Having hamster as pets is a fairly easy task, but as with all animals, we must learn how to take care of them and make them happy.
Hamsters are small animals, but they need an adequate habitat to live in. Although the dwarf hamsters would need a smaller cage, we must provide them with enough room to exercise and move around. When you buy your hamsters’ cage, always calculate as if you are having double the animals than you actually do, so you’ll give them space enough.
Depending of where you live, you can decide if you want to place the cages inside or outdoors. In mild weather places, hamsters can live outdoors. But we must invest in their habitats, because they must be protected against elements and predators; we can build cages in wood, similar to birds’ houses, and place them in a bigger wire cage, always located in a high place far from the floor. The wire must have small holes, so the hamsters won’t be able to escape. And it is important that we provide good litter and materials that they can use to make their beds with and stay warm. And we must remember to clean often the cages, because outside they will be more exposed to dust and dirt.
If we decide to place our hamsters inside our house, we must find a location that is luminous, but is protected from direct light, and far from open windows and drafts. Some people place their hamster in their laundry rooms, that is a mistake, because the dust that comes from the dryer can be dangerous for their respiratory systems.
Inside their cages we must place toys and little places where the hamsters can hide and make their little nests so they can sleep comfortable during the day hours. At night, they must count with exercise wheels, so they can run for hours. Exercise is essential for the hamsters’ good health; they must use their exercise wheels everyday for several hours. We can provide them with exercise balls as well, so they can run around the house safely, but always under our supervision. When they are using the exercise ball we must make sure the doors to the exterior are closed, and that they are using them only for a short period of time, so they don’t become exhausted.
Hamsters’ diet is simple. We must provide them with a good brand of hamsters’ commercial food, made of pellets and multi grains and seeds; my favorite is Nutriphase, all my hamsters use it and they are very healthy. We should give them every day fresh vegetables, as lettuce, broccoli or spinach, and fresh fruits, as tomatoes or apples. Be careful when you choose a bottle for them to drink, because they need the smallest ones, and you must pick the ones that spill the right amount of water.
Hamsters normally love to be held and patted, but they must get used to it. It is better if we hold them and pat them from the beginning, when they are babies. To introduce us to them we can use treats and food, and do it slowly. We should be careful holding Robo hamsters, they are very small and nervous, and it is very difficult to hold them without them escaping from our hands.
Hamster can be potty trained; we should find out where they usually defecate, and place there a little tray. We can find fancy bathrooms for hamsters at the pet stores; they are very easy to clean. If they are reluctant to use them, we can place some feces on them, the hamsters will be attracted and they will use their own potty rooms.
I had a hamster that could do different tricks; he liked to turn around and dance on his back legs, any time he saw me with a treat, he went crazy dancing. It is possible to train a hamster, we have to choose a trick at a time, and reward the success with food treats.
Having hamsters as pets is rewarding and fun, we must take good care of them, and they will become part of our family.