The terms “small mammals” or “pocket pets” refer to small animals, often rodents, which are kept as pets and could fit into your pocket. Common small mammal pets include:
- Guinea pigs
- Pygmy hedgehogs
- Sugar gliders
- Other small animals
Small mammals also include a few animals that are not so small, such as rabbits and prairie dogs.
Owning a small mammal can be a big responsibility, even though the animal itself may be tiny. If you decide that a small mammal is the right pet for you, you need to learn how to take care of it properly and be aware of diseases that it might carry. With routine veterinary care and some simple health habits, you are less likely to get sick from touching, petting, or owning a small mammal.
Some of the diseases associated with small mammal pets that can cause human illness include:
- Cheyletiellosis (Chyletiella)
- Giardiasis (Giardia)
- Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)
- Sarcoptic mange
- Monkeypox virus (*currently not in the United States)
- Rat-Bite Fever
- Salmonellosis (Salmonella)
From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)