If this title caught your attention, more likely than not you’re thinking of adopting a hamster. Hamsters are a great pet whether you are a seasoned animal caretaker, or this is your first one. They are low maintenance, low cost, and low commitment. After a bit of background, I will spend the remainder of this article proving these three points.
I am now on my second hamster. My first hamster Mooksie lived from April 2018 to April 2020. Though he was small he had a big personality. He had no qualms about being handled and never bit anyone. Mooksie himself is the progeny of Happy Habitats, we would not exist today without him. My second hamster Buster is much more shy. He is not keen on being held and he frightens easily. Despite this, he is very friendly. Buster loves being pet and will never shy away from a hand fed treat. I bring up Mooksie and Buster to make two points. One, no hamster is the same, just like people they all have different personalities. And two, while I am by no means an expert on hamster rearing, I have more experience than the first-time owner. My advice should be used to help guide you towards your own decision.
Unlike people, hamsters are solitary creatures. In the wild they spend most of their lives alone, only meeting up with other hamsters to reproduce. As long as your hamster’s enclosure has all the necessary components, your little friend will be content being left to their own devices. The only absolute necessary thing your hamster needs from you is a cage cleaning. I try to clean my hamsters cage once a week, giving them enough time to mess around with their surroundings without letting it go rancid.
Keeping the above text in mind, that is not to say your hamster will not enjoy your company. On the contrary, if you can get your hamster to tolerate your presence, you can hand feed them treats, give them time outside their enclosure, and provide them with plenty of enrichment. You won’t win your hamster over all at once, rather they will get used to you over time. Try interacting with them a little each day to familiarize them with your presence. Taming your hamster will be covered, in depth in another article.
When you bring home a pet hamster, the least expensive thing is the pet. The cage, hideout, water bottle, food bowl, wheel, and any other toys and accessories will rack up a pretty penny. Then there are the consumables: bedding, food, and treats. I spent about $200 on the initial cage setup and about $40 a month on consumables. That’s a decent sum of money, but relatively cheap for a pet. Just adopting a dog from a shelter costs about the same in adoption fees. In my opinion hamsters are among the most economically viable pets. In other words, you get a quite the bang for your buck.
This was partially proven via the first point regarding low maintenance. Since they are so easy to take care of, a hamster will not consume much of your time. Additionally, most hamsters live relatively short lives. Regardless of the breed, hamsters live only two to three years. They are not a long-term commitment, unlike a parrot or turtle which may outlive you. However, once you bring one of these little furballs home you are going to want them to live forever.
Having gone through each point, hopefully now you can see the pros and cons of being a hamster parent. I recognize these pets are not for everyone. Yet, if you read this article, you were likely already considering adding a hamster to your life. So go out there, find your furry friend, and give them their best hamster life!