The hamster’s cage is the most important purchase you’ll ever make for your furry friend. I know I made some mistakes when I got my Teddy his first cage. And I’m here to help you get your hammy the best cage ever.
My Teddy is a fully grown Syrian hamster, but I will also cover the cage requirements for dwarf hamsters as well.
So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ?
This depends on several factors, and I’ll list them here. Then, we’ll get into detail for each and every one of them, so you have the most information. So, you have to be mindful of:
- The cage size – different needs for different hamster species
- The cage type – plastic vs wire vs glass tank
- Escape-proof rating of the cage
- Multiple levels or a simple ground level
- Air flow – some cage types aren’t the most breatheable
Whichever kind of cage you get, be careful to check every nook and cranny before you buy it. Or, when it ships to you. Your hamster will check it anyway, so if there’s anything wrong with the cage, best to know before you put your friend in it.
Teddy: Us hamsters are very curious creatures, and we’ll get our little faces into EVERY part of the cage. So make sure it’s safe for us before you let us in !
The best cage size for your hamster
It will vary from species to species, but I’ll cover both types. In general hamsters need more space than you’d think, since they’re very active creatures and love to run around.
Even if you see your friend as the smallest ball of fur, he will still need plenty of room to roam and explore.
Cage size for Syrian hamsters
The best size cage for your Syrian hamster would be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.
The height of the cage is not very important, because hamsters need more actual floor space than levels. Of course, you can get your hammy a cage with a few levels, aside from the ground floor.
This is actually what my Teddy has. He has a combination of plastic and wire cage, with 2 attachable levels. I left the highest level out of the cage, so I can fit his 8.5 inch/23 cm wheel.
Syrian hamsters are always housed alone. They are very territorial and will not share anything with another hamster, even a litter mate.
Cage size for Dwarf hamsters
The best size for a dwarf hamster is 18 x 10 inches, and a 12 inch height. That’s 46 cm x 25.4 cm, with a 30.5 cm height. That is for one dwarf hamster.
You can house dwarf hamsters together, but not too many. 2 or 3 are enough, but for each hamster your add, you will need a bigger cage. So for example if you’ve got 2 dwarf hamsters, then they will need more space than I said above.
They will need at least a Syrian cage, so that’s 24 inches by 12 inches (61 x 30.5 cm) for 2 dwarf hamsters.
If you’ve got 3 dwarf hamsters, then you’ll need a much bigger cage. You’d be better off looking for a glass tank. We’ll cover that soon.
The best cage type for your hamster
There’s 3 main types of cages you can pick, and I’ll go through all of them. You can find combination cages (like plastic and wire cages), but not very often.
Wire cages for hamsters
The most common kind of hamster cage, and the one you will find in a pet shop most of the time. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll go through them here.
This kind of cage is made up of a plastic bottom, usually about the height of your palm. The attachable wire walls, which are actually most of the cage itself.
Although, the most important part is the bottom bit. That is where your hamster will live, walk, eat, sleep, and poo.
The wire of the cage is just how far he can go. But the floor space is the most relevant part of your cage, to be honest.
Good points for a wire cage:
- breathable, lots of air flow for your hamster
- easy to clean, just a wipe down with a warm, moist cloth
- easy to take apart and reassemble
- generally sturdy, will last a long time
Bad points for a wire cage:
- can sometimes have metal wiring on the floor, and your hamster can get stuck there
- is the hamster’s favorite chew toy
- bedding can easily fly out of it
- wire spacing is often too large for hamsters, they can squeeze their heads through
When it comes to the space between the wire of your cage, the smaller then better. The thing is, hamsters are very curious, and will stick their faces everywhere and will try chewing everything.
If your hamster’s head can fit between the wires, then his body can fit as well and he can escape. So, for Syrian hamsters a maximum wire space should be 0.6 inches/1.5 cm. And for dwarf hamsters, a maximum of 0.4 inches/ 1 cm.
The problems is that most of the cages your will find in a pet shop have the wiring too far apart. If they’re large enough for a Syrian, then the wiring is too far apart. If the wiring is good, they’re almost always just large enough for a parakeet, not a hamster of any kind.
A good wire cage for your hamster
A good wire cage is one that has a sensible wire spacing, This one’s got less than half an inch, so it will keep even dwarf hamsters inside.
It’s easy enough to work with and you an fit any kind of hideout or toy inside, and a tall wheel will fit as well.
It has the added benefit of an extra level, which hamsters will love. My Teddy loves to hide under the home level, and yours is probably no different. This one’s level is adjustable, so you can place it whichever way you want.
You can check out the listing on Amazon here.
Plastic cages for hamsters
These can be plastic bins that you can drill some holes in, and put a wire mesh in place of a lid. Or you can even find plastic cages at a pet shop, designed for your hamster.
These are see-through, and are the second most common type of hamster cages. They’re usually a bit more pricey than wire cages, but they have the added benefit that they can be customized.
Good points for plastic hamster cages:
- less bedding thrown outside the cage, contains poo and wood shavings better
- easier to customize, you can often find them with holes made for attaching tunnels and tubes
- less of a chew hazard, the hamster rarely chews on them since he can’t get his teeth on anything
- usually has a very large topside latch, so you can fit both hands inside the cage
- you can provide deeper bedding, since there is a higher plastic guard
Bad points for plastic hamster cages:
- less airflow than wire cages or glass tanks, since the air holes are smaller
- more condensation or trapped air
- need more cleaning, since there is more surface to clean
- less sturdier than wire cages, careful when moving the plastic cages
The plastic cages sound like a good option, and they can totally be a good option for your hamster. If you’ve got a hamster who loves to dig around and burrow, this might be for him. You can give your friend a lot of digging space and a whole bunch of bedding to roam around in.
Just make sure that you get a version that’s well ventilated, so your hamster can breathe easily.
As for the actual bins some people use in place of a hamster cage, I wouldn’t recommend that. The plastic is usually too soft and blurry, even if it can be drilled to get some air holes for your hamster.
When it comes to basic, important hamster accessories like the cage or the wheel or exercise ball, or even the water bottle, I suggest you get a professional one. Those are made with the hamster’s comfort in mind.
A good plastic hamster cage recommendation
This is actually the cage I have for my Teddy. It has 2 levels, and they provide a lot of room for your hamster. My Teddy is a solitary adult Syrian hamster, But this would be alright for 2 dwarf hamsters as well.
The best thing about this cage is that it comes with the tube attachments, which can actually fit an adult Syrian hamster inside easily.
This is an easy to clean and assemble cage, with a great combo between plastic and metal cage advantages. There’s air, and there’s safety and containment as well.
I removed the highest level so I can fit 9 inch wheel inside. The wheel that come with it, as well as the hideout I wouldn’t recommend, since they are plastic and small.
You can check out the listing on Amazon here.
Glass tanks for hamsters
A third and final option would be to keep your hammy in a glass tank. This is a great option if you have a lot of space in your home, and can place la large glass tank somewhere.
There are some special precautions, though. Glass keeps cold for longer, so make sure you keep the tank in a definitely warm room. Hamsters need an temperature of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. A glass tank might keep them colder if not properly maintained.
Good points for a glass tank:
- you can get them in a very large size, and will definitely fit any kind of hamster you have
- can be split down the middle with a large bendy bridge if the hamsters become rowdy
- you can see your hammy, but he can’t kick out any bedding
- can be found quite easily, it can even be a glass shelf with the shelves removed
Bad points for a glass tank:
- cleaning and changing the bedding will need serious planning and will take more time
- more sensitive to temperature shifts
- you can’t move it around like a normal cage; the room you keep it in is its final room
The glass tank is a seriously good option if you’ve got a room to keep the hamster in, and it won’t bother you during the night, and you can keep it an even temperature.
Glass tanks don’t have to be aquariums. They can be that, but you can also use a glass shelf/display rack. When cleaning day comes, you’ll probably need a bit of help from a friend with this. But if you’re a dedicated hamster owner, you probably won’t mind the extra trouble to give your hammy the best home ever.
The best thing to do is to find a wire mesh that you can use as a lid, on the top of your hamster’s glass tank. This is just a precaution. Most glass tanks are too tall for hamsters to climb, but you never know until they’re out.
A recommendation on glass tanks for hamsters
You can find a good glass tank here. It’s a 20 gallon tank, and that’s about the minimum for a hamster’s glass tank.
The best part about it is that it’s tall enough the hamster can’t escape, and you probably won’t need a wire mesh to cover the top. Best to get one, just to be sure, though.
The cleaning and washing and drying will be a longer process than the other cage types, but you can see your hamster clearly.
When it comes to glass anything, it’s best to go there personally and buy it. Glass breaks very easily so don’t be surprised if that happens during transport.
You can check out the listing on Amazon for this glass tank here.
Safety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cage
Another important aspect when you choose the hamster’s cage is how safe it is for your hamster, and how well it can keep him contained.
Hamster’s safety in his cage
Your hamster’s cage is his home. This is where he will eat, sleep, poop, run around, and just live out his entire life. It needs to be a safe place for your hamster. So let’s look at a few precautions to take:
- check for any sharp edges your hammy could hurt himself on, like some stray wires or sides
- no chipped edges if you’re using a glass tank
- the seams/corners are safe and can’t be chewed on, and have no visible glue that the hamster can gnaw on
- if you’ve got a multi level cage, make sure the levels aren’t too high so he can’t fall too far
- give your hammy lots and lots of bedding to shield him from any odd edges
- make sure the cage fastenings don’t come open easily, and keep the cage top well secured
If you’ve checked all of the above, and you’re sure your hammy can’t hurt himself on anything, then great ! Remember to keep the room temperature between 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit and he will be fine.
Is the hamster’s cage escape proof ?
Hamsters are escape artists. Not because they reaaaaally want to escape, but because they’re curious and want to know everything, If there’s something that smells like food, they’ll be all over the cage to try to get to it.
If they see you they’ll be clawing at the cage to come and smell you. Hamsters are busy things, people to see, things to do. So they will try their teeth on everything, including the cage.
If you’re not careful, he might chew through a cage fastening (depending on the material) and hurt himself and/or manage to escape. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your hamster can’t escape.
- if you’ve got a glass tank, use a wire mesh with metal clamps to fit it on top of the cage
- make sure the cage wiring and the wire mesh holes don’t have more than 1.5 cm/0.6 inch opening for Syrian hamsters
- for dwarf hamsters, make sure the opening between wires is no more than 1 cm/0.4 inches; Syrian hamster babies need smaller openings, like this one
- make sure that the cage fastenings keep the cage well closed and can’t be opened easily
- check the cage for any weakness that the hamster night chew on, like ripped plastic bottom or a small hole somewhere
How to clean a hamster’s cage
This depends a bit on what type of cage you own, but I’ll go through each type. Whichever kind you have, you must first place the hamster(s) somewhere else. So use an exercise ball, or transport cage, to keep the hamster while you clean he cage.
How to place a hamster in a temporary holding
If you can hold your hamster, then scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball or transport cage. If the hamster can’t be handled, then coax him into the exercise ball or transport cage with a bit of food he loves.
He only has to stay there until you clean his cage. If you’ve put him in an exercise ball, make sure you keep an eye on him as well.
Remove any and all toys and home and food bowls from the cage, until you only have the bedding.
The cages are very simple, open the latches on the cage (usually on the side) and remove the top. Then, after you’ve removed everything but the bedding, look for soiled parts.
If the bedding looks relatively clean and doesn’t smell, remove only the dirty parts. Use a rubber glove, and throw away the parts that need to be thrown away. Keep a bit of the old bedding and nesting material, for your hamster to feel more familiar.
If you’re using a sand bath for your hamster, make sure you change and clean that as well.
How to clean wire or plastic cages for hamsters
As for the cage itself, it will need only hot water and a bit of soap. Small quantities of soap, since hamsters are very sensitive to smell. You can scrub the sides of the cage, or wipe them down, your choice.
You can also bring the cage parts into the shower and give them a good cleaning there, just make sure your pat them dry with paper towels and especially the lower part. The bedding can get wet if you don’t, and will become moldy.
Once you’ve washed and dried the cage, place the parts of the old bedding back onto the lower part of the cage. Put new bedding if you need to, until you reach a depth of about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm.
Then, place back every toy and food bowl or accessory in the hamster’s cage. In his hideout, place the bits of the old nesting material, and some new nesting material in the cage.
Do not place new nesting material directly in the hamster’s hideout. He will take it out anyway, and bring it back in as he thinks fit. My Teddy got quite annoyed when he found his hideout full of ripped up paper towel not the way he left it.
Cleaning a glass tank for hamsters
The bedding and toys need to be removed the same way as the wire or plastic cages. But the last bits of bedding will require something like a vacuum cleaner, to make sure you get absolutely everything out.
The cleaning and washing part is done with hot water and a small amount of soap, but will need more rinsing with a moist clean cloth. You can’t bring the glass tank to the shower, but you can rinse it thoroughly with lots and lots or moist cloth.
When you’re done washing it, dry very well with paper towels. If you want to be extra sure there are no hidden water droplets in the corner, use a blow dryer. Keep it a safe distance from the glass, at least 40 cm/16 inches and use a warm setting.
After you’re done washing and drying the glass tank, place back the bedding and nesting material, with bits of old bedding and nesting material as well.
Place the toys and hideout and everything back, and use this as an excuse to maybe redecorate the hammy’s place.
Even if the glass tank is a glass one, do now use window washing liquid on it. The alcohol and strong smell will be harmful for the hamster, just stick to hot water.
Multiple levels or one ground level ?
This is entirely up to you, and the hamster will enjoy both. The thing is that hamsters need a lot of leg room, because they run and climb and explore new places.
If you’re looking for a hamster cage that will give your hamster a lot of space, look for a low cage, with lots of space in width and length. This will take up a lot of actual floor space in your home. So, it depends on your home as well.
If you choose a multi-level cage, you do give your hamster more room, and he will use the higher levels as well. He will hangout mostly around his hideout, so make sure you put that somewhere he will not fall far from.
For example my Teddy has a multiple level cage. I took out the last level so I can fit his wheel inside, but Teddy uses all the space he has. When I gave him the extra level, he used that one too.
A word of caution though. Hamsters can’t judge heights very well, so they will jump or fall from a high ground if they think it’s a shortcut. My Teddy is also plain silly and just forgets he has a nice ramp set up from his upper level to the ground level.
He sometimes just jumps from the upper level (like 15 cm/6 inches) to the ground floor. He often just climbs up instead of using that ramp. That’s okay, he’s working out quite well.
So if you get your hamster a multi-level cage, make sure your give the levels lots of bedding. And also, make sure the levels overlap a little, so he can’t jump too far down.
This is because hamsters will use the actual floor of the levels as much as they can, so there is no point if giving them a ‘high ceiling’ type of cage. Hamsters spend most of their time on all 4 feet, and don’t need a lot of vertical space to stand.
Just make sure that a large exercise wheel (9 inches/23 cm and upwards) will fit into the type of cage you have.
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The airflow of the cage is important for your hamster
As with every living being, air is important. Stale air will give your hamster a lot of health issues, including lung problems, possible colds, and suffocation in extreme cases.
To make sure your hamster gets lots of air, a wire cage is best. But to make sure the hamster won’t chew the bars, you need a plastic cage or glass tank. But with the plastic cage the air quality is often a problem.
However a glass tank is often expensive. So what should you do ?
Take a look at your budget, see which kind of cage you can provide your hamster and still be okay. Then, do the following:
- If you get a wire cage – keep it in a corner, away from drafts and in an even temp of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit
- If you get a plastic cage – place the hamster in his exercise ball more often, and use that time to air out the plastic cage
- If you’ve got a glass tank, the air will be sufficient but again keep it from drafts, and when the hamster is outside the cage remove the wire mesh to allow for more air
If you hamster’s cage isn’t properly aired, the condensation and air quality will give him health problems, and we want to avoid that. This is especially important with the ammonia fumes from the hamster’s pee.
Protect your hamster’s cage from drafts and any especially cold air.
Placing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cage
The hideout is where your hamster will spend most of his time. Place that in a corner, hidden from sight or at least under a bendy bridge or something similar.
Hamsters will choose a very hidden and safe spot to build their nest, so put their hideout there. For example my Teddy often uses the most hidden corner of his cage to eat, under the upper level and blocked by paper tubes and bedding.
To find out more about what kind of hideout is best for your hamster, as well as which kind of bedding is safe for him, check out my article. You’ll also find out what nesting material is okay, and how to take care if your hamster’s hideout.
As for the toys and wheel, make sure you keep any tall toys away from the glass tank’s edge otherwise the hamster might climb out.
The wheel can be anywhere in the cage, but make sure it fits into your cage. If it’s a mounted wheel, it will have to be attached to the side of the cage. A standing wheel can be placed anywhere.
You can find my article on what kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, according to his size as well. You’ll also find out how to clean and acre for the exercise wheel, and how to acclimate him to one.
The toys, whether they’re food bowls or chew toys or bendy bridges can be put anywhere. Anywhere in the cage is fine, as long as they’re not in the pee corner. Hamsters usually choose a corner to pee in, usually the farthest away from their hideout.
So, in that particular corner I put Teddy a sand bath. It acts as a litter box, and it keeps smell down to a minimum. You can use an old hideout, with a removable lid, or even special sand containers. Your choice, as long as you put something there to contain the sand.
Other toys, like the chew toys and climb toys you can find out more about here. You’ll learn about the kind of toys your hamster needs, and what to look for to figure out which he likes the most. And you’ll get some DYI ideas for some of them as well !
Where to keep the hamster’s cage in your home
This is something you’ll have to think about for a few minutes, see where the best option is. Best not to move the hamster’s cage often.
Hamsters are sensitive, and do notice and wake up when you move their cage. It won’t shock or scar them for life, but they do notice.
That being said, I do move my Teddy’s cage every day, because of my apartment’s layout. During the day when he sleeps he is in our bedroom, and I never move him.
But at night, before I go to bed, I move him to the kitchen where my girlfriend can’t hear him rummaging through his cage.
Hamsters rarely make noise, and they’re very quiet by nature, but she’s a light sleeper. In the morning, we take him back to the bedroom and don’t disturb him for the rest of the day.
Now, if you’ve got an apartment with a better setup than I do, figure out a place to keep him at all times. It’s best if it’s a room where he can’t be bothered by other pets or curious children when he sleeps.
If you have a room for the hamster alone, then you can probably get him a glass tank (not taking the budget into account) since it will stay in one place.
The room you keep your hamster in needs to be free of drafts, with an even temperature. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight, or near a heat source.
How to safely move and handle a hamster’s cage
The cage should not be moved often, but there will be times when you must do this. When this does happen, make sure you do not grab the cage by the top part, at all.
Even if it has a nice handle to hold, do not trust it. Most of those are poorly build and will not hold that weight.
Do not hold the wiring, since your fingers can become stuck, and the hamster will possibly chew them as well. If you’ve got a long sleeve shirt, keep the sleeves or any shirt part away from the wire cage wall.
If possible, try not to bump the cage into the wall or drop it. Avoid taking it up and down the stairs, since you won’t see very well. Even more important, if the hamster is still inside the cage. In these situations use a transport cage for the hamster, and empty the large cage to hold it in an way you can see in front of you.
When picking up the cage, pick it up by the lowest part of the bottom. Make sure your thumbs don’t stick into the cage or the hamster might nibble and you might drop him.
When placing the hamster’s cage down on the floor, do not bend over, but kneel. This is easier on your back, and safe for the hamster as well.
A word from Teddy
I hope you have a clear idea of what kind of home us hamsters need now. There are difference between hammies like me (Syrian hamsters) and dwarf hamsters, but we’re more alike than different.
Us Syrian hamsters need larger cages, and dwarf hamsters can do with smaller ones, but always add more space for each new hamster.
For example my dwarf brothers and sisters can be housed together, in same sex pairs. But I need to be alone, I don’t like sharing my space or toys or… well, anything.
If you want to know more about hamsters in general, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out more about why we eat our poop, and how much water we need as well !
- 9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters CoolSmall animals are very sensitive to high temperatures. This is not a problem in nature because small animals like hamsters find a place that is humid and cold and hide from high temperatures. However, hamsters who live as pets in captivity cannot hide from high temperatures and take care of their health. If the temperatures are high enough, the hamster faces a risk of heatstroke that can be deadly for them if owners don’t react immediately. Five minutes in a car at high temperatures can be disastrous. Leaving the cage in direct sunlight is also a big problem. To help their pets, owners of hamsters must take responsibility and find ways to keep their hamsters cool in hot summer months. There are many ways to keep your hamster cool and here is a list of the best ones. Table of Contents 1. Move the cage to a cooler place2. Use a fan or air conditioner3. Allow the hamster plenty of water4. Fruit and veg treats5. Frozen towel or sheet6. Cool the hamster’s cage7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage8. Don’t travel with a hamster9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding 1. Move the cage to a cooler place Simple ways to solve problems are sometimes the best ways. If your hamster is hot, the best and easiest thing we can do is move it to a cooler place. Depending on the layout of the rooms in your apartment, some rooms will be cooler and others warmer. In some apartments, it will be the bedroom, while in others the bathroom will be the coldest. Take a walk around your apartment and find the room that seems coldest to you. If all the rooms seem equally warm to you, perhaps the best place to put a hamster kitchen or bathroom is if you have ceramic tiles in them. The tiles provide excellent insulation so they will not leak heat and will provide cool to your hamster. It is important that the hamster is in an airy room, but that he is not draft. An open window will help him get enough oxygen, but don’t put a hamster cage under the window so the draft doesn’t blow over them all day because that can be dangerous to your hamster. Also, never place them under or next to air conditioning. It is not a good idea to put a hamster in very hot places such as radiators, fireplaces, or stoves. Also, be sure to avoid caging in a busy room or near a TV or music system. Loud sounds and vibrations can be quite stressful for a hamster. Another thing you need to take good care of is to never leave the cage in direct sunlight. Hamsters are very sensitive to light, direct sunlight and are even bothered by bright artificial light. Natural light can help them maintain a sleeping cycle, but they are nocturnal animals so they do not like light or high temperatures. In addition, in direct sunlight hamsters, caves will heat up much faster which is by no means good for your hamster. The perfect place to put a hamster’s cage is in a room that has a lot of natural light but out of direct sunlight. The ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 C °. 2. Use a fan or air conditioner To cool the room in the hot summer months, you can use a fan or air condition. We know you want the best for your pet and that your goal is to help him, but by no means direct the fan towards the hamster, put a cage next to the fan or under the air conditioner. If you do this, you will create an added stress hamster to whom this will be too much of a temperature difference and can shock your little one. Also, if you place it directly next to the cooler it can be too cold for your hamster which will negatively affect him and his health. If you want to cool the room where the hamster is, place a fan at the other end of the room or remove the cage from the air conditioning. It may take a little longer, but the room will gradually cool down, thus changing the body temperature of your hamster without shocking it or causing other health problems. When using the air conditioner, do not reduce the temperature abruptly. Hamsters are bothered by high temperatures, but also by sudden changes in temperature, so cool the room by reducing the current temperature by a maximum of 5 degrees. If you lower the temperature by more than 5 degrees you suddenly risk the hamster being shocked and dying sudden temperature changes. 3. Allow the hamster plenty of water Like humans, animals need water to stay hydrated and regulate body temperature. The easiest way to keep your hamster cool is to give it enough cool water. Hamsters are not demanding pets. They are so small that they need about two teaspoons or 10 milliliters per 100 grams of their body weight per day. Since most hamsters weigh approximately 200 grams, hamsters typically consume 4 teaspoons of water daily. During the summer, hamsters may require more fluid. Hamsters can dehydrate very quickly, especially at very high temperatures that they do not tolerate well, so they must always have enough fresh, clean water. How much water a hamster needs depends on how the hamster feeds and how active it is. If he eats mostly dry food, he will drink more water. Also if he is very active he will drink more water than he would do at rest. It is very important that the water is changed more often during the summer months to always be fresh and cool for your pet. Cool water will allow you to control the body temperature of your hamster. It is best to give water hamsters with a water bottle that will allow them reliable access to water.4. Place the hamster in a ventilated cage. For the hamster to have enough oxygen it is recommended that his cage is made out of bars. Depending on your preferences you can buy a cage with plastic, metal, or glass bars. Holes between the grilles will allow air to circulate and enough oxygen for your hamster. Some owners prefer to keep hamsters in an aquarium, but in this case, it is even more important that the cage is located in a well-ventilated room. Glass tanks can prevent the spread of cage odors through the room, but keeping a hamster in a glass tank can have serious consequences. The hamster found in the aquarium can easily run out of oxygen as the glass can get quite hot and impede airflow. Ammonia produced in a glass tank can lead to respiratory illness. If you are going to keep a hamster in a glass tank you need to keep the tank in a well-ventilated area and clean it every week. Bar cages in addition to allowing oxygen to flow will prevent the smell from spreading from the cage. Wire allows keeping moisture from building up in the case and thus prevents the cage from stinking quickly. It is recommended to keep hamsters in a bar cage in a well-ventilated room to ensure that the hamster maintains a normal body temperature and that we do not make it difficult for him to breathe. 4. Fruit and veg treats During the summer we all like to eat cold fruit or ice cream to freshen up. You may not have known, but hamsters also like cold snacks in the summer such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You can cool them until they become slightly frozen in the center. The hamster has very strong teeth that will allow him to eat frozen food without any problems. For example, a cold apple or cold celery contains a lot of water that will keep your pet hydrated. You can also chill your little one with some of his other snacks such as barley, cashews flaxseed, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, potato, or sesame seeds. Your pet will enjoy his treats, and they will cool him down at the same time. However, do not give ice cubes to your hamster because the ice will be too cold for your hamster and can harm it. In addition, keep an eye on the diet of your hamster. During the summer months, reduce your intake of energy-rich fattening seeds, nuts, and grains. Instead, give your hamster more vegetables such as cucumber which is full of water, zucchini, a small amount of iceberg lettuce, and many more vegetables that are reached with water. 5. Frozen towel or sheet To give your hamster some fresh air during the summer months, you can use a frozen towel or sheet. A sheet may be a better idea because it is thinner and more air will be able to pass through it, but if you do not have a sheet, you can use a towel. Whatever you decide on, the process is very simple. Put a sheet or towel under the water then place them in the freezer until they freeze. However, if you opt for a towel do not place it over the entire cage but only on one side so that air can circulate. If you opt for a frozen sheet you can put it over the top of the cave. The cold that a sheet or towel will give will significantly reduce the temperatures in your hamster’s cave and allow your hamster to enjoy the summer months as well. 6. Cool the hamster’s cage There are several ways you can cool a hamster’s cage using items you probably have in the household to make it more comfortable. You can put ceramic tile in the cage to give the hamster a cool place in his house. Ceramic tiles are a good insulator and do not heat up as quickly as other materials so it will help the hamster to cool down. Although it will cool the hamster, it will not be too cold for him so it will not cause any problems such as illness. You can also create clay pots in the hamster’s cage. Simply help it and put it in the cave, let it dump, but not wet. You can also put a plain cup in the cage. If the hamster is very hot, it can hide in a cup and thus reduce body temperature. Some hamsters like to sleep in the cup because the cup cools them on all sides when they sit in it. You can also put the ordinary stone in the cave. Make sure the stone has not been warm before. If the stone is of normal temperature, it will not heat up so easily and will allow the hamster to cool down next to it. Be sure to clean the stone before placing it in the cave so as not to bring dirt into it that will bother your hamster. When changing the sand bath, put a little damp sand so that the hamster can roll in it when it is hot. Hamsters like to bathe in bath sand so you can give them a cool bath by freezing bath sand. Simply put it in a plastic bag, freeze for a couple of hours and place it in the hamster’s cage. You can put tiles, clay pots, cups, stone, and sand bath in the fridge to cool, and then put them in the cage. Try to put different things in the cage and observe what suits your hamster best. One of these methods he will surely like. 7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage Fill approximately half a bottle of water, then place it in the freezer until it freezes. It is best to put a frozen bottle of water in a towel or cloth and then place it next to the hamster’s cage to release the cold. Without a towel, a lot of water will leak under your hamster’s cage. Also, if you put a frozen bottle in the cage it can hurt your hamster’s skin so it is best to put a towel around the bottle. That way the bottle will still stay cold, but the towel will collect water. The hamster can reach the corner next to the frozen bottle and cool down if it is too hot. If you use a plastic bottle, never put it in the reach of a hamster, as it could bite it and spill water. This is an easy way you can help a hamster to keep him cool. Instead of a bottle, you can also use ice packs, 8. Don’t travel with a hamster To avoid situations where you expose the hamster to unnecessary heat, if this is not necessary, do not travel with a hamster during the summer. It is stressful for your little pet when you take him out of the house because he is not a hamster, he is not used to so many stimuli. In addition, heat can cause serious problems for your hamster. If you can’t avoid traveling, drive a hamster in the evening in an air-conditioned car. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid traveling with a hamster during the day, never leave a hamster in a hot car. No animal can tolerate a few hours in a hot car because it could quickly dehydrate and eventually die. The inside of the car can reach deadly temperatures that can be dangerous to humans as well, while they are often fatal to animals. If you must ride a hamster, be sure to keep the hamster safe from dangerous temperatures. To ensure that your pet is safe take advantage of all the tips we have offered above and thus try to alleviate the heat that awaits the hamster once he leaves the house. 9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding The type of bedding you use in your hamster’s cage can affect how hot it will be in your hamster’s cave. Paper-based bedding is better to use during the winter because it retains heat well and will keep your hamster warm. Aspen does not maintain heat as well as paper-based bedding which is a big advantage during the hot summer months when we don’t want anything next to us that retains heat. Also, aspen shaving can absorb up to four times its weight in moisture. Some consider this material to be the only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters that perfectly mimics the natural materials that hamsters use in nature. It is good advice to leave deeper bedding. When you have a deep substrate it is going to be cooler down in the burrows. If you have thin bedding your hamster will have nowhere to hide and the surface of the bedding will quickly gain heat. In the wild, hamsters make burrows on their own when they are hot, thus cooling themselves. Giving them thicker bedding will allow them to behave like in nature and make a kind of burrow.... Read more...
- What Do Hamsters Eat In The Wild? Don’t Feed Your Pet The SameAs a hamster owner, I always had this question in the back of my head, what do hamsters eat in the wild? Yes, my furball has food delivered to his house daily, which is not so bad, but it is not like this in the wild. There isn’t only one type of hamster, and they come from different parts of the world, so talking about what hamsters eat in the wild might be too general if you don’t talk about each species but the thing is that they have similar behaviors and diets in the wild no matter where they came from. There are a few differences between Syrian hamsters and the smaller ones, but we will talk about that a bit later. I decided to write this article because I wanted to make sure we don’t miss anything when we feed our hamsters, and for that, I had to do my research to see what they eat in the wild. But it is important to know that a wild hamster’s diet is not a perfect one, they might eat something they don’t like, or it is very healthy for them, but it might be the only thing they have. Table of Contents What do hamsters eat in the wild?When do hamsters eat in the wild?How does a wild hamster find water?Diet differences between pet hamsters and wild hamstersChallenges for a wild hamster to obtain food in the wild1. Avoiding predators while looking for food.2. Knowing what food is safe to eat.3. Storing food for later4. They compete with other animals for the same food.Do pet hamsters live more than wild hamsters?Conclusion What do hamsters eat in the wild? A wild hamster’s diet has a lot of seeds, grains(like wheat, oat, barley, and more), and all kinds of nuts, since those are the ones easier to find and they are pretty nutritious for a hamster, but they also might look for fruits and vegetables if possible. Last but not least, they can also eat insects if needed. The last ones are not their primary target since a hamster can live pretty well without the trouble of hunting for those, but they will not refuse them if they come in their way. Keep in mind that hamsters are prey animals, and they are not the most courageous hunters out there. They might prefer to eat the safer food they can find. When do hamsters eat in the wild? Most wild hamsters are crepuscular, which means that they are active at sunset and sunrise since the visibility for their predators is not so great, but the hamsters can see what they are doing. They usually don’t go outside during the day because they fear predators like snakes, eagles, and other wild animals, who are mostly active during the day. Most people think that hamsters are nocturnal, and they associate this with having good eyesight in the dark, which is not true, hamsters have pretty weak eyesight all the time, and it doesn’t get better in the dark. But they do have a very good sense of smell and hearing. So a hamster will procure food during those hours and store the food for later. They can carry a good amount of food in their cheek pouches but they have to store it in their burrows since they can’t keep it on them for too long. If you want to know more about hamsters’ cheek pouches, I have an entire article about how cheek pouches work and common problems. For them, the cheek pouches are similar to a shopping cart for us. How does a wild hamster find water? Wild hamsters will get most of their water requirements from their food, especially vegetables, seeds, and fruits. They might also drink water from puddles and streams but this might not be accessible for all wild hamsters, and as you can imagine, it can be quite dangerous to make noises while they drink, and storing water for later is not an option. Rainwater is also an option, but as we all know, it is not reliable, and they usually avoid the rain directly since they can get sick very fast if they get wet, check my article to see more on why you should never wash a hamster. They can drink rainwater only if they capture some water in their burrows, but they will not get outside when it rains to drink water. Diet differences between pet hamsters and wild hamsters I will not get into many details about what a pet hamster should eat since that would be an entire article and I already wrote a big article hamster’s diet. Most hamster owners feed their small friends with specially-formulated food pellets that usually have all the vitamins and minerals a hamster needs. You can also feed a pet hamster whatever a wild hamster can eat, but those mixes are more than enough and they usually cover all they need. So my advice is to feed your hamster with a pre-made mix, and if you want to give it some extra food, nuts, seeds, and even some cooked meat, if you respect what I’ve said in the article about what hamsters can eat, your hamster should be fine. Make sure you check the article since there are some exceptions, especially when you feed a dwarf hamster that has a predisposition to diabetes. While a Syrian hamster can eat small amounts of banana, a dwarf hamster should avoid it completely. A wild hamster on the other hand will not focus as much on a healthy and nutritious diet because his focus is surviving and not a balanced diet. So saying that you should feed a hamster what they actually eat in the wild instead of a pre-made mix might not be the best idea. The pre-made mix is the ideal version of what a wild hamster would need in the first place. Challenges for a wild hamster to obtain food in the wild As you can imagine, a wild hamster faces many challenges when trying to find food. I will list here a few of them: 1. Avoiding predators while looking for food. This one is the biggest challenge a wild hamster will face when finding food. They have predators everywhere, it might be a snake that comes from the ground or from the water, it might be other wild animals from the ground or burrows, an eagle or owl from the air, or even other hamsters. A hamster looking for food in the wild is in for a wild ride, with a high chance of the hamster actually becoming the food, which is pretty sad. 2. Knowing what food is safe to eat. They have a pretty good instinct for that, but they don’t know all the time which type of insect, plant or seed is poisonous and which one is not. Or if that food is safe in the long term, we as humans know what is safe for us and what is not. We know that if we eat only chocolate for a few months, we will end up with some serious health issues but a hamster might not realize that eating only fruits for a month might get them in trouble. But, the wild hamster will eat whatever it can get its paws on since it doesn’t have many options. 3. Storing food for later Hamsters have cheek pouches that are more like a shopping cart for them but they can’t store food in their cheeks for too long, so they have to come back to their burrows. This limits their ability to go too far for food, especially because they don’t have the best eyesight. 4. They compete with other animals for the same food. In the wild there are a lot of animals that will eat the same thing, so for the wild hamster it’s not only important to find food, but it is also important to find it first. Also, places with more food will be more crowded by animals and the stronger ones will get the most food. As you might imagine, hamsters are not the strongest animals in the wild since they are pretty small. They are pretty strong for their size and bite quite hard, but it is not enough to kill a snake or other predators. I remember when my hamster was hanging from the cage ceiling, and actually moving using only two paws which is quite incredible, I have to admit that I envy his power. Do pet hamsters live more than wild hamsters? Not having predators makes pet hamsters live longer than wild hamsters. Also, they don’t face all the challenges that a wild hamster would face when it comes to finding food or water. Hamsters are not social animals, and they are quite happy if they have food and water, so this might make them good pets but not perfect one. A hamster is not a puppy or a kitten is a bad pet for a young child (under 9 years old). Read my article on 10+ reasons why you should not get a hamster. Conclusion A wild hamster will eat way more things than a regular pet hamster but don’t confuse more things with a more diversified diet. They eat more things because this is what helps them survive, they don’t get to choose what they want to eat to complete their diet. So the life of a wild hamster is just that – “wild” when it comes to finding food or water. And this is without talking about finding a partner to reproduce with, which is a big challenge on its own. Check my article about hamster reproduction, it is way more interesting and complex than you might think. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between the life of a pet and a wild hamster. Please make sure you take good care of your little furball and you make its life as good as possible.... Read more...
- Why Is My Hamster Breathing Fast? 5 Main ReasonsHamsters breathe pretty fast in general, but for a new owner that doesn’t know how fast they should breathe, it might be concerning to see your hamster breathing fast while they sleep. Of course, they can develop respiratory problems, so it is better to know what a regular breathing rate is for hamsters to know if it’s ok. It is easier to spot those problems if you have had your hamster for some time and you know how fast they usually breathe, but it is impossible to know when you just got it. In this article, I will talk about what is a normal and an abnormal breathing rate for hamsters. Unfortunately, all I can give you is a pretty wide range. But don’t worry, there are other signs you can check to ensure your hamster is ok. Table of Contents Why is my hamster breathing fast?Hamster respiratory problems1. Cold and flu2. Pneumonia3. Stress4. Tumors and lumps5 ObesityHow to exercise your hamster?Conclusion Why is my hamster breathing fast? Hamsters breathe at least three times faster than humans, so they breathe pretty fast. If you didn’t notice any change in your hamster’s breathing rate, there might not be any actual respiratory problems, but if you somehow noticed that they are breathing faster lately, you should get your little hamster to a specialized vet immediately. A hamster’s heart rate is between 34-114 bpm, which is a wide range but as in our case, it varies a lot from one hamster to another, and many other factors can affect this rate. Factors like the hamster’s age, health condition, weight, stress level, and so on. One very important thing about hamsters is that they make noises when they have a problem. Otherwise they are quiet, except for some random squeaky sounds they make when they sleep, those can be associated with dreaming. Yes, you’ve heard that right, your little furball can dream. So if you notice that your hamster is breathing fast and it is also sneezing and has a wheezing breath, there might be a respiratory problem and you have to get your hamster to the vet as soon as possible. Hamster respiratory problems Here are a few common respiratory problems in hamsters or problems that affect how fast a hamster breath. 1. Cold and flu Hamsters can get catch a cold or the flu as we can, they can also get it from us, so you should avoid playing with your hamster when you are sick. A cold hamster is more likely to be lethargic and unwilling to move around. You may also notice that your hamster is eating less than usual or has lost a significant amount of weight. Other signs that your hamster is cold include shivering, red eyes, and sneezing. If your hamster shows any of these signs, you should take them to a vet as soon as possible in order to assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary. Those problems are much more dangerous for your little furball than for you, so don’t treat them lightly. 2. Pneumonia Living in a cage, which prevents them from burrowing for warmth, and exposing them to drafts for extended periods, increases the risk of rodents developing serious pneumonia. Though this illness can be remedied in humans, it can have much more serious effects on the small respiratory system of a rodent. Signs of pneumonia in hamsters include: Pus or mucus oozing from the nose or eyes. Difficulty breathing. Loss of appetite. Lack of activity. So if you notice any of these signs, then your hamster might be sick and you have to get it to a specialized vet. 3. Stress Hamsters are very anxious animals and are easily stressed, which might make them breathe faster and heavier. There are many reasons for your hamster to be stressed, ranging from not having enough space in the cage to not liking the interaction with a human and so on. The signs of a stressed hamster are very important, and while the reason is hard to understand since it can be anything, the signs are quite clear. Signs of a stressed hamster include: Hiding away. Being hostile. Not eating as much. Becoming immobile when you are around them. Drooling excessively and being overly active. 4. Tumors and lumps Here is an entire article I wrote about tumors and lumps in hamsters, I will not get into as many details here as in that article to not repeat myself. However, it is important to know that hamsters can develop tumors and lumps and if they are on the chest area, it might affect the hamster’s respiratory rate. So if you notice that your hamster is breathing faster than usual, you might want to check if there are any tumors on its chest. 5 Obesity This is one of the most obvious reasons a hamster breathes faster or more heavily. If you want to know why your hamster is fat and how to make it slim without stressing it, check out my article on three main reasons a hamster can be fat. In that article, I talk about how much you should feed a hamster, how often, and other things that you should be aware of. How to exercise your hamster? An active hamster is less likely to have respiratory problems, so it is crucial to give our hamsters all tools they need to exercise properly. When we talk about an inactive hamster, one of the main reasons is a small cage without enough space for a proper wheel and other exercising toys and also not enough space for bedding for your hamster to dig in. Here is a big enough cage that you can find on amazon without hurting your wallet too much. Hamster cages can get quite expensive, but this one is great value for money. It isn’t a fancy cage, but you don’t necessarily need one with many tunnels and other stuff since you can add those yourself in the cage if it’s big enough. So if you start with a big enough cage, your hamster will most likely get enough exercise. The next important thing to get for your hamster is a proper wheel. They spend most of their time in the wheel when they are active so having a good one is crucial. The hamster wheel should be big enough for your hamster to exercise in it without bending his back because this will affect their spine health over time. Here is the best one I could find on amazon for you, it is an 11-inch plastic wheel that can be placed in the cage. If you have a small cage that can not fit an 11-inch wheel, here is a 9-inch one that is also good enough for most hamsters. No matter which one of those two you choose or any other good wheel you can find, it is important to get a big enough wheel for your hamster. Usually, they need a bigger cage and wheel than you might expect if you have no experience with hamster pets. The exercise a hamster gets from playing with you is nonsignificant compared to the exercise they get in the cage and wheel. So it doesn’t matter if you get your hamster out of the cage more often, if the cage is too small or they don’t have a wheel, they will not get enough exercise, and this will lead to some health issues, including respiratory ones. Some hamsters don’t use the wheel as often, and that is unfortunate since, for a pet hamster, that is where they get the most out of their exercise. Someone had a hamster that was going in the wheel only to sit there or sleep from time to time. So, if your hamster doesn’t want to exercise in the wheel, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to motivate it. However, if they don’t go in the wheel at all, you might want to try to place some treats in there for them to find the wheel and find out that it is moving. Conclusion In normal conditions, hamsters breathe pretty fast, between 34-114 bpm, so it’s hard to know when they have a problem only judging by their breathing rate, but if they have other symptoms we talked about, you have to get your hamster to the vet. I hope this article helped you asses properly if your hamster is sick or everything is normal, but you didn’t realize until now how fast those little furballs breathe.... Read more...
- Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? The Sad TruthIf one considers the gentle look that hamsters have, one may conclude that hamsters can never hurt each other. It seems the looks of hamsters are just a mere feign of gentleness since they sometimes eat each other. But why do these gentle-looking creatures become so aggressive to the point of eating each other? Hamsters will eat each other if their diets alter their nature or if other hamsters appear to reduce their chance of survival greatly. A few breeds of hamsters that are territorial in nature don’t even require diets to alter their nature before they eat each other. The non-territorial breeds of hamsters outnumber the territorial breeds, making it fair to generalize the statement that hamsters won’t eat each other unless their diets or mates force them to do so. Anyone who wishes to understand why hamsters eat each other must consider a variety of things. In this article, we shall talk about everything that readers need to know concerning this topic, so we advise you to read on. Table of Contents Do Hamsters Cannibalize?Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other?Insufficient resourcesTerritorial attitudeCage rageDietWhy Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies?Deficiency in dietStressTo protect the living babiesChange in scentInsufficient resourcesThreat from a male hamsterWhy Do Female Hamsters Attack Male Hamsters?Is It OK to Have Two Hamsters in the Same Cage?What breeds are best to combine together? Do Hamsters Cannibalize? Under normal conditions, most breeds of hamsters don’t cannibalize. However, a number of things can force even the friendliest breeds of hamsters to become ferocious cannibals. Almost all the dwarf breeds of hamsters have a very low tendency of cannibalizing. In contrast, Syrian hamsters and Chinese hamsters have a high tendency of cannibalizing if they live in groups. Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? Hamsters eat each other only when there are genuine reasons. Some of those reasons are even meant to protect hamsters from going into extinction. You will find all the major reasons why hamsters eat each other as you read on. Perhaps, you might not be able to condemn hamsters after you understand why they eat each other. And of course, you will discover some things you can do to stop hamsters from eating each other if you own a few of them as pets. Insufficient resources Individual hamsters have a strong instinct for survival, and therefore they may see the need to eat their own kinds just to survive. In the wild, hamsters can spread about to find their own food, water, and shelter, so they will likely not kill each other in the wild. However, domestic hamsters can only share the resources that their owner provides for them. If the resources aren’t enough, they may eat their fellows to reduce the pressure on the little resources available. Hamsters might have developed this nature to ensure the continued existence of their species in tough times. Territorial attitude Some breeds of hamsters are very territorial. Syrian hamsters, for instance, display different territorial behaviors. Cannibalism is one of the territorial behaviors that Syrian hamsters and other territorial breeds can display. Even if there are abundant resources for all the hamsters to share, hamsters that are territorial in nature will still eat each other. A strange hamster’s mere appearance is enough reason for cannibalism to occur among breeds of hamsters that are territorial in nature. Cage rage Hamsters are a bit vulnerable to cage rage, a psychological disorder that animals in the cage sometimes suffer from. When a hamster suffers from cage rage, it becomes very aggressive towards other hamsters and humans. Such aggression can lead to cannibalism. Hamsters that live in an inconducive cage are more vulnerable to cage rage than the ones that live in a conducive cage. A hamster that suffers from cage rage will not only attack other hamsters, but it will also be restless even when it stays all by itself. Diet The diets of hamsters can alter their behaviors. For instance, hamsters that feed on a monotonous diet of corn will develop aggressive behavior and eat each other. Hamsters in the wild are more likely to become cannibals now that they no longer have a variety of grains to consume. Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies? Deficiency in diet The diets that hamsters consume can alter their nature to some extent. When hamsters feed on diets that lack Vitamin B3, they eat their own babies. For instance, hamsters that feed on corn will eat their own babies since corn lacks Vitamin B3. Stress Hamsters go through a lot of stress while giving birth and nursing their babies. While hamsters can cope with the stress of parturition and nursing, they may not be able to cope with the additional stress that a harsh environment imposes on them. Some environmental factors that can stress hamsters include loud noises, excessive heat, and disturbance from other animals or man. To protect the living babies If a hamster gives birth to many babies in the wild, and one of them dies, predators can use the smell of the dead baby to locate the living ones since they are at the same place. To prevent this from happening, a hamster will eat her dead baby. Domestic hamsters also eat their dead babies despite how humans already protect them from predators. Change in scent Hamsters rely on scents to identify their babies. Hamsters will leave scents on their babies while they take care of them, making it easy to recognize their babies. However, if human touches one of the babies, the baby’s scient will change, so the mother will perceive such a baby as an outsider. The hamster will end up eating the supposed outsider. Insufficient resources A hamster will try her best to take care of the entire brood, but if she realizes that the resources like food and space aren’t enough, she can kill some of her babies. Hamsters won’t just kill her babies at random. Instead, she will watch out for weak ones and eat them so that the strong ones can survive with the little resources available. In case the mother is starving, and no food is available, she can eat all her babies to gain energy. Threat from a male hamster Male hamsters are not as caring as female hamsters. All they care about is how to get the female’s attention. A male hamster usually bothers the innocent babies while attempting to get the attention of their mother, forcing the female hamster to hide the babies from the male hamster. If there are not good hideouts around, the female hamster can hide some of her babies in her cheek pouch until the babies suffocate. Why Do Female Hamsters Attack Male Hamsters? Females hamsters can attack male hamsters for two major reasons. The first reason is to show her unreadiness for mating. Usually, a female hamster will be ready for mating every four days, so if any male hamster attempts to mate with her before she is ready, she will attack such a male hamster. Another reason why a female hamster sometimes attacks a male is to exert her aggressive behavior. Female hamsters are generally more aggressive than male hamsters, which is why they sometimes do their best to dominate males when they come in contact for non-mating purposes. Is It OK to Have Two Hamsters in the Same Cage? Yes, you can keep two hamsters in the same cage, but you must design the cage in such a way that the two hamsters won’t have to share too many things. Food bowl, water bowl, and other necessary things must be available in more than one quantity so that the hamsters won’t have things to fight over. More importantly, you should consider the breeds of hamsters that you want to keep together. While some breeds of hamsters can live together in harmony, a few breeds can never live together without fighting one another. What breeds are best to combine together? You can combine two Roborovskis in the same cage. Roborovskis can live happily in pairs or in a small group both in the wild and in the cage. Kindly note that it’s best to keep same-sex Roborovski hamsters together, and not of different sex. Also, you need to pair the hamsters at a very young age so that they will become comfortable with each other as they grow up. Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters can also live together in harmony. They need to grow up together in order to get along with their cage mate. Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters can reproduce very rapidly, so try to keep same-sex together. Campbell’s dwarf Russian hamsters are also friendly to their breeds, which means you can combine two of them in the same cage. Just make sure you do so while they are still very young. While it’s okay to combine the breeds of hamsters above in the same cage, you still need to observe the hamsters for a few days to ensure they tolerate each other well. In case one hamster oppresses the other, you should remove the oppressed one from the cage and pair it up with another hamster of the same breed and sex.... Read more...
- Here’s Why You Should Never Get Your Hamster WetWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t really know he should never get wet. I saw no reason to give him a bath, but I didn’t know the main 2 reasons for not getting a hamster wet. So, here I am with what I’ve learned, to help you take the best care for your hammy. I’ll also cover what to do in case your hamster did get wet, if this ever happens. Table of Contents So why can’t hamsters get wet ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shiftsHamsters are very clean animalsHow to make sure your hamster never gets wetAlways use a water bottleBe careful what kind of bedding your get your hamsterThe hideout matters a lot, it can trap moistureNever handle the hamster far from his cageChildren or other pets should always be supervised around a hamsterHow to dry a wet hamsterMove the hamster to an overly warm roomUse lot and lots of paper towelsTry to hold him in a dry, clean cotton clothDo not use direct heat on the hamsterA word from Teddy So why can’t hamsters get wet ? The main reason hamsters should never get wet is because their bodies can’t stand the sudden shift in temperature. The thermal shock of wet fur will send your hamster right into shiver territory. This is not good since hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and develop hypothermia easily, even if the room they got wet in is warm. The secondary reason your hammy should never get wet is because there is absolutely no need, ever, for him to be wet. Hamsters are very clean animals, and they comb through their fur several times per day, much like a cat. There’s videos going around with hammies getting a bath, and you should always look at the immense dislike rates on those videos. A hamster getting a bath isn’t healthy for him at all, and you should never get your hamster wet. If you’ve never had a hamster before, this might all seem very odd to you. But let’s go through those 2 reasons, and see in more detail why your hammy should always stay dry. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shifts Hammies are very sensitive creatures. They are easy to scare, and they’re always alert, and you might even scare them by just getting up. This constant alertness and sort of built-in anxiety will make the hamster have an even harder time if he gets wet. You see, a wet hamster is not used to being wet, so he will panic. Hamsters are terrible stress-managers, and can develop a series of illnesses because they get so stressed. Combine that with how easy it is for hammies to get too cold if their fur can’t insulate them – and you’ve got an emergency trip to the vet on your hands. A hamster’s fur is very wooly, and it has a lot of shorter, very very fine strands of fur that keep the hamster very warm. They are very close to the body, and if those get wet, they lose their insulation power. Worse still, they will keep the hamster wet, so he will get cold faster. If you want to know more about just how sensitive hamsters are to temperature, you need to read this ideal temperature for hamsters article. You’ll find out the right temp range for your furry friend, and what to do if he gets too cold. It’s never a good experience for a hamster to get wet, so you should do your very best to make sure he can’t ever get close to a situation like that. I’ll cover that in another part of this article. Hamsters are very clean animals Hamsters never need a bath, because they’re taking a shower about a third of their waking time. Seriously, I’ve seen my Teddy clean and preen himself almost as often as I’ve seen him eating. Now, since hamsters are awake mostly at night, when you’re usually asleep, you might not know this. Understandable, and many people don’t know that; it’s okay. But, hamsters are very clean, the only thing about them that ever smells is their pee corner – more on that here, and what you can do about it. This means that there is never a reason to wash or bathe the hamster, as you would a dog. A dog is meant to be able to wade through water, even swim. Dog fur has a lot of water repellent strands, and so it can handle being wet. But a hamster is not meant for that. Not only does a hamster not get dirty as other pets, he does not need any help cleaning himself. Another thing about hamster fur, is that it’s got natural oils that help keep the hamster clean. If you’re bathing your hamster, and especially if you’re using a washing liquid on him, your’re stripping the oils from his fur, the worst part is, those oils never come back. So your hamster’s fur will never look the same, and won’t do its job as well either. How to make sure your hamster never gets wet Keeping your hamster dry is the first step to keeping your hamster healthy, and free from stress-related issues. There’s a few things to keep in mind, and I’ll help you out here with what I’ve learned. Always use a water bottle This is mostly because your hamster can and will trip over a water bowl, and give himself an accidental bath. Hamster’s aren’t very aware of their surroundings from that point of view, and will chew and pull at everything possible. If it’s not nailed down, it’s fair game. So you can imagine what trouble a water bowl would cause in your hamster’s cage. The bedding can get wet, and can develop moldy spots, which are a serious concern for your hamster. His nose is always on the ground, so he’d be inhaling those spores constantly. For more info on how to give your hamster water, and how to care for his water bottle, check out this article. Be careful what kind of bedding your get your hamster The bedding your hamster lives on is important, since it can be a huge health concern if it’s not a good one. So, best to go here to know which bedding types are safe for your hamster friend, and which are not. A very important thing about bedding, and nesting material, is that it can trap moisture. So it’s important to change it about once a week, to keep your hammy’s cage clean and not funky-smelling. Here’s more info on how to properly change the hamster’s bedding and care for his cage. And here’s more info on what can get smelly in a hamster’s cage, so you know what to look for when you’re cleaning his cage. The hideout matters a lot, it can trap moisture The hideout your hamster lives in is going to determine a large part of his health. A plastic hideout can and will trap moisture. A few times I even found condensation in my Teddy’s hideout when he had the plastic one. His nesting material got a bit moist too, and it was not pee. A moist nest is a cold nest, so it’s best to avoid that. The best way yo make sure your hamster’s nest is always dry and clean is to get him a wooden hideout. Wood is a very breatheable kind of material, and will absorb and expel moisture. My Teddy’s hideout has a few spots in the roof where the air can get in and out, and a lot of ‘doors’ to allow a lot of air. Actually, it’s best if you read on here more about what to look for when you get your hammy a hideout, and how to care for it as well. Never handle the hamster far from his cage When you do play with your hamster friend outside of his cage, make sure you’re not far from it. If possible, try playing with his in his cage. Or play with your hammy over his cage. If he does jump out of your hands, he will land on the bedding, and in the cage safely. And if he falls he won;t have any body of water to splash into. This also means that you should keep your hamster and his cage away from any sources of water, like the tap. And not placing glasses of water, or a vase or anything that can hold water close to the hamster’s cage. Children or other pets should always be supervised around a hamster If you’ve got small children (under 12 years old), or other pets that can move around on their own, make sure they can’t harm the hamster. It’s easy for a child to see if a hamster can swim while you go to grab the mail, or for a dog to kick over a water bowl over the hamster’s cage. These things happen, and it’s a normal part of having pets and/or small children. So always make sure you supervise any interaction with the hamster, especially if it involved actually picking up the hamster. Hamsters are in fact good pets, but they’re very sensitive to a lot of things, and need a whole lot of patience. So unless you’re sure you can provide your hammy a safe home, you might do better with a different type of pet. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to dry a wet hamster If your hamster did manage to get wet, one way or another, you’re going to need to be very careful drying him. There’s a few steps you should take to make sure your hamster stays safe during the drying process. Move the hamster to an overly warm room The ambient temperature will need to be much above what the hamster can handle when dry. So if your hammy needs usually around 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit when he is dry, he will need around 30 C/86 F in the room when he is soaking wet and needs to dry. This is to compensate for how cold it will seem for the hamster when he’s wet. If you’ve ever walked out of the shower without a towel, into a room that was nice and cozy before your shower, you’ll know what I mean. Once your hamster’s beginning to dry, lower the temperature slowly back to 20-23 C/68-75 F. Use lot and lots of paper towels Your hamster will probably be too all over the place to let you hold him. So place him in a box lined with lots and lots of paper towels, that will soak up all the water from his fur. So not use toilet paper, since that will disintegrate very fast and stick to your hammy’s wet fur. Change the paper towels as often as possible since your hammy will be rolling in the a lot, and shaking the water of like a puppy. You can also use a clean dry cotton cloth, or even a towel, but be warned that your hamster might try to put some corners in his cheeks. Hamsters are attracted to everything soft and fluffy, to try and build a nest out of it. Try to hold him in a dry, clean cotton cloth You can try holding your hamster in your hands, and giving him a gentle wipe down. You won’t be able to wipe off all the water, but you can get most of it. The point is that you’re helping your hammy out, even just a little. He might be very wriggly, and not want to stay put. That’s understandable, just wipe him down as best and as much as you can. If you notice your hammy getting too anxious, and getting ready to jump out of your hands, place him in the box I mentioned earlier. Do not use direct heat on the hamster As tempting as it may sound, so not put your hamster on the heater or use a blow dryer. They are both too hot for the hammy, and the dryer will make your hammy irritated and even more scared. Raise the ambient temperature until your hamster is nearly completely dry. Then, you can place the hamster in a box liked with lots of bedding, and a thick towel under the box to disperse heat. A word from Teddy I hope you know how to help your hammy if he gets wet now. We don’t really like being wet, we aren’t meant to swim or stay in the rain. So never give one of us a bath, and make sure you spread the word ! You can check out the articles below for more info on us hammies, and how to take care of us the right way. Like what we can eat, what kind of cage we need, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you.... Read more...
- Hamster Grooming, And The Importance Of A Proper Sand BathYou’ve probably seen your hamster friend groom himself. Pulling his fur, combing through it, behind his ears, the works. But do hamsters need sand baths ? Does it help their grooming process ? This is something I’ve asked myself too, seeing as I did give Teddy (male, Syrian hamster) a bowl with sand for him to play in. But we should first know everything about a hamster’s grooming routine. Then, we can figure out if the sand bath helps. Table of Contents About the hamster’s grooming routineWhy a hamster needs to be cleanA sick hamster won’t take care of himself very wellHealth problems that come up because of poor grooming/hygieneA clean habitat keeps the hamster clean tooHow a sand bath helps a hamster groom himselfWhat kind of sand bath you should get for your hamsterHow to give your hamster a proper sand bathA word from Teddy About the hamster’s grooming routine All hamsters, everywhere, groom themselves. That’s a very well known fact. Actually hamster are pretty much on par with cats in terms of cleanliness. If you’ve ever noticed your hamster when he’s cleaning himself, you probably know he does that often. Much more often than most animals. This is one reason hamsters never need a water bath, with shampoo or other cleaning supplies. They’re simply too good at cleaning themselves, they don’t need it. And getting a hamster wet can be fatal in some cases, in most cases it leads to colds and hypothermia. For example my Teddy grooms himself when I put him in his exercise ball, when I take him out of it, when he wakes up, before he goes to bed, after he pees, after he runs for 10 minutes, after he eats and after he poops. Usually hamsters will pull at their fur, scratch part of their fur, com and comb again through their fur to get everything out and spread the oils on their fur. They’re especially funny when they start pulling on their ears and collecting whatever dirt was behind them, and especially their cheeks. As if anything had a chance to appear in the 2 hours since their last grooming session. That’s a lot of cleaning. But why do hamsters do that ? Why a hamster needs to be clean Hamsters need to be clean in order to keep their predators at bay. That’s the main reason, since hamsters are prey for many animals. This means that their scent will draw predators like wild cats, snakes, owls, and so on to hunt for them in the wild. So, hamsters have evolved this cleaning routine to keep themselves ‘invisible’, kind of. They’re very strict about it, and it’s what kept them alive all this time. Hamsters will want to clean themselves after every little interaction with something that can leave a smell on them. This includes other creatures, like other hamsters, or humans, and even food. Another reason hamsters clean themselves is because of their habitat. Hamsters in the wild live inside burrows, with series of tunnels and nests deep underground. This can make lots of debris like dirt and twigs get stuck in the hamster’s fur. The hamster cleans himself to function properly, and not have his fur matted with dirt. You can tell there is something wrong with the hamster if he stops cleaning himself, or he still looks bad after a grooming session. A sick hamster won’t take care of himself very well Hamsters not grooming themselves anymore have only two explanations. First, it could be that the hamster has become very old. So old, in fact, the he is very close to the end. His brain has started disintegrating and can’t help him do normal hamster things, like clean himself, not pee in his nest, and in extreme cases even eat. It’s a sad thing to watch, but there is nothing you can do to make your friend any better. It’s much like with human seniors. Once they start losing control of bodily functions, things can’t get better. The second reason hamsters stop grooming themselves is because they have become very, very sick. It could be an infection that weakened their body to the point of exhaustion. They’re simply too tired to clean themselves, and this will make the infection even worse. Or it could be a physical problem, as in a broken or sprained paw that restricts their movement, or a form or arthritis. In short, if your hamster isn’t cleaning himself, that is very bad news. Most of the time the vet will be able to help you treat the hamster’s illness. For this you need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and also birds. Health problems that come up because of poor grooming/hygiene Some of the health problems that can rear their ugly heads when the hamster isn’t clean can be very serious. I’ll give you a brief rundown of these health problems. Infections – can become serious business, in any part of the body. Especially bad if the hamster ends up swallowing part of the pus, like with cheek infections, or tooth infections. Eye infections can be rinsed with a saline solution, until the vet can receive your hamster and give him proper treatment. Even a small, seemingly benign cut (if the hamster is scratching himself, for example) can be dangerous if the hamster’s skin isn’t clean, or the claw he’s scratched himself with is dirty. As with humans, infections need antibiotic treatment, which can take a toll on the body. Given that the hamster is such a small little thing, his food will need to be supplemented during his treatment. Mites and parasites – these are never fun to treat, and please do not get your hamster treatments for such problems without talking to your vet. Most over the counter treatments are much too harsh for the hamster’s skin and can cause death, so please be careful. The vet will be able to recommend a treatment that will be fairly easy on your hamster. The problem with mites and other parasites (like fleas for example) is that the hamster will scratch himself much too hard and eventually hurt himself. This can lead to bald patches, and other health problems like infections or warts. Fungus – the cage needs to be clean, to prevent the spores from fungus to develop. There are two main culprits when it comes to fungal infections in hamsters (ringworm and Aspergillus) and both can be very dangerous. Ringworm is easier on the hamster, but Aspergillus can be deadly. Wet-tail – can come about if the hamster is kept in miserable conditions, or is highly stressed and his immune system can’t fight off the infection. The result is a weak hamster with constant diarrhea, and very little chances of survival. Thankfully wet-tail has a certain age when the hamster is likely to develop it. A bit like childhood illnesses. Wet-tail is more common on young (4-10 weeks) hamsters, who have been separated from the mother and brought to their new owner. All of these can be treated, so do not worry. If you notice your hamster having health problems, call your veterinarian. A clean habitat keeps the hamster clean too A clean cage will mean a clean hamster. For example the fungus problem I mentioned earlier. The Aspergillus spores will grow from the hamster’s pee corner. It will first look like a white growth, then turn black. But if the pee corner is cleaned often, the spores don’t really have a chance to develop. This only happens if the cage isn’t cleaned for a very long time (like a few weeks), or if the home/room has a fungal infection and the spores are already in the home. But what is a clean cage ? Hamsters will kick around bedding, bits of cardboard, fling their poo across the cage, and sleep on top of a pile of food. Well, that’s all normal, actually. Hammies keep themselves very clean, and their nest as well. As in, the area immediately around where they sleep. Aside from that, not their business. So cleaning the cage once per week is pretty much mandatory. If you’ve got more than one hamster living in the same cage, then you will have to clean the whole cage more often than that. This is because the pee corner starts to smell, and the bedding becomes very very messy. There will be bits of food lying somewhere, and torn up cardboard in the food bowl. It’s a lot like a small child’s room. To clean the hamster’s cage, you’re going to have to remove the hamster from the cage in the first place. Put him in his travel cage or exercise ball until you’re done cleaning. Take out all the bedding and objects, wipe the cage down with a wet, clean towel, then pat it dry. Add fresh bedding back, but make sure to sprinkle in a bit of the old bedding so the hamster recognizes things easier. Place everything back the way it was before, and finally add the hamster back in. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How a sand bath helps a hamster groom himself You’re wondering, after all this talk of hamsters cleaning themselves and how to keep their habitat clean, how does a sand bath help ? Well, at first glance it might seem like it’s pointless. It can be, from a certain point of view. But let’s see both sides for a moment. The main reason hamsters would need a sand bath is to absorb the excess oil in their fur. You see, hamster fur has a layer of oils (like our human hair does, the sebum) which helps keep the hair healthy and the skin clean. However too much of that sebum will make the hamster’s fur look bad, and feel bad too. This is where the sand comes in, to help keep the hamster’s fur nice and clean. Now, the hamster does comb through his fur often. So often that he moves the oils from the skin all the way to the tips of the hairs. So you could argue that their fur never gets too oily. While that is true, what is also true is that hamsters simply seem to go nuts when they feel sand. They immediately jump into the sand bowl and start spazzing, like cats on catnip. They not only rub themselves in the sand, they rub the sand into their fur. Somehow, they know something we humans do not know. And it looks like a sand bath is something they enjoy. My Teddy for example has his sand bowl close to his nest, and he takes occasional baths in it. He also loves to dig in that sand bath, which kicks up soooo much sand. Luckily it never gets out of the cage. What kind of sand bath you should get for your hamster As for what kind of sand to get your hamster, I unfortunately can’t give you a brand to look for. I mean, the sand I use for my Teddy can be used for chinchilla sand. So that’s a good starting point, chinchilla sand. But not all petshops have chinchilla sand, and looking for it online only gave me unhappy customers. It seems like the sand that was once okay (there were a couple of brands) is now not okay. They’ve changed their formulation and their sand is rather dusty, more like flour. Given how sensitive hamsters are, inhaling all that dust just isn’t alright for them. It isn’t alright for humans either, but hamsters are much more sensitive than us. So when you go and look for sand for your hamster buddy, make sure you look for granulated sand, dust-free. It shouldn’t be very coarse, it should be like… well, sand that’s been sifted. The one I have for Teddy is made of ground up sea shells and minerals. Some brands use this kind of formulation as well, and you can find it in either very light grey/white, or a sort of brown. It really depends on the brand and the formulation they’re using right now. I’ll attach a photo of the sand I have for my Teddy. If you can find this one, it’s probably still got the right texture for hamsters. How to give your hamster a proper sand bath Alright, we’ve talked about why hammies need a sand bath, and what kind of sand to look for. But how do you give a hamster a sand bath ? Well, hamsters are great at doing that themselves, so you won’t really have to do anything other than just provide the sand. What you need to be careful for is the fact that the sand will get everywhere. If you’ve ever been to the beach, you know what I mean. You have to be careful with it. So this means giving your hamster an appropriate place/object for that bath. You might think a shallow bowl would be enough. And it would, if it had something overhead. For example my teddy has half of a plastic hideout filled with sand, and it’s places under the first level of his cage. So that sand never gets outside the cage, and is well contained. But what if you don’t have another level in your cage ? Or not enough room under that level to fit a bowl ? Then you’ll need to look around for some options. For example this one is large enough to fit a Syrian hamster, and is easy to take apart and clean. It’s got a clear side, so you’ll be able to see your hamster when he uses this sand bath. It’s small enough so it will fit in most cages, so unless you’ve got an especially crowded cage, this one will fit right in. It’s even got a small scoop to get the hamster’s droppings out, if he ever decides to use the sand bath as a toilet too. Don’t be surprised if he does. You can check the listing on Amazon here. All you have to do is add the sand into the sand bath, and leave it in your hamster’s cage. I change my Teddy’s sand once per week, when I clean the whole cage. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters are very good at cleaning ourselves, we don’t really need any help. But we do appreciate a nice sand bath, to keep our fur nice and groomed. 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...
- How Do Hamsters Mark Their Territory? Interesting FactsI never had more than one hamster at a time since I had two Syrian hamsters, which are solitary animals and they don’t share a cage with other hamsters. So I never questioned how a hamster marks its territory and why they are doing it before doing research on this topic. However, I kind of knew they were doing this since I saw the scent glands on my first hamster, I thought he had a health problem, and that’s when I found out that those little black spots on the side were actually the scent glands. So in this article, we will discuss about why and how hamsters mark their territory and what you should know when you want to keep more hamsters together. Excluding Syrian ones, which you should never have more than one in a cage. Table of Contents How do hamsters mark their territory?Why do hamsters mark their territory?Do female hamsters mark their territory?Which hamsters can live together?Can you introduce a new dwarf hamster to the ones you already have?Conclusion How do hamsters mark their territory? Hamsters mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on the objects or territory they want to mark. Those scent glands can be located on the sides of a Syrian hamster or on the belly of dwarf ones. Syrian hamsters have one scent gland on each side, you can see a hairless spot that can be a darker color than their skin and show some greasy, yellowish secretion. Dwarf hamsters have only one scent gland on their belly, I talked a bit about this topic in the article about why hamsters pee in their wheel. I confused the secretion from their scent gland with pee. It smells a little bit like popcorn. Why do hamsters mark their territory? Hamsters mark their territory to assert authority like many other animals. Hamsters are very territorial and they will be quick to fight with other hamsters for their territory if they feel threatened. While dwarf hamsters can live together with another of their kind, that doesn’t mean they will gladly share the cage and never fight. In fact, it is quite hard to keep more hamsters together even if they are the right breed and even siblings. Some hamsters might even pee to mark their territory, this is not their primary method, but it can happen in some instances, especially when they have a problem with their scent glands. While marking territory might seem unnecessary for a pet hamster, in the wild, they have quite a few reasons for doing that. They have bad eyesight, and marking territory with their scent can help them get faster to their home, or at least what they consider to be a safer territory for them. In the cage, it is useless since they are in the same place, but in the wild, they travel for food, and getting lost can be quite dangerous, so they will ensure they know their way back by marking the territory. This might be one reason for marking the territory while they are running in the wheel, they don’t know they are on a treadmill, so they have to make sure they know their way back. With dwarf hamsters this happens naturally as the gland is on their belly. Do female hamsters mark their territory? Female hamsters also mark their territory, but the purpose is not to assert authority but rather to let male hamsters know that they are coming into heat. If you have a female hamster and you notice a weird smell from time to time, this might be the reason. It might happen quite often since female hamsters get into heat at short intervals of about four days. Which hamsters can live together? Only certain Dwarf hamster breeds can peacefully cohabitate, such as Roborovski, Campbell’s and Siberian hamsters, but only if they come from the same litter. If they have been raised as siblings in their mother’s nest, they can then be housed together but you should still expect occasional fights. When it comes to Chinese hamsters, it is not recommended to house them with any of the other three species due to their larger size and more aggressive territorial behavior. Chinese hamsters, especially males, are extremely violent against other hamsters and should always be kept solitary. It is important to understand that even smaller hamsters still need plenty of space to live their lives. If they feel that the cage is too small, they might start fighting each other, even if they are from the same litter. It is important to have enough space for each hamster to exercise, eat and drink water. Can you introduce a new dwarf hamster to the ones you already have? We will not discuss here about Syrian hamsters since for those ones even the breeding process is a complicated task where you have to get the male out of the cage immediately after if you don’t want the female and male to fight. When it comes to dwarf hamsters, introducing a new hamster to the cage is quite challenging. You might see videos and blog posts with people succeeding but the odds are not in your favor, and this is important to know. Even if you do everything right, they have a big chance of not accepting each other. If you want to do that anyway, here are the steps you have to follow. -Thoroughly clean the cage and separate it into two sections with a mesh divider. -Place the old and new hamster in each compartment. -Allow them to acclimate to each other through sight and smell before removing the separator. Keep them separated for a few days. -Pay close attention and be ready to intervene if they start fighting So the process requires you to actively watch the hamsters while you are introducing the new hamster, so it is quite time-consuming and can be dangerous. I recommend keeping a gardening or thick rubber glove near the cage since intervening between two fighting hamsters can leave serious wounds. Conclusion Hamsters are territorial animals and they will try to mark their territory as fast as possible even if they are alone in the cage, they don’t know that the cage is only for them, so they have to make sure other hamsters know that the territory is occupied. Can you imagine your little hammy always marking its territory when you clean its cage to make sure other hamsters will not invade them, it is funny to think about it. I hope this article helped you understand a bit better hamster behavior when it comes to marking its territory, why they are doing it, and how you can keep more hamsters together without increasing their chances of fighting.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Attract Mice ? Or Other Pests Like Bugs Or RatsYou might wonder if your hamster is attracting pests, like roaches or mice or even snakes. The thing is, pests don’t come out of nowhere, they have a reason for coming to your home. So is it the hamster ? We’ll delve into this today, and how to rid your home of said pests. Keep in mind that sometimes you might have to ask a professional for help. Table of Contents So do hamsters attract pests ?Why pests might show up in the first placeAgain, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend.Keeping your hamster pest-freeConsider calling a professional to deal with a large infestationA word from Teddy So do hamsters attract pests ? No, hamsters do not attract pests. Hamsters do not attract mice, rats, bugs, snakes, or any other creature that might make your guts squirm. You might think that the hamster’s scent might attract other rodents like mice or rats. This is not true. They are very different species, and will generally avoid each other. The same goes for snakes and bugs. They will not come to you because you’ve touched your pet hamster. Pests do show up when the hamster’s cage becomes dirty, especially with dirty old rotten food. If there are bits of old food on the floor too, then that’s more incentive. But it is not the hamster’s fault. At all. Why pests might show up in the first place To understand why pests might show up in a certain area, we have to know how pests work. You see, the vast majority of creatures regarded as pests – rodents and insects most commonly – are opportunistic feeders. They eat what they can, when they can, if they can get it. As such, a nice crop of corn, for example, can be decimated by a brood of mice, a murder of crows, or a whole locus infestation. But what if you’ve got no such crop ? Well, some food bags in your garage might suffice. If you live in a house and you’ve got foodstuffs stored in your garage or other places in your home, those might attract mice or roaches of not stored properly. This doesn’t mean a stray bag of cereal will make a horde of mice come running. But a bulk of 30 boxes, left in a part of the house that has access to ares that aren’t usually well traveled – like a storage unit or garage or closet or basement – can attract them. If they can pick up the scent of the food, and the food is unguarded, and left in an area that people don’t go through often, then pests can come. Another possibility, if you live in an apartment building: your drawer of snacks can be very inviting. This is more difficult though, since pests don’t come barging because you’ve left an energy bar open in that drawer. But if the building or neighborhood itself has a problem – like possibly your neighbors 2 floors down having a roach infestation – they you might too. They will choose your home over other homes because it has the most unguarded food. Again, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend. But, if you do not regularly clean the hamster’s cage and bits of food and droppings often end up on the floor, pests can show up. They sense where the home is most unkempt, and they go there, knowing no one will be in their way. For example our neighbors have a pair of parakeets. They often leave them in their cage outside in the summer, to enjoy the sun and fresh air. In that cage there’s food, and the birds outside know that. We’ve chased away sparrows trying to steal the parakeet feed more than once. The same scenario could happen with your hamster too, if you keep him in a room where people don’t go much. Sometimes, it could be about something else, and not food. Pests, especially mice and rats, are incredibly curious. and hardy. They will poke and prod and push and try every little corner of the plumbing and outside until they will get inside your home. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Keeping your hamster pest-free Alright, now we know why pests show up. Now we can figure out how to keep the home, and the hamster’s cage pest-free. Here’s a few ideas: Regularly clean the hamster’s cage, once per week. Make sure there is no stray food or poop outside his cage. Do not keep the hamster in a side room. So rooms like basement, closet, garage, storage unit, attic are not okay to keep your living, breathing hamster in. Regularly check the areas where the plumbing comes out of the walls. Like under sinks, bathtubs, drains, etc. Make sure no food has fallen behind a counter, which might attract bugs or mice Keep up to date with your building or neighborhood’s pests infestation, see if your area is clear Make sure your trash can and bags are stored properly, not left outside overnight. For the most part, pests will show up in areas of the home where you don’t really go. So any hidden, dark corner, especially if it connects to a series of tunnels like plumbing for example. For very old houses pests can be a serious problem, since they can infest the walls themselves, and weaken the structure of the house itself. Consider calling a professional to deal with a large infestation If you’ve already got an infestation, you’ll want to get rid of the creatures. While one stray mouse or bug can be dealt with easily, and entire colony is hard to get rid of. There are certain treatments for insects, or poisons for rats, there are even humane traps. But they need to be used effectively. If you’ve got a large infestation, you’ll want to call some professionals. This is mostly because of convenience. By this I mean you can always find the correct dosage for poisons online, or how to set up certain traps as well. But the hassle and time spent on ridding your home of pests is best left to people who are meant to do just that. And you can mind your day-to-day life as usual, until things have settled. Aside from knowing that you’ve got a warranty, in case anything goes wrong. Now I have no recommendation for you, but I’m sure you will be able to look up a team of experts in your area. Do tell them that you’ve got pets, and ask if they’ve got any pet-safe treatments. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies may be rodents but we don’t attract pests, and we’re good guys on our own. We do love to chew though. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below, to know how to care for us and keep us happy.... Read more...
- Best Hamster Toys – DYI And Store BoughtThe best hamster toys ever are not easy to find, but they’re there if you look for them. Some of them can even be made at home ! This is my guide to the best hamster toys ever, and a few tips on making your own. Teddy loves both kinds, and he’ll show you some of his favorites. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but the toys we’ll talk about are also good for smaller breeds like Robo hammies or Campbell. In this guide I’ll show you the best hamster toys I’ve found online (which can be bought), and also give you a few ideas of how to make your own hamster toys at home, as a DYI project. Remember that not all hamsters are alike. Some hamsters might like chewing toys best, while others might like digging towers even more, or are only interested in exercise wheels. Get to know your hammy, and expose him to several toys types, so you know which he likes best. Table of Contents Chewing toys for your hamsterBest store bought chew toys for hamstersBest wood chews for hamstersBest non-wood chewsDog biscuitsHome-made chew toyRunning toys for your hamsterBest store bought exercise toys for hamstersHome-made exercise toysDigging toys for your hamsterBest store bought digging toyHome-made digging towerHiding toys for your hamstersBest store bought hiding toysHome-made hide and seek toyClimbing toys for your hamsterBest store bought climbing toyHome-made climbing toySimple puzzles for hamstersHome-made puzzlesStore bought puzzlesWhat makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ?Why hamsters need toysA word from Teddy Chewing toys for your hamster Chewing toys are necessary for all hamsters, even if they’re not really chewers. Hamsters need to constantly chew in order to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Their front teeth are always growing, and if left unchecked can reach into their lower jaw can cause serious health problems. Best store bought chew toys for hamsters Every pet store carries at least a few types of chew toys. Most of them are made of wood that is safe for hamsters, while the remaining others are made of materials that are safe for hamsters but are not wood. I’ll give you a couple of examples here. Best wood chews for hamsters Here’s a fun little wooden set your hammy will enjoy. They have some bells in them as well, which is great for hamsters since they react to sound. The wood is a great way to help your hamster file down his teeth, and it’s really sturdy. So those pieces will last your hamster for a long time. You can check the set on Amazon here, along with the price. Best non-wood chews Apple chews are a great way for hammies to file down their teeth and get some extra fruit in their diet. It’s best to give these to your hamster along with other treats, not just this one. Since it is organic and exclusively fruit, your hammy might go through it fairly fast but he’s sure to love it. Banana chips work well too. You can find it here on Amazon to check it out for yourself, and check the price. Dog biscuits Weird, I know, but hamsters will go for dog treats as well. Actually, the fact that dog treats are very hard and crunchy is what hamsters love. It’s best to stay away from any flavored dog biscuits, and just get plain ones. Or, you can get a box of milk bones. The hamster will take entire days to go through the treat, and a whole box will last you pretty much forever, given the size of the hamster and the number of treats inside. You can check out the milk bones on Amazon here, and see the price as well. Home-made chew toy One of the best home-made toys for your hamster to gnaw on is…. a walnut ! Or chestnut ! My Teddy has a couple of walnuts he usually plays with, and he’s always trying to get them open. He gnaws at them for a few minutes then leaves them alone. Then he comes back later, and so on. Whatever nut you choose for your hamster (walnut, chestnut, ) make sure it is clean and dirt-free. Wash it beforehand with extremely hot water, and use a tooth pick to pick out any stuck dirt or particles. Do not use detergent or a disinfecting agent. If you’re not sure it’s clean, best to not give it to your hammy. Another great chew toy is a piece of thick twig, or a small branch that you’ve cleaned beforehand. The best kind of wood for your hamster to chew on is also the one he has the bedding usually made of. That’s aspen, but you can also go with some fruit trees (like apple or pear). Running toys for your hamster Most hamsters are runners by nature. This is what they have to do anyway, and my Teddy is ridiculously fast on his running wheel. Best store bought exercise toys for hamsters A running wheel is one of the most basic things you need for your hammy. As such, it should be quiet, it should stay in its place, and made of something your hamster won’t hurt itself on. To find out more about exercise wheels for your hamsters and how to use them right, you can read here. The vast majority of running wheels that you get when purchasing your hamster cage are horrible. Too small, won’t spin, cheap plastic. A good running wheel is a bit of an investment, but will last literally your hamster’s entire life. So don’t skimp out on the running wheel for that matter. It’s what will keep your hamster busy 60% of the time. For this I’ve found a great, silent wheel that’s suitable for all hamster types, Syrian and Robo as well. It has a tail and neck guard, and will stay in place. It is heavier, like 2 lbs/nearly 1 kg but that is because of the heavy base to keep it in place in the cage. The wheel itself is not heavy, so your hamster will be able to spin it well enough. You can check it out on Amazon here and see the price as well. Home-made exercise toys A home-made running wheel is not something I would recommend. This is because running itself is a very fast activity for your hamster, so unless every nook and cranny is well calculated, I’d avoid making them at home. It might be too risky for the hamster to run in a running wheel designed at home, since it might come apart in a way you didn’t anticipate. Or it may snag on your hammy’s paw, because of the material used. Digging toys for your hamster Some hamsters are diggers, some are not. My Teddy isn’t a digger, so I have no bright ideas for digging toys, but I will tell you this. The bottom of your hamster’s cage/glass tank must be filled with a lot of bedding. A whole lot. The more the better, since the hamster will have a lot of fun digging around. So don’t skimp on the bedding, give you hamster plenty, something like the width of your palm is good. You can read nice roundup of the 4 best hamster bedding options out there, and see which would work best for you. As for which kind of bedding is okay, your safest bet is aspen. But for a more comprehensive talk on the safe and unsafe kinds of bedding for your hamster, check out this article on how to choose the best bedding for your hamster. Best store bought digging toy A digging tower is easily the best thing for your hammy, and I looked around for a good one on Amazon. Unfortunately there are not many options, but this one seems to be the best. It’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit, and you can fill it with whatever kind of bedding your hamster likes. You can look at him through both sides since 2 are transparent. And you’ll be able to see him crawl through the bedding and find the exit. You can check the Amazon pricing for it here. Home-made digging tower I’ve found a great video on Youtube for a home made digging tower for your hamster. You can easily do it at home, just that you need a few supplies and tools. I’ll link the video here, and you can watch it anytime. Erin (the lady in the video) is the number one channel I watched in the first few weeks of owning Teddy. Hiding toys for your hamsters Hamsters live to hide, it’s what they do half the time. So you can give your hamster a lot of options here. Best store bought hiding toys Hide and seek toys are always fun, but most of them are too small for a Syrian hamster. If your hamster is smaller, like a Robo or a Campbell, then most hiding tunnels will fit your hamsters well enough. But here I’ve found a toy that will fit a Syrian as well, and can be enjoyed by all kinds of hamsters. It’s made of wood, and has a whole lot of entrances and separate exits. Your hamster will be darting in and out of it all day, every day. You can check its pricing on Amazon here. Home-made hide and seek toy Most of these will be toilet rolls, paper towel rolls, or egg cartons. You can put them in your hamster’s cage as is. You can also cut a few holes in them to make them a sort of maze or puzzle. Other hiding places for your hammy to use could be very sturdy plastic cups that he can hide in. Just make sure that the plastic is a very hard one. Hamsters will chew on everything, even just to try them out, and soft plastic is not good for them. Another idea would be those bendy plastic tubes you’d normally attach to the sink, but much wider. The width of the tube must be at least 2.5 inch/7 cm so your hamster can easily fit through it. You can bend it into all kinds of shapes, and even bury parts of it under the bedding to make for more underground space. Climbing toys for your hamster Some of the weirdest things a hamster can do is climb. Climb everything. If you’re a new hamster owner, this will probably blow your mind. I know it was complete news to me that hamsters are part spider. Best store bought climbing toy I’ve found this cute and colored climbing toy for hamsters, along with great reviews on Amazon. It attaches to the top of the cage (like the wire mesh or wire lid). Your hamster can climb on it, and chew on it as well, since it’s made of wood. It will suit Syrian hamsters and Chinese or Campbells as well. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Home-made climbing toy Here’s a home-made climbing toy idea for your hamster. Grab a few walnut halves, a long piece of twine, maybe a few pieces of wood, and put a hole in each of those. Feed the twine through all those holes, making a know after each new piece. At the end you should have a series of walnut halves, pieces of wood, all on a long piece of twine. You can tie the twine to the top of the cage, or use a D-link to fasten it to the top of the cage. You can also hide a couple of treats in those walnut halves for your hamster to find. If you don’t have walnuts, you can still use twine and wood pieces, to make a sort of ladder. Popsicle or bamboo skewers are good substitutes too. Simple puzzles for hamsters Your hammy is a very curious one, even if he doesn’t have the voice to ask about his or that. He still wants to know everything that’s going on, and will investigate thoroughly. Home-made puzzles Again, most of the home-made puzzles will be made of toilet rolls. They’re the easier, cheapest, and safest material to work with or your hamster’s home-made toys. One example is a regular toilet roll, cut some strips into it, make them about an inch/2.5 cm long. They should end up looking like large frills, at each end of the toilet roll. Then, one end will be folded so nothing can escape, and you will place a bit of food or treats for your hamster. Then fold the other end to make sure no food will get out. If you want, you can make the frills longer and twist them together, making it more complicated to open. Your hamster will hear and smell the food inside and do his best to rip, tear, chew and find a way to open the puzzle. You can do the same with small boxes, if you have some. whichever tiny boxes made of cardboard are good for him. Place a bit of food in the smallest one, and place as many boxes as you can inside the other, like a russian doll. Hiding a bit of food into the suspended walnuts I talked about earlier is a great idea too. Store bought puzzles Unfortunately most of the searches I’ve done came up empty, and the ones I have found are too complex for hamsters. So in this case it’s best to stick to making your hammy his own puzzle, with a toilet roll and a bit of imagination. (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 makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ? This depends mostly upon your hamster’s personality. Most hamsters will love most toys, but they can still ignore some kinds. Some hamsters like to chew. Others like to dig, some like to run, others love to hide. You’ll notice this about your hamster only after a few weeks, if you’ve given him every type of toy, and see which he uses the most. For example my Teddy is a chewer, and he loves everything made of wood that he can gnaw on, including bendy bridges, walnuts, his home, and so on. He doesn’t like tubes as much, or hide and seek toys. He doesn’t hide a lot, but he is curious and sticks his face everywhere. He also runs a lot, so his wheel was the best thing ever. It still is, but not as much as it was when he was younger. You can find out more about hamster wheels here. Some hamster toys can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on your budget and disposition which kind you want for your hamster. But as with most animals, home made versions are sometimes the best. Like a paper bag that drives the cat crazy, or a slipper that will become your dog’s favorite toy. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you can make from toilet rolls and a bit of creativity. But sometimes, there are toys that are out of this world and can only be bought. I hope I gave you enough options to choose from, so you can make your little friend happy. Why hamsters need toys The usual life of a hamster in the wild can be pretty … wild. He will run away from predators, hide, dig his way out of a predicament. But in your home he is much safer and it can get a bit boring at times. So your hammy will need some stimulation, otherwise he might start chewing the cage bars, or becoming very very agitated. You can take care of this by providing your hamster with toys of different types, sometimes reintroducing toys he used to ignore, maybe he changed his mind. Also providing your hamster with a large enough cage will make sure he has enough space to explore and not feel cramped. You can check the 5 best hamster cages (for Syrians and Dwarf types) and see what I mean. Just like with humans, hamsters are curious and intelligent, and will need stimulation. For example my Teddy sometimes starts chewing on the cage bars if he is ignored, or bored. So I’ll start playing with him or give him a new puzzle to solve. Teddy: Us hamsters are very active, and we need something to keep us busy most of the time ! So make sure you give your hammy a couple of toys to make life more interesting. A word from Teddy I hope you found some great ideas for us hamsters here ! I know toys for hamsters might be a bit weird to figure out at first, but you can definitely find ideas around. Remember that each of us has their own personality, likes, and dislikes. So if I’m a chewer and a runner, maybe your hammy is a digger, or a climber, and needs different toys than me. If you want to find more info on hamsters, check out the articles below. You’ll find out how much food we need, what kind of home we like, and why we sometimes eat our poo ! ... Read more...
- About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, CampbellIf you’re researching hamsters, and want to know more about the Dwarf types, let me help you. There are 3 main types of Dwarf hamsters, and they can be more than a bit confusing. We’ll take a look at each Dwarf type, and how it’s different from all the rest, and then talk about general care and how to keep them happy. Table of Contents An overview of Dwarf hamstersAbout the Roborovski Dwarf hamsterAbout the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamsterAbout the Campbell Dwarf hamsterAbout the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problemsWhat do Dwarf hamsters eat ?What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ?Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would likeCan Dwarf hamsters live together ?Average lifespan of Dwarf hamstersA word from Teddy An overview of Dwarf hamsters Dwarf hamsters are 3 main types of hamster, actually. They all come from roughly the same area, which is northern China, southern Russia, Mongolia, Siberia and they are very well adapted to those lands. Despite that, you will often find the 3 types named as Russian Dwarf, and that’s it. This can be both confusing and frustrating, especially when trying to figure out if they need anything specific, or even just what kind of hamster you’ve got. Here’s the 3 main Dwarf hamster types: The Roborovski Dwarf, Also names Russian Dwarf, he is the tiniest and has a distinct appearance from the rest. The Campbell Dwarf, also sometimes called Russian Dwarf. Is often confused with the Djungarian. The Djungarian Dwarf, also named Winter White, or Siberian, or (again) Russian Dwarf. The only one who can adapt his fur to winter (turns white) Each of the 3 types was discovered in different years, which I’ll cover in the section about each type. But all of them ended up as pets because of their cute and fuzzy faces, incredibly quick feet, and acceptance of living in groups. Given their small size, agility, speed, and restlessness, these hamsters are best kept as observational pets. Trying to handle them is harder than with a Syrian, just because they’re so very small and won’t sit still at all. Never give a Dwarf hamster to a child, since these hammies need a person with quick reflexes and lots of patience to be handled properly. But why are they called Dwarf hamsters, though ? Well, because they were all discovered after the Syrian hamster. And were always measured against that little guy. This makes the Dwarf hamsters only half as big as a Syrian, hence the name Dwarf. There are some very clear differences between the Dwarf types and the Syrian, you can read more about them here. If you’re not very sure which breed you have, or if you have a Dwarf, then check out this article for help. About the Roborovski Dwarf hamster The Roborovski (or Robo for short) is the tiniest of the bunch. He was first discovered in 1894 by a Russian expeditioner (Roborovski), and was first brought into the general public’s attention in 1960. That’s when they became regulars at the London Zoo, and have since become popular pets. The Robo is a small (very small) hamster, reaching about 2 inches/5 cm and that’s it. From nose to tail, that’s the whole hamster. His fur (like all Dwarf types) is brown-ish on the back, with white on his belly. He does have a white spot above each eye, much like the spots above a Doberman or Rottweiler’s eyes. The Roborovski hamster doesn’t have a stripe down his back, nor a patch on his head like the other Dwarf types. His feet are furry (unlike the Syrian) and he doesn’t have a distinct neck, looking more like a very stocky, hastily put-together furball. Still, they’re incredibly fast and wriggly, and can live in bunches if you’ve got a cage large enough. About the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamster This is the most confusing hamster type, mostly because everyone keeps calling him a different name. He is classified as Phodopus sungorus, which comes from the region in China this hamster was discovered in, which is Dzungaria. Phodopus is the general name given to all Dwarf types. So the official name would be Djungarian Dwarf hamster, but many people still call him Winter White, or Siberian. He is also found in Siberia, and he does Change his fur when winter comes, to mostly white. Usually the Djungarian is about 3 inches/7 cm long, and has a grey-ish brown color on his back. He does have a stripe going down his back, a dark, thick stripe of dark grey or black. His belly is white, and his feet are furry, and he has a dark patch on his head, where the stripe starts from. As pets, the breeders have tried for several color patterns, and have come up with mostly white, grey, white with grey dustings. Once winter comes and the days shorten – the lack of light is the trigger here – the Djungarian’s fur changes to mostly or completely white, so blend in with the snow. In captivity this doesn’t really happen, since the light cycles don’t have as much of an impact. These hamsters also regulate their internal body temp in the winter in order to survive the cold. About the Campbell Dwarf hamster The Campbell is often mistaken with the Djungarian, simply because they look so much alike. However the difference is that Campbells have light grey on their bellies, instead of white like the Djungarians. Their stripe down the back is less obvious and thinner, and there is no dark patch on their head. They don’t change their fur when winter comes, and in the wild they live a bit farther south than the Djugarians. Djungarians and Campbells can breed together, but the offspring are born with health problems and less fertile. The hybrids can breed between themselves, but the resulting litters are smaller and smaller, and have more and more health problems. This is only possible with a Djungarian male and a Campbell female. A Campbell male and Djungarian female will not result in a live birth. About the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problems Usually the Dwarf hamsters are around 3 inches/7 cm long, with short stocky bodies. Their fur (the hairs themselves) seem to be longer than the Syrians, only because the hamsters are so small. As such, the Dwarf types look extra fluffy, and the furred feet help with this appearance. These hamsters are used to colder temperatures, although they still need a temp around 20-23 C/68-75 F. They can suffer common colds and have health issues like any other hamster. But they are prone to diabetes most of all, given their small size and how their bodies are built. Given their small size, finding the hamster’s gender can be difficult, especially with babies. Unfortunately that’s the most important moment these hamsters need to be separated, otherwise unwanted litters can happen. Especially if you’re planning on bringing a pair home. Spaying or neutering the hamster is dangerous, since they’re so very small and they most probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. What do Dwarf hamsters eat ? Dwarf hamsters are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything. There ares some unsafe foods for them, like spicy or acidic foods. For example citrus, onion, garlic, leek, spicy peppers and so on are not safe for hamsters. They will often eat grains, and that’s the majority of their diet. They also eat fruits and vegetables, if they can find them. Nuts and seeds are another option, again if they can find them. As for protein, they are alright with eating a couple of insects or worms if they happen upon them At home you can feed your Dwarf hamster a commercial food mix, since those are well thought-out and have the wild hamster’s diet in mind. Aside from that you can feed the hammy food from your fridge or pantry, although not all foods are safe. A safe and unsafe food list can be found here. Do take care with Dwarf hamsters, whether they’re Robos, Campbells or Djungarians. They’re prone to diabetes so sweet foods, even those on the safe list, are to be avoided or only given in minimal amounts. This includes most fruits (which should be given without seeds and peeled when possible), and carrots or sweet potatoes, or corn. Bread, pasta and rice should be given sparingly or not at all, since they contribute greatly to the glucose levels in the hamster’s body. It’s not just the sugar that does that, but the carb-heavy foods as well. Also make sure these little guys get plenty of exercise to delay(or even avoid) the onset of diabetes, or even just obesity since they are prone to that as well. As for serving sizes, Dwarf hamsters only need a teaspoon per hamster, per day. That’s the dried food mix that comes in the box. Anything else you supplement alongside that should be checked with the safe foods list. (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 size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ? For the most part Dwarf hamsters need a cage about half as large as a Syrian’s cage, which is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. However I would recommend that measurement to be applied to a single Dwarf as well, seeing as the more space he has, the better he will feel. That being said, you can keep two Dwarf hamsters in a Syrian-sized cage, expect occasional bickering. To a degree this is normal, and we’ll discuss that in the next part of the article. Whenever you look for a cage for your Dwarf hamster, you should make sure it’s very well secured. Given how incredibly small these guys are, they can wedge themselves in some really odd places. So if at all possible, something like a large aquarium would be good. A good potion would be the the Ikea Detolf. It’s basically one big standing shelf rack, you lay it on its side, and you lake the shelves out. Constructing a wire mesh is easy enough, tutorials are available in many places online. But, the big downside is that it’s a big and heavy ‘cage’, and you’re going to keep it in one place. You’ve got to have the space necessary in your home. It can be more expensive, but it’s got enough space for two Dwarf hammies. However if a Detolf or a very very big aquarium isn’t possible for you – it isn’t for most people – either because of budget or space you can try a regular cage. Most cages on the market are too small for hamsters, even for a Dwarf hamster. So I recommend looking for as big a cage you can find, even if your hamster is just a Dwarf. For example this one is large enough for even two Dwarf hamsters, although I recommend you only keep one. The space between the bars is small enough so the hamster won’t get out, and there are many sides to open the cage from. There is an extra level, which is adjustable and you can put it wherever you like. Hammies prefer the ground floor the most, so try not to put the level up too high. They might burrow under the level though, so don’t be surprised if that happens. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see for yourself. Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would like Hamsters, Dwarf or not, need lots of things to do. They have a whole lot of energy and they are all over the place. This is especially true for the Dwarf hamsters out there, given how much more spazzy they are compared to the larger Syrian. So, the number one way to make sure your Dwarf hamster spends all that extra energy is an exercise wheel. I say this because hamsters are pretty much born to run, and Dwarf types are the best runners. This is what they do most of the night. A bored hamster, or one with too much energy and not much to do, will end up chewing the bars, or picking a fight with his cage mate, being nippy, and generally hard to handle. Best to give him plenty of opportunities to exercise and use his little hamster brain like for puzzles. But first, the exercise. A Dwarf hamster can make do with a smaller wheel, yes. Even a 7 inch/18 cm one would be enough. But often enough the hamsters choose a large wheel to run in, in order to keep their backs at least straight, if not hunched like they always keep them on the ground. This means a 9 inch/ 23 cm wheel will be great for their backs and will avoid lots of health problems in the future. For example this one is a heavy bottom wheel, and that means it won’t move around the cage when the hamsters run in it. It’s also got a tail and foot guard, so the hamster doesn’t get himself caught in anything. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and check the wheel for yourself. Another thing to make sure your Dwarf hamster has is toys, lots and lots of toys. Many of them can be made at home, some need to be bought – more on that here. But climbing toys, or cardboard tunnels, or hide and seek toys made of an egg carton with holes in it, they’re all great toys for hamsters. Remember that hamsters are very curious, and they will stick their faces into every little thing that fits, and look for food. Or just explore. So you can make your little Dwarf happy with chew toys, tubes, climbing toys, puzzle toys, and so on. For bedding I recommend using wood shavings, and sticking to aspen as the preferred wood. Stay away from cedar and pine, since their strong scent will suffocate the hamster. Paper bedding is an option too. If you’re keeping more than one hamster, keep in mind that you’ll need two of each. Two hideouts/huts, two wheels, two food bowls, two water bottles, and so on. This reduces the reasons the Dwarf hamsters might fight, and generally give you happier hamsters. Can Dwarf hamsters live together ? Yes and no. Yes, as in they are able to live with a same-sex sibling or two, as long as they’ve never been separated and have always shared something, from their first days as hamsters. And they have a very big cage, or the Detolf I mentioned earlier. Even so, one hamster will be more dominant – this is normal – and will try to boss around the other one. Things can get out of hand when the bullied hamster becomes stressed, or the bully crosses the line. Fights can happen, and to a degree they’re normal. Squeaking, chasing, standing on top of each other and so on is acceptable. But when the fights become frequent, you need to worry. If blood has been drawn, those two will need to be kept in separate cages. I’d also say no, Dwarf hamsters can’t live together solely for the fact that the stress levels in a shared cage – no matter how big the cage – are just too high for hamsters. Seeing as hamsters are terribly bad at managing stress, this often results in sickness or injuries. Loss of appetite, dehydration, loss of fur, irritability, depression, even actual bites and cuts and bruises. Hamsters are indeed territorial creatures, and don’t share very easily. Deadly fights can happen between siblings, even if they’ve never shown any obvious sign of irritation before. If you’re planning to keep a pair of hamsters, always keep them as a same-sex pair to avoid pregnancies. You can find info on determining the hamster’s gender here. My personal advice would be to keep any and all hamsters – Dwarf or not – alone, one hamster per cage. If you want to keep them together, you can, and they will survive for the most part. It’s up to you and how much you think you can handle. Average lifespan of Dwarf hamsters The usual lifespan of hamsters is between 2 to 4 years, but this is only because the Roborovski Dwarf is raising the bar. Roborovskies can live up to 4 years, the longest lifespan of any pet hamster. The Campbell live for about 2-2.5 years, while the Djungarians can reach 2-3 years. When the hamsters reach their second birthday, they’re considered old, and you will see some health problems come up. But, since the hamster is first born, it takes 3 months to reach adulthood. Babies can breed right after they’re weaned, which is about 4 weeks old. This is why separating them into same sex groups is mandatory. Once they’ve become adults, and have mated, the gestation period is between 18 and 22 days, with the Robo having the longest (20-22). While Robo and Djungarian males should be kept away from the female after mating, the Campbells have been observed to help the female along. At least in the wild, and at least with the birthing process. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look very much alike, but we’re actually different types. 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...