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A good domesticated pets is the type of animal that can withstand the rigors of being bred and raised in captivity, generation after generation, without noticeably declining or deteriorating in health or appearance. In nature, animals do not have to contend with careless handling, filthy housing, poor diets, and the detrimental effects of inbreeding. When the environment is not to their liking, free animals can change their location. They hunt food, defend and hide from predators, and choose their own mate. In captivity, pets can do none of these things. The golden hamster has flourished despite confinement, and breeders have established strong stocks of domesticated hamsters in a variety of color and fur types.

Presently, there are countless millions of hamsters providing entertainment and giving love to their owners. Their gentleness, attractractiveness, ease of care, and amusing ways make them especially suitable as pets.

Hamsters are small animals, which means they are inexpensive to feed and maintain. They can live comfortably in relatively small quarters, so a large cash outlay is not needed for housing. Pet shops sell various good, but inexpensive, hamster cages. An idle bird cage or fish aquarium can be used as well

Hamsters fit snugly into the palm of your hand. They are larger and prettier than mice. It is fun to cuddle them, and you do not have to worry about odor. In fact, one of the most attractive features of the hamster is a complete lack of odor and a general cleanliness. They are also practically mute, so they cannot utter any annoying noises. Hamsters are an ideal pet in homes or apartments that are too small for other domesticated animals.

In addition, hamsters are naturally tame and gentle, requiring only a short training period to make them friendly pets. Especially docile are grown males and unbred females, although males generally make the best pets.

Hamsters are quite entertaining. They sit up, stand on their hind legs, and climb and grasp whatever is within reach. Grrasping can be done with their hind feet as well. They enjoy performing acrobatic stunts. They relish being hand-fed, played with and fondled. You will find their fur soft and pleasing to the touch. And they are rather cute, too. They come in an assortment of colors and textures, including longhaired and shorthaired forms.

Most pets demand daily care and attention, but hamsters can be left alone over a weekend because they hoard food and don't drink much. If you do venture out for an extended trip and don't take your pet, it will be necessary to have a reliable person look in on the hamster every two days. The food and water must be replenished, and the cage cleaned weekly. Of course, a hamster is easily transported to a new location for safekeeping while you are gone, but you may like to take it with you. Hamsters have been known to thoroughly tolerate traveling vacations!

Hamster's hoarding instinct makes them particularly amusing to observe. You will be intrigued as you watch your pet cram food into its cheek pouches and then take it out to hide for another time. The hamster truly delights in taking the food, stuffing its pouches, and scurrying off to a secret corner of the cage, where it can dislodge the contents and leisurely eat the hoarded food at a later date. In fact, a well-stocked food pile is extremely important and comforting to a hamster. A wise owner will not often disturb the hoarded treasure and disrupt his hamster's sense of well-being.

Hamsters are rugged and easy to breed. In fact, their 16-day gestation period makes them unique in their ability to reproduce. Their life span is about 1000 days, so if you want to be free of hamsters, just stop breeding them. In less than three years their life cycle will have ended. But if you want a family of them, or you want some unusual persents for family and friends, you do not have long to wait for a new batch of young.

Golden hamsters are most oblinging in captivity, being such clean, friendly, and inquisitive animals. They want only to explore, to play, to hide, to hoard food, to keep clean with fresh bedding, and to be handled gently. At times, your pet may escape and become lost, but it will be happy to be returned to its cage. Once you understand your hamster's habits, and provide for its needs, training will be easy. Unlike its European relation, the Syrian or golden hamster is usually tame, intelligent and friendly to humans.

Hamsters demand privacy from humans, all other animals, and most other hamsters. They have a strong sense of possession and do not take easily to having their property disturbed. Do not intrude into your hamster's cage unless you would like to have your hand nipped. A sure sign that it is annoyed with you will be that its ears are curled or laid back.

The golden rule for for housing hamsters is one hamster, one cage. A few young specimens of the same sex may live together in peace if given ample space, plenty of hiding places, and enough food. Males will generally get along better than females, but fights many still occur over territory and food. Even well-tamed hamsters are not easy to keep together in pairs. They will fight to the death if left alone together. Females can tolerate males only for a short time during mating. If a male is introduced into the cage before she is ready, she could kill him. There are, of course, some exceptions, but avoid trouble by keeping the sexes separate. If you plan to keep several hamsters together in one cage, carefully watch for signs of fighting and part them immediately. Large numbers of hamsters may be kept in large quqrters. It's 2 or 3 which, when kept alone, will fight.

Hamsters are nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and performing over 90% of their activities when their cage is in darkness. If you provide your pet with an exercise wheel, it will probably run from four to eight miles each night on it. If you sleep very lightly, this may be bothersome. Hamsters do not care for sunlight nor any bright light. Nevertheless, you can play with your hamster during the day if you wake it gently and keep it from bright light until it is thoroughly alert.

They are easily alerted and ready to play when their attention is aroused. Breathing heavily or blowing on your hamster will annoy it. Always be thoughtful and patient with your pet and you will get along well.

Baby hamsters will soil the cage anywhere because they are not yet "housebroken". By the time they are about two mounths old, they will instinctively establish a toilet. Otherwise, grooming hamsters is quite simple. Their teeth and nails wear down as they grow and need no further attention. Hamsters never need a bath; they will groom themselves as long as they are healthy. Even the coat of the longhaired variety infrequently requires an occasional brushing with a dry toothbrush.

Male hamsters do not participate in any family activities. They may destroy the young, or may themselves be killed by the females if they venture too near the babies. All hamsters are very possessive about what is theirs, including their homes, babies,and hoard. Your pet might nip at your hand if you thrust it into the cage, but that same animal will probably be perfectly safe, friendly and tame outside of the cage. There are exceptions, however.

Hamsters are very inexpensive to purchase and feed. They require little maintenance and reproduce rather easily. With proper care, your pet will be free of disease and likely to live out it lifespan of 1000 days.


Hamster Selection

Hamster Taming

Hamster Housing

Hamster Feeding

Hamster Breeding - Under Construction

Hamster Ailments - Under Construction