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Come and tell me about Hamsters please!

(17 Posts)
TitsalinaBumSquash Fri 14-Feb-14 14:45:06

We've got the green light to get a pet from DS's Dr, we've narrowed it down to a rodent, DP isn't a rat fan so we're thinking hamsters.

what do I need to know? Can dwarfs live together?
is there any,bedding that is more breathing friendly than others? We have unlimited paper shreddings, could we use that?

Minionionionion Fri 14-Feb-14 14:46:50

How old is DS? Hamsters are nocturnal so don't really do much and from my experience if they are not handled regularly the bite.

I don't know about Dwarfs but Syrian hamsters must be kept alone.

Have you considered gerbils or giniepigs?

TitsalinaBumSquash Fri 14-Feb-14 14:50:47

The kids are 9, 7 and 15 months, we want it for all of us rather than getting the kids a pet type thing.

I've only ever had piggies in the garden and we have lots of foxes so I'm wary, can they love happily indoors.

I'm a don't know anything about gerbils, can you tell me more?

SpawningSalmon Fri 14-Feb-14 15:24:43

They bite.

I've only owned a Chinese Dwarf Hamster. Cute, but didn't like being handled much and would bite. I wouldn't get one for a child. They are very fast movers and I imagine kids would get very frustrated by them. And did I mention that they bite?

I kept mice as a teenager and remember them to be much friendlier. Was never bitten by one.

SpawningSalmon Fri 14-Feb-14 15:26:15

I think they say that you can keep dwarves together if they are of the opposite sex, but my friends ones still fought to the death- literally.

LurkingNineToFive Fri 14-Feb-14 15:30:43

Mice and rats don't bite (or at least very rarely) and are more interesting to watch and take up less space than guinea pigs. Mice can be difficult to handle for youngster but my dd never had a problem.
Rats are the best pets IMO.
Google 'dumbo baby rat' and show your dp. I'm sure his/her heart will melt.

TitsalinaBumSquash Fri 14-Feb-14 16:54:32

I love rats! I used to gave one as a teen that I used to hang out with, he used to travel around on my shoulder.
I think DP has a phobia of them (although he'd never admit it) he uses the same excuses that you hear, that they're dirty, carry diseases etc etc...

I also had mice (we were a foster home for rescue animals) and they were speedy buggers that escaped, a lot.

I popped into the little rescue place down the road that rescues small furries.
They're championing the Syrian hamster for children friendliness, although I know they can be tamed if aphandled regularly, I do wonder if this is the case for older ones thar has possibly been neglected?
She said that gerbils and dwarf/Russian hamsters are too quick for children and bite more often than not, DS was keen on huge degus but she said they're very specialist, same for chinchillas.

We don't have space for a pig which is a shame because I adore them (they are rehoming the most gorgeous curly haired one atm!)

FreddieStarrAteMyHamster Sat 15-Feb-14 10:11:35

Dumbo rats are lovely, like little dogs. Girl ones are less 'fragrant' but all rodents smell a bit. We have had lots of syrian hamsters over the years, they are lovely and cuddly. Babies are fast and do bite until they are tamed. Once tamed I have found mine never bite. However the bites do hurt a lot, so expect one or two bad bites when they are young. If you seek out a proper hobby breeder they will have handled them at a young age so far less likely to bite. The one thing I would say about syrians is they are very nocturnal, my current ham doesn't even wake up until about 9pm or later, although he's happy to be woken during the day for a play. My girls have always been a bit more active.

maddiemostmerry Sat 15-Feb-14 10:16:00

We have had gerbils and hamsters. Hamsters have been much friendlier! Our current pair have big personalities, we have one white, one ginger. They can be hand fed and picked up, have never bitten and are pretty perky.

Hamsters all the way!

Have also had rats and they are good pets, smell more than the hamsters though!

17leftfeet Sat 15-Feb-14 10:24:33

Gerbils are great fun to watch, not so fun to handle

Hamsters are good if handled regularly -we used to create mazes for ours out of sections of dolls houses and I had one that used to curl up in the crook of my arm and go to sleep, many Sunday afternoons were spent with us both falling asleep in front of the tv

But if I were you I'd keep working on the rat idea

They make fantastic pets, are very trainable, very sociable and only smell if you don't clean them out regularly

Whatever rodent you get then the best thing to use in their cages is wooden pellet cat litter -makes less mess, lots less dust than wood shavings or sawdust so is better for human and animal allergies and absorbs smells

LurkingNineToFive Sat 15-Feb-14 11:18:15

If you get 'fancy' mice from a proper breeder, not snake food, they are bigger and more docile. I had 6. My 2/3 year old could handle most of them (two were a bit flighty), but she is very gentle compared to most kids her age. Non of them ever bit.

LurkingNineToFive Sat 15-Feb-14 11:19:02

- And get a cage with very small gaps.

TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 15-Feb-14 18:51:29

We have 2 little gerbils smile

We got a Gerbilarium with the tank bit at the bottom and then the cage on top, they're dear little things, they were happily scampering around in the pet shop and seemed to respond to the guy who runs it (it's an independent little shop in town)

They're settling in well, running in and out of the tunnels and gnawing on the little wooden nest' they seem to really like the dried mix of flowers/plants etc that we were given.

There is one black one and one grey one, both girls.

I couldn't make DP budge on the rats sadly and I thought that with the nocturnal nature of the hamsters, they kids wouldn't get to interact with them much.

Now we just need to name them and let them settle before having a play. smile

TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 15-Feb-14 20:40:50

I'm worrying about them already!

The grey/white one is really active. She's rearranged the cage and tank and had a nibble on err everything, the black one however had a brief tour of the set up and has since gone into the tunnel and hasn't moved since apart from to turn around once or twice, even thought the white one keeps climbing on her, I'm worried it might be sick or die and then the white one will eat it! .... Can you tell I suffer from anxiety? confusedblush

Showy Sat 15-Feb-14 20:47:01

When did you get them? They can find it really hard to be moved and to settle in. We have a hamster and he didn't come out of his little den for days on end. I think he snuck out for food occasionally but he was very fearful. It can take time. I'd give it overnight and monitor. Gerbils can also get wet tail. They should have told you this when you got them. Very stressed rodents can get it and you need to seek advice immediately if you suspect it. Probably not, but you need to keep an eye.

TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 15-Feb-14 20:51:31

We only got them today blush

It's just the difference in behaviour between them that's worrying. The other one is really playful, busy and inquisitive.

They're 10 weeks old and now both in the tunnel cuddled up. I hope it's alright. I'm probably stressing over nothing and she's probably tired after the stress if moving.

CointreauVersial Thu 27-Feb-14 23:24:58

Aww, I was just coming onto the thread to recommend Russian Dwarf hamsters. We got our two about a month ago; they are cute as can be, completely tame, are living together happily, and definitely are not too fast for the DDs (12 and 10).

But it sounds like you are all gerbilled up; hope you are enjoying get them.

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