Many people believe that hamsters should not be handled and that they are wild animals. These people believe that too much handling will stress the hamster, which may lead to biting. Hamsters can make great pets for children and adults alike if you are careful to handle them properly. Before you buy a hamster, there are some myths about hamsters that you should look into.
1. Keep Hamster in Big Cage
It is a myth about hamsters that they should be kept in small cages because of their small size. Yet, it’s not good for hamsters because they need a large area to roam and burrow. Therefore, hamsters need larger cages.
The minimum floor space size for dwarf hamsters is 70 cm by 40 cm, whereas the minimum floor space size for Syrian hamsters is 80 cm by 50 cm. Larger cages do not get dirty every week as they typically need cleaning after every 6 to 8 weeks. In contrast, small cages need cleaning every week.
There are also acrylic-oriented cages that look attractive but do not give ample space to hamsters for moving around. Despite having multiple floors, they are not good for them.
2. Need of a Partner
Hamsters are solitary animals and they do not need a partner. Keeping two or more hamsters in a cage will result in stress and discomfort. Before placing more than one hamster in a single cage, you should remember that one hamster prefers being alone. However, different breeds have their own characteristics.
As a general rule, Syrian hamsters are monogamous and pair bonds are formed after one year of breeding. In addition, they have no seasonal changes in their mating behavior. Likewise, conformation and activity patterns also vary across different breeds of hamsters and between sexes. Thus, if your hamster requires breeding, start by introducing a partner to the cage.
3. Scented Bedding
Many hamster bedding and substrate are available on markets but these items are harmful to the rodent’s health as they contain pine and cedar substrates. These substrates are harmful to animals and can cause allergies in humans too. Scented bedding also entails these features that result in respiratory issues.
In addition, unscented and minimal colored bedding should be preferred for hamsters that should possess softness and a thick structure. Moreover, a minimum of 10 cm to 15 cm unscented paper bedding should be placed in the hamster’s cage. You can also use paper cat litter as the base layer to control the smell.
4. Small Hamster Wheels Are Better
Being small energetic creatures, hamsters need exercise wheels to run. But these wheels should not be small-sized. Large wheels give the hamsters comfort and safety to run with a straight back. In contrast, small wheels result in permanent spine injury of hamsters. On the other hand, the wheel’s diameter for dwarf hamsters should be at least 21 cm and 27cm for a Syrian hamster.
5. Hamster’s Don’t Need to See a Veterinarian
As hamsters grow old, there are high chances of health problems. In such cases, they require medical treatment rather than home treatment. Common diseases include lumps, wet tails, Pyometra, kidney disease, pneumonia and various infections. If the hamster isn’t taken good care of, it can get sick or die.
This myth has been passed down from one generation to the next and has caused health issues and problems.
6. Hamsters Are Good Playmates
Only a few people know that hamsters sleep all day and wake up only late at night till early morning. Therefore, if you are looking for your child’s playmate, hamsters are not a convenient choice. However, hamsters should be supervised throughout the day as they get scared easily and may cause damage if left alone.
7. Hamsters Are Herbivores
Hamsters are naturally omnivores and feed on fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables as well as meats. They also eat insects and animal flesh if found in their habitat. During their time in cages, hamsters are given a diet that is mainly based on seeds. However, they also prefer other smaller creatures that they can find in it.
You can teach them to eat vegetables by mixing them with the seeds, but some might never get used to eating veggies or other types of food.
8. Maintaining A Hamster is Inexpensive
Like other pets, hamsters require some amount of grooming. Brushing hairs, keeping nails clean and a cloth-oriented bath keeps them clean and hygienic. These creatures also have difficulty climbing down from the cage, which propels the owner to have a wheeled container for easy maneuvering and transport. Also, they don’t accept watery food but prefer dry treats or high protein content pellets.
The above-mentioned myths are nothing but a lack of knowledge about hamsters and need to be avoided. Hamsters can make great pets, but only if you train them properly. Thus, if you have a pet hamster and want to keep it healthy, you may go for nursing care and bedding.