So I have this urge to get a pet, but haven't had one in decades. I don't have the space for a dog, and my apt. won't allow a cat. I considered some of the reptile options discussed in the reptile thread, and now I'm thinking about a small mammal, probably a rodent of some type instead. Specifically because I want a pet that I can interact with, play with a little and that is also easy to care for and relatively hardy. I can afford to buy a fairly nice cage so that's not a problem. The reptiles seemed OK but in the end I doubt they would be intereactive enough for my taste.
What are folks' experience with rodents as house pets? Of the options, the top 3 for me seem to be:
1)A pair of guinea pigs. I read that these fellas are unhappy alone so you need to get a pair (same sex to prevent pop. explosion). Advantages: cute, cuddly, allegedly very friendly, make funny noises. Disadvantages: they poop a lot, eat hay, stink a bit more than some rodents, and are on the big side for a rodent.
2)A pair of rats. I read that like guinea pigs, they are unhappy alone. Advantages: the smartest and most trainable of this class, allegedly very tameable and sociable, not too big, not too smelly. Disadvantages: they require a lot of activity, climb a lot and sadly, they are rats. I just have a certain anti-rat cultural bias, but perhaps I can overcome it.
3)A hamster. These are supposedly fine solo. Advantages: small, not too difficult to care for, cute, and housable in a fairly small cage. Disadvantages: these are a kid's pet, I can't shake the feeling, not sure if they are as interesting/active as rats or as cuddly as guinea pigs, they seem a bit bland.
So what do folks think about small pets, especially rodents? (I do understand that all of these pets would have fairly short life spans compared to many other pets.)