Care Tips & Fun Facts!
Fact: The domesticated rats we love today are Norway rats! Through many years of domestication, breeding for temperament, and discovering new mutations, we now have many incredible varieties of this wonderful, intelligent, and loving species.
Fact: A "tuck" is a breeder term referring to when the rat tucks-up his/her legs and arms when scruffed. It's a temperament test that does not hurt the animal.
-Water bottle (Remember to use filtered water! NEVER use tap water. BPA-free plastic bottle or glass)
-Litter pans (If litter training is desired)
-Species appropriate bedding/litter. See recommended options in the "Cage & Bedding Info" section.
-Hammocks (Fleece is recommended)
-Toys (Make sure you have a lot of safe toys)
- Toys are where a lot of owners fall short. Make sure you provide a lot of toys for stimulation. If you would like to order toys from me after your visit is completed, I can ship you a bulk order.
-Craft sticks and a hot glue gun (Optional, but highly recommend for babies between 6-9 weeks)
- The best deal I have found for craft sticks is at AC Moore. 1,000 sticks for about $6. Building craft stick houses will make a fun activity for you and any older children in the house/apartment. Be warry to the potential of getting burned from the glue gun.
- More important for people who don’t have a local exotic emergency vet. Even if you do, I still highly recommend to have at least Fish Mox, antibiotic spray, a cool mist humidifier and a hospital cage. Rats from me will rarely get sick in proper housing conditions, but it's still a good idea to be prepared.
-Wheel for exercise (Optional)
- Males tend not to use wheels. They are not needed for females, but many doe rats enjoy them. Plastic wheels without holes are ideal. For adult rats, the wheel should be at least 12 inches. 16+ inch wheels are ideal, but hard to find.
-Oxbow food and fresh foods
- There are other good brands, but oxbow is recommended above all other rat food brands. You can find it locally at “Pet Supply Plus” or you can order it online. Because it's for adults, you should provide a little extra protein daily until they reach 6 months old. For two rats, one egg daily will work great. You can offer it raw, scrambled, or hard boiled. You also need to provide fresh fruits and veggies every day.
-Draft free room out of direct sun rays
- Be careful! Avoid direct sun rays without hides for escape. Rats are nocturnal and do not do well in direct sun rays. The room they are housed in should ideally be on the first or second floor of the home/apartment so that there is a day and night cycle.
TIP: Avoid rat roaming balls (Hamster balls, but larger). While they may seem like a harmless and fun idea, many agree that they can be dangerous for a rat’s long toes. Rat’s tend not to like them much anyway. You’re much better off looking into a climb-resistant playpen (sold on Amazon) or rat proofing the room for free ranging.
Pet stores love to label Syrian hamsters with cute names to help them sell and to also possibly charge a higher price for them (such as teddy bear, black bear, panda, etc). Of course, the reality is they are all just Syrians with different traits. Syrians MUST be kept alone. They are solitary animals and will likely fight to the death after a certain age. Even if they don't fight, being together will stress them out and shorten their life span.
If you're thinking about adding a hamster to your home, you'll need:
- A cage- It's highly recommended to provide as much space as possible for your hamster(s) to help keep them from going bored. Small cages stress hamsters and give them anxiety. Ideal cages are actually large home made bins. I can give you pointers on how to make one or you can order one from me. Hamsters greatly prefer ample floor space instead of climbing space. The ideal bin size is at least 450 square inches and at least 12 inches tall.
- Chews - Hamsters love to chew on blocks or baked apple/grape wood. This helps keep them mentally stimulated.
- Toys - Sadly, many hamster owners across the world fail to provide toys for their hamsters. A hamster may not be as intelligent as a rat, but they still enjoy interacting with items they can climb on, hide in, and crawl under.
- Water bottles - chew proof glass bottles are ideal.
- Food - See the "Food Options" page for recommendations.
- Bedding - Shredded newspaper is my go - to choice mixed with pine shavings, aspen, and/or Granulated Sweet PDZ for ammonia control. Carefresh is a popular bedding choice, but I do not recommend it alone due to the fact that is does not neutralize dangerous ammonia. Using it with aspen is a great option.
- Wheels - This is considered a must. Hamsters love wheels! Avoid wire wheels. The minimum wheel size for a Syrian is 9 inches with 10-12 being ideal.
Do hamsters make good family pets and good pets for kids? Yes! But, they are not recommended to children under the age of six unless the child has a firm understanding on how to safely handle them. They are small and don't understand heights very well. Children also have the tendency to squeeze small animals. Just like rats, they make great starter pets for responsible children. Don't ever leave a child alone with hamsters or rats. Makes sure handing takes place while the child is sitting on the floor (better yet, in a playpen!) and do not allow the child to walk around the house with the hamster. Accidents happen; even older kids and adults can drop these little guys!
Can I house my hamster(s) with my rats? If you have both species, don't attempt to put them together. This will likely leave your hamster to meet a terrible fate. It's not worth the risk. Rats are omnivorous and will kill small rodents of different species.
Can I give my hamster a bath? No. Don't do this unless absolutely necessary. Hamsters bathe themselves and are very clean animals. Even rats shouldn't really be bathed (For rats, many just recommend wiping down their tail with a wet rag when it gets too dirty). Hamsters will panic in water and this can lead to heart failure and shortened life span.
If I can no longer keep my Hamster at any point, can I return him/her to you? Yes, I am happy to take back hamsters that need to find a new home. This does not mean I am a rescue. I will only take back hamsters that were born and raised at my hamstery. Upon return, you may be required to provide a suitable cage for me to keep your surrendered hamster in.
Hamsters come with a health guarantee. All hamsters are sold with a pet only agreement stated in contract. If you would like breeding rights, please state this in your application.
A lot of animal products on the market that seem safe and claim to be safe for your pet are in reality potentially very dangerous. Hamsters commonly die from fluffy sleeping bedding. Do not use cotton balls or any of the products shown below. Instead use fleece! Fleece stripes or blankets are 100% safe for hamsters. This chart should also mention that hamsters who stuff fiber bedding in their mouth can die of choking. This was seen recently in a viral warning post.