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Help needed to care for a hamster please!

(14 Posts)
flumperoo Sat 26-Jul-08 10:49:56

I seem to have inherited a hamster and I'm looking for advice about how to care for it properly.

It has a cage like this but the hamster looks really fat, and too big for the cage, it looks a bit squached when it climbs up the tube thing. So, exactly how much space is adequate? How do I know if I'm over feeding the hamster, and what do you think of those hamster ball things? Good or not? How long should they be in there each day do you think?

Sorry, lots of dim questions, but (as you can probably tell!) I'm not really into hamsters, we just kind of got landed with it and now dd is very keen to keep it. I'm just concerned about how fat it is and don't want to encourage lasyness or obesity! grin

falcon Sat 26-Jul-08 11:15:02

I don't think that's sufficent space, I'd prefer to buy it a larger cage say 2-3 foot long a plain one and give it toys.

Hamsters can get through just about anything but even so I'd be concerned the little guy would get stuck.

If buying woodchips for the base of the cage make sure they are not cedar or pine, both of which can be dangerous for the hamster.

I wouldn't worry too much about overfeeding it, it'll hoard the food and eat at it's leisure,I'd offer a little veg now and again but not much.

It'll need something to gnaw on you can get the appropriate wooden chews at any pet shop.

flumperoo Sat 26-Jul-08 16:11:40

Thank you for your reply. I shall get a biggar cage for it. Also, any tips for handling it? I can't help not wanting to hold it for fear of being bitten and I'm afraid that might rub onto to dd.

Alambil Sat 26-Jul-08 17:28:28

Put your hand in the cage - it'll come to you if it wants to... don't force it

I'd get a cage like this instead as those ones are NOT big enough for anything - they should be taken off the market; the air flow is horrendous also.

RustyBear Sat 26-Jul-08 17:32:14

We always used a handling tube with ours at first - half a jaffa cake tube is ideal (& has the added advantage that you have an excuse to eat the jaffa cakes)
Put it in the cage & the hamster will run in - they like dark places. Lift it out gently & sit down with the tube on your lap.
This way the hamster can come out in his own time - you can tempt him with a treat if he's shy - and gets used to your smell.

flumperoo Sat 26-Jul-08 20:43:53

Thank you for the advice. I'll defintiely get a bigger cage, and not the plastic type, which seems a bit strange. Will also try the handling tube, it's the putting my hand in the cage that makes me nervous. I can't help but think it's coming to have a bite!

flumperoo Wed 20-Aug-08 15:46:07

We're really not getting on very well with this hamster. It keeps biting but I don't know why. Dd is now very reluctant to hold it. What could be causing it? Is there anyway to stop it?

Any advice please?

sullysmum Wed 20-Aug-08 21:43:50

Make sure your hands are clean from eating food,hamsters eyesite not very good so they use their noses a lot,also might just be nervous.

Springflower Wed 20-Aug-08 22:38:08

We got a (rehomed) hamster and it kept biting us so much (and they were sore bites with lots of blood) that we thought about giving it away but it didnt take long for it to stop biting. It really is that they bite if they are stressed or scared and I read somewhere that they need to get used to your smell and the sound of your voice so to talk to it a lot. Also something that made sense said not to hold it in a way that it could bite you i.e. dont put your hand in and let it sniff you as its easy for it then to take a chunk of your hand! Pick it up with your hands behind its head and then have it on your lap with hands away or put it to run around. We also give it food whenever we take it out to try and make it like us! Good luck.

bella29 Thu 21-Aug-08 09:00:28

Agree with springflower - they can take a while to become tame and as they are very short-sighted they will bite things to work out what they are, even if that is your finger! Try putting a special treat (e.g. small piece of cheese) in the cage and stroke the hamster's back while he's eating that. Keep on doing that for a while and work up to gently closing your hand round his body. It can take time though, especially if the hamster wasn't handled much when young, so you have to be patient.

MrsTittleMouse Thu 21-Aug-08 09:04:39

One way to familiarise a hamster with you is to scoop it up with a mug, rather than pick it up with your hand. It's really easy when you're nervous to pick them up around the tummy, which they hate, as it's like being carried off by a bird of prey. Then you can let them run over you and get used to your scent. Some people even do this in the bath, so that there is no danger of escapology.

flumperoo Thu 21-Aug-08 15:57:52

Thanks for your suggestions, which I will try try out. Dd has been picking hamster up with gloves on(!). Is this a really bad idea, due to not getting scent of her? Also, what do you think of hamster balls? Useful exercise or cruel?

bella29 Thu 21-Aug-08 16:37:26

My hamster climbs eagerly into his hamster ball, so I reckon he likes it wink

MrsTittleMouse Thu 21-Aug-08 16:40:13

Depends on how she picks the hamster up. The proper way is to scoop them up from below, not to swoop down from above and grab them (a la predatory bird). I think that's more important than the glove issue.
We had balls for our hamsters, and they would willingly climb in, which would took as "consent".

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