Can Hamsters Be Kept Outdoors?

by Hamster Care
hamsters-1

Can hamsters be kept outdoors?

Cute, fuzzy hamsters are defenseless little things that need your help to stay alive. While guinea pigs and rabbits can survive outdoors with the right setup, hamsters would have a much more difficult time. If you want your furry one to live a long, happy life, an indoor habitat is only the way to go – for more reasons than one.

Temperature changes

Hamsters do well in temperatures of between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Since this is such a narrow range, outdoor living would be difficult if not impossible. Hamsters hibernate when temperatures get under 50 degrees Fahrenheit and might die if temperatures get near freezing. Heat is equally dangerous, especially if the cage is placed under direct sunlight. Because of these factors, it makes a lot more sense to keep your hamster indoors, where you can control the temperature and keep him away from drafty areas.

Safety

Hamsters are prey animals. This means a lot of predators hunt them as food, including many city predators such as cats, coyotes and snakes. Even if you don’t have snakes or coyotes around, the likelihood is that your hamsters will always be on the lookout for them and choose to spend his life hiding from potential predators. A life of hiding is a life of stress, so a hamster living outdoors will be constantly scared or expecting an attack – not the most fun, satisfying way to live.

Other risks of outdoor living

A hamster living outdoors would be exposed to a number of diseases or health issues that an hamster living indoors wouldn’t have to deal with. Ringworm and mite infestations are more likely to occur to hamsters kept outdoors, where they will come in contact with other animals who might be carrying the disease. Stress alone can result in digestive problems. Since outdoor living will be stressful, you’re liable to end up with a very sick hamster.

Living indoors

Hamsters are not equipped to survive in the wild. They are bred to live indoors, in cages, and would have a very difficult time fending for themselves if left loose. In fact, is unlikely that a pet hamster left loose would know how to find food. A warm cage in a safe, well-ventilated but not drafty indoor area is ideal for hamsters.

Playing outdoors

Now, we’ve discussed in detail why hamsters should live indoors, but what about playtime? Is it safe for them to play outside from time to time?

Luckily, they can indeed play outside for about 15 to 20 minutes, as long as you make sure that you follow some precautions.

First, make sure that the temperature outside is okay. On days that are too hot or too cold, you should never take your hamster outside to play because this can be extremely dangerous.

Secondly, make sure that you avoid placing your hamster in direct sunlight. Even days that might not seem too hot can be very hot in the sun. When your hamster plays outside, it’s best to let them do so in a shaded area.

Thirdly, make sure that you keep your hamster in its cage or playpen at all times. It might be tempting to let your hamster roam around on the grass for a little bit, but don’t do it! Your hamster will run away in no time and you’ll never be able to find it again. They’re very nimble and great at hiding.

Another important thing to keep into consideration is that Syrians need an outdoor cage with a maximum bar spacing of 1 cm, while smaller dwarf hamsters, such as Winter Whites, need a bar spacing that’s smaller than 8 millimeters. This is to prevent them from escaping through the bars.

Fourthly, make sure that you always keep an eye on them, do not let them in their cage outside unsupervised. It can happen that other animals will try to enter the cage to eat your hamster, so make sure that you always supervise and protect them.

Lastly, make sure that you check carefully that the patch of grass you place your hamster on (in its cage of course) has not been treated with any kinds of pesticides. Hamsters are intelligent and curious creatures that like to explore things by scent and taste.

If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!

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By HamsterCareTip.Com

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