Golden hamsters make delightful pets. Solitary but affectionate, they are well-suited to pet parents who are most active at night. Golden hamsters are small, nocturnal rodents that are best kept by themselves. Unlike mice, hamsters do not enjoy the company of their fellows, except to produce more hamsters. A related animal, the dwarf hamster, may be kept in groups.
Hamsters like to sleep the day away and then have a heavy aerobic workout during the night. If you’re a night-owl type, a hamster might be your ideal companion. Hamsters are reasonably easy to care for, they are friendly, and they don’t even make much smell. In fact, if you can smell your hamster, his cage is far past due for cleaning.
A good hamster pellet, ample grass hay, a bit of seed mix, some fresh veggies and the occasional treat will keep your hamster well-fed and healthy. A clean stick of fruit wood will provide hours of chewing fun, and will also help keep his teeth healthy. Being a rodent, those teeth grow constantly, and he needs to wear them down. Hamsters love to stash food, which makes it difficult to judge how much Hammy has eaten. Stashes of fresh vegetables become moldy quickly, particularly in warm weather, so be sure to root those out when you clean the cage. As with most pets, a constant supply of fresh clean water is crucial.
Hamster “habitats” composed of
interlocking plastic tubes are very
popular. Unfortunately, the tubes
tend to be too narrow for a Golden
Hamster. As a result, hamsters
sometimes get stuck inside.
Also, the tubes are very difficult
to keep clean. Therefore, ignore the coolness factor, and buy a cage that will be comfortable for your pet.
Your hamster will also need a hamster wheel. Be sure it is big enough for a golden hamster. If your hamster will need to curve his back to use it, the wheel is too small. Solid plastic wheels are safer than the old-fashioned wire wheels.
A sippy water bottle for the side of the cage and a couple of ceramic bowls will do nicely for dishes.
You have many choices for bedding in your hamster's cage. Avoid clumping litters and softwood shavings. Clumping litters will cause digestive problems, and the oils from pine and cedar cause respiratory disease. Bedding made from paper products are your safest bet for bedding, and shredded paper is easily available.
Hamsters enjoy having a place to burrow and hide. There are many “hamster homes” readily available without tube components, and any of them will be fine.
Hamsters are perhaps best known for their love of exercise wheels. They will amuse themselves for extended periods of time by running on their wheels. The wheel must be big enough that the animal does not need to arch its back. Also, the wheel should be made of a solid plastic construction. The old-fashioned wire wheels are dangerous, and they have led to many injuries over the years.