Keeping a hamster

One of the most popular small rodents to be kept as a house pet, the hamster will bring happiness to many owners.

Fairly low maintenance compared to other pets hamsters are easy to look after as long these basic rules are followed.

  • Syrian or golden hamsters are solitary animals, if they are kept together they will fight so ensure you only keep one to a cage.
  • Hamster are best kept in a metal cage with a solid plastic base, ensure that it has a firmly closing lid as hamster will climb the sides of the cage and can be amazing escape artists, given the chance.
  • Hamsters love to burrow so ensure they are provided with enough hamster friendly bedding – available in many good pet shops, is provided so they can make a comfortable bed to sleep in.
  • Hamsters are clean animals and their cages will need to be cleaned regularly, at least once a week.
  • Commercially available hamster mix food, available from pet shops is the best food for hamsters although they will enjoy an occasional piece of fruit or veg. Ensure you only give a small amount of fresh food as hamsters like to bury their food and you don’t want lots of rotting veg in your pet’s bed.
  • Hamsters need to have fresh water at all times and the best way is to provide a water bottle attached to the side of the cage.
  • Hamster are rodents and as such their teeth constantly grow. They require something to gnaw on to keep them healthy, empty toilet or kitchen roll holders are ideal as they like to crawl through them as well as chew them. Dog biscuits make a great treat to gnaw on and specially produced wooden gnaw sticks can be brought from pet shops.
  • Hamster require exercise so a wheel is a good idea for you cage. An exercise ball is also great for your pet and will keep them safe whilst outside of the cage. Ideal for when you are cleaning the cage out.

A hamster will live for two to three years and will become to recognise their owners if they are handled regularly. They rarely bite so make ideal pets for children, although young children shouldn’t be supervised when handling hamsters.

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