How To Choose and Set-Up a Transport Carrier
It is always important to have a quality transport carrier prior to picking up your hamster. You need a secure method of transportation to bring your new pet home after all. Not to mention they are also necessary for vet appointments, or should you need to evacuate!
How To Choose a Transport Carrier:
When choosing a transport box, you will need to take into consideration the species of hamster you own. An appropriate transport box should be large enough for your hamster to move around comfortably, and also be tall enough so they can stand and not feel like they are being squished. However, while it is possible for a transport carrier to be too small, it is also entirely possible for a transport carrier to be too big. Remember that a transport carrier is just that: a carrier to allow you to safely transport your pet from x to y destination. While if your carrier is too small your hamster may feel cramped and more stressed, having one too large poses a health risk as they are more likely to be tossed around and thrown about the carrier while being transported. General recommendations when choosing what size of transport carrier to buy that I would advise would be:
Dwarf hamsters: 18cm x 12cm, or max around 30cm x 22cm. 12-15cm minimum height.
Syrian hamsters: 30cm x 22cm or max around 36cm x 26cm, around 15cm minimum height.
The transport carrier should be made of a hard plastic. Carboard or fabric transport carriers are not appropriate for hamsters who will very, very quickly chew out of them (and get lost in your car, in public, etc – it is a disaster waiting to happen).
Setting Up The Carrier:
Now that we’ve discussed what size carrier you should aim for, we’ll discuss how to appropriately set one up. Water bowls are a no-go, and the same applies to water bottles: these will leak/spill while travelling, and just overall unnecessary. If you will be in the car for prolonged periods (be it you are moving, vet is a long distance, etc) you can instead provide your hamster with a water source in the form of watery vegetables: cucumber works the best. Otherwise setting up the carrier is very simple, and all you need is enough substrate/nesting material for your hamster to settle down for the ride, and usually that’s it. If your carrier has enough space, or if you feel your hamster would appreciate one, you can also add a simple, light hide (i like using bendy bridges in this case) to the carrier. Additionally, if you are travelling for a long period, you may want to provide your hamster with a chew toy for the ride (like a whimzee, for example). For short distance trips though, typically nothing other than ample nesting material is needed. If you wish, you can add sprays and/or their food to the carrier. Personally, I choose not to do this only because my hamsters get very stressed out when they are unable to unload their hoard in their burrow which just further adds to the stress they experience in a carrier. But, not every hamster is like this. I keep my carriers more basic, because I've found my hamsters settle quicker by doing so - but if your hamster travels better with something to do like forgage, by all means do what works best for your pet.
For the size of the hamster, the above carrier would be far too big. Additionally, unnecessary bulky, heavy objects may cause injury if tossed around while travelling.
Remember: when setting up a transport carrier, simple is best! Adding unnecessary items like toys, bulky hides, etc just pose a risk to your hamster as the items may get bounced around while travelling and injure your pet!
*Guidelines are based on commonly available carriers on the market.
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