Revealed September 21, 2016 by . 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 kids grappling with duty for the primary time. This mindset is an instance of speciesism, the misguided perception that one species is extra vital 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 is no such thing as a such factor as a “starter pet.”
When you’re desirous about including a hamster to your loved ones or are already caring for one, listed here are some vital 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.
If you help pet shops, you’re supporting locations like this horrendous vendor, which provides animals to lots of of pet shops throughout the U.S. To be taught extra, go to PETA’s investigation web page.
Plus, breeding animals to be saved as “pets” has created a homeless-animal disaster: Tens of millions of undesirable animals are euthanized yearly for lack of fine houses. By no means purchase from shops, and at all times undertake animals who’re desperately ready in shelters for a brand new life.
2. Hamsters Want Giant, Safe Properties
Hamsters will be seen by different animals as prey and could also be in peril of getting harmed or killed by different companion animals within the dwelling if correct precautions aren’t taken. To assist forestall animal companions from harming each other, it’s crucial that hamsters have a protected, spacious, and durable enclosure to name dwelling.
Cages offered at pet shops are woefully insufficient to satisfy a hamster’s distinctive wants. If an enclosure is just too small, the animal can develop “cage rage,” a situation attributable to stress that may result in varied behavioral points, together with biting, extreme urinating, and constant cage-bar biting that may trigger severe hurt to enamel. Giant hamsters ought to have a minimal of 800 sq. inches of clear flooring area, and dwarf hamsters ought to have at the least 640. As a result of only a few commercially obtainable cages meet these suggestions, we advocate constructing your personal hamster enclosure. When you’re unable to create your personal, an alternative choice is a 75-gallon (or bigger) aquarium with a fitted mesh lid. Hamsters like to discover, so a bigger area will make your hamster happier and more healthy.
Be sure any barred cage doesn’t have areas bigger than half an inch (for giant hamsters) or a quarter-inch (for dwarf hamsters), as they might squeeze by. Hamsters even have the power to flatten their our bodies, and so they can match by very small holes and crevices. They’re simply misplaced and will be tough to search out, typically getting injured or killed whereas on the free.
3. It Can Be Troublesome 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 sick, they aren’t capable of finding an acceptable veterinarian of their space, thereby delaying therapy. When a guardian lastly does discover a vet who sees “unique” animals, it’s typically very pricey, which can additionally forestall some individuals from guaranteeing that their hamster receives correct care.
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. Searching for a wheel with a diameter of at the least 11 inches (8 inches for a dwarf hamster) could imply shopping for one thing marketed for rats, however it will likely be higher for a hamster’s bodily well-being and might present nice psychological and bodily stimulation.
In contrast to a hamster wheel, which offers a hamster with a protected place to train when the proper dimension is used, a hamster ball is just not really useful. Hamsters are simply frightened, as a result of they don’t have the very best eyesight, and so they use their whiskers to navigate. A hamster separated from sensory info, as in one in every 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 develop into caught in a ball’s air holes, resulting in damaged bones. As an alternative of a ball, take into account a playpen or hamster-proof a room and permit your hamster to train in it underneath your diligent supervision.
5. A Lone Hamster Is a Glad Hamster
Whereas some animals want pals and companionship, hamsters don’t. A Syrian hamster can bond with a human guardian, however they need to not dwell with one other hamster. They’re territorial and can probably combat. Dwarf hamsters, together with members of the Roborovski, Russian, and Chinese language species, can dwell with a companion if launched at a younger sufficient age, however fights can happen irrespective of how lengthy they’ve coexisted. As an alternative of adopting one other hamster to maintain yours firm, be your hamster’s buddy—spend time with them every day, cuddling and enjoying exterior of their cage.
6. Hamsters Want Particular Bedding and Nesting Supplies
There are a number of choices for reasonably priced and protected bedding to offer your hamster the house they deserve. Nevertheless, it’s vital to know what’s protected, as even packaging for harmful bedding, similar to pine or cedar shavings, could have a cute picture of a hamster on the label at a pet retailer. Cat litter, newspaper, and “fluff” bedding also can trigger life-threatening illnesses in your hamster and must be prevented. Aspen shavings, paper bedding, and hemp are all acceptable selections and might even be blended collectively in a hamster’s enclosure. Your animal may even respect a small container of sand to wash in.
Bedding depth must be between 8 and 12 inches. Hamsters will naturally urinate and defecate in a particular spot, and that space must be cleaned weekly. All of the bedding must be changed each six months or so, however a handful of used bedding must be retained to assist the hamster really feel safe.
7. Hamsters Have a Sleeping Schedule
Hamsters are crepuscular, which means that they’re energetic at nightfall and daybreak, spending daylight and nighttime of their nest. This may be irritating for a guardian who desires to play with their companion throughout daytime hours. Waking a sleeping hamster will be tense 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, similar to to manage drugs or alter one thing doubtlessly hazardous of their surroundings. 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? Keep 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