SUGGESTED FEEDING GUIDELINES
In the wild, hamsters forage for their food so it is likely that the usual hamster mixes are a perfectly acceptable form of food for these creatures. Hamsters should have a readily topped up bowl of food which they will consume mostly at night. They should also be provided with a water bottle that is cleaned and topped up each day.
HANDLING & HOUSING
There are many types of hamster available but the most common is the Syrian. Hamsters are solitary animals so it is imperative that they are kept singly to avoid fighting and injury. Hamsters are also well known for their ability to escape, many a hamster has been called Houdini! For this reason it is important to buy an escape-proof cage or aquarium. In fact you can purchase some quite fantastic hamster cages now with connecting tunnels, wheels and bedding areas to keep these small critters happy. For bedding materials use pine shavings or shredded paper. Do not use cotton wool, shredded J-cloths or similar materials as they can get caught around the feet and act like a snare causing great harm. Due to their nocturnal habits it is important that you wake a hamster up for play carefully and slowly to avoid frightening them – a sleepy hamster will be grumpy and more likely to bite!
Because your hamster lives on its own it is not necessary to neuter it. However some female hamsters do develop problems with their ovaries and so surgery is occasionally necessary.
Hamsters’ incisor teeth will grow throughout life, therefore it is important that an array of chewing toys is available to help wear the teeth down. You should check your hamster’s front teeth from time to time to ensure they do not become overgrown and cause ulceration of the lips.
PLAYING & EXERCISE
It is very important that your hamster gets used to handling, so as soon as you get it you should make a point of handling it gently each day. Your hamster should have a big enough cage to allow some exercise toys like a wheel or some climbing ladders. Remember, hamsters are nocturnal animals so they will only really become active at night time. As such keeping them in a bedroom may not be the best idea!
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