If you are thinking of getting a hamster home, it is advised that you go through the following PetPonder post and understand the things that you must consider before buying one.
Short Life Expectancy!
Hamsters live for about 18 to 30 months. Therefore, you need to keep in mind that it is a short-term pet, and also have to be ready to face the heartache that follows after it passes away.
Not only hamsters, I’ll say that when you hold any animal in captivity, you have to be serious about its health and well-being.
Speaking of hamsters, no doubt they are easy-to-care-for pets, but still there are some things about them that you simply cannot afford to miss. And if you do, then it may come at the cost of your hammy’s health or life.
Contemplate Your Needs
The first step towards getting ready for a pet hamster is to think about your own needs and expectations. If you want an easy-to-keep, well-behaved, and easily-tamed hamster, opt for a male. If you want an overactive and a little-difficult-to-deal-with hamster, then opt for a female.
Consider its Age
You also have to consider the age of the hamster before buying it, because it has a short lifespan. If you buy an adult hamster, you won’t have too much time left with it. As opposed to that, a young hamster will allow you more time to bond and spend together. One more reason behind buying a young hamster is that it will be easier to tame as compared to an adult.
Start With One Hamster
If you are going to be a first-time hamster parent, then it would be wiser to start with one hamster. The reason being, hamsters are solitary beings and prefer staying alone. So, if you want more than one, you’ll have to purchase separate cages, toys, bedding, and accessories for each of them. If you put two or more hamsters together, they might injure or kill each other.
Avoid Placing Two Together
If you still want to go ahead with placing two hamsters in one cage (which is not preferred!), at least make sure that it is not cramped, and is large enough for each one to move around easily. Also, make sure that you do not put a male and female together, else you’ll end up tending to a litter of baby hamsters.
Cost of Caring
Also, think of the cost of nurturing your pet. While purchasing a hamster and its cage may not be that costly, taking care of its needs does add up to a considerable amount. This is a very important point to consider because it’s not correct to neglect its needs due to lack of funds. If possible, you can keep a little ‘vet fund’ aside, in case any medical intervention is required. Daily food also tends to add up to the cost. Apart from the pellet food, fresh fruits and vegetables are also required to provide a change in taste.
Proximity With Other Pets
If your pet hamster is going to share the house with other feline or canine counterparts, you should think of a proper place for it before bringing it home. Dogs can usually toss the cage over, which could injure the hamster. Cats can think of it as lunch. Even if you plan to keep it at a height they cannot reach, remember, cats are very persistent. They will find a way to reach your fur ball.
Understand its Behavior
You have to understand the behavior of a hamster. Like cats and dogs, they don’t like to be held and cuddled every time. They are pretty much independent creatures. Secondly, they can bite if they are disturbed a lot or woken up suddenly from deep sleep. Although biting is not their usual habit, they tend to do so when they feel threatened. You also have to avoid handling the hamster if your hands smell of food, or if you have just cuddled your canine; it may bite your hand. And their bites can bleed. Also, hamsters are nocturnal creatures and create a lot of sounds at night. Therefore, if you are going to share a room with your hamster, be prepared to get disturbed every now and then.
After considering all the above points, once you are sure that you can look after a pet hamster properly, it’s time to shop for one.
Select a Reputable Breeder
Start by looking out for a reputable breeder. Usually, male and female hamsters look similar, therefore, only a veterinarian may be able to distinguish between the two.
Purchase a Good Cage
Get a cage that is large enough for the hamster to move around freely. It should also be easy to clean, well-ventilated, and escape-proof. The side-bars should be close enough to prevent the hamsters from escaping by squeezing through them. You should always remember one thing, hamsters are master escape artists.
Deck up the Cage’s Interior
Once you finalize a cage, you need to deck up its interior. A food bowl is the first thing; choose one that is made of ceramic or porcelain. The material that the food bowl is made up of should be heavy and not chewable.
A side-fixing water bottle should a very good option for its cage. You should avoid placing a water bowl in the cage, as it may tip over and spoil the bedding. The bedding can be made using aspen shavings, fiber shreds, shredded toilet paper, or facial tissues. Ask the pet shop owner for the best option.
The next thing on the list is a good exercise wheel. Hamsters love running, and should be provided with an exercise wheel for exercise. Opt for a good quality exercise wheel, which is completely solid. It should not have a ladder-like appearance, because the spaces between the wires could injure the hamster. There is no particular recommendation for the correct size, but it is advised that it should not be too small.
Since the teeth of hamsters are ‘hypsodontal’, which means that they continuously keep growing, you have to provide toys that are hard enough for them to chew on. It helps them trim their teeth. An economical way to provide chew toys could be small tree branches from the backyard; but make sure they are pesticide-free. Another option can be cardboard rolls.
Lastly, I would say that hamsters make good and hardy pets. They rarely get ill. As long as you provide fresh water, good food, and a clean environment, they will remain hale and hearty. Pet your hamster only a little bit daily, and it will start recognizing your touch, as well as become more tame.