When I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat cheese like I saw in Tom & Jerry. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge !
So can my hamster eat dairy ?
The short answer – yes, hamsters can eat some types of dairy. But in a small amounts, and only certain kinds. Some dairy products are safe for hamsters, some can cause digestive problems.
Lactose content plays a major role in how well mammals respond to dairy, and hamsters fall into the mammal category. Not all milk-based products are okay for hammies.
This is due to the small size of hamsters, and their different gut than humans. Hamsters can tolerate some kinds of dairy, and I’ll cover the main kinds in the rest of the article.
Hamsters can eat cheese
Cheese is safe for hamsters, both regular cheese and white/cottage cheese, including feta.
This is mostly because the fermenting process ends in a product that is safe to consume for most creatures. The lactose content in cheese is much smaller than in regular milk.
The gut has an easier time processing cheese than any other dairy product, since there’s less lactose in it.
You’ve seen Jerry in the cartoons go nuts over a bit of cheese. Well, hamsters love cheese just as much as mice do, since they’re not so distantly related after all. Also, the strong smell makes hammies want to go for it instantly.
You can see my Teddy in the first photo of this article, happily munching on a bit of Gouda. The first time he even smelled it, he was all over it.
So yes, hamsters can eat cheese, and their stomach is okay with it. Be sure to give your hamsters mild cheese that is not very aged. Overly smelly (pungent) cheese may sit badly with them, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano.
Soft cheeses like brie, or washed rind cheeses have a mold or bacteria culture that may be unsafe for hamsters, so try and avoid giving them to hamsters.
Hamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurt
Yogurt is another story here. The probiotics are a welcome bonus, and it will help with digestive problems. However with hamsters it’s the bacteria culture that can cause trouble.
You see, hammies have a different kind of stool than humans. The only reason hammies ever have a wet stool is if they’re very very ill and this is not something okay for them.
So I’m not saying giving your hamster yogurt will give him a runny stool. But I am saying that yogurt may cause bloating and digestive problems for your hamster.
Which is why I recommend that you don’t give your hamster yogurt often, or in large amounts. Something like half a teaspoon is enough, and it should not be given more than once per week.
Hammies will eat many things that are not okay for them. They can’t really know the difference between the foods unless they try it, so they rely on you to keep them safe.
You will find yogurt listed as an ingredient for some treats for hamsters. That’s usually alright, since it’s in a small amount, and mostly there’s powdered milk where it says yogurt. Actual, natural yogurt does not keep and can’t be used in most treats.
Hammies should avoid milk
When it comes to milk, I recommend you avoid it completely for your hamster. The amount of lactose is the highest in milk, and it’s the one most likely to give your hamster a bad tummy.
Hamsters only suckle from their mothers until they’re 3-4 weeks old. After they’re weaned, like most mammals, they can’t process lactose and will have trouble digesting it.
Most everyone has a degree of lactose intolerance, some more extreme, some more manageable. Younger mammals, like baby hamsters or humans can process it well enough.
Adult humans or hamsters can’t stomach milk and will have trouble with it.
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Commercial hamster food has enough mineral content
You can feed your hamster with things you’ve already got around the house. Like meat, and veggies, and some cheese. You can find a list of safe foods for your hamster right here.
But it’s both easier and more nutrition-conscious of you to feed your hammy a pre-made food mix, that will give your hamster enough to cover the basics.
Commercial food mixes do have a high enough mineral content, which is something you might think you’re helping your hamster get with extra cheese or yogurt.
A good food mix like this one is going to help your hamster cover all his bases. You’ve got protein, veggies, vitamins, fibers, and minerals. And the selection in this bag is very wide, so your hamster can choose whatever he like.
Be warned though, that hamsters can become very picky with their food, and they might ignore bits of the mix sometimes. That’s okay, you can add a peanut here, a walnut there, and make sure your hammy gets all the nutrition he needs.
You’ll find the Amazon listing for this food mix here, and you can check out the reviews as well.
You can supplement your hammy’s food with whatever you have on hand as is okay for him to eat. For example I give my Teddy a small bit of cooked chicken, or cooked egg white whenever we’re cooking, er even a bit of carrot.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might want to eat everything, but only some kinds of dairy are okay. For example I love Gouda, and Maasdam cheese, but maybe your hammy likes Cheddar better ?
If you want to know more about us hamster you should check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like how large a cage we need, and why we sometimes freeze when you walk by us.
- Eye Infections In Hamsters (And Other Eye Problems)Eye problems can be common in hamsters, like in most animals. Since hamsters are so small, it’s important to know how to help your furry friend. Not only with an infection, but with any other eye problems as well. Read on to find out how to help your hamster when and if he develops eye problems. My Teddy (Syrian male) had a sticky eye a couple of times, but he survived just fine. Now let’s get into the various eye problems hammies can develop. Table of Contents Treating your hamster’s eye infectionHere’s how to make a batch of saline solution for your hamster:Hamster’s eye is closed shut (sticky eye)Your hammy’s eye is red (pinkeye)Odd white spots on your hamster’s eyesBulging eye/ one eye looks biggerHamster eyes are sensitive to light and temperatureKeeping your hamster’s eyes safe and healthyWhat if your hammy becomes blind, or loses an eye ?A word from Teddy Treating your hamster’s eye infection A hamster can develop an eye infection fairly easy. It can be from dirty bedding, which can be avoided by cleaning the hamster’s cage one per week. It can also happen because of a stray bacteria on the hamster’s food, for example on a piece of apple or broccoli. Or it could be from many other reasons. The point is that your hamster has an infection and needs your help. For the most part, an infection can be noticed if the eye is red, puffy, hot to the touch. If there is oozing and pus, you can be sure it’s infected. The best thing to do is to bring your hamster to the vet as soon as possible, so he can prescribe a round of antibiotics. The treatment can last up to 2 weeks in some cases, and your hammy might be required to stay at the vet for a couple of days. For future reference, the veterinarian you should look for is an exotics vet. This is the kind of vet that can help with your hamster, guinea pig, snake, and parakeet as well. If you’ve got a Dwarf hammy and you’re keeping him with other hammies, make sure to separate the sick hamster. The infection can be contagious, and hard to deal with if all hamsters have it. Until you reach your veterinarian, you can try using a saline solution to clean your hamster’s eyes. Saline solution is basically just distilled, salted water. It’s got almost the same structure as tears, and can be used to clean wounds. Here’s how to make a batch of saline solution for your hamster: 250 ml/8.45 fl oz distilled water 2.5 g/0.008 oz table salt 2.5 g/0.008 oz baking soda very clean pot, washed with very hot water and soap beforehand sterile glass jar or cup to keep the saline solution in a set of clean cotton pads or cotton buds You can use distilled water, or tap water. If you use tap water, be sure to boil it very, very well and them let it cool to room temperature. After that it can be considered sterile, and go on with the steps I’m describing. Heat the water (either distilled, or sterilized tap water), and dissolve the salt and baking soda Let cool to room temperature Store in the clean glass jar or cup Get a clean cotton pad or cotton bud, and dip it in the liquid. It needs to be wet, but not soaked so you get the hamster wet. A wet hamster is a very easy to get sick and doesn’t dry quickly. Clean and wipe the hamster’s eye until you can not see the pus. You’re going to have to scruff the hamster’s neck to keep him still. Use a clean pad or bud for each wipe ! You must keep the saline solution clean. The solution is good for 24 hours, tops. If anything gets into it, or it looks odd or cloudy or dirty, throw it out and make a new one. In the meantime, make sure you’ve got your vet on call if you need any extra info or guidance. Do not use antibiotics you’ve got around the house ! Hamsters are different than humans, and not only require different doses but they also process medicine differently than us. Hamster’s eye is closed shut (sticky eye) A case of sticky eye can happen to anyone. This doesn’t necessarily mean your hamster’s got an infection. It could be that, but it’s likely something else. The crusty part you see on your hamster’s eye is what develops on your eye as well when you sleep. Most of the time your eyes (and the hamster’s) don’t get stuck shut, But, sometimes it happens, and it can be painful. Not only that, but it can get very frustrating for the hamster. He might try to paw at his eye and cause further damage. In this case the solution is a lot like with the infection. Make a batch of saline solution, and keep it at room temp. Use clean cotton buds or pads to wipe at the hammy’s eye. The difference is that the crust will have to soften. You will have to hold the pad soaked in saline solution for a few seconds on the hamster’s eye until it gives. Again, scruffing the hamster will help keep him still while you wipe his eye. My Teddy had this a couple of times, and I didn’t know about the saline solution at first. I used one of those sterilized baby wipes you can get at the pharmacy. Not baby wipes from the supermarket ! Sterilized baby wipes will work too, just that you’ll have to keep switching the corner with which you’re wiping. And they dry out fairly quickly, so they’re not the best bet, but will do in a pinch. Your hammy’s eye is red (pinkeye) Conjunctivitis can be a problem in hamsters, as well as humans. It can be less dangerous than the infection we talked about earlier. It can come about as an irritation because of dust in the bedding, a scratch, a small injury, an overgrown tooth. Anything, really, since conjunctivitis is just the inflammation of the tissue surrounding the eye. You can tell your hammy’s got pink eye by the redness and swelling around the hamster’s eye – his eyelids, to be exact. In extreme cases the entire half of the face could be swollen. Pink eye does not usually have any discharge, but don’t be surprised if you find some. Most of the time the discharge is clear in conjunctivitis. This is a case to be treated by your veterinarian, and he’ll be able to give your hamster a good treatment. The saline solution works here too, you just have to keep cleaning the hamster’s eye. Whatever was bothering the hammy’s eye will be flushed out this way, but it might not be enough, which is why a vet will be necessary. This is another case where you should separate the sick hamster from the other hamsters. (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.) Odd white spots on your hamster’s eyes Hamsters can get cataracts, which can cause problems when you’re hamster’s trying to see. The upside, if you will, is that hamsters barely use their eyes anyway. They use their sense of smell, and their sharp hearing to navigate and live a happy life. However a cataract, as far as I know, is not treatable. My Teddy never had one, so in this particular case it’s best to check with your veterinarian. Get your hammy in his transport cage, and get him to a check-up so the vet can see if there’s other symptoms that might point to another problem. You can tell your hamster’s got a possible cataract by the white spot developing on his eye. It could be both eyes, it could be just one, and it could be a larger spot, or just cloudy, blurred eyes. In most cases, cataracts forms as the hamster ages. Bulging eye/ one eye looks bigger There are cases when one eye might look bigger, like it’s about to pop from the hamster’s head. I looks bad, and there’s an explanation for it. The eyeballs have tissue surrounding them, and especially behind them. This can become inflamed, and push out the eye a bit. It can be painful for the hamster, but is treatable. Your veterinarian will be able to give the hamster a treatment for this problem, but until then there is not much you can do for your friend. The vet will need to be able to look behind the hamster’s eye to figure out what the problem is. In some cases it could be a tumor growing behind the eye, since hamsters can develop tumors as well. Not all bulging eye cases mean a tumor, do no worry. It could just be a severe case of conjunctivitis. You can track the progress of the eye with photos every few hours, to show to your vet once you get to him. Hamster eyes are sensitive to light and temperature When it comes to your hamster’s eyes, you should keep them away from harsh sunlight. Even daylight filtered through the curtains, if placed directly on the hamster’s eyes, can become painful. Hamster eyes are not meant to be able to see in bright conditions, since they must survive in a dawn/dusk habitat. So make sure you don’t turn on bright lights in your hamster’s room. And he does not need a nightlight, since he’s got his cage memorized and know where everything is. Even by smell and touch, he can still know where everything is. Another benefit of keeping your hamster away from any bright sunlight is that cataracts and blindness will come much later. You can delay them by keeping your hamster’s eyes away from UV light. That being said, make sure you do not keep your hamster in too cold a temperature. Even the Dwarf hammies that come from the cold parts of Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, and so on, will still need a certain temperature. For hammies a good temperature is a range between 20-23 C/ 68-78 F, all year round. Make sure you keep your hamster in a room that keep this temperature, otherwise he can develop either sticky eye, or a form of conjunctivitis from a cold. In some extreme cases, the hamster can get a case of hypothermia, and needs your immediate attention to survive. Please keep your hamster warm, but not too warm. Keeping your hamster’s eyes safe and healthy Aside from the light and temperature warnings, there are a few general precautions you should take. Your hamster’s eyes, while kind of useless for his navigation and daily life, are still capable of injury and infection. Hammies are very sensitive animals. They don’t get sick often, but when they do, it’s terrible. Here’s how to keep your hammy’s eyes safe, healthy and clean. Keep the bedding clean, and change it once per week. You can find out more about the safe kinds of bedding you can get for your hamster here. And also how and when to clean his cage. Hamsters are very sensitive to dust, so bedding or toys that are dusty should be cleaned. Even if you let your hamster just roam the house in his exercise ball, make sure the floor is clean. Any debris or dust can get stuck inside the exercise ball, and get in your hammy’s ears, nose, or eyes. Keep any toys or objects inside the hamster’s cage smooth. Especially if you’ve got wood objects in the hamster’s cage, they can get some rough edges that weren’t sanded down properly. Make sure you sand them down if need be. What if your hammy becomes blind, or loses an eye ? Hamsters can lose their sight with old age. The cataracts settle in, and they become completely blind. Or, maybe your hamster was born without eyes, or maybe he lost an eye in a terrible happening. Whatever the case, your hamster can’t see anymore. You’re probably worrying if he’ll be alright, if he’ll manage to navigate his cage and lead a happy life. Rest assured, hamsters can live their entire life without their eyesight. In a way, they already do – hamsters barely use their eyes, they use their noses and ears much more. But if a hamster that used to see suddenly can’t see, there will be some changes: Always keep his cage the same way, since the hammy will memorize the layout of the cage. Any changes will make him stressed. Whenever you clean his cage add back in a bit of his old bedding, and his nesting too so he knows it’s his. Remove objects that need him to see. Like see-saws, or bridges, or climbing toys. Talk to your hamster much more often, before you get near him so he knows you’re coming Let him smell your hand before picking him up, and get in it himself. Otherwise he might panic at being suddenly picked up, even if he was okay before. Know that your hamster friend might be a bit grumpy, now that he can’t see anymore. He might bit a bit, but no major changes should happen in his personality. That being said, a blind hamster will not be very handicapped. He was already nearly blind from birth, so being completely blind doesn’t take away much from him. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and know how to help your hammy friend if he ever gets an eye problem. I know us hammies can look like cute, cuddly creatures, but we do have our troubles. We count on you to help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below for more info on how to properly care for us and keep us happy.... Read more...
- Syrian Hamster 101 – Breed Info And Care SheetWant to know everything there is to know about the Syrian hamster ? I know I did when I first got my Teddy home. Especially if you’re a first-time hamster owner, you will need to know how your new pet stands out from the rest. So I’m going to help you with everything I know about Syrian hamsters, including how to care for him and what you can expect from this fluffy, sweet guy. Table of Contents About the Syrian hamster – short overviewHow the Syrian hamster became a petSyrian hamster size and body shapeSyrian hamster coat patternSyrian hamster health and lifespanSyrian hamster pregnancy and breedingSyrian hamster housing and cagesSyrian hamster diet and foodSyrian hamster toys and cage objectsA word from Teddy About the Syrian hamster – short overview The Syrian hamster has many names. He’s the most common hamster type (there’s 5 out there) and the one you’ve probably got in your home right now. You’ll find the Syrian under names such as : Teddy bear hamster – their faces look a bit like a teddy bear face Fancy hamster/fancy bear – especially the longhaired ones Variations on coat pattern names, like Panda hamsters (white and black), Golden hamsters (the traditional pattern), Black hamsters (all black), and so on Syrian hamster Big hamster Syrian hamsters are the largest of the hamster types, and they are solitary. They can never share their home with another hamster, or else bloody and lethal fights ensue. Males have a particularly large rear-end, since their testicles are very large for their bodies and form a permanent bulge around their very small tail. Their scent glands are on their hips, so you might notice big black dots there. Syrian hamsters are the slowest hamsters – still fast though, they’re hamsters – and they’re easier to tame and train than the Dwarf types. As such, they’re great starter pets for people who have never had a hamster before. They don’t bite as much or as often as Dwarf hamsters, and they’re easier to hold onto, since they’re larger. My own little Teddy is a Syrian hamster (hence his terribly inspired name), and he’s a Golden one, with orange and white and dustings of grey. How the Syrian hamster became a pet Originally the Syrian hamster was discovered by 1839 in Syria (hence the name). A mother with a litter of babies was brought to Jerusalem for study in 1930, and most (if not all) Syrian hamsters available for sale today are descendants of that mother and her babies. A few of them escaped from the lab in Jerusalem and have settled as wild hamsters there. For the most part Syrian hamsters were used as lab subjects for observations, and later put on display in London’s famous zoo. This is discussed in much more detail in the origin story of hamsters, how they came to be pets and where each of them comes from. The Syrian hamster comes from Syria and southern Turkey. He is used to deserts and sand, but not high temperatures. He only comes out at dusk and dawn in the wild, when the temperature is bearable and his predators don’t see very well. He doesn’t see very well either, and relies mostly on smell and hearing to navigate his surroundings. Syrian hamster size and body shape The Syrian hamster is the largest hamster available as a pet. He can grow to be 13-18 cm/5-7 inch long, though some hamsters have grown bigger than that. They’re also the heaviest hamster, ranging between 100-200 gr/3.5 -7 oz, some of them going a bit over that. As opposed to the Dwarf types, Syrians have a distinct neck and their hind legs don’t have that elongated look. They’re more diggers than runners, you might say. Their faces aren’t as narrow and pointy as the Dwarf hamster’s, and they look ridiculous with their cheeks stuffed. Given their rounder, fuzzier face, Syrians have also been known as teddy bear hamsters. They do look a bit like that, I guess. The Syrian’s tail is short, thin, and a fleshy pink. It’s got no fur, and it’s not often noticeable. If you’ve got a dark haired hamster though, you might see it easier. They’ve got no fur on their paws either, unlike the Dwarf types. This helps them grip and grab easier in the sands and in their tunnels. Syrian hamster coat pattern Traditionally you will find Syrian hamster with the golden pattern, like my teddy shown above. Granted, my Teddy’s colors fade into each other, while other Golden variation have a stark difference between each color. Some look more like color splotches. The Golden variation is the orange on the back, white on the belly, and a few dark grey markings on their back, forehead and neck. Their ears are also grey. When the hamster is still a baby, he will look mostly orange with some white. The grey appears and becomes definitive only when the hamster becomes an adult, around the 3 month mark. This color pattern helped the Syrian hamster camouflage himself in the sands and escape his predators. It’s the usual color you’ll find wild hamsters. Any odd variations will stand out against the sand and they become easy prey. Breeders have focused on changing and enhancing the color patterns of captive hamsters. We now have a wide variety of hamsters colors to choose from. For example when I picked up Teddy he was in a cage with a light brown hammy, a couple of black ones, and a few randomly spotted hamsters. Imagine the Syrian hamster’s available color patterns like you would a cat’s myriad of colors. Except stripes. Hamsters haven’t developed stripes like the cats, but aside from that the colors come in rings, bands, patches, spots, mottles, full color, dustings, anything you can imagine. In time, as the hamster becomes a senior, your will see the fur get lighter overall, but no distinct silver hairs as you would in old dogs for example. Syrian hamster health and lifespan The Syrian hamster is the second-longest lived hamster, right after the Roborovski Dwarf. The Syrian can live up to 3 years in captivity, and some have been known to live past that. Genetics, as well as the care and stress levels play a big role in how long and how well your hamster lives. This means that some hamsters, although not suffering from any terrible illness, can wither away by their first year. Or, some can live to be 3.5 years old. Babies become adults by the time they reach the 12th week of age, and can breed as soon as they’re weaned. But generally, Syrian hamsters live up to 3 years, and are considered old when they reach their second birthday. My Teddy is currently a year and a half old (born in July 2017), and there are some changes happening to him. He’s lost a large part of his energy, doesn’t eat as much, and sleeps most of the time. This is normal for hamsters going into old age. You’ll notice the hamster is definitely old and frail when his fur starts getting sparse, and he develops a sort of bald spot starting from his rear end and back legs. This is the usual pattern, and there is nothing we as owners can do to help or change that. Aside from that sign, the hamster’s skin will become very loose, wrinkly, and he will have a bony/skinny appearance, although he seems to be eating. Unfortunately this means his end is very near, and you will have to keep a close watch on him. When it comes to Syrian hamsters, wet-tail is the most notorious and dangerous disease they can contract. This is a form of diarrhea, which if often lethal if left untreated, or discovered too late. You can find out more about wet-tail here, and how to notice it and treat it. (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.) Syrian hamster pregnancy and breeding Breeding is, like with other hamsters, kind of violent and the female will half mate, half fight with the male during their breeding window. The female comes into heat every few days, for 4 days straight, at night. That is when the male can be introduced to her, and the mating can begin. Sometimes the female is too violent and just want to pick a fight, so the male needs to be removed. Once the female accepts the male and the mating is successful, she will fall pregnant. The male will need to be kept away from the female, since she will attack him after becoming pregnant. The usual gestation period for Syrian hamsters is 16-18 days, after which the female will give birth to a litter between 3 and 15 baby hamsters. She should not be disturbed at all during the birthing process, and 2 weeks afterwards. Only provide her with food and water through the bars. Anything that scares, stresses, or annoys her can lead her to eat her young, especially if it’s her first litter. Another reason the male should be kept away from the female is because she can fall pregnant immediately after giving birth, which will be difficult both on her and all her babies. And also because the male will kill the newborns to get her full attention. So make sure you keep the male and female separated at all times, except when trying for a litter. Once the hamsters are born, they are blind and hairless. They will suckle from their mother until they are 4 weeks old, which is when she will wean them. The babies can now be introduced to solid food. They also need to be separated into all male and all female groups, to avoid surprise pregnancies. However keeping the hamsters together past week 8-10 of age is not recommended, since that is when they become territorial. It will not matter if it’s their mother or brother or sister with them, they will start fighting and it often is deadly. Always keep a Syrian hamster alone, in one cage. Syrian hamster housing and cages Of all the hamsters, Syrians have the largest minimum needs when it comes to cages and housing them. The minimum cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Of course, the bigger the cage the better. All hamsters, no matter their breed, will opt for a bigger cage, a bigger running wheel, and more space to run if they can. But, not everyone has the possibility of keeping a big cage for their hamster, mostly due to cost and space in their home. The best idea would be an Ikea Detolf. That’s a simple standing shelf, with the shelves removed, and put on its side. Construction a wire mesh for it is fairly easy, many tutorials are available online. Detolfs are expensive and big, so wherever you put them, that’s where they’re going to stay. Cleaning them is a bit different from an ordinary cage as well, but they give your hamster much more space to run around and play. What about commercial hamster cages ? Are they big enough for Syrians ? Well, sadly, no. For the most part commercial cages are too small for a Syrian. Not all, but most of them. Looking for a cage big enough is a bit of a hassle, but they can be found. For example this one, a wire cage with a plastic bottom, with an adjustable extra level. It’s got enough floor space for the hamster to use, and the extra level will give him a bit more. Hamsters don’t use all the levels in their cage, so just one level is enough. They prefer the ground level anyway, and might build the nest under that level. That being said, this cage provides both airflow, and containment. The spacing between the wires is less than half an inch, so the Syrian hamster won’t be able to squeeze himself through those wires. You can check the listing on Amazon here. As for the bedding, your hammy will need either wood shavings, or paper bedding. If you get wood shavings, make sure you get aspen, and stay away from cedar or pine as they can suffocate a hamster. Syrian hamster diet and food Syrian hamsters eat mostly grains, with a few vegetable and fruits added in. Nuts and seeds are welcome too, as is a bit of protein. Things like cooked, plain chicken and boiled egg white are good sources of protein, as well as mealworms and small insects. However commercial food mixes are more than enough, with a well studied composition and covering their dietary needs. So, giving your hamster a good food mix will go a long way. You can always supplement the hamster’s diet with foods you already have in your pantry or fridge. A safe foods list is here, and most of them are easily available across the world. The Syrian hamster will need 2 teaspoons of dry food mix per day, and he will hide most of it in his nest. Overfeeding him won’t make him stop hiding the food, since this is a natural instinct of his. It will only result in more hidden food, and a fat hamster, which can lead to diabetes and joint problems. Syrian hamster toys and cage objects The first thing about a hamster, any hamster, is that he loves to run. all night, every night. He will get lazier as he ages, but until then he will run as far as his little feet will take him A Syrian hamster is no different, so he will need an exercise wheel. The thing is, he will need a larger wheel than the other hamsters, since he is so large. The hamster’s back should not be arched when he runs, since this can create back problems. This is why the wheel itself must be very wide, to keep his back straight. For example a wheel like this one is large enough for any kind of hamster, but especially a Syrian. Syrians are the largest, and if yours happens to grow past 18 cm/7 inches long, then a wheel as big as this one will still fit him. It’s got a heavy bottom, so you’re sure it won’t move about the cage. And it’s got a tail and foot guard, so he doesn’t catch onto something. Best of all, it’s silent and won’t keep you up at night with squeaks and grinding metal. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and check it out for yourself. Aside from the exercise wheel, the Syrian will need some objects in his cage (aside from the food bowl and the water bottle). Like a wooden hideout for him to build a nest in, a chew toy, a few cardboard tunnels made from paper towel rolls. Climbing toys are welcome to, and so are hide and seek toys. Most of these can be either bought from a store or online, or even made at home from wood or cardboard. You can find out more about that here. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can seem very confusing with all our cousins, but you’ll learn about each of us in time. Us Syrians are the biggest, and the friendliest by far. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- Safe And Unsafe Herbs For Hamsters – What To Feed HamstersIf you’re wondering if your hamster can eat parsley, or dill, rosemary, even dandelions, you’re right where you need to be. I asked myself the same thing when my girlfriend was chopping a bunch of parsley the other day, and wondered if Teddy can have some. Well, we tried giving him a little bit, and we googled and asked other hamster owner friends. This is what we found out, and you can use this list to know what kind of herbs you can give your hamster. Table of Contents So can hamsters eat herbs like parsley or dill or rosemary ?Herbs safe for hamsters to eatHerbs your hamster should never eatWhat to feed hamsters (in general)A word from Teddy So can hamsters eat herbs like parsley or dill or rosemary ? Yes, hamsters can eat some herbs. Not all herbs, and not in large quantities. But they can still eat them. There are safe and unsafe herbs for hamsters, and we’ll look over both lists. Most of these herbs are possibly already in your cupboard (dried and ground up) or maybe in your garden, fresh and green. For the most part, hamsters rely on grains as their main source of food. So herbs while tasty, should not be given often or in large bunches. A few leaves here and there are enough. Take into account how small the hamster is too. If you’re interested to know what herbs are safe, you may also be interested in knowing the supply list a hamster will need throughout his life. You can find it here, with everything he’ll ever need. Now let’s see which herbs are safe for hamsters to eat. Herbs safe for hamsters to eat There isn’t much info available on herbs for hamsters, but this is what we found out. There will be herbs and a couple of plants in this article, just to see the general profile hamsters go for. So here are the safe hamster herbs and plants: parsley dill basil oregano sage thyme fennel mint grass alfalfa wheat sprouts marigold dandelion chamomile cornflower daisy beetroot (all the plant) ribwort plantain clover chickweed wormwood plant rose petals watercress We’ve given Teddy (male Syrian hamster) a few leaves of parsley and he ate them right up. Didn’t even pouch them, he just ate them on the spot. Our two guinea pigs love parsley too, so I guess the flavor is mild enough for small animals. When it comes to flowers, you’ll see hamsters are okay with the short-petal kind of flowers. Like marigold, dandelion, daisy and so on. They’ve got short flowers, and their pollen carriers (stamems if I remember anything from biology classes) are short, unlike for example lilies. When it comes to how much and how often you can give these herbs and plants to your hamster, there is a caveat. They are indeed safe, but only if given in small amounts, and not often. Too much can upset the hamster’s stomach. And when it comes to hamster digestive problems, those are very hard to handle since hamster stomachs are fairly different to treat than human stomachs. You’ll find some of these herbs in the hamster’s food mix too, sometimes. Or possibly in some hamster treats. A word on mint, though. While it is safe, it definitely needs to be given sparingly and in very small amounts. Too much mint can cause stomach problems even in humans, let alone small hamsters. Herbs your hamster should never eat There are such herbs, and sometimes they’re not immediately obvious. So let’s see which herbs aren’t safe for hamsters: bay laurel borage caraway/cumin cilantro catnip chervil lavender lemon grass lemon balm lemon verbena marjoram rosemary tarragon aloe vera plant skin (the gel is fine) lily tulip elder most flowers (except the ones I mentioned above) bamboo english ivy or any ivy There are a few herb-like veggies like garlic, onion, and leek. None of these are safe for hamsters, because they’re too acidic. The same goes for the lemon-related plants mentioned above (like lemongrass), since they release a lemon-like scent, taste, and oil. So there’s the whole ”don’t feed your hamster any citrus” thing again. Some of these herbs are used in human cuisine, like for example cilantro and cumin are used in most variants of curry. As for aloe vera, most aloe vera plants (and there are hundreds) are unsafe to eat. Of all the available ones, aloe barbadensis miller is the most common safe one. That being said, the skin of the plant is not good for anyone to eat. The gel, in the other hand, is safe. It’s not tasty, it’s actually bitter-sour but it has great healing properties. Too much aloe vera can upset the stomach and give your hamster a case of diarrhea. So only give it sparingly, and remember that it oxidizes very fast (it won’t keep for more than a few hours). (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.) What to feed hamsters (in general) Usually a hamster’s diet consists of grains and grain-based foods (with lots of fiber), a bit of veggies, some fruits, and some protein whenever the hamster can find a bit. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too. That being said, most commercial hamster foods have a healthy mix of all food sources. So supplementing the hamster’s food with a few herbs is fine, but not entirely necessary. You can either leave the food for your hamster in his food bowl, or sprinkle it in his bedding. He’ll forage for it, and it will be a good way to keep his weight under control if he has a problem. You can read more about what hamsters can eat here, and find the general list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. You probably have some of them in your fridge or pantry already. Generally, hamsters can eat many things humans eat. Like for example carrots, cucumbers, a bit of salad (or most leafy greens), broccoli, asparagus, boiled plain chicken, plain peanuts, a slice of apple, and so on. You can find out much more in general hamster care with these 15 essential steps. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies are very greedy and will eat anything you give us, but there are some herbs we just can’t stand ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying DiseasesIf you’re thinking about getting a hamster but you’re wondering if they carry any diseases, them this article will sort that out for you. Especially if you’ve got small children and you’re looking to shield them from unnecessary diseases. Table of Contents So do hamsters carry disease ?How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagiousWhat a healthy hamster looks likeIs a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters carry disease ? No, not in and of themselves. Hamsters are born ‘clean’, with no health problem that can be passed onto humans. They can pick up a disease and become carriers, about as much as a cat or dog or rabbit can become a carrier. Given the hamster’s usual habitat however, he will probably not come to you with any diseases. This also depends on the pet store you pick him up from, or the breeders you got him from. Another thing is the fact that hamsters are very clean animals by default, and they regularly groom themselves several times a day. Much like a cat, actually. So he will not be dirty, or diseased. This does not mean a hamster can’t transmit a disease he already has. A hamster suffering from a cold can pass it onto a human, for example. You should always wash your hands before and after handling the hamster, and supervise any small children interacting with him. Still, if you want to be sure your hamster’s alright and not carrying anything, let’s see what some usual symptoms are. How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagious You will notice some signs if the hamster has certain diseases. For example: Any runny or leaky nose, eyes, or ears. They can be signs of an infection or a cold, which can be contagious. Any scabs, flaky skin, open wounds, or other immediately noticeable skin conditions on a hamster are possibly contagious as well. A ring of exposed skin, especially if it’s patchy, flaky, and had little red dots all around its border is especially contagious. That’s the Ringworm, which is not a worm but a fungus. It’s easily passed through direct contact with the infected animal. Worms in hamsters might not be immediately noticeable. You might expect the hamster to be weak, not walk easily, huddle in a corner, and possibly have a messy stool. Wet-tail can also look like that, and it can be transmitted to humans. It’s an infection in the hamster’s digestive system that gives it severe diarrhea, and is often lethal for hamsters. It can be treated, but not all hamsters survive. In any case, a hamster cowering in a corner is not a hamster you want to bring home, as he is unfortunately suffering from something and needs medical attention. This also means that the other hamsters in the cage/box with him at the pet shop should probably be avoided as well, just in case it’s something contagious. Unless you’re willing to pick up the hamster and go straight to the veterinarian with him, for a check up. If you’re concerned about rabies, which I know is a common question related to pets, you’re safe. Hamsters can’t give humans rabies for 3 important reasons: Hamsters will not survive rabies as a disease long enough to be able to transmit it Rodents and lagomorphs aren’t able to carry rabies in the first place Pet/captive hamsters do not contact rabies, since there is no way for them to be exposed to it, and they are not born with it either. These are the main signs and symptoms that the hamster might be carrying some disease or another. Tumors or lumps are not contagious, but they can hurt the hamster himself and he will need medical attention. Now let see what a healthy hamster should look like, be it a new hamster from the pet shop, or the furball you already have at home. What a healthy hamster looks like Usually a hamster will have bright, clean fur. It may not be as shiny as a cat or dog’s coat, but it should look decidedly clean and well groomed. This is a sign that the hamster is grooming himself both regularly, and well enough. He will have bright eyes(whichever color they are), with no white spots or inflammations. Teeth should be aligned and not overgrown, although you will only notice the front teeth. Those are yellow-orange, and that is a healthy color for hamsters and rodents, no matter which hamster type you own. White spots on their teeth are a sign of a vitamin deficiency or weakness in the tooth’s structure. It can break most easily where it’s white. Ears, nose, eyes should be free of discharge, and no flaky or inflamed patches. If the ears are particularly dark and the hamster keeps scratching them, they might be ear mites. Keep in mind that many hamsters have ears darker than their bodies from birth, as part of their coat pattern. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, male, and his fur is orange, white and has bits of smoky grey. Hie ears however are dark grey, and always have been. The hamster’s rear should be dry, and well cleaned. If you notice any wetness or that the hamster’s soiled himself, it can mean two things. Either the hamster has a serious digestive problem (like wet-tail or another infection, or possibly worms) or he is very, very old. Finally, the hamster should be lively. Even if he’s a mellow sort of hamster, or a dynamite-powered little guy, he should be eating, drinking water, running on his wheel or using his toys, and at least be curious about you when you get close. A lethargic, huddling hamster (when he’s not sleeping) is bad news since that often means the hamster is fighting off a health problem. It could be stomach aches, worms, a sprained paw, anything. If your hamster looks sick or too tired, call your vet and set up an appointment. You will need to look for an a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds. (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.) Is a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ? You might ask yourself this, and you’d be right to do so. Looking at the health problems hamsters can carry, I would venture to say that yes, hamsters are safe for kids. If people managed to raise cats and dogs safely along small children, then a hamster is not a problem. I say this mostly because a hamster is very isolated, and has as much chance of picking up a disease as a sock in a drawer. Unless you expose him directly to something or someone who is sick, your hamster will be healthy. He never leaves the cage/room he is in, so if the people or pets interacting with him are healthy, so is he. When it comes to the hamster’s temperament however, he is not a good pet for children. Hamsters react very poorly to being handled wrong, or too much, and their most common reaction to this is biting. If he’s dropped, he will get even more scared and start running away, and trying to catch a panicky hamster ends with stress on everyone’s part, and lots of squeaking from the hamster. I’d rather recommend a guinea pig as a pet for children, since they’re much more relaxed and are easier to tame and literally pick up. They too run away, but they sit quietly once you’ve got them in your lap. Hamsters will never stop squirming, and that’s part of their charm, I think. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might look like we’re related to mice and rats, but we’re actually sort of distant cousins. And we don’t get exposed to as many diseases as wild rats or mice either. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- Why Hamsters Die (Main Reasons, Some Of Them Preventable)Hamsters can die, and it’s never pleasant news to hear your little friend passed away. But why did that happen ? Was it old age ? Was the hamster suffering from an illness or an injury ? Let’s see what the most common causes are. Table of Contents So why do hamsters die ?When is a hamster considered old ?Health problems hamsters can commonly getDo not confuse hibernation with hypothermiaMaking sure you keep your hamster safeA word from Teddy So why do hamsters die ? Hamsters can die for a number of reasons, and it’s usually a medical condition. Even old hamsters, very old ones, pass away because their bodies simply don’t function as well as they used to, and some critical part of their body no longer works. Sometimes, hamsters can die of diseases or injuries, most of them preventable. Not all are noticeable. Or, if you do notice, you don’t figure out what the problem is until it’s too late. Knowing the usual health problems hamsters can get, and what old age looks like for hamsters will help you know when and if there is anything left to do. When is a hamster considered old ? Usually a hamster is old by the time he reaches 2 years of age. In Chinese hamsters this threshold is lower, since their average lifespan is 2 years. So they can be considered old by the time they reach their first birthday. Most hamsters live 2-3 years, and as such you’ll notice the changes happening to then when they get old fairly quickly. Sparse fur, weak legs, cataracts, a withered look about them, a distinct neck – these are all clear signs your hamster is a senior in his right. Along with old age come a host of health problems, mostly because it’s easier for them to come along. Like wet-tail for example, which can be brought on either by stress or an infection. An infection happens easier if the hamster is not clean, and a very old hamster will stop grooming himself as much. So, an old hamster who develops wet-tail has very little chances of survival, and his death could be attributed to both the disease and the old age. Old age also makes the immune system weaker, and the body weaker overall. Bones don’t mend as easily, sores don’t go away. Any injury to an old hamster is harder to heal than one to a young hamster. Health problems hamsters can commonly get Most health problems can be avoided, like infections, overgrown teeth, cuts and scrapes, injuries from falling and so on. They can also be easily treated with the help of a competent veterinarian. You will need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Antibiotics will take care of infections. Tumors can be removed most of the time. bones can be mended, But there are some diseases or problems that can be… well, deadly. Especially so if not noticed in time and treated. Let’s go over a few of them. Wet-tail is the first to spring into mind. It’s a sort of digestive problem, with symptoms like diarrhea, excessive water drinking, loss of appetite, a sweaty/wet look, a soiled wet hamster bottom, possibly smelly cage. Can be lethal in less than a week if left untreated. If treated within 24h of developing, it can be survived. Longer than that. and the chances are lower. Even after treatment some hamsters still pass away, because they were too drained from the illness itself. It took a huge toll on their bodies and they withered away. Any sort of infection, if it’s not treated right away. By this I mean the infections filled with pus, whether it’s an infected tooth, eye, or ear. All of them can spread to the brain, and inside the body. If the hamster swallows the pus (in the case of an infected tooth or cheek) this can lead to sepsis, which too can be fatal. Lumps and tumors can be deadly as well, mostly because they can be very hard to operate on. The hamster, being so very small, has little chance of surviving anaethesia, although there have been cases. In some cases the tumor is inside the body, and removing it is sentencing the hamster to certain death, with blood loss as the main cause. The surgery would be too big of a risk, again. Chemotherapy is hard to survive even for humans, let alone for hamsters. Injuries, like a broken spine because of a nasty fall, can be deadly too. While a fall from the height of an ordinary table isn’t much for a human, it can be deadly for a hamster. Keep in mind that they’re so very small, and have a fragile frame. This means that falls from heights like your table, dresser, even just your hands while you stand up, can all lead to serious injuries and sometimes even death. Those falls can be deadly either on impact, like a fractured skull, or serious internal organ injuries, and they can also be deadly by result. Like internal bleeding, ruptured organs, and so on. It’s a terrible thought to write about, so please handle your hamster very carefully. When it comes to bedding, and textiles introduced to your hamster, be careful. The extra fluffy, puffy kind of textile sometimes found on or in hamster toys (the ones with very long fibers, like the stuffing inside teddy bears). That is dangerous for hamsters, since they will find it and stuff it in their cheeks, and use it as nesting material. While it does keep them warm, it’s also too easy for them to tangle that material in their teeth or cheeks, or get a foot stuck inside, or in some cases pretty much wrap it around their necks and suffocate. I’m sorry to paint pictures like these, but this has happened before to other hamster owners. Please keep plush and overly fluffy things far away from hamsters. As a sidenote, I have a blanket with a plush side. When I let Teddy onto the bed one day and the blanket was there, he immediately started putting it in his cheeks. They’re very fast, and you need to spot them right away to stop them. Finally, there is another reason for hamsters seeming to suddenly die. Some people have reported their hamsters being happy and healthy yesterday, only to find them lifeless this morning. Those cases, while unfortunate and traumatic, always have an explanation. Most of the time, it’s a circulatory problem. Like a blood clot forming in the brain, or a form of heart attack brought on by a scare in the middle of the night. Hamsters are very sensitive, and scaring them too hard is … well, easier than necessary. This is one reason you should not scare your hamster, or let it get too stressed. Being barked at, handled too often, dangled upside down, continuously poked and prodded and so on. These are very stressful things for a hamster, and can be the final straw in some cases. (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.) Do not confuse hibernation with hypothermia I’ve set this one aside because it’s a common problem. Hamsters do hibernate, but only in the wild. In the wild, they have a weeks and months in advance to prepare for the cold. Gather food, get fat and have energy stored up, dig a big warm nest, get safe. They go to sleep once winter comes and they only wake up from time to time (like once a week !) to nibble on something they’ve stored up. When they wake up, the earth is thawing, they’re hungry and dehydrated. At home, in your warm house, the cold doesn’t gradually creep in over the span of a few months. It never does, because you keep your home warm. So why do some hamsters end up ‘hibernating’ ? Well, they’ve sometimes been left out in the garage for a few hours, or another such space that’s used for storage and is usually cold. Or they were maybe forgotten next to an opened window. Really, it could be any occasion with cold temperatures. The point is that the hamster will go into a sort of hibernation, but in truth it’s actually hypothermia. He did not have time to build an extra warm nest, build a protective layer of fat on his body, but he did store some food. The problem is that this is not true hibernation, and he will likely die if not woken up fast. You might think he is dead, be might be cold. He might not move at all. But a dead hamster will be rigid, like a statue. He will be cold. A hibernating hamster will be cold-ish, but his whiskers or ears might twitch if you touch them. He will be limp, that’s the first major sign he is alright. For more info on waking up a hamster from such a situation, check this article. Always, always attempt to warm him up or wake him before deciding he has passed away. There have been accounts of hamsters thrown away in the trash bin, only to be found by the garbage disposal service later, alive and kicking. Making sure you keep your hamster safe There are ways your can make sure your hamster lives a happy, healthy life. Now, although what I explained above might make you want to keep him under a glass dome, don’t do that. Instead, be a responsible hamster owner and keep him out of trouble. Let’s see what that means: Keep the hamster away from overly curious pets who might disturb him, like a cat or a puppy or even parrots or other rodents. Basically any pet that can move through the house on its own. Always supervise kids playing with the hamster. Accidents can happen, and it’s your responsibility to both teach the child and keep the hamster safe. Only handle the hamster close to his cage, and not allow more than double his height as a falling height. If you’re letting the hamster onto the floor, make sure there are no places for him to get inside or under or between pieces of furniture and be impossible to get out safely. Keep any fluffy textile or materials away from your hamster. Some are sold as nesting material. Stay away from them. Never overfeed your hamster, else he might grow obese and develop diabetes and joint problems. Be careful which foods from your fridge or pantry you feed you hamster. Some are safe, some not. Always clean his cage, once a week, a full cleaning complete with a cage wipe-down or actual rinsing on the shower. Make sure you bring your hamster to the vet, even if it might be nothing. Better to have him checked and find out he’s okay, than leave it to chance and figure out there is a problem when it’s too late. Thees are the absolute basics of keeping your hamster healthy and safe, more info can be found in the related articles below. Until then, read Teddy’s thoughts on the matter. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies are cute and cuddly, but we do pass away. That means we’re sometimes too sick, or we grow too old to fight an injury or sickness. We rely on you to spot the problem and help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- 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 A 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.... Read more...
- 5 Creative Ways to Tell Your Hamsters ApartIf you have two hamsters from the same species, they can look exactly the same, especially if they are hamsters from the same litter. In that case, it can be quite difficult to distinguish hamsters when you first become their owner. To differentiate them, you need to figure out a way to tell your hamsters apart. On the internet, you can find various tips on how to mark your hamsters to tell them apart. However, you have to be very careful. Tips such as to tie a ribbon around your hamster can be extremely dangerous and can even cause the death of the hamster. To help you safely differentiate your hamsters, here are some creative ways to tell your hamsters apart. Table of Contents 1. Food colors2. Cut a small piece of hair from your hamster3. Put hamsters in different cages4. Study your hamsters’ personality5. Study the smallest differences on your hamsters 1. Food colors Sometimes it will happen that hamsters have absolutely no noticeable physical differences. In such cases, unless you know them very well, you will not be able to distinguish them which can sometimes create problems. Some owners have therefore decided to use the hamster labeling method with food colors. Food colors are edible and non-toxic if used in very small amounts in the hamster diet or when coloring toys in the cave. This is why some owners have decided that food color could be used to put small dots on your hamsters so they can distinguish them. For example, one hamster will have a blue dot and the other a red one. Another method that some owners use is dyeing the tail of your hamster. Previously, this method was questionable for use because food coloring contains many chemical ingredients that can cause skin irritation and various inflammations. Even today the safety of artificial food dyes is highly controversial. However, in modern times there are many food colors that are made from natural ingredients, and there are simple instructions on the Internet for making your own natural food colors. For example, carrot or paprika is used for orange, spinach for green, strawberries or raspberries for pink or for red color beets. Such natural colors are safe to use on the hamster. If you just put a dot on your hamster with natural food colors, your hamster should have no consequences. Some owners recommend that the same can be done with a permanent marker. However, hamsters are constantly cleaning and licking, so they would surely lick a dot made with a permanent marker at some point, which would certainly be poisonous for them. The hamster might not die, but he could easily experience poisoning and get sick. By no means put permanent markers because, in addition to being intensely fragrant, they contain figures of chemical ingredients that can be poisonous, but also irritate hamsters skin. However, if you have two hamsters and cannot distinguish them, there is no need to label both hamsters with food colors, but only label one. You will know which hamster has a dot and which does not. Also if you opt for food coloring you will have to repeatedly label the hamsters with a dot because the food color will be constantly rinsed off. If you notice that the hamster has any reaction at the place where you put the food coloring, immediately stop using food coloring to distinguish the hamster and turn to one of the safer methods. 2. Cut a small piece of hair from your hamster Although the method with food colors is safe to use today if you use natural food coloring, there are also simpler ways to distinguish hamsters. A safe and easy way to distinguish hamsters is to definitely cut a small piece of hair from one of them. Some owners usually cut hamsters’ hair because their hair grows too much, so it is full of food and dirt. Haircutting a pet is very simple, and all you need are good scissors. To cut your little five, or in this case, cut off a small piece of hair, it is best to use surgical scissors or scissors for children. Surgical scissors are very sharp so you will simply be able to cut off all the hair you want with one stroke. If you use scissors for children, they have a rounded tip that will prevent injuries even if the hamster twitches and is restless during the haircut. It is best to cut a piece of hair on the upper part of the hamster’s body so that the cut is noticeable and so that you can immediately distinguish it from another hamster. It is easiest to cut a hamster if it is done by two people at the same time. One person needs to gently hold the hamster to calm him down. The other person should use both hands to cut a piece of hamster’s hair without injuring it. Use one hand to hold the hamster’s hair while you will use the other hand to cut it. It is best to hold the chunk of hair between your middle and index finger and then to cut it past it so as not to injure the hamster. If the hamster trusts you and is fairly calm in your arms, you don’t have to seek the help of another person. Grab the hamster in one hand and play with it until it calms down. When it calms down, take scissors and carefully cut a piece of hair in a visible place and the job is done. If your hamsters are spirited and you can’t tire them out or you are afraid that you might hurt them if you cut a piece of hair yourself, it is best not to do it. Take one of your hamsters to a vet that will cut off a piece of your hamster’s hair in just a few seconds without hurting him. There is a possibility that they will charge you for it, but it is certainly better to pay for that vet than to hurt your hamster. 3. Put hamsters in different cages To distinguish hamsters, perhaps the easiest way is to put them in different cages. If for some reason, you do not want to use any of the above methods, it may be easiest for you to place the hamsters in separate cages that you will arrange differently or to place a name tag on each. That way you will know at all times which hamster it is and you will not be able to replace them. Unless of course, you let them both out of their cages at the same time. If you put them back in the wrong cages, you will notice that they are behaving confused and that they are not used to being in that cage so you will quickly notice your mistake. This solution in some cases is not only desirable but also necessary. Most hamsters are very territorial animals that love solitude and their space. If you want to keep hamsters in the same cage, the best option is to take a Dwarf hamster that can live in pairs with other members of its species. Moreover, they even enjoy their company. But it can also happen to them that over time they stop getting along and start bullying each other. Syrian hamsters, on the other hand, have to live alone. These hamsters only meet to mate and the rest of their lives must be kept separate. If you put two Syrian hamsters in the same cage, they will start to stress very quickly and they will fight, which can end in the death of one of the hamsters and serious injuries to the other. The golden rule for hamsters is to never, ever mix different hamster species in the same cage. If you want hamsters to live together, if they get along well it is best to keep siblings together to avoid fights. If you are taking hamsters from different nests try to get to know them as soon as possible to get along as well as possible. Once they are older than eight weeks they are very likely to react badly to one another. In addition, make sure you have a large enough cage for each hamster to have space for themselves and that you have more than one feeding area to be able to feed on their own food bowls and water bottles. No matter how hard you try, sometimes hamsters just won’t get along with each other. In these cases, hamsters will often fight or bully one another which can be very dangerous and even deadly to one of them. If you have two of the same hamsters living together in the cage observe well how they behave, whether they get along and whether there are any problems. Living in an environment where hamsters are constantly fighting and harassing each other can be very stressful so rest assured that none of your hamsters will be happy. In this case, it will be necessary to separate the hamsters into different cages. This will ultimately help differentiate hamsters, but it will also make their lives more beautiful and peaceful. 4. Study your hamsters’ personality You constantly observe your hamsters to find the slightest difference. You try and try, but you still can’t find the differences that would help you to know which hamster is which. Physical appearance is simply not a thing that can help you because your hamsters look identical. But if you study them well you will notice that hamsters do not behave identically. As much as they look the same as humans, hamsters have different personalities. One of them, for example, will be shy, will often spend time in the cottage, and will run away every time you give him food. The other will be brave and will like to cuddle, will spend a lot more time outside the house, and will be more open to contact with you. Hamster’s personality depends on the species of hamster, how tame they are, and do they like to have friends in the cave. For example, Syrian hamsters quickly develop a relationship with the owner and are in a very friendly mood. However, they like to be alone and are very aggressive towards other hamsters so you cannot keep them with others. According to the behavior they show towards you, but also, in general, the habits and behavior they show in the cage, you will be able to notice the behaviors according to which hamsters differ. Place in the cave two different feeding bowls and two different water bottles. Since hamsters are fairly territorial animals even when they live together they are very likely to drink from different water bottles and eat from different feeders. If it is easier for you, record their habits and notice if they repeat some behaviors and if they do some things that are specific only to them. For example, it could be carrying food to a certain part of the cage or sleeping in a specific place. It is also very important to observe how your identical hamsters get along. It can happen that hamsters will not get along best and will cause stress. If you hear them fighting or see injuries on one of them, don’t wait for the situation to calm down. The hamsters will just keep fighting more and more until they get completely angry and kill each other. So you can be left without both hamsters because they can easily die from injuries. By studying their personalities and behaviors you will notice in time if something is happening and you can easily prevent such events if you separate them into two different cages. If the hamsters look exactly the same, they will most often be hamsters from the same litter so you should have no problems with fights and bullying, but you never know with their personalities and primitive instincts. Personality can be a great indicator and help you distinguish which hamster you are at any time. For this, you will need a lot of patience, paper and pencil, and the interesting company of your little pets. This way you can get to know your pets very well, and you will feel like a real scientist studying animal behavior. If you have children, be sure to include them in this activity because they will learn everything about hamsters. Besides, it will certainly be interesting to them to notice new things about their pets every day. 5. Study the smallest differences on your hamsters This method may not be completely creative, but it will certainly help you differentiate your hamsters in the long run. Besides that, this method can be very interesting for you and especially for your children if you make it a real detective job. Your main task is to find a difference between hamsters. While your hamsters may seem exactly the same at first, there are small differences that can help you differentiate them. However, to find these differences you need to study the bodies of your hamsters well and look for any spot that deviates from the usual fur color or some irregularity. Even when you spot spots on both hamsters, observe if they are exactly the same shape and if they are in exactly the same place. It can happen that the spot on one is just a little bit higher or lower than on the other hamster. For example, when it comes to White WInter hamsters, it often happens that it is difficult to find differences between two completely identical all-white hamsters. In such situations, pay attention to detail. Does one of the hamsters have a slightly shorter or longer tail than the other? Does the hamster perhaps have some spot or any irregularity on its tail or on the rest of its body that could help you distinguish them? The owners of the looking hamsters themselves state that it was precisely these small details that enabled them to distinguish hamsters at all times. In addition, when you study two hamsters of the same species for a long time, you notice some details that you did not see at first. For example, one of the hamsters has a slightly different head shape, a slightly different ear shape, or a more protruding muzzle. One of the hamsters may be barely noticeably larger than the other or be a shade lighter or darker in color. These are all little things that you will notice over time. To identify which hamster it is, take a good look at the color of their eyes. Hamsters can also have different eye shades and you can differentiate them accordingly. If there are no obvious differences and you can’t find any difference even after a long study, it’s best to turn to study their personalities and behavior to help you differentiate them. If this is not possible then turn to the method of using food coloring or cutting the piece of their hair. One of these methods will surely help you to easily tell your hamsters apart.... Read more...
- 4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid TheseHamsters are very skittish creatures, and they scare easily. For example when I first got my Teddy he was scared of me and didn’t like being out of his hut. In time we grew closer and he is fine with me now, but he still has some random moments when he suddenly darts into his home. If your hammy is anything like mine, then you’re probably wondering why he’s so scared of you. Sometimes you can’t help it – no matter how much you weigh, you’ll always be a giant for your hamster, and that can be scary for him. Table of Contents So why is your hamster so scared of you ?Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first placeYour hamster doesn’t trust you yetYour hamster is scared of sudden movementsYour hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new homeSome hamsters are very easy to scareA word from Teddy So why is your hamster so scared of you ? Generally hamsters are scared of everything, including you, until they get to know you better. Often it’s not necessarily your fault, since hamsters have an instinct to hide from everything. It could be how large you are in comparison to him, he maybe heard something spooky outside, maybe the cat keeps pawing at his cage every day ? So in short, your hamster could be scared because: he doesn’t trust you yet you did something very suddenly and scared him he’s currently in shock (like when you first bring him home) he’s a very shy hamster – some hamsters just are too easy to scare, no matter what. Alright, but aside from the personality, these can all be avoided. Or, at least made to be less scary for your hamster. Let’s get into detail with all of these, and see what you can do to help your hamster be more at ease. Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first place Imagine being so tiny, like your hamster. You barely weigh anything, and if the wind blows too hard you’ll roll over for a few minutes. Then, you’re somehow hunted day and night by anything from owls, to snakes, to wild cats and dogs, and sometimes even humans (in some parts of the world). You have to always be on the run, and nowhere you hide is safe. You dig underground, but the predators can hear you breathing or moving about. You run but they keep up. So you learn to have very quick reflexes, and run faster than your predators. You learn to dodge, suddenly stop, run the other way, and every other evasion tactic ever. You have to always be on high alert. Your best senses are hearing and smell, because the eyes don’t always tell the truth. This is usually what hamsters live like, and it’s a natural part of …well, nature. So your tiny furball is born to run and hide as fast and far as those tiny feet can get him. So whenever your notice that you scared your hamster by just walking by him, know that it’s 90% just his instinct. A few other reasons your hamster might be suddenly freezing can be found in this article. Now let’s see what can be done about the different reasons your hamster can get scared of you. Your hamster doesn’t trust you yet This is the main reason hamsters are scared of humans. We are so much larger than them, and we go to grab them with our big hands. The hamster’s first instinct is to shy away. So, what is best is to slowly let your hamster get to know you. As with dogs, hamsters have very fine smell, so let your hamster get used to your smell by placing your hand in the cage with a treat on it. Let the hamster get close, and take the treat from you. He will probably not eat from your hand at first but he will know your smell. Slowly progress over time to keeping more food in your hand so that your hamster gets to touch you more often. You can try gently petting him with a finger, and then later lifting the hand with the hamster on it, still in the cage, and slowly putting it back down. It takes time and repeated tries for your hammy to trust you, but it will probably happen. It might take a few days, or a few weeks. In some cases, it might not happen at all. Some hamsters are just very hard to tame, and it’s an achievement if they don’t bite at all. Your hamster is scared of sudden movements Since your hamster can’t see very well (but can hear and smell very well) sudden movements will make him jump. Literally jump. My Teddy did backflips when he was young if I somehow scared him, then he’d run into his hideout. So what I learned to do was not move too suddenly when I am around him, and talk to him as well. This way he knows where I am and can guess where I am going. Imagine some very large creature that you don’t understand, suddenly moving around you very fast. You’d probably hide too. Sudden sounds don’t really scare hamsters. Actually they will hear things you don’t, or would usually ignore. For example if it’s raining outside, you’ll notice your hamster stand still and listen for the water dripping outside. This is only until he learns to recognize the sound, then he will ignore it too. Your hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new home If your hamster is young, and you just brought him from the pet shop, leave him a couple of days to adjust. When you get your hamster, the employee who will catch him in the cardboard box needs to be gentle but determined to actually get him inside. Most hamster babies will run away when you reach for them to put them in the box, but picking them up with the box with a treat inside is much easier. Then, after you’ve picked up the hamster make it a short trip home. He will panic and start to pace his tiny box, scared. My Teddy started to chew around the air holes in his box when I got him, and we got an Uber home to get him in his cage fast. When you do get home and prepare his cage, place the box with the hamster inside the cage. Set a couple of treats outside his box, and open it. Then step away and let your hammy explore his new home. He will be shy at first, but the food will draw him out. Make sure that you’ve set up the bedding, hideout, food bowl and water tube and a few toys for him. You will need to give him about 2 full days to adjust to the cage and his hideout. In this time he will scare easily, and probably climb everywhere on the cage. For a good idea on what kind of hideout to get your furry buddy, check out this article. You’ll get some tips and pointers, along with clear examples. My Teddy made me wonder if I accidentally got a spider instead of a hamster. He was on the cage walls and ceiling more often than he was on the ground. Actually the first night I had him, I made myself some tea and just sat there watching him. He is my first hamster so I had no idea what he would be doing. Everything he did was funny, including that fuzzy face when he stares into the distance. In those first couple of days, do not reach into your hamster’s cage, to let him make the cage his. Then, after he calms down a bit, you can start talking to him, feed him a treat between the cage bars. Then, you can start building your relationship with him by doing what I suggested above, in the hamster trust part. But remember to give him time, it might take a few days or even a few weeks ! (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.) Some hamsters are very easy to scare This you cannot change, but you can improve it. Give the hamster time to get used to you, and go very slow with the taming process. Let him back in his cage if he looks like he’s restless. Most hamsters look like that but you can tell when your hamster want to jump out of your hand. It might be that he will never get used to being touched or held, and that’s not something you can change. Not all hamsters are like this, but a few can be very scared. With these hamsters, be extra cautious, move slowly, and talk to them. For example my Teddy is not the friendliest – he doesn’t let new people touch him. And sometimes not even me, depending on his mood. He’s more like a cat sometimes. Never disturb the hamster when he doesn’t need to be awake. You can read more about the daily routine of your hammy here, and why it’s a bad idea to wake him up too many times. A word from Teddy I hope you know now that us hamsters are easy to scare. So be gentle and slow, and we’ll learn to trust you. We can become very good friends if you give us enough time. If you want to know more about hammies, feel free to check the articles below. You’ll find more info on how much space we need, and how to feed us properly, along with other general care things.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?We see squirrels eating acorns all the time, and since they are rodents like our pet hamster, it is quite normal to believe that a hamster can eat acorns. But do they? Can your little hamster eat acorns? This is what I will discuss in this article since acorns as hamster treats are a bit more dangerous than they might look. Stick around till the end to see some cool homemade toy ideas that you can make for your hamster to chew on or play with. I will talk about this because many people use acorns as a toy for their hamsters to chew on rather than food. Table of Contents Can hamsters eat acorns?Can a hamster open an acorn?Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin?What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat?Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid.Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play withConclusion Can hamsters eat acorns? Hamsters should not eat acorns because they can have a lot of bacteria, parasites, harmful germs, and even fungal infections. There are actually two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster acorns: The first one is the one we talked about, acorns can be bad for your hamster’s health because they are not healthy for its digestive system. Even if we wash the acorns, we might not get rid of all those problems. I’ve heard there are some people that wash and bake the acorns before giving them to the hamster. This might get rid of most of the bacteria, parasites, and so on, but you still have one more problem. Acorns are quite sharp and can hurt your hamster’s intestines or cheek pouches if they store them. Hamsters tend to keep food in their cheek pouches and keeping a sharp object is dangerous since their cheek pouches are sensitive. Here you can read more about how cheek pouches work and common problems. So, while a hamster’s diet, especially a pet one, contains mostly seeds and nuts, it is important to know that acorns are still dangerous. Can a hamster open an acorn? Yes, hamsters can open acorns and get to the seed, it can take a while, but they will eventually succeed and eating the seed can be dangerous for them. If you plan on giving your hamster a natural chew toy, you can give him a walnut rather than a acorn since the walnuts are safe to eat for your hamster and it is a better option even as a toy. You give him a chewing toy, they can chew on walnuts for way longer than they would chew on an acorn, so it is not worth the risk, and there is no reward in giving him an acorn instead. Squirrels open walnuts pretty fast, have you ever seen one doing it? They are much stronger than a little hamster, and their digestive system is also different from the hamster one, and that’s why they can eat acorns much easier. Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin? Yes, hamsters can eat acorn squash or pumpkin and also their seeds. However, you should not give a big amount of acorn squash to your hamster even if it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, they don’t need much, and it’s very easy to overestimate how much they can eat. You can give them a small piece of pumpkin, 1 inch cube should be enough. If you plan to give the seeds of an acorn squash or pumpkin to your hamster, you should rinse them and dry roast the seeds before giving them to your hamster to make sure they are safe. If you want to know more about what a hamster can eat, I have an entire article where I included a food list that touches on all the important things you need to know when you feed your hamster. Check it out here. Also, if you want to give your hamster a healthy pre-made food mix, here is one that I found on Amazon. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside. It’s usually much safer to feed your hamster a pre-made mix than trying to come up with a homemade diet for a hamster since it’s quite hard to include all the nutrients they need and also, it’s much cheaper and less time-consuming this way. What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat? I don’t want to scare you with this article and make you believe that hamsters are more fragile than they actually are; hamsters can actually eat many nuts and seeds. When it comes to nuts, they can safely eat unsalted peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios (roasted but unsalted). I hope there is not something I forget here, but you get the idea. Here is what seeds they can safely eat: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds, wheat, corn kernels, and so on. Sunflower seeds are found in almost all pre-made food mixes for a hamster since they are a great source of fats and vitamins that a hamster needs. Observation: when you feed your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are unsalted or unspiced since they can be dangerous for our little hamster pets. Hamsters can also eat popcorn if it is plain, so when you buy popcorn, make sure it is not salty, sweet, or spicy. Also, it should not be microwaved since it can be dangerous for hamsters, so it is better to avoid it if you are not sure how that popcorn was made. Even when you decide to feed your hamster popcorn, make sure there are just a few pieces as a treat rather than the actual food. Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid. Here is a list of dangerous seeds and nuts for hamsters: -Almonds. They are considered nuts like the other ones, but bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound that can be poisonous for your hamster. When it comes to toxic seeds for your hamster, the list is a bit bigger: -Apple seeds -Pear seeds -Strawberry seeds -Cherry pit Some of those contain cyanogenic acids that can be lethal for a hamster. Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play with It is very important to keep your hamster as active as possible, and chewing toys or homemade puzzles can be a great option. The main reason why hamster needs to chew on something continuously is that, like many other rodents, their teeth are growing continuously. If they don’t wear down their teeth, it can become dangerous for their health, so chewing toys are not just for fun, they have an actual purpose. As I said, many people want to give acorns to hamsters to give them something to chew on, but since we’ve established that it can be dangerous, I will give you some other great ideas. -The first one and the most obvious one is to give a walnut to your hamster. Usually, they tend to chew more if you give them a walnut compared to a store-bought chew toy because they can smell that it is actual food inside that walnut shell, so they have a reason to chew on that other than wear down their continuously growing teeth. -Cardboard boxes with food inside. Closed cardboard boxes with food inside are a great way to make your hamster exercise for its food. If you are worrying about your hamster eating cardboard, I have an entire article about that. -Toilet paper roll puzzle. Cut some strips of a regular toilet roll that are about an inch or 2.5 cm long; these will form large frills at either end of the roll. Fold one end of the roll to secure any food or treats you put inside, then fold the other end to further ensure nothing spills out. To make the puzzle more difficult for your hamster, you can make the frills longer and twist them together. Your hamster will hear and smell the food, motivating him to try to figure out how to open it. There are also store-bought ones but you need to make sure they are safe for your hamster since some of them are made from pine or cedar wood which can be dangerous for your hamster. Conclusion Unfortunately, it is not safe for hamsters to eat acorns, even if you would love to see the little hammy chewing on an acorn like a cute little squirrel. We can always swap the acorn with walnut. I can promise your hamster will have a lot of work cracking a walnut. Mine chewed for a few weeks on it, and it didn’t crack. So even if it’s not a good food source because they don’t get to eat the walnut, it is a great chew toy. I hope this article helped you, and now you know what seeds and nuts to give to your hamster and which ones you should avoid.... Read more...
- Understanding Dwarf Hamster Behavior – An Owner’s GuideAll animals communicate with one another with their body language, and that includes humans, even though we tend to focus on speaking, more than showing someone what we mean with our body. Hamsters, however, aren’t that good at articulated speech, so the only way they can communicate with other hamsters and with their owners is through their body. They can say “Hello.”, “Back off!” or “I’m hungry.” in many different ways. You’re always going to want to understand your hamster and what it’s trying to say, as that’s the best way of understanding your hamster’s needs and desires. Today, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at all these things that hamsters do to tell us or show us something. In this article, we’ll show you all the ways hamsters can use body language to explain that they need or want something, what does it mean, and what are some changes in hamster behavior that should raise concerns. Without further ado, let’s get started! Behavior Meanings in Dwarf Hamsters. There are many behaviors that may intrigue you with your hamster, so we’ll be explaining all of them. Being active at night – many owners actually don’t know this before they purchase their hamster, but most rodents are primarily night dwelling creatures. You shouldn’t be surprised if you hear your hamster running around their cage at night – that’s a sign of a perfectly happy and healthy hamster. The reason behind this is their poor eyesight, as they don’t really rely on their eyes. Hamsters tend to sniff around if they’re looking for anything and want to identify something, so night and day doesn’t really make too much of a difference to them. You can even hear them running on their wheel during the night, as they need a lot of exercises, as well. Chewing – you’re definitely going to notice that your hamster seems to be chewing a lot on a regular basis, even when they don’t have anything to chew on. This is completely normal. What they’re actually doing is filing and grinding their own teeth. Many animals, for example, sharks, have their teeth growing from the day they’re born until the day they die. Hamsters belong to this group of animals, as well. If they don’t file and grind their teeth regularly they’re going to become too long and that’s going to cause issues when they’re eating. Cheek stuffing – probably everyone knows that hamsters stuff their cheeks, it’s part of what makes them so adorable. They actually put food in their cheeks to carry it back to their den in order to hide it. The reason they do this is their natural instinct. In the wilderness, they would have to hide their food to keep it safe from other hamsters and other animals. Although there may be no need for that when they’re living in captivity, hamsters will still instinctively do this. They’ll stuff their cheeks full of food and bring that food back to their den, where they’ll hide it. Don’t let your hamster fool you into thinking that you didn’t give them enough food, as it’s likely that there’s more than enough, it’s just that they’ve hidden it. Hamster mamas actually stuff their babies into their cheeks to carry them to the den. And if they feel that the babies are in danger, they will even put their babies in their cheeks to protect them. Burrowing – hamsters burrow in order to hide from any potential threat, this is completely normal behavior, and you shouldn’t worry. You have to understand that hamsters have no defensive capabilities, they can only bite their attacker, but that’s almost useless as their teeth can’t do much damage. If a hamster bites you, they’ll likely draw some blood, but that’s about it. Unlike dogs who can bite, cats who can scratch (not to mention large cats who can rip other animals apart), and snakes who can kill with their venom – hamsters are completely defenseless. Evolution has placed them at the bottom of the food chain, and their only defense system is to run and hide. They do this instinctively, and you may even find them hiding long after they’ve bonded with you and started seeing you as someone they trust. It should be noted that hamsters are very scared animals – because they’re naturally defenseless, they fear everything – that way there’s always on the lookout for danger. Your hamster is most likely going to take a month or two to adjust to the tone and color of your voice, your scent, and your presence. However, you’ll probably see it hiding from you even after that. You can’t exactly change this – no matter how much your hamster may trust you, it’s always going to fear sudden movement, loud noise, light flashing, etc. Observing you with its ears erect – this is actually funny, but hamsters will watch you just as much as you watch them. When they feel that they’re not in danger, your hamster will try to observe you and see what you’re doing. We’re saying ‘try to observe’, because they have terrible eyesight and won’t be able to see much. When you notice your hamster watching you with its ears in an erect position, know that it’s just curious about what’s going on. Grooming – Grooming is an essential part of your hamster’s life, and it’s completely normal to notice them grooming a lot. They will spend hours upon hours of their awake life grooming themselves – they’re some of the most well-groomed pets, alongside cats (ironically). It’s important for them to groom as their hair, just like their teeth, never stops growing. Well, it slows down once they get old. Something that you should keep an eye on is patches of skin where there’s no fur. If you notice that your hamster has actually itched or groomed its own fur out, that probably means that your hamster’s sick in some way. It may be something simple, like mites, but you’ll still want to take it to the vet. With age, hamsters will become lazy – but that’s all for a good reason. Their fur will grow less with age, and it’s completely normal for them to spend less time on grooming when there’s no need for grooming. Yawning and stretching – all animals yawn, and all animals stretch, not just humans. When you notice that your hamster is yawning and/or stretching, it’s because it feels comfortable and safe in its current environment. This is actually a great sign for you, as it means that it feels comfortable around you. Stretching leaves the hamster vulnerable, and the fact that it’s willing to do that around you is a clear sign that your hamster trusts you. Eating out of your hand – while we’re at the topic, here’s another great behavior sign that your hamster trusts you. If a hamster is willing to eat out of your hand, it’s basically telling you that you’ve earned its trust. When an animal is eating, any animal (including humans), it’s at its most vulnerable. Snakes like to hide when they eat and remain dormant for weeks after digesting, most animals that live in pits like to move back to that pit to enjoy their meal. If a hamster is willing to eat straight out of your hand when it’s at its most vulnerable – it must really trust you. Biting the cage – you may sometimes notice that a hamster is biting its cage. This is textbook attention-seeking, so it means that you should take your hamster out and play with it. Rubbing their heads against the cage – this behavior has nothing to do with the previous example. Hamsters will rub their heads against the cage, especially the metal bars if they find their cage to be too small. This isn’t something you should ignore – small cages will stress your hamster out. You have to understand that hamsters are very sensitive, and if just one thing is out of order, they’ll lose their minds. If they can’t spend their energy if their cage is too small, or if they’re hungry – the result is always the same; the hamster gets stressed out. This is dangerous because smaller animals, hamsters included, are known to die from stress – their hearts can literally give out from stress. It’s also harmful because the hamster will often lose hair on its face when it rubs it on the metal bars. Biting – if your hamster bites you, it’s out of one of two reasons. Firstly, we’ve already explained that their eyesight is terrible. If you put your finger in the cage and the hamster bites it, it might just be trying to find out if your finger is actually food. This is especially often if you haven’t washed your hands, as you bring many scents with you that way (and if you’ve been eating before that, the hamster will definitely smell the food). That’s why it’s always important to wash your hands before interacting with your hamster. The second reason why your hamster may be biting you is to tell you to back off. Hamsters fear everything, and if you were a small animal and all of a sudden a giant finger was approaching you, you’d likely try to run away from it, as well. However, once they have nowhere to run to, they’ll bite back. Even if you’re well acquainted with your hamster and it knows you well, it’s still likely going to bite you in this situation. You need to interact with your hamster slowly, just how you would interact with a dog – let it sniff your hand. And even after that, don’t poke at the hamster. Nibbling – hamsters will usually start to nibble if they’re being handled and they’ve had enough of it. Return the hamster to its cage. Ears forward with cheek pouches puffed up and mouth open – this usually means that the hamster is frightened. There’s something stressing it in its current environment and you should remove that something. Emptying their cheek pouches quickly – hamsters that do this are usually under some kind of threat and they need to empty their pouches in order to run away quickly. This means that something has startled your hamster. Standing on hind legs with dukes up – this is your hamster telling you to back off. Although this will happen rarely, this is basically your hamster telling you that it’s feeling threatened and it will have to get aggressive if you don’t back off. Acting startled when you’re approaching it – this means that your hamster still hasn’t adjusted to its environment and to you as an owner. This is completely normal during the first few months of your relationship, as it takes a lot of time for hamsters to fully adapt to their owners. Sleeping during the day – completely normal. Hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals, so the fact that they’re sleeping during the day is the equivalent of humans sleeping during the night, nothing wrong with that. Squeaking – squeaking can mean many things in many different animal languages. Hamsters squeak when they’re in distress or feel scared. This is basically a universal sign for feeling agitated. You’re likely going to notice this when you’re taking the hamster to your home for the first time. They’re also likely to squeak if they’re in pain or if they’re fighting. If you have two hamsters in the same cage and hear them squeaking, they might be fighting. Chattering – if you hear your hamster chattering with their teeth, that likely means that they need more space. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy a larger cage, but that you need to back off, give them some breathing room, because you’re irritating them and they might bite you. Hissing – although this sign is mostly connected to snakes, not furry pets like hamsters, they can his too. This usually means that they’re feeling very agitated or afraid, although it can happen when they have been startled too. Ears laid back with narrow eyes – this is actually similar to how humans behave in the same situation, as well. This means that the hamster is suspicious of something going on – they’ve noticed something that drew their attention and they need to investigate it. Lying on its back with incisors showing – this is another sign of a frightened and threatened hamster that doesn’t want to be messed with. Give your hamster some breathing room. Slowly moving around – this means that the hamster is exploring. It’s likely that your hamster will keep exploring for the first few weeks when you bring it home, it’s completely normal and shouldn’t raise any concerns. Creeping slowly along the sides of the cage – this means that the hamster is unsure of their bearings and they’re just trying to figure out where they are. Playing dead – this is one of the techniques hamsters use to evade being eaten or disturbed by other animals and predators. This is actually a method that many animals utilize, and hamsters are no different. If you notice that your hamster appears to be frozen, it’s because it’s playing dead. Unless it’s actually dead, but that’s a whole other barrel of monkeys (check by poking it). Unresponsiveness – if you find your hamster being unresponsive to your presence (which is highly unlikely, hamsters are always going to react to your presence, either positively or negatively, but they’re definitely going to react), they may be ill. Laziness – if you notice that your hamster’s acting lazy or lethargic, it may be another sign of your hamster being ill. Behavior change in Dwarfs hamsters Although it’s not behavioral, we feel that we may need to address that illnesses can be recognized by physical changes in appearance. Especially losing weight and fur. Two hamsters fighting – all males in the animal kingdom fight to assert dominance. If you notice your hamsters fighting, it may be over territory or to assert dominance. Be sure to separate them. Also know that if you have a male and a female hamster, the male hamster is going to try to mate every time the female is in heat (which is literally every four days) – and if the female doesn’t want to mate, it can actually kill the male. So you should keep your male and female hamsters separated if you don’t want this issue, and also if you don’t want literally hundreds of hamsters a year, since hamsters breed like crazy and you’ll be way in over your head very quickly. Repeating a specific behavior all over again – when hamsters do this it’s usually a sign that they’re not doing well mentally. This is most often due to a monotonous lifestyle – we’ve already explained that these animals are crazily active, and you need to keep them interested if you want them to live a healthy and happy life. You should buy some toys and consider purchasing a larger cage. Not eating or drinking – this is always a cause for concern, regardless of the species. When an animal isn’t eating, it usually means that it’s ill in some way. You should definitely take your hamster to the vet. This will often be followed by the animal losing fur and weight. Not chewing – hamsters have to chew to shred their teeth, we’ve already discussed this. When a hamster stops chewing, it usually means that you should be concerned. You will also notice if your hamster’s teeth are too long. You should take your hamster to the vet. Uncharacteristic hiding – we’ve said that hamsters hide when they’re afraid or stressed, but if your hamster keeps hiding all the time for no apparent reason, it should be a sign of concern. There’s something in your hamster’s environment disturbing it and you should try to find out what it is so you could remove it. Female Dwarf hamster behavior Female hamsters go in heat periodically, every four days. That period lasts for 12 hours. When they’re in heat, you’ll notice that they’re crouching and raising their tail. This is an invitation to mate. You’ll also notice a different smell in the air around the cage – these are the pheromones that the female is releasing to attract the male. When a female is pregnant (pregnancy usually lasts between 18 and 30 days, depending on the individual hamster), you will notice that the female is constantly burrowing and digging. This is because it’s building a better nest for her offspring. You’ll notice that these activities are particularly intensifying right before she gives birth. Mothers will be very protective of their young when they’ve given birth, and they won’t allow anyone (not even you) to come near their young. They won’t even allow the father to approach the babies. During this time, you’ll notice the mother becoming very stressed, very active, constantly running around, digging, carrying pellets, etc. When a hamster is behaving similarly to a cat, slinking around its cage, it’s probably trying to tell you that it’s in pain. “Often when in pain, a hamster may hunch his back slightly, and take very small steps,” says Dr. Kerry Kraemer, DVM, of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. “He may also be restless, and possibly show difficulties in getting comfortable. If you observe this type of movement, be sure to handle the hamster carefully, as pain may cause the animal to bite.” Waving their hands – if you see your hamster waving its little paws, it’s actually a sign of them exploring their surroundings. Hamsters have really bad eyesight, so they rely on their other senses to explore. When they want to know what’s around them, they’ll often stand on their hind feet and raise their front feet and wave them around, resembling a human. The hamster appears to be begging – if it seems like the hamster is begging, it’s not actually good to approach it. Sometimes, a hamster will stand on its hind legs with its front paws hanging limply, and many people will judge this as the hamster begging. It’s actually being watchful, and that can turn to aggression. Even though yawning is most often just that – yawning, sometimes it can actually indicate displacement behavior or an aggressive display. Yawning is often visible in aggressive, stressed, and pre-sleeping hamsters. If you see your hamster yawning, it’s best to leave it be. The exact opposite of that would be nipping – as hamsters are known to nip their owners when they want attention. If you let your hamster out of its cage and it nips your finger while it’s playing with you on the couch – it’s probably inviting you to interact with it more. Hamsters are very well known as a sensitive species, and they’ll definitely let you know that as soon as you decide to adopt one. As soon as something isn’t going their way, they’ll be sure to let you know. You should always keep an eye on the signs that your hamster is unsatisfied with something, signs saying that there’s a problem you shouldn’t ignore. You may see hamsters as animals that are just behaving animalistic, but their body language is actually quite complex and they’re trying to send messages. It’s important that you interpret these messages properly and that you behave accordingly. If there’s something wrong with your hamster’s surroundings – change them. Don’t be afraid of interacting with your hamster, most signs that are telling you to back off are going to be pretty obvious – hissing, scratching, etc. We’ve covered all signs of hamster behavior that are available for interpretation and that have actually been interpreted. Dwarf hamsters behave like most other hamsters, the only hamsters that actually somewhat different from their cousins in the behavioral department are Syrian and Chinese hamsters, so you can even use this guide if you have some other breed of hamsters. What’s also important to know is that all progress in a relationship with an animal is going to take some time, so you shouldn’t hurry it. Know how to read your hamster’s body language, know what it means, and know-how you should react to it. There’s no reason for you to not be able to communicate with your hamster, even though it can’t use words. Hamsters can grow to become loving animals, but you’re going to need to learn their language to build a trusting relationship that’s not going to be slowed down by the barrier of understanding. Feel free to consult this guide whenever you’re in doubt about what your hamster’s trying to say.... Read more...