Hamsters have been thought of a preferred pet for ages—particularly throughout childhood. Even when you did not have one in your house, you might need had one as a classroom pet, or fondly bear in mind Dewey’s pet hamster Bernard from Malcolm within the Center. However regardless of their constant reputation, hamsters might not really be the perfect pet selection for everybody. In reality, this fluffy and lovely creature really has a darkish aspect that might make you assume twice earlier than taking one in. Learn on to search out out the primary cause you should not get a pet hamster.
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Hamsters had been already a preferred pet selection when most of us had been rising up, however their demand has skyrocketed of late. Los Angeles resident Samantha Slaven-Bick advised MarketWatch in January that when she went searching for a hamster for her 11-year-old son in the summertime of 2021, she realized she was removed from the one one. “Everybody needed one throughout COVID,” Slaven-Bick advised the information outlet, explaining that she needed to go to 4 pet shops to search out any hamsters in inventory.
This elevated demand for hamsters is in keeping with the latest rising reputation of small animals as pets. A survey from the American Pet Merchandise Affiliation (APPA) discovered that 6.2 million households personal not less than one small animal as a pet as of 2021—which was up from 2019 by a whopping 800,000 households. Based on the affiliation, 27 p.c of these 6.2 million households personal a hamster, which equates to about 1.5 million American houses having this tiny rodent as a pet, per MarketWatch.
Many households think about hamsters to be a superb newbie pet for his or her kids to have earlier than they decide to a dog or a cat. They’re usually considered as low-maintenance, cheap, and never harmful. Jennifer Shepherd, DVM, a veterinarian and proprietor of Cloquet Animal Hospital in Northern Minnesota, defined the recognition of hamsters as pets for youngsters in her “Ask Dr. Jenn” column with Pet Guarantee.
“Hamsters are lovely with their fluffy haircoats, huge tooth, and large puffy cheeks. Teddy bear hamsters are particularly widespread with children, as a result of as their title implies, they appear to be miniature teddy bears,” she wrote. “They appear straightforward to maintain and pretty low upkeep. The pet retailer in all probability even has a starter package, full with a cage with tunnels, a hamster wheel, a water bottle, meals, and bedding—the whole lot it is advisable to make your new pet really feel at house.”
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Regardless of their reputation amongst households, Shepherd defined that she really doesn’t “suggest hamsters as a pet for younger kids.” Considered one of her fundamental causes? They “are recognized to chew,” she wrote.
Daniel Jackson, an animal behavioral specialist and the CEO of Pet Lover Man, tells Finest Life that is one thing many individuals fail to understand earlier than they determine to go forth and get a hamster.
“It is easy to overlook that hamsters are rodents and identical to different rodents, they prefer to chew. It is of their nature and is definitely wholesome for them to take action,” Jackson says. So far as he is involved, this can be a main cause why “hamsters usually are not good pets for youngsters, no matter widespread perception.”
Hamsters development to depend on scent and style to search out their means round as a result of they’ve poor eyesight, in keeping with Jackson. So if you happen to or your youngster put your hand of their cage, they’re prone to chew you. “This can most certainly damage as a result of their sharp tooth,” Jackson warns. And as soon as they’ve bit down, they are not prone to let go—which might depart you “bleeding and squealing in ache,” in keeping with Shepherd.
“Hamsters are recognized to chew when they’re disturbed or startled,” Shepherd additionally defined. These creatures are literally nocturnal, in order that they’re usually startled out of their sleep in the midst of the day—resulting in destructive penalties. “Children are sometimes excited to play with their new hamster and present him off to their mates after faculty, however that is prime sleeping time, and your little hamster is not going to hesitate to chomp down on a finger together with his sharp little tooth when he’s woke up,” she added.