How to look after a hamster by Vivek Patel
The most common and largest type of hamster is the Syrian hamster, also known as the golden hamster. These are naturally solitary and will fight if you try to keep them in pairs or groups – breeders have to be careful to introduce mating pairs only when the female is in season. If you want a Syrian hamster, only keep one! Dwarf hamsters grow to about 8cm and enjoy company of their own kind but it’s best to keep a pair or group of females as males tend to fight. Never mix species. Ideally your new hamster should be between four and eight weeks old and bought from a responsible breeder or good pet shop. Hamsters in pet shops should have clean, good-sized accommodation and access to food and fresh water. In the wild hamsters live in burrows in the ground. Home life
The ideal home for a Syrian hamster is a large wire cage with a plastic base no smaller than 60cm x 30cm floor space, by 30cm tall. Hamsters love climbing on different levels so a cage even taller than this is better but be careful not to make it too high in case they fall and hurt themselves. Wood should be avoided as it absorbs urine and quickly becomes smelly and unhygienic. Dwarf hamsters can squeeze through small places so are best kept in a tank or aquarium no smaller than 60cm x 30cm floor space, by 30cm tall. The tank needs a securely fitted wire lid to allow ventilation and stop them escaping. Dust-extracted bedding is good for all types of hamsters. Hamsters can be litter-trained, which helps to keep their cage cleaner. Dwarf hamsters need beds deep enough to allow them to burrow. You should also provide shredded paper or dry peat as nesting material. Avoid fluffy bedding that could wrap around a hamster’s limbs and cause stomach problems if eaten. Make sure your hamster’s home is away from draughts, sunlight and direct heat. Cages must be cleaned every week. Food
A commercial hamster mix is a good basis for your pet’s diet. Hamsters...
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