Did you decide to buy yourself a little fluffy hamster friend? What do you need to know about this animal before you buy it?
Two of the most popular domestic hamster breeds
Winter white dwarf (Dzungarian) hamster
It is a fast charming baby with a gray top and a light, almost white, abdomen. Along the back – a thin black “strip”. The feet are covered with thick and short white fur, for which these hamsters are called mossy legs. Adult Winter hamster size with a large mouse, but thicker and has a more rounded shape. The weight of the animal is 20, sometimes 30-40 grams.
The Syrian hamster
The Syrian hamster is bigger. It is approximately twice as small as an adult rat, weighs 130-180 grams. It is also called Golden: wild animals and many domestic specimens are colored red on top. A variety of color variations have been bred in the cages: black, pale, brown, mottled… Funny long-haired hamsters are not a separate species – they are just a mutation of a domestic Syrian hamster. Such “shaggy” mutants are found in rabbits, cats, goats. It happens that all of them are called “angora”. Angora hamsters have the same range of wool dye as smooth hair ones.
Very often hamsters are bought as a gift for children. A fluffy cute creature with a thick calf, small legs, and a short tail looks like a living soft toy. But it is selfish to buy a hamster for fun, not knowing its peculiarities and needs. Provide the animal a prosperous being, then living in your home will not be hard captivity for it.
Character and behavior of the hamsters
In nature, the Golden hamsters lead a solitary life, furiously protecting their territory and mink from their fellow citizens. Only the young do not fight, but starting from 5_6 weeks of age they quickly spoil their character. In captivity adults “Syrians” are kept one by one, periodically mating male and female, if breeding is planned. Moreover, the female should be allowed on the territory of the male, because on someone else’s property she is not as aggressive as on her own. And, of course, at these moments you should prevent females from attacking the male and fighting.
Winter white dwarf hamsters in the wild live in family groups, which means that they can be kept in one cage for several individuals. Ideally, the Winter Hamsters are kept as a pair, settling the older cubs into an individual cage. Keep in mind that the spaces between the bars of the cage must be narrow enough, otherwise, the babies will soon escape. Unlike the Syrian hamster, which, once accustomed to the owner, remains manual and compliant for life, the Winter should be taken in hand every day and fed from hand, otherwise, the animal will again become wild and nervous.
When selecting food should pay attention to the peculiarities of feeding the hamsters in nature. Most of them eat carbohydrate- and fiber-rich and fat-poor plant foods, in case they are willing to catch insects and other small animals. The basis of the diet of the room hamster – cereals mixtures. Vital “building material” for the body is protein. Vegetables and fruits are both sources of vitamins and drinking.
You should not feed hamsters with chocolate, sweets, sticky sweets (they get stuck in the cheek bags of rodents), as well as food containing salt, spices, fats, in particular pasta, salted nuts, fried potatoes. All this is bad for them, although they eat with pleasure.
There is no point in recommending a certain “perfect” diet in grams because the need for food depends on the age, size, individual body properties, and the temperature of the environment. The daily norm is best derived as follows. It is given so much grain and juicy food that by the next morning a little bit left. In this case, you need to check whether the animal stocks and does not refuse any of the ingredients of the food. It will soon be clear to you how much food the animal really needs.
Like many animals, hamsters have their own individual passions.
The main hamster diet is the seeds of plants that do not contain too much fat (millet, oats, wheat, corn). Kernel mixture for wavy parrots is also suitable. Hamsters are very fond of sunflower seeds, hemp and various nuts, which is not very good for their “figure” and intestines, focused on the fat-poor food. Therefore, such food in the diet should not be enough.
Part of the grain feed can be replaced by well-dried, mildew-free white bread or bread with bran. Some animals are happy to eat oat oatmeal flakes. Others prefer a variety of extruded food, pellets and hard “sausages” sold in pet stores: they are nutritious, provide the necessary work of the teeth and in addition, serve as entertainment for hamsters.
An important addition to the grain mixture – fruits (apples, hard varieties of pears), vegetables (carrots, red beet, cucumbers, corn in immaturity, zucchini) and herbs (cauliflower, dandelion, clover leaves). You should not treat the beast to fruits containing a lot of acids, in particular citrus fruits and kiwi. Onions, garlic and white cabbage cause abdominal bloating. However, in the diet of the animal, which turned 12 weeks old, a little cabbage will not hurt. It is not recommended to give frozen and boiled vegetables.
Winter hamsters willingly eat quality (green and fresh) hay.
Flour worm and crickets, used as food for terrarium animals, for rodents at the same time a delicacy and an excellent source of protein.
It is necessary to make sure that both insects and perishables, and pieces of vegetables in the hamster cage do not stay un-eaten for more than a day. Having eaten spoiled food, the animal may get sick.
For grinding teeth and just as food hamsters are regularly given fresh branches of linden, birch, willow, aspen and fruit trees. This food should be clean, and it should be collected away from the car roads.
With a varied diet, any vitamin preparations in the diet are unnecessary. If there is a lack of vitamins, hamsters are offered dandelion leaves and sprouted grains of oats and wheat. It is absolutely unacceptable to give animals highly concentrated complex vitamins intended for humans.
Live hamsters, depending on the species and heredity, two or three years, less often – up to three and a half years.