What Is the Character of the Hamster?
If there are more than 500 species of hamsters, only 5 are to be domesticated and each one has its particularities to be taken into account for a serene cohabitation! Different species, different characteristics! If some species of hamsters are sociable with children, others are to be strongly avoided. Anyway, it is not advised to buy a rodent hamster for a young child, as it likes its quietness and your child will be frustrated not to be able to cuddle or play with it.
The Different Species
The Golden Hamster
The golden hamster is the biggest of the hamsters, it measures between 13 and 15 cm and can weigh up to 150 g. The other species are dwarf species which hardly exceed 10 cm for a weight ranging between 25 and 50 g.
The golden hamster also called the Syrian hamster, is the most common species. It is very sociable and is easily handled by children, always under the supervision of course. The golden hamster is a loner and if it easily binds with you, on the other hand, it does not support its congeneric. You will find it as well without hair as with short hair or angora. As its name indicates, its original color is golden, but there are now golden hamsters of different colors, following genetic crosses.
The Russian Hamster
It is a very active dwarf hamster. Always on the move, it needs a lot of space despite its small size. He likes to dig and hide, so you will need a thick litter to satisfy his favorite activity. Don't forget that this hyperactive animal is nocturnal and noisy, it can make you spend sleepless nights! It is very sociable, even with other animals, and can be tamed with a lot of patience and gentleness. The coat of the Russian hamster is gray with black stripes on the back.
The Siberian Hamster
The Siberian hamster is very similar to the Russian hamster although rarer. It is a bit shy yet very sociable, and it is easily tamed. He is as lively and playful as his Russian counterpart, but he likes to be alone in his cage. His hair goes from gray to brown with a black stripe on the back to become entirely white in winter.
The Roborovski Hamster
Roborovski hamster is the smallest of the dwarf hamsters, it measures barely 5 cm and does not exceed 20 g. It is lively and very fast, it is a very wild little companion that does not like to be taken. Its thick coat is golden brown on the back and white on the belly.
The Chinese Hamster
The Chinese hamster is relatively large with its 13 cm, although classified in the dwarf species. It is a docile rodent that can be tamed with gentleness and patience. It has the advantage of not being a biter and can therefore be an excellent companion if handled with care. She is rather shy and likes to be alone. The Chinese hamster has the particularity to have a tail of 2 cm, whereas the other species are almost deprived of it.
Which Is the Nicest Hamster?
The hamster is a peaceful and gentle animal if you leave it alone. If you have children, choose the golden hamster. Treated with gentleness, it will be easier to tame than the dwarf species. Easily manipulated, if you are careful, it will make the happiness of the family. You can even let it roam around the house, which is impossible with dwarf hamsters, which are smaller and faster.
Choosing a Male or a Female Hamster?
If you decide to adopt a golden hamster, you'll have to choose between a male or a female. Putting two golden hamsters in the same cage is bound to lead to fights. Males and females can only tolerate each other for mating and hamsters of opposite sexes do not tolerate each other at all.
Dwarf hamsters like to live in pairs, but you run the risk of having many litters.
Male hamsters are often calmer and more docile than females, who also emit odors that can be unpleasant during heat periods.
What Are the Hamster's Living Habits?
This rodent, from the Merida family, has a common characteristic whatever the species: it is active at night. It sleeps part of the day and does not appreciate being disturbed during its nap!
If its life habits are disturbed, the hamster can quickly become aggressive and biting and its health condition can decline.
It is therefore not recommended adopting a hamster if you live in a noisy environment, it needs rest during the day and therefore calm.
The little rodent will start to be active in the evening when young children are in bed. But for older children who are also more respectful and attentive, this is the right time to learn to tame them.
Hamsters don't like to be picked up, and it's much more fun to watch them frolic in their cage. Take the time to watch him dig tunnels, pile up wood chips, run around in his wheel. This active little guy can't stay still, and you'll find yourself spending hours just watching him! With a little patience and, above all, treats, the rodent may end up eating out of your hand!
What to Feed Your Hamster?
While it's fun to see your little rodent rush to the treat you present, it should be an occasional occurrence.
To keep your hamster in good health, give priority to a balanced, quality diet. There are many hamster food mixes available that are adapted to their diet.
Hamsters are "three-quarter" vegetarians and therefore need protein. A balanced diet includes cereals and seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, a touch of meat (mealworm or cricket) or cottage cheese, and of course water.
Be careful, some foods are toxic, avoid the skin of potatoes, green shoots of carrots, and tomatoes.
Give him food only once a day in reasonable quantities. Be careful, don't be surprised by an empty bowl, the hamster loves to hide its food! Watch him put his food in his jowls to go to his nest where he stores his reserves. Although it is not recommended depriving him of his treasure, check regularly for moldy food. Use tweezers to gently remove them, without making a mess of what your hamster has dutifully put away.
Which Cage to Choose for Your Hamster?
Although small, hamsters need space. To ensure the comfort of your small hyperactive rodent, choose a large cage adapted to its needs.
The ideal dimensions of the cage should be 30 cm wide by 30 cm high and 50 cm long.
The Different Models
You will find different models of the cage, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:
Cages with bars: perfectly ventilated and easy to maintain, cages with bars also allow more direct contact with your hamster. For a dwarf hamster, buy a cage with bars spaced 0.5 cm apart if you don't want to see it slip through. These cages are often shallow, and you won't be able to offer your rodent enough hiding space.
Plexiglas cages: these are often more aesthetically pleasing than bar cages. Their tray is high enough for sufficient bedding, and you won't find wood shavings scattered around the cage. Unfortunately, they lack ventilation and are difficult to maintain.
Terrariums and aquariums: It is not often thought that they can be used as a cage for your hamster, and yet they have many advantages. Your rodent will have all the space necessary to have a consequent litter, without external projection. Be careful, its height must allow good ventilation! It is easy to clean, despite its weight, which is its only drawback.
Wooden cages: your hamster is a rodent and if the wood is not strong enough, its cage will serve as a snack! The other disadvantage is that the wood will absorb the urine of your small animal, so hygienically not recommended.
How to Decorate It?
The bigger the cage, the more games you can add to it for your hamster's pleasure. If it's a tiered cage, it's even better!
Standard elements: as we have seen, your little rodent needs a good layer of litter to scratch and dig at leisure. Then invest in a small house or shelter so that it can feel safe. Choose a water bowl instead of a bottle, your hamster will have an easier time drinking, and you'll be less likely to find his litter box flooded. Don't forget his feeder, even if he doesn't use it!
Give him enough accessories to gnaw on (branches, cork bark and even coconuts).
For his hygiene, and also because he is fond of it, prepare a saucer of bath soil. This fine sand will allow him to shine his coat and complete his daily grooming.
Essential games: Your hamster needs to spend time for its well-being and health, so don't hesitate to decorate its cage with a number of games to alleviate boredom in this rodent that can't stand still. The wheel is the most important element not to be neglected, prefer it without bars to avoid injury.
Next come ladders, suspension bridges, and teeter-totters that will delight your climber and legged climber.
Tunnels and pipes provide great hiding places for your hamster, and he'll love poking around in the outdoor tunnels.
The exercise ball is a toy to be used with care. Hamsters love them, but they can cause suffocation. Another disadvantage is that depending on the speed your intrepid hamster acquires, there are many bumps against walls and furniture that can lead to injury.
How to Take Care of Your Hamster?
In order for your hamster to live as long as possible, you need to give it daily care and monitor its health.
Daily Care of Your Hamster
Your hamster likes to be clean, so it needs to be groomed daily. For its well-being, you should also clean its habitat regularly.
To do each day:
- remove spoiled food;
- check the cleanliness of its feeder;
- clean and change the water in his water bowl;
- Remove dirty bedding.
Once or twice a week:
- change his entire litter box;
- clean cage and toys thoroughly with hot water and a dash of white vinegar to remove odors;
- Replace gnawing accessories.
Taking Care of Its Health
Hamsters are fairly hardy rodents. If they're fed properly, kept in their cage, and cared for, they won't get sick very often.
However, your hamster may be prone to diarrhea, skin diseases, and respiratory illnesses. Take the time to observe him and if you find him apathetic, if he lacks appetite, or if his droppings are soft, go immediately to the veterinarian.
Beware of parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mites that can exhaust your hamster and cause him to scratch himself to death. There are insect repellents specially designed for your small rodent.
Although they rarely get sick, hamsters are very stressed. It is therefore vital for him to respect his rest and his need for calm. Be careful not to handle it excessively and not to frighten it (sudden noises, aggressive dogs or cats, etc.).
One last thing, hamsters do not like drafts, so place their cage away from the wind!
What Is Its Life Expectancy?
The life expectancy of your hamster will depend mainly on the care it receives and if it is happy and well cared for, it can go beyond its life expectancy.
The life expectancy of the Russian hamster is 2 years, the golden hamster and the Chinese hamster between 2 and 3 years, and the life expectancy for the Roborovski hamster and the Siberian hamster are 3 years.
The hamster is an animal that tempts many families. It is not expensive and takes up little space. However, it requires a lot of care and attention and is not recommended for young children.
But if you are aware of all its faults and qualities, it can bring you a lot of pleasure!