Hamsters are perfect first pets for youngsters; they are lovable, small, and best of all, they are easy and inexpensive to keep. With proper attention and care, hamsters can live up to five years.
1. Look for the right hamster to buy. An ideal hamster is between 4 and 7 weeks old; hamsters are easier to tame when they’re young. There are two types of hamster: the golden hamster and the Siberian or dwarf hamster. The golden hamster is available in a variety of colors and fur variations, while the smaller dwarf hamster comes in only a few colors. However, the big difference between the two is that dwarf hamsters do not tame well, while golden hamsters can become gentle, reliable pets.
2. When you bring home your hamster and supplies, place the cage in a location away from drafts, and out of direct sunlight. Pick a spot in the house where you will frequently visit your hamster & cover the cage floor with a 2 inch layer of bedding. Pine wood shavings are best, because they are absorbent and nontoxic.
3. Keep a filled, clean water bottle attached to the cage at a height where the spout is reachable by the hamster, but doesn’t touch the bedding. if the bedding gets wet it can rot and cause your hamster to get sick. Wash and refill daily.
4. Provide plenty of chew toys. Hamsters love the cardboard tubes found inside rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Attach hamster wood chews to the side of the cage.
5. Make a box for your hamster to sleep in. Cut a 2-inch doorway into a small, closed cardboard box. Place the box in a far corner of the cage. The hamster will fill the box with bedding and chewed-up pieces of cardboard from the toilet paper tubes and will use the box as a bedroom. He will not urinate in the box, so you can use it for many months before replacing it.
6. Feed your hamster a commercially prepared hamster-food mix once or twice a day. Supply a small amount of fresh fruits and vegetables year-round. When you introduce new foods, initially feed small portions so his system can get used to them.
7. Exercise your hamster by putting an exercise wheel in her cage. Let her exercise outside her cage inside a specially designed plastic hamster ball, available at pet stores. Close the doors to your bedroom, take her out of his cage, and let her run around in the hamster ball.
8. Wash your hamster’s cage at least once a week. Remove the hamster to a safe location and dip the cage in water that has a few drops of household disinfectant added to it. Wipe out any debris, dry the inside and add clean bedding before replacing the hamster.
9. Remove any uneaten fruits and vegetables after two days. Fresh foods that turn moldy can make your hamster sick.
10. Don’t bathe your hamster. Hamsters clean themselves. If you think your hamster smells bad, the odor is probably coming from dirty bedding. Clean the hamster cage more often.
Take your hamster with you or find someone to take care of him if you are going on vacation for more than three days.