How to take care of your new pet hamster and what to do in many different situations.
Hamsters are tiny, nocturnal rodents covered from head to toe with different colours of fur. They are great pets to keep in a cage and are easy to take care of. If you would like to tame your hamster the best time to do so is when he is still young. The older he gets the harder it will be to make him trust people. Start by talking to your hamster and do not pick him up until you are sure he isn't frightened of you. Hamsters will bite when they are frightened so be careful. If he shows any signs of being stressed, leave and try stroking him after a while. Cup your hands gently around the hamster to pick him up, or pick him up at the scruff of the neck, the way the mother hamsters will carry her babies when they are still young. It will take about three to four weeks to tame a hamster so be patient. Hamsters need a cage, food, water, a hiding place, toys and soft bedding materials.
For the cage, make sure it is not made of wood. The hamster would just eat his way through the cage, escape and might hurt himself. Never keep the cage near heaters, direct sunlight, on a fridge, next to a television or a radio. All these will harm the hamster and will cut his life expectancy down very much. Get the largest cage you can afford since the larger the cage is, the happier the hamster will be. Another great way to keep your hamster is in a glass tank. The hamster will not be able to gnaw his way out, and will not feel as cornered as the metal "prisons". Ventilation is provided from the top, and a tray can be used at the bottom to ease the cleaning.
Hamsters will eat a variety of food such as apples, nuts, chicken, rice, eggs, hamster food, eggs, pasta, and bananas. Make sure you avoid any citrus fruits since they will be harmful to the hamsters. Make sure the hamster has a healthy diet with some fresh vegetables and fruit on every day. Store the store-bought hamster food in airtight containers in a dry dark place to ensure it stays fresh.
Fresh water should always be supplied to the hamster. The easiest way to do this is by getting a water bottle especially designed for hamsters. You can also use a bowl with fresh water, but make sure it is a heavy bowl so the hamster can't tip it over and so you don't have to refill the water as often. If the bowl tips over the bedding will also get wet and you will have to clean out the cage.
Hiding places are also important to the hamster. They love to hide under a log or inside a cardboard box. They will chew on the cardboard so something out of wood will be better. Don't take the hamster out of the hiding place since he will feel safe to sleep in there and he needs a place of privacy.
Hamsters like to play with at least one toy and a great one to get is a wheel. The metal ones will last much longer since he will probably bite it once in a while. Keep it oiled to ensure that it will not squeak and keep you up at night. Hamsters love getting a new toy, so instead of having many toys crammed into the cage, periodically give him a different one to play with. Keep the wheel inside the cage at all times though since it will help the hamster exercise. Good ideas for hamster toys are underground tunnels (such as a toilet paper roll on the bedding), swings, bridges, tubes, and mirrors.
The bedding material should be plain pine wood shavings, or saw dust or straw. Do not buy any scented materials since the hamster might develop an allergic reaction to those materials. Give the hamster at least 2 inches of the bedding to make sure he is comfortable. For nesting materials give the hamster paper flakes or shredded paper, but make sure it isn't newsprint since that will contain harmful chemicals to the hamster. Paper is inexpensive and safe for the hamster.
Something to look out for is that the hamster doesn't get temperature that is lower then 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If this happens, the hamster will start entering hibernation and the hamster may appear to be dead. Hibernation can last from just a few minutes to an entire week. Usually the hibernation will last about two or three days and the hamster will probably get up to feed about once every twelve hours. Hamsters have been mistaken for dead since their body temperature will drop a few degrees, their heart will only beat about 4 times per minute and they will have less then one breath per minute. So if you are in doubt whether your hamster is in hibernation or dead, make sure you bring him to the local pet store and don't bury him by accident. If he is in hibernation keep fresh food near him for the time he feeds, and slowly increase the temperature back to normal to help him come out of the hibernation. Do not do this too quickly though because he might go into metabolic stress and they might die. The best way to ensure your hamster is well and happy is to keep him at room temperature.
What a great little friend to have around.