Are Hamsters Blind ? The Truth About Your Hamster’s Eyesight

A blind hamster is a bit of a myth. Or is it ? Hamsters don’t have great eyesight, but are they really blind ? I looked around, asked a few questions, and found out if hamsters can see.

My Teddy was a bit of a guide here, since I compared what I found out with what I’ve seen Teddy do or how he’s reacted in the past. Here’s what I found out about hamster eyesight.

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So are hamsters blind ?

No, hamsters are not blind. They are born blind, like most animals, but they don’t stay blind. The eyesight in hamsters forms after a few days, but it never really develops very well.

Hamsters have poor eyesight, but blind they are not. They won’t notice you if you just sit still, since they don’t perceive things that are farther away from their whiskers, or directly in front of them.

This also means your hamster can’t judge distances or depth, at all, and he will jump from a higher level in his cage to take a shortcut, and possibly hurt himself. Or jump out of your hands, thinking the cage is just a sneeze away.

Alright, so hamsters aren’t blind, but they don’t see well either. How do they navigate and survive then ? Let’s see.

Hamsters don’t rely on their eyes

Hamsters use their other senses much more than they use their eyes. Even if your hamster becomes blind over time, it won’t impact him very much.

This is because hamsters don’t relay on seeing what’s in front of them or around them, as much as they rely on hearing and smelling their environment.

If you’ve got a blind hamster, you’ll notice he’s got the cage all memorized and knows where to go and how to navigate.

There might be a few things you’ll have to get out of his way that he might bump into, like toys that move (a see-saw for example) or bridges.

Other than that, a blind hamster will know where his food is, where is nest is, where the water bottle is, and will recognize your voice.

He might be a bit nippy, but that’s about the only change people have ever reported about hamsters that turned blind.

A hamster has a great sense of smell

Hamsters use their smell for lots of things. Even if they don’t see very well, hamsters can still ‘see’ their surroundings.

Us humans don’t rely on smell too much, but hamsters do. Your hammy knows your scent, knows the smell of the house, and doesn’t like air fresheners too much.

This means that any strong smell will be overwhelming for your hamster. Like perfume, for example, which can be way too strong for his sensitive little nose.

If you’re handling your hamster you should wash your hands before. Depending on what you’ve done before, he might not like the smell and bite, or me might love the smell and try to… well, eat your hand.

My girlfriend touched some cooked chicken once, wiped her hands on a towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy smelled the chicken and chomped down on her finger, and she’s been afraid of him ever since.

Best to avoid that, and wash your hands. Do be careful to use non-perfumed, anti-bacterial soap. An overly floral or fruity soap might have the opposite effect and make your hamster think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands.

Conversely, hamsters absolutely hate citrus. Teddy shies away from my hand after I’ve peeled any kind of citrus. Even after I wash my hands. He just can’t stand the smell.

Hammies use their hearing for nearly everything

Hearing is what hamsters use most in the wild to figure out if there’s predators around or not. Have you ever seen your hammy just freeze in place, with this focused, intense look on his furry face ?

He’s listening. Veeery very carefully, who knows when a fox might jump through the window to get him. Jokes aside, it’s funny with pet hamsters, but a life-saving trait for wild hamsters.

There’s no fox or owl or snake trying to get to your pet hamster, but in the wild, his predators might be just around the corner. They make sounds, even when they’re trying to be sneaky. Your hamster knows those sounds.

Hammies need some time to learn every sound in the house in order to feel comfortable and not panic at every floorboard creaking. After a while they’ll stop freezing as often, and be more relaxed.

They are hamsters, however, and won’t really ever relax.

Hamsters are sensitive to sound, but not the way you’d think. Loud noises are not comfortable for their ears, but don’t phase them much. They’re a bit stressful, but they know what’s going on.

So for example in a fireworks display it’s not the loud noises that scare them, but the bright, sudden lights.

(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.)

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Whiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’

Alright, so your hamster’s got superhearing and dog-level smell. He’s also got ‘the touch’.

I mean he sees with his little paws, and his whiskers. In the wild the hamster’s many tunnels are pitch black and winding, so he has to be able to navigate them somehow. The tunnels don’t hum, and they don’t smell, so he has to see with his paws and whiskers.

This also applies to his cage, plus the fact that he knows where everything is because he’s memorized it. One of the reasons changing up his habitat is a bad idea. Hamsters don’t like change.

When it comes to touch, he’s also sensitive to vibrations. He can sense them both in his paws and his whiskers too. Even if you got out of bed very quietly, and made sure to not turn on the light or step wrong, he still knows you’re up.

You every move is a small vibration, and he can sense that. Not in a weird way, it’s just his super-sensitive sense of touch.

For example my Teddy keeps sleeping if I just rummage in the room he’s in. But once I speak towards his cage, or stand there for a few minutes, he comes out. He just knows I’m there.

Don’t make sudden movements around your hamster

If you were sitting down and you suddenly move, chances are your hamster only just noticed you were there. And panicked. Hammies are not very bright, and they’re very easy to scare unfortunately.

This means that even if you’re not trying to scare your hamster, you probably still did. Some hammies are extra jumpy and panicky, and will scamper away if they see or hear anything new.

But, you can make sure you don’t scare your hamster friend by not moving suddenly. That means that if you’ve got business around his cage, move a bit slower than usual.

Try not to turn around too fast, and make your movements slower, deliberate.

Another thing that helps is to talk to your hamster while you’re near his cage, so he knows your general position.

Hamsters are very sensitive to light levels

The final warning about a hamster’s poor eyesight, sunlight hurts his eyes. The light is much too harsh for him, and actually painful.

You see hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means their eyes simply can’t handle the amount of light in the daytime.

Unlike cats or humans who can regulate how much light enters their eyes, hamster eyes are not as adaptable. Their pupils do adjust, but not by much.

This means that the best time for a hamster to use his limited eyesight is dawn and dusk. The light levels are low enough that his eyes don’t hurt, but high enough that he can see.

That being said, hamsters have very poor eyesight, even at night. But they don’t necessarily need the light on, or a nightlight at that.

Just think of your hamster as your cute, fluffy, incredibly near-sighted friend who lost his glasses.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be a bit clumsy at times, and we don’t see very well, no. However we’re not blind. We can become blind with old age, or an illness, so we rely on you to help us there.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the related articles below to get more info on how to best care for us.

Related blog post
6 Amazing Hamster Maze Kits (And 5 DIY Ideas)
6 Amazing Hamster Maze Kits (And 5 DIY Ideas)Hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they have the most activity during the night while sleeping through the day. But among all, hamsters need to have daily exercises. The best way to give them joy and stimulate their natural instinct is to give them a maze. You need to provide a hamster is a physical exercise routine to burn energy, better rest, and optimal health. You must know the basic concepts of hamster care, but among them is the topic of exercise because the animal is essential to be perfect and to live longer. Hamsters must exercise to prevent them from becoming hangmen and to mimic the performance of what they would do to live in the wild. Lack of exercise for your hamster can lead to obesity and even paralysis in some hamsters. Table of Contents ToggleBuy a hamster maze1. Hiding house with a maze2. Wooden maze tunnel3. Wooden maze playground4. Wooden maze with six rooms5. Hamster house maze6. Hamster habitat with tunnelsDIY hamster mazes1. DIY Tissue box maze2. DIY Tunnel Maze3. DIY Maze with Tunnels4. DIY Cardboard maze with obstacles5. DIY Lego maze Buy a hamster maze In the wild, hamsters constantly dig, improve, and enhance their burrows. Gradually, the tunnels become more intricate and branched. For hamsters, digging is a process that is no less natural than running or looking for food. It takes a lot of energy in nature, and hamsters do not need additional simulators to burn the required minimum of calories. For home conditions, it is necessary to build artificial labyrinths for a hamster. Natural labyrinths are often located on several levels, and usually have fairly long side aisles, emergency exits, storage rooms, and bedrooms. A well-assembled maze with a system of safe and attractive tunnels is the key to the long and happy life of this animal. A hamster not only burns calories collected from food but also entertains its small but very curious brain. That is why diversity can be one of the conditions for choosing a structure. Tunnels and labyrinth elements can combine different materials, which will give the animals additional research opportunities. 1. Hiding house with a maze If you want to provide your hamsters with a comfortable hiding home with a playground, this two-in-one playing nest is perfect for that. Hamsters appreciate small houses made for their rest. Since they are nocturnal animals, they will usually sleep during the day and will play and run around at night. This little home is perfectly enclosed, so the hamster can sleep during the day without bother. It has exercise features to keep the hamster healthier. There is a small ladder on the side of the hose, that allows the hamster to climb it. The main part of the hideout has a slide, which can be very fun for your hamster. The best part is that it’s made of wood, meaning that it is safe for use. Because of the material, you do not have to worry if the hamster starts chewing it. Also, a big plus is that you don’t have to assemble it. It comes in one part so you can unbox it and put it in the cage immediately. The openings on the structure are wide enough for every hamster. But make sure that you have a lid on your cage after you put the house inside. You can risk hamsters climbing on the roof of the hideout and jumping out of the cage. If your hamster doesn’t enjoy the slide, you can simply detach it. On the other side of the house, there is a climbing wall that the hamsters will use for the exercise as well. Overall, this construction is a perfect way to provide your hamster a hiding home with a maze in one. 2. Wooden maze tunnel This wooden maze is the most common and typical maze for the hamsters. This type is made from high-quality natural wood, making it safe to use around your hamsters. The maze comes assembled so you don’t have to worry about piecing it together. It has 16 entrance holes, with a total of 13 compartments, giving all the fun to your pet. It can fit in a cage and you get 2 small brushes for cleaning the maze. The brushes come in handy if you have to clean the feces or any dirt and dust particles from the maze. It can be used open, but it comes with a glass cover as well. Either way, the maze provides transparency, so you can keep an eye on your hamster at all times. It gives a perfect opportunity for your hamster to have fun and run around the maze. Also, you can amaze your hamster by putting treats around the maze and make him look for them. Some people even put little balls inside the maze so the hamster can run around and roll the balls as well. You can find this wooden maze tunnel on this Amazon link. 3. Wooden maze playground Similar to the previous maze, this wooden playground comes with climbing chambers and instead of laying it just horizontally, you can put it in the cage standing upright as well. You have to make sure to check the measurements because this wooden maze is bigger than mazes you can find online. This maze also comes with a glass cover, but you can also leave it open. If you plan to put the maze to stand upright, you might want to slide in the glass cover, to make sure your hamsters don’t fall off the maze. The maze has 2 openings and 6 compartments. It is made to mimic the wild burrows of hamsters, which will help them stimulate their instinct to explore. The openings are 2 inches wide, perfect for your tiny hamsters to enter. The compartments can be used as an exercise spot, hiding spot, and exploring spot. This maze keeps the hamsters active during the night. It doesn’t have any loose ends or parts that will accidentally come apart, so they can have their fun quietly. The maze is made from plywood and it has no nails that will accidentally come through. The maze has sanded corners, meaning it is extremely safe to use around hamsters, without worrying about any accidents. The wood doesn’t have any toxic coating, so you don’t have to worry if the hamster starts to bite and chew it. 4. Wooden maze with six rooms Multi-chamber mazes are perfect for hamsters because it gives them the joy of exploration. This wooden maze is designed to be standing upright since it has stairs that allow your hamster to climb. This maze is also multi-purpose, as it allows your hamster to have a napping place, a structure to hide and to sleep in. It is also designed to keep the hamster active. It is made from natural wood. It has a stable platform, climbing ladder, some ramps, and a food bowl. The material used to build the structure is a special apple wood, which is safe if the hamsters begin to chew it. The best thing is that chewing it will help their teeth be healthy. The maze is safe to use, which means that you can leave your hamsters to explore and have fun in peace. It can be covered with plexiglass to provide an additional safety feature to make sure your hamster doesn’t fall off. The maze is also extremely sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over. It comes assembled and can be put in the cage or the tank right after you get it out. You must clean this maze only with a clean cloth. Gently clean it and don’t rub too hard. Be sure not to use wet wipes or wipes with alcohol. You shouldn’t soak the maze in water as well. 5. Hamster house maze This house maze is perfect for all small hamsters. It has two openings and six small rooms, with tunnel openings to ensure all the fun for your hamster. The house maze is also designed to mimic the underground burrow, used by wild hamsters. The design helps them stimulate their natural instinct to explore. It is perfect for enriching their night-time activity. It has a wooden cover, which makes it look like a house, but it also provides darkness so the hamster can sleep during the day without disturbance. The cover is removable, making it easy to check on your hamster, while also providing you better access for cleaning. It fits into any cage and you get a two-in-one structure with which the hamsters get a hiding spot and an exercise spot. The house maze is, of course, made of wood. If you fear that the wood will soak up the urine and odor, be sure to use aspen as bedding, to give you worry-free use. The six compartments give the hamster a free choice on what to do with them. Usually, they will use one room to store their food, while it will use the others just to run around. The house maze is perfect for Syrian hamsters, especially adult females since they tend to be larger than males. It doesn’t take up too much space and is safe to chew. This amazing wooden house maze can be found on Amazon. 6. Hamster habitat with tunnels If you want a habitat that has a tunnel maze attached, this Habitrail Hamster Habitat is an amazing choice. This habitat stimulates the natural burrow of hamsters. It has connected tubes with additional rooms that serve as bedrooms and storage rooms. This habitat will provide endless hours of fun for your hamster. It is very easy to clean and assemble. It is also a perfect starting point if you don’t know how to provide for your hamster. This habitat is perfect for smaller hamsters. The clear tubes provide safety for the hamster and you can always see what your hamster is doing. Their tubes are made for hamsters that are not used to them. Usually, the tip is to put a small treat at the very top so the hamsters will start climbing them. Habitrail is a known brand in making hamster habitats and tunnel mazes. They design their products so they are cooperative with each other and you can always upgrade the habitat of your hamsters with their products. DIY hamster mazes If you don’t want to buy a maze, you can always make one yourself. This will save you a lot of money and it gives you the freedom of making your design. Sometimes if the size of already-made mazes does not fit your or hamsters’ needs, you can modify whatever you want. This also allows you to switch the mazes every once in a while. Making your hamster maze gives you a choice of material. The most popular ones are cardboard and wood. You can get cardboard from boxes, display boards, and even rolls of toilet paper. It may not be very durable, but it is the cheapest alternative. Make sure it’s thick and solid, or the hamster is going to chew holes in the walls and run away. Wood is more durable than cardboard, but more costly as well. Make sure that it is a hardwood, such as birch, oak, or walnut when purchasing wood. Avoid wood that is harmful to hamsters, such as pine or cedar. Also, make sure that the wood is smooth and doesn’t have any cracks that can cause damage to your hamster. Wooden boards or blocks may be used. Make sure that you also use the right kind of glue, to make the maze extremely durable. If you plan to use wood, it is best to use wood glue. For cardboard mazes, you can use hot glue. The most important thing is to use non-toxic glue that is not harmful to your hamsters. Also, make sure that you’re not using nails or screws. If the nail happens to stick out, the hamsters can get hurt on the nails. You want the maze to be safe to use for your pet. There are many options to choose from and we bring you 5 tips to make a hamster maze. 1. DIY Tissue box maze   Next time you use all of your tissues, save the boxes to make mazes. Take two boxes and use scissors to cut out the fronts of the tissue paper boxes. Glue them together and let them dry. You can paint the outside of the box, but be sure to use non-toxic paint. When the glue has dried and your boxes are stuck together, get a pen, and plan out the labyrinth. With the pencil, draw on the base where you plan to put the walls. Take one more tissue box, or any cardboard box and cut it into small pieces. Cut rectangular strips of cardboard that will represent the walls of the maze and fold them into the appropriate shape. Place the walls on the base of the tissue boxes and secure them with glue in one place. Leave them to dry. Carefully cut out the entry and exit openings in the sides of the connected tissue boxes and the inner wall, if necessary. You can also decorate the inside of the box with paint if you want and you’re done. You can find the full tutorial for the tissue box maze on this link. 2. DIY Tunnel Maze   You can make a tunnel maze for your hamster from plastic bottles. Smaller ones will work perfectly fine for small hamsters, but if you have a larger one, opt to use large bottles. Make sure to thoroughly wash the bottles to remove any odors. Also, take off any labels and lids. You can start with any number of bottles and you can keep adding some from time to time. You will also need some scissors, tape, and a Stanley knife. Carefully use a Stanley knife to remove the tops and bottoms of the bottles. Make sure you have a sturdy surface that you won’t harm. Hold the bottles tightly so they won’t slip and cause accidents. The knife will leave the edges of the bottle jagged. Use tape, best to use is an electrical tape, and tap around the edges. This step is very important as you will protect your hamsters from unwanted injuries. To connect all the bottles and make the tunnels, you will need to cut a plus sign into the side of the bottle. This opening will create a path so you can slip in your scissors and cut out a neat circle. Use the tape again to protect the edges. Pick up the bottle you want to attach and squeeze it tight so it’s almost flat. Use the scissors to cut out the diagonal lines, so the bottle can sit comfortably in the opening. When you get the bottle in position, hold them, and use tape to secure it in place. Repeat this step with all the bottles you have and you can use this method for future adaptations for the tunnel. You find the full tutorial with pictures on this link. 3. DIY Maze with Tunnels   You can make a combination of a tunnel and maze. You will need to save tissue boxes and empty toilet paper rolls. If you want a long tunnel you can save the rolls from the paper towels. Use a tissue box as a base for your maze. Find where you want to place your tubes. On this link, you can find an example of doing so. Trace with a pencil the opening for the tube. You place the end of the tube against the spot where you want the hole to be and trace the roll’s outline. To properly cut out the traced holes, use scissors, a craft knife, or a Stanley knife. Be careful not to make the holes too big, as this could allow your hamster to squeeze out of the maze, or it could cause the maze to collapse when your hamster is inside. Attach any tubes that would go into openings, and then line up the end of the remaining tube to end. To make the maze durable, add tape to the tubes, layering many bits. The hamster would need to be able to run inside the tubes, without the maze breaking apart. This is also a type of maze which you can gradually build up and add add-ons. In the tissue box, but some of the hamsters bedding, so it becomes familiar with the maze. You can place various treats inside the tubes. 4. DIY Cardboard maze with obstacles For this maze, you will need a cardboard box, popsicle sticks, and paper rolls. Make one side of the cardboard box to use as a base while cutting the remainder of the box to make walls and accessories for the obstacles. As with the tutorial before, use a pencil to draw on the base where you want to place the walls of the maze. Glue the pieces you cut before to glue down on the base. When you have the walls of the maze, start planning where you want to put the obstacles. Using popsicle sticks, you can create obstacles that your hamster can jump over. Glue them on the walls and make sure they are glued down tightly. Take the empty toilet paper roll and place it inside the maze. They can be used as an obstacle that the hamster can jump over, or crawl through. 5. DIY Lego maze Take out your old Legos and gather as many pieces as you can. This is one maze where you can get very creative, as you have many possibilities. Start by building a base for the maze. You can make a wide base or a narrow one. Everything depends on how you want the maze to look. You can build a narrower base, put up the walls, and place the stairs at the end. These stairs can be used to add another level to the maze or to even make the bridge and lead to another base. If you don’t know how or where to start, build a large base and use Legos to construct the walls, just like with the traditional maze. Legos give you a chance to build several levels to the maze, which your hamster will certainly enjoy. Whichever way you decide to make the maze for your hamster, make sure that you have a good base. The base is mostly responsible for the durability of the maze. If you choose to make cardboard of a wooden structure, it is best to use a plastic cover for the base to make it easier to clean. You can also glue the cover to the base to make sure it doesn’t slip off. When designing a maze, you can find inspiration online, or you can construct one of your own. The mazes do not have to be perfect. Either way, you make it, the hamsters will have fun while running around and exploring. To make it easier to build, construct your maze so that it has straight lines instead of curved ones. Make sure that the site of your maze fits your hamster. When you make an opening for your hamster, make sure that it is not too small, as the hamster can get stuck and injure itself. The walls of the maze don’t have to be too high; they just need to be high enough so the hamster will not jump over them. When constructing a large artificial maze with several levels of transition, you should try to avoid too steep slopes. Hamsters can get injured because it will be very difficult for them to fix their position with their claws. And also, in artificial tunnels ventilation should be organized so that the hamster does not suffer from lack of oxygen. If you’re making a bigger maze, not intended to be kept inside the cage, put it on the floor and not on the table. The hamsters can fall off the table once they leave the maze. There are many things you can do with the maze. You can leave various treats for your hamster to make sure he follows the path and exits the maze. [...] Read more...
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)You’ve got a new friend ! You brought your hamster home, but now he needs a name. But what should you name your hamster ? I had the name picked out for my Teddy even before I got him, but sometimes it’s not that easy. I’ll help you pick out a name for your hamster, and give you a few tips on interacting with him as well. But first… Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters know their name ?List of hamster names, for female hamsters:List of hamster names, for male hamsters:Talking and interacting with your hamsterLetting your hamster pick his own nameA word from Teddy Do hamsters know their name ? No, hamsters don’t really recognize their name. Some of them can recognize their owner in some cases, but that’s it. So what does that mean ? You can name your hamster whatever you like ! He won’t mind, or notice at all. You can opt for silly names, or fairly serious/normal pet names. You can even give your hamster especially complicated and long names, it will be the same. Whatever name you end up giving your hamster, you need to interact with him often. Not necessarily to pick him up often (some hamsters do not like that at all) but to talk to him and feed him a couple of treats. Spend time with him. Create a sort of bond between you two. And a name you like and feel like it fits the hamster will help a lot in that way. Let’s see a few examples. List of hamster names, for female hamsters: Abby Annabelle Amelia Arya Amethyst Azura Buttercup Butterscotch Bambi Cotton Candy Camelia Camel Dolly DaQueen Eve Eggy Emma Evelyn Faye Fig Fawn Frisky Funny Gwen Goldie Ginger Hiccup Iris Ivy Ice cream Junie Jackie Juniper Kylie Kesha Krispy Layla Lizzie Lady Leeloo Madeira Minnie Mocha Maab (as in Queen Maab) Nina Namira Nora Olla Olive Okie Pepita Pam (Pamela Hamsterson) Peanut Poppy Pufferina Pearl Queenie Rey Ruby Rose Shiloh Sasha Sansa Trixie Turnip Tabby Tiny Tinkerbell Umbra Umbriel Vanilla (in honor of the late Vanilla HamHam) Viking Willow Wololo Xena Ygritte Yasmin Zelda List of hamster names, for male hamsters: Ace Alduin Adam Anthony Arnold Bucky Balthazar Boy Brutus Bob Bear Grylls Boo Biscuit Boomer Basil Conan Coco Commader Whiskers Chewie Chico Disco Dexter Danzig Drax the Destroyer Danny Dunkirk Damon Eeyore Elvis Elmo Eddie Fry Cheese Fry Furball Gerry Guy Ghandi Guillermo Del Hamstero Gizmo Gary Grizzly General Napkin the Second Honey Hannibal Hector Hamish Hunter Hamlet Ham Hachiko Hammy Ian Ice Iggy Jericho Jasper Jack Jumbo Kirk Kirby Larry Leo Leonardo Da Hammy Leopold the Skittish Lightning Mascot Mo Maury Mickey MJ Munchkin Messi Napoleon Napkin Oscar Ozzy Piggy Pooh Quentin Ripley Rami Rasputin Radagast Rhubarb Randall Rudy Randy Ruckus Rambler Steve Sparky Spot Shaggy Scooby Small Guy Scaramouche Shorty Taz Tippy Thunder Uncle Usain Vic Vladimir the Restless Vandal Whiskers Wolfenstein Wolf Wiggy Wolverine Xavier York Yogi the Bear Zoomer Zayn Talking and interacting with your hamster Whenever you talk to your hamster, name sure to use a soft, low voice. Be as soothing as you possibly can, since these creatures are very skittish. Using a calm, soothing voice will help relax the hamster. Now, hamsters are almost never calm and collected, but you can still try. Also be aware that hamsters have very sensitive ears and hearing, and as such speaking to them in a soft, low voice will be easy on their ears and they won’t shy away from you. Always use the hamster’s name as often as you can when talking to him, and try to spend as much time as you possibly can. Tell him about your day and feed him a couple leaves of parsley. Give him a small bit of cooked plain chicken and ask him if he slept well last night. Of course he won’t be able to piece together anything you’re saying, but he will understand that you’re interacting with him. In time he will learn to associate you with food, and with good times and safety. If you’ve very patient, this can lead to a great bond between you and your hamster. Please remember though that the hamster’s taming can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It depends on the hamster’s personality, and your patience. Sometimes even after the hamster’s tamed he still won’t be the friendliest or cuddliest furball. That’s okay, each hamster is different. (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.) Letting your hamster pick his own name If you’re not very decided, you can let the hamster pick out his own name. We got this idea from Pethelpful.com and thought it’s actually a great way to let fate decide. Kind of. You can do this several ways. For example you can chose a few hamster names and write them out on a paper plate or tray. Make sure they’re evenly spaced  out, no more than 3-5 names. Then, place bits of food or hamster treats on top of each name – like a piece of carrot, a peanut, a bit of cooked chicken, or something else from this safe foods list. Whichever food/name the hamster first goes for, that’s his name ! Another way is to place the hamster in his exercise ball, and stick a few sticky notes with the names written on them. Let the hamster roam the house in the ball, and whichever note falls off first, that’s the name. You can also make a maze our of an empty egg carton. Cut a few holes in it, as exit holes. Assign a name for each hole. Whichever hole the hamster exits the maze through, that’s going to be his name. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are cute and you have a hard time naming us, but I’m sure you’ll find a great one for your friend. My owner knew my name long before he picked me up, and I think Teddy suits me great. 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...
The Real Reason Hamsters Like Wheels
The Real Reason Hamsters Like WheelsIf you have owned a hamster or if you are currently a hamster owner, one of the things you would instantly notice is how your hamster loves playing with its wheel. The hamster wheel instantly becomes the little animal’s favorite thing in the world, and it will play with it non-stop to the point that an average hamster can go for up to five miles in a single night on a hamster wheel. But what is the real reason why hamsters like wheels? The real reason why hamsters like using their hamster wheels are the fact that they are naturally born to run. Generation of domestication as well as a proper introduction to the hamster wheel has allowed the hamster to associate it with running. As such, your hamster will easily love the hamster wheel once it becomes used to it. Hamsters do love to run but they are usually kept in enclosed cages that really limit their movements and activities. As such, the only way for them to be truly themselves is to run on the hamster wheel, which is basically the only exercise they can get whenever they are kept in their cages. In that sense, the hamster wheel becomes a necessity. But don’t stop there because there are more things you need to know about hamsters and their hamster wheels. Why hamsters like wheels If you are a hamster owner or if you are planning on getting one, one of the first purchases you need to make is a hamster wheel. Every pet store will always tell you to buy a hamster wheel together with the hamster’s cage or habitat because it is a necessity for your tiny pet rodent. And the moment you bring your hamster home and set its cage up with its hamster wheel, it won’t take a long time for it to start running on the wheel. And whenever you try to observe what your hamster is doing while it is awake, it will most likely be on the wheel running. But why exactly do hamsters like wheels? For us to understand why hamsters love their hamster wheels, let us go back to the basic nature of a hamster before they were even domesticated and treated as pets. After all, everything an animal does can be traced back to its natural state in the wild. As rodents, hamsters are usually somewhere near the bottom of the food chain in the wild because they have plenty of natural predators that will not waste time trying to make dinner out of them. That is why hamsters have developed a lot of different habits that allowed them to survive in the wild. After all, if they were so easy for predators to catch, they would have been extinct by now. Hamsters, due to how a lot of predators are more likely to be active during the day, have developed the ability to stay awake and active at night as nocturnal animals. They are usually hiding in their burrows during the day before they try to go out at night whenever it is usually safe for them to forage for food. But, even if hamsters are indeed nocturnal, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have predators at night. A lot of cats and reptiles are nocturnal predators as well and are not hesitant to hunt hamsters whenever they are available for them in the wild. Because hamsters still have predators no matter what time of the day it is, they have developed one of their best basic instincts—to run. Yes, because of the very fact that hamsters need to run a lot in the wild due to how they are nearly at the bottom of the food chain, they have developed the basic instinct to run and run and run whenever they can. Running has become second nature to hamsters regardless of whether or not they are wild or domesticated. That is why hamsters are always running and running even when they are kept in their cages as pets. As such, because running is a part of a hamster’s basic instincts for it to survive, it has carried that nature even after the animal has become a domesticated pet. Hamsters as pets will always find a way to run regardless of whether they are in their cages or are let out of their habitats for a short while. And if they are kept in their cages, they will always find a way to run by making use of their hamster wheels. So, a hamster wheel basically plays into the hamster’s instincts of running. That means that your hamster doesn’t technically love its hamster wheel but it actually loves running. It is only that its hamster wheel is what allows it to be its natural self, which is a tiny rodent that basically spends an entire day running. In fact, hamsters run so much in a single day that they can reach up to five miles on their hamster wheel alone. There was even a time when a single hamster was able to run 26.2 miles on its hamster wheel in a span of five days. If you think about it, most people nowadays can’t even run five miles in a single week. That goes to show how truly active hamsters really are especially when they are given hamster wheels. On top of all that, hamsters are also naturally curious animals that love to explore their surroundings by running around. That is why a lot of hamsters can’t help but run around the house when they are let loose from their cages. So, by giving a hamster a wheel, it is able to satisfy its natural sense of curiosity by allowing it to run around to make it feel like it is exploring. Why hamsters need wheels While we have discussed why hamsters like their wheels, let us go to the discussion of whether they need their wheels and why they need their wheels. First things first, your pet hamster can survive without a wheel because a wheel is not one of its basic necessities. As long as you have found other ways for the hamster to run around and be active, then it can do without a wheel.  However, know for a fact that it still needs a wheel if you are going to keep it in a cage without anything for it to do. As such, this is when a hamster wheel becomes a necessity for a hamster. So, why do hamsters need wheels? Well, the first reason why they need wheels goes back to the hamster’s basic instinct of running. Hamsters are natural runners that need to run a lot every single day because that is what they are used to in the wild for them to survive. So, by giving them hamster wheels and letting them run on those wheels, the hamster can be its natural self again. Moreover, hamster wheels are the best ways for your hamster to stay healthy. As mentioned, hamsters are natural runners that require a lot of constant movement. It is their natural habit as runners that allow them to stay healthy in the wild. So, by giving your hamster a hamster wheel to run on, you are allowing it to stay active so that it can not only burn off those extra calories but also keep itself away from diseases caused by obesity and inactivity. Finally, hamsters have nothing to do in their cages. But by giving them hamster wheels, they can stay mentally and physically stimulated as they are running tirelessly on those wheels. It is a way for them to have a hobby and a pastime so that they won’t end up developing bad habits. Do all hamsters like wheels? It’s not like hamsters like the wheels themselves but it is the act of running on the wheels that they actually love. So, do all hamsters like wheels? Yes, they do but only because the wheels allow them to run around and not because they like the wheels themselves. In that sense, if you were to give your hamster another way for it to run around and stay active, then it might have no need for its hamster wheel. A lot of owners, in this case, would much rather give their pet hamsters a hamster ball where the hamster is kept inside an inflatable ball that it can use to run around the house freely without getting exposed to the outside elements. The hamster ball allows the little animal to stay safe and have a sense of freedom while it is running around outside the confines of its cage. But because there are some dangers in using a hamster ball (such as when your hamster bumps into things and falls down the stairs while using the ball), it is still better for you to use the hamster wheel as its main source of exercise and activity. [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?Wondering what to choose between a hamster and a gerbil ? After all, they’re both so very cute and cuddly, but you can’t keep them both. But which should you choose ? Let’s see some details about each pet, so you can make a wise decision. If you want to know how a hamster would do if he were living with a gerbil, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleIs a rodent a good pet for you ?About the hamsterAbout the gerbilThe hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a groupCage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbilFood and treats for the hamster and the gerbilHealth problems the two can getA word from Teddy Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself this question. Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Both the hamster and the gerbil are rodents, they’re both very small and agile, and not easy to catch once they’ve escaped. As rodents, they need plenty of wood to chew on – their teeth never stop growing and need to be filed down constantly. They will love to hide and spend lots of time digging, burrowing, and generally not being noticeable. After all, these poor souls have always been food for other, larger animals. It’s their instinct to hide and taming them can take a while. Very important: if you have children, especially if they’re very young and they’re begging you to get them a hammy or a gerbil, watch out. Both of these pets are too fragile and high-maintenance for a child. The cleaning, taming, and often even the playing will be passed onto you. Not every child is like this, I know, but a hamster is not a puppy. A hamster or a gerbil can’t be handled like a puppy or a grown cat, and can’t match the child’s energy, nor the appetite for play. They’re very sensitive creatures. Still, if this kind of pet sounds alright for you (it did for me), whether you have kids or not, then by all means go and get yourself either a hamster or a gerbil. They’ll bring countless moments of ”awwww” and ”ooooh” to your life, starting with how cute they look when they sleep, and ending with the odd sounds they can make sometimes. Now let’s see about each pet, so you know which would be the best for you. About the hamster Hamsters are very small, fluffy creatures. There are 5 types of hamsters you can choose from, and none of them ever grow very large. They all would fit in the palm of your hand, even as adults. Those 5 types are: Syrian hamsters – the biggest of the bunch, and the most common as a pet. Dwarf types – Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian hammies. Half the size of a Syrian. Chinese hamsters, sometimes called Chinese Dwarf hammies. The easiest to confuse with a gerbil, since they have a bit of a tail. Hamsters come from the general, wide area of south Turkey, Syria, Mongolia, northern China, Russia, Siberia. That’s an area with not much vegetation going on, and most of it is a sort of desert, either a hot sandy one (Syria and Turkey) or a cold, tundra type. Hamsters have adapted to eat mostly grains and a few veggies, maybe an insect or two. They don’t need much water, and they usually live alone. The Dwarf types can tolerate another of their own species, if it’s a sibling and they still might fight sometimes. They’re mostly nocturnal, as pets. So getting a hamster would mean you might miss him if you go to bed around 10 PM and wake up early to go to work or school. In terms of shape, hamsters are short, stocky little creatures. The Dwarf types look like they have no neck at all, while the Syrians have a distinct teddybear-like face. About the gerbil Gerbils are, for the most part, hard to tell apart from a hamster. Especially if you’ve never had to tell the difference between them very often. The main difference is that gerbils have a long tail, longer than the Chinese hamster’s tail. And their hind legs are longer and thinner, since they do a lot of standing and jumping. Gerbils come from roughly the same area as hamsters. Mostly Mongolia and northern China. As such they might resemble the Dwarf hamsters, who come from there as well. As a difference though, gerbils live in colonies and they don’t do well on their own. They need company to enjoy themselves, and they don’t like being alone. Another difference is that gerbils aren’t exactly nocturnal, rather they sleep in patches and seem to be always awake. Gerbils do a lot of digging, more than hamsters actually. So their cage would need to be filled up with more bedding, so they can tunnel away as much as they like. Food for gerbils is very similar to the food for hamsters: mostly grains, a bit of fruit and veg, and a bit of protein if they can catch it. In terms of what their bodies do and what they need for a happy life, hamsters and gerbils do not need very different things. Except for 2 things, which if you get wrong, it can be very bad. (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.) The hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a group One of the things you need to know about, and the most dangerous to get wrong, is the social aspect of these pets. You see hamsters and gerbils are fundamentally opposites in terms of being social. Hamsters like to be on their own, they will not share anything. Even the Dwarf types, which you can sometimes manage to raise successfully in a same-sex pair, will argue often. To a degree that’s normal, but even so it puts much stress on the hamster. A gerbil on the other hand will not like being alone. Much like guinea pigs, gerbils need to be kept in pairs, at the very least. A lone gerbil will become depressed and lose his appetite. A human, while entertaining, will never be able to supplement the attention of another gerbil. After all, we don’t speak gerbil very well, do we ? So, please remember. A hamster should always be alone, a gerbil should always have a buddy. A buddy means either 3 females, or 2 males. Or anything over that number, since it will benefit them to be in a larger number. That will mean a larger cage though, so take care how many gerbils you get. Cage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbil Now when it comes to housing a hamster, that can be fairly easy. A cage big enough for a hamster will be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s a cage big enough for a Syrian, although I recommend it for Dwarf type as well. Hamsters, like gerbils, will always pick a bigger cage if they can. Close quarters can make them stressed and nippy. A pair of gerbils would need a 12 x 20 inch cage, which is 30 x 51 cm. Not that very different from a Syrian cage. Still if you can afford to go for a bigger cage, do so. This is the second thing that needs to be done a certain way, otherwise your gerbils won’t be happy. While they do enjoy each other’s company, they also enjoy some space to run around in and have fun. Now, a good cage that would fit either a single hamster, or two gerbils is this one. It will provide air and lots of ventilation, being a wire cage. It’s also got a second level, which the gerbils or hamster can use as they wish, and it adds extra floor space. The wires in the cage are close together so that neither a gerbil nor a Dwarf hamster would be able to escape. And it’s got enough of a bottom to fill with bedding, so your gerbils have something to tunnel through. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the cage, both the gerbils and the hamster will need plenty of toys and objects in their cage. This means silly things like a cardboard tube can be amazing for them, since they both love to tunnel and they will stick their faces everywhere they can fit it. You can make most toys at home, with a bit of cardboard and creativity. For example an egg carton, with a few holes cut into it is going to be the best hide and seek toy ever. It just won’t last very long, since both the hamster and the gerbils will chew at them often. Some toys, like the exercise wheel, will need to be bought. This is mostly because the wheel needs to be silent, and run smooth, without a hitch. A tail and foot guard is welcome, and gerbil tails are not meant to get caught in anything. So an exercise wheel with just rungs, or wire mesh is not alright for gerbils. A solid-floored one, with not gaps for the little guys to catch their feet or tails on is great. One such example is this one, a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel which is both silent and solid. No tails or feet caught in this one, and it’s easy to spin both by a small Dwarf, and by a Syrian. Gerbils are alright in it too, and their tails will stay safe as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel and the toys the cage will need bedding and a hideout. I recommend you get a wooden hideout, since these two pets will chew at everything, including their nest. As for the bedding, it can be wood shavings or paper bedding. Stay away from wood pellets, since they’re too hard for hamsters and gerbils. If you get wood shavings, make sure you keep away from cedar and pine since their strong aroma can choke the rodents. Food and treats for the hamster and the gerbil In terms of food, these two eat mostly the same things. Both are alright with grains, in fact it’s what they eat most of the time. Fruits are welcome, although some should be avoided – like citrus for example, or apple cores and peels. Vegetables are good for them as well, just keep them away from onion, garlic, leek, and other such veggies. Best to ask before you feed your hamster or gerbils anything new. Nuts and peanuts are a favorite among these guys, so they will enjoy the treat. Just stay away from sweets, saucy foods, spicy foods, or any kind of condiments at all. Their tiny bodies can’t process those things, and they often end up with digestive problems. For the most part hamsters and gerbils have the same foods and treats. Often they’re put on the same packaging to make things very clear. Health problems the two can get Their health problems are mostly the same. Both rodents need their teeth constantly filed down, otherwise they just grow too large. So dental problems can be a big deal, whether it’s overgrown teeth or infected broken teeth, or another problem. Ear and hearing problems can arise as well, and so can eye problems. Tumors and lumps are a topic that is common for hamsters and gerbils, actually for rodents in general. Most of the problems can be easily solved by a vet, but you will need a specific one. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. If you just look to a small pet vet, he might only be able to help with pets as small as cats. Normally hamsters have a 2-4 year lifespan, depending on their type. The Robo Dwarf lives the longest (2 years) while the Chinese lives a shorter life, about 2 years. Gerbils on the other hand have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity. So whichever one you choose as a pet, make sure you have the time and willingness to take care of them properly. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are easy to confuse with gerbils, but we’re actually sort of cousins, twice removed. 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...
Five Best Ways to Bond With Your Hamster
Five Best Ways to Bond With Your HamsterWe all want our pets to live healthy and happy lives, and in order to ensure that, we have to cultivate a loving relationship with them. This means that we have to bond with our pets. If you have a hamster, bonding may be a little more difficult, as hamsters are relatively untrusting animals that don’t exactly enjoy human touch. This is completely due to evolution, so you shouldn’t blame yourself if your hamster isn’t exactly showing signs of affection. However, there are many ways you can bond with your hamster. It needs to be addressed that hamsters are very frightful animals that don’t really trust anyone, so you should know that your hamster is going to be afraid of you for a very long time. And even after you’ve bonded with your hamster, it’s still going to take a step back before it takes a step forward. These animals have no defense system aside from running away, and they’re always at the bottom of the food chain, so they instinctively fear everything. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to overcome this problem and how to form a strong bond with your hamster. It’s important to stay patient and not give up just because it’s going slowly. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the most important conditions you will need to fulfill if you want your hamster to trust you. Without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Make Sure That Your Hamster is Comfortable2. Talk to Your Hamster3. Feeding Your Hamster4. Handling Your Hamster5. Playing with Your HamsterUseful Tips 1. Make Sure That Your Hamster is Comfortable This is very important to any animal, not only to hamsters. Even we, humans, can’t really fulfill our full potential unless our environment is good. We can’t study if our room is a mess, and we can’t work if everyone in the office is shouting – the same principle applies to hamsters; they won’t feel comfortable if their environment isn’t comfortable. You have to understand that hamsters are afraid of everything, and they’re under a great deal of stress after moving. So, when you get your hamster, know that it’s going to take weeks for the hamster to settle in and feel comfortable and adjusted to their new surroundings. To speed up this process, you have to make sure that you’ve made the hamster feel good in their own fur and that their home isn’t presented as a danger to them. This requires two things: buying a good cage and placing that cage. Let’s cover the placement first. You don’t want to place that cage near a TV or a speaker, because hamsters have a very good hearing (and terrible eyesight, while we’re at that), and even though the television or the speaker may not be loud by your standards – they’re going to be obnoxiously loud to the hamster and they’re going to have a lot of trouble functioning. Also, putting them in children’s rooms may not be the best idea, as children are likely to play with them while they’re unsupervised. This is a problem because the hamster can’t be played with until they completely trust their owner(s), and that process takes time. Children immediately playing with the hamster is only going to scare the animal to death, and it’s likely that the hamster will bite to defend itself. Even though hamster bites can’t do much damage, as long as the wound is disinfected and healed properly, this sort of negative interaction will make the hamster trust you even less, and it’s only dragging the process back. It’s also important to note that the expression ‘scare to death’ is quite literal when we’re discussing hamsters (and many other small animals). Their hearts are known to give out if they’re put under too much stress, and a five-foot-tall child pushing their fingers into the cage of a few inches tall hamsters is incredibly scary for them, and that will definitely make them fight back (even though the child has no harmful intent). So, make sure that the space you’re putting the cage in isn’t under too much light, there isn’t too much noise, and there’s not a lot of movement from people. The ideal temperature for a hamster is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure not to put the cage next to a source of heat, draft, or too much sun. The second thing you have to ensure is a good cage. The most important thing for a cage is for it to have enough room. This depends from hamster to hamster, as hamsters (just like us) have their own personal preferences, and two hamsters of the same species may not need the same amount of space. When the cage is too small, the hamster is going to feel stressed out and that can even lead to injury. Hamsters are known to rub their faces against the cage bars, which causes them to lose fur. If the hamster doesn’t feel comfortable in the cage, then it’s not going to feel comfortable around you. Every cage should have plenty of room, bedding, a hiding spot, fresh food and water, and a wheel to run on. The latter is very important, and even though some people think it’s just a gimmick, hamsters actually enjoy running on their wheels – these animals have a lot of energy and they need to burn it off, otherwise, they won’t feel good. When you’re choosing the right cage, you can choose between mesh cages, glass aquariums, and plastic cages. Metal mesh cages are okay, especially because of ventilation and ease of maintenance, but smaller hamsters can run away. Take note that hamsters will always try to run away, even if they adore you and have fully bonded with you – they’ll still try to run away and get to the wilderness if the opportunity for that arises. They can’t exactly help it, it’s in their instinct. Hamsters can fit through insanely small spaces, so you should keep this in mind when purchasing a cage. Glass aquariums are the safest for the hamster, as they can’t hurt themselves and they can’t run away – but they’re hell when it comes to cleaning. Lastly, we have plastic cages, which are great and fun for the hamster, but have poor ventilation and are difficult to clean. When it comes to size – two square feet is a minimum, but your hamster may require more. Look for advice from your local pet shop. 2. Talk to Your Hamster Hamsters have very good hearing, and the first thing you should do to bond with your hamster is talked to it. Just sit in front of the cage and talk. You don’t even have to be talking to the hamster, you can be talking on the phone, read a book out loud, or simply think out loud while working – it’s just important for the hamster to hear your voice and get used to it. After a few weeks the hamster get completely used to your voice and it won’t shiver upon hearing it. It’s also good to talk to the hamster when it’s doing enjoyable things like eating or running on the wheel. 3. Feeding Your Hamster Now, another great thing you can do for your hamster to get more acclimated to you is to feed it. Don’t just feed it the same thing every day – you don’t eat the exact same meal daily, so why should your hamster do that? There are many treats, like apples and seeds that you can give to your hamster. With time, you will be able to try to feed your hamster out of your open palm. This is very important and a great way to improve the relationship between you and your hamster. Firstly, make sure to wash your hands before you place them in your hamster’s cage for any reason. Hamsters can’t see well, so they use their sense of smell and touch to tell what’s what. They tend to bite, even if they don’t feel threatened, to see if what’s in front of them is actually food. So, if you push your finger in your hamster’s cage and it smells like the pot roast you’ve had for lunch, you’re basically guaranteeing that your hamster will bite your finger. Hamsters can’t control this instinct, once again, as they’re conditioned by evolution to eat (or at least store) every sort of food they come upon. It’s important that your hamster trusts you enough to eat out of your open palm. Just like hamsters, every other animal (including humans) is vulnerable when eating. And being vulnerable on the open palm of a creature that’s twenty or thirty times your size is very risky. The fact that your hamster is willing to casually eat out of your hand means that it understands that you have no intention of harming it. Place a small piece of apple in your open palm and put your hand in the cage. Let the hamster come to you. It may not work the first time, but it’ll work after a while. Talk to the hamster as you’re doing this – we’ve already discussed how important it is for the hamster to recognize your voice, and this will make it understand that you’re not a threat. 4. Handling Your Hamster It’s going to take a while for your hamster to let you hold it. It’s best to do this after you’ve been feeding it by hand, because that’s a clear sign that your hamster trusts you (somewhat), and it’s time to move to the next step. To hold your hamster, put both hands in the cage, and when your hamster has allowed you to keep them there – connect them to cup them together under your hamster’s belly. You can then raise your hands and you’ll be holding your hamster. Don’t take your hands out of the cage and start carrying your hamster around just yet, for the first time, just let it lie on your cupped hands and let it go back after a while. Try this a few times a day for a few days, each time going a little bit further – taking the hamster out of the cage, putting the hamster close to your chest, carrying the hamster. You have to know that despite the hamster trusting you, it will try to jump out of your hands at the smallest sign of danger – a dog barking, you shaking, etc. This will become a huge problem because it’s very difficult to catch a hamster once it runs away, so the best way to deal with this is to point the hamster towards your chest. Let it feel your body’s warmth, and it will also be more difficult for it to escape because it’s going to be rotated towards you, not away from you. You should do this for a while, and after a few weeks, your hamster will trust you enough to let you hold it whenever you like. Make sure to reward your hamster with a treat every time you hold it like this, that will make it understand that it’s all for a good reason and that you have no intention of harming it, but quite the opposite – rewarding it. You can use this opportunity to pet your hamster. Just like any other animal, hamsters enjoy being pet on the back of their heads. This will further deepen your relationship. 5. Playing with Your Hamster Playing with your hamster is the ultimate level of trust with your pet. It’s difficult to come to this point, but once you do, your hamster trusts you almost completely. Know that your hamster will still try to run away if you don’t enclose its playing area, so it’s best to place some sort of wooden enclosure on the floor when you’re playing with your hamster. One of the most fun things is to teach your hamster tricks. This is actually fairly simple to do, as all hamsters are motivated by food and you can use that to teach them to jump, flip, roll over, spin in a circle, and even wear clothes. Another thing you can do is to buy toys for your hamster. There are many toys available for hamsters at pet stores, but the most popular one is the exercise ball. This is a plastic ball that the hamster can enter and run around with it. This is a form of exercise, but it’s also fun for the hamster. This ball will allow your hamster to safely explore your home, but make sure that it doesn’t fall down the stairs and that it doesn’t roll around for longer than twenty minutes without a water and snack break – hamsters don’t have the strongest stamina. One thing that you have to make sure of when playing with your hamster is to check for any hazards. Make sure that your hamster can’t reach any electrical outlets or chew on a cable. Also, don’t let any other pets in the room while your hamster is there, and block any spaces that your hamster might crawl into. There are times when your hamster will just want to hop into your lap and let you pet it, this is also a form of playing and let your hamster enjoy it. Useful Tips Only approach your hamster when it’s awake. Hamsters like to sleep, a lot, and they usually spend the largest part of the day sleeping, and they’re at their most active when the sun is setting, and later when it’s rising in the morning. They are not going to appreciate you waking them up, and they’re not going to want to play. Approach the hamster when it’s ready to be approached. Let your hamster climb on you. Once your hamster starts finding you trustworthy, it’s going to want to climb on you. They’re pretty good climbers, and they’re not going to hurt you, so you should let them climb on you. This is another form of playing to them, so they’re not going to cause any harm. Groom your hamster – your hamster’s fur is going to grow. Hamsters are actually some of the most well-groomed pets, very similar to cats, and they’re going to spend a large part of their conscious life grooming themselves. Still, make sure that they’re properly groomed. Clean your hamster’s cage often – nobody likes to live in a dirty home, and hamsters don’t like it either. Unfortunately, they can’t exactly clean after themselves, so make sure to clean your hamster’s cage whenever it gets dirty. [...] Read more...
Hamsters vs Guinea Pigs – Take It From Someone Who Owns Both
Hamsters vs Guinea Pigs – Take It From Someone Who Owns BothIf you’re aching for a pet but can’t decide between a guinea pig or a hamster, let me help you. I have a Syrian hammy, and 2 guinea piggies and believe me, there are some very important differences between them. In this article we’ll look at the main differences between them, and how much they both impact your life, so you can take a very well informed decision. If you’d like to know what would happen if you were to raise a hamster with a guinea pig in the same cage, you should read this article. Table of Contents ToggleDeciding between a guinea pig or a hamsterA quick rundown on hamstersA quick overview of guinea pigsDifferent temperaments between the two petsAbout the guinea pig’s personalityAbout the hamster’s personalityKid-friendly or quiet home ?Feeding requirements for hamsters and guinea pigsExercise and floor time for guinea pigs and hamstersHamster exercise and running routineGuinea pig exercise and floor timeCage requirements are very different between the twoBedding, nests, and objects in their cageTake your schedule and daily life into accountA word from Teddy Deciding between a guinea pig or a hamster That one is completely up to you. Decide after you’ve read this entire article, and see which would be best for you. I got a hamster at first, a Syrian male named Teddy. About a year and a half later, we got two piggies from a friend who did not have the time to look after them anymore. We’ve named them Jessi and Ka, because my piggies when I was young were named Jessica (both of them). So I’ve come to know some clear differences between hamsters and guinea pigs, and some common grounds as well. But let’s start with the basics. A quick rundown on hamsters Hamsters are nocturnal/crepuscular animals, and will sleep most of the day away. Their diet is made of mostly grains, with some fruits, veggies, meat, and nuts added to the equation. They need fairly large cages ( a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.) and certain conditions to live in. Hamsters are solitary animals, even if you’ve seen some people keep pair of hamsters in the same cage. There are 5 types of hamsters: The Syrian hamster, the largest one and with the most coat color variations The Roborovski Dwarf, the tiniest of the Dwarf types – only 2 inches/5 cm The Campbell Dwarf The Djungarian/Winter white Dwarf The Chinese Dwarf You’ll rarely find all 5 types of hamsters in a pet shop, but you might find 2-3 types at a time. Syrians are the most common hamster you can get as a pet. The average hamster’s lifespan is  2-3 years. The Chinese Dwarf has the shortest lifespan, around 1.5-2 years, while the Robo Dwarf can live up to 4 years. A quick overview of guinea pigs Guinea pigs are larger than hamsters, about 20-25 cm/8-10 inches long and with a very wide array of colors. Some are shorthaired, some have long hair, some have swirls in their fur as a pattern, but their personalities do not vary from one fur type to another Guinea pigs live in herds, one male leading a groups of females. With pet piggies this is not wise, unless you’re looking to breed them.  Pet piggies are usually kept in all male or all female herds, and if males are ever kept with females the male is spayed. Their usual diet is made of timothy hay, along with leafy greens, some root-type veggies, and the occasional fruit. Guinea pigs have an  average lifespan of 6-8 years, though there have been piggies that lived over 10 years, so getting a piggie is a commitment. For the most part guinea pigs are neither nocturnal nor diurnal. Instead, they sleep in patches throughout the day, and have a certain sleep schedule you’ll be able to observe after a few weeks. Different temperaments between the two pets Both the hamster and the guinea pig are prey animals. They’re both skittish and both need some time before they’re comfy with you picking them up. Sometimes they’re never okay with that. But the common grounds stop there. There are many differences between hamsters and guinea pigs. When it comes to which would make the best pet for you, you need to take those into account. About the guinea pig’s personality Guinea pigs are herd animals. As such, they’re much more social and laid back than a hamster, who is a solitary animal. In fact, keeping a guinea pig alone is  a terrible idea, even if you’re always there to play with her. The company of another piggie can’t be replaced with human interaction, simply because we don’t understand piggies as well as another piggy. So, guinea pigs do well in groups or at least pairs. They can have varying personalities, the piggies themselves. Some are more outgoing, curious, and might come to check you out. others will shy away and rarely leave their huts if they know you’re there, even after taming them. Some will be relaxed and won’t protest when you pick them up, some will try their hardest to get out of your hands. Piggies rarely ever bite, even when they’re stressed. They can bite, yes, but they’re very docile and will avoid doing this most of the time. It varies from piggy to piggy. The one we have, Ka is a bit more outgoing, and is okay with being held, while Jessi hides most of the time. They don’t really get along and need 2 separate cages, but they talk to each other a lot. Another thing about a piggy’s personality and temperament, they are easier to bond with a young piggy. So if you’ve got an adult piggy, and bring in a young one, the young one will learn from the old one and become submissive. To even things out, it’s best to always get both or all the piggies young, and introduce them as youngsters so they can grow together and form their own relationship. Guinea pigs actually become depressed if they’ve got no friends, even if they do have human company. This is another reason to never keep a lone piggy. About the hamster’s personality A hamster, on the other hand, is very territorial. He has his own things, and will not share them with anyone. Putting two hamsters together is generally a bad idea, even the Dwarf types. While they may tolerate each other, they usually end up fighting and need to be separated. Hamsters are also skittish and will try to run away or hide when you try to interact with them. But they can be tamed, at least a bit, to know that you’re no danger to them. They have no problem biting you if you handle them wrong, or they feel threatened. For example my Teddy is a bit of a Rambo type, always curious, will fight anything (even a toilet paper roll) if it gets too close, and doesn’t really like to be held for more than 3 seconds. Some hamsters are a bit more tame, for example a family friend had a hamster named Oscar. He was the tamest, most relaxed hammy, and he let anyone hold him. The thing is hamsters are not very cuddly creatures, and won’t seek out your hugs and scratches on their own. Maybe a few select will, but as a whole this is something they learn to associate with food, and nothing more. Kid-friendly or quiet home ? Another important aspect, and a possible deal breaker for many people out there. If you’ve got children, or other small pets, the a hamster is the worst idea ever. This is because hamsters are very sensitive to everything – the room temperature, the noise level, the light level, drafts, being picked up wrong, being held too long, a sick person, and so on. Guinea pigs are sensitive too, but much less than hamsters. A hamster can get stressed very easily and develop an entire host of illnesses based on stress. A curious cat or a barking dog can be too much for the hamster, and kids continuously prodding at their cage can be very stressful. A guinea pig on the other hand is more relaxed. They don’t like being woken up and put on display either, but they react much less negatively than a hamster, and they recover pretty quickly. For kids I think a guinea pig is the best choice, instead of a hamster. I’d recommend a hamster only to quiet, patient, calm people who have time at night to tame and play with the hamster. A rowdy home with many pets and young children is not recommended for piggies, nor for hamsters. Feeding requirements for hamsters and guinea pigs Both the guinea pig and the hamster have very specific feeds. While a hamster could steal anything the piggy would eat (except the hay), a piggy couldn’t eat much of the hamster’s food. There is also the question of how often to feed them, and how much. For Syrian hamsters 2 teaspoons of commercial food mix is enough, daily. The Dwarf types only need one teaspoon. Much of the food will be hoarded for later snacks. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, need a fresh supply of timothy hay, available at all times, in endless amounts. Commercial food mix should be given 2 tablespoons per piggy, daily. So on short, you’re going to feed the piggy more often, and in larger quantities. There always needs to be a hay bag on hand, to re-stock their hay pile. Both Jessi and Ka go through about 3-4 fistfuls of hay, each, per day. Both guinea pigs and hamsters can be fed various treats that are already in your pantry or fridge. Fresh fruit and veg are favorites, a few examples include: guinea pigs – raw bell pepper, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, small slice of apple hamsters – cucumber, carrots, peanuts (unsalted, shelled), plain cooked chicken While the hamster will pick up all the food in his food bowl and store it in his nest for later use, a guinea pig does not. Piggies pretty much mess with their food and it ends up all over the cage. For example ours put a paw inside their bowls and tip them over to get to the feed. If we put the feed directly on their bedding, half of it ends up forgotten in the bedding. Exercise and floor time for guinea pigs and hamsters This is a very big difference between hamsters and guinea pigs. They both need exercise, and will run around pretty much all their waking time. But, they do it differently. Hamster exercise and running routine Hamsters are famous for their running wheels and exercise balls. We’ve all seen or at least heard of a hammy running as far as his little feet can take him, all night long. Given their small size, agility, and how hard they are to catch in general (especially if lost), hamsters aren’t let outside their cage often. In fact, the only way a hamster can spend time outside his cage is inside his exercise ball. This keeps things safe for everyone involved. Even then, they should not be kept in the ball for more than 30 minutes at a time. They will need water, a quick snack, and they will probably need their pee corner as well. Most of the hamster’s exercise is done inside the cage. This means that whatever running wheel you end up getting your hamster, it better be sturdy. He will use it every night, for hours on end, pretty much all his life. Hamsters can get bored very easily if they’ve got no way to expend all that energy. Many times this can lead to chewing the cage bars, or even trying to escape. Some people decide to let their hammy roam free in a hamster-proof room. This means that the room needs to have no hidden corners, or furniture that the hamster can get under, behind, into or between (hamsters are ridiculously good at this), and have no exposed surfaces that can harm them. Or that the hamster can harm, like a power strip cable, or charger for example. If you decide to let your hamster have floor time, have a good plan to catch him. Baiting him with food into his cage or exercise ball usually helps. Guinea pig exercise and floor time Guinea pigs are fairly different from hamsters in this respect. They need plenty of exercise too, but it’s a bit hard for them to get a good wheel, and an exercise ball is not a good idea. The main reason is that both a ball and an wheel need to be very large in order for the piggy’s back to be straight. Most people don’t have room for such a large wheel in their home, let alone the piggy’s cage. So that leaves the guinea pig owner with two choices: get a very very large cage, and/or supplement it with lots of floor time. Now, even if you do have a very large cage for the guinea pig, it’s probably not enough. This is because they need to be able to roam as much as they like, at all times. As large as a cage can be, it just isn’t enough and becomes repetitive. Some people dedicate an entire room to the piggies. That room is guinea-pig proofed, meaning the floor is easy to clean (piggies pee and poop incredibly often), there is no furniture the pig can chew on,  there are several huts/hideouts the pigs can use, and they are well contained. If you’ve got the spare room for that, it would be a great treat for your piggies, giving them so much space all for themselves. But, if you’ve only got the cage, you will need to improvise with floor time. This means that a certain patch of a room you designate will have to be guinea pig proofed. News paper lining on the floor, a small wire fence to keep them inside their enclosure, food and a hideout or two to cuddle in, and lots of running around. Giving your guinea floor time will greatly reduce their boredom levels and will keep them happy and bouncy. (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.) Cage requirements are very different between the two Alright, we’ve just talked about the exercise and floor time/free roam requirements. This means that their cages need to be very large in order to keep them happy and not stressed. For hamsters the absolute minimum is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and he will do great in a larger cage than that. Dwarf hamsters can make do with smaller cages, but I’d recommend getting them a Syrian sized one as well. The problem is that most people don’t really have the space for a cage larger than that, so they end up with the minimum. Guinea pig cages do come in large sizes, and in fact the minimum is 110 by 60 cm/43 by 23.5 inches, for one guinea pig. Since guinea pigs should be kept in pairs you will need a cage almost double that size for both of them. Many people opt to make their cages C&C style – corrugated plastic and cubes. It’s basically a plastic bottom cage, which can be adjusted as much as you would like, with wire mesh as a fence to keep the piggies in. Most of these cages can be handmade, as long as you have the proper materials. They’re usually found at hardware stores, or building supply stores. Unfortunately hamsters can’t live in a C&C cage, since the spacing is too large for them, and they will easily escape. A guinea pig is large enough that the C&C cage will keep her in. Bedding, nests, and objects in their cage Both hamsters and guinea pigs need toys and some basic objects in their cage. Both can live well enough with paper-based bedding, or aspen shavings. Neither of them tolerates dust, and they have sensitive noses. Pine and cedar shavings or toys should be avoided. A hamster will need a hideout, in which to build his nest. So does a guinea pig, but she is not as attached to her hideout as the hamster. While the hamster will build his base and make it an impenetrable fortress, the guinea pig will switch between multiple hideouts. This means that yes, she will need many places to hide. Both the hamster and the guinea pig need wood-based objects to chew on. Their teeth always grow, even if they’re not both rodents (guinea pigs are caviidaes, or cavies for short). They need to constantly file down their teeth, in order to keep them in check and avoid dental problems. In the same vein, both hamsters and guinea pigs need toys in their cages to stave off boredom. Bored piggies and hamsters can get restless, start chewing the bars, try to escape, and even get depressed. They both need food bowls, simply because scatter-feeding them often ends up with a lot of food forgotten under all the bedding. Take your schedule and daily life into account Hamsters and guinea pigs need lots of time with their owners in order to come to trust them. Even after being tamed, they can lose that trust if you make a wrong move or scare them too much. Remember that they are prey animals, in the end. So in order to take your hamster or guinea pig, you need to dedicate time and effort. It could take days, it could only be a few weeks. but if you’ve got a very busy schedule, neither of them will be good for you. If you’re working nights and you need to be awake and at home in the evening, then you will have time and patience to train and tame your hamster. Possibly the guinea pigs too. But, hamsters sleep during the day, all day. If you’re like me and work during the day and go to bed fairly early (10 PM) you’re probably better off with the guinea pigs. They’re active during the day as well as the night, so you will end get plenty of time to spend with them. If you’re away from home very often, and for long periods of time, then neither of these pets are suited for you. This is because they don’t get a attached to their owners as other pets, and can’t travel with you as easily. In this case a dog would be better suited, depending what king of travel you’re doing. If you’ve got children that need changing, feeding, put to bed, a home to clean and some other errands to run, then a stationary pet like a hamster or guinea pig probably is not good for you either. Both the hamster and the guinea pig are confined to their cage, and won’t be able to follow you around. A cat, however, will be able to come and go as she pleases and will be with you in bed, the kitchen, the bathroom, and possibly in your work bag as well. Finally, keep in mind that guinea pigs are noisier than hamsters. The array of sounds they make, the loudness, and the frequency are all much higher. Depending on what kind of bedding you provide, you might also hear the guinea pigs moving about in their cage at night. You’ll simply her them much more often than a hamster. So take into account the kind of life you have, and whether you can dedicate enough time and energy to these creatures. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Many people have a hard time choosing between us hammies and guinea pigs, but we’ve both got our good side and our bad sides. In the end it comes down to how well we’d work with your daily life. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to care for us and keep us happy too. [...] Read more...