Are Hamsters Rodents ? About Your Furry Hamster Friend

Wondering if a hamster is a rodent ? You’re not alone. A lot of our friends have asked us the same question, when they heard we’d got a hamster. 

So, let’s settle this and get to the bottom of the issue. We’ll cover how your hamster’s  going to behave as a rodent pet, and the differences between hamsters and other pet rodents as well.

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So are hamsters rodents ?

Yes, hamsters are rodents. Hamsters are rodents, like rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, squirrels, ferrets. There are many more rodents out there than that, but those are the most common ones kept as pets.

They belong to a very large family, with several sub-families and classes, into which I won’t get right now. You can read much more about the exact scientific classification of hamsters right here.

A hamster’s behavior as a pet, given that he’s a rodent

A hamster, as a rodent, will behave in a certain way.

Rodents in general are prey animals, so they all have a reflex to run and hide. That reflex kicks in very fast, and they’ll often jump out of your hands before you can react.

So expect your hamster to be jumpy, not sit still, and look panicked half the time. They’re also incredibly easy to scare, since they’re on high alert most of the time. Who knows when a owl might swoop into your living room and take them away ?

Jokes aside, that run and hide reflex is what saves hamsters from extinction in the wild. As a pet though, they can be hard to handle, especially the smaller breeds like the Dwarf types.

Very small and wriggly, the Dwarf hammies are all over the place and you should not handle them away from their cage.

Another thing about hamsters being rodents, is that they will have this instinct of burrowing. If you give them enough bedding to dig into, you will lose sight of your hamster very fast. You can find out more about bedding for hamsters and how to pick a safe one right here.

Finally, as rodents hamsters have a different need for affection that other pets. They’re not keen on snuggling, like a dog or cat for example.

But they do enjoy your company, and can let you handle them. Even if it’s just for a short few minutes at a time, hamsters can be handled.

If you want to know more about how to successfully tame your hamster friend, you should check out this guide right here. It’s got addendums for Syrian and Dwarf types as well.

What hamsters eat, as rodents

As rodents hammies will eat mostly grains and veg, with a couple of insects or worms here and there.

In the wild hamsters rely on grains, seeds, and some edible roots. But kept as pets, hamsters have a much wider variety of foods available for them.

You can find here a good list of safe and unsafe foods you can give to your hamster. Some of them are already in your pantry or fridge.

Or, if you want to be specific about it, you can check out each food group in particular. You can find out more about what kind of meat/protein your hamster can eat here. Another article about what kinds of dairy hamsters can eat is right here.

You’ll find out about the kinds of vegetables your hamster can eat here, and about the fruits he can eat right here.

Finally, more about hamsters and bread can be found right here.

Another option is feeding your hamster commercial food mixes, which already have a healthy mix of all the nutrients your hamster needs for a good, long life. And you can add some safe foods you’ve already got around the house to that food mix, if you want to.

But in general, hamsters will enjoy most of the things us humans can eat too. Do keep in ming that they love to chew and gnaw on things a lot.

Do hamsters need to chew a lot ?

Yes, hamsters have front teeth that keep growing. They never stop growing.

This is why your hamster need a lot of chew toys – more on that here, and how to DYI some or buy them. Otherwise, your hammy will end up chewing whatever he can find, like the cage bars.

My Teddy used to do that sometimes, and you can find out more about hamsters biting their cage here, and how to stop them. Or, at least make it happen mess frequently.

Hamsters need to chew a lot, to keep their front teeth from overgrowing. They can develop a whole host of dental problems if their teeth aren’t kept healthy.

So always make sure your hamster has something safe to chew on, like chew toys. And remember that he will chew on everything, including his own hideout, the food bowl, and whatever else is in his cage.

(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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Difference between hamsters and other rodent pets

Hamsters aren’t the only rodents people keep as pets. As such, there are a few differences between hamsters and other pet rodents. So let’s get into those differences, so you can see if a hamster is a good pet for you or not.

Hamster vs mouse

Mice are much smaller than hamsters. They can be kept in small packs as far as I know, and they do have similar life spans to hamsters (2-3 years)

However if a hamster is hard to hold onto, a mouse is much harder. A mouse is much smaller, and will definitely not sit still.

Also mice smell much more than hamsters. That’s not to say they stink, but a hamster only smells if he’s sick. The female hammies come into heat every few days, and can develop a smell. But as a whole, hamsters are clean and not smelly at all.

Mice have the bonus of being much more curious and eager to try new things than a hamster.  A hammy si more of a creature of habit than anything.

Hamster vs rat

The rat wins in terms of intelligence here. However few people like keeping rats because of how large and non-cuddly they can look, compared to hamsters.

That being said, rats are able to solve simple puzzles, and are calmer, more level-headed than hamsters. That also means they can get bored, and once that happens they will entertain themselves with the cage bars, or moving the things in their cage.

Of all the mouse-type rodents, rats are the best escape artist. They will find a way.

Rats can sometimes develop tumors, which can shorten their lifespan (3-4 years). The housing situation for a hamster and rat is much different, since a rat need a very large space to run around in, and they’re damn good climbers.

Hamster vs guinea pig

Here it really depends on what you like more. Hamsters tend to be cuter and fluffier than guinea pigs. But guinea pigs are much easier to handle and tame.

Well, a guinea pig is pretty much already tame from the get-go. Both are rodents, but guinea pigs are very very mellow and will generally sit and stay wherever you left them.

They also actually need company, even if it’s another guinea buddy to much a lettuce leaf with and stare at a wall. Whereas most hamsters should be kept my themselves, and can only live together under certain conditions.

A guinea pig however can get smelly, since they pee a lot. So they require much more cleaning and maintenance than a hamster.

Hamster vs rabbit

Aside from the obvious size difference, hamsters can sometimes lose to the rabbit in terms of cuteness. Depends on whom you ask.

While a rabbit can make do with a small enclosure, he needs to be let out often, and in a very large space. So your entire apartment will become his playground.

If you decide to let your rabbit play outside, he’ll start burrowing fast and you have a higher chance of losing him. Once a rabbit decides to sprint, he’s gone.

And we all know how hard it is to catch a rabbit running left and right. Of all the rodent types, rabbits are the best at avoiding being caught.

Smell-wise, rabbits can get stinky fast if you don’t clean their cage every day.

Hamster vs ferret

Ferrets are much, much larger than a hamster. They are much faster, and agile, and need plenty of exercise. While your hamster can make do with his running wheel, a ferret will not.

A ferret will need at least one cage mate, while hamsters need to mostly kept alone.

Conversely, a ferret loose in your home is not alright with other animals. It will possibly attach smaller animals like the hamster, or a rat. And larger pets like a cat or dog can hurt the ferret with sharp teeth and a much larger size.

Both ferrets are hamsters love to try and escape, however ferrets will be trying the sturdiness of their cage and your home at every possible turn. Hamsters are a bit … slower, if you will, and are easily distracted.

Hamster vs squirrel

A squirrel for a pet is nothing to laugh at. I mean they’re funny and have an amazing amount of energy, but compared to a hamster they are much harder to keep.

While a hamster’s claws do very little damage to the human skin, a squirrel has actual talons. Natural, when you think that they’re meant to help the creature shimmy up and down a tree, all day long.

But. this makes a squirrel much harder to hold and play with than a hamster. The space requirement for a squirrel is much larger than a hamster. It needs your entire apartment, and your backyard too if you’ve got a house.

Still being rodents, squirrels will flee very fast, and will hide food stashes wherever they can. You’ve seen the video of a squirrel trying to hide an acorn in a dog’s fur. That’s the level of madness (and cuteness) that is trying to keep a squirrel as a pet.

A word on keeping a rodent as a pet

When it comes to pets, you have to accept that not all pets are the same. If you’re looking for a pet that will cuddle with you, play fetch, and patiently wait for your return home, a rodent is probably not the best idea.

Rodent type pets can bond with their owner, and do like human company. However they’re not as domesticated as cats and dogs, and not suited for families or small children/other pets in general.

That being said, rodent-types are funny, energetic, and make the oddest faces. They’ll always amaze your with their acrobatics, even hamsters. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a hamster trying to jump from a small ledge, and still fail.

Some rodents are quiet, and calmer, like a hamster, a mouse, a guinea pig. While others are all over the place and will need your entire attention. It depends on what kind of pets you’re looking for.

All in all, owning a hamster as a rodent can be rewarding in its own way – more on that here, and how to care for him in general.

They’re not conventional pets, and will require different level of care from you. But they’re cute and funny in their own way.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hamsters can be a bit confusing sometimes, but we’re definitely rodents.

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

Related blog post
Hamster Teeth Problems. What They Are, And How To Treat Them
Hamster Teeth Problems. What They Are, And How To Treat ThemIf you’ve got a hamster, then you need to know about the teeth problems your friend can develop. Hamster’s teeth are crucial to their health, so you need to know how to help him out if something happens. I’ll cover the main dental problems hamsters can get into, how to check for those problems, and how to treat them. Table of Contents ToggleWhat a normal, healthy hamster’s teeth should look likeA hamster’s teeth are always growingTeeth problems hamsters can develop, and how to spot themOvergrownInfectedMisshapen/brokenTypical symptoms to look forBad breathSudden loss of appetiteChattering teethDroolingBad temperCage bitingFiling down overgrown hamster teethThe hamster will file them down himselfChew toys and other options for your hamster friendYou can take the hammy to the vetInfections in hamster teethChecking for infections in your hamster’s teethTreating your hamster’s teeth infectionMisshapen or broken hamster teethHelping your hamster with bad teethA word from Teddy What a normal, healthy hamster’s teeth should look like A healthy hamster’s teeth are quite long, yellow-ish orange, and a bit see-through. The hamster’s teeth look very different from a human’s teeth. Hamsters, like most rodents, have 2 pairs of incisor teeth. The lower pair is the longer pair, and will look very large compared to the top pair. You will see your hamster’s teeth clearly when he bites the cage, since he often bites hard onto them. Normally, your hammy’s teeth should be aligned, and ‘meet’ properly, both pairs forming a nice close. You can also check your hamster’s teeth by holding him and gently scruffing the back of his neck. This does not hurt if done right, since you are only pulling a little at the fur on the back of his head. This will reveal the hamster’s teeth, and you can check them for yourself. Do not be surprised that your hamster’s teeth aren’t white, or very pale. Yellow teeth in hamsters is no unhealthy. However you should worry a bit if you start seeing white spots on your hamster’s teeth.  Usually they’re brittle sport in the teeth, and will crumble. Those can be serious dental problems that require a veterinarian. A hamster’s teeth are always growing A hamster’s life is defined by chewing, and gnawing, and biting some more. Hamster are rodents, and as such they have an inherent need to always be chewing on something.  This is mostly because their front teeth are always growing. So, your hamster friend need to file them down regularly in order to keep them healthy. This can be done in several ways, but it’s mostly through the tough food your hamster chews every day, and whatever he chews on aside from that, like chew toys. Teeth problems hamsters can develop, and how to spot them Your hamster can develop dental problems. That can happen to anyone, but given the small size of hamsters, and how important their teeth are, it’s more of a problem for them. There are 3 main types of problems your hammy can run into, and in the rest of this article we’ll cover how you can help your friend. Overgrown The most common problem found with hamsters, overgrown teeth lead to several problems. Those problems can be that the hamster isn’t able to eat enough, is in pain, and will possibly be grumpy. Teeth can become overgrown if the hamster isn’t filing down his teeth. This can mean that the food he’s being fed isn’t hard enough – hamsters need hard, chewable foods – so he can’t file the teeth down. Or, it could be that he has nowhere to file the teeth down onto, like chew toys or cage bars. If you’ve got a glass tank for your hammy, and he’s got nothing to chew on, that’s a problem. Infected Infections can occur if the hamster’s gums become hurt in some way (like something sharp scraping them) and the bacteria has a way into the animal’s body. Or, it could be tooth decay from possibly sugary food (depending on what you feed your hamster), which can lead to an infection. In any case, this is something to treat at the vet. Misshapen/broken Sometimes, hamsters are born with tooth problems. Like misshapen teeth, and in those cases it’s best to get the hammy to the vet so he can help the hamster. If the hammy’s teeth are healthy and straight, but end up breaking, that again means a trip to the vet. This can happen if your hamster’s got weak teeth, or if he chews on much too hard surfaces, like the metal bars in his cage, or the running wheel. Typical symptoms to look for Usually hamster dental problems can be spotted fairly quickly. There’s just a few things you should check your hamster for, so see if he’s alright. Bad breath An infection especially, will smell terrible. Your normally clean and non-smelly hammy might have terrible breath if he’s got an infection. You can notice this when you pick up the hamster and play with it. Or, by giving it something to chew onto and then you might smell the problem. The smell is caused by the pus and irritation in the hamster’s mouth, where the abscess is located. If you scruff the hammy you will probably be able to see which tooth is infected. You’ll notice the gum around the tooth is red, swollen, and might already have whitish spots where the infection is coming out. This needs to be treated immediately, otherwise your hamster is at serious risk. Sudden loss of appetite This can come along with an infection, or even just overgrown teeth. If you’ve noticed your hamster’s food bowl has been mysteryously full these past few days, you should check on the hamster. It can happen that your hamster isn’t able to feed himself properly lately, and he needs your help. Now, do keep in mind that hamsters can and do become very picky eaters. So if you’ve got a food mix, and only some parts of it are still in the food bowl the next day, your hamster is fine. For example my Teddy (Syrian adult male) favors the sunflower seeds, peanuts, and other vitamin bits he finds in his food bowl, and leaves the plain grains aside. He’s still a healthy Syrian hammy though, he just gets picky. However if you’ve noticed that your hamster is also losing a bit of weight, this is also a sign. You can check the weight by placing your hammy in a cup he can’t get out of (like a tall glass, or plastic cup) and weighing him on a kitchen scale. Make sure to account for the weight of the cup ! Chattering teeth This is another sign that something might be wrong with your hamster’s teeth. Chattering teeth are usually a sign of nervousness, and are accompanied by a short temper, and lots of cage biting. He might even bite you, he’s in no mood to play. If your hamster has chattering teeth, and also chews on the cage bars a lot, it could be a possible tooth problem indicator. Like tooth pain, or an infection. Do keep in mind that chattering teeth can show up even if your hamster is healthy. He could be just aggitated or trying to intimidate you. So make a mental note of chattering teeth, but this is not a clear sign of just tooth problems. Drooling Hamsters, like cats, do not drool normally. They do have saliva, but their mouth is usually ‘dry’. So if your hamster is suddenly drooling, it could be a sign of him not being able to close his mouth properly because of his teeth. Bad temper Hamsters, like humans, do not respond well to pain or stress. So if your hammy has a tooth ache, he might be snappy. Imagine your last tooth ache. So your usually mild and cute hamster might turn into a snappy, nippy hammy with no patience for anything. He might not even let you touch him in some cases. Now, not all ill-tempered hamsters have tooth aches. But this could be a sign of tooth problems. Especially if it’s a change that came on suddenly. Cage biting If your hammy suddenly started biting the cage bars, this too could be a sign. Hamsters always need to chew on something, but if he’s ignored the bars until now, that says something. Your hammy could be seeking some relief from the cage bars, instead of his chew toy because the bars are, well, much harder and are also cold. If your hammy’s got an infection, the gums will seem very hot to him, and he’ll want to cool off a bit. Obviously, your hammy biting the cage bars is not a good idea. And it’s not healthy for his teeth either, since he can actually break or crack his teeth on the bars. Filing down overgrown hamster teeth If your hamster’s got overgrown teeth, then he will need to file them down. This happens by repeated chewing and biting onto hard surfaces. But, those surfaces should never be as hard as the cage bars, or the glass of his glass tank. There’s two ways your can go about this. The hamster will file them down himself Most of the time, the hamster will file the teeth down himself. If he’s got proper food and chew toys, he will do that himself. Your hamster’s front teeth are always growing, so he always needs to do this. You can help him out here by giving him the right kind of toys to use for his teeth. Chew toys and other options for your hamster friend One option is chew toys. Hamsters do well with wood based chew toys. So for this reason a set of toys like this one will help your hamster not only file down his teeth, but also keep his mind occupied. This set’s got several toys, so your hammy will have lots of options to choose from. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews for yourself. Another option is giving your hamster friend a walnut, or a chestnut so he will want to chew and gnaw on it. My teddy has a walnut in his cage and he goes absolutely insane when he sees it. He just has to break the thing open or he won’t know what he’ll do. He never did manage to open the walnut, hamsters aren’t squirrels. But he loves biting into the shell, and your hammy will probably do the same if your give him one. Other options include bendy bridges, which are made from wood, and can serve as a great chew toy for your hamster friend. You will find those on Amazon as well. And finally, hamsters will chew on absolutely everything. Including their food bowl and hideout. For this reason, and not only (more on that here) I recommend you get your hamster friend a wooden hideout. This will make it easier for your hamster to file down his teeth, since he will wake up in the middle of the night to chew a little. And he will chew on his hideout, without even getting out of his nest. I looked around for a hideout very similar to the one I have for my Teddy. My hammy already shaved fairly large chunks of the inside, in the year and the half since he’s had his hideout. Still, he loves it, and it keeps his scent. You can find the listing on Amazon for this wooden hamster house here, and read the reviews. You can take the hammy to the vet If the case is severe, and immediate attention is needed, you can also take your hamster friend to the vet. He will know what to do to file down the hammy’s teeth. There are a few guides to filing down hamster teeth at home, or even clipping them. But I honestly discourage them, since the animal isn’t comfortable, and you need a lot of training to make sure you do not hurt the hamster. Please do not file or clip your hamster’s teeth at home. Seek professional care for him. (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.) Infections in hamster teeth Sometimes the hamster’s teeth can get infected. This can happen like with humans too. Maybe the hamster ate a food that made a small cut in his gums, and that cut got infected. There could be other reasons, but the end result is the same. Checking for infections in your hamster’s teeth Red, angry, inflamed gum(s), and a bit of pus. This is dangerous for your hamster to swallow, so it must be solved quickly. You can check this by holding the hamster in your hand, and gently scruffing him. This will pull back his lips and you will see his teeth. He might not like being held like this, so expect a bit of squirming. Expect lots of squirming if the hamster does have a serious infection, since it will possibly hurt him a bit. Treating your hamster’s teeth infection If the gums or mouth looks at any point like I just described above, then your hamster might be dealing with an infection. In this case, take your hamster to the veterinarian. He will prescribe a round of antibiotics that are safe for small animals. He will tell you how to administer the medication to your hamster. Usually the veterinarians that have experience with rodents are labeled as exotic, meaning that they will also know what to do with unusual pets if the case arises. Misshapen or broken hamster teeth There are some unfortunate hamsters who are born with misshapen teeth. They are misaligned since birth, but they can sometimes be corrected. You can notice this at the pet store by looking closely at the hamster for any mouth problems. You will also be able to notice this when the hamster tries to drink a bit of water. Or, if you haven’t noticed at the pet store and brought him home, you can still check him. Just use the scruffing method and check the teeth. There should be no gaps, or odd angles or crossed teeth. If there are such problems, take your hamster to a veterinarian. Now, if your hamster’s got great teeth, and suddenly broke them, that’s an issue. Breaking teeth are a sign of malnutrition, or poor health, old age, or a possible illness. It depends on each hamster, and his own medical history. Broken teeth are particularly dangerous, since the hamster can cut himself on them. And often they’re cracked/fissured as well, which means that your hamster is in for some serious problems. Again, it’s best if you take your hamster to the veterinarian, who will know how to align or file the hamster’s teeth, and do it humanely. Helping your hamster with bad teeth For any hamster with bad teeth, the diet is important. I don’t mean putting your hamster on a weight loss diet. But the food he eats has a direct and large impact on his health. You can take care of this by giving your hamster friend a healthy food mix, to make sure he has all the basic nutrients already in his food bowl. This particular mix has all the nutrients your hamster needs, including the harder, sturdier grains hamsters need to chew on in order to file down their teeth. The whole bag will last you a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed your hammy. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Aside from the healthy food mix, you can give your hamster from your own pantry or fridge. A large amount of the foods we humans eat are also safe for hamsters, so you should check out this article on what foods are okay and not okay for hamsters to eat. Just remember, fruits and high-fat foods should be kept to a minimum, since they can lead to an obese hamster. And that’s a whole different set of problems, which you can read about here. And always, always, make sure your hamster has something wood-based to chew onto. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to care for your teeth in this article. I know us hammies can get a bit overzealous with our chewing and biting, but we do have dental problems from time to time. So if you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below for valuable info on how to care for us. [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?Wondering what to choose between a hamster and a gerbil ? After all, they’re both so very cute and cuddly, but you can’t keep them both. But which should you choose ? Let’s see some details about each pet, so you can make a wise decision. If you want to know how a hamster would do if he were living with a gerbil, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleIs a rodent a good pet for you ?About the hamsterAbout the gerbilThe hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a groupCage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbilFood and treats for the hamster and the gerbilHealth problems the two can getA word from Teddy Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself this question. Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Both the hamster and the gerbil are rodents, they’re both very small and agile, and not easy to catch once they’ve escaped. As rodents, they need plenty of wood to chew on – their teeth never stop growing and need to be filed down constantly. They will love to hide and spend lots of time digging, burrowing, and generally not being noticeable. After all, these poor souls have always been food for other, larger animals. It’s their instinct to hide and taming them can take a while. Very important: if you have children, especially if they’re very young and they’re begging you to get them a hammy or a gerbil, watch out. Both of these pets are too fragile and high-maintenance for a child. The cleaning, taming, and often even the playing will be passed onto you. Not every child is like this, I know, but a hamster is not a puppy. A hamster or a gerbil can’t be handled like a puppy or a grown cat, and can’t match the child’s energy, nor the appetite for play. They’re very sensitive creatures. Still, if this kind of pet sounds alright for you (it did for me), whether you have kids or not, then by all means go and get yourself either a hamster or a gerbil. They’ll bring countless moments of ”awwww” and ”ooooh” to your life, starting with how cute they look when they sleep, and ending with the odd sounds they can make sometimes. Now let’s see about each pet, so you know which would be the best for you. About the hamster Hamsters are very small, fluffy creatures. There are 5 types of hamsters you can choose from, and none of them ever grow very large. They all would fit in the palm of your hand, even as adults. Those 5 types are: Syrian hamsters – the biggest of the bunch, and the most common as a pet. Dwarf types – Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian hammies. Half the size of a Syrian. Chinese hamsters, sometimes called Chinese Dwarf hammies. The easiest to confuse with a gerbil, since they have a bit of a tail. Hamsters come from the general, wide area of south Turkey, Syria, Mongolia, northern China, Russia, Siberia. That’s an area with not much vegetation going on, and most of it is a sort of desert, either a hot sandy one (Syria and Turkey) or a cold, tundra type. Hamsters have adapted to eat mostly grains and a few veggies, maybe an insect or two. They don’t need much water, and they usually live alone. The Dwarf types can tolerate another of their own species, if it’s a sibling and they still might fight sometimes. They’re mostly nocturnal, as pets. So getting a hamster would mean you might miss him if you go to bed around 10 PM and wake up early to go to work or school. In terms of shape, hamsters are short, stocky little creatures. The Dwarf types look like they have no neck at all, while the Syrians have a distinct teddybear-like face. About the gerbil Gerbils are, for the most part, hard to tell apart from a hamster. Especially if you’ve never had to tell the difference between them very often. The main difference is that gerbils have a long tail, longer than the Chinese hamster’s tail. And their hind legs are longer and thinner, since they do a lot of standing and jumping. Gerbils come from roughly the same area as hamsters. Mostly Mongolia and northern China. As such they might resemble the Dwarf hamsters, who come from there as well. As a difference though, gerbils live in colonies and they don’t do well on their own. They need company to enjoy themselves, and they don’t like being alone. Another difference is that gerbils aren’t exactly nocturnal, rather they sleep in patches and seem to be always awake. Gerbils do a lot of digging, more than hamsters actually. So their cage would need to be filled up with more bedding, so they can tunnel away as much as they like. Food for gerbils is very similar to the food for hamsters: mostly grains, a bit of fruit and veg, and a bit of protein if they can catch it. In terms of what their bodies do and what they need for a happy life, hamsters and gerbils do not need very different things. Except for 2 things, which if you get wrong, it can be very bad. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a group One of the things you need to know about, and the most dangerous to get wrong, is the social aspect of these pets. You see hamsters and gerbils are fundamentally opposites in terms of being social. Hamsters like to be on their own, they will not share anything. Even the Dwarf types, which you can sometimes manage to raise successfully in a same-sex pair, will argue often. To a degree that’s normal, but even so it puts much stress on the hamster. A gerbil on the other hand will not like being alone. Much like guinea pigs, gerbils need to be kept in pairs, at the very least. A lone gerbil will become depressed and lose his appetite. A human, while entertaining, will never be able to supplement the attention of another gerbil. After all, we don’t speak gerbil very well, do we ? So, please remember. A hamster should always be alone, a gerbil should always have a buddy. A buddy means either 3 females, or 2 males. Or anything over that number, since it will benefit them to be in a larger number. That will mean a larger cage though, so take care how many gerbils you get. Cage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbil Now when it comes to housing a hamster, that can be fairly easy. A cage big enough for a hamster will be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s a cage big enough for a Syrian, although I recommend it for Dwarf type as well. Hamsters, like gerbils, will always pick a bigger cage if they can. Close quarters can make them stressed and nippy. A pair of gerbils would need a 12 x 20 inch cage, which is 30 x 51 cm. Not that very different from a Syrian cage. Still if you can afford to go for a bigger cage, do so. This is the second thing that needs to be done a certain way, otherwise your gerbils won’t be happy. While they do enjoy each other’s company, they also enjoy some space to run around in and have fun. Now, a good cage that would fit either a single hamster, or two gerbils is this one. It will provide air and lots of ventilation, being a wire cage. It’s also got a second level, which the gerbils or hamster can use as they wish, and it adds extra floor space. The wires in the cage are close together so that neither a gerbil nor a Dwarf hamster would be able to escape. And it’s got enough of a bottom to fill with bedding, so your gerbils have something to tunnel through. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the cage, both the gerbils and the hamster will need plenty of toys and objects in their cage. This means silly things like a cardboard tube can be amazing for them, since they both love to tunnel and they will stick their faces everywhere they can fit it. You can make most toys at home, with a bit of cardboard and creativity. For example an egg carton, with a few holes cut into it is going to be the best hide and seek toy ever. It just won’t last very long, since both the hamster and the gerbils will chew at them often. Some toys, like the exercise wheel, will need to be bought. This is mostly because the wheel needs to be silent, and run smooth, without a hitch. A tail and foot guard is welcome, and gerbil tails are not meant to get caught in anything. So an exercise wheel with just rungs, or wire mesh is not alright for gerbils. A solid-floored one, with not gaps for the little guys to catch their feet or tails on is great. One such example is this one, a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel which is both silent and solid. No tails or feet caught in this one, and it’s easy to spin both by a small Dwarf, and by a Syrian. Gerbils are alright in it too, and their tails will stay safe as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel and the toys the cage will need bedding and a hideout. I recommend you get a wooden hideout, since these two pets will chew at everything, including their nest. As for the bedding, it can be wood shavings or paper bedding. Stay away from wood pellets, since they’re too hard for hamsters and gerbils. If you get wood shavings, make sure you keep away from cedar and pine since their strong aroma can choke the rodents. Food and treats for the hamster and the gerbil In terms of food, these two eat mostly the same things. Both are alright with grains, in fact it’s what they eat most of the time. Fruits are welcome, although some should be avoided – like citrus for example, or apple cores and peels. Vegetables are good for them as well, just keep them away from onion, garlic, leek, and other such veggies. Best to ask before you feed your hamster or gerbils anything new. Nuts and peanuts are a favorite among these guys, so they will enjoy the treat. Just stay away from sweets, saucy foods, spicy foods, or any kind of condiments at all. Their tiny bodies can’t process those things, and they often end up with digestive problems. For the most part hamsters and gerbils have the same foods and treats. Often they’re put on the same packaging to make things very clear. Health problems the two can get Their health problems are mostly the same. Both rodents need their teeth constantly filed down, otherwise they just grow too large. So dental problems can be a big deal, whether it’s overgrown teeth or infected broken teeth, or another problem. Ear and hearing problems can arise as well, and so can eye problems. Tumors and lumps are a topic that is common for hamsters and gerbils, actually for rodents in general. Most of the problems can be easily solved by a vet, but you will need a specific one. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. If you just look to a small pet vet, he might only be able to help with pets as small as cats. Normally hamsters have a 2-4 year lifespan, depending on their type. The Robo Dwarf lives the longest (2 years) while the Chinese lives a shorter life, about 2 years. Gerbils on the other hand have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity. So whichever one you choose as a pet, make sure you have the time and willingness to take care of them properly. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are easy to confuse with gerbils, but we’re actually sort of cousins, twice removed. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Have Tails ? Plus A Few Odd Hamster Facts
Do Hamsters Have Tails ? Plus A Few Odd Hamster FactsYou might be wondering if your tiny hamster friend has a tail at all. I mean, he’s so small and fluffy, and if it’s there you can barely see it. Truth be told, I never looked at my Teddy’s behind a lot, until I stumbled upon this discussion in a group board somewhere. So, I looked at my Teddy(Syrian male hammy), and I googled around until I could come up with a competent answer on whether hamsters have tails or not. And what they do with them, if they have one. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters have tails ?Syrian vs Dwarf vs Chinese tailsWhy a hamster’s tail is so shortHow your hamster uses his tailA few other small facts about the hamster’s bodyHamsters do have eyelashesHamster teeth never stop growingHamsters barely use their eyesHamsters do have bonesHamsters are capable of passing gasA word from Teddy So do hamsters have tails ? Yes, hamsters do have tails. They’re very small, and stubby, but they’re definitely there. Hamsters, like all mammals have their spine ending in a sort of tail. In some mammals, like us humans, the tail became useless and we evolved out of having a tail. We just have the stump at the end of our spine. Hamsters, on the other hand, still keep their tail. A very short one, but it’s still a tail. Notable is the Chinese hamster, who still has a longer tail. Not nearly as long as a rat’s or mouse’s tail, but much longer than the other Dwarf types, or the Syrian. Let’s get into how each other hammies have their tails, and how to tell them apart. Syrian vs Dwarf vs Chinese tails A Syrian hamster has a short, thin tail. Half an inch/1 cm long, although it’s hard to tell with so much fur going on. It’s skin colored (usually pink), and completely hairless. Think of a grain of long-grain rice. And pink, fleshy, and attached to your hamster. It sometimes sticks out of the exercise ball, so you need to be careful what kind of exercise ball you get your hamster, so it doesn’t hurt the hammy. More info on that here. A Dwarf type’s tail is a bit shorter than the Syrian’s, but it’s covered in fur. It’s colored according to the various color marking he hamster has, and it looks like a tuft of fur on the hammy’s rear. Of all the tails, I think this is the hardest one to notice since it tends to blend into the rest of the hamster. Finally, a Chinese hamster’s tail is the longest tail among hamsters. It’s usually about 3 cm/a little over an inch. It’s furry, and the same color as the rest of the hamster. Important to note here that these hamsters don’e have as many color variations, and are usually a browny color with a dark stripe down their back, with a slim and long body. People often confuse them with mice, although the differences are many. Why a hamster’s tail is so short You might be wondering why the hamster has such a short tail. Even the Chinese Dwarf’s got a small tail, and the reasons are not clear. Aside from an educated guess, I haven’t found info on this. My guess is that hamsters evolved to have short tails because they no longer needed them. While rats and mice do run, like hamsters, they also do an awful lot of climbing. Their tails help them a lot in that respect. A hamster on the other hand does not climb as much or as often, and doesn’t seem to need his tail. Your average hamster is more focused on digging burrows and not having anything for a predator to hold onto. That being said, perhaps there is another, more scientific reason hamsters have such short tails. But, until more research is done, we’re stumped (I hope you like that joke, I’m proud of it). How your hamster uses his tail We’ve discussed hamsters not really using their tails for much, so what do they end up using it for ? As far as I’ve observed my Teddy, he doesn’t seem to actively use it all that much. A tail usually serves to keep a hamster’s balance. But it’s so short it doesn’t seem to matter. All I’ve seen Teddy do with his tail is curl it up like the weirdest thing when he pees in his corner. As you know, hamsters are very clean animals, and only use a corner in their habitat to pee. This will be the corner farthest from their hideout and they will use it even if you place a small litter box there. Aside from this, Teddy’s tail doesn’t seem to have more purpose. If anyone finds more info on this, I’d like to know too. A few other small facts about the hamster’s body Alright, we know hammies have tails, and that they don’t do much with them. What other mysteries do hamsters hold ? Let’s see. Hamsters do have eyelashes Yes, hamsters have eyelashes. In fact all mammals have eyelashes. Even if they’re very fine and short hairs, the eyelashes are still there. Now if your hamster’s got dark-rimmed eyes like my Teddy, you might not see them very well. But they’re there, and they’re meant to help catch dust and other particles before they enter the eye. However, given how furry hamsters are, their lashes aren’t as noticeable as a human’s. Specifically, how long the hair shafts are, compared to the rest of their body. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Hamster teeth never stop growing Hammies always have to chew on something, whether they annoy you or not. I know I can’t really stand it when my teddy starts gnawing, but I know he needs to file down his teeth. You see, hamster teeth (the front pairs) never stop growing. If left unchecked, they can become seriously overgrown and a problem of their own. More on hamster dental problems here. So your hamster friend always needs to chew on something hard. Preferably not his cage bars, since those are too hard for his teeth, and can break them. The best things for a hamster to chew on are chew toys, made of wood, or very hard cardboard. You can find here a guide on store bought and DYI hamster chew toys. Hamsters barely use their eyes Hammies are nearly blind. Well, they do see, but very poorly. Only directly in front of them, and only a few inches. Because of this, they have very poor depth perception, and can’t judge distances at all. They can and will jump form a high place and honestly think it’s a safe shortcut to their food bowl. You can find out more about hamster eyesight here, and more about the kind of problems hamsters can develop when it comes to eyes. That being said, no, hamsters don’t really need lots of light to see. They do well in low-light conditions. They rely on their keen sense of smell, and their great hearing to navigate their habitat. Hamsters do have bones This is one that had me chuckling at first, when I heard a friend ask. But the more I thought about it, the more I could understand why a person could ask this. When you pick a hamster up, it’s a very light creature. When I first got Teddy I had no idea how to hold him, he weighted nothing and I was afraid I’d crush him. And given how fluffy hamsters are, you can’t really feel their bones very easily. But yes, hamsters do have bones. Very small, very thin, but still they have bones. They, like all creatures except for insects, have bones and a skeletal structure. The tail we were talking about earlier is a small bone too. Hamsters are capable of passing gas Hamsters are cute little things, but they can pass gas. That being said, they don’t necessarily do so openly, lest you hear them and they’ll die of embarrassment. Seriously though, few people have reported actually hearing their hamster fart. I for one have never heard Teddy. But, given how much fur a hamster has on its rear, and how small the creature is, I doubt it could even be audible. There was a veterinarian who reviewed this question, and he came to the conclusion that hammies can indeed fart. The more you know ! A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies like to keep some things mysterious. You know, to keep you guessing. If you want to know more info about us hammies, you can read he articles below. You’ll find great info on how to care for us and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
Here’s How To Find A Lost Hamster – Find Your Furry Friend
Here’s How To Find A Lost Hamster – Find Your Furry FriendSo your hamster has gone missing. That’s okay, don’t worry, he’s not very far. I’ll tell you how to find your hamster friend, whether you lost your hamster in your home, or outside. This guide is handy even if you’ve never lost your hamster so far. After all prevention is key and it’s better to already know what to do if you ever lose your hamster, than to try and find out everything on the spot. Table of Contents ToggleWhat to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamsterFinding a lost hamster in your homeWhere the hamster might have goneWhat the hamster might have done/why he wandered offSetting the traps for your hamsterBaiting the hamster with foodHome-made trapHumane rodent trapFinding a lost hamster outsideEscape-proofing your hamster’s cageHow to keep your hamster from wanting to escape in the first placeKeep your hamster friend happy and not stressedProvide a large enough cage so your hamster has spacePlay with your hamster to form a bond with itA word from Teddy What to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamster Before you start looking for your hamster, keep in mind that he’s got some reasons for wandering off. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wanted to leave, maybe he found something interesting in a corner. Hamsters are incredibly curious, about everything, and will want to investigate thing right away. You’ve seen him glue himself to the cage bars when you do something around his cage, you know he wants to know. There are a few things to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamster, and here they are: Keep away any and all pets that can move freely (like a cat, bird, or dog), as well as small children that might scare the hamster. Close all doors, so your hamster won’t move about from one room to the other while you’re looking for him. Remember that hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so your friend will probably come out at night, when it’s dark and quiet in the house. Dim all the lights, and make as little noise as possible, so your hamster will think it’s safe to come out. Try to remember where you last saw your hamster, and start from that room. Be thorough in your search, hamsters are amazing at hiding. Look under, behind, over, between any piece of furniture you have, without moving it at first. Make a mental note of any holes or large cracks in the walls or doors that your hammy might have escaped through. Your hammy might be in odd, squishy places like between the sofa cushions, or in your sofa’s tapestry if he found a hole, so be careful where you step and sit. The search might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, so be patient. Your hamster can survive for up to 3-4 days with no food or water. So don’t worry, your hammy is probably somewhere in the kitchen munching on some peanuts behind a cupboard. Now let’s see how to find your hamster friend first. Finding a lost hamster in your home If you’ve lost your hamster in your home, the search will be easier, in a way. There is less space for him to hide in, and he can only run away so far. So, we’ll start with this scenario since it’s the most common situation hamsters get lost in. Where the hamster might have gone This about where the hammy might go. Think about the room you last saw him in, and try and think in his shoes (or paws). If it’s cold in the house, he might go for the warmest room he can find, so you can start there. If it’s been a few days since he’s missing, and you only just noticed, he is probably looking for food so you can start with the pantry or kitchen. Was there anything interesting in the room you last saw your hamster ? Like a very smelly food, or a bag of treats, or something that made a lot of noise (like a crinkly bag) ? Are there any nook and crannies your hamster would love, close to where you last saw him ? What the hamster might have done/why he wandered off Hamsters are very curious, about everything, so there’s a large chance that he maybe just wanted to investigate something. It’s possible that your hamster was very scared, or stressed out. Like the cat pawing at his cage maybe, or the parrot bursting into song right next to his cage. Maybe the toaster went off in the other room and your hammy got scared. Still, there are quite a few reasons your hamster might have escaped, starting with curiosity and ending with just because. If there were any weak wires in your hamster’s cage, you can be sure he found them. Or, if you’ve got an aquarium for your hamster be warned that he needs a very tall edge in order to not climb over it – taller than your hamster’s total length, plus stretching. So it’s possible that he found a way to climb over the edge of the glass tank. For more info on exactly what you should be looking for when getting you hamster an escape-proof cage, you can check out these top 5 hamster cages. Setting the traps for your hamster When you’re looking for your hamster, you’ll need to set some traps. Humane ones, of course, but still you need to trap him in one particular spot. Or, at least find out the room he’s in. Baiting the hamster with food You can try a few or all of these ideas, depending on your home, how many pets or children you have, and how much time you’ve got. One idea would be to get a large treat, that your hamster likes. Like a dog biscuit, or a whole peanut(with shell, no salt), or a piece or cheese, and tie a bit of yarn around it. The rest of the yarn you can make into a long string that leads to a center piece you’re often next to. So, when your hammy will try to take away the treat you will see where he it pulling from. Place just one big treat in each room. Another extra step would be to tie a small bell onto the string of yarn. This way the treat will make some noise when the hamster picks it up. Another idea would be to place some food in a small bowl made of crinkled up aluminium foil, with large, flowy edges. Think of it looking like a small volcano, with treats where the lava would be. The crinkled aluminium would make sounds when your hamster will be inspecting the food. Or, you can sprinkle a fine, thin layer of flour all around the treats you left on the floor. Or, you can sprinkle it over the floor in front of where you think your hammy is hiding. You can even sprinkle it across the whole floor, although there will be  lots of cleanup to do afterwards. Your hammy will leave tiny foot prints where he’s going through the flour, and you can narrow your search from there. If you can’t sprinkle flour or tie in bells, you can simply put a specific number of treats in every room. Then, check the next day to see which room has less treats, so you know where the hamster is hiding. Home-made trap You can also use an actual trap made from thing you’ve got at home already. Get yourself a bucket, or a large plastic bin. Something the hamster can’t climb out of. Add a layer of bedding so your hamster can get comfortable because he will be sitting there for a few hours. Then, at the very top/edges, place either aluminium foil, or a large sheet of paper, or paper towel. Place on the paper or aluminium a few lightweight treats that your hamster will like, for example 1-2 peanuts or sunflower seeds, or a bit of biscuit. Do not fasten the paper or aluminium onto the edges. The hamster will have to be able to fall into the bucket/bin, once he steps onto the paper. Next, your hamster has to be able to get up to the edge. You can make a sort of stairway with a few books, or a piece of cardboard bent into the shape you want, or anything the hamster can climb. Finally, sprinkle a few seeds or treats for your hammy to follow as a trail up to the top of the trap. You hamster will smell the treat, come out of his hiding place, follow the trail of treats, and in the end go for the treat on top of the trap. He will end up falling into the bucket/bin, and you will find him munching on the treats. Humane rodent trap You can find these in many stores, and they’re safe for your hamster. The point of these traps is that the hamster will only be caught in the closed off space, and not killed. They will not harm you hammy, but I do recommend checking up on these about once an hour. Air holes do exist on these kind of traps, but they can only do so much. There’s also condensation forming on the inside, so you don’t want your hammy getting wet – more on that here, and what you can do about it. Place some bait your hammy loves, like maybe peanut butter, or a whole peanut, or a small bit of cooked chicken. Once your hammy walks over the trap door, the trap will spring shut and will keep him there. Your hammy might get scared at first, that’s normal. But you’ll find him soon enough, so he won’t be staying in the trap too long. You can find this kind of traps in lots of places, but you can check this one on Amazon to get an idea of it. Finding a lost hamster outside If your hammy is lost outside, this will be a bigger problem. He could’ve gone very far, but there’s still a chance he’s close by, just hiding somewhere. Placing treats and baiting your hamster like in your home won’t work. Outside there’s cats, birds, and other creatures that will take the bait. And depending on the type of terrain around your home, if it’s fenced in, if there’s a forest starting in your backyard, your search will be harder. Best to just go for the humane mouse trap I linked earlier, since that’s pretty much the only way you’re sure something larger than your hamster will not steal the bait.  In this case the bucket/bin trap won’t work either, since you might find yourself with a bird or squirrel in that trap. In a worst case scenario, if it’s been more than a week and your hammy hasn’t showed, he’s probably wandered off into the wild, or had a nasty run-in with another animal. This is also something to consider if you ever think about releasing your hamster into the wild. He might or might not make it. Life in the forest or plains or general wilderness in your are is probably too harsh for the little furball. Escape-proofing your hamster’s cage Prevention is the best way to be sure your hammy doesn’t escape. So let’s see what you can do about his cage. First, you will find here a whole list of tips and pointers on how to choose the right cage for your hamster – both in terms of size, but safety as well. In general, glass tanks/aquariums are much harder to escape than regular wire or plastic ones. Make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding. Hamsters can and do jump, sometimes out of their cages, so be warned. You can find out more about that here, so you know what to watch out for. Also a wire mesh cover would be a good idea for the glass tank, just to be safe. Another idea would be to get your hammy a wire cage that has 1 cm/0.4 inches or less spacing between the bars. Hamsters are actually very small, under all that fur. Like cats, if their head fits somewhere, their body will squeeze through as well. So it is entirely possible for your hamster will squeeze through the bars of his cage and away he goes. Especially if you’ve got Dwarf types, which are so incredibly tiny. You can find out more about hamster sizes and how much they grow as adults – right here. Make sure the latches on the cage doors are closed well enough. And finally, you can use some binder clips – the big, black, ones you use for lots of sheets of paper. You can use those to fasten the corners of a wire cage to make sure it stays put. (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 keep your hamster from wanting to escape in the first place Hamsters that escaped because they were stressed or unhappy are a sad story. But, you can make sure your hamster doesn’t get in that position in the first place. You can also check here for 15 essential steps in caring for your hamster friend. Keep your hamster friend happy and not stressed This means keeping and pets or small children away from the hamster, or very supervised. A curious cat or a playful puppy will want to move the hammy around, try to paw it, bark at it maybe. And since hamsters not only scare very easily, they are also not patient at all, this won’t go well. Always make sure that the hamster is able to run away and hide if he feels threatened or uncomfortable. This is the major reason I do not recommend hamsters as pets for small children (under 13). Children are sometimes unaware, sometimes overly curious, and sometimes just don’t know their strength. This can make handling a hamster very difficult, especially if it’s a very small hamster, and doesn’t sit still too long. Hammies will also bite and scratch their way out of a situation if they have to, so this is another reason to keep small children away from them. Conversely, the cage and room you hamster lives in must be a calm, quiet one. Pets and kids zooming around your hammy during the day (when he sleeps) won’t make him feel safe at all. If this is what your home usually sounds like, consider getting a guinea pig. Those are much more calm, and they kind of don’t care about anything. So a barking dog won’t be much of a bother, or a child picking them up while they eat. Provide a large enough cage so your hamster has space The size of the cage matters. I’ve been repeating this in most articles, and I will keep repeating it. Mostly because for a few weeks I had the wrong sized cage for my Teddy (adult Syrian male) and I only realized this too late. Here you can find a good roundup of hamster cages according to what hamster you have. So, a cage that is too small can get your hamster nervous, anxious, he will start biting the cage bars. All kinds of unwanted, unhealthy habits. Hamsters are very territorial, even if they’re so gosh darn small. They need lots of floor space to run around in, and they feel suffocated in a small cage. The minimum cage for a Syrian hamster is of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This I’d say should be the minimum for a Dwarf hammy as well, since hamsters will go for larger cages if given the chance. If you’ve got more than one hamster – like a pair of Dwarf hammies – you need to read this. Play with your hamster to form a bond with it Finally, playing with and handling your hamster daily will form a close bond between the two of you. This means that your hammy will have less of a reason to escape, since he will want to stick around for you. So, here’s a nifty little article on how to actually tame your hamster, and one on how to show him affection and play with him. Some hamsters can be tamed but will never like being touched too much, so you’ll find ideas for those hamsters as well. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to find your missing hammy. I know it might seem like a hassle, but we usually don’t wander off too far. We might go missing for a couple of days, only to turn up safe and sound in your cupboard when you least expect us. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the related articles below. [...] Read more...
10+ Best Ways to Keep Hamsters Warm
10+ Best Ways to Keep Hamsters WarmMuch like humans, the hamster’s immune system is suppressed if they get too cold. This makes them more vulnerable to virus or bacterial infections, and you might put them at risk of having hypothermia if you have a very young or old hamster. Sometimes, hamster owners allow themselves to be tricked by the fur coat of their hamsters into believing that they can warm themselves. But this is far from the fact as these animals are not even that effective at abrupt decreases in temperature adjustment. Table of Contents Toggle1. Keeping hamsters warm in the winter2. Improve hamsters diet3. Provide extra bedding and substrates4. Don’t open doors frequently5. Exercise with your hamster 6. Keeping hamsters warm in a cold room7. Choose a perfect spot for the cage8. Use a space heater9. Heating pads for cages10. Prevent hibernation11. Keeping hamster cage warm12. Provide your hamster with a hiding home13. Take care of the water bottle14. Water bags and covers for warmth15. Monitor hamsters behavior  1. Keeping hamsters warm in the winter For starters, it is very important to know that most hamsters usually hibernate to spend the winter better. Hibernation is a condition characterized by drowsiness, marked decrease in body temperature, metabolic rate, and at the same time reduces the intensity of vital signs. You should try to keep the ambient temperature of your home above 60 degrees Fahrenheit in moments of winter. Besides, you need to feed the hamster the appropriate daily doses to stay strong and healthy. But in cold weather, it will not be enough to maintain low temperatures without risk. If you notice that its body begins to stiffen from the cold and even trembling, it is advisable to start caressing it gently to warm it up and wake it from that state of drowsiness in which it will enter. 2. Improve hamsters diet Try to give very tasty food with a high percentage of fat and protein, because in these times it is necessary to gradually warm-up. You should make him drink, add a little sugar to the water and give him a drink. Your hamster’s diet is the most important thing that you can do to avoid hibernation. The diet plays a critical role in the life and health of your hamster. If you do not supply it with enough nutrients, it will hibernate. Add fattening food to its diet. Feed it with avocado, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. This diet in your pet will accumulate more fats and keep it healthy. Hamsters come from dusty, arid, temperate areas like Syria and Greece, so they are used to being warm and relaxed. If the temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster can become lethargic. And, if the temperature begins to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster might be dead and collapse into hibernation mode. 3. Provide extra bedding and substrates During the winter, use extra bedding to keep your hamster warm. Many hamsters like to pull the material of bedding to create a nest. The only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters is Aspen. For odor control as well, Aspen is a great, affordable choice. Aspen, however, appears to cling to the fur of some hamster species, especially long-haired Syrian hamsters, but it does not harm them in any way. Make sure you have plenty of substrates laid down for them to burrow and make nests in. This is one of their favorite things to do and a natural way for them to cover themselves from the cold. A dense four-to-five-inch coating is going to be very beneficial for them. If he pulls lots of his bedding into his hideout, it’s one way to know that your hammy is cold. Even if they have plenty of nesting material in their hideout, hamsters can do this normally. Usually, people bring warm fabric in the bedding to make it easier for the hamster to get snug and comfortable. But you can also use other materials, such as chips made of hemp wood. The positive thing about using hemp wood is that it doesn’t have any dust and still looks fine. Hemp wood is also known to provide hamsters with a more natural environment. 4. Don’t open doors frequently It is common in the winter for your hamster to become more lethargic. This is because, to stay warm, they conserve their energy levels, opting to remain in bed for longer. However, if, due to intense coldness, your hamster falls unconscious or goes into hibernation mode, then this is life-threatening and you should urgently seek veterinary assistance. You should keep the doors of your home from opening and closing regularly. Often, strive to stop having the cage of your Hamster next to your house’s main entrance. Constant door opening and closing will lead to cold air coming into your home. This will trigger a sudden decrease in the temperature inside your house. Also, keep the windows closed of the space in which your hamster is situated. Particularly at night, when the temperature is much lower. 5. Exercise with your hamster  Hamsters need to work out to keep themselves fit and safe, even on cold days. It is recommended that their floor time on these days is increased. Let them out with closed drafts and ventilation in an open and spacious room. Do this for at least 60 minutes per day, if possible. In hamsters, lack of exercise will lead to different health problems. It may leave the hamster obese as well. Another symptom is when your hamster gets lethargic and also loses his appetite. By sleeping even more, he might be trying to save body heat and energy, so you may see him less frequently. Your hamster could physically shiver and shake in intense cold. 6. Keeping hamsters warm in a cold room You need to keep the cage away from the window and ventilation sources to prevent the hamster from getting cold. Your hamster can feel the temperature even though the windows are closed and sense it lowering bit by bit. The window areas are colder than any other place in the room. 7. Choose a perfect spot for the cage It’ll be safer if you pick a cozy corner of your room or some corner of the house when you decide the location where you can put the cage. This will make sure that the hamster does not feel very cold and will not hide inside the bedding. You can think about having thicker curtains for the window areas to fix the window issue. This will keep the area insulated, and inside the room, the curtains will retain the heat. In addition to this, you can also put rolled-up towels on the window sills, as cold air can enter through those sills. The best source of heat is the sunshine. Everybody requires sunshine in winter. For all living beings to keep themselves safe, sunlight is an excellent source. It is a perfect source of vitamin D, and it also has many health advantages. 8. Use a space heater Also, you could think about buying a space heater. It would shield the hamsters from the cold and keep the room heated all day by setting up a space heater. But make sure that the room doesn’t overheat, or you will harm the hamster. Also, don’t place the heater right next to the cage, especially if you own a metal cage. If you can’t afford to use a space heater, think about borrowing or renting one. If you can’t do that either, try to program your heating system to turn on more frequently than usual. This will keep the temperature of the room comfortable for the hamster. 9. Heating pads for cages Heat pads are a smart option for keeping your hamster safe as well. Various forms of heat pads can be found online and in pet shops as well. They come in different types and shapes, and for a long time, they can keep your hamster safe. The heat pads can be warmed up in a microwave and you can then position them under the cage. But note to use the heat pad sparingly, or the hamster’s normal immune system will suffer. Move the hamster’s cage away from drafty walls, doors, and spaces. Your hamster’s home is instantly on its way to heating up by getting cool air out of the equation. Simply pushing his cage away from a drafty window won’t make a huge difference if you keep him in the same room where the cool air is circulating. Move the hamster to a room that has better insulation and warmer air circulation, instead. 10. Prevent hibernation The biggest threat of keeping a hamster in a cold room is hibernation. There is no time or warning for a pet hamster located in a very cold room. He’s going to have to act fast to slip into a kind of slumber that can’t only keep him safe for a long time, but it’s going to dehydrate him as well. That slumber is a potentially hypothermic shock in serious situations, which can be fatal. There are a few steps you can do if you notice that the hamster is slipping into hibernation. Try to use body heat. Take the hamster and place it in your hands. Pat and rub the hamster to warm it up. Hold it for at least 30 minutes and make sure it changes behavior or looks more alert. If that doesn’t work, heat it with a bottle of hot water. Wrap the hamster in a towel with a bottle filled with hot water. The hamster should not be in direct contact with the bottle and should not overheat. This will help warm his body and get him out of hibernation. Give warm milk to the hamster. As soon as the hamster starts to be more alert, even a little, try giving him warm milk with a dropper. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave, but test first to make sure it’s not too hot. If you want, give clean water, water with sugar, or a drink with electrolytes, like the one’s athletes use to rehydrate, using a dropper. Anything you can do to make him drink water is a good idea. Rehydration helps the hamster to come out of hibernation. 11. Keeping hamster cage warm Layer the underside of your hamster’s cage with a thick blanket. Not only would the blanket be protecting the bottom of the enclosure, but it will also trap heat inside it. However, if your room is hovering about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, an insulating blanket will not fix the dilemma, so the amount of cold will only be minimized. But, if the hamster requires only a little more warmth, it is an acceptable low-cost and low-maintenance approach. You will need to keep the cage relatively close to the artificial heat source inside your home. In the coldest moments, you should touch it often to make sure it has not entered hibernation. If you feel his body cold and breathing slowly, he may be preparing for hibernation. 12. Provide your hamster with a hiding home Hamsters enjoy hiding places, as it allows them to control their body temperature and stay warm. Only by taking the appropriate precautions, you can plan hideouts at your home for your hamsters. To make an opening, carve a narrow opening out of a cardboard box. Be sure you do not leave any rough edges, or you could injure the hamsters. Your hamster will take advantage of this spot to relax. Keep some hay in the box (preferably timothy hay) so that there is plenty for the hamsters to chew on. Consider buying a hiding home for a hamster to put in the cage. This tiny home will provide an extra layer of protection for the hamster. They are usually made of wood, which is the best-known insulator in the world. To hold the cold out, you might even think about buying an igloo for hamsters. The hamster will hide and snug for as long as they want in the closed space. A well-insulated nest box made of wood, ceramic, or thick plastic provides a protected place for your hamster to sleep. Make sure the nest box is put in a stable position where it will not be overturned by your hamster to have it collapse on them. Every hamster cage has a water bottle attached to it. You need to take care of the water bottle as well. If the hamster has a hiding spot in the cage, where it snuggles up, you might want to move the bottle near that spot. If the hamster is too cold, it might not get up to hydrate. 13. Take care of the water bottle Also, water bottles sometimes freeze on cold days. It will leave your hamster dehydrated if not taken care of. To keep it from freezing, you can cover the water bottle with a towel or a small cover. The water bottle tip can get frozen as the mercury level decreases, reducing the water flow. You should check the tip of the bottle if the temperature is too cold by tapping it every few hours. It is also recommended that both the water bottle and the water bowl be used on cold days. If you want to extremely ensure the hamster’s warmth during winter, opt for a glass cage. In cold weather, glass cages are better insulators than metal and wired cages. A glass cage does not require extra covers or heating pads, putting enough bedding will be enough. 14. Water bags and covers for warmth You can keep hamsters’ cage warm by putting a warm water bag on top of their cage. You can even put the water bag inside, choosing one corner of the enclosure. Before using it, cover the water bag with a thick cloth or towel. Do not use it without a towel or cloth and make sure the water bag is not leaking. If your hamster doesn’t have a wheel in its cage, make sure that he is supplied with one during winter. Running on the wheel is the hamster’s favorite activity. During cold days, physical activity will generate heat and keep it warm. Put warm covers on the cage. The cover will help insulate the temperature and protect the hamster from the cold. See if your pet has enough coverage to prevent hibernation. If it starts to get cold fast, put more covers on to prevent this from happening, but make sure to leave openings, so the fresh air can still circulate through the cage. 15. Monitor hamsters behavior  Finally, the hamster’s behavior in winter should be carefully monitored. Pay more attention to the hamster’s behavior and whether he is warm during the colder months. You can put more coverage in his cage or give him food that is richer in fat than is normal. Take care of your pet to be safe and alert during the cold season. Hamsters can, like people, catch a cold. They will have a runny nose and will probably sneeze. You will notice the change in its fur as well. It will become matted and ruffled. If he is hot to touch, it means that his body temperature is high and he will usually have low energy, and loss of appetite.    [...] Read more...
Here Is How Much A Hamster Can Live Without Food Or Water
Here Is How Much A Hamster Can Live Without Food Or WaterIf you’re looking for information on this topic, then you’re probably leaving home for a few days. This was always our concern when Alexandra and I left town over the weekend or for the entire week. I’m going to tell you what we’ve found out,and give you a few tips on how to make sure your hamster has enough food and water when you’re gone. Table of Contents ToggleSo how much can a hamster survive without food or water ?How long can a hamster live without food ?How long can a hamster live without water ?How to leave food and water for your hamster for a few daysIf you’ll be gone for longer than that, your hamster will need more food and water.How does health and age factor into this ?How we make sure Teddy is alright when we leaveA word from Teddy So how much can a hamster survive without food or water ? The short answer would be that hamsters can live about 3-4 days since they last ate or drank water. So if you hamster just ate and had some water on Monday morning, you’ll find him still in good condition by Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon. Never let your hamster go without food or water longer than that, since they can develop health problems without proper care. Of course, this all depends on several factors, including: how old the hamster is, how well you’ve taken care of him, if he’s ill or healthy, the temperature of the room he’s in, etc. This is all great to know, but let’s see why your hamster can only live for so long without food or water, and what you can do to make his life easier. How long can a hamster live without food ? Our Teddy taught us a lot about how to care for a hamster, and when it comes to food we’ve learned that hamsters are hoarders. It might look like your hamster ate everything you’ve put in his little bowl, but when you clean his cage you’ll notice he has a nice stash in his house/hideout. Hamsters hide food to be sure they have enough in case of an Apocalypse. But that stash doesn’t last them for more than 1-2 days. It also depends on what kind of food you give your hamster. We gave Teddy grains and pellets, we have him pieces of vegetables, we have him a bit of boiled chicken, boiled egg white, bread, grapes, etc. All those things keep your hamster fed for different periods of time. Protein-based foods will keep your hamster longer than vegetables, but grains and pellets keep him fed the longest. So if the last thing your hammy ate was grains, seeds, and pellets, then he can live for 3-4 days without looking for any more food. In this time he will eat his entire stash from his house. If you want to know what your hamster can eat, then check out my article on what to feed your hamster. I’ll also tell you what foods to avoid, and talk about pre-made food mixes on the market. How long can a hamster live without water ? The water requirements for a hamster are a bit iffy, since they vary according to the size of your hamster. In general it’s about 10 ml (0.33 fl oz) per 100 grams (3.5 oz) of hamster, per day. So if your hammy is like Teddy, a fully grown Syrian hamster who weighs around 170 gr, then he’d need 17 ml of water every day. So that’s a 6 ounce hamster who needs 0.57 fluid ounces of water per day. If your hamster last drank water this morning, then he’d be alright for only 2-3 days. This is without any food at all, since they can draw water from their food as well. Dry pellets and grains provide little to no water, but vegetables and fruits give them a fair amount of water so hamsters can survive for about a week without a water tube. If your hamster has somehow escaped and is roaming somewhere, know that he’s pretty good at finding and drinking condensation from pipes, or a small puddle somewhere. It’s not good for him, but he can find them easily in a worst case scenario. But if he’s in a closed cage, then his survival is limited. If you want to know how much water to give your hamster, then check out the article about water requirements. I’ll also tell you what you can do when you hammy isn’t drinking any water, and how to see if his water bottle works. In case you’d like to know more about how to care for your hamster, you can check out these 15 essential steps. How to leave food and water for your hamster for a few days If you’re leaving home and there is no one that can come over to look after your hammy, here’s a few ideas. In general  you should leave your hamster very dry and very wet food as well, and a full water tube. So that would be grains and pellets, along with a leaf of lettuce or a piece of cucumber, and a whole water tube. The amounts vary according to how long your hamster will be alone. If you’re leaving just for the weekend, from Friday afternoon til Sunday afternoon, that’s 48 hours. Your hamster, assuming he is a fully grown adult, and healthy, left in a room that is not cold or humid or drafty, will survive well enough with just one serving of pellets and the water he already has in his tube. He will hoard some food in his house as well, so there’s extra food there already. If you’ll be gone for longer than that, your hamster will need more food and water. To make sure his water is sufficient, best to fill up the water tube fully. The one we have has a capacity of about 150 ml/5 fl oz which would last our Teddy nearly 9 days. To make sure your hamster has enough food for 5 days, provide him with: Dry food like grains, seeds, pellets for about 3 days – that’s about 2-3 teaspoons of dry food per day A dry biscuit – the ones we have are 6 grams/ 0.2 oz each, which lasts our Teddy for about 3 whole days to nibble on, as long as he has pellets and grains as well. A few slices of water-based veggies and fruits – cucumber, apple, seedless grapes, carrot, lettuce. Whatever is most readily available. Not cabbage. This depends heavily on your hamster’s disposition. If he eats a lot and is very greedy, then this will not be enough, and you will have to provide him with more before you leave. Some hamsters binge on their food, and some only take what they need and a bit more to hide in their house. So observe your furball, and if he’s greedy leave him more dry food, so he’ll be alright with you leaving for 5- days. If you like this article so far, then you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. There’s more info headed your way after this image.    How does health and age factor into this ? If your hamster is still a ‘child’ (under 3 months) then he will not survive as long as an adult. Young hamsters are weaker than adults, and need more food and care. Even if they’ve reached their full size, there are a lot of changes happening in their bodies still, and they need the extra food and water and rest. But what if your hamster is a senior ? Hamsters can live for 2-3 years depending on the care they’ve had when they were young so that their immune system developed well. So if your hamster is approaching the 2 year mark, then we will probably be slower and weaker, and will need more care. Leaving him alone will be just as tricky as leaving a young hamster. Likewise, if your hamster is healthy and has no obvious illnesses or diseases, he will fare better if left alone for a few days. If the hamster is sick, we do not recommend leaving him alone, and insisting upon finding someone who can check up on him regularly if you absolutely must leave. How we make sure Teddy is alright when we leave In our case, we have the option of leaving our house key with a neighbor we trust, or a family member. They live close and can check up on Teddy regularly, and leave him food every day. Water is not a problem since we leave Teddy water for a whole week. So if you can, please ask your neighbor or family members if they can spare a few minutes each day, or every other day, to come and check up on your hamster, and leave it food. A quick training on how much food to leave, and how to close and open the cage is enough. Other times, when we only leave town for just a couple of days we don’t ask someone to look after Teddy. We’ve left him for 48 hours with food and water, and found him safe and happy when we came back. We still left a key with our neighbor, just in case. But for this we made sure Teddy has: enough dry food for a day (2-3 teaspoons of grains and pellets), about a quarter of the dry biscuit we mentioned earlier a full water tube and a couple slices of carrot or cucumber This is all accounting for the fact that he has a stash of food in his house as well, in case of emergencies. When we leave Teddy for a few days, even if it’s just the weekend, we take care that the central heating is set to 22 Celsius. That’s 71.6 Fahrenheit, and it’s an average temperature that will be alright for Teddy. This way we’re sure he’s not too cold or warm, and there is not too much humidity in the air as well. A word from Teddy I’m glad you stuck with us so far, and I hope you’re checking this info preemptively, and your hammy is safe. You’ll always get good info from Dragos and Alexandra, and I’ll be sure to tell them everything you need to know about hamsters. So I hope this info on how long a hamster can live without food or water was helpful to you ! I hope I was a good example. Feel free to check the other articles on here as well, you’ll find info on the best cages for hamsters, how to handle a hamster, even what we can or can not eat. Take a look ! [...] Read more...