Small, soft, and lively: these little fellows are very popular as animal roommates. Male golden hamsters are about 15 to 19 cm long, the females are usually slightly smaller. They originally come from Syria and belong to the genus of the middle hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). They have a life expectancy of two to four years and actually do not make any great demands on their surroundings. Nevertheless, you should meet a few basic requirements. Here you can read everything you should know about keeping and feeding these cute hamsters.
For the Nutrition of Golden Hamsters
The animals should always have access to a bowl of freshwater. It is also best to give them fresh food every day. Syrian hamsters are omnivores. For example, you may like:
- proteins from animal foods
Be careful not to overfeed your darling, otherwise, he will quickly gain weight and get sick. You can feed him to a large extent with dry food: He needs about one to two tablespoons per day. You cover your protein requirements with small amounts of insects. Note: Sugar is not good for your golden hamster at all. Therefore, you should give him little fruit and supplement the dry food with some fresh vegetables. Also, don’t give him a feed mix that contains sugar or sugar substitutes such as molasses.
Treats and Proteins
Nuts and kernels are very substantial. Therefore, they should only be present in small amounts in daily food. Better give them to the little guy as a special treat about twice a week. He’s definitely also happy about a piece of apple or other fruit. You can feed protein-rich food once a week, for example:
- a teaspoon of low-fat curd
- a piece of cheese
- a piece of egg white
- or similar
Must-haves for Keeping Golden Hamsters
- If you want to keep the small hamsters in a species-appropriate manner, the cage size should be at least 0.5 square meters. Because the little guys are very lively and busy. The cage can also be bigger. After all, the animal needs enough exercise.
- Hamsters love to dig caves and trenches. There they hide and sleep through the day in peace. Therefore, you should always put enough litter in the hamster cage. You will cover the base about 20 cm high. You mix a third of each of the hay and straw into the litter. Then your golden hamster can dig to its heart’s content or build a nest.
- Your pet is sure to be happy about prefabricated houses.
You can make these yourself or buy them in pet shops. The animals also like to use climbing opportunities. However, make sure that these are not too high in order to reduce the risk of injury and falls. You can complete the cage equipment with devices that allow your animal roommate to move. If you decide on a special hamster balance bike, it is best to choose a model made of wood. It is important that the material does not contain any toxins and does not easily splinter.
Cage Cleaning: Golden Hamsters and Hygiene
Like cats, these rodents are very clean. They almost always do their business in the same toilet place. You should clean them up every day. In this turn, you can remove “hamstered” food, for example, fruit. Because if such leftovers spoil, they can make the animal sick when eaten. If you consistently remove the daily dirt, it is usually sufficient to completely clean the hamster cage once a week.
Why are Golden Hamsters so Popular as Animal Roommates?
- Unlike many other animals, they are loners. You can and should keep hamsters in a cage by themselves. Because living together with conspecifics means pure stress for them.
- The rodents are quite lively and need some activity. Nevertheless, they require comparatively little space to live.
- The golden hamster diet is straightforward. You don’t have to give your pet special or expensive food.
- These animals are very clean. As a rule, they use a certain place in the cage as a toilet space. This makes daily cleaning easier.
Are Hamsters Best as Pets for Children?
That depends a little on age. You should keep in mind that Syrian hamsters are very small and fragile animals. They grow to a maximum of 15 cm and weigh on average only about 100 g. It is therefore important to be careful with them. Even if these little guys with their big googly eyes are so cute that you want to cuddle them – they are not animals to be touched and pressed, but rather to be observed. This can be really interesting and entertaining with these lively fellows. However, this is often more appreciated by adults and older children. In addition, the rodents are nocturnal. You won’t really wake up until younger children are already going to sleep. But if your little ones are responsible or old enough, there is nothing wrong with keeping a golden hamster.