Panda hamsters are one of the most famous breeds of pet hamsters. They are cute, intelligent, interactive, friendly and sensitive animals that like to cuddle, play and develop a bond of love with you and your family.
In this article, we will explore some of the interesting facts about them, how you can take care of them in the best way and their average lifespan.
Facts about Panda Hamsters
- They are a Syrian breed and were discovered in the Middle East during the late eighteenth century. Panda hamsters have become a famous pet in the Northern Americas since the start of 20th century. They are a color variation of the famous Syrian breed.
- Panda hamster looks like a panda bear and it is from where their name comes up.
- Their body color is black with some white patches on the belly and feet.
- Panda Hamsters are nocturnal animals. They stay up during the night and sleep during the day time. They are ideal for people who work during the night time or stay awake till late.
- Panda hamsters can grow to 5-6 inches long and have a weight of 5-7 ounces. Their body is round but a healthy panda hamster does not get obese. Their ears are large and erect while their head is a bit smaller. They have a tail which is small and is difficult to notice in hamsters with long body hair.
- Panda beer hamsters can be a bit aggressive at times. Hence, it is very important to train them before allowing children to interact with them. Once properly trained and tamed, you can allow your children to play with it. Kids, however, should be made to understand that panda hamsters are not to be made over-excited.
- Panda hamsters are very curious and active animals. Therefore, they should be provided ample toys in the cage to play with.
- It is better to keep a single panda hamster in one cage at one time. They are not sociable animals when it comes to living in a pair. Presence of other hamsters in the cage makes them nervous and they may start to fight with each other.
Caring for Panda Hamsters
When it comes to taking care of your pet hamster; cage, diet, and health are the most important dimensions. Here we will discuss each of them.
Providing a cage that is large enough for your hamster to play around is very important. The minimum space rule is 450 square inches of cage space. Any cage with more than this space is good for your pet. Make sure that the cage walls are strong and close enough that your panda hamster cannot squeeze between them and escape. The door of the cage should be tightly held with proper locks. An ideal cage has a hiding space, sleeping space, toilet space, and feeding area. You must place an exercise wheel in the cage and other toys for your hamster to play around. Such toys are easily available at local pet stores. Remember to replace these toys after every week so your pet stays excited about them.
Keep the cage away from direct sunlight. Hamsters are sensitive to heat and cold. Keep panda hamsters are a temperature between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can measure the temperature with a thermometer and install a LED heater during winters.
Keeping the cage neat and clean is very important. Hamsters usually make a mess very soon in the cage. Weekly washing is advised. Bedding should also be replaced on weekly basis or on an immediate basis in case it is wet or soiled. You can use shredded paper, shredded cloth or readymade bedding. Avoid using shredded wood or cardboard as it can cause respiratory problems for hamsters.
The ideal diet for hamsters is a mixture of different things. They eat a lot as they are very active pets and exercise for longer periods of time. Make sure that they are given enough to meet their daily requirements. You can use the following as their diet
- Commercial hamster pellets (available at pet stores)
- A small amount of fresh fruits(apple, pear, peach) and vegetables( carrot, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes)
- Timothy Hay (also available at pet stores and is very good for small pets like panda hamsters)
- Occasional treats like baked chicken, baked fish, nuts, boiled eggs, nuts, and mealworms
- A constant supply of fresh and clean water
You can add a water bottle for your pet in their cage and place a food bowl. Makes sure that the food bowl is heavy and does not get toppled by your pet.
Your hamster will also need something to chew on in order to control their teeth growth. Their teeth continue to grow all the time. You can give them untreated softwood to chew or coconut shells for this purpose.
A complete medical examination is very important before taking your panda hamster home. Hamsters usually stay healthy in their diet is well balanced and they stay out of stress. When the health of panda hamsters start to go down, they show the following symptoms.
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of exercise
- Staying in a corner
- Hair loss
If you notice any such symptom, rush to a nearby vet. Hamster diseases usually develop at an extremely fast rate and you might not get time to save them if you are careless.
Following diseases are common in hamsters
Respiratory Infections – Respiratory infections are usually caused by the dust in their environment. It is therefore recommended to keep their habitat dust free and also wash them on regular basis. Symptoms of respiratory diseases include sneezing, discharge from nose and eyes.
Wet Tail in Hamsters – It is the most common disease that your panda hamster can suffer from. This is a recently discovered disease and its cause is still unknown, this disease may cause the hamster to die in no time and there is no known cure as we write this article. All you can do in this disease is to make their remaining time comfortable and keep them away from other hamsters as this is a contagious disease. Remember to wash your hands with soap after dealing with a hamster suffering from wet tail.
Skin Diseases – Skin diseases are also common in hamsters. They may develop cysts and tumors in their body. Take your pet to a vet to get it treated and diagnosed.
The average lifespan of a healthy pet panda hamster is around 2-3 years. Their wild brothers can live more because of their tough nature. It is also possible that your pet hamster can live up to 4 years if given proper care and diet.
Panda hamsters can be a great fun addition to your family. Once properly trained and tamed, they can love you unconditionally. If you are looking for a pet that can be a great companion to keep you company during night time, then panda hamster is the right pet for you.