Guide to Owning a Hamster | The Range
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Cute Pet Hamster in Hand

Guide to Owning a Hamster

Hamsters make great first pets and are gentle, friendly companions. There are two main types of hamsters you’ll come across - Dwarf and Syrian, and despite their small size, both require plenty of care and attention to ensure their health, happiness and well-being. 

Shelter 

In the wild, hamsters can walk for miles each day and love to burrow and climb. Their living space needs to be large enough to accommodate this and encourge their natural behaviours, so the bigger the better. For Syrian hamsters, a wire cage with a plastic base is the best option. but Dwarf hamsters can squeeze through the tiniest of spaces, so you’ll want a solid wall for these ones. Hamsters are nocturnal and will need a dark and protected place to sleep during the day. Shredded paper makes the best carpet for them, whilst wooden or plastic ‘homes’ that fit in a corner of a cage will keep them feeling safe - fill with soft, dust extracted bedding material. Your hamster will need at least 6-10 inches of nesting material to allow them to burrow. Avoid cotton wool of 'fluffy' bedding, materials that can separate into thin strands, or non-specialist material, as these can harm your hamster.

Food

A specialist dry hamster mix will provide all the nutrients that your hamster needs, although this can get a bit boring for them! Add small quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables to supplement their diet and provide them with extra vitamins and minerals. Don't feed them grapes or rhubarb, however, as these can be poisonous for rodents. Hamsters have a natural tendency to store their food, so make sure you remove uneaten food every day, otherwise, this will rot. Ensure they have a supply of fresh drinking water that is replenished every day. It’s worth noting that hamsters' front teeth are in a constant state of growth, so it’s important to provide something for them to gnaw on to keep their teeth healthy and prevent overgrowth.

owning a hamster guide pets

Exercise

Hamsters are fun and active rodents, who love climbing and running through tubes and mazes. Provide them with boxes and tubes for suitable enrichment in their cage to keep them exercising regularly, not forgetting a hamster wheel! Hamster balls should be avoided as they provide no way of stopping if your hamster becomes tired.  

Extra Considerations 

Hamsters can be very noisy at night, so it’s best to keep them outside of bedrooms, particularly children’s. Hamsters are often solitary animals, but some Dwarf hamsters may be able to be housed in groups under the right care and conditions. If you plan on housing more than one hamster, do your research beforehand to ensure your fluffy little friends are safe, happy and healthy.

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