Food Bowls & Water Bottles
Filed in Small Animals, Hamster
Your hamster needs a place for his food, whether it's in a container or in a special place on the floor of the cage. While some owners choose not to provide a bowl for food, most do. If you are going to provide your hamster with a food bowl, make sure it is a heavy weight material so that it is not overturned easily. Also, make sure it is chew-proof so that your pet doesn't gnaw on it and ingest plastic.
There are a variety of water bottles available on the market as well. Water bowls are not recommended because litter is often kicked or pushed into the bowls, which leads to a wet and unsanitary environment. The kind of water bottle you get is likely to be determined by the kind of attachment you need for your cage. If you have mesh or wire on your cage, you'll need a bottle that can be attached to the outside of the cage, with the water end of the bottle sticking inside the cage. Other cages may require a bottle with a metal hanging bracket that hangs inside the cage. You'll need to make your decision based on the style of cage you have. Look for sturdy construction as some of the brackets are made out of weak metals which hamsters can easily gnaw through. Also, make sure that your water bottle does not compromise the closure of the cage. A wire-mesh top, which is propped open by the hanger from a water bottle bracket, is an invitation for escape. One more tip for your water bottle - purshace clear plastic, not colored plastic. Colored plastics can sometimes be deceptive when we glance over to see how much water is left or to check on the water supply.
Hamster Feeding Behaviors
Hamster are hoarders. This means that your little buddy will stuff food into his cheek pouches and will bring the food back to his "den" area where he will store the food. In the wild this behavior means that the hamster is exposed to the dangers outside his den for as short a time as possible, however, in domesticated living, this habit can lead to wasted food or food that molds or rots if the cage is not cleaned out regularly. You'll need to make sure that you clean out the cage thoroughly at least once a week, if not more.
Barron's Small Pet Handbook, David Taylor, 1996
The International Encyclopedia of Pet Care, David Alderton, Howell Book House, 1997
Deirdre Kelly is a freelance writer, teacher and animal lover living in Florida.