My family is growing. We’ll be getting a new member next week. Namely, a hamster, earnestly requested by my younger daughter, will be the surprise Christmas present next week.
I’m scared. I don’t do pets. We had a goldfish for a while, but beyond that the only animals in our home have been my wild children. Yet, seven-year-olds are only seven once. So, with an opening heart, I’m attempting to embrace with her this new experience by learning how to own and care for a hamster in a way that is healthy, happy and as green as possible. Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:
1. Creating a home: To create a comfortable home for a pet hamster, choose a roomy enough cage, at least the size of a 10 gallon aquarium tank. In fact, a tank can make a good cage as long as it is well ventilated (securely fastened fine mesh wire at the top of the tank should do the trick.) Those plastic cages readily available at pet stores are not the best choice. They can be hard to keep clean.
Once you’ve selected a cage, line the bottom with plain paper and place on top of it shredded white paper and/or some dry timothy hay for burrowing and perhaps nest-building for these creatures that typically live underground. Because these guys enjoy hiding out, a cardboard box, like a tissue box or oatmeal container might be fun to include in the cage. In addition to hiding in them, hamsters are likely to nibble them. And they can be easily replaced during cleaning.
Since hamsters are nocturnal, it is probably best to keep the cage in a room that is quiet, not overly bright and not drafty.
Next: Cleaning, Feeding, and Playing with Hamsters