Do you have a hamster as a pet? Some of you may, but if you don’t then let me tell you what they are. Hamsters originate from the arid steppes of Central Asia and Northern China, and come in several different types. Looking after a hamster can be really rewarding, so long as your prepared for the time commitment!
In this article, we’re going to share with you our top 10 tips that will help make sure that your little furry friend will have the best care possible. Let’s get started!
1. Hamster Cages
Depending on the type of hamster you have, will depend on the size of cage it will need. If you have a Syrian or Dwarf breed, they should have a cage no smaller than 750 mm x 375 mm. For the slightly larger Roborovski or Swedish Hamster, a cage no smaller than 750 mm x 450 mm is needed.
Cages should be cleaned daily, and should always be kept out of direct sunlight for the sake of your hamster’s well-being.
2. Hamster Bedding
The basics of owning a hamster includes getting it a proper bedding. Hamsters love to burrow in both their sleeping quarters and digging holes, which means that they are naturally drawn to soft materials such as wood shavings, paper, straw or even hay and sawdust. You should always make sure that your hamster has plenty of bedding to help keep it happy, healthy and feeling at home.
Hamsters love to find new areas to dig in, and will enjoy burrowing in straw or wooden shavings. This activity is a way for them to exercise their jaw muscles, and also gives them the opportunity to use their teeth. Burrowing also gives them a sense of security, and can provide them with a cozy nesting bed. If your hamster is going to sleep on paper or wood shavings, make sure that they are kept loose enough not to be too uncomfortable.
3. Food & Water
Hamsters are highly prone to dehydration, so make sure that you give it plenty of clean water every day, made up a safe drinking water. You should try not to mix two different types of hamster food in one bowl for a specific reason: this can cause digestive issues in the future. If you want to mix food types, do so by adding a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your hamster’s water bowl and wait for it to dissolve before adding it completely. This will ensure that your hamster has access to the right ingredients at all times.
Some people who have been feeding their hamsters with too much of a dry mix, have ended up having to keep their hamsters inside for a week or more due to dehydration and starvation.
4. Toys & Exercise
Keep your hamster busy with some toys such as those made of wood, and maybe wooden balls that are smaller in size. Placing hay or other fresh food in the cage will also keep your hamster happy and active. As far as exercising goes, make sure that you spend quality time with your little furry friend at least once a day! Take it out for walks around the house if possible or just go outside together if you live on a farm or somewhere that’s really safe.
If you’re a student, it’s probably best to get a cage that will allow some room for you to put in some of your study materials. After all, how can you go to school and attend classes if you leave your hamster home alone for the day?
5. Handling A Hamster
Try not to pick up your hamster using just one hand because hamsters are very susceptible to getting sick. Instead, pick it up using both hands gently but firmly. Also, try to avoid pointing or waving your fingers around in front of the hamster as this will make it really nervous and may cause it to bite.
If you ever need to pick your hamster up or turn it over, make sure that the back of its body is facing you. Always support its little legs with one hand, and use your other hand to support its belly. Make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your hamster so that they do not get sick.
6. Hamster Habitat
Hamsters are very social creatures that need other hamsters to hang out with, so make sure you get more than one hamster if possible. It’s important to make sure that you have a large enough cage for your hamster to move around freely and play, so always keep this in mind before getting a new cage. There should also be plenty of space inside the cage for the hamster to exercise on its own and go on journeys as well.
Many people like to give their hamsters a little exercise wheel, which helps them to stay active and burn off any extra calories. Adding a tiny wooden structure with some sandy dirt can provide your hamster with hours of entertainment as it can dig in the sand and create new tunnels and places to hide.
7. Hamster Health
Like most small animals, hamsters are prone to getting sick sometimes and don’t cope well with sudden changes in their living environment. If you notice a change in the way your hamster behaves, eat or sleep, then it may be time to get it a check-up at the vet!
Many pet owners are under the impression that their hamster is broken simply because they see it walking around in circles or twitching, when this might just be natural behavior. If your hamster is not able to control its bowels or bladder, then you should get it checked out by your vet immediately. These problems could lead to much more serious health issues and can be treated with the right medication.
8. Hamster Breeding
When purchasing a baby hamster from a local store, you’ll most likely have to wait at least 6 months before you can breed your hamster with another one of the opposite gender. Breeding should only be done when your hamster is over 6 months old, and it’s also important to make sure that you’ve cleaned and sterilized their cage before any breeding occurs. You should also have plenty of fresh raisins and other treats available for the baby hamsters to eat as they grow older.
There are many different types of hamsters, but most of them will not breed from home unless you have both a male and a female living together. If you want to breed them for money or other purposes, it’s best to get an experienced breeder to do this for you.
8. Hamster Language
Different hamster breeds have different sounds that they make; Syrian Hamsters for example will squeal when they’re scared and some will even scream or growl. Roborovski Hamsters are playful little fellows who are very curious and love to explore their surroundings, while Dwarf Hamsters are known to be very silent and shy in nature.
When it comes to determining a hamster’s gender, you know that a male hamster has an unusually large and fleshy scent gland on the top of its abdomen. The male’s scent gland is pink while the female’s is brown or black.
9. Hamster Life Span
Most hamsters have an average life span of between two and three years depending on the species and their diet. Dwarf Hamsters, for example, live a shorter life span of around one-and-a-half years on average. They are also one of the most popular hamster breeds.
Long-haired breeds tend to live longer than short-haired ones on average, which is why you will notice their long hair doesn’t seem to age.
10. Hamster Submission
When they feel intimidated, hamsters will roll themselves up into a tight ball to protect their most vulnerable parts. They are very agile and can roll over in complete circles.
When their instincts take over, they are comfortable with being in this position for hours. Despite this defense mechanism, hamsters have been domesticated since the 17th century, and they are adorable creatures to live with.