Hamster needs checklist: What should you buy before getting a Hamster Home

Hamsters need time reserved for their favorite activities such as sleeping, gnawing, eating, stocking up, grooming, digging and climbing.

Remember that the hamster is an active and alert animal. Offer him  a stimulating cage . Because his life is confined to this space and he will not be able to let off steam in nature. Quickly get hamster accessories and set up the cage , after filling the litter box.

A shelter to sleep: Cage, Aquarium or Terrarium

Wild hamsters sleep exclusively in their burrows. Your hamster can hardly fit a burrow in its cage , which is why it needs a shelter to sleep. This could be an upturned flowerpot, the edge of which you will break off to make an opening (don’t forget to file the sharp edges!). Or you buy one of the “house” models in wood, plastic or ceramic, to stand or hang on the grid (with built-in ladder). The usual dimensions are 12 x 12 x 10 cm.

Tips for DIYers: You can easily build the house yourself, as long as you adhere to the following rules:

  • Do not use plywood or chipboard, as the glue is toxic to the hamster. A natural, soft and easy-to-work wood will be perfect.
  • Do not assemble the boards with staples. By gnawing on them, the hamster can tear their cheekbones. Use large steel U-nails, which even your rodent will have difficulty getting out, or a glue that you are sure is the least toxic possible. Leave to air dry for several days.

Cozy nest for Hamsters

Hamsters insulate and pad their house, building a nest in it.For this, they need suitable materials such as paper handkerchiefs (unscented), wood fiber, hay, straw and scraps of clean cloth cut into small pieces parts

A good litter for Hamsters

On the floor of the cage, preferably spread organic litter , special for small animals, found in pet stores or specialized departments of department stores. It is a particularly absorbent and non-toxic litter. Cat litter and sand can injure a hamster’s sensitive paws. With the earth, which perhaps seems more natural to you, we run the risk of carrying diseases. If you want to, put it in the oven for an hour at 180 ° C, spreading it in an even layer on a sheet covered with aluminum foil, and then letting it cool well.

Feeder and drinker for Hamsters

Feeder : A hay rack is handy for hay and green fodder. It is not essential to make the expense of an additional feeder, since the hamster stuffs everything that is eaten in its cheekbones before going to store it. You might as well put the food in a clean corner of the cage. But if you are using a feeder, make sure that it is solid (ceramic or porcelain), easy to clean and cannot tip over.

Drinker : preferably choose a suspended “bottle” drinker, to be attached to the bars of the cage or to be fixed by suction cups to the glass of the terrarium. The hamster will know how to use it right away.

Something for their teeth and muscles

The hamster does not give the impression of being a great athlete. However, even if it is not visible, the hamster loves to move. The climbing of the horizontal bars of his cage already guarantees him a certain pleasure, but ends up becoming monotonous. You will be greatly grateful if you think about offering him other climbing opportunities , and even renewing them from time to time, for a change. Your imagination for the arrangement of the cage can be limitless.

Tree Branches with Rough Bark : Small branches will allow your hamster to climb, scratch, but also satisfy his rodent instinct. You can wedge the branches between the bars or tie them to them with raffia. Always make sure that the assembly is solid.

Important: Branches of fruit trees are ideal, but only if one can be sure that the trees have not been treated with pesticides. If you are not sure, take branches from other trees such as oak, alder, blackberry, chestnut, lime, poplar or willow instead. But here too, be careful: do not take them by the side of the road, where all the branches are polluted by exhaust gases. If you bring back branches from a park or a forest, run them for a long time under very hot water and allow them to dry before placing them in the cage because, unfortunately, toxic substances may have penetrated there.

Wooden ladders : they can be used as a staircase leading to a shelter placed high up, or as a bridge spanning branches.

Other accessories

Pet stores offer seesaws and rides. But these devices are designed for walks the hamster out of his cage, because in it, they would take up too much space. Not recommended for the hamster: plastic accessories, too smooth, on which the animal does not find a grip. In addition, the small shards of plastic, which it tears off while gnawing, could cause internal injuries.

Wheel for Hamsters

This well-known object has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it gives him the movement he needs, but he can become so dependent on it that it is, in the long run, a source of imbalance. Night after night it runs wildly around its wheel and that can end up annoying you as considerably, because often, after a while, this kind of instrument will start to chatter and squeak loudly. If you are afraid of being annoyed, we advise you to take a so-called “silent” one.

The wheel is not essential if the cage is large enough and the hamster can climb.

Finally, three additional accessories:

In case you want to give your hamster something special, here are a few more suggestions.

A game to build yourself  : easy to assemble, a kind of merry-go-round that most hamsters love. For this you need a round wooden board, 2 to 2.5 cm thick, a block of wood about 5 cm thick (12X5 cm), a thin metal tube and ‘a stud adapted to the diameter of the tube. Push the tube at an angle into the wood block. Place the stud in the center of the round board, which you secure to the board with a washer and a nut. Now push the stud into the metal tube. The wooden disc is now slightly at an angle on the base. The hamster will be able to swing and do all kinds of movements on this inclined plane.

A crate to play and dig

Hamsters like to dig. The instinct to build burrows and galleries is still present, even in domesticated animals. If your hamster could indulge this instinct in a “digging crate” of his own, complementary to his cage, it would be ideal. Of course, the dimensions – surface and height – should not be less than those of the cage. The taller and more spacious the box, the better. It must also be solid, so as not to be eaten away in a few days.

Make this crate available to your hamster preferably in the evening, when he is most active. He can then let off steam at his leisure.


You will find bark in all pet stores. It is normally intended for the decoration of aquariums and terrariums. But, thanks to the imagination of hamsters, it finds its application in their cage too. With sufficiently large and well rounded pieces, some make a “prefabricated roof” for the shelter they have dug, they sleep there or make an observation post from which they spy, whatever attracts their attention.

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