BASIC HAMSTER CARE
There are many ways you can keep your hamster healthy. Start by feeding him a balanced diet. Buy a brand of hamster food that will take care of his daily nutritional requirements. Supplement his daily diet with a moderate amount of greens. Be sure that your hamster always has a fresh supply of food and water. His bedding should be changed and his housing washed regularly.
- Hamsters are nocturnal and are rarely active during the day.
- Hamsters live 2 to 3 years on average.
- Hamsters can remember their relatives.
- Hamsters got their name from an old German word, "hamstern", associated with storing food.
- Hamsters are color blind.
- Hamsters have poor eyesight and depth perception. They can only see up to six inches in front of them.
- Wild hamsters dig extensive tunnels beneath the ground - extending as far as three feet in depth.
- Wild hamsters can travel up to 8 miles in one night in search of food.
- Like other rodents, a hamster's teeth grow continuously throughout their lifetime.
- Hamsters can squeeze into really small places.
- Hamsters are now used for scientific research. They are a popular choice among scientists because they are so easy to handle.
- Hamsters breed rapidly - they can have a new litter every month!
- Hamsters are often used for cardiovascular research as their cardiovascular system is very similar to ours.
Choosing the housing for your hamster is an important decision. The general rule of thumb is to get as big a cage as you can possibly afford. Keep in mind that the hamster cage may look big when you first buy it in comparison to your hamster, but after you've put in a food bowl, toys and an exercise wheel, it will start to look pretty cramped. Hamsters that don't get enough exercise can develop cage paralysis (see General Hamster Care for more details).