Looking for a guinea pig, rabbit or turtle? Check your local animal shelter first

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Buttercup available at the Denver Animal Shelter (Credit: DAS)

DENVER (KDVR) —  The Denver Animal Shelter has plenty of small animals up for adoption and is urging people looking for rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, birds and turtles to check a shelter before heading to a pet store.

“Before you buy a small animal from a pet store, please check with an animal shelter first because there is a lot of need there,” says Denver Animal Protection Director Alice Nightengale. “Prices are often more affordable too, and you’ll help a pet in need.”

The cost of small animals starts at $15.

Spending time with a potential new pet before bringing one home is a good way to see if allergies might be a problem for the potential adopter, suggests Denver Animal Shelter.

Does that guinea pigs or rabbits make you sneeze? The shelter suggests returning the animal to the pet store before bringing it to the shelter.

Understanding the unique habits and needs of a potential new pet is an important step:

  • Rabbits need a lot of space, along with fresh greens, hay, and pellets, must be handled very carefully or can be hurt and can live up to 13 years.
  • Domestic turtles require a tank big enough to accommodate 10-gallons of water for every inch of their shell length.
  • Most cold-blooded animals, like snakes and lizards, need to live near electrical outlets to power heat lamps and rocks to regulate and maintain their body temperatures. 

Can’t adopt but want to help? Fostering small animals is a great way to help a homeless animal live in a home while waiting for adoption. Volunteering at your local shelter is another great option.

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