Keeping a hamster is pretty straightforward. There are just a few things to bear in mind before you bring your new furry friend home for the first time.
Get all the hamster gear ready beforehand, and you’ll be ready to welcome your new little buddy
What you’ll need:
- A suitable cage for your pet
- A wheel for exercise (make sure it's big enough – six inches for a small hamster and around eight inches for a Syrian hamster)
- A covered hamster house, which is where your pet will sleep in the daytime
- A food bowl
- A water bottle
In addition, you may want to introduce something to gnaw on, different types of bedding, and some bathing sand.
It’s best to set up the cage and equipment so that your hamster doesn’t have to move into temporary accommodation when he gets home.
Hamster Travel Case
A carry case for the journey home is a good idea, and this can also be used if you ever need to take your pet to the vet. Adoption/rescue centres and shops will usually provide a cardboard box for the journey home, but the hamster will be able to chew its way out of this in no time, so a sturdier carry case is advised.
Put a little bedding in the carry case to make it as comfy as possible, minimizing the journey stress for your hamster.
Plan Your Route
Car journeys can be stressful for pets. The strange smells, the noise of the engine, and the movement of the carry case or box will all be completely alien and potentially frightening for your hamster. Making your pet as comfy as possible in his dark little hidey-hole, and getting him home as quickly as you can is what you should aim for.
If it’s a hot day, that will be another source of stress for the hamster. Again, getting him home swiftly – without speeding or endangering yourself – is best. This is why it’s best to plan ahead. Check your route – which is the shortest? Minimizing stops will get you home quicker too, so don’t plan calling in on that long lost Aunt on the way back!
By planning your route home with your new hamster, you will cut down on the stress
A Hamster’s First Hours In A New Home
The settling-in rules are simple. Put your hamster in his cage straightaway, and then simply leave him alone for a few hours.
During the first week, make sure the hamster has food and water, and don’t spend hours gazing through the bars at him – just hang around for a few minutes when he’s up and about, to help him get used to you.
Don’t try to pick up the hamster unless you have to, and do your best to not let the family stare through the bars of the cage and chatter at the new pet - make as little noise as possible while your hamster recuperates from the journey and settles in.
It’s understandable that you’ll be excited and want to make friends with your hamster, but give him time to acclimatize to his new surroundings. The new home, new food, new smells, and new people, all take a bit of getting used to. Limit your contact to basic cleaning and feeding for the first week. After this, once he’s settled in, you can introduce yourself properly.
Feeding A Hamster During Its First Few Days At Home
Hamsters get stomach upsets pretty easily, and you don’t want to add that problem to the stresses of moving to a new home. It’s best to make changes to your new pet’s diet gradually rather than all at once. If possible, take some of the food that the hamster has been eating in the shop, breeder’s home, or rescue centre, so that you can slowly phase out the old food and introduce its new diet over a couple of weeks. Unless of course you intend feeding it the same food as it’s always had, in which case there’s no issue.