Hampsters as Pets is quite a popular choice but let’s cover some facts first…
If you’re considering a first pet for a child, he or she may not quite ready for a large animal, such as a dog. Something smaller, like a pet hamster might be a good place to start. (Yes, hamsters are rodents but that doesn’t change their cuteness!)
First, you should have a talk with your child to determine if they are truly ready for the responsibility of having a pet. They will need to feed and water it each day and clean the litter and cage periodically. Are they prepared to do that or will that task fall on you?
You may be wondering what equipment is necessary for hamsters as pets, so let’s talk about that now.
- Obviously the hamster will need a cage. How big should this be? You can purchase a small plastic cage with a metal grate at the bottom or something more elaborate with tubes. A 10-gallon fish tank will also work for a hamster cage but you’ll want to ensure the tank has a tight-fitting lid so your hamster won’t escape.Consider, where will you keep the cage? The best place is probably in a common room rather than your child’s bedroom. This way you’ll be able to watch how your child reacts to the hamster and control how much it is held.
- You’ll need bedding or litter. All bedding is not the same. In fact, some bedding is not recommended for use with hamsters. I suggest you get a book or talk to someone, such as a pet store owner.
- With hamsters as pets, you may want to consider “toys,” such as an exercise wheel or ball.
- You’ll need a water bottle, if it didn’t come with the cage, and a small bowl for food.
- A small house might also be a good idea. Hamsters like to hide under or in things. If you don’t purchase a small house or hollow log, don’t be surprised if they hide in the litter.
Hamsters as pets can be fun for children. You will want to explain that they are small and easily injured if they are squeezed. Children don’t mean to treat small animals poorly but they can squirm and wiggle so they are easy to drop.
It’s also good to be aware that hamsters can nip or bite if startled or treated badly. Learn how to pick up a hamster and what to do if your child or you are bitten. A veterinarian or pet store employee may be able to help you learn to do this.
Consider the fact hamsters don’t live long – about three years – especially if your child has a tender heart. Having a pet that they love is great but they may not be ready to lose it.