Hamster Day is May 10th! Hammie may be one of our smallest patients, but he’s also among the cutest. Friendly, lovable, and easy to care for, the hamster has been a popular children’s pet for decades. A Potomac, MD vet lists some fun facts about these teeny tiny furballs in this article.
Did you know that there are 25 hamster breeds? Most of them live in the wild, though: only a few make suitable pets.
Hamsters should be kept at temperatures generally considered as room temperature. Don’t let your tiny pal get cold! Wild hamsters hibernate in winter, but pet ones don’t really know how to do this properly, and are therefore at risk of dehydration.
The Syrian hamster is the one that is most often adopted. Also called the golden hamster or Teddy bear hamster, these guys were brought to the US from Syria in the 30’s. One unique thing about them? Unlike most pocket pets, they do not do well with roommates, and should always be housed alone.
It’s always interesting seeing where different breeds and animals got their names from. Hammie got his moniker from the German word ‘hamstern’ which means ‘to hoard.’ That’s both appropriate and adorable, given that these guys are notorious for stashing bits of food and then begging for more.
One of Hammie’s most adorable features is his chubby cheeks. Hamsters often hide things in those cheek pouches. Mamas even put their babies—which are called pups—in there sometimes!
Speaking of pups, hamsters usually have about eight or so. The little ones are born blind and deaf: it takes their eyes and ears about two weeks to start working.
We usually think of hamsters as being rather small. However the European hamster can actually grow to be over a foot long! The littlest hamster is the itty-bitty Roborovski Dwarf hamster, which may only get to be two inches long.
Speaking of names, did you know that a group of hamsters is called a horde? This is extra cute and comical, given that most hamsters are solitary critters that prefer to live alone. In case you were wondering, boys are called boars and girls are called sows.
Do you have questions or concerns about hamster care? Contact us, your local Germantown, MD animal clinic, today!