5 Reasons Your Hamster Bites And How To Stop It

A biting hamster is never fun. For example my Teddy used to nip at my fingers when I first brought him. I figured out why he wanted to bite and how to stop him as well. 

As it turns out, hamsters do a lot of things with their teeth, and half the time they have their teeth on you they’re not really biting.

hamster biting

So why is your hamster biting in the first place ?

Hamsters bite when annoyed or scared, and they’re very easy to scare.

That’s the most common reason, but a list of possible reasons could be:

  1. Your hamster is scared/irritated – hamsters get defensive real fast, and that often means biting or scratching
  2. The hamster could be hungry or you could be smelling of food
  3. He found an unfamiliar scent on you, or you might be a new person – he might bite strangers
  4. Your hamster might be a difficult hamster, or one that doesn’t like being handled at all
  5. He might be hurting and you’re touching that part of him

There are times when you might mistake a nibble for the beginning of a bite, draw your hand fast, thus scaring the hamster, and end up bitten anyway.

I’ve found this out with my Teddy when he was young, and I was trying to earn his trust. He still nips from time to time, since he is a hamster after all.

Hamsters are very curious things, and will want to explore everything. Since they can’t see very well, they’ll use their paws, nose and teeth to try everything out. Let’s talk about that for a bit, since it can often be mistaken for a bite.

Hamsters nibble and chew on everything – including you

This doesn’t mean you’re a snack for him, he knows that. It’s just that hamsters have very very poor eye sight. Just enough to see right in front of them, but not enough to tell distances or certain things apart.

So, hamsters use their ears, whiskers, paws and nose to figure out the things around them. This, combined with a natural curiosity will make them want to touch and feel everything. That means that your hamster will also try nibbling on things to get a feel for them.

Much like baby humans, actually. Except hamsters never grow out of that phase. That, and the fact that a hamster’s front teeth never stop growing. Ever. So they need to always file them down on something, and that’s an instinct as well.

So the next time you feed your hammy from your hand, don’t be surprised if he starts inching towards the edge of your palm, or the crease of the palm. He’s naturally drawn there, and will try to chew on any ends and bits, even if they’re your fingers.

When this happens, draw your hand away slowly. Try to suppress your reflex since any quick movement will scare your hamster. And once you’ve scared him, he will definitely bite. So take your hand away gently and you hamster will leave it alone.

Until you present it to him again, since he is very curious, always. But draw your hand away gently, and he won’t bite.

Teddy: Us hamsters are a curious bunch, and we’ll want to try to get a feel of everything. Don’t make any sudden movements, we scare easily !

Reasons your hamster is biting – and what to do about them

These are things I’ve tried myself, and things I’ve discovered from talking to other hamster owners. Most of these can be managed easily enough.

Your hamster is scared or irritated

These are in fact the same thing, at their core. A scared hamster is an angry, jumpy hamster, so we want to avoid this as much as possible, for the hamster and for you as well.

For more info on why your hamster can get scared of you – or anything else, really – you should go here. It’s an article on exactly why your hamster might be scared, and what you can do to calm him down. Also, you find out how to avoid most of the reasons your hamster gets scared. Do take note that some hamsters are just too easy to scare, and that’s just their personality.

In short, any scared or irritated hamster should not be handled immediately. Give the furball some time to relax and calm down, speak to him softly. Talking to him helps a lot, but keep you voice low since hamsters have very sensitive hearing.

Using food and treats works as a way to get the hamster used to you, and he will calm down much faster with a peanut in his paws than not. Unsalted peanut, no peel.

Your hamster is hungry, or you’ve just handled food

This is very true, and something that is easy to forget. Like dogs, hamsters have very keen senses of smell. So if you’ve handled some food, wiped your hands on a towel, then went to pick up your hamster, he might bite.

This is because he can smell the food on your hands, and not figure out that it’s your hand, not a piece of chicken.

So wash your hands very well before handling your hamster. Use a soap that doesn’t have a strong smell, and avoid any fruity soaps. Make sure you get under the nails since some food particles might get stuck there, and your hamster might go straight for those.

And sometimes, your hamster might be very hungry in that particular moment, and you’ve chosen to handle him when he wanted to eat. So, never handle the hamster when he is eating, same as you would leave alone a dog or cat when they’re eating.

You might smell unfamiliar, or you’re a new person he just met

Most hamsters are skittish, they don’t trust very easily and get defensive fast. That’s normal when you take into account how many predators they have in the wild.

Now, if your hamster that you’ve had since forever and used to pick up easily, suddenly shies away or even bites your hand, there is a reason. What have you handled recently ? Another animal’s scent might have picked up on you, like a stray cat you played with, or the neighbor’s dog.

It might be on your clothes, not necessarily on your hand. Or, it could be a strong smell like citrus – winter time with orange and clementine peels, maybe. A strong perfume, or anything new your hamster doesn’t recognize.

My Teddy hates citrus oil and scrunches up his face whenever I peel an orange. Coffee grounds is again a scent he doesn’t like. I mean he gets close to the edge of the cage, gets a few whiffs, then makes the most disgusted face. He always does that, even if he’s smelled my coffee every morning. Maybe I make terrible coffee, who knows.

As with the food on your hands, make sure you wash your hands before handling your hamster. And if you’ve got any heavily scented clothes on you, consider changing out of them.

But what if you’re a new person, and you don’t know the hamster ?

That’s a whole other story, and the hamster will not want to be around you at first.

Most hamsters are distrustful, so you should not try to touch them right after seeing them for the first time. A very clear example was when a neighbor came with his daughter to see the hamster. The little girl is blind, so she needs to see with her hands.

But since Teddy never met her, and I didn’t know better, and she tried to ouch him, Teddy started squeaking and tried to catch one of her fingers. I had him in my hands, and got him away fast enough.

No one ended up bitten, but I learned a very important lesson that day. Strangers need to be introduced slowly, and the hamster will take a few encounters to accept someone new.

So if you’re meeting a new hamster for the first time, first let him smell your hand through the cage. Then, feed him a bit of food through the cage.

After a few tries, or better after a couple of days, you can then try to place your hand inside the cage, with a bit of food on it, to encourage him to touch your hand.

Your hamster might be difficult to handle

Some hamsters just don’t like being handled, no matter how much time or effort you put in. That’s just their personality, and there’s not much you can do about it.

If you do find yourself with a difficult hamster, still try to be nice to him. Try finding his limit, and don’t cross it. If he will eat from your hand, but absolutely will not climb onto your hand or let you pick him up, then stop.

That’s where his comfort ends, and there’s no point in pushing him any further. He may be your pet, but there are certain limits you both have.

If your hamster is exceptionally difficult, try going to your local vet. He might be able to figure out something that you can’t, like if your hamster has an illness or maybe he’s seen cases like this before.

It might take a very very long time to tame a difficult hamster. It might even take months, but you should still try. This is especially true if it’s a hamster you’ve picked up from a shelter or previous owner. There might be some bad things that the hamster can’t forget.

Always approach the hamster with a treat or food, and it will be easier. If you want to know what treats or foods are safe for your hamster, you should check out this hamsters food list. It’s got what you can and can not feed hamsters, and what kind of treats hamsters can eat.

My Teddy is a bit difficult

In that, he will not sit still for more than 2 seconds when you hold him. He is a hamster, most of them don’t sit still anyway. But my Teddy is a very strong and independent hamster, who don’t need no man.

Seriously though, there are times when he will stay in my hand, but most of the time I have to do the hand-washing motion when I handle him. You know, putting one hand in front of the other while he keeps trying to climb out.

He rarely ever bites anymore, he used to a while back. But this was mostly because it took me a few weeks to tame him. This is when I found out that hamsters can lose trust in their owners sometimes. I had a period when I was too afraid to touch him, so I had to re-tame him.

But now Teddy and I are friends again, he only nibbles my hand when I feed him, and he doesn’t shy away like he used to when I reach for him.

Whatever I write here is what I’ve tried or found out with my Teddy, and I hope it helps you befriend your hamster faster than I did.

Your hamster might be hurting

Sometimes hamsters hurt themselves and it’s not obvious. Like maybe he fell from a level in his cage, or bit himself while grooming, or possibly sprained his foot in the wheel.

It could be anything. But sometimes it’s not noticeable straight away, like a whole mess of blood and fur. Sometimes it’s a slight limp, or maybe not even that.

But when you go to pick up your hamster, he might bite because you’re touching a very sensitive part of his body. If you had a sprained ankle and someone tried to pet it you’d hate it too.

If you notice anything like this with your hamster, call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your hamster might be sick or hurt, and need medical attention.

Most of the time minor injuries heal by themselves, but with small creatures like hamsters you need to be very careful.

A few precautions when picking up your hamster

Most of the time the biting happens because the hamster is scared. And a few things need to be done properly before you try to pick up your hamster.

Make sure that when you handle your hamster there are no loud noises, flashing lights, sudden movements.

So no picking up the hamster under the Christmas tree with the fairy lights on with loud music, for example. Hamsters are easy to scare. A calm, quiet, predictable atmosphere will keep the hamster at ease.

Do not pick up your hamster from above.

As in, do not use your hand like a claw to close it around your hamster. You’re scaring him, since it feels a lot like when his ancestors were swooped up by birds of prey.

Instead, use a scooping motion. Come from the front, with an open palm and let the hamster climb in on his own. You can use a treat in your hand to make the hamster come closer.

Then, place your other hand on top of the hamster, like a shield. Hamsters are active and fidgety and they will not sit still in your hand.

Make sure your hands and clothes don’t have a strong smell

Perfume, fruits, motor oil, coffee, whatever you’ve used recently. When you wash your hands, avoid fruity soaps since your hamster will truly believe that’s an apple or strawberry you have on your hand, and will try to bite into it.

Avoid any sudden movements.

Hamsters can’t see very well, but they notice your movements. You don’t have to be extra slow, but do not be too quick with your hands.

Dwarf hamsters are more jittery

The smaller hamster breeds are a bit hyperactive, and will rarely sit still. An adult Syrian hamster like my Teddy might come up to you … normally, I’d say. But a dwarf will scurry and race every where. So, they’re harder to handle and bite easier.

If you’ve got long nails and if you’ve got nail polish on, avoid exposing them to your hamster.

This is because hamsters will nibble on everything that sticks out, so your nails are a great for that. And if the hamster chews on nails that are done up ? The nail polish is toxic for him, so make sure he doesn’t get his teeth anywhere near your nails.

This is something my girlfriend discovered shortly after we got Teddy. Luckily she wasn’t wearing anything on her nails at the time.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

hamster biting

If all else fails, you can use a garden glove

In no way is this a good way to handle your hamster on a regular basis. But if you’ve got a very difficult hamster, and you need to pick him up for a short amount of time (like checking his body for injuries or rashes) then you will need protection.

A gardening glove is great for this, since it’s made of thick, sturdy material the hamster can bite into without hurting himself or you. There are a few things to be careful about when you handle the hamster like this:

  • be careful to not squeeze him hard
  • be careful to hold him firmly enough, since he will wiggle his way out
  • keep the handling very very short, very close to his cage in case he jumps

A hamster is a very light creature, and he’s hard enough to feel in your hand anyway. All that fluffy fur, combined with a light weight, you don’t really know where he starts and where he finishes.

But this is so very important with the gardening glove. You will not be able to feel him on your hands, but you will see him. So you must be careful to not squeeze him too hard, or hold him too lightly either.

A few other options when handling your hamster

Depending on why you need to handle your difficult hamster, you have a few other options aside from the gardening glove.

You can place the hamster in a tall, plastic cup if you need to weight him on a kitchen scale. Just place the Cut laid down in his cage, and wait for him to climb in on his own. Of course, you need to account for the cup’s weight.

You can use the hamster’s exercise ball if you need to move him from one cage to the other. Place a treat in his exercise ball, and wait for him to climb in. Then, scoop him up and place him in his new cage.

You can also use a series of tubes your hamster can climb into to get him from one cage to another. Just tap the place you want him to be, and he will soon try to find where the sound is coming from. Then you can block off the tunnels he went through once he is where he wants to be.

A gardening glove is never a good option for constant handling, but it works if you’ve got absolutely no other method of literally picking up your hamster for a good reason.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for. I know us hamsters can be a bit difficult sometimes, but we never mean you any harm. We’re scared more often than not, so there’s that too.

If you come to us with a bit of food and a slow steady hand, we probably won’t bite. So if you want to know more about the kind of food we can eat, or what kind of cage suits us best, check the articles below.

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Or, you can keep the board perfectly horizontal, and only have a treat tied to a string or on the end of a stick. This is teasing, yes, but the hamster does get the treat in the end. Simply make him walk over the board a few times, and let him have his treat. Always check to see if his paws are okay. If you get grit small enough, he should be fine. You can try this exercise every 2-3 weeks, to make sure your hamster keeps his nails short. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies usually take good care of our bodies, so our nails are usually pretty trim. It’s just that some of us need a little help from time to time. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Why Is My Hamster’s Water Bottle Leaking? 4 Main Reasons
Why Is My Hamster’s Water Bottle Leaking? 4 Main ReasonsA hamster water bottle leaking is annoying, but many times is quite easy to solve the problem since there are only a few things you can check. Most water bottles have five elements: the tube where you put the water, the lid, a drinking metal tube with a metal ball, a gasket, and a clip to be attached by the cage. Before getting to the article is important to know that one or two drips from the water bottle when you just filled it are fine. It’s usually what was on the tube since you move it quite a lot. Table of Contents Toggle4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle1. Missing or damaged casket2. Loose lid3. The ball bearing4. Crack in the bottleCan you use a water bowl?Types of water bottlesHow much water does a hamster drink?How often to change the water?How to clean a water bottle?Conclusion 4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle Those are the four main reasons for a leaky water bottle. 1. Missing or damaged casket As with all things that have a gasket, this is the most common reason for a leaking water bottle. The good part is that it can be fixed, the bad part is that it can be quite hard to find a gasket that suits your water bottle. Also, considering the time and money spent to find a gasket might not be worth it since the water bottle itself is quite cheap. You might find one online, and if you have free shipping, it can be a solution, but if you have to pay shipping costs, it will probably cost more than a new water bottle. So make sure you check the bottle to have all the parts when you buy it. 2. Loose lid A loose lid is more common, but it’s usually not the fault of the water bottle itself, but rather you didn’t close it tight enough. So this is not a problem that a water bottle has but rather negligence on your part. As you can imagine, this is quite easy to fix. All you have to do to fix a loose lid is to open it, fill the bottle with water if needed, and close it tightly. I know from my water bottle that sometimes it doesn’t align perfectly, and I have to do it again. Make sure you check if the bottle is leaky before attaching it to the cage. 3. The ball bearing Most water bottles have one or more ball bearings that create a vacuum and stop the water from leaking uncontrollably. They should not drip if they are in the right position, but a few things can displace the small metal balls. If you don’t wash the bottle regularly, it might accumulate debris that can change the ball’s position and make the bottle leak. We will talk about how to clean water bottles later in the article. If the bottle is clean, but the balls are still displaced, all you have to do is to take the lid out and shake it a bit. 4. Crack in the bottle This one is quite obvious, and hard to fix. If you see a crack in your hamster water bottle, your best option is to change it with a new one or to return it to where you bought it if it’s new. There might be a few temporary solutions, but it is not worth the time and effort. You don’t know when it will crack again if you don’t fix it well, and you might not be home for a few days, which can put your small hamster in danger. Here is an article about how much time a hamster can live without food or water. One extra tip, this is not for a water bottle that is leaking, but it’s similar. I noticed that my current hamster, while digging in the bedding, moved it underneath the water bottle and it touched the ball bearing, essentially letting water run constantly and soaking all the bedding. So it wasn’t the bottle’s fault, but it can be quite dangerous for your hamster, especially if you leave the house for a few days. So make sure you don’t add too much bedding in the area where the water bottle is to avoid this situation. This is especially true if your hamster loves to dig and thus move things around.  Can you use a water bowl? You should not use a water bowl for your hamster, despite many people recommending it. It can be quite dangerous for you little furballs since they should never get wet. Hamsters have some natural oils in their fur and getting wet might get rid of those oils, which protects them from sudden temperature shifts. The worst part is that those oils do not regenerate, so once they are washed from the hamster’s fur, they will not have them anymore. Hamsters are very active and don’t have good eyesight, so we can only imagine that they will get into the bowl or spill it over them sooner or later. They are also not very careful walkers, so their bowl would often get filled with debris like seeds, poop, and bedding, making the water essentially undrinkable.  It bothers me when I see people recommending water bowls for hamsters without knowing those facts. A water bowl might be an option only if your hamster doesn’t want to drink from the bottle, but you should be careful with how much water you put into the bowl in this case.  If you do want to use a bowl, make sure you buy a small bowl and don’t fill it up in case your hamster gets into the bowl not to get wet more than the paws. Types of water bottles There are many models/designs for water bottles but as far as types, there are only two. The regular water bottle that you attach to the cage, and only the metal tube gets inside the cage, which is the most popular one and, in my opinion, the most effective since your hamster doesn’t get to chew on the bottle. I always used this type since it’s the easiest to get out and change the water without bothering your hamster too much. Here you can find a good one on amazon: The second type comes with a stand, and you place them inside the cage. Those are the best ones if your cage doesn’t allow you to place the bottle on the bars or if you have a glass tank, which can be a great house for your hamster, but it will not allow you to use a regular water bottle, except this one from amazon which can work but I haven’t tried it.   But if you are looking for a type that stays in the cage, this one might be the best for you:    How much water does a hamster drink? A hamster will drink about 10ml water per 100g body weight. A Syrian hamster weighs between 85 and 150 grams, meaning a maximum of 15ml water per day should be enough. So when you buy a bottle, you should aim for a big enough bottle to make sure your hamster has enough water in case you leave the house for a few days (so something like 100 ml). But make sure the tube is not large, do not get a bottle fit for a guinea pig or rabbit ! To ensure your hamster bottle is working and your hamster is actually drinking water, you should see a bubble that goes up in the tube when the hamster is actively drinking water. How often to change the water? There is no rule that says how often you should change the water of your hamster, usually it should be good until it empties if the bottle is not way too big. It depends more on the water quality than anything else, so if the water is good, you should not worry about how often to change the water in the bottle. When it comes to what temperature the water should be, room temperature or cold but not very cold water is good. How to clean a water bottle? I’ve said that I will come back and talk about how to clean the water bottle, so here we are. Many people recommend using disinfectants or homemade ones with bleach and so on, but there is a huge risk if you don’t rinse the water bottle thoroughly after using bleach or any soap or disinfectant. This is my 6th year of having a hamster pet, and the first two died of old age so they were pretty healthy, I would say, but I never used anything else other than hot water to clean their water bottles. It is safer this way, you can unscrew the tube from the water bottle and rinse it with hot water, then do the same with the bottle itself. Afterward, wrap a paper towel on the end of a spoon and clean the inside of the bottle with that paper towel. Rinse them with hot water one more time, and everything should be clean and ready to use again. Conclusion A leaking hamster bottle is annoying, but now you know where to check and how to fix it, or if the bottle is cracked, at least you know that you should buy a new one without trying to fix it. And again, do not use a water bowl for your hamster only when they don’t want to drink from the water bottle. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters And Gerbils Live Together ? An Owner’s Guide
Can Hamsters And Gerbils Live Together ? An Owner’s GuideIf you’re wondering if you can keep a hamster and a gerbil together, you need to read this. They’re often mistaken for one another, but the differences between hamsters and gerbils are critical. We’ll see whether these two rodents can live together, and what decides that fact. For a more detailed comparison between gerbils and hamster, you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters and gerbils live together ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the gerbil’s personalityMajor differences between hamsters and gerbilsHousing a hamster vs housing a gerbilA word from Teddy So can hamsters and gerbils live together ? No, hamsters and gerbils can not and should not live together. This is because the hamster is territorial, and will attack (and kill) anything that tries to come close, even their own siblings. While gerbils can and do live together, hamsters do not. This makes hamsters unable to share their home with anything, especially not an animal that is not another hamster. There are some very important differences between the two, and we’ll discuss them here. About the hamster’s personality Hamsters are small animals, about the size of a gerbil (without the gerbil’s tail) and they’re very much prey for other, larger animals. This means that they are skittish, will try to hide as often as they can, and do not react well to strangers. Hamsters are more aggressive than gerbils, and they will attack anyone or anything that comes too close. There are some submissive hamsters that just cower in a corner or freeze in fear, but most will actually attack and fight to the death. This means that housing a hamster with anything is a bad idea. Most of the time even another hamster is a bad idea, even if they’re siblings. Hamsters sleep during the day, and wake up in the evening. They stay up all night, running in their wheel and playing in their cage. In the wild they’d be running from predators and looking for food at the same time, while fending off intruders on their territory. Busy little things. A hamster doesn’t react well to stress, and is actually quite jittery and restless when handled. He will not stay put, at all, and will want to wander off and explore everything. As such, a big cage with lots of space is going to help the hamster feel more at ease, and less stressed. About the gerbil’s personality Gerbils are social animals, and they actually live in colonies of up to 20 individuals in a colony. This means that you can house together several gerbils and they would be fine, but their cage needs to be very large. The more gerbils you own, the larger the cage. Since gerbils are social, this means they’re okay with sharing, but only with gerbils they know. Strangers, or even siblings that smell different are attacked on sight (well, rather smell) and it’s usually deadly. Gerbils, like hamsters, will protect their own. It’s just that their definition of ”their” also includes their immediate family. Most of the time gerbils are kept only in pairs, partly because a cage big enough for 10 gerbils isn’t easy to find or fit somewhere. Compared to hamsters, gerbils are more mellow, and are easier to tame. They can still be skittish, especially as babies, but not nearly as much as hamsters. Gerbils too are very active animals (all rodents are), and they’re always exploring, digging a tunnel, making a nest, playing with a friend, or running on their wheel. Their energy is similar to the hamster, and as such they needs lots of stimulation. Unlike hamsters, a lone gerbil will become depressed, and possibly ill from being so lonely. They need the stimulation and activity a colony (or at least another gerbil) provides, and they grow up happier if they have a friend. Major differences between hamsters and gerbils A hamster is fairly short, stocky, and has barely any noticeable tail. There are 5 types of hamster to choose from (Syrian, Chinese, Roborovski, Campbell, and Djungarian) and they look very different from a gerbil. The only hamster that resembles a gerbil is the Chinese, with its long slender body and longer tail. Not as long as the gerbil’s tail, but definitely longer than the other hamster tails (which are just stubs). Gerbils have longer bodies, and look like a bit of a cross between a mouse and a squirrel, minus the bushy tail. A hamster has a much shorter neck, and a wider body. It looks fluffier than a gerbil, and has more of a rounded face. Both gerbils and hamsters love to run, but their needs are different. A hamster needs a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm for a wheel, but a gerbil will need a much larger one, since its tail is sensitive. If the tail is injured or caught in something (and it can happen in a wheel) it can and will fall off. This is not easy on the gerbil, nor on you as an owner. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Another big difference is the sleeping and activity patterns. While the hamster sleeps during the day, the gerbil will go about his business. He will take short naps throughout the day, but the main sleeping time is the night. This annoys the hamster greatly, since he is trying to sleep. An irritated hamster that hasn’t rested well enough will be very hard to handle, and will snap at the gerbil. Conversely, while the gerbil sleeps at night, the hamster will wake up and do his own hamster things. This will wake up the gerbil and he will not rest well, leading to other fights. Food is pretty much the only thing hamsters and gerbils agree upon. They even share food mixes/pellets, since they both eat mostly grains, with some veggies and fruit, peanuts, and a bit of protein when they can. Housing a hamster vs housing a gerbil Two gerbils can live in a lone Syrian’s cage – 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. But a single hamster can’t live in a single gerbil’s cage, unless it is a Dwarf hamster. All this means is that a gerbil and a hamster have different housing needs, and they will end up fighting over space anyway. This is because most cages aren’t large enough for a hamster and a gerbil together, but also because both animals mark their territory. They both use their scent glands to mark what;s their, be it it with their bellies, hips, or faces rubbed against various objects. This leads to fighting in the end, and there is no amount of toys and duplicate of cage objects that will keep that from happening. Both the hamster and the gerbil love to chew, so in that respect they would need the same toys and hideouts. They would both end up chewing on the cage bars or trying to escape, so housing them together is not good. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies get confused with gerbils often, but we’re really very different. And we can’t live together, at all. We’d fight all the time. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
A Word On Keeping Hamsters With Rats, Or Hamsters With Mice
A Word On Keeping Hamsters With Rats, Or Hamsters With MiceA hamster isn’t all that different from a mouse, or a rat, since all 3 are rodents. You might argue they can all live together, or at least get along during playtime. As it happens, these 3 animals are in fact very similar. But it’s the key differences between them that mean they’re not as good a match. If you want a more detailed comparison between rats, mice, and hamsters, you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters live with rats ?Can hamsters live with mice ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the rat’s personalityAbout the mouse’s personalityDifferences in food for hamsters, rats, and miceCage size differences between the 3 rodent typesPlaytime and other habits that might conflictA word from Teddy So can hamsters live with rats ? No, hamsters can’t live with rats. A hamster is territorial, solitary, and will try to attack anything that crosses his path.  A rat is much larger, calmer, and very social, loves to live in groups. However it will bite back if the hamster attacks, and it won’t stop until the hammy is dead. While both the rat and the hamster are good pets, hamsters simply can’t share their space with another. They only seek another soul when they’re ready to mate. Any other time would be a deathmatch. We’ll cover the main characteristics of hamsters and rats in the rest of the article, so you will get a more thorough answer to your question. But if rats being larger are a problem, what about mice ? Good question, let’s look into that.   Can hamsters live with mice ? No, hamsters can’t live with mice either. The hamster is territorial, solitary, and likes to keep his food to himself. A mouse is smaller than a Syrian hamster, but much faster, and agile, and will end up stealing the hamster’s food. If you keep just one mouse and just one hamster, the hamster will end up killing the mouse. The size helps there. However if you’ve got at least two mice and a hamster, they will gang up on the hamster, turning the fight in favor of the mice. It’s really not a good idea to combine hamsters with any other animal. At all. Even another hamster is a bad idea half the time, let alone a different animal. Let’s see why hamster and mice can’t really get along, even if they’re closer in size than rats and hamsters. About the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. About the rat’s personality A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent. That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them. When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal the hamster’s food if they think it’s tastier, or it’s something they like. Very important to note, rats tend to attack and view as food anything smaller than them. That includes the hamster, and the mouse too actually. Back to the rat’s intelligence, they’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters, and would be able to rick them if they wanted. A bored rat next to a skittish hamster does not sound good. About the mouse’s personality The mice are a bit harder to tame than the rat, since they’re so small and all over the place. They too are social animals, but they need to be in same-sex pairs, female if possible. Male mice can get along, but it’s like with the Dwarf hammies. Only if they were kept together as babies, need a very big cage, and they still might fight. Aside from that, mice have much of the same diet as rats. As in, they can and will eat nearly anything, and will steal bits of food whenever they can. Mice are fairy skittish, and need a lot of patience from their owners when being handled. They don’t jump out of your hands as often as the hamster. But they still can. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Differences in food for hamsters, rats, and mice Food is something these 3 would argue over, and here’s why. While mice, rats, and hamsters are omnivores, hamsters still tend to eat mostly grains and veggies. So giving them the same feed will leave the dietary needs of the other ones unmet. And there will be food thefts, which can become a major problem. A rat stealing from a hamster can make do, although the hamster might fight back. However a hamster can’t really steal from the rat’s food, since it’s made up of slightly different nutrients. So that leaves the hamster at a disadvantage. Also the fact that the rat will protect his food and bite the hamster is another concern. You can’t keep separate food bowls for hamsters, mice, or rats. They won’t know which is which, and will pick out what they like from whichever bowl they find. Hamsters hoard food in their nest, as do rats and mice. However if the hamster feels unsafe in his hideout – and he will, with another rodent – he’ll keep the food in his cheek pouches. This leads to a host of health problems, since those pouches are not meant as permanent storage. Cage size differences between the 3 rodent types Hamsters need a minimum of of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a lone, Syrian hamster. A single, male mouse will need a cage of 10 x 12 inches/25 x 30 cm. The same size will work for a trio of female mice. Males need more space of their own, but the larger the space, the more territorial they become. Rats, on the other hand, need a cage about 25 x 12.5 inches/ 63 x 31 cm for one single male rat. The more rodents your have the bigger the space you’ll need, if you want to combine the hamster with either one of them. However I do not recommend putting hamsters in with any other rodent, even if your got them both as babies. They’re very different animals, even if they’re kind of related. Playtime and other habits that might conflict While some things might annoy your hamster, like cleaning his cage, they might be okay for your rat or mouse. Cage cleaning can be postponed for up to two weeks for hamsters, since they won’t smell at all, they only have the one pee corner. Rats and mice habitats become smellier faster, and need regular cleaning once per week at the latest. Playtime is another problem that might come up. Hamsters don’t like being handled all that much, while mice and rats are more comfortable with their owners. Hamsters, mice, and rats alike need lots of exercise to keep themselves occupied. However hamsters are much jumpier than the other two, and will become defensive very fast. So to sum everything up, and give you a very clear answer: Hamsters should be kept alone, not even with another hamster. Keeping a hamster with a rat, or with a mouse might sound like a good idea since they might be similar. But the differences between them will lead to very uncomfortable pets. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies might look related to mice and rats, but we don’t really get along. Rats are too big, and mice too small. And they’re both very social, while us hamsters like to be on our own. Nothing personal, it’s just us being hamsters, that’s all. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below to find out how to care for us properly. [...] Read more...
12 Reasons That Hamsters Squeak-Understanding Your Pet
12 Reasons That Hamsters Squeak-Understanding Your PetAlmost all animals have a distinct sound. We know that dogs bark for many reasons, cry when they want something, and growl when they are aggressive, but not many people know what sounds hamsters make. The most common noises that hamsters make are squeals, screams, and squeaks, but they can also hiss and grind their teeth. It is hard to say exactly why your hamster is making any of these noises, which is why you’ll have to examine what it’s doing to understand why it’s making that noise. However, we do have a general idea of what might be going on with your hamster when it makes certain sounds. If your hamster is grinding its teeth, it means that your hamster is probably irritated and wants you to leave it alone. If you notice that it is baring its teeth, it is giving you a visual warning that it’s planning to attack you. Similar to a car, your hamster can hiss if it’s aggressive and does it to give off warning signs before it attacks. It might hiss if you won’t leave it alone after it ran away from you, and if you don’t stop trying to take it even after it hissed at you, it will probably bite you. You won’t hear your hamster screaming very often. They usually scream because they are afraid of something, and the scream is loud and distressing.  The most common sound all hamsters make is squeaking. Squeaking can mean so many things which is why it’s very hard to determine why your hamster is squeaking without examining the situation. Here are 12 reasons why your hamster might be squeaking, which will help you understand your hamster better. Table of Contents Toggle1. Your hamster is happy2. Your hamster is afraid3. Your hamster needs something4. Your hamster is talking to other hamsters5. Your hamster doesn’t like being picked up6. Your hamster recognizes something7. Your hamster is aggressive8. Your hamster is trying to be dominant9. Your hamster is trapped or in danger10. Your hamster wants to breed11. Your hamster is giving birth12. Your hamster is injured 1. Your hamster is happy Hamsters sometimes squeak when they are happy. For example, hamsters are known to squeak when they get a treat, or when you pet them. If you have more than just one hamster, your hamsters could squeak because they are happy to see each other, or just because they are playing. You can tell that your hamster is squeaking because it is happy if you see it stretch or yawn while squeaking.  2. Your hamster is afraid When your hamster squeaks continually, it’s telling someone to back off. The hamster can be saying this to other hamsters if you have more than just one, or to you, if it’s new to your home and still afraid of you. If your hamster is new, socialization will make it calm down. When you get a hamster for the first time, it might be hard to figure out on your own how to tame it.  The first thing you should do when you bring a hamster home is to let it adjust. Try giving it a week before you handle it. Keep it in a big enough cage, and make sure it always has water and food, so it’s not stressed out. It would be best if you placed the cage somewhere where it is surrounded by people, but where it won’t be disturbed by the noise, distractions, or other pets. It’s important to remember that hamsters sleep during the day, so they will need to be placed somewhere peaceful and quiet during this week, but where they can still see people. A good place would be a study if you work from home or a bedroom. Try not to get annoyed with the taming process, as it doesn’t happen overnight. The goal of the taming process is to convince your hamster to trust you, and that there’s no reason for it to be afraid of it. You will have to take the time to get to know your hamster and learn how it communicates.  You will notice that your hamster has become more comfortable once it leaves its cage on its own. Do not handle your hamster before it leaves the cage on its own, you will just make it more afraid of you. The hamster will let you know that it is comfortable with you when it eats, drinks, or plays when you’re around. You should talk to your hamster, but not too loudly, so it gets used to your voice. You might feel awkward talking to your hamster, so try reading it a book, or if you have kids, read them a goodnight story with the hamster present in the room.  They say that love goes through the stomach, and that’s true for hamsters as well. You can convince your hamster to trust you by offering it a lot of treats. Start by offering them through the bars or at the edge of the cage. Wait for the hamster to come and explore your hand, but don’t try to touch it. After a while, you will be able to place your hand inside the cage and put the treat on your hand. Again, it is very important that you don’t touch the hamster or try to force it into your hand. Instead, let it get interested and explore your hand. The first time you do this, the hamster will probably only place one paw on your hand. The more you do it, the more your hamster will trust you, and eventually, it will climb into your hand to get the treat. When your hamster trusts your enough to get to your hand, you can try to take it into your hand. If you notice that your hamster wants to get away, let it go. Your hamster will probably do this the first few times, but after a while, it will realize that your hands are safe. How long it will take for your hamster to let you pick it up depends on its personality and age. Some hamsters might let you pick them up as soon as they come into your home, while others need a month or longer to fully relax and trust you. Make sure you pick it up safely. The best way to do so is to cup your hand and put the hamster in it and place the other hand on its back so that it feels safe. The first few times you pick up your hamster, make sure there is a soft surface beneath you in case it jumps out of your hand. As time passes, the hamster will become more comfortable with you and trust you more, and it will walk over your hands and arms.  3. Your hamster needs something Hamsters squeak when they want something. They can’t talk, so squeaking is their way of communicating that they need something. They might want to get out of the cage, want your attention, or their food and water bowl is empty. If your hamster squeaks for a long time and it doesn’t stop squeaking after you give it food and attention, check whether it’s injured. 4. Your hamster is talking to other hamsters The only way young hamsters can talk to other hamsters is by squeaking. They squeak to let others know how they feel. When they squeak loudly, they are telling the other hamsters that they are afraid, or that they don’t like what they’re doing. If you notice that your hamster is squeaking softly when around other hamsters, it means that it’s enjoying their company, or that it wants attention from another hamster. This depends on the type of hamster. Dwarf hamsters are smaller and they can’t produce soft sounds, so they squeak, but if you have a Teddy Bear hamster, it will most likely softly murmur to communicate because it has longer vocal cords.  5. Your hamster doesn’t like being picked up Depending on the type of your hamster, it might never learn not to be afraid of heights. Dwarf hamsters are miniature and they will probably squeak when you pick them up, not because they are afraid of you, but because they are afraid of the height. Hamsters also get scared when they don’t know where they are. Bigger types of hamsters will soon learn that they are safe when you pick them up, as they aren’t as afraid of heights as the Dwarf hamsters.  6. Your hamster recognizes something Dwarf hamsters are known to learn what it sounds and looks like when you’re about to feed them. If you notice that your hamster squeaks when you open its bag of food, or open its cage to give it some treats, it means that your hamster has recognized what’s about to happen. If you tame your hamster and it bonds with you, it can learn what you look and sound like, and it can squeak because it recognizes you. Most types of hamsters squeak when they recognize something, but the owners have noticed that Dwarf hamsters are often louder than other types of hamsters. 7. Your hamster is aggressive If your hamster is tamed, and it squeaks when you try to touch it, it’s probably aggressive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to bite you. It is likely that your hamster doesn’t feel like hanging out with you because it is tired, or just in a bad mood.  8. Your hamster is trying to be dominant If you have more than just one hamster, it is likely that they will get into a fight every once in a while. While it is natural to get concerned and think that your hamsters are getting hurt when they squeak during the fight, they can actually be doing it for a whole other reason. Most hamsters will squeak when fighting because they will try to be dominant. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t break up the fight.  9. Your hamster is trapped or in danger Your hamster might squeak when it finds itself trapped, or in a dangerous situation, and it is trying to signal that it needs help. This squeak is usually quite loud and continuous, and it might seem as if it is screaming.  10. Your hamster wants to breed If you have hamsters of both gender, they will likely squeak when to make a mating call. The mating call is very loud and persistent. You might notice that your male hamster sits upright when it hears your female hamster squeaking when in heat. You can choose whether or not you want to breed them at this point. If you choose to breed them, you should put the female hamster into the male hamster’s cage every night for four days during the estrus, which is the 12-hour long period during which the female hamster will mate with the male hamster. Make sure that your female hamster wants to breed because otherwise, it could become aggressive and attack the male. You will notice that it wants to breed once you place it into the male hamster’s cage and it settles down soon.  You will know that your female hamster is pregnant because it will be fatter about 2 weeks after mating, and it will move around less. It will also become more and more aggressive as it gets closer to its due date. Female hamsters are usually pregnant for about 18 to 22 days. Most commonly, it gives birth to 4 to 6 hamsters. However, depending on the type of your hamster, there can also be less than 3 or more than 12. Be careful because sometimes female hamsters eat their babies.  11. Your hamster is giving birth If you’ve decided to breed your hamsters or didn’t keep them apart during mating time, your female hamster will get pregnant. If you know that your hamster is pregnant and you hear it squeaking, it could mean that it is getting into labor. You might feel bad for it and the pain it’s going through, but it’s very important that you leave it alone. Female hamsters want to give birth alone so that they can focus.  It will give birth to the hamsters in 10 to 30-minute intervals and cut off the umbilical cord on its own. It tends to clean the area after the birth of each hamster. Make sure you give your female hamster enough food and water. Don’t try to look at the hamsters or open the cage for the first two weeks. It can think that they are in danger and eat their babies.  12. Your hamster is injured If you notice that your hamster is squeaking, it might be in pain or injured. Sick or injured hamsters tend to hide, so if you notice your hamster hiding, make sure you check for any injuries. If you can’t see any injury but your hamster is still squeaking, make sure you take it to the vet, there might be something going on inside your hamster. The most common injuries in hamsters are cuts and scrapes. If you notice that your hamster is squeaking because it has a cut, there’s no need to panic. Try to figure out what it got cut on so you can remove it and reduce the chances of your hamster cutting itself on it again. Your hamster will probably squeak as soon as it cuts itself, so it should be easy to see what it has cut itself on. To clean the cut, you can use some lukewarm water and a cotton pad. Don’t use anything humans use to treat cuts, such as antiseptics, creams, or band-aids. If you notice that the wound is big or it doesn’t seem to stop bleeding, take your hamster to the vet. If you notice that your hamster is squeaking when you’re touching it, it might have developed an infection that caused an abscess to formed on its skin. It could also have abscesses in the mouth. Regardless of where they are located, they are very painful for your hamster, and they will have to be drained by a vet. [...] Read more...