10 reasons to have a hamster as a pet and what you need for its care

Cricetinos (Cricetinae) are a subfamily of rodents, commonly known as hamsters (a Germanism). Nineteen current species have been identified, grouped into seven genera. Most are native to the Middle East and southeastern United States. All species are characterized by expanding pockets, called abazones, located inside the mouth, which run from the cheeks to the shoulders. Because they are very easy to breed in captivity, they are widely used as laboratory animals and as pets.

Characteristics

There are different sizes and colors: golden hamsters, syrians, dwarfs, etc. Their adorable appearance and tiny body make these pets very popular. But hamsters are not as loving as they seem. These small rodents are quite delicate and have quite demanding needs that you can’t ignore.

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night.

This species of animal is characterized by having extensible bags on each side of the face, called abazones, located inside the mouth and used to transport food or material for the nest.

Unlike guinea pigs, hamsters are solitary, territorial creatures.

Their body temperature is between 36 and 38 ºC so the ideal room temperature for them is between 20 and 22 ºC. They reach sexual maturity at 4-5 weeks.

Small but tough!

Hamsters are quite individualistic and lonely, by day they hide in the darkest corners, looking for peace of mind, as they have spent the night digging, stirring, running around and making a fuss in their cage. When these rodents are exhausted and want to rest, they can’t stand loud noises like loud music, the screams of children playing or the sound of the vacuum cleaner. They also don’t like people coming up to them to pick them up and pet them. If you dare to wake them up and get them out of their hiding place, you risk the rodent digging its sharp teeth into you.

Suitable for children?

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If you analyze the characteristics of hamsters you will realize that the needs of these animals are not always compatible with children, because the little ones of the house usually want a pet with which to play and to which they can give him pampering, whereas the hamsters what they want by day is to sleep, to be calm and that nobody touches them. When night falls and these rodents are finally activated, the children are already tired and ready to go to bed. It is clear that they are not suitable pets for children. Children who are a little older and who know how to respect the requirements of these small rodents, in addition to not having to go to bed so early, can certainly enjoy having a hamster as a pet.

Look, but don’t touch

It is fascinating to observe how a hamster entertains itself by digging in the sand, building passages, making hiding places out of wood chips and spinning its wheel. If you are one of those who go to bed late and are entertained just by watching your little housemate, then a hamster will bring you a lot of joy. As long as you respect his needs and rhythms, it is possible that, with a lot of patience, delicacy and small snacks, you will manage to tame him. However, it will never be a little animal that you can caress and pamper, not only because of its character but also because of its small and delicate body.

Golden or Syrian hamster

The best known hamster is the golden hamster (or syrian). Also the Angora hamster belongs to the species of the golden hamsters, but, unlike these, has a long coat.

The golden hamsters measure 15 to 18 cm and weigh between 85 and 150 grams. In addition to the typical brown to gold, there are other color variations: from cream to black, two-color combinations such as black and white, and even three colors such as white with brown and black. According to the color of their coat they are known by different names like Russian hamster, Siamese, Chinese, harlequin, etc.

Dwarf hamster

There are four types of dwarf hamsters that are raised as pets, these are

The Chinese Dwarf Hamster

The panda hamster is a Syrian hamster that is known to have a particular color coat; its coat resembles that of a panda bear, black and white. It is an especially athletic hamster

Dwarf hamsters, with their 7 to 10 cm size and 25 to 50 grams weight, are much smaller than their relatives the golden hamsters. The largest of them is the Chinese dwarf hamster, which, up to the tail, measures about 12 cm. The smallest of the dwarf hamsters is the Roborowski.

Buy a hamster

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Which hamster should I buy?

If you are thinking of buying a hamster, the first thing you should think about is which one you like best. These little animals don’t live long, but golden hamsters have a longer life expectancy and are somewhat more robust than their dwarf relatives. Golden hamsters can live as long as two to four years, which can be an advantage for parents who aren’t sure if their children are ready for a pet. If this is your case, make sure your little ones can process the early death of their pets.

How much does a hamster cost?

Due to the short life expectancy and the low price of these adorable little animals (a hamster usually costs 5 to 20 euros) it is common to buy a hamster without thinking twice. However, one should also consider the costs of equipment, food, bedding and not forgetting possible visits to the vet. The cage and accessories cost approximately 100 euros, to which one must add the food and bedding costs, which reach approximately 20 euros per month.

If you want your new pet to have as long a life as possible, not only do you have to pay attention to its needs and maintain it correctly, it is also important that you buy it good quality food and accessories. Don’t get carried away by dubious offers on the internet and by kennels that don’t inspire you with confidence. Unfortunately many modern hamster species are being bred, which are the result of crossbreeding in which no account has been taken of hereditary diseases. If you want to be sure that your hamster is healthy, it is best to go to a reputable pet store or directly to the breeder.

The cage and its accessories

Despite being so small, hamsters are very demanding when it comes to their housing. The cage should be as large as possible, it is recommended that it is 100 x 50 x 50 cm (L x W x H) and should contain material for digging, climbing, hiding and building. The bigger the cage, the more variety you can offer your co-tenant. An alternative to the cage is a terrarium or converted aquarium, which has the advantage that the hamster can be buried in the bed without the hay, straw, sand or wood being spread on the ground or carpet. A cage with a base that has a high edge is also ideal. To ensure good air circulation, it is advisable to cover the aquarium with a grate only. It is true that more air flows through the cage, so make sure it is not located in an area where there might be a draft.

Cage accessories

The cage or terrarium should have a large bedding layer deep enough for the rodent to have room to burrow and stir. The best is a mixture made from hay, straw, hemp, softwood pellets, flax or corn fiber wood. Sawdust is not suitable for hamsters. In addition to this, you should provide enough material for a nest to be built, plus hay, straw, wood shavings or strips of paper and cardboard. The basic accessories are a sleeping house, feeders and waterers. In addition to these, the more variety of entertainment you have, the better. A hamster enjoys making excursions at night, climbing, digging, getting into narrow tunnels and caves, hiding under the branches and among the stones, although during the day it does not move.

A world of experiences

A maze of wood, branches, cardboard rolls, corks, coconuts, stones, cylinders or egg cartons spread out on different levels are perfect for these little adventurers. They also should not miss a sand bath. The ideal is chinchilla sand, which you should put in a bowl of about 20 cm or delimit a specific area in the cage for this. If you also want to put a wheel, make sure it is not too small to avoid deforming the spine when running, this should have a closed surface so that the small legs can not be hooked.

There are no limits as to the design of the interior of your little friend’s cage, you just have to avoid artificial materials, plastics and varnishes. You should also bear in mind that even though the cage is full of entertainment and adventure, it will never replace getting out of it and running around freely, which is something that cannot be missing either. To prevent your hamster from hiding under the sofa or behind the curtains and gnawing at the wires, it is best to delimit its access area.

Hamster food

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In the pet stores you will find a wide variety of complete hamster food made from different types of grains, petals, dried herbs and fruits. Make sure they are low in nuts, oil seeds and wheat. In addition to a quality diet you can give your little one a treat with small snacks such as a piece of pepper or half a slice of cucumber, a small slice of carrot, a raisin or rosehip. These little snacks are irresistible to hamsters and with a little patience he may even eat from your hand, who knows, he may even get used to human contact. To satisfy the need for animal protein you can offer him, two or three times a week, a dried cricket, a mealworm or cottage cheese.

Hygiene and care for hamsters

With proper ownership and proper nutrition, hamster’s dental and coat care happens naturally. Hamsters are very clean animals and, similar to cats, they lick themselves constantly to maintain a shiny coat. When they roll around in their sand bath they are taking care of their skin and nails. However, it is necessary that you assist them in cleaning the cage. To avoid the formation of germs and the appearance of odours you should change the bedding regularly. Pay special attention to the area where the litter makes its way. To make your work easier, you can provide a small animal toilet (also called a corner), which is usually gladly accepted.

From time to time (at least two or three times a year) you should clean the cage completely and thoroughly, including all accessories (for this the hamster should be outside the cage). Also make sure that the water in the drinking troughs is changed daily and that they always have fresh food.

The hamster as a pet: advantages and disadvantages

Buying a hamster costs very little, but they are living beings and, like any pet, they have needs and requirements. They must eat daily and their home must be clean, water and bed must be changed regularly. They have to exercise daily with outlets outside the cage and they must have entertainment inside the cage. They are not suitable for testing whether children are responsible for pets, or for adults who do not dare to keep a cat or dog. Hamsters need a caretaker who takes their needs seriously, who respects their desire for peace and seclusion during the day and who is not disturbed by noise at night, when they are full of energy and run around the cage.

Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t need much sleep, you shouldn’t put the hamster cage in your bedroom. Once they have reached adulthood they become lonely and cannot bear to share the cage even with someone of their own species. Unlike dogs or cats, these little animals do not need to be close. If you have fun watching your hamster build, dig, climb and stir in its cage at night, you will have a lot of fun with this little rodent as your roommate.

15 Toxic Foods for Hamsters

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Some of our food is so toxic to hamsters that it can even kill them. It’s important to be clear about which ones are dangerous and which ones are not.

It’s a mistake to think that food that is healthy for humans is healthy for animals, and in particular hamsters, which are delicate pets. Many of our foods are so harmful to these little furries that they can even kill them, and that’s why it’s important to be clear about which ones are dangerous and which ones are not.

There are currently about nine known breeds of domestic hamsters and each of them will be more vulnerable to one food or another. We are going to expose the foods that are toxic to hamsters in general. However, it is recommended that you inform yourself of the peculiarities and basic care that your rodent species has to avoid upset.

These animals have a specific diet based on seeds, some fruits and vegetables. Although they are happy to try any other type of food, it is not recommended that we play with them to give them little pieces of what we are not sure they will tolerate.

How do I feed my hamster? His feeding is not expensive and does not require much care. Use special feeds for them that are made up of dehydrated fruits and vegetables and also nuts. Also, you can choose from always fresh fruits and vegetables: cucumber, tomato, carrot, apple, banana, corn, cauliflower, beans, pear, zucchini, and more. On the other hand, never give them sweet food because even if they love it, it will harm them. Also, fats don’t suit them either.

On the other hand, it is recommended that you add protein to their diet. Some feeds already include them among all their ingredients but if not, you can always choose to give your pet a little piece of dog cookie, a live food like flour worms or also egg yolk.

However, even if you are giving him a food that is good for him, clean the remains when he doesn’t want any more because this way you will avoid bacteria and infections. And never give him food seasoned with any spice because they are very harmful to them. Don’t even give him food with salt!

Here are some forbidden foods for your hamster However, there are other foods that are not suitable for them either. So always consult a veterinarian or expert if you are thinking of feeding it a new food.

Avocado

Avocado contains cardiac glycosides and is very high in fat. It will cause problems in the digestive system.

Sweets

Candies such as chocolates, chocolates, drinks with sugar or some fruits can give you diabetes. Any abuse of sugary foods can cause it.

Coffee in any of its forms

Coffee is like poison for a hamster. It will over-stimulate you and damage your nervous system.

Fatty meats

Meats such as chorizo or other types of sausages have a lot of fat and it is not recommended that hamsters eat them.

Indoor plants

Hamster teeth never stop growing so they love to gnaw on anything they find. Be careful with houseplants because they will want to chew on their leaves or stems and may be toxic or treated with products that are toxic to them.

Foods containing starch

Potatoes, beans or other starchy foods can make our hamsters obese or have diarrhea. Some hamsters will be able to endure diarrhea, but Russian hamsters, for example, which are the smallest, can die from this problem.

Almonds

This type of nut is tolerated by some hamster species but others do not tolerate the oils they contain. Also, the shell can be harmful to certain breeds.

Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits in general are often foods that are not recommended for pets. These fruits are very acidic and that can harm hamsters.

Potato chips, fried foods or junk food in general

Fries, chips, foods with sauces such as pasta, sugar-coated peanuts or any type of processed food are strictly prohibited.

Tomato leaves

The leaves of any type of tomato are very toxic to hamsters.

One of the most dangerous foods

It doesn’t matter if the tomato leaves are green, dry or steamed… Don’t give them to him! It’s one of the most dangerous foods for these little furries.

Onions, garlic or peppers

Onions, garlic, peppers, radishes, spicy vegetables or similar make them hurt in the stomach.

Pipes in excess

Sunflower seeds are a staple of the hamster diet, but if our pet abuses them, he can become obese. It is necessary to balance its diet.

Milk

It is not recommended because sometimes they have problems digesting milk. In addition, if it sours and they drink it, it can cause strong diarrhea.

Any food you are not sure about

Always ask a veterinarian to be well informed. Do not give your pet any food that you do not know the effect it may cause.

So what should hamsters eat?

Hamsters like to eat seeds, grains, nuts, cracked corn, fruits and vegetables. Wild hamsters also eat insects, frogs, lizards, and other small animals. Our hamster’s diet should be at least 16 percent protein and 5 percent fat, experts say.

Hamsters store food, and the word “hamster” is a Germanism that comes from “hamstern,” which means to store. These small rodents store food in bags arranged on their cheeks and thus move it to their burrows. When they are in captivity, hamsters can also store food underneath the resting space.

List of food for common hamsters (Russian, Chinese, Roborovski…)

Below is a list of recommended foods for any breed of hamster, according to their needs:

These recommended foods for hamsters should be administered in low proportions and as a complement to their main diet. Likewise, it is important that the vegetables and fruits have been washed and are completely dry before giving them to the rodent.

When feeding hamsters properly, there are a number of considerations regarding these small rodents’ habits. Hamsters are nocturnal animals and do the most physical work at night. Therefore, these animals must have enough food and water throughout the day, but especially after sunset.

Although hamsters can supplement their diet with other foods such as fruits and vegetables, not all of them are recommended, as we will show in the list of prohibited foods for hamsters at the end of this article.

Foods high in fat and sugar should be avoided as much as possible, as hamsters are very prone to overweight and other diseases such as diabetes, which occurs after eating foods with a high percentage of sugar.

The daily food ration will vary depending on the hamster breed, since depending on which breed the animal belongs to, it will have to take a greater or lesser amount of food. For example, the Harlequin hamster should take less food per day than the Syrian hamster, since it is much more lazy and less active than the latter. It is also more likely to be overweight because of its low level of physical exercise.

What do baby hamsters eat

From the third week of life, hamster pups are ready to be weaned and it is at this time that they begin to explore for themselves and start eating solid food. Once they have reached this stage, the offspring can be fed on the hamster preparation based on seeds and nuts sold in specialized stores.

However, it’s important to know that they may reject the larger pieces of food, since they don’t yet have the teeth they will have when they reach adulthood.

It is important to check that the young hamsters have enough water in the cage and that it is within their reach.

Feeding a pregnant hamster female

During pregnancy and after birth, the female hamster needs a special diet to be able to feed all her offspring. Therefore, it is recommended to increase the dose of food per day available in her cage and provide her with food with greater nutrients and protein.

If the female notices that she does not have enough food to survive and feed her young, she will end up eating the babies as a mere protective instinct. For this reason, it is important that during the first two weeks of the puppies’ lives, the bitch have a greater amount of food in her cage and provide her with another set of recommended foods in her diet that will provide her with extra protein and nutrients.

To increase the protein intake of the pregnant bitch, you can complete her regular diet with some extra foods, such as boiled eggs, vegetables or soft cheeses. This way, the bitch will have the extra protein she needs during pregnancy and the first two weeks of life of the offspring after birth.

Feeding the hamster during the winter

During the winter months, lower temperatures and fewer hours of sunshine can cause the hamster to go into hibernation, although not all hamsters go into hibernation may have some early symptoms of hibernation.

During this period, rodents are sleepy, cold and much less active than usual. To prevent them from dying from malnutrition or cold, it is advisable to prevent our hamsters from hibernating during the winter. This is achieved in different ways and one of them has to do with feeding the hamster during the colder months.

If the hamster seems to have begun to hibernate, it is recommended that you provide it with a higher calorie intake with more fatty and tasty foods, in addition to providing it with food and water on a continuous basis. This will make the hamster not so weak and, thanks to the increased caloric intake, it will warm up and increase its body temperature.

How do hamsters behave?

These small rodents live with us as pets, but they are not domestic animals like dogs or cats, but by their very nature they are wild animals.

They don’t like to be woken up unexpectedly, so they will bite you if you interrupt their sleep, just as they do if they are scared. It is not an animal to be trained, but they get used to the voice of human beings.

The incisors of these rodents grow continuously and it is necessary for them to chew on twigs or wood shavings to keep their teeth short. If they did not chew, experts say, the incisors would grow so large that they would damage their lips and palate. Don’t forget that they are small and fragile mammals.

But… What is the most beautiful hamster in the world?

The answer to this question could be, it depends, and it is that we are sure that your hamster will always be the most beautiful and cute in the world and nobody will be able to deny it to you. However, many agree that the most beautiful and cute hamster in the world is the Chinese hamster because it is very cute and funny but in no way this is an absolute truth so we are sure that your hamster will always be the best of all.