Hamsters make lovely pets for children as they are small and easy to handle - but you have to decide which type of hamster best suits your requirements and remember that they must be handled with care as squeezing them or dropping them can injure these little creatures badly.
Once you have decided upon the type of hamster you want to purchase, you will have to decide what type of hamster cage you want for him. We have a number of hamster homes for you to chose from so whether you decide to purchase a metal or plastic hamster cage or a standard wire hamster cage, you are sure to find one to suit your needs on our site. Remember that it is always better to purchase the largest hamster cage that you can afford and that you have room for because like most pets, hamsters like to have room to run around and play.
If you have decided on a Syrian hamster, be careful with cages that have the plastic play tubes as the larger Syrian hamsters can get stuck in these. When choosing a hamster cage, the bottom of the cage shouldn’t consist of bars as hamsters have short feet which could fall through the rungs. Hamsters tend to prefer horizontal bars on their hamster cage as the Syrian and Chinese hamsters love to climb. If you decide to purchase a tank, ensure that there is plenty of ventilation in it. Tanks are generally more suitable for dwarf varieties of hamster as they are small enough to squeeze through some bars.
Your hamster’s cage should always have a place for your hamster to rest and hide in and another area for feeding, playing and exercising.
It is adviseable to keep your hamster cage away from direct sunlight and direct heat such as radiators but keep it somewhere warm indoors, away from draughts. If it is too cold in the room, your hamster could go into hibernation. Keep the hamster cage on a raised surface because hamsters are frightened by overhead activity which goes back to when they were in the wild and they would be wary of predators such as hawks swooping down on them.
To minimize any stress on your hamster, have the hamster cage set up and ready before you bring your hamster home so that you can put him straight into it. Alternatively, take the hamster cage with you when you go to collect your new hamster. It’s always best to leave your hamster in its cage for a few days to settle into its new environment before letting him out, as hamsters are timid by nature and your new pet will be missing his brothers and sisters.
Your hamster will need some pet bedding in it’s cage and the bedding should be dust-free, absorbent and lightweight. We have some sawdust which is a popular choice for the flooring as it is absorbent and inexpensive. Remember that sawdust can easily be pushed out of hamster cages so be prepared for the mess.
Another alternative is shredded paper and again, we have some of this on our site. Hamsters like to arrange their living environment into areas for sleeping, feeding, exercising and toiletting. Their cage will have to be tidied daily and thoroughly cleaned at least once a week with the old sawdust or shredded paper being replaced. Your hamster can make soft hay or bedding into its own nest or you can put it in a nest box. When changing your hamster’s bedding, put some of its old bedding in with the new bedding so that your hamster doesn’t feel it’s in unfamiliar surroundings.
Like all pets, hamsters need to exercise in order to remain fit and healthy so make sure the cage you choose for him has an exercise wheel fitted – this should be solid so that your hamster’s feet do not get caught in it. He will also need chew toys to gnaw on as gnawing helps to keep his constantly growing teeth short. Play tubes (either cardboard or plastic) are a great idea but make sure they are wide enough to stop your hamster from getting stuck !!
Lastly, make sure your hamster has easy access to fresh, clean water and that you feed him a quality diet. Your vet will help you to decide which type of food is best for him and how much to feed him.
Hamsters only live for approximately 2-3 years so make sure that you make the most of the time you have together by providing him with the best cage you can.