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DD wants a sodding hamster, pros and cons please

(96 Posts)
sandyballs Tue 13-Nov-12 16:16:44

I hate the thought of a stinking rodent in the house.

- nocturnal, what's the point if they can't play in the day
- smelly
- bitey and scratchy
- money - vet bills, sawdust, food and other stuff they need
- I will end up caring for it by NY day despite DDs claims.

- only one I can think of and that is DD has longed for one for years and I have just found a long letter in her bedroom begging for one for xmas and that is all she wants.

- another - a cheap present despite being one of the 'cons' above!

Can't believe I'm even thinking of it, please talk me out of it, say they are dirty and smelly and it will die young and leave DD distraught.

Lauzifer Tue 13-Nov-12 16:44:48

We have a dwarf hamster and she's lovely, easy to clean out, doesn't smell and very very cheap to keep. The cage for a dwarf hamster doesn't have to be massive and she is very tame and sweet.
I used to keep degu's and dwarf hamsters are a 100 times easier to look after.

SrirachaGirl Tue 13-Nov-12 16:46:37

We got one for DD last Christmas and he's been a great success so far. He's called Kevin (picture on profile) and he's very sweet and likes to be cuddled. He usually wakes up in the early evening and the DCs like to try and lure him through his tube with bits of fruit and veg. They are noisy at night so don't keep them upstairs (although you can get wheels that are 'silent'). DD changes his cage about once a week which takes about 5 minutes so no big deal. We also have one of those clear balls for him to roll around the floor in, which can be very entertaining to watch...our dogs are baffled and frightened by this and keep their distance, surprisingly grin.

Floralnomad Tue 13-Nov-12 16:50:20

Guinea pigs can be kept indoors all year and are great for kids . Rats are also brilliant , get a pair they're friendly ,trainable and incredibly cute. Hamsters are also lovely but IMO not so child friendly.

sunmoonstarstoo Tue 13-Nov-12 16:51:01

My dd aged 11 yrs has a Syrian hamster, he's almost 2 yrs old now. Tbh I wouldn't get her another, the novelty wore off pretty quickly, especially after he bit her (not badly but stopped her handling him!).

She can't clean the cage properly on her own, she doesn't get him out enough for exercise, so all this is left to us now. I think he's quite cute and I don't think he smells unless the cage isn't cleaned often enough.

They are nocturnal which means my dd can only handle him just before bedtime and also can only get him out of his bed to clean his cage in the evening too.

It's very difficult to find a silent wheel and they do need a wheel for exercise. Most of them squeak or make some kind of noise when the hamster is running.

What no one told me, when they are running around in those exercise balls on the carpet, they pee and poo! Then because I don't want to clog up my hoover with hamster poo I have to pick them all up by hand otherwise they get trodden into the carpet.

Mousefunk Tue 13-Nov-12 16:57:51

I wouldn't. They stink, cleaning the cage is just a pain, they don't live very long at all, bite, are a bit pointless because they don't really do anything and as you said are nocturnal so most of their shenanigans happen when you're sleeping and even then its nothing interesting....They make tons of noise, kick sawdust out of the cage.. They're a pissing nightmare.

If you really want a pet the only logical ones are cats and dogs because they actually do stuff and live for ages (mostly).

Mousefunk Tue 13-Nov-12 16:59:31

* yes and they are incontinent, all rodents are so when handling they are likely to pee on you, same for when they're running around.

madhairday Tue 13-Nov-12 17:00:43

We just bought a Syrian hamster last week, so jury still out a bit, but he is cute and the dc are loving watching him, but he doesn't come out til about 7pm. He's not used to being handled so we're at the stage of putting a hand in the cage etc, he bit dh the first time but since has been getting a bit bolder, the dcs are desperate to hold him but it will take some time.

We have a rotastak cage and I can see it's going to be a bit of a PITA to clean out, esp the tubes, he has made his bed in one of the sphere things so that will be a pain. But all in all he's cute and not smelly <yet> or too noisy.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Tue 13-Nov-12 17:00:58


They are very nocturnal - ours ended up sleeping in the kids bathroom as it was too noisy for dds bedroom.

They need a VERY strong cage or can chew threw and get out -

They are ugly, smelly and utterly pointless


A child (of say around 8 upwards) can look after this on their own - my dd was allowed guineas and then a hamster on teh strict instruction she NEVER EVER EVER EVER asked us to help with the looking after of them. And all credit to her she did all the looking after and would arrange for friends to have the hamster when on holiday.

THey are small and don't take up too much room

ChestyNutsRoastingAnOpenFire Tue 13-Nov-12 17:01:40

Urgh no way for all the reasons you mention

I have never heard anything as noisy as my GDs hamster clanging around his wheel at 3am, the whole room shook....and he escaped loads...and he smelt....then died hmm

youwillobey Tue 13-Nov-12 17:02:06

I've got a lot of pros:
They're SEMI-nocturnal. My (well DD1's, but I love it so much, mad crazy hamster woman that I am) hamster is currently playing very happily on my lap. It's 4:49 at the mo, and she woke up as soon as I got home because she loves coming out.

Easy to play with while watching TV. Biggest play time for our hamster is watching either Merlin, or a TV film etc;


Everyone said DD1 would be bored of her. They told me before we got our hamster (called Molly). I'd do the cleaning out etc; Nope! DD1 cleans the cage out once a week, the bedding more than twice a week, water every day, sometimes every two days, food every day, and goes down to Pets At Home on the way back from school, where she might either buy food or spend her pocket money on treats for the hamster, or an exercise ball.

Have to sort out in the holidays who's looking after it!

They die quickly. Our one is currently a year old. That's the longest so far. The dwarf hamsters (Chinese, wouldn't reccommend one for anyone who hasn;t had Syrian hamsters) are also coming up to a year. When the hamsters have previously die, we had a DD1 struggling through tears, a midnight (they ALWAYS die just before I go to bed and check on the hamster to say goodnight and find it stiff in its wheel) burial etc; and strict mourning.

If you want a snippet of how much DD1 loves her hamsters, this is her christmas list-
New hamster cage, for my biggest present please, but if it's too big or expensive, some tubes would be good, thank you.

Hamster treats please, mainly milk or chocolate drops, but dried bananas or apple chews would be fine.

Hamster chew toy or a mineral biter for the hamster.

A toy like a seesaw or tubes for the hamster to go in its cage.

She's got 15 things, and the only one which doesn't involve hamsters is the 'a rat would be nice' at the bottom.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Tue 13-Nov-12 17:02:13

Why not offer to look after a friend's hamster while they are on holiday?

I did that with gerbils.

By the time I had them a week, and had made each of the kids clean out the cage one, and feed them for two days in a row, they were all fed up.

We got cats - much easier.

I can't think of any pros, but to add to the cons:

1) They die, leaving grieving children who demand another one
2) They don't die, leaving grieving adults having to look after them.

skewputt Tue 13-Nov-12 17:03:04

Try zooplus for cage and wheel- fab website for affordable pet-related bits & bobs. I got guinea pigs' indoor cage there after being shock at the price elsewhere. I would second needing a big cage for a Syrian hamster. Wheel too, as most of the cages you see in pets at home etc are way too small with wheels that are only suitable for dwarf hamsters.

QuestionTime Tue 13-Nov-12 17:06:03

I had the misfortune of working at pets at home for three years as a student. I can genuinely say hamsters are the spawn of Satan. The vast majority bite - and not just a little bite... The blood outing out tears to an adults eyes bite. They also eat each other (Syrians) Stick to gerbils and guinea pigs every time - very few returns vs hundreds of hamsters!!

Floralnomad Tue 13-Nov-12 17:06:30

youwillobey your DD sounds lovely and I hope you're getting her a pair of rat babies for Christmas!

KinkyDorito Tue 13-Nov-12 17:06:38

My 14 year old wants a chinchilla.

The house cats would LOVE that.

QuestionTime Tue 13-Nov-12 17:07:56

*blood pouring out

manitz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:08:18

ours died after 18months then dh took ages to bury it, it came alive again 2 days later. it was on it's back with it's legs in the air. It was christmas and it was renamed jesus after that. it finally died aged about 2 and a half after a few more false starts. DD didn't touch it from about day 3 as it bit her on the knuckle. we looked after it, it's not too much bother but we'd think twice before another pet.

brighterfuture Tue 13-Nov-12 17:09:25

Ds had one of those miniature hamsters. I swear it ate its own poo, didn't smell at all. It lived a long (3 years) lonely life. Everytime I looked at it I was guilt tripped by its isolated misery. After it died I swore no more pets in cages.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Tue 13-Nov-12 17:14:32

My 3 year old has a Syrian Hamster, hes had her a year. Shes awesome. Never bitten (we handle her alot). Her cage rocks its a Habitrail OVO, shes litter trained so only uses one 'pod'. Went for a Syrian as shes just a bit more 'chunky' to handle.
Only downside, the stress on the three occasions shes escaped her ball!!

insanityscratching Tue 13-Nov-12 17:35:44

Dd has a hamster, Captain Cutie, and it is the sweetest little thing and dd loves her dearly. She doesn't smell, she messes in a rodent toilet and that's emptied every day. She wakes up when dd comes home from school because she gets treats then and comes out to play and stays awake until dd goes to bed. I'd get one for dd as IME dd has had a huge amount of fun from CC.

Prarieflower Tue 13-Nov-12 17:45:33

My dtwins 9 had one for their birthday and we are all utterly smitten.He has been worth every penny.

The first thing I would say is get the biggest cage you can find.We looked after 2 for friends in those awful cages with tubes and just felt awful for them.When they grow full size they can't go down the tubes anyway for fear of getting stuck.The cages they sell in Pets at Home are all cruel imvho,far too small.Hamsters need a lot of excercise.

We've got the Leon 3 story cage from ZooPlus and it's fab.You get discount on your first order. Comes with a great see saw and red roofed hut. Masses of space.Dtwin 1 spent all his bday money on loads of wooden things which he changes around.Doesn't smell at all.We clean it out once a week(chuck out the shavings) and hoover the 2 upper floors.You can get cage cleaner that cleans wood from Pets at Home.

We got the wooden wheel from ZooPlus again because it's kinder(no spoke that can damage their backs)and it's noise free.He has a burrow box in his cage that he dives into(you an hide treats in and it has a glass side).Ours has a lovely big wooden hut from Pets at Home he can push the lid off.One cold night he ripped up cardboard and blocked up the windows-clever or what!!!!!He loves his cuddly broccoli toy that goes in his hut.

He has loads of other wooden bits and pieces you can pick up quite cheaply.

We scatter sunflower seeds around which he loves to find.

If you buy from Pets at Home you get a free vet check up.Pets at Home vary.We have 3 in our area but only one with a vet on site-it was by far the best.All the animals looked far happier(no returned animals either).We got a free plastic carry box to take him home in and a free bag of sunflowers seeds.Vet was v rough on our free visit though.

We're just taming ours.We bought the play pen and set up toys in and he's just got to climbing on hands.He's never bitten but we've taken it slow.We've had him for 2 months.Dtwin 1 chose the runt of the litterhmm and he is white and ginger.Don't think it's best to pick the smallest but dtwin fell in love with him.When you buy check for wetness round the bottom as it could be the deadly wet tail.Our hamster has grown loads and is very lively.He comes out at various times.Some days he's up when the kids get up.He often comes out in the evening.They're actually crepacious sp? not nocturnal.Buy a couple of books first.

He costs very little.We got the biggest bag of sawdust and food and haven't even made a dent in either.They only eat a teaspoon full and a few carrot shavings.

You might want to go careful on treats.We bought a treat tree and his pouches nearly exploded(he stuffed)so we've not done that again.He just has a little ,natural treat now and again.

Dd is currently going to bed with piles of gerbil books which she is hoping for for Christmas.hmm

Prarieflower Tue 13-Nov-12 17:52:44

God I can't believe my longest ever MN post was about a hamster!!!!shockSo need to get out more!!!

Ours has taught our dc a lot re thinking of others and their little paws are super cute when holding food and nibbling.

He's part of our family now,but then he is the prince of hamsters.grin

Approximately Tue 13-Nov-12 18:01:09

Guinea pigs everytime! We have 2 and they live indoors all year round. They are cute, cuddly and 'chat' to you when they hear the fridge door open. Our kids adore them.

rainbowriver Tue 13-Nov-12 19:31:31

We had a dwarf russian hamster and she was the best pet we've had. She was very friendly and tame, slept in our hands, fun to watch, easy to keep and never ever did she smell! She lived for three years.

On the other hand our guinea pig smells terrible, hates being stroked or handled, bites and we've only had him 2 years! They can live up to eight!

So I would definately recommend the hamster.

clam Tue 13-Nov-12 19:43:05

Oh God, we're on our third. It's 2 and a half and I'm pretty sure it's got skin cancer, but it just won't die. DD keeps getting upset over him, but short of getting rid of him whils she's out and lying about it, not sure what I can do.

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