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Top 10 Must-Haves for the Hamster Cage

Veterinarians and Pet Care
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Hamsters make great pets, as they are fun to watch and relatively easy to care for. But as a hamster owner, you need to make sure that his home has all he needs to survive and be happy. Of course, there are some givens, like food and water, but hamsters need other elements in their cages to be content. If you are going to set up a habitat for your new pet, here are the top 10 must-haves for the hamster cage.

  1. Bedding material: This is a staple of the hamster cage, the most common being wood shavings. Be sure to provide your hamster with plenty of material to burrow in and make a great nest.
  2. A water source: Most cages come equipped with bottles that hang upside down and release water when your hamster goes to drink. A water dish is also a possibility, but it can easily get contaminated by food droppings and extraneous shavings.
  3. Food: There are two ways to do this. Some like to keep a food dish in the cage for the hamster in order to monitor his food intake, whereas other prefer to sprinkle the food in the bedding material and let the hamster forage. There are also seed sticks you can hang in the cage for a treat.
  4. An exercise wheel: In the wild, hamsters constantly roam in search of food, and so exercise is part of their daily routine. An exercise wheel will give your hamster plenty of opportunity to get the exercise he needs. Just be sure the wheel is large enough that your hamster can run with ease.
  5. Tubing: Many cages come with plastic tubes already attached. Having ready-made tunnels gives your hamster a great opportunity to explore, exercise, and play. Just be sure to choose appropriately sized tubing, as you don’t want your hamster to get stuck.
  6. Places to hide: Hamsters love to burrow and hide, and will appreciate any extra places to do so. You can buy these at your local pet store or simply give him a toilet paper roll to hide in.
  7. Gnawing sticks: Hamsters love to chew. Wooden gnawing sticks not only satisfy this urge, but they also give your hamster something to play with.
  8. Nesting boxes: Hamsters focus a lot on their nest, and a nesting box provides the perfect place to do so. You can buy these or make your own using various materials around the house, such as an empty egg carton.
  9. Ladders: Hamsters love to climb. This is especially great if your cage has a “second story” your hamster can access, as he will keep quite busy moving wood chips and food up the ladder to store above.
  10. Sand boxes: Although this can get a little messy, hamsters love having access to sand. Simply fill a ceramic bowl and let him have at it!

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