Often new pet owners don’t get educated on how to take care of a hamster that they just bought. That’s not to say that a lot of reputable pet stores won’t give you some tips on getting your new pet home and into it’s new cage. None the less, if you are reading this before you have gone out and purchased any new hamsters, take note in the following rules. If you have already purchased your hamster, you can still use these rules going forward.
Get a New Hamster Home from the Pet Store
Depending on where you go to buy your hamsters, they will no doubt provide a small pet carrier to help you transport your little guy home. However, these might be adequate and end up being stressful on your new pet. In addition, these boxes might be fairly easy for a hamster to gnaw its way through, especially through the air holes. The last thing you want is a runaway hamster underneath your brake pedal or the seats of your car. If this is a concerned to you, take a long a sturdy cardboard box and add some air holes on the top; then place the smaller pet carrier inside it. This will give you a second line of defense.
Tips for Traveling with Hamsters
- Put a bit of the hamsters’ bedding from it’s old cage into your temporary hamster carrier. The familiar scents will put them at ease.
- Once your new pet is in the temporary travel carrier, go directly home and get your hamster into it’s new home.
- Do not play loud music or have loud conversations in the car ride home. Hamsters get stressed by loud noises.
- Don’t try to take you hamster out and hold it on the way home or hold up the box to look at it. This is also stressful
- Keep the hamster out of bright light or direct sunlight. Hamsters by nature don’t venture out in broad daylight.
Let a Hamster Adjust to its New Living Space
When you transfer your hamster from its carrier into its new habitat, you might want to try using gloves to pick up the hamster and set it into its new cage. A better options is to place the carrier into the cage, open the carrier top and let your hamster crawl out on its own. This option is only available if you have a cage or habitat that has an opening wide enough to put the carrier in through. What ever option you go with, keep in mind the level of stress it will have on a hamster and try to keep that to a minimum.
- Don’t change anything in the cage other than filling up the food dish and water bottles. This would only ad to more confusion and stress.
- Don’t try to pick up your hamster or take it out of its cage and certainly don’t chase it around trying to catch it to pick up.
- Keep loud noises and distractions to a minimum. See Hamster Cage Location for more information on this.
Expanding and Rearranging Your Hamster Cage
After your hamster has had a few days or a week to adjust to its new home you can safely rearrange the cage if you so desire. Often the starter cages and kits you get from the pet store are not big enough for a hamster to live a healthy life. If that is the habitat you have, don’t fret, you can slowly build your habitat over time until it’s big enough. You might consider adding more Critter Trail tubes and tunnels, extensions, Habitrail modules, vertical levels and toys for enrichment or exercise.
When to Start Handling Your New Hamster
Hamsters need to be trained at a young to be held. It’s at this time that they are most responsive to learning new things. See How to Hold a Hamster for all the tips and tricks on holding a hamster and when the best time to do so is.
Reviewed By: Tim Winter
Tim Winter has a strong affection for pets and wildlife. His years of experience caring for various types of pets has led him to share his knowledge with others on the best practices in pet care. Tim holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.