If handled regularly and given proper care and attention, hamsters can become quite affectionate pets. Hamster care is relatively easy and they're not too expensive to keep. But before you run out and purchase one, make sure you're equipped with some basic knowledge about hamsters and their care requirements. Being prepared will help you better enjoy your new pet, as well as equip you to provide him or her with the highest quality of life possible.
On average, hamsters live between four and five years. They're considered rodents and there are numerous varieties, ranging from dwarf to teddy bear, the latter being the most common. The best way to get your hamster is through a reputable breeder. If that’s not possible, then you can likely find one at a pet store; just make sure it’s a high-quality store that takes good care of its animals.
The list below outlines everything you'll need to provide the best in hamster care:
- Cage: Make sure it’s big enough for your hamster to move around without feeling cramped. Keep in mind that the food dish and bed will take up some space also. Most cages will come with a water bottle. Give your hamster fresh water and food daily.
- Food: Pet stores carry hamster mix that usually contains things like seeds, dried corn and alfalfa. You may also feed your hamster fruit like apples and raisins and vegetables such as carrots and cauliflower.
- Bedding: The best bedding is shredded paper. This is also available at pet stores, or you can simply make your own with untreated, undyed paper towels.
- Exercise and toys: If your cage doesn’t come with an exercise wheel, then you should buy one or get an exercise ball. Hamsters have plenty of energy to release by running atop treadmill-type toys. Also, offer your hamster a variety of chew toys and other treats to keep him or her occupied and content.
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