Pet hamsters come in a wide variety of colours such as the Syrian Hamster and even sizes, given the advent of dwarf hamsters such as the Russian Hamster and Roborovski Hamster. They are all primarily nocturnal but some types can also be active during the day.
The different types exhibit different behaviors, some are more amenable to handling while some are more likely than others to bite on occasion and several types are best kept separately so a little research is worthwhile if you are considering one of the lesser-known varieties.
The main concern with many hamsters, especially the larger types, is to keep them active when they are awake and not to overfeed them as they will become obese which is dangerous to their health and will shorten their lives considerably.
Longer-haired varieties need grooming with a brush while even the short-haired breeds moult and so are best wiped down regularly with a slightly damp cloth to remove loosening and dead hair.
Commercial hamster food, whether in mix or pellet form, should be supplemented with small pieces of apple or green vegetable and this will be satisfactory. Supplements of vitamin or mineral can be added to the fruit when required.
From this standpoint hamsters are low-maintenance but care must be taken to check that food has been eaten and not simply hidden away in the bedding as hamsters tend to do, as it may rot and/or lead to infection.
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Plastic cages or wire cages with plastic additions that simulate tunnels are enjoyed by pet hamsters. If using plastic, these parts should be checked regularly to make sure that the hamster hasn’t chewed through fastenings. Syrian hamsters in particular have this tendency.
The other drawback with all-plastic cages is that they do allow more build-up of condensation and heat. Their advantages include better protection from draughts and they also retain all the bedding that might escape other forms of cage.
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In addition to the traditional hamster wheel which is a hamster’s case is better being of the more enclosed variety with at least one solid side, it is a good idea to include other entertainment for your pet hamster to encourage exercise.
Various forms of “cage within a cage” in the forms of plastic tube combinations which can be changed into new shapes periodically or nest-like toys allow your pet to be curious and/or burrow if he is of the appropriate type.
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