If you are looking for a pet to encourage your children to love animals and, at the same time, make them responsible for the care of a living being, this little friend may be a good choice. Therefore, you will be interested in this detailed information on how to care for a hamster.
When it comes to looking for a pet, the possibilities offered by the animal kingdom are vast. However, the Russian or dwarf hamster is one of the most appreciated, both for its physical qualities and its docile and sociable nature.
Origin and characteristics
Although its main origin is from Russia, specifically to the southwest of Siberia, it can also be found in some regions of Manchuria, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. In its natural habitat it lives in underground galleries and its main shades of fur are brown, gray and white, with a black line on the back and a predominance of white on the belly. Hence, the white Russian hamster blends in with the snow to mislead its predators.
With a short tail and a stocky body, the Russian hamster is small and light, measuring between 7 and 11 centimeters in length and weighing between 35 and 50 grams. In captivity due to the combinations between the colors, shades such as sepia, gray, orange and light gray result.
They are generally docile; therefore, it is advisable to give a hamster as a first pet for children. They tend to sleep a lot during the day and be active at night; This is why we should not disturb them while they sleep, as their temperament can become a bit hostile.
The good thing is that due to its nocturnal nature, you can take advantage of the first hours of the night for children to interact with them and thus stimulate their sociability. On the other hand, equip their cages with a toy that allows them to exercise and, therefore, burn energy.
Another point to keep in mind is that Russian hamsters’ teeth grow throughout their lives, therefore they are always looking to gnaw on something. Therefore, you must have a special toy or a resistant branch for him to do it.
The main thing to maintain the good condition and health of your hamster is to take care of its diet. If you are wondering what hamsters eat, keep in mind that they are omnivores, so you should give them seeds or grains, whether they are corn, sunflower, barley or sorghum. You will also find on the market special preparations presented as food for Russian hamsters.
Sometimes they hunt insects as a supplement to their diet, crickets, grasshoppers or spiders. And, once or twice a week, you can include some pieces of vegetables or fruit such as apple, strawberry, banana and carrot. That yes, that they are raw, well washed and in small pieces.
You must bear in mind that the first three weeks of life they will feed on breast milk, then you introduce solid foods observing how they tolerate them. Also, you should avoid citrus fruits such as tangerines, oranges, limes, and lemons, as well as onions and lettuce, in your diet.
where to have them
Russian hamsters should be kept in a cage or terrarium specially designed for them. Which must have a sufficient extension so that they can move freely and be built in a resistant material that is not plastic, since their ingestion can be the cause of disease. The Russian hamster cage should have a flat surface with horizontal bars not far apart, so that they can climb while exercising at the same time.
You can cover its base with sawdust that is not cedar or pine, changing it frequently to keep the cage very clean and avoid any infection. To do this, you should clean with a non-abrasive disinfectant or mild soap and water.
In hamster cages it is recommended to have only one, because two of the same sex will end up fighting and if you have a partner their reproduction is very fast, apart from the fact that the male usually attacks his young and even eats them.
Within the care of a hamster is to make him exercise. To do this, there are various items designed for you to play, enjoy and exercise at the same time. Among those you can find wheels for hamsters, which must have a smooth floor, of an appropriate size and that are not made of metal to avoid accidents with their legs. Circuits are also a way for them to move and distract themselves safely.
Similarly, a hamster ball is a good alternative, although several precautions must be taken with it. First, its use should not be exceeded for more than twenty or thirty minutes, as it could contribute to the pet suffocating and dehydrating. Likewise, it must meet certain specifications in terms of color, material and design, in order to guarantee the physical health of the animal.
Regarding the question of how long a Russian hamster lives, we can tell you that, if the conditions are the best and the above advice is followed, its life expectancy can be up to two years. Other species can live from three years to six or seven years. The smaller the shorter its longevity. Hence, the Russian hamster does not last long.
However, the main recommendation to achieve a long life and at the same time prevent your Russian hamster from suffering an accident or damage when you take it out of its cage, is to be as attentive as possible to its movements. In the same way, the encounter with another pet that harms it, or that can consume any material or food that is harmful to it, should be prevented. When you put him in any of the toys mentioned, or something else, check him constantly to see his condition and do not leave him in the care of very young children.