Apr 20, 2014

Hamster

Your Happy Healthy Pet
by Betsy Sikoro Siino

Another hamster care book. This one actually a good read in and of itself. It's sprinkled with humor and has nice writing. A bit redundant; sometimes I found the same phrase used again and again, as if the author was trying extra hard to make it all so interesting but at a loss for new descriptive words. But that's me being nitpicky, it's a good book!

The usual brief history, description of the animals, instructions on their care, handling, feeding and so on. Some things that I noticed: everyone seems to have a slight different take on the history of how hamsters became domesticated. This book tells of hamsters being "discovered" in 1829 and later 1930 by two different zoologists- the first British, the second from a Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The second zoologist brought a family of hamsters back to captivity, but "because so little was known about their care" only three survived to become the basis of a breeding program. Vague mention is also made of their role in research. Other things I learned: hamsters can be allergic to certain kinds of bedding, odors in the air from smoke or cleaning materials, even some food items. Hamsters can catch colds from people and suffer from heatstroke if left in the sun. They can also go into hibernation if it gets too cold (home loosing power when temperatures are low, for example). There's a nice little section refuting some misconceptions about hamsters, and to my surprise, suggestion that if your hamster is not too nervous, you might just take him along when you go on an extended vacation! This author obviously does not approve of exercise wheels, remarking several times that their use can become an addictive behavior and the hamster should only use them periodically, not have constant access.

The book talks quite a bit about why hamsters are so phenomenally popular as pets, especially when most other rodents are disliked by most people. She attributes this to their lack of a tail. Hm. Also notes the Japanese cartoon and books Hamtaro (I've read that!)

Borrowed this one from the public library.

Rating: 4/5     128 pages, 2007

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