Hamsters are desert animals, so they naturally use sand both to keep their fur clean and as a source of litter. Sounds gross? Somehow they make it work!
Your Cheeky baby will come to you "potty trained," meaning we will have exposed them to sand so they have the urge to urinate in it. This will keep your cage cleaner and your bedding costs down.
Play sand is found at your local hardware store. It's typically $5 for 50lbs--super cheap!
The major downside is that you will need to bake the sand to sanitize it and dry it out. See below!
Aquarium sand is a great middle-of-the-road option. It's about $6 for 10lbs, making it a good compromise between the two. The downside is that it can be a bit grainer/sharper than Reptisand, but is still known to be safe. You also get to skip the baking process--a major bonus!
Reptisand is a hamster-safe reptile sand. The sand is soft, smooth, and ready to use. It's pricier than play sand, but you likely won't need more than a few bags in your hamster's lifetime, so it's a great option for single-ham households!
The sand is often very moist inside of its bag. Because of this, it is a breeding ground for bacteria, microbes, and mold. So, play sand needs to be baked in order to sanitize it, kill any pests living inside, and dry it out for safe use.
It's easy! Fill a container with some sand, and pop it in the cage--your hamster will do the rest.
To start, we recommend using disposable food containers, ceramic pie dishes, or glass baking dishes as litter boxes. This is a great opportunity for a thrift shop hunt!
If your hamster loves to dig, we suggest looking into building a sand feature into your cage--see the gallery below! This can be one side of your cage that is purely sand, or simply a larger, taller dish.
If you go the latter route, we suggest a large dog bowl or, our fave, the Fortiflex Mini Pan.
It couldn't be easier--dump, clean the bowl, and refill!
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Xoxo, Tony & Erin