4 Best Hamster Bedding/Substrate Options (An Owner’s Opinion)

As a dedicated hamster owner, I’m sure you know how important it is to offer your little one the best bedding out there. So let me help you with that, since I too has to look for the best option for my Teddy when I first got him.

We’ll look at the best hamster bedding options you can find, and compare them by how well they work, how well they absorb waste and smell, and how long they’ll last since that’s a major thing to look out for as well.

And how easy it is to clean it out, since you’re going to need to do that once a week.

hamster bedding

So what kind of bedding do hamsters use ?

Hamsters prefer bedding that’s going to be soft on their feet, easy to tread on, and in a thicker layer so they can dig through it a bit if they suddenly want to.

Your hamster’s bedding should be made of a safe material, not be dusty, and also not smell. Any scented bedding will bother the hammy’s sensitive nose, no matter what the packaging may say.

So we’re going to go through the 4 best options I’ve found for hamster bedding, and discuss each of them in turn. You’ll also find them compared in a handy table as well, so you can get a clearer picture.

As a companion to this article, I recommend you also read up on general info about hamster bedding. You’ll find there info on what bedding materials to avoid, and how to change/clean the bedding when needed.

A comparison of 4 hamster bedding options

You’ll find this table comparing the general usefulness of each bedding type, and anything else that might interest you. Like absorbency, odor control, how long the bag will last, and so on.

After you’re done reading this table, you’ll find each of these beddings discussed in more detail in the rest of the article.

  Kaytee, aspen Small Pet Select, aspen Carefresh, brown paper Carefresh, confetti colored
material aspen aspen recycled paper recycled paper
size 27 lbs/ 12.2 kg 14 lbs/ 6.3 kg 60 liters/ 15 gallons 50 liter/ 13.2 gallons
odor control yes yes yes yes
price on Amazon check here check here check here check here


Aspen bedding for your hamster

Aspen is the number one bedding people use for their hammy, and it’s there for a reason.

Wood shavings, in general, are a great choice for hamsters since they’re very comfortable on their feet, they’re also cheap to find and manufacture, and they’re a natural by-product of woodwork.

As for the best kinds of wood shavings to use, aspen is the best since ti has no definite scent of its own, and is not allergenic.

Cedar and pine though, those should never be used for small rodents like hamsters. Rabbits (and possibly guinea pigs) can stand up to it as well.

But hamsters, with their small size and sensitive noses, are literally crawling all over that bedding, all day and night. Breathing in those scents does not do them good.

As humans, we’re alright since we can handle the natural elements found in those wood types. Hamsters can not.

So, aspen it is. You’re going to find aspen easily enough, since it’s a very common tree in many parts of the world. If you’re somehow unable to find aspen, you can always get paper-based bedding since those are universally available.

Aspen bedding from Kaytee

Back to aspen. This bad boy from Kaytee’s going to last you quite some time. I’m recommending the 8 cubic feet version, so your hammy can have bedding for months on end. Possibly a year.

Really this thing will last a long time, even if your hammy lives in a Detolf.

As weight it should be 27 lbs/12.2 kg of pure aspen shavings, so you’re going to have this bag for a long time. As reference, my Teddy’s  10 lbs/5 kg bag lasts for about 4-5 months.

So, long-lasting it is. I’d venture it can last at least 8 months, if not more, depending on how much you use.

You can check the listing on Amazon for this Kaytee aspen bedding, and read the reviews as well.

Aspen bedding from Small Pet Select

If you’re not very happy with Kaytee, you can try this one. It’s still aspen, so it will be safe for your little hammy.

It’s a smaller size, 14 lbs/ 6.3 kg and this one can last you about half a year.

You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.

In terms of odor control, aspen is good enough, seeing as it can dry out after it’s been wet. And given how little the hammy pees, I think it’s going to be just fine.

My Teddy uses the corners of his cage as a litter box and they’re always fine by the end of the week when I change his bedding.

This kind of bedding isn’t dusty, as it’s larger than sawdust. It’s actual wood chips, but thinner and softer.

And in terms of price, your investment will be well repaid in time. After all, owning a hamster is not expensive and there’s very little you have to buy often.

Cleaning the cage is easy enough, and using something like a litter scooper is going to help a lot. This bedding is heavier when it gets wet, so keep than in mind when cleaning your hammy’s cage.

Overall, I think aspen is a cheap, safe way to provide your hamster with all the bedding he needs.

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hamster bedding

Simple paper bedding for the hamster

Paper is another option you can try, and it’s about as popular as aspen. Maybe even more so in some places, since this is the kind of bedding usually made of recycled paper.

So you’re being a bit eco-friendly here.

An upside to paper bedding is that you can often choose between different colors, if that’s something that interests you. The one I’m recommending here is a plain brown version, but you can choose a different color.

It’s also the largest size they have, but again you can choose a smaller size if you want.

Paper bedding is available anywhere, everywhere, and so it’s going to be easy to come across. However the same no scent thing applies here as well.

Hamsters are sensitive, so please don’t get your hammy a scented bedding, no matter the material used. This is part of taking care of your hamster.

As for durability and how many uses you can get from paper bedding, it’s going to last you about as much as aspen shavings.

It’s a bit more absorbent than wood, but since it’s made into little fluffy balls it won’t leak everywhere. So I guess you could argue that this kind of bedding would be easier to clean.

It’s lighter than wood shavings, even when wet, so you can’t really compare length of use by weight alone.

Please keep in mind that paper bedding expands when wet, so it’s going to take up more space when the wood shavings after the hammy relieves himself on it.

Which is actually helpful in a way, since you’ll easily notice which corner of the cage is currently soiled, and easily replace it as necessary.

Simple paper bedding from Carefresh

For example the paper bedding I’m recommending here is an 8.5 lb/3.8 kg bag. Or, 60 liters/15 gallons. Sometimes it’s more useful to measure by volume.

Back to the bedding, 8.5 lbs/3.8 kg doesn’t sound as much when compared to the wood shavings we discussed before. But remember that a layer of 1 inch of wood bedding is going to be much heavier than paper bedding of the same thickness.

So again, we can’t really judge by weight.

This means that you’re going to be able to use this bag of paper bedding for months, much more than half a year, depending on how much you use at a time.

You can check the listing on Amazon for this Carefresh paper bedding, and read the reviews as well.

Multicolored paper bedding from Carefresh

This is for you colorful people out there, who want to see your hammy dig through a rainbow.

Paper bedding in all the possible colors, all mixed together. Also a large bag, a 50 liter/13.2 gallons one so you’re going to get a lot of uses from this bedding as well.

Some hammies get 1 inch bedding, some get 4 inches and dig around in that. My Teddy is a runner, and he’s not very impressed by extra-thick bedding. So for him 1 inch is enough (by trial and error).

You’re going to get a lot of uses out of whichever bedding you choose, and also find no odor problem.

You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.

You can add some dried grass or paper towels as well

Another option, which you can easily mix and match with any of the beddings I was talking about before, is dried grass. This is for the nesting material.

Not thick, stiff hay.

Dried grass, which is much softer on the hamster, and won’t be poking his eyes.

Why give your hamster dried grass ? Mostly because it’s a much softer option than anything else, and it’s very similar to what your hammy would be using in the wild.

Originally, hammies are from desert-like areas. Either very hot – Syrian hamsters – or very cold – Dwarf types – hammies are used to scrounging for things to use as their nesting material.

Dried grass is just the thing, and treading over it all day, every day, is something very familiar to them. They would dig series of tunnels underground, and line them with dried leaves, grass, small twigs and whatever else they could find.

You’ll find dried grass easy enough.

But, if you can’t find any, then simple paper towels will suffice. Unscented, plain white paper towels. Take a few squares, and rip them into ribbons.

Drop them in your hammy’s cage and you’l’l see him start to decorate his home in no time.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found good info here on what kind of bedding to get for your hammy. I know us hamsters seem like tiny creatures who don’t need much. And for the most part we don’t.

But we’re really sensitive about our homes, and it;s where we spend almost all of our time. So I hope you’ll get a good bedding for your hammy, no matter which one you choose.

If you’d like to know more about us hammies, and how to keep us safe and happy, you can read the related articles below.

Related blog post
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out For
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out ForOwning a pet hamster requires you to be perceptive and knowledgeable when it comes to the hamster’s natural habits. That means that you should know when they are about to hibernate and what the signs of their impending or current hibernation look like considering the fact that some breeds of hamsters just aren’t suited for the cold and may end up dying when they go into hibernation.  After all, it’s going to be natural for hamsters to go into hibernation when the season gets cold but the problem is that some people cannot really tell whether or not the hamster is hibernating, sick, or dead. That’s why we have come up with the 9 signs that you should look out for to know whether or not your hamster is just hibernating. Table of Contents Toggle1. Binge-eating2. Shivering3. It starts to become lethargic4. Hamster hibernation temperature 5. Check for breathing6. Inspect its heartbeat7. Its food and water will remain untouched8. The hamster will become stiff9. It should feel cold to the touch 1. Binge-eating This is probably the most common sign of hibernation in any kind of animal. It is quite normal for hibernating animals to start binge-eating before they go into hibernation because they would need all that food during the winter when they will enter a long state of suspension. During that state of hibernation, they won’t be able to eat anything. So, in your hamster’s case, if you notice that it is eating far more than it does on a regular basis, it may actually be storing food for energy in time for winter when it is about to hibernate. After all, it needs the excess fat to keep its body well-nourished during its state of hibernation.  This will happen when the temperatures start dropping. As such, the best thing to do in your case is to keep the temperatures higher than 20 degrees Celsius so that the pet hamster won’t end up having to binge eat in time for winter. 2. Shivering Even before the hamster begins its hibernation cycle, you will actually see tell-tale signs that it will begin to hibernate. One of them is when the little pocket pal begins to shiver due to how the temperatures are starting to get colder and colder. Your hamster won’t be able to handle temperatures that are too cold, hence it will begin to hibernate when that happens. So, your best bet here is to keep your hamster’s habitat as warm as it can be without making it too warm. Your hamster needs to be placed in an area where there is enough ventilation such as a window but windows may end up becoming too cold for it.  What you can do in such a case is to provide it with a warm lamp that is capable of heating up its enclosure so that it won’t get too cold even when it is in a particularly cold corner of the room. 3. It starts to become lethargic Before your hamster begins its hibernation, you may notice that it becoming a bit lethargic and lazy. That means that it won’t be moving as often as it did in the past before the temperatures got a bit too cold.  There are times that it could mean that your hamster has simply fallen ill but, if it is still in perfect health, it could only mean that it will begin to start hibernating as soon as the temperatures become cold enough for it to hibernate. But before you assume that its lethargy is a sign of an impending hibernation, you have to make sure that it was completely healthy just a few days before the season got cold. That’s because its lethargy, as mentioned, could just be a sign of sickness. 4. Hamster hibernation temperature   Hamsters will only hibernate whenever the temperatures are getting cold. This usually happens when the winter is approaching because that is when the season gets too cold to prompt your little furball to start hibernating. Check the temperatures and see if they are steadily below 20 degrees Celsius. If yes, then the hamster is probably hibernating. However, if you want to check whether or not your hamster is hibernating or is sick, you may gradually increase the temperatures to over 20 degrees. If the hamster wakes up, then that means that it was just hibernating.  This might take a few hours to a few days but a hamster that was just hibernating will eventually wake up when the temperatures become too warm for it to hibernate. 5. Check for breathing This can be pretty challenging especially because hamsters that are hibernating are most likely going to be breathing very slowly to the point that they may sometimes appear to be dead or very sick. But you can still tell that they are breathing even when they are hibernating.  Just inspect the little guy closely and see whether or not it is taking short but deep breaths. If yes, then it just means that it is hibernating. You may also pick a hibernating hamster up but you will notice that it will be quite weak and limp due to the fact that it is dehydrated. Its ears and nose will also be quite cold if you try touching them but that doesn’t mean that it is dead. 6. Inspect its heartbeat Another sign of life that you should look out for when you think your hamster is hibernating is its heartbeat. A beating heart will always tell you that it is still alive but is merely in a suspended state of hibernation. But the problem is that telling whether or not your hamster has a heartbeat can be pretty tough considering how small these little furballs are. In that case, what you need to do is to place your forefinger and thumb on the sides of the hamster’s chest. Try applying a bit of pressure but not too much. When you do so, the heart will start beating in about a minute after applying a slight pressure to its chest. But be careful not to apply too much pressure as it can actually end up causing internal injuries to the hamster. 7. Its food and water will remain untouched Naturally, whenever an animal is hibernating, it will undergo a period where it will be in a state of suspension. As such, when that happens, they will become inactive as they fall into a deep slumber. They will not move around or even eat and drink. So, obviously, if the hamster is hibernating, it only means that it won’t be eating its food or drinking its water in that state of hibernation. As such, if you check its food and water and they remain untouched, that could only mean that your hamster has entered a state of hibernation and will not wake up until the temperatures begin to warm up again. 8. The hamster will become stiff The problem when it comes to hamster hibernation is that these little furballs will become so stiff whenever they are hibernating. In fact, they are so stiff that you might think that they are actually dead.  Their entire body will become so stiff that one would think that it would be impossible for its limbs to begin moving again. It would appear lifeless and may not even move even if you try to manipulate the hamster’s body into moving. That doesn’t mean that the hamster is dead. If you try to apply a bit of heat to the hamster’s habitat and gradually increase the temperatures to more than 20 degrees Celsius, you might soon notice the hamster moving its limbs again even though it might be weak and limp due to lack of water when it was hibernation.  9. It should feel cold to the touch Your hamster should not feel warm at all while it is hibernating. The truth is that it should feel so cold that you would think that you are feeling a dead body. But body temperature shouldn’t always be an indication when it comes to telling whether or not your hamster is dead or is just hibernating considering that this animal naturally becomes cold to the touch during winter seasons. However, if you tried to warm its habitat but it still feels unresponsive even after a few hours or a few days, there is a good reason to believe that it has fallen ill or may have even died due to the cold temperatures. That’s why it is always important to make sure that you don’t allow the cold to take your hamster as there is a good chance that it will end up dying while hibernating due to dehydration. [...] Read more...
Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete Guide
Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete GuideWhen I first got my Teddy, I didn’t have an exercise ball for him. I didn’t even think that would be necessary. But a friend helped me out and let me have her hammy’s old exercise ball. After a few weeks I got Teddy his own exercise ball. But that was when I learned most of the things I know about how much exercise a hamster needs, and how to help him get that exercise. That’s what I’m going to help you with here. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ?Why hamsters need an exercise ballHow to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ballPrecautions when using the hamster exercise ballDo not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long.Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball.Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls.Be careful what surface you place the ball on.Proof your apartment or house.My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ballHow to use a hamster exercise ballGet your hamster used to the exercise ballPlacing your hamster in the exercise ballPlacing the hamster back in his cageWhen to place the hamster in his exercise ballWhen to not place the hamster in his exercise ballA word on hamster exercise balls with standsHow to clean a hamster exercise ballWhere to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using itA word from Teddy So what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ? A great exercise ball for hamsters is one that will fit the adult hamster properly. This means that an adult Syrian hamster like my Teddy will need at least a 7 inch exercise ball, up to 9 inches. That’s 18 cm to 23 cm, in diameter. Smaller breeds of hamster like a dwarf or Campbell will do well in 5 inch exercise balls, up to 7 inches. So that’s 13 cm to 18 cm for your little hamster types. Another thing about the hamster exercise balls is that you should be careful that your hammy’s feet or tail don’t slip through the air holes. This can happen with the very large exercise balls, that are geared towards guinea pigs or ferrets. So inspect the air holes and vents carefully to see how wide they are. If it looks like your hamster’s entire foot could fit through there, then look for a size smaller. All exercise balls are made of hard plastic, so your hamster will be safe. Why hamsters need an exercise ball If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, then he’s very curious and want to be everywhere, and know everything, right now. He’s a very active hammy and I wouldn’t label him as a ”relaxed” hamster. He’s more like a border collie than anything, he’ll find something to do if I don’t give him something to do. So the exercise ball saved us both, especially in the beginning. He can roam the house as much as he likes. This is the first way an exercise ball helps your hamster. It gives him the opportunity to roam, explore, get into all the nooks and crannies he sees from his cage, and wander under your desk when you’re busy. Second, an exercise ball will help your hamster get more exercise than the running wheel. This is because the hamster has to push the weight of the ball as well, and that’s a great way to give him good exercise. He can’t run as fast as he can in the running wheel, but it’s a different type of workout. To find out more about the kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, check out my article here. Third, it gives him something to do. He can’t really chew at that ball from the inside, it keeps him moving, and he’s easy to contain. If you’re cleaning his cage and have nowhere to put him, try the exercise ball. This is what I do with my Teddy, and he always gets excited when he sees it. And fourth, they’re just so funny when they’re in that ball. This one is more for you than the hamster, I know. But you need a laugh every now and then too. A hamster in his exercise ball bumping into every bit of furniture, and trying his best to push the ball over that powerstrip cord is the best thing ever. How to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ball Teddy has a 7 inch exercise ball, and he’s had it since his first few weeks. The first one he had was a smaller, 5 inch one. Since he was a baby, it was alright for a couple of weeks. Back then he was the size of an adult dwarf hamster. But he soon started to grow and get bigger and longer, and once I was that I went to look for a bigger exercise ball. The one I landed on was a 7 inch version, clear plastic, with removable lids on the side. The way I could tell he was much more comfortable in this new ball was that his back was finally straight. When he ran/pushed the ball, his back wasn’t as arched as it was in the smaller ball. So that’s one thing you can look for, how arched the hamster’s back is. His back isn’t meant to arch backwards, it’s built for hunching and standing straight at best. If you notice your hammy having back problems consider getting him a larger exercise ball. Other signs to look for are how easy the hamster can move the ball from the inside, and how much his tail or feet stick out at times. If the hammy can easily move the ball, that’s good. Some resistance is expected, if he’s on a carpet. The ball moves easier on hard surfaces like hardwood or tiles. But if the hammy can’t move the ball easily, it might be just too big for him, even if it looks like he has enough space. Large exercise balls equal more plastic, so more weight. You hamster can only push so much, especially if he’s a smaller breed. As for the tail and feet sticking out, they will stick out a bit anyway. His claws and tail are so small and thin it’s hard for them not to stick through the air vents. Especially when he stops to clean himself, check something and sits down. But if the hammy’s entire leg can fit through an air hole, then the ball is not good for him. He can get hurt or catch his tail and that’s never good. Precautions when using the hamster exercise ball While the ball is made to protect your hammy, and it does that quite well, there are a few things you should be careful about. Do not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long. Best to put him in the ball several times a day, for set amounts of time. I usually leave Teddy in the ball for about 30 minutes, but not more. This is because the air inside is not very much, even with the air holes. Also, he has no access to water or food. If you see droppings in your hammy’s exercise ball, then you can be sure he needs a break. If you can’t see them, you’ll definitely hear them jingling. Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball. If he gets stick on some carpet, or corner, or charger cord, help him out. Otherwise he will panic. If your house is on at least two levels, keep him away from the stairs. The ball will protect him, but only so much. Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls. Maybe it’s not closed properly, or maybe he’s a genius, no matter. Make sure you close the exercise ball very tightly, and keep an eye on him. Be careful what surface you place the ball on. Hardwood and short haired carpet are okay. But a shaggy carpet, with long frills is not okay, since it can stick into his exercise ball. The hamster, being curious, will shove the carpet pieces in his cheeks to use as nesting later. That’s not good, ever. Watch out for dusty or unclean surfaces. Dirt and dust will find their way into your house anyway, but it’s important that you let the hamster run on a clean surface. Otherwise the dirt and dust will end up on him, and that can affect his health. Proof your apartment or house. The area your hamster will run around in needs to be safe, for him and for your furniture. So any corners the ball can fit into and actually get stuck in, should be blocked by a slipper or something like that. If there is anything fragile like a mirror, either place it somewhere else when the hamster is in the ball, or put some slippers or rolled towel in front of it. The ball bumping into furniture is incredibly noisy, so make sure you put him in a room where there is not much hard furniture, or try not to mind the noise. Teddy: In general, if you can’t hear the ball moving for more than a few seconds, you should check on your hamster friend. He’s either stuck, or up to something. My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ball I looked around and found a good exercise ball on Amazon. It’s the same size as the one I have, and it has a lot of air vents for your hamster to breathe. You can choose whichever color you like, but in the end all exercise balls end up with scratches on them after a few uses. Think of it as the polished armor on a knight. This particular ball is 7 inches/18 cm, so that’s the minimum diameter for a Syrian hamster, and the maximum for a dwarf type. So both hamster types can use this kind of ball freely. This kind of ball is easy enough to assemble, so there should be no problems there. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Once you get your hamster an exercise ball, whether it’s the one above or a different one, you’ll need to know how to help your hammy use it. So let’s get into that, so you can watch your little friend run around. How to use a hamster exercise ball This will be very intuitive for your hamster, but he might need some time to adjust at first. I’ll give your Teddy’s example. When he first found himself in a hamster ball, he was a bit confused. I made the mistake of putting him in the ball too soon after bringing him home. Teddy got used to the ball very quickly, and learned how to steer it properly in about a week. Get your hamster used to the exercise ball Leave the ball in his cage for about half an hour, maybe a full hour. Make sure one end is open, and the hamster has easy access to the opening. Place a treat inside the ball, so your hammy has more reason to climb into the ball. Let him explore, smell, try to chew on it. He will get used to it, and will probably climb into it fairly fast. After your hammy is used to the exercise ball, it will be much easier to get him into the ball. If he starts moving his nest into the ball, remove the ball, and leave the nest parts in the cage. It’s clear he’s comfortable in it. Placing your hamster in the exercise ball Once your hammy is used tot he exercise ball, this will be easy. You can do this 3 ways, depending on your hamster’s personality, current mood, and the type of cage you have. First, you can place the ball in the cage with a treat inside. Once the hamster climbs in, scoop the ball up and close it. This works best for cages that have a top-side opening, and a large one at that. It’s also great if you’re hammy is in a very feisty or irritated mood and can not be held at the moment, but you need to clean the cage. Second, you can  place the exercise ball (with a treat inside) with the opening on the side of the cage. It only works for cages that have side clasps. Then unhook one side, and slowly raise that part until your hamster can get through. Most hamsters will be so curious about the new opening they will climb right into the ball. By keeping the opening flat against the side of the cage, you’ll make it easier to keep him in place until you put the lid on. Third, if your hammy is very tame and is easy to hold, pick him up. Place him by hand in the exercise ball, which of course has a treat inside. This way you’re sure the hamster gets into the exercise ball, which makes cleaning the cage much easier. Placing a treat inside the exercise ball will teach your hamster to always be excited when he sees the exercise ball. After a while he will climb into it even without the treat. Placing the hamster back in his cage This is a lot like the way you got him into the cage in the first place. Place a bit of food in the cage and place the open exercise ball near that food. The hamster will climb out, and will enjoy his treat. If your have a cage that can lift the sides, place the food close to the side you will use to place the hamster back. So that when you lift the side of the cage to place your hamster back, he will see the food right away and go straight to it. Never force or shake your hamster out of his exercise ball. Try coaxing him out with a treat, or just wiggling a finger where you want him to get. He’s very curious and will go to check it out. When to place the hamster in his exercise ball First off, let’s talk about how soon to place the hamster in the ball after bringing him home from the pet store. You should allow him about a week to get used to his new home, in which time he will build his nest and get a sense of  normality. After that week, make sure you get the hamster slowly used to the ball by placing it in the cage like I explained above. Aside from that, you can place the hamster in his ball at almost any point when he is awake, but there is a best time. If you see your hamster very agitated, or climbing all over the cage, that would be a good time. He has a lot of extra energy which he needs to release. When to not place the hamster in his exercise ball shortly after he woke up when he is sitting on his hideout, scoping the area and being watchful when he is eating when he has low energy, and would be sleepy when he is sick and needs a lot of rest and water A word on hamster exercise balls with stands I had one of these, actually I still do. The one I have used to have a stand for the ball, and a second set of lids so the hamster could climb into and out of the ball when he wants. It sounds like a great idea, but there are a couple of problems here. First, the stand is meant as an actual stand. Not as a support for a spinning exercise ball. This is the mistake I made with Teddy, and after a couple of weeks, I heard the noise. Plastic on plastic eventually chewed down on the stand bits, and it started making the most awful screeches when Teddy ran in it. It’s not like a metal wheel, which you can just oil and it will be fine for a couple of weeks. No, the plastic one actually gets ground down to nothing, both the stand handles and the holes they plug into. Second, the hamster can somehow, some way, move its nest in that ball. This happened with Teddy, and I’m sure there are a few other people out there who had this happen too. The little furball moved food, nesting material, and a few droppings into his exercise ball, and used that as a nest. Which wasn’t so terrible, except when he started running. The contents Teddy brought into that exercise ball flew everywhere in the ball, and a bit outside. It actually woke me up a couple of nights. So do yourself and your hammy a favor, and only use that stand outside the cage. Use it as a stand to actually keep the ball on, without the hamster inside. (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 clean a hamster exercise ball The exercise ball will get a bit dirty, there’s no way around that. It will grind on whatever is on the floor, it will get all kinds of scratch marks on the outside from rolling around. Aside from all that, it will pick up a bit of dust or other small debris that need to be cleaned off. Make sure you use only hot (as hot as you can handle it) water, and the smallest amount of soap to clean the ball. Take it apart, and thoroughly scrub it down with hot water and a tiny amount of soap, inside and out. You can use the rough side of a dishwashing sponge, or a cloth, whichever you prefer. Be extra careful in the inside of the ball to not use much soap. The soap has a strong scent for your hammy, and he might not want to get into the exercise ball if he can’t stand the smell. The wash will also remove most of the hammy’s scent from inside the ball, so make sure you place a treat inside the exercise ball when you reintroduce it to the hamster. As for how often to clean it, it depends on how often the hamster uses it, and how much it’s been through. If you place your hamster in the ball every day, and let him roam for a half hour, then the ball should be cleaned often. Best to do that daily, since there a lot on the floor usually. If he only ever uses the exercise ball a few times a month, and for a short amount of time, you can even clean it every week. Where to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using it Wherever you keep it, it must be a clean, dust-free place. In a cupboard, or a drawer would be alright. Place it on its stand if it has one, and keep it somewhere the dust will not settle on or in it. Do not leave it on the floor, especially if you have other pets or children. Someone might kick it by accident, or a dog might chew on it, or maybe one of your toddlers will confuse it with a bouncy ball. A word from Teddy This was all I could tell you about our exercise balls. How to pick one, how to keep it clean, and how to put one of us hamsters in an exercise ball. We love to run around and play, us hamsters are very active creatures and we get anxious when we’re cooped up too much. So let us roam free-ish, in the exercise ball, so we can explore your home ! If you’d like to know more about us hamsters, and what kind of food we can eat, or how much water we need, you can check out the articles below.   [...] Read more...
Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?
Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?Debating whether to get your hamster a new home ? There are so many versions of hamster cages, and one of them is a glass tank. Now, you might be wondering if you can actually keep a hamster in a glass tank, if your pet will be comfortable there, and how easy it is to take care of a glass tank. Today we’re tackling this topic and helping you figure out whether your hammy will live on one of these or not.  Table of Contents ToggleCan you keep hamsters in a glass tank ?Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tankCons of keeping your hamster in a glass tankWhat to look for in a glass tank for hamstersThe inner corners and edges should not be gluedThe tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape)The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tallTips on buying a glass tank for your hamsterGetting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventureLook for used or second hand tanks firstGlass cabinets or displays are another option Can you keep hamsters in a glass tank ? Yes, you can safely keep your pet hamster in a glass tank, provided it’s a large enough tank (at least 40 gallons/151 liters). Hamsters are small animals but they do a whole lot of running and walking and playing and they need a lot of horizontal space. A small cage or tank will stress them out, so always get the bigger tank, if you have the option to choose.  A glass tank is not hard to find, but it’s usually going to be more expensive than a wire cage or plastic bin. However you can safely keep your hamster in a glass tank, as long as you keep it clean and the tank has airflow.  Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Less chances of draft for your hamster – hamsters are sensitive creatures, and should not be put in cold and drafty areas. A glass tank, with its closed sides, offers far less changes of a draft. But it can also mean there is less airflow in the tank if it’s too small. Again, a 40 gallon/151 liter tank is the minimum if you’re going to get a glass tank.  You can see through the glass, into the bedding – this is perhaps the biggest reason people opt for a glass tank. Compared to plastic bins and wire cages it’s far easier top see into a glass tank. You can observe your hamster, and if you’re lucky you might even see some of its burrow and tunnels if it gets close to the edge of the tank.  The cleaning process is simple and straightforward – a glass tank is easier to clean than a wire cage or a plastic bin. As long as you wipe it down with a mix of vinegar and warm water, then wipe it down again with warm water, and then pat it dry, the tank will be clean. Compared to wiping down a wire cage or plastic bin, glass is far easier to clean as a material.  Cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Glass tanks are harder to handle by just one person – these things are heavy, and easily crack or shatter. You have to choose your spot carefully, and ideally have at least one other person with you while moving the tank. And possibly while cleaning it too, if you need to move it again. Overall, I suggest you choose a spot that’s out of the way, and rarely ever move the tank from there.  Glass tanks can be very cold – this means you need to offer proper bedding for your hamster, to snuggle into something warm. It also means you should not place the tank directly on the floor, since that is always colder. If you have floor heating, definitely do not put the tank on the floor as the hamster might overheat.  Most tanks are smaller than a hamster would need – getting an appropriate sized tank isn’t easy. You can easily find fish tanks, but those are generally smaller. The minimum you’d need for a hamster is the 40 gallon/151 liter one, so it ahs sufficient floor space, and also height. You might have to look around a lot of pet stores until you find a tank you can use. Check my article on how to choose the best hamster cage to find out more about cages and glass tanks. What to look for in a glass tank for hamsters If you’ve decided the pros and cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank sound good, then great ! There are just a few things you need to look out for when deciding which tank to get. These are just basic things, aside from getting a large enough one.  The inner corners and edges should not be glued Not all glass tanks are made the same way. Some are cheap, and some are better quality. The cheaper ones will have glue keeping them together at the edges, which may or may not be a good thing. It’s a good thing because you don’t need it to be waterproof, but the glue can weaken over time, and worse, the hamster might be attracted by the smell of the glue and chew on it. Not all tank have their glue well hidden. Then there are glass tanks with frames, keeping each glass sheet in its place. Those are better, but also more expensive.  Or, if you can’t find any glass tanks then a glass display or cabinet will do just fine, as long as it’s larger enough. Those won’t have their edges completely shut, meaning that if you pour water it will leak through. But since this is a hamster and it will only need bedding, the edges aren’t much of an issue.  The tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape) Glass tanks are usually reserved for fish, and fish don’t need wire mesh or wire lids to keep them from escaping. But hamsters are rodents, and they are master escape artists. They cannot chew through glass (thankfully) and they can’t grew through semi-thick wire. So, you will need a lid for your glass tank.  Most of the time those are easy to improvise. All you need is some DIY skill, wire mesh that has very small holes (less than 1 cm in diameter), and a bit of time. You also need a wire lid or mesh if you’re using a glass cabinet or display.  Never use a glass lid to completely shut in your hamster. It needs plenty of airflow, if you close the glass lit on the cage you’re limiting its air supply. Also don’t use a plastic lid, even if it has air holes. While a hamster can’t chew through wire, it can and will chew through plastic. And if your hamster will get to the top of the cage and hand from the lid (all of mine did) it might start chewing onto it and you will have a problem. This is actually one of the main drawbacks of plastic bins by the way; their plastic is just too easy to chew through.  The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tall Your glass tank should be more wide than tall. Hamsters aren’t exactly climbers, but they will climb if they need to. Instead they prefer to run and walk, which means a lot of horizontal terrain. But, your tank should be able to accommodate your hamster’s habitat (toys, home, wheel, chews, etc) and a few inches of bedding.  Out of all the things listed, the wheel is the most important and should be as large as possible. The larger the wheel, the ‘flatter’ the terrain your hamster runs on, and the less stress it will have on its spine. The best wheels are always the largest (11-12 inches), regardless of whether you have a dwarf or a Syrian hamster.  You need to account for the wheel’s diameter plus its stand, and however many inches of bedding you’re going to use. I suggest going for a 15 inch/40 cm deep tank, but I realize this isn’t always available, even if it’s the ideal minimum depth. What you can do is get a slightly smaller one, and only account for the wheel plus its stand. There you can use a very, very small amount of bedding, and concentrate most of the bedding on the other end of the tank.  This way you can get a, say 13 inch deep tank, add in a 12 inch wheel (11 inches plus stand), and add some bedding so the tank isn’t completely barren in that area.  Tips on buying a glass tank for your hamster Just before you walk out that door to buy a glass tank, here are a few tips on actually getting one, getting it in one piece home, and how to get a deal or an alternative for the tank.  Getting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventure If you’ve found a glass tank, it will already be assembled. Fortunately most respectable pet stores can offer transport for fragile items like this. But if for some reason the store doesn’t, you will need to bring it home in one piece.  I’m assuming you have a car, or an Uber, or a taxi close by with an empty backseat. When you get the glass tank out of the store, it should be wrapped in something shock-resistant like bubble wrap (a lot of it!), and then perhaps placed into a large enough cardboard box. You might need 2 people holding the tank.  Never hold the tank by one of its sides, it’s heavy and the frame or glue won’t hold. Always hold from the bottom of the tank, one person on each side.  Once the tank is in the car, use the seatbelt(s) to secure it in place. You will hit bumps and take a turn here or there. The tank should be as secure as possible so it won’t slide around or bump into anything.  Once you’re home you will again need help bringing it in, but at least you’re 75% done. Look for used or second hand tanks first Glass tanks can get expensive (around $10-250), but they are easy to clean or disinfect in most cases. So before you go to a store, look around for sales, offers, or even second hand tanks. As long as the glass is not cracked, the edges are still holding together nicely, the tank is fine.  Some owners swap out their old tanks for newer ones, of a different size. Those will usually be fish tanks and you might have to scrub those a bit more, just to be sure there is no residue on the glass.  Glass tanks that are on sale or offer at a store might not be 100% water proof, but still good enough to keep a hamster safe. Perhaps the frame doesn’t attach to the glass perfectly and it leaves a 1 mm gap all around, allowing water to trickle out. For a hamster you only need the edges to be closed and inescapable, not waterproof.  As long as the glass is clean, not cracked, and the edges hold together well, the tank is good.  Glass cabinets or displays are another option Okays so what if you looked everywhere and you just can’t find a glass tank big enough ? Your other options are a glass cabinet or glass display. Those are usually tall and somewhat skinny, with plenty of glass shelves. Depending on what you get, they can be anywhere from $150 to $300.  Once you get one, all you have to do is lay the cabinet or display on its side, remove the shelves and the glass door, and you’ve got an improvised glass tank. These are never waterproof, but they’ll be good enough to keep your hamster safe.  The only down side is that you’ll have to take a look at the top and bottom of the cabinet. When you lay it on its side, does it keep the glass suspended from the floor ? Or is the glass making direct contact with the floor ? You want direct contact, otherwise the glass will bow under the weight of the bedding. But an easy fix for this is to get something like a folded blanket or foam mat to put under the glass, so it makes up for the height difference.  Overall, you’ll notice that a glass tank or cabinet is not only heavier but more expensive than any other hamster cage. But, it’s also one of the most durable (provided you don’t break the glass) and it offers your hamster more roaming space.  [...] Read more...
9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters Cool
9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters CoolSmall animals are very sensitive to high temperatures. This is not a problem in nature because small animals like hamsters find a place that is humid and cold and hide from high temperatures. However, hamsters who live as pets in captivity cannot hide from high temperatures and take care of their health. If the temperatures are high enough, the hamster faces a risk of heatstroke that can be deadly for them if owners don’t react immediately. Five minutes in a car at high temperatures can be disastrous. Leaving the cage in direct sunlight is also a big problem. To help their pets, owners of hamsters must take responsibility and find ways to keep their hamsters cool in hot summer months. There are many ways to keep your hamster cool and here is a list of the best ones. Table of Contents Toggle1. Move the cage to a cooler place2. Use a fan or air conditioner3. Allow the hamster plenty of water4. Fruit and veg treats5. Frozen towel or sheet6. Cool the hamster’s cage7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage8. Don’t travel with a hamster9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding 1. Move the cage to a cooler place Simple ways to solve problems are sometimes the best ways. If your hamster is hot, the best and easiest thing we can do is move it to a cooler place. Depending on the layout of the rooms in your apartment, some rooms will be cooler and others warmer. In some apartments, it will be the bedroom, while in others the bathroom will be the coldest. Take a walk around your apartment and find the room that seems coldest to you. If all the rooms seem equally warm to you, perhaps the best place to put a hamster kitchen or bathroom is if you have ceramic tiles in them. The tiles provide excellent insulation so they will not leak heat and will provide cool to your hamster. It is important that the hamster is in an airy room, but that he is not draft. An open window will help him get enough oxygen, but don’t put a hamster cage under the window so the draft doesn’t blow over them all day because that can be dangerous to your hamster. Also, never place them under or next to air conditioning. It is not a good idea to put a hamster in very hot places such as radiators, fireplaces, or stoves. Also, be sure to avoid caging in a busy room or near a TV or music system. Loud sounds and vibrations can be quite stressful for a hamster. Another thing you need to take good care of is to never leave the cage in direct sunlight. Hamsters are very sensitive to light, direct sunlight and are even bothered by bright artificial light. Natural light can help them maintain a sleeping cycle, but they are nocturnal animals so they do not like light or high temperatures. In addition, in direct sunlight hamsters, caves will heat up much faster which is by no means good for your hamster. The perfect place to put a hamster’s cage is in a room that has a lot of natural light but out of direct sunlight. The ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 C °. 2. Use a fan or air conditioner To cool the room in the hot summer months, you can use a fan or air condition. We know you want the best for your pet and that your goal is to help him, but by no means direct the fan towards the hamster, put a cage next to the fan or under the air conditioner. If you do this, you will create an added stress hamster to whom this will be too much of a temperature difference and can shock your little one. Also, if you place it directly next to the cooler it can be too cold for your hamster which will negatively affect him and his health. If you want to cool the room where the hamster is, place a fan at the other end of the room or remove the cage from the air conditioning. It may take a little longer, but the room will gradually cool down, thus changing the body temperature of your hamster without shocking it or causing other health problems. When using the air conditioner, do not reduce the temperature abruptly. Hamsters are bothered by high temperatures, but also by sudden changes in temperature, so cool the room by reducing the current temperature by a maximum of 5 degrees. If you lower the temperature by more than 5 degrees you suddenly risk the hamster being shocked and dying sudden temperature changes. 3. Allow the hamster plenty of water Like humans, animals need water to stay hydrated and regulate body temperature. The easiest way to keep your hamster cool is to give it enough cool water. Hamsters are not demanding pets. They are so small that they need about two teaspoons or 10 milliliters per 100 grams of their body weight per day. Since most hamsters weigh approximately 200 grams, hamsters typically consume 4 teaspoons of water daily. During the summer, hamsters may require more fluid. Hamsters can dehydrate very quickly, especially at very high temperatures that they do not tolerate well, so they must always have enough fresh, clean water. How much water a hamster needs depends on how the hamster feeds and how active it is. If he eats mostly dry food, he will drink more water. Also if he is very active he will drink more water than he would do at rest. It is very important that the water is changed more often during the summer months to always be fresh and cool for your pet. Cool water will allow you to control the body temperature of your hamster. It is best to give water hamsters with a water bottle that will allow them reliable access to water.4. Place the hamster in a ventilated cage. For the hamster to have enough oxygen it is recommended that his cage is made out of bars. Depending on your preferences you can buy a cage with plastic, metal, or glass bars. Holes between the grilles will allow air to circulate and enough oxygen for your hamster. Some owners prefer to keep hamsters in an aquarium, but in this case, it is even more important that the cage is located in a well-ventilated room. Glass tanks can prevent the spread of cage odors through the room, but keeping a hamster in a glass tank can have serious consequences. The hamster found in the aquarium can easily run out of oxygen as the glass can get quite hot and impede airflow. Ammonia produced in a glass tank can lead to respiratory illness. If you are going to keep a hamster in a glass tank you need to keep the tank in a well-ventilated area and clean it every week. Bar cages in addition to allowing oxygen to flow will prevent the smell from spreading from the cage. Wire allows keeping moisture from building up in the case and thus prevents the cage from stinking quickly. It is recommended to keep hamsters in a bar cage in a well-ventilated room to ensure that the hamster maintains a normal body temperature and that we do not make it difficult for him to breathe. 4. Fruit and veg treats During the summer we all like to eat cold fruit or ice cream to freshen up. You may not have known, but hamsters also like cold snacks in the summer such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You can cool them until they become slightly frozen in the center. The hamster has very strong teeth that will allow him to eat frozen food without any problems. For example, a cold apple or cold celery contains a lot of water that will keep your pet hydrated. You can also chill your little one with some of his other snacks such as barley, cashews flaxseed, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, potato, or sesame seeds. Your pet will enjoy his treats, and they will cool him down at the same time. However, do not give ice cubes to your hamster because the ice will be too cold for your hamster and can harm it. In addition, keep an eye on the diet of your hamster. During the summer months, reduce your intake of energy-rich fattening seeds, nuts, and grains. Instead, give your hamster more vegetables such as cucumber which is full of water, zucchini, a small amount of iceberg lettuce, and many more vegetables that are reached with water. 5. Frozen towel or sheet To give your hamster some fresh air during the summer months, you can use a frozen towel or sheet. A sheet may be a better idea because it is thinner and more air will be able to pass through it, but if you do not have a sheet, you can use a towel. Whatever you decide on, the process is very simple. Put a sheet or towel under the water then place them in the freezer until they freeze. However, if you opt for a towel do not place it over the entire cage but only on one side so that air can circulate. If you opt for a frozen sheet you can put it over the top of the cave. The cold that a sheet or towel will give will significantly reduce the temperatures in your hamster’s cave and allow your hamster to enjoy the summer months as well. 6. Cool the hamster’s cage There are several ways you can cool a hamster’s cage using items you probably have in the household to make it more comfortable. You can put ceramic tile in the cage to give the hamster a cool place in his house. Ceramic tiles are a good insulator and do not heat up as quickly as other materials so it will help the hamster to cool down. Although it will cool the hamster, it will not be too cold for him so it will not cause any problems such as illness. You can also create clay pots in the hamster’s cage. Simply help it and put it in the cave, let it dump, but not wet. You can also put a plain cup in the cage. If the hamster is very hot, it can hide in a cup and thus reduce body temperature. Some hamsters like to sleep in the cup because the cup cools them on all sides when they sit in it. You can also put the ordinary stone in the cave. Make sure the stone has not been warm before. If the stone is of normal temperature, it will not heat up so easily and will allow the hamster to cool down next to it. Be sure to clean the stone before placing it in the cave so as not to bring dirt into it that will bother your hamster. When changing the sand bath, put a little damp sand so that the hamster can roll in it when it is hot. Hamsters like to bathe in bath sand so you can give them a cool bath by freezing bath sand. Simply put it in a plastic bag, freeze for a couple of hours and place it in the hamster’s cage. You can put tiles, clay pots, cups, stone, and sand bath in the fridge to cool, and then put them in the cage. Try to put different things in the cage and observe what suits your hamster best. One of these methods he will surely like. 7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage Fill approximately half a bottle of water, then place it in the freezer until it freezes. It is best to put a frozen bottle of water in a towel or cloth and then place it next to the hamster’s cage to release the cold. Without a towel, a lot of water will leak under your hamster’s cage. Also, if you put a frozen bottle in the cage it can hurt your hamster’s skin so it is best to put a towel around the bottle. That way the bottle will still stay cold, but the towel will collect water. The hamster can reach the corner next to the frozen bottle and cool down if it is too hot. If you use a plastic bottle, never put it in the reach of a hamster, as it could bite it and spill water. This is an easy way you can help a hamster to keep him cool. Instead of a bottle, you can also use ice packs, 8. Don’t travel with a hamster To avoid situations where you expose the hamster to unnecessary heat, if this is not necessary, do not travel with a hamster during the summer. It is stressful for your little pet when you take him out of the house because he is not a hamster, he is not used to so many stimuli. In addition, heat can cause serious problems for your hamster. If you can’t avoid traveling, drive a hamster in the evening in an air-conditioned car. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid traveling with a hamster during the day, never leave a hamster in a hot car. No animal can tolerate a few hours in a hot car because it could quickly dehydrate and eventually die. The inside of the car can reach deadly temperatures that can be dangerous to humans as well, while they are often fatal to animals. If you must ride a hamster, be sure to keep the hamster safe from dangerous temperatures. To ensure that your pet is safe take advantage of all the tips we have offered above and thus try to alleviate the heat that awaits the hamster once he leaves the house. 9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding The type of bedding you use in your hamster’s cage can affect how hot it will be in your hamster’s cave. Paper-based bedding is better to use during the winter because it retains heat well and will keep your hamster warm. Aspen does not maintain heat as well as paper-based bedding which is a big advantage during the hot summer months when we don’t want anything next to us that retains heat. Also, aspen shaving can absorb up to four times its weight in moisture. Some consider this material to be the only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters that perfectly mimics the natural materials that hamsters use in nature. It is good advice to leave deeper bedding. When you have a deep substrate it is going to be cooler down in the burrows. If you have thin bedding your hamster will have nowhere to hide and the surface of the bedding will quickly gain heat. In the wild, hamsters make burrows on their own when they are hot, thus cooling themselves. Giving them thicker bedding will allow them to behave like in nature and make a kind of burrow. [...] Read more...
5 Surprising Places Where Hamsters Are Illegal
5 Surprising Places Where Hamsters Are IllegalMost of us are familiar with the little creatures called hamsters, but if you live in a country where hamsters are not very popular, you may wonder why that is and whether you are allowed to own one where you live. Although hamsters are seen as very gentle and lovable animals, they are illegal in some countries. These small animals can pose a threat to the country’s ecosystem. Throughout history, many imported animals wreaked havoc inside the country. When exotic animals are introduced to the country, they have a great impact on native animals and wildlife. This is the reason that countries will introduce restrictions, to preserve the welfare of the environment.  Table of Contents Toggle1. AustraliaAlternatives for pet hamsters2. QueenslandAlternative pets3. New ZealandAlternative pets4. HawaiiAlternative pets5. CaliforniaAlternative petsWhy do countries ban certain pets? 1. Australia The import and possession of all kinds of animals in Australia is strictly regulated by the 1999 Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and only animals that comply with the strict regulations are permitted to enter the country. Sadly, for all Australian hamster lovers, these little creatures are strictly banned. Anyone found trying to bring a hamster into Australia or discovered to be in possession of one breaks the law and is likely to be subject to a fine or punishment. According to Australian quarantine regulations, hamsters are listed as an invasive pest. Australia is worried about what could be happening to the ecosystem by an unregulated population of hamsters. The main concern about the introduction of hamsters into Australia is the possible effects they could have on the climate, native plants, and animals. Australia has dealt with the arrival of a variety of non-native animals throughout its history, including rodents, foxes, cane toads, and carps, which have caused untold environmental damage, pushed many native species to the verge of extinction, and produced agricultural and economic catastrophes. The unintended or deliberate release of hamsters into the Australian landscape is feared to have a similar effect. Hamsters are particularly likely to adapt to Australia’s extreme climate as descendants of desert species and reproduce at rapid rates, raising competition for limited food and habitat that is essential to native animals. Wild hamsters are also at risk of affecting crops and agriculture, further amplifying the issue created by imported rabbits, and although hamsters are small and relatively simple prey, there is just not a large number of natural predators who could manage a growing population of hamsters. Anyone caught trying to import or owning a hamster could face up to 5 years in jail, a $210,000 (AUD) fine, or both, according to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy. Alternatives for pet hamsters There’s always a misunderstanding in Australia about the distinction between hamsters and guinea pigs. Maybe it’s because people are not used to seeing hamsters, so the two are the same thing, but hamsters and guinea pigs are completely different animals. The good news for Australian people is that guinea pigs are absolutely legal and they still have the same adorable and affectionate personality though they are a little bigger than their distant hamster cousins. Australia also allows keeping a rabbit as a pet. The common house mouse or pet rat is perhaps the most closely connected alternative to a hamster in terms of size. These little critters may be kept in relatively small indoor enclosures, offering hours of fun for their owners as they investigate and interact in their surroundings. You may not have previously considered a ferret as a pet, but they can make an adorable hamster replacement. They are larger than a hamster, but in Australia, they are legal to own. 2. Queensland Numerous species imported into Queensland became serious pests. The cane toad, mouse, cat, European rabbit, and many other less common species are examples. These species cost a lot of money for Queensland and may have led to the extinction of many indigenous creatures. Infectious diseases, including exotic diseases, such as rabies, and other diseases that are harmful to humans, such as herpes B, can be transmitted by imported animals. The legislation prohibits the importation and retention of such animals as pets. Any animals would inevitably escape if there were no restrictions on the keeping and importation of possible pest animals. These animals can increase their number in the wilderness. All imported mammal species, unless mentioned as exceptions, are banned as pets. Cats, dogs, horses, goats, and several more are those exceptions. Hamsters are seen as pests and by that rule, they can be a threat to the environment and economy. It’s not just the hamsters that are illegal. As mentioned above, every introduced mammal species is prohibited. This includes Squirrels, foxes, rabbits, gerbils, monkeys, and weasels. Queensland sees these as exotic animals and cannot be imported into the country. Queensland issued a Biosecurity Act in 2014 that prescribed animal species as prohibited. These restrictions prevent the keeping of most species as pets. Alternative pets Unlike in the rest of Australia, Queensland banned many exotic animals to be kept as pets. As well as hamsters, ferrets, gerbils, and rabbits are not allowed. But they have no placed restrictions on cats, dogs, rats, and mice. Also, just like in the rest of Australia, guinea pigs are very legal to own. Guinea pigs are common in Queensland and they are the most common choice for a hamster replacement. Many places in Queensland offer guinea pigs. 3. New Zealand Many animals that have been introduced to New Zealand by the Europeans have been accepted and pets. That is not the case with hamsters. Unlike rabbits and rats, the hamsters were not introduced to New Zealand. The reason there are no hamsters there is that they are viewed as pests. New Zealand cares to protect its natural flora and fauna, so pests, or in this case hamsters, are not imported. The Ministry of Primary Industries explained that the hamsters and their risks have not been investigated, like other pests. They also said that investigation is a lengthy process and that they pose many threats to native species. The main reason New Zealand is so firm in its position is that the nation is proud of biodiversity and much of the economy of the world relies on the environment, which may be placed at risk by allowing any animals to reach the country. Pets in New Zealand must have been born, raised or lived-in countries deemed by New Zealand to be either rabies-free or rabies-controlled for at least six months before they are permitted to join the country. New Zealand requires many permits for importing pets, including cats and dogs. You won’t need an import permit if you come from Australia. Your animal will be quarantined for ten days. Importantly, certain breeds of dogs cannot be imported. Entry would be denied to the American pit bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Brazilian Fila. One thing to also remember is that New Zealand is a snake-free country, so they are definitely not approved by the New Zealand government. Alternative pets The best replacement for a hamster and a pet that can be kept in New Zealand is a chinchilla. But some chinchillas are unwelcomed in New Zealand, as well. You will need a permit for breeding chinchillas and if you want to keep one as a pet, the chinchillas have to be imported from Great Britain. Sadly, ferrets and guinea pigs are not allowed to be imported into New Zealand. Although, there is an exception for guinea pigs. They can be imported to New Zealand only if they come from Australia. You would need papers that state that the guinea pig was born and raised in Australia. Rabbits can also be imported and kept as pets if they are imported from Australia. There are also restrictions on mice and rats to be imported into the country. They can be imported in New Zealand only as laboratory animals.   4. Hawaii Hawaii has a very sensitive population of wild animals and plant life. The fear of hamsters is that they will migrate to the countryside and prey on vulnerable crops and tiny animals. There are several endangered species living on Hawaii Island and these delicate species may be jeopardized by some non-native species introduced into the wild. To secure the natural ecosystem and the environment, there are specific pet rules in Hawaii. They might create wild colonies and injure crops, native plants, and animals if hamsters or related pets were to escape into the field. Having been found in hamster possession, the pet will be seized immediately. You will also be served with a notice to never keep these pets again or pay a fee. Whether it wasn’t the first time you were caught, the authorities felt that you understood the law, but simply violated it. You will be charged with a $500-$10,000 civil fine, including the costs of the removal, handling, and maintenance of the animal. You could be charged with a misdemeanor too, which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The Hawaiian government is worried that, given that hamsters are appropriate for Hawaii’s climate, hamsters could easily establish themselves as an invasive species in Hawaii. If hamsters were released into the wild, they may have a significant effect on native plants and animals. The hamsters are not the only ones prohibited in the country. Gerbils can also not be kept as pets for the same fear as hamsters. Ferrets cannot be kept as pets because they have been known to carry the rabies virus, and Hawaii has been a rabies-free country for a long time. Many animals are banned in Hawaii. These animals do not have natural predators in the country, which poses a threat to the ecosystem and the food pyramid in the country. Alternative pets Hawaii does not have some unusual pets that you can see around the world. They mostly keep cats, dogs as well as pigs, goats, sheep, and horses. Lizards are also the most popular pets there. 5. California California has some of the world’s most strict pet rules, second to Hawaii. You could face a hefty fine if you are caught with an exotic pet or even a small one on the banned list and the animal would be removed from you without a doubt. The hamster ban is due to the threat of a new population of invasive animals. It might easily breed out of control if hamsters were to start populating in California. Local plants and livestock may also be affected by them. California has some magnificent plant life and wildlife that must be preserved by the natural inhabitants of this state. You will be charged with criminal prosecution with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in county prison and/or a fine of up to $ 1,000 if you are caught in possession of an illegal hamster. Fines and even imprisonment are very uncommon, but not unheard of. The typical consequence is that the animal is removed and sadly disposed of. Secure homes are usually found for them, but others cannot be sheltered and are thus put to sleep, unfortunately. But on the bright side, some hamster species are legal to own in California. This means that you would not face prosecution for owning them. These species include golden hamsters and dwarf hamsters, also known as Chinese hamsters. You can also hold chinchillas and guinea pigs. Although, you have to buy or adopt them from registered breeders and pet stores. Ferrets are also illegal to keep a pet in California. The California Department of Wildlife takes the view that escaped pet ferrets pose a serious risk to the rare native animals and birds. As a consequence, ferrets in California cannot legally be imported, transported, or possessed except by a permit given for a particular legal reason, such as medical research or transporting rescued ferrets. Alternative pets In California, it is perfectly legal to own a rabbit as a pet. They are also one of the most popular pets in the country. Rabbits are commonly used as an alternative to pet hamsters. Also, the alternative to hamsters is chinchillas. They are also legal to own in California. Californians are also fans of miniature animals, meaning they commonly keep pygmy goats, miniature horses, and small pigs as pets – and they are legal to own. Why do countries ban certain pets? When you think about exotic pets, the first thought can be animals that are very rare to keep as pets. These usually include animals that are usually seen in the wilderness and not suitable for living in a home. In most cases, people think about monkeys, certain parrots, lizards, spiders, snakes, and many more. In terms of hamsters, you might think that they are not unusual, and primarily see them as pets, mostly gifted to small children. As mentioned above, many countries do not see them as pets, because the animal is not native to them. Hamsters are found in Europe and have not been introduced in Australia or New Zealand. Even though they have the perfect climate for them to survive, that can be a problem. If hamsters reproduce and build their habitat in those countries, it means that some species may become extinct. Hamsters will also search for food, taking it away from animals that are native to that country. This is the reason that hamsters are seen as pests and exotic animals because they are not native. But hamsters are not the only ones that can be banned in a country. Many states restricted importing exotic animals for the well-fare of the country and the well-fare of the animals. The importation of animals to the country involves a certain level of disease risk. One or more diseases, infections, or infestations can reflect this risk as well. There are many steps that countries take to know which animals can be imported and which cannot. Regulations and restrictions vary from country to country. Some counties inside a state will have different regulations as well, but restrictions are mostly written as a blanket cover, meaning they are applied throughout the country. If you want to travel with your pet, it is best to research what are the restrictions for your pet in that country. Some will say that an animal has to be in quarantine for 10 days after entering a country. Many will require a bunch of certificates to ensure that the animal is healthy, while others will not cause a big hassle. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Attract Mice ? Or Other Pests Like Bugs Or Rats
Do Hamsters Attract Mice ? Or Other Pests Like Bugs Or RatsYou might wonder if your hamster is attracting pests, like roaches or mice or even snakes. The thing is, pests don’t come out of nowhere, they have a reason for coming to your home. So is it the hamster ? We’ll delve into this today, and how to rid your home of said pests. Keep in mind that sometimes you might have to ask a professional for help. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters attract pests ?Why pests might show up in the first placeAgain, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend.Keeping your hamster pest-freeConsider calling a professional to deal with a large infestationA word from Teddy So do hamsters attract pests ? No, hamsters do not attract pests. Hamsters do not attract mice, rats, bugs, snakes, or any other creature that might make your guts squirm. You might think that the hamster’s scent might attract other rodents like mice or rats. This is not true. They are very different species, and will generally avoid each other. The same goes for snakes and bugs. They will not come to you because you’ve touched your pet hamster. Pests do show up when the hamster’s cage becomes dirty, especially with dirty old rotten food. If there are bits of old food on the floor too, then that’s more incentive. But it is not the hamster’s fault. At all. Why pests might show up in the first place To understand why pests might show up in a certain area, we have to know how pests work. You see, the vast majority of creatures regarded as pests – rodents and insects most commonly – are opportunistic feeders. They eat what they can, when they can, if they can get it. As such, a nice crop of corn, for example, can be decimated by a brood of mice, a murder of crows, or a whole locus infestation. But what if you’ve got no such crop ? Well, some food bags in your garage might suffice. If you live in a house and you’ve got foodstuffs stored in your garage or other places in your home, those might attract mice or roaches of not stored properly. This doesn’t mean a stray bag of cereal will make a horde of mice come running. But a bulk of 30 boxes, left in a part of the house that has access to ares that aren’t usually well traveled – like a storage unit or garage or closet or basement – can attract them. If they can pick up the scent of the food, and the food is unguarded, and left in an area that people don’t go through often, then pests can come. Another possibility, if you live in an apartment building: your drawer of snacks can be very inviting. This is more difficult though, since pests don’t come barging because you’ve left an energy bar open in that drawer. But if the building or neighborhood itself has a problem – like possibly your neighbors 2 floors down having a roach infestation – they you might too. They will choose your home over other homes because it has the most unguarded food. Again, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend. But, if you do not regularly clean the hamster’s cage and bits of food and droppings often end up on the floor, pests can show up. They sense where the home is most unkempt, and they go there, knowing no one will be in their way. For example our neighbors have a pair of parakeets. They often leave them in their cage outside in the summer, to enjoy the sun and fresh air. In that cage there’s food, and the birds outside know that. We’ve chased away sparrows trying to steal the parakeet feed more than once. The same scenario could happen with your hamster too, if you keep him in a room where people don’t go much. Sometimes, it could be about something else, and not food. Pests, especially mice and rats, are incredibly curious. and hardy. They will poke and prod and push and try every little corner of the plumbing and outside until they will get inside your home. (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.) Keeping your hamster pest-free Alright, now we know why pests show up. Now we can figure out how to keep the home, and the hamster’s cage pest-free. Here’s a few ideas: Regularly clean the hamster’s cage, once per week. Make sure there is no stray food or poop outside his cage. Do not keep the hamster in a side room. So rooms like basement, closet, garage, storage unit, attic are not okay to keep your living, breathing hamster in. Regularly check the areas where the plumbing comes out of the walls. Like under sinks, bathtubs, drains, etc. Make sure no food has fallen behind a counter, which might attract bugs or mice Keep up to date with your building or neighborhood’s pests infestation, see if your area is clear Make sure your trash can and bags are stored properly, not left outside overnight. For the most part, pests will show up in areas of the home where you don’t really go. So any hidden, dark corner, especially if it connects to a series of tunnels like plumbing for example. For very old houses pests can be a serious problem, since they can infest the walls themselves, and weaken the structure of the house itself. Consider calling a professional to deal with a large infestation If you’ve already got an infestation, you’ll want to get rid of the creatures. While one stray mouse or bug can be dealt with easily, and entire colony is hard to get rid of. There are certain treatments for insects, or poisons for rats, there are even humane traps. But they need to be used effectively. If you’ve got a large infestation, you’ll want to call some professionals. This is mostly because of convenience. By this I mean you can always find the correct dosage for poisons online, or how to set up certain traps as well. But the hassle and time spent on ridding your home of pests is best left to people who are meant to do just that. And you can mind your day-to-day life as usual, until things have settled. Aside from knowing that you’ve got a warranty, in case anything goes wrong. Now I have no recommendation for you, but I’m sure you will be able to look up a team of experts in your area. Do tell them that you’ve got pets, and ask if they’ve got any pet-safe treatments. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies may be rodents but we don’t attract pests, and we’re good guys on our own. We do love to chew though. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below, to know how to care for us and keep us happy. [...] Read more...