Are Hamsters Nocturnal ? – All About Your Hamster’s Routine

When you first got your hamster you probably asked yourself why it doesn’t come out during the day. Is it sick ? Is it afraid ? Is there anything you can do ?

I know I was a bit worried when I first got my Teddy – he is my first ever hamster. I did not know until him what hamsters do during the day, or at night. But after talking to some hamster owner friends of mine, and watching my own hamster, I got my answers.

are hamsters nocturnal 2

So are hamsters nocturnal or not ?

Pet hamsters are nocturnal. Hamsters sleep during the day and wake up at night, so they can avoid predators.

This means that most of the time you will only see your hamster before you go to bed.

The reason pet hamsters are nocturnal is because there’s more activity near their habitat all day, to they adjust their schedule accordingly.

Keep in mind that hamsters are solitary creatures and prefer to be left alone. They feel most comfortable when it’s quiet outside, and for most pet hamsters that means the night, when everyone at home is asleep.

Of course, some pet hamsters may prefer the daytime and that’s fine.

In short, hamsters end up being or seeming to be nocturnal because most folks only see hamsters who are pets, not wild ones. So, since pet hamsters tend to only come out at night, they end up being nocturnal.

Wild hamsters have a more flexible schedule, and are actually crepuscular creatures. That means they come out at sunrise and sunset, when the light is easier on their sensitive eyes, and the temperature much more bearable.

How being crepuscular helps wild hamsters survive

Hamsters are prey, and they evolved to come out mostly at dawn and dusk because their main predators will hunt them during the day or the night. Those predators aren’t very active at dawn or dusk.

Another reason is that, while most hamsters come from desert areas, they can’t stand high heat. Nor do they tolerate very low temperatures.

Hamsters are most comfortable in a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit temperature range. And that is usually found during sunset and at sunrise.

So being crepuscular is mostly an evolutionary advantage.

Some hamsters are nocturnal, or even diurnal

This can happen, because hamsters have their own personalities. It’s not something that you’ll see straight away at the pet shop. But your hammy could be a night hamster, and only come out late at night.

For example my Teddy comes out around 8-9 PM, and I see him up even in the middle of the night if I walk past his cage.

He seems to get some rest once I wake up, which is around 5 AM. Then comes out again around 7 AM for about half an hour, and then retires for the rest of the day.

There are hamsters out there who are only awake during daytime. This is very rare but it can happen. It depends entirely on your hamster’s personality, but there are a few factors involved, like:

  • If it’s too cold he won’t come out, and might even hibernate.
  • If it’s too hot, again he will not come out.
  • If he feels the coast is clear and feels that he is safe, he might come out to see what you’re doing during the day.

Your hamster’s routine helps him keep a sort of internal clock. Since in your home there is no natural difference in temperature or light for your hamster to use as a guideline, his waking hours might shift over time.

sleeping hamster
Robo hamster sleeping during the day

Hamsters wake up for a few minutes in daytime as well

You can sometimes see your hamster during the day for a few minutes. Maybe he got up  for a sip of water, or maybe he did not leave the house but you hear him munching on some food in his house.

Or, maybe he woke up because you moved his cage. Hamsters are very sensitive and will wake up easily, even if they do no leave their home. Something as simple as picking up and moving his cage can wake him up.

This is the case with my Teddy. After work I usually need a nap, but Teddy sometimes chooses that moment to have a snack, which will wake me up.

So I always move his cage to the other room, and I always see him come out a bit, all sleepy, to see what happened.

Hamsters make weird sounds during the day too

Even if you can’t see him, your hamster is sometimes awake in his little home, doing he knows what. And sometimes, weird noises come from that home.

You’ll have a hard time seeing inside his home to figure out the reason. His home is usually packed with bedding and you can’t see through it.

But he might sometimes ‘bark’ – I have no better way to explain this. It’s like a cross between a tiny bark and a hiccup, and it can last for 2 minutes sometimes. It can be completely random, and not seem to have an obvious reason.

Other times your hammy might be chewing on a piece of cardboard, or eating something from his stash (hamsters keep a food stash in their homes). So you might hear chattering and tiny biting sounds from his home.

Your hamster’s routine – what he usually does

If you’ve observed your hamster when he is awake, you’ll know that what he does is both incredibly funny and boring at the same time.

He can run and run and run in his wheel and look like he’s about to be swooped by an eagle. The he’ll suddenly stop and dart around his cage like he’s avoiding some other predator.

The best parts are when he suddenly stops. Not when he freezes to hear something or check what that sound means. I mean when he just stops moving at all and even when you come to talk to him he’ll just stare at you. This can last for a few minutes.

The weirdest moment like this was one where Teddy was sitting upright, holding a cage wire with one paw. More like resting his paw on it. And he was just looking at me.

He did not change his position when I came close and moved around his cage, he just turned his head towards me and kept staring. After a couple of minutes he went to drink some water and that was it.

Aside from things like these, hamsters don’t seem to do much. When they’re awake you can play with them, feed them treats with your hand, put them in an exercise ball, and even train them to stay on your hand.

If you want to give your hamster a way to get a lot of exercise, here’s what to look for in a hamster exercise wheel. Or, you can look for a hamster exercise ball and watch him be funny in that. Don’t leave him more than 30 minutes in the ball though !

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

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How to gently wake up your hamster

If, for whatever reason, you need your hamster awake right now, you can try this.

Get a treat or kind of food he likes a lot, a small piece. And gently tap on the side of his cage and talk to him, coaxing him out. You’ll hear the rustle of bedding in his home as he wakes up and turns towards you.

At first you’ll just see his nose, sniffing to ‘see’ what’s going on. That’s when it’s best to have the treat close enough to his home that he can detect it easily.

Then you’ll see him slowly come out, with sleepy small eyes, and his ears tucked back. He’ll reach towards the treat and you can pick him up.

If you want to know what kind of treats are okay for your hamster, here’s a list of foods and treats he can have and which he should avoid.

Hamsters are like humans when they wake up. Groggy, and a bit confused. So for a few minutes your hamster will be extra-tame when you handle him.

But I do not recommend abusing this method, since waking up your hamster too many times when he sleeps will get him frustrated. He will not be able to rest enough, and you’ll end up with a jittery, angry hamster biting the cage and possibly you.

are hamsters nocturnal
Teddy loves treats

Caring for a nocturnal or crepuscular hamster

Your hamster being awake in the latter part of the day, or at night, has some considerations.

First, the playtime is shorter and you’ll need to work every day to train your hamster to be relaxed around you. Syrian hamsters remember interactions for up to a week, while the smaller breeds like the Chinese or Siberian need daily interaction.

Second, it’s best to leave food for your hamster before he ‘starts his day’ so he has fresh food to nibble on. I usually leave Teddy 2 teaspoons of grains and pellets, enough for an adult Syrian hamster.

Since you will probably be sleeping the night away, your hamster eating will not be something you’ll witness often. But he will eat, don’t worry.

Third, it’s best to leave the thermostat on a temperature that’s suitable for your hamster for the night. That’s around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit. Make sure the room you keep your hamster in is not drafty or exposed to harsh light.

Actually, it might be best if you check out my article on the right temperature for your hamster, and how to make him as comfortable as possible.

Does your hamster need the light on at night ?

Your hamster is nocturnal, or crepuscular, and you’re sleeping when he’s up. Would he need a night light ? Or the actual light in the room on ?

Well, hamsters don’t really use their eyes, actually. Their vision is very poor. Hamsters use their sense of smell and hearing to navigate their environment.

So leaving a light on is not necessary. In some cases, in might be a bad idea since their eyes are very sensitive and very bright, harsh light can hurt them. For example direct sunlight is not very good for your hamster’s eyes.

My Teddy has a night light, but it’s not for him. It’s for me so I don’t bump into something at night when I go get a glass of water. He’s had the night light, and he’s had complete darkness as well. He was fine every morning, so a night light will not make much difference.

A word from Teddy

If you’re reading this then you’re probably wondering about your hamster. If he’s anything like me, he probably sleeps during the day and then runs all night.

We hamsters have a different schedule than humans, so it might be a bit weird at first. But you’ll get used to it really fast.

The face neighbors and friends make when you tell them we’re awake at night and sleep during the day is priceless though. “Don’t they get tired ??” they ask. Then they realize what they just asked and move along.

If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find great info on the best kind of food for us, how much water we need, and how much exercise we need as well.

Related blog post
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents ToggleHow often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well.  Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Get Fleas ? How To Check And Treat Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Get Fleas ? How To Check And Treat Your HamsterA hamster with fleas isn’t a common sight, but I’ve heard stories about this. Anyone, at any point, can get fleas. But what about hamsters ? Do hamster fleas get on humans too ? Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get fleas ?How to check if your hamster has fleasTreating your hamster of a flea infestationMake sure to clean and treat the entire housePreventing fleas from getting to your hamsterHow fleas get in the house in the first placeA word from Teddy So do hamsters get fleas ? Yes, unfortunately hamsters can and do get fleas. Not all hamsters, all the time, but if there is a flea infestation in the house, your hamster can get a few fleas of his own. This has more to do with the nature of the fleas themselves, than the hamster. You see fleas will look for anything furry and/or warm to settle into. The worst part is that they can live for a long time in hiding, even with no host. So your hamster can even get a flea from an blanket you haven’t used in a year but kept in the attic. Let’s see how you can help your hamster friend when fleas attack. How to check if your hamster has fleas Alright, fleas are fairly easy to spot. Usually you’ll notice small black dots moving on your hamster, in his fur. Those are the fleas, if here is more than one. If there’s just one, it might be harder to spot. You’ll notice your hamster is in distress however when he scratches himself much more often than normal, and very much in some specific areas where the flea bit him. The hamster might even make a few angry sounds, as he’s not used to the terrible itch of a flea bite. Sometimes the hamster will try to bite where he thinks the flea is, or try to lick it off, and you’ll notice wet, matted spots on your hamster’s fur. If you see a large black dot on either side of your Syrian hamster’s hips, do not worry. Those are the scent glands. The Dwarf types have them on their bellies. Another way to check if the hamster has a flea is to gently comb through his fur with your fingers. Slowly part every bit of the hamster’s fur, and at some point you will notice a tiny black dot running away. Finally, you can also check for flea dirt. That’s basically flea droppings. You see the flea feeds on blood, and it’s also what the droppings are made of. So you’ll see something like tiny splotches of dried blood, and if you add a few drops of water you’ll notice them becoming red. Fleas feed very often throughout the day, so if you found flea droppings today, the flea is definitely still there. If you’ve got a dark haired, or even black hamster, this will be harder to spot. However the flea will be shinier than the hamster’s fur, but you will only notice if you look very closely. Unfortunately most hamsters don’t sit still very long so you’ll have to be patient. Treating your hamster of a flea infestation Flea treatments are possible yes, but with hamsters it’s a little different. This is because the vast majority of flea shots are okay for cats or dogs – so larger animals – but may be poisonous for small animals. So something like a guinea pig, hamster, chinchilla, even a rat, could not take such a shot. There definitely are some flea treatments that are safe for hamsters. But that’s something your veterinarian will be able to tell you. It varies from country to country, in terms of what each country decides is safe in terms of ingredients. Talk to your veterinarian, and ask him about flea treatments for your pet hamster. He will surely know what to do. If you’ve never gone to a vet with your hamster before, be sure to look for an ”exotics” vet. There are vets that have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds, and can help you. (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.) Make sure to clean and treat the entire house After you’ve got a treatment from your vet, you’ll also need to deep clean the hamster’s cage. This means completely replacing the bedding and nesting material, and cleaning/disinfecting the objects in his cage. Your vet will be able to give you a good disinfectant, that’s good for the cage and your hammy’s nose. Use said solution to clean everything that your hamster has touched, or will touch. Like his hideout, running wheel, food bowl, everything. The reason behind this is because fleas lay eggs, so many eggs – about 50 eggs a day – which will get everywhere in the cage. The bedding, the sandbath, every nook and cranny possible. They can even get into the carpets, even if your hamster was never on the carpet. This will mean whatever pets you’ve got, they will need a flea treatment of their own. Aside form this, the house itself will need a flea bomb. Fleas are hard to kick out of the house, but they’re easier to prevent. So once you get fleas, you will need to purge everything. After that’s all done with, a yearly flea bomb will be necessary to keep flea eggs and larvae away. You see, after hatching from their egg, flea larvae can survive for months without a host. This is because they’re hiding in the base of the fibers of the carpets or linens, feeding off dead skin or dropped food, or any other random small parasites they might find. Preventing fleas from getting to your hamster The first way to prevent your hamster from getting fleas is to keep him away from any animals that you know have fleas. Housepets rarely get fleas. However if this does happen, make sure whichever pet is infested can’t reach your hamster’s room until they’ve had a flea treatment. If it’s you who has the flea, try to not get near your hamster until you’ve gotten rid of the flea. Do keep in mind though, that even if you try very hard to keep the flea away from the hamster, it will possibly not work. Fleas can jump very far, and travel easily from a host to another. Even something as small and innocent as petting a flea-infested cat can get the flea on you. When you sit the down the flea can jump off you and stop on the carpet outside the bathroom, where the dog will pick it up and jump on your bed. Which just happens to be next to the hamster’s cage. This might all sound very convoluted, but if you’ve ever had a flea, you know what I’m talking about. Fleas are notoriously hard to catch. The simplest and most reliable way to keep fleas away from your hamster, and incidentally your house, is a regular flea bomb. And keeping a flea collar on the pets you own, or giving them periodic flea shots. How fleas get in the house in the first place Fleas can get in your home even by just jumping by. Now, granted, fleas don’t stay long without a host. So it will probably get into your home by a chain of happenings that starts from petting or playing with an infested animal. The bigger problem is that once a flea has entered your house, it can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Those eggs will end up everywhere in the house, and they’ve hard to see. A regular adult flea is just 2-3 mm/0.8-011 inches, barely noticeable. The eggs are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Once the eggs have landed in a fuzzy, cozy spot they can hatch in up to 12 days. Once they hatch, they become larvae and that stage can take a few weeks too. In the winter when it is cold and dry, it can even last up to 200 days. In this stage the larvae feed off dead skin and other organic cells on the ground. After this, they cocoon into the pupae stage, and finally become full adults. This whole process can take up to a year in certain conditions. You can find more info on the life cycle of fleas on this site, including how to rid them from your home. So the problems isn’t with how the flea gets into your home – that’s easy enough. But when it’s already in the house. Again, a regular, periodic flea-bomb will keep the whole house safe. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies don’t really know what to do with fleas, we don’t normally get them in the wild. But we’re glad you can help us out ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related videos below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great Alternatives
The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great AlternativesWhen I first got Teddy I also got a bunch of toys for him, including some mineral chews. Since he is my first hamster, I did not know if he’d need them or not, but I got them just to be sure. But do hamsters really need mineral chews ? Are they useful ? Do they stop the hamster from biting the cage ? Here’s what I found out, and how you can help your hamster as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need mineral chews ?High mineral content foods for hamstersThe right nutrition for your hamsterMineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cageA few chew toy ideas for your hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters need mineral chews ? As it turns out, no. Hamsters do not need mineral chews. This is because the feed you give them already has enough minerals in the mix. If you are using a well balanced muesli mix – grains, dried fruit, some vitamin colored bits – then your hamster is doing just fine. As soon as I found this out, I stopped getting mineral chews for my Teddy. He went through them really fast, since he’s a chewer. The same goes for salt licks for your hamsters. Hamster do not need salt licks any more than they need mineral chews. They get enough salt from their food mix, so they should not have any deficiency. If you are unsure, check your food mix box to check for mineral content. High mineral content foods for hamsters Some food alternatives you can give your hamster are easily available, and are easy to eat for hamsters. For example you can give your hamster nuts and seeds, since they have a high mineral content that will help your hamster prevent health problems. Just be careful to not give the hamster too many nuts and seeds, since they do have a higher fat content. Limit them to just a couple of peanuts, or half a walnut per day. Unsalted, raw. Another idea is broccoli, along with some dark leafy greens like kale or spinach leaves. They are rich in minerals and fibers, so your hamster is getting a full meal out of them. Dried fruit and tofu are also good alternatives for your hamster to get his minerals, just keep these on a low intake since they can get sticky for the hamster. With the dried fruit make sure they are not sweetened, and you don’t give the hamster too much of it. The right nutrition for your hamster Whatever brand of hamster feed you use, make sure it has a balanced content of vegetables, added vitamins and minerals, dried fruit, and some grains as well. Most manufacturers have good mixes, so it does not really matter what brand you get, as long as the ingredients are alright. Aside from the food mix, you can give your hamster some of the foods I mentioned earlier. I give Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) unsalted raw peanuts every now and then, or pumpkin seeds as a treat. He’s had some spinach leaves when we were cooking spinach, and he liked that as well. Just be warned that the hamster will store some food in his house as well, and stale spinach or broccoli does not smell great. So, make sure that you give the hamster a small amount, that he will eat soon. For a clear list on what your hamster can eat, and what he should avoid, check out the food list article here. You’ll also find the kind of treats your hamster can eat as well. Mineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cage This is something I did at first, to stop Teddy from chewing on the bars. Hamster chewing on bars can be out of annoyance or their teeth growing. A hamster’s teeth will keep growing his entire life, so he must constantly chew on hard surfaces to keep them at a healthy length. If the hardest surface is the cage bars, then that’s what he will use. You can find a few cage ideas here. However you can give your hammy what I gave Teddy – wooden accessories for his cage. For example his home is entirely out of wood, and he sometimes chews on that as well. Another idea is bendy bridges, the kind that’s made out of cut tree branches and you can shape them however you want. They can be used as a toy, or even a home for your hamster. But the most important fact is that they’re made of wood, so your hamster will chew on them instead of the cage when he needs to take care of his teeth. Mineral chews are not a good idea to keep your hamster from chewing the cage or something else, because they are too soft. If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, he will tear through an entire mineral block in 20 minutes. Teddy just goes crazy when he has a mineral block, it’s like he must rip it to pieces or else. The second reason mineral chews are not good for hamsters to chew on is because they are incredibly dusty. They’re usually made up of crushed shells, tapioca, and some calcium powder, and when they break into pieces they leave a whole lot of dust. That dust is never good for your hamster. When Teddy had mineral chews he looked like a construction worker, he was covered in that dust and had to clean himself more often. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A few chew toy ideas for your hamster If you’re trying to give your hamster something more bearable to chew on, consider these options. These make much less noise, are better for your hamster’s teeth, and do not contain odd ingredients. Actually they’re mostly wood. Like the bendy bridges I mentioned before, or the wooden home for the hamster. Another idea would be the dense cardboard tubes that are left from aluminium foil wraps. Those are much much denser and stronger than toilet rolls, and they give the hamster more to chew on. Another idea would be whole walnuts or a very large chestnut. The point is that it must be too big for your hamster to try to shove it in his cheeks. If you make a small hole in the nut the hamster will smell it, and attempt to reach it. So he’ll chew and chew and keep his teeth in check. Finally, you can try toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls. As long as they are unscented, they’re fine. You can use Paper egg cartons as well, just make sure they are clean and not stained. For a more comprehensive list of toys you hamster can safely chew and play with, here is a list of store bought toys and also how to make them at home. If you’d like more info on how to properly care for your hamster, then you should check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll find out everything from what kind of cage he needs, to how much food he needs, and how to figure out which breed you’ve got. A word from Teddy I hope you understand more about us hamsters and mineral chews. We don’t really need them, since the food you give us is usually good enough and has enough minerals. If you want to keep one of us off the cage bars, you could try something made of wood. We love chewing and wood is a friendly material for us. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info on why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and much more. [...] Read more...
Hamsters Living With Rabbits ? Shedding Some Light On This
Hamsters Living With Rabbits ? Shedding Some Light On ThisA hamster and a rabbit living together might sound odd, but it’s a question we stumble upon often. Can hamsters live with rabbits ? Would they get along ? Sounds like a reasonable, if a bit misguided,  question from an owner who would like to introduce his two pets. While rabbits are fairly even tempered and seem kind of relaxed, hamsters are another story. Let’s see if they would get along, though. For a more detailed comparison between hamsters or rabbits, you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleSo should hamsters be living with rabbits ?A little about the hamster’s personalityAbout the rabbit’s personalitySize and cage differences between the twoFood and diet difference between a hamster and a rabbitA word from Teddy So should hamsters be living with rabbits ? No, hamsters and rabbits should not and can not live together. There are a few reasons for this. First, the hamster is very territorial, will fight anything that tries to trespass, and is very jumpy and easy to frighten. Second, a rabbit is a very social animal, who will want to cuddle and also establish a hierarchy of sorts. Bunnies have a lot of personality, and they also have the advantage of being ridiculously larger than hamsters. In short, a hamster-rabbit combo can’t go well, at all. The bunny will demand cuddles, grooming, run around, and generally own the place. This leaves the hamster in a subordinate position, which he does not take well to, and will bite, hide, and be stressed out of his mind. In some extreme cases the hamster may end up dead, since a kick or bite from the a bunny can be fatal for it. And given how tiny a hammy is, an accident isn’t that unheard of. But let’s get into the personalities of each animal, and see why they are they way they are. A little about the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. About the rabbit’s personality A rabbit is very different from a hamster. I’m not even going to cover the size difference, since that’s one major but obvious reason to never house them with a hamster. A quick word for those who assume rabbits are rodents – like I did until I got my own hamster and learned the differences: Rabbis are not related to hamsters, they are not rodents. Yes they bite and chew and burrow, but rabbits are lagomorphs. They share a very distant ancestor with the hamster – about as distant as the dinosaur extinction – but that’s about it. That being said, rabbits are very social animals, and in the wild they live in colonies. They love being groomed, and they actually have a hierarchy. If you’ve ever been to the pet store and seen 78 rabbits piled on top of each other, maybe you thought it was cute (like I did). But it’s their way of establishing dominance. The top rabbit is the one getting all the attention, food, grooming and so on. This doesn’t sit well with other species, like the hamster. Rabbits will actually come up to each other and ask for (or demand) attention, cuddling, and general social chit chat. They will mark their territory with large pellets (aside from their regular droppings), or spraying pee, or rubbing their chins (scent glands) on things they’ll consider their own. Rabbits aren’t aggressive by nature, but they won’t think twice about kicking or biting back if they feel threatened. They do give out warnings though, but unless you’re a rabbit, or a human with a keen eye, you won’t know what’s coming. Actually if you’ve got a rabbit, or are thinking of getting one, I really think you should check out this site. It’s got a clear explanation of most bunny behaviors, and you’ll get a good glimpse into what having a bunny is like. As far as I’ve read it’s a bit like having a cat, except the meowing and shedding. (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.) Size and cage differences between the two There’s a few differences when it comes to habitats, between hammies are rabbits. A hamster can live in a cage that’s 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and they prefer larger cages anyway. A rabbit will need much more than that. It needs both a living space, and an exercise space. The minimum for the living space would be 90 x 60 cm, and 90 cm high/ 35.4 x 23.6 inches, and 35.4 inches high. The exercise space should be a minimum of 2.43 x 1.21 m/ 8 x 4 feet, with height allowance. Rabbits can sometimes jump very high, and like to jump on top of things. Finally, for rabbits the living and exercise areas should be linked together, for easy access. If you want to know more about picking out a good rabbit habitat, you need to check out this site. It’s also where I did part of my research for this article, and they’re pretty good with rabbits. Alright, you might say that hamsters love a big cage anyway, and would do well in a habitat as large as the rabbit needs. Fair point, but let’s consider how these two animals keep their space. A hamster will sleep the day away, much like the rabbit, and will make regular rounds of his space. A rabbit will do the same, and they are both very territorial. No matter how large their territory is, these two can’t live together. They’re both too attached to ‘their’ things to share them with anyone else. Well, rabbits do share their ‘home’ but only with those they consider to be family (never a hamster). And they do see some areas as theirs, some as public areas, and some as ”do not enter”. They’ll try to enter those anyway when you’re not looking, entitled little fluffballs these guys. Hamsters on the other hand only know ”their” space. All of it. So finding bunny scent on the outside of their hideout will be a source of stress and lots of fighting. Food and diet difference between a hamster and a rabbit Alright, now that we’ve settled territory and living spaces and personalities, let’s talk about their food. Since they’re not even related, their foods will be very, very different. As with any other combination between hamsters and another animal, keeping their food separate won’t be feasible. One will poke into the other’s food bowl, and that’s not a good idea. Not only because of tensions coming up between the two. But also because the rabbit won’t find anything worthwhile in the hamster’s food, and the hamster will steal the good bits from the rabbit’s food. A hamster will have an omnivore diet. That means they can eat any type of food, with some exceptions – more on that here. However they will need grains and hard dry food to keep their teeth in check. A rabbit on the other hand will need a different diet. First off, hay, lot and lots of hay since they much on it pretty much all day. This can be a problem, since the hamster will try to use this as his nesting material. Another thing rabbits need is fresh veggies and some fruits, which again can be attractive for the hamster. Finally, pellets are considered to be the best kind of feed for rabbits. This way they won’t be able to pick and choose their favorites. A pellet is like a large kibble, with all the nutrients the rabbit needs, and all pellets in the bag are the same. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies don’t really like to share anything, and a big bunny can be very intimidating for us. Best to keep us separate. If you want to know more about us hamsters, then your should check out the related articles below. You’ll find info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Hibernate ? What To Know To Save His Life
Do Hamsters Hibernate ? What To Know To Save His LifeSometimes your hamster may be hibernating. This can happen to hamsters, but how healthy is it for them ? Do they do this regularly ? How do you wake up a hibernating hamster ? This is what I went around and asked and researched, since I have an adult Syrian hamster. He’s been safe so far, never needed to hibernate. But I wanted to know what to do to save him, if I ever needed to. So, now you get the info too. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters hibernate ?Why hamsters would hibernate in the first placeWhat is hibernationHamsters hibernating in the wild vs in captivityHow long do hamsters hibernate ?Dangers of hibernation for hamstersIs hibernation deadly for hamsters ?Hypothermia can be confused with hibernationHow to tell your hamster is hibernatingCheck your hamster for breathingTry to hear your hamster’s heartbeatStroke his ears or whiskers for twitchesTry moving the hamster’s pawsHow to wake up a hibernating hamsterPick up the hamster and massage himSlowly raise the temperature around the hamsterDo not use direct heat on the hamster to wake him upContact your veterinarianHow to care for a hamster that woke up from hibernationHow to prevent hibernation or hypothermia in hamstersA word from Teddy So do hamsters hibernate ? Yes, hamsters do hibernate when the temperature drops. This means that the ambient temperature must be below 65 Fahrenheit/18 Celsius, for a minimum of 24 hours, for hibernation to set in. Both Syrian and Dwarf type hamsters are capable of hibernation. This happens much less with pet hamsters, because they have a stable habitat, as opposed to wild hamsters. Pet hamsters, kept in warm homes never need to face the cold, so they will not hibernate naturally. But they will if you expose them to very cold temperatures. Why hamsters would hibernate in the first place For this, we’ll talk about what hibernation is, as well as the benefits of hibernating, and how how long it lasts, and so on. Hamsters hibernate to survive the cold. They have fur, yes, but even the Siberian hamsters are not meant to stay awake at minus 20 Celsius/ minus 4 Fahrenheit. Their metabolism and heart rate slows down. The use much much less energy. They can sleep their way through winter, while hibernating. But it can be dangerous, since it will dehydrate and famish the hamster if the hibernation lasts too long. What is hibernation Hibernation is a state much like sleep, that hamsters will enter if it gets much too cold for them. So this means that once they settle down to ‘sleep’ they will wake up when it’s much warmer, and they will have food outside. A hibernating hamster has a very slow metabolism, uses very little energy. He’s barely breathing, and may even look like he’s passed away. Hibernation is common in many animals, and is meant as a survival mechanism. Once the cold temperatures start to set in, animals will gather food and build a warm, safe shelter to pass the winter. They curl up to sleep, and wake up in spring, or when the weather is warmer. The shelter the animal makes must be safe, so predators won’t find them, or it won’t be flooded or covered. If this does happen, the animal can’t fight back since it’s in a deep sleep. Hamsters hibernating in the wild vs in captivity Captive or pet hamsters can hibernate if their habitat gets too cold, for at least 24 hours.  This happens very rarely, since their habitats are warm and have plenty of food. Pet hamsters have a fairly constant temperature they live in. It rarely or never drops below 18 Celsius/65 Fahrenheit. And in the summer time the home itself never reaches temperatures above 26 C/79 F, since it becomes uncomfortable for the humans too. So your pet hamster will probably never have to hibernate if you keep him warm and safe and well fed. Wild hamsters have to hibernate each cold season. Food isn’t always available, and temperatures vary  in the wild. This means the hamster’s natural instincts will come in, and it will hibernate. It will start eating more, to put on weight. Yes, hamsters will intentionally get fat so that when the time comes for them to hibernate, they will use that fat for energy. They will not move, wake up, drink water, or do anything at all. They will wait out the cold and hope for the best. Once the warmer temperatures come back, they will wake up and start looking for food and water. How long do hamsters hibernate ? A hamster will hibernate for as long as it is cold, and under 18 C/65 F. That can mean the entire winter and part of spring if it’s a wild hamster. Or, in the case of pets, the hamster will wake up once the temperature rises. Now, in the pet’s case that depends entirely on you. It’s not recommended to leave a pet hamster hibernating for more than 24 hours since it has no food and water in its system that will keep him more than that. A pet hamster has not had time to fully prepare for hibernation. When pet hamsters hibernate, it’s more of a shock for them and they can’t last for more than a day like that. Dangers of hibernation for hamsters Hamsters in hibernation are in danger of a few things, but I’ll be talking mostly about pet hamsters here. Some of the dangers are: Mistaken for being dead – so you might end up burying a live hamster, who will stir awake after a few days or when it gets warmer, only to die of starvation later. Dehydration – hamsters do not drink a whole lot of water before hibernating, so when they wake up they will need a lot of water, but given in small,controlled amounts. Starvation – depending on how long the hibernation was, your hamster might be starved when he wakes up. Not just hungry, but actually starving. Death, if the hibernation is too long or the temperature drops much too low. Like losing your hamster outside in January for example. Coming out of it with a cold, or sick. Hamsters can’t deal with illnesses as well as humans, so they need immediate attention from your vet. Is hibernation deadly for hamsters ? Hibernation can be deadly for hamsters, but you need to understand why. There is a big difference between how a wild hamster and a pet hamster enter hibernation. A wild hamster will get a sort of ‘warning’ from the weather and temperature around him that the cold is coming. So, he will have time to prepare for this. He will eat a lot, and build a safe and warm nest. He has months, or all year, to prepare for this. But a captive hamster has no warning that this will happen, and it’s almost always the result of an accident. For example you’ve left home for a couple of days, and left the AC on, which broke and now keeps the house much too cold. In response the hamster will hibernate, and will only have the resources you’ve given him before you left. Your hamster will be fine if you find him soon (up to 24 hours) after entering hibernation. If he stays for more than a couple of days it becomes more and more dangerous. He has no resources in his body to help him through the cold. Hypothermia can be confused with hibernation This is a very big problem, since these can be confused. Hypothermia sets in when your hamster is suddenly exposed to very cold temperatures for a long period of time. For example, losing your hamster in the house and he finds a corner to hide in, but it’s a very cold one. Or losing your hamster outside in the middle of winter. Even something as simple as placing his cage near a vent can shock him like this. Hypothermia is especially dangerous since it not only comes without a warning, but your hamster is not going to survive for long since he has no resources in his body to keep him alive. In fact, most pet hamsters who were reported to be hibernating were actually in hypothermic shock. They were exposed to very cold temperatures for more than 24 hours, and had no time to prepare. Even if they were just mild cases of hypothermia. But I’ll be calling this hibernation for the purpose of this article, since this is what most people will call it. How to tell your hamster is hibernating A hibernating hamster will be cold, very cold, limp, unmoving. His paws and ears will be cold, but his cheek pouches should be a bit warmer. You might find him in his hideout, or he might be anywhere in the cage. His food will be untouched, his water as well. Just no signs of life. A hibernating hamster will  be very noticeable, but it’s important to figure out if he’s hibernating or he’s passed away. A few signs will help you figure this out. Check your hamster for breathing Shallow breathing, and it might be irregular. It might even be something like 2 minutes apart. But it should be these. You need to watch your hamster very carefully. See if his belly moves up and down, or use a mirror. Place a small mirror under his nose/mouth, and check for any fogginess. Even if it’s just a bit, it should be there. Keep it there for a few minutes to be sure. Try to hear your hamster’s heartbeat It will be very faint, and the beats will be few and far apart. But you should find them. You can check this with a stethoscope (if you have one just lying around the house, I don’t know). Or you can hold him up to your ear, and keep him there for a few minutes. Again, the beats will be very faint but they will be there. Stroke his ears or whiskers for twitches You might have to look very carefully, but the hamster’s ears and whiskers will move slightly when you touch them. Try moving the hamster’s paws There might be some resistance, but his paws should be able to move. If they’re a bit stiff, that’s okay, it happens when his body gets very cold. But as long as it can move without you putting too much effort, your hamster is fine. How to wake up a hibernating hamster It’s important to not be sudden when waking up your hibernating hamster. This is something that should be done slowly and gently, to simulate the natural way a hamster wakes out of hibernation. Pick up the hamster and massage him This will help your hammy’s blood circulation, and will slowly warm him up. You have to do this for a few hours. but the massage doesn’t have to be continuous. Just keeping him in a chest pocket would be enough. After a few hours of being warmed by your body heat, he will wake up on his own. Slowly raise the temperature around the hamster Like turning up the thermostat, or moving his cage to a warmer room. You can also use a warm(not hot) water bottle placed close the the hamster to warm him up. Do not use direct heat on the hamster to wake him up Don’t place the hamster on a heater, or anywhere very hot in an attempt to wake him up faster. As long as you raise the temperature around him he will wake up on his own. Also, do not use a blowdryer on the hamster to wake him up. Any sudden change in temperature will only get your hamster into another kind of trouble, which will require more treatment and care than hibernation. Contact your veterinarian This might be the safest route, if you’re unsure of what to do. Maybe you’ve tried everything and just can’t seem ti wake your hammy up. Contact your vet, and bring your hamster in for a check up. (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 care for a hamster that woke up from hibernation Once your hamster has woken up, you will need to do a few things. First, your hamster will be dehydrated since he did not drink any water at all. So provide him with fresh clean water. If you have a water bottle he will use that on his own. But if your hammy is moving very slowly still, you can use an eye dropper or syringe to give him a few drops of water every few minutes, to make sure he gets some water. As for the food, your hammy will need something easy to digest and very filling. For example a small piece of cooked chicken, plain, will suffice. Then continue feeding him as usual. If the chicken is a bit warm that’s even better since it will help warm your hammy up. How to prevent hibernation or hypothermia in hamsters This can be done by following a few rules, like: Providing your hammy with clean, warm bedding. Check out this article to find out what kind of bedding and hideout your hamster needs to stay safe and warm. Keeping the ambient temperature in the hamster’s room above 18 C/65 F, but below 24 C/75 F. Not moving the hamster or his cage unless you absolutely need to, like moving house. In most cases he can be left home and checked up on by a friend or neighbor. No point in bringing the hamster out into the cold. Providing your hamster with good, safe food. You can check out this food list article to find out what foods your hammy can and can not eat. Scarce food will bring on hibernation much faster. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know walking into your room to find your hamster friend looking stiff with his eyes wide open can be concerning. But we can hibernate with our eyes open too you know ! We’re not ‘seeing’ but our eyes are a bit open. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out what kind of cage we need, and how much we can last without any food or water. [...] Read more...
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat Them
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat ThemA hamster with a health problem is a sorry sight. But, most health issues in hamsters can be solved, especially if caught in time. Let’s see what those problems are, and how to help your hammy. You’ll find these health issues grouped by body parts or type. Where possible I’ll link you to articles where I’ve covered that specific topic in more detail. Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster eye problems2. Hamster dental problems3. Hamster ear and hearing problems4. Hamster nail problems5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites6. Hamster Digestive problems7. Wet-tail in hamsters8. Diabetes in hamsters9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters10. Hamster cheek problemsAbout a hamster’s general healthKeeping your hamster healthyA word from Teddy 1. Hamster eye problems Hamsters rarely use their eyes, that much is known to most hamster owners. Whether you’ve got a Syrian or a Dwarf type, they both can’t really see. Still, health issues do come up with a hamster’s eyes. The most common of them being cataracts/blindness. This comes especially with old age in hammies. Do keep in mind that a hamster without his sight will be able to live his life almost the same. Since he doesn’t usually rely on his eyes, not seeing anymore will not be a big loss, as it could be for humans. Other problems include infections, pink eye, bulging eye, and eyes that have stuck shut due to a possible infection. Still, for a detailed rundown on all the possible issues that can happen with a hammy’s eyes, I recommend you check out this article. You’ll find there the issues themselves, and the treatments necessary. Sometimes a trip to the vet is necessary, sometimes the problems can be treated at home. 2. Hamster dental problems A hamster’s teeth are possibly the most important tool the hamster has. His teeth never stop growing, in order for him to be able to eat the hard, dry grains his diet is based on. Sometimes though, problems come up. Teeth become overgrown, possibly due to soft food or lack of a chew toy. Or a tooth might break or crack, or it could become infected. You can find out more about hamster dental problems here, and how to treat them. Again, some may require a vet treatment, some can be treated at home. For example overgrown teeth can be fixed by giving the hamster a multitude of chew toys he can file his teeth on. Most of the time though, hamster teeth problems can be corrected. Even in the case of an abscess an antibiotic treatment will help the hamster recover. A word on hamster teeth: they are never white. If you’re looking at your hammy’s long, yellow (possibly orange) teeth and wondering if you should brush them, don’t. When I first got my Teddy I thought I had to do something. Turns out hamster teeth are not meant to be white. Any white spots on the teeth are a sign of the tooth breaking down and possibly breaking away. 3. Hamster ear and hearing problems Hearing is one of the primary ways a hamster navigates his surroundings. As such, any problem related to their ears and how well they can hear becomes a serious concern. Possible problems include: Parasites like mites, than can travel deep into the hamster’s ear Earwax buildup, preventing hearing and can become painful Ear infection, which can spread to the brain Possible tumor which can take on the whole ear These are all treatable, however the hamster won’t be able to much on his own. Actually most of the time the hammy will need your help, with any kind of health issue. To find out more about the health problems hamsters can have with their ears, you can check out this article. You’ll find both the issues and the treatments, and even an example of a successful tumor surgery on a Dwarf hammy. 4. Hamster nail problems Nail problems are few, and are treatable too. A hamster’s nails are used mostly for scratching and pawing at food or bedding. Problems come up when the nails become too long, and that’s where most of the problems stem from. A hamster’s nails grow too long when he has nothing to wear them out on. Like plenty of wood surfaces, possibly a large flat rock, or any hard surface on his cage. This means that a hamster living solely on soft bedding, and nothing else, will end up with overgrown nails. The nails will grow very long, and eventually curve into the hammy’s paw. In some cases they will break and fall off. My Teddy had this happen, and ever since we’ve installed 2 more levels in his cage, which are bare plastic, and he also uses his tunnel which is made of hard plastic. An exercise wheel, used constantly, helps a lot in this regard. It wears down the hammy’s nails and keeps them trim. Aside from overgrown nails, hamsters can also get nail infections. If they’re small, as in they don’t reach the surface and only stay for a couple of days, they’re safe to ignore. However if it goes on for more than 2 days, and even comes to a point, you should visit a veterinarian. He will prescribe an antibiotic for the hammy to combat the infection. 5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites Hamsters are usually very clean animals. This means that they clean themselves daily, several times a day actually, and don’t  normally attract parasites. However they can get certain skin conditions if their cage is unclean, or has spores of fungi. 2 of the most common are: Aspergillus – forms in the hamster’s pee corner. Grows white, and in time turns black. Spores can be deadly to hamsters, and very bad for humans too. If this happens, get the hamster to the vet immediately, and clean and disinfect the cage. Ringworm – not an actual worm, but a fungus. It will form bald patches on the hamster, in the shape of a circle (hence the name). Dry, flaky skin is on those bald patches, and the hamster might scratch at them furiously. Treatable, but again a vet is necessary. Aside from these two fungi, hammies can lose their fur because of old age. Other skin problems can be mites, and fleas as well. You can find out more on fleas on hamsters here, and how to treat them. All of these problems require a veterinarian and a deep cleaning of the hamster’s cage, and his toys and objects. 6. Hamster Digestive problems Digestive problems are never fun for anyone. However a hamster is more in danger than other mammals, because of hos their stomach is shaped. You see a hammy’s stomach forms a sort of U bend, which means that any gasses or bloating is very hard to release. Yes, hamsters are able to pass gas if necessary, but not as easily as us humans. And you probably won’t ever hear the hammy fart, sorry to disappoint. Given the hamster’s stomach and gut layout and design, something like diarrhea does not go well. Or an upset stomach either. This is why giving the hamster foods he can’t properly digest will be a big issue for him. You can find out more about hamster-safe foods here, most of them already in your fridge or pantry. Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters can become constipated. This is more common with old hamsters, given that their system is breaking down and doesn’t digest foods as well as it used to. You can help a constipated hammy by giving him softer foods like carrots, steamed veggies from this hamster-safe veggie list, and getting him to a veterinarian if he does not produce and droppings in 24 hours after the soft food. 7. Wet-tail in hamsters Wet-tail is more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarf types. Still , that does not mean Dwarf types can’t get wet-tail at all. They’re just much less likely to get it. Wet-tail is most frequent in young hamsters, that were just weaned (approx. 4 weeks old) and are eligible for adoption. It’s usually stress based, and everything from his mother pushing him away when he still tries to suckle, to being taken to the pet shop, and then take to your home is all very alien to him. So a young Syrian hammy that was just brought home might develop wet tail. Treatment does exist, but it’s not a 100% survival rate. Still, your hammy needs to see a vet right away. If you’ve noticed the symptoms within 24 hours the survival chances are pretty high. Symptoms include: a wet tail, because if a very watery diarrhea possibly smelly rear-end, because of the constant soiling smelly cage weakness, lack of appetite or thirst a matted, sweaty look about the hamster You can find out more about wet-tail in hamsters here, including how to treat it and the steps you should take in caring for a hamster recovering from wet-tail. 8. Diabetes in hamsters Another big problem in hamsters is diabetes. This is most common in the Dwarf types, so the Syrians have it easier here. Diabetes can come about in a few ways, mostly because of a poor diet. That means a diet with too much sugar and carbs, and very little exercise. This is not the only reason, but one of the biggest. Another reason is that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or that the body is very resistant to it. This means that the body’s blood sugar will stay very high. It will cause weight gain, circulatory problems, difficult breathing, and other problems that stem from these. You can find out more about diabetes in hamsters here, and also about how to treat it. Sometimes it’s not completely treatable, but at least you can do some things to make the hamster’s life comfortable even so. (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.) 9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters Sometimes hammies develop extra cells. These cells are sometimes benign, sometimes they’re harmful and become cancer. However even benign tumors can be bad for the hamster’s health, as they can block certain body parts. For example a tumor around the ear can extend to the entire half of the face. These usually can be removed, but not many vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small animal. The problem is that the anaesthesia is hard to do, and the patient himself is very.. well, tiny. Still, some vets have tried and even succeeded. I’m sure in your area you’ll be able to find someone who can help. Best to look for an ‘exotics’ veterinarian. They have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will possibly be able to help you more than a regular vet. Try everyone though, you never know who is going to save your friend. 10. Hamster cheek problems Finally, the hamster’s cheeks are another problem. The thing is that hammies stuff everything in their cheeks. Food, nesting material, a bit of bedding, droppings. Mothers even stuff their babies there when they move them. However sometimes these cheeks can become injured, either by a sharp corner from the food, or maybe they were over stuffed. They can sometimes come out completely, like an inside-out pocket. Other times the cheek becomes sticky with residue and whatever is in the cheek will become stuck. All of these can be solved, and they can also be avoided. Mostly by not giving your hamster any sticky, saucy foods that he will put in his cheeks (grain-based foods end up in his cheeks usually). You can find out much more about hamster cheek pouches here, including how to treat the various problems that come up, and how to identify each one. About a hamster’s general health Hamsters are fairly hardy animals. They don’t develop health issues very easily, even if they are so sensitive. However once they do happen, hammies don’t really know what to do on their own. That is, they can’t get over most problems on their own. A flea infestation will drag on for months, a cold can be fatal, and an infected cheek pouch can lead to death. Still, hamsters are able to take care of themselves, mostly by how absolutely clean they are. Up until their very last days, hamsters know that cleanliness equals health. So they tug and pull at their fur, comb through it, fluff it up, groom it some more, every few hours. This is also done to avoid developing a strong scent that predators will use to find them. Your help is crucial here. Your hammy depends on you, and his health becomes your responsibility. This is a reason to become fast friends with a good veterinarian (again, look for one labeled ”exotic”). Keeping your hamster healthy Keeping your hamster healthy revolves around a few simple things. Cleanliness is chief among them, and the hammy himself is very good at keeping himself clean. Still, there are a few things you can do to help your hamster friend stay healthy: Regularly cleaning the cage, once per week. More on safe bedding and nesting material here. Giving the hamster a commercial food mix, which has all the nutrients balanced the way he needs them. Only treating him to occasional treats, and in moderation to avoid weight gain and joint problems. More on hamster-safe foods here. Making sure that the floor or other surfaces you let him roam in the exercise ball are clean, and dust free. More about hamster exercise balls here. Keeping the hammy in a room that’s at a constant temperature. The optimal range is 20-23 C/68-75 F, and the cage should be kept away from drafts or direct sunlight. Having an exercise wheel for your hamster friend, so he can run to his little heart’s content. More on hamster exercise wheels here. Aside from all these, remember that your pet hamster needs a calm and gentle person handling him. So a child or other pet should be kept away from the hamster. Any interaction should be supervised. Hamsters are very bad with stress, and will bite back if handled wrong. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies do get sick every now and then, and we need your help with getting healthy. So this article was supposed to give you an overview of what kind of problems we can have. If you want to know more about us hamsters, check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...