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Hamster Care

Knowing hamster care helps you enjoy your pet while keeping the happy in a safe and fun environment. Follow the advice below and you'll have a healthy and long-living hamster.

The Home

Hamster Care

First, find a cage or aquarium that is as big as your home or room can allow. The hamster will spend most of its time here, so you need to provide comfort and room for fun. Cages can have a gridded bottom, but ensure that the spacing is no more than half an inch. Most cages will have a solid tray to catch droppings and other debris. Test the tray before you purchase the cage so it's easy for you to remove and replace.

Aquariums should be more than 10 gallons because anything smaller will cramp the hamster. Consider a longer aquarium than a taller one for proper hamster care. You won't use the lid that comes with the aquarium because you want wire mesh top for air. These mesh tops can be found at most pet or hardware stores.

Whichever way you go, make sure there is enough room for the hamster to move around. Once you get the cage or aquarium home, place the hamster in its new habitat for a few moments to see if it appears comfortable.

Bedding Hamster Care

Shaving made from wood or paper is the best choice for bedding in hamster care. Do NOT use pine or cedar shavings because they are deadly to hamsters. Pet stores carry pre-made bedding packages so go for this method to save time and to get products that are safe for hamsters.

Toys

Hamsters are active creatures and need toys to keep them going. Cardboard tubes, mesh balls with bells, and toy buildings with hiding areas provide hamsters with the proper exercise to keep active and relax. Hamster wheels are popular among owners. Just make sure there is enough room for that, the hamster and any other toys in the cage. Don't use the hamster balls that were popular years ago. This has been proven to cause stress in your pet and potentially dangerous.

If you place anything plastic in the home of the hamster, make sure it is PVC or something similar. Hamsters like to chew and while there's nothing wrong with that, plastic can hurt their internal organs. Common household items you can place in their home: oatmeal canisters, portions of cereal boxes, and tissue boxes.

Creating levels for your hamster to climb can unleash your creativity, but you must take hamster care serious when doing so. The levels must be solid, unlike the bottom of the cage. You can make levels from mesh wiring, but line it with cardboard or special mats you can buy at pet stores.

Food and Water

Hamsters love to eat and should never have an empty food bowl or water spout. For water, attach a hanging water dispenser. These are better because the spout is the perfect size for hamster mouths.

Hamsters eat a variety of vegetables. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, green or red peppers, and asparagus are common vegetables you can feed your hamsters. As a treat, you can give them small amounts of fruit like apples or bananas; this can be done once a week. Other foods you can feed a hamster are oats, whole wheat bread, and tofu.

Playtime

Just like humans, hamsters can develop "cabin fever". Keeping your pet cooped up in their cage all the time is bad hamster care. Take them out of their cage and let them run around a secure room. They are fast so use a smaller room where you can monitor the exits or you have visibility of all areas of the room.

Since hamsters like to sleep during the day, handle your pet in the late afternoon or evening. Hamsters will get cranky if their sleep is disturbed. Knowing your hamster's sleeping and exercise patterns can help you get the most enjoyment and the optimum time.

By Heather Long