Focus On: Hamster Keeping Q&A
- 1 Hamster Keeping
- 2 Questions and Answers.
- 2.1 Question: Should I shop for or adopt a hamster?
- 2.2 Question: How many species of hamsters are there?
- 2.3 Question: What species is best to get as a pet?
- 2.4 Question: How long do hamsters live?
- 2.5 Question: Are hamsters nocturnal animals?
- 2.6 Question: Are hamsters dangerous to human health?
- 2.7 Question: How intelligent is a hamster?
- 2.8 Question: What do hamsters bite?
- 2.9 Question: What is the proper hamster diet?
- 2.10 Question: Should a hamster be placed in a cage?
Hamsters are little rodents that are kept in many households across the world as pets. Their small tails, stubby legs, short ears, soft fur, and round, inquisitive eyes are what make them so cute and appealing. They come in different colors ranging from brown, white, black, grey, yellow, red and some even have a mixture of all these colors. Hamsters are sweet pets and are generally easy to keep and nurture, however, there are certain guidelines that should be followed if you want the best for your hamster.
Several people have questions about hamsters and the act of keeping them as a pet in their homes. Whether you already have a hamster as a pet and you would like to learn more about the little dude/dudette, or you have been considering adopting -not buying- a hamster, and you have questions and doubts about how safe they are, how easy it is to keep them and other things that you might need to know, this is the post for you. Here is a collation of questions and answers that would enlighten you on the basic things that you should be knowledgeable about concerning your little buddy.
Questions and Answers.
Question: Should I shop for or adopt a hamster?
If you reading this post, there is a high probability that you either already have a hamster or are considering getting one. If the latter is the case, then you should consider adoption, rather than buying. Hamsters, gerbils, and other animals are better adopted from animal shelters, as this single act not only provides a home for a homeless animal but also provides a vacancy at the shelter for an animal that might be in need of it badly. Pet shops usually do not have the best interest of animals at heart, as most times, it is more about the profit they make than about the welfare of the animal. By shopping from pet shops, you indirectly support animal cruelty and help it to grow stronger. Make a stand today and adopt, rather than shop for one.
Question: How many species of hamsters are there?
There are several different species of hamsters, but only five are majorly kept as pets. The most popular among them is the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). This hamster is from Syria and is characterized by 6 to 7 inches in length. The Syrian usually grows about double the size of all other species of hamsters.
There are two types of Russian dwarf hamsters which are the Campbell’s (Phodopus campbelli) and the Winter White (Phodopus sungorus). Campbell’s grow about 4-5 inches and Winter White’s, which are characterized by a coat that changes color in winter, grow 3 to 4 inches.
Then there is the Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus) and the Roborovski dwarf hamsters (Phodopus roborovskii). Chinese hamsters are about 4 to 5 inches long but are usually confused as dwarf hamsters because they are considerably smaller in size than the Syrian. The Roborovski is the smallest of all, measuring about 1.5 to 2 inches and they are very quick and uneasy to handle.
Question: What species is best to get as a pet?
The choice of which species to get for yourself is a totally personal decision. It depends on your preference and abilities. Generally, a lot of people go for the Syrian because it is easier to handle, especially for kids. If you are an adult and are confident you can handle smaller, you could go for one of the dwarf species or the Chinese hamster.
All hamsters are friendly and easy to interact with, so whichever one you pick would be a perfect choice.
Question: How long do hamsters live?
The length of their days is largely dependent on their species. Syrians are known to live for about 2 to 2.5 years, Campbell’s and Winter White’s for 1.5 to 2 years, the Chinese 2-3 years, and the Roborovski, an average of 3 to 3.5 years. These ages are not limited as the hamsters can live longer, depending on their welfare.
Question: Are hamsters nocturnal animals?
Yes, hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means that they sleep during the day and are most active in the morning, evening, and night. You should be watchful of what time of the day you pick to play with your hamster so you don’t disturb its sleep.
Question: Are hamsters dangerous to human health?
Hamsters can carry a bacteria called Salmonella, which can prove dangerous to humans as it causes short bouts of extreme illness in healthy people and can cause serious damage in people with weak immunity.
Hamsters have also been known to carry the Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus which causes flu-like symptoms and is sometimes asymptomatic. These two on their own can be very dangerous when a pregnant mother transfers them to her unborn child.
Question: How intelligent is a hamster?
Hamsters are pretty intelligent animals. They are smart enough to recognize people, voices/sounds, and scents. They have people that they are fond of and people that they dislike and are smart enough to differentiate between the two. They also know to run and hide if they sense danger and can make their way around places that they are familiar with. If they get called often, they are intelligent enough to learn to recognize their names and respond to them when called.
Question: What do hamsters bite?
Hamsters rarely bite, and only do so when they are frightened or startled. They have weak eyesight and have to depend on their other senses to feel. Because of this, they hate getting startled and can bite as a defense mechanism.
Although their bites may not be as painful as that from other rodents and are not harmful, they should be trained not to bite so it doesn’t develop into a habit.
Question: What is the proper hamster diet?
Hamsters are omnivores, meaning they eat a combination of plants and animals (insects). They are also food hoarders and love to keep their food in their cheek pouches for later. The ideal hamster diet should include commercial hamster pellets which are sold in pet shops, fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs such as carrots, spinach, pear, apple, basil, sage, etc. Also, nuts, boiled eggs, or mealworms should be included once in a while.
Hamsters love to gnaw on things such as cardboard, coconut shells, and wood. Most importantly, hamsters should also be provided with clean water to drink.
Question: Should a hamster be placed in a cage?
Hamsters are small animals and this makes it easy for them to escape or get hurt as they scurry around. They should be placed in comfy cages equipped with beddings, food, and water. They can be brought out to be played with and can be left to move around if all openings out of the room are secured tightly.