Hamster as Pet: How to Know if a Hamster is the Right Pet for You

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Most of the pet lovers would have thought at least for once about getting a hamster as pet. Keeping hamsters as pets seems to be easy. It is one of those small pets, cute and with low maintenance costs associated.

  • But is hamster care that easy as it seems?
  • How to know if a hamster is the right pet for you?

Let’s find answers to some hamster related questions in the coming sections.

Read: Owls as Pets: Things to Know Before Getting a Pet Owl

owning a hamster
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Hamsters are not your regular pets. Maintaining a hamster pet need some real commitment. Do proper research about hamsters in general and the particular hamster species you are planning to buy, before getting them at your home.

Types of Hamsters

Let us understand about the type of hamsters that you can buy from pet shops. This could give you an idea about which hamster is right for you.

Hamsters as per their type, differ in their size, lifespan and behavior. So, it’s important to know which type your hamster is, before getting them as a pet.

Mainly, there are three common types of hamsters available in the market. They are:

  • Syrian Hamsters: Syrian Hamsters usually grow to about 6-8 inches and live for an average 2-2.5 years. They are the most commonly preferred hamster pets as they are easier to handle. Syrian Hamsters have to be kept single in their cage as they usually fight each other.
  • Dwarf Hamsters: Different from Syrian Hamsters, Dwarf Hamsters are friendlier in nature and would get along with other hamsters of their type. They grow to about 2-4 inches and live for an average 1.5-3 years. They are faster than Syrian hamsters and for the same reason, are difficult to handle.
  • Chinese Hamsters: Chinese hamsters live for approximately 2.5-3 years. They are similar in size to Dwarf hamsters, except that they have a long tail. Just like dwarf hamsters, they are also very quick in their movements.

So that’s a brief description about the differences between the various hamster types.

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types of hamsters
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How to Know Whether You are Ready to Have a Hamster as a Pet?

Most people go for hamsters as pets, for the two main reasons –

  • One they are extremely cute
  • Two they are low maintenance pets

But there are more considerations to be taken before having a hamster as a pet. Let us discuss them point by point:

Budget Requirements

The price you need to pay for buying hamsters is low compared to other pets. But for building a hamster habitat at your home, you will have to shell out some extra money.

Here is a rough idea about the equipment you have to purchase for setting up a hamster house – A cage (as per the hamster size), bedding set up, food dish, water can, toys, exercise wheels.

Also, since hamster is a special pet, you will have to consult specialist vets, which could be expensive at times.

Also See: All You Need to Know About Miniature Horses as Pets

Health Issues Related to Hamsters

  • Do you have children under 8 at home? – It’s not advisable to keep a hamster as a pet if you have kids at home as hamsters spread salmonella, an intestinal bacterium which could make our kid sick.
  • Not the right pet for pregnant ladies too – As we already discussed hamsters can carry salmonella, which might pass on to the unborn child from mother.

But don’t worry too much. These are just possible health risks and can be avoided with proper care.

Hamster Habitats

Hamster habitats
Picture: flickr.com

(A typical hamster habitat set up at home)

Hamsters are usually kept in wired cages. Make sure you select the right cage for your hamster. Depending on their type, their size varies so do the size of cages. Find time for cleaning the cage at least once in a week.

Make sure your home is safe for hamster, that there is no risk of danger from other pet animals. Hamsters being very small creatures can escape through small spaces. So, make sure you properly set your cage that they don’t escape outside.

Never keep different species of hamsters together in one cage. There is a risk of hamsters fighting against each other. Also avoid keeping hamsters of opposite sex together. Hamster breeding is not recommended.

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Have Time for Them

With proper toys and climbing equipment inside, hamsters could entertain on their own. But still it would be the best thing to have a daily interaction with your hamster. Also take them out of their cage for at least 15-20 mins every day.

Also, hamsters are nocturnal animals. They are active during the night. With a hamster at home, you should be ready to tolerate a little sound during night, as they usually remain active during night and in the early morning hours.

how to pet a hamster
Pic Courtesy: goodfreephotos.com

Picking the Right Hamster for You

In the first section of the article, we have discussed in detail about the various types of hamsters available. Based on your liking you could choose your hamster. For a solitary hamster choose the Syrian hamster, the Chinese one if you are looking for a smaller solitary one, Dwarf hamsters if you are looking for an agile hamster.

If you want to buy a pair of hamsters, opt for the dwarf hamsters and introduce them when they are young. Their behavior differs with sex too. Male hamsters are less aggressive than their female counterparts.

There are some countries with special rules about keeping hamsters as pets. For instance, in Hawaii it’s illegal to keep hamsters.

The maximum lifespan for any hamster is 2.5-3 years. Basically, hamsters are not long-term pets. So, if are someone who can’t get over the death of your favorite pet, then hamsters are not for you.

Read: Dying Cat Symptoms: Signs That Show a Cat is Dying

Wrap Up – Getting a Hamster as Pet

We expect now our readers have a better idea about how to pet a hamster.

Once again, we would like to remind, that hamsters are for serious pet lovers. Do proper research about the types of hamsters and their requirements before getting yourself one.

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