The most common small animal that you will find in a pet shop is the cuddly hamster.
And with very good reasons: they look like miniature bears when they strike their usual pose of standing on their hind legs; they have a mouth that can store enough food to double its face; they can be trained to perform tricks and you can even pocket it around in your shirt.
Being small, they do not require a big space unlike dogs or cats. You can keep him in
your apartment, or even bring him to your work place.
They are inexpensive. They eat little. They are full of energy and antics and can exercise all night in an exercise wheel. They provide a lot of fun.
Having said that, the hamster also demands attention. You need to change its bedding and clean its cage very regularly. The hamster is not smelly but its excrements are.
And some hamsters can give you a nasty bite if mishandled. And they are good escape artists and can run very fast.
The are two types of hamsters commonly available in pet shops in Singapore:
The Syrain or sometimes called the Golden Hamster.
The Russian or Dwarf Hamster; there are two types commonly seen and they are called the Campbell and Winter White all with different colour variations. They are about one third to half the size of the Syrian.
The Dwarf Hamster is social. You can keep either two of the same sex or as a pair in a cage. A pair can produce a litter of babies every 18 days. So you better watch out for what is coming. And unless you are prepared you are going to have more babies than you can handle.
Forget about turning it into a hobby business. There is no guarantee that pet shops will buy them and even if they do, the price is not worth the effort.
The Syrian or Golden Hamster is solitary by nature. The ideal is to keep one in a cage by itself.
After 18 years selling small animals, we can testify that:
Wire cages, especially the two-storey types are NOT good for hamsters. The wires can break legs and toes of this very active animal. The compromise cage is one with a plastic base and wire top with all wires smoothen to prevent cuts. This plastic base and wire combination is better because it is easier to clean and there is sufficient ventilation.
DO NOT get a plastic cage with built in tunnels as it is very difficult to clean; the plastic connections can break and cut the animal and because hamsters like to hide their food, you will end up with leftovers all over the cage. Their urine will also seep into the plastic connections and unless you take the connections apart and wash, the cage will smell. Ventilation is also very poor in an all-plastic cage. Hamsters like to gnaw and they love to chew plastic.
The BEST all round habitat for a hamster (easy to maintain, safe and escape proof) is an all glass aquarium tank with seamless front. It is very easy to clean and if you put a plastic or wire cover, you are not likely to run into any runaway hamster problems. We recommended an 18 inch x 12 inch x 12 inch glass tank available at Petmart Pte Ltd for $20. This is an imported glass tank with seamless front designed by Five Plan of Japan. This tank is also very suitable for hermit crabs and mice.
Other things you need include bedding material, water bottles, toys, water and food. All these are available at Petmart Pte Ltd. Tel: 62896471. Email: [email protected]
Hamster life span: 2 –3 years
Breeding age: Male (6 weeks); Female (4 weeks)
Weaning: 21 days
Daily water intake: up to 30 ml
Daily food intake: about 15 g
Remember: Never buy a Hamster or other pets on IMPULSE. Keeping a pet is for life with total commitment. And some pets have longer life than humans. Unless you are prepared to spend time to look after the pets, DON’T buy them. Hamsters and others pets are bad gifts as SURPRISE birthday presents.
You can get more information on the selection, care of Hamsters from the Internet.
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