Caring for Dwarf Hamsters

How big should a cage for dwarf hamsters be?

You should get as large a cage as possible for your dwarf hamsters so they can get plenty of exercise.

Hamsters can travel up to 5 miles a night in the wild, so they need lots of exercise.

pink hamster cage

Where should I put the cage?

The cage should be indoors, out of draughts and direct sunlight. It should be away from busy or noisy areas, such as near a TV or music system, as noises and vibrations are stressful for the animals. The temperature should stay steady between 18° and 21°C.

A hamster can be good at escaping so the cage should be well secured.

What type of material should I use on the cage floor?

Hamsters are naturally burrowing animals so a deep layer of shavings or potting compost should be provided at the bottom of their cage.

Do my dwarf hamsters need a nest box?

hamster in orangeYes. Hamsters need a quiet and secluded nest box where they will sleep during the day.

What type of bedding should I give my dwarf hamsters?

Shredded paper (e.g. clean white kitchen roll), or cloth-based materials, should be provided as nesting material. Avoid newspaper because the ink can be toxic. Cotton wool shouldn’t be used because it can cause dangerous blockages if eaten and can become wrapped around legs, causing constrictions.

How often do I need to clean the cage?

The cage should be thoroughly cleaned once a week. It is recommended to leave a small amount (unsoiled) of their old bedding behind at each cleaning so that their familiar scents aren’t completely removed during cleaning.

Hamsters dislike any rapid change, so try not to alter their environment too much.

dwarf hamster twins
Do dwarf hamsters need company?

Dwarf hamsters will often live happily in pairs – unlike golden hamsters, who must always be housed alone. You should check whether the type you have, or are thinking of getting, should be kept alone or with a partner.

hamster cage fancy
Do my hamsters need toys?

As well as plenty of exercise, hamsters need things in their cage that they can climb on and explore. They should have an exercise wheel – but make sure it doesn’t have spaces between the rungs, as their legs can get trapped and broken between the gaps.

They also need suitable toys such as cardboard rolls and boxes, as well as those made specifically for small pets. Ladders, plastic tubes, seesaws and untreated apple-tree branches are all available to buy.

Hamster and blockA gnawing block should be provided because this helps your hamsters wear their teeth down.

Scatter some of the hamster food around the cage and hide some in tubes, to encourage interest and activity.

Should I give my hamsters several different toys at the same time?

So that your hamsters stay stimulated and don’t get bored, you should offer different toys in different weeks. When a particular toy isn’t being used one week, this also gives you a good opportunity to clean it.

How can I let my hamsters dig?

dwarf hamstersHamsters are naturally burrowing animals so a deep layer of shavings or potting compost should be provided at the bottom of their cage.

When is it best to spend time with my hamsters?

Hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they become active at night, so they should be left alone and quiet during the day. Regularly waking them up during the day is stressful for them and can cause them to bite. It is best to handle them during the early evening, when they have woken up and are active.

What’s the best way to handle a hamster?

DwarfHamsterInHandsHamsters should be carefully handled from a young age so that they become used to handling and aren’t scared of it. This will reduce the chances of them biting someone.

Always be gentle. Both hands should be used as a scoop, and your hamster should be held low over a flat surface. Even a small fall can cause serious injury.


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