Tell me about hamsters!

(11 Posts)
Dededum Sat 08-Dec-12 10:10:41

9 year old would like a hamster. Had to explain he couldn't have a cat as cat might eat our lizard.

I know nothing about hamsters:
- are they 'fun'
- easy to keep
- will he sleep in sons bedroom
- do they sleep at night or nocturnal
- what do they eat

Yes they are fun to watch , if you get one that likes to be handled ten even more so...but you need to put the time into taming for it to pay off.

Easy to keep? Fairly. I do a proper deep clean once a week, and a half clean inbetween.
They need to be fed and watered every day, as well as some out of cage time. Either in a ball or free range in a very safe place!

They eat hamster food and the odd bit of fresh veg. Treats can be anything from a piece of cheese or chicken to mealworms.

They are nocturnal so will be up at night, if you get one get a wooden wheel as these are completely silent apart from the patter of feet. I have trained our two to come out about 5 for dinner. they are about for a few hours then go back to sleep until the early hours. Yes hammy will be happy to sleep anywhere during the day

They need a big cage - minimum guidelines from the RSPCA are 80w /50h/50d . If you look around you should be able to find a good deal on one ,. but this will be your biggest start up expense!

They are great pets but I always think they are more of a adult pet than a childs..... have you thought of Gpigs? They are fab for every one! grin

We are on our second hamster and have 2 GPigs- however, they are mine . Not ds's, not a family pet, mine! This is ultimately because I know I would be the one looking after them. I would not get a pet, even when ds is 18 and wants one of his own, unless I want it too!

If you are not pre-pared to take hammy ( or any other pet) on if/when your ds gets bored then don't get one!

Good news (or bad news- whichever way you look at it) is their lifespan is quite short at 18months - 2/3 years.
Our girl lived til 22 months and I was devastated when she went, but ds did deal with it very well.

HTH smile

BellaVita Sat 08-Dec-12 12:21:48

We love our hamster. He is very tame, he gets kissed a LOT and puts his chin on yours when he wants more grin.

Ours has just gone past the 2 years date and still going strong.

He likes yoghurt, scrambled egg, grapes, strawberries, banana in fact all kinds if things. If he is on the settee and you have a plate of toast or a biscuit on your lap, he will climb on and pinch it.

Well worth getting one.

Dededum Sat 08-Dec-12 12:34:33

Why guinea pigs?

They are more social and cuddly.

Hammys are great but they sleep at night - GPigs are up in the day, much much easier to handle.

Yes they need more care/room etc but are better childs pets imo.

But again, a big thing to take on, if you don't want them then don't get them! smile

Nivet Sat 08-Dec-12 13:04:09

I second the guinea pig vote, I've had both. Guinea pig's are robust, awake during the day, less nippy and live longer.

Hamsters are lovely but I don't think they make a great pet for children. If you do go the hamster route anyway the Rotastak homes are brilliant but a massive pain in the ass to clean out.

CountingSparrows Sat 08-Dec-12 13:20:13

Rats are great! Need lots of space but more like small dogs in personality; friendly, intelligent and companionable.

Guinea-pigs are fabulous but take up a load of space.(And time, money and binbags full of dirty bedding ) hmm

If I was buying an animal for my DS I'd maybe consider a rat over a guinea.(The GPs belong to DS and DD but TBH it's DD and I who 'does' for them)

With a rat you could have loads of space on levels.They are far more agile than GPs who like to snuffle about and explore but aren't very athletic.

And rats are much cleverer.

I'm pretty sure some rat owners will say the cages aren't big enough (same as I'd say for pet store GP cages). But you could customise some accomodation (C&C type cages)

Never kept hamsters but my NDN does and she loves them.

Dededum Sat 08-Dec-12 16:24:21

Undecided, DS1 has a bearded dragon. Super easy to look after, which is just as well because I do most of it.

I will investigate rats, my mate used to have one many years ago.

Floralnomad Sat 08-Dec-12 16:30:06

Another vote for rats ,we've had hamsters ,rats and guinea pigs and the rats were by far the best for children. We had 3 different sets ,2 boys, 3 boys then 2 girls and they have all been brilliant ,friendly and very clever. The only reason we don't have more is that we finally persuaded DH to get a dog and he would eat anything small and furry ( has tried several times to eat the rabbit who is now living in the equivalent,net of a secure unit!)

MsElleTow Sat 08-Dec-12 16:32:25

My hamster is really, really spoilt! He gets a mixture of hamster food and parrot food because he likes the nuts and seeds best. Every night he has a treat, usually some fruit or veg, sometimes some pastry, but his favourite is custard cream biscuits!

He has a hamster toilet that he wees in, he poos in one corner and then chucks them out through the bars on to the hall floor! He is really tame and has never bitten. We've had him since he was 5 weeks old, he was really really tiny, and we have handled him since day 1 so he isn't frightened. He snuggles up to DS2 and goes to sleep on his shoulder!

I love hamsters, so many people think they are boring and don't do anything, but they aren't. I get really attached to mine, the longest one of ours has lived is nearly 3 years.

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