Hamster Care 101
Over the years, hamsters have become increasingly popular as a household pet. Hamsters are often the pet of choice amongst pet owners due to their size, cleanliness and the fact that they are just downright cute! Hamsters make terrific first pets due to the fact that they are easily cared for by pet owners of any age.
When caring for your pet hamster, one should consider appropriate housing, nutrition, exercise and entertainment. All of these will play an important role in the development and health of your pet hamster.
Hamsters prefer temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit but can adapt to varying humidity and climate. Respiratory problems in hamsters are usually caused by drastic changes in air temperature. With this in mind, hamster cages should be kept away from windows, doors or air vents. Hamsters should be housed in areas that are dimly lit and quiet. It is also suggested that hamsters housed in aquariums are kept away from direct sunlight as this may cause a greenhouse effect. When picking an enclosure to accommodate a hamster it is recommended to thoroughly investigate it to make sure it is escape proof.
Hamsters in the wild often forage for food, meaning they will gather food and store it for consumption later. Hamsters will consume roughly a tablespoon of food per day. It is wise to supplement their meal with a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, keep the fruits and vegetable to a minimum, as overfeeding can cause diarrhea. With copious amounts of grains and seeds, a hamster will distinctively know what it needs to survive and therefore it will eat accordingly. If in doubt of what to feed your hamster contact your local pet store and they will help out.
In order for a pet hamster to stay as healthy as possible it needs a sufficient amount of exercise. There are several ways to keep your hamster properly exercised such as the following:
- Running Balls – These are perfect for exercise and also your entertainment. Smooth surfaces such as kitchen floors or hardwood floors make substantial areas to let your hamster roll around on.
- Playing in an area that has been blocked off is also excellent exercise for your hamster. Always make sure that the entire play space is blocked off. If there is a place to escape, your hamster will find it!
- Hamster Wheel – These are perfect for exercising your hamster. After feeding a pet hamster treats, it is wise to let them run on the wheel for a while. Hamster wheels are one of the most common accessories for cages.
Hamster cages should contain a wide variety of toys for your pet hamster to play with. Often hamster owners will have tubes that allow their pet to crawl through and discover new places. Hamster chew toys are another popular toy that should be provide. Not only will a hamster chew help will entertainment, it will also keep your hamster’s teeth sharp and healthy.