Hamsters belong to the rodent family and are nocturnal furry pets. The antics of hamsters can keep you laughing as they dig, burrow and run endlessly at night on an exercise wheel. Choosing the correct habitat for your pet allows room for rest, eating, drinking and playing with toys. All hamsters require the same basic conditions to live in whether they are Syrian, long-haired or dwarf.
Hamsters require an escape-proof cage. Wire cages with a plastic pullout bottom are the best choice because they are the easiest to clean. Choose a wire cage for mice if you have a dwarf hamster so he stays put. Wire walls and roofs provide important ventilation for a hamster dwelling. Allow a minimum of 20 square inches of floor space and a minimum cage height of 6 inches for a hamster house. Clean your little rodent’s habitat thoroughly with soap and water at least once a week.
Hamsters love to tunnel and dig in their bedding. Fill the bottom of their cage with bedding made of hardwood or aspen shavings. Recycled paper pellets also make a good bedding material. Do not use pine or cedar shavings in a hamster habitat because they can cause illness. Change the bedding once a week and scrub the bottom of the cage with warm soapy water. Check the corners thoroughly for any uneaten food that may be hidden.
Food and Water
Feed your hamster a pellet rodent ration that contains 15 to 20 percent protein. Place his food in a bowl that is heavier on the bottom to prevent waste and spills. You can give hamsters treats in moderation such as fresh veggies and fruits and lean cooked meats. Hamsters also enjoy non-sweet breakfast cereals and whole wheat breads for grains. Cooked pasta is a favorite food and is entertaining to watch them eat it.
Install a water bottle on a hamster cage at a height where he can reach the drinking tube. Water bottles prevent spills from a dish and keep the water sanitary. Clean the bottle each day with dish soap and water and rinse it well before adding fresh water.
In the wild, hamsters travel up to five miles a night. Nocturnal creatures stay awake at night and are very busy little pets. Install an exercise wheel in your hamster cage so he can run on it at night. Look for a model that claims to be quiet as some wheels have a distinct squeaking sound that may keep you up at night.
Hamsters teeth grow continuously so they require chew sticks to gnaw on and keep their teeth from growing too long to eat pellet food well.
You can purchase a hamster cave or make one out of a small box. Hamsters sleep during the day and enjoy a quiet and dark area for resting. Cut an opening out of a box that is large enough for your pet to enter the cave for napping.
John Howard/Lifesize/Getty Images
Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.