When it comes to pets, most people naturally assume that dogs and cats are the most popular. While they certainly make for great pets and are popular, it’s hamsters that are owned by one in three households in the United States. So, if you’ve been eyeing these cute little creatures and are just about ready to take the plunge and adopt one, you may want to read these tips and information so you understand the basics about owning a hamster.
Who are Hamsters Best For?
You may be questioning if your household is right for a hamster, and that’s a smart question to ask before adopting one. It’s common that people look at hamsters and see them as a “starter pet”. They are small, cute, and cuddly, and don’t seem at all intimidating. In reality, hamsters do require work and shouldn’t be considered as a starter pet.
It’s important to be aware of the fact that hamsters are also nocturnal, which means they will be active at night. If you’re expecting a pet that will play with you during the day, a hamster may leave you disappointed. This will also help to dictate where you place their cage. Often, parents buy a hamster for the kids and then put the cage in the child’s room. All the playing, gnawing, and moving around during the wee hours of the night may prove to be too much for kids.
Speaking of kids, while they can act as a family pet, it is advisable that no-one under the age of eight handle them. Hamsters are very tiny and delicate, which means they can be hurt easily. Even older kids need to be closely supervised when handling and playing with the hamster.
If you were thinking of getting more than one hamster, then you’ll need separate living quarters for each, as they don’t do well housed together. Plan to handle and interact with your hamster daily if you want it to be socialized, and provide them with toys to keep busy.
The average hamster will live anywhere from two and a half to three years, so they aren’t a long-lasting pet.
What Will a Hamster Require?
You’ll need a few things to get started with initially. You will need a wire cage or modular habitat, food dish, water bottle, nesting or bedding material, an exercise wheel, a nesting box, toys, treats, and hamster food.
Feeding your hamster is relatively simple since you can just refill their bowl as it gets empty and they will eat as they feel hungry. There is a good chance you’ll notice your hamster going through their food relatively quickly. This is because they chew through 10% of their body weight in food over the span of 24 hours. Hamsters tend to prefer carbs and grains. The water bottle should be emptied and refilled daily so it remains fresh.
Ready to Take the Plunge
So now that you’ve read up on the basics of hamsters it may be easier to go ahead and take the plunge and get yourself one.