Hamster Care Requirements
By Michael Russell
Hamsters are the most popular rodents kept as pets. They are extremely easy to tame and take care of and are relatively inexpensive animals. Hamsters are a suitable pet for almost any household; children can even keep them!
There are many different types of hamsters: large, small, patterned, solid colored, longhaired and shorthaired. The most popular hamster is the Syrian. It is the largest variety and comes in either longhaired or shorthaired. The longhaired Syrian hamster is often called the “Teddy bear hamster”. There is even a hairless Syrian! It also comes in many colors such as golden brown, white, cinnamon, cream, rust, gray, lilac, honey, yellow and black. An adult Syrian hamster reaches a length of six to eight inches.
The next most common hamster is the Dwarf Russian. It only reaches a length of three and a half to four and a half inches. The smallest hamster is the Roborovski. It is only two inches when full grown. The main difference between the Syrian hamster and other hamster species is that Syrian hamsters must be kept alone and the other species can be kept in groups. If Syrian hamsters are kept together, they will fight and can become seriously injured or even killed. You must keep only one Syrian in a cage.
You can buy hamsters at a pet shop or from a breeder. Make sure that the place you get it from spends lots of time with the hamsters and that they keep males and females separate. Hamsters can breed at a very young age so if you get a female hamster from a place that does not separate the males and females then you will probably be getting a pregnant hamster.
The hamster itself is usually very cheap. The cage and accessories make it more expensive. There are many types of hamster cages available at pet stores. Just make sure you get a cage enough space for the hamster to exercise and explore. The cage should also have a wheel in it so the hamster can get the activity it needs. When you get the cage, do not put it in direct sun or in a drafty place.
You will need to put shavings on the floor of the cage. Do not use cedar shavings because they contain oils that can hurt the hamster. Good materials for the shavings include pine, aspen, paper, or pulp. Your hamster will make its bed from the shavings so make sure you put enough in the cage for that.
There are many other types of accessories that you can buy for your hamster. Try to give some things made out of wood so your hamster will have something to chew on. This is good for their teeth. You will also need to provide food and water at all times. A water bottle works best for water because it will not be tipped over or get dirty like a water bowl will. There are many types of hamster food mixes that you can feed to your hamster. Just make sure that it is available all the time.
Once a week you should thoroughly clean the cage and change out the bedding. Make sure you clean all the toys and accessories as well. Rinse the cage completely so that no soap residue is left behind.
If you do these simple things, this will keep your hamster happy and healthy. They are very fun animals to watch and play with. They will surely keep you entertained!
Your Independent guide to Pet Care
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