Hamsters are cute, furry, little pets that have short life spans. A short hamster life span is natural, but a prematurely short, unhealthy life isn’t. There are ways to promote good health so that your hamster lives a full natural life.
The Hamster Life Cycle
Male hamsters become sexually mature at 10-14 weeks, and females are ready for mating at 6-10 weeks. The gestation period is around 15 days, and the litter typically consists of 5-10 pups. The young are ready to eat solid foods 7-10 days after birth. The weaning period lasts up to 25 days. A hamster life span is typically two to three years.
Housing for Hamsters
To ensure that your hamster lives two to three years, build an environment that has the right temperature, humidity, and structure. Generally, hamsters thrive in cages that are between 65 and 80°F. The young require a more narrow temperature range that usually falls between 70 and 75°F. The humidity should be below 70%.
The cage itself should be a wire enclosure. Glass or plastic enclosures can create ventilation problems. The bottom of the cage should be covered with a couple inches of shredded paper, tissue, or wood shavings. Avoid using cedar chips because it can make the hamster sick.
Replace the bedding material regularly and disinfect water bowls and food dishes daily.
An Active Hamster is a Healthy Hamster
Include tunnels, nest boxes, and other furniture to keep your hamster active. An exercise wheel provides adequate physical exertion for the hamster. If you like the hamster to have more space to run, use a clear plastic ball. The hamster can roll around the ground for a few minutes each day.
The exercise wheel should have a smooth surface, instead of multiple rungs, to avoid possible injuries. When the hamster is in the plastic ball, make sure it doesn’t roll around an area that is exposed to direct sunlight. The ball will heat up quickly and will eventually sicken the hamster.
A Proper Diet is Key
Hamsters require a nutritional diet in order to live a full, healthy life. The diet should consist of protein rich food mixes such as pelleted rodent mix. In addition, hamsters feed on seed mixes, leafy greens, and cereal. Hamsters tend to hoard food, so try not to supply too much. Stored food should be removed from the cage to maintain sanitary conditions.
Along with food, a clean supply of water should be available throughout the day. A water bottle containing a dripper is ideal for hamsters. If hamsters don’t get enough water, their health will be affected, and they could die prematurely.
Proper Care Prolongs Life
Hamsters have incisors which continue to grow throughout their life. Provide a gnawing stone or wood block to properly control teeth growth. If the teeth become to long, the hamster may need to be taken to the vet for care.
Another sign of trouble is the loss of hair. It is usually caused by the presence of mites, which can be alleviated by properly cleaning the hamster and cage. Other causes are not so treatable, including tumors and kidney disease. Take the hamster to the vet for a diagnosis.
By providing proper housing, an adequate diet, and proper care, your hamster can live a healthy, full life. Make the cage as hamster friendly as possible and observe the hamster daily for signs of illness. By actively monitoring your hamster’s health and maintaining its cage regularly, you can enjoy your pet hamster for two to three years.
Care of Pet Hamsters – Hilltop Animal Hospital
Hamsters – PetInfo4U