Hamsters are adorable pets! Known to be extremely low-maintenance, these little furry creatures are always a great addition as pets. They require minimal effort therefore allowing you to enjoy the cuteness without much work.
Hamsters do not need much however there are a few tips and tricks that need to be kept in mind before getting one. These will not only help you in understanding your hamster better, it will ensure a smooth transition into your life.
Starting off, it is better to go for an animal shelter instead of opting for an established pet store. A recent PETA investigation of a Pennsylvania animal dealer revealed that thousands of hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, chinchillas, ferrets, and other small animals are confined to severely crowded plastic bins and stacked in shelving units, among many other abuses. Going to a pet store means supporting this cruelty. Additionally, pet stores are also supplied by dealers who breed pets for the sole purpose of selling which creates a huge homeless problem amongst those that have been rescued or left at a shelter.
In terms of the hamster itself, here are a few pointers you should keep in mind before getting one.
Not ideal for small children
It is quite natural for parents to think they want to give their children pet hamsters. However, because of their small size and agility, they aren’t the best option for kids below a certain age. Now, we know that hamsters are extremely cute and fluffy, but they need a feather light touch when dealt with because of its size. Children do not possess the same kind of motor skills or self-constraint to handle with the care needed. They might accidentally drop them or squeeze too hard which can fatally harm the hamster. Additionally, children might scare them into biting them.
Alongside this, there is also the question of immunity. According to a study by The Humane Society Of The United States, children under the age of 5 have less-developed immune systems and are more prone to zoonotic diseases (diseases that can be passed from animals to humans) . Their tendency to play with pets without properly washing hands puts them at a greater risk of salmonella, a type of intestinal bacteria that hamsters can carry. Although rare, hamsters have been known to carry Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, a virus that can seriously sicken young children.
Space requirements and getting a decently sized wheel
Syrian hamsters are solitary creatures that enjoy their own personal space. If more than one hamster is kept inside a cage or hutch together, they will fight and inflict injury on the other hence it is best to house them separately. A female who gives birth may kill and eat their babies if disturbed, and allowing hamsters to breed is not recommended. Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, may be able to live together if introduced properly.
Within a cage, it is important to invest in the right kind of spinning wheel. Since hamsters are genetically wired to scavenge for food for long distances, this feature lets them recreate that environment more efficiently. The best way to figure this out is to see if there is any arching of the spine when the hamster is running on it. If it is satisfied, then it is big enough.
Also, amongst the options of metal or plastic, it is advisable to go for plastic as there is lesser risk of your pet getting stuck in-between the spikes. However it would be better to opt for other more environmentally-friendly alternatives as well.
The time commitment
Hamsters are fairly low-effort pets. They can keep themselves entertained for long periods of time provided they have enough arrangements made for burrowing, climbing as well as toys, and bedding. However, despite the little maintenance, to keep your hamster well-adjusted and happy, you should have daily handling and interaction.
Also, you would need to clean your hamster’s cage once every week. Additionally, the lifespan of a furry pet is around 2.5 to 3 years with a few exceptions in breeds. This means you have to be sure that you want to make that kind of a commitment to them. If you have children as well who would not be able to deal with the death of a pet, it would be best to choose an alternate time.
Alongside this is another pertinent law that needs to be taken into consideration. The climate is similar to hamsters’ natural desert habitat, and agricultural and environmental officials have expressed concern that released or escaped hamsters could establish wild colonies and damage crops and native plants and animals.
Hamsters are nocturnal
If you’re looking for a pet to play with during the day, hamsters might be a bad option. These fluffy creatures stay awake during the night time. They usually wake up around 7 pm and can run up to 5 miles on their wheel right after.
They are also, just like humans. When they are woken up from a nap, they will get grumpy. Hence, it is best to not disturb them while they are sleeping if you do not want them to be biting you.
All the things you will need
The adoption as well the purchase option of hamsters usually is quite low however there would be certain things that you would need to keep your pet happy and well-maintained. Depending on your budget, the initial supplies and equipment include things like wire cage or aquarium, bedding and nesting materials, food dish, water bottles amongst other things.
One of the important purchases to make is a hamster ball. This not only gives the pet a change in environment, but also allows you to keep them somewhere while the cage is being cleaned. Also, it is an easier way to travel with your pet as well.
There is also the veterinary costs involved for getting hamsters. Thus you need to be doubly sure of the decision you are making.
Finally, it is important to remember that hamsters are great to have as pets. They not only are extremely cute to play with or just watch, they require little effort to keep happy and entertained. While considering to get one, these few pointers are best to be considered.
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