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Buy a hamster from a reputable pet store or hamster breeder; the best time of day to purchase a hamster is in the late afternoon or evening when the hamster is active and alert. The hamster's fur should be clean, no bare patches and shiny. The body should be healthy, smooth, and well rounded. Check the hamsterís ears. The ears should be clean. If the ears are dirty in appearance this could be a sign of infection or mite infestation.
The breeder or pet store will supply you with a cardboard carrying box. If you're traveling more than short distances bring a plastic container with air holes and a secure lid. Hamsters can chew out of the cardboard box. Add a small amount of bedding to the bottom of the container. Sprinkle a small amount of food on the bottom of the container.
Male and female hamsters are both equally easy to tame.
Know as much as you can about the hamster before you bring your new pet home.
Dwarf Hamsters (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
Housing and Accessories
Make sure you have purchased the cage you want to use for your hamster before purchasing the hamster. It's always a good idea to have everything clean, and set up before bringing home the hamster. This creates far less stress on the hamster and you. The cage should be disinfected with a mild disinfectant. Rinse the cage completely and dry the cage. Many of the disease and afflictions that plague the hamster can be avoided with proper and frequent disinfecting and cleaning of his cage and materials.
There are many cages for the hamster available for purchase. The best cages are rigid wire tops with a plastic base. This is my favorite because it is easy to clean and disinfect. I also like this type of cage because the bedding isn't as likely to get all over outside of the cage.
This is an overall safe cage. I like this cage for any rodent. This cage will work for mice. 12.8 x 24.6 x 24.9 inches Super Pet My First Home for Critters, Teal
There are many other cages available in pet stores. Some cages have multiple levels and tunnels. These cages can be quite costly and difficult to clean. These cages can also be a tight fit for some of the larger varieties of hamsters such as the Syrian hamster.
Both glass and plastic aquariums can be used as housing. Make sure the aquarium has a well ventilated, secure lid. The Hamster needs fresh air. A well-ventilated lid is also necessary to keep condensation from building up inside the cage. Aquariums can get very warm keep them out of the direct heat and sunlight. I did run into this tank topper that will give your 10 gallon aquarium more room. Super Pet My First Home Tank Topper
Comfortable and healthy bedding is a must for the hamster. They must build a comfortable nest out of safe materials. Don't ever use cotton or wool bedding because it can cause harm the hamster if he should ingest the material or becomes entangled in the material. Many hamsters have died because of this "fluffy material.Ē The hamsters that died at the result of this fluffy bedding material died of blockages and choking. Cedar chips and pine chips should also be avoided. Pine and cedar have strong oils and are odorous. Pine and cedar can cause respiratory problems in hamsters. A good wood shaving bedding material is Aspen shavings. Paper based shavings are also available and are safe. Kaytee aspen bedding litter 4 Cu' Kaytee Aspen Bedding Litter, 4 Cu'
Good nesting material is torn up paper towels, cardboard, hay, (not straw) and toilet paper. The material should be torn into small strips. Hay works great as long as it is clean, not moldy, or dusty. Straw can be too sharp and can injure the hamster.
A good water bottle is a must. Pick out a high quality water bottle because the cheaper ones are susceptible to leakage. Water bottles are much cleaner than using bowls and donít tip over. Using water bottles with rodents they must be chew proof. Super Pet Small Animal Chew-Proof Water Bottle
An exercise wheel should also be provided. Most hamsters will use an exercise wheel but not all. The exercise wheel should be of the solid variety. (The above cage comes with a safe wheel).
Many miscellaneous accessories can be made or purchased. Toilet paper rolls make great toys. A piece of apple wood can be hooked between the cage bars so the hamster can climb on it. Check out the pet stores for different accessories to provide extra stimulation and fun for your hamster. They will need multi-purpose toys because rodentís incisors grow constantly and need to be worn down. Vo-Toys Hamster / Bird Chew Sticks 144 count Jar
There are many commercial hamster foods available. You can purchase either a mix or a pellet. The pellets meet the hamster's nutritional needs but they do not offer much variety. If you use the pellets be sure to supplement with other varieties of foods. The mixes usually have a variety of foods such as crushed oats, barley, rodent pellets, sunflower seeds, peanuts, maize, and dog biscuits. They usually include other foods as well. An excellent hamster food Kaytee Fiesta Gourmet Hamster & Gerbil Food
Supplement any of the commercial foods with fresh fruits and vegetables. Be sure to remove any uneaten fresh foods from the cage so it doesn't grow old and moldy and cause your hamster to become ill. Fresh fruits and vegetables also make a good treat. Sugary treats are not good for a hamster.
Never feed your hamster these foods.
Chocolate, apple seed, red beans for example kidney beans, garlic, sweets, tomatoes, citrus fruits, buttercups, onions, rabbit mix (it contains antibiotics), raw kidney beans, sugar, cabbage, almonds mushrooms, onion, potato, rhubarb, or toffee.
Purchase and feed a vitamin supplement. Provide your hamster with fresh, filtered water every day.
Bonding and training
The first day you bring your hamster home talk to him calmly. Put him in the cage and let him relax and adjust to his environment. Don't put off handling your hamster. It is much easier to tame them when they are babies. Talk to him frequently. Offer him healthy treats in his cage. This will allow him to get use to your hand. Leave your hand in the cage while he is eating. At this point begin leaving the food in the palm of your hand. He will climb up into your hand. Now you can get your hamster used to being picked up. Cup him gently in your hand. Play with him close to the ground in case he happens to fall. Have him walk to one hand to the other. Handling him and playing with him will increase both yours and his confidence. You will form a trusting bond. Name Your Link
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