Beginners Guide to Hamster Care
- Specific breeds make good starter pets
Specific hamster breeds are only good as starter pets, for specific reasons. The Syrian hamster, is typically of a docile nature and is best for young kids that want a cuddly pet. The Roborovski (or Robo) are more on the wild side, and may not be a best choice for a starter pet.
The average lifespan of a hamster is 2 to 3 years.
- Large amounts of energy
Most hamsters are nocturnal, but have bursts of energy throughout the hours they're awake. They require large amounts of stimulation, so the use of wheels and tubes help.
- They're solitary pets
Hamsters prefer to be solitary. They can become aggressive towards other hamsters past the age of 2 months. If kept together past that age, they will fatally fight. These type of fights can be very harmful resulting in open wounds, missing feet, punctured eyes, and even death.
- Cage requirements
Your hamsters cage should offer large amounts of ventilation. It can be made of material such as metal, wire, or plastic. The cages that tubes can attach to, work well for stimulation. Aquarium type of cages are not recommended due to poor ventilation.
A sipper bottle is recommended, to prevent spilling and soiling bedding. If water spills and the pet sits, it can cause various health concerns for the pet. Fresh water must be available at all times.
Hamsters are typically found to be chewing on plastic, so ceramic or metal bowls are recommended for feeding.
For bedding, shredded newspaper or recycled paper litter is recommended. A non-toxic wood shaving works well too. The cage is recommended to be cleaned out and bedding replaced at least 1 to 2 times weekly to reduce waste odor and contamination.
Toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls can be used as hideaways, or as chew toys. Exercise wheels are highly recommended to keep stimulated.
- They require a balanced diet
Hamster pellet food is recommended for your hamsters diet, but can also be fed a partial grain diet. Fresh vegetables can be offered as a treat such as green beans, hibiscus flowers, or leaf branches are safe for hamsters. Fresh fruits should be avoided due to the high sugar content.