Why is cleaning so difficult for hoarders

What do hamsters need for a species-appropriate life?

With their cute appearance, hamsters delight small and large animal lovers. Golden hamsters, dwarf hamsters and Co. are by no means cuddly toys, but very sensitive and demanding. Due to their nocturnal activity, they are not particularly suitable for the children's room. For this they show a much too busy hustle and bustle during their activity phases, collect food, take sand baths or dig. If you take your hamster's needs into account, he is sure to give you a lot of joy with his energy.

What needs does the hamster have?

The hamster as a pet still has a lot in common with its fellow animals living in the wild. He is a flight animal, and in the wild his life depends on a healthy dose of suspiciousness of the unknown. Whatever comes too close to him and seems threatening, sometimes gets to know the sharp teeth.

Of course, you don't want to scare your hamster. So don't pick it up, especially at the beginning. He has to slowly get used to your hand, which works best with food. How quickly your hamster will trust you depends on your patience and your behavior towards your hamster. The environment also has a lot of influence on this: rest and a regular daily routine help the hamster to get used to their new home. A quiet room that is regularly ventilated but not in a draft is ideal. Noise and smoking are taboo. Like its free-living conspecifics, the pet hamster is crepuscular and nocturnal. During the day he crawls into his safe hiding place. In nature this protects him from his enemies. It is therefore only suitable to a limited extent as a pet for children. Of course, children love the small animals and would love to stroke and carry them around all the time. However, this would be extremely stressful for the hamster and cause it to suffer. Therefore hamsters are recommended as pets from school age at the earliest.

Which hamster should it be?

Hamsters come in different breeding forms, as you may have seen in a pet store. The classic golden hamster in the typical wild colors has numerous relatives. Teddy hamsters, piebald hamsters, Siamese hamsters and Dwarf hamsters are very popular. The last two dwarf hamster species in particular are considered to be particularly trusting and cute. By the way, male hamsters are considered more sociable. Unfortunately, many modern breeds are carelessly propagated and crossed without considering possible hereditary diseases. So it's best to choose a hand-raised animal from a registered breeder or a reputable pet shop.

What does a species-appropriate hamster cage look like?

In nature, the hamster is always threatened by enemies and needs a safe refuge. This instinct stays with him even though he is safe with you. A sufficiently large cage is part of species-appropriate keeping - the bigger the better. At least 100x50x50 centimeters (WxHxD) the hamster ideally finds all possibilities on several levels that correspond to its natural behavior. This includes digging, hiding and building as well as a large running surface. So that the animal can dig proper corridors, a lower part with a very high rim is recommended for the cage. Here you can fill in enough litter for digging (at least 20 cm high, even more!). A mixture of small animal litter with one third each of hay and straw is well suited as litter for digging. Please do not use cotton wool, but litter made of hemp, softwood granulate or wood. Hay and straw are also suitable materials for building nests and sleeping places. Ideally, it should be free of mites. To be on the safe side, you can put it in the freezer for a few days before using it.

Bored in the hamster cage? This is how you ensure action!

You are welcome to replace the furnishings of finished cages or expand them with suitable materials such as branches of non-toxic trees, cardboard tubes or half coconuts. Impellers can only partially meet the need for movement and should have a sufficiently large diameter to protect the small spine. It is also important that the running surface is completely closed, otherwise there is a high risk of injury. In nature, the main task of the rodent is to search for food, which is only possible to a limited extent in the cage.

So that there is no boredom, it is important to make the hamster home varied and to change the environment again and again. So you can offer the animal several sleeping houses and shelters made of cork bark, various branches for climbing, coconuts and large stones. Hamsters love sand baths, they also need them to care for their claws and fur. You should therefore provide your animal with a sufficiently large bowl (at least 20 centimeters for dwarf hamsters, at least 30 centimeters for golden hamsters) with chinchilla sand or separate part of the cage as a sand surface. Tame animals look forward to a play course in the apartment, of course under your supervision. An additional box with a high rim, litter and all sorts of obstacles and caves made of natural materials are sufficient.

What food does your new pet need?

Please always provide your hamster with fresh water. Rodent drinkers that you simply hang on the cage grid are best for this. So the water cannot pollute. Nevertheless, it has to be changed daily. There is a wide range of balanced hamster feed mixes, flowers and dried herbs and fruits for a species-appropriate diet. The proportion of nuts, oil seeds and wheat in these mixtures should only be low. You can supplement this basic food with special treats on a daily basis, for example as an incentive to crawl onto your hand. Small pieces of fresh peppers, apples, cucumbers or carrots, raisins, rose hips, thistles and some animal protein such as cottage cheese, a dried cricket or mealworm two to three times a week are very popular. Because your new roommate is by no means a pure vegetarian. Make sure that fresh vegetables and fruits are not contaminated with pesticides. Please carefully accustom the animal to fresh food. Since dry food is mainly fed in pet stores, not all hamsters tolerate the moist food equally well.

What else does your hamster need?

Regular cleaning of the area is important for the health of your hamster, i.e. thorough cleaning of the "pee corners" and replacement of the litter there. To make daily cleaning easy, small animal toilets are ideal. They enable quick and low-stress cleaning. These toilets are usually gratefully accepted, because normally the animals always do their business in the same places. Basic cleaning of the cage is usually only required once a week. During the cleaning work, you can put your hamster in a safe run as described in the previous section. Only replace dirty litter. Clean litter can remain in the cage so that existing odor marks are retained - your hamster feels more comfortable this way. The bottom pan of the cage should be thoroughly cleaned with clean hot water and a brush.

In the event of illness, it may also be necessary to completely clean the cage and replace all of the litter. See your vet for advice on how to do this.

How many animals do you want to keep?

In view of the cute nature and behavior of the little rodents, the thought may arise of getting more than one hamster. Please don't do that, because sexually mature hamsters are usually absolute loners. They tolerate the company of conspecifics only during the mating season and when rearing.

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  1. My opinion is that hamsters are only suitable for calm children from the age of 12 at the earliest and are also absolutely unsuitable for primary school children. In addition, the hamster enclosure must not be in the nursery. A running wheel with a diameter of at least 25 cm for dwarf hamsters and 30 cm for golden hamsters is also required. As far as I know, the minimum dimensions are not 100 * 40 * 40 but 100 * 50 * 50, but who likes to live in the minimum ... In my opinion, lattice cages are also unsuitable, as hamsters are ground dwellers in the wild and therefore cannot estimate heights at all can seriously injure themselves when climbing and then falling. Terrariums are far more suitable. Plastic in the enclosure or so-called jogging balls are also absolutely unsuitable. Rungs or bars in the running bike are also very bad for the animal and have a high risk of injury, which is why they are also considered to be animal welfare-poor. Whole areas of sand are even better than sand bowls, which are even mandatory for Roborowski dwarf hamsters. Due to their enormous fragility and shy nature, robos are absolutely not suitable for children, regardless of their age. Otherwise nice article!

  2. Hello,
    I'm 10 years old myself (I'll be 11) and still have a hamster so it doesn't have to be 12.
    Impellers should be at least 20 cm.
    And my hamster cage is in my room.
    But that terrariums are better, I agree with you 100%!

  3. An interesting article. My son and I have just read it and decided that a hamster is not for us as we cannot hold it well. We noticed a mistake: In the paragraph:
    What does a species-appropriate hamster cage look like?
    missing from the sentence:
    β€œHere you can fill in enough litter for digging (at least 20 cm high, even more!). β€œThat you can behind.

    Great article thank you very much. He helped us

    1. Hi Michael,

      We are pleased that we were able to help you with our contribution!
      And thank you for your hint, we have inserted the missing word. πŸ™‚
      We keep our fingers crossed for you and your son that you will find the right pet for you!

      Best wishes,
      your ZooRoyal team

  4. Hello πŸ™‚ I think the post itself is very good.
    However, you should not use straw in the hamster enclosure (risk of injury) and NEVER clean the enclosure completely - except in the event of illness. This is not necessary and would only cause stress for the hamster

    1. Hello Sabine,

      We are very pleased that you like our contribution. Thanks for your praise! πŸ™‚
      When using straw in the hamster cage, make sure that it does not contain awns. These can lead to unpleasant injuries. Here you will find a straw that is also suitable for use in the hamster home.

      In order to avoid future misunderstandings regarding the cleaning measures, we have adjusted the text a little. Thank you very much for your hint!

      Best wishes
      your ZooRoyal team

  5. Thanks for the helpful article - unfortunately there are still far too many hamsters being kept in cages that are too small πŸ™

  6. I was in elementary school when I got my first hamster and he was right next to me by my play area and every time he was awake I gave him a little treat and he gratefully accepted it through the bars. I never took it out because my mother told me it was biting. So at first there was no whining and dragging out and I resigned myself to the fact that I was only allowed to watch him, but I will never forget that and am just about to get a little hamster again. You can also teach children that you don't always have to touch everything, no matter how and if there is no other way, then the hamster will bite. At some point every child understands that it is not absolutely necessary to always touch everything and take it in hand in order to still love it.

  7. Very great article, but I still have one question: How long can you leave a hamster alone?

    1. Hello Tobi,
      Thank you for your nice feedback. We are glad that you like the article.

      A prerequisite for leaving your hamster alone is a constant water supply through a drinking bottle especially for small animals. If you use a bowl for the water, your hamster will likely fill it up with litter or the like, or possibly tip it over. In addition, you should of course provide your hamster with enough food. If there is a safe water source and sufficient food, you can easily leave your hamster alone for a weekend.

      Animal greetings,
      your ZooRoyal team

  8. Thanks now I know what I need later for my hamster great thing