There are a lot of people who are looking for a pet. One of the most common pets is the hamster. Hamsters are common in nearly every part of the world. I remember that when I was younger, I always wanted a hamster.
Before I ended up with a hamster in my home, we actually ended up with a hamster in our classroom in elementary school. We loved to play with that hamster, and our teachers would have trouble getting us to focus on our lesson.
We would take turns taking the hamster home on weekends and taking care of it. Once I showed my parents that I was responsible, we ended up getting a hamster of our own. I remember that I was very surprised when my parents brought home something a little bit different.
This got me thinking, what is a hamster related to? There are a few important points to keep in mind.
Hamsters Are Related To Other Rodents
My parents explained to me that at the store, there weren’t any hamsters. We had ended up with a gerbil instead.
Therefore, hamsters are related to rodents. At the same time, there are a few important points to explore the hamster family.
Hamsters Are Related To Multiple Other Animals
First, it is important to note that there are multiple types of hamsters. Two of the most common types are the Syrian hamster and the dwarf hamster.
Both of these hamsters are closely related to numerous other small animals, including voles, rats, and mice.
The Taxonomy of Hamsters
Taking a flashback to high school, most people remember that there are multiple kingdoms. Hamsters belong to the Animal Kingdom. This kingdom houses all animals, including people.
When going down the tree, hamsters eventually fall into the class Mammalia. This family contains all mammals, commonly known as the animals that live on dry land. Continuing down the animal tree, hamsters belong to an order called Rodentia, which contains numerous rodents.
Within the order of rodents, there are multiple families. Hamsters belong to a family called Cricentidae, which contains all the hamsters. This family also contains mice, voles, and numerous other rodents.
There are numerous genera that fall under this family. Two of the most common hamsters include the dwarf hamster and the desert hamster.
Exploring the Subfamily Cricetinae
All hamsters throughout the world are closely related to each other. Even though the two most popular hamsters are the dwarf hamster in the Syrian hamster, which are popular as pets, there are numerous other species of hamsters as well.
In general, hamsters are going to range in size from around 2 inches long to just over a foot in length. Hamsters tend to enjoy dry, open habitats. These include the desert, foothills, planes, and steps. There is plenty of soft sand into which hamsters can burrow.
While all of these environments are not completely the same, hamsters are commonly found in nearly all of them.
Exploring Other Rodents
In addition to the multiple types of hamsters described above, hamsters are similar to other rodents. Some of the most common rodents that people will be familiar with include rats, gerbils, and mice.
All hamsters, similar to other rodents, are omnivores. This means that hamsters like to eat those vegetables and meat. Hamsters can commonly be found munching on carrots, lettuce, and other food that finds Its way into its cage.
At the same time, hamsters have sharp teeth like other rodents. Therefore, they need to continually gnaw and chew in order to keep their teeth short. Those who are familiar with hamsters will know that hamsters like to hoard their food in their cheeks.
Sometimes, it looks like their cheeks are swollen, but they are actually just boarding their food. In this manner, hamsters are similar to other rodents, including squirrels.
Common Characteristics of Rodents
I remember that when we were looking for a pet, it was helpful for us to compare some of the characteristics of pet rodents. When comparing pet rodents to other pets, they tend to have much shorter life spans.
For example, those who are familiar with cats and dogs know that these larger animals tend to live for ten or more years. Hamsters tend to live for two to three years. Gerbils also tend to live 2 to 3 years.
Is said to live anywhere from 1 to 3 years. Rats will live anywhere from two to four years. Guinea pigs live anywhere from five to seven years. In general, the larger the rodent is, the longer it is going to live.
Next, it is important to think about housing. A cage is an important part of owning a rodent and keeping it safe. Even though it is easy to find a cage in a pet store, it is usually too small in order to provide a rodent with a good quality of life.
It is important to provide all rodents, including hamsters, with plenty of room to move around and exercise. Therefore, the larger the cage, the better. A larger cage is going to allow a rodent to have plenty of room to both defecate and Nest.
Rodents will want to defecate and nest in separate areas. Many are going to use a cage that has a secure latch. Rodents are experts at escaping, so it is important to find ways to keep them safe from harm. Secure housing is also important for families that have other pets.
If a hamster is allowed to leave its cage, it is important to supervise it at all times. It is a good idea to keep the hamster in penned in place.
Finally, it is important to remember that all rodents love to chew. Therefore, it is important to provide him or her with plenty of safe chewing materials.
Some of those common examples include food, water, and specially designed items for chewing. It is also a good idea to keep rodents away from any material that might be hazardous if they chew on it.
For example, electrical wires are a common culprit. This is another important part of keeping rodents safe from harm. I know that my parents got mad at me when I dropped something into our hamster’s cage because I thought it was hungry.
It turns out that is items could actually have been hazardous to the hamster’s health. It is important to know that hamsters are not going to eat the same diet as people.
Keeping Hamsters as Pets
Lots of pet hamsters are going to show traits that are similar to their relatives that live in the wild. For example, hamsters are nocturnal by habit.
This means that they prefer to sleep during the day and remain active at night. In the wild, hamsters like to hide during the day because they are hiding from predators.
Given that hamsters are relatively small, they are easy prey for larger animals. In this manner, hamsters are simply trying to protect themselves by hiding during the day.
Those who get frustrated because they don’t see their hamster playing on its wheel or, in his case, during the day should know that this is simply a habit that hamsters have taken with them from the wild to the domestic areas.
I remember that as a child, I used to get very upset with my hamster because he would never come out and run on the wheel when I had friends over. My parents later explained to me that the hamster was unfamiliar with my friends and was actually still getting used to me.
Therefore, whenever unfamiliar people were around, the hamster would hide. This is simply a survival Instinct.
Furthermore, wild hamsters can be spotted burrowing tunnels into the ground. These tunnels usually have multiple chambers, each of which has a different purpose.
For example, there might be a chamber in which a hamster hides its babies. Then, there might be another chamber where the hamster hides food. This is another habitat hamsters commonly take with them from the wild to the domestic area.
For example, hamsters also like to choose different corners of their cage for different purposes. A hamster might choose one chamber in which to sleep, one chamber in which to eat, and one chamber in which to hide its babies.
Bringing a Hamster Home
Finally, it is important to note that hamsters may take a while to get used to the domestic environment as well. Answers are very much used to living life in the wild.
Therefore, when they are first introduced to a cage, they might not be familiar with the idea that this is the new home. Therefore, it is important for families with small children to remember that a hamster is soft, fragile, and might not like to be picked up.
Families that are introducing a new hamster to the home need to make sure that they think about the hamster, giving it space and time to adjust.