Hamsters are rodents and they have become established as popular small house pets. The best-known species of hamster is the golden or Syrian hamster, which is the type most commonly kept as pets. Other hamster species commonly kept as pets are the three species of dwarf hamster, Campbell's dwarf hamster, the winter white dwarf hamster and the Roborovski hamster.
Hamsters are more crepuscular than nocturnal. They feed primarily on seeds, fruits, and vegetation, and will occasionally eat insects. Physically, they are stout-bodied with distinguishing features that include elongated cheek pouches extending to their shoulders, which they use to carry food back to their burrows, as well as a short tail and fur-covered feet.
Hamsters have scent glands on their flanks (and abdomens in Chinese and dwarf hamsters) which they rub against the substrate, leaving a scent trail.
They are also particularly sensitive to high-pitched noises and can hear and communicate in the ultrasonic range.
A behavioral characteristic of hamsters is food hoarding. They carry food in their spacious cheek pouches to their underground storage chambers. When full, the cheeks can make their heads double, or even triple in size.
Syrian hamsters typically live two to three years as a pet. Russian hamsters live about two to four years as a pet, and Chinese hamsters 2 1⁄2-3 years. The smaller Roborovski hamster often lives to three years as a pet.
What do you need to take care of a hamster?
There are several kinds of hamsters and most live for about 2-3 years. Hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means that they like to sleep all day. However, dwarf hamsters are most active at dawn and dusk.
Your hamster will do best in a cage larger than 600 square inches, although 450 square inches or 30 inches by 15 inches is the minimum. It should also be more than 12 inches tall. A glass aquarium is a great home for a hamster. The disadvantage is the lack of ventilation, so make sure the lid is a wire mesh to allow for air movement. Make sure your cage is not in direct sunlight as your hamster could overheat. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Make sure to find a place that is quiet and free of any other household pets such as dogs and cats and make sure your hamster can't escape.
On the ground, there should be a layer of at least 6 inches of bedding. This might seem like a lot, but hamsters dig large tunnels in the wild.
Your hamster won't drink much water at all, but when it does get thirsty, it is important that water is available. Have water ready and available at all times. Do not put it in a dish. Use a water bottle or dispenser and change it every day if possible to keep the water fresh, or once every 3 days maximum.
Feed your hamster every day. Hamsters need a pelleted food. Provide your hamster with enough food each day to fill both cheeks. Make sure you provide fresh food in their bowl every day. Use an earthenware or metal dish for their food. Use fortified pellets or block-type food. Seed mixtures allow the hamster to be picky and to select the tastier, less healthy items. Avoid human foods. Things such as candy, pasta, raw meat/fish, sugar, and desserts.
Hamster favorites include carrots, cucumber, apples, bananas, peppers, lettuce, celery.
Hamster wheel for exercise!
Buy one that is minimum 28 cm.
Be sure that you have lots of toys for the hamster to enjoy. Toys such as toilet paper rolls, empty tissue boxes, tubes, tunnels, PVC piping.
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