Jan 062012
 

So you’re thinking about bringing home a new pet hamster. Congratulations! Hamsters make great pets. They are absolutely the cutest and cuddliest little animals around. They are clean, they like to play and run, and they have very short tales, so you won’t mistake them for a rat or mouse.

For adults, they are an easy to care for and inexpensive pet to have around. For children, being a hamster owner can be a great learning experience. (Just don’t forget that an adult is ultimately responsible.)
Hamster

 

Below are the most important things you should know to be sure you’re going to be a great hamster owner.

Know a Few Hamster Facts

You need to know there is more than one type of hamster. There are Syrians, which are the most common, and dwarves. There are different kinds of Syrians such as Teddy Bears and Goldens. For dwarves, there are Roborovskis and Russians. Read Types of Hamsters for more information. You’ll want to pick a type of hamster that most appeals to you.

Another key fact that people don’t think about is that hamsters are nocturnal. That is, they like to play in the evening and will sometimes run in their cages in the middle of the night. If the new hamster owner is a light sleeper, this could be a problem. Some light sleepers get around this issue by moving the hamster to a different location when they go to bed. But it’s certainly something to think about.

Finally, the typical hamster lifespan is about 2 to 3 years. That means that eventually the hamster is going to pass away. Whoever owns the hamster needs to know this so they can be prepared to deal with their hamster dying.

Know About Creating a Great Hamster Habitat

Can you make your hammy happy? To do that, you’ll have to know about the environment in which it’s going to live.

Cage Types: As there are different types of hamsters, there are also different types of hamster cages. There are wire cages, plastic cages, and combination wire and plastic cages. You can even use an aquarium as a hamster cage. To choose a hamster cage, you need to consider the pluses and minuses of the different types of cages before you even buy your hamster. For more information about choosing hamster cages read Consider These When Buying Hamster Cages: Size, Security, Sanitation. hamster cage

Cage Sizes: Your Syrian or pair of dwarf hamsters need room to exercise and play. Hamster cages come in different sizes from small to large. Know the different sizes so you can plan on a cage that’s going to be large enough for your hamster and everything you’re going to put in the cage.

Hamster bedding, food, and water: All hamster cages will require bedding, food, and water. It’s best to learn about the different types of bedding available because choosing the wrong type can harm your hamster. For example, pine or cedar wood shavings are not recommended, but Aspen wood shavings are OK. hamster bedding

You also need to look into the makeup of the different types of hamster food. Feeding your hamster treats all the time can make them ill. Hamster food will also include fresh vegetables to keep your hamster healthy.

And you’ve always got to provide your hamster with water which means you’ll have to be sure a water bottle is always within reach of your hamster.

Hamster exercise: Hamsters need to run and be active. An exercise wheel is a necessity in any hamster cage. Buy the type that’s large enough for your hamster and won’t hurt his or her feet. Hamster tubes also let hamsters get exercise. Think about where you can place these colorful plastic tubes – either inside the cage or create a maze outside the cage. hamster tubes

Cleaning: The most important thing you have to know about the hamster habitat is that you’re going to have to clean it, probably weekly. This is an important job because a dirty cage can give your hamster different infections. So keeping a clean hamster cage is a big responsibility that any hamster owner must sign up for.

Know About Hamster Health Issues

One part of keeping your hamster healthy is watching out for illness. Hamsters can be prone to different types of infections. The most common is wet tail, but they can also get respiratory or skin infections. You should know a little about each of these so that you know what signs to look for to know if your hamster is getting sick.

Another part of having a healthy hamster is playing with it. Although your hamster will be a little frightened when you first bring him or her home, you can learn to tame your hamster so that it enjoys playing in your hands as well as with exercise balls. But taming your hamster may take time, so you must learn patience to be a good hamster owner.

Key Questions

Bringing home a hamster means you are making a commitment to care of your pet. You want to learn as much as possible before hand so that you can be prepared to be a good pet owner. In return your hamster will give you hours of fun and put a lot of smiles on your face.

Here is a summary of the key question you should ask to be sure you’re going to be a responsible hamster owner.

  • What type of hamster is right for me?
  • What type of cage is right for my hamster?
  • Is the cage large enough for my hamster?
  • Have I gotten bedding, food, and water for my hamster?
  • Have I gotten exercise wheels, tubes, or toys to keep my hamster active?
  • Am I prepared to keep my hamster’s cage clean?
  • Am I familiar with hamster health issues?
  • Am I prepared to check on my hamster’s health?
  • Will I put time aside to play with my hamster?

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Nov 182011
 

If you have a healthy hamster, he or she will be with you for around 2 to 3 years. So when naming your hammy, you want a name that you’ll enjoy saying for all that time.

Hamster Naming Tips

  • Hamsters don’t usually respond to their names like cats and dogs, so the name should be one you like to say or has special meaning for you.
  • Hamster names should be short, usually one or two syllables. Of course, if you like saying “Mr. Bojangle Diggerbottom,” go for it!
  • You can use a cute name or a simple name, but try to give a male hamster a “boy” name and a female hamster a “girl” name. Unless you want to explain why you did it every time someone meets your hamster.
  • Give your hamster a name as soon as you get him or her. You don’t want someone else to call your hamster something like “Blob,” and having it stick. (Unless you like Blob!)
  • Once you give your hamster a name, stick with it. It’s hard enough to get a hamster to respond to a name. If you start changing the name, your hammy will just get confused.
  • Be creative! It’ll be fun for you and your friends will have a good time trying to guess how you came up with the name.

Picking a Hamster Name

What name should I have?

Here are some ways you can decide on your hamster’s name.
Click on each method to get some sample names.

The color of your hamster
What your hamster looks like
How your hamster behaves
Your hamster’s personality
Foods
Flowers
Gems
TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Boys)
TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Girls)
Variations on “hamster”
Combination hamster names (For people who have 2 dwarf hamsters)

If none of these ideas work for you, you can try:

  • Baby naming books
  • Sports stars
  • Words associated with an activity or hobby you like
  • Making up a wild and crazy name

Colors

  • Brownie
  • Cappuccino
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut
  • Copper
  • Ebony
  • Ginger
  • Goldie
  • Hershey
  • Honey
  • Marble
  • Mocha
  • Nutmeg
  • Oreo
  • Rusty
  • Silver
  • Slate
  • Smokey

What your Hamster Looks Like

  • Boots
  • Bright Eyes
  • Butterball
  • Cheeky
  • Chubby
  • Cuddles
  • Dust bunny
  • Fluffball
  • Fluffy
  • Furball
  • Fuzzy
  • Grizzly
  • Munchkin
  • Patches
  • Peewee
  • Pinkie
  • Pudge
  • Scruffy
  • Shaggy
  • Snowball
  • Spotty

How Your Hamster Behaves

  • Chewie
  • Chips
  • Chomper
  • Cuddles
  • Frisky
  • Kissy
  • Nibbler/Nibbles
  • Nipper
  • Peppy
  • Sassy
  • Scooter
  • Squeaker
  • Squeezy
  • Squiggly
  • Squirmy
  • Twister
  • Wiggler
  • Ziggy
  • Zippy

Your Hamster’s Personality

  • Dazzle
  • Devil
  • Flash
  • Happy
  • Houdini (if he’s always trying to escape)
  • Peppy
  • Precious
  • Sparkle
  • Sweetie
  • Twinkle

Foods

  • Berry
  • Biscuit
  • Blueberry
  • Caramel
  • Cheerio
  • Cookie
  • Cupcake
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow
  • Pancake
  • Peachy
  • Peanut
  • Pickle
  • Pumpkin
  • Shortcake
  • Sprite
  • Strawberry
  • Sugar
  • Twinkie

Flowers

  • Dandelion
  • Iris
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lily
  • Magnolia
  • Rose
  • Sunflower
  • Violet

Gems

  • Amber
  • Diamond
  • Emerald
  • Jade
  • Opal
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz

TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Boys)

  • Bert
  • Caspian
  • Charlie
  • Chester
  • Edmund
  • Elmo
  • Ernie
  • Frodo
  • Garfield
  • Harry
  • James
  • Julian
  • Nate
  • Neo
  • Pete
  • Pooh Bear
  • Ralph
  • Stuart
  • Ulysses

TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Girls)

  • Charlotte
  • Coraline
  • Dora
  • Eloise
  • Harriet
  • Hermione
  • Julie/Juliet
  • Lucy
  • Madeline
  • Miss Piggy
  • Pippi
  • Sheila

Variations on “Hamster”

  • Ham Ham
  • Hambone
  • Hamish
  • Hamlet
  • Hammie
  • Hammy
  • Hampa
  • Hampstaa
  • Hampton
  • Hampy

Combination Hamster Names

Based on Food

  • Bubble & Squeak (for you Brits in the audience)
  • Kit & Kat
  • Mac & Cheese
  • PB & J
  • Peanut & Butter
  • Pepper & Chili
  • Sugar & Spice
  • Veg & Mite (for you Aussies in the audience)

Couples/Characters from TV/Books/Movies

  • Barbie & Ken
  • Bart & Lisa
  • Batman & Robin
  • Beauty & Beast
  • Bert & Ernie
  • Hansel & Gretal
  • Harry & Sally
  • Lady & Tramp
  • Pinky & The Brain
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • Tarzan & Jane
  • Tigger & Piglet
  • Tweedledee & Tweedledum
  • Yogi & Booboo

Popular Couples

  • Brad & Angie
  • Pricilla & Elvis

Popular Expressions

  • Devil & Angel
  • Hugs & Kisses
  • Ruff & Reddy
  • Thunder & Lightening
  • Yin & Yang
  • Zig & Zag

For information about picking the right hamster read Tips for Choosing a Healthy Hamster.


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Nov 132011
 

Maybe your hamster has finished his or her time here and gone on to Hamster Heaven. Or maybe you’re thinking about getting a hamster as a present for your kids.

You probably want the new hamster to be the cutest little hammy in the bunch. But all hammies are cute! What you want is a cute and healthy hamster.

Here are some tips to consider when you’re ready to choose a hamster:

Get a hamster that’s not too old or young.

  • Ask for a hamster that is about 5 or 6 weeks old. Hamsters that are too young can get overstressed and become ill when being moved to a new hamster cage in a new environment. Older hamsters can make good pets but may have trouble adjusting to a new home if not handled gently and carefully.

Inspect the cage the hamster is being kept in.

  • Is the cage clean and well kept? If not, the hamster may already have an illness.
  • Do the other hamsters in the same cage look healthy? Another sick hamster may have already infected the one you’re interested in.

Check to see if your hamster is healthy.

  • Does it have a round, broad body with no lumps? This indicates a normally growing hamster that eats well.
  • Is its coat full and well groomed? Does the fur lie down evenly and smoothly? Bald patches and matted fur can indicate a hamster health problem.
  • Is it lively, energetic, and alert? Is it using the exercise wheel? If a hamster is sleeping all the time, it may be ill. Many people recommend checking out a hamster you want to buy in the evening. Because hamsters are nocturnal animals, that’s when they will be moving around the most.
  • Are its eyes clear and bright? They should be free of any discharge.
  • Is its nose clean? It should be free of any discharge.
  • Is its tail bottom area dry? If it’s wet or matted it may indicate wet tail disease.
  • Is its feces solid and dry? Wet feces or diarrhea indicate illness.
  • Are its teeth in good shape? A healthy hamster will have two incisor teeth in their upper and lower jaws. If these teeth look too long, it could indicate overgrown teeth, a definite health problem.

Handle the hamster  hamster being held

  • Hold the hamster gently cupped in two hands. A hamster may give a small bite when first held, but it should not do this continually. If the store has done its job properly, the hamster should be used to being held.
  • If the store won’t let you handle the hamster it may be a biter, which means it can harm someone.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking to buy a hamster. Take your time so you can get a healthy, active hamster that will provide years of fun.

Finally, if you’re new to hamsters, make sure you’ve identified a vet before you bring your hamster home. That way, you will be prepared if you spot any trouble.


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