You might remember what was like having a hamster when you were a kid. If you are thinking about getting a new one or if you want to teach your own child a little bit about responsibility, then you should start looking for the best hamster house and add such a little pet to your family.
Even though hamsters are not what we could call high-maintenance types of animals, they do come with some particularities that you might want to keep in mind. Whether we’re talking about getting the right food or how to keep them healthy and entertained, the following lines will definitely help you get a pretty clear idea about what a hamster needs.
You should also be aware that, even though these are tiny creatures, they do have a strong personality, and they do tend to like and dislike certain things. Moreover, if they feel threatened, unhappy, or if they are simply curious about something they are not familiar with, hamsters can nibble. Therefore, you should carefully handle them every time.
Before going into more particular details on their preferences in general, let’s take a closer look at some of the basic things you need to cover in order to keep such a pet in your life. This is even more important if you are thinking about getting a hamster for your kid since he or she needs to know these things as well in order to provide the daily necessary care.
How to take care of your new hamster
The first question you could ask yourself is whether you should buy one or more hamsters. Usually, these animals are not known for their social skills, and they tend to prefer living alone. This doesn’t mean that they cannot form a lovely bond with family members, but if they do have other hamsters around, they might have a sense of competition, particularly for food.
However, the answer to this question also depends on the type of hamster you want to get. For example, individuals belonging to the Syrian breed should not be kept in pairs, since this can lead to fights over territory, especially once they reach maturity. The other kinds, such as Chinese, Russian or dwarf hamsters do a little better when it comes to being more sociable.
Having said this, you shouldn’t worry if you were not planning on getting more than one. The little guy will be very happy to enjoy your company, as well as all the space and food available on his or her own, with no competition.
Speaking of cages, let’s see what details you might want to know when it comes to their living space. The general rule says that a hamster’s cage should be at least 12 inches high by 15 inches long, in order for your little friend to be comfortable. Of course, this depends on the type of hamster you choose, as well, since dwarf ones are significantly smaller than, say, Syrian hamsters.
Moreover, opting for larger alternatives is a good idea since these models ensure more space to move around and exercise, which is something that hamster absolutely need to do. On the other hand, you should also make sure that any cage you choose is escape-proof since these active rodents are also masters of making their way out of enclosed spaces.
The cage or living space is one of the most important elements when it comes to your hamster’s comfort, but there are many other ones that you need to consider as well. The bedding is one of them, and according to experienced breeders and pet owners, the healthiest type is the one that doesn’t contain wood shavings.
Plant-based products or those made of cellulose are the recommended alternatives, and of course, you should always choose beddings that are specially made for hamsters. This way, you can rest assured that your little guy won’t have to face other problems, such as respiratory issues.
In order to keep your pet healthy, you should also get toys and accessories for exercising or for chewing. These are a great solution to prevent boredom, and they also ensure your pet’s health, since physical activity is important (as it is for humans as well), while constantly chewing on something maintains the oral health by trimming the teeth.
What does a hamster like?
As we’ve mentioned, hamsters are animals known for having strong personalities, and with this come certain preferences. For example, they are nocturnal animals, so they enjoy sleeping during the day and become a lot more active at night. Even though they enjoy living alone, they do enjoy a person’s companionship, so you shouldn’t refrain from playing with them.
Furthermore, just like any other rodents, hamsters like to burrow and hide, so if you create small spaces in their cage that they can use for this purpose, they’ll most probably be very grateful. Since we’re speaking of the living space, it’s good to keep in mind that these little guys enjoy a clean environment.
This means that you should thoroughly clean the habitat at least once a month, using warm and soapy water. However, avoid ever using ammonia-based products to get this done since these types of products can be harmful to your pet. These are intelligent creatures and, a fun fact that you might not be aware of is that they can learn their names.
Of course, preferences extend to the food category as well, and you should know that hamsters enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables very much. Even though you might give them a high-quality mix or pellets, do remember that a balanced diet means including some fresh food as well. According to experienced owners, around 10% of what a hamster eats should be fresh food.
Things such as carrot, lettuce, banana or strawberry can be included in their meals. If you’re introducing a type of food for the first time, then remember to do this in a controlled and gradual manner, to avoid any kind of digestive issues that could appear. Such problems might not seem so important, but for rodents, they can be crucial.
Since we did mention food, it’s a good moment to talk about treats. Of course, your hamster is going to love getting treats. In fact, your job will be to only give them from time to time, in order to avoid them eating too many of them, which could lead to other issues. On the other hand, treats are a great way to create a strong bond with your pet.
What about what they dislike?
You should know that hamsters are not fans of extreme temperatures. For this reason, you should never place them in direct sunlight, right next to heating sources or the air conditioning unit, for that matter.
Since we’ve mentioned that hamsters like clean areas, you can only imagine that they are not enjoying their cage when the bedding is not changed often enough. The good news is that they relieve themselves around the same corners of a certain habitat, which means that you can use a scoop to remove that particular part of the bedding every day and change it with a fresh one.
Hamsters are small animals that constantly need to protects themselves in the wild. That’s why they perceive large presences as predators. Moreover, that’s when they tend to attack and bite, so what you can do is to approach any hamster from the side and avoid startling him or her.