10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat Them

A hamster with a health problem is a sorry sight. But, most health issues in hamsters can be solved, especially if caught in time. Let’s see what those problems are, and how to help your hammy.

You’ll find these health issues grouped by body parts or type. Where possible I’ll link you to articles where I’ve covered that specific topic in more detail.

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1. Hamster eye problems

Hamsters rarely use their eyes, that much is known to most hamster owners. Whether you’ve got a Syrian or a Dwarf type, they both can’t really see. Still, health issues do come up with a hamster’s eyes.

The most common of them being cataracts/blindness. This comes especially with old age in hammies. Do keep in mind that a hamster without his sight will be able to live his life almost the same.

Since he doesn’t usually rely on his eyes, not seeing anymore will not be a big loss, as it could be for humans.

Other problems include infections, pink eye, bulging eye, and eyes that have stuck shut due to a possible infection.

Still, for a detailed rundown on all the possible issues that can happen with a hammy’s eyes, I recommend you check out this article. You’ll find there the issues themselves, and the treatments necessary.

Sometimes a trip to the vet is necessary, sometimes the problems can be treated at home.

2. Hamster dental problems

A hamster’s teeth are possibly the most important tool the hamster has. His teeth never stop growing, in order for him to be able to eat the hard, dry grains his diet is based on.

Sometimes though, problems come up. Teeth become overgrown, possibly due to soft food or lack of a chew toy. Or a tooth might break or crack, or it could become infected.

You can find out more about hamster dental problems here, and how to treat them. Again, some may require a vet treatment, some can be treated at home.

For example overgrown teeth can be fixed by giving the hamster a multitude of chew toys he can file his teeth on.

Most of the time though, hamster teeth problems can be corrected. Even in the case of an abscess an antibiotic treatment will help the hamster recover.

A word on hamster teeth: they are never white. If you’re looking at your hammy’s long, yellow (possibly orange) teeth and wondering if you should brush them, don’t.

When I first got my Teddy I thought I had to do something. Turns out hamster teeth are not meant to be white.

Any white spots on the teeth are a sign of the tooth breaking down and possibly breaking away.

3. Hamster ear and hearing problems

Hearing is one of the primary ways a hamster navigates his surroundings. As such, any problem related to their ears and how well they can hear becomes a serious concern.

Possible problems include:

  • Parasites like mites, than can travel deep into the hamster’s ear
  • Earwax buildup, preventing hearing and can become painful
  • Ear infection, which can spread to the brain
  • Possible tumor which can take on the whole ear

These are all treatable, however the hamster won’t be able to much on his own. Actually most of the time the hammy will need your help, with any kind of health issue.

To find out more about the health problems hamsters can have with their ears, you can check out this article. You’ll find both the issues and the treatments, and even an example of a successful tumor surgery on a Dwarf hammy.

4. Hamster nail problems

Nail problems are few, and are treatable too. A hamster’s nails are used mostly for scratching and pawing at food or bedding.

Problems come up when the nails become too long, and that’s where most of the problems stem from.

A hamster’s nails grow too long when he has nothing to wear them out on. Like plenty of wood surfaces, possibly a large flat rock, or any hard surface on his cage.

This means that a hamster living solely on soft bedding, and nothing else, will end up with overgrown nails. The nails will grow very long, and eventually curve into the hammy’s paw. In some cases they will break and fall off.

My Teddy had this happen, and ever since we’ve installed 2 more levels in his cage, which are bare plastic, and he also uses his tunnel which is made of hard plastic.

An exercise wheel, used constantly, helps a lot in this regard. It wears down the hammy’s nails and keeps them trim.

Aside from overgrown nails, hamsters can also get nail infections. If they’re small, as in they don’t reach the surface and only stay for a couple of days, they’re safe to ignore.

However if it goes on for more than 2 days, and even comes to a point, you should visit a veterinarian. He will prescribe an antibiotic for the hammy to combat the infection.

5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites

Hamsters are usually very clean animals. This means that they clean themselves daily, several times a day actually, and don’t  normally attract parasites.

However they can get certain skin conditions if their cage is unclean, or has spores of fungi. 2 of the most common are:

  • Aspergillus – forms in the hamster’s pee corner. Grows white, and in time turns black. Spores can be deadly to hamsters, and very bad for humans too. If this happens, get the hamster to the vet immediately, and clean and disinfect the cage.
  • Ringworm – not an actual worm, but a fungus. It will form bald patches on the hamster, in the shape of a circle (hence the name). Dry, flaky skin is on those bald patches, and the hamster might scratch at them furiously. Treatable, but again a vet is necessary.

Aside from these two fungi, hammies can lose their fur because of old age.

Other skin problems can be mites, and fleas as well. You can find out more on fleas on hamsters here, and how to treat them.

All of these problems require a veterinarian and a deep cleaning of the hamster’s cage, and his toys and objects.

6. Hamster Digestive problems

Digestive problems are never fun for anyone. However a hamster is more in danger than other mammals, because of hos their stomach is shaped.

You see a hammy’s stomach forms a sort of U bend, which means that any gasses or bloating is very hard to release. Yes, hamsters are able to pass gas if necessary, but not as easily as us humans. And you probably won’t ever hear the hammy fart, sorry to disappoint.

Given the hamster’s stomach and gut layout and design, something like diarrhea does not go well. Or an upset stomach either.

This is why giving the hamster foods he can’t properly digest will be a big issue for him. You can find out more about hamster-safe foods here, most of them already in your fridge or pantry.

Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters can become constipated. This is more common with old hamsters, given that their system is breaking down and doesn’t digest foods as well as it used to.

You can help a constipated hammy by giving him softer foods like carrots, steamed veggies from this hamster-safe veggie list, and getting him to a veterinarian if he does not produce and droppings in 24 hours after the soft food.

7. Wet-tail in hamsters

Wet-tail is more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarf types. Still , that does not mean Dwarf types can’t get wet-tail at all. They’re just much less likely to get it.

Wet-tail is most frequent in young hamsters, that were just weaned (approx. 4 weeks old) and are eligible for adoption. It’s usually stress based, and everything from his mother pushing him away when he still tries to suckle, to being taken to the pet shop, and then take to your home is all very alien to him.

So a young Syrian hammy that was just brought home might develop wet tail. Treatment does exist, but it’s not a 100% survival rate.

Still, your hammy needs to see a vet right away. If you’ve noticed the symptoms within 24 hours the survival chances are pretty high.

Symptoms include:

  • a wet tail, because if a very watery diarrhea
  • possibly smelly rear-end, because of the constant soiling
  • smelly cage
  • weakness, lack of appetite or thirst
  • a matted, sweaty look about the hamster

You can find out more about wet-tail in hamsters here, including how to treat it and the steps you should take in caring for a hamster recovering from wet-tail.

8. Diabetes in hamsters

Another big problem in hamsters is diabetes. This is most common in the Dwarf types, so the Syrians have it easier here.

Diabetes can come about in a few ways, mostly because of a poor diet. That means a diet with too much sugar and carbs, and very little exercise. This is not the only reason, but one of the biggest.

Another reason is that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or that the body is very resistant to it. This means that the body’s blood sugar will stay very high.

It will cause weight gain, circulatory problems, difficult breathing, and other problems that stem from these.

You can find out more about diabetes in hamsters here, and also about how to treat it. Sometimes it’s not completely treatable, but at least you can do some things to make the hamster’s life comfortable even so.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

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9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters

Sometimes hammies develop extra cells. These cells are sometimes benign, sometimes they’re harmful and become cancer.

However even benign tumors can be bad for the hamster’s health, as they can block certain body parts. For example a tumor around the ear can extend to the entire half of the face.

These usually can be removed, but not many vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small animal. The problem is that the anaesthesia is hard to do, and the patient himself is very.. well, tiny.

Still, some vets have tried and even succeeded. I’m sure in your area you’ll be able to find someone who can help. Best to look for an ‘exotics’ veterinarian. They have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will possibly be able to help you more than a regular vet.

Try everyone though, you never know who is going to save your friend.

10. Hamster cheek problems

Finally, the hamster’s cheeks are another problem. The thing is that hammies stuff everything in their cheeks.

Food, nesting material, a bit of bedding, droppings. Mothers even stuff their babies there when they move them.

However sometimes these cheeks can become injured, either by a sharp corner from the food, or maybe they were over stuffed.

They can sometimes come out completely, like an inside-out pocket. Other times the cheek becomes sticky with residue and whatever is in the cheek will become stuck.

All of these can be solved, and they can also be avoided. Mostly by not giving your hamster any sticky, saucy foods that he will put in his cheeks (grain-based foods end up in his cheeks usually).

You can find out much more about hamster cheek pouches here, including how to treat the various problems that come up, and how to identify each one.

About a hamster’s general health

Hamsters are fairly hardy animals. They don’t develop health issues very easily, even if they are so sensitive. However once they do happen, hammies don’t really know what to do on their own.

That is, they can’t get over most problems on their own.

A flea infestation will drag on for months, a cold can be fatal, and an infected cheek pouch can lead to death.

Still, hamsters are able to take care of themselves, mostly by how absolutely clean they are. Up until their very last days, hamsters know that cleanliness equals health.

So they tug and pull at their fur, comb through it, fluff it up, groom it some more, every few hours.

This is also done to avoid developing a strong scent that predators will use to find them.

Your help is crucial here. Your hammy depends on you, and his health becomes your responsibility. This is a reason to become fast friends with a good veterinarian (again, look for one labeled ”exotic”).

Keeping your hamster healthy

Keeping your hamster healthy revolves around a few simple things. Cleanliness is chief among them, and the hammy himself is very good at keeping himself clean.

Still, there are a few things you can do to help your hamster friend stay healthy:

  • Regularly cleaning the cage, once per week. More on safe bedding and nesting material here.
  • Giving the hamster a commercial food mix, which has all the nutrients balanced the way he needs them.
  • Only treating him to occasional treats, and in moderation to avoid weight gain and joint problems. More on hamster-safe foods here.
  • Making sure that the floor or other surfaces you let him roam in the exercise ball are clean, and dust free. More about hamster exercise balls here.
  • Keeping the hammy in a room that’s at a constant temperature. The optimal range is 20-23 C/68-75 F, and the cage should be kept away from drafts or direct sunlight.
  • Having an exercise wheel for your hamster friend, so he can run to his little heart’s content. More on hamster exercise wheels here.

Aside from all these, remember that your pet hamster needs a calm and gentle person handling him. So a child or other pet should be kept away from the hamster. Any interaction should be supervised. Hamsters are very bad with stress, and will bite back if handled wrong.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies do get sick every now and then, and we need your help with getting healthy. So this article was supposed to give you an overview of what kind of problems we can have.

If you want to know more about us hamsters, check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy.

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Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s Comfort
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s ComfortWhen I first got Teddy I was very curious about whether he needs extra-warm temperatures or not. After all, he’s a Syrian hamster, hailing from the desert. The same way I’d think Siberian hamsters would need cold temperatures. After all, Siberia is famous for being a cold, frigid tundra. But I quickly found out I was wrong. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and draftsBedding ideas to keep your hamster warmThe right home for your hamsterDifference between hamster species when it comes to temperatureDangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hotA word from Teddy So what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ? As it turns out, the ideal temperature for your hamster is basically the same for all species, with a few minor differences. But in general hamsters need around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. They’re okay with the temperature dropping a few degrees, but once it reaches below 15 Celsius/60 Fahrenheit, they will enter a state of hibernation that can be dangerous to them. Hamsters do naturally hibernate in the wild, like bears for example. Hamsters only hibernate in case of extreme cold, so make sure you keep your hamster’s cage in a room that is  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and drafts Much of what is true for humans is true for hamsters as well. We are both mammals, and need warmer climates. But your hamster can’t adapt to the cold as fast as you. You can put on a sweater, but your hamster’s only got the one sweater he was born with – his fur. So, when it gets cold, your hamster will begin drawing more and more bedding into his house. If you gave him ripped paper towels for extra bedding, he will make a nest out of them and snuggle tightly to keep himself warm. When it gets too hot for the hamster – which is anything above 22 Celsius/72 Fahrenheit – you’ll see him start to push the bedding out of his house. This allows air to circulate through the house and cool him down. Hamsters can’t sweat like we do, and his fur coat will keep him warm no matter what. So higher temperatures are not good for him either. It’s very important that the room you keep your hamster in is one free from drafts. Those can create very cold and intense air that will give your hamster a cold. For them that cold can be fatal, even if for you it might be just a sniffle. Bedding ideas to keep your hamster warm Normally your hamster would run around the desert at night, to forage for food. Actually, they’re be running at dusk and dawn, when the temperature is more tolerable for them. Desert nights are colder than you’d think at first. So your hamster would stay in his burrow below the ground, when the temperature is too hot or too cold. In his little home he would have dried leaves, grass, and whatever plant material he can find that can be good insulation. What you can give your hamster is what I gave my Teddy. Lots of wood particles, or more commonly called sawdust. NOT the fine dusty kind ! And keep them unscented, since your hamster has a very very sensitive nose. The softer wood shavings that are left behind after working with wood are alright. We give Teddy a thick layer of the wood shavings for ‘ground’, which he has in his house as well. Then we also give him unscented, clean paper towels, ripped into smaller pieces that he can move easily. He usually uses those for the actual ‘bed’ inside his home. Aside from that, he also has the cardboard rolls that are left from the paper towels. He usually chews on them for fun, and he sometimes uses bits of it for his home, for extra insulation. As for just how much bedding to give, if it covers the bottom of the cage by a couple of inches (or 5 cm) then it will be enough. As for the paper towels, we usually give Teddy 2 sheets (3-ply) and he is fine with those. Never give your hamster cotton or fiber bedding. The hamster stores the bedding in his cheeks to use it in his home, and cotton keeps moisture and has fibers that can get stuck in your hammy’s teeth, which can be fatal. So stick to soft wood and paper. To find out more about the best kind of bedding you can give your hamster, check out my “best bedding” article. We’ll talk about the safest options you have, and which to avoid. The right home for your hamster The home your hamster lives in is crucial. And the material it’s made out of is very important for your hamster’s health. Ideally you want wood homes, because they ‘breathe’ and absorb moisture from the inside and let it evaporate outside. The home also needs some ventilation holes, like ‘doors’ or ‘windows’ that need to be large enough for your hamster to get through with his cheeks full. And finally, it’s okay if it’s small-ish, since your hammy will only use it to sleep and eat, and he does not take up much space. So in short, a plastic house, with just one entrance, is not okay. It will cause condensation and that can lead to your hamster catching a cold. You never want your hamster wet or staying in a humid place. I’ve seen this with Teddy when I first got him. The home that came with the cage was plastic, and whenever I’d clean it there would be beads of condensation on the ceiling of his home. I got him a wooden one, which has small cracks in the ceiling/roof to let air flow, and 3 big doors for air to flow freely. The condensation stopped, and the home never smells. Difference between hamster species when it comes to temperature There is little difference between species here, but there is one exception. While most hamsters need a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit  range, Winter whites need an 18-21 Celsius/65-70 Fahrenheit range to be comfortable. Even if the difference between them and other hamster species is small, it’s still something to take note of. This is because Winter white (or Siberian) hamsters come from a colder climate than the other types. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Dangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hot While your hamster can take on a lower temperature easier than a warmer one, neither extreme is easy for him. If it get cold, your hamster will do like my Teddy does, and gather as much bedding as he can to keep himself warm. If it gets too cold for more than 24 hours, then your hamster can enter a kind of hibernation. If left in this state for long, he can develop serious health issues. He only does this in case of emergencies, and can’t keep it for long. You can bring your hamster out of hibernation by slowly raising the temperature around him. Do no place your hamster in a very warm room, or on a very warm heater surface (like an electric blanket). Slowly bring the temperature up, degree by degree, until he wakes up. It may take a couple of hours or just a few minutes, depending on your hamster’s health and age. But if you keep you hamster at a temperature that’s too hot for him then he is in danger of heatstroke and dehydration. Never let your hamster get too warm since it’s not easy for him to cool off naturally. What you can do to help your hammy during summer is to place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, inside a jar, which you can place in his cage. This way there will be no condensation on the outside that can keep the bedding wet and get too cold for the hamster. Or, another thing to do is keep him away from direct sunlight. Or place the cage on a cool surface, which will slowly cool the bedding as well. Make sure the room is not at all drafty and humid, otherwise you risk your hamster’s life. I usually keep Teddy in a corner of the room that is away from the window, so not drafty. And away from sunlight, so he will not overheat. The thermostat is around 22 Celsius all year round, so he is fine overall. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you figure out the best way to keep my kind happy when it comes to our environment. While most of us come from a desert landscape, we don’t stay out during the day because it’s too hot, not during the night because it’s too cold. But dawn and dusk are good temperature ranges for us, so remember that we need around  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. You can check out the other articles on this site as well, you’ll find great info on what we usually eat, how much water we drink, and why we eat our poop too ! [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?
Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?If you’re looking to get a rodent, but can’t decide between hamsters, mice or rats then this article will help you sort that out. Unfortunately they can’t be all kept together, you need to pick just one kind of pet. But they’ve all got different needs, even if they are so similar. Let’s see a bit about each rodent, so you know which would be the best pet for you. If you want to know how a hamster would fare if he were to live in the same cage as a rat or mouse, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleAbout the hamster – general info + personalityAbout mice – general info + personalityAbout rats – general info + personalityFood difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any)Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with ownersCage size and housing differencesA word from Teddy About the hamster – general info + personality A hamster is very small, can be as small as 2 inches/5 cm, and as large as 5 inches/13 cm. He doesn’t need as much room as a rabbit, and usually stays put. As in, leaving the hamster in his cage all his life is not a problem, as long as he has a large enough cage. He does need a bit of exercise, but this is where his exercise wheel comes to the rescue. Hammies don’t like to share and generally should not be housed together. The only exceptions are the Dwarf types, who can live with a sibling or two of the same sex. This is only true for siblings that have never been separated and live in a very large cage, so they won’t fight over food and toys and general resources. Even so, I recommend keeping any and all hamsters alone, one hamster per cage. This reduces the hamster’s stress levels and this way you make sure there are no unnecessary fights, which can sometimes be deadly. Hamsters are prey animals, so they’re used to running away and hiding. Their cages need to have plenty of hiding places, so they can feel safe. This also means that taming the hamster will not be as easy as taming a puppy. He will take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to trust you. And that trust can always be lost, or forgotten if you stop interacting with him for a few days. Still, hamsters make for very entertaining pets. It’s just that the vast majority of hamsters only come out of their hiding place at night. This means that if you go to bed before 10 PM you might just miss their waking up.  And if you wake up around 6 AM, they’ve just gone to bed. So I’d only recommend a hamster to a person who either stays up very late, or works night shifts and can catch the hamster awake more often. They’re also very sensitive animals, in that there is such a thing as handling them too much, and too little. They get grumpy if you wake them up, they won’t always want to stay in your hands… okay, they rarely want to stay put. They want to explore and see everything. Their personalities are not obvious from the start, when they’re babies. But once they grow up (3 months-ish) you’ll realize you’ve either got a Rambo type (all over the place, exploring, trying to intimidate you, not staying still) or the world’s laziest and relaxed furball. There is no in-between. All hamsters mellow down once they become old, it’s just that some are absolutely spastic when they’re young. About mice – general info + personality Mice are very social animals, and will generally do better if they’re kept in a small group. For example 3 females, or 2 males seems to be the best kind of match. There will always be one mouse trying to be the dominant one. Mice are much smaller than hamsters – smaller than a Dwarf sometimes – and are so much more agile and quick. This means that trying to handle a mouse is very hard, since he’ll be all over the place. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to tame. But it is much harder than with a hamster. Usually mice are kept as pets to look at, rather than play with. Even if you do manage to hold onto one, he’ll almost immediately want to go exploring. Mice, like hamsters and rats, have poor eyesight and as a result they can’t really judge distances and heights. All 3 will try to jump off of ledges or out of your hands if they’ve had enough, but mice and hamsters are just plain terrible at this. They will jump from high places, even if they’re too high. Mice are only a slight bit smarter in this area. Still, seeing a small colony of mice interact and build their own little nests, and lay with every little toy is going to be fun. They’re almost always unpredictable, and seem not to care if they survive a climb or any special endeavor. Given how shall mice are, even the mellow, chill ones will seem skittish. That’s just the way mice are. They can get along with each other, but it’s a lot like with Dwarf hamsters. They must be siblings, and never been separated at all. Even then, they might argue from time to time. What sibling doesn’t, though ? About rats – general info + personality A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent. That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. They’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters. Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them. When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal anything if ever left outside of their cage, and let them out your should from time to time. This is mostly because they need lots of stimulation, and sometimes being kept in their cage isn’t enough. You can always keep just one rat, but you should be warned that you’ll need to interact with him often if you want him to not get bored. A bored rat is never good news. He will try to escape, chew through a part of the cage you’d never expect, or just wait for the perfect moment when you’re opening his cage to take him out. But, a rat is a smart animal, and he will be very entertaining. He’ll tend to understand you better, and sometimes even sit still when you need him to, or when you just want to keep him cuddled in your arms. (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.) Food difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any) When it comes to food, hamsters mice and rats eat pretty much everything. They all eat mostly grains, with some fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too, ans so it a bit of meta. It’s okay if it’s mealworms, it can even if a bit of boiled plain chicken. Do keep in mind that the serving sizes vary from animal to animal. A hamster will need 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried commercial food mix (depending on whether you’ve got a Dwarf or a Syrian). This is per hamster, per day. A mouse will need just the one teaspoon, once a day, aside from whatever treats you give them. A rat will need much more, amounting to 2 tablespoons of their commercial mix food. They’re much larger and need more food than the other two rodents. However all 3 have teeth that never stop growing, and they will need to gnaw on something all the time. This is where the dry grains or pellets come in handy. Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with owners Hamsters are solitary animals. If you really want to, you can house a pair of Dwarf hamsters,  but that often doesn’t end well. This is mostly because hamsters are very territorial, and they end up fighting over everything, unless they have a very very large cage. The only way you can keep a pair of Dwarf hamsters is if they’re siblings, of the same gender (so 2 girls or 2 boys), and they’ve never been separated. Hammies do interact with their owners, but they don’t bond with them as much. They can be rather aloof and disinterested most of the time, unless you’ve got a treat in your hands. Mice can be kept in more than just pairs, but it’s the same story as with Dwarf hamsters. They should be siblings, of the same sex, and never separated. They’re very skittish and all over the place. Handling them – and as such taming them – is going to be difficult, like with Dwarf hamsters. They simply don’t sit still, and don’t really like being handled. They bond a little more with their owners than hamsters, but that doesn’t say much. Rats are social too, but they should be kept with a buddy if you can’t talk to them or handle them often. They can grow bored very easily, and need a whole lot of toys. Cage size and housing differences When it comes to housing these rodents, things aren’t very different. For example a hamster can live in a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is for one lone Syrian hamster, or two Dwarf types. This same size is enough for one male rat, or 3 female mice. Mice males need a cage almost as big as a Syrian’s, just for one male mouse. Females live together easier. When it comes to toys and objects inside their cages, all 3 rodents need plenty of things to play with. Rats need the most stimulation, and will end up getting bored the fastest. This means that giving them plenty of puzzle toys is going to help. Puzzle toys can be something like a maze made out of an egg carton with holes cut in one end, and a treat at the other end. All 3 rodents are great with mazes. Another such toys would be a cardboard tube with a treat inside, but very tightly packed so the pet can’t get to the treat easily. Climbing toys are another object rodents will love, but especially mice and rats since they are used to climbing pipes or small plants. Hamsters prefer the low ground and tunnels. Rats and mice will go for hammocks, or maybe ladders, suspended bridges, and so on. If it requires a bit of acrobatics skill, it’s a rat or mouse toys, not a hamster toy. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies sometimes get confused with mice and rats, but we’re a bit different actually. 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...
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat It
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat ItIs your hamster feeling ill ? Is the hamster ignoring his water bottle ? Lack of water in the hamster’s system is a very bad situation, but one that can be fixed. Hamsters can and should drink water, so if yours is dehydrated he will need some medical attention. Let’s see what dehydration is, how to prevent it, some symptoms, and how to help a dehydrated hamster back on his feet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is dehydration in hamsters ?How dehydration can happen in hamstersSymptoms and signs of dehydration in hamstersTreatment and care for a dehydrated hamsterPreventing dehydration in hamstersIf the hamster won’t or can’t drink waterA word from Teddy So what is dehydration in hamsters ? In short dehydration is the loss of water from the hamster’s body. The hamster has lost a significant amount of water through urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or drooling and is now in serious danger. Dehydration is a problem because the cells of the body do not function very well without water, and they can shut down entirely. There is also the problem of the salts and minerals that usually come with the body’s water content, but are now missing. This is why simple tap water won’t do to rehydrate a hamster. You will need to add salts, minerals, and sugar to his diet while he’s recovering. We’ll cover everything you can do to help the hamster, right after we find out just how a hamster become dehydrated. How dehydration can happen in hamsters Hamsters, like all animals, can become dehydrated for a number of reasons. Many health problems will require the body to overheat, in order to fight off an infection for example. This is how a cold can be much harder on a hamster, or even some abscesses if they’ve gone too far. Wet-tail is another serious condition, and hamsters suffering from it become dehydrated in a matter of hours. It’s a treatable condition, but it needs to be discovered in the beginning. Too late and even if the infection is treated the hamster will be too weakened. Diabetes can be another problem for hamsters, since there is never enough water for them. They will also pee every few minutes, but the thirst is always there. Digestive problems like a loose stool or vomiting can also make the hamster dehydrated. Excessive drooling, which can be a sign of overgrown teeth or a possible neurological problem, can make the hamster dehydrated too. Whichever problem the hamster has, it can usually be treated by a veterinarian. But the real danger of dehydration lies in the fact that it will slowly start shutting down bodily functions in the hamster. It will be important to rehydrate the hamster mostly for this reason, more than all the other ones. Symptoms and signs of dehydration in hamsters There are a few ways to see if your hamster is dehydrated, most are easy to notice by just the hamster’s owner, like you and I. For example: The hamster is not drinking water. This is the most obvious one, I know, but it’s a dead giveaway. There are hamsters who just drink very little water, yes. But if your hamster hasn’t had any water at all in the last 24h then you will need to take some measures. I’ll describe them later in this article. The best way to check if the hamster isn’t drinking water is to mark where the current water level is in his water bottle, and check again after 24 hours. Hammies usually drink about 10 ml water per 100 gr of hamster daily. That’s 0.33 oz water for every 3.5 oz of hamster. So if you’ve got a Dwarf, you’ll barely notice the water he’s drinking, but try taking photos from the same exact angle and compare them. The hamster’s skin is very tight and dry. You can check this by scruffing the hamster and watching how fast the skin pulls back. Hold the hamster firmly but gently with one hand, and with your other hand pinch the back of the hamster’s neck. That will not hurt the hamster,  but it will pull back some skin. If the skin snaps back into place quickly (or immediately) the hamster is just fine. If it takes a while to get back into its shape, or even still has a ridge where you pinched the hammy, the hamster is definitely dehydrated. The hamster looks tired and weak. Dehydration tires out the body, and it will only have enough energy for the most basic things like breathing and eating a bit. Other than that the hamster will not expend any energy, like running on his wheel or playing with his cage mates. He will mostly huddle in a corner and sleep a whole lot. His usual routine will be disrupted, and he won’t be out in the open as much. You will possibly see a very dry and warm nose on him (as in flaky nose), and possibly on his feet as well. The hamster has lost weight, or at least looks thinner. His fur might be thinner, and he might have even lost some fur. Weight loss isn’t out of the ordinary for a dehydrated hamster, but it can have a big impact on his health. This is because the weight loss is sudden, and in a large amount. It may not seem like much, since the hamster is so very small to begin with. But losing the water weight and some actual weight makes things much harder for the hamster. Treatment and care for a dehydrated hamster Alright, now that we know what dehydration is, and what the symptoms are, we can start treating it. Treatment should be done by a professional, like a veterinarian. You will need to look for an ‘exotics’ vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Although for this particular problem all vets should be able to help. The vet will administer fluids to the hamster most probably by a shot, since an I.V. drip is not very practical. You will also receive recommendations from your vet on what medicine (if any) you need to give to you hamster afterwards, like a few vitamins for example. If your hamster has an underlying condition which is causing the dehydration – like wet-tail or vomiting – the vet will treat that as well. In some cases he might need the hamster to stay with him for a couple of days for observations and further treatment. But if for some reason you can’t reach the vet, there are a few things you can do at home. Very few of them will work as well as a professional treatment, but you can try these to help your hamster feel better. Give your hamster slices of fruit and veg. Like cucumber, peeled apple, lettuce, a few leafy greens, carrot. Give a little at a time, since too much can cause diarrhea, which will worsen the dehydration. Add an electrolyte water to his water bottle. Unflavored Pedialyte will work well, and can be found fairly easy. If your hamster is diabetic this is not recommended, as Pedialyte contains sugar. Place the hamster’s water in a shallow dish, so he can access it easily. Sometimes the dehydration is so severe the hammy can’t even get up to the nozzle of the bottle. Rehydrate by mouth, with an eye dropper or small syringe (no needle). Hold the hamster firmly but gently, and place a drop of water on his lips every half hour. More than a drop at a time may go in the wrong way. Plain water isn’t going to help very much, since it lacks the salts and minerals needed by a dehydrated body. These are all steps you can take so the hamster’s treatment goes along smoothly, and in a couple of days he should recover. Feeding the hamster overly wet food (like too much cucumber for example) will upset his stomach. His usual dry grain mix will be fine. You can also take steps to ensure the hamster gets better by not placing him near warm spots, like a heater or in the kitchen when there is a lot of cooking(and heat) going on. Keep him away from drafts as well, as those can worsen his health and add another problem to his already weak body. Dehydration itself isn’t a threat to the hamster’s cage mates, but his other possible conditions (if it’s not just dehydration) might be, so separating the sick hamster is probably a good idea. (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.) Preventing dehydration in hamsters Dehydration can be prevented, but in most cases isn’t a sum of many steps. So we’ll go through the various steps you can take to make sure the hamster is safe from dehydration. Make sure that the hamster’s water bottle is working properly. This means that the bottle’s nozzle should be free of any blockages, and there should not be anything sticking into or out of it. The little metal ball at the end of the nozzle should move freely, and allow water to drip, if pushed back. You can test this by tapping the small ball with your finger, and observing whether water is coming out or not. If it does, that it’s fine. If it doesn’t, there might be something inside the nozzle. You will have to take it apart and use a Q-tip to inspect the length of the nozzle. Another way to test the water bottle is to squeeze the side of it, and see if water drips out of the nozzle. Most of the time the water bottle is working just fine, and it’s an illness that’s actually affecting the hamster. The temperature and general ‘weather’ of the room you keep the hamster in is very important. The temperature should be around 20-23 C/68-75 F, and his cage away from any direct heat, sunlight, drafts, or cold corners. Try and offer your hamster a mix of dry, commercial mix, and some safe foods found in your pantry and freezer. Too much wet food can cause digestive problems in your hamster, and give him a bout of diarrhea. Which is why veggies like cucumbers or lettuce should be given sparingly, and only in small amounts. The same goes for apple, watermelon, and most everything that has juice in it. If you’ve got more than one hamster in the same cage, and one becomes sick, separate them immediately. The illness from the first hamster can get to the healthy hamster, and manifest itself through dehydration, even if it’s nut just that. Always wash your hands before and after handling your hamster. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria from your hands to the hamster, and keep everyone safe. A stressed hamster will refuse to eat, drink, and even rest properly. Hamsters can get stressed by things like handling them too much, an abusive cage mate, overly curious pets and children, getting scared too often, and even being brought home for the first time. If the hamster won’t or can’t drink water There are some hamsters, possibly those who have been taken away from their mother or siblings earlier than necessary, who haven’t learned to associate the water bottle with water, and drinking. They simply don’t know what to do with that bottle. In this case you can again squeeze the sides of the bottle to make a small drop appear, which hopefully will attract the hamster. Once the hamster drinks that drop, his tongue will push the ball at the end of the nozzle, releasing more water. If that does not work, try putting his water in a small, shallow dish in a corner of the cage. Make sure that dish isn’t easy to overturn, since a wet hamster is a sick hamster and he will not recover fast. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us figure things out and treat us. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe, and give us a good life. [...] Read more...
What Do Hamsters Eat In The Wild? Don’t Feed Your Pet The Same
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 ToggleWhat 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...
10 Differences Between Syrian And Dwarf Hamsters
10 Differences Between Syrian And Dwarf HamstersIf you’re looking to get a hamster and want to figure out which type is for you, read on. I have a Syrian male, his name is Teddy, and I think he’s the cutest furball ever. You might think the same about your hammy when you get yours. But let’s see what the main differences are between the Syrian hamster, and the Dwarf types. There’s more than one kind of hamster, and I’ll walk you through the differences. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the main difference between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters ?A brief rundown on all hamster types available in pet storesSyrian hamsterRoborovski DwarfCampbell DwarfChinese DwarfSiberian/Djungarian/Winter White DwarfSyrian hamsters are the largestDwarf types are hyper and faster than SyriansSyrian hamsters need bigger cagesThe minimum wheel size is smaller for Dwarf hamstersDwarf hamsters are harder to tameDwarf hamsters can be kept in same-sex pairsSyrian hamsters come in more color patternsThere are different illnesses the 2 types are prone toSome feeding exceptions are necessary for Dwarf typesEasier to find a Syrian hamster’s genderBefore you get any kind of hamsterA word from Teddy So what is the main difference between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters ? The main and most obvious differences between Syrian and Dwarf types are the size, and whether they are solitary. Syrian hamsters are much larger than the Dwarf types. Syrian hamsters ca grow up to 8 inches/20 cm in length, and are much bulkier than Dwarf types. Dwarf hamsters are about 2 inches/5 cm in size, with the Chinese Dwarf reaching a maximum of 10 cm/4 inches. Keeping hamsters together is alright for Dwarf types, except for the Chinese. The Chinese dwarf, along with the Syrian, is solitary and must be kept alone. If not, they will fight to the death for the cage. Alright, those are the main differences, and the most obvious ones. There’s a few more, let me give you a quick list of what’s left: There is a difference in temperament The cage size is different The minimum wheel size is different Syrians are the easiest to tame There are wildly different color options and markings Some are prone to a disease, some to other illnesses You can’t feed them quite the same, there are a few differences You can tell the gender of a Syrian easier Some of these might be important to you, maybe they’re not. But you have to be aware of them when you’re picking out what kind of hamster you want. Hamsters are hamsters, and they will generally behave the same. But there are some differences between the 2 main types – Syrian or Dwarf – which can give you a slightly different pet. So let’s talk a bit about what kind of hamsters there are available for you to choose, and which ones they are. A brief rundown on all hamster types available in pet stores There’s 2 main types of hamster available. There is the Syrian hamster, which is the largest and most common hamster you will find. And there are the Dwarf types, 4 usually available in pet stores, and they’re all much smaller and look very different from a Syrian. All Dwarf types hail from Northern Asia, albeit from different regions, like Siberia, Mongolia, China, Russia. I’ve grouped together the Dwarf types for the purpose of this article. But I will tell you a bit about each type available below. Syrian hamster The most common kind of hamster kept as a pet. They’re the ones you usually think of when you think of hamsters. These hamsters come from Syria, and southern Turkey, and they’re the largest kind of hamster. Usually they’re orange/golden, and there are variations that have come through breeding. Like all black, white, spotted, and so on. My Teddy is a golden Syrian hammy, and when I got him I thought I was getting a very special kind of hamster. I thought I got the most unique, cutest hamster, that will stand out from all the rest. Turns out golden variations are the most common, but he’s still what I wanted. You can find the Syrian hamster in short hair and long hair, of which the males have the longest. They can live 2-3 years. Roborovski Dwarf These are one of the most common Dwarf types, and the absolute smallest. There’s no real point in trying to hold them, since they’re so small and wriggly. You’ll also find their names shortened to Robo often. They’re grow up only to about 2 inches/5 cm, and will escape through most cage bars. Actually for dwarf types it’s better to get a glass tank. That way you’re sure they can’t go anywhere. Campbell Dwarf Another very common type of Dwarf hamster, the Campbell dwarf is just as small as the Robo, and is very easy to scare. Again, this kind of dwarf doesn’t really like being touched and will not sit still. A glass tank is the best options for this kind of dwarf as well. Chinese Dwarf This is a larger Dwarf type, growing up to 10 cm/4 inches long. Chinese dwarves aren’t very social, and unlike other Dwarf types do no like being kept with other hamsters. Even if they were raised together in the same litter, they will still fight to the death. The male Chinese Dwarf also has a scent gland on its abdomen, which isn’t present on other hamster types. Siberian/Djungarian/Winter White Dwarf The rarest kind of Dwarf hamster, it’s almost completely white. It’s just as small as the other 2 Russian Dwarves (Robo and Campbell), and this one actually is easier to tame than other Dwarf types. Still, he is hyper and need to run and climb a lot, since there’s so much energy in such a small creature. Now let’s get into the clear differences between the larger, Syrian hamster, and the cute Dwaf types. Syrian hamsters are the largest Syrian hamsters can grow much longer and larger than Dwarf types. Syrians can get up to 8 inches/20 cm long, and are much more elongated than the Dwarf types. The Dwarves reach a maximum of 2 inches/5 cm, with only the Chinese Dwarf managing 4 inches/10 cm. The Dwarves are more stout, and they kind of look like they have no neck at first. Their fur is much fluffier and longer compared to the Syrian’s. This means that there are large differences between cage and wheel sizes for these 2 types of hamsters. But I’ll get into that in a couple of paragraphs. Dwarf types are hyper and faster than Syrians The smaller they are, the faster and more agile they are. Syrians do run a lot, and jump, and need a whole lot of exercising and space. But Dwarf types take the cake here. They need the most exercise, and are actually kind of hard to actually touch. They keep moving, there is always something going on and they need to investigate. You’d think that given their size the Dwarf types would be slower, but they actually seem to move faster than the Syrian. This is only because they’re so small, but both types can run between 3-6 miles per hour. That’s 5-10 km per hour ! Syrians will stop and stare into the distance every now and then, but not as much as the Dwarves. Those tiny creatures take breaks from their running wheel often, and they’re always very short. If you want to know more about hamsters and their running routine, along with how much exercise they need, you should check out this helpful article here. Syrian hamsters need bigger cages Given their larger size, Syrian hamsters need a much larger cage. A large enough cage for a Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. While Dwarf hamsters can do with about half that size, it’s recommended that you give them a large enough space as well. Always go for a bigger cage if you have the space and budget for this. A cramped up hamster is a nippy, irritated hamster, and you risk your hammies fighting eachother just because they don’t have enough space. This roundup of the best hamster cages touches on hamster type, cage safety, and escape-proof rating as well. Remember that for Dwarf hamsters, if you’ve got 2, their cage will need to be as large as a lone Syrian’s ! And if you have just one Chinese Dwarf, better get him a Syrian sized cage, just to be sure that he has enough space since he is larger than other Dwarf types. If you want to know more about hamster cages, and choosing the best kind for your hamster here is a helpful and clear article on the 3 main kinds of hamster cages. But in short, Dwarf hamsters do better in glass tanks since they have no chance of getting stuck between the cage bars. The minimum wheel size is smaller for Dwarf hamsters Again, the Syrian hamster will need a much larger wheel size than Dwarves. 7 inches/18 cm are the minimum for an exercise wheel for a Syrian hamster. While 5 inches/13 cm are enough for a Dwarf, but that’s only the minimum. All hamsters go for a larger wheel if given the option. So like with the cage, get your hamster a large wheel. The largest you can find, even if it might seem like too much for a small hamster. They are all more comfortable in a larger wheel. If you want to know more about how to get a good exercise wheel for your hamster, you should read this article. You’ll find out what to look out for when picking your hammy’s wheel, along with a clear example. And if you’re looking for a roundup of the best hamster wheels, according to their breed, there it is. Dwarf hamsters are harder to tame This is only true because of how hyperactive and restless Dwarf types are. That, and the fact that they have a shorter memory than Syrian hamsters. In order to tame a hamster, you need to play with it, touch it, talk to it, make yourself available to it. There are days when you can’t, and Dwarf hamsters forget things and people and interactions fast. A Syrian will remember his owner even a week later, and will allow you to kind of touch him. A Dwarf will need you to talk to him daily, and touch and play with him. Dwarf hamsters do not sit still, and need to run around and play and jump and dig and do everything at one, all day. Syrians are a bit more mellow, and will give your more opportunities to touch him, so you can tame him easier. Then again, there are hamsters that simply can’t be tamed, and are very hard to handle. If you’ve got a biting hamster, or he’s very scared of you, you need to be extra careful. Dwarf hamsters can be kept in same-sex pairs This is true for Campbell, Robo, and Siberian hamsters. If they were raised together with litter mates of the same sex, they can be kept together in the same cage. Again, if you’ve got more than one hamster, double or triple the cage size. Keeping your Dwarf hammies together will only work if they are from the same litter, or were introduced when they were still babies and became ‘siblings’.  If you’ve got an adult Dwarf, and want to introduce a baby dwarf, even if they’re of the same kind, it will not work. Neither will two separate adults. You can only do this with baby hamsters.And only if those babies were raised together. If not, they will act like Syrian and Chinese hamsters. That means they will be very territorial and fight anything and anyone that comes into their cage, male or female. It’s never a good idea to keep a Syrian or Chinese hamster with another hamster, of any kind. They are only solitary, and will be very aggressive. They won’t miss the company, don’t worry. You’re hurting them more by bringing them a cage mate than you’re helping. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Syrian hamsters come in more color patterns Syrians have a wider range of color patterns. Originally they were golden/orange, with some white on their bellies and chins, and a bit of grey on their ears. But natural variations were possible, and breeders took advantage of that. So you can get almost any kind of color choice for your Syrian hamster. They can be golden like mine, they can be all in one color, they can be spotted, or maybe have a white sock, even a ringed hamster is possible. Somehow, a long-haired variation was made possible through selective breeding, and you can now find the same range of colors, now with long hair. Dwarf types have some variations as well, but they mostly have the same colors as the original hamsters they were bred from. Winter Whites are mostly white all over. Chinese hamsters are sandy brown on their back, with a dark stripe running down their back, and a white belly. The Robos have a color scheme much like the Chinese, with sandy brown on the back and white on the bellies, but they are much smaller and don’t have a stripe down their back. Finally Campbell’s are darker than the other types, with a more grey-brown color scheme on their backs, and just a bit of white on their bellies. They look like they went through a pile of ash most of the time. There are different illnesses the 2 types are prone to All hamsters can develop a number of diseased and illnesses. But in general, the Dwarf types develop diabetes much easier than the Syrian. This is because of their small size, and because they can’t process too well the sugars on some foods. Which is why there are certain food exceptions for Dwarf hamsters, that Syrians can eat, but Dwarves should stay away from, or eat very little. The Syrian, on the other hand, has higher chances of getting a disease called wet-tail. This can happen mostly when they hamster is young and was just weaned from its mother. It’s mostly stress-based. But if it’s caught in its early stages (less than 24h) it can be treated. Otherwise it is fatal. Hamsters do not get sick often, and aren’t sickly animals. But they don’t have a human’s stamina, so they will wilt fast if not given medical care as soon as you notice there is a problem. Some feeding exceptions are necessary for Dwarf types As mentioned before, Dwarf hamsters can’t process very sweet food. That can mean even simple things like a piece of carrot can be a bit too sweet for them. So that means that fruits, and carrots, and sweet potato should be give sparingly, and in very small quantities to your Dwarf hamster. Syrians on the other hand don’t have many restrictions. Yes, there are foods that are unsafe for any hamster, but Syrians are a bit easier to feed. You can see a helpful list of safe and unsafe foods for hammies here, along with some treats that hamsters can safely nibble on. Easier to find a Syrian hamster’s gender Finding your hamster’s gender can be a hassle. But if you’ve got Dwarf hamsters that you want to keep together, this is crucial. Otherwise you’re going to get yourself a whole new litter in about 3 weeks. For more info on exactly how to figure out your hamster’s gender, you need to check this out. You’ll find alternatives for hard to handle hamsters as well. But a Syrian hamster will be easier to figure out because they are larger, even as babies. And the fur on Syrians is shorter and not as ruffled and all over the place as a Dwarf’s. Not to mention that trying to hold a baby Dwarf is nearly impossible. Before you get any kind of hamster A hamster will change your life, just like any other pet. But there are a few things you should think about. Like whether you’ll be able to properly care for him, from food to cage to attention and health. Will you have the time to play with and tame your hamster ? Hamsters are mostly nocturnal and will come out when you’re ready for bed, so take into account your lifestyle, sleeping pattern, and how much time you can dedicate for the animal. Do you have the budget for it ? Hamsters aren’t very expensive. They’re actually cheap, aside from the initial expenses. Actually you can check this cost of buying a hamster article, to get an estimate on how expensive or cheap it is to own a hamster. Can you accommodate a hamster in your home ? His cage will take up some space, and he will need a certain temperature to be comfortable. Hamsters also scare easily, and do things that will look and sound odd. Do you have a cat in your home ? A hamster and a cat are pretty much the worst idea ever, since they’re very different animals. You might want to read the 15 essential steps on taking care of your hamster before you get one, in the first place. A word from Teddy I hope you’re clear on the differences between us hammies now. I know my Dwarf cousins can be confusing, and look the same for someone who’s never met them before. But they’re all a personality of their own, and they can make you just as happy as one of my kind. If you want t know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Like Being Held ? Hamster Affection And Training
Do Hamsters Like Being Held ? Hamster Affection And TrainingIf you’ve got a hammy you might be wondering if he likes being held. I wondered the same thing about my teddy, and I’m here to help you better understand your hammy’s need for affection and touch. We’ll talk about whether hammies like being held, how to train them to be comfortable with your hands, and a bit about their personalities in general. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters like being held ?About your furry friend’s personality and habitsTraining your hamster to be comfortable with being heldStart small, but be consistent and patient with your hamsterGraduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or soPick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with itHamsters and affection – do they like it ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters like being held ? This is not a straight answer. The short answer would be yes, but there are many things that must happen before your hamster is okay with you holding him. Hamsters are prey animals, and as such are not comfy with being picked up. They’ll have an instinct of pulling away, or trying to escape.  The key is making your hamster comfortable enough with you that he will allow you to pick him up. Once he is comfy with you, he does indeed like your touch. Hamsters can bond with their owners, though not all hammies do this. There are many personality aspects that need to be taken into account, and we’ll get right to it. Also keep in mind that once you’ve tamed your hamster, you’ll need to constantly handle him. Otherwise the bond can grow cold, and your hamster will need to be tamed again. About your furry friend’s personality and habits Let’s look at what the hamster goes through in the wild, so we can understand the pet hamster. After all, there isn’t much difference between wild hamsters and pet hamsters. They’ve only been with us for about a century so far, and rodents aren’t as easy to domesticate as dogs for example. In the wild a hamster will pretty much run for his life, all his life. He is hunted by almost every other animal that’s larger than him. He must hear and smell very well, and always be on alert. He even evolved to come out when his predators aren’t hunting. That being said, hammies have an instinct of being afraid of everything, and will run away or jump off if they feel threatened. Aside from all that, hamsters are solitary animals. Yes, some types of hamsters can live together, but only under certain conditions. They must be the exact same hamster type, siblings, never separated, and carefully watched. Even then, tensions come up, one is dominant, and sometimes bullying and fighting ensues. Best to keep them separated, even the Dwarf types. Now imagine a slightly grumpy, panicky, small animal, who likes being left alone, being comfy with two hands bigger than his own body picking him up. Even your first reaction would be to panic. Still, it’s possible to get your hamster to be comfortable with your big, human hands. It takes a lot of patience and consistency, but it’s totally doable. Important note, though: Even after you’ve made every effort to make your hammy comfortable, his personality is key here. If he’s a very independent, active hamster, he wont stay put. No matter how hard you try, your hamster can possibly be one of the independent types who would rather you put them down. Respect your hamster’s personality, and don’t force him into anything. My Teddy is like this. I’ve tried and tried again, with every trick and bribery I know, to get him to stay. He won’t stay in my hands for more than a few seconds at a time. There’s always something more interesting he has to see, and he’s just itching to go. He’s barely ever bitten me to let him go, and I doubt he’s stressed when I pick him up. He won’t come up on my hand, but he won’t object to me picking him up either. Bribing him with a bit of food works wonders though. Still, he’s a hamster of his own, and I love him the way he is. I’ve learned that not all hamsters are cuddly, and mine’s great just the way he is. Training your hamster to be comfortable with being held Whether your hamster will actually stay put in your hands or not, you can still train him. Hamsters are skittish, jumpy furballs, so of course they won’t stay for very long. Still, some might stay put in your hands. But in order for them to stay put, they first need to know your hand is a safe place, and they’re okay there. So let’s go through a few quick steps. This is part of the taming process, and you can find more info on taming your hamster here.  Do keep in mind that the hamster can be tamed in a few days or a few weeks. It varies from hamster to hamster, and you need to give him time. Start small, but be consistent and patient with your hamster A hamster is a skittish at first, and he won’t trust you. This is why you need to start slow, and feed him bits of food through the cage bars at first. This is aside from his usual meals. Your hammy will come to know your scent, and your voice, and associate them with food. When the hamster is okay with your smell, you can start putting your hand in the hammy’s cage. Have a treat on your hand, and he will come close. He might not have the courage to touch you and get the food, but he will come close. Keep doing this until the hamster eventually touches your hand to reach the food. Keep things like that for a couple of days. Then you can place both hands inside the hamster’s cage. Place a bit of food on the hand farthest away from the hamster. This will make the hammy have to walk over the first hand to get to the food, and thus get used to being in both hands. Once your hamster is okay with all of these steps, you can move on to the next one. (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.) Graduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or so Once your hammy is okay with you, and your hands, you can place both hands on the floor of the cage and once he’s on them, lift them gently and slowly. Not much, just by an inch/2-3 cm or so. The lifting will possibly scare the hamster, so you might have to practice this for a longer time. Always keep the hamster off the ground only for a short amount of time, like 2-3 seconds. Once he’s okay with being held above the ground, you can practice cupping your hands over him. Again, only life the hammy an inch off the cage floor, and use the second hand to sort of cup/hold the hammy. Then put him back down after a couple of seconds. Your hamster need to get accustomed to being held, with both hands, and off the ground. Pick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with it Once your hamster is okay with being held in cupped hands an inch of the ground, you can pick him up higher. This is probably a few days or weeks into his taming. So do not expect quick results. Once the hammy is okay with being picked up like this, he’s pretty much tamed. He might want to walk around, so you can use your hands as mobile platforms for him to walk on. Only do this very close to his cage, or right above his cage, in case the hamster jumps. Having a bit of food nearby to feed him while he’s in your hand is going to help him relax some more. Hamsters and affection – do they like it ? Alright, now your hamster’s tamed and can stay in your hands. At least for a few seconds. But does he like it ? Does he see it as a form of affection ? Well, yes, he does like affection. He’s not against it, but hamsters don’t show affection like most pets – cats and dogs for example. They’re not overly friendly or cuddly, and won’t seek you out for a hug. That being said hamsters that have bonded with their owners do like it when they’re cuddled. Any other hamster might find it as too touchy-feely. You can find out much more about whether hamsters like human affection here. And you’ll also find out a bit more about a hamster’s way of building relationships, and how he views other creatures, including you. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hamsters do a lot of running around, but we do like being held by the person we trust. Only after a lot of taming though. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can read the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...