Choosing a Hamster as a Pet
Hamsters are a good beginner pet because they are quite easy to care for and require no grooming. They are friendly and are very easily tamed, however Hamsters are nocturnal animals and therefore will only wake at night time.
Popular species of hamsters include:
Syrian Hamsters are a large species of hamster, growing up to 18cm. These hamsters tend to be easier to tame than other species, but they prefer to live alone; and will fight with others if kept together. So if you have more than one Syrian Hamster, you will need a cage for each.
Dwarf Hamsters are much smaller than Syrian Hamsters, but they are also much more active so will need lots of space in their cage. Dwarf Hamsters need lots of toys to keep them entertained, and with time and attention they can be easily tamed.
Roborovski Hamsters are the smallest hamsters, growing to only 5cm in size. They are quick and playful, but can be difficult to handle because they are so small and fast! They have a good temperament and can be kept in same sex pairs.
Company for Hamsters
All hamsters can be tamed, and although some will take more time than others, with patience, love and time they will happily interact with you.
Some breeds of Hamster, such as Dwarf or Roborovski Hamsters can be kept in same sex pairs; however Syrian Hamsters and Chinese Dwarf Hamsters should be kept on their own as they will fight, often to death.
The average lifespan of a Hamster is between two and three years.
Where Hamsters Like to Live
Hamsters need a lot of living space and room to exercise in their cage, but they also love to chew; therefore choose a cage that they won’t be able to chew their way out of! Lots of toys and gnaw sticks will keep your hamster entertained and provide exercise; as well as keep their teeth trim so adding wheels, balls, tunnels and hides to your hamsters cage will keep them very happy.
Your hamster will also need a place to hide, and some nesting wool to make their bed; while the base of their cage should be covered in clean sawdust.
Locate your hamster’s cage in a room that has a steady temperature and away from draughts, radiators and out of direct sunlight.
Exercise & Play for Hamsters
Hamsters are naturally playful, active and inquisitive, so it is important to provide toys that will help to stimulate this natural behaviour.
Hamsters love to hide food, and forage for it later; so providing houses, hides and tubes will give your hamster lots of places to do this. You should also give them some wooden gnawing toys which will not only keep them entertained, but also keep their constantly growing teeth short and trim!
In addition, a hamster ball is great for allowing your hamster out of the cage, but this should only be done under supervision in case your crafty pet manages to get out!
Diet & Nutrition
A good quality hamster mix will contain a mix of seeds, grains and vegetables and is perfect to help your hamster maintain a balanced diet.
Small quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables can be given as treats, but too much will upset their stomach. A mineral stone will provide additional nutrients that are required, as will a vitamin supplement to ensure a full and balanced diet.
Fresh water should be given daily, and uneaten foods removed from their cage each day.
Health & Hygiene
Your hamster’s cage should be cleaned at least once a week using a pet-safe disinfectant, while water and feeding bowls should be cleaned daily. Traces of food and soiled bedding should be removed every day.
Because hamsters teeth continue to grow, you will need to provide your hamster with gnawing toys to keep them trim and to prevent them from getting too long, which will cause discomfort and loss of appetite.
Hamsters are good at keeping themselves groomed, so will not require any additional brushing or bathing, provided their cage is kept clean.
Neutering or Spaying
Hamsters cannot be neutered or spayed so in order to stop them from breeding you must keep males and females separated.
Take Me Home Checklist
When to take your Hamster home, you will need make sure you have some things to in order to help keep it healthy and happy. We’ve put together a simple ‘Take Me Home’ checklist for new Hamster owners. If you have any questions, or need any further advise, please drop in to your local Petmania and talk to our Petcare Advisors.
- Hamster house
- Nesting wool + wood shavings
- Hamster food
- Water bottle + Ceramic bowl
- Toys (exercise wheel, hamster play ball)
- Mineral stone
- Pet safe disinfectant
- Hamster treats
- Hamster book
- Vitamin supplements