Hamsters are suitable for children because they are gentle and easy to care for. They are part of the rodent family, but differ from others in several ways, such as a rather short tail, large and short legs, and small ears.
- Size: 12 to 15 cm
- Weight: 120 g
- Life expectancy: 3 years
- Pregnancy: 22 days
Origin and features of the hamster
Hamsters were originally distributed in North and South America, Asia and Europe. In 1930, Dr. Aharoni took a wild female golden hamster in northern Syria. This hamster gave birth to 12 little hamsters that were domesticated. Today’s pet hamsters are descended from this breeding by Dr. Aaroni. In 1931 he shipped some hamsters to the UK and then in 1938 to the US for laboratory use. It wasn’t until 1945 that hamsters were introduced to the trade, and today they are one of the pets adored by children and adults alike.
Hamsters are strong, their tail is slightly shorter than their body length. They have tiny ears, short legs and wide feet. Their fur is thick and long. It can be black, grey, white, brown, tan, yellow, or red. At the same time, the lower part of their body is white with shades of gray and black.
Hamsters are nocturnal animals, so it would be wise to place their cage in an area where their nightly activities won’t wake you up.
How to care for a hamster?
If you have just adopted a hamster, then you will probably need to spend some time getting to know your new friend so that he gets used to you and trusts you. It’s important to note that you may need a lot of patience because you won’t be able to hold your little furry ball in your hands overnight. The best way to start approaching your new pet is to offer treats. Put the treat in your palm and stick your hand into the cage so that the hamster approaches it. This should be done in the evening when the hamster is most active.
After a few days, you can try hugging the hamster. If he feels uncomfortable or tries to bite, gently put him back and give him a treat.
Remember that you should never disturb a hamster while he is sleeping and you should never make loud noises in his house.
What house to build for your hamster?
The most important thing to remember about a hamster’s home is that it needs plenty of space to run around. You also always need to ensure that the floor of your hamster’s cage has a layer of suitable bedding at least 4 cm thick, because hamsters love to bury things. Also, buying cedar or pine shavings is not a good idea, as some hamsters can develop an allergic reaction that causes breathing problems.
Wire and plastic cages are the two most popular forms of hamster cages. If you choose a wire cage, your little animal will tend to climb everywhere, which hamsters love to do. There are also many models of plastic cages on the market. These hamster houses are very easy to clean and provide protection for your pet.
Equipping a cage for a hamster, do not forget about toys. In addition to the regular hamster wheel, you can choose others, such as wooden chew toys, that will give your hamster a fun activity. A very important element in a hamster’s cage is also the creation of a place where he can hide, especially for sleeping.
Food and health: what you need to know about the hamster
Wild hamsters feed on seeds, grains, and herbs, as well as some insects. It is important that domestic hamsters eat the same as their wild relatives. Hamsters love fruits and vegetables, but you have to be careful about how much you give them. Hamsters are small creatures and too many fruits and vegetables in their diet can cause diarrhea. A small cube of an apple, carrot or cucumber is enough. Usually hamsters like carrots the most, but remember that they have a lot of sugar, so do not give your pet too much.
Hamsters are rather weak animals, they are so small that injuries and illnesses can quickly become serious. If you notice any signs of illness in your hamster, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Signs to look out for include loss of appetite, inactivity, wrinkled coat, sneezing, wheezing, moisture around the tail, and diarrhea.
The best time to give birth to hamsters is between 10 weeks and 15 months. Breeders use pairs with one male and one female, as well as groups of hamsters with one male and several females. Pregnancy usually lasts 16 to 22 days, depending on the type of hamster. When female hamsters are about to give birth, they may become restless, active, and may bleed a little. Then you need to provide them with nesting materials.
Mothers and babies should not be disturbed for at least 7 days after birth, especially if the mother has never given birth before.