Introduction: Hamster Habitat: a Guide to Keeping Your Furry Friend Comfortable and Entertained for Hardly Any Money at All
Step 1: The Bedding
Pet bedding gives your hamster something soft to walk on, something to keep them warm, and something to sleep in. I know my hamster loves to curl up in the corner completely covered in bedding. All you ever see is a little tuft of fur poking up from a big pile. Anyway, the bedding can pretty much be anything paper based. For example, cardboard, paper towel, toilet paper, or even Kleenex. I would not suggest regular paper however because it could cut the bottom of your hamsters feet. The paper based substance will also absorb the urine well. Make sure there is a good amount to cover the bottom and also for your hammie to curl up.
Step 2: Food, Glorious Food
Hamsters love fruits and vegetables. A lot. However they can eat meat, but only a bit at a time. I've fed my hamster tiny bits of steak, turkey, and roast beef before. You must make sure that it is unseasoned before you feed it to them though. When feeding fruits to your friend, they cannot eat acidic fruits (lemon, orange, lime, pineapple, etc.). For regular food to put in its cage at all times, however, I suggest sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, almonds, pecans, a mixture of dried fruit, and vegetables. Any of those, you can put in your rodent's food bowl. Remember that it must be unseasoned and unsalted. For the actual food bowl, you can use a small bowl. I put fresh fruits and/or vegetables in the bowl every night before I go to bed for my hamster to eat while he's running around during the night.
Step 3: Water
Instead of buying a water bottle to hang on the side, just fill up a small bowl full of lukewarm water and place it next to the bowl of food. The hamster can then just go up and drink until its hearts content. Some might even use it as a bath! However, most hamsters just lick themselves clean. They might only use it if they have something stuck in their fur. Make sure to check the water everyday so that your hamster never goes thirsty.
Step 4: Home, Sweet Home
For a hut, I suggest using an empty Kleenex box. All you need is an empty Kleenex box and a pair of scissors. Turn the box on its side with the hole facing out. The pair of scissors in hand, cut down from the hole on each side of the hole, so that it is in an arch shape. Make sure you remove the little plastic sheet with the slit in it. You may need to make it wider, depending on the size of your hamster, so go right ahead. If you want, you can even add windows to make it look like a little house. Put some bedding inside it, and place in your already growing hamster habitat.
Step 5: Toys
One simple, frugal toy I'm sure you've all heard of is the infamous toilet paper roll. All you need is... well... a toilet paper roll! Just dig through your bathroom garbage. I'm sure you'll find one... eventually. Anyway, I'm sure you don't want to spend money on a wheel either. Don't worry! All you need is a paper bowl, a wooden craft rod, and some kind of a doodad with hole in it (just nothing that can harm your hamster). Take the bowl and right in the center of the bottom, poke a hole. Then pick up the craft rod and poke it through the hole you just made. Secure the chosen doodad on the end and pull the rod as far back as it can go so that the doodad is flat against the back of the bowl. Then secure it to the side of the habitat any way you want to the side of your habitat (if you use glue, make sure it's hidden so that your hammie doesn't chew on it). Speaking of chewing, your furry friend will need a chew stick to keep their teeth healthy. All you need is a piece of clean wood that will not rot, which you could probably get from your own backyard. I do not encourage you to paint these toys because the paint may contain lead which is deadly to your hamster.
Step 6: Treats
Here's a great recipe for hamster cake:
-6 alfalfa pellets -1-2 tsp warm water
-fresh fruit/veggies -sunflower seeds, shelled
Pour water into a bowl. Let pellets sit in the water until they become mushy. Take a fork and mush pellets until it becomes a paste. Cut up dried fruit and add it to the paste. Then drain the water into another bowl and mix the paste. Crush the sunflower seeds and add to the paste. Smooth cake. Shred fresh fruit and veggies and sprinkle on top. Pour the excess water on top. Crush some more sunflower seeds and put on top.
Note: You can substitute the sunflower seeds for your hammie's favorite seed or nut