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After the holidays we were thinking of getting a hamster of some kind. A lot of them will be in the shelter in January so it is a good time to adopt anyway- later in the month all the babies of the ones people bought and did not sex properly will also be there. But I am having a lot of trouble finding good resources about taking care of them. I know from rats that most commercial food they sell for rodents is totally inappropriate for them and I want to do the right thing by a hamster. I am also looking for resources/suggestions about the different species. I would rather have a more active hamster that was less handle-able but more fun to watch if anyone has suggestions. My rats ate a mix of fresh foods and grain mixes supplemented with Harlan Teklad- a high quality block food I purchased online, so I am willing to do whatever for a hamster I just don't know what would be best! I get the impression that the UK is much more into hamsters than we are over here so I am hoping some of the UK people (or anyone) might have some info for me.
 

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I have kept and bred all the species of hamster. What specifically would you like to know?
The large Syrian variety are solitary, the dwarf species can be housed in groups as are more social. I think Roborovskis are a lot of fun to watch, or Chinese hamsters if they are available where you are. It also depends on what sort of habitat you can provide, some species are more agile, some prefer digging to climbing. I fed all mine a home prepared diet of various grains, fresh foods and insects.
 

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I have been looking at Roborovskis, they seem to be the most fun to watch and there are a lot of them around here.

Mostly I was looking for suggestions on habitat and food. I would like to give them a home prepared diet if I can, do you have any suggestions for what to include? As far as a habitat I do have my old mouse cage, it is a 10 gallon fish tank and I had a custom topper made for it. The topper is a single level of 1/4" powder coated mesh and is very secure, the top latch has a spring and it sits very flush to the top of the tank. Here is the only picture I can find, the top is open here obviously-


I am willing to make a purchase if that set up doesn't work though. My main concern with that topper is it is powder coated. I know that chinchillas cannot be in powder coated cages because they chew and eat the powder coating but is that a concern with hamsters?
 

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I used glass aquariums for all my hamsters.
Roborovskis are burrowers by nature, they like deep substrate so they can dig. I don't know if they would utilise the top space in your mouse tank, I would probably cover the wire floor too. They are nowhere near as agile as mice lol. They are also a fair bit smaller. I never had issues with them escaping, but I kept them in colonies in large tanks 15" deep so they couldn't reach the lids. Syrians are fond of bar chewing, but my Roborovskis never had the opportunity.
That tank would be great for Chinese, they enjoy climbing more
 
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