Of all the types of rodents, we chose him: the hamster. Cute, adorable, sweet… we can’t wait to see him spinning the wheel and running through his little tunnels. But we know there’s more to it than that, and we don’t know quite how to raise and care for this little beastie… so let’s take a look at what he needs.
The first and most important thing to get is the actual house in which he’ll live, that is, his cage. Before getting one we need to evaluate how big it will need to be. We need to think about how many hamsters we want, whether just one or a couple, in which case there could be baby hamsters, so we’ll need a bigger cage, like the Duna Fun or the Duna Fun Large, a perfect size for the number of hamsters with enough space for them all.
Not all hamsters are the same size. Smaller ones, like the Roborovskij hamster, can wiggle through the bars if they are far enough apart, so they’ll need a more tightly woven mesh, or a glass or plastic cage that can’t be scaled because once they’re out, catching the little escapees is really hard!
Hamsters are evening creatures, nocturnal types, so to keep up with their biological rhythm, the cage needs to be in a quiet place during the day so he (they) can sleep and where they don’t keep us awake with their night time shenanigans. That means that the kid’s room is not the best place for them!
Second, but no less important, he will need a proper feeder that provides him with fresh food at all times. The cute little rodents should always have something to dig their teeth into, it’s how they eat and stay healthy. A good mix of cereals, seeds and legumes, and maybe some fresh vegetables should always be available. Not only, but clean fresh water, like for all living beings, is a must.
Thirdly, our little friend has to build himself a little cave in which to hide and sleep during the day. So you need to provide him with a little nest of sorts, a little plastic or wooden box our furry buddy can call home. In order for him to make his nest, you have to supply him with the building blocks. Avoid cotton or other types of fabric because it might choke him if he tries to chew and swallow it, or even hurt his paws if they somehow get stuck in it. The best stuff to give him is toilet or kitchen paper, paper hankies and bits of cardboard (all non-perfumed and non-coloured).
And what to do about, well, you know, the bathroom? Although they produce very little excrement, the hamster does need a little toilet in which to do his ‘business’, and in his case it’ll be a special litter. The little box should have 3 to 4 cm worth of the especially made litter in it: recycled pellets made of paper, hemp and linen, which could get expensive, or sawdust, a good solution because it’s cheap, but the wood dust needs to be removed and it needs to be untreated, although it really isn’t very absorbent. DO NOT use kitty litter… ever. It can be toxic if ingested.
Let’s see, what have we left out? Oh yes, the best part! Hamster toys! Hamsters are active creatures and they need to get their exercise and have fun too. That’s why Ferplast made modular cages like the Combi 1 Fun. They can be changed around, tunnels added, living quarters attached to keep him on his proverbial toes. Aside from the classic wheel, which is good closed too so that he doesn’t hurt his paws, there are other fun pastimes, like tunnels, bridges and chewable toys of all sorts, from wooden ones to Goodbite Tiny&Natural, made of a special calorie-free, digestible polymer that causes them no harm whatsoever.
In a nutshell, what your hamster needs is:
- a cage
- food dish and water bowl
- toilet box
Many of these items may already be inside the cage you buy, that depends on the type you get. And now that you have everything you need to keep him happy, healthy and hale, all you have to do is find the cute little tenant!