BRINGING HAMSTER HOME:
First thing you want to do when you bring home your hamster
"Hold him and pet him"
WRONG! Okay the first thing you want to do is leave the hamster alone for a few hours to let him or her get settled in. Hamsters can get stressed just like humans and if you were him or her and you just got to an unknown place would you want to be held and petted? No, you wouldn't just like when you go on vacation you would want to get settled in first. I know some of you might have just questioned why I said a few hours not days.
Why I said few hours not days:
Most pet experts would say you should leave your hamster alone for a few days. PROBLEM. If you bring home a friendly cuddly cute little hamster and then don't hold him or pet him for a few days he may turn back to his regular wild instincts which would tell him your an predator and not a friend. This is why it is so important and crucial if you want a friendly hamster to hold him everyday. If you do want to leave him alone for a few days then that's good too it will give him or her more time to settle in but you might have to deal with taming which is a whole other issue.
BEFORE YOU BRING HAMSTER HOME:
Be sure you have everything you will need for the hamster BEFORE you get him. When you get your supplies while your getting your hamster your excitement may cloud your mind a bit of what you really need for your hamster so this may save you a couple trips of going back to the pet store.
List of what you ABSOLUTELY need:
-Hamster Cage ( Any wire or plastic cage made for hamsters will do but the bigger the better even if you spend the few extra coins on a bigger cage you may end up saving money because you won't be tempted to buy the bigger pricier cages later on. WARNING Habitrail OVO has very poor ventilation and if you go for the modern look of this cage be ready to take your hamster out EVERYDAY in a roller ball or holding and to clean this cage every 3 days)
-ASPEN Shavings or Carefresh bedding (BEWARE cedar or pine shavings as they can cause harmful health problems later on)
-Roller Ball (this is very important as hamsters like to run and sometimes their cage isn't big enough so this is necessary)
-Hamster food (Most hamster foods will do but be sure to get a brand that is specifically for hamsters and not Hamster & Gerbil as they have different health needs )
-Water Bottle (this should come with cage and if not any will do )
-Chew Blocks (Hamster teeth never stop growing so they need to gnaw to keep their teeth down )
-Hamster Care books ( they are nice to have for general information but you don't absolutely have to have them)
-Hamster wheel (they love to run so this is very important)
Okay now you have your hamster supplies and your hamster is settled in now what do you do?
FEEDING YOUR HAMSTER:
Hamster require daily feeding so having an extra bag of hamster food wouldn't hurt would it? Most hamsters like a variety of fruits and veggies and their regular mix of food. Don't feed too much veggies or your hamster could get sick and have diarrhea and diarrhea is no picnic is it? Feed only the size of a tablespoon of fruit and veggies to your hamster. Hamsters like they would in the wild store their food in their cheeks to take home to their den or hiding house.Hamsters should always have a supply of fresh water at all times. You'll probably want to clean their bowls and water bottles every day as sometimes their bowls can have their.... droppings in it as hamsters tend to as they walk or run kick up their bedding and sometimes their poop can get into their food dish.
Most hamster cages are already equipped with a water bottle and a food dish also a wheel if not no offense but you might of got a cheapo cage. The bigger the better. Hamsters love to burrow like they would in the wild so providing a nice heap of wood shavings where their house is, is always a nice thing to do they will appreciate it.Another big issue with hamsters is the joy of cage cleaning time. Oh the joy. Just kidding its not that bad when you clean their cage regularly. First thing you'll want to do is remove all the toys and of course the hamster this would be a good time to put your hamster in his ball for the time being. Then you'll need a garbage bag, bathroom tissue and cage cleaner (proper cage cleaners made specifically for cages is best but soap and water can be used also. Harsh chemical cleaners can harm your hamster so obviously don't use them). First dump your shavings into a large garbage bag. Clean cage with cage cleaner or water and soap. Dry. Put fresh shavings in the cage remember they like to burrow so put a large heap where there house is. Bring back hamster and toys put them in the cage. This would also be a good time to put in fresh food and water.
HAMSTER BEHAVIOR and TAMING
Hamsters are non-social rodents ( I hate the word rodent but that's what Hamsters are)
So they should be kept alone this also depends on your hamster he may get along with other but it's best not to try it. You can tame your hamster with patience. He has to get to know you first so spend a little time each day with your hand at the bottom of his cage then you can start putting treats in your hand and once he starts taking them from your hand it may now be time to start holding. Carefully cup your hands around your hamster and bring him toward you. Lay on the ground so their is not much risk of him falling and hurting himself. Gradually he will trust you and you can hold him every day. Again this depends on your hamster he may or may not trust you either. There is some very aggressive hamsters that most likely won't like won't want to be held either way these are the biters beware.
Hamsters come from dry deserts so they most likely have never had a water bath so it is important you never give your hamster bath ever. As this can lead to your hamster becoming sick and getting wet-tail (very bad diarrhea) Hamsters are generally clean animals that clean themselves so baths are not necessary. If you feel you must give your hamster a bath give him a sand bath. You can find this type of chinchilla sand at Pet Smart and Petco and other pet stores. You can also brush your hamster if you like but it is important for long hair hamster to be brushed every other day.
Before getting your hamster you'll probably want to at least know one good Vet that treats small animals. Hamsters can have a number of illnesses here are a few of them:
-Skin Disease and Abscesses
This is why it's nice to brush your hamster. You can feel for any lumps or bumps.
You should be able to notice any hair loss if you do call a Vet and get an appointment
-Scent Gland Tumors
The scent glands are located around the hips of your hamster so feel for lumps there every once in a while. It is normal for there to be a bit of a lump because this is where the gland is located
Problems to look for this is wet stool and a very unclean hamster. Hamsters are very neat creatures so if he looks dirty it could be a sign of illness
Your hamster could have a respiratory problem if you find he is wheezing or is having trouble breathing.
Also if your hamster appears Lethargic contact a Vet immediately. If your hamster shows any of these symptoms Consult a Vet immediately.
CLEANING YOUR HAMSTER'S CAGE
Some hamsters love to burrow and make tunnels. When they do this they roll in their own "droppings" and urine. This is just a part of why it is very important to clean your hamsters cage once a week. STOP!!! Look over my last sentence do you see anything wrong with it ?...... You shouldn't just clean your Hamsters cage once a week. Don't listen to what the pet stores tell you about cage cleaning. Cage cleaning should be done whenever your hamster's cage smell. So cage cleaning could be done even 2 or 3 or even 4 times a week. A hamsters urine after a day or two will start to create an odor called Ammonia. Ammonia is poisonous to hamsters. If your hamster appears lethargic or won't eat or drink. He may have gotten ill from the ammonia and should be taken to a vet. A couple other reasons why more then once a week cage cleaning should be done. A black mold or other types of fungus can occur when you hamsters "waste" has time to sit and bacteria starts to grow. This is also toxic to your hamster. This is why a clean cage is very important to your hamsters health.
*Btw* Dwarf hamsters are smaller and tend to pee more often *BUT* they pee less so from personal experience they make much much much less odor. So cage cleaning once a week with these type hamster, is probably okay.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR HAMSTERS CAGE:
First Step: Remove your hamster from his cage and his toys wheel, food dish, etc.
Second Step: Dump out all Aspen shavings into a garbage bag.
Third Step: Clean the bottom of his cage with a cage cleaner or soap (gentle soap and no harsh chemicals like Lysol, or other types of cleaner) (Make sure the cage is dry before putting back your hamster and any accessories)
Fourth Step: Throw out any old food and water, Replace with fresh food and clean water (Bottled water is best)
Fifth Step:Put hamster and accessories back and throw out all waste.
MY HAMSTERS (these pets are over the years, (they didn't all just suddenly die):
R.I.P Marley (Male Short-hair Syrian Orange and White Hamster)
R.I.P Sweetie (Long Hair Syrian Cinnamon Female Hamster)
R.I.P Small Fry (Pale Golden Syrian Male Short-Hair Hamster)
*Foster Hamster* Coco (Grey , Female , Long-Hair ,Syrian Hamster)
R.I.P Harlee (White and Grey Dwarf Hamster)
R.I.PSweet Pea (Long-hair, Female, Cream, Syrian Hamster)