12 Reasons Why Hamsters Are Good Pets, And A Few Cons

Hamsters are a very common pet to own. When I first got my Teddy, I’d heard of and seen hamster pets before, but never had one myself. I didn’t know if Teddy would make a good pet, but I wanted a cute hammy running around the house in his exercise ball.

Then, once I got him I figured out just how good of a pet he can be, and hamsters in general. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but this will apply to Dwarf types as well.

hamster good pet
Who can say no to this face ?

So why are hamsters good pets ?

Hamsters are good pets, for the most parts. They have their good and their bad sides, and I’ll tell you both. Here’s why hamsters make good pets:

  1. They’re low maintenance – not hard to look after
  2. Funny even when not handled – they make the weirdest faces and do the silliest things
  3. Take up little space – a hamster’s cage is the only thing taking up space, and that’s not much
  4. Clean animal – hamsters groom themselves as much as a cat does
  5. Cheap to keep – will not burn a hole in your wallet
  6. Cuter than most pets, being so small – a hamster will always have that ‘baby animal’ face
  7. Short lifespan, not a long term commitment – only 2-4 years
  8. Do not need much exercise from you – they exercise on their own, if given a running wheel
  9. Do not shed – no allergies, and minimal cleanup
  10. Quiet most of the time – hamsters rarely make any noise, and sleep most of the day
  11. They stay where you put their cage – you won’t trip over them when you get out of bed or go down the stairs
  12. Accepted in no-pet buildings or apartments – this is a big plus for most city dwellers !

Alright, those are some pretty good reasons to get a hamster, I’d say. But let’s talk about why hamsters make good pets in more detail, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

Hamsters are low maintenance pets

This is something I imagined would be the case when I got my Teddy. I mean, it’s a pet that spends most of its time in a cage, and half that time it sleeps. Now much maintenance can it need ?

To be fair, there is a bit of work involved, like changing the bedding, and feeding the pet daily, along with playing with it whenever you can.

But aside from that hamsters are very easy to take care of. If you want more info on how often to change the hammy’s bedding, and which type of bedding is best for him, then you should read this.

There are people who say that hamsters aren’t really that easy to keep. I’d argue that they’re wrong. Sure there are certain things to consider – like the temperature to keep in the room for the hamster, or what to feed the hamster.

But when you compare a hamster with a shedding cat, a dog that needs regular walks and trips to the vet, and a squeaky parrot that you need to constantly clean up after, a hamster is just breezy.

My girlfriend’s parents have a couple of cockatiels and they’re a chore. Lovable and fun, but still a lot of cleanup and upkeep.

They’re funny on their own

My Teddy does the weirdest things in his cage. I think most hamsters do, aside from the extra lazy ones. But even those are funny.

For example Teddy sometimes pushes his hideout to the side in order to get a better look at us. Like he doesn’t have the rest of the cage to see us, but okay.

And he does it in the most complicated and backwards way possible. He gets on top of the hideout, then kind of… melts between his hideout and the cage bars. Then he shoves his little face in that small space until he moves the hideout.

You’ve maybe seen videos of hamsters flying off their running wheels because they stopped randomly. Or maybe hamsters falling asleep and actually falling over. Even when they suddenly stop and listen for something, they have that ‘did I leave the gas on ?’ face about them.

Funniest of all, hammies can and do fart. They’re just embarrassed you’d find out so they only make a faint whoosh sound. No really, they do fart. They also blink like lizards, one eye at a time. It looks like the world’s slowest wink.

You can also name your hamster whatever you think suits him or her. I’ve met hamsters named Oscar, Hamster-boy, and Peanut. They’re a lot like cats in this respect, so their name can be anything you like.

The hamster’s cage will not take up much space

A hamster’s cage is basically the only thing taking up space in your home. Depending on what kind of cage you get your hamster – like a cage or a large glass tank – you might have more or less space taken up.

But the end result is the same, your hamster will only take up that much space, ever.

As for how large a hamster’s cage should be, I’ll link you to an article about exactly that. You’ll find out how large a hamster’s cage should be, and what kind of cage suits him best.

As always with hamsters, even if they’re such small creatures, they need more space than you’d think. So always go for a bigger cage. Never buy those tiny, square, cramped cages you see at pet shops.

Hamsters are very clean animals

It might come as a surprise to you or not, but hamsters are very clean animals. They clean and groom themselves regularly. Almost obsessively.

If you’ve ever seen a cat spend 20 minutes licking and cleaning itself, a hamster will do the exact same thing. Minus the hairballs. And it will take less time since he is much smaller than a cat.

But still, a very very clean pet all around. Even in their hideout, hamsters keep their pile of food well away from droppings, and only pee in the opposite corner of the cage. As far away from their hideout as possible.

The only things that will ever smell will be the hamster’s pee corners. Those need their bedding changed more often than the entire bedding. Or, you can use a sandbath in the corner your hammy uses as a bathroom. He will use the sandbath as a litterbox.

Hamsters are cheap pets to keep

As far as expenses go, hamsters are inexpensive. They run around $10 per month, for food and bedding. It’s only the initial costs that can throw you off if you’re not expecting it.

An average budget, for a new cage, wheel, exercise ball, transport cage, hideout, and toys can get to $225. But those are all things you only ever buy once, in the hamster’s entire life. You can find out more about hamster expenses here.

And the hamster itself is incredibly cheap, somewhere between $5-10.

Hamsters are among the cutest pets

You know how cute your puppy was when you got him ? He’s cute now too, all grown up, but he’s not a puppy anymore.

Well, a hamster will always have that kind of ‘baby face’. Especially baby hamsters, they’re even sweeter. But an adult hamster will have the cutest, furriest face you’ve ever seen.

They’re just fuzzy all around, and they have those big black beady eyes. If you look at their wiggling noses, you’ll notice they look a lot like rabbits when they move their noses.

Hamsters never really ‘grow up’, as most pets do. They stay that fluffy, cute little creature you fell in love with when you first brought home.

hamster good pet
Teddy moving his hideout around, like a restless little creature.

They have a shorter lifespan than most pets

A hamster’s life isn’t that long. That’s both a downside and a good thing, depending on which way you look at it. I’ve put it as a good thing, because this means the hamster is a smaller commitment than a dog or a cat.

Hamsters only live for 2-4 years, with the Dwarf types living the longest. This is for hamsters kept as pets. In the wild hamsters do no reach such an old age.

So if you’re looking for a furry friend to keep you company for a couple of years, a hamster will be a good match for you. Or, if you want to try your hand at raising and keeping a pet, a hamster is a good starting point.

You will not need to exercise them yourself too much

This is great news for very busy people, and it’s an easy thing to take care of. A hamster will exercise on his own, as long as you give him an exercise wheel and/or ball.

An exercise wheel is the best way for your hamster to let out the immense energy it has. The hamster will have access to the wheel 24/7, since it’s in his cage all day and night.

Also, an exercise ball will be a great help for keeping the hamster from becoming anxious or stressed. All you as a human need to do is help the hamster into the ball, and he will do the rest by himself.

So if you’re a very busy person, and you often work long hours and don’t have a lot of time to walk a dog or play with a cat, a hamster might be great for you.

Especially since most of the hamster’s exercise takes place when he is awake, which is usually at night, when you sleep.

There is no shedding problem

Hamsters do not shed, so if you’ve got an allergy to fur you should be safe with a hamster.

Your clothes and furniture will not need a regular brushing as well, since there are no stray hamster hairs laying about.

The only thing about the hamster is that there will be stray bits of bedding in odd places, but that’s the extent of the ‘mess’ a hamster will make in your home.

Hamsters are very quiet 90% of the time

Most of the time hamsters make absolutely no noise. Sure, you will hear them faintly rummaging in their hideouts, or digging in their bedding. But they don’t get noisier than that most of the time.

So if you’re a very quiet person, and you need a quiet pet that won’t disturb you, a hamster could be for you. Most of the hamster’s activity happens at night.

So while you’re sleeping is when he might make the most noise, but again he makes very little noise. Hamsters are very quiet since they’re prey. So they’ve evolved to be very quiet creatures, and not make noise unless absolutely necessary.

You won’t trip over them randomly

Since most of the time your hamster will be in his cage, you can’t trip over him randomly when getting out of the shower.

If you’ve ever had your dog paw at the door when you’re using the bathroom, or your cat judge you when you’re in the shower, you know what I mean. Hamsters won’t be out unless you let them out, in their special exercise balls.

My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatiels, and they run around the house all day. They’re funny and love to chase you, but you can literally step on them if you’re not careful. Or you’ll find them perched on top of the open door and freak out if you want to close it.

A hamster will not give you any surprises.

Hamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartments

Many apartments, or even entire buildings, do not allow pets. This is mainly because of damage to the furniture, noise level, and some types of mess that can only happen with pets larger than a guinea pig.

So a hamster that stays in its cage most of the time, is quiet, and does not make a mess will be okay in those buildings. I guess the same could be said about any pet that needs to be kept in a cage or tank.

Hamsters are also easier to accept by roommates, since they won’t be noisy or messy or smelly. So there is nothing to object to there.

But are hamsters good pets for children ?

You might be wondering if a hamster might be a good pet for your kid. The short answer is no.

The longer one is still no, and here is why. While hamsters are fairly easy to care for, they still need a level of responsibility and patience that a child just doesn’t have yet.

To be clear, I’m talking about children under 12-13 years of age, when they start to become more responsible. A 9 years old might love to have a hamster, but will probably forget to feed the hammy, or close the cage properly, or might scare him just for fun.

A dog or a cat might run away and hide if they don’t like the way they’re treated. But a hamster can’t get very far, and can only hide in his cage.

Aside from that, a hamster is not a very patient pet, and won’t take well to being held wrong or pulled by the ears. It will bite and scratch ad squirm to try to get away, which is no fun for anyone involved.

In general, the younger the child, the worse a hamster will be as a pet for them.

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hamster good pet

Downsides/cons of having a pet hamster

There are a few downside to having a hamster as a pet, although the upsides more than make up for these. Still, I think you should know what the cons could be, just so you’re prepared.

A hamster is harder to tame than other pets

Since hamsters are so jumpy, and easy to scare, they’re harder to handle than a dog or a cat for example. Taming a hamster means handling it, playing with it, letting it get used to your scent. Hamsters are much harder to tame than most pets.

They’re not as trusting as dogs, not even cats. Hamsters have evolved to run away from everything, since anything can be a predator for them.

This, combined with the immense amount of energy a hamster has, so restless and jittery, gives you a very active, possibly difficult pet. You need a lot of patience.

It’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babies

So you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting. And once you do figure out the hamster’s personality, it’s a very strong one anyway. There’s not much changing it.

If it’s a very independent hamster that doesn’t like to be handled, you might dismiss that early on as ‘not yet tame’.

Their personalities are simple enough, but can vary wildly from hamster to hamster. The Syrian hamsters are a bit mellower compared to their Dwarf cousins, and easier to handle.

Hamsters are less affectionate

They’re not crazy about hugs and kisses and cuddles and scratches. Sure, they’ll tolerate them a bit but you can’t hold and cuddle a hamster for a half hour as you could a dog.

So keep that in mind if you’re looking for a cuddly, affectionate pet. Hamsters aren’t the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They can bond with their owners and come closer when you talk to them. But that’s about it.

This was a big drawback for me initially, since the main reason I wanted a hamster was to cuddle and play with it. My mistake was expecting it to be as loving and playful as a dog.

Hamsters do ask for attention, just not in the same way and don’t need nearly as much emotional attachment.

They’re nocturnal, you might miss them often

This depends on the kind of schedule you have. Pet hamsters are nocturnal, and will come out possibly when you’re getting ready for bed, like 9 PM.

So you might miss out a lot on your hamster’s funny antics. Hamsters are mostly solitary creatures, so they won’t miss you terribly. But still, talking to them and handling them is important to taming the hamsters and keeping them tame.

If you go to bed early and wake early, then a hamster might not be for you. But if you’re awake late int the night regularly, you might get along with a hamster just fine.

To find out more about a hamster’s night routine, you should check out this article.

Hamsters are very sensitive to a lot of things

It’s common knowledge that hamsters scare easily. Well, most rodents do. They can even die of heart attacks from a dog barking at them.

So that’s one thing to be careful about, keeping the hamster from scaring too much. You can find some useful info on that here.

Hamsters are also very sensitive to shifts in temperature, and can easily die of hypothermia. Once a hamster contracts a disease, it needs immediate care or else it has basically zero chances of survival.

There are a lot of things to mind when you’re considering getting a hamster, including how large a cage you can get him. A small cage will make your hamster stressed, which will make him chew the bars and develop a serious case of anxiety.

The same goes for how much exercise your hamster gets. And transporting a hamster is often a bad idea. Best to leave him at home, with someone to check up on him.

Surprise litters

This is especially true for Dwarf pairs. You see a cute pair at the pet shop, you get them home, and a couple of weeks later you find yourself with 15 hamsters, not 2.

You see, baby hamsters can breed as soon as they’re weaned – that’s just 3-4 weeks after being born. And if the males and females aren’t kept separate immediately after weaning, they can start to breed, even so young.

Most of the times they’re separated in time. But sometimes it’s too late, or one male gets tagged as female by mistake and put in an all female enclosure. You can see where that can go.

This is possible with every type of hamster, but especially true for Dwarf kinds because only these can be kept in pairs. Syrians need to be alone, and will fight literally anything or anyone put in their cage. So there’s less of a chance of accidental litters.

A word from Teddy

I hope you can get a feel for how it would be to have one of us hammies as a pet. I’ve been a good pet so far, and I think that if you’re a patient, calm person then one of us would be a good match for you.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check the articles below.

Related blog post
Jumping Hamsters – Why Hamsters Jump, And How High
Jumping Hamsters – Why Hamsters Jump, And How HighDid your hamster ever jump out of your hands ? I know my Teddy did. I barely caught him in time. If you have a hamster, and you’ve picked him up, you know what I’m talking about. So I’m going to talk about why hamsters jump, how high hamsters can jump, and how you can make sure they don’t hurt themselves by falling. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters jump ?Hamsters can jump out of your handsHamsters can also randomly jump in their cageHamsters will fall, or jump from heightsMaking sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumpsGive the hamster plenty of bedding to fall onOverlapping levels in a cageDon’t give the hamster very tall toysOpt for wood-based toysCover the sides of the levels in the cageA few precautions for jumping hamstersA word from Teddy So why do hamsters jump ? A jumping hamster might sound silly, but it’s for a reason. A hamster will jump just like any other animal when it want to break free, or get to something. Most of the time when he jumps, it’s because the hamster is uncomfortable. His legs and paws are not meant to jump very high(unlike mice or rabbits). But your hammy will jump out of your hands if he’s had enough of your handling and wants to be put in his cage. This can happen with any hamster, be it a tame or difficult one. More difficult hamsters will jump out of your hands more often. But all hamsters will jump away if there’s something bothering them. Like scaring the hamster, or holding him for too long, or too high. As for jumping for food, hamsters rarely jump for or towards something. They rather climb, since their limbs are meant for running and climbing. Hamsters can jump out of your hands For example Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) was more active when he was younger, so he was more fidgety. This got me to constantly keep having to move my hands, like a handwashing motion. Sometimes, he’d have enough of me holding and playing with him, and jump out of my hands. The first time this happened I was lucky to be close to his cage. He fell on the cage, and I let him in. He was fine, nothing hurt or broken. But I had to be careful. So whenever you handle a hamster, be close to his cage, or where you’ve decided his playpen is. If he’s a confirmed jumper, be extra sure to be close to the cage, or near a soft surface he can fall on, like the bed or a sofa. A good way to distract the hamster in your hands is to give him a treat or piece of food. You can check this food list to find out which foods and treats are safe for hamsters, and which are not. Hamsters will also jump out of your hands when they wanted to do something else and you interrupted them. Like maybe you picked your hamster up when he was eating, or while he was cleaning himself. He’ll want to get back to whatever he was doing, fast. Hamsters can also randomly jump in their cage This is more common for more active hamsters, like the smaller Roborovski or Campbell hamsters or their other small brethren. Basically all hamsters aside from Syrians. Syrians do jump around their cage, but mostly when they’re very young. This is because of the amazing energy small hamsters have, and how incredibly agile they are. You can take care f this by providing your hamster with a good exercise wheel, according to his breed. He’ll burn off more energy that way and be less likely to jump for no reason. Sometimes the jumping has no clear purpose or trigger. They weren’t trying to get somewhere, or reach something. No, they were scurrying somewhere and did a backflip on the way. I’ve seen it with Teddy as well, and I can’t really explain why he randomly jumped. Sometimes he jumped onto the cage bars, and started scaling the cage. That has no clear purpose either, aside from expending excess energy. Hamsters will fall, or jump from heights Unfortunately hamsters are very poor judges of heights. Hamsters do not see very well, and can’t use anything else to judge distance. But they are curious creatures and want to inspect everything. So if your cage has a taller level – like a multi-level cage – make sure that the hamster will not injure himself. This means that the height of the fall should not be more than 25 cm/10 inch. This is actually the average height a hamster can jump, and safely land from. This selection of the best and safest hamster cages will make sure your hamster has a good place to live in. For example my Teddy’s cage is a multi-level cage. The topmost level was a safe distance, however there was a slight gap that I had to mind, the two levels didn’t overlap completely. Teddy did jump from the highest level all the way down. He didn’t end up on the first level, he actually landed on the ground floor. He was fine, but I removed his second level soon after that. He didn’t jump often, but when he did he had no clear reason. He had a very easy to access ramp he used to get there in the first place, which he ignored when trying to get down. Hamsters do not judge distances very well, since their eyes don’t help them much. So make sure you fall/jump proof your hammy’s cage. Making sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumps There’s a few things you should consider, and I’ll get into each of them. It’s mostly the same across all hamster breeds, maybe some adjustments would need to be made according to the hamster’s size. Give the hamster plenty of bedding to fall on This is what will help him have an easier landing, much like a pile of hay. So that would mean covering every surface he could land on with bedding. If you have a single level cage, then you’re set. If you’ve got a multi-level cage, provide bedding for all levels, even if just a bit. This roundup of great hamster bedding options will help you figure out which will work for you. Overlapping levels in a cage If you do get a multi-level cage for your hammy, make sure the levels overlap, mostly. For example my cage’s levels don’t overlap completely, and Teddy had to be very skilled to fall like he did. When you’re online or at the pet store, make sure you check the cage as best you can. To figure out the best kind of cage your hamster would need, as well as which of the 3 most common types would suit him, check out this article. You’ll find out cage sizes and options, as well as the pros and cons of each type. Don’t give the hamster very tall toys Now, the running wheel will have to be tall in order to be a proper size for him. But your hammy can’t get all the way on top of the wheel wince it will spin with him. But digging towers are different, as well as hideout complexes. Try looking for something no taller than those 25 cm/10 inches we talked about earlier. If your give the hamster no tall toys, he will have nowhere to fall from. This includes hammocks and mesh nets. These should not be more than 10 inches off the ground for your hammy. Especially for the dwarf hamsters out there. Opt for wood-based toys While the wheel will most probably not be metal, in order to be easy to spin and get a large enough one, the other toys should be wood. This is partly because hamsters chew on everything and wood is safe for them. And the other part is because wood lets the hamster have an easier landing than hard plastic or metal. Cover the sides of the levels in the cage If you’ve got a multi-level cage, but they don’t overlap that much, consider covering those sides with something like a fence that goes all the way up, or at least as nigh as the hamster’s full body. A good option would be popsicle sticks. They’re safe for hamsters, and you can get them in most arts and crafts stores. A good, non-toxic glue that the hamster will be able to hold the popsicles in place. Make sure that you only do this if the hamster can’t reach the place there you’ve glued the popsicles. (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.) A few precautions for jumping hamsters When you’re handling your hammy, he might jump. So make sure you are very close to his cage, or something soft that he can land on. Like the bed or a sofa, or anything else soft. If you’ve got a tank for your hamster, make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding. This is the least, since some hamsters can jump higher than this. They don’t jump often, but all it takes is once. Best would be to actually cover the top of the tank with a wire mesh. You can find those at some pet shops, or most hardware shops as well. A hamster that’s about to jump will give warning signs. It’s up to you to notice them, and I’ll help you with a few. For example your hamster will start to move faster in your hands, and his nose and whiskers will twitch more. He’ll look left and right and start moving out of your hand. That’s when you should definitely put him back in his cage. If you put him on the floor or somewhere not contained, he will run everywhere. Hamsters get restless easily, and it’s best to leave them in a well contained area when they’re like this, so they can run and play at will. Do not scare the hamster, or handle him when there’s a lot of things going on around you. Make sure you’re in a calm, quiet place, with not many things flying or moving around. A scared hamster has incredibly fast reflexes, so he will jump without warning. Another thing to remember is that hamsters are not calm animals. They won’t be as cuddly as a cat or guinea pig. A hamster will not stay in your hands for more than 2 couple of minutes(and he will never sit still), after which he’ll try to get away. He is restless and that’s his nature. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for, and know why us hamsters jump. We don’t do that often, but it’s usually for a reason. Although we can jump randomly too. Mostly we want to be left alone to roam our cages. If you want to know more about us hammies, and what kind of cages we need, or how much water we need, check the articles below ! [...] Read more...
When And How Hamsters Sleep – Your Furball’s Sleepy Time
When And How Hamsters Sleep – Your Furball’s Sleepy TimeIf you’ve got a hammy, you’ve probably wondered at first why he sleeps so much, especially during the day. Our guests always ask us where Teddy is, since he’s sleeping when they come over. Turns out hamsters have a veeery different sleeping pattern than us humans. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes you’ll wonder why you got yourself into this. But they’re always lovable. Table of Contents ToggleWhen is your hamster sleeping ?How your hamster usually sleepsDo hamsters sleep with their eyes open or closed ?No hamster likes being woken upDon’t change your hamster’s sleep scheduleKeep your hammy’s sleeping area undisturbedThe cage should be in a calm, secluded areaYour hamster might be making odd, random soundsHamsters get midnight munchies and bathroom trips tooA word from Teddy When is your hamster sleeping ? Hamsters sleep during the day, and are awake at night, or in the twilight hours. This is an instinct they’ve had since forever, and it’s what kept them alive for so long. Hamsters are prey animals, and most of their predators are awake during the day. This means the hamster must hide, so he sleeps the day away in his little burrow. Once evening sets in, he gets his little nose out and starts looking for food. But what about your domestic, furry little friend sleeping in his cage ? He’s sleeping the day away too, even if there are no predators around. That’s simply his schedule, and don’t take it personally. He will wake up in the evening, around 8-10 PM, and stay up til morning. His sleep pattern might change over the years a bit, but he is largely nocturnal, and it’s the best thing for him, given the way his body works. You can change his sleeping pattern, but you’re mistreating him and causing much discomfort. We’ll cover that part too, and why it hurts the hamster. How your hamster usually sleeps Your hamster friend usually sleeps in his hideout, or the nest he’s made in a corner if he has no hideout. He sleeps in a big, knotted pile of paper towels, toiler paper squares, chewed up cardboard, and some bits of wood shaving from the bedding. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of him sleeping, with his little feet curled up and ears folded. Seriously, a sleeping hammy is about the cutest thing ever. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, and a male at that. Syrian males are notorious for having ridiculously large testicles, and they just… hang out… when he sleeps. So I’ve had a few moments when I wanted to see him sleep and instead got a full view of the family jewels, and a furry foot. Hammies sleep curled up, and very well hidden in their little nest. So actually seeing the hamster will not be easy. But you can sometimes see parts of the nest moving when he twitches or shifts. Do hamsters sleep with their eyes open or closed ? I’ve seen no hamster sleep with his eyes open, nor have other hamster owners told me about that. It’s not something hamsters do, unlike bunnies. Hamsters sleep with their eyes closed, and they might crack one open if they hear something or feel the cage move. Other than that, a hamster sleeping with open eyes sounds like a possible medical problem. So it’d be best if you checked with your dedicated veterinarian. If you don’t have a vet on call, or are not sure what kind of vet you need, look for an ”exotics” vet. Hamsters, like parrots and guinea pigs and lizards, are considered exotic animals and a regular vet won’t have very much experience with them. No hamster likes being woken up On the topic of waking a hamster up, well, don’t. No one likes being woken up in the middle of the night, unless there’s a disaster happening right this minute. It might be 3 PM on a sunny afternoon for you, but it’s something like 4 AM for him. Let the little fella rest. Hamsters do a whole lot of sleeping for being such small creatures. For example an adult Syrian can sleep between 6 and 8 hours per day ! That’s about as much as you or I need, and we’re much larger than a fistful of fur. Hamsters need the rest, because they are always on high alert, and quite high strung. They’re jumpy and always on the move. Imagine your little friend on the wheel, all night long, running as far a 9 km/5.5 miles in one night. He needs the rest. If you do handle the hamster when he just woke up, that’s on your own risk. Hammies, like humans, are quite disoriented when they wake up. That means you’ve got an equal chance at a docile, hazy hamster as well as a snappy, irritable one. I usually leave Teddy alone when he wakes up, and only talk to him for the first few minutes. Don’t change your hamster’s sleep schedule Given the fact that you’re awake during the day, and sleeping at night, I know you probably don’t get to see your friend too often. Maybe a couple of hours in the evening before bed, and in the morning when you’re rushing to get somewhere. I know that’s my routine with Teddy, and we do a whole lot playing and handling in the evening when he’s up. It is at all possible to change your hamster’s sleeping pattern, and you’ll find plenty of guides on how to do that. However that’s not very safe for your hamster. Hear me out here. Hamsters have very sensitive eyes, even if their eyesight is almost non-existent. By forcing your hamster to stay up during the day, you’re putting a lot of bright daylight on his eyes. Even if it’s not direct, the light is still much too harsh for his sensitive night creature eyes. Hamsters do best in low light conditions, and harsh lighting can be painful for them. A regular light bulb won’t hurt him much, but it’s nothing compared to the sunlight. I doubt you have the lights on in the middle of the day. Then there’s the fact that hamsters are okay with humans handling them, but there is such a thing as too much for them. Handling your hammy too much might tire him out faster than you’d like, and faster than would be alright for him. Finally, it’s about the other bodily functions that hamsters have as nocturnal creatures, that don’t work as well in the middle of the day. So, again, please let your hamster have his normal routine, and try finding a happy medium between you both. Keep your hammy’s sleeping area undisturbed We’ve already covered the fact that hamsters don’t like being woken up. Neither do you, neither do I, for that matter. But the sleeping area is very important too. You see, hamsters don’t see very well but rely a whole lot on their sense of smell. Their sleeping area, or bed if you will, is full of their scent. Your hammy took the time and effort to decorate his bedroom just the way he likes it. But we can’t leave it like that, since it needs periodic cleaning. Now, there are way to clean the hamster’s nest without disturbing it too much. One of them is spot-cleaning the nest, where you only pick out the droppings, and maybe a piece of the nesting material that got soiled. Add a few fresh pieces of paper towel, and your hammy will add them to his bedroom. But what if you need to change the whole thing, since it’s been a while ? In that case remember to leave a few pieces of the old nest, and throw out the rest. The old bits will have your hammy’s scent, and make it much less annoying for him to rebuild. Changing the entire nest at a time can be a bit stressful for your hamster. He is after all a creature of habit, and needs things to be the way they always were. He doesn’t do well with change. The cage should be in a calm, secluded area The area in your house where you keep the cage needs to be in a calm area. For example if your living room has lots of guests, a couple of kids, and a puppy running about, it’s not a good place for a hamster. Find a room or a corner of the house where your hamster can hear the hustle and bustle of the house and get used to it. But, it should be a fairly private place where there’s not much traffic, and your hamster can sleep undisturbed. Even if he’s not sleeping, your hammy doesn’t take well to stress. By this I mean an overly curious cat, child, or even adult prodding at him, tapping the cage and trying to interact with the hamster when he’s not up for it. Truth is, hamsters are indeed friendly, but in short bursts. They won’t stay put long, and won’t stay in your hand for more than a couple of seconds. Hammies are always moving and curious and need to see and smell and know and inquire about every little thing. You’re literally holding them in place when they want to investigate that rustling bag. Maybe a bit exaggerated, but you get the general idea. (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.) Your hamster might be making odd, random sounds Even when he sleeps, your hamster is still a funny little thing. Not only is he a cute, curled up ball of fur, but he might also be making the oddest sounds. Maybe it’s just my Teddy, maybe it’s all Syrian hamsters. I know lots of hamsters make cute sounds, and I’ve heard of and read about other hammies squeaking in their sleep. My Teddy can be fast asleep and still squeaking. It’s somewhere between a hiccup and a bark, like he’s going ‘hmph’ left and right. Maybe your hammy does it too, maybe he doesn’t. But do expect odd noises coming from his nest when he sleeps. If it’s not the squeaking, it could be a rustle, or a chatter, or a chewing sound. Those are all normal. Think about when you sleep. You do a whole lot of moving in your sleep as well, so don’t be surprised if your hamster is not very different. Hamsters get midnight munchies and bathroom trips too Ah yes, the midnight snacks. Like we’ve never woken up to grab something from the fridge, on our way to the bathroom. Your hammy does that too. You see, hamsters designate a ”pee corner” and they only use that one. It just so happens to be on the farthest point from their nest. Hammies are very clean animals, and they keep their nest very clean. So if your hammy suddenly wakes up to much on a peanut,goes for a pee, and stops on his way to grab a drink, that’s okay. He’a a healthy, normal hamster, doing healthy, normal hamster things. Even if your hamster doesn’t wake up too much for a quick snack, that’s fine too. While hamsters do sleep for a lot of hours, they don’t necessarily have to be continuous. For example my Teddy wakes up randomly in the middle of the day (night for him) and takes a short walk of sorts. He might even get on his wheel for a bit, but he’s always up for just a few minutes. Every hamster wakes up with his fur a bit ruffled, ears folded back, eyes half closed. He might even stretch and yawn, and look bleary. He did just wake up, after all. Usually after that he’ll start grooming himself, and start his day. apparently A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info here. I know us hammies seem to sleep a lot, but it’s just the time difference between us. If you work a night shift, your’re probably on the same pattern as us. You’re probably very tired all the time, though. If you want to know more about us hammies, you an check out the articles below on how to take care of us properly. [...] Read more...
Here’s Why You Should Never Get Your Hamster Wet
Here’s Why You Should Never Get Your Hamster WetWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t really know he should never get wet. I saw no reason to give him a bath, but I didn’t know the main 2 reasons for not getting a hamster wet. So, here I am with what I’ve learned, to help you take the best care for your hammy. I’ll also cover what to do in case your hamster did get wet, if this ever happens. Table of Contents ToggleSo why can’t hamsters get wet ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shiftsHamsters are very clean animalsHow to make sure your hamster never gets wetAlways use a water bottleBe careful what kind of bedding your get your hamsterThe hideout matters a lot, it can trap moistureNever handle the hamster far from his cageChildren or other pets should always be supervised around a hamsterHow to dry a wet hamsterMove the hamster to an overly warm roomUse lot and lots of paper towelsTry to hold him in a dry, clean cotton clothDo not use direct heat on the hamsterA word from Teddy So why can’t hamsters get wet ? The main reason hamsters should never get wet is because their bodies can’t stand the sudden shift in temperature. The thermal shock of wet fur will send your hamster right into shiver territory. This is not good since hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and develop hypothermia easily, even if the room they got wet in is warm. The secondary reason your hammy should never get wet is because there is absolutely no need, ever, for him to be wet. Hamsters are very clean animals, and they comb through their fur several times per day, much like a cat. There’s videos going around with hammies getting a bath, and you should always look at the immense dislike rates on those videos. A hamster getting a bath isn’t healthy for him at all, and you should never get your hamster wet. If you’ve never had a hamster before, this might all seem very odd to you. But let’s go through those 2 reasons, and see in more detail why your hammy should always stay dry. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shifts Hammies are very sensitive creatures. They are easy to scare, and they’re always alert, and you might even scare them by just getting up. This constant alertness and sort of built-in anxiety will make the hamster have an even harder time if he gets wet. You see, a wet hamster is not used to being wet, so he will panic. Hamsters are terrible stress-managers, and can develop a series of illnesses because they get so stressed. Combine that with how easy it is for hammies to get too cold if their fur can’t insulate them – and you’ve got an emergency trip to the vet on your hands. A hamster’s fur is very wooly, and it has a lot of shorter, very very fine strands of fur that keep the hamster very warm. They are very close to the body, and if those get wet, they lose their insulation power. Worse still, they will keep the hamster wet, so he will get cold faster. If you want to know more about just how sensitive hamsters are to temperature, you need to read this ideal temperature for hamsters article. You’ll find out the right temp range for your furry friend, and what to do if he gets too cold. It’s never a good experience for a hamster to get wet, so you should do your very best to make sure he can’t ever get close to a situation like that. I’ll cover that in another part of this article. Hamsters are very clean animals Hamsters never need a bath, because they’re taking a shower about a third of their waking time. Seriously, I’ve seen my Teddy clean and preen himself almost as often as I’ve seen him eating. Now, since hamsters are awake mostly at night, when you’re usually asleep, you might not know this. Understandable, and many people don’t know that; it’s okay. But, hamsters are very clean, the only thing about them that ever smells is their pee corner – more on that here, and what you can do about it. This means that there is never a reason to wash or bathe the hamster, as you would a dog. A dog is meant to be able to wade through water, even swim. Dog fur has a lot of water repellent strands, and so it can handle being wet. But a hamster is not meant for that. Not only does a hamster not get dirty as other pets, he does not need any help cleaning himself. Another thing about hamster fur, is that it’s got natural oils that help keep the hamster clean. If you’re bathing your hamster, and especially if you’re using a washing liquid on him, your’re stripping the oils from his fur, the worst part is, those oils never come back. So your hamster’s fur will never look the same, and won’t do its job as well either. How to make sure your hamster never gets wet Keeping your hamster dry is the first step to keeping your hamster healthy, and free from stress-related issues. There’s a few things to keep in mind, and I’ll help you out here with what I’ve learned. Always use a water bottle This is mostly because your hamster can and will trip over a water bowl, and give himself an accidental bath. Hamster’s aren’t very aware of their surroundings from that point of view, and will chew and pull at everything possible. If it’s not nailed down, it’s fair game. So you can imagine what trouble a water bowl would cause in your hamster’s cage. The bedding can get wet, and can develop moldy spots, which are a serious concern for your hamster. His nose is always on the ground, so he’d be inhaling those spores constantly. For more info on how to give your hamster water, and how to care for his water bottle, check out this article. Be careful what kind of bedding your get your hamster The bedding your hamster lives on is important, since it can be a huge health concern if it’s not a good one. So, best to go here to know which bedding types are safe for your hamster friend, and which are not. A very important thing about bedding, and nesting material, is that it can trap moisture. So it’s important to change it about once a week, to keep your hammy’s cage clean and not funky-smelling. Here’s more info on how to properly change the hamster’s bedding and care for his cage. And here’s more info on what can get smelly in a hamster’s cage, so you know what to look for when you’re cleaning his cage. The hideout matters a lot, it can trap moisture The hideout your hamster lives in is going to determine a large part of his health. A plastic hideout can and will trap moisture. A few times I even found condensation in my Teddy’s hideout when he had the plastic one. His nesting material got a bit moist too, and it was not pee. A moist nest is a cold nest, so it’s best to avoid that. The best way yo make sure your hamster’s nest is always dry and clean is to get him a wooden hideout. Wood is a very breatheable kind of material, and will absorb and expel moisture. My Teddy’s hideout has a few spots in the roof where the air can get in and out, and a lot of ‘doors’ to allow a lot of air. Actually, it’s best if you read on here more about what to look for when you get your hammy a hideout, and how to care for it as well. Never handle the hamster far from his cage When you do play with your hamster friend outside of his cage, make sure you’re not far from it. If possible, try playing with his in his cage. Or play with your hammy over his cage. If he does jump out of your hands, he will land on the bedding, and in the cage safely. And if he falls he won;t have any body of water to splash into. This also means that you should keep your hamster and his cage away from any sources of water, like the tap. And not placing glasses of water, or a vase or anything that can hold water close to the hamster’s cage. Children or other pets should always be supervised around a hamster If you’ve got small children (under 12 years old), or other pets that can move around on their own, make sure they can’t harm the hamster. It’s easy for a child to see if a hamster can swim while you go to grab the mail, or for a dog to kick over a water bowl over the hamster’s cage. These things happen, and it’s a normal part of having pets and/or small children. So always make sure you supervise any interaction with the hamster, especially if it involved actually picking up the hamster. Hamsters are in fact good pets, but they’re very sensitive to a lot of things, and need a whole lot of patience. So unless you’re sure you can provide your hammy a safe home, you might do better with a different type of pet. (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.) How to dry a wet hamster If your hamster did manage to get wet, one way or another, you’re going to need to be very careful drying him. There’s a few steps you should take to make sure your hamster stays safe during the drying process. Move the hamster to an overly warm room The ambient temperature will need to be much above what the hamster can handle when dry. So if your hammy needs usually around 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit when he is dry, he will need around 30 C/86 F in the room when he is soaking wet and needs to dry. This is to compensate for how cold it will seem for the hamster when he’s wet. If you’ve ever walked out of the shower without a towel, into a room that was nice and cozy before your shower, you’ll know what I mean. Once your hamster’s beginning to dry, lower the temperature slowly back to 20-23 C/68-75 F. Use lot and lots of paper towels Your hamster will probably be too all over the place to let you hold him. So place him in a box lined with lots and lots of paper towels, that will soak up all the water from his fur. So not use toilet paper, since that will disintegrate very fast and stick to your hammy’s wet fur. Change the paper towels as often as possible since your hammy will be rolling in the a lot, and shaking the water of like a puppy. You can also use a clean dry cotton cloth, or even a towel, but be warned that your hamster might try to put some corners in his cheeks. Hamsters are attracted to everything soft and fluffy, to try and build a nest out of it. Try to hold him in a dry, clean cotton cloth You can try holding your hamster in your hands, and giving him a gentle wipe down. You won’t be able to wipe off all the water, but you can get most of it. The point is that you’re helping your hammy out, even just a little. He might be very wriggly, and not want to stay put. That’s understandable, just wipe him down as best and as much as you can. If you notice your hammy getting too anxious, and getting ready to jump out of your hands, place him in the box I mentioned earlier. Do not use direct heat on the hamster As tempting as it may sound, so not put your hamster on the heater or use a blow dryer. They are both too hot for the hammy, and the dryer will make your hammy irritated and even more scared. Raise the ambient temperature until your hamster is nearly completely dry. Then, you can place the hamster in a box liked with lots of bedding, and a thick towel under the box to disperse heat. A word from Teddy I hope you know how to help your hammy if he gets wet now. We don’t really like being wet, we aren’t meant to swim or stay in the rain. So never give one of us a bath, and make sure you spread the word ! You can check out the articles below for more info on us hammies, and how to take care of us the right way. Like what we can eat, what kind of cage we need, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you. [...] 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...
Why Hamsters Die (Main Reasons, Some Of Them Preventable)
Why Hamsters Die (Main Reasons, Some Of Them Preventable)Hamsters can die, and it’s never pleasant news to hear your little friend passed away. But why did that happen ? Was it old age ? Was the hamster suffering from an illness or an injury ? Let’s see what the most common causes are. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters die ?When is a hamster considered old ?Health problems hamsters can commonly getDo not confuse hibernation with hypothermiaMaking sure you keep your hamster safeA word from Teddy So why do hamsters die ? Hamsters can die for a number of reasons, and it’s usually a medical condition. Even old hamsters, very old ones, pass away because their bodies simply don’t function as well as they used to, and some critical part of their body no longer works. Sometimes, hamsters can die of diseases or injuries, most of them preventable. Not all are noticeable. Or, if you do notice, you don’t figure out what the problem is until it’s too late. Knowing the usual health problems hamsters can get, and what old age looks like for hamsters will help you know when and if there is anything left to do. When is a hamster considered old ? Usually a hamster is old by the time he reaches 2 years of age. In Chinese hamsters this threshold is lower, since their average lifespan is 2 years. So they can be considered old by the time they reach their first birthday. Most hamsters live 2-3 years, and as such you’ll notice the changes happening to then when they get old fairly quickly. Sparse fur, weak legs, cataracts, a withered look about them, a distinct neck – these are all clear signs your hamster is a senior in his right. Along with old age come a host of health problems, mostly because it’s easier for them to come along. Like wet-tail for example, which can be brought on either by stress or an infection. An infection happens easier if the hamster is not clean, and a very old hamster will stop grooming himself as much. So, an old hamster who develops wet-tail has very little chances of survival, and his death could be attributed to both the disease and the old age. Old age also makes the immune system weaker, and the body weaker overall. Bones don’t mend as easily, sores don’t go away. Any injury to an old hamster is harder to heal than one to a young hamster. Health problems hamsters can commonly get Most health problems can be avoided, like infections, overgrown teeth, cuts and scrapes, injuries from falling and so on. They can also be easily treated with the help of a competent veterinarian. You will need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Antibiotics will take care of infections. Tumors can be removed most of the time. bones can be mended, But there are some diseases or problems that can be… well, deadly. Especially so if not noticed in time and treated. Let’s go over a few of them. Wet-tail is the first to spring into mind. It’s a sort of digestive problem, with symptoms like diarrhea, excessive water drinking, loss of appetite, a sweaty/wet look, a soiled wet hamster bottom, possibly smelly cage. Can be lethal in less than a week if left untreated. If treated within 24h of developing, it can be survived. Longer than that. and the chances are lower. Even after treatment some hamsters still pass away, because they were too drained from the illness itself. It took a huge toll on their bodies and they withered away. Any sort of infection, if it’s not treated right away. By this I mean the infections filled with pus, whether it’s an infected tooth, eye, or ear. All of them can spread to the brain, and inside the body. If the hamster swallows the pus (in the case of an infected tooth or cheek) this can lead to sepsis, which too can be fatal. Lumps and tumors can be deadly as well, mostly because they can be very hard to operate on. The hamster, being so very small, has little chance of surviving anaethesia, although there have been cases. In some cases the tumor is inside the body, and removing it is sentencing the hamster to certain death, with blood loss as the main cause. The surgery would be too big of a risk, again. Chemotherapy is hard to survive even for humans, let alone for hamsters. Injuries, like a broken spine because of a nasty fall, can be deadly too. While a fall from the height of an ordinary table isn’t much for a human, it can be deadly for a hamster. Keep in mind that they’re so very small, and have a fragile frame. This means that falls from heights like your table, dresser, even just your hands while you stand up, can all lead to serious injuries and sometimes even death. Those falls can be deadly either on impact, like a fractured skull, or serious internal organ injuries, and they can also be deadly by result. Like internal bleeding, ruptured organs, and so on. It’s a terrible thought to write about, so please handle your hamster very carefully. When it comes to bedding, and textiles introduced to your hamster, be careful. The extra fluffy, puffy kind of textile sometimes found on or in hamster toys (the ones with very long fibers, like the stuffing inside teddy bears). That is dangerous for hamsters, since they will find it and stuff it in their cheeks, and use it as nesting material. While it does keep them warm, it’s also too easy for them to tangle that material in their teeth or cheeks, or get a foot stuck inside, or in some cases pretty much wrap it around their necks and suffocate. I’m sorry to paint pictures like these, but this has happened before to other hamster owners. Please keep plush and overly fluffy things far away from hamsters. As a sidenote, I have a blanket with a plush side. When I let Teddy onto the bed one day and the blanket was there, he immediately started putting it in his cheeks. They’re very fast, and you need to spot them right away to stop them. Finally, there is another reason for hamsters seeming to suddenly die. Some people have reported their hamsters being happy and healthy yesterday, only to find them lifeless this morning. Those cases, while unfortunate and traumatic, always have an explanation. Most of the time, it’s a circulatory problem. Like a blood clot forming in the brain, or a form of heart attack brought on by a scare in the middle of the night. Hamsters are very sensitive, and scaring them too hard is … well, easier than necessary. This is one reason you should not scare your hamster, or let it get too stressed. Being barked at, handled too often, dangled upside down, continuously poked and prodded and so on. These are very stressful things for a hamster, and can be the final straw in some cases. (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.) Do not confuse hibernation with hypothermia I’ve set this one aside because it’s a common problem. Hamsters do hibernate, but only in the wild. In the wild, they have a weeks and months in advance to prepare for the cold. Gather food, get fat and have energy stored up, dig a big warm nest, get safe. They go to sleep once winter comes and they only wake up from time to time (like once a week !) to nibble on something they’ve stored up. When they wake up, the earth is thawing, they’re hungry and dehydrated. At home, in your warm house, the cold doesn’t gradually creep in over the span of a few months. It never does, because you keep your home warm. So why do some hamsters end up ‘hibernating’ ? Well, they’ve sometimes been left out in the garage for a few hours, or another such space that’s used for storage and is usually cold. Or they were maybe forgotten next to an opened window. Really, it could be any occasion with cold temperatures. The point is that the hamster will go into a sort of hibernation, but in truth it’s actually hypothermia. He did not have time to build an extra warm nest, build a protective layer of fat on his body, but he did store some food. The problem is that this is not true hibernation, and he will likely die if not woken up fast. You might think he is dead, be might be cold. He might not move at all. But a dead hamster will be rigid, like a statue. He will be cold. A hibernating hamster will be cold-ish, but his whiskers or ears might twitch if you touch them. He will be limp, that’s the first major sign he is alright. For more info on waking up a hamster from such a situation, check this article. Always, always attempt to warm him up or wake him before deciding he has passed away. There have been accounts of hamsters thrown away in the trash bin, only to be found by the garbage disposal service later, alive and kicking. Making sure you keep your hamster safe There are ways your can make sure your hamster lives a happy, healthy life. Now, although what I explained above might make you want to keep him under a glass dome, don’t do that. Instead, be a responsible hamster owner and keep him out of trouble. Let’s see what that means: Keep the hamster away from overly curious pets who might disturb him, like a cat or a puppy or even parrots or other rodents. Basically any pet that can move through the house on its own. Always supervise kids playing with the hamster. Accidents can happen, and it’s your responsibility to both teach the child and keep the hamster safe. Only handle the hamster close to his cage, and not allow more than double his height as a falling height. If you’re letting the hamster onto the floor, make sure there are no places for him to get inside or under or between pieces of furniture and be impossible to get out safely. Keep any fluffy textile or materials away from your hamster. Some are sold as nesting material. Stay away from them. Never overfeed your hamster, else he might grow obese and develop diabetes and joint problems. Be careful which foods from your fridge or pantry you feed you hamster. Some are safe, some not. Always clean his cage, once a week, a full cleaning complete with a cage wipe-down or actual rinsing on the shower. Make sure you bring your hamster to the vet, even if it might be nothing. Better to have him checked and find out he’s okay, than leave it to chance and figure out there is a problem when it’s too late. Thees are the absolute basics of keeping your hamster healthy and safe, more info can be found in the related articles below. Until then, read Teddy’s thoughts on the matter. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies are cute and cuddly, but we do pass away. That means we’re sometimes too sick, or we grow too old to fight an injury or sickness. We rely on you to spot the problem and help us out. 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...
How to Find a Hamster Breeder The Essentials
How to Find a Hamster Breeder The EssentialsHamsters are such adorable creatures and I won’t be surprised if you are already researching how to find a hamster breeder. However, your search is going to become a lot easier as I’ve done all the hard work for you. In this article, I’ll be talking about how to find a hamster breeder and other sources where you can buy hamsters from. You can find a hamster breeder at hamster online communities, hamster shows and expos, and from online directories of hamster clubs.  Now let’s see in full at the different places you can buy a hamster. You may be already familiar with some of them or learn new places where you can buy a hamster. Continue reading to find out the best places to buy a hamster. Table of Contents ToggleWhat are the best places to buy a hamster?1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder2. Pet stores3. Hamster Communities Online4. Hamster Shows5. Hamsters For Adoption6. Pet ExposHow to find a good hamster breeder?Questions to ask a hamster breeder What are the best places to buy a hamster? Hamsters make a great pet and parents usually get it for their child as his/her first pet. But hamsters are adorable creatures that are loved by the young and old alike. They are affordable, relatively easy to care and of course, cute! And they don’t take a lot of space. What’s not to love about hamsters, 1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder Hamster breeders are the most reputable source that you can get a hamster from. But the problem many people encounter here is finding hamster breeders near. However, finding local hamster breeders is a lot easier than many people realize. This is because local hamster breeders are usually part of regional and local groups. Now, the good news is that these groups usually have a website and can easily be found with a quick Google search. 2. Pet stores Chances are that you’ve seen hamsters for sale at a local pet store alongside other small animals like birds, mice, and guinea pigs.  3. Hamster Communities Online While there isn’t a hamster nationwide association in the United States, several states have at least one hamster fan club. These hamster fan clubs usually have an online directory of hamster breeders in their states. You can go through this directory to find the closest breeder to you.  The California Hamster Organization is an example of a hamster fan club and it is based in Southern California. There are also online communities like Hamster Hideout where you can connect with hamster lovers and breeders in your area.  The National Hamster Council (NHC) is the main body for hamster breeders in the UK. And the organization has three regional clubs that have lists of breeder members. The regional clubs have also been known to organize hamster shows. 4. Hamster Shows Hamster shows are events where hamster breeders bring out their hamsters for exhibit and sale. These shows are usually run by hamsters enthusiasts who are very passionate about these adorable little furry creatures and want to promote them as pets while also campaigning for the welfare of hamsters. Finding a hamster show is easy in the UK as local NHC run hamster shows from time to time following a well-established schedule.  5. Hamsters For Adoption Hamsters are usually put up for adoption at small animal rescue organizations and traditional animal shelters. These hamsters are homeless and you could be the one to give a hamster a home forever. You’ll have to inquire about the personality of any hamster you wish to adopt and chances are that a vet has come around to check on the hamsters before they are put up for adoption.  6. Pet Expos Pet expos give you an avenue to meet hamster lovers and breeders. You get to chat way about these adorable creatures as well as buy a hamster and their supplies. Most major cities usually have pet expos at least once a year. If you live in a rural area, you should check out county fairs as well as 4-H shows as they are great places to find hamsters.  How to find a good hamster breeder? As discussed above, you can find hamster breeders from online communities, hamster shows, and expos. But you see. anyone can call themselves breeders. It doesn’t matter if they breed hundreds of litters or a single one in a year or whether their hamsters are living in a warehouse or sitting room.  The fact that anyone can style themselves as hamster breeders makes things a bit complicated when you want to get hamsters from a breeder. This necessitates the need to differentiate good breeders from the wannabe breeders. One of the ways by which you can spot  One of the best ways to know sensible breeders from mediocre ones is to ask questions, lots of questions. My advice to anyone considering getting a new pet is to do some research and learn about the pet. It’s important you know what you are committing to. Also, you’ll be able to judge if any information you receive from a breeder is correct. You can get reliable information about hamsters from Hamsterlopaedia by Chris and Pete Logsdail. So if you ask a breeder a question and he/she can’t or isn’t willing to answer, then that’s a red flag.  You can also know if your hamster breeder is reputable or not by the record he/she keeps. Good breeders keep detailed records of their breeding stock. This makes every individual hamster easily identifiable. The records kept should contain the following information about individual hamsters: Birthdate Sex Color Show wins Medical records Mating and breeding log. The breeding log should record all their matings and details such as the number of offspring and any postnatal deaths while the medical records should detail past illnesses of the hamsters if any and the treatments.  Questions to ask a hamster breeder 1) Why do you breed?: I think this is a very crucial question and answers like “I think hamsters are cute’ or “Because I want to” isn’t just going to cut it. Now, I think good hamster breeders usually have a vision in mind which ultimately relates to improving hamsters by establishing healthy lines that have good temperament. These hamsters should be able to meet the NHC show standards which are all about promoting good health and aesthetics.  2) Ask if the breeder provides ongoing support and whether you can return a hamster you bought from them if you can no longer keep it: Ideally, the answer to this should be ‘yes’. Responsible hamster breeders should not allow their hamsters to end up at shelter homes. The breeder will inform you of any policy he/she has in place concerning this.  3) Are you a hamster club member or do you hold a prefix?: Hamster organizations like NHC are all about promoting hamster care. These organizations give ‘prefixes’ which are hamsters’ names to breeders that have been members for a year. These breeders will be required to abide by the organization’s code of conduct as regards breeding and care.  Ask your breeder if he/she is a member of any club. Also. ask if he/she has a prefix. And should they have a prefix, which you’ll confirm by asking for a prefix certificate, go to the organization’s website to check the current list of breeders that have prefixes?  4) Do you cull babies in litters?: The answer to this should be ‘no’. 5) What care do you give to mums and litters?: This has to do with the care and diet given to both hamster mums and baby hamsters. The diet given to hamsters mums-to-be is very important and should be especially rich in protein. Babies and mother hamsters are not supposed to be disturbed for the first two weeks. You should get some information about the care given to hamsters if the breeders keep detailed records.  6) Ask about how often the babies handled and from what age. Also, you should ask about the age at which the baby hamsters are available for rehoming. Baby hamsters are not supposed to be handled until they are 14 days old as this is when their eyes open. After that, the baby hamsters need to be handled regularly. The reason for this is to keep them tame and nice. And baby hamsters are ready to be moved to a new home by four weeks, though it’s common to do this at 6-8 weeks. A good breeder will provide you with all this information and more.  7) You also need to ask the breeder if they seek veterinary treatment for their hamsters and if there is a good local vet they can recommend.  You also have to inquire about any existing health problems the hamster line/litter may have and a good breeder should be honest about this.  [...] Read more...