Planning to keep a hamster? Well, here are some things you need to know before bringing home this little ball of joy.
You can always keep a hamster food mix ready from the markets but hamsters can work just fine with home food. They are omnivorous so you can give them small quantities of pretty much anything! However, you should never give them almonds. If you want to give grapes, apples or plums, you need to remove the seeds and pits before giving it to them. For more details of what they can’t eat, just check the info-graph below.
Make sure they have a low sugar and low fat diet. The portion should also be according to their size. Since they have ever-growing top and bottom incisors, give them vegetables that will allow them to chew and to keep those teeth in shape. Carrots can be a very good vegetable, but since it has high sugar content, give very small pieces once in a few days. They also require a small quantity of protein- pieces of dog biscuits, hard-boiled egg, low fat cottage cheese will be just fine. These little sweethearts are prone to dehydration so keep that bottle filled with fresh water every day!
Bedding and Environment
Hamsters love to make burrows so provide them with a bedding that allows them to dig. Different kinds of hamsters prefer different kinds of digging environments, for instance Syrian hamsters prefer loose sandy soil to dig into. Always try to replicate the hamster’s natural environment with their bedding. Shredded paper can be a cheap temporary solution till you bring their permanent bedding material. Please use plain colorless shredded paper. Also never give them wood shavings and fluffy hamster bedding which you might get from pet stores; this may get tangled in their feet and cause injury.
Every hamster cage needs caves to keep them calm and comfortable. They can be store brought or handmade. Also, as we said earlier, these little sweeties have ever growing top and bottom incisors, so please provide them with toys that are safe to chew on.
Many people confuse a hamster’s personality with rats (who are very social) and buy them in pairs or groups of threes and fours. Unless you have a dwarf hamster, you should never do this! Hamsters are solitary animals and they enjoy their own space. Hamsters feel either unsafe or agitated in the presence of other hamsters, so don’t keep more than one hamster. If you want to buy more than one small animal, you can go for rats or guinea pigs; not hamsters.
Short Life Span
Hamsters live for around 2-5 years, which is alright for rodents but really less in human years. Some common symptoms of illness can be diarrhea, loss of appetite, dehydration etc. Sometimes, hamsters can get sick by accidentally eating their own feces. So make sure you clean their cage as often as you can.
This is a really important one. Many think that a hamster can be given baths when they roll around something dirty from time to time. But baths can actually cause skin problems and make them liable to respiratory problems too. If you want other alternatives to hamster bathing, you can check out our article ‘Do Not Give Your Hamsters A Bath!’
All the best with your new hamster buddy. We hope this article was helpful!