Why do hamsters make good pets?

Hamsters become very tame and responsive to careful handling, which means they make excellent pets for children.

What are the most commonly kept hamsters?

With an average lifespan of two to three years, Syrian hamsters are the most popular and widely available, although they must be kept singularly as they will fight with their own kind when they reach maturity, regardless of their sex. As their name suggests, dwarf hamsters (such as Russian or Chinese) are much smaller and can be kept happily in same sex groups – they have a shorter lifespan at an average of eighteen months to two years.

What are hamsters like in their natural habitat?

Hamsters are nocturnal and in the wild they spend their time searching for and nesting materials, using their cheek pouches to store and transport food and bedding back to their home. In a domestic environment, they still often store their food and create hiding places for their larder.

How do I keep my hamster?

You should provide a large cage or glass tank with woodshavings across the base, an area or house with bedding material , a clean sturdy feeding dish (ceramic prevents gnawing!) and a clean water bottle suspended within the cage.

How do I look after my hamster?

All small mammals need regular care and attention, daily feeding (we recommend specialist hamster food which contains essential vitamins and minerals in addition to providing wood gnaws and mineral blocks), fresh water, and cleaning at least once a week.

How do I handle my hamster?

When you take your hamster home you should allow it to settle into its new environment, so it’s best to leave it alone for the first two days before trying to handle it. When you do start to handle your hamster, always bear in mind that he or she may be frightened, so keep the noise to a minimum and handle carefully using cupped hands to support them. Like some humans, hamsters can be scared of heights and may not enjoy being held, but they love being stroked! And it’s always best to start handling whilst sitting on the floor to prevent dropping or jumping injuries.

What equipment and supplies will I need?

For accommodation you’ll need a large cage or tank, with woodshavings on the floor and bedding material

You’ll need a ceramic dish for food (we recommend specialist hamster food which contains essential vitamins and minerals) and a water bottle for fresh water. Your hamster also needs essential minerals so you’ll need to provide a salt lick and mineral stone for them – and like humans, hamsters love treats so be sure to have some handy.

Wood gnaws are good for keeping their chewing tendencies in check, and you should also provide some toys to keep them amused when you’re busy.

Don’t forget your disinfectant for weekly cleaning of your cage or tank and food dish, and a bottle brush for the water bottle.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to have a reference book handy to make sure you’re providing everything your hamster needs.