Hamsters are one of our most popular small pets. They are entertaining, fairly easy to look after and you don’t have to take them for a walk. They come in a variety of sizes, colours and coat lengths including the Syrian or Golden hamster, the Dwarf Campbell Russian hamster, the Chinese and Roborovskil hamsters, and the Winter White Russian hamster. There are hundreds more species still living in the wild.
Housing your hamster
Most species of hamster are solitary and will fight to the death if you introduce another hamster in to their cage. Dwarf hamsters are the exception. Provided they have sufficient space they can normally live as a pair or a group but males living together will still squabble. Whilst female dwarves kept together are less likely to.
Always buy one cage per hamster and never put a male and female together unless you want to have lots of little hamsters running around in a months’ time. Larger hamsters such as the Golden hamster need strong cages with strong bases and preferably with more than one level. Hamsters are very good at escaping so the stronger the cage the better and if you don’t want your hamster to go walkabout make sure the cage is secure.
Hamsters have a short life span – two to three years. During this short period, however, they are very active and even if they are let out of their cages on a regular basis an exercise wheel is a necessity. When choosing a wheel make sure it has solid treads and fits properly to the side of the cage, so the hamster does not hurt himself.
The smaller variety of hamster such as the Chinese and Campbell need smaller cages to stop them escaping through the bars. For these smaller species however a converted aquarium or similar type of tank makes a good secure home. As long as they have plenty of toys to play with; including a solidly constructed exercise wheel.
Hamster’s teeth grow continually throughout their lives so it is important to ensure they always have plenty to gnaw on or they will start on the cage.
Hamsters are actually omnivorous, a small bit of information many might not know! Hamsters in the Middle East have been known to hunt in packs to find insects for food. This, however, does not make the usual diet of commercial hamster food, packed with items such as seeds and nuts unsuitable. Neither does home supplemented food items such as fruit and vegetables an exclusive diet for your hamster. Your hamster will live a perfectly healthy life eating all such.
Hamsters and their burrowing!
Hamsters are natural burrowers and so replicating materials for them to be able to create such burrows in their cage makes for a much more pleasant living experience for your hamster.