Caring for a pet is a beautiful experience, with many benefits. It teaches you a lot about the link between you and the rest of the world. I learned that myself when I was in primary school and got a hamster as a gift. It was love at first sight. I struggled a bit at first, but I soon got the hang of it. If you think about getting a hamster, welcome to my hamster care tips lesson for beginners.
ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!
Apparently, many animals are forced to breed in improper conditions to support the pet shop business. Basically, by buying a pet you might (unknowingly) support animal abuse. So before you go the easy way and buy a hamster, ask around to see if you can adopt one from your local shelter or from somebody who can’t take care of it anymore.
WHY ARE HAMSTERS SUCH GOOD PETS?
Firstly, because they are fluffing adorable! Duh! I have yet to meet somebody who can resist those beady eyes, cute whiskers, and fuzzy fur. But they are also delicate, so handle them gently and teach the kids in your family to do so too.
Secondly, they don’t require much of your time. Hamsters mind their own business in their little habitat, so they won’t destroy your furniture while waiting for you to return home. You can take them out, hold them, pet them gently, and let them explore a little while keeping an eye on them. It’s important to know that hamsters are nocturnal, so they can get pretty noisy when you might want to go to sleep. While this might be a drawback for many people, they are the perfect companions for night owls such as myself.
WHAT DOES YOUR HAMSTER NEED TO BE HEALTHY AND HAPPY?
The following hamster care tips are derived from my experience, but also from consulting the RSPCA guidelines. I know it seems like a lot of hard work for such a tiny creature, but trust me, it’s worth it!
1. A proper house. You can choose between a wire cage, a glass aquarium, or a modular habitat. Each one has pros and cons, so you should make an informed choice. I used a glass aquarium because it is easy to clean and because it has proper ventilation.
‘It was such a relief to find an affordable tank. My hamster loves the bigger cage and I feel a lot better having her in an appropriate sized cage, I would recommend this tank to those with rodents. The small wire cages at pet stores are not big enough!’ – Hadley
2. Bedding and nesting materials. Hamsters like to nest, so they need something cozy to burrow in. The safest bedding materials are aspen (which is the only recommended wood-based bedding) and scentless toilet paper. Depending on the size of the habitat, put enough bedding material enough for your hamster to burrow. I used to clean its aquarium every 3 days, so twice a week.
‘I bought this for my Roborovski hamster. It’s my first hammy and I wanted to get Aspen bedding with Kaytee Clean and Cozy on top for some extra comfort. This is pretty decent for burrowing, and holds a pretty okay shape.’ – Africa Murphy
3. The next item on our list of hamster care tips is proper food.
Special food dry that can be acquired from the pet shops- usually a teaspoon a day will suffice. Broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are crunchy additions to his diet. Other examples of healthy vegetables include cucumbers, celery, red and green peppers, bok choy, and sweet potatoes. To supplement their diet with a bit of protein, you can give it a little piece of hard-boiled egg from time to time.
‘Being a beginner in caring for a hamster, I did my research to which food product I should rely upon. It provides a ready-to-go mix of pellets, dried corn, nuts, and all other things, meanwhile, other food sources do not provide this similar balance. I have tried this for about 5 months and my hamster LOVES this mix. I recommend this food mix and plan to not change anytime sooner. Thank you for the awesome and fast service.’ – Ari R.
4. Water bottle. Another idea from my list of hamster care tips is to clean the bottle and change the water daily to prevent the apparition of bacteria.
‘Perfect solution for small fuzzies in tanks, like my son’s mouse. Great size for a mouse and the angle at which the bottle sits allows him to drink comfortably, but does not leak. Dish space is tiny, we are using for treats only-like tiny salads or fruit bits.’ – Moonsinger
Hamsters are active, curious little fellows. You can buy it an exercising wheel, toss a toilet paper roll, or buy more sophisticated toys to keep it busy and active. I remember my father build a mini-maze out of cardboard and my hamster loved it! In the end, I would always give it a treat, such as a nice piece of fresh vegetable.
‘The toys made to suspend from the top of the cage should be adapted to be easier to hang from an aquarium lid. It’s generally safer and better to house gerbils and hamsters in large aquariums and these toys were difficult to adjust to the lid.’ – Melina
6. Company. Hamsters are solitary creatures. It’s safest to keep every specimen in a separate enclosure to prevent them from fighting. They get pretty territorial and would harm each other, even if they are siblings.
7. Life span and health. Hamsters typically live for 2/3 years. They can suffer from various health conditions, so make sure that you have an exotic animal vet in your area. Likewise, if you notice a change in your pet’s behavior, take it for a quick check-up.
That’s all, folks! These were the main hamster care tips I wanted to share with you. Now you can make an informed decision about whether to get one or not. Remember, a pet might be a small part of your life, but you are their entire world!