The life span of pet rodents varies. Mice and hamsters generally live one to two years, rats two to three years, gerbils three to five years, guinea pigs five to seven years, and chinchillas live eight to 12 years or longer.
"Small rodents should not be pets for small children," said Hoppes. "Children less than 10 years old should be supervised closely when handling small rodents. The care and monitoring of any pet is ultimately the parent's responsibility."
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pettalk.