How To Care For A Dwarf Hamster
This short film covers all the important aspects of care for dwarf hamsters.
Hi. My name's Marie. I'm the deputy manager of the Small Animal Department of Wood Green Animal Shelters in Cambridge here and I'm going to advise you how to care for hamsters.
I'm going to tell you how to care for a dwarf hamster. Dwarf hamsters can be housed in pairs. In some cases, they don't get on so please always monitor them if it's your first time that you're taking a pair of hamsters home.
Dwarf hamsters will need a large accommodation. Even though they're small animals, they still travel a far distance in the wild so you need to be able to mimic this for them. I'm just going to put this one back in her cage.
So when you're choosing a suitable cage for a dwarf hamster, it's best to go for a glass one or a large plastic aquarium. You'll need it to have a mesh lid or at least, meshed sides, so that you've got plenty of ventilation going through there. As Russian hamsters are small, they can squeeze through barred cages so it's much safer to go for a glass tank like this.
Tanks like these are around 3 feet in length and that is a really good size or a little bit bigger but please don't go any smaller. As I mentioned, even though they're small hamsters, they still need a lot of space. This one has three levels in it and hamsters can travel up and down into different areas.
You can provide them with ladders, tubes and all sorts of things to climb up and down and for them to get into there. Bedding for the base of your accommodation, the best product to use is shredded paper as you can see in this cage here. The other product that you could use is Carefresh and that's basically short chopped egg carton.
Both of these products are safe against skin issues and allergies. Never use wood shavings for hamsters. These can cause skin issues and they can cause breathing issues in you and your hamsters so please avoid wood shavings.
You'll also need to consider suitable bedding to go into their houses so a soft tissue paper is absolutely fine to be going into their different sleeping areas. Avoid the cotton ball types. These often can wrap around their toes and can get confined in their pouches so the best type is the long soft tissue paper.
You can use different substrates from the different areas. Here, we've got some chinchilla sand for them to dig around in. You could also offer them a small amount of organic soil for them to have a dig around in as well so you can give them a bit of a variety.
It's really important that you can provide your hamsters with lots of enrichment. In the wild, they'd be travelling underneath tunnels, climbing onto different rocks and moving in amongst different plants so try to mimic this. We will provide them with the extra bit of exercise but you need to add on to this.
So, tunnels, houses, you can even use things from your house so children's toys are fantastic for hamsters. They can hide in them, climb around in them. You could even use small things like CD racks.
Even a cup and saucer would be fine for them to climb in and out of and sleep into as well. When feeding your dwarf hamster, you want to choose a plain dry mix for your hamsters made up various cereals. It can even have a small amount of dried mealworm in there as well.
Hamsters love this. Choose one certain type of dry mix and add into it, so you can add things like cat biscuits, small amounts of apple twigs are brilliant for their teeth, they can also feed on pastas and rice and they can also have small amounts of dandelion leaves and fresh food. When you are feeding the food, scatter around the accommodation.
Don't use a bowl. Your hamsters could get fat and they are going to get bored, so encourage natural behaviour and encourage foraging. Place it around in the cage, hide it in tunnels, make them work for it and make them think about where it might be.
When you need to clean your hamsters, it should be done once a week. Remove the hamsters and place them in a pet carrier and ma