Apr 16, 2014

Hamsters

by Sue Fox

This book on hamsters and their care is pretty thorough.  It has some interesting facts on their history. I was aware that the first captive hamsters were dug out of a field, and that all modern pet hamsters are descendents of the first four captives. What I didn't know was that research scientists were paying farmers to dig up hamsters and turn them in- they were studying a disease that humans and hamsters have in common. Also that the original captive group (also held for research) included ten hamsters, but they escaped their cages twice and some were never found, leaving only four.

After all that, the book goes into much detail on how hamsters live, their needs and care requirements. Different options on housing, play equipment, food and other supplies are carefully compared. Nutrition is examined in detail. The importance of keeping a hamster's habitat clean is emphasized a lot- it can prevent potential disease and keep your hamster healthy. What to do if your hamster gets sick or lost, how to handle an older hamster that is slowing down. Also the role of parents in caring for the small pets, and what children of different ages can be expected to do.

I plan to read several of these books- already finding that they sometimes contradict each other. For example, the previous book emphasized that no child under twelve should have a pet hamster. This one talks about involving children as young as three in hamster care, but clearly states that parents must supervise and be the responsible one. Another difference was that the first book said hamsters should never have citrus or acidic foods; this book includes tomatoes and oranges in the list of fruits/vegetables that are safe for your hamster.

I borrowed this book from the public library. I'm thinking of looking for my own copy, so my daughter will have a reference on hand.

Rating: 4/5      112 pages, 2006

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