Mar 222010
 

So you’ve bought your hamster cage and supplies and have brought them home. Here are some simple steps to follow to prepare hammy’s home so he or she will feel welcome when they move in.

1. Clean the cage. It may be new, but your cage may have collected dust, dirt, and germs in its travels from the manufacturer to you. Simply rinse and dry each piece before putting it together. You can mix some mild disinfectant in the water for extra safety.

2. Decide on a hamster cage location . You want to put your cage somewhere on a level surface where the air can flow easily through the cage. Remember, you don’t want to put the cage in direct sunlight or too close to an air conditioner. And never put your hamster cage in a place where your other pets can get too close.

3. Lay down the bedding. Your hamster will need at least two inches of bedding material so he or she can burrow, play, and sleep. Hamsters will also use a part of the bedding for their bathroom. Aspen wood shavings or a paper-based material such as Carefresh is recommended. Avoid pine or cedar wood shavings as they contain chemicals harmful to hamsters.

4. Provide water. Hamsters, like us, need food and water to survive. You can use a water bowl or dish, but make sure it’s heavy or your hamster will knock it over. Hamster water bottles made of plastic are more commonly used. Hang the break-resistant plastic bottle outside the cage, with only the drinking tub sticking inside the cage.

5. Provide food. Put some hamster food in a small ceramic bowl. Make sure it’s heavy so your hamster doesn’t tip it over. And be sure to throw in some fresh vegetables from time to time.

Flying saucer

6. Put in the exercise wheel. You need an exercise wheel because hamsters typically like to run 3 to 6 miles (4 to 9 km) every day. The best kind is a wheel with a solid running surface and treads. The kind with wire spokes can catch your hamster’s small toes, resulting in injury. And make sure the wheel is large enough for the size of your hamster.

7. Add the toys. Hamster love to explore and they need to chew. So combine the two with chew toys. Put some wood blocks, little wood houses or a chew tube in your hamster’s home. That way, your hamster can play while keeping his or her teeth in good shape. You can add other toys, such as plastic cars and exercise wheels later.

8. Add the tubes, or levels. If you have a wire and plastic cage, there are usually holes where you can add additional hamster tubes. You can combine tubes in all sorts of ways so your hamster can climb through the crazy creative maze you create. In wire and glass aquarium cages, you can add levels with ladders that let your hamster climb up and down the full height of the cage.

9. Check your security. Before putting your hamster in his or her cage, check the latch on the door to make sure it fits tightly. If you’re using an aquarium, check the top to make sure the screen is fastened tightly and there are no spaces through which your hamster can escape.

10. Introduce your hamster to its new home. Gently place your hamster in its cage and give it some time to wander around and explore its great new home.


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Aug 212009
 

Where should you put your hamster cage? Although some people will say put it anywhere you like, you should keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Cage Temperature
  • Noise
  • Hamster Safety

Temperature

Hamsters may be rodents, but they are as responsive to heat and cold as we are. If a hamster gets too hot he or she can get heatstroke. If a hamster gets too cold, he or she can go into hibernation.

 

When deciding where to locate your hamster cage:

  • Do put the cage in a place that provides enough ventilation. That is, make sure fresh air can easily flow into and out of the cage.
  • Do make sure the cage is on a solid and even surface.
  • Don’t put the cage outdoors.
  • Don’t put the cage on a basement floor as these tend to get cold, especially in the winter and at night. If you must keep your hamster in the basement, raise the cage up by putting it on some kind of sturdy platform. And provide plenty of bedding material so your hamster can burrow deep.
  • Don’t put the cage in a window where it can get too much air and sun.
  • Don’t put the cage directly in front of an air conditioner. This will blow too much cold air directly on your hamster.
  • Don’t put the cage near something which gets too hot such as a space heater or fireplace.
  • Don’t put the cage someplace where it will get direct sunlight. This can cause hamster dehydration and heatstroke.

Also remember that the temperature inside a hamster cage will be a few degrees higher than the surrounding air temperature – especially if you are using an aquarium as a cage.

Noise

Remember, hamsters are most active in the evenings. They like to sleep during the day. So put your cage somewhere where it will be quiet during the day so they can get their rest.

Safety

When you think about hamster safety you probably think about your hamster escaping from its cage. Yes, this is a real safety issue. But there is another important safety issue to consider when deciding on your hamster cage placement – namely other pets.

Hamsters have a good sense of smell. They can be stressed or frightened when they sense other animals are nearby. So first, if possible, put your hamster cage out of the reach of other pets. If you can, put the cage in a room other pets can’t get into or are not allowed in.

No matter how cute you think it looks, do not allow your other pets to rest on top of your hamster’s cage. This will also frighten your hamster.

Pets like cats or ferrets, will, by nature, attack and eat your hamster. You pet reptile, such as an iguana, will do the same. Birds will peck at your hamster and harm him or her. A dog may not eat your hamster, but a dog paw is quite dangerous for something the size of a hamster. Additionally, your hamster will be frightened if a barking dog gets too close.

So please be sure your hamster cage has a lid and keep your other pets away from your hamster. This will provide your hamster with a safe environment.

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