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Understanding hamsters

When we talk of the hamster, most people think of the Golden or Syrian hamster. But as we shall see, there are other smaller breeds of hamster that have been introduced to pet owners more recently, and they have slightly different requirements. Golden hamsters are clean and easily tamed, although if they do not receive plenty of handling when they are young, they can become antisocial and may inflict a painful bite. Surprisingly enough, one of the things that they really don't like is other hamsters, and so they have to be kept singly. However, the smaller Russian and Chinese hamsters will live happily in groups if they grow up together. Perhaps one of the main disadvantages of hamsters is their short life span most will live only a little more than two years of age. Losing a pet is always tough even if you know that life expectancy is short but at least you can hae the satisfaction of knowing that you have given your hamster the best possible love and care.
To understand your hamster better, you need to know a little about how it would live if it were wild. Golden hamsters come from hot desert lands, where they burrow under the ground to shelter from the heat of the sun during the daytime, and only come out to look for their food when it is cool in the evening. That is why your hamster sleeps during the day and is awake and busy at night. Food is hard to find in the desert. A wild hamster would travel far from its burrow, searching in the sand for seeds and the occasional green plant. Your pet hamster does not have to forage for its food but it still needs a lot of exercise. So it must have room in its cage to move about freely, an exercise wheel to run in, and perhaps a ladder to climb up and down. Wild hamsters hoard food when it is plentiful, in case of a shortage later. Hamsters have special cheek pouches into which they can stuff food and carry it back to a store in their burrow. The instinct to hoard is still strong in a pet hamster. So, although you will be there to feed it regularly, your hamster will also use its cheek pouches and store food behind its nest. Golden hamsters are solitary each one living alone in its own burrow, which it defends fiercely. That is why hamsters must be caged singly, or they will fight for ownership of the cage.

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