Newest Review: ... up in their beds as their genetic make - up dictates, this little beauty was sitting at the front of her cage observing the activity ... more
A friendly, easy to manage, cute pet!
Member Name: MonsoonBaby
Advantages: Easy to look after, friendly and cute, cheap to purchase, does not require a lot of space.
Disadvantages: Not good around many other pets, especially cats.
I live in a small one bedroomed flat with my Fiancé, but have always been a lover of pets. Unfortunately due to the small size of my flat, a lot of pets were out of the question. I would have loved a cat for instance, but allowing the cat to stay cooped up in our small place every single day would just have been cruel. Therefore, I decided to get a hamster. I have always had hamsters in the past when I lived with my parents, and seeing as this was the first time I have moved out of my parents house into my own flat (not including University accommodation), I thought I would choose to get a pet to add to our little household.
There are several breeds of Hamsters, including the tiny Russian Dwarf hamsters, their close cousins, the Chinese Dwarf Hamster, and the most popular, the Syrian Hamster. I have had Russian Dwarf hamsters in the past, and found that not only were they too tiny to handle properly, they were also very nervous rodents. I love to have a pet that I can cuddle and make a fuss of, and I found my Russian Dwarf hamsters preferred to shy away from that. Therefore, ever since then I have chosen Syrian Hamsters. In my hamster keeping experience, Syrian Hamsters are very friendly little creatures, who will grow to trust you the more you handle them.
Handling a Syrian Hamster is simple enough once you have got used to picking them up a few times. The hamster will begin to develop a bond with you, and grow used to your smell, so you will find over time they will decrease in their squirming for escape from your hands! My Syrian, named Chibi, absolutely loves his cuddles. Ten months down and I have found he follows me around the flat in his ball, often resulting in me almost tripping over his ball, and he will happily sit on my shoulder or in my hands without attempting to make a bid for freedom. However, this probably varies per hamster, as like humans, hamsters have their own personalities too.
Hamsters, unlike dogs, are not needy animals. They do not crave your attention, and will happily get along with things in their cage. Chibi often pops his head up at the bars to give me a friendly hint that it is time for his cuddle, but a lot of hamsters are content enough to come and go as they please in their home. This makes them quite an easy pet to look after, but this does not mean that they do not have particular needs you must cater for. For instance, is is advisable that a hamster has a healthy balanced diet. Most hamster food packets provides a mixture of food and vitamins, but there are also foods that you can add onto the side to accompany their usual dry hamster food. Hamsters are able to eat some fruit and vegetables, and you are able to occasionally feed them small chunks of cucumber and tomato, for instance. This also provides your hamster with something else to gnaw on, as they tend to like keeping their teeth short, which is something I will expand on further on. Hamsters can also have the occasional treat, such as yoghurt drops, but I would suggest making these only occasional, as you can make your hamster rather fat if they were a regular food source! Chewing blocks, mineral licks, dried sweetcorn and seed blocks are great ways to enable your hamster to get his or her essential vitamins and minerals, and again, these will help to file the teeth down to a suitable length.
Hamsters cages require cleaning at least once a week. My hamster has been toilet trained, so I find that he does not really make much mess, so once a week is fine for me. When getting your hamsters cage ready for your little furry friend, hamsters like sawdust at the bottom of their cage, and shredded paper or vegetable fibre bedding inside of their bed to keep them warm and discreet. Water should be changed at least once a week in order to ensure your hamster is getting a fresh water supply. There are plenty of cleaning products out there for your pets cage, but I suggest getting a cage cleaner spray that is non-toxic, but still manages to clean the cage out successfully.
So, toilet training you saw me mention? Yes, I shook my head at this statement when I first heard it was possible, but, it really is! I easily toilet trained my hamster. Simply buy a "hamster toilet" or hamster litter tray (available from many pet stores, have a look!), and place it in the corner where your pet seems to go to the toilet. Place some soiled sawdust or bedding in the hamster toilet, and soon you will find that they will start using this toilet. It is highly suggested you try this, as it cuts down on cleaning out the cage as all the urine and faeces is contained in one area, and also makes it a more hygienic area for your pet to live in.
Hamster teeth, like all rodents, continuously grow. If they are not filed down, this can cause great discomfort to your hamster, who will refuse to eat, and will probably be finding themselves in considerable pain. In order to stop this from happening, I suggest buying gnawing blocks, and hard food in order to make your hamster work on it to keep his or her teeth filed down. This type of food is normally quite cheap, so it is a must! Another thing you should note about your hamsters health is that they must get plenty of exercise. Make sure you have fitted a wheel inside their cage for night times, as this is when they are most active, and will be most willing to have a run about. A hamster ball should be purchased to, and try to get your hamster to have a 15 to 20 minute run in it every day or so if you can. Not only does it give them exercise, but it is also incredibly fun watching your little hamster run up and down at top speeds!
So, should you buy a hamster? Well, if you are looking for an easy, but friendly pet, definitely! Hamsters are easy to clean out, and easy to manage. The more you handle him or her, the friendlier and more inquisitive they will become, and you will find yourself forming a loving bond with your little rodent. My Chibi absolutely loves his cuddles and follows me around in his ball all the time when he is running amok in it, and I am sure in time you will also pick up their little quirks and traits. They are an ideal pet for children, as children can be given the responsibility of cleaning out their hamsters cage, as cleaning is very simple, especially if you have managed to litter train your hamster like I had. Hamsters are also very cheap to buy, averaging in at around £7 or so in pet stores, so you are not really breaking the bank buying this little pet. They do not require regular vet trips or a series of injections like cats, dogs or rabbits do, so again, this is a very cheap pet! Hamsters are cute, friendly and easy to look after and do not require a lot of space in the house, so I would highly recommend looking into getting one if you are looking for a new pet! However, I would ward anyone who has another pet, such as a dog or a cat from getting a hamster, as hamsters can become quite nervous around other animals, and a cat's hunting instinct will kick in (even if you are convinced they are the soppiest feline in the world) and they will see the hamster as their next form of dinner. I hope you all find great joy with your new hamster pet if you choose to purchase one!
Summary: A friendly, easy to look after, cheap pet that does not require a lot of space!