Hamsters are very popular small pets and they thrive on a little attention. They are ideal pets if you are not at home very much during the day as they are predominately nocturnal animals. They have a life span of 3-5 years.

Here are some tips to help you care for your hamster

Where will your hamster live?

You will need a reasonably sized wire cage to allow your hamster to get some exercise. There are many types of special hamster cages around that contain wheels or runs for the hamster. Acton Pet Store will be pleased to help you choose the right cage.

You will also need some sawdust or fine wood shavings to put on the floor of the cage and a soft bedding material to provide somewhere for the hamster to sleep. DO NOT use man-made fibres or course hay or straw. The cage must be sited away from drafts and out of the reach of other pets. Avoid placing the hamster in a draft or in a cold environment. Ideally the hamster should be kept in an area that is fairly warm and not exposed to sudden changes in temperature.

If possible each hamster should have their own cage and should NEVER be mixed with other rodents.

You will need to remove wet or soiled bedding every day and clean the cage once a week.

What do hamsters eat?

Hamsters eat a varied, balanced diet of grain, seeds and nuts. This is available form alpine pet shop in the form of pellets. A small amount of greens such as cabbage, carrots etc. can be added as a treat. There are also lots of proprietary treats and nibbles available from Acton Pet Store. Just ask!

A fully grown hamster will eat about a tablespoon of food a day but you will find that more than this is missing from the food bowl. That’s because the hamster has taken some to his “larder” to store away for later.

Fresh clean drinking water must always be available. There are special drip feed bottles available. The water should be changed daily.

What about playing with the hamster?

Hamsters are naturally timid creatures and you will need to get the hamster used to being handled if it is very young. All handling must be very gently done and very young children will need to be supervised when handling the hamster.

The best way to handle a hamster is to scoop it up with both hands and cup it. Once you and the hamster are used to each other you can use one hand to gently hold the hamster across its back with its head facing your wrist.

Hamsters have very loose skin and so you must be careful not to let the hamster slide out of you hands.

General care for your hamster

Hamsters are very good at looking after themselves most of the time. They groom frequently using the little dark spots on his side, which are oil glands, to keep his coat shiny. Providing hard chewing material will help prevent your hamster’s teeth from becoming overgrown. If they do become overgrown they can be clipped by an experienced person or your vet.

If you are in any doubt about caring for your pet then please ask your pet shop or consult your vet. This leaflet gives only basic advice. Invest in a good book about your pet. This will help you care for your pet safely. We would be happy to help you choose a suitable title