I gots me a hamster!

Seem to be a lot of new pet owners on the board lately (see: HomeSlice’s ferret thread). Well, I was thinking about getting an aquarium (I’ve had fish before, and loved 'em), and went to the pet store to pick up some gear. I brought my girlfriend along, and there was the cutest hamster ever in the window, and it was on sale for $4! They had a returned 10 gallon aquarium with hamster gear in it for $10.00, so I just couldn’t pass this up.

Why did we choose little Nathan Jr.? Well, for one, he was, in my GF’s words, “the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” He also seemed pretty cool, as he was in the middle of doing one-armed pull ups on the water bottle. The girl said that they were brand new, and had just opened their eyes about 3 days ago. Perfect for taming! So I got the gear and brought him home.

I love this little guy (even though I have a growing suspicion that “he”'s a “she”)! He runs and runs at night - they say that hamsters will run 5-6 miles in one night. Luckily, I have a plastic wheel that’s whisper quiet, as the metal ones apparently are incredibly squeeky. I also got him a plastic ball to run around in, which he’s used to thoroughly explore my apartment. I’ve been keeping my hands in his cage to let him get used to me, but haven’t forced picking him up yet. But I think today we’re going to make the big step of picking him up.

Any hammy tips out there? Anyone else have a hammy?

Well, in addition to what the Dopers tell you, buy a book so you’ll know about feeding and care and stuff.

I had gerbils growing up and thought they were loads of fun. Actually, I’d get them now except that I have two cats and the idea is just…well…unsettling.

I believe hamsters have front teeth that continue to grow and so you will need to provide them stuff to chew on. We always gave our gerbils old toilet paper and paper towel rolls (the cardboard things) and that seemed to work well. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they can demolish one of those!

Have fun! I love little rodents.

As long haired, short tailed rats go, hamsters are pretty cool. They can bite as hard as hell when threatened so have a current teatanus shot. You’ve probably got them young enough to avoid that so have fun.

BTW while we’re on the topic there’s a cool site with dancing hamp… AIEEEE! Jackbooted moderators bursting in the door.

Cool. Now gets yourself a papertowel tube, some vasoline and a flashlight… NOT a match… a flashlight…

My Peanut died in my hands one night in 1998. < sigh > I don’t know why but he did. And watching him in his last breaths just made me sad, I bawled like a child watching him die.

I had two cats at the time and the cage was well secured and on the floor, along with my monster of a dog so if people are afraid of getting a cute little guy as an additional pet, as long as the cage is secure you will be fine.

He did get out one night, with two VERY good mousers and a dog I don’t know how he survived. I rented a no kill trap (obviously) from the pet store and returned him to his glass home.

If you can, find a small pet store chain that packages their own food. The store I got him from (along with my fish tank and such) guaranteed the food.

Don’t feed him too much in terms of veggies, wet tail is a very bad thing for hamsters and a sure death (also, apparently a cause of poor quality hamster food.)

A friend of mine while growing up, had a hamster she trained. She’d let him out of the cage to run around her room and when it was time for him to get food and water he would wait in the middle of the floor. I don’t know how in the heck she did it, but somehow she trained him. I am not BSing you.

And Whammo {S thwap} can’t do sounds in here, but eeewwww.

Don’t forget the Duct Tape :smiley:

I donts know much about hamsters, except they are damned cute!

But my current favorite author, Janet Evanovich, has a series about a female bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum - and Stephanie has a hamster named Rex. Rex likes to spend time in an empty soup can that’s on its side in his aquarium. Perhaps Nathan Jress would enjoy a cozy place to hide, too.

Have fun!

Connor I’m sure 7th heaven does an excellent episode about how to take care of hamsters… :slight_smile:
(everytime I see your name I will be reminded of that thread now – I’ll try to get over it soon :))
I had the cutest gerbil growing up - he lived until he was seven years old. He loved to play with paper/toilet rolls. My cat loved to play with him :eek: but thats not how he died. Anyway – sorry I don’t have much info. on hamsters but have fun.

:::checks thumb:::

Yep, it’s still there after 40 years. My hamster-bite scar. Little bastard must’ve been cross bred with a beaver.

PS- Does a “teatanus” shot protect you from nipple nibbles?

I was a pet child. Rabbits, gerbils, hampsters, I had 'em all. I made a pretty penny as a kid breeding Russian Dwarf hampsters. THEY are the cutest things ever. Full grown, they’re three inches long. Tiny. And the wierd thing is that unlike other rodents, you can leave the male and female together after mating, and the male actually helps the female. I swear to God, I witnessed the male bringing food to the very pregant female when she was in her nest.

As a rodent, their incisors are constantly growing, as another poster mentioned. But it’s important to keep something that s/he can really gnaw on. The toilet paper rolls are fun for them to hide in, but in order to wear down the incisors, you should give your little fellow either some chew sticks that you can buy at the pet store, or a small piece of soft wood. Kindling broken into a three inch piece worked well for me.

There are little clips you can buy to secure the mesh top to the aquarium. If they didn’t come with it, buy them. Those little bastards get bored and will jam the wheel, climb on top of it, and push the top open. Seriously. Happened many times to me. They are also adept at climbing the water bottle.

Once you get the clips, buy one of those little ladders that hang off the top. Sooo much acrobatic fun.

Give him an old sock. Stick a toilet paper roll in the top of it. You’ll give him a bed he’ll love.

Gerbils will hunt and eat grasshoppers. I don’t think hampsters will, though.

Don’t get one of those big pretty looking cages with all the tunes and crap. Sure, they look good. Sure, the hampster will delight in running through the tubes. But when he makes his nest in one of those tubes, and you need to clean that cage during the day, you’ll spend WAY too long trying to coax a tired and cranky hampster out of a tube. On top of this, in my experiance, the rodents will ALWAYS find a way to escape from those things. The aquarium w/mesh top and clips is the best way to go.

And one more fun story: my sister had a hampster named Rosie. Rosie escaped. My parents’ house has duct-type vents on the floor. They could hear Rosie scampering THIS way and scampering THAT way in the vent. SisterRiddles was freaking out because she was afraid Rosie would run into the furnice and be incinerated. So PoppaRiddes suggested sprinkling a little bit of food down the vent she escaped into, and then dangling a string, and sprinking more food at the top of the string, on the floor. MommaRiddles scoffed. But they tried it anyway, and the damn thing DID climb the string. PoppaRiddles still gloats to MommaRiddles about his “hampster wrangling skills.”

Dude, I had a ton of hamsters growing up. They were a lot of fun.

The most fun is placing the hamster on the table next to a paper towel tube. Naturally curious little critters, they are, and he will soon climb in. Then pick up the tube (I promise this is not going in the direction you probably think it is going), place it to your lips with the hamster facing away from you, and gently blow. Yee haw! Flying hamster. My dad and I used to have so much fun. Yes, hamsters are curious, but not very bright. So they fall for it over and over and over again. Even better is bringing the tube to your lips with the hamster facing you. When he realizes what is about to happen, you can see his little eyes get wide as he tries to turn around and run out the other end of the tube. Too late, little guy!

My hamsters all loved strawberry yogurt. Come to think of it, I love strawberry yogurt.


My hamsters loved to hunt crickets. They would pounce on them, tear their heads off, and squeeze the guts out. Yummy.


Are you sure the hamster didn’t train her?

Yeah…as someone else said, don’t leave the male and female together after mating. And when they die, bury them promptly instead of leaving them in the freezer for months until your sister gets a hankering for ice-cream and opens the wrong plain white package…

Undoubtedly among the cutest, sweetest pets, especially for pre-teen kids. My 10 yr old daughter loved hers. Some shortcomings, though, are a relatively short lifespan (at best a little more than 2 yrs), filthy nests, and often a bad odor (in their burrows, darkness prvails and they identify family members by smell: the smell comes from rolling in their own excrement). Wash thoroughly after you play with him(her). Oh, and get PINE shavings for the cage, NOT CEDAR (cedar is poison to them). I agree about the Habitrail plastic habitats being a bad idea: they’re a bitch to clean.

Ours, Cookie, used to escape the cage all the time, but never hide: it would seek us out, evening or night. Once, while picking up my kids’ toys scattered around the playroom, I was stuck by seeing what I thought was an amazingly lifelike stuffed animal: it was Cookie, looking at me like, “Well, putz, are you gonna pick me up?” Cookie died last December, and my daughter cried for weeks.