Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hamster Dance

We have a new addition to the family - a small white and grey hamster named Fuzzy. Last night Danny assembled the purple and yellow hamster habitat while we had many discussions with the boys about pet care and the importance of washing hands. Pet rodents are not my cup of tea, but as far as rodents go, it's fairly cute and not at all mouse/rat-like. At the pet store the sales clerks were encouraging Dan to buy a rat, apparently they're very smart, like human interaction and will respond when you call their name. Sorry no way am I housing a pet rat. Hopefully Fuzzy will help Elliot understand the importance of caring for another soul, and help him learn to be more responsible.

Keep Them Occupied
In their native habitat, hamsters have to travel great distances to find food, a fact that explains domestic hamsters' need for lots of exercise. Exercise wheels can provide hamsters with a good bit of activity, but they should not be the only source of physical activity. Complement the hamster's home gym and entertainment center with chewables such as a dog biscuit or pesticide-free twigs from beech trees, maples, willows, hazelnut bushes, or fruit trees; these will also help keep the animal's incisors worn down. Cardboard boxes, toilet-paper rolls, and paper-towel rolls are also safe for hamsters to burrow in, chew on, and play with. Wooden ladders and branches fastened securely to the inside of the tank can help hamsters show off their climbing agility.

Practice Good Housekeeping
Hamsters can be cranky if disturbed during their daytime sleeping hours, so try cleaning, feeding, and handling in the late afternoon or evening. Be sure to clean out the hamster's bathroom space every day. Hamsters like to amass treasure chests of tidbits, so check for stockpiles of perishable food. Also clean the water bottle and sipper tube daily to prevent buildup of food, algae, and bacteria; check to be sure it is working properly as well.

Change all the bedding twice a week, disinfecting the tank and letting it dry before laying down fresh bedding and replacing the hamster's chewing, nesting, and climbing toys. If you must remove a hamster to clean her tank, you can hold a small box near her and she will probably run right in. When handling a hamster, always hold her over a surface such as a tabletop in case she manages to wriggle out of your hands.

Delicious Treats
Besides the basic hamster mix, you can also supplement your pet's daily diet with a moderated amount of treats. Below are some delicious and healthy treats for your hamster.
Foods to avoid

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