I’ve been a hamster owner for over five years now. I got my first hamster Mooksie back in 2018 and my most recent hamster Stripe in early January. When you have small pets in your life for as long as I have, you learn a few things. Today I am happy to share some of what I’ve learned with you.
Hamsters are Nocturnal
This may sound like an obvious one, but yes, hamsters are nocturnal. Any person who has owned any species of hamster: Syrian hamsters, Chinese Dwarf Hamsters, Winter White Dwarf Hamsters, Cambpell’s Dwarf Hamsters, and/or Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters will be able to tell you hamsters are active at night. This may sound like no big deal but when you have to keep your hamster in your room, their late-night activity becomes readily apparent. While hamsters themselves do not bark or meow, you may hear them drink from their water bottle or run on their wheel. As a heavy sleeper this has never bothered me, but those who awake easily should not keep their small pet near their bed.
No Two Hamsters are the Same
You might think that owning a hamster is like owning a fish. After all, both animals spend most of their time in a cage. A fish owner will have largely the same experience with different fish of the same species. The same does not hold true for hamsters. Hamsters are surprisingly smart and full of personality. Each hamster has their own unique disposition, ensuring that your relationship with your hamster is one of a kind. For example, Mooksie let me pick him up whenever I pleased, while Ghost will walk into my hand if he wants to be held. Additionally, Ghost buries his food bowl while Mooksie did not. Though hamsters are small in size, they’ve got big personalities. Your hamster’s behavior will become more apparent the more you hang out with them.
Once a Week is More than You Think
As a hamster owner, it’s imperative that you clean your small pet’s cage weekly. This means you need to replace the bedding and wipe down the floors and walls of their cage. Doing this once a week is by no means overly demanding, but a week goes by faster than you think. Between food, bedding, and wipes there’s a myriad of replenishable goods you need to keep your eye on. More than I’d care to admit I’ve had to make runs to the pet store on cleaning day for bedding because I ran out the week before. I’ve recently gotten in the groove of ordering bedding online the day I run out. This proactive planning ensures I am never without the things I need on cleaning day.
I am by no means a hamster expert, but I can confidently say I know more than the first-time hamster owner. If you’re curious about what it’s like to own a small pet, or you just brought one home, I hope my experience is able to help.