A suitable environment for hamsters

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Ensure your hamster has a suitable place to live


Hamster in nesting box © iStockphoto

Hamsters need:

  • A comfortable, dry, draught-free, clean place to live, in a quiet place where they can rest undisturbed. Make sure they are not exposed to draughty or damp conditions. In the wild hamsters live in warm, arid climates. 
  • To be housed in a room where the lights go off at more-or-less the same time each night. Try to avoid erratic hours of lighting. Hamsters are also sensitive to bright sunlight. 
  • To be housed away from items in the home which can generate ultrasound, e.g. television sets, computer screens, vacuum cleaners or sources of running water. Hamsters are very sensitive to high frequency sounds which we cannot hear, and can find this stressful. 
  • Appropriate bedding and nesting material. Don't give hamsters nesting materials that separate into thin strands, e.g. cotton wool or similar 'fluffy' bedding products. They pose a serious risk to their health and welfare, due to the possibility of entanglement or ingestion.
  • A suitable home cage. Wild hamsters live in deep burrows. They quickly dig burrows, and can escape easily from poorly constructed cages. Pet hamsters prefer to occupy a cage with a solid floor covered by a suitable litter material. Hamsters naturally build nests. Home cage for Hamsters (PDF 254KB).
  • Suitable places to hide. Shelters for Hamsters (PDF 235KB).
  • Their cage to be clean and they need dry bedding and nesting material. Cage Cleaning for Hamsters (PDF 228KB).
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