Giving Time - Teaching Skills for Life
This page will tell you how to take care of a hamster.
About pet hamsters.
- Hamsters are mammals.
- They belong to the rodent family
- In the wild hamsters live in burrows in semi desert areas.
- Hamsters are nocturnal this means they sleep most of the day and are awake at night.
- Syrian hamsters like to live on their own, they are not social creatures.
- Dwarf hamsters will live in pairs if socialised early
- Hamsters have large font teeth (incisors) which grow all the time.
- They need to gnaw to keep the teeth from becoming overgrown.
- Pet hamsters usually have cheek pouches which they carry their food in(to take back to the burrow or bed.
Pet hamsters can live up to around 2 years
Hamsters cannot see very well
so always wash hands before touching so they don't think you are food.
There are 3 main types of hamster that are pets, Syrian, Dwarf and Chinese hamsters.
- Hamster habitats
- Hamster cages should be at least 75 by 40 by 40 cm and preferably bigger.
- Hamsters gnaw a lot and will try to escape from their enclosures. A wire cage or aquarium or modular cage are good choices.
- A wire cage should have plastic floors and not wire flooring as it hurts the hamsters feet.
- Wire cages are good as hamsters like to climb.
- An aquarium is good it will need a wire mesh top and you will need to provide climbing toys.
- They are quite easy to clean out but bigger ones are heavy to move.
- Modular cages are great too as they come with tunnels for the hamster to get exercise.
- If you have a big hamster though it may become stuck in the tunnels.
- As hamsters gnaw anything make sure they cannot gnaw out of the tunnels and escape.
- Hamsters need hard wood to gnaw on willow or fruitwood are good as long as they don't have pesticides on them
- Cardboard boxes and tubes are great for gnawing and hiding in
- A pet hamster wheel is great exercise
- Keep your hamster's cage out of direct sunlight and away from the radiator
- A temperature range from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for hamsters.
- A bowl of sand could be added to see if your hamster likes to roll in it to help keep himself clean
- Hamster Diet
- Hamsters need fresh water daily provided from a drip feed bottle with a metal spout.
- Use a small heavy ceramic bowl to put your hamsters food in so it cannot be tipped over.
- You should feed hamster food to your hamster; a complete hamster mix that has a variety of grains, nuts, vegetable flakes and corn in it.
- Hamsters need to eat fresh fruit and vegetables as well so provide small amounts of apple, melon, peas in the pod and broccoli.
- You do not need to peel these.
- Your pet hamster can also have small amounts of sunflower seed as a treat.
- Chew sticks from a pet store will keep your gnawing rodents teeth down as well.
- Do not give your hamster chocolate or lettuce as these are poisonous to hamsters.
- Hamster Bedding
- Bedding should be non toxic, dust free and dry so check with a pet store or vet before you buy
- Safe beddings are aspen shavings and soft paper bedding, paper towels and shredded plain paper.
- You can supply your hamster with hay to use as nesting material, it must not be mouldy or dusty.
- Cedar and pine wood shavings are causing concerns about hamster health, so steer away from these.
- Hamster Care
- A pet hamsters cage should be thoroughly cleaned out at least once a week.
- Clear any old rotting vegetables fruits and seeds but return some good seed to the housing area where your hamster stores it's food.
- Check for any signs of illness such as loose stools.
- If you have a long haired hamster you will need to brush it's coat gently with a soft toothbrush to stop it tangling.
- Hamsters can move very fast and will escape under furniture so be very careful when your hamster is out of his cage.
- Hamsters chew through wires and will chew most things.
- Don't let your hamster fall he will hurt himself
- Spend time with your hamster every day.
- Watch your hamster for signs of illness, take him to the vets if you think he is poorly.
- Hamsters need plenty of things to chew on check with your pet store.
- Hamsters will still need hamster care whilst you go away on holiday.
- Hamster names
- Be creative with your hamster names
- I really like this site funpetnames.com
- as it gives some fun names for pets with the meanings of the name.
- You could watch your new pet for a couple of days and see if a good name comes to your mind.
- How about Hammy or Ginger, Guddles, Muddle, Spotty, Marbles, Tiddles, Lucy, Raspberry, Shadow.
- Well you get the idea just choose a name that you like, what about a favorite TV character?
- Hamster Taming.
- Hamsters have a nasty bite.
- To avoid this only approach your hamster when he is wide awake,
- Wash your hands before trying to touch your pet so you don't smell of food.
- Allow your hamster to get used to his home.
- Then talk quietly and gently to him.
- Try offering him a titbit or two and see if he will take it from your hand.
- Try to gently stroke the hamster
- All this takes time don't scare your hamster by doing too much at a time.
- Offer the palm of your hand and see if the hamster will walk onto it.
- If the hamster does, gently cup your other hand over him to lift him from cage.
- Then remember to handle him every day so he gets use to it.
This is not an exhaustive article on pet hamsters so do some more research if anything is concerning you
Hamsters are known to get several illnesses
if you think your hamster is not well take it to the vets.