My experience with hamsters is enough to know at least what hamsters like and want.
This is the exact reason why I’m here to enlighten about hamster care and doable ways for keeping them happy, safe, and healthy all the time. Apart from buying some essentials for your hamster, there are many other fronts that you’ll have to cover. Hence, I’d be educating here about 17 steps to be a good hamster owner below.
1. Selecting the hamster
Before we discuss the steps of becoming a great hamster owner, it’s vital that you have all your hamster supplies ready. Here’s our hamster checklist that contains everything you’ll ever need.
Now, there are 4 types of hamsters, so you got to select one that suits your requirements the best.
- Syrian hamsters are golden brown and 5-7 inches long.
- Chinese hamsters are greyish brown and 4-5 inches long.
- Dwarf hamsters are bluish grey and hardly 3-4 inches long.
- Roborovski Hamsters are light-colored and roughly 3 inches long.
Here’s my article on hamster types.
2. Knowing hamster cages
So the next step is to buy a comfortable and naturally appealing cage for the hamster so that it does not take much time to adjust. Here are two points to consider while buying one:
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- No matter how small the size of your hamster, the cage should be big enough for it to relax and play.
- Buy a good quality metal cage that is warranted not to get corroded easily.
3. Choosing the cage’s interior
The interior of the cage should be friendly enough for the hamster to remain happy and relaxed all the time.
For instance, put things like an exercise wheel, a hammock, or a tunnel for it to have fun in the limited territory. Having such toys ensures that your hamster won’t get bored.
Speaking of which, here’s my article on whether hamsters get lonely or not.
All of these things should be harmless so that the animal does not get injured while playing.
4. Hamster Food
Food is one of the most common concerns when it comes to keeping a hamster.
All you got to is buy medium or high-quality food, most preferably suggested by the veterinarian, place a bowl in the cage, and put the right amount in it.
For water, it should be changed with fresh and hygienic portions every day.
5. Familiarizing with the surrounding
A hamster might seem like a carefree small animal that does not get bothered with the surroundings or a change in its habitat.
But in reality, hamsters are as sensitive as any other living being.
Hence, in order to familiarize your hamster with its environment, here is what you can do:
- Leave it alone for a couple of days to observe and feel at home.
- Even after that, do not try to touch it now and then.
- Give it enough time to work on the sleep cycle without disturbance.
You might want to read my article on how to tame a hamster if you’re a new owner.
6. Health concerns
If you own a hamster or any other animal as a pet, the best thing you can do for it is to take care of its health and keep looking out for signs that indicate danger to take action immediately.
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Below are mentioned some of the symptoms of an unwell hamster that needs medical attention.
- Too much sleep or no sleep.
- Not interested in food.
- Biting unnecessarily.
- Not wanting to socialize.
7. Understanding behavioral issues in hamsters
If you really wish to become a good parent to your hamster, then the best thing to do is empathize better.
See, hamsters are quite sensitive and equally bad at expressing grief or anger.
So if it starts biting a lot, eats less food or sleeps too much, then try to understand its cause and act accordingly.
8. The unusual sleep cycle of hamsters
Unlike humans and many other domestic pets, hamsters follow a unique sleep cycle that involves sleeping in the daytime and remaining active throughout the night.
So get this straight:
No matter what you try or how much you tame it, the sleep schedule will remain more or less the same.
So instead of trying to change the natural routine of the hamster, try to adjust and make peace with it.
9. Your hamster’s interaction with strangers
Hamsters do not usually like to mingle with strangers.
They do not appreciate being touched by every person that finds them cute. Here’s my take on whether hamsters like to cuddle or not.
Therefore, respect this nature and make sure to keep it protected from unwanted fans.
10. Cleaning your hamster’s cage
Okay, so this is probably one of the few things that you should know beforehand while planning to own a hamster.
We all know the importance of cleanliness, but when the animal is bound to live in a small space with no freedom to go out, there has to be a strict check and balance on keeping the cage clean all the time.
You can do this by changing the bedding every once a week, put fresh food and water, and cleaning the litter box daily or even twice a day.
11. Never manhandle your hamster
I know how hard it is not to squeeze a cute and small furry animal with damn innocent eyes, but manhandling is strictly a no-no for a hamster.
It might get offended and bite, or you never know about the harm it is causing to the poor soul.
12. Giving enough time to your hamster
Well, it is evident by now that hamsters are not attention-seekers. They like to enjoy on their own; it is still important for you to connect with it.
See, the thing is that connecting does not necessarily mean to cuddle or sleep/eat/play/travel together.
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You can give your hamster enough time by making sure you’re always there when it needs or keeping track of its full-day routine to empathize better.
- Do not buy hamster bedding that is harmful if chewed.
- Do not place the cage in direct sunlight.
- The environment should be less bright and cozier.
- Maintain an appropriate temperature.
- Don’t overfeed.
13. Providing hamster chew toys
Hamsters love to chew, so if you don’t want it to chew the bedding or any other thing in the cage, then make sure to provide it with chew toys.
This will also help it in fighting stress or anxiety.
14. Keeping the hamster’s environment peaceful
A serene environment is highly essential for a hamster, especially while sleeping.
So, ensure that the lights are dimmed and that the room is quiet.
The temperature should remain somewhere between 24-30 degrees.
15. Taking care of a pregnant hamster
If your hamster is pregnant, then here is what you can do to ensure maximum care.
- Keep visiting the vet on scheduled dates.
- Provide extra comfy bedding.
- Keep a check of its eating and drinking schedule.
- Do not put another hamster in the cage.
16. Maintaining the temperature
Hamsters neither like extra warm atmosphere nor one that is too cold. Their cage should maintain around 24-30 degrees so that it feels comfortable enough just like it would in a natural habitat.
Although there is no particular definition of a good hamster owner, these things that I’ve mentioned together make a no-fail recipe of petting a hamster with the best care and supreme consideration.
Hence, work on these and you’ll not be disappointed with the way it turns out to be in your and the hamster’s best interests.
Which breed of hamsters is the friendliest? All hamsters are human-friendly but in my experience, I think Syrian hamsters are the friendliest of all.
They are comparatively social and do not bite once they have been tamed.
Other than Syrians, dwarf hamsters are also easy to handle and pet as they rarely bite and are loved by everybody for its cutest small size.
How do you take care of a hamster for beginners? Below is a step by step outline that explains how to take care of a hamster.
- Invest in a large-sized cage.
- Buy fluffy and harmless bedding.
- Only buy food with good reviews.
- Clean the bedding and cage every week with a soapy solution.
- Maintain a diet chart.
- Keep it in optimum temperature conditions.
- Give it some activities in the cage to kill boredom.
- Visit a vet once a month.
- Do not try to introduce it to strangers.
Do hamsters like to be petted? Not exactly, but you can handle hamsters delicately and touch the lower side of the neck for petting purposes.
Otherwise, hamsters are not very fond of being petted or cuddled by the owner, no matter how much you’re liked by them.
I think the main reason for this social awkwardness in the animal is its delicate skin and small being that might get injured through improper handling.
Which hamster is best for a child? All hamsters are child-friendly but to pick one, Syrian hamsters are the best to buy for a child.
They are adorable, less aggressive even in unfavorable conditions, and easier to tame as well.