Hamsters as pets for children: pros and cons
The whimsical little hamsters clearly deserve the cuteness bonus. But are they also suitable as pets for children? As with many things in life, there are pros and cons. And it depends on the circumstances.
“Watching hamsters is fun and even more so when dad is with you!” – Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images
If the decision is made to bring a hamster into the house for the offspring, parents should think it through carefully. Because even if hamsters are sweet as sugar, they are not always suitable for children. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It always depends on the age of your child. After being instructed in species-appropriate hamster husbandry, a teenager can certainly assume the necessary responsibility for the little rodent. If smaller children also need a hamster, it is essential to set some rules in advance and make it clear that the hamster is “only there to watch”.
Hamsters as pets for children: Pro
In addition to an unbeatable purchase price and the little space that a hamster would take up in your living room, there are other advantages that hamsters bring with them as pets for children:
- ● Great for little hamster researchers – You just like to watch the funny little chubby cheeks while they run in their bike or “hoard” their food. For small children, a hamster is only suitable for observation. So if your child is one of those onlookers who don’t want to cuddle animals but want to watch them, then a hamster is a good choice.
- ● Hamsters are nocturnal – If your child doesn’t feel like the hamster for a few days, that’s no big deal. The rodents use the time during the day to sleep anyway and enjoy the peace and quiet.
- ● Hamster taming is possible – if the hamster is often carefully taken out of its cage and has regular human contact, then the little fur nose can be wonderfully tamed with a little patience.
- ● Hello loners – Hamsters are absolute loners and quickly “get to grips” in a group. That’s good for you if you care for your child a want a cute rodent and not a whole group at once. Because many rodents prefer to live in groups, for example rats, guinea pigs or chinchillas.
- ● Diversity in shape and colour – Your child can choose from different types of hamsters: prefer smaller or larger; long fur or short fur? What color would you like it to be?
Hamsters as pets for children: cons
There are also arguments against getting this cuddly rodent as a pet for your child – at least if you want your child to take care of the animal. But this is only possible from a certain age, when there is a strong sense of responsibility. Small children should only be spectators – for the following reasons:
- ● Hamster’s night activity – in the above mentioned advantage there is also a disadvantage hidden: If your child goes to bed early, it can only watch the sleeping hamster during the day. Then he gets bored quickly. In addition, the rampaging phase in the hamster starts during the twilight. This means that the volume from the cage will be very annoying at night and accommodation in the children’s room is sometimes not possible.
- ● Low life expectancy in hamsters – Dwarf hamsters only live for one and a half years. There are also species that are granted two to three years of life. But for your child, the short life expectancy does not mean a particularly long bond with the animal and possibly early, unexpected grief.
- ● Increased maintenance effort – Hamsters must always have water, hay and straw available. Proper nutrition is important and the hamster cage also needs to be cleaned regularly. Hamsters need activity and sometimes a little exercise. If your child is still very small, the work remains entirely in your hands.
- ● No stuffed animals – Even if they appear that way: hamsters don’t particularly like being stroked and cuddled. Children find it rather difficult to find a healthy “pet” and in the worst case, the rodent bites them painfully. Small children’s motor skills are still too clumsy, which is why the hamster can escape or be injured.
There are different types of hamsters that are suitable for keeping pets: golden hamsters, teddy hamsters and various types of dwarf hamsters. They sometimes differ significantly in their attitude and thus also in their effort. Therefore, be sure to find out about the differences before you buy, so that you can make the right choice for you.
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