|Hamsters as Pets|
HAMSTERS AS PETS
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Hamsters are one of the best pets around, whether it’s a Syrian, or a dwarf. They make a great first pet for children as they are so easy to care for (not like a puppy which can be an overwhelming challenge with it needing to be house trained and given obedience training for example) while still teaching a child responsibility, as an owner needs to change the water, make sure the hamster is fed, maybe check their is sand in the sand bath, and general tidying of the cage as a clean cage is one that will not smell!
Hamsters that live in solid sided homes also make no mess, which is a
great positive, and most hamster homes take up little room. These
features make them a great pet for an apartment or flat.
There are five types of hamsters commonly kept as pets:
This is the animal that most people associate with the word 'hamster', and was originally known as the 'Golden' hamster. They are the larger and chunkier of the hamsters kept as pets, usually about 4 to 6 inches in length. This animal is solitary by nature and the golden rule is one Syrian hamster to one cage. The animals only meet to mate, after which the female drives the male away. After a pregnancy of only sixteen days the babies are born blind and naked. However, they grow very quickly, and by four weeks old are usually fully weaned. Syrian hamsters make great pets for children they are simple to take care of and due to their large size are easy to handle. Also unlike some of the dwarf hamsters, Syrians remain tame even after long periods of not being handled, though we do reccommend daily handling of your pet. Syrians can be very friendly creatures to humans and love to cuddle and explore. Many colours and coat types of Syrian hamsters are now kept. Many of the Colour mutations, patterns and fur types have been set standards to be shown by, these can be found in the NHC Handbook, Section C.
These hamsters are usually known as ‘dwarf’ or ‘Russian’ hamsters, growing around 8cms in length. They can live together - either two of the same sex or as a pair, sometimes in same sex groups. Same sex pairs or groups can fall out, it is important to keep an eye out of bullying and be able to seperate them if required. A pair can produce a litter of babies every eighteen days, so think carefully before deciding on a pair. Born blind and naked they develop faster than Syrian babies and are fully weaned by three weeks. This species comes in a wide range of colours and can also be Satin coated. Russian dwarfs, unlike syrians, have furred feet and tails.
Also known as the ‘dwarf’ or ‘Russian’ hamster this species is often confused with the Campbell’s hamster. It’s distinctive Roman nose and oval shape easily sets it apart from the other species. Environmental conditions and breeding patterns are very similar to those of the Campbell’s hamsters, however colours are more limited. The standardised colours of Winter White can be found in the NHC Handbook, Section C.
Hybrids can be born that are a mix of Winter White and campbell, this is not advised by the NHC and hybrids are disqualified from shows.
These animals also like to live in pairs or small groups. They are slightly longer and thinner than Russian hamsters, growing up to 9 cms in length. In adition to their elongated body length between the front and back legs, chisese hamsters have a longer tail compaired to the other pet species of hamster and this tail is prehensile, This allows the hamster to cling to objects, be it clothing or a finger well, they will wrap themselves around stick like opjects in a mouse-like way. A pair may have babies every twenty one days but are not as prolific as Russians. The babies develop at about the same rate as Russian hamsters. There are already two or three colour variations available, standards have been set to the majority of these, details can be found in the NHC Handbook, Section C.
The Roborovski's hamster, or "Robo", is the smallest member of the hamster family. Adults rarely exceed 7cm in length from the tip of the nose to their almost non-existent tail. Their care and maintenance is much the same as Russian hamsters. They are sociable and will usually live in groups. They rarely, if ever, bite, but are difficult to handle, owing to their extremely active temperaments. Only one colour variation to date.