Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus)

 

Hamster Facts

Average Adult Size:4 to 5 inches long
Average Life Span:Up to 2 to 3 years with proper care
Diet:Omnivore

Diet

A well-balanced hamster diet consists of:

  • High-quality hamster lab blocks and limited amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits and Timothy hay.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.

Feeding

Things to remember when feeding your hamster:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available.
  • A limited amount of grain, vegetables, fruits or Timothy hay can be given daily but should not exceed 10% of their total diet
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within 24 hours should be discarded.

Housing

  • Hamsters acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should never be in direct sunlight or in a drafty area.
  • Habitat should be plastic, metal or glass and escape-proof with a solid bottom; there should be plenty of room for the hamster to exercise and play. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible.
  • 1-2" of bedding should be placed in the habitat; proper bedding includes high quality paper bedding, crumbled paper bedding, or hardwood shavings. Cedar-based products are not recommended.
  • House adult hamsters separately. Different types of small animals should not be housed together.

Normal Behavior

  • Play during the night and rest during the day (nocturnal) but can adjust to your schedule.
  • Easy to handle but may nip if suddenly awakened from a nap or startled.
  • Chew on objects to maintain incisor teeth, which grow continuously; ensure they have plenty of wood chew sticks or mineral chews.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat and its contents at least once a week with a 3% bleach solution. Rinse and allow to dry completely before placing the hamster back into the habitat.
  • Remove wet spots daily; change bedding at least once a week, or more often as necessary.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Hamsters stay clean and rarely need baths, but can be spot-cleaned with a damp washcloth or unscented baby wipes if needed. Some hamsters enjoy an occasional dust bath. Hairless hamsters benefit from a small amount of non-toxic aloe-based lotion rubbed into their skin to keep it soft.
  • It is normal for a hamster's teeth to be yellow; cleaning is not necessary.
  • Consult with a veterinarian if a hamster's teeth seem too long.


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