept in warm temperatures, so care must be taken that pet Chinchillas do not become overheated.
You can read up more on the pros and cons here.
Price per Chinchilla:
450$ - 650$ depending on type and colour.