What is a Hamster?
It is believed that today's pet hamsters are all descendants of the Syrian hamster where they are said to have been discovered. The most common pet hamster is the golden hamster, which is cute and makes an affordable and fun pet. They are chunky-bodied and short-tailed, with long or short hair. Hamsters range in length from 4 to 11 inches; dwarf hamsters from 2 to 4 inches. They are secretive burrowers and hoarders who sleep during the day and play and explore at night. Handled properly, they are a great furry addition to your family for approximately three years.
Since they are natural burrowers be sure to provide plenty of non-toxic bedding material where they can dig. They are solitary pets, thus they should be housed separately. Even though they may fight with their own kind, except while mating, hamsters thrive on the company of humans. Give them lots of attention. They are naturally odorless, but their cage should be kept clean.
Supplies you will need:
Variety is key in keeping Hamsters healthy. They should be fed a basic mix designed for hamsters and occasionally hay. Then supplement fruits and vegetables for treats such as: apple, banana, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, celery, corn on the cob, kale, peas and spinach, and removed from the pen when spoiled, or American Pet Diner Smaks treats.Slowly introduce all new foods in small amounts and only one at a time to reduce the chance of diarrhea. Always provide a steady supply of water. Do NOT feed sweets, chocolates, onion, garlic or any pellet or feed mix containing antibiotic.
Treats and Veggies:
Guinea pigs love to eat, and they are curious animals, so you can use treats in moderation to bond with your pet. They may purr when you hold them and might even show happiness by bouncing and moving quikcly and repeatedly, referred to as "popcorning". Too many treats offered can lead to obesity and/or refusal of eating necessary food by you pet. Choose to use fresh vegetables and fruits that are high in vitamin C such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, pea pods, dark green lettuce (no iceberg), herbs, grass, apples, oranges, grapes, pears, peaches, strawberries, pineapple, papaya, and blueberries, (remove seeds) in moderation. Always introduce these items slowly as they can have adverse reactions including diarrhea. They love to be held and loved to create a bond between yourself and your pet. This makes for a loving and gentle guinea pig pet.
Provide a cage of at least 20 square inches. Single story, well ventilated versions preferred, as hamsters cannot climb as well as other rodents and benefit from fresh air. Glass or non-chewable plastic is the best choice. A roomy cage allows the hamster to move around, leaving an area for you to add fun toys such as tunnels or wheels for exercise and amusement. Hamsters have an instinct to run, so you need to provide a wheel for the animal to satisfy this urge. Hamsters are expert escape artists so make sure their cage has no openings, no matter how small, as they can get out easily. Provide your pet somewhere in their cage as an escape, a tunnel, ball or open ended enclosure where he/she can hide.