Hamsters are popular pet choices for many families, especially those choosing a first pet for a young child. This is partly because of the ease with which a hamster can be cared for, but also the fact that they are inexpensive when compared to many other pet choices such as dogs, cats, or even reptiles. Many parents consider purchasing a pet for a child as a way to instill the values of responsibility and accountability. A hamster is an ideal choice to fulfill these goals because their care is very straight-forward, inexpensive, and simple, and young children appreciate that these animals are small, furry, and fun to watch. So, how much are hamsters?
How Much are Hamsters Initially?
The first consideration for any family planning to purchase a pet is how much that pet will cost as an initial investment. Pets require consistent care, but that means that costs associated with this care are spread out over the course of their lives. Purchasing a pet can represent a large initial payment. Hamsters, however, are not expensive. Unlike some animals, these tiny mammals can live independently, which means that you can choose to purchase just one, though they are also good in groups.
There are many varieties of hamsters, each with its own characteristics and specifications. The most common domestically-owned hamster is the Teddy Bear Hamster. These relatively large and fluffy hamsters tend to be affectionate, friendly, and energetic. They also come in various colors, such as black, blonde, and calico. On average, a single teddy bear hamster costs approximately $10.
Along with your hamster you will also need to purchase the supplies required to set up a home environment for your new pet. These supplies include:
- A home for your hamster can come in the form of a rodent cage or a large aquarium. Depending on the size and complexity of the home you choose you can expect to pay between $30 and $100.
- Inside this cage or aquarium you should establish a place for the hamster to cuddle up and sleep. This will make him feel secure and comfortable. You can purchase a special hut for between $2 and $10.
- Bedding at the bottom of the cage or aquarium will keep your hamster comfortable, give him something in which to indulge his urge to burrow, and allow you to keep his home clean. A package of bedding, depending on the type that you prefer, costs between $5 and $9.
- Clean, fresh water is important to the health of any animal. A water bottle that is attached to the side of the cage or aquarium lets the hamster drink as much as he wants whenever he needs it and it will remain clean. This type of bottle costs approximately $5.
- You will need a dish for your hamster’s food. This dish should cost less than $5.
- A package of food for your hamster will cost between $4 and $10, depending on the type of food you choose and the size of the package. Obviously, if you choose to invest in a large package initially, you will save money purchasing more in the future.
How Much are Hamsters to Maintain?
Like any other pet, hamsters require some maintenance costs. These are much lower than those of many other animals, also making them a good choice for a first pet for a child, or even one for a small household. Maintenance costs for hamsters include:
- Bedding is used for burrowing and also to keep the hamster’s home clean. You will need to replace the bedding at least once a week or more if it becomes particularly soiled. If you have more than one hamster you will need to change the bedding more often as well. You may want to try out several types of bedding—cedar, pine, or manufactured padding—in order to find the one that your hamster and you like the most.
- Hamsters should be given fresh food daily. Most hamster owners need to buy new food every couple of weeks. You can also add variety and interest to your pet’s diet by giving him fruit and vegetable scraps, small bits of meat, grains, and other treats.
- If you choose to, you can purchase toys and entertainment for your hamster. These include more elaborate cages, running balls, and pieces of wood for chewing. These range in price from a few dollars to over a hundred depending on the complexity of the accessory.
The question of how much are hamsters is about more than just how much the animal costs. If you are considering a hamster as a family pet you must take into account supplies to set up a comfortable home for your pet, as well as the maintenance costs for keeping him happy and healthy.