Do you or someone you know own a furry friend called a hamster?
They were first discovered in the Syrian desert about 70 years ago and have gained popularity over the years. They’re cute, small, fluffy, very adaptable to living with their human caretakers and make a fun pet. Let’s take a closer look at these amazing little creatures.
The Cheeky Chum
Other than being the perfect size to fit in your hand, hamsters are also known for their ability to stuff their cheeks full of food. This feature was very handy to have when they lived in the desert and had to travel long distances to find and transport food back to their underground den.
In the wild these rodents like to eat seeds, grasses, fruit and vegetables as well as insects and small lizards. If you keep one as a pet, you would normally feed it a convenient pre-made mixture of hamster seed.
Furry Friend Fact…
…in the wild hamsters burrow up to 2 meters (6.5 ft) deep.
Other features of the hamster include its tiny stubby tail, pointy ears and dark beady eyes. The smallest hamster is the dwarf species at about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) long. The biggest hamster is the common hamster. It measures 34 cm (13 in) long.
Furry Friend Fact…
…hamsters are color blind and can only see about 15.2 cm (6 in) in front of them.
Keeping a Pet Hamster
If you want the enjoyment of keeping a hamster as a pet, you first have to make sure you’re ready for the responsibility. Hamsters need to be kept safe from larger animals and cannot be dropped – so be careful when handling them.
You will need a durable wire or plastic cage or fish aquarium (without the water, of course), water bottle, pine shavings for the bottom, food container and some bedding material. Since hamsters are mostly active in the evening and at night, you will need something for your furry friend to do while you’re asleep. Most cages you purchase will come with a built in wheel your hamster can run on – like a treadmill for rodents. You might also add an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll to his cage. Don’t be surprised, however, if your hamster decides to chew it up. But, don’t worry he’s not swallowing it, just recycling!
Be sure your furry friend has plenty of fresh food and water to drink every day, plus an added treat like carrots, peanuts or even a raisin or two.
Even though hamsters don’t have any body odour, their cages can get quite stinky if left too long, so make it part of your routine to clean out his cage each week. And don’t forget to scrub out the dishes and water bottle, too.
…most hamsters are allergic to cedar.
If you want the fun and experience of having a hamster for a pet, be sure to check with a parent first, then take a trip to your local animal shelter or pet store. Here you’ll find everything you need to be an awesome, responsible pal for this very special creature. With the proper care and lots of love, you’ll have a furry friend that will give you hours of enjoyment!
If you have a hamster leave a comment in this section and tell us all about your very own furry friend. What’s its name? Is it a boy or a girl? You can even draw a picture of your hamster and send it into knowonder. You could be one of our lucky artists that gets your picture on the magazine. Have fun!