Should You Have A Hamster As A Pet?

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The cute, small, inquisitive bundle of fur known as a hamster may be a tempting pet, but is it the right pet for you?

If you are a light sleeper who awakens at every little sound then you may not want a hamster as a pet. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures so they will be running on their wheel, playing and making noises through the night.

Many people think because hamsters are so small they make the ideal pet for a child, but this may not be the case at all. Hamsters need a gentle touch so they probably are not a good pet to have for very young children. In fact, children under 8 may not have the motor skills and restraints necessary for handling a hamster and may squeeze or drop it. Rough handling by a child may cause the hamster to bite.   Children may startle a sleeping hamster when they want it to play. Startling the hamster can also result in the child being bit.

Hamsters may carry salmonella which is an intestinal bacteria causing illness which is usually, but not always, short term.

There are several different types of hamsters. Some can be housed together as same sex couples or groups if they are combined when young. Other types of hamsters need to be housed alone. Hamsters will fight each other to the death and some hamsters will kill and devour their young.

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The most popular type of hamster as a pet is the Syrian hamster also called Teddy Bear or Golden hamsters. These hamsters need to be housed alone.

When you consider buying a hamster you need to consider cost. Owning a hamster is not cheap.

In the beginning you will need to purchase an aquarium or cage or habitat. You need the space in your home to set up the housing unit for the hamster. Since it will sleep all day and be up all night a quiet spare room could work well.

Then you need to purchase nesting materials, exercise wheel, water bottle, toys, food and treats. In addition to the supplies you need to consider the cost for visits to the vet for your hamster.

Hamsters will be content to entertain themselves for long periods of time with proper housing, food and toys. They do need to be handled and have interaction on a daily basis in order to be happy and well adjusted.

The hamsters housing will need to be thoroughly cleaned each week. Their bathroom area will need daily cleaning. They nesting materials may need changing more often then just weekly.

Try cleaning the housing, feeding and handling the hamster in the late afternoon or evening after the hamster has awakened so he will not be too cranky.

If you decide to purchase a hamster as a pet be prepared for a commitment of two and one half to three years as this is the normal life span for the hamster.