8 Things You Should Know before homing a hamster

  1. Hamsters are Nocturnal

If you’re planning on getting a pet hamster, you should keep in mind that they are nocturnal animals. This means they sleep during the day and are most active at night. If you are a light sleeper and can easily be woken up by squeaking sounds or the noise of hamster wheels, a hamster may not be the best pet for you.

  1. Are hamsters good for kids?

Because of their small size, many adults think that they make excellent pets for children. However, you should bear in mind that hamsters require careful and gentle handling. They are easily startled by sudden movements, so if your child decides to wake the little hamster up during the day, it may resort to biting.

  1. Substrates (Bedding)

Hamster bedding is one of the essential things you will need to get for your hamster. However, there are some beddings to look out for and avoid. One such bedding material is cotton. Cotton is extremely dangerous for your hamster, as not only can cotton cause choking, it can also lead to an intestinal blockage that can slowly kill your hamster. Another type of bedding to avoid is pine and cedar wood shavings. These can be abrasive and can break into sharp pieces which can cut your hamster’s soft paws, causing injuries and, potentially,  leading to infection. Sawdust also falls into the “to-be-avoided” list, as this has been shown to cause respiratory problems with our little mammal friends.

  1. Space requirements

Think twice before buying a standard hamster cage. A bigger cage is always a better cage for a happy hamster. Aim for a minimum of at least 60 centimetres by 30 centimetres of floor space and a cage that is 30 centimetres inside height. If the cage is too small, your hamster may show signs of distress, such as over-grooming and biting of cage bars or the wheel stand.

  1. Housing Regulations

Syrian hamsters, which are the largest breed of domesticated hamsters, are solitary and territorial animals. They absolutely cannot be housed together under any circumstances and will fight and inflict serious injuries if housed in the same cage. Females who give birth may even kill and eat their babies if they feel disturbed or uncomfortable. Dwarf and Roborovski hamsters, on the other hand, may be able to live together if they are properly introduced.

  1. Cleaning the Cage

It is recommended that you spot clean their cages by removing their faeces and cleaning their cage at least once a week, and changing their entire bedding at least once a month. While it isn’t recommended to fully clean the cage more often than once a week, it is a good idea to keep up with daily cleaning such as removing visible droppings, cleaning and refilling the water dispenser, taking out any fresh food the hamster didn’t eat and adding more bedding if needed.

  1. Chew Toys

One of the things you should consider getting for your hamster is chew-toys. Just like rabbits, a hamster’s teeth do not stop growing throughout their entire lifetime. This means that their teeth need to be filed down. One way you can do this is to provide your hamster with wood chews or cardboard. Cardboard tubes can, in addition, also provide hiding spots for your hamster.

  1. A Happy Hamster

One thing you can always look out for to see if your hamster is happy is to see if they are yawning or stretching. That might seem a little odd, but it shows that they are relaxed and comfortable where they are. Remember to always provide them with lots of leafy greens and a variety of foods and, also, adequate space. Hamsters can be vocal when they are happy or excited, so if you hear a little squeak coming from your hamster, don’t be too alarmed.

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