If your choice fell on the hamster as a pet, then you need to prepare in advance for his life next to you. At the first stage, the question will arise how to equip the hamster’s cage in such a way that it becomes a real home for your pet. Bring a small animal into the house, it is recommended only after its dwelling is as habitable as possible.
Hamster cage selection
Experts from different countries have several opinions on the size of cells for hamsters. If in the American requirements we are talking only about 0.23 square meters, then in Germany the area can reach 1 square meter. per adult.
One way or another, the cage should be spacious enough so that the hamster can move in it as comfortably as possible. It is better to give preference to one-story cages, even if you plan to keep several animals.
You can purchase two cages: one large for permanent residence of the hamster and a small one in which you can transplant the animal for the time of cleaning in his house.
IMPORTANT. Only dwarf hamsters are so friendly to their fellows that they can live permanently in pairs. Dzungarian hamsters are kept together when mating. Larger breeds are single. Therefore, if you want to become the owner of, for example, the Syrian and Dzungarian hamsters, get them different cages.
The cage material must be durable. It is better to choose a cage with metal rods of good quality so that the animal does not bite them. Pay attention to the distance between the rods – it should be small so that the hamster could not crawl through the rods or get stuck in them. To avoid the situation when the animal gnaws the rods intensely, you can wipe them with olive oil or lemon juice – these products are not dangerous for the rodent, but he does not like them.
Read more about why a hamster bites a cage here.
Pay attention to the bottom of the cage. The monolithic bottom, which is taken out, is more convenient to fill a lot of litter. Therefore, making a choice it is better to give preference to such a design.
The door in the cage should close well and tightly. In some cases, an additional latch is required. Because large species of rodents can push a weak latch and run away.
How to catch a rodent, if he still managed to escape from the cage, read this article.
Glass or plastic aquariums (some of them are made in the form of burrows) are not the best choice for a rodent. They are poorly ventilated; they are more difficult to clean and easy to break.
If for some reason you cannot purchase a new cell, then pay attention to the cells that were already in use before. Disinfect and wash it thoroughly. A mixture of water and white wine vinegar will help you get rid of the smell of another resident. For pre-cleaning, children’s detergents, special sprays or wipes for disinfection are suitable.
Where should the cell stand
If you have other pets, then first of all you need to arrange the hamster’s home so that other pets cannot harm the new “family member”.
On the one hand, the hamster should live among the other inhabitants of the house, on the other hand, the cage should stand where excess sounds or light will not disturb him, especially during daytime rest.
To avoid debris around the cage, it can be placed inside a cardboard stand with a depth of about 10 cm.
To equip a hamster’s cage means to equip it with a complete set of accessories for a hamster, such as a running wheel, various tunnels, hammocks, establish a house, arrange places for feeding and drinking a rodent.
An active lifestyle of the animal can be maintained with the help of a running wheel. The choice of diameter depends on the size of the animal itself. So, for large breeds, it is recommended to install wheels with diameters up to 30 cm, for Dzhungar hamsters – 20 cm is enough. You may need to change the running wheels during the life of the pet, because for cubs the size should be smaller than for an adult. The treadmill of the wheel should be solid. Using the net can injure the hamster.
Tunnels are a good option, which not only amuse rodents, but also help them to be physically active. Make sure that the tunnel is spacious enough for your view and has good ventilation.
To develop coordination of movements in a cage, special hammocks for hamsters can be suspended. It is better to choose hammocks in the form of plastic or metal tubes of large diameter. They must be suspended so that the animal can easily climb on them and get off without injuries. Textile hammocks are not recommended – in them the hamster can easily get confused and suffocate.
If the animal is hot, then in the cage you can put a ceramic saucer or a turned marble tile.
Every day the animal needs clean drinking water. Rodents can drink liquid both from bowls and from special drinkers.
When using a bowl, it must be covered to avoid litter and food pieces falling into it.
The best option would be an automatic drinking bowl, which is attached to the outside of the cage and has a ball inside the spout. In this case, the animal can lick the tip of the nose, thereby shifting the ball and receiving water.
Pieces of food can be scattered around the cage. Then the hamster will satisfy the instincts of the search for food. This is also convenient if you keep a couple of Dzungarian hamsters – when they are busy digging up food, then they will not have time for hassles.
For large species, it is recommended to use a bowl that is resistant to overturning. Using this capacity, you can see how much your pet eats.
Some rodents prefer to build "nests". But even in this case, you can install houses in the cage – plastic or wooden. They must have a removable roof and entrance. The windows are redundant – the animal may get stuck in them. In addition, light will enter through the windows, which will prevent the hamster from sleeping during the day.
The house itself should be quite roomy – often rodents store their food supplies there.
As housing you can use flexible bridges. They will resemble caves if they are well covered with a substrate.
You can also prepare a house with your own hands. For these purposes, empty dried coconut is suitable. In it you need to drill a hole more and grind the edges.
Pressed sawdust or wood filler can be used as bedding. Sawdust should not be too small – otherwise they can get into the nose of the animal or become entangled in its fur. Wood pellets must be odorless and dense enough – loose granules will quickly turn into dust, which will harm the animal.
An excellent option is crushed corn cobs with leftover grain. It is safe for the animal, allows it to dig in easily and not harm itself.
Cat litter fillers should be avoided – they often contain clay that will stick to the animal’s legs when wet. There are also mineral fillers that are toxic to small pets.
To fill the litter is at least 6 cm deep – the pet will be able to dig into it and play. If it is cold in your apartment, then for this period it is worthwhile to increase the volume of filler so that the hamster can warm up.
So that the animal does not get bored, he can put cardboard boxes or rolls of toilet paper in his cage – he can play with such things for a long time, gradually gnawing them.
Thus, to equip the hamster’s cage, all of the above accessories will help you. Stock them in advance, and only after the complete arrangement of the future house, hook a hamster into it.
Some tips for beginner hamsters:
Communication with the pet
When the animal gets used to a new place of residence, you can accustom it to the hands. Regular communication contributes to the health and joy of the hamster.
But do not forget that you need to take the rodent correctly to avoid stress for the hamster and bites for you. In this case, the rule of good form is considered when you grab the rodent on both sides with your hands – this will help to avoid jumping out of your hands. Capturing the legs, taking from the back or touching the head can lead to aggression in the animal.
Inspect your pet at least once a week to contact your veterinarian in a timely manner.
It is necessary to check the condition of the teeth and fur, whether there is moisture on the tail and pope, whether there are wounds, clean eyes.
Some experts recommend weighing the animal in order to track whether it eats properly – whether there is a loss in weight or, conversely, a set of grams.
If you find an upset stomach or bleeding in a hamster, immediately consult a specialist.