7 Things You Need To Know About Hamsters

Important Hamster Facts

1) Hamsters must NEVER be bathed in water.

Although this seems out of logic, bathing hamsters in water like cats and dogs may potentially kill them. Due to the fact that hamsters are very small animals, they are unable to handle the loss of heat when put in water at room temperature. Even when put in hot water for bathing, it is dangerous as being wet leads to loss of body heat when the water on their fur evaporates. When the loss of heat exceeds the internal heat production of the hamster, it will lead to the hamster going into a state of shock. They will remain very still as if they were dead. Once they are in a state of shock, owners have to dry their hamster with a towel and put heating pads in the hamster cage for it to regain normal body temperature. Bathing the hamster also removes healthy oils secreted by itself. There is no need to clean hamsters as they keep themselves clean. If there are dirty substances present on the fur of the hamster, use a small brush to brush aside the substance.

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2) Syrian hamsters should never be housed together.

Syrian hamsters are characterized as being strictly solitary and territorial, though it may not exhibit such characteristics when young. This is widely known by all owners of Syrian hamsters. Ask any pet store shopkeeper and they will tell you that they have seen at least one hamster killed by a Syrian when housed together. As a matter of fact, other hamster breeds are also known to be anti-social and aggressive. If you do have to house hamsters together, place it with hamsters of the same sex and species as it is shown to be more peaceful that way.

3) Hamster can live in aquariums.

Some owners choose to save cost by housing their hamsters in aquariums that they already have. Some may argue that this is dangerous for their hamster. All animals produce urine which contains ammonia. When the ammonia evaporates, this will damage the hamster’s respiratory system which will lead to pneumonia. The first signs of this would be sneezing and runny eyes. However, hamsters produce very little urine which means that the ammonia produced is very little as well. The development of pneumonia is also possible in cages when it is not cleaned often. If the hamster develops pneumonia, keep the hamster well fed and clean. The vet may prescribe antibiotics to kill off the bacteria.

4) It is important that hamsters are housed comfortably in a cage that is not too small.

Owners must never house their hamsters in a cage that is too small. Even though hamsters are small, the cage needs to be big enough for them to roam around or problems may arise. With small cages, some hamsters may become highly aggressive. It is similar to living in a jail cell. The small cage stresses out the hamster and forces it to be defensive. This means increased biting whenever you get close to it. One very obvious sign that the cage is too small is when the hamster starts biting on its cage more frequently. This behavior shows its desire to escape from its cage. There was an experiment conducted by Gernot Kuhnen on effect of cage size and enrichment on core temperature and febrile response of the golden hamster. It was concluded that cages above 825 cm² and above are more suitable for golden hamsters. Anything lower than 825 cm² would lead to in an increase in body temperature of the hamster which indicates increased stress of the hamster.

5) Not all hamsters are friendly

This may be a shocking fact to many pet owners. The common assumption would be that pets will become friendly and loving towards their owners once tamed. However, this may not be the case as each and every hamster has its own character. Some hamsters prefer to be alone in their cages and dislike their owners playing with them too much, whereas there are other hamsters who crave for their owner’s attention. It is also a common assumption that each hamster breed has their own specific personality. Syrian hamsters are regarded by many to be friendly and loving. The Russian dwarf hamsters are noted to be antisocial and mean hamsters who love biting their owners. These are all myths as all hamsters have their own personalities.

6) Hamsters are not easy to care for and should not be bought as a way to teach responsibility

Although hamsters are smaller than other pets, they may not necessarily be easier for children to take care of. Hamster breeds such as the Syrian hamster are nocturnal and only wake in the early morning. This means that owners will have to sacrifice some sleep for feeding and playing with the hamster. Young children will grow bored of their hamster very quickly if they are always sleeping during the daytime. Furthermore, a pet should never be bought to teach children the value of responsibility. The hamster’s life will be at risk should the child neglect it. There are many other ways to teach a child responsibility without putting innocent lives at risk.

7) Some hamsters are loud

Although hamsters are known to be quiet, there are some exceptional ones who love making noise. Especially in the middle of the night. These hamsters are the ones who are nocturnal and are very active throughout the night until the morning. If you are housing your hamster cage in your room, chances are you will be woken up with the sound of a squeaky hamster wheel moving or the tingling of the water bottle. The easy solution for this will be to house the hamster outside of your room.

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