Hamsters (Cretinaye) – rodents belonging to the family Hamsters. They are small in size, rather dense in composition, rodents that have short limbs, small ears and a characteristic short tail.
What to look for when buying
When choosing and purchasing such a pet as a hamster, it is necessary to make the most careful examination of the animal:
- first of all, you need to examine the eyes, which should be cheerful, healthy and shiny, not scratched and without pathological discharge;
- also need to inspect the anus. Around the hole, the wool should not be stained with secretions, since in this case one can assume prolonged diarrhea in the animal, which is caused not only by errors in nutrition, but also by infectious or somatic diseases;
- among other things, the coat must be carefully examined, which should have a uniform, shiny, fluffy or smooth, absolutely healthy appearance.
After the external examination of the hamster is performed, the animal should be taken carefully in your hands and carefully felt:
- the belly of the pet should be elastic and dense, without hollows, not allowing to clearly feel the protruding ribs;
- with manual palpation, it is very easy to determine the places of combing or biting, which are most often located in the lumbar region or next to the sacrum.
Among other things, just picking up a hamster can you first determine its nature and attitude towards people. The animal should show keen interest, and not bite, scratch, or tear out of the hands.
It is interesting! Before you get a hamster, you need to find out his age. The best option would be to purchase a one and a half month old animal, which very quickly adapts to a new place of its habitat.
Basic rules for keeping a hamster
The content of hamsters, despite the apparent simplicity and ease, the event is quite troublesome. It must be remembered that the order put in place by the hamster in his cage must never be disturbed. The cage with the pet should be installed in a place where there is no direct sunlight and drafts or high humidity.
For proper maintenance, it is enough for the owner of such a pet to perform the most basic hygiene procedures, including washing the feeder, cleaning the toilet, and updating the litter as necessary. It is important to remember that by making any permutations in the rodent’s cell, very serious stress can be provoked in the animal.
It is interesting! It is not recommended to often change the location of the cage with the hamster, since such "moving", as a rule, has a very negative effect on the psyche of the pet, and the systematic removal of the rodent from the premises is a completely unfortunate idea.
The device housing, habitat
Any pet needs its own, convenient and comfortable home, and living conditions in such a house should be as close as possible to the natural habitat. Of course, the conditions of the cell content of the hamster, some restrictions are implied, but the responsible owner will always try to provide his pet with an optimal existence. In the process of selecting a cage, it is very important to take into account the size, as well as the number of pets and their habits.
Specialists determined the smallest size of a cage suitable for home keeping a hamster – 50x30cm, which is explained by the increased motor activity of such an animal. Under natural conditions, the hamster is able to run more than ten kilometers in a day, and a severe lack of movement or lack of exercise can negatively affect the rodent’s state of health, provoking the development of obesity or pathology of the cardiac and vascular system.
Particular importance is attached to the rods in the future home of the hamster. They should not be vertical and too narrow or wide apart. For dwarf hamsters, the distance between the rods is set within 3-5 mm, and for a Syrian hamster a clearance of no more than 8-10 mm is sufficient. The floors in the standard cage should be two or more, not less than a quarter meter high and not more than 30-35 cm. For the differentiation of floors, special plastic shelves are mandatory, and not lattice bases.
The most popular are metal cages with a solid bottom and rounded corners or a standard extraction tray. The door should open up and have a high-quality locking latch. It is very convenient to use constructions with a removable ceiling part, which makes it easy to carry out regular cleaning of the cage. In recent years, more and more owners of home hamsters have acquired plexiglass houses covered with a special grill.
Important! Remember that for home maintenance of dwarf hamster breeds, cells of small sizes are well suited, and for Syrians you will need to pick up a fairly large dwelling with a large drum.
In addition to the standard wheel in the cage for the hamster, it is required to place various ladders and cubes, a walking ball, as well as safe driftwood and pieces of wood. As a shelter for the animal, a small-sized house made of ecological plastic or properly processed wood is most often used.
Hamster Nutrition Features
A significant part of the standard diet of a domestic rodent should be a special food intended for feeding a hamster. Such ready-made diets are granular or represented by seed-based mixtures, which allows you to fully provide your pet with the necessary nutrients for proper growth and development.
It must be remembered that, regardless of the breed, hamsters are extremely difficult to tolerate any significant changes in their diet, therefore it is recommended to constantly purchase the same, but well-balanced and complete food. Transfer to another type of food is carried out very smoothly, within a few weeks. Beans, onions, potatoes, rhubarb and tomato tops, as well as chocolate and any sweets, spices and pickles are strictly contraindicated for pets.
Some of the most useful foods for a home rodent include vegetable crops represented by turnips, carrots, chicory, spinach, parsley, pumpkin, endive and cauliflower.
Broccoli hamster, green beans and asparagus, raisins, apple and pear, plum and peach also have a positive effect on the health. To maintain the teeth in good condition and supply the rodent with all the necessary components, it is recommended to use special mineral blocks. Also, special drinkers are installed in the cage, which are regularly filled with clean water.
Important! To quickly replenish the diet of an active pet with important proteins for the body, periodically, as a supplement to the main feed, hard boiled egg protein is used.
Hamster Care and Hygiene
Proper care for a home hamster includes a number of specific rules, which are as follows:
- a domestic rodent is best kept alone in a separate and optimal cage;
- in the room where the cell is located, normal temperature conditions and sufficient silence should be observed;
- you can not put your hand in the cage with the hamster, as the rodent can perceive such a movement as a threat to its personal possessions;
- rodents, to maintain vitality, must move a lot, eat varied and very fully, and also sleep a sufficient amount of time;
- It is strictly forbidden to punish a hamster, as in this case the pet will become shy and will experience extreme stress.
Animal care activities also include hamster cage hygiene. Despite all its functionality, a glass cage will require more care from the rodent owner than a traditional metal dwelling. The glass cage needs regular wet cleaning, which is carried out without the use of cleaning and chemical agents. After washing, it is necessary to dry the cage well under sunlight or near heating appliances.
The biggest problems arise when cleaning the most modern cells with a large number of chambers connected by passages and tunnels. Smooth plastic and complex construction do not allow for a complete replacement of the hygienic filler, as well as high-quality washing of the cage.
As a result, an unpleasant odor accumulates inside the pipes, which negatively affects the health of the pet.
Health, Disease, and Prevention
There are a fairly large number of diseases that can affect indoor hamsters. Among the most famous are pathologies resulting from viruses, food deficiency and parasite infection. If the paralytic stage of rabies is extremely rare in domestic hamsters, and ends in death, then there are a number of fairly common diseases that are:
- Aujeszky’s viral disease, which quickly affects the central nervous system of a pet;
- Tizzer’s disease, which causes fever, diarrhea, dehydration and apathy, ending in the death of a pet;
- infectious disease Bronchosepticosis starting with serous-mucous discharge from the nose as a result of a cold;
- Colibacillosis disease, manifested by decreased mobility, refusal to eat, as well as fetid diarrhea and exhaustion;
- infectious lymphocytic choriomeningitis, dangerous for humans and not amenable to cure;
- bacterial listeriellosis, which is carried by airborne droplets and causes the death of the animal;
- viral encephalomyelitis.
Important! For an independent assessment of the state of health, attention should be paid to behavior and appetite, type of breathing and the appearance of the pet, as well as the consistency of its excrement. At the first sign of illness, you must visit a veterinarian.
Other common diseases include the defeat of the domestic hamster by paratyphoid, or salmonellosis, as well as pasteurellosis, pneumonia and pseudotuberculosis. In case of errors in care, the pet may be affected by external or ectoparasites represented by ticks, fleas and lice-eaters, for the destruction of which a 0.5% solution based on Bromocyclin or Netritonate is used.
Breeding and offspring
Hamsters are very prolific pets that can bring in two to four litters annually.
The gestation period of a female can last from two to three weeks. In general, many species of such domestic rodents are ready to breed at the age of three to six weeks, and Dzungarian hamsters are sometimes somewhat earlier than this age.
Nevertheless, all experts advise to refrain from mating domestic hamsters too early, since the period of intensive development in such animals ends only by the fifth week of life, and pregnancy at this age often becomes the main cause of rickets and many other pathological changes.
It is interesting! As practice shows, too young females of domestic hamsters, regardless of the breed, very often completely eat their offspring, and mating at the age of six months is the most optimal.
It is very important to maintain a sufficient gap between mating, which will allow the female to recover after pregnancy, and gain strength. Typically, the standard adaptation period for a new mating is three or four months. It is important to carefully monitor the diet of the pregnant female, and especially the amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients in the daily feed. The diet should be represented by crops, fruits and vegetables, boiled eggs, low-fat cottage cheese and wheat seedlings.
Newborn hamsters are born very small, completely bald, as well as blind and deaf, but from birth they can perfectly distinguish all the smells surrounding them. Kids grow up very quickly, so it is advisable to take care in advance of where the monthly hamsters will be attached.