Before you welcome your new pet hamster home, there's a few key things to consider. These include transportation, transition to their new cage, and their first few days adjusting to their new environment. Learn more here!
Hamsters make wonderful pets and are adored by their pet parents for many reasons. However, being so small and even fragile, hamsters can experience stress which can lead to illness and worse if not handled correctly.
Therefore, when bringing your new pet home, be sure to read the below to make their transition into their forever home as smooth as possible - and to give you the best chance of developing a wonderful relationship with them.
How to carry your hamster home
Prepare a transportation cage that is big enough to hold everything they need for the journey - water, food, sand and nesting material. These are the key necessities for hamsters and will help them to find comfort and nestle in during the journey.
If you don't have access to a small transportation cage, you can fashion your own using a cardboard box. Ensure there are no gaps at the joins and that it can't eat through any packing tape.
You can use pieces of tissue, soft paper towel or straw for some temporary nesting material. A large, pure cotton sock washed thoroughly with water only and dried can also help to provide them with a small enclosure to hide within. A non-coated cardboard cereal bar box can also be used as a mini hideaway cave inside their cage.
Hamsters also relax better in the dark. You can place a piece of fabric on the transportation cage to create some shade, however ensure that it does not overheat underneath. And always remember to keep any car windows up during a potential drive as draughts can create temperature fluctuations for the animal and stress it out.
Transferring your hamster to its permanent cage
Once home, ensure there are no loud noises in your environment. Your cage should already be located in its final resting place, somewhere that is out of direct sunlight, away from doors and windows, and not anywhere that is exposed to loud noises.
To transfer your hamster from their transportation cage into their new home, you can pick them up very gently and place them down softly in their cage cautiously. It is strongly recommended to do this using a glove or a tissue so as not to transfer oils and additional new smells onto their fur.
If your transportation cage is small enough to fit inside their permanent cage, and manoeuvring it back out is possible without causing too much noise and disruption, then this is another way to help let them transfer gently (and on their own terms) from one space to another.
The first days with your new pet
Your environment will be entirely new to your hamster when they first arrive at your home. There will be new smells, sounds and experiences for them to adjust to.
The most important care you can give to them is time. Don't try to handle them right away as they're still adjusting to all the changes. They'll start to explore themselves with time and sniff out the best spot for them to nestle into. In fact, hamsters love a few different nesting places so be sure to include a few different options for them. They'll settle into one, or many, as they so desire!
After finally, after a few days when they have found themselves a new rhythm to settle into, you can begin the process of getting them used to you. You might like to read our article on welcoming your new chinchilla to help with this next process.
Enjoy your time with your lovely new pet!