Friday, 17 February 2012

Is a Hamster Right for You?

When deciding you want a pet, and more specifically a hamster, there are quite a few things to consider. 

First off, will a hamster fit into your budget? Many people think hamsters are easy to look after, don't need much time and don't cost a lot. In reality the cost of the hamster itself is miniscule but the cost of a large enough cage can spiral. My syrian cost £9.50, and the retail price of a cage large enough for him to have a good quality of life was over £100. Lucky for me I got one cheap as it was a returned product and had been opened.

They also can sometimes need vet care, which can cost a lot. You need to be prepared to pay out for these things, as a hamster is your responsibility. If you are not prepared for the chance that you will need to pay vet costs I would reconsider having a pet such as a hamster. Maybe settle for a fish...

Secondly, does a hamster fit your lifestyle? Hamsters are Crepuscular, which means they are mostly awake in the twilight hours. This means they are not a fantastic pet for children, prior to popular belief. Hamsters wake up when a child is going to bed. They make good pets for people who are out most of the day, as they don't need attention until later in the evening. They also take a while to tame in most cases. I know my syrian took 2 months to become fully tame, and that was with taking 30 minutes a day to get him used to me.

Thirdly, are you prepared for the menial tasks? It may seem a silly thing to think about, but they need cleaning out at least once a week (if on shavings, if on something like megazorb you can leave it a little longer). Are you prepared to do that? They also need water and food changes regularly. This may seem trivial but it is a reality and you need to be prepared to do these things. At least 30 minutes out time with you/in a ball is also needed per DAY. Starting to sound a bit more than you expected right?

The bottom line is, a hamster relies on you for everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING. You are their carer, much like a dog or cat, and if you "can't be bothered" one day, they really suffer for it. I own 4 hamsters and it can be challenging, but worth it. I do this list for anyone who is considering buying a hamster so they can be ready for what responsibilites accompany it.

On a lighter note, they are intelligent, fun and cuddly pets and I would recommend them to anyone who has the time and patience to look after one :D

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