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01-07-2004, 00:01   #1
Oriel
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Getting a hamster

Hi Folks,
I'm thinking about getting a hamster and was doing a bit of research online, but most of the sites tend to be crap, or offline. So thought I'd maybe try here for a little bit of help.

Can anybody give me an useful general information on keeping them. The only pet I'm used to is my dog of 12 years.

A few questions:

What do/can they eat? How often?
If I go away for the weekend (Friday evening- Sunday evening) can I throw in enough food to do it the weekend, and trust it to eat sensibly?
How tame are they, in general?
What can you tell me about the hamster housing? I'm probably going to go for a wire cage, maybe a hey bedding?

I'll probably get a book from the library when I do decide to get one, at the moment, I'm just trying to get a taste of what I'm getting myself in for.

Being a student, I'll probably not notice any bad smell

Cheers,
S.
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01-07-2004, 00:34   #2
tribble
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What do/can they eat? How often?
Anything they see, but you're supposed to feed them a hamster mix (from petshop).

If I go away for the weekend (Friday evening- Sunday evening) can I throw in enough food to do it the weekend, and trust it to eat sensibly?
Hamsters are generally as thick as two very short planks, buy a gerbil, they are smart with food.

How tame are they, in general?
The vary from tame to psyko killer, and not all of this has to do with handling.
Get a gerbil - I've never met one i didn't like (and i worked in a petshop).

What can you tell me about the hamster housing?
As big a cage as you can afford, no point in being cruel.

I'm probably going to go for a wire cage, maybe a hey bedding?
Woodchip is perferable (some of the little buggers are allergic to hay, hayfever) with soft bedding.

I'll probably get a book from the library when I do decide to get one, at the moment,

Being a student, I'll probably not notice any bad smell
They can stink if left for too long, get a gerbil - they don't smell.

tribble

PS - buy a gerbil
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01-07-2004, 11:14   #3
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Normal hamsters are not social animals ie you cannot have two in the same cage so they are doomed to a solitary life.

Dwarf hamsters on the other hand are social and two can live happily in the same cage and play together.

I would suggest the latter. Make sure you get the right cage for the dwarf hamsters as the bars on some cages made for bigger hamsters can be too wide apart.
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01-07-2004, 14:44   #4
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Re: Getting a hamster

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Sinecure
Hi Folks,
I'm thinking about getting a hamster and was doing a bit of research online, but most of the sites tend to be crap, or offline. So thought I'd maybe try here for a little bit of help.

Can anybody give me an useful general information on keeping them. The only pet I'm used to is my dog of 12 years.

A few questions:

What do/can they eat? How often? Hamster mix from a pet shop plus fresh fruit & veg, i.e. apple etc. Feed every day, they store their food in a corner of their cage.

If I go away for the weekend (Friday evening- Sunday evening) can I throw in enough food to do it the weekend, and trust it to eat sensibly? Yep! Just leave loads and loads of food.

How tame are they, in general? I used to be able to tame mine the day I got them. Just make sure you get a baby (about 4 weeks old). I found the males to be less aggressive. They're not hard to sex, the male's testicles are pretty obvious!

What can you tell me about the hamster housing? I'm probably going to go for a wire cage, maybe a hey bedding? DON'T get a wire cage!!! I had one and the hamster used to gnaw on the wire all night, no matter how many chews I gave him. Get one of these

I'll probably get a book from the library when I do decide to get one, at the moment, I'm just trying to get a taste of what I'm getting myself in for.

Being a student, I'll probably not notice any bad smell No bad smell as long as you clean him out once a week. Don't remove their nest though, just take out their food hoard to stop it going off.

If you get a Syrian hamster (the regular ones) you can only keep one per cage. The dwarf ones can be kept in pairs or small groups (MAKE SURE they're the same sex...hamsters are worse than rabbits for...you know!)

Post a pic when you get it!!!!!!


Cheers,
S.

Last edited by Nala; 01-07-2004 at 14:46.
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01-07-2004, 14:53   #5
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I've two dwarf hamsters, male and female which I house separately in wire cages. I've never had any problems with them chewing the wire cage and I like the fact that the cage offers plenty of ventilation.

I feed them hamster mix which I buy in the pet shop and I also keep a bag of sunflower seeds for quick extra treats. Whenever I'm chopping veg in the kitchen the little dudes will get some of that as well. They like peppers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce stalks, in fact anything crisp and juicy. Just make sure to take out any remains of the vegetables after a day as they will spoil.

You can safely leave your hamster on his/her own for a few days as long as you leave enough food in the cage. The hamster will spend days transporting the food around the cage in the cheek pouches leaving stockpiles just about everywhere.

For bedding I use woodchips, (just never use cedar I think ,there is one type of wood that they don't like), and I use "Petbed", a kind of synthetic fluff that the hamster can sleep in.

I only need to change the cage about once a week with one hamster per cage. As for taming, you've got to get them used to it from an early age. One of my hamsters is unhandable as I never trained him. I learned from my mistakes and the female is much more pettable.

So I'm a fan of Russian Dwarves, they are as thick as two short planks like Tribble said,, but they are very cute and endearing.
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01-07-2004, 15:31   #6
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Thanks for the replies so far Folks.
tribble, I still think I'm going to go for a hamster

How much would one cost a month ot keep? Not a lot I'm guessing? Actually, while I'm on about money - how much are they buy and get "set up" with their kit, as it were?

Thanks,
S
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01-07-2004, 15:43   #7
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As with most animals, the bulk of the expense is setting everything up. You should try Ebay for the cage but just make sure you disinfect it and ask the seller what happened to the hamster, i.e. was it sick. Pet shops charge a fortune for cages that are usually far too small. Try to get a 2-story cage or one of those Rotastak things. I personally preferred the cage I linked to earlier. Hamsters are very cheap to keep, buy the food from a merchant like Val Ryan, avoid Petstop for food cos they're a rip off. Also buying in bulk is best. I was spending €1.70 a go on a 400g box of Trill budgie seed and then got a 25kg bag for €29!!!! As for bedding, I used to just use tissue though there is cotton wool-type bedding available. A hamster is about €20 which is a bit dear but there you go.

Needless to say, keep the little chap away from your dog!!!
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01-07-2004, 15:47   #8
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I bought a massive cage a while back for circa E40, but it's been through 3 generations of dwarf hamsters at this stage. Food is cheap, I can get a 2 kg bag for E3, and dwarf hamsters themselves cost about E10-12 here in Cork
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01-07-2004, 15:53   #9
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If the sides were high enough you might get away with a second-hand aquarium / vivarium.
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02-07-2004, 22:13   #10
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A lot of people say not to use a glass or plastic aquarium type, but I personally think they are the best (PetPen plastic ones are best and cheapest, petstop in blanchardstown have a good selection)..... having had both when i used to breed them, I had a lot of problems with the wire ones, legs and paws easilly get caught twisted and broken. not a problem with glass as long as the top is wire or similiar overheating will not be a problem.

BUT get the biggest u can afford, and that means floorspace, not height, hamsters cannot fly and dont need it. And having two levels is more of a danger than a plus, they fall (an often jump) off heights without thinking.

The other major problem (ask any vet) with wire cages is that hamsters seem to LOVE to climb, which is strange as its not somthing they would do in their native habitat much, but they do, and even the lowest cage they will get to the top and they *cant* seem to figure out how to get down, so they just let go an drop, it can break their necks and backs, and it also can make them viscious after a bang on the head u may not have seen.

Syrian (normal) hamsters are, imho, the best, go for a young one or/and one that has been handled as much as possible. I recommend getting one from buy and sell rather than a store, more likely to be tame.
I used to have one that spent all its time on my shoulder lol ;0)

Now, as far as food, hamsters are vegetarian, never feed them meat, it can kill them and cause fatal constipation.
The normal brands of hamster foods you buy are more than enuf, they also like things like raw peas, carrots, but in SMALL amounts or u will end up with one with diorrehea (sp?).


If you are leaving it for the weekend, you *can*, on the friday, give it extra food, 3/4 of a mugfull is more than enuf, hamsters are hoarders, they will hide food for later in some corner or in the nest they will make.

A hamsters cage shud never NEVER smell, if it does, ur not cleaning it enuf.
It needs to be cleaned on average once a week at least. But the bigger the floorspace, the longer it will last.
Another advantage of the syrian (normal) hamster, it usually mainly does its buisness in a single corner, so somtimes its ok to just scoop out the corner an refill with new sawdust (NEVER use hay, its not absorbent and it can stick in little eyes, mouth pouches etc, an make ur vet bills huge!

I recommend a female, they are often more placid than the males, but a hamster is somtimes a moody little fecker, so give it a few WEEKS to settle in, and the vital thing is, put ur hand in the cage daily for the first few weeks till it gets used to ur scent and knows you mean it no harm (even a tame hamster will often be scared of u for a while)

A wheel is a very good ides if u can find one. if not, get a hamster ball an let it run round the room in it daily for about 20 mins.

imho the most important thing is steer clear of wire cages, specially high 2 storey ones, i know ill be slated for saying that, but as somone with 10 years experience of breeding them an having them as pets, trust me, you wont regret it.

Even if u have to wait a bit, if i were you i would search an search for an allready tame one, make sure u see the seller (whether in a shop or not) handling it for at least 5 mins. and make sure they are not holding it by the scruff of the neck to partially immobilise it while they are handling it, thats an old trick petshops often use.
They must let it sit on their hand and let u stroke it or stroke it themselves.

If u need any more info, feel free to ask

B

Last edited by Falkorre; 02-07-2004 at 22:17.
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05-07-2004, 20:29   #11
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Hi I breed a keep a variety of hamster, Syrian, Russian, Chinese & Roborvski - I love hamsters here are a few care sheets from my website - hope they help.

Syrian Hamsters
Mesocrietus auratus

Introduction

Syrian hamsters are solitary hamster, they live alone. If you put adult Syrians together they will fight to the death. In the wild they live in individual burrows, they sleep all day and wake up at dusk. They will travel up to 8 miles foraging for food. In captivity hamsters need a large cage with a wheel they also need lots of exercise out side of the cage. A play ball is a safe way to allow your pet to exercise and explore the environment out side of their cage.

Syrian hamsters are sometimes called the ‘Golden hamster’ after their natural wild colouring, now days there are many different colour and coat markings. There is also a Long-haired or ‘Teddy bear hamster’ another variation is the Hairless or ‘Alien hamster’ The Black Syrian is also know as the ‘Black bear’ or the ‘European black bear’

Syrians are approximately 6-7inches in length, with a very short tail. The feet are hairless with 4 toes on the front and 5 toes on the back feet. They have expandable cheek pouches, which they use to carry food and bedding. Syrians are nocturnal meaning they wake in the evening, although they may wake for short periods during the day. The average life span is 2-3 years although they can live up to 4-5 years.

Feeding

Hamsters should be fed a good quality hamster mix. I use either Supreme Pet Foods Harry Hamster or Burges Supa Feeds hamster mix; both are eaten readily by my hamsters. You can feed additional foods which will be discussed in my Safe Foods for rodents section the hamster should be feed a small amount of food each day and fresh water should always be available, a water bottle is preferable and less messy than a bowl.

Cleaning & Health Issues

The cage must be cleaned weekly all food and bedding MUST be removed. The cage must be disinfected thoroughly I use Supreme Home Help Spray, Hutch Clean or Milton Sterilizing Fluid. Once the cage is dry I use wood shavings and hay, I always add a little fresh hamster mix where the food store was. Cleaning the cage is also a good time to check your hamster for signs of ill health, pay attention to the droppings they should be like little pellets. Soft dropping could be diarrhoea, no dropping could be constipation. Hamster eyes should be bright and free from discharge, the nose should be clean and dry, and ears should be held erect. Signs of illness could include: Blood in the urine, soft droppings, scratching, fur loss, lumps, scabs, shivering, sneezing, weight loss and wheezing, if your hamster has any of these symptoms then you should take him or her to a Vet as soon as possible.

Handling
A hamster is normally 4-8 weeks old when you buy it, they should have been handled so that they are not too scared of humans. When you get home you should allow your new hamster time to adjust to its new home, speaking to it softly will help it to get used to you. After a few hours and once the hamster is awake approach the cage slowly speaking softly so the hamster knows you are there (hamsters do not have very good eye sight and may think you are a predator) place your hand inside the cage and let your hamster sniff you then gently lift up your new pet by either placing your hand over the hamster or you may cup both hands together and lift your hamster.

Young hamsters are very fast and can jump very quickly; it is advisable to lift the hamster just a few inches at first. Gently stroke your hamster whilst speaking softly, it should soon get used to be handled and will want to come out often. Make sure your hands are clean and freshly washed before handling your hamster. As I said before hamsters do not see very well but have an excellent sense of smell, the hamster will smell any sweets etc and may try to bite your fingers hoping for a taste.

Breeding Syrian Hamsters

You need think long and hard before deciding to breed your hamsters. You must make sure you can house your babies, Syrians can not live together, once the babies are 3 weeks old I take out all of the males, I leave mum and her daughters together of another week only. Syrians can have up to 15-20 babies although 8-12 is normal, so if you can not find homes you may need to buy another 10 cages or more.

Having thought hard and worked out what will happen to unwanted babies, then it is great watching babies grow and develop. It always amazes me that one week they are fully dependant on their mum, by week 2 they are eating and running around, by week 3 they are miniature adults. The female should be between 3-4 months before being bred from any earlier could lead to complications, also the first litter should be before the female is 8 months old to also avoid complications.

Syrians females come in season every 4 days, so you have to place the male and female together every day until they mate. You must place the hamsters on neutral ground and never put a male into the female’s cage I use a critter box. The mating must be supervised and once mating is over remove the male once the female begins to fight him, mating can last from 20 minutes to an hour or more I always wait until I see signs of aggression in the female. When the female is ready to mate she will stand still with her tail in the air, the male with mate with her more than once.

Once mating is successful make a note of the date, the gestation period is only 16 days (this is one of the shortest period known in mammals) I always avoid grabbing the female just to be on the safe side I cup her in my hands to lift her up. The cage will be cleaned thoroughly 2 days before she gives birth I make sure to give extra bedding so she can make a nice deep nest. The babies should be born on the evening of the 16th day if the hamster has not given birth by day 18 then she should be taken to the Vet. I offer the female extra food whilst she is pregnant often cooked chicken in milk for extra protein and to help her produce plenty of milk for the babies, I often give a few mealworms too.

I usually handle my babies from birth, but I only do this because I known my female will not mind, I handle all my babies from birth and have not had a problem, but a female may cull her litter if disturbed. Once the babies begin to walk around I place some food into the nest with them and provide chicken in milk with cucumber and other fruits and vegetables no more than 3 types of fruit/vegetables in any day.

It is usually safe to handle the babies at 14 days old; mum will often appreciate being let out of her cage for a while at this stage. Once mum is out of the cage I give it a clean out a mum with 7-10 babies really smell after 2 weeks so I place the babies into a plastic critter box with a little old bedding and clean the cage thoroughly. Once the babies are back in the clean cage I put mum back in. I have never had any problems doing this, but every hamster is different.

At 21 days the babies can be separated I always take the male away at this stage and leave the females for another week. Spend lots of time playing with the babies so they are nice, tame and ready for their new homes.


Written by Faye Pleydell-Stedman
Copyright 2004
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05-07-2004, 20:30   #12
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Dwarf Hamsters


Introduction

There are 4 species of dwarf Hamsters, Russian Campbell’s, Winter White, Roborovksi and Chinese Hamsters. In general dwarf hamster care is very similar to the Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters are approximately half the size of their Syrian cousins and tend to be social animals preferring to live in small family groups. In captivity dwarf hamsters can be kept in single sex pairs or groups or a breeding pairs. Dwarfs can make superb pets with gentle handling, but like humans they all have individual personalities. Like all hamsters they are predominately nocturnal but will often be up and about at times throughout the day. Dwarf hamsters have a very cute appearance, they have check pouches like the Syrians but their tails are much smaller.

Russian Campbell’s

Russian Campbell hamsters (Phodopus Campbelli) are the most common of the dwarf species kept as pets. They tend to be very friendly although I have had some that do bite especially when they have young. They are usually brown on top and white underneath with black eyes, there are also albino white Russian with red eyes, and a light caramel colour with ruby eyes, that is a cross between the brown and the albino white Russians. Breeding accurse year round in captivity, a pair can produce a litter of babies every 18 days. The babies are born blind and hairless, they develop very quickly and within 2 weeks miniature Russians are running around the cage. I house the Russians in wire cages without problems although cages designed for mice are best or tanks.

Roborovski’s

Roborovski hamsters (Phodopus Roborovski) are the smallest of the dwarf species; they are very fast and very agile hamsters. In my opinion they are not suitable for children they are very hard to catch and do not appreciate human handling, although mine tend not to bite they just wriggle. They are great fun to watch, they love using their wheels and your often find 2-3 on the wheel at any one time. They perform acrobatics and are very amusing to watch, as they are so small a plastic or glass tank is best. They would be able to fit through the bars of wire mice cages especially baby Robos.

Chinese Hamster

Chinese Hamsters (Phodopus) are longer and thinner than the Russians they have a slightly longer tail and are classed as a rat like hamster. They are usually grey or brown with a dorsal stripe; they have a longer more pointed face. I feel that the term rat like is an unfair term as they are very cute and do not look like rats. I have not kept Chinese hamsters for a long time and am still learning. I have read that they live happily in pairs so I got 2 breeding pairs and in both instances the female killed her mate, 1 female died and I am now left with 1 female. The Chinese hamsters seem to be more timid than the Russians although they do not bite. They love to burrow and because of their slender builds they need to be housed in tanks. They require lots of exercise and spend a lot of time on their wheels; I also furnish the cage with cardboard boxes and tubes. My female loves to burry the cardboard to make tunnels and a bedroom chamber.


Winter Whites

Winter White hamsters (Phodopus Sungorus) have grey backs and are white underneath they are similar in size to the Russians. In the winter they change from grey to white. I have not kept winter whites as pets; I imagine their care and personalities are similar to the Russians.

Feeding

Hamsters should be fed a good quality hamster mix. I use either Supreme Pet Foods Harry Hamster or Burges Supa Feeds hamster mix; both are eaten readily by my hamsters. For the dwarf species I add wild bird seed, and offer the occasional spray millet. Insects can be offered in the wild Dwarf hamsters are often found to have seeds, insects and plants in their food stores. You can feed additional fresh foods which will be discussed in my Safe Foods for rodents section the hamster should be feed a small amount of food each day and fresh water should always be available, a water bottle is preferable and less messy than a bowl.

Cleaning & Health Issues

The cage must be cleaned weekly all food and bedding MUST be removed. The cage must be disinfected thoroughly I use Supreme Home Help Spray, Hutch Clean or Milton Sterilizing Fluid. Once the cage is dry I use wood shavings and hay, I always add a little fresh hamster mix where the food store was. Cleaning the cage is also a good time to check your hamster for signs of ill health, pay attention to the droppings they should be like little pellets. Soft dropping could be diarrhoea, no dropping could be constipation. Hamster eyes should be bright and free from discharge, the nose should be clean and dry, and ears should be held erect. Signs of illness could include: Blood in the urine, soft droppings, scratching, fur loss, lumps, scabs, shivering, sneezing, weight loss and wheezing, if your hamster has any of these symptoms then you should take him or her to a Vet as soon as possible.

Handling
A hamster is normally 4-8 weeks old when you buy it, they should have been handled so that they are not too scared of humans. When you get home you should allow your new hamster time to adjust to its new home, speaking to it softly will help it to get used to you. After a few hours and once the hamster is awake approach the cage slowly speaking softly so the hamster knows you are there (hamsters do not have very good eye sight and may think you are a predator) place your hand inside the cage and let your hamster sniff you then gently lift up your new pet by either placing your hand over the hamster or you may cup both hands together and lift your hamster.

Young hamsters are very fast and can jump very quickly; it is advisable to lift the hamster just a few inches at first. Gently stroke your hamster whilst speaking softly, it should soon get used to be handled and will want to come out often. Make sure your hands are clean and freshly washed before handling your hamster. As I said before hamsters do not see very well but have an excellent sense of smell, the hamster will smell any sweets etc and may try to bite your fingers hoping for a taste.

Breeding

Most of the dwarf species will be kept in pairs and should remain in pairs throughout the pregnancy and birth. They generally give birth to 2-6 babies, the females can go into heat immediately after giving birth, so a pair will usually have a new litter every 22-26 days. The male often plays a vital role in rearing the babies, although a pair should be watched to ensure that the female does not attack and kill her mate after giving birth.

Written by Faye Pleydell-Stedman
Copyright 2004
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05-07-2004, 20:31   #13
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General Rodent Care

Rodents make fantastic pets; the most expensive part of buying a rodent is the cage and set up. There is a vast array of rodents available such as: Mice, Rats, Hamsters, Gerbils, Jirds, and Degus the list is almost endless. Even the smallest of homes has room for a rodent or two, Mice need very little room even rats take up little room, my rats are housed in large wire cages with plastic or wooden shelves. If you are looking for a pet that can be left in a cage but that will entertain you then Roborovski hamsters are a good choice, Robos are the smallest of the Dwarf Hamster, they can be kept in single sex groups of up to 5 individuals. Robos are very energetic very active and great fun, but they are so fast that they are not goof if you want a pet to cuddle and handle. Syrian Hamsters are the most popular of the hamster species; they are solitary and with regular handling will ask to come out of their cages. In my opinion Rats make wonderful pets, they can be kept in single sex group; some rats can be trained in a similar way to dogs. Rats will happily sit on your shoulder whilst you wash up, surf the net or watch telly.

Cages

The type of cage you choose all depends on the rodent you wish to buy. Hamsters and Rats will do well in wire cages or glass cages; they do not make much mess unlike members of the Gerbil and Jird family. Gerbils love to dig and burrow and whilst they will live happily in a wire cage they will kick out all of their wood shavings and make a huge mess on the floor! (I am in the process of putting all my gerbils/jirds in tanks)

Tanks are very suitable for all Gerbils, Jirds, Dwarf Hamsters, Mice, and Steppe Lemmings etc. Perfecto manufacture a range of glass environments with wire mesh lids, the cages also have glass shelves which make use of all the wasted space in a tank, they make small tanks suitable for Mice and Dwarf Hamsters and large tanks suitable for rats and guinea pigs. I use a mid size tank for Gerbil pairs I use approximately 5 inches of wood shavings add a handful of hay for nesting material, then add cardboard tubes, plastic pipes and branches. Gerbils and Jirds are desert animals, they are used to dry arid conditions and little water, as a result they produce very little urine which is great as they need cleaning out less frequently than Hamsters. Plastic or Plexiglas can also be used but some animals may scratch this which will obscure the view of the animals.

Plastic Hamster Cages such as Habitrail, S.A.M. and Rotastak are very popular the added benefit is that you can buy extra levels to increase the living room and help keep small animals happy, although these can work out expensive and will require lots of cleaning. I would only use this type of cage for the smaller rodents such as Roborovski and Dwarf Hamsters, Mice and Steppe Lemmings. I have heard horror stories about Syrian Hamsters getting stuck in the tubes and suffocating to death. These cages can be very popular with children as they are brightly coloured. Some of the smaller animals may need ‘mouse ladders’ to be placed in vertical tubes to make it easier for the animals to room around.

Wire Cages are the most readily available cages come in a vast range of sizes and styles and are more suitable for Syrian Hamsters, Degus, Chinchillas and Rats. One of the most readily available makes in Ireland is Fop they have a nice range, I prefer to purchase Marchioro cages they manufacture huge hamsters cages that I use for my rats all the tubes are large enough for adult rats to move through easily, they have big plastic shelves and have very deep plastic bases. Wire cages have a much better air flow which is suitable for Rats who can suffer with respiratory infections. For larger rodents cages can be made from wood and wire 1inch by ½ inch is best as it keeps in most critters, some rodents will chew wood so all wooden surfaces should be covered by wire. All rodents require some wooden toys to chew on, rodent teeth grow throughout their lives and they can cause a lot of havoc if they escape I have had Jirds, Hamsters and Rats escape and eat my things! Escaped animals go hand in hand with breeding animals.

Bedding & Nesting Materials

I use plain Wood Shavings (not pine of cedar as these contain oils that may harm little critters) as my base litter, for the very smelly animals such as Mice, Rats and Hamsters I use cat litter underneath the shavings. I use hay and straw for the bedding and often give my animals wicker baskets lined with cotton, which will be chewed up to create a soft and fluffy bed (my Nile Rats love to shred straw, hay and cotton) A paper based litter such as Care Fresh can also be used, I have tried this and did not like the way it looked in the cage, grey and lumpy not very nice it seemed to make the cage feel dark and dingy, but I would use it if an animal had respiratory problems.

Food & Water

It may seem a rather ‘stupid’ point to make but Rodents like all animals need Food and water to live. A heavy ceramic food bowl is best as it can not be easily tipped over and can not be chewed. A good quality food mix should be available I will use foods from the Supreme Pet Foods range or from Burges Super Feeds, I feel these mixes address the correct nutritional requirements of Rodents or Rabbits. Water needs to be available for all animals the only exception I know of is Jerboas that do not drink any water at all. Water bottles are much better than dishes of water animals can foul these with wood shavings or toilet waste.

Daily & Weekly Care Routine

All animals need to be checked every day, make sure they have food and water and that they are healthy. Animals need to be handled daily so that they do not bite, animals that are kept locked up in a tiny cage will sometimes start to bite their tails, sometimes this can be so bad that an animal will kill itself, this is not a pleasant experience I lost a Bushy Tailed Jird this way, I tried her in a variety of different cages and tanks but nothing I did helped.

Once a week the cage needs to be cleaned out and disinfected, I use Supreme Home Help Spray, Hutch Clean or diluted Milton Sterilizing Fluid. You should also give your pet a thorough check out for signs of illness. If your pet shows any of the following symptoms then Veterinary help should be sought straight away! Blood in the urine, Excessive Scratching, Fur Loss, Stumbling Around, Lumps, Scabs, Sticky Eyes, Lethargy, Shivering, Sneezing, Weight Loss or Wheezing these can all be indications of severe medical problems, also check the droppings, they should be dry pellets.


Written by Faye Pleydell-Stedman
Copyright 2004
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05-07-2004, 20:31   #14
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Safe Foods for Rodents

The food designed for small animals will provide the correct nutritional requirements, they also appreciate fresh fruit and vegetables and other tit bits. Imagine if you had to eat the same dinner every day, you would be very miserable that is the way small animals feel if we do not vary their diet.

Animals should only be given a small amount of addition foods once or twice a week as too much rich food can cause diarrhoea and other health problems. I have listed a few of the safe foods, this is just a guide line other foods could be used just make sure that they are not poisonous to small animals. Never ever give a small animal chocolate, even if the smell is interesting your animal, when I was 10 I gave my pet hamster a small piece of chocolate and she died a few days later.

Fruits & Vegetables

„« Apple
„« Banana
„« Blackberries
„« Broccoli
„« Carrots
„« Cauliflower leaves and stalks
„« Celery
„« Cherries ¡V remove the stones
„« Cress
„« Cucumber
„« Figs
„« Grapes
„« Kiwi Fruit
„« Mange Tout
„« Mango
„« Melon
„« Mint
„« Papaya
„« Parsley
„« Peach
„« Pear
„« Plums ¡V remove the stones
„« Raspberries
„« Spinach
„« Star Fruit
„« Strawberries
„« Sweet Potato
„« Swede
„« Sweet Corn
„« Turnip
„« Water Melon

Wild Plants & Flowers

„« Alyssum
„« Bramble Leaves
„« Chickweed
„« Clover
„« Corn Flowers
„« Cow Parsley
„« Dandelion Leaves and Flower
„« Dock
„« Hawthorn Leaves
„« Marigolds
„« Michelmas Daisies
„« Nasturtiums
„« Phlox
„« Roses
„« Sweet Peas
„« Wallflowers
„« Watercress

Tit Bits & Other Foods

„« Acorns
„« Almonds
„« Beechnuts
„« Biscuits ¡V Not Chocolate
„« Brazil Nuts
„« Bread
„« Cake ¡V Not Chocolate
„« Cereals
„« Chicken ¡V Cooked
„« Cheese
„« Coconut
„« Crickets
„« Dog or Cat Biscuits
„« Dried Fruits
„« Egg ¡V Boiled
„« Fish ¡V Cooked
„« Wax Worms
„« Mealworms
„« Pecan Nuts
„« Pistachio Nuts
„« Toast
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05-07-2004, 23:40   #15
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Tribble is right - get a Gerbil. They are more fun, they don't bite as much as hamsters, can be kept in groups and aren't nocturnal. A hamster sleeps all day and runs in its wheel all night and if they aren't handled regularly, they become difficult and cranky. Russian dwarf hamsters etc are cute to look at but if you want entertainment, go for the gerbil. I used breed hamsters, gerbils and mice for pet shops and always recommend gerbils as first pets or low maintenance pets - they still need regular handling, a good cage and proper bedding but are better with small kids and are less likely to escape and hibernate in your telly (smelly!) My advice, handle both animals, watch them in the cages in the shops - the hamsters are asleep, the gerbils are playing kung-foo.

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