Cage – Minimum of a 1’ x 3’ enclosure with a secure top for each pet. Cage bottom should be solid, as screen mesh/wire can irritate the feet.
Substrate – Bedding should consist of a paper pulp product (like Carefresh or Yesterday’s News), newspaper or computer paper. Wood chips/shavings are not recommended.
Hide box – Hiding areas such as cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, and tissue boxes should be provided.
Wheel – A running wheel of appropriate size should be provided for exercise.
Cagemates – We recommend housing hamsters individually, as most species will fight with one another, regardless of gender.
Hamster food/lab or rodent blocks – Should generally be offered “free-choice”. Oxbow makes a high quality hamster diet.
Treats – May include small pieces of vegetables, fruit, unsweetened cereal and hay. Seeds and treat sticks are not recommended as a regular part of the diet because they are high in fat and low in protein and calcium.
Water – Should be offered in a sipper bottle or a spill-proof bowl; change water daily. Clean bowls/bottles every couple of days in the dishwasher, or soak them in 1:30 bleach:water solution, to prevent harmful bacterial growth.
Always use two hands and be very gentle. Try to avoid exposing your pet to excessive noise, excitement and over-handling. If children are handling the hamster, have them sit on the floor and hold it in their laps. Only allow them to handle the pet with adult supervision!
An initial visit to an exotic animal veterinarian is recommended when you first acquire your pet. The doctor will do a complete physical exam and spend some time discussing husbandry and diet. Thereafter, it is recommended that your pet be brought in every 6-12 months for routine physical exams, or sooner if your pet is showing signs of illness or another problem requiring medical attention.
COMMON CONDITIONS REQUIRING MEDICAL ATTENTION:
Malocclusion of Incisor Teeth – This condition occurs when the front (incisor) teeth do not meet properly and grow too long for the animal to eat properly. Regular trimming of the incisor teeth may be necessary so that the animal does not lose weight.
Lice and Mites – Lice and mites are very common skin parasites in newly acquired rodents and mites can become a problem in geriatric rodents. Symptoms may include itchy and/or red skin, hair loss and irritability. Treatment for both lice and mites may include injections and/or a topical medication.