Selecting the right hamster cages are one of the joys of caring for these pets. Hamsters do have some minimum requirements that their owners must strive to meet in order to keep them happy and healthy. A hamster’s habitat is an extremely important part of his care. He will spend the vast majority of his time in his cage, and it must be spacious enough, clean, and contain the appropriate types of bedding and enrichments.
Hamsters may be housed in glass aquariums or plastic rodent houses. The
minimum size aquarium for an average adult dwarf hamster is 10 gallons.
Syrian, or ‘teddy bear’ hamsters, are bigger and thus require slightly
more space. Just like humans, hamsters enjoy a spacious dwelling much
more than a cramped one. Plastic rodent cages with tubes connecting
multiple rooms and levels are more enriching to the animal, but are
more difficult to clean properly.
A Hamster Kit is An Easy and Low Cost Way to Get Started with Everything You Need. Note the Side Door
Makes it Easier to Remove the Hamster from the Cage.
Shown: My First Home Hamster Kit from Big Als ($32)
Whichever type of enclosure you
choose, be sure that it has a tight-fitting (but not air-tight) lid, to
prevent your hamster from escaping, as well as to prevent other
household pets from making friends with your hamster. Some aquarium
style hamster cages have tops that slide in and out, making it hard if
not impossible for the hamster to escape.
enclosure should be kept in a temperate area of the house, away from
cold drafts and the heat of direct sunlight. Your hamster will probably
also appreciate being kept in a low traffic area, so he can have peace,
quiet, and privacy for sleeping purposes.
You may not want to keep his
cage in a bedroom, depending on how easily the occupant of the room is
awaken at night, as hamsters are somewhat nocturnal and tend to be very
active at night.
Tip: Is it easier to take the hamster out of a cage with the door on the side instead of buying one with the door in the roof.
There are a variety of bedding types that can be used for hamster cages. Pelleted absorbent bedding is a popular choice, and is probably the easiest and cleanest option. Other choices include shredded paper, timothy hay, or certain types of wood shavings. Never use pine or cedar shavings. These types of shavings emit fumes which are toxic, and can cause respiratory disease in you and your pet. You will need to remove soiled bedding and uneaten food daily. Once weekly you should completely empty the cage and clean it out with warm, soapy water. The cage should also contain an inverted water tube, which should be changed at least every other day, and washed out at least once weekly.
Hamster Accessories such as this Wood Chew Toy Help Hamsters Maintain Dental Health
Shown: Super Pet Perfect Chews for Hamsters from Amazon ($5.49)
Hamsters are active little creatures, and their quality of life is
vastly improved when they are provided with enrichments. Hamster wheels
are a great source of exercise and entertainment. Be sure to get one
that is made of solid plastic, as opposed to the old-style metal ones
with rungs. Tubes for the hamster to run through and hide inside of are
also great. Plastic ones can be purchased at a pet store, or you can
use paper towel rolls. If the paper towel roll option is used, just
remember that you will have to throw it out after several days, as it
will absorb moisture. Wooden chew toys are also important for your
hamster, as his teeth are continually growing and need constant
chewing. Not only will your hamster enjoy his chew toys, but they will
also help to keep him healthy.
Do you have a question about hamster health or care? Ask and our Vet will answer it for free!
Please be sure to include important information such as age, breed, diet, medications, advice from your veterinarian or anything else you believe would be helpful.
It also helps to include a picture, especially when asking about skin or coat problems.
Every week we will select questions to be answered by our Vet. If you need an urgent response, we suggest using this online veterinary service that has Veterinarians standing by 24 hours a day.
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