Hamsters belong to the group of nocturnal rodents. In the wild, they are always busy digging homes and are known as expert tunnel designers. There exist 14 species of hamsters, out of which eight are suitable as pets. Hamsters are small, delicate, and timid animals. There are different types of hamsters, for example, giant, medium, dwarf, ratlike, mouse-like, and they all (especially smaller ones) need to be handled with extreme care as they have brittle bones.
Interesting Facts and Information
Hamsters were first detected in Aleppo, an old city in Syria. The name 'Hamster' is derived from a German word hamstern, which is associated with storing of food.
Syrian hamsters are known as 'teddy bear hamsters'. The smooth, shiny coat and bright eyes make them look cute and cuddly. The gestation period of this species is only sixteen days.
Chinese dwarf hamsters are a rare variety. These hamsters have small, hairless (1 inch long) tails. The dwarf hamsters' life span is very short, about 2.5 to 3 years.
Hamsters are nearsighted and colorblind. They cannot tolerate sudden temperature changes. If they succeed in escaping from the cage, then they are more likely to get hurt. Poor eyesight and poor depth perception (they can see up to six inches in front of them) makes them susceptible to injuries. So, adults and children need to handle them very carefully.
Hamsters can store food in expandable cheek pouches and thus can survive without food for a few days. They continuously chew and gnaw at food. As they use their teeth constantly, their teeth grow continuously throughout their lifetime. You should provide them proper food as well as toys to chew on. Similarly, you need to provide them ample space, because as pets, they are very active throughout the day.
You can name your hamsters and train them to react to the names. When trained, they respond to their name. 'Buck' and 'Doe' are the terms used for male and female hamsters respectively. Their babies are called 'puppies'. Hamsters remember and recognize their relatives.
These creatures are omnivorous. You can offer them good-quality hamster food along with small pieces of fresh vegetables and fruits. They like to eat grains, dried vegetables, bits of meal worms, meat, dog biscuits, boiled eggs, yeast tablets, low-sugar cereals, and mixed bird seeds. However, give food in small amounts, as excessive intake can result in serious health problems. They can easily develop diabetes, so avoid sugary treats. They eat their own feces to improve digestive health, as this allows them to get maximum nutrients.
Hamsters have a fantastic sense of smell and hearing. They are sensitive to the movement around them and to high-pitched voices. Elderly creatures may spend most of their time fighting with their roommates, especially females. As a pet owner, you will have to make separate housing arrangements for them.
Hamsters in the wild dig burrows or tunnels for hibernation in winter. During hibernation, the pulse rate of a golden hamster may sink from about 400 to 4 beats per minute.
According to hamster facts for kids, the largest hamster ever found was about 34 cm (13 in) long. It weighed about 900 g (32 oz). Facts about dwarf hamsters inform us that the smallest hamster ever detected was about 5.3 cm (2 in) long. It weighed about 100 g (3.5 oz).
If you keep mother hamsters in a warmer temperature, then they are likely to give birth to more males. Similarly, keeping the mothers in cooler atmospheres results in the birth of more female babies. Hamsters usually give birth to 4-12 babies at one time. Normally, their breeding season is April to September, but if you keep them in light for eight hours or more, every day, they will breed throughout the year.
There are certain advantages of hamsters as pets for children. They are 'pocket pets' and also inexpensive. They are loving and adorable. Children enjoy their company, as they make funny movements. Those who enjoy reading hamster facts and information might be aware of the reality that if handled improperly, hamsters can bite. It is better to bring home hamsters as pets for teenagers. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers should preferably stay away from these small creatures.