Buying a New Hamster - How Much Does it Cost to Take Care of a Hamster?
You intend to buy a hamster but feel overwhelmed because you do not know exactly how much it will cost? Here is an expanded list with products your hamster needs and their average costs.
Hamster Shopping List: -Cage: between $10-$40 The price varies according to the type of cage you want: wired, aquarium or bin and on the size of the hamster. If you intend to buy a Syrian hamster, be careful what cage you buy because sometimes they might get stuck in Criter Trail and Sam/penplax tubes.
-Bedding :$2-$10 It has various purposes: lines the floor, absorbs odor, toilet place and allows your hamster to hide in it.You have to choose from wide variety of bedding: wood pulp fiber, recycled newspaper, aspen shavings, Kaytee Soft Sorbent, Eco-Straw Pellets and the list goes on . At pet shops you can find even bedding smelling like apples or strawberries.
-Paper bedding: this is optional and the price is very low . I use it because my hamsters love it. All you have to do is to put small pieces of toilet paper(1-3 squares) in their cage and they take it and use it as a blanket. Sometimes they use to decorate their room(house).
-Food dish: $2-$9 Is better if the food dish is not made of wood or plastic because the small hamsters will chew it till there is nothing left. I bought mine a ceramic bowl which they love. This is a better choice because is kind of heavy and they can not move it or spill it.if you want to cut down some costs, you can use some small ceramic bowl you have in your kitchen.
-Water bottle: $2-$5 It's a must have for your hamster. The bottle is the best choice because your hamster can not spill it and make a mess in the cage.You have to be careful when you put this in the hamster's cage: it has to be high enough so he can not chew the plastic part.
-Hamster mix: $2.5-$5 This is the food that you should give to your hamster on a regular basis. Be very careful to buy hamster/gerbil mix and not rabbit mix because it's toxic for your little hamster. The additional proteins and calories that the hamster needs should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables according to your hamster needs.
-Hamster toys: $1.2-$30 This is the part I love most. First, your hamster needs a wheel ($3-$5) so he can exercise.The hamster ball, all kinds of tunnels and chew toys can be bought later on. Instead of buying tunnels or other stuff that you may not afford at the beginning you can use a trick: don't throw away your toilet paper rolls. Use them to entertain your hamster! You can even make some holes in it to be more fun for your hamster.
-Hamster book $1.99-$20 The books are quite informative and of big help especially if you are at your first hamster. There are books written for 9-12 years old, so pretty much everyone has his learning book about hamsters.
Insider's tip: I recommend you to use a small bowl with sand. The hamster likes to have small sand baths and mine uses it as a toilet as well. I empty and wash it every morning. My hamsters first use it as a sand bathtub and then as a toilet.
After you have all this, the monthly cost are :
-bedding: I usually use one big pack of bedding (I change the bedding of the cage at least twice a week) - I use big packs and they usually are enough for a month: $10 per pack -food: one or to packs - $5-$10
It is normal that the initial cost is quite high, but after you bought all the products your hamster needs, the monthly costs are quite low.