Hamster Care Requirements
By Michael Russell
Hamsters are the most popular rodents kept
as pets. They are extremely easy to tame
and take care of and are relatively
inexpensive animals. Hamsters are a suitable
pet for almost any household; children can
even keep them!
There are many different types of hamsters:
large, small, patterned, solid colored,
longhaired and shorthaired. The most popular
hamster is the Syrian. It is the largest variety
and comes in either longhaired or
shorthaired. The longhaired Syrian hamster
is often called the "Teddy bear hamster".
There is even a hairless Syrian! It also comes
in many colors such as golden brown, white,
cinnamon, cream, rust, gray, lilac, honey,
yellow and black. An adult Syrian hamster
reaches a length of six to eight inches.
The next most common hamster is the Dwarf
Russian. It only reaches a length of three and
a half to four and a half inches. The smallest
hamster is the Roborovski. It is only two
inches when full grown. The main difference
between the Syrian hamster and other
hamster species is that Syrian hamsters
must be kept alone and the other species can
be kept in groups. If Syrian hamsters are kept
together, they will fight and can become
seriously injured or even killed. You must
keep only one Syrian in a cage.
You can buy hamsters at a pet shop or from a
breeder. Make sure that the place you get it
from spends lots of time with the hamsters
and that they keep males and females
separate. Hamsters can breed at a very
young age so if you get a female hamster
from a place that does not separate the
males and females then you will probably be
getting a pregnant hamster.
The hamster itself is usually very cheap. The
cage and accessories make it more
expensive. There are many types of hamster
cages available at pet stores. Just make sure
you get a cage enough space for the hamster
to exercise and explore. The cage should
also have a wheel in it so the hamster can
get the activity it needs. When you get the
cage, do not put it in direct sun or in a drafty
You will need to put shavings on the floor of
the cage. Do not use cedar shavings because
they contain oils that can hurt the hamster.
Good materials for the shavings include pine,
aspen, paper, or pulp. Your hamster will
make its bed from the shavings so make sure
you put enough in the cage for that.
There are many other types of accessories
that you can buy for your hamster. Try to
give some things made out of wood so your
hamster will have something to chew on.
This is good for their teeth. You will also
need to provide food and water at all times. A
water bottle works best for water because it
will not be tipped over or get dirty like a
water bowl will. There are many types of
hamster food mixes that you can feed to your
hamster. Just make sure that it is available all
Once a week you should thoroughly clean
the cage and change out the bedding. Make
sure you clean all the toys and accessories
as well. Rinse the cage completely so that no
soap residue is left behind.
If you do these simple things, this will keep
your hamster happy and healthy. They are
very fun animals to watch and play with.
They will surely keep you entertained!
Your Independent guide to Pet Care