Hamsters are cute, mostly low-maintenance pets, so they’re often a go-to choice for parents looking to quell pleas for pets from little ones.
While it’s true that hamsters are a lot less work than a dog, they’re not as simple as you might think. Consider these facts carefully before adding a hamster (or two) to your family.
1. Hamsters are nocturnal
Yes, this does mean they’re not annoyingly loud while you’re trying to help with homework or eat dinner. But it also means they wake up ready for a workout just as you’re putting the kids to bed. A word to the wise: If you’re going to get a hamster, do not keep it in a bedroom.
2. They’re almost blind
In fact, hamsters get around more by smell than by sight.
3. Their teeth never stop growing
How creepy is that? Hamsters chew on hard things like twigs to file down their teeth. If they don’t, they can actually injure their own mouths with their long teeth.
4. They multiply…
The gestation period for hamsters is only 18-22 days, and they can have up to 12 babies in one litter, with multiple litters in a year. If you don’t want an entire gang of hamsters, maybe stick to just one.
5. … and they just keep multiplying
Hamsters reach sexual maturity in less than two months — so it’s not long before large litters of babies begin having babies of their own.
6. They cannibalize their young
Gross but true. In cases of crowded spaces, stressed-out mamas or too much outside interference, hamsters have been know to eat their young. Take it from me — that’s not a sight you want your kids to come home to.
7. They hibernate
Hamsters like it to be between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit, and if it gets colder than that, they hibernate. For hamsters, that just means sleeping a lot and waking up every now and then to eat.
8. They have short life spans
Hamsters don’t usually live longer than two years. On one hand, it’s nice to have a short commitment, but on the other hand, hamster funerals are super-sad, especially for kids.