Are you thinking about bring home a precious little hamster friend for your child? Well why not? Hamsters are adorable, and relatively easy to care for. With that being said, if your child is very young, it is likely that you are going to be the one caring for your child’s new little furball friend. In either case, let’s gather everything you need for your new little one.
Before We Begin: Picking the Right Hamster
Keep in mind that just like other pets, specific types of hamsters have different personalities.
Also known as Teddy Bear Hamsters, Syrian hamsters are easy to handle and great with children. They should be housed alone.
Striped hamsters, or Chinese hamsters are a little on the timid side. It is best to only have one in a cage by itself.
Dwarf Winter White Russian hamsters are small, quick and are prone to biting.
Dwarf Russian Campbell hamsters are social, so keeping them in groups are no problem.
Roborovski Dwarf Hamsters are so small that they only measure 1 to 2.5 inches. Because of this, they are a bit too small to handle.
Tip: Should you get a male or a female? Females tend to be more aggressive. Should you decide to get more than one, experts suggest that all of your hamsters be the same gender.
Checklist for Taking Care of Your Hamster
Finding the Right Cage
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the most important ingredient for a happy hamster is housing him or her the in right cage. The best hamster cages are those that give your sweet little furball plenty of room for everything that goes on in his little hamster life.
What does your hamster need room to do? Well, let’s talk about what they need in the wild, for a start. Hamsters in the wild have separate chambers for sleeping, eating and eliminating. Their cage should have these same aspects. For example, one corner serves as the bathroom, one as the food stash corner, and another for the hamster to sleep.
There needs to be enough space for your hamster to spread out and burrow his nest. This is why experts suggest that when it comes to hamster cages, bigger is better!
Location, Location, Location
Does it really matter where you place the hamster’s cage? You betcha it does.
Hamsters are happy when their environment is 65-75 degrees. This means you should keep their cages away from direct sunlight, heaters or fireplaces.
Hammie doesn’t want to be too cold either. Keep the cage away from drafty places, unheated rooms or other chilly places.
Keep in mind that hamsters stay active at night. This may mean that your bedroom might not be the best place for his cage.
Keep him in an area where other pets will leave him alone, since he might look like prey to them.
According to Pet MD, wood shavings are NOT the ideal bedding for a hamster. Instead, they recommend cellulose or plant-based paper fibers.
Avoid using cat litter, corn cobs, newspaper or any other scented bedding. Any of these could cause respiratory trouble.
Another must-have for pet hamsters is an exercise wheel. Hamsters need to exercise for their health and to prevent boredom. If you like, you can also purchase a ball for your hamster to run around in, under your supervision of course. This is likely to be a fun activity for your children to watch.
Feeding Your Hamster
Although bags of hamster mix will do just fine, you should also supplement their diet with fresh veggies and fruit. Of course, make sure they always have plenty of fresh water to drink.
Cleaning the Cage
Begin by moving your hamster to a safe area. A deep container can be used, or an exercise ball, as long as you have your eye on them.
Dispose of all of your hamster’s bedding. Throw it away and start fresh.
Use regular soap and warm water to clean your hamster’s cage.
And there we have it! Just give your hamster plenty of love (without squeezing) and he or she will become a happy new addition to your family.