How Long Do Hamsters Take To Settle In? (New Owner’s Guide)

To hold your Hamster and to play with them can be tempting for new owners, but you might need to wait for some time so that your little one can settle in.

The next question that comes to our mind is, how long do our Hamsters take to settle in? As a new Hamster owner, even I had the same excitement in me. I did some research on it, and here is what I learned.

It may take anywhere between six days to six weeks for your Hamsters to settle in a new surrounding. Don’t feel discouraged if your little one takes a little longer to settle in. Some Hamsters are well-socialized and get settled within a day or two, others may need a few weeks to settle in.

Hamsters brought from breeders or shelters take less time to settle in as compared to the ones brought from local pet stores.

You can easily make the procedure of getting settled in less stressful for your Hamsters by getting their enclosure setup beforehand and getting it prepared for your little ones.

So, let us have a brief look at what you need to set up to make sure your Hamsters feel at home when they arrive.

Picture Credits: Mouse, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

What Do I Need Before Getting A Hamster?

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Having a Hamster can be great fun but along with it also comes great responsibilities. There are a lot of essential things we must have to take care of a Hamster. 

Taking care of a Hamster is not an easy job. Mostly all Hamster owners struggle to find suitable supplies for their little ones.

Setting Up An Enclosure

It is very important to select a perfect enclosure for your Hamster. The enclosure which you chose must be comfortable as well as safe for your little one.

The first thing you should be considering is the size of the enclosure. Always remember that the enclosure will be your Hamster’s home.

Provide your Hamster with at least a 30-40 gallon tank or say 4 square feet of space and 20 inches height square feet of space to be comfortable.

I personally would recommend a glass enclosure or a plastic bin type enclosure for your Hamsters.

Besides holding your Hamster against chewing the bar(because there will be no bars, haha)will also make sure that your pet does not escape through tiny openings, keeping himself safe.

If you choose a wire cage, it is very essential to check the spacing between the bars.

Choose The Right Bedding

It can be very difficult for Hamster owners to find the perfect bedding for their little one.

As Hamsters are sensitive towards the smell, always choose an odor-free bedding. Also, make sure it is dust-free so that your little one does not face any respiratory tract infection.

Always select a dry bedding for your Hamster, this keeps them warm. Provide a lot of burrowing space for your Hamster to dig in.

Never give your Hamster cotton-based bedding. Cotton fibers can choke your Hamster and can be life-threatening.

I personally use a combination of AspenKaytee clean & cozy, and timothy hay as the bedding. This combination helps in reducing the odor around the enclosure.

Correct Diet

Food and water plays the role of a keystone in your Hamster’s life, despite the age and breed. You should make sure that you are providing your Hamster a suitable amount of nutrition.

Providing Basic Food Supplies

 Try and make a balanced diet for your Hamster.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

Make sure that you make a perfect and balanced diet for you Hamster that includes dry pellets, fruitsvegetables, and his favorite treat.

You must also make sure that you provide enough Vitamin C in your Hamsters diet as lack of Vitamin C often leads to hair loss in Hamsters.

Providing A Source Of Water

An adult Hamster drinks anywhere between 20-25 ml water per day. If you leave in a humid region the amount of water intake may vary.

Water plays a crucial role in the life of Hamsters. Some of the functions of water are as follows:

  • Water is important for the digestion process. It helps in the elimination of waste products and helps Hamsters to stay healthy.
  • Water helps to regulate the body temperature of your Hamster ensuring that your Hamsters’ organs continue to function in the best way. It prevents the overheating of their body.
  • Water helps in the lubrication of joints. A major component of synovial fluid is water. Synovial fluid is directly responsible for the lubrication of joints.

Food And Water Containers

You must choose the food and water containers wisely. Usually, you get these when you buy the enclosure for your Hamsters but most of those are of cheap quality.

It is advised to use ceramic or glass containers for your Hamsters, they will surely have a hard time tipping it off.

Water bowls and bottles, both have their pros and cons. Bottles make sure that Hamsters do not spill the water, on the other hand, in bowls, there are high chances that your little one will spill the water.

Bowls are easily accessible by your Hamsters whereas water bottles may be difficult to reach and access.

And the list goes on. Give your Hamster the one which you think will be the best or just give both(hahaha).

Once you get your little one and leave them in their new enclosure, you can follow the steps below to make sure they get settled in comfortably.

Make sure you don’t start petting or cuddling them when you first get them as it can cause stress in them.

Get Some Hiding Spaces

Hiding spaces are important to keep your Hamsters happy and stress-free. It is a must in your Hamster’s enclosure.

Hamsters love to snuggle into hiding spaces as it helps them to maintain their body temperature and themselves warm.

You can also prepare hideouts at your home for your little ones just by following the necessary measure:

Cut slash a small opening out of a cardboard box to make an opening. Make sure that you do not leave any sharp edges, or your Hamsters might hurt themselves. Your Hamster can use this place to relax.

You can either get a wooden made hiding spaces for your Hamsters or fleece made snuggle bed, which they can get into and feel at home. These are some of my favorites.

Toys For Your Hamsters

Hamsters cannot sit in one place for very long time as they are active in nature.

Toys will help to enrich your Hamster’s life and will always keep them busy. Also, toys can be a great exercise for your Hamsters. You must try and choose different kinds of toys so that your little one never gets tired of it.

Tunnels:  One of the great sources of amusement for Hamsters are tunnels. By connecting different levels of your Hamster’s enclosure, you can build up tunnels. Make sure the tunnels are spacious enough so that your Hamsters do not have any difficulty in moving.

Chew Toys: Chew toys are important to keep your Hamster’s teeth healthy and well-shaped. Hamster teeth are different from human teeth. Their teeth grow throughout their lifetime. Wooden chew toys are ideal. Make sure the piece of wood you are buying from local pet stores is free from any kind of pesticides or chemicals.

You can check out this set of 10, Hamster Chew Toys, your Hamster will surely love it.

How Do I Get My New Hamster To Settle In?

If you have got yourself a new Hamster, you need to let your Hamster adjust to their surroundings and the people around them.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

Listed below are a few steps you might need to follow to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible:

Leave Your Hamster Alone For A Few Days

Some Hamsters take a day or two to settle while others take even months to get comfortable.

Allow your new Hamster to inspect everything on their own time, and they will generally grow comfortable in their environment and get used to it.

However, check on them every few hours to make sure they are doing well. Do not try to hold them or pet them.

Your Hamsters might not come around from their hiding space when you are around, so leaving them alone makes the process much easy.

Once your little one gets used to the environment, you will see that they will start to explore the cage and will hide less. After this, you can move to the next step.

Sit Around The Cage And Try To Converse With Them

Once your Hamster becomes familiar with their surroundings, you may start the bonding process with them.

It is best to get on the ground or crouch low on the ground whenever you are playing with your Hamster. Sing them a song, tell a story, or just speak about your day.

You might think this advice to be crazy one, but trust me, it doesn’t matter whether they understand you or not.

Conversing with them will get them used to you and your voice, and thus, they will consider you as a part of the environment and not a threat to them.

Provide your Hamsters with a lot of toys and floortime, this will help your Hamster to trust you even more.

Avoid Sudden Movements Or Loud Noises

Hamsters have a sensitive hearing capacity, so a loud noise can be stressful for them.

Hamsters being prey animals, are very cautious about their surroundings. They get alarmed even by the slightest of noise. Therefore, make sure you walk slowly around their enclosure.

Usually, conversing with them for a few days makes them comfortable and solves the problem.

Feed Their Staple Diet

If you got your Hamster from a breeder or shelter, do enquire and learn about their dietary history. Hamsters have a sensitive digestive system and a sudden change in eating habits can disrupt the balance.

Feeding the same mixture of dry pellets, fruits, vegetables, and treats that were previously fed to them, will help them settle down quickly.

If you have no idea about their diet history, then try offering them some vegetables such as carrots and bell pepper. It is best to avoid watery vegetables in the beginning.

Do not give them varieties of vegetables, in the beginning, it is best to introduce one at a time. Once your Hamster gets used to eating around you, you can move to the next step.

Try Hand-Feeding Them With Their Favorite Treats

Once your Hamster gets used to you being around them, you might try hand-feeding them.

Take a large slice of a carrot or some fruit like banana and offer it from your Hamster. Make sure you are not forcing them to hold the fruit or the vegetable. Wait until they come by themselves to take a bite.

Hand-feeding often helps to build a strong bond with Hamster. Start by hand-feeding them for a few days, then you may go ahead and start to pet them.

However, make sure that you not providing them with excess treats, or else it can lead to health complications in them.

Consult A Vet In Case Of Any Problems

If you have understood your Hamster well and followed our guide till now, then everything should have gone well for your Hamsters.

Picture Credits: Dora, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: thehamstercalledmouse

However, if you feel something is wrong with your Hamsters or that they are not eating or drinking even after a few days of being in the enclosure, or they show any signs of sickness, then you might need to take them to a vet.

Signs Your Hamster Has Settled In!

Once you have followed all the steps sincerely and waited for a few days, you might be wondering, are my Hamsters settled in? How will I know when they have? So, here are a few signs that you can look out for to make sure your Hamsters have settled in:

  • Your Hamster has started to hide less often now. You regularly see them exploring the cage and roaming freely.
  • Your Hamster has started to come out to eat and drink, even when you are around.
  • Your Hamster has started using his wheel, toys, etc.
  • Your Hamster has started to take food from your hand.

Conclusion

So, how long should you wait before your Hamsters get settled in? You might need to wait anywhere between 6 days to 6 weeks before your little one feel at home.

You must make sure that you have done enough research about your Hamster’s care and the supplies you need for them before you get them.

If you have got yourself a new Hamster, you need to let your Hamster adjust to their surroundings and the people around them.

Never try to hold your Hamster forcefully, this will just make your Hamster hostile.

If they don’t enjoy it, you might need to wait for few more days before you can pet them or cuddle them

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Mohini

Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am currently studying Animal Nutrition. I have a pet hamster. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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