Hamsters are quite frankly adorable. Their tiny paws, tickly whiskers and big, shiny black eyes are enough to make even the hardest of hearts melt. So it’s not hard to see why loads of people want them as pets. But, take a quick browse through pets for sale on Gumtree, and there are far too many hamsters on there for my liking.
The problem is, even though hamsters are as cute as can be, they aren’t the easiest of pets to look after. There are loads of things to consider before you pop into Pets at Home to pick up a cage and a little furry friend. Remember, a hamster is for life, not just for Christmas!
1. Hamsters are nocturnal
It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t realise that hamsters are nocturnal. They literally sleep ALL DAY and are awake at night. Our little hammy only wakes up at about 9:30 – 10:00pm. If you try and wake them up during the day, they get pretty cross and will probably bite you. Because of this, I don’t think they make very good pets for children because when they want to play with the hamster, the hammy wants to sleep. Not a good combination!
2. They can be noisy
Hamsters need a lot of exercise, which normally means they spend a lot of time running in a wheel overnight. Wheels can squeak and rattle so don’t expect to keep your hammy in your bedroom unless you sleep like the dead!
3. Some have to live alone
Our little munchkin is a Syrian hamster. Although there might have been a few other hamsters in the cage when we bought him, once they reach maturity, they become very territorial and must live on their own. If you put two grown Syrian hamsters in a cage together, they will fight and one or both will get hurt!
4. They aren’t cheap
A good hamster cage, that gives your little friend space to nest in, space to roam around in and enough space for a wheel so they get their exercise in isn’t cheap. It’s important to get a good quality cage because hamsters can easily escape by either squeezing themselves through the bars or chewing through the plastic. We have the OVO cage and it’s great, but our hammy has escaped a few times!
5. They need regular cleaning
Like any small furry that lives in a cage, hamsters need to be kept clean. Syrians tend to wee in the same spot, so their potty area will need to cleaned every couple of days. We give the rest of the full cage a clean out every week or so.
6. They are very stubborn
Our hammy decided to move his nest into his wheel and there was no stopping him until he chewed the wheel right off and we found him under the sofa in the morning. If he wants to sleep somewhere else, he will, and there is no telling him.
7. They need handling regularly
Hamsters are known for being biters, but they normally only bite if they are feeling scared. With the right handling from a young age, they will get used to you and won’t mind you picking them up. But this takes time and maybe a few nips as they learn to understand you’re not a threat! Don’t give up on them if they aren’t your friend immediately.
8. They are amazing pets
There is a reason hamsters are so popular. They’re not just absolutely gorgeous, they are inquisitive and full of life. Watching them run around a ball gives endless hours of amusement and feeding them tit bits for them to chomp on or stick in their pouch is just so cute. They have a lot of love to give, as long as you know how to look after them!
The RSPCA is the best source of information if you’re looking to get a new pet. They have a special section about hamsters and also a guide for other exotic pets on their website that is worth checking out. Whatever pet you get, it’s so important to make sure they are happy and healthy! If you’re unsure about anything, just ask. And don’t forget, adopting pets is just as rewarding. There are thousands of gorgeous creatures out there looking for a home!
Do you have a hamster? I’d love to see a picture!
This post is written in collaboration with the RSPCA #TropicalChronicles.