Most people assume that hamsters are an easy, low-maintenance pet that any kid can take care of. While hamsters might not be as time-intensive as a dog or cat, there are still a lot of things that any prospective hamster owner should know before taking their new pet home. Here are some important facts about hamsters to consider before deciding to pick one up from the pet store.
1. Hamsters are nocturnal.
If you are a night owl, a hamster might be the perfect pet for you. Hamsters are naturally active during the evening hours and sleep during the day. If you are like most people and sleep during the night, make sure that you are prepared for a noisy hamster to keep you up at night until you get used to the commotion. Don't think that you can just retrain your hamster's sleep cycle, either; trying to change a hamster's sleep cycle might be possible, but it does not usually last and it can lead to depression in your pet.
2. Hamsters have a small lifespan.
Hamsters have an extremely short lifespan; they only live for two to three years on average. If you or your child is someone that gets extremely attached to pets, it can be very difficult to lose your hamster after only two years. Make sure you are prepared for this quick loss, even if you take the best possible care of your hamster.
3. Hamsters are solitary creatures.
Many small rodents, like rats and guinea pigs, are pack creatures who like to have friends with them in their cage. Hamsters are very different in that regard. Hamsters prefer to be alone; they do not get along with other hamsters. If you put multiple hamsters in the same cage, they will likely fight and might even attempt to eat each other! If you want to own multiple hamsters, make sure that they each have their own cage.
4. You must interact with your hamster frequently to bond.
Hamsters are not exactly known for their spectacular memory; if you want your hamster to remember you, you must try to handle it every day. Otherwise, your hamster might perceive you as a predator and bite. Your hamster might also bite you if you move suddenly when trying to pick it up; gently lower your hand into the cage when you are ready to handle your hamster so that it is not startled. Try not to let strange people handle your hamster to reduce its stress level.
5. Your hamster's teeth need constant care.
Unlike human teeth, hamster teeth are constantly growing. Your hamster will need an object that it can chew on, such as a wooden block, to grind down its teeth. Make sure you buy one that is especially made for hamsters so that you know the material is safe for your pet. If your hamster is not chewing properly and you notice that its teeth grow exceptionally long, take it to the vet. Your vet can trim your hamster's teeth to the correct levels.
6. A hamster ball can be dangerous.
A hamster ball is a popular toy used by hamster owners, and it can be a good way to give your hamster more exercise. However, you should be very careful when you use it. Never use a hamster ball if there are other animals, such as cats and dogs, in the same room as the ball. Seeing these animals can be extremely stressful for your hamster. Also, be careful if you have children around the hamster ball. If the children kick or push the ball, it can also stress out or even injure your pet hamster.
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