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Hamster Care Book Reviews - 1980s

Hamsters (Junior Petkeeper's Library) by Fiona Henrie, Michael Findlay and Marc Henrie (1980/81)

Pet Library, 1980, Learning About Hamsters

Earl Schneider Editor, 1980, Enjoy Your Hamster (Pet Library)

Fritzsche, Peter, 1980/82, Hamsters

Roberts, Mervin F., 1981, The TFH Book of Hamsters, TFH

Fritzsche, Helga, 1982, "Hamsters: The Complete Pet Owners Manual" (reprinted in 2008)

Roberts, Mervin F., 1982?, Hamsters as Pets

Jan Feder, 1982, The Life of a Hamster (Animal Lives)

Villarroel, Juan Carlos, 1983, Your First Hamster, TFH

Jr. Folk Edgar G., 1984, Hamsters

Lawrence, Joyce, 1984, "Hamlyn Pet Guides: Hamsters" The Hamlyn Publishing Group

3 stars - quite a lot of clearly written information given the small format, but now quite dated in both what is 'new' and what is best practice.

This pocket sized booklet is part of a wider pet care series. It helps to date the development of hamster care products as it pictures both Rotastak and Habitrail and mentions the plastic hamster playball as 'a recent introduction'. It also mentions Grey hamsters as new. This book is illustrated with coloured pencil drawings of different varieties which are sometimes oddly coloured (for example the 'cream' hamster is shown as pale lemon yellow instead of a rich pinkish apricot). It has some advice which contradicts the majority of other hamster care books such as feeding crisps as a treat or giving newsprint as nesting material. It recommends the NHC for showing pedigree hamsters and suggests that others be shown in a pet class.

TFH Publications, 1984, Hamsters-Poster Book

RSPCA, 1984, Hamsters

This booklet has no date but says both that the RSPCA is 160 years old and that it was founded in 1824. It illustrated with both black-and-white photos and with orange humourous line drawing illustrations.

The booklet is very keen to point out that the RSPCA does not condone the keeping of caged animals as pets, but basically realises that people will do so anyway and therefore the booklet can at least give some basic advice to increase the welfare of these inevitable pets.

Despite looking a little aged to the modern eye, this booklet is very forward-thinking compared to many hamster books of the same period and contains advice on minimum cage size for a Syrian hamster being 75x40x40cm and the unsuitability of cotton-wool bedding (etc) even whilst it is also advertising Rotastak (albeit a large set-up) and saying that 'sometimes' same sex syrian siblings from the same litter could be housed together permanently.

Fischer-Nagel, Heiderose and Andreas, 1986 (first published 1984 in Switzerland under title "Im Hamsterbau") "Inside the Burrow: The Life of the Golden Hamster", A Carolrhoda Nature Watch Book. 47 pages, full colour, hardback, American (authors educated in/resident in Germany).

3 stars - written content easily found elsewhere, but burrow photographs make it an interesting book

The vast majority of this book describes a single Golden Hamster lifecycle, illustrated by full colour photographs of many golden hamsters living in a cut-away burrow (a little like an ant farm/wormery). A small pet section at the end briefly deals with issues not covered in the life of the wild hamster, such as caging, and mention of other hamster types (European and fancy Syrian hamster varieties). Contains a brief children's glossary of biological terms used ("rodent" "territory" "sperm" etc).

Pope, Joyce, 1986, Taking Care of Your Hamster (Taking care of your pet)

Stephens, Jay,

Barrie, Anmarie, 1988, "Step-by-step Book About Hamsters"

Sproule, 1988, Know Your Pet: Hamsters

Ostrow, Marshall, E., 1988, "Breeding Hamsters", TFH

Watson, C., 1988, If You Were a Hamster

Illustrated by Nick Sharatt, published by Dinosaur.

This pretty book describes hamster care for younger children with a strong emphasis on empathy - the text is direct and focused, covering all the usual basics of day-to-day care but justifies/describes each aspect in terms of 'If you were a hamster you would like/prefer/not like....' rather than as orders from an authority figure to the reader.

Parslow, Percy, 1989, "Hamsters", TFH

4 stars - This book is very misleadingly NOT a reprint or a direct page-for-page updating of the extremely successful 1969 book "Hamsters" by Percy Parslow (see elsewhere on this page). However, it is still a useful book under the name of one of the most prolific and expert hamster-breeders ever in the UK, and beats the older in one respect - that there are many colour hamster photos included in this edition (the same ones as in all other TFH books).

Snell, Nigel, 1989, Stewart's Hamster (A first petcare book)