Preparing For A Hamster

It is important to prepare for the arrival of a hamster, bring it home in a suitable container and give it time to settle into its new surroundings to keep stress to a minimum.
Preparing For A Hamster And Bringing It Home

Once the decision has been made to buy a hamster it is best to go and buy the hamster cage and acessories a day or two before buying the hamster(s) so that the cage can be fully prepared in advance.

When buying the hamster(s) the seller of the hamster will usually provide a cardboard box punched with air holes to bring the hamster home in. However, although this is usually fine for short journeys of 5-10 minutes hamsters are notorious for chewing their way out of these and they can easily become soaked and break if the hamster urinates, so it best to go prepared and take a more suitable container when collecting the hamster(s). This can either be a small plastic carrying box designed for the transportation of small animals sold in pet shops or any suitable sized plastic tub (such as an ice cream tub) punched with air holes.

A layer of woodshavings should be placed inside the pet carrier to cover the floor, together with a handful of food for long journeys. As it is not practical to attach a water bottle to a pet carrier and the motion of transporting the hamster will cause any water bottle to leak, it is best to place a piece of apple or cucumber for moisture in the carrier.

On arrival home it is best to place the hamster immediately in the prepared cage and leave it to investigate its new home and give it time to settle. It will take the hamster a few days to get used to all the new smells and sounds of its new home and it will find this time a little stressful. Therefore although you may be tempted to get your hamster out and play with it, try to resist for the first souple of days so that it can first of all get used to its new surroundings and feel comfortable. This will help to keep its stress to a minimum. Stress, particularly in young hamsters, can lead to Wet Tail

It is not unusual for a hamster to run around frantically, move its nesting area several times and then spend a lot of time sleeping after all the exertion on arrival in a new home. After a few days though the hamster will settle into more of a routine and will generally seem more settled. This is the time when you can start to introduce your hamster to handling.