What You Must Know Earlier than Contemplating a ‘Pet’ Hamster


Printed September 21, 2016 by PETA. Final Up to date October 20, 2021.

Hamsters are also known as “starter pets,” a dangerous characterization that means that they’ve much less price and fewer wants than different animals and can be utilized as a “studying expertise” for youngsters grappling with accountability for the primary time. This mindset is an instance of speciesism, the misguided perception that one species is extra essential than one other. Hamsters are simply as worthy of respect as you, a dog, or a tiger, and so they have particular wants similar to the remainder of us. There isn’t a such factor as a “starter pet.”

When you’re excited about including a hamster to your loved ones or are already caring for one, listed below are some essential issues to think about:

1. When You Purchase a Hamster, You’re Supporting Merciless Animal Mills

A routine inspection by the U.S. Division of Agriculture revealed that one PetSmart provider reportedly allowed severely pressured hamsters to eat each other and left the stays of the deceased animals in cages.

Once you help pet shops, you’re supporting locations like this horrendous seller, which provides animals to a whole bunch of pet shops throughout the U.S. To study extra, go to PETA’s investigation web page.

Plus, breeding animals to be stored as “pets” has created a homeless-animal disaster: Thousands and thousands of undesirable animals are euthanized yearly for lack of excellent houses. By no means purchase from shops, and all the time undertake animals who’re desperately ready in shelters for a brand new life.


2. Hamsters Want Giant, Safe Houses

Hamsters may be considered by different animals as prey and could also be at risk of getting harmed or killed by different companion animals within the residence if correct precautions aren’t taken. To assist stop animal companions from harming each other, it’s crucial that hamsters have a secure, spacious, and durable enclosure to name residence.

Cages bought at pet shops are woefully insufficient to fulfill a hamster’s distinctive wants. If an enclosure is just too small, the animal can develop “cage rage,” a situation brought on by stress that may result in numerous behavioral points, together with biting, extreme urinating, and constant cage-bar biting that may trigger critical hurt to enamel. Giant hamsters ought to have a minimal of 800 sq. inches of clear ground house, and dwarf hamsters ought to have a minimum of 640. As a result of only a few commercially accessible cages meet these suggestions, we suggest constructing your individual hamster enclosure. When you’re unable to create your individual, an alternative choice is a 75-gallon (or bigger) aquarium with a fitted mesh lid. Hamsters like to discover, so a bigger house will make your hamster happier and more healthy.

Be certain that any barred cage doesn’t have areas bigger than half an inch (for big hamsters) or a quarter-inch (for dwarf hamsters), as they may squeeze by. Hamsters even have the flexibility to flatten their our bodies, and so they can match by very small holes and crevices. They’re simply misplaced and may be troublesome to search out, typically getting injured or killed whereas on the free.

Hamster in a cage


3. It Can Be Tough to Discover a Veterinarian for Your Hamster

A hamster is taken into account an “unique animal” and should be seen by a specialised veterinarian. Many individuals don’t know this, and when their hamster turns into unwell, they aren’t capable of finding an applicable veterinarian of their space, thereby delaying remedy. When a guardian lastly does discover a vet who sees “unique” animals, it’s typically very expensive, which can additionally stop some folks from guaranteeing that their hamster receives correct care.

Rescued hamster Dustin on holiday-themed blanket

4. Hamster Balls and Wheels Are Not All Enjoyable and Video games

Whereas hamsters want to have the ability to play and discover, the well-known hamster toys, the hamster ball and wheel, aren’t designed with the animal’s well-being in thoughts. Each toys are sometimes made too small, inflicting hamsters to arch their again unnaturally. Purchasing for a wheel with a diameter of a minimum of 11 inches (8 inches for a dwarf hamster) could imply shopping for one thing marketed for rats, however it is going to be higher for a hamster’s bodily well-being and might present nice psychological and bodily stimulation.

In contrast to a hamster wheel, which gives a hamster with a secure place to train when the right measurement is used, a hamster ball will not be advisable. Hamsters are simply frightened, as a result of they don’t have the perfect eyesight, and so they use their whiskers to navigate. A hamster separated from sensory data, as in considered one of these balls, is a disoriented animal—and what’s typically perceived by people as enjoyment is greater than probably a panic response. Moreover, hamsters’ legs can turn into caught in a ball’s air holes, resulting in damaged bones. As a substitute of a ball, contemplate a playpen or hamster-proof a room and permit your hamster to train in it below your diligent supervision.

Cute hamster in a tube5. A Lone Hamster Is a Completely happy Hamster

Whereas some animals want associates and companionship, hamsters don’t. A Syrian hamster can bond with a human guardian, however they need to not stay with one other hamster. They’re territorial and can probably struggle. Dwarf hamsters, together with members of the Roborovski, Russian, and Chinese language species, can stay with a companion if launched at a younger sufficient age, however fights can happen regardless of how lengthy they’ve coexisted. As a substitute of adopting one other hamster to maintain yours firm, be your hamster’s buddy—spend time with them every day, cuddling and taking part in exterior of their cage.

6. Hamsters Want Particular Bedding and Nesting Supplies

There are a number of choices for reasonably priced and secure bedding to provide your hamster the house they deserve. Nonetheless, it’s essential to know what’s secure, as even packaging for harmful bedding, akin to pine or cedar shavings, could have a cute photograph of a hamster on the label at a pet retailer. Cat litter, newspaper, and “fluff” bedding also can trigger life-threatening illnesses on your hamster and ought to be averted. Aspen shavings, paper bedding, and hemp are all acceptable selections and might even be blended collectively in a hamster’s enclosure. Your animal can even recognize a small container of sand to wash in.

Bedding depth ought to be between 8 and 12 inches. Hamsters will naturally urinate and defecate in a selected spot, and that space ought to be cleaned weekly. All of the bedding ought to be changed each six months or so, however a handful of used bedding ought to be retained to assist the hamster really feel safe.

7. Hamsters Have a Sleeping Schedule

Hamsters are crepuscular, that means that they’re energetic at nightfall and daybreak, spending daytime and nighttime of their nest. This may be irritating for a guardian who needs to play with their companion throughout daytime hours. Waking a sleeping hamster may be aggravating for them and might immediate them to behave nervously or aggressively. There are legitimate causes to wake a sleeping hamster, simply as there are causes to wake a sleeping human, akin to to manage medication or alter one thing probably hazardous of their atmosphere. Simply wake them with care and warning!


8. Hamsters Are Not ‘Starter Pets’

Though hamsters are small, they nonetheless entail a giant dedication. They require each day care, train, and a focus, similar to different animal companions. How are you going to assist hamsters? Bear in mind, there isn’t a such factor as a “starter pet.” Please additionally by no means purchase an animal from a retailer, and inform family and friends to not, both.

Urge PetCo To Cease Promoting Animals


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