A Safe Hamster is a Happy Hamster

Safety First

Do you have a pet hamster or are you considering buying a new pet hamster?  If so, you need to take into consideration your pet's safety.  Hamsters are adorable, but they are also known for getting into trouble.  The best approach to owning a hamster is always staying one step ahead of your hamster.  You never know exactly what they are thinking, but sometimes you can imagine.

Escape Artists

Hamsters are great escape artists.  If you put them in anything, they are bound to try to find a way out.  Even if you think there is no way, trust me, where there is a will there is a way. 

When picking a cage for your little guy or little gal, you need to look at the wires.  If the wires are too far apart, your hamster can figure out how to squeeze through.  Even if you have a large hamster, have no fear, your chubby friend can still figure out a way to get out.  Currently, the wires on my hamster's cage are about a quarter of an inch apart from each other.  I had a cage with wires about half an inch apart from each other, but she kept chewing and trying to wedge her way out.  The smaller the distance of the wires, the better.  You also have some other options, such as all plastic cages or an aquarium.  You may find this suits you better, but be careful with the doors.

My hamster is brilliant at opening cage doors.  I have yet to find a cage with a door that she can't open.  She will gnaw through any door, or figure out how to work the latch.  Despite my frustrations, I have to admire her abilities.  The best recommendation I have for this situation is to get keychains and use them as "locks" for the cage.  The small circular kind works best.  Yes, it may be a nuisance taking that on and off the cage every night, but you know what is more of a nuisance?  Crawling around in the middle of the night searching for your hamster in every hole and corner is way more annoying than those keychains, I promise!

Source

Wheel Safety

Hamsters love to run and they especially love the wheel. In most instances, a wheel will come with the cage. You may not decide to use that wheel if it is too noisy or it is unsafe. A good general rule with a hamster wheel is stay away from metal wire mesh wheels. I am not sure why pet stores still sell those things. I have heard numerous horror stories from pet owners about these wheels. A hamster can easily run too fast, get his or her leg caught in the wheel, and then they get stuck. Since the wheel is spinning with them in it, you can imagine the outcome is not pretty. The best you can hope for is a dizzy hamster. Of course, much worse can happen. Even if you do not have a pet hamster, these wheels are not safe for any rodents. I've heard of mice, rats, and gerbils getting their tails caught, as well. It can be especially dangerous if you have two rodents and they are playing on the same wheel at once.  One rodent keeps running while the other is caught.  It can be a tragic situation.

Let the Adventure Begin!

Of course, part of the fun of having a hamster is letting the hamster out of the cage to play. I would highly recommend buying a playpen for your hamster. These are available at any pet store and it gives your hamster about 4 square feet to play. Naturally, they will figure out how to get out of the play pen, so you must keep an eye on them. My dwarf hamster used to shimmy her way up the wires and leap. My teddy bear hamster just pulls the play pen up and tries to crawl under. Never a dull moment with hamsters!

Hamsters also love hamster balls, hamster cars, hamster carriages, etc. Make sure to watch them well when they are rolling around in those, too. If you have other pets, like a cat or a dog, you want to make sure they are in another room when the hamster is rolling about. Also, you need to make sure your hamster hasn't figured out how to open the door on the ball, too. Trust me, they will figure that one out. Some tape across the door works nicely.  Please remember to limit your hamster's time in the ball.  Your hamster can become overheated, especially if it is a hot day.  Another good rule is to keep the hamster ball with hamster indoors.  Not only can the sun be too harsh for your pet, there are other animals outside that are looking for a snack.  Don't let your hamster be that snack!

You can learn a lot about a hamster just from supervising their "out of cage" activities. For instance, my hamster heads into the bathroom every time she is in the ball. So what does this tell me? When she escapes from the cage, she will probably head straight to the bathroom. This is one of her favorite hiding spots.  She likes to try to climb in the bathtub.  I guess she likes the smell of my shower gel and thinks it's food.

If you like to let your pet crawl up your arm or leg, be sure to keep an eye on them. Hamsters have very poor depth perception. Your hamster may be scampering up your arm and decide to take a quick detour. If your hamster is a jumper, you want to make sure you stay close to the ground with him or her. If your hamster is a biter, DO NOT throw the hamster if you get bitten. I know it hurts, but the hamster does not understand that. Gently put the hamster back in the cage, scream and yell, clean the wound with an antiseptic, and bandage it up. You also want to remember what you were doing that provoked the hamster so you can avoid it in the future. Sadly, some hamsters are just biters. It doesn't mean they aren't wonderful pets. You just need to work with the hamster.

Fun with Hamsters

Now that you've learned all about hamsters, I am sure you are running out right now to get one. Just remember, hamsters are a big responsibility. Sometimes you see an adorable rodent in the store and you think they must be easy pets to own. That is not always the case. Hamsters can be a lot of work, but they are also wonderful pets. They are cute, furry, and very personable. Just remember to make sure you have your pet's safety in mind whenever you are buying a new hamster product. A safe hamster is a happy hamster. Your hamster will thank you. Well, your hamster would thank you if he could talk, that is.

Copyright ©2011 Jeannieinabottle

Want to prevent a hamster escape or find a missing hamster? Check out my eBook on Amazon: Tips on Finding a Missing Hamster

More by this Author


Comments 35 comments

Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

We owned three hamsters at different times in our household. One, "Chatter", was a beautiful long-haired hamster with escape on his mind. One night I awoke with a gnawing sound beside my bed. There was Chatter, chewing away on the remote control that had fallen on the floor. After a happy chase (in the middle of the night!) I put him back in his cage and fastened it just a little bit tighter! LOL.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Aw, Chatter sounds so cute. My hamster, Bella, is also a long-haired hamster and she is quite the escape artist. Maybe it is something about that type of hamster. She tried to climb up the shower curtain in the bathroom once in the middle of the night. It sounded like nails down a chalkboard! It was a terrible way to wake up, so I completely understand.


Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

I'll bet!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 5 years ago from Southern Arizona

Hamsters make great pets. They provide a wonderful introduction to pet ownership for young children. Of course, mom and dad usually end up with all the responsibilities! That's probably not a bad thing, because keeping the little critters safe and healthy is job one! Great hub for those thinking of bringing a hamster into the family fold!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you for your comment, Lindacee. I was hoping this hub would be useful for people considering getting a hamster. I never had one as a child, so everything I learned about hamsters, I learned as an adult. I thought I should share this info with others.


Stan Fletcher profile image

Stan Fletcher 5 years ago from Nashville, TN

I love hamsters. Cute little suckers. When my kids were little, there hamster would get out every night and head straight for underneath the fridge. I would have to slide the little dude out on a broom. Good memories...


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Hamsters are so cute. They are really great escape artists. It is funny how every hamster has its own favorite hiding spot.


duffsmom profile image

duffsmom 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

Brings back memories! Great hub


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for the comment. Hamsters are pretty awesome!


cheerfulnuts profile image

cheerfulnuts 5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I miss my hamsters. :( These little ones are really so cute!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Aw, I'm sorry you don't have hamsters anymore. They are just the cutest and nicest little animals. Thank you!


PaulGoodman67 profile image

PaulGoodman67 5 years ago from Florida USA

Great hub! I never had much success with hamsters as a child. Our 13 year old has a gerbil, though.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you! I've always wondered about gerbils. They are supposed to be very nice rodents, too. I haven't had one though.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Wow I use to breed them and you know they can have around 12 to 15 babies every 15 days, I loved the long haired ones, and loved matching up a pretty pair to get beautiful babies but I would never breed one that often, I sold the babies though to help buy food for them, my rabbits, (lops, angoras and dwarfs and just reg ones), a mommy and baby goat, guinea pigs (babies born with eyes open and hop around all adult! Oh and two doves and babies. Talk about work!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Wow! You've got a lot of pets. I just love hamsters, but can't imagine breeding them. I have heard some horror stories about that and you are way braver than me! I think I will just stick with one hamster at a time. She is spoiled, so she would be jealous if she had competition anyway. Thanks for the comment!


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

All my females bit, doesn't she? Oh I have none any more just my white cat Lilly over 16 years old.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Females do always seem to be feisty. My hamster knows she is in control. I'll bet your cat is very pretty. White cats are always so beautiful.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Yes she is with beautiful gold eyes and although she eats many times a day she is very slender and indoor/ outdoor meaning no litter box, which I don't think I could handle. I miss not having any kittens in so long and she was fixed about 14 years ago after being unmotherly to her 2nd litter. She did not want those babies yet a few months later stole one from another cat that lived down the street. She couldn't nurse it, crazy cat..unless she was saving it for supper, lol.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Your cat sounds like she has a lot of personality! I am pretty unmotherly myself, so I understand how she feels.


howcurecancer profile image

howcurecancer 5 years ago

A perfect hub! One awesome impression from me.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you so much for the comment!


irenemaria profile image

irenemaria 5 years ago from Sweden

Once our hamster got out from the cage. He marched away into a drawer and ate all our ensurance papers. =D


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Oh no! Hamsters are so cute, but they are certainly always getting into trouble. I hope you were able to replace the paperwork.


nycgrl profile image

nycgrl 5 years ago from New York

I love hamsters! they are so cute and make great pets. They are absolutely escape artists as mine always found inventive ways to get out of his cage. You cannot underestimate them, they are very intelligent creatures.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Hamster are so cute, but they do have a way of finding trouble. My hamster will leap from such tall heights before you can stop her. She has a lot of nerve. Thank you for reading and for the comment!


jacqui2011 profile image

jacqui2011 5 years ago from Leicester, United Kingdom

I had two hamsters as a child - both were called Hammy (very original!!)They are so cute and mischievious. Mine chewed everything in sight, including the cage door! Great hub and very informative. I wish I could have a hamster (so does my daughter), but I have a cat. Voted up.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you for the comment and the vote up. Hamsters are really cute. I guess with a cat, you could not possibly get a hamster, which is a shame. I just adore my little hamster. She chews on everything, too.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 5 years ago from Essex, UK

A few facts about hamsters, based on the three I kept as a kid;

1) they like eating chocolates with cream centres.

2) They are suicidal. Mine used to launch themselves off a table top into a smooth sided waste paper bin without any thought of how to get out again.

3) You say you never know exactly what they are thinking. I suspect this is because they don't even know what they are thinking.

Nice cute little pets though, and ideal for children.

Voted up.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Wow, I never realized they liked chocolate. It sounds like your hamsters were living the good life. They are quite the little daredevils, aren't they? They really are just too cute though. Thanks for the comment!


Kala 5 years ago

I have had two syrian hamsters. One's name was Mocha. She was the most docile hamster ever. She passed away a few months ago :/ I got a new one, named Marcie. I got her when she was just weaned. She's about three months old, and is an extreme escape artist. Last night, she jumped from the top of her cage onto my dresser, and then onto the floor. Thankfully, I have enough stuff around my dresser on the floor to cushion that fall, but she got hurt on the fall from the top of her cage. I thought her shoulder was out of socket, but I took her to the vet (today, since this was at like 2:30 in the morning!) and turns out she just got a bump like us humans get sometimes. I was so worried! I just love hamsters though. I would love to breed them because the babies are so adorable.

Anyway, I like this article. Very informative!


Kala 5 years ago

By the way, I have a cat and a dog, and neither seem to mind hamsters. In fact, Mocha was running around in her ball and got stuck in my brother's pile of toys, and my dog ran over and pawed the toys away for her!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you for the comments, Kala. My syrian hamster, Bella, just passed away a couple of weeks ago. I was heartbroken since she was such an awesome hamster. I now have Mimi who is quite a bit more timid than Bella. She has learned about the hamster ball now, so she seems to be a bit more bold now.


Chelsea 5 years ago

Hiya,

I have a pet Syrian Hamster and shes beautiful, shes 3 months and 1 week old, she loves chocolate drops from pets at home and shes orange and white ~! x


wordscribe43 profile image

wordscribe43 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

Hamsters are great fun. Sadly, we lost one of ours last week... We still have one, though. My kids are still heart-broken. Amen about the escape artist escapades. I don't know what we would do without our dog who can locate a MIA hamster. He leads us right to the little hider who usually looks a bit downtrodden to be busted. lol... Anyway, fun hub with some great tips for owners. So true about always staying one step ahead of them! They are fast and sneaky little rodents...


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I am so sorry about the loss of your hamster. I understand. My Bella passed away in July and I still miss her. I have Mimi now and she is a real sweetheart. I don't have a dog to search for my missing hamsters. I just have to listen for the scratching. Sometimes I sit some food out and that works. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie InABottle (Jeannieinabottle)1,161 Followers
    440 Articles

    Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics - anything from hamsters to office work.



    Click to Rate This Article
    working