rodents in the home may not sound like a lot of fun to most people,
but for those who keep them as pets, they bring an element of entertainment
without a lot of work. Domesticated rodents, gerbils, hamsters, mice,
rats and guinea pigs are all enjoyable and require little maintenance.
A good domesticated
pet is an animal that can withstand the rigors of being bred - raised
in captivity through several generations without noticeable declining
or deteriorating in health or appearance. Hamsters have flourished
and breeders have established strong stocks of hamsters in a variety
of color and fur type.
attractiveness, ease of care, and their amusing ways make them desirable
pets. Since hamsters are small, they are inexpensive to feed and maintain.
They can live quite comfortably in relatively small quarters, so a
large cash layout is not needed.
Pet shops sell
various good, inexpensive cages; fish tanks are not
recommended because they do not provide enough ventilation.
Larger pet stores will provide you with “handrails”, with connecting
tubes, ladders, wheels - even sky domes to keep your pet happy. While
wooden cages are often cheaper (and look good) - avoid them. The wood
will soak up urine and remain damp, thus becoming a breeding ground
for disease carrying bacteria... not to mention urine soaked wood
smells BAD! Furthermore, like all rodents they like to gnaw and it
would not take long for your hamster to chew through a wooden cage.
A “food hopper”
or feeding chute opening makes feeding easy and prevents the hamster
from piling building material over the food. A water dish inside the
cage should be avoided because hamsters will seemingly deliberately
fill it with litter and waste. A conventional water bottle containing
a cork or rubber stopper with a metal plastic drinking tube inserted
in it is best. The bottle is hung upside down from the cage by means
of a clip.
Hamsters fit snugly
into the palm of your hand, have no odor and are known for their cleanliness.
Like ferrets they will usually choose one corner for bedding and another
for “a Toilet” - making cleaning up after them easy.
They are practically
mute, so they can’t utter any annoying noises. They are quite the
little clowns, loving to perform for any audience. They relish being
hand fed, played with, and just generally loved.
hoarding instincts are fun to observe. They will cram food into their
cheek pouches, then scurry off to a secret corner where they then
dislodge the hoarded food and leisurely eat it as a later date. A
wise owner will not disturb these “treasures”, unless they like having
their fingers nipped. Bites are usually small and quick and the shock
hurts more than the wound.
docile creatures and easily tamed. Allow your pet a few days to
get used to you and his new surroundings before handling.
The golden rule
for housing hamsters is one hamster, one cage. A few young specimens
can live together in peace if given ample space. Males generally get
The hard part
is choosing the right hamster for you. They come in various colors
and sizes, to the newly introduced “dwarf” hamster - who from head
to no tail is no bigger than your little finger.
As with any pet,
proper feeding is crucial, and the hamster is no exception. Packaged
mixtures designed specifically for you pet is a sure way to a ensure
a well balanced diet. However, they also like treats such as fresh
vegetables, fruits, and grains. Soft foods should be fed carefully,
because green vegetables and fruits do no lend themselves to “pouch packing”.
a great pet for children and adults. They are easy to care for, and
unlike a goldfish, they CAN be held and petted!