Are you considering getting a small animal for a pet? If so, a hamster may be a good choice. These little furballs are gentle, inexpensive, and super cute! An Oshawa, ON vet lists some fun facts about hamsters below.
What’s In A Name?
The word ‘hamster’ originates from a German word ‘hamstern,’ which translates into ‘to hoard.’ Hamsters have a habit of stashing things, especially treats. They often use their cheek pouches to hide things. In fact, mother hamsters sometimes hide their babies in their cheeks! Male hamsters are called boars, and girls are called sows. Baby hamsters are called pups. Usually hamsters have about 8 pups at once.
Baby hamsters cannot see or hear until they are about two weeks old. However, they are born with a complete set of teeth, typically 16 in total. They keep these teeth for their entire lives. Hammie’s little choppers are open-rooted, which means they never stop growing. Hamsters need lots of chew toys to nibble on, as otherwise they’ll develop dental issues.
Hamsters are very popular children’ pets, and with good reason: they’re very friendly and easy to care for. Many hamsters seem to enjoy being petted and held. Hammie can even learn his name!
A Different Breed
There are actually 25 different breeds of hamster. However, you’ll only find about five of them in pet stores. The most popular type of hamster is the Syrian hamster, also called golden hamsters or teddy bear hamsters. These cute furballs were brought to the US from Syria in the 1930’s. While they are absolutely adorable, they don’t really get along with each other, and should always live alone.
Happy hamsters are typically quite frisky, and will run and play a lot. Hammie is actually pretty quick for his size. He can run up to 4 miles an hour! Hamsters are nocturnal, sleeping during the day and becoming active at night. This is one reason you may not want to put Hammie’s cage in a child’s bedroom.
Sizing Hammie Up
The biggest hamster is the European hamster, which can grow over a foot long. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the teeny-tiny Roborovski Dwarf hamster. Some of these little guys never get any longer than two inches!
Do you have questions about hamster care? Contact us, your Oshawa, ON vet clinic, today!