An orange guinea pig named Lettuce sits inside an open white and purple cage. The guinea pig has its head sticking out and claws on the wire where the cage door is open.
Lettuce is one of the guinea pigs waiting to be adopted at Lincoln’s Capital Humane Society. Photo by Kloee Sander/NNS

Last year, Omaha’s Nebraska Humane Society and Lincoln’s Capital Humane Society took in over 1,400 animals that were not cats and dogs. “Little critters” or “critters” for short are a category of pets that include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, ferrets, birds and reptiles. 

“They are here,” said Pam Wiese, vice president of public relations and marketing at Nebraska Humane Society. “We do have them, and you still are rescuing, saving a life and giving a second change to a pet.” 

In 2022, the Nebraska Humane Society found homes for about 86% of their critters, Wiese said. The Capital Humane Society had the most critters surrendered in 2022 than in the last 10 years. However, they still had 90% of them adopted or fostered, said  Matt Madcharo, director of the Capital Humane Society.  

Both shelters said social media has helped them find homes for the critters. When people look online for cats or dogs, they find the critter page and often share pictures on social media. Plus, the Nebraska Humane Society promote critters specifically during certain weeks, Wiese said. 

Most commonly, families with young kids adopt critters  because critters can be great pets to teach proper pet ownership through since they are smaller and are less time intensive pet, Madcharo said. 

Both shelters have a variety critters up for adoption and more information on their websites.