Hamster Facts: Know about before adopt them as a pet
Hamsters are native to Syria and these rodents were primarily used for research. With the passage of time, hamsters have become one of the best pets around the world. As they are easy to take care of, hamsters can be a great first pet for children. Hamsters are thick-furred, short-tailed rodents with cheek pouches. They have a chunky body and are secretive burrowers.
Hamsters are nocturnal animal without any significant body odor. They are inexpensive to purchase and relatively maintenance free. Moreover, these adorable rodents are subject to very few health problems that makes it very safe as a pet. Being nocturnal hamsters are active at night when most people stay at home so it can be a wonderful family member. There are basically five types of hamsters that are kept as pets:
i. The Syrian hamster
ii. The Campbells Russian Dwarf hamster
iii. The winter white Russian Dwarf hamster
iv. The Chinese hamster
v. The Roborovski’s hamster
Size: Well, size varies among the 24 species of hamsters. The European breeds which are treated as one of the biggest varieties of hamsters attain a size of around 13 inches. The dwarf hamsters grow around 2-4 inches. While the most common one, the Syrian hamster (also known as golden hamster) usually grows to about 6 inches long.
Habits: As we already know hamsters are nocturnal, it likes to play and search for food at night while remain idle at day. Some hamsters are social while others like to stay solitary. The most common one like the Syrian hamster doesn’t like social life and they are very territorial. On the other hand Dwarf hamsters are social and like to have friends around.
Food: Hamsters usually like to eat seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. A domestic hamster’s food habit is somewhat different than that of a wild one. Captive hamster’s diet should consist of at least 16% protein and 5% fat. Hamsters have pouches in their cheeks that facilitate their food carrying habit. Hamsters carry their food back to its home by fulfilling these pouches so that they can eat it later.
Breeding: Hamsters are fast breeders; they waste no time once two opposite sex put together. The female one becomes pregnant promptly and the gestation period lasts 15-20 days. The litter is blind until 2 weeks. Females tend to have 3-4 babies per year. As hamsters are mammal young litter weans up to 4 weeks. So if you are thinking of captivating hamsters beware of their breeding habit. Normal life span of hamster is one to two years. However, this can be extended up to three years if they are kept domestically.
Others: Hamsters are very poor in eyesight. They use their scent glands on their back to secrete a smell that helps them to find their way back home. They leave a scent trail by rubbing their backs against objects. Hamster’s teeth grow continually (specially the front teeth) and in order to keep teeth in size hamsters always chew on wood or twigs. Although they are very quiet in nature they can bite if they are disturbed during their sleep time.
You will find great pleasure and fun by having a hamster as a pet. Evenings are generally good time for interactive play and joint activity with your domestic hamster. Just be careful while handling your domestic hamster because they are small animals and their bones and muscles are delicate. One safe way to pick up a hamster is to place your hand under the animal and lifting up slowly.
Md Asif Rahman