A Parent's Guide – Avoiding Danger and Death in the Hamster Cage

by Lee Pham
Pet Hamster Care - Are You Up to the Challenge?


The hamster cage should be a safe haven for this popular family pet but everyday items can pose a serious threat indeed to your furry friend's life. A little knowledge can go a long way to quite literally keeping your hamster alive and well. This article aims to give some tips on how many are safe in one cage, exercise toys and avoiding injury or death from unsafe chewing. These ideas can make deciding how many cages you need and which products to buy easier.

Hamster Warfare

Hamsters have a curious image problem – they're beautiful, tiny and delicate, a visual montage of beady shining eyes and quivering noses. Which does not really convey their true nature – these are the territorially insane, blood-thirsty warriors of the small pets world. Syrian hamsters in particular, are renamed for fighting any hamster in its vicinity tooth and claw, regardless of the 'enemies' gender or even family ties. Other breeds may be more amenable – dwarf varieties are sometimes described as more sociable yet even they will sometimes have gladiatorial fights in their cage together and need you to stick your hands in to separate them. Hamsters are the bully boys of the 'children's pet' category. If you ever wondered why the class hamster was alone, it was so that it did not viciously attack its cage mate on a daily basis. House two dwarf varieties with the greatest of care but never two Syrians. Be aware also you'll need to be vigilant against harmful so-called exercise toys …

The Ubiquitous Hamster Wheel

Again, thirty-somethings may remember little 'Hammy' at school many years ago snoozing during your class day (because he's strictly nocturnal) while you hoped he'd potter about that that metal runged exercise wheel clamped forlornly inside his cage. Thankfully these days, more wheels are of a solid construction as those open rungs became known for causing the most horrific injuries due to trapped limbs. Exercise balls are another newer product loved by many but they also have their detractors. Some say in 'open ground' (such as the 'flat plains' of the living room carpet) a hamster's first instinct is to run and hide to avoid danger. Of course, inside the ball this is impossible, leaving some to conclude that the balls are actually harmful by creating intense and prolonged stress. This controversy may continue for some time and in the meantime there is also the issue of the type of toys placed in the cage and chewing safety.

Unsuitable Toys For Tiny Teeth

Like all rodents, hamsters are chewing fanatics, and the most obvious hazard is allowing electrical wires too close to cages or playpens / runs. You also still need to scrutinize with utmost care toys sold for hamsters in case even they could be another injurious or life threatening hazard. This one works like this – the hamster typically chews away at the toy, which is not enough enough to withstand the gnawing, creating shards or flecks of detached material. The hamster can swallow these and if the material is toxic, become very very very sick. Sharp parts could also irritate the delicate membranes lining their cheek pouches or worse still, pierce their gastro-intestinal organs – imagine if you swallowed nails …

The pet care market has expanded exponentially in recent years, producing both very good innovative products but even some very dubious merchandise indeed. No pet store is going to declare its products are unsuitable, so check with your vet instead of the sales staff for products they have encountered problems with and those rate more highly. With these basic tips on keeping the cage a safer home for your hamster, you can shop with more confidence and hopefully avoid some distracting scenarios for you and your pet.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as a general introduction to the topics- please only consult your vet for hamster care, as each species and individual has different care needs.


Source by Jonathon Boyd

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment