Choose the right cage. The first thing you'll need for your hamster is a cage. However, you should give some consideration to the type of cage you choose as this will be the primary habitat for your new pet. Some cages are better than others, and certain cage designs may be downright unsafe for hamsters.
Wire siding allows hamsters to climb up the walls, which can help satisfy their curiosity and burn off some energy. Consider getting a multi-level cage. That way your hamster can have more room to explore and play.
If there are any gaps in the bars, your hamster could get stuck.
A cage with a deep plastic base will allow your hamster to burrow and roam. Aim for a large cage with a base that's at least 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 centimeters) deep.
Make sure there are no hazards, like sharp edges or bits of metal that might poke your hamster.
Whatever cage you choose, it must be at least 360 square inches or 80x50 centimeters.
Place about two inches of bedding in her new habitat. The bedding can be high-quality paper bedding, crumpled paper bedding or hardwood shavings. Cedar-based products are not recommended.
Add chew toys, wooden blocks or chew sticks. These will keep her busy and help wear down her constantly growing incisors.
Your hamster needs lots of exercise to keep her happy. Add an exercise wheel to help alleviate boredom. You can supplement with a hamster ball for outside-habitat excursions.
Tunnel or hideaway. Hamsters like to have a hiding place. This can be a cardboard tunnel or a little plastic hideaway bungalow. Be sure to use something that’s designed for a hamster, though, versus repurposing a toy meant for a child or another pet.
Control the climate. In the wild, hamsters live in warm, dry climates, so they'll need a similar atmosphere in your home. Try to create as conducive a habitat as possible that will allow your hamster to be comfortable and safe.
Make sure the room where you keep your hamster is free from drafts. Keep the cage away from any open windows or air conditioning vents.
Make sure the environment is as dry and free from humidity as possible.
Location. Where are you going to place her new home? Hamsters acclimate well to average household temperatures, but do not do well with extreme temperature changes. Keep your hamster’s habitat out of direct sunlight or drafty areas.
Limit light exposure. Hamsters are sensitive to bright lights, but they can't live in total darkness. The idea for a hamster would be to have limited exposure to ambient light during the day and total darkness at night.
Avoid putting the cage in direct sunlight, though ambient sunlight in the room is okay.
Try to keep the lights in your home on a regular schedule so that your hamster can be in the dark around the same time every night. This will help your hamster stay on a regular schedule.
Give your hamster a shelter/nesting box. Your hamster will need a small shelter or nesting box within its cage. This structure is to allow your pet a place to hide when it wants to sleep or anytime it feels frightened.
The shelter or nesting box should be big enough for your hamster to move around inside with relative ease.
Your hamster should also have enough room to store some food inside the shelter.
Make sure the shelter is dark inside. Your hamster should be able to retreat inside and feel safe and protected.
Companionship. For the most part, hamsters are solitary creatures. However, if you would prefer a pair, consider a Dwarf hamster. Dwarf hamsters may be kept in same-sex pairs if they have been raised together, otherwise keep adult hamsters separate. Different types of small animals should not be housed together.
Scoop out soiled bedding every day.Your hamster will tend to urinate in one or two corners of her cage. Scoop out the wet bedding daily and replace with fresh bedding.
Change her bedding once a week. Be sure to remove any uneaten or stored food, too.
Once a month, wash her habitat, food containers and water bottle with mild soap and water. Be sure to avoid any ammonia-based products. Thoroughly rinse with water to remove any residue, and allow to dry completely before adding fresh bedding.
Water source and food bowl. Keep your hamster’s food bowl filled at all times; she won’t overeat. You may enjoy watching her stuff her cheeks with her favorite foods; she has special pouches just for that task. Add a water source and be sure to check and/or add fresh water daily.
Hamsters need a complete, balanced diet in order to remain healthy and active. They typically need a somewhat broad variety of foods, including seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Some hamster owners also give their pets occasional forms of protein like insects to supplement their diet.
If using pellet food, choose a product with 18 to 22 percent protein content. You should be able to find this information on the packaging.
Some hamsters prefer seed mixes instead of pellets. If using a seed mix, make sure the mix contains a variety of other foods like dried fruits/vegetables and a limited quantity of sunflower seeds.
Cleaning your hamster’s habitat:
Your hamster will spend most of her life in her habitat, which is why it’s important to keep it as clean as possible. Establish a daily/weekly/monthly maintenance schedule to help make upkeep practically effortless: