There are several different supplies that you will need to keep your pet hamster happy and healthy. Discover how to choose the best type of cage for your hamster, what toys and other items you should provide in the cage, and what types of food to feed your pet, as well as information on other supplies. You can even find out how to build your own homemade hamster cage.
A cage is the most expensive item that you will need to buy for your hamster, but it is also the most important. There are many options available online and at pet stores, each with different advantages and disadvantages. The main types of cages are wire cages with a plastic base, enclosed plastic cages, which are often modular with different compartments and tubes inside, and aquariums.
You might also want to consider modifying a store-bought cage with your own extensions.
Building your own homemade hamster cage is easy to do and can save you the relatively large expense of buying one online or from a pet store. It can also allow you to provide a bigger habitat for your hamster.
It is easiest to make a plastic cage as a suitably shaped plastic storage box can be readily found or bought cheaply, while such a cage will be easy to clean, draft proof, and the solid sides will prevent bedding being pushed outside the cage and provide security and protection from drafts.
There are two types of bedding that you need to provide for your hamster. These are the floor covering and nesting material. Wood shavings are normally used for floor covering but there are a few different types available from pets stores, not all of which are safe for your hamster.
Nesting material is softer and can also be bought from pet stores, or alternatively it can be made more cheaply at home. However, as with floor covering, it is important that you only use nesting material that is safe for your hamster.
You should hamster needs constant access to water and this is best provided by using a bottle. You may also want to give your hamster a dish to serve its food on.
Since hamsters are nocturnal, they will be active during the night while you are asleep. So in addition to some time outside the cage for safe and managed exploration, your hamster should be given a variety of different toys in its cage to keep it happy, active and healthy.
A hamster wheel gives your hamster important exercise in its cage, while a hamster ball will allow you to give it similar activity outside the cage. Houses and tubes give your hamster interesting places to explore and hide food, and chew toys can provide further entertainment for your hamster as well as helping to keep its teeth short.
Hamsters in the wild often run for miles at night looking for food, and pet hamsters similarly need plenty of exercise to keep them content and healthy. It is therefore very important to provide your hamster with an exercise wheel, but it is equally important that you buy a wheel that is safe for your hamster to use.
Many cages available come with pre-fitted hamster wheels, but you should be aware that these may be too small for some larger Syrian hamsters. You can also buy free standing wheels to place where you like in the cage, while some are available in novelty shapes such as cars that can allow your hamster to play outside its cage.
Although you should feed you hamster primarily with store-bought hamster food, hamsters can enjoy a wide variety of foods. However, it is important to ensure you keep your hamster both happy and healthy by giving it a balanced diet and avoiding any foods that may be harmful.
You should provide your hamster with new food once a day, and this is best done in the evening as this is around the time it wakes. In the wild, this is when hamsters start looking for food, which they then store to eat the following day. So expect your hamster to store some of its food for later. You should feed your hamster approximately one tablespoon of hamster mix for each serving, along with a small amount of fresh food treats once or twice a week. This amount is suitable for all types of hamster. Even though dwarf and Chinese hamsters are smaller than Syrian hamsters, they have a faster metabolism.