What is the hamster like?

H amsters are nocturnal rodents, A hamster in captivity is still distinguished by its greater inclination towards activity by night rather than by day. Hence is the hamster handled somewhat reluctantly during the day, as its biological clock recommends sleep at that time of the day, which may lead to a certain grumpyness and a bite or two in case of incautious managing of the animal. Hamsters are indeed antisocial animals and they must be kept singly in order to avoid fights with deadly or injurious outcome. The only occasion at which hamsters may be brought together is in connection to mating, in which overview and readiness to intervention is still required. The rule is then to put the female in the territory of the male hamster. Hamsters are prone to escape and they are very elusive as runaways. Complications such as these are most likely to happen by night. Before the day the hamster then lies down to sleep at some sheltered nook. An important matter as to the hamsters facilities to escape its captivity is its rodent nature. All plastic cages must be kept devoid of weak spots.


T he basic fodder should be lean seeds (not oats), rich in carbonhydrates, with the addition of fresh plant stuff such as vegetables or fruit. Avoid sour fruits and lettuce. Neutral additions of powdered vitamins and minerals may be strewn over the food in recommended amounts. Make sure that the fodder is adapted to the hamster in a sense of size, even though the hamster is a rodent. Concerning the teeth of the hamster single measures should be taken, so that the animal gets a supply of chewy pieces, either usual, unprepared wood, or chewing biscuits or stones specially made and sold in stores for that purpose. The hamster must have a supply of fresh water. Choose a water bottle designed for hamsters. Make sure that the animal learns to drink from the bottle, in case this doesn´t happen by its own initiative you must help it by carefully feeding it with the lip, so that it learns the connection. Without the supply of fresh water the hamster may suffer from constipation. Be consistent in the diet and avoid fast changes. The hamster is not to be fed with sweets, especially not chocolate. Calcium shortage may be prevented by making sure that the animal has access to a mineral stone.

   Diseases of the hamster

T he hamster may be stricken by colds, also by such kinds that otherwise hits humans. For that reason you should be careful about your own hygiene if you in case of cold should have to manage the hamster. If the hamster sneezes and its nose or eyes runs, the cage should be cleaned immediately. Polish the cage extra carefully (not cotton) and place it where it is varm and free from draught. In case the hamster doesn´t recover after a few days, a veterinarian should be contacted. A typical hamster disease is what in English is called “wet tail” with diarrhoea and apathy. This disease may, if nothing is done, lead to the death. The preparation “dry tail”, which is intended to repeal this condition, is sold in hamster shops. The hamster must receive additional liquid to compensate for the loss of liquid caused by the diarrhoea, as well. “Wet tail” could very likely break out because of sudden changes in environment and handling. Young hamsters should not be subject to an excess of sudden managing. Hamsters are sensitive to falling and may never be dropped by an upright standing person.

   Breeds – Syrian hamster

T his breed of hamsters goes by other denotations which often, directly or indirectly, refers to the colour of the fur. The Syrian hamster is the most popular breed of hamsters for pet purposes. The size of a grown animal is 10 to 15 centimeters. They must absolutely be kept separated singly, except at mating. They become about three years of age.

   Breeds – Chinese hamster

T he Chinese hamster has a somewhat longer tail than do many other breeds of hamsters, and it has a slender body, as well, which is why it sometimes is called rat-looking hamster. The popularity of the Chinese hamster as a pet animal is not quite as great as that of the Russian hamster. They become about two years of age and may be kept in groups, as an exception, on condition that the accustomisation for this purpose takes place already when they are young.

   Breeds – Campbells Rusian dwarf Hamster

T his is the dwarf hamster which is appreciated the most in pet animal contexts. The length of a grown animal is 5 to 8 centimeters. Campbells Russian dwarf hamster has fur on paws and tail, as well, and exists with a number of fur colours. This type of hamster may be brought to accept the company of racial brethrens, if the introduction to do so takes place in its early years.

   Breeds – Winter white, Russian dwarf hamster

T his breed of hamsters show many similarities to Campbells Russian dwarf hamster. Its size is in its grown form 5 to 8 centimeters. A number of colours have been bred, but in the winter this hamster changes fur and becomes white. This hamster is usually not liable to mating during this season. By way of exception may these hamsters be accustomed to be included in groups, but these groups may not include other breeds of hamsters.

   Breeds – Roborovski´s dwarf hamster

R oborovski´s dwarf hamster is with a length of about 5 centimeters as full growns, the smallest of all hamster breeds. Its nervousness and insignificant form makes it fast and difficult to manage. These hamsters may by way of exception be accustomed to living in groups, on condition that the accustomisation takes place early. This hamster usually becomes about three years of age.

   Kåre andersson

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