Getting a Hamster
Getting a hamster as a pet is a pure joy as it is a really beautiful animal to look at and interact with as they are very intelligent and can become very affectionate with time too. Otherwise, hamsters need a lot of attention and space despite their small size, they can also be solitary and especially do not show up until after dark.
Which Hamster is Right for you ?
If you are thinking of getting a hamster , there are some tips and advices to make the best choice
So the thing about hamsters over all , it doesn’t matter which species of hamster you got , 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 a living animals and should be treated as a living animal and they deserve have the best quality life that us as human are able to give them
If you do not have enough money to purchase a good sized cage that required for Hamsters , than you should not buy that animal , so the appropriate cage is really important , don’t put your hamster in geôle and try to pick an other pet
Should I get a Hamster?
Before you decide to have a hamster in your home, let me give you a little overview and a few points, which I will come back to in detail a little later in the article and which will make you decide where not to adopt this adorable pet that makes little children and sometimes even their parents dream.
I recommend you to buy a large enclosure , at least 1000 square inches of floor surface.
How much is it going to cost to have a hamster as a pet
It takes about twenty dollars 20$ to buy a hamster, even if you could always adopt one, as for the purchase of the cage, the litter and all the necessary, it is necessary to foresee a little 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 just for your hamster, the hamster special diet, the litter, the toys ( their enrichment ) and especially the veterinary care …etc will cost you a little more than 50$ per month.
It must be admitted that a hamster is not expensive to have and maintain, it will just be necessary to take care of its well being, hygiene and food to avoid him to fall sick too often and thus cost you more money.
Why do you have to choose a hamster as a pet?
Let’s start with the positive points that can encourage you to buy your hamster tomorrow, first of all the hamster is a cheap pet to buy and to take care of, rather calm and does not require too much presence from its owner.
The hamster is easy to maintain, very beautiful and interesting to look at, lively and very playful and above all, children love it and it allows them to learn to become responsible if you ask them to take care of it, feed it, clean its cage etc…
Choosing a hamster despite these disadvantages
On the other hand, even if adopting one will make your children happy, the hamster has its little drawbacks, because:
He doesn’t like direct contact with humans, they could bite and children won’t be able to take him in their hands easily enough and stroke him as they would easily do if he was a rabbit, a cat or a dog.
The hamster has a rather short lifespan around 2 years old , 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 to them the fatality of death.
The hamster will need its own large enclosure and will not tolerate the presence of other individuals and will not get along with your cat too well.
The Hamster is also known to be very difficult to tame , so you have to be very patient especially if you wont buy it from an ethical breeder ( they come already tamed usually )
To top it all off, it must be said that the Hamster is a pet to contemplate and watch playing in its cage rather than playing with it or stroking it because it doesn’t like to be stroked and you take it in your hands.
Despite all this, the hamster is one of the most adopted pets, especially in the United States.
Which variety of hamster you should 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
1 . The Syrian hamsters
This rodent, also called the golden hamster, is the best known species. The Syrian hamster is 12.5 to 17.5 centimeters in size, with a tail of about 15 millimeters. The name gold hamster dates back to the time when the species only had its original golden color. Today, you can find this species of hamster in short- and long-haired varieties and numerous color variations.
The Syrian hamsters are the biggest of all their congeners
So if you are looking for a hamster that you can easily handle , Syrian ones do handle easily , and they are easier than all the other hamsters to handle because they are the biggest , they get to be around 7 Inches in length
The Dwarf hamsters :
They are absolutely small , around 2 to 4 inches depending on which species of dwarf one you get :
2 . The Campbell dwarf hamsters
Campbell dwarf hamsters are special because they are the only species of hamster that lives in groups. The pairs are even somewhat monogamous and raise their young together. They cannot see or hear well, but they can smell very well. The species resembles the Russian dwarf hamster, but the ears are much smaller and the dark stripe on its back is wider and less sharply defined.
This kind of hamsters can live in groups but be sure that you provide at least one square feet of spice for each hamster and don’t put more than a couple of hamsters in the same cage
They live around 2 years , they aren’t easy to handle , the thing about dwarf hamsters is that despite being nocturnal like all other hamsters, they sometimes wake up during the day, take a walk and go back to sleep afterwards
3 . The winter white hamsters ( Russians)
The Russian or Siberian dwarf hamster is known for its quiet, tame nature. The almost bullet-round animal of 8 cm in length has short legs, bulging eyes and an often almost invisible tail. Unlike other types of hamsters, the dwarf hamster does not really hibernate. However, the animal does have a winter coat.
They also can be kept in pairs , and difficult to handle because of their size , i recommend you to get an aquarium cage if you choose to adopt or buy a dwarf hamster so they could not escape
The appropriate cage for this kind of hamsters is around 350 square inches for one hamster alone so think to double the size of the cage if you want to put a couple of theme in the same cage
4 . The Roborovski Dwarf hamster :
This is the smallest of all hamster species, measuring barely 4.5 to 5 centimeters in length. The animal has a yellow to rust-colored coat with a white belly. Above its black eyes are white hairs, which resemble eyebrows. The desert dwarf hamster, also called Roborovsky dwarf hamster or ‘Robbie’, was only introduced to Western Europe in the 1980s and is therefore not yet as well known here.
They can be kept in pairs too , you have only to introduce the hamsters together at a young age so they are bounded together
Roborovski hamsters are around 2 inches long , they are so tiny , so not easy to handle too , so they are more for observation
They have the longest lifespan of all the other kinds of hamster , they can live to three and half years , maybe more
5 .The Chinese hamsters
The Chinese dwarf hamster has a longer body than other dwarf hamsters (8 to 13 centimeters) and a highly visible tail. Its fur, which is usually gray-brown, is also smoother and less woolly. With a life expectancy of four years, they also live longer than other types of hamsters. Chinese dwarf hamsters are fast and like to climb. They do not become tame as quickly.
This kind of hamsters are not really social , you should never put more than one in the same cage , they can become really aggressive , they don’t like being kept together
Chinese hamsters look more a mouse mouse than a hamster , they have the longest tail if you compare it to the other hamsters , they live around one and half year , if you buy a cage for a Chinese hamster , know that the recommended cage size for this kind of hamsters is around two square feet
Choosing a male or a female hamster ?
I will talk about in my opinion whether do get a male or a female hamster
The one thing you will have to deal with of female hamsters is that they do go into heat , so they do give off pheromones to attract males and theses pheromones makes them really stinky for us , so you don’t have to pick her up when she is in heat
If you are looking for Syrian hamsters , you should know that males are a lot fuzzier , they do get longer hear and they are usually calmer than female hamsters
Can you put two hamsters in one enclosure ?
For golden hamsters or Syrian hamsters the cohabitation between two hamsters is practically impossible except for an male and a female only during the mating period
You could introduce a female hamster to a male when she shows signs that she is in heat, during this period which lasts 4 days, your female hamster will give off a strong smell due to the pheromones that she gives off in order to attract the male.
You have to take the female hamster out as soon as this heat period is over , If not, she’s going to get very aggressive and attack the male.
For other kinds of hamsters like the Russian hamster also called winter white, Campbell, Roborovsky and the Chinese hamster, you can buy a couple and put them in the same cage provided that they have more space and especially it will be necessary that they are accustomed to live together since their young age.
Concerning the female Chinese hamster, know that they are very aggressive between them and it is necessary to avoid to make them together.
To summarize, golden hamsters or also called Syrian Hamsters do not tolerate life in couple only during reproduction.
The dwarf hamsters, notably Roborovsky , Campbell , winter white also called Russian hamster and finally the Chinese hamster behave better and live better when they are put together in a cage provided they have enough space and more importantly, the couple should be put together as soon as they reach the age of two months.
The hamster’s lifestyle and behavior
When you choose your hamster, preferably as soon as it reaches 2 months, and you bring it back home, you must know its habits and how it behaves in order to react very quickly when your hamster changes its habits, which could be a sign of disease.
The hamster, whatever its species is a nocturnal animal, it sleeps during the day and is active at night, it sometimes wakes up, take a walk in its cage and go back to bed and does not like to be disturbed when he sleeps of course.
Hamsters can hibernate when temperatures are low, below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, are solitary by nature and like to hide, it is a survival instinct to avoid raptor attacks.
How to feed your hamster?
When you raise a hamster you have to know what you can give him as food or not, they are very fragile and burrowing animals which makes their food a little delicate.
Hamsters love seeds but they are not herbivores or vegetarians, because in the wild, a hamster is an omnivore, it can feed on seeds, vegetables and fruits, insect tubers, worms, small smiley faces, …etc…
Before giving you more details on how to feed your hamster, let me give you the secrets to satisfy the nutritional needs of your pet, and to ensure 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 I give veggies and fruit to my Hamster?
Of course, you can give veggies for your hamster, this kind of food is rich in fiber, mineral salt and vitamins, you just have to give it several varieties of vegetables in small quantities and remove the rest of the vegetables that your hamster has not eaten to avoid mold in its litter.
Cooked veggies such as carrots and beans can also be given to the hamster, they just need to be at room temperature so as not to make it sick.
Never give plants that you do not consume yourself to your hamster, so as not to risk poisoning it.
The best meal of a hamster is a mixture between vegetables and dry food, you can prepare a mixture with different seeds like corn, sunflower seeds that the hamster loves above all, he also loves oats and barley and also some vegetables like potatoes and carrots …
How much water do you give for a Hamster?
You have to install a drip trough in his cage.
Hamsters drink the equivalent of 10% of their weight in water per day.
If they are only fed dry food and seeds, which is not recommended, they can drink a little more water than they have fruit and vegetables on their menu.
Hamster water must always be available, fresh and clean, this is especially true for a hamster that is nursing or raising young or pregnant.
How to choose a healthy hamster?
When you are about to buy a hamster you will have to be very careful not to buy a hamster that is already sick.
Your hamster must show signs of alertness, and must take an interest in what is happening around it.
He also has to be docile and not shy.
It’s best if he can be approached and grabbed fairly easily...
He must not show any signs of disease, such as wet tail, runny nose or eyes, bald or dull coat that has lost its luster.
You can read this other article on how to choose a healthy hamster , take care of it, detect hamster diseases in time and learn how to react at the right time and fast enough to save the life of your hamster in case of signs of disease.
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, you will find the list and more tips on how to ensure a safe home for your pet.
Choosing what kind of hamster you are going to have can take a lot of time, I advise you to prepare the cage, the model I showed you at the beginning of the article is adapted to any hamster you will choose later on.
You can also ask which is the best veterinarian in your city, you can also reflect where you will install his cage.
Before taking your hamster home, if you have children, teach them how to behave with your animal, they must know what they should never give him as food, because it could be fatal for him.
If there is a pet shelter near you, take a look around and you might find a hamster you’ll like there.