How do you care for a hamster?


Quick Answer

Syrian hamsters are solitary creatures, so don't put more than one of them in a cage. Dwarf hamsters prefer to live in pairs. To prevent excessive breeding, avoid putting male and female dwarf hamsters in the same cage.

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Full Answer

Line the cage with absorbent bedding, such as hay, shredded paper, pelleted bedding or aspen shavings. Avoid scented wood. Keep the cage free of windy or excessively sunny areas. Provide nesting materials, such as napkins or paper towels. Hamsters enjoy exercising, so put a hamster wheel in the cage. Hamsters also enjoy hiding and crawling through tubes, so either buy a cage with tubes built in, or place paper towel or toilet paper rolls in the cage. Provide wood for gnawing, and make sure that the wood has not been painted or treated in any way.

Make sure there is always plenty of fresh water available for drinking. Feed the hamster a hamster mix, and supplement it with fresh foods two or three times per week. Foods to avoid include rhubarb, raw potatoes, raw kidney beans, onions, chocolate, candy and junk food. On a daily basis, remove uneaten food, soiled bed materials and waste. On a weekly basis, change the bedding and wash the bottom of the cage with soap and water.

Handle the hamster gently, feeding it treats and increasing the duration as it becomes more comfortable. Allow it to leave the cage in an enclosed, safe area. Watch for signs of sickness, which include diarrhea, shaking, weight loss, runny nose, matted fur and dull eyes.

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