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Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus)


The species most frequently found available as pets are the golden hamster or Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) and the "Russian bear" (Phodopus campbelli).

Hamsters have as anatomical characteristics cheek pouches, which they use to gather collected food in order to be able to transport it back to their den, and the scent glands, evident mainly in the males, placed on the sides (golden hamster) or on the belly (dwarf hamsters) which are used to mark their territory.

Hamsters are nocturnal, solitary and combative animals (they are not the ideal animals for children), although they are often sold in pairs and kept together; in nature they would only meet another individual for mating. They have a rather short life expectancy, about 2-3 years, and cannot stand the heat: the ideal temperature for their breeding is about 15-18 ° C, going into hibernation when this falls below 8 ° C.

A large variety of cages differing in type, shape and size are available on the market. Regardless of the type of cage you want to use, it will need to be adequately sized, escape-proof, easy to clean and well ventilated. The use of aquariums or plastic trays should therefore be avoided. Since the cage is the "territory" of the hamster, the dimensions must allow the animal to be able to organise it in such a way as to have an area for sleeping, where to place the den, one for eating, another for "physical exercise" and finally one last to be used as a toilet.
As a liner, you can use a sheet of newspaper or dust-free sawdust (which can be put in abundance, so that our pet can "dig") and sheets of absorbent paper for the filling of the nest; avoid cotton or synthetic fibers. Being very active animals, we will have to provide them with pipes, tubes, boxes and wooden toys.

Hamsters are omnivorous rodents and in nature they feed on seeds, plants, and insects, depending on seasonal availability.
For their nutrition it will be recommended to give specifically formulated extrusions, or alternatively cereals and seeds intended for human consumption. Small quantities of fruit and vegetables and occasionally small insects (mealworms, crickets) may be added to these foods on a daily basis for their protein content. Food should not always be left available, and the quantity of seeds rich in fats (such as sunflower seeds, which must be given sparingly) must be limited, in order to avoid excessive weight gain and health problems even serious. Water must always be available.

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