Hamsters are a common pet for children. They are cute, clean, relatively easy to care for, and can form bonds with their owner. However, there are challenges involved with owning a hamster as a pet.
If you are thinking about adopting a hamster, or already have one as a pet, there are several important things to consider.
- Is your home safe for a hamster?
- Is there an appropriate veterinarian in your area?
- Know your hamster species
- Hamsters are easily frightened
- Hamsters are nocturnal
- Hamsters can be prone to hereditary diseases and viruses
- Hamsters are great escape artists
- Hamsters have a short lifespan
- Adult supervision required for young children
Is your home safe for a hamster?
Hamsters may be considered prey by other animals. Therefore they may be in danger of getting harmed or killed by other animals in the home if precautions are not made.
Is there an appropriate veterinarian in your area?
Not all veterinarians provide check-ups and care for small animals such as hamsters. To ensure your pet remains healthy and receives the best treatment, ensure that a veterinarian in your area can provide treatment.
Know your hamster species
It is important to be knowledgeable about your hamster species to provide proper care. Different hamster breeds vary in their requirements and temperament. For example, the golden or Syrian hamster is solitary by nature and cannot be caged together. If they are, they will fight each other. Syrian hamsters should not be caged with other hamster species.
Some hamster species can share a cage if introduced carefully to each other, such as the dwarf or Siberian hamster. When keeping hamsters in the same cage, choose two animals of the same gender so they cannot breed.
Common hamster breeds kept as pets include the Syrian or golden hamster, Campbell’s dwarf hamster and the Roborovski hamster.
Hamsters are easily frightened and can bite as a defence mechanism
Hamsters have poor eyesight and rely on their smell, sound, and taste. As a result, they are easily frightened and will bite as a defence mechanism.
Hamsters are nocturnal
Hamsters spend much of the day asleep and become active around dawn, dusk, and night. They can be noisy running around in their wheel or cage, which is something to consider before placing a hamster cage in a bedroom.
Hamsters can be prone to hereditary diseases and viruses
You can minimize disease, viruses, and bacteria by properly caring for your hamster and appropriate hygiene behavior by the owner. Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet hamster.
Hamsters are great escape artists
Hamsters can fit through very small holes and crevices, and are excellent chewers. They can be difficult to find if they escape.
Hamsters have a short lifespan
Hamsters typically live 2-3 years.
Adult supervision required for young children
Hamsters are relatively low maintenance compared to other animals; however, adults will need to support young children with a pet hamster. Hamsters are easily frightened, sensitive to mishandling, and can bite. Hamsters can also be injured by rough handling.