The Hamster Guide

Okay, so you’ve read a little about hamsters and sort of know what’s in it. Here, you can find all the info that is necessary for keeping a hamster, in a nutshell. Hopefully this will uncomplicate things and make it clear as glass for you! You’ll never forget the facts and always have a quick guide to check, in times of panic!
Lets start with the basics:

Hamster Breeds:


  • A Syrian is the largest, and best for children. They’re the most common and if it’s your first hammy, than you’ll probably get one of these.
  • A dwarf is smaller, faster and not great for kids. There are 4 different types of Dwarf hamster: the Roborovski, the Chinese, the Russian Campbell, and the Russian Winter White.

Buying a hamster:


  • Make sure, when buying a hamster, to check the ears, nose, mouth and tail.
  • The animal, once woken up, should be alert and active. A lethargic hamster is a sick hamster!
  • Make sure you have all your supplies ready and waiting before purchasing your new pet. It’s good to invest in a carry case to bring your hammy home in.

Hamster cages:


  • Remember, the minimum size for a hamster cage is 360 square inches. Nothing smaller than this! The bigger, the better!
  • There are a range of hamster cages available, like plastic, wire, aquarium and bin cages. All are great, so take your time deciding.

Hamster Food:


  • Commercial hamster foods, bought in a pet shop are best for a hamster, as they meet all the necessary dietary requirements needed to keep your hammy happy!
  • Fruit and veg, like apple, lettuce, carrot and grape are the best treats to give your hamster. You can buy hamster treats in the pet shop, which are good too, but only in moderation.
  • Always check my “hamster food” page before giving your hamster a new type of fruit or veg, to check that it isn’t poisoness.

Hamster Toys:


  • The only hamster toy you need to buy is a hamster wheel. They are necessary for a happy hamster. Make sure your wheel is big enough, and if it isn’t, get a new one straight away!
  • Anything else can be homemade. Using shoeboxes, cereal boxes and toilet roll tubes are the most common. Be creative, and if you have young kids or are generally creative, you can create new designs to delight your hammy!
  • The hamster ball is definitely not necessary! They hurt a hamster’s feet, and have poor ventilation. Hamsters can also knock their brains out, crashing into walls!


  • All hamsters need plenty of exercise, so even if your handling your pet every day for fifteen minutes, you still need to let them out to wander around and ware themselves out.
  • Syrian hamsters are bigger, and if you have one, you can put them in a secure room to run around in. However, don’t do this with a dwarf. They’re so small that they can escape from even the tiniest nooks and crannies, and you don’t want to lose your hammy!
  • Alternatively, let them run around in a special playpen or even in the bathtub. Place toys, food and hide-aways in the pen/tub to make it a fun environment to play in.
  • Every hamster should get plenty of exercise each day!

Cage Cleaning:

  • A hamster cage needs to be cleaned out every week. If it’s not, it will smell horrible and neither you, nor your hamster will be happy.
  • Clean the cage with pet-safe disinfectant or “Fairy” washing up liquid. This kills bacteria.
  • Clean the  area where your hamster goes to the toilet every 2-3 days. Just take out the soiled bedding and replace it with clean bedding. Simple!
  • Change food and water every day.

Sand Bath:

  • Your hamster needs a sand bath in their cage. Click here to find out more information.



  • Don’t forget the 4 day wait! Wait until your hamster has settled in before trying to handle him (this is usually about 4 days of waiting).
  • Pick them up by scooping them off the floor with two hands. Never lift a hamster by their ears, whiskers, fur or without supporting their hind legs.
  • The key to a tamed hamster is constant handling. Handle your hamster gently and carefully every night, for at least 15 minutes!



  • As mentioned in the buying a hamster section, always check the ears, nose, mouth and tail for any sign of infection. Do this at least once a week.
  • A wet tail could mean diarrhea. This is fatal in hamsters and if you find it, take your poor pet to the vet immediately!
  • Make sure your pet is kept in a warm room, with lots of natural sunlight. However, never place a hamster cage in direct sunlight or beside a radiator. If your pet over heats, place his cage in a dark, cool room with plenty of water. If your hammy gets too cold, he will go into hibernation. Place the cage in a warm room and make sure he has food and water if this occurs.

Hamster teeth:

  • Never forget! A hamster’s teeth never stop growing so it’s important to provide things for your hamster to gnaw on.
  • Things like twigs from an apple tree, or corn-on-the-cob are cheap ways to keep the teeth down, but if those aren’t available, you can buy scented and colourful wood blocks for your hammy to chew on.
  • Hamsters will gnaw on anything and everything, so remember to check the cage for damaged parts. (Anything damaged will have to be replaced)

Pregnancy and Hamster babies:

  • Woahh! Hold on there! If your hammy’s pregnant, you’ll need to read the full page (soon to be posted on the site). It’s impossible to summarise the basics, as you’ll need to pay very close attention to everything about your hamster.
  • All I’ll say here is that once your hammy has given birth, leave her alone with the babies for about 2 weeks. Only come near to change food and water. After about 2 / 2.5 weeks, you can start handling the babies.
  • Any stress felt by the mother will force her to eat her own babies, and that’s not ideal!

Well, there’s a lot of hamster info there! It’s a summary of what’s said throughout the site on different pages. I hope it’s helpful having some of it under one roof!


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