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Small, active and currently on everyone’s lips: the hamster. Before buying a hamster, it is advisable to deal with the type of hamster carefully, otherwise there is a risk of a bloody surprise.
With their button eyes they look cute. But they are fist-thick behind their ears. And the saying, « Small but powerful! » Says pretty much everything about this rodent. Hamsters are small, but pose some challenges for owners.
Anyone who thinks they can make the youngster happy by buying a hamster is hard to be wrong. Because – as cute as they are – hamsters don’t like to be carried around and caressed at all. So something for observers and not for clumsy children’s hands.
Loner or group type?
Hamsters are considered loners. The famous golden hamster only meets with a partner for reproduction and otherwise lives solitary, i.e. alone. This must be taken into account, otherwise there may be nasty surprises. The cute little animals fight each other to the blood.
The situation is different for the three Phodopus hamsters. They live in groups. « Keeping these animals individually is therefore not animal-friendly and can lead to pathological, scientifically proven changes that are reminiscent of depression or schizophrenia, » says the Swiss Animal Welfare Bulletin.
Group composition complicated
And again: If you think you can just throw a few Phodopus hamsters together, you’re wrong. The dwarf hamster group composition is difficult. Animal welfare cannot make a recommendation. Try it out and good luck is required. And don’t be too happy, because in many cases « fatal biting among animals occurs after half a year or a year, » the fact sheet says.
And if it is a “mause”, it becomes even more complicated, because “socializing adult animals is extremely difficult”. Hamster purchases should therefore be carefully considered in advance.
Two to three years of joy
If you have dealt extensively with the needs and way of life and I am aware that a hamster is not a children’s toy, but an exciting, small, mostly twilight and nocturnal animal to watch, then you can have a good time after buying the hamster spend with the pet.
However, a hamster will not grace the house as long as a cat or dog, because the life expectancy of the little animals is between two and three years. In nature, hamsters reside in self-dug structures up to one meter deep with aisle systems and several chambers. Unless they are looking for food or a partner. When it gets cold, they retreat to their buildings, feed on the accumulated supplies, and hibernate for two.
Very keen to move
This way of life naturally has an impact on the species-appropriate keeping of hamsters in captivity. Swiss animal welfare recommends an enclosure with an area of at least one square meter and a minimum height of 60 centimeters for the animals who are keen to move. The lower part of the hamster enclosure should consist of at least 50 cm high glass or plexiglass, which is completely filled with litter (small animal litter, hay, straw, undyed household paper).
Another important point is the location of the enclosure. This should be in a quiet, somewhat dark place without direct sunlight. There must be peace during the day. One side should be against the wall and draft must be avoided.
Knots and twigs for teeth
As rodents they need suitable rodent material, i.e. branches and twigs of non-toxic shrubs and trees (hazel, willow, beech, unsprayed fruit trees) in order to wear off their constantly growing incisors. In addition to various hiding places, a sand bath also belongs in a hamster enclosure.
Flat stones on the floor of the enclosure help wear out the claws and with climbing possibilities the space of the enclosure can be used three-dimensionally.
Calf bones as « treats »
Hamsters are omnivores (omnivores). Special feed mixes for hamsters contain grains and seeds (millet, hemp seeds, oat flakes, wheat flakes, barley, rye etc.), animal proteins and dried herbs. The grain mixture should not be offered ad libitum and should be supplemented with vegetables (carrots, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, lettuce) and wild herbs (daisies, plantain).
Hay should always be available. Animal protein (insects, curd, minced meat) should be given to the hamster three to four times a week. Small calf bones, a nut in the shell or millet flasks are suitable as delicacies in between. The little rodents are pretty exciting. If you want to learn more about hamsters, you can find further information here.
Hoarding, also known as hamsters, means storing food, clothing or other consumer goods, equipment and things beyond your own needs or the storage required to compensate for fluctuating availability.