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O.k. who has a hamster??

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: O.k. who has a hamster??
By Bellajoe on Friday, November 28, 2008 - 10:03 pm:

My 9 year old dd wants a hamster for Christmas. What she would really like is a dog but daddy is allergic so we can't do that. Yes, i know there are hypoallergenic ones but dad doesn't really want one and I do not want to have to scoop the poop so we will not be getting a dog.

Anyway, I am thinking about getting her a hamster. I have never owned a hamster or rodent :) type pet. Only a dog. So I have no clue what it needs or anything like that.
Do you think a 9 yr old could take care of it and clean the cage and all that?

I will definitely be getting a "how to take care of your hamster type book for her as well.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

By Marcia on Friday, November 28, 2008 - 10:55 pm:

We have had hamsters, but prefer guinea pigs. We have 3 right now. They're much friendlier, and love attention. I don't find they get as stinky, and they don't get out and run away. My girls are able to clean them out, but we usually do it. They take care of all of their feeding and playtime.

By Missbookworm on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 05:42 am:

Guinea pigs definitely have more personality in my experience then hamsters.

Hamsters while cute sleep all day when you want to play with them and keep you up all night! They also tend to escape quite easily and are impossible to find (we had one missing for weeks!). Their life spans are awfully short too.

I don't know much about the life span and sleeping habits/habits of guinea pigs as I never had one but I knew someone who had them and whenever I was there they were awake and much more chatty/involved with the people they lived with.

I do think 9 is probably old enough if she's responsible for a pet I am just not sure a hamster might be the kind of playful, interactive pet you/your dd might think it is. :)

By Bellajoe on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 08:09 am:

Don't guinea pigs keep you up at night? It will be staying in her room . I just remember sleeping in my cousins room once. He guinea pig was so loud it kept me up. I remember it making sqeaky noises and I think it made noise when it drank from the bottle.

I will have to look up guinea pigs and learn about them.

By Luvn29 on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 08:26 am:

If you have two guinea pigs, they keep each other company and are much happier pets. They are also quieter because they have each other and aren't trying to get your attention.

We love guinea pigs. We kept ours in one of those long shallow plastic bins you slide under your bed. They don't climb or jump, so you can keep them in more user friendly containers.

We definitely enjoy guinea pigs more than hamsters.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 08:41 am:

I grew up with hamsters, both full size and dwarf. At one point when I was in high school I was breeding for a local pet shop. When my oldest two were young I bought them hamsters, because I thought they were a tool that helped teach me responsibility for others. There are many down falls to hamsters.

When my girls were 9 we decided to get them something and I read up on Guinea Pigs. We decided to give them a try. We ended up with five pigs, because one we bought was pregnant. I learned how to sex a pig, went in and bought two females, reassured by the tech at the place we bought them there was no way they were pregnant, to young etc., wrong. However, that is a chance you take with any caged animal. Anyway, three years later, I will never own a hamster again.

Pigs live longer, a healthy one can live 7 years, compared to less than three for a hamster. They are social, they love to be taken out of the cage, and played with. Hamsters are nocturnal and typically sleep all day long. Guinea pigs sleep in spurts, like naps, the majority of the time they are awake. The girls groom them and even give them baths. Our hamsters would bite, draw blood, and the pigs in 3 years have never bitten anyone. The hamster cages stink terrible, the girls clean their cages once a week, the pigs will start to smell if they go over the week though. Those plastic hamster cages look cute and fun, but I ended up having to go back to glass tanks and metal cages with my hamsters because they can chew right through the plastic, besides with the hamster being nocturnal you truly never get to see them using the tubes anyway. Um, Guinea pigs are vocal, they make different noises for different reasons, and they purr when they are happy. A Guinea pig is more physically sturdy too. Hamsters need to be cupped, because they will try to jump out of your hands. A pig will let you carry it around in one hand, Emily carries Tink around in a little bag, if she throws Tink's bag on the floor Tink will get into it and wait. Hamsters generally spend the time out of their cages attempting escape. Pigs are far more social and much smarter than hamsters. Tink will crawl up Emily's chest and snuggle her neck and purr. Our full grown pigs are between 12 and 14 inches long.

My older two just got up and I asked them which they liked better. They both said the pigs are much better, because of all the things I listed above and because the pigs seems to have a personalities and are much more social then their hamsters were.

Now you need to ask yourself, do you want something that prefers to spend all day in a cage, something that spends the majority of our awake time sleeping, something that likely will bite and not want to be held? If so then a hamster is the pet for your daughter, hamsters are great cage pets. If you want something she has to interact with, something she truly needs to take out and play with, something that will give her attention back? Then you might want to read up on Guinea pigs.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 08:44 am:

Hamsters keep you up all night. The bottle is an issue with both, but you get use to the clanking and don't even notice it in time. And my hamsters would be getting up when I was going to sleep, so I learned to sleep through the wheel running. Pigs are not truly nocturnal they sleep in spurts through out the day, and a hamster is fully nocturnal, and are up all night every night.

By Bobbie~moderatr on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 08:45 am:

It is suggested that you buy more than one pig because they are social and they keep each other company.

By Bellajoe on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 09:10 am:

Wow, lots to think about there. Thanks for all the info. We will definitely start thinking about the guinea pig option.

thank you

keep the opinions coming!

By Bellajoe on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 09:19 am:

Does a guinea pig (or two) require a big, expensive cage?

By Missbookworm on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 11:24 am:

There is a fair amount of information there. :)

My last word of advice. Be sure YOU are ready for a pet. :) We got a puppy and she has increased my busyness by a large amount. I have no complaints as she's great but it's a lot of work.

The kids do take some responsibility for her (which is great) but we are her primary caregivers and it may come to that with your daughter and whatever pet you choose.

My ex husband would often buy pets for our children as presents and they lost interest quickly as they would a toy you buy them for a present. It is very important your daughter and everyone in your house understands the committment to any animal you bring into your home :)

I hope this doesn't come across offensively at all. I think pets are great for children and children great for pets just make sure you get one that will suit your lifestyle etc. :)

By Chai~latte on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 11:33 am:

If your DH is prone to allergies just be sure he handles whatever you buy before you bring it home. A friend of mine had to get rid of her pigs because she was so allergic and had no idea it was the pigs she was allergic too!

Good luck with whatever you decide.

By Luvn29 on Saturday, November 29, 2008 - 11:41 am:

You can't use aquariums for piggies, but you can use the wire cages. One time, because I had an extra room that we didn't use for anything but the piggies' room, we used one of those plastic blue kiddie pools as their enclosure! They loved it and it was very cheap!

But mostly I used those long, shallow plastic tubs that you get at wal-mart for storing things under your bed for about 14.00. It was only about 6-8 inches deep, but that was perfect for our piggies. They didn't try to climb out, but it was very easy for the kids to pet them and access them.

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