A colorful group of Syrian hamsters for sale at a pet fair last Sunday, with a bonus pic of Russian dwarfs.

Cute, affectionate and curious, hamsters have become popular pets with people of all ages. Their small size means they can be kept in a cage that takes up very little space. This means that hamsters can be kept even in small apartments. They have a life expectancy of 2-3 years. The most popular breeds are Syrian hamsters and Russian dwarf hamsters.




They are active at night and sleep during the day. If you are a light sleeper, the sound of the hamster wheel may keep you from sleeping. It is therefore better not to put the cage in the bedroom. Hamsters are most suitable for children aged 8 and above. Younger children should only handle them under adult supervision.

They can bite if they feel threatened or if woken up. As they are quite territorial, especially the Syrian hamster, only one hamster should be kept in a cage. The cage should be equipped with a running wheel and tunnels so they can move around and have an enriched environment. Make sure the tubes are wide enough so the hamster cannot get tangled in them. The running wheel should be large enough so your hamster does not arch its back when using the wheel. The running wheel should be stable and not made of metal, as this can lead to injuries.

Hamsters clean themselves and have no odor. They normally use a corner of the cage to pee. If this hole is cleaned daily, you won’t smell any odor. If you notice your hamster’s odor, it’s time to clean the cage. You can use wood shavings (not pine or cedar shavings) or wood pellets as bedding. Add hay or hamster wadding for their sleeping nest. They do not tolerate heat well. A temperature above 22 degrees Celsius is dangerous for their health. In warmer climates such as the United Arab Emirates, it is best to keep them in an air-conditioned room, but not directly under a fan.

Their diet consists of grains, occasional vegetables as a treat and some grass hay. They are known to hide their food, so you should check the cage for vegetable scraps. It is best to use ceramic food as they tend to nibble on plastic or wood. You can attach a drinking bottle to the outside of the cage as a water trough, but a ceramic bowl filled daily with fresh water is also suitable. If you use a bowl, you should change the water regularly as it can become contaminated by the bedding and food. Ask about recommended food and feeding accessories.

Hamsters come in a variety of colors, from light peach to black. There are also hamsters with long and straight hair. They groom themselves, so they should only be groomed if they are long-haired to avoid matting. As with all rodents, hamsters’ teeth are constantly growing to keep them in good condition. You should give hamsters chew toys, fruit and hay, which are their favorite snacks.



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