Debby, I think you and I have alot in common regarding the little critters! When I was a teenager, we had hedgies. Very cool pets, but since they were my mom's, she was the one who got the last say in their care. They lived in cat carriers because their breeder told my mom that they don't like big cages and they don't evercise. She wouldn't listen to me, so they lived in those tiny cages. Every chance we got though, my sister and I would take them out and let them run around the yard. My mom never figured out why they liked us better than her. She eventually got bored with them, and sold them all. I hope Spike gets better soon!!!
I also used to keep Duprasi! My last one, Dex, was my baby, such a little sweetie. Then I didn't latch my door well enough one day, and Marley got in there and got into his cage and killed him.
I also had rats for YEARS, I loved them! Such sweeties! After I got the cats though, they weren't as fun, because they couldn't run around the house as much. I had one girl who would steal dog food and hide it under my bed. I never knew this until I moved out of that house and hound a HUGE pile of dog food under there!
The chinchillas are BY FAR my favorite though! Such cool pets. They're so comical though. My oldest boy, sammy, is a total sweetie, but the others aren't so much (very friendly, just not cuddly). But yesterday I was playing with Lexi, my youngest chinchilla, who never lets me hold her, but loves playing with me. Anyway, I moved my finger up to her head to see if she would let me scratch her and she started to lean into my hand like she was really enjoying it. Then it was like she snapped out of it and pushed my hand away. LOL, she's such a nutty girl!
You know, the pet store people look at you funny when you ask them to order 25lbs of chinchilla food for you. I'm attaching a picture of Sammy, my sweetie, enjoying a scratch....