Hamsters are small, nocturnal rodents, meaning they are more inclined to be active by night rather than in the daytime. Because of their nocturnal habits, Hamsters are less likely to be handled during the daytime and if they are, they are more prone to give you a nip as they may be grumpy.
Hamsters are popular pets, the most common and largest one being the Syrian Hamster, also known as the ‘Golden Hamster’. The Syrian Hamster is naturally solitary and must be kept singular and not in pairs or groups as they will fight.
Unlike Guinea Pigs, the Hamster is an unsociable animal and different species have to be kept single as pets, putting one hamster with another hamster would cause fights in which one or both could be harmed.
However, the Russian Hamster and the Dwarf Hamster (who grow to be about 8 centimetres), like the company of their own kind, however, it is still a good idea to keep males and females separated.
The only time hamsters can be put together is for mating and still you have to be at hand to interact if any combat develops.
The best way to avoid confrontations at mating time is to make sure you put the female into the male territory. Breeding hamsters can produce a litter every few weeks.
Here are the general statistics of a Golden Hamster:
- Adult weight: Male 85 – 140 grams, Female 95 – 120 grams
- Life span: Average 2 years, maximum expected 3 years (some reach 5 years)
- Water consumption: Variable, they can tolerate long periods without water, however, you should always have fresh water available by sipper bottle or supply of fresh fruit/vegetables
- Food consumption: 10 – 15 grams per day (adult), depends upon level of activity.
- Body temperature: 36.2 – 37.5C (rectal)
- Behaviour: Docile unless surprised or awakened.
- Hibernate when temperature drops below 5ºC, however, animal may be roused by gentle stimulation and application of warmth.
- Curious by nature.