Getting a hamster as a pet
Getting a hamster as a pet is a pure joy because they are a really beautiful animal to look at and interact with because they are very intelligent and can become very affectionate over time. Otherwise, despite their small size, hamsters require a lot of attention and space; they can also be solitary and do not appear until after dark.
Which hamster is right for you?
If you’re thinking about getting a hamster, here are some pointers to help you make the best decision.
So the thing about hamsters in general is that no matter which species you get, you will have to:
- Clean their cages and change bedding
- Give them water
- To feed them
- Play with them
- Get them what they need
- Buy them tools and appropriate wheels
- And you really should get the size requirement that they need, I’m talking about large enclosures like Ikea Detolf or big tanks.
So hamsters are living animals and should be treated as such, and they deserve the best quality of life that we as humans can provide.
If you do not have enough money to buy a good sized cage that hamsters require, you should not buy that animal, so the appropriate cage is very important, don’t put your hamster in geôle and try to pick another pet.
Should you get a hamster?
Before you decide to bring a hamster into your home, let me give you a brief overview and a few points that I will return to in greater detail later in the article and that will help you decide whether or not to bring this adorable pet into your home.
I recommend that you purchase a large enclosure with at least 1000 square inches of floor space.
How much will it cost to keep a hamster as a pet?
It costs about $20 to buy a hamster, even if you could always adopt one; however, the purchase of the cage, litter, and all the necessary items will cost less than 240$; let’s say that for $250, you will have your hamster well installed at home.
It will then be necessary to plan a small budget specifically for your hamster, as the hamster’s special diet, litter, toys (enrichment), and, most importantly, veterinary care will cost you slightly more than $50 per month.
It must be admitted that a hamster is not expensive to own and maintain; you will simply need to take care of its health, hygiene, and food to avoid him becoming ill too frequently and costing you more money.
Why do you have to choose a hamster as a pet?
Let’s start with the positives that will persuade you to get your hamster tomorrow. First and foremost, the hamster is a low-cost pet that is easy to care for and does not require a lot of attention from its owner.
The hamster is simple to care for, beautiful and interesting to look at, lively and playful, and most importantly, children adore it and it teaches them responsibility when they are asked to care for it, feed it, clean its cage, etc.
Choosing a hamster despite these disadvantages
However, while adopting one will make your children happy, the hamster has a few drawbacks, including:
- He dislikes direct contact with humans, he may bite, and children will not be able to take him in their hands and stroke him as easily as they would a rabbit, cat, or dog.
- The hamster has a relatively short lifespan of about two years, which could cause your children a lot of pain if you don’t know how to replace it in time and without their knowledge if you don’t want to explain the fatality of death to them.
- The hamster will require its own large enclosure, will not tolerate the presence of other people, and will not get along with your cat.
- The hamster is also known for being difficult to tame, so you must be patient, especially if you do not purchase it from an ethical breeder (they come already tamed usually).
- To top it all off, the hamster is a pet to contemplate and watch play in its cage rather than play with or stroke it because it dislikes being stroked and you take it in your hands.
Despite this, the hamster is one of the most popular pet animals, particularly in the United States.
Which type of hamster should you get?
There are five different kind of domesticated hamsters:
- The Syrian hamster or Golden hamster
- The Campbell Dwarf hamster
- The Winter White Dwarf hamster or Russian hamster
- The Roborovski Dwarf hamster
- The Chinese hamster
They are the five kinds of hamsters that you can choose at the pet store.
⬥ The Syrian hamsters
This rodent, also known as the golden hamster, is the most well-known. Syrian hamsters range in size from 12.5 to 17.5 centimeters, with a 15 millimeter tail. The term “gold hamster” refers to a time when the species’ only color was gold. This species of hamster is now available in short- and long-haired varieties, as well as a wide range of color variations.
Syrian hamsters are the largest of their relatives.
So, if you’re looking for a hamster that’s easy to handle, Syrians are the best choice, and they’re easier to handle than any other hamster because they’re the largest, reaching around 7 inches in length.
⬥ The Dwarf hamsters
They are extremely small, ranging in size from 2 to 4 inches depending on the species of dwarf you obtain:
- The Campbell Dwarf hamsters
Campbell dwarf hamsters are unique in that they are the only hamster species that lives in groups. The couples are even somewhat monogamous, raising their children together. They cannot see or hear well, but they have a strong sense of smell. The species is similar to the Russian dwarf hamster, but its ears are much smaller, and the dark stripe on its back is wider and less defined.
This type of hamster can live in groups, but make sure that each hamster has at least one square foot of spice and that no more than a couple of hamsters share a cage.
They live for about 2 years and are difficult to handle. The thing about dwarf hamsters is that, despite being nocturnal like all other hamsters, they occasionally wake up during the day, go for a walk, and then go back to sleep.
- The Winter White hamsters (Russians)
The Russian or Siberian dwarf hamster is known for its gentle temperament. The 8 cm long almost bullet-round animal has short legs, bulging eyes, and an almost invisible tail. The dwarf hamster, unlike other types of hamsters, does not hibernate. The animal does, however, have a winter coat.
They can also be kept in pairs, and because of their size, I recommend getting an aquarium cage if you decide to adopt or buy a dwarf hamster so they do not escape.
The appropriate cage for this type of hamster is approximately 350 square inches for one hamster alone, so consider doubling the size of the cage if you want to house multiple themes in the same cage.
- The Roborovski Dwarf hamsters
The smallest hamster species, measuring only 4.5 to 5 centimeters in length. The coat of the animal is yellow to rust in color, with a white belly. Above its black eyes are white hairs that look like brows. The desert dwarf hamster, also known as the Roborovsky dwarf hamster or ‘Robbie,’ was introduced to Western Europe in the 1980s and is thus not as well known as it should be.
They can also be kept in pairs; simply introduce the hamsters together at a young age so they are bounded together.
Roborovski hamsters are about 2 inches long, and because they are so small, they are difficult to handle, so they are best used for observation.
They have the longest lifespan of any hamster species, living for three and a half years or more.
- The Chinese hamsters
The Chinese dwarf hamster has a longer body than other dwarf hamsters (8 to 13 centimeters) as well as a prominent tail. Its fur is smoother and less woolly, and it is usually gray-brown. They also live longer than other types of hamsters, with a four-year life expectancy. Chinese dwarf hamsters are quick and enjoy climbing. They are not as easily tamed.
This type of hamster is not particularly social; never keep more than one in the same cage; they can become aggressive and dislike being kept together.
Chinese hamsters resemble mouse mice more than hamsters, and they have the longest tail compared to other hamsters. If you buy a cage for a Chinese hamster, know that the recommended cage size for this type of hamster is around two square feet.
Should you get a male or female hamster?
I’ll discuss whether you should get a male or female hamster.
The one issue with female hamsters is that they do go into heat, which causes them to emit pheromones in order to attract males. These pheromones make them extremely stinky for us, so you should avoid picking her up when she is in heat.
If you’re looking for Syrian hamsters, you should know that males are fuzzier, have longer ears, and are usually calmer than females.
Can you put two hamsters in the same cage?
Cohabitation between two golden hamsters or Syrian hamsters is nearly impossible, except for a male and a female during the mating season.
You could introduce a female hamster to a male when she shows signs of being in heat; during this four-day period, your female hamster will emit a strong odor due to the pheromones she emits in order to attract the male.
You must remove the female hamster as soon as the heat period is over; otherwise, she will become aggressive and attack the male.
Other types of hamsters, such as the Russian hamster, also known as the winter white, Campbell, Roborovsky, and the Chinese hamster, can be bought in pairs and kept in the same cage if they have enough space and have been accustomed to living together since they were young.
Concerning the female Chinese hamster, keep in mind that they are very aggressive among themselves and should not be kept together.
To summarize, golden hamsters, also known as Syrian hamsters, do not tolerate life in pairs except during reproduction.
The dwarf hamsters, particularly the Roborovsky, Campbell, winter white, also known as the Russian hamster, and finally the Chinese hamster, behave and live better when kept together in a cage, provided there is enough space, and the couple should be kept together as soon as they reach the age of two months.
The hamster’s lifestyle and behavior
When you choose your hamster, preferably before it reaches the age of two months, and bring it home, you must be familiar with its habits and behavior in order to react quickly if your hamster’s habits change, which could be a sign of disease.
The hamster, whatever species it is, is a nocturnal animal; it sleeps during the day and is active at night; it occasionally wakes up, takes a walk in its cage, and returns to bed; and, of course, he does not like to be disturbed while sleeping.
Hamsters can hibernate when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They are solitary creatures who prefer to hide in order to avoid raptor attacks.
What should you feed your hamster?
When raising a hamster, you must be aware of what you can and cannot feed him because they are very fragile and burrowing animals, making their food a little delicate.
Hamsters adore seeds, but they are neither herbivores nor vegetarians. In the wild, a hamster is an omnivore, eating seeds, vegetables and fruits, insect tubers, worms, small smiley faces, and so on.
Before I go into more detail about how to feed your hamster, let me tell you the secrets to satisfying your pet’s nutritional needs and ensuring good health; the ideal is:
- Vary its food to provide all the nutrients it needs
- Make sure your food is always at room temperature
- No more than 12 g to 15 g of food per day
- Remove any fresh food he may have hidden in his litter box to avoid mould
- Provide fresh water every day
- Avoid changing your hamster’s diet or food abruptly and when you want to add a food to its usual menu, do it gradually
Should you feed your hamster vegetables and fruit?
Of course, you can feed your hamster vegetables because they are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Just give it a variety of vegetables in small amounts and remove the rest of the vegetables that your hamster has not eaten to avoid mold in its litter.
Cooked vegetables, such as carrots and beans, can also be fed to the hamster; however, they must be at room temperature to avoid making it sick.
To avoid poisoning your hamster, never give it plants that you do not consume yourself.
A hamster’s favorite meal is a combination of vegetables and dry food. You can make a mixture with different seeds like corn, sunflower seeds, and oats and barley, as well as vegetables like potatoes and carrots.
How much water should a hamster be given?
In his cage, you must install a drip trough.
Hamsters consume 10% of their body weight in water per day. They can drink a little more water if they are only fed dry food and seeds, which is not recommended, than if they are fed fruit and vegetables.
Water for hamsters must always be available, fresh, and clean, especially if the hamster is nursing, raising young, or pregnant.
How to choose a healthy hamster?
When purchasing a hamster, you must exercise extreme caution to avoid purchasing a sick hamster.
Your hamster must show signs of alertness and be interested in what is going on around it.
He must also be docile and not shy.
It’s preferable if he can be approached and grabbed relatively easily.
He must not have any disease symptoms, such as a wet tail, a runny nose or eyes, or a bald or dull coat that has lost its luster.
In the event of disease symptoms, you should learn how to react quickly enough to save your hamster’s life.
The list of foods you should never give your hamster
- Spoiled fruit and vegetables unfit for human consumption
- Sugar-containing foods such as cakes, sweets and candies
- Chocolate and cookies
- High-fat foods such as butter and fried foods
- Dairy products
- The green parts of plants that we humans do not eat, such as potato leaves, tomato stalks, carrot leaves, and decorative plants, some of which are very toxic to pets
Choosing what type of hamster you want to have can take a long time, so I recommend you prepare the cage first. The model I showed you at the beginning of the article is adaptable to any hamster you choose later.
You can also inquire about the best veterinarian in your area, as well as the location of his cage.
If you have children, teach them how to behave with your hamster before bringing him home. They must know what they should never give him as food because it could be fatal to him.
If you live near a pet shelter, take a look around; you might find a hamster you like there.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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