Activity level: 2-3
Good for ages: 8 and up
Kid's daily commitment: Keep a constant supply of food and water. Clean cage and change bedding weekly, or more as needed. No grooming necessary. Play with pet daily if you want to have a relationship.
Initial cost: $10-$20 for animal alone; $100-150 for other start-up costs
Yearly upkeep cost: $200-$300
They eat: Specially formulated pellets and chow. Can eat some grains, veggies, fruits and timothy hay as treats.
Life expectancy: 2 to 3 years.
Pros: Clean, active, take up little room. Gerbils are fun to watch. Rats are smart, interactive and can be taught tricks.
Cons: Hamsters are nocturnal and sleep most of the day. Cage can smell if not cleaned diligently. Some may bite.
Activity level: 2
Parental involvement needed: 3
Good for ages: 14 and up
Kid's daily commitment: Food and water should be available constantly. Clean cage and change bedding weekly, or more as needed. No grooming necessary. Thrive better with daily interaction.
Initial cost: $150 for the chinchilla; $300-$400 for other start-up costs
Yearly upkeep cost: $200 (some develop dental issues, which can be much more expensive)
They eat: Chinchilla pellets, vegetables, timothy hay.
Life expectancy: 15 years.