A brief introduction to Hamsters, the most popular type of small pet in the UK.

About Hamsters

Hamsters are nocturnal and will be most active at night. Hamsters are prone to biting if disturbed or startled during the day. They should be handled at an early age to become used to human contact. Hamsters are not suitable pets for young children and should be supervised when handling. Hamsters can live up to three years of age.

Types of hamster kept as pets and their community needs

The Syrian or Golden Hamster is the most common breed, it is the largest breed of Hhamster and it should be kept on its own. Two Syrian Hamsters together will fight. Russian (or dwarf) Hamsters and Chinese Hamsters however like company. You can place a pair of the same sex together but do not mix species.

Housing your Hamster

Russian and Chinese Hamsters are very small and can easily escape so are best housed in an aquarium fitted with a wired lid, Syrian Hamsters can be housed in a large wire cage. Bedding can consist of sawdust or shavings. You should also provide shredded paper as nesting material. Cages should be changed and cleaned at least once a week.

Feeding your Hamster

A good quality Hamster mix is ideal and small amounts of fruit and vegetables can be added as well. Beware of giving too much fruit and vegetables as Hamsters are hoarders and uneaten food will decompose in bedding. Hamsters also hoard food in their cheek pouches. Fresh drinking water should be available to your pet at all times.

The importance of exercise to your Hamster

Hamsters are active during the night. They love to climb and ledges make an ideal play station. They will appreciate cardboard tubes to run through and chew on.

The need of your pet Hamster to gnaw

As is the case with other rodents, a Hamster’s teeth grow continually. This growth needs to be kept under control by allowing your Hamster to able to wear down its teeth, so chew sticks should be provided for your Hamster.