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
image
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
Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster Cages
Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster CagesThe hamster’s cage is the most important purchase you’ll ever make for your furry friend. I know I made some mistakes when I got my Teddy his first cage. And I’m here to help you get your hammy the best cage ever. My Teddy is a fully grown Syrian hamster, but I will also cover the cage requirements for dwarf hamsters as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ?The best cage size for your hamsterCage size for Syrian hamstersCage size for Dwarf hamstersThe best cage type for your hamsterWire cages for hamstersA good wire cage for your hamsterPlastic cages for hamstersA good plastic hamster cage recommendationGlass tanks for hamstersA recommendation on glass tanks for hamstersSafety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cageHamster’s safety in his cageIs the hamster’s cage escape proof ?How to clean a hamster’s cageHow to place a hamster in a temporary holdingHow to clean wire or plastic cages for hamstersCleaning a glass tank for hamstersMultiple levels or one ground level ?The airflow of the cage is important for your hamsterPlacing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cageWhere to keep the hamster’s cage in your homeHow to safely move and handle a hamster’s cageA word from Teddy So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ? This depends on several factors, and I’ll list them here. Then, we’ll get into detail for each and every one of them, so you have the most information. So, you have to be mindful of: The cage size – different needs for different hamster species The cage type – plastic vs wire vs glass tank Escape-proof rating of the cage Multiple levels or a simple ground level Air flow – some cage types aren’t the most breatheable Whichever kind of cage you get, be careful to check every nook and cranny before you buy it. Or, when it ships to you. Your hamster will check it anyway, so if there’s anything wrong with the cage, best to know before you put your friend in it. Teddy: Us hamsters are very curious creatures, and we’ll get our little faces into EVERY part of the cage. So make sure it’s safe for us before you let us in ! The best cage size for your hamster It will vary from species to species, but I’ll cover both types. In general hamsters need more space than you’d think, since they’re very active creatures and love to run around. Even if you see your friend as the smallest ball of fur, he will still need plenty of room to roam and explore. Cage size for Syrian hamsters The best size cage for your Syrian hamster would 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. The height of the cage is not very important, because hamsters need more actual floor space than levels. Of course, you can get your hammy a cage with a few levels, aside from the ground floor. This is actually what my Teddy has. He has a combination of plastic and wire cage, with 2 attachable levels. I left the highest level out of the cage, so I can fit his 8.5 inch/23 cm wheel. Syrian hamsters are always housed alone. They are very territorial and will not share anything with another hamster, even a litter mate. Cage size for Dwarf hamsters The best size for a dwarf hamster is 18 x 10 inches, and a 12 inch height. That’s 46 cm x 25.4 cm, with a 30.5 cm height. That is for one dwarf hamster. You can house dwarf hamsters together, but not too many. 2 or 3 are enough, but for each hamster your add, you will need a bigger cage. So for example if you’ve got 2 dwarf hamsters, then they will need more space than I said above. They will need at least a Syrian cage, so that’s 24 inches by 12 inches (61 x 30.5 cm) for 2 dwarf hamsters. If you’ve got 3 dwarf hamsters, then you’ll need a much bigger cage. You’d be better off looking for a glass tank. We’ll cover that soon. The best cage type for your hamster There’s 3 main types of cages you can pick, and I’ll go through all of them. You can find combination cages (like plastic and wire cages), but not very often. Wire cages for hamsters The most common kind of hamster cage, and the one you will find in a pet shop most of the time. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll go through them here. This kind of cage is made up of a plastic bottom, usually about the height of your palm. The attachable wire walls, which are actually most of the cage itself. Although, the most important part is the bottom bit. That is where your hamster will live, walk, eat, sleep, and poo. The wire of the cage is just how far he can go. But the floor space is the most relevant part of your cage, to be honest. Good points for a wire cage: breathable, lots of air flow for your hamster easy to clean, just a wipe down with a warm, moist cloth easy to take apart and reassemble generally sturdy, will last a long time Bad points for a wire cage: can sometimes have metal wiring on the floor, and your hamster can get stuck there is the hamster’s favorite chew toy bedding can easily fly out of it wire spacing is often too large for hamsters, they can squeeze their heads through When it comes to the space between the wire of your cage, the smaller then better. The thing is, hamsters are very curious, and will stick their faces everywhere and will try chewing everything. If your hamster’s head can fit between the wires, then his body can fit as well and he can escape. So, for Syrian hamsters a maximum wire space should be 0.6 inches/1.5 cm. And for dwarf hamsters, a maximum of 0.4 inches/ 1 cm. The problems is that most of the cages your will find in a pet shop have the wiring too far apart. If they’re large enough for a Syrian, then the wiring is too far apart. If the wiring is good, they’re almost always just large enough for a parakeet, not a hamster of any kind. A good wire cage for your hamster A good wire cage is one that has a sensible wire spacing, This one’s got less than half an inch, so it will keep even dwarf hamsters inside. It’s easy enough to work with and you an fit any kind of hideout or toy inside, and a tall wheel will fit as well. It has the added benefit of an extra level, which hamsters will love. My Teddy loves to hide under the home level, and yours is probably no different. This one’s level is adjustable, so you can place it whichever way you want. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Plastic cages for hamsters These can be plastic bins that you can drill some holes in, and put a wire mesh in place of a lid. Or you can even find plastic cages at a pet shop, designed for your hamster. These are see-through, and are the second most common type of hamster cages. They’re usually a bit more pricey than wire cages, but they have the added benefit that they can be customized. Good points for plastic hamster cages: less bedding thrown outside the cage, contains poo and wood shavings better easier to customize, you can often find them with holes made for attaching tunnels and tubes less of a chew hazard, the hamster rarely chews on them since he can’t get his teeth on anything usually has a very large topside latch, so you can fit both hands inside the cage you can provide deeper bedding, since there is a higher plastic guard Bad points for plastic hamster cages: less airflow than wire cages or glass tanks, since the air holes are smaller more condensation or trapped air need more cleaning, since there is more surface to clean less sturdier than wire cages, careful when moving the plastic cages The plastic cages sound like a good option, and they can totally be a good option for your hamster. If you’ve got a hamster who loves to dig around and burrow, this might be for him. You can give your friend a lot of digging space and a whole bunch of bedding to roam around in. Just make sure that you get a version that’s well ventilated, so your hamster can breathe easily. As for the actual bins some people use in place of a hamster cage, I wouldn’t recommend that. The plastic is usually too soft and blurry, even if it can be drilled to get some air holes for your hamster. When it comes to basic, important hamster accessories like the cage or the wheel or exercise ball, or even the water bottle, I suggest you get a professional one. Those are made with the hamster’s comfort in mind. A good plastic hamster cage recommendation This is actually the cage I have for my Teddy. It has 2 levels, and they provide a lot of room for your hamster. My Teddy is a solitary adult Syrian hamster, But this would be alright for 2 dwarf hamsters as well. The best thing about this cage is that it comes with the tube attachments, which can actually fit an adult Syrian hamster inside easily. This is an easy to clean and assemble cage, with a great combo between plastic and metal cage advantages. There’s air, and there’s safety and containment as well. I removed the highest level so I can fit  9 inch wheel inside. The wheel that come with it, as well as the hideout I wouldn’t recommend, since they are plastic and small. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Glass tanks for hamsters A third and final option would be to keep your hammy in a glass tank. This is a great option if you have a lot of space in your home, and can place la large glass tank somewhere. There are some special precautions, though. Glass keeps cold for longer, so make sure you keep the tank in a definitely warm room. Hamsters need an temperature of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. A glass tank might keep them colder if not properly maintained. Good points for a glass tank: you can get them in a very large size, and will definitely fit any kind of hamster you have can be split down the middle with a large bendy bridge if the hamsters become rowdy you can see your hammy, but he can’t kick out any bedding can be found quite easily, it can even be a glass shelf with the shelves removed Bad points for a glass tank: cleaning and changing the bedding will need serious planning and will take more time more sensitive to temperature shifts you can’t move it around like a normal cage; the room you keep it in is its final room The glass tank is a seriously good option if you’ve got a room to keep the hamster in, and it won’t bother you during the night, and you can keep it an even temperature. Glass tanks don’t have to be aquariums. They can be that, but you can also use a glass shelf/display rack. When cleaning day comes, you’ll probably need a bit of help from a friend with this. But if you’re a dedicated hamster owner, you probably won’t mind the extra trouble to give your hammy the best home ever. The best thing to do is to find a wire mesh that you can use as a lid, on the top of your hamster’s glass tank. This is just a precaution. Most glass tanks are too tall for hamsters to climb, but you never know until they’re out. A recommendation on glass tanks for hamsters You can find a good glass tank here. It’s a 20 gallon tank, and that’s about the minimum for a hamster’s glass tank. The best part about it is that it’s tall enough the hamster can’t escape, and you probably won’t need a wire mesh to cover the top. Best to get one, just to be sure, though. The cleaning and washing and drying will be a longer process than the other cage types, but you can see your hamster clearly. When it comes to glass anything, it’s best to go there personally and buy it. Glass breaks very easily so don’t be surprised if that happens during transport. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this glass tank here. Safety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cage Another important aspect when you choose the hamster’s cage is how safe it is for your hamster, and how well it can keep him contained. Hamster’s safety in his cage Your hamster’s cage is his home. This is where he will eat, sleep, poop, run around, and just live out his entire life. It needs to be a safe place for your hamster. So let’s look at a few precautions to take: check for any sharp edges your hammy could hurt himself on, like some stray wires or sides no chipped edges if you’re using a glass tank the seams/corners are safe and can’t be chewed on, and have no visible glue that the hamster can gnaw on if you’ve got a multi level cage, make sure the levels aren’t too high so he can’t fall too far give your hammy lots and lots of bedding to shield him from  any odd edges make sure the cage fastenings don’t come open easily, and keep the cage top well secured If you’ve checked all of the above, and you’re sure your hammy can’t hurt himself on anything, then great ! Remember to keep the room temperature between 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit and he will be fine. Is the hamster’s cage escape proof ? Hamsters are escape artists. Not because they reaaaaally want to escape, but because they’re curious and want to know everything, If there’s something that smells like food, they’ll be all over the cage to try to get to it. If they see you they’ll be clawing at the cage to come and smell you. Hamsters are busy things, people to see, things to do. So they will try their teeth on everything, including the cage. If you’re not careful, he might chew through a cage fastening (depending on the material) and hurt himself and/or manage to escape. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your hamster can’t escape. if you’ve got a glass tank, use a wire mesh with metal clamps to fit it on top of the cage make sure the cage wiring and the wire mesh holes don’t have more than 1.5 cm/0.6 inch opening for Syrian hamsters for dwarf hamsters, make sure the opening between wires is no more than 1 cm/0.4 inches; Syrian hamster babies need smaller openings, like this one make sure that the cage fastenings keep the cage well closed and can’t be opened easily check the cage for any weakness that the hamster night chew on, like ripped plastic bottom or a small hole somewhere How to clean a hamster’s cage This depends a bit on what type of cage you own, but I’ll go through each type. Whichever kind you have, you must first place the hamster(s) somewhere else. So use an exercise ball, or transport cage, to keep the hamster while you clean he cage. How to place a hamster in a temporary holding If you can hold your hamster, then scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball or transport cage. If the hamster can’t be handled, then coax him into the exercise ball or transport cage with a bit of food he loves. He only has to stay there until you clean his cage. If you’ve put him in an exercise ball, make sure you keep an eye on him as well. Remove any and all toys and home and food bowls from the cage, until you only have the bedding. The cages are very simple, open the latches on the cage (usually on the side) and remove the top. Then, after you’ve removed everything but the bedding, look for soiled parts. If the bedding looks relatively clean and doesn’t smell, remove only the dirty parts. Use a rubber glove, and throw away the parts that need to be thrown away. Keep a bit of the old bedding and nesting material, for your hamster to feel more familiar. If you’re using a sand bath for your hamster, make sure you change and clean that as well. How to clean wire or plastic cages for hamsters As for the cage itself, it will need only hot water and a bit of soap. Small quantities of soap, since hamsters are very sensitive to smell. You can scrub the sides of the cage, or wipe them down, your choice. You can also bring the cage parts into the shower and give them a good cleaning there, just make sure your pat them dry with paper towels and especially the lower part. The bedding can get wet if you don’t, and will become moldy. Once you’ve washed and dried the cage, place the parts of the old bedding back onto the lower part of the cage. Put new bedding if you need to, until you reach a depth of about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm. Then, place back every toy and food bowl or accessory in the hamster’s cage. In his hideout, place the bits of the old nesting material, and some new nesting material in the cage. Do not place new nesting material directly in the hamster’s hideout. He will take it out anyway, and bring it back in as he thinks fit. My Teddy got quite annoyed when he found his hideout full of ripped up paper towel not the way he left it. Cleaning a glass tank for hamsters The bedding and toys need to be removed the same way as the wire or plastic cages. But the last bits of bedding will require something like a vacuum cleaner, to make sure you get absolutely everything out. The cleaning and washing part is done with hot water and a small amount of soap, but will need more rinsing with a moist clean cloth. You can’t bring the glass tank to the shower, but you can rinse it thoroughly with lots and lots or moist cloth. When you’re done washing it, dry very well with paper towels. If you want to be extra sure there are no hidden water droplets in the corner, use a blow dryer. Keep it a safe distance from the glass, at least 40 cm/16 inches and use a warm setting. After you’re done washing and drying the glass tank, place back the bedding and nesting material, with bits of old bedding and nesting material as well. Place the toys and hideout and everything back, and use this as an excuse to maybe redecorate the hammy’s place. Even if the glass tank is a glass one, do now use window washing liquid on it. The alcohol and strong smell will be harmful for the hamster, just stick to hot water. Multiple levels or one ground level ? This is entirely up to you, and the hamster will enjoy both. The thing is that hamsters need a lot of leg room, because they run and climb and explore new places. If you’re looking for a hamster cage that will give your hamster a lot of space, look for a low cage, with lots of space in width and length. This will take up a lot of actual floor space in your home. So, it depends on your home as well. If you choose a multi-level cage, you do give your hamster more room, and he will use the higher levels as well. He will hangout mostly around his hideout, so make sure you put that somewhere he will not fall far from. For example my Teddy has a multiple level cage. I took out the last level so I can fit his wheel inside, but Teddy uses all the space he has. When I gave him the extra level, he used that one too. A word of caution though. Hamsters can’t judge heights very well, so they will jump or fall from a high ground if they think it’s a shortcut. My Teddy is also plain silly and just forgets he has a nice ramp set up from his upper level to the ground level. He sometimes just jumps from the upper level (like 15 cm/6 inches) to the ground floor. He often just climbs up instead of using that ramp. That’s okay, he’s working out quite well. So if you get your hamster a multi-level cage, make sure your give the levels lots of bedding. And also, make sure the levels overlap a little, so he can’t jump too far down. This is because hamsters will use the actual floor of the levels as much as they can, so there is no point if giving them a ‘high ceiling’ type of cage. Hamsters spend most of their time on all 4 feet, and don’t need a lot of vertical space to stand. Just make sure that a large exercise wheel (9 inches/23 cm and upwards) will fit into the type of cage you have. (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 airflow of the cage is important for your hamster As with every living being, air is important. Stale air will give your hamster a lot of health issues, including lung problems, possible colds, and suffocation in extreme cases. To make sure your hamster gets lots of air, a wire cage is best. But to make sure the hamster won’t chew the bars, you need a plastic cage or glass tank. But with the plastic cage the air quality is often a problem. However a glass tank is often expensive. So what should you do ? Take a look at your budget, see which kind of cage you can provide your hamster and still be okay. Then, do the following: If you get a wire cage – keep it in a corner, away from drafts and in an even temp of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit If you get a plastic cage – place the hamster in his exercise ball more often, and use that time to air out the plastic cage If you’ve got a glass tank, the air will be sufficient but again keep it from drafts, and when the hamster is outside the cage remove the wire mesh to allow for more air If you hamster’s cage isn’t properly aired, the condensation and air quality will give him health problems, and we want to avoid that. This is especially important with the ammonia fumes from the hamster’s pee. Protect your hamster’s cage from drafts and any especially cold air. Placing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cage The hideout is where your hamster will spend most of his time. Place that in a corner, hidden from sight or at least under a bendy bridge or something similar. Hamsters will choose a very hidden and safe spot to build their nest, so put their hideout there. For example my Teddy often uses the most hidden corner of his cage to eat, under the upper level and blocked by paper tubes and bedding. To find out more about what kind of hideout is best for your hamster, as well as which kind of bedding is safe for him, check out my article. You’ll also find out what nesting material is okay, and how to take care if your hamster’s hideout. As for the toys and wheel, make sure you keep any tall toys away from the glass tank’s edge otherwise the hamster might climb out. The wheel can be anywhere in the cage, but make sure it fits into your cage. If it’s a mounted wheel, it will have to be attached to the side of the cage. A standing wheel can be placed anywhere. You can find my article on what kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, according to his size as well. You’ll also find out how to clean and acre for the exercise wheel, and how to acclimate him to one. The toys, whether they’re food bowls or chew toys or bendy bridges can be put anywhere. Anywhere in the cage is fine, as long as they’re not in the pee corner. Hamsters usually choose a corner to pee in, usually the farthest away from their hideout. So, in that particular corner I put Teddy a sand bath. It acts as a litter box, and it keeps smell down to a minimum. You can use an old hideout, with a removable lid, or even special sand containers. Your choice, as long as you put something there to contain the sand. Other toys, like the chew toys and climb toys you can find out more about here. You’ll learn about the kind of toys your hamster needs, and what to look for to figure out which he likes the most. And you’ll get some DYI ideas for some of them as well ! Where to keep the hamster’s cage in your home This is something you’ll have to think about for a few minutes, see where the best option is. Best not to move the hamster’s cage often. Hamsters are sensitive, and do notice and wake up when you move their cage. It won’t shock or scar them for life, but they do notice. That being said, I do move my Teddy’s cage every day, because of my apartment’s layout. During the day when he sleeps he is in our bedroom, and I never move him. But at night, before I go to bed, I move him to the kitchen where my girlfriend can’t hear him rummaging through his cage. Hamsters rarely make noise, and they’re very quiet by nature, but she’s a light sleeper. In the morning, we take him back to the bedroom and don’t disturb him for the rest of the day. Now, if you’ve got an apartment with a better setup than I do, figure out a place to keep him at all times. It’s best if it’s a room where he can’t be bothered by other pets or curious children when he sleeps. If you have a room for the hamster alone, then you can probably get him a glass tank (not taking the budget into account) since it will stay in one place. The room you keep your hamster in needs to be free of drafts, with an even temperature. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. How to safely move and handle a hamster’s cage The cage should not be moved often, but there will be times when you must do this. When this does happen, make sure you do not grab the cage by the top part, at all. Even if it has a nice handle to hold, do not trust it. Most of those are poorly build and will not hold that weight. Do not hold the wiring, since your fingers can become stuck, and the hamster will possibly chew them as well. If you’ve got a long sleeve shirt, keep the sleeves or any shirt part away from the wire cage wall. If possible, try not to bump the cage into the wall or drop it. Avoid taking it up and down the stairs, since you won’t see very well. Even more important, if the hamster is still inside the cage. In these situations use a transport cage for the hamster, and empty the large cage to hold it in an way you can see in front of you. When picking up the cage, pick it up by the lowest part of the bottom. Make sure your thumbs don’t stick into the cage or the hamster might nibble and you might drop him. When placing the hamster’s cage down on the floor, do not bend over, but kneel. This is easier on your back, and safe for the hamster as well. A word from Teddy I hope you have a clear idea of what kind of home us hamsters need now. There are difference between hammies like me (Syrian hamsters) and dwarf hamsters, but we’re more alike than different. Us Syrian hamsters need larger cages, and dwarf hamsters can do with smaller ones, but always add more space for each new hamster. For example my dwarf brothers and sisters can be housed together, in same sex pairs. But I need to be alone, I don’t like sharing my space or toys or… well, anything. If you want to know more about hamsters in general, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out more about why we eat our poop, and how much water we need as well ! [...] Read more...
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?
How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents ToggleHow often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well.  Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment. [...] Read more...
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...
The Surprising Reason Your Hamster Is Eating His Own Poop
The Surprising Reason Your Hamster Is Eating His Own PoopPoop eating is never comfortable to imagine, let alone witness. But maybe you’ve seen your ball of fur do that. Maybe you were confused and grossed out like I was. After catching my Teddy do this a few times, talking to other hamster owners, and doing some research, I found out why this happens. Turns out, there is no reason to panic, and there’s actually a very good reason this happens. Table of Contents ToggleSo why is your hamster eating his poop ?Changing your hamster’s diet to stop poop eatingThe nutritional value of night poopThe dry poop you’re used to seeingYour hamster could be pooping in his foodPlace the hamster cage to avoid a messA word from Teddy So why is your hamster eating his poop ? The short answer is that there are 2 types of poop. The regular, dry droppings that you find in his cage, and then softer droppings that occur mostly at night. When your hamster is eating his poop, he is eating the night poop. These are called caecotrophia and they are necessary for your hammy. His night poop contains a lot of vitamin B12 and it’s basically the only way for him to obtain that vitamin. Also, since some nutrients are not absorbed by their bodies properly on the first go, by eating their night poop they get more nutrients. The B12 vitamin is only produced by the hamster’s small intestine, but it can only be absorbed into the body by the stomach. So that means your hammy has to bring the poop back to the stomach by eating it. That’s the short version, and it sounds kind of icky. But that’s what it is, and it is normal for your hamster. Actually a lot of rodents do this, including the guinea pig, mice, and even rabbits. Changing your hamster’s diet to stop poop eating It will not work. This is something that your hamster will do anyway, since that is simply his programming from mother nature. He needs to digest and redigest some foods in order to get all the benefits. Even if you bring more nutritional food for your hamster, he will still need to eat his poop sometimes, because his body is made that way. He needs to digest twice in order to get all the nutrients. I understand that seeing your cute friend eat his poop might look and sound icky, but this is normal for him. So let your hamster eat his night droppings, since it is a normal and healthy thing for him to do. If you want to know what to feed your hamster in general, read my  food list article here. I’ll also cover what to not give your hamster to eat, and what treats he can have. The nutritional value of night poop Your hamster needs his night poop for one very good reason. Once he eats something, it passes through his stomach and gut, and he gets a part of the nutrition he needs. Once that food forms into droppings and comes out, your hamster will eat it, to bring it back to his stomach so he can get more nutrition from it. This is something your hamster does when he is a baby as well. When the baby hamsters are born, their gut does not contain the necessary bacteria to break down their food. Also, they do not immediately know what is food and what is not. So, they will eat their mother’s night poop, to get the bacteria they need for their own gut. And also to learn what can be food. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) The dry poop you’re used to seeing That’s the poop we all know our hamsters have, and the ones you see in their cage when you clean the cage. Those droppings are dry and hard, and sometimes your hamster might leave them in weird places. I’ve seen Teddy poop in his food bowl, hoard poop in his house, and store it in his cheeks sometimes. The oddest part was when we’d just cleaned his cage, and we knew there was no poop inside. After we put him back into the cage, we saw 5 new droppings. He didn’t have time to poop, but he’d kept them in his cheeks along with a bit of food. I’ve seen him sometimes throw the dry poop across his ‘room’, or even spit it out of his cage. It’s never funny to step on a dry poop and only realize it after a few minutes when you feel something weird on your sock. But it happens, and it’s part of owning a hamster. Your hamster will not eat the dry poop, since it has no nutritional value. Your hamster could be pooping in his food It’s strange, but you’ll find the poop everywhere. Everywhere. In your hamster’s food bowl. In his home. In his sand bath. You have to understand that animals, especially rodents, don’t care about their droppings as much as humans do. With rodents, and including your hamster as well as mine, the poop happens everywhere they live. You’ll find a large amount in his nest, since that’s where he spends most of his time. If your hamster’s cage smells, it’s not the poop. For humans the dry poop the hamster makes is nearly odorless. What smells is where the hamster pees, which will usually be in a corner. If you’re not careful, repeatedly using the same corner for his needs will make that corner very hard to clean. So I’d recommend getting some mineral sand for your hamster, and placing a few tablespoons in the corners, for easier cleaning. And to  trap odor as well. Place the hamster cage to avoid a mess This is something I’ve learned the hard way. I’ve always kept Teddy’s cage just on the carpet, and found out soon enough that the dry poop can cling to the carpet. Even if it’s dry, it’s a bit sticky. And depending on the color of your carpet, you might not know it’s there until you squished it into the fibers. So what I’d recommend is what I did, which is keep the cage on a piece of cardboard, or cloth that can easily be cleaned or even just shaken clean. Your hamster will probably spit out some dry poop around his cage, along with some stray bedding. And while poop is easier to get rid of, bedding is like glitter. 4 months later you still have bedding around the house, and you’ll find it in your pants as well. So make sure you place the cage on something that can be removed easily, and is easy to clean. As for the cage itself, check out my article on the best cages for hamsters. You’ll see the pros and cons of each cage type, and which have the most bedding spill-over. For more info on how to properly care for your little hamster friend, you can check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll get everything from what kind of food to what temperature he needs, and how to figure out what kind of hamster you’ve got. A word from Teddy I know this is not a topic you want to think about very much, but this is normal for us. We need the night poop to get all the nutrients we can from our food. This does not mean you’re not feeding us right ! It’s just that we have to do this, because of the way we’re made. I hope you’ll still see us as the cute ball of fluff you’re used to, and let us do our thing in peace. If you want to know more about us hamsters, and what the bet cage would be, or why we need a certain temperature in the room, and even why we’re night creatures, you can check the articles below. You’ll find more quality content on hamster care and facts. [...] Read more...
Are Your Hamster’s Eyes Closed?
Are Your Hamster’s Eyes Closed?Being a responsible hamster parent means being able to know how to properly take care of your hamster in both good and bad situations. When it comes to bad situations the hamster can easily suffer from several illnesses and health conditions. This includes conditions that their eyes may suffer. So, are your hamster’s eyes closed and, if yes, what is causing their eyes to be closed? Closed hamster eyes are also called sticky eyes, which is a common problem in most hamsters. This happens when the hamster secretes fluids from its eyes whenever it is sleeping so that the eyes stay moist. However, the fluid may end up drying up and hardening around the eyes of the hamster preventing it from opening them.  Sticky eye is a really common problem that hamsters often go through because it is simply one of the inconveniences that come with one of their natural bodily functions. But, even though it might only be an inconvenience, the sticky eye may still make life a lot more difficult for your hamster because it won’t be able to see. That is why you should know more about sticky eye so that you would be able to help your pet the next time it suffers from this condition. Table of Contents ToggleWhat causes a sticky eye in hamsters?How to treat sticky eye in hamsters?1. Hold the hamster gently2. Go get a cotton swab or a Q tip and wet it with lukewarm water3. Gently wipe the crusted substances off of the hamster’s eye4. Open the hamster’s eye in a gentle manner5. Preventing sticky eyeCan sticky eye kill a hamster? What causes a sticky eye in hamsters? At a lot of points in your life, you may have yawned whenever you were so sleepy and your eyes began releasing fluids that will eventually dry up around your eyes and harden. This is also common early in the morning upon waking up when the fluids that your eyes released while you were sleeping had dried up to form some sort of sand-like sediments around your eyes. Hence, that is where the sandman concept comes from. While you may have experienced this as a human, animals also go through a similar experience as well. Yes, this includes your pet hamsters and a lot of other animals as the sandman of the animal world also tends to visit them while they are sleeping. However, the difference here when it comes to you and your hamster is that it can be a bit more serious when it comes to your pocket-sized pet. When a hamster is sleeping, its eyes need to secrete a fluid that is meant to keep their eyes moist because dry eyes can eventually lead to serious health conditions. But the fluids secreted by their eyes will eventually dry up and harden around the eyes. When that happens, the dried-up fluid can actually shut the hamster’s eyes close like glue. Sticky eye is much more common in hamsters that are a bit older because of how they need their eyes to secrete more fluid. However, even younger hamsters may also end up suffering from this condition as well. Sticky eye normally doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age even though it is more common in older hamsters. As such, it is one of the most common problems that hamsters face on a regular basis. Still, if you notice that your hamster is suffering from eyes that have been shut closed, you shouldn’t conclude right away that it is suffering from sticky eye because there are still some other possible causes for its condition. This includes foreign objects such as dust that may have entered the hamster’s eye. Pink eye is also one of the more common reasons for a hamster to shut its eyes closed as those swollen eyes together with the regular discharge coming from its eyes will naturally force the hamster’s eyes to close. How to treat sticky eye in hamsters? The good news for you is that the normal sticky eye that hamsters suffer from on a regular basis don’t require immediate attention from a veterinarian. In fact, most sticky eye cases can be remedied at home even if you are not an expert in handling hamsters. All you have to do is to follow these simple steps: 1. Hold the hamster gently Get your hamster and hold it as gently as possible so that you won’t end up harming it. However, make sure that you are still applying a bit of pressure so that the hamster won’t end up slipping away from your hand and run away. You need to make sure that you are holding it firmly so that the little fella won’t be able to escape from you but, at the same time, won’t feel like you are hurting it. 2. Go get a cotton swab or a Q tip and wet it with lukewarm water Find a cotton swab or a Q tip in your home and wet it with lukewarm water. If you don’t have a Q tip in your household, you may use a washcloth but you should make sure that you are using a clean washcloth and that it should also be wet with lukewarm water. The Q tip or the washcloth will serve as your main cleaning tool for treating your hamster’s sticky eye. 3. Gently wipe the crusted substances off of the hamster’s eye At this point, you may be asking why can’t we just pull the hamster’s eyelids open or try to scratch the crusted substances off the eyes of the hamster. Well, the reason why we aren’t doing that is that the substance has become similar to glue in the sense that forcing the eyelids apart can possibly damage the hamster’s eyes. As such, what we need to do here is to use the Q tip or the washcloth to gently wipe away the crusted substances. The moisture from the wet Q tip or cloth will soften the dried up substance to make it easier for you to wipe it off the eyes of your hamster. Gently break the substance down until it is easier and easier for you to wipe it away. In some cases, holding the Q tip or washcloth on the eyes of your hamster may already be enough for the substance to soften up to the point that the hamster will be able to open its eyes again. However, if the hamster doesn’t open its eyes even after a few minutes, you have to wipe the substance off of its eyes using a gentle brushing stroke that won’t hurt the little fella. 4. Open the hamster’s eye in a gentle manner If the hamster doesn’t open its eye by itself after you have washed away the dried up fluids around its eyelids, you may have to open its eyes yourself. Trust us when we say that some hamsters are too afraid to open their eyes thinking that the dried-up substance is still there. In such a case, what you need to do is to gently pull the eyelids apart using your fingers. However, if you are finding it difficult to do this or if the hamster is resisting, stop right there. Go get another Q tip or washcloth and repeat the same process over and over again because there might be some stubborn dried up fluids that you probably missed the first time around. Repeat the same steps until it becomes easier for you to open the hamster’s eyelids using your fingers or until the hamster itself will be willing enough to open his eyes by itself. 5. Preventing sticky eye After you have treated the hamster’s sticky eye, the best way for you to prevent it from happening again is to make sure that you regularly wash around its eyes. This allows you to prevent the buildup of any dried up fluid.  However, if the problem still persists or if your hamster is quite prone to this condition, you may have to bring it to a vet so that your hamster can get checked for any other possible reason why it is getting sticky eyes more often than most other hamsters. Can sticky eye kill a hamster? Another good news about hamster sticky eye is that it is not fatal or even very harmful to the hamster on a regular basis. In most cases, sticky eye is an inconvenience that will prevent your hamster from being able to see because it can’t even open its eyes. However, this can be a precursor to other more serious problems such as when your hamster can’t eat or drink water because it can’t even see. In some cases, your hamster may even find itself bumping into objects due to their impaired eyesight. That is why you have to make sure that you treat sticky eye as soon as possible even though it generally isn’t very harmful much less fatal. [...] Read more...
5 Best Hamster Cages For Syrian And Dwarf  (An Owner’s Opinion)
5 Best Hamster Cages For Syrian And Dwarf (An Owner’s Opinion)Looking for the best hamster cage for your little furball ? I was too, and I’ve changed 3 cages until I got to the one Teddy currently has. You already know about the poorly made pet store cages, too small for even one Dwarf hamster, let alone a Syrian. You’ll be very pleased to know that there’s many options for hamster cages out there, many of them big enough. I’ve looked around and found the best 5 hamster cages that you can order online. And you’ll be able to see their pros, cons, and a comparison between all 5. Let’s get to it ! Table of Contents ToggleA short comparison of all 5 hamster cages1. The best cage for curious, exploring hamstersThe pros:The cons:2. Simple, safe, large cage for Syrian hamstersThe pros:The cons:3. All-around great cage both for Syrian and Dwarf hamstersThe prosThe cons4. A great option for lots of substrate, or a digging hamsterThe prosThe cons5. The best aquarium for escape-artist hamstersThe prosThe consBonus: try to find a glass cabinet as a cage for your hamsterA word from Teddy A short comparison of all 5 hamster cages You’ll find here all 5 hamster cages compared side by side. I think it’s always going to be very helpful to see things compared side by side. Once you’re done reading this table you’ll find each cage discussed in very much detail in the rest of this article. For mobile users, you can navigate this table by swiping left or right on it.   Lixit w/tubes Lixit simple Prevue simple Ferplast (clear) Glass Aquarium Image Size in sq in/cm 630 sq in/ 4080 sq cm 630 sq in/ 4080 sq cm 617.5 sq in/ 3983.8 sq cm 339.8 sq in/ 2192 sq cm 288 sq in/ 1858 sq cm Escape- proof yes yes yes yes yes Air flow 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% Best for explorer types runners, climbers runners, climbers diggers escape artists Material wire, plastic wire, plastic wire, plastic wire, plastic glass Price on Amazon check here check here check here check here check here   1. The best cage for curious, exploring hamsters This cage is big, large enough to fit either a Syrian, or 2 Dwarf hammies. The more Dwarves you have, the more space you need, even if they seem to be getting along just fine. This cage has pretty much everything. It’s got tunnels, it’s got catwalks (close to the ground though), it’s got several huts, and comes with all the necessary accessories. In terms of actual size it measures 31.5 x 20 x 20 inches. That’s 80 x 51 x 51 cm. Get a measuring tape and try to imagine that. It’s going to take up a lot of space wherever you put it. This means your hamster is going to be a-okay, with room to spare. After all, no cage is too big for hammies and that’s where they’re going to live their entire lives. There is the ground level, which is conveniently plastic and the sides are tall. So your hamster’s going to have a lot of room to dig around, if you decide to fill up the lower part with bedding. You can find great hamster bedding here, and what to look out for. All picked out by someone who actually owns a hamster. Back to the cage, if you decide to fill up the lower part, then your hamster’s going to dig around, but you’ll find lots of it on the floor. I did this with my Teddy and he’s not very impressed, since he likes to run rather than dig. If your hammy is like mine, then you can simply add a bit of bedding on the floor and insert a large hamster wheel for him to get all his exercise. The pros: Very large cage, lots of room for your hammy to run around in and dig around and do whatever a hamster does. Bars are very close together, and your hammy won’t be able to squeeze his way out of the cage. Lots of accessories, like the tunnels and the catwalks and the upper house. Adds variety to the hamster’s routine. Easy to carry from one place to another, since it’s got sturdy handles. Just make sure you’ve secured the latches on the sides tightly. The cons: The hamster wheel it comes with is too small, and a bit flimsy. I recommend looking for a better one. The food bowl and water bottle are fine. Mind the tunnels, they can block up with bedding if you add some in the upper green house. Overall, I think this cage is pretty much a villa. I see no problems that can’t be amended by a resourceful and creative hamster owner. It’s a pricey item, but it’s going to last the hamster’s entire life. You’ll be avoiding lots of heartache, frustration and money poorly spent if you go with a big cage from the get-go, instead of switching up cages and wasting money. You can check out the listing for this cage on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 2. Simple, safe, large cage for Syrian hamsters Another large cage, but it’s a bit smaller than the one before. Produced by the same brand. It’s much simpler, no external tubes or other overly fancy accessories. It does come with a wheel, upper level, lots of room to add bedding like before, and water and food bowls. I think this is the simplest hamster cage you can find that’s also very large. It measures 20 x 31.5 x 15 inches, which is 51 x 80 x 38 cm. Like the one before, it’s going to take up a lot of space in the house but you’re getting this for your little hammy, and this is where he’s going to stay all his life. Now, I recommend this for Syrian hamsters because the bar spacing seems to be a little wider than the one before. It’s still pretty close, so I guess you could try it for a Dwarf pair. Just make sure to look it over for any possible gaps the tiny things could escape through. Another thing that needs mentioning is that the upper level (or half level) is made out of wire as well. So any kind of bedding you might add there will most probably end up on the ground floor. The pros: Very large cage, rather on the wide side than tall. Hamsters prefer low cages anyway, so this is a plus. Deep lower part, good for filling with bedding so the hammy can dig if he likes. Or to add a large wheel for him to run in. Wires very close together, very hard to escape. Very breathable, since 80% of it is wire and allows for much airflow. Easy to transport, as this one has handles as well. The cons: Almost all the accessories it comes with are too small or not meant to be plastic. The water bottle is alright, as is the food bowl. The upper floor would need a fleece lining to keep the hammy warm, or some other such modification Overall I think this cage proves that if you’re patient and take some time to look around, you can find good quality hamster cages. Finding a large one that’s got the proper bar spacing is a bit of a task, since most are meant for rabbits or guinea pigs. A great cage to use for your hamster, without all the extra accessories. Many hamster toys can be DYIed, and they seem to absolutely love cardboard tubes. This cage is a bit cheaper than the one with the tubes before, but still on the more expensive end. You can check the listing on Amazon for this cage, and read the reviews as well. 3. All-around great cage both for Syrian and Dwarf hamsters One of the best cages both for Syrians and for Dwarf hammies, this cage looks much simpler than the ones before. However the upper level is adjustable, and the ramp leading up to it is very well made, and the plastic seems very sturdy. This cage, too, has a deep bottom portion which can be filled with lots of bedding if you wish. This also means you can add a large wheel in there for your hammy to run around in. In terms of size, this cage is 32.5 x 19 x 17.5 inches, which is 82.5 x 48 x 44.5 cm. So, just a tad bit smaller than the ones we looked at before. However this cage is much cheaper than the first two, being more of a mid-range one. Still large, and very well thought out. The wire spacing is very small, which again is a plus. It’s also got 2 main entrances. One from above, and one from the side. Both are very large/wide, which means you can comfortably fit both hands into the cage. This is makes taming the hamster much easier, since you can easily teach him to stay in both hands. The pros Very tight wire spacing, practically no way for the hammy to escape. Roomy, lots of space for the hamster to run around in and for many toys to be placed. Deep bottom, can fit a large wheel or lots of bedding. The upper level is adjustable, which I think will help in furnishing the cage Breathable, allows much air flow. The cons Comes with no accessories aside from the upper level and ramp, you will need to provide food bowl and water bottle. I barely found any cons for this cage, since it’s so well thought out. I know I mentioned the lack of accessories as a con, but in some cases they’re mostly useless anyway. It;s probably better that it comes just by itself. Overall I think this is a great cage, both in terms of size, safety for the hamster, and budget as well. It can’t connect to tunnels, so you’re going to need to entertain your hammy with toys placed inside. Still, it’s such a great compromise between size and budget that I have hardly a thing to reproach. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 4. A great option for lots of substrate, or a digging hamster If your hamster’s a digger, then he’s going to need lots of bedding/substrate to dig through. More on that here. This particular cage fits very well for such a hamster. Yes, it has a deep bottom like the other cages. But, it’s also transparent, which means you can also see the little guy when he starts meandering about. Another thing that makes this cage the best one possible for digging hams is the fact that its upper level manages to keep in any stray bits of bedding that may fly out when the hamster is digging. There are two main exits/entrances onto the upper level. One very large, in the middle, complete with a raised ledge. And another, smaller one to which you can also connect a nice ladder for your hammy to use. In terms of size, the whole cage is 23.6 x 14.4 x 11.8 inches. That’s 60 x 36.5 x 30 cm, so this makes it the smallest cage, so far. It’s still a large cage, and you can also fit a large wheel if you don’t want to fill the lower part with bedding. (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 pros Large enough cage, can fit a Syrian or two Dwarf hammies well enough. The transparent lower half lets you see the hamster at all times. Very well thought out digging space, if you choose to use it. Sturdy upper level. Can easily connect to other cages or tubes, since it has an opening. Can be closed if desired. Breathable, lots of air flow. The cons Wheel is too small and flimsy, so I recommend getting a large one, especially is you own  Syrian The hut is plastic, which is not alright in the long run. I recommend looking for a wooden one. Overall I think this cage is a great one if your hamster loves to dig, or if you just want to be able to see your hamster at all times. Or, as much as you possibly can. The opening for tubes is a nice touch, I have to admit. It comes with a cap that can block it if you wish. But if you want to connect it to anything else, then you’re going to need to buy the tubes separately. Unless you already have them. All in all, a great hammy cage. Similar in price to the simple cage we talked about before, slightly cheaper. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 5. The best aquarium for escape-artist hamsters Ah, now we come to the ultimate hamster cage. If he’s a notorious escape artist and has somehow learned to open latches and wire doors by himself, then this will keep him in. There is nothing for the hamster to climb, no bars for him to hang from, and he can’t possibly jump that high. It’s pretty much escape-proof, no matter what kind of hamster you have. It’s a 20 gallon/75.7 liter tank, so it’s got lots of space for your hammy. For measurements, it’s 24 × 12 × 16, which is 71 x 30.5 x 40.6 cm. About as big as the first two cages we were looking at in the beginning. If you secure the top with a wire mesh (easy to find in a crafts store) then you’re going to have the best hamster cage out there. This is a much heavier item than anything else we’ve discussed so far, so you’ve been warned. It’s also made entirely of glass, so shipping could be an issue if ti’s not properly packed. The pros Transparent, can see you hamster at any time. Escape-proof, there is nothing to squeeze through or use to climb out. Wire mesh can be easily fitted on top to further proof it. The cons Heavy, not easy to maneuver. Cleaning will take more time Less airflow than a wire cage. Still alright, but there is a difference Fragile, being made of glass Overall I think this aquarium is a great way to contain a hamster with wanderlust. Finding and securing the wire mesh is easy enough, so that won’t really be a problem. As long as you don’t fill up the tank with too much bedding, the hamster won’t be able to jump high enough to reach the edge anyway. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Bonus: try to find a glass cabinet as a cage for your hamster As a bonus, I’m going to recommend you find a very large, tall and thin glass cabinet. Many companies offer this kind of item, so I won’t be directing you one way or another. Just make sure that if you do look for such a cabinet, its sides are well sealed, and there is no way your hamster could escape. You’re meant to lay the cabinet on its side, with the glass door facing up. This means its height will become its length. Remove the glass panes that make up the shelves, and you’ve got yourself a very large, very long hamster cage. It’s the kind of item you have to go to a furniture shop to inspect thoroughly and bring home yourself (or arrange for transport), but it’s worth the time. Your hamster’s going to have a ridiculously large home, and he will be thankful. This is a very heavy item, and very large, so make sure you have enough space in your home to fit one of these in a room. Wherever you decide to place it, that’s where it’s going to stay since it’s not exactly easy to move around. I have no link for you, but if you look up the Detolf cabinet from Ikea, you should have a good idea about what you’re looking for. A word from Teddy I hope you found some great options in this article. I know us hammies are so very small, but we need a lot of space to run around in and play. Especially if there’s more than one of us, like with Dwarf hamsters. Us hammies are a very energetic bunch, so we cover a lot of space in a short amount of time. Providing us with lots of ground space is going to make us much happier than a multi-level cage. If you want to know more about us hamsters, and how to keep us safe and happy, you can check the related articles below. 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