There are two breeds of hamster commonly kept as pets, Syrian and dwarf.
They are both very cute but have different care needs.
Syrian hamsters are larger and are nocturnal. They are often bought for children but care must be taken as they dislike being woken up during the day. Syrian hamsters are the only solitary animal we have in the small animal department.
Dwarf hamsters are much smaller (and faster!) and must be kept in pairs or groups. They can be more likely to nip, so take care when handling dwarf hamsters.
Hamster Housing & Enrichment
- The cage for both breeds must be a minimum of 81cm x 52cm x 52cm.
- Syrian hamsters can run up to 8 miles a night so need to have lots of space. A wheel in their cage is a good way to help them get enough exercise.
- Avoid using sawdust for their bedding as it can cause respiratory problems for Hamsters - The best thing to use is shredded paper.
- Hamsters need lots of toys to keep them entertained as they are bright little creatures. Tubes, houses, and gnawing sticks are great.
- Popular 'hamster balls' are actually very stressful for a hamster to be in, instead use them as nesting houses in their cage.
The Best Diet for Hamsters
- Hamsters are omnivores which means they eat a variety of food types. Feed them a small quantity (around 1 teaspoon) of a good quality hamster feed every day.
- They can also have a small amount of carrot, apple and greens as a treat.
- Hamsters should have constant access to fresh, clean water which should be changed daily.
- Hamsters have a relatively short lifespan which should be taken into account if a child is helping to look after them. They can live between 2 and 3 years if cared for properly.
- They should be handled with care as they are so small. If they are dropped this could cause serious harm and distress.
- Look for any changes in your hamster’s behaviour as this could indicate illness. Hamsters will need veterinary treatment if they become ill.
Care Guide Hamster
Application To Adopt A Small Animal