Sand Bath & Litter Box
Hamsters are very clean animals. They can frequently be observed grooming themselves. When provided with a sand bath, they will use it to clean their skin and fur. Hamsters should never be given baths or get wet as they are very prone to becoming chilled, so being able to clean themselves with sand is important.
Hamsters will use that same sand bath to urinate in. They will stop cleaning their fur in the sand when it becomes too dirty.
Sand for the sand baths can be purchased in a pet store. It is often sold as aquarium or reptile sand. Be sure not to buy chinchilla dust, which is too fine and can cause respiratory issues. Tiny Friends Farm brand bathing sand is also too fine and is unsafe for your hamster. Avoid calcium sand sold for reptiles which is dangerous if ingested. A cost-effective option is to purchase children’s play sand and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for around 90 minutes to kill the microbes which grow in the damp bag. Crayola makes colorful playsand that is also safe if baked.
All sorts of containers can be used as a sand bath. The sand bath should be big enough for your hamster to easily walk a small circle in, easy for them to climb into and tall enough that your hamster won’t kick all the sand out as they actively enjoy their bath. Many containers sold as sand baths in pet stores are too small for them to comfortably use.
To use a sand bath as a litter box, place it in the corner where your hamster prefers to urinate and scoop the clumps and replace the sand as needed.