Habitat That: How to create the comfiest cage on the block for your small animals
Small animals make great starter pets because they involve less attention, but still require the responsibility of feeding and cleaning.
One of the most important factors of owning a small animal is creating a habitat in which they feel comfortable.
Guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils
These type of critters love large cages. They like to roam around and burrow, so a nice floor plan with tunnels and cardboard with which to build homes is always appreciated by these pets. Wire bottoms, though, can cause harm as little critters can get their paws stuck in the mesh, and can end up breaking a leg. As for bedding, aspen wood shavings, corn cob, and walnut shells are great choices. However, timothy hay is arguably the best: it's an essential food source; your pet will play with it, tunnel through it, and make "nests" in it for sleeping. Straw is the only "no-no" when it comes to bedding because it doesn't absorb urine and can cause bodily harm.
Even if your rabbit has free range of your home it is important to provide it a cage as a safe haven or for use as a litter box. The best size to get is one four times larger than your rabbit. Once again, it is important to stay away from cages that have a metal bottom as it can damage their hocks. If your rabbit is litter trained, supply a safe litter material as the rabbit might take a nibble at it. At the same time, because rabbit urine can be stinky, an absorbent material such as organic or paper-based pellets is a good option.
Ferrets love to roam around the house when supervised, but when they are not they should be in their cage. There are cages specially made for ferrets that make it hard for the ferret to get caught in the mesh or to escape. The cage should be at least 24 inches wide, 36 inches long and 24 inches high. At the same time, ferrets can be very persnickety and they like to have a separate area for sleeping, dining, and bodily needs; as a result, a three-level cage works best for them. As for litter, wood or newspaper pellets work great at absorbing odors and keeping your pet happy.