All About Hamsters

Hamsters are one of the most well-liked family pets. There are 2 basic types, the bigger Syrian or Golden Hamster and the smaller Dwarf Hamster. The basic differences between the 2 are as follows:

  • Syrian Hamster: Larger size makes them easier to manage, particularly when handled by children. The Golden likes to live alone
  • Dwarf Hamster: Small size means it can be easily dropped, causing injury. The Dwarf can live alone or in pairs.

Whichever breed is selected, the diet, and habitats, are basically the same. Both types are nocturnal, and wake shortly after dawn. This is also the perfect time to play with and feed a hamster. A well cared for animal will live for up to 3 years.

When purchasing a hamster examine the rodent for symptoms associated with rodent diseases such as discharge in the nose, eyes or ears. The front teeth should be properly formed, and the rump should not be wet. A wet tail area could indicate a disease called wet tail. Avoid any hamsters caged with an animal suffering from this contagious disease.

Hamster Food

Hamsters are vegans, but will eat an insect or meat if placed in the cage. The ideal diet includes nutritionally balanced pellets, some seeds, and vegetables. About 2 times every week a hamster should also eat some fruit as a treat. Limit seed consumption because they are high in fat and can lead to obesity. Avoid feeding any refined human food.

Hamster Habitats

Syrian hamster and Dwarf Hamster cages come in several styles and sizes. The rule of thumb is bigger is better. Avoid glass aquariums since they might not offer enough ventilation. Make sure that any lid is escape proof. Do not buy a cage meant for a Syrian or Golden Hamster if you have a Dwarf. Convenient starter kits are available that include everything you need.

Handling Your Pet

Hamsters can be taught to be picked up and handled. The goal is to get them used to the idea when they are young. Get the animal used to your scent first by place an article of clothing into the cage. After they get used to the hand and your smell. Use a treat to lure the hamster onto your hand while still in the cage without lifting the pet hamster out of the hamster cage. Once the Hamster is comfortable, it should be easy to move to the next step by lifting your hand out of the cage.

If you take good care of your pet, including a healthy diet, you can get years of enjoyment from your hamster.

Cathy “cat” Doggins is the writer of many articles on small rodents. When not editing articles about these wonderful rodents, Cathy can be discovered caring for many pet parakeets and as a volunteer at a local no kill pet shelter.

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