Hamster Care: What You Need To Know
One of the most popular pets given to young children is the humble hamster. With their furry potato shaped bodies, tiny ears which perk up at interesting noises and their cute cheeks stuffed with food, it is no wonder they are so well loved. They are also easy pets for children to care for, teaching them responsibility, and their short life spans help them to understand and deal with difficult concepts like life and death. However, even though these tiny creatures are considered to be low-maintenance, they still require the right care, housing and toys to live a healthy happy life.
Before you go out to adopt the newest member of the family, makes sure you are prepared for their arrival. The first thing they need is a house. Though it is easy to just grab any cage from the nearest shelf, it is important to consider that not all hamsters and not all cages are created equal. If you are going to adopt a dwarf hamster, the smaller cages are acceptable. The gaps between the bars should be no wider than 0.5 centimeters to prevent escape. Wire is the most popular choice for a cage since they provide adequate ventilation. A deep base will also allow your hamster enough space to burrow. For Syrian hamsters, you need a larger cage. If the space is too small, they will become frustrated and will chew on the bars. This is not only destructive and noisy but will negatively impact their health. Many hamster owners opt for aquariums which gives your hammie plenty of space to forage and burrow. If you're going to go for this option, make sure to place mesh wire on the top. They will find a way to escape. The choice of bedding is also important. the obvious choice is wood shavings but it cannot be just any kind of wood since most of them are harmful to your hamster. If you want to stick to wood shavings then choose Aspen since it does not release toxic fumes. The best bedding however are brands like Kaytee Clean and Cozy and Carefresh. Pile it up high so your hamster can snuggle in at nap-time.
Hamsters are active creatures. In the wild they can run up to 9 km a night in search for food. It would therefore be cruel to keep them trapped in their cage with no way to release their energy. It may seem strange to most humans who would rather plop down on the couch but hamsters enjoy running on their wheel. When taking them out of their cage, let them run around in a hamster ball. There are few things they enjoy more than to explore a large room with plenty of space to roll around. Unfortunately you cannot keep them in the ball for too long. Even though hamsters balls are ventilated the ventilation is usually inadequate for prolonged use meaning they can run out of air in the ball if left for too long. Keep it to between fifteen and twenty minutes at a time. Never leave them unattended. The size of the ball is also important to consider. For bigger hamsters, big balls and wheels are required to keep them from getting injured. If your hamster has to bend his back to fit in the wheel it is too small. Chew toys are essential for your little friend as well. Like rats, rabbits and guinea pigs, their teeth never stops growing. To keep them entertained and their dental hygiene up to standard, provide them with wooden toys or delicious treats. This will also prevent boredom. Hide the treats in boxes and watch them spend their time trying to nibble their way inside. Every now and then a dog biscuit can be a nice reward.
Lastly, keep in mind that your hamster will be mostly awake at night. To prevent them from keeping your child from sleep, put them in a room where their noise will not bother anyone. The best time to play with them is early morning and evenings. They do not like to be bothered while sleeping and will not hesitate to bite when disturbed. If you follow these steps, you'll find that your new pet will give you lots of love and joy. They will be healthy and happy, and will fill you with joy when they greet you with wiggling nose and pricked up ears!