Hamsters are those small ‘pocket pet’ creatures that are actually adorable and so very active. The hamster will win your heart by looking at you with beady little eyes, they will twitch their whiskers just by being cute.
There are many things that you should know and understand about hamsters. There really is not much of a challenge when it comes to preparing for and then taking care of your hamster.
Your hamster needs to have a decent place to live. The habitat for your hamster should be placed in an appropriate spot. For instance, you cannot place the cage or habitat in front of a window where the sun shines all day. This is going to cause an extreme amount of heat within the habitat.
Placing the habitat in a room where there is sun, is perfectly acceptable, but not directly in the line of the sun. This would be no different if the windows are drafty. In the colder months, this is dangerous for your hamster.
The hamster is also going to want to be near the family, but not in the thick of everything. The hamster is a nocturnal animal which means that it sleeps for the general portion of the day.
The habitats that can be purchased today can be attached together to make a very large activity centre for your hamster. He or she may fully enjoy having so much space to run in.
Your hamster is going to need a few things within the habitat that can keep him happy. Even a hamster enjoys having some toys. Toys may include chew sticks or pieces of small vegetables.
Other items that are needed within the habitat are bedding so that your little friend has a soft area to sleep. Bedding is also used as a method to hide themself in when they feel scared.
Have you ever seen a hamster habitat without an exercise wheel? These wheels can give hours of enjoyment to the hamster. Hamsters are known to be active creatures, especially at night. Be sure that the wheel is not a squeaky wheel as this may affect the sleep of the humans in the room.
Preferably find an area of the habitat that is away from toys or items that may brush up against the hamster food dish. It is no different than keeping dirty items away from your food. This is not to say that the whole habitat is not used as a bathroom for hamsters. I am not sure they even care, but for posterity, have the food dish in a separate area.
The food a hamster eats is a formula specialized for them. They also like small amounts of fruit or vegetables, Timothy hay, pellets and occasional treats.
Most often you will see hamster cages or habitats with water bottles that hang from the side of the cage or from a bar on the top of the cage. These water bottles are operated by pushing the little bearing up which is what allows the hamster to be able to get a drink when he or she is ready.
However, it must be stated that a hamster does not need to have one of these hanging water bottles. I believe most people purchase these bottles because they are easier and the water stays cleaner longer.
Hamsters can, however, drink water from a dish or bowl also. This is not something that most people see in most habitats. Actually, to many people, the dish is a great alternative if your hamster is having a difficult time mastering the water bottle with the bead.
Reasons to Use a Bowl
There may be one of many different reasons that a person would choose to use a water dish instead of a water bottle. You may not have remembered to purchase the water bottle. Your hamster’s water bottle may not be functioning properly. In other words, there may be an airlock preventing the water from distributing when the bead is pushed.
Some hamsters will refuse to drink from a water bottle no matter how hard you try to get him to do so. This could be because the nozzle or spout is too big for your hamster’s mouth, it could also be that your hamster refuses to use the water bottle no matter what.
Sometimes, it is the human who has decided to use the water bowl instead of the hamster. The bead, when pushed to get water, does make the metal-on-metal noise. Some hamsters will make too much noise when they are drinking from the water bottle. This is true especially if the hamster and the habitat are kept in the human’s bedroom. This would likely prevent you from getting good quality sleep.
Choosing the Bowl
There are a few things that should be known before setting up the habitat with a water bowl instead. To begin, you do not want to use a deep dish, it is best to find a shallow type of dish to place the water in. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, when it is a shallow dish, it is easier for the hamster to get the water without much of a struggle. Using a deep type of bowl could lead to a few different issues. The dish could be spilled constantly because the hamster is unable to drink from it, so it tries to climb up and get the water.
When the dish is spilt, this means that the bedding needs to be changed. The bedding cannot be left wet, as it could cause issues for your hamster. Sadly, if a deep dish is used and the hamster falls into the dish, your hamster may drown. This is a terrible situation that can be avoided simply by using a water bottle or a shallow dish for water.
Another challenge is to find a shallow dish that is on the heavier side. As stated, your hamster is likely going to climb on the water dish. This is just what hamsters do, climb on everything. If you can find a shallow type dish that has a sturdy wide base. There is less chance of the dish wobbling and being unsteady.
At the same time, the dish cannot be too shallow. Your hamster needs an adequate amount of water to stay hydrated. One of the most highly suggested bowls would be a hermit crab bowl. These stone bowls put up with a lot. The hermit crab climbs all over this type of dish, so you know it is sturdy and very stable.
Another suggestion is that the bowl is placed on a slightly raised platform in the habitat. Being set up on a platform will help minimize the amount of debris and foreign material that gets into the water dish. Not that humans are lazy, however, avoiding the fact of debris constantly in the dish may help to avoid the fact of constantly changing the water.
Avoiding all the debris and foreign material, or faeces being kicked into the dish, is a healthier option for your hamster. If your hamster is constantly drinking dirty water, this could make him or her sick. The water should be changed at least daily. If, however, you notice foreign material, bedding or faeces in the water, change it right away. There is no reason to take a chance of your hamster becoming sick.
Please remember, just changing the water does not make it clean water. The water dish needs to be cleaned daily also. As disgusting as it sounds, backwash or even urine can cause bacteria to build up and the water could become dangerous for your hamster to drink.
There is simple logic to using a water bowl rather than a water bottle. Hamsters like to chew, they will chew plastic. This could lead to a broken water bottle that leaks all over the area of the cage. This is a health hazard. Plus, the hamster will not have water to drink once the bottle breaks. Even glass bottles will cost more than plastic bottles, and they can break almost as easily as plastic.
A water bowl is much easier to clean on a daily basis than a water bottle. However, if you still choose a water bottle, do yourself a favour and pick up a baby bottle washer. These are amazing tools that will make keeping the water bottle clean less of a chore.
Sometimes it is best to have the habitat in a room separate from your bedroom. The hamsters tend to be up all night making noise and having fun. If it is possible, keep the cage or habitat in his own area.
On a final note, it is still best to try and get your hamster to drink from a cage-mounted water bottle. These are far more hygienic that a water bowl or dish that is walked through, used as a toilet, or just has debris kicked into it constantly.