How To Take Care Of a New Hamster? [In Simple Words]

The hamster is the most common rodent in homes. It is a small animal that does not require much attention and is very easy to care for.

It often makes them the perfect gift for children. However, you must consider primary care so that your little one is happy and leads a healthy life.

To know how to take care of a hamster correctly, the first thing we must take into account is what things we need to buy before bringing it home:

  • A Large and spacious cage
  • Comfortable Chip Bed
  • House or Shelter
  • Bottle Drinker Feeder
  • Exercise Wheel, and toys
  • Hamsters Foods
    • Fresh fruits and vegetables

#1 Cage

Choose a large cage so your rodent can feel comfortable and run around inside. As always, the bigger, the better; This way, you will avoid stress and anxiety.

Also, you will have to pay attention to the bars, as they must have slight separation between them so that the animal cannot escape or hurt itself.

The cages on several floors are ideal because they provide more space at the top that allows uploading them down and jumping for fun and exercise.

In addition to the cage’s choice, the place where you place it is also significant for the hamster’s safety and health. It should also not be in direct sunlight. Try to make it a quiet area of ​​the house, without too much movement or noise.

How To Select A Proper Cage?

You often will walk into a pet store with a small rodent section full of adorable hamsters, mice, and other rodents. Behind their small, hard-to-be-happy spaces are colorful cages of different shapes and sizes.

Some cages are even shaped like animals and seem very spacious for a tiny hamster. Sadly, despite what is said by the store employees, these cages are not suitable for a hamster or any other small creature.

Despite hamsters being relatively small animals, they need much more space than you think. The American cage size minimum is 450 square inches of unbroken floor space.

While this can be suitable for hamsters, all species often show stress behavior in these cages, especially Syrian hamsters.

How To Measure the Cage Size To Know If It Is Above the Minimum?

Measure the bottom insides of the cage. Measure the length and width, then multiply the two measurements. Do not add the measurements of platforms or multiple stories in the cage. This will get you the unbroken floor space of the cage.

Unbroken floor space is where the amount of floor space isn’t different, similar to enclosures with numerous connected parts or platforms. Multiple-story cages are not safe for hamsters because hamsters are not climber animals. They need plenty of bedding instead of multiple stories to climb in.

Syrian hamsters are often stressed in narrow cages, so while an Ikea Detolf may have a lot of floor space, it better suits dwarf hamsters.

You should also be aware that many stores and websites don’t have proper hamster cages and will most likely sell small, dangerous ones that cannot house a hamster without causing stress and unhappiness.

Note: Colorful cages with small tubes are often dangerous because of improper materials. Proper cages are usually overpriced and difficult to find, so that a cheap alternative would be a bin cage. Forty-gallon glass aquarium breeders are also commonly used for hamster cages.

Do not put the cage in direct sunlight, in a dark and/or damp room, or near a very warm or cold place. Hamsters prefer temperatures between 75 degrees and 85 degrees.

Anything more or less can cause them to go into shock or overheat and get sick. It is also good to ensure the cage is out of the reach of young unsupervised children who may leave it open.

Here’re Some Best Suggestions

While it may be hard to find suitable enclosures, if you search for a bit, you can find suitable cages or bins for DIY cages. Some of the cages I found are listed below.

Large Cage with over 1,000 square inches of unbroken floor space.

Small Cage with over 600 square inches of floor unbroken space.

Bin for DIY bin cage with over 600 square inches of unbroken floor space.

Larger Bin for DIY bin cage with over 800 square inches of unbroken floor space.

Ikea Detolf This cage may have a large amount of floor space, but it cannot hold more than 7 inches of bedding without an elevated lid. This cage better suits dwarf hamsters as opposed to Syrians.

#2 Bedding

For hamsters to feel comfortable and be able to walk on soft ground, they must include a bed in the cage. There are many options; the most common are wood chips, vegetable fiber, paper, and corn.

You will only have to cover the base with a layer of about 7 cm to make its environment comfortable. Wood chips are the most advisable: they absorb, do not raise dust, and are not toxic. Also, the bedding improves hygiene and reduces dirt and odors.

Safe bedding must be unscented, hold strong burrows, be dust free, and be 6 inches deep. However, 6 inches is the minimum; it’s best to have 8-15 inches of deep, firm bedding.

Paper is the most widely used and safe bedding, but Aspen and hemp shaving bedding are safe. Hemp and aspen are better when mixed in with other substrates, for they do not hold the best burrows when used alone. This goes more into depth on safe and unsafe bedding.

#3 House or Nest

To take care of a hamster best, it is essential to incorporate a cave, a house, or a box to sleep, shelter, and rest. Inside it will be filled with bedding or nest material to provide comfort and warmth.

Also, he will place the material to his liking, taking it from the cage and putting it inside his hut or, on the contrary, removing the excess.

#4 Drinkers

The hamster must have fresh and clean water 24 hours a day. Do not use bowls, as more waste accumulates in them, and the water can spill and damage the bed.

Drip bottles or dispensers are the best options: they keep the water clean and protected. Place it at a suitable height so that they can drink comfortably.

You can find hamster cage kits that include all the accessories, so you don’t have to worry about anything: drinking trough, feeder, house, tubes, exercise wheel, and much more!

If the water is in a small bowl, it is best to check daily and at night to ensure the water is clean and complete. If it is in a bottle, the bottle must be full and replaced daily to ensure bacteria and mold will not grow in the bottle.

The nozzle must also be facing down so the water flows into the drinking spout. The nozzle must also be at head level for your hamster because if it is too high or low, the hamster may have issues drinking from it.

#5 Exercise Wheels and Toys

In the wild, hamsters run over 5 miles. In captivity, they must have a wheel to stay fit and run as much as they do in the wild. Without a wheel, they will grow unfit and may show signs of stress and boredom in a cage.

A hamster’s back must not be arched or bent while running on a wheel. If it is arched while running, the hamster may get severe spinal injuries resulting in untimely death and extreme pain.

Some good brands of wheels are “silent runners” and “Niteangel wheels” They sell safe, quiet wheels in proper sizes for hamsters and other rodents.

Flying saucer wheels are a type of enrichment, but they may never replace a normal wheel. They can cause spinal issues, and a hamster can fly off and get injured.

Even though saucer wheels are dangerous when left in an enclosure, they can occasionally be used under supervision. Syrian hamsters should not use flying saucer wheels because they are more susceptible to back issues.

Exercise balls or cars are not beneficial to a hamster’s health and hurt hamsters more than they help. Using a ball or wheel can cause back injuries, broken paws and toes, vision issues, and stress.

When in a ball/car, hamsters cannot use the scent glands on their bellies and have trouble finding their way around.

#6 Foods & Diet

Hamsters eat seeds, grains, plants, and insects in the wild. We cannot offer you an exact natural diet, but we can imitate it and get close enough to cover your needs and take care of your health.

The best way is to combine commercial food for the species with fruits, vegetables, and plants. Occasionally you can offer meat and small insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms. This way, you can be sure that you are providing a complete and balanced diet.

Hamsters need a variety of nuts, seeds, grains, veggies, protein, and occasional fruits in their diet. Pellets do not have enough variety and do not give a hamster all it needs to have a healthy and balanced diet. This can lead to the hamster getting sick and even refusing to eat.

An example of a healthy seed mix would be “Higgins Sunburst Gourmet Hamster and Gerbil Food.” This has enough variety to keep a hamster healthy.

However, it only has 15% protein, so it is best to give an additional insect, a cooked and unseasoned piece of egg, or even a cooked and unseasoned teaspoon-sized piece of chicken once or twice a week.

Of course, there is a lot more to cover in a hamster’s diet, but we can go more into depth on that in the future.

You can also find seed, fruit, vegetable, and hay bars that they love, provide them with a hobby and help them wear down their teeth.

Fruits and Vegetables

The best fruits for hamsters are apples, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches, berries, and cherries. And as for vegetables: carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, zucchini, corn on the cob, spinach, cauliflower, lettuce.

Recommended Amount of Food

  • One tablespoon of seed mix + 1 serving of vegetables a day and often fruits
  • Occasionally: Insects, boiled egg, minced meat, cooked chicken or turkey, fresh cheese, whole grain rice and pasta, lentils.

More Small Tips on How To Care for a New Hamster

  • Take him out of his cage and play with him to get used to you so he doesn’t go wild.
  • Spend some of your time every day.
  • Respect their sleep hours: they are nocturnal, so they sleep during the day.
  • Never bathe him; hamsters are very hygienic and clean themselves.
  • Clean his cage once a week with soap and water. To disinfect, you can use vinegar diluted in water. Let it dry completely and introduce new material or chip and all its accessories.
  • Hamsters need chews and foraging toys to keep them entertained. They also need chews to file down their teeth because almost all rodents have teeth that grow their entire life. If their teeth do not fall, they can overgrow and severely hurt your hamster.
  • Do not clean the cage too often. Cleaning out all the hamster’s scents too often is very stressful and can send the hamster into shock. Two-thirds of the bedding should be replaced once every 1-2 months. Spot check daily.
  • Hamsters are crepuscular/nocturnal, so the best time to handle them is in the early morning or late afternoon when they are active. Waking them up will upset them, and you could lose their trust, so it is not recommended.
  • DO NOT bathe your hamster in water. They are self-cleaning animals; water ruins their fur and can send them into shock. If their coats are oily, sand baths help. Sand must be dust-free and calcium free. This sand is a safe brand to use.
  • Feed them a teaspoon of seed mix once every two days.

We hope that with this post, you have learned how to take care of a hamster and if you still have any questions, write to us!

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