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
11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your Hamster
11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your HamsterIt is believed that the type of habitat your hamster lives in has an effect on its well-being. Researches have tested 30 hamsters to see if adding toys and bedding to their cages would change how they make decisions when faced with an uncertain choice. They found out that hamsters who had more toys and beddings were more likely to make optimistic decisions, while hamsters that had fewer things made less optimistic decisions. Scientists link optimistic judgments with positive well-being in humans, so they used the same method to study hamsters.  To keep your hamster happy, you will have to provide it with a lot of floor space where they can climb, explore, play, and exercise when they wake up during the night. You will need to place your hamster in a big enough cage with a deep base. When picking out a cage, you will want to get one with narrow wires so that your hamster can’t escape. Cages on multiple levels are the best way to make use of the space you have. Make sure you place the cage in a quiet location. Hamsters are very sensitive to ultrasounds, and they can be very stressed when they hear them. Keep your hamsters away from vacuums or running water. In the wild, hamsters love to burrow, so make sure you add a very thick layer to their cage so that they can dig and burrow as much as they want. Your hamster also needs a house where it will sleep and feel safe. The house should be big enough so that your hamster can build a nest in it, store food, and be comfortable when moving around.  You should also keep a ceramic dish filled with chinchilla sand in your hamster’s cage, which will allow it to keep its coat clean. Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys. There are many toys for hamsters to choose from, such as tunnels, ladders, bridges, climbing boxes, and many more. Hamsters also need a running wheel, and it is very important that you get one that is the right size for your hamster.  Getting all this stuff can be pretty expensive, but you don’t necessarily have to buy them to provide your hamster with the luxurious life it deserves. You can easily make all the toys, bedding, and the cage yourself, and only but the water bottle. Here is a list of 12 creative habitat ideas to make your hamster’s life better. Table of Contents Toggle1. DIY Bin Cage2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage3. DIY Mansion4. DIY Hamster chew toys DIY Chew SticksDIY Chew Ball5. DIY Hamster Toy WheelsContainer Tub Wheel6. DIY Hamster Toy HouseDIY Popsicle Hamster HousePaper Mache Hamster House7. DIY Hamster Bedding8. DIY Hamster Toy TubesToilet Roll Tubes9. DIY Toy Ladder10. DIY Hamster Playground11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze 1. DIY Bin Cage The first thing your hamster will obviously need is a cage. You can get one in the pet store, or you can make your own. When you make your own cage you save money, but you are also not limited by what you can find in the pet store.  Bin cages are the easiest and the cheapest way you can make a habitat for your hamster. When you make a bin cage, you don’t have to think about whether or not your hamster will grow out of it, because it’s so big. To make a DIY bin cage, you will need one big storage bin. It’s best that you get the clear one so that your hamster is able to see the outside. The size of the bin should be at least 20×30 inches, and you can fit one Syrian hamster or two Dwarf hamsters in it. If you have more hamsters than that, you will have to get a bigger bin. Another thing you will need is wire mesh, which is also called hardware cloth. If you plan on making only one cage, the smallest role will be enough, and the wire should be 19 or 23 gauge. Make sure you also get 16 nuts, bolts, and washers. Get 8-32×3/8 screws and size 8 washers. You will also need a foot of wire. Your hamster will also need a water bottle, you can get the 4 ounces one or 6 ounces one. Keep in mind that your hamster needs a wheel, and the bigger the better. If you have a Syrian hamster, get an 11’’ or a 12’’ wheel. If you notice that the hamster is bending its neck or back when it runs, get it a bigger wheel because it can get seriously injured. You will also need a wire cutter, a drill and drill bits, a permanent marker, and a utility knife with a new blade. Start by cutting the lid of the big. Put it in front of you, with the bottom facing up. It would be good if you cut out two windows because if you only cut one big window, it will probably lose a lot of strength. Keep in mind that you should leave about an inch and a half room on each side, and 3 or 4 inches in the middle to fit the screws. Draw the two windows with your permanent marker. When you’re sure that you have enough room for the screws, cut out the windows.  Next, you will have to cut the mesh for the windows. Make sure you have at least an inch of mesh overlapping the lid. When you’ve cut out your windows, file down the sharp edges, or cover them with duct tape. If you don’t do this, your hamster could cut itself on the sharp edges.  Then, center your mesh over the window and use the permanent marker to fill in where the drill holes will be. When you’re done drilling the first hole, get a screw and thread it through the hole, then flip the lid over, put the washer on, and tighten the bolt. Repeat the process until you’re done will all four holes. Then move on to the other window and repeat the process. When you’re completely done with your windows, you will move on to drilling holes for ventilation. You don’t have to do this if you make your windows big enough, but you never know when something can block the windows, so it’s better to have ventilation on the sides as well. If you will be drilling holes on the bottom of the bin, do it at least 3’’ from the bottom so that the bedding doesn’t cover your holes. You can also drill the holes on the top of the bin.  The next step is to attach the water bottle to the bin. You should place the spout about 1’’-1.5’’ from the bedding, which should be at least 1’’ thick when you pat it down. You will put the water bottle flat against where you plan on placing it and draw 2 dots on each side of the bottle. These dots will be drilled so that you can thread the wire which will support the bottle, and you will also need a bigger hole for the spout. This hole can be a bit bigger than the spout is so that you can easily put it in and take it out.  When you’re done setting up the water bottle, your cage will almost be done. You just have to wipe it with a washcloth, make sure there’s no plastic left inside, fill it with bedding and tap it down.  2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage You can make this cage if you want something sturdier, or if you’re worried about your hamster being in a plastic cage.  To make this cage, you will need 4 precut panels, two 31.49×15.74 inches, and two 31.49×11.81 inches. You will also need an acrylic glass sheet, box cutter, acrylic glass glue, and wood screws, and a screwdriver.  Start with the 4 panels, you will want them to be coated so that the hamster doesn’t destroy them. You will lay the panels on the floor, with 31.49×15.74 inches panels in the middle and 31.49×11.81 inches on the sides. You will screw the  31.49×11.81 inches panels to the big panel and use 2 screws or more for each side. Next, you will crew the 31.49×15.74 inches bottom panel to the three other panels and use at least 2 screws to do so. You can fill in any gaps you have with hot glue, but make sure you glue it from the back so that the hamster can’t chew on the glue.  For the acrylic glass, you will need one 31.49×15.74 inches panel and two 3.93×11.82 inches panels. They should be around 0.07 inches thick. You will have to cut them and you will need a steel liner and a box cutter to do so. You should first glue the side panels to the cage and make sure you use glue on the inside and on the outside. Then you can glue on the main panel, and glue it on the inside as well as on the outside. Let the glue dry for a while.  When your cage is completely dry, it’s time to add the bedding, and your cage is finished. 3. DIY Mansion If you have 2 or more hamsters, or you just want to give your hamster a luxurious life, then you can make it this mansion. This mansion will be made out of a dollhouse, so try to see if anyone in your family has one and they don’t use it anymore or try to find a used one.  To make this mansion you will need a dollhouse, plastic fencing, a hot glue gun, and some long glue sticks, around 20 paperclips, an electric staple gun, spray paint, and wood which is 2 inches in height, and a razor knife. Start by spray painting your fence with the color of your choice. This step is optional, so if you don’t want to spray paint the fence, you don’t have to. Next, you will need a wood base-board which will add height so the bedding can’t escape the cage.  Make sure you secure all open windows in the dollhouse with the fence so your hamster can’t escape. Glue the fence on the inside of the dollhouse with a hot glue gun.  Then, you will use the fence to completely cover the open part of the dollhouse. You can use the electric stapler for this part.  You will have to be very careful when cutting the doors through which you will be able to take care of your hamster.  Lastly, you will have to attach the water bottle and put the rest of the stuff your hamster needs in its cage. 4. DIY Hamster chew toys Hamsters love toys and you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your furry friend entertained. Here are some chew toys you can make to keep your hamster entertained for hours while it’s relaxing in the cage. Hamsters have to chew on things to keep their teeth healthy. Hamster’s teeth constantly grow, which is why they have to chew on things all the time. DIY Chew Sticks You will need some flour and water to make non-toxic glue, wood skewers, and scissors to make chew sticks for your hamster. Start by cutting the wood skewers into 3-inch pieces. Make the non-toxic glue by mixing a 1:1 ratio of white flour and water. Then, you will dip the skewers into the glue and glue 5 pieces together. Let them dry overnight before you let your hamster play with them. DIY Chew Ball If you have toilet roll tubes, you can use them to make a chew ball for your hamster. Get the toilet roll tube and cut it into 5 equally big rings. You will only use 3 rings for each ball but cutting it into 5 pieces will give you the right size. You will take one of the rings and push it inside the other to create a sphere, and to the same thing with the third ring. This way you will create a sphere with small gaps between the toilet roll tube rings. Give it to your hamster to see if it likes it. If it doesn’t seem interested, you can fill the ball with some treats, like sunflower seeds, or mealworms. 5. DIY Hamster Toy Wheels Hamsters love running on wheels, and it’s a great exercise for them. Most wheels you find in the pet store are very noisy, so you can try making your own. Container Tub Wheel To make this container tub wheel, you will need a circular plastic container without a lid, 2 longer wooden strips, 1 shorter wooden strip, a bolt, and 2 nuts and 2 screws. Put the longer piece of wood and the longer piece of wood so that they form a T shape. This will be the base of the stand. Use one screw to secure them. It isn’t advisable to use non-toxic glue to do this because it won’t be as strong.   Get the other long piece of wood and place it so that it stands upright on the first long piece. Make sure that it’s at a 90-degree angle from the short piece. Use another screw to attach this.  Next, you will get the container and drill a hole in the middle of its bottom. This will be the place where your wheel will attach to the stand. Try to position the container on the stand to see if there will be enough room to spin it. When you’re sure that there will be enough room for it to spin, drill a hole in the upright wooden piece, the one that aligns with the hole in your container. Place the bolt in the hole in your container, and secure it with a nut on the other side, but don’t make it too tight because you want it to be able to spin. Next, you will have to push the rest of the bolt through the hole you’ve created in your stand and secure it with a nut on the back of the wood. In case your hamster’s cage is made out of wire, you can put the wheel against the wires to avoid your hamster chewing on the metal bolts.  6. DIY Hamster Toy House There are so many hamster houses you can get in the pet shop, but they are quite expensive. If you make your own toy house for your hamster, you can save some money, and even make more than just one house. DIY Popsicle Hamster House First, make some non-toxic glue. To make the glue, mix 1 part water and 1 part white flour and mix it to create a paste.  Get some popsicles and glue them together to make a house. You will need to make 4 walls, a roof, and a stable base. Keep in mind that there should be at least one doorway in the house, but preferably two so that your hamster can run in and out of the house.  Paper Mache Hamster House To make this house for your hamster, you will only need a jar, some water, and some paper. Make sure that the paper you choose to use doesn’t have any ink on it. Ink is harmful to hamsters and your hamster could chew on the house. Make the outside of the jar wet and out layers of paper in strips on the outside of the jar until you completely cover it. Let it dry overnight and remove the jar from the paper once it’s completely dry. If you’re struggling to remove it, get a popsicle and slide it down the sides to loosen the paper.  When you remove the jar from the paper you will have the shape of your house, and you can cut out windows and doors, and fill it with bedding.  You can also use a balloon instead of a jar to make your paper mache house since it’s easier to just pop a balloon than to remove a jar. Just remember that you have to use the non-toxic glue so that the paper sticks together, and make sure the house is thick enough to be stable.  7. DIY Hamster Bedding Hamsters need to walk on bedding in their cage, and you can also make your own bedding. To make sure your hamster is comfortable, you will have to make bedding that is clean, safe, absorbent, and doesn’t have a lot of dust.  You can make your own bedding using a clean, single-ply toilet or tissue paper. You will just have to tear it up and put it in your hamster’s cage and your hamster’s house. Hamsters love burrowing, which means that you will have to put a thick layer of bedding to keep them happy.  8. DIY Hamster Toy Tubes Hamsters love playing in tubes. If you make your own toy tubes, you won’t have to clean them as often as you would plastic store-bought tubes. When they start to get worn down, you can just replace them with new ones.  Toilet Roll Tubes You can make the best hamster tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls. They are very cheap and easy to make. Just cut holes in the tube and stick some favorite treats in it. You can also glue together multiple rolls so that your hamster has more places to run around.  9. DIY Toy Ladder If your hamster’s cage is on multiple levels, you should consider making it a toy ladder. Hamster ladders are really easy to make, and you will only need some non-toxic glue and popsicles. You will have to overlap the vertical sticks and glue them together. Next, you will place the sticks horizontally, and glue the ends to the vertical sticks in order to make steps. Repeat this process until you create a ladder that is tall enough for your hamster to use. Hamsters are known to nibble on wood so make sure you check whether the ladder is stable enough for your hamster to climb on it.  10. DIY Hamster Playground You can create a fun playground for your hamster using only wood popsicle sticks, toilet paper roll tubes, yarn, and glue. You will first have to build a box frame, out of glue and popsicles, that has a base, two sides, and a roof. Then, you will take the yarn and tie it to the roof. Thread one end of the yarn through the paper roll and tie it to the other end of your frame. This will make the tube hang in the air. Create as many of these hanging tunnels as you want, and you can even add some ladders. 11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze Hamsters love mazes, and you will have a lot of fun watching them play in its maze. If you have some legos in your home, use them to make walls that are tall enough so that your hamster can’t climb out of them. You can add some steps, slopes, and tunnels for an extra challenge. If you don’t have any legos you can use DVD boxes to make a maze.  [...] Read more...
About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other Parasites
About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other ParasitesIf you’ve got a hammy and he’s suddenly scratching too much, or keeps losing his fur, you might be wondering if he’s got a skin condition. Or if a parasite found its way onto your friend. Well, it’s very probable, and we’re going to look at what the most common symptoms are for skin/fur conditions and parasite, both external and internal. Table of Contents ToggleHamster skin/fur conditionsHamster fur becoming very sparseHamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratchesSyrian hamster has a black dot on each hipOdd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or earsMites in hamstersMites in the hamster’s furMites in the hamster’s earsWorm parasites in hamstersFungal parasites in hamstersThe first is the Aspergillus  fungusThe other fungus that can affect hamsters is the RingwormKeeping the hamster parasite-freeA word from Teddy Hamster skin/fur conditions For the most part hamsters are clean animals. Except for some terrible illness like wet-tail, their fur is very bright, fluffy, and well put together. So why is your hammy suddenly losing patches of fur ? Or having small red inflammations under its fur ? Hamster fur becoming very sparse Hammies will start losing their fur under certain conditions. One of those conditions is old age. Just like very old humans start to lose large amounts of hair, so do hamster seniors. By this I means the hamster’s fur will become sparse, you might even see some skin peeking here and there. It might be especially severe around the hammy’s hind quarters. A hamster is a senior once he gets close to his second birthday. Hamsters only live between 2 to 4 years, and will become very slow once they get old. Their body starts to shut down, and there isn’t much you can do. Aside from make life easier for them with nice food and a warmer nest. Unfortunately hair loss is part of that process. Another condition under which hamsters can start losing fur is stress. Hamsters react very, very poorly to stress. A number of health issues can come up from having the hamster too stressed. From an upset stomach, lack of appetite, bar chewing, biting himself, even hair loss. Only this type of hair loss is in patches, as opposed to thinning hair. A stressed hamster can be due to: a bullying cage mate too much handling on your part (or whomever handles the hamster) not feeling safe – curious cat or barking dog always around the hamster’s cage too much traffic around the hamster’s habitat, especially during the day when it sleeps another illness, that isn’t immediately obvious Most of the reasons I outlined above can be avoided. The hamster’s cage can be moved to a quieter, safe, calm room. A bad cage mate can be separated – either in the same cage if it’s large enough, or by getting another cage altogether for the bully. Fur loss can happen for other reasons, like a parasite, but we will cover that in the Parasite section of the article. Hamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratches Hamsters can get rashes, and the reasons are not clear. Just like in humans, a random rash can be just that – random, and not easy to figure out. Usually a rash on the hammy can be a sign of a parasite or allergy on the skin, but in the cases it is not, your veterinarian will be able to help you. Look for a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since these have the most experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. You’ll notice your hammy has a rash if he keeps scratching himself in one particular spot. It will usually be red, possibly a bit inflamed, the skin might get a bit dry and flaky and the fur will have fallen off in that are. The fur usually does come back. Your veterinarian will most probably give you a cream treatment to help your hammy with the itching. If it’s an allergy, it will usually clear up once the allergen is taken away. However figuring out which object form the cage is the cause can be difficult. Watch your hamster closely, notice where the rash is, and what he interacts with in his cage. It could be a few hours until you notice something. Syrian hamster has a black dot on each hip I put this one here because I was completely stumped as to what was wrong with my Teddy. He is a Syrian male, and one day he came out of his hideout with both hips licked flat, and two large black dots on his hips. I first thought this was some sort of tumor or huge scab I didn’t notice on him before. As it turns out, not, the dots are not dangerous. They are in fact the scent glands. Hammies lick and nibble at their scent glands every now and then, and that’s when you are able to notice them. Usually they’re invisible under all that fur. A Dwarf type hammy has hos scent gland on his belly, and it’s not colored black. Odd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or ears An odd growth on the hammy sometimes can be a tumor. It’s not a tumor every time, but it can be one sometimes. You’ll notice it’s a tumor if it’s more of a lump of skin than anything. It might become very large and fleshy, and just look out of place. If it is indeed a tumor, a vet will be able to remove it from the hamster. Not all vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small creature, but some can help. If the growth is smaller, harder, possibly even longer than it’s wide, it could be a skin tag. Or wart, depending on the name your vet gives it. These are usually harmless and do not hurt or otherwise inconvenience the hamster. But the hammy might not like them and will try to tear them off, which will make them bleed. They will come back with a vengeance and grow bigger and uglier. You can find them anywhere, but they’re usually around the nose, ears, feet, tail, rarely the eyes or mouth. Treatment is available, but your need to see a vet for this. Mites in hamsters Mites are not uncommon in pets, nor are they in humans. With your friend, there are 2 possibilities. Mites in the hamster’s fur Fur mites are invisible to the naked eye. They burrow and live inside the hammy’s fur, and feed off dead skin cells. They can produce irritations and dry, flaky, itchy skin in your hammy. They’re usually present on the hammy, but in a small amount. Only a large amount of them leads to the symptoms I just described. These can be treated at the veterinarian’s office, but never get a medication online. Or in pet shops. The problems with these medications is that the dosage is hard to get right, and you risk hurting your hamster More than helping him. Some medications even require the hamster to be fully bathed in them, which is never a good idea for a hamster. So stick to whatever your vet recommends. Mites in the hamster’s ears Ear mites are different, and these you might notice. They’re darker in color, and can be seen moving if you look closely at the hamster’s ear. They will produce red, crusty lesions on the hammy’s ears, and they might extend to the eyes, mouth, even tail. Mites are contagious, both the ear mites and the fur mites. So if you’ve got a pair of hamsters living together, separate the infected one while he gets his treatment. Worm parasites in hamsters Hamsters can get worm parasites as well, however they are not immediately noticeable. The hammy might have an itchy rear-end, or you might notice part of the worm in a few droppings. Deworming treatments are available, however they should be administered by your veterinarian. Symptoms can be dehydration, loss of appetite, weight loss, intestinal blockage, or possibly diarrhea. These are the extreme cases. Usually they’re not immediately obvious. Some worms can transfer from hamsters to humans, for example the worm’s eggs on the hamster’s food or droppings. For this reason a hamster with a worm parasite should be handled with gloves, and the hands thoroughly washed afterwards, as a secondary precaution. The worm eggs can spring up when the cage is in a bug-infested area, since some worms can live inside insects as well. Another possibility is an unkempt cage, which should be cleaned once per week. And finally, the eggs can also be present on hamster food, or the bedding itself. For this reason freezing the hamster’s food and bedding for a minimum of 48 hours should be done. The extreme cold will kill off the eggs and larvae. Do keep in mind that if you live in warmer, more humid climates, the eggs can hatch much faster. (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.) Fungal parasites in hamsters There are 2 main types of fungus that can affect your hamster friend. Both can be treated, however they are different in how they manifest themselves. Both are very dangerous, and are contagious. The first is the Aspergillus  fungus It will grow primarily in the hamster’s pee corner. I’m not sure if a litter box will save you form one of these infections, but it’s worth a shot. You can find out more about litter boxes and potty trained hamsters here. So the way the Aspergillus fungus works is that it grows on the wet/moist bedding in the hamster’s cage. That can either be the pee corner, or the are directly under the water bottle if there is leakage. First it will grow white, and in time it will turn black. It will end up spreading its spores all around the hamster’s cage, and you need to act quick. This can be deadly for the hamster. The hamster must be taken to the vet as soon as you see the white formation in his cage. The vet will give him the proper treatment. As for the cage itself, it will need a complete clean and disinfection from top to bottom. With the help of a disinfectant from the vet, soap, and hot water. The other fungus that can affect hamsters is the Ringworm Not a worm, per-se, but that’s the name. It’s actually a fungus. It can come about from other infected hamsters, humans, even infected bedding, and is highly contagious. You’ll notice the hammy has a Ringworm infection if there are round patches on his skin, with no fur on them. There will be a red ring (many tiny red dots) towards the edge of the ring, and the skin will be dry. Patchy, dry, possibly itchy, and the hamster will be very annoyed by it. Treatment is possible, but it take a few weeks. In this time the hamster should only be handled with gloved hands, and definitely kept away from other hamsters. As with the Aspergillus fungus, the cage must be deep-cleaned too. This means a disinfectant, hot water, soap, and possibly throwing out some objects that can’t be cleaned. Those might be the wood objects. Do talk to your vet, see if he has a way to disinfect wood safely. Keeping the hamster parasite-free The first thing you can do to keep you hamster friend parasite free is to keep the cage clean. This is not always the problem, but is the most common culprit. The cage should be cleaned once per week, possibly every two weeks if it does not develop a strong odor. This means new bedding, nesting material, and running the plastic objects under hot water. Another thing is to deep-freeze and then properly dry the hamster’s food and bedding. Often the eggs for various worms, or the spores for certain fungi are present on the food or bedding. Extreme heat or cold will kill them off. Be careful with your hamster’s water supply. Tap water is safe for hamsters, as long as it is clean. However a bottled option would be safer. Look for a bottle that says it can also be used to prepare baby food as well. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your hamster. Many diseases are contagious, and can easily be passed from hamster to human, or vice versa. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. We hamsters are a hardy bunch, but we do get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check the related articles below for more info on how to care for us properly. [...] Read more...
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)Hamsters need a specific kind of bedding, and most pet shops don’t carry just the safe kinds. When I first got my Teddy I was lucky an acquaintance worked at that petshop. Otherwise I would’ve walked out with  some very bad bedding and hideout choices for my Teddy. As it happened, she gave me some very good advice that I’m going to pass onto you. Along with some info I learned along the way about what kind of bedding is best for hamsters, and what hideouts they like. We’ll cover how often to change/clean the cage as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best bedding for your hamster ?Safe wood-based bedding for your hamsterWood shavings as bedding for hamstersWood pellets bedding for hamsterGrass or seaweed bedding for your hamsterPaper based bedding for your hamsterWhat a hamster will use as nesting materialWhat nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamsterSand bath for your hamster friendSo what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ?Wood hideout for your hamster friendAn example of wood hideout for hamstersHow much bedding a hamster needsHow much nesting material a hamster needsHamsters hoard food in their nestHow often to change the hamster’s beddingHow often to change the nesting for your hamsterA word from Teddy So what is the best bedding for your hamster ? Generally the bedding for hamsters is easy to find, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Hamsters do well in paper/wood based kinds of bedding. So organic, bio-degradable wood or paper based bedding is alright for hamsters, under a few conditions. First, hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, so NOTHING scented will be alright for them. Do not get your hamster a scented bedding, even if you find one in your local petshop or online. Scented beddings are more for your comfort but give the hamster a bad time. Please stick to unscented, plain bedding. Second, whatever kind of bedding you choose, it must be dust-free. This is because your hamster will be breathing that dust in all day, every day, and it will cause serious lung problems for him. Make sure you get a dust free bedding. I’ll get into some clear examples of what is ok and what isn’t ok as a bedding for your hammy. Most wood based bedding are alright, but there are a few exceptions. Teddy: Remember, wood or paper bedding is ok for us hamsters. Keep them plain and unscented, and make sure they are dust free to keep your hammy safe ! Safe wood-based bedding for your hamster These can be wood shavings or wood pellets, and we’ll talk about both of them. Wood shavings as bedding for hamsters They’re the most common kinds of bedding, and this is the kind I have for my Teddy as well. I use aspen, since it is readily available in my area, and is one of the safest types of wood for hamsters. Most fruit trees are safe for hamster, so if you’ve got apple or pear wood shavings, you can use them as bedding for your hamster. Best to mix it with aspen or another neutral type of wood, since the fruit trees can have a strong aroma. Other options can be white birch, bamboo, rosehip, sycamore, elm or hazelnut. These are not always available in some stores, but depending on which area of the world you live in, you might find these. If you get wood shavings, make sure they’re dust free. You can check this by looking at the packaging, it’s usually clear and you will be able to see excess dust. The dust will cause lung problems for your hamster, so avoid that. Another thing to be very careful about, is that some wood shavings can be mixed with actual sawdust, which is the smaller, dustier kind of wood shaving. So make sure that does not happen with your hamster’s bedding. I looked around and found a big pack of aspen bedding for your hamster. This will keep your hammy for months. It’s got great reviews on Amazon, and a lot of people seem to be really happy about it. Aspen is the kind of wood I use for my Teddy too, so you can be sure it’s safe. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Wood pellets bedding for hamster These are not as easy to find, but they can still be found. You’ll often see them marketed towards rabbits or large rodents like ferrets. But for hamsters the wood pellets aren’t the most comfortable. Unless you set a layer of wood pellets, and then a layer or wood shavings, to simulate the dirt layer, but that one’s up to you. As for the kind of wood pellets to use, the same applies as with wood shavings. What is a safe wood for your hamster to live and breathe on, is also a safe wood for the pellets. Grass or seaweed bedding for your hamster These are common in my area as well, and I’d guess the seaweed based ones are even more common in countries or area with a lot of sea access. Both seaweed and grass are okay for hammies to live on, and in fact it simulates the hamster’s natural nesting material. When hamsters burrow, they use a mix of twigs, dried leaves, twigs, anything soft and plant-based that they can fit into their dwelling. So dried grass and seaweed are a good substitute for that. DO NOT get your hamster yellow hay ! That’s the tougher, twig-like dried grass. That can stick at weird angles and will not be comfortable for your hamster. The grass or seaweed versions are very clearly wider and softer, even if they are dried. But as a general rule, I’d give Teddy the grass or seaweed for nesting material, not bedding in the whole cage. While grass and seaweed are soft and easy to work with, I wouldn’t recommend them as bedding for a small rodent, like hamsters or gerbils since it will be harder for them to navigate their cages. But it is absolutely GREAT as nesting material, and it’s what your hammy will use it for. Paper based bedding for your hamster Paper bedding is fine for hamsters, and it’s usually just as easy to find as the wood shavings. But it’s a matter of personal preference I think, which one you use. Paper bedding is a bit more absorbent than the wood shavings, but it comes scented more often than it doesn’t. So make sure you get an unscented, plain version for your hamster so he can live comfortably. One thing about paper based beddings, is that they’re often in various colors, or color mixes. So if you want, you can make your hamster’s bedding pink and purple. The hamster will not mind, since he can’t see very well. But if it makes you happier, then go ahead. The paper bedding keeps the hamster just as warm or cool as the wood shavings. It’s just a matter of what you like and what you find in your area. I looked around and found a good option for paper bedding for your hammy. This will keep your hamster warm enough in winter as well as summer. It’s safe for the hamster to put in cheek pouches if he wants. It’s dust free and controls odor fairly well. It’s also a large size, 60 liters/15 gallons so you’re going to get a lot of uses out of it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. What a hamster will use as nesting material Hamsters usually use very soft, paper/wood/cardboard pieces for their nests. If you give your hamster seaweed or grass bedding, it will most probably end up in his nest. When I first got Teddy I gave him extra wood shavings in his hideout, so he has a nice base for his nest. In time I saw that he didn’t really use it for nesting, except for winter when he hoarded every warm material he could find. Most of the time, I give Teddy ripped paper towels. Honestly these are the cheapest and most effective things to keep your hamster warm. If you’ve got no paper towels, use toilet paper. Whatever you use, keep it unscented. Really, this is one of the most important things about a hamster’s bedding or nesting material. Do not give him anything scented, because his nose just can’t handle that. When you give your hammy the paper towel, make sure it is ripped into manageable pieces. They have a side which rips easily in a straight line. Use that side to give him ribbons of paper towel or toilet paper. All hamsters do this, but to me Teddy is the funniest. As soon as he sees the paper bits, he starts shoving them into his pouches and gets both of them as full as he can. Then, he goes into his hideout and I can see him pull them out of his cheek and start decorating the place. Then he goes out for more paper, and continues building his nest. He’s always so focused when he does that, he’s easy to scare by mistake. One time he jumped sideways because I got up too fast, and he was still shoving paper towel in his cheeks. I’ve never seen such dedication. What nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamster Never give your hamster cotton or fiber nesting material. There are several reasons for this. First, hamsters will eat a small part of whatever they put in their cheek pouches. So, your hamster eating cotton, even just a little bit, is never a good thing. Anyone eating cotton is not good, actually. Second, the fibers in this kind of nesting material can get caught in your hamster’s teeth, and cause serious problems for him. Those fibers can also get caught in his cheeks, and lead to deadly situations. Third, cotton absorbs and keeps moisture. So your hamster’s warm breathing and some condensation will be trapped in that cotton. Your hamster is in danger of colds and pneumonia in that case. It’s much harder for a hamster to fight a cold than it is for a human, so best to avoid that. Teddy: Remember, us hamsters need wood or paper based bedding, and we use soft paper or dry grass for nesting. Never give us cotton or fiber nesting, it an be lethal ! Sand bath for your hamster friend This is something that’s always funny to watch, and will bring joy to your hamster. A sandbath is what hamsters use for a sort of cleaning. Actually hamsters are incredibly clean, and clean themselves very very thoroughly, much like cats. They barely have a smell that humans notice. Unless you get your nose right in your hamster’s fur, which isn’t so nice for him. But as most animals do, hamsters need an extra bath or cleaning. This is also a sort of reflex of their to get rid of any possible parasites. If you’ve ever seen sparrows rolling around in sand, you’ll know what I mean. The best kind of sand to get your hamster is mineral sand. That’s just crushed up calcium and shells, so your hamster can get an actual sand bath going on. Make sure it’s actual sand, and not dust. If it’s the consistency of flour, send it back. If you put a bowl of that sand in your hamster’s usual peeing corner, he’ll use that as a potty too ! Be warned though, the hamster will kick up a lot of sand when he bathes, so you might find some in random places in your house. Best to use a second hideout with a detachable roof for this. Alright, now that you’re all set with your little one’s bedding, sand, and nesting material, let’s see to his hideout. Yes, a hamster’s hideout is just as sacred as your bed or own room. So I’ll get into a lot of detail with it. So what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ? Hamsters will need small hideouts in which to, well, hide. This is their nest, their food stash, their safe place. In the wild, it would be a burrow underground. But in their comfy warm cage, it’s usually a cute house-shaped hideout. The best kind is actually one that fits the general size of your hamster when he is fully grown, and with some spare room so he can wiggle around. So it doesn’t have to be a large hideout, a small one with some air flow is okay. The air in the hamster hideout is very important, since it needs to be able to travel easily. Even if the hamster will block up the air vents with his nesting material, it’s best to give him plenty of air. If your get your hamster a home with more than one exit, he will only use one and block up the other one. For example my Teddy has 3 entrances to his hideout, and he only uses one, depending on his mood. Sometimes he rearranges his hideout if he feels something is off. Finally, never get your hammy a plastic house. These trap condensation and are not breathable. Best to stick with wood. Wood hideout for your hamster friend A wood hideout is what I settled on for my Teddy, and I think it’s the best option out there, for anyone who has any kind of rodent. First, it’s a much more natural option, and very durable. Wood hideouts are more similar in feel to what the hamster would have as a burrow if he were underground, in that it’s a familiar material. Especially compared to plastic. Second, hamsters and other rodents will chew, gnaw, and bite into everything. Not because they’re wild or mean, just because that’s what they do. Their front teeth are always growing, so hamsters need to literally file down their teeth. They do that by chewing on whatever they find, and their hideout is a common option. So if the hideout is made of wood, that’s great since they love chewing wood anyway. Third, wood is much more breathable than other types of material. I’ve seen ceramic hideouts, and plastic as well. The thing is that unless the hideout is breathable, will absorb moisture and let it pass through to the outside, then it is a problem. Your hamster is in danger of hypothermia, pneumonia, and even a ordinary cold can get the best of them. The hideout must remain dry at all times, and be able to keep the warm as well. And fourth, wood retains the hamster’s scent the best. Compared to plastic or ceramic, wood keeps the scent of the hamster. This is very important to a creature that has a very sensitive sense of smell, so best not to mess with that. An example of wood hideout for hamsters Here’s what my Teddy has for a hideout, and you can see the gnaw and chew marks on the roof. At night he absolutely loves to just …sit… on his home and watch for possible predators. Usually that’s just me grabbing a glass of water in the middle of the night. But you never know, Teddy reckons. Constant vigilance. You can see my Teddy shoved all kinds of nesting material, like the paper towels, some cardboard pieces, and some random wood shavings. Your hammy will probably have something very similar in his hideout too, if you look. I found a great one on Amazon, and it looks a lot like the one I have for Teddy ! It’s wood, so your hamster can  chew on it as much as he likes. It will keep his scent, and it’s also got enough airflow so he will be fine. You might find your hammy on top of his hideout, like I sometimes find my Teddy. Just make sure that you put something of his, like a few droppings or  a bit of his nesting material in his new hideout, so he get more familiar with it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. Now that we’re all set with the hideout, let’s talk about how much of the bedding and nesting material your hammy will need. Teddy: wood is the most comfortable and safe option for us hamsters, and we love to chew on everything ! So make sure you get your hamster a hideout he will enjoy, and not hurt his teeth on. How much bedding a hamster needs This is a bit of a debate, since there isn’t really a too much, as well as there is a too little. But the enough part is what people never settle on. It also depends on your hamster’s personality. For example if your hamster is a digger, and he loves to burrow, then you’re going to need to give him much more bedding than other hamster owners. But if your hamster is like my Teddy, and burrowing or digging isn’t his favorite thing, then he won’t need too much. I’ve tried different amounts in Teddy’s cage, and I’ll tell you what I’ve found: just enough bedding to cover the cage floor – not good, he moved around a lot of it and brought it to his hideout; his wheel was noisy since it banged in the cage floor. bedding 2.5-3 inch/ 6-7.5 cm was too much, since there was always too little he used, and a lot he kicked around to get to different parts of the cage an inch, maybe a bit over/2-3 cm is what Teddy is most comfortable with; the wheel sits nice, and his hideout has a lot as well Now, your hamster could need more or less. Again, if he is a digger, then give your hamster what you think is too much, and he’ll dive right into it. If he’s more of a runner, he might need a thinner bedding. But in general, the bedding should cover the bottom of the cage by at least an inch, so the hamster can gather piles of it if he wants to, and not leave empty spots. If your hammy has a hideout, but chooses to build his nest somewhere else, look at where he builds his and add much more bedding and nesting material there. The bedding acts as a sort of insulation as well, so maybe you should check out the ideal temperature to keep your hamster comfortable. How much nesting material a hamster needs This is a clear case of give the hamster as much as you can. A whole roll of toilet paper. No, but he will use up however much you give him. I usually give Teddy 3 whole paper towel pieces, ripped into strips. He also has the cardboard roll that’s left front he paper towel. He sometimes chews on that to add some extra bedding if he needs more. I’ve given him 4 paper towels sometimes, and he found use for all 4. But it was a bit harder for him to navigate into and out of his hideout. So we stuck to 3 paper towels. Keep in mind that if you can still properly see your hamster in his hideout, then he probably needs a bit more nesting material. Hamsters form a sort of cocoon out of the nesting they find. So they will wrap that nest around them very well, to keep them warm. Sometimes Teddy even manages to knot the pieces of paper into a continuous piece, which he then wraps around himself. So give your hamster as much bedding as he needs, start with the 3 paper towels and see if he needs more. If you put 1 more he will take it, but see if he can move around well in his nest. Hamsters hoard food in their nest This is something I found out when I first cleaned Teddy’s cage. When I lifted his hideout, and saw the pile of while paper towel strips, I was not surprised. When I saw the droppings in his nest, I figured that’s just what he does. But when I saw his food stash, I was impressed. The little furball had a stash for the Apocalypse right there. So don’t be surprised if you find food and poo and a bit of pee in your hamster’s nest. That’s okay. But that’s another sign of just how important the nest is to your hamster, so make sure you get a good one for him. And try not to disturb his nest unless you absolutely have to. More on that later. (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 often to change the hamster’s bedding By bedding I mean everything but the nest itself. Honestly the bedding stays clean (as in not smelly) for up to 2 weeks, but I recommend changing it every week. This applies especially to the corners where the hamster pees. Hamsters do have a peeing corner, and you’ll figure out which one it is by how smelly it can get. If your hamster is using the sandbath as a potty, then that’s even easier to clean. Just throw out the sand he’s used, and clean the residue that might have stuck to the bottom with hot water and a tooth pick. Then, pat dry with paper towel and place new sand. If you have a setup like that then your hamster’s bedding will only need changing every couple of weeks, when it gets a bit too overfilled with droppings. About droppings, if your hamster has somewhere safe/hidden to poop, and it’s also not his hideout, you’ll find most of the droppings there. But never let the bedding go for more than 2 weeks. It becomes stale and a bit funky past that point. How often to change the nesting for your hamster The nest itself is relatively clean and will not need changing more often than the bedding itself. So the nest can be left alone for up to 2 weeks, but I personally change it once per week. When I change it I make sure I keep a few pieces of the old nest, to place in his new nest in his hideout. Whatever food I find in his stash goes into Teddy’s food bowl, and I start ripping up new paper towels for him to use. It’s important to not change or disturb your hamster’s nest as much as you can. If it’s getting smelly, then change it. But hamsters rarely pee in their nest and that’s the only thing about them that smells. Keep the hamster in his travel cage or exercise ball while you’re cleaning his cage, to keep him occupied. A word from Teddy Long read, I know. But us hamsters need a bit of special care, so I hope you found all the information you need in this article. We’re very clean and like to take care of ourselves, so a smelly cage shouldn’t be a problem ! I’m an adult Syrian hamster, but what you just read applies to all my brothers and sisters, even if they’re dwarf hamsters. If you want to check out more important info on hamsters, then read the articles below. You’ll find out about what kind of cage us hamsters need, and even how long we can last without food or water. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters And Gerbils Live Together ? An Owner’s Guide
Can Hamsters And Gerbils Live Together ? An Owner’s GuideIf you’re wondering if you can keep a hamster and a gerbil together, you need to read this. They’re often mistaken for one another, but the differences between hamsters and gerbils are critical. We’ll see whether these two rodents can live together, and what decides that fact. For a more detailed comparison between gerbils and hamster, you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters and gerbils live together ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the gerbil’s personalityMajor differences between hamsters and gerbilsHousing a hamster vs housing a gerbilA word from Teddy So can hamsters and gerbils live together ? No, hamsters and gerbils can not and should not live together. This is because the hamster is territorial, and will attack (and kill) anything that tries to come close, even their own siblings. While gerbils can and do live together, hamsters do not. This makes hamsters unable to share their home with anything, especially not an animal that is not another hamster. There are some very important differences between the two, and we’ll discuss them here. About the hamster’s personality Hamsters are small animals, about the size of a gerbil (without the gerbil’s tail) and they’re very much prey for other, larger animals. This means that they are skittish, will try to hide as often as they can, and do not react well to strangers. Hamsters are more aggressive than gerbils, and they will attack anyone or anything that comes too close. There are some submissive hamsters that just cower in a corner or freeze in fear, but most will actually attack and fight to the death. This means that housing a hamster with anything is a bad idea. Most of the time even another hamster is a bad idea, even if they’re siblings. Hamsters sleep during the day, and wake up in the evening. They stay up all night, running in their wheel and playing in their cage. In the wild they’d be running from predators and looking for food at the same time, while fending off intruders on their territory. Busy little things. A hamster doesn’t react well to stress, and is actually quite jittery and restless when handled. He will not stay put, at all, and will want to wander off and explore everything. As such, a big cage with lots of space is going to help the hamster feel more at ease, and less stressed. About the gerbil’s personality Gerbils are social animals, and they actually live in colonies of up to 20 individuals in a colony. This means that you can house together several gerbils and they would be fine, but their cage needs to be very large. The more gerbils you own, the larger the cage. Since gerbils are social, this means they’re okay with sharing, but only with gerbils they know. Strangers, or even siblings that smell different are attacked on sight (well, rather smell) and it’s usually deadly. Gerbils, like hamsters, will protect their own. It’s just that their definition of ”their” also includes their immediate family. Most of the time gerbils are kept only in pairs, partly because a cage big enough for 10 gerbils isn’t easy to find or fit somewhere. Compared to hamsters, gerbils are more mellow, and are easier to tame. They can still be skittish, especially as babies, but not nearly as much as hamsters. Gerbils too are very active animals (all rodents are), and they’re always exploring, digging a tunnel, making a nest, playing with a friend, or running on their wheel. Their energy is similar to the hamster, and as such they needs lots of stimulation. Unlike hamsters, a lone gerbil will become depressed, and possibly ill from being so lonely. They need the stimulation and activity a colony (or at least another gerbil) provides, and they grow up happier if they have a friend. Major differences between hamsters and gerbils A hamster is fairly short, stocky, and has barely any noticeable tail. There are 5 types of hamster to choose from (Syrian, Chinese, Roborovski, Campbell, and Djungarian) and they look very different from a gerbil. The only hamster that resembles a gerbil is the Chinese, with its long slender body and longer tail. Not as long as the gerbil’s tail, but definitely longer than the other hamster tails (which are just stubs). Gerbils have longer bodies, and look like a bit of a cross between a mouse and a squirrel, minus the bushy tail. A hamster has a much shorter neck, and a wider body. It looks fluffier than a gerbil, and has more of a rounded face. Both gerbils and hamsters love to run, but their needs are different. A hamster needs a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm for a wheel, but a gerbil will need a much larger one, since its tail is sensitive. If the tail is injured or caught in something (and it can happen in a wheel) it can and will fall off. This is not easy on the gerbil, nor on you as an owner. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Another big difference is the sleeping and activity patterns. While the hamster sleeps during the day, the gerbil will go about his business. He will take short naps throughout the day, but the main sleeping time is the night. This annoys the hamster greatly, since he is trying to sleep. An irritated hamster that hasn’t rested well enough will be very hard to handle, and will snap at the gerbil. Conversely, while the gerbil sleeps at night, the hamster will wake up and do his own hamster things. This will wake up the gerbil and he will not rest well, leading to other fights. Food is pretty much the only thing hamsters and gerbils agree upon. They even share food mixes/pellets, since they both eat mostly grains, with some veggies and fruit, peanuts, and a bit of protein when they can. Housing a hamster vs housing a gerbil Two gerbils can live in a lone Syrian’s cage – 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. But a single hamster can’t live in a single gerbil’s cage, unless it is a Dwarf hamster. All this means is that a gerbil and a hamster have different housing needs, and they will end up fighting over space anyway. This is because most cages aren’t large enough for a hamster and a gerbil together, but also because both animals mark their territory. They both use their scent glands to mark what;s their, be it it with their bellies, hips, or faces rubbed against various objects. This leads to fighting in the end, and there is no amount of toys and duplicate of cage objects that will keep that from happening. Both the hamster and the gerbil love to chew, so in that respect they would need the same toys and hideouts. They would both end up chewing on the cage bars or trying to escape, so housing them together is not good. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies get confused with gerbils often, but we’re really very different. And we can’t live together, at all. We’d fight all the time. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
What Is A Teddy Bear Hamster? A Few Interesting Facts
What Is A Teddy Bear Hamster? A Few Interesting FactsWriting an article about what is a teddy bear hamster brings me a lot of joy since my first hamster, and the inspiration for this site, was named Teddy. But was Teddy a teddy bear hamster, though? As with all the good answers in the world, the answer is “it depends”. My hamster was a short hair Syrian hamster, and this is quite important when it comes to what people call a teddy bear hamster. In this article, I will talk about what is a teddy bear hamster but also what you should know before deciding to get one as a pet. Table of Contents ToggleWhat is a teddy bear hamster?How to care for a teddy bear hamster?Common diseases for teddy bear hamsters?Things to know before getting a teddy bear hamster as a petConclusion What is a teddy bear hamster? Teddy bear hamster is not a type of hamster, it is more of a nickname that people use for Syrian hamsters since they look like a small teddy bears. There is an entire debate about whether a teddy bear hamster is just a long-haired Syrian hamster and is called this for its long fur, or any Syrian hamster since they all look like a teddy bear. But in reality it doesn’t matter that much, we talk here about a nickname so you can call your hamster a teddy bear hamster if it is a Syrian hamster. When you are looking for images with teddy bear hamsters, you will see that there are a lot of short-haired Syrian hamsters, this happens because long-haired Syrian hamsters are rarer than short-haired ones. So if you look at your Syrian hamster and you think of a small teddy bear with big ears, small dark eyes, and a small cute nose, you can officially call your hamster a teddy bear hamster. I say officially with an ironic tone because how official can a nickname be? How to care for a teddy bear hamster? I will shortly get onto the most important things you need to know in order to properly care for your hamster, however if you are looking for a more in-depth guide, check my article on how to care for a hamster. Here are a few things you need to know. 1. Make sure your hamster has a water bottle full of fresh water. A hamster needs about 10ml of water per day but it can vary from one hamster to another, especially because of their different sizes. 2. Feed your hamster properly, a teddy bear hamster will need about two teaspoons full of pre-made hamster food mix every day. They usually hide their food, so make sure you don’t feed them too much since they can get fat pretty easily, which will come with some health issues. They eat mostly seeds and grains, but can eat the occasional insect. In some cases a very small amount of boiled, unseasoned meat or boiled unsalted egg white is fine. But you should do your research before feeding a hamster anything that is not in the pre-made food since there are a lot of exceptions and things to know. I have an entire article about what a hamster can eat. 3. Buy a large enough cage. This is one of the most common problems new hamster owners have, I did it as well when I first had Teddy but I quickly bought a bigger cage when I found out. We see a small hamster and think that they have enough space in a small cage, but they need a lot of space for bedding, wheel, hideout, and more. It might seem expensive at first but I guarantee that if you buy a small cage, you will end up worse since you will most probably go back to the pet shop and buy a bigger cage when you see your teddy bear hamster struggling in the small wheel that fitted the cage and being very stressed. 4. Clean your hamster cage when needed. Hamsters are quite easy to take care of and their cages don’t smell as bad as other’s small animals. But you still have to clean its cage when needed, here is a guide on how and when you should clean a hamster cage. 5. If your teddy bear hamster’s personality allows you to play with it, you should do it a few times per week to create a bond between you and the hamster. Luckily the teddy bear hamsters are the most playful ones, and easier to tame the smaller dwarf hamsters. 6. Make sure your hamster is exercising and chewing as much as he needs. You can buy hamster toys like ladders, bridges, tunnels, chewing toys and so on to make sure your hamster has enough activity and things to chew on and also a big enough hamster wheel that will keep it quite active. Those are a few essential steps to take care of your teddy bear hamster but as I said, read my entire guide on caring for a hamster that I linked above to know more. Common diseases for teddy bear hamsters? Regarding what diseases a teddy bear hamster can have, “the wet tail” is the most common problem for this type of hamster. Here is a guide to how to know when your hamster has wet tail and what you can do. The wet tail disease in hamsters is like diarrhea for humans, but for us is not as bad as it is for them.  If you spot wet poop in your hamster cage, you should call a small pet vet as soon as possible and follow the steps in the article I linked above. When it comes to diabetes, Syrian hamsters(teddy bear hamsters) are not as predisposed to it as the smaller hamsters so you don’t have to worry to much about it. That doesn’t mean that you should feed your hamster too many sweet fruits or anything like this since they can still develop diabetes, just not as easily as the dwarf hamsters. A hamster can have other kinds of diseases, from fungal infection to mites and more, but those are not as common as the wet tail. Things to know before getting a teddy bear hamster as a pet Here are a few essential things to know before buying a pet teddy bear hamster. 1. Teddy bear hamsters’ life span is usually 2-3 years, so you should be prepared to take care of it for a few years at least. They don’t require much maintenance and attention, but you can’t completely ignore them. My two Syrian hamsters each lived for nearly 2 years.  2. The real cost of owning a pet teddy bear hamster. When you think of buying a hamster it’s important to know that the hamster itself is the least expensive thing you will spend money on. The cage, wheel and bedding are usually way more expensive than the hamster itself, make sure you check how much those cost before considering buying a hamster. There might be a lot of people in your area that donate hamsters so you might want to check this out first. Most of them will donate the cage and the toys for the hamster as well. 3. They have different personalities, if you see someone on Youtube playing with a teddy bear hamster like playing with a puppy, you should not expect your hamster to be as friendly. Hamsters have different personalities and a lot of them are not actually playful and easy to tame. Teddy bear hamsters are easier to tame compared to dwarf hamsters, but even so, you have to think about the fact that they are solitary animals and not social animals, so you might not seem like a friend to them but rather more of a treat. 4. They are not great pets for kids. A teddy bear hamster might be easier to tame than other hamsters, but it will not be as easy as you expect. But let’s say you are lucky and you get the calmest teddy bear hamster. You still have to be very gentle with it, they weigh about 120 grams, so they are easy to hurt if you are not careful. You can’t expect a small kid to handle a hamster carefully. Most of the time, adults can’t do it properly, and we are aware that squishing those little furballs will hurt them a lot. When you play with a small hamster, if you don’t pay attention for a few seconds, they might get into the smallest places in your house since they tend to hide and will not come out easily. Also, they might hurt themselves since they don’t know the terrain. So this is a very important thing to consider when you plan to get a pet hamster. It might be easy to take care of them, but when it comes to playing with them, it is a wild ride with real chances of them getting hurt if you don’t know what you are doing. Conclusion So, the teddy bear hamster is a nickname for Syrian hamsters which are the best pet hamsters you can find. I hope this article helped you and now you know what to expect from a pet hamster and you will think twice before getting one. I don’t want to discourage you if you don’t have a hamster and are thinking of getting one, but you should know that there will be some responsibilities and a lot of things to know about those little fluffy teddy bears. [...] Read more...
Best Hamster Travel Cages, And How To Transport Your Hamster Safely
Best Hamster Travel Cages, And How To Transport Your Hamster SafelyTaking your hamster somewhere is never easy. This is why having the best travel cage ever for your hamster is going to make things much easier, both for you and your hamster. This is what I’ll be helping you out with, and my Teddy will give you a few important things to remember along the way. Travelling with your hamster need to be done with care. Table of Contents ToggleFinding the best travel cages for your hamsterThe best transport cages for hamsters I’ve foundHabitrail OVO plastic transport cage for hamstersKaytee wire transport cage for hamstersLiving World Hagen Pet Carrier (hard plastic)How to safely transport your hamsterFood and water for transporting your hamsterWaterFoodKeeping your hamster comfortable during travelTry to keep him from scaring too muchKeep the hamster in the darkAvoid transporting the hamster in extreme temperaturesKeep the hamster’s cage secureFamiliar bedding for your hamster’s comfortGive the hamster time to adjustBest toys to keep your hamster occupied during travelToys.The hamster house or nestA word from Teddy Finding the best travel cages for your hamster Let’s talk about the transport cage itself. This is the most important part of transporting your hamster, since you can’t bring the cage your hamster lives in. The main debate about transport cages in whether you should get a very secure one – like those made of plastic – or a very breathable one, with wire. It’s entirely up to you, is what I say. You don’t need a transport cage often, but when you do you’ll be very specific about it. Of course you can later use it as a place to keep the hamster while you clean and change his big cage. Now, whatever type of cage you get, it’s important that it is very well secured. It should not spring open suddenly, and you hamster can’t gnaw on the clasps to open it easily. Just as important, how breathable is the cage ? Wire cages are very breathable but are not the most secure. However the plastic cages offer more safety but only have holes in them to allow air to pass through it. The size of the cage does not really matter, in that it can be smaller than the one your hamster lives in. But make sure that he will fit easily into the transporting unit, and you can take him out just as easy. The best transport cages for hamsters I’ve found I’ll go through the best transport cages I’ve found, both for plastic and for wire cages. You pick whichever you think sounds better for you and your hamster. Habitrail OVO plastic transport cage for hamsters This is the kind of cage that will stay securely closed, and your hammy can get inside easily. The two tube endings can be attached to the main cage through, well, tubes so your hamster can use it as an extra home when not traveling. The two endings can be closed off with lids that comes with the cage. There are enough air holes on the top of the cage, to let the hamster get enough air. It also prevents drafts since the holes will not catch a lot of sideways air. You can fit a lot of bedding in the lower part of the cage, since it will reach high enough. But don’t add any sand for a sand bath, since it can escape from tiny nooks. I’ve both checked the reviews on Amazon, and looked at one in our local petshop. This kind of cage looks and feels sturdy, and the handle will definitely keep when you travel. A couple of downsides are that if you order it or buy it in a sealed package, you might have to assemble it yourself. But as far as I’ve seen the instructions are very clear and most people managed to assemble it okay. The other small downside would be that longer journeys would be a bit more difficult, since there is not much space in this cage. The air holes do provide some air, but not for 24 hours. You can find it on Amazon here, and check its price as well. Kaytee wire transport cage for hamsters Wire cages are probably your best option for ventilation. But the problem is sometimes they are easy to open by the hamster, or they don’t close properly. It’s also harder to wrap a cloth around the cage to prevent drafts since the hamster will try to chew the cloth. But, in this case this cage has more space than the plastic one I talked about earlier. There’s an added level that can give your hamster a bit more space, but I recommend taking it out so he can’t fall. Your hamster will have a lot of breathing space, which is essential if you’re going on a long trip or he needs to be in that cage more than a couple of hours. The spacing between these bars is about 1.25 cm/0.5 inches so your hammy has no chance of fitting his head through the bars. Both Syrians and smaller breeds (like Siberians or Campbells) are alright in this kind of cage for transport. I can see only a couple of downsides to this cage, one being that the bedding can get all over the car in some cases, like if your hamster kicks it around or there is a sharp turn. And second, it is very hard to protect from drafts. You can check out this exact cage on Amazon, and see its price as well. Living World Hagen Pet Carrier (hard plastic) If you’re looking for more options then maybe this pet carrier will sound better for you and your pet. People have successfully transported small birds like cockatiels and sun conures to the vet in this transport cage, and it seems to be large enough for an adult hamster. It’s large enough for an adult Syrian, and definitely large enough for an adult Dwarf as well. Just remember to get the ‘large’ size, the maroon one with a gray and transparent top, as the smaller blue one is much too small. This transport cage is hard, thick plastic, and if you offer some amount of bedding and a hideout for your hammy then he should have no problem being relaxed in this cage. The overall size is 11.8 inch length by 9 inch width by 8.3 inch height, and most hammies won’t even reach the top part of the cage very easily. Air circulation is good enough, as there are holes on the upper part of the sides of the cage, and in the transparent lid as well. The lid is large, and opens completely, meaning you will have very easy access to your hamster when taking him out. And you will also easily keep an eye on him during travel. The fact that he won’t see anything around him may prove better at not scaring him. The only downside I see to this cage is the height of the cage. Hamsters love to gnaw on everything, and if yours gets his chompers on the upper part where there are holes, he might nibble at them and make a larger hole. Still, few hamsters get that far and I doubt it can become a problem if you’re using the cage for a quick trip to the vet. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. (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 safely transport your hamster The very idea of moving your hamster is not safe for him, but in general it’s best to keep the cage and the toys inside the hamster cage lightweight. During travel sudden stops or sharp turns might move the cage and the things inside the cage can hurt the hamster. Also, try and keep the duration and distance as short as possible. Avoid public transport, with loud noises and people bumping into you. Go for an air conditioned car that can get you there fast.  There are more things to keep in mind than this, so Teddy and I will get into detail with all of them. But as a reminder: Teddy: Us hamsters are very easy to scare, so try not to rattle, bump, jostle, throw or shake our transport cage, and keep us well ventilated ! Food and water for transporting your hamster When you transport your little hamster, you’ll want to keep him well stocked on food and water. The problem is what kind of food and water. Water A water bottle or bowl is not good for transport. Every time your car or train or bus stops, they can leak and get the hamster wet, and possibly ill later on. What you can do instead is get a few slices of cucumber, and place them every once in a while in your hamster’s cage. Cucumbers have very high water content, and are safe for your hamster to eat. The cucumber will give your hamster enough water to last him the trip and back again, without spilling anything. Best to get several thick slices, and store them in a cool bag. Place one at a time every few hours in your hamster’s cage and he will have enough liquid. To know more about your hamster’s usual water needs, read my article here. Food As for the kind of food the hamster needs, it’s best if it is something dry like grains or a food mix from your favorite pet shop. Place a couple of his favorite treats in the cage as well, to make the trip more comfortable for him. Another type of food you should bring is a hard kind of treat for your hamster to nibble on. This is to give him something better than the cage to gnaw on, and also to relieve some of his anxiety. The best kind of dog treat for hamsters is either the plain kind – with no added flavors – or a milk bone. Milk bones are basically dog treats, but with added vitamins and minerals. They don’t necessarily contain milk, that’s just the name. Given the size of hamsters, and the size of dog treats, one treat will last your little one a long way. So basically a box of dog treats could possibly last the entire life of the hamster. Best to sprinkle the food in your hamster’s bedding, so he will forage for it during the trip and be distracted. For a clear list of what hamsters can and can not eat, read here. You’ll also find out what kind of treats you can give your hamster. Teddy: Hamsters need some simple dry food for transport, and sliced cucumber instead of a water bottle. We love cucumber ! Teddy enjoying his dry food from my hand Keeping your hamster comfortable during travel This is a topic just as important as what food you give the hamster when you transport him. Hamsters are easy to scare, they panic easily, and sometimes looking at your hamster wrong can scare him. I don’t know, all hamsters are different and some of them spook very easily. Try to keep him from scaring too much The weirdest example I have is when I was bent over my Teddy’s cage reaching for something. When I look down there’s Teddy, all shaking, on his hind paws, jaws open, trying to be big. I crouched down next to him, slowly, and spoke softly to him. It took him a minute but he was friendly after that. So unless you want your hamster to do something similar when he sees his vet after the trip, please make sure he is comfortable. That means that the cage should be shaken and moved around as little as possible. If possible, get a taxi or a friend to give you a ride to where you need to get. Do not keep your hamster on the road for more than he needs to be. It will freak him out and he will need some time to recover. Keep the hamster in the dark If possible, make sure that the cage you transport him with is not clear. Hamsters can’t see very well, but they can still see. And sudden movements will still scare them. If you can, cover the cage with something like a blanket to keep it dark. But make sure you do not cover the air holes, so that your hamster can still get enough air. However if your transport cage is an actual cage, not a plastic unit, then you need to make sure the hamster can’t reach the blanket and gnaw at it. My Teddy shoved a couple of centimeters of furry blanket in his cheeks when he first laid his paws on one, so be warned. Avoid transporting the hamster in extreme temperatures Unless you absolutely must, avoid transporting the hamster in very cold or very hot times of the year. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and need a range of 20-22 Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit to feel comfy. So make sure you can keep your hamster warm/cool, depending on the season. And also make sure that there is no draft where you keep your hamster during transport. Hamsters are very sensitive to this, and a cold for them is not as easy to shrug off as it is for humans. Keep the hamster’s cage secure When you travel by car, make sure that you have a seat belt strapped across the cage. This is to keep both you and the hammy safe. The cage needs to sit in place when traveling, and as long as you keep an eye on it, it should be fine. Try not to keep it on your lap, since it can hurt you in the case of sudden stops or turns. The same goes for keeping the cage in the trunk or at your feet in the car. If you’re travelling by train or bus, keep the cage on the seat next to you, with a hand on it or another way to make sure it stays in place. Familiar bedding for your hamster’s comfort In the end, you will need to place your hamster in a cage that is familiar to him. For this, use new bedding, mixed with bedding from his own cage. Make sure that the used bedding is not soiled or does not have too many droppings. A few droppings are okay, since it will be easier for your hamster to recognize the place as his own. But try to keep it mainly ‘clean’. The bedding you use for his home should have pieces that are from his own home as well. So if your gave your hamster ripped up paper towel to used as nesting material, grab a few pieces from his own home and place them in the transport cage. You can find out more about your hamster’s bedding here. What you can use, and what you should avoid. Give the hamster time to adjust Another thing that will help a lot is placing your hamster in the transport cage about an hour before you leave. This way you give him time to get used to his new cage, and he will not be as stressed. The best way to do this is to put the hamster in his exercise ball, and then put the exercise ball open in the transport cage. Or, place the transport cage directly into his usual cage, and let him explore it like that. For a discussion on what kind of cage is best for your hamster, check out my “best cages” article here. If your hamster is the kind that can be housed with several other hamsters, I’d recommend that you transport them in the same cage as well. Even if they don’t need a trip to the vet necessarily. This is to make the trip easier for the hamster that needs to be taken to the vet or somewhere specific. And also so that there is less hostility when you bring him back. The new smells on the transported hamster can make the ones left home get a bit aggressive. So try to avoid that by bringing them all if possible. This will not happen every time, the hamsters at home will not attack the transported hamster each occasion. But I’ve heard such stories and I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Teddy: That was a long read, I know ! But us hamsters are easy to scare, so extra steps are needed to make us comfortable. Make sure you don’t rattle or shake the cage too much, and keep us safe and in place in our transport. Best toys to keep your hamster occupied during travel Obviously, the best toys are the ones he already loves and uses in his cage. But if they are very large and chunky toys, like blocks of wood, or hide and seek wooden tubes, these are a problem. They are heavy, and in the case of a sudden stop they can injure your tiny hamster. Toys. So make sure that the toys you bring into your hamster’s transport cage are light. Things like cardboard, for example toilet rolls, or paper towel rolls or paper egg cartons are fine. Cut a few holes in the tubes and carton and you’ve got yourself some great toys for your hamster to enjoy and keep him distracted. This way they won’t hurt the hamster if the cage moves around too much. Another helpful idea can be a walnut, with a tiny hole in it. This will keep the hamster entertained and busy, and he’ll try to chew on it. Even better would be if your can get a few walnut halves, cleaned, and string them on a piece of string. Try securing it along the edge of the cage, if possible, to make sure it stays in place. If you can’t, best to leave out the walnuts completely. The hamster house or nest The same goes for your hamster’s home or hideout. Make sure it is something lightweight that will not hurt him if it rolls over during transport. Paper or cardboard houses can be an option, but your hamster will probably chew on them so they won’t be a house anymore. Best to opt for something made of plastic, very very light weight. Teddy: It’s important to remember that the toys we need during transport are light weight, and very simple. Us hamsters are very fragile and need some extra care, even when it comes to our toys !   A word from Teddy Hi ! I hope this article managed to clear up a lot of your questions, and you can safely transport my brother or sister. I know transport cages seem tiny compared to how much space us hamsters really need, but for a few hours it’s alright. As long as you can keep us safe, healthy, and well fed and watered, we’ll survive the trip. If you want to know more about hamsters, and for example how much we can go without food, or if we need a light on, then check out these other articles ! [...] Read more...