what gerbils are pets

Have you ever thought about raising a cute little animal to accompany you? Do you enjoy observing their interesting behaviors and expressions? Would you be willing to provide them with a warm home? If your answer is yes, then you might consider getting a hamster as a pet.

Hamsters, also known as Mongolian gerbils, are a common type of pet rodent. They originate from Mongolia and are adapted to desert environments. They enjoy digging and gnawing. Hamsters have round bodies, large eyes, long tails, and soft fur.

They come in various colors such as white, gray, brown, black, or mixed. Hamsters weigh around 30 to 40 grams, are approximately 8 to 12 centimeters long, and have a lifespan of around 2 to 3 years.

Hamsters are omnivorous animals and primarily feed on seeds, grains, nuts, hay, and fruits. They are very intelligent, curious, active, and friendly creatures and can establish a good relationship with humans and other hamsters.

Keeping a hamster as a pet has many advantages, but there are also some challenges and considerations. In this article, I will introduce you to the care requirements of hamsters, how to choose the right hamster, as well as the pros and cons of having a hamster as a pet. I hope this article can help you understand the charm of hamsters and make an informed decision.

Advantages of Having a Hamster as a Pet

Hamsters are great pets for several reasons:

Active and Lively: Hamsters are energetic and love to explore, making them suitable for pet lovers who enjoy observing animal behavior. They run around, play, dig, gnaw, and perform various interesting actions inside their cage. Hamsters are also interested in the outside world and may attempt to escape or interact with humans. Their liveliness can bring you endless joy and help you relax and relieve stress.

Social: Hamsters are social animals and are suitable for cohabitation with other hamsters, offering a good social environment. They groom each other, keep warm together, play with each other, and protect each other. Hamsters can also establish trust and intimacy with humans, accept your touch, respond to your voice, and take food from your hand. Their sociability allows you to feel their warmth and friendliness while improving your social skills and sense of responsibility.

Clean: Hamsters are relatively clean and do not eliminate waste inside their cage, reducing odor and cleaning work. Hamsters choose a fixed spot in their cage to eliminate waste, usually in a corner or a small box. Therefore, you only need to clean that area regularly instead of the entire cage. Hamsters also clean themselves, so they do not require bathing or grooming. Their cleanliness saves you time and energy, while also maintaining a hygienic and comfortable home environment.

Easy to Care For: Hamsters are relatively easy to care for, making them suitable for busy families or first-time pet owners. They do not require a lot of space; a medium-sized cage is sufficient to meet their needs. Hamsters also do not need a lot of food. Provide them with specialized hamster food twice a day, occasionally supplementing with fresh vegetables and fruits to ensure their nutrition and health. Hamsters also do not require extensive medical attention. Regular check-ups to prevent parasites and infections can keep them healthy and happy. The ease of caring for hamsters saves you money and allows you to enjoy the pleasure of having a pet.

Disadvantages of Having a Hamster as a Pet

While hamsters have many advantages, there are also some challenges and disadvantages to consider before getting one:

Need for Companionship: Hamsters are not suitable for solitary living and require at least one companion to avoid loneliness and stress. Hamsters are social animals, and without a companion, they may feel lonely, anxious, or even depressed. This can affect their physical and mental health, as well as their relationship with humans. Therefore, if you want to have a hamster, it is best to have two or more so they can provide companionship and support to each other. Of course, you also need to pay attention to their genders. If you do not want them to breed, you can choose same-gender hamsters or have them spayed or neutered.

Nocturnal Activity: Hamsters are active at night and may create noise while people are sleeping. Hamsters are nocturnal animals; they sleep during the day and wake up at night to engage in various activities. These activities may include running, gnawing, fighting, or making squeaking sounds. These noises can disturb your sleep or the sleep of your neighbors. Therefore, if you want to have a hamster, you need to consider your sleep habits and living environment. You can try placing the hamster cage away from your bedroom or use soundproofing materials to reduce noise.

Need for Adequate Space: Hamsters need enough space for digging and exercise, which means they require a sufficiently large cage. Hamsters are natural diggers and enjoy burrowing, hiding, or searching for food in sand or wood shavings. Hamsters also need toys to stimulate their intelligence and physical abilities, such as exercise wheels, tunnels, swings, or wooden blocks. If the hamster cage is too small, they may feel restrained, bored, or even frustrated. This can affect their health and happiness and lead to behavioral problems such as excessive gnawing, aggression, or escaping. Therefore, if you want to have a hamster, you need to provide them with a cage that is at least 60 centimeters long, 40 centimeters wide, and 30 centimeters high, as well as sufficient sand or wood shavings and interesting toys.

Short Lifespan: Hamsters typically have a lifespan of around 2 to 3 years, so you need to be mentally prepared for the loss of a pet. Hamsters are incredibly cute and loyal animals that can establish a deep bond with you and bring you much joy and warmth. However, their lifespan is not long, and as they age, they may experience signs of aging such as hair loss, reduced activity, decreased appetite, or develop diseases such as tumors, infections, or dental problems. When your hamster passes away, you may feel very sad, lost, or even guilty. Therefore, if you want to have a hamster, you need to consider your emotional resilience and the feelings of your family members. You can try sharing your emotions with your family or friends or seek professional psychological counseling to help you through this difficult period.

How to Choose the Right Hamster

If you have decided to get a hamster, then you need to know how to choose the right one. Here are some tips for selecting a hamster:

Age: It is recommended to choose a hamster that is 6 to 8 weeks old as they are more likely to adapt to a new environment. Hamsters of this age have already been weaned and can eat solid food and interact with other hamsters. They are also usually more docile and not too afraid of humans or overly mischievous. You can determine their age by observing their body size, fur, and behavior. Generally, younger hamsters are smaller, have smoother fur, and are more active.

Gender: To prevent breeding, you can choose hamsters of the same gender. Hamsters have strong breeding capabilities and can give birth to 3 to 10 pups at a time, multiple times within a year. If you do not want your hamsters to breed, you can choose hamsters of the same gender or have them spayed or neutered. You can determine their gender by observing their genitals. Generally, male hamsters have more noticeable genitals that are further away from the anus, while female hamsters’ genitals are more concealed and closer to the anus.

Health Condition: When purchasing a hamster, check if it is healthy, free from wounds, and not afraid of human contact. You can assess their health by observing their appearance, breathing, and reactions. Healthy hamsters have bright eyes, clean noses, smooth fur, and rounded bodies. They breathe steadily without coughing, sneezing, or wheezing. Healthy hamsters are responsive and not too fearful or aggressive towards humans.

Hamster Care Requirements

If you have chosen the right hamster, you need to know how to provide them with a comfortable and safe living environment. Here are some care requirements for hamsters:

Cage: You need a sufficiently large cage equipped with appropriate bedding and toys. A hamster cage should have at least 60 centimeters in length, 40 centimeters in width, and 30 centimeters in height, with sufficient ventilation and lighting. The cage can be made of metal, plastic, or wood, but make sure there are no sharp edges, parts that can be easily chewed off, or gaps that can facilitate escape. Place the hamster cage in a quiet, dry, and warm (but not too hot) area, avoiding direct sunlight, wind, or water. Line the cage with a thick layer of sand or wood shavings as bedding for the hamster to dig and hide. Put some toys in the cage, such as an exercise wheel, tunnels, swings, or wooden blocks, to allow them to exercise and play.

Diet: Provide specialized hamster food and occasionally add fresh vegetables and fruits. Hamsters’ primary food is specialized hamster food, which is typically a mixture of seeds, grains, nuts, and hay. This food can provide the necessary nutrition and fiber for hamsters, as well as help them grind their teeth. You can feed hamsters twice a day, with a small handful of food each time, placed in a clean bowl. You can also occasionally give them fresh vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, apples, bananas, or watermelon, as treats and to supplement their water intake. However, be cautious not to give hamsters too many vegetables and fruits as it may cause gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea. Avoid giving them toxic, spiky, or sugary foods like onions, garlic, lemons, chocolates, or candies as these can harm their health.

Cleaning: Clean the cage at least once a week, replacing the bedding and cleaning the bottom of the cage. Although hamsters are relatively clean, their cages can accumulate dirt, especially from their waste and leftover food. If not cleaned promptly, this dirt can produce odor, attract insects, or breed bacteria. These can affect the comfort and health of hamsters and the household environment. Therefore, you need to clean the hamster cage at least once a week, replacing the bedding and cleaning the bottom of the cage. You can use mild cleaners such as soapy water or vinegar water to wipe all parts of the cage and then rinse with clean water and dry with a cloth. You can also use disinfectants such as alcohol or bleach to sterilize, but make sure to thoroughly rinse the cage afterward to avoid any residue. When cleaning the cage, you can place the hamster in a safe area such as a small box or a transport cage to prevent it from being scared or injured.


Hamsters can be a great pet choice, especially for those who enjoy observing animal behavior and are willing to invest time in caring for them. Hamsters have many advantages, such as being lively, social, clean, and easy to care for, which can bring you endless joy and warmth. However, there are also challenges and disadvantages to consider, such as the need for companionship, nocturnal activity, space requirements, and their short lifespan, so you need to carefully consider your capabilities and responsibilities. If you decide to have a hamster, you need to know how to choose the right one and provide them with a comfortable and safe living environment. Only then can you ensure that your hamster remains healthy and happy and allow yourself to enjoy the pleasure of having a pet.


Hamsters are not suitable for children under 8 years old to keep alone, as they may not be able to provide proper care. Hamsters require patience, attentiveness, basic knowledge, and skills to ensure their health and happiness. If you have children, you can let them interact with the hamster under your supervision, teaching them how to properly hold, pet, and feed the hamster, as well as how to respect and care for them. This way, you can cultivate their interest and sense of responsibility while improving their relationship with the hamster.

In some areas, such as Hawaii and California, keeping hamsters as pets may be illegal as they may become invasive species. Hamsters are highly adaptable animals, and if they escape or are intentionally released, they can breed, compete, or harm local ecosystems. This can pose a threat to local flora and fauna as well as human health and the economy. Therefore, before getting a hamster, you need to understand the laws and regulations in your area and your responsibilities and obligations. You also need to ensure that your hamsters do not escape or get released to avoid trouble for yourself and others.


Before deciding whether to have a hamster, you should fully understand their needs and your responsibilities. If you are ready, hamsters can become a fun and lively addition to your family. I hope this article can help you make an informed decision and appreciate the charm of hamsters even more.

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