Hamster Housing

Hamsters do best when housed in cages with solid floors relatively deep bedding and an abundance of nesting material.
They should be easy to clean, and adequately ventilated. Floor covering must be nontoxic, absorbent, and relatively dust free.
Wood shavings, or other substrate material manufactured from 100% wood pulp fibre can be use for the cage floor.
Shredded tissue paper, house hold kitchen roll or toilet paper is very well accepted by the hamster for use as the nesting material. It should be white only and have no print on it. This is the most suitable cheapest, and safest. See nesting

Hamsters are creatures of habit and generally set themselves a daily routine. They resent any change to their environment. Changes to the environment should be made gradually, if it has to be made at all. See behaviour
Once you have decided on the type of cage, prepare it for his home coming. Place the cage where it is to stay. Place it in a quiet part of the home, and out of direct sunlight and draughts. From here the hamster will familiarize himself to the sounds, and sights, from this point.
Don't leave the cage in a room where you normally leave the cat, or dog if you have one. The cat may start to worry the hamster, once she knows it is there. Keep the cage out of reach of small children until under supervision.

If you leave the cage in a brightly lit room in the evening, this could seriously impair his judgment of time. As he awakes he will think it is still daytime and may go back to sleep or stay in his house / nest. Hamsters are very often mistaken as being nocturnal, where in fact they are crepuscular. In the context of animal behavior the term "crepuscular" means the animal predominantly becomes active at dusk, and before dawn. Compared with "diurnal" (meaning-active during the day) and "nocturnal” (meaning primarily active during the night) so when the light begins to fade he will be up and about.

Once he has been introduced to his new cage for the first time and you have set the lay out. The hamster usually does the rest. They will pick a corner to use as a toilet, a corner to store food and so on.
Once this layout has been established, it is preferable to keep it that way. Don't at a later date start moving things around, moving things around will confuse and stress the animal. The cage is now his territory, see the territorial behaviour of hamsters'.

Strong smelling detergents or bleach should not be used for cleaning cages, utensils or equipment. As well as a potential health hazard it masks, or removes the familiar scent that they rely on. See
Hip spots

Clean the toilet corner with hot water and a mild detergent only. Avoid using disinfectant or bleach, these can remove all traces of their scent. If that happens they may well refuse to use it, and may start doing it where you don't really want them to.

His bed / nest is his sanctuary, "never" disturb your hamster when he is in there, particularly if sleeping. If he run's into it "leave him" never go in after him This is their way of saying go away, leave me alone, I'm in a mood.
Some hamsters take food to the nest with them, and may store this under the nest. You can remove any perishables when he is out of the cage. But leave some of it where it is. Unless it becomes excessive, then remove most of it.
When you clean out the nest, always put a fair bit of the old material back on top of the new. The old nesting material will be impregnated with his own familiar scent, this is a must. See nesting behaviour

If you have a hamster that feels safe and secure, you will have a happy hamster as a pet.



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