The Real Cost Of Buying And Owning A Hamster

If you’re thinking about getting a hamster, you need to read this. I had only a vague idea before I got my Teddy. I knew I wanted a cute and cuddly orange hamster, and I knew nothing about hamsters. Then I found out through trial and error how to properly care for a hamster, and how having a hamster changes your life.

This is what I’ll be talking about here. How much a hamster costs, how much it costs to get him food and bedding, cages costs, everything.

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So how much does a hamster cost, buying and monthly expenses ?

To be fair, the hamster itself is incredibly cheap. A Syrian hamster will run about 5-10 dollars, while a Dwarf (whether Roborowski, Campbell, Siberian, or Chinese) will be slightly cheaper.

As for the monthly expenses, those include only bedding and food/treats, which can vary depending on what you get your hamster. An estimate would be around $10 per month for food and bedding.

There are initial expenses, like the cage, wheel, exercise ball, toys, and so on. An absolute minimum, considering the  cage size, and wheel and ball size, would be $225, of which the cage is he most expensive.

You can find an exhaustive hamster supply list here, complete with everything you’ll need once you decide to get yourself a hamster.

Aside from those, which I’ll cover in detail in the article, there’s the impact the hamster has on your life. Owning a hamster is, after all, a responsibility and you need to think about it before you get a hamster.

Now let’s get into the details of how much a hamster costs. All expenses in this article are in U.S. dollars, to stay coherent throughout the article.

How much for the hamster

Hamsters are actually very cheap. In that, most of the time you’ll find them along with fish in terms of cost. For example my Teddy was 4.90 USD. That’s incredible for owning a pet that will be by my side for the next 2-3 years.

Now, Teddy is a Syrian hamster. A dwarf type will cost less, but how much less depends on the pet shop you pick him up from. But on average, hamsters will go between $5-10, with the dwarf kind on the cheaper end.

You can also get hamsters from a private breeder. But in those cases you must make sure that those breeders treat their hamsters humanely, and have medical checks run on the parents frequently.

A private breeder will not cost more than the pet shop, and getting a baby hamster from a friend will be basically free. But you must be sure that the hamster parents are healthy before you get your baby hamster.

Visit your friends who have hamsters a few times to check up on the female, to see how her litter is coming along and pick out the one you like.

So in short, an actual hamster can be anything between $5-10, even free if you know someone who had a recent litter.

What a hamster’s cage will cost

This depends on what kind of cage you want to get your hamster. Normally the minimum cage size for hamsters is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.

This the minimum for a Syrian hamster, but this will work for dwarf hamsters as well. When it comes to cage size, it’s best to go for bigger cages. This is because the hamsters need more space than the absolute minimum.

Of course, it depends on your home as well. Can you fit a large glass tank somewhere ? Do you need to move the cage often ? How much space to spare do you have in the room you want to keep the hamster ? What is your budget ?

A large enough cage will be somewhere around $120-150, plus handling and shipping if you’re ordering online. Picking it up from a petshop will spare you those taxes, but might be more expensive overall.

Generally there’s 3 kinds of cage types:
  • Plastic – the most common after metal, can easily fit tube accessories. Not the most breatheable, be careful which kind you get. I’ll leave you an Amazon link to the one I have, you can check it out there as well as the pricing.
  • Metal/wire – very breatheable, but you need to be sure the spacing between wires is less than half an inch so the hamster can’t escape. Here’s an Amazon link to a good, large wire cage, which also has a movable level.
  • Glass tanks – can get these in larger sizes than plastic or metal cages, but they need to stay put. You need a lot of space and a wire mesh for the top of the tank. I looked around and found a fairly good one on Amazon, you can check it out here.

A word on glass tanks. They’re great for hamsters but ordering online is a bit tricky, with the transport. Sometimes glass comes whole and the tank is fine, sometimes it comes broken. Honestly it’s best to pick up a glass tank from a pet shop or somewhere you can inspect it yourself, and bring it home yourself.

If you want a much more detailed breakdown on each hamster cage, and which type you’d like for your hamster, you need to read this best cages article. You will find the same Amazon links as above, but discussed in more detail, along with pictures. It’s got all 3 types of hamster cages, their pros and cons, and how to clean and care for the cages too.

A hamster cage might seem expensive at first, and at a first glance it might be. But you only need one, and your hamster will use it his entire life. This is not something you buy again and again every few months.

Do not make the mistake I did, and skimp out on the cage. I ended up changing 3 cages just because I didn’t want to spend a little extra on the first purchase. The first 2 I got Teddy were too small for an adult Syrian hamster.

How much the hamster’s bedding will cost

Hamsters need a lot of bedding, and the most readily available is wood chips. The best kind of bedding you can get your hamster would be aspen wood chips, if they’re available in your area. If not, another option would be paper bedding.

Bedding is something that lasts you for several weeks, even months, depending on how much you give your hamster, and how often you change it.

If you want much more info on how often to change the hamster’s bedding, which kind is safe, and how to pick the right one for him, I suggest you read this article. It’s got the bedding types available, along with a list of unsafe beddings you need to avoid.

For example my Teddy’s bedding is about $12 and 3.2 kg/7 lbs, and it’s good for about 3 whole months. I change his whole bedding every week, and his corners a bit more often.

So that’s $15 every 3 months, 4 times a year. $5 a month for something that will help keep the hamster warm is not that much, really.

A good option for aspen bedding is this one by Kaytee. It’s twice the size I get my Teddy so it can seriously last your hamster for half a year, if not more. Aspen bedding is one of the safest types you can get for a hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.

You can also get paper bedding for your hamster, if aspen isn’t available where you are. Here’s an Amazon link for a paper bedding, which will last your hamster about 3 months. Paper beddings are a bit more expensive than wood shavings.

It’s up to you which you think would be best for your hammy. I use wood shavings since they’re easy to find in my area.

As for the nesting material the hamster needs to put in his nest, a couple of ripped up paper towels will be enough. Or, unscented, plain toilet paper squares. Teddy shoves the paper in his cheek pouches, and then starts taking them out in his home, decorating the place.

How much the hamster’s hideout will cost

As for the hideout for the hamster, his hideout is where he will spend the majority of his time. Hamsters need just a bit of space to build their nest, and a good hideout will protect them

A good hideout is one made of wood. It keeps the hamster warmer, absorbs moisture and prevents condensation, and is safe to chew. Hamsters chew absolutely everything, including their hideout, so get your hammy a wood one.

If you want to know more about the kind of hideout a hamster needs in general, you can check out this article. In the second half of the article you’ll find out how your hammy will use his hideout, and how to clean it properly.

I got my Teddy a plastic one at first, and I kept it for a while until I noticed it kept the moisture inside, which kept Teddy’s nest wet in some places. So I got him a slightly larger, sturdier wood one.

I’ll leave you an Amazon link for a wood hideout that looks a lot like the one I have for my Teddy. The thing about hideouts and toys for hamsters, most of the time they are too small for Syrian hamsters.

Most of them are geared towards dwarf hamsters. But I’m showing you one that’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit in, and feel comfortable.

So the hideout would be somewhere around $10, which is again something you buy only once. Even if your hammy will chew and chew and chew on it, that hideout will still be in place for years.

Hamster toys, bought and DYI

The hamster’s toys will need to be made of wood as well. This is because hamster, again, chew on everything. If the hamster doesn’t chew on his toys, he will chew on the cage bars, or his hideout, or his water bottle, anything.

A hamster’s teeth never stop growing, so he needs to always file them down. And wood is he best material for their teeth, since it will file them down without hurting the hamster.

There are a whole array of toys you can get your hamster, some you can buy, some are best if you make at home. For example cardboard tubes left from paper towels (the ones you have in your kitchen, maybe) are great for hamsters.

Cut a few holes in them and you’ve got a hide-and-seek toy that can fit an adult Syrian hamster. Again, the Syrian hamsters need much more space than a dwarf so be careful when you choose toys for your hammy.

hamster cost

I’ll link you to an article on the best toys you can both buy and DYI for your hamster friend. You’ll find some links for Amazon listings for the toys which are best if you don’t invent them (like a wheel) and some ideas on what you can make at home.

Everything I link in this article is also suitable for a Syrian hamster, since this was what I was looking for when I got toys for my Teddy.

As for the cost, it depends on what you end up getting your hamster. These are again things you buy for your hamster only once, and he will use his entire life.

So it could be anywhere from nothing (like the paper towel tubes) to $22 for a digging tower. It’s up to you, but remember that your hammy will need a few toys, even if you make all of them at home.

How much a hamster wheel can cost

Hamsters need a lot of exercise, and fortunately an exercise wheel and ball are things you only buy once. Actually everything except the food and bedding will keep the hamster forever.

Again, don’t make the mistake I made when I got my Teddy. I skimped out on the cage, but the wheel as well. At first I left him that small plastic wheel that came with the cage, too small by even a baby Syrian.

The I bought him a bigger, metal wheel, a 7 inch/18 cm one. Which was fine, but only for a while. One he grew to his full size, he needed a larger one. Again. So I went a bought the biggest I could find, a 9 inch/23 cm one, which fits hit much better.

When you get your hamster an exercise wheel, you need to account for how large he will get as an adult. An adult Syrian hamster will need a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm to be able to run freely. A dwarf hamster can do with just inches/13 cm but that’s the minimum.

If you want to know much more about choosing the right exercise wheel for your hamster, you definitely need to read this. You’ll also find out how much exercise a hamster needs, and how much he can run in a night as well !

A large enough wheel for a Syrian hamster can run around $30, which will last him his entire life.

How much an exercise ball for your hamster will cost

As with the exercise wheel, and exercise ball is a good way to give your hamster an opportunity to leave his cage safely.

You can place the hamster in his exercise ball, and let him roam the house. Or, you can use it as a temporary place to keep him while you clean his cage.

If you want to know more about how to care for your hamster when he is n his exercise ball, you can read this article. You’ll find out how to properly introduce him to his exercise ball, how to make sure he is comfortable, and how to keep the ball clean.

Exercise balls for hamsters run around $8 plus shipping and handling, if you order online. If you get it from a petshop it might have less taxes, but be a bit more expensive overall.

Again, this is an item you only buy once, like the wheel and cage and hideout. For example my Teddy has his ball since he was young, and I just figured out that I should get him a large enough ball to fit him as an adult.

All exercise balls for hamsters are made of hard, durable plastic, so you won’t need to replace it under normal circumstances. Unless someone steps on the ball, or a large pet or child plays with it, it should stay intact even if it bangs against the furniture.

How much the hamster’s food costs

The food is the cheapest thing on this list, I think. This is partly because you can feed the hamster the food you eat as well, or you can get him a pre-made food mix.

If you decide to feed your hamster whole foods from your home, then this food list article will help you figure out what kind of foods are safe and unsafe for a hamster to eat.

Overall, I’d advise getting your hamster a pre-made food mix. Those usually have dry food that keeps for long, and is more suitable for a hamster’s usual diet and what he’d normally find in the wild.

If you feed your hamster exclusively from your fridge or pantry, then his food will cost basically nothing. But you’re in danger of not meeting his dietary requirements, or overfeeding him.

If you’re using a pre-made mix, it can get to $10, both online and in a pet shop. I get Teddy a 1 kg/2 lbs food mix with grains and pellets and a few seeds. It lasts him about as much as the bedding, so 3 months.

So that’s $10 every 3 months, which I also supplement with a bit of veggies or cooked chicken whenever we’re cooking.

Hamster health and vet visits

Hamster’s can’t really be described as sickly animals by nature. They stay healthy for along time, but once they get sick they need immediate attention.

Those I can’t give you an estimate for, since it can vary wildly according to the hamster’s illness. The most common problems a hamster can run into are wet tail, diabetes, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation, and colds.

Of course, there are a lot of other problems that can come up, but these are the most common. And most of these are easily fixable, if noticed in time. Bringing the hamster to a vet within 24 hours of developing a disease, or getting injured, is going to save him in most cases.

But I can tell you that if you keep your hamster in the right conditions, feed him properly, give him plenty of room and exercise, he will be fine. So a trip to the vet will be basically free. Just watch out for the temperature in the room you keep him in – more on that here.

Transport cage for the hamster

Your hammy will probably never have to leave you home. But there might be moments when he’ll have to go to the vet, or you’re moving house and can’t move him in his entire cage.

A transport cage can be an old, smaller cage that your hammy had when he was a baby, or you can get one that’s made specifically for temporary keeping.

As with everything else for the hamster, this is something you only buy once. And a transport cage can be anything from $10 to $30, and some types can be used as a permanent fixture to your hammy’s habitat.

If you want to know more about traveling with your hamster, and how to make sure he is comfortable during travel, you should check this out. You’ll get a few hamster travel cage ideas, and find out how to keep him safe during travel too.

Consider this before getting a hamster

When I first got my Teddy I had no real info on hamsters. I’d seen one or two before, I knew they were small and fluffy, and needed a cage, and didn’t live more than a couple of years.

My girlfriend fell in love with the idea of Teddy in an exercise ball running around the house, so we went looking for an orange Syrian hamster.

When we got him, we spend an entire evening looking at him, at how cute he is, and how much energy he has. We wouldn’t trade him for anything, even if he’s a bit over the top sometimes, like waking us up in the middle of the night with a squeaky wheel.

We had no idea what to expect, and there were some odd surprises. But I think that there definitely are some things you should think log and hard about before you get a hamster.

Can you offer the hamster the right conditions ?

By this I mean that hamsters need some specific conditions to live in. There’s temperature, spacing, bedding and food, and toys to take into account.

Unless you can keep the hamster at a 20-23 C/65-75 F temperature, with a cage 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall (that’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall), you shouldn’t get one.

Hamsters need proper conditions, along with the right amount of bedding and food to stay healthy and happy.

Do you have the time to play with your hamster ?

Hamsters are in fact a mix between nocturnal and crepuscular. That means that some will come out during the night, and some will only come out at dusk and dawn. Their waking hours can change over time, but this is how they usually work.

If you’re working a very early shift, with a very early bedtime, you might miss your hamster waking up. Or you might only catch about an hour or half an hour of playtime with him before you must sleep.

I’d recommend a hamster to those people who do not work an early shift, and can stay up later than 10 pm without worrying about how tired they’ll be tomorrow.

To tame your hamster you need a lot of interaction with him, and if you’re sleeping when he’s up, that will be harder to do.

Is there someone who can watch your hamster when you’re gone ?

There’s no good reason to bring the hamster out of his habitat or your home, aside from a vet visit or something major like moving house.

Travel can stress the hamster too much, so it’s best to leave him in one place. But when you have to leave town for a few days, do you have someone who can come over and feed him ?

A friend or a family member, or even a neighbor who have the time and disposition to come over every evening and feed the hamster, see if he’s alright, check up on him.

Do you have a calm, quiet place for your hamster to stay ?

Even if you’ve got an especially rowdy home, with 4 small kids, 2 dogs and a parrot, you must have some sort of quiet place.

Hamsters need a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed while they sleep, which is much of the day. So keeping him in the living room with barking dogs and people running around won’t be healthy or comfy for your hamster at all.

If you can keep the hamster in a quiet room, where nothing can disturb him, then that’s great. The attic or a cupboard or basement are not good places for your hamster, even if they’re quiet.

(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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A hamster’s average life expectancy

Hamsters are fairly short-lived. Both Syrians and Dwarf hamsters live up to 2-4 years, under the right circumstances as pets.

They can die young, around 4 weeks of age, if they develop wet-tail and aren’t give treatment fast, or they can develop diabetes when they’re older, aside form a host of other problems.

But in general, your furry friend will stay with you from 2 to 4 years, Dwarf hamsters being the most long-lived of all.

So if you do decide to get a hamster, take into account that random bits of wood shavings, a furry face, and evenings playing with a walnut or toilet paper roll will be in your life for the next 2-4 years.

How a hamster will change your life

Owning a hamster is not that difficult, all things considered. When I first got Teddy, I didn’t know hat to expect, but I’m glad I got him.

He’s taught me that some things must be done his way( like leaving a lot of room on the kitchen counter for him at night). And many things that would annoy me in the day would just disappear when I play with him.

A hamster, or a pet in general, will put a smile on your face, with everything this ball of fur does.

Once you get a hamster, you will be more aware of how warm or clean your home is (like bedding strewn everywhere), and even the noise level.

You will become a very responsible person when you know you can’t really take him with your everywhere, like a cat or dog, to set up someone to take care of him. And you will see a piece of cardboard and know exactly what he’d do with it.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found everything you were looking for here. I know us hamsters can seem like forgettable pets compared to larger ones, like cats or dogs. But we are a whole other type of pet, with lots of love and funny tricks to offer.

So make sure you think about it well enough before you get one of us hammies to live with you. We need some accommodation, but if you can make some room for us in your life, we’ll put a smile on your face every day.

If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below ! You’ll find out why we need so much exercise, and how to feed us properly, and much more.

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Why You Should Trim Your Hamster’s Nails, And How To Do It
Why You Should Trim Your Hamster’s Nails, And How To Do ItIf you’ve got a hamster then you’ve probably met his sharp claws, or at least seen them. If he’s even climbed on you, you’ve also felt them. But some hamsters do get overgrown nails,  and it’s necessary to keep them trimmed to avoid injury to you or to the hamster. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?When do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?Why you should care about your hamster’s nailsHow to trim overgrown hamster nailsTrimming them at homeInspect the hamster’s nails before trimmingSeeing a vet for professional helpPreventing overgrown hamster nailsHome exercise for your hamster’s nailsA word from Teddy So do hamsters need their nails trimmed ? Yes, but ONLY in cases of overgrown nails. This is not something you should do regularly, like with your own human nails.  Hamsters usually trim their nails by climbing, grooming, digging, foraging. 9 of out 10 hamsters don’t need help with their nails. But some hammies do, especially very old hamsters or the hamsters that don’t have a few rugged surfaces to blunt their nails on. This is where you, as a responsible hamster owner, will come in and help the hamster take care of himself. I’ll help you with how to trim the hamster’s nails, and how to prevent overgrown nails in the first place. This article is ONLY for cutting your hamster’s overgrown nails. Leave healthy nails alone. They should have a bit of length to them, because the hamster uses them for climbing and getting a grip. When do hamsters need their nails trimmed ? Only when the hamster’s nails have become overgrown. You’ll notice they’re much too long, and they’re starting to curve in on themselves. They might break at some point, and they can and do fall off. I saw a couple of Teddy’s nails come off when they were too long and I didn’t notice in time to cut them down. The overgrown nails will turn a nasty yellow color, and if you look very closely you’ll see lighter/whitish spots or lines where they’re cracked or broken. Hamsters usually wear down their nails by the usual things they do. Digging a tunnel into the earth, making their nest, foraging for food, running around, grooming themselves, climbing on op of rocks, and so on. A pet hamster doesn’t do all of that, because he’s not in his usual habitat. The ones he does do, are on softer material like wood shavings and paper bedding. This means that sometimes, some hamsters get overgrown nails. That can be fixed. Why you should care about your hamster’s nails You might ask why you should consider trimming your hamster’s nails. After all, no one trims them in the wild. That’s true, no one does that for wild hamsters. But wild hamsters don’t get overgrown nails, because they have a lot of hard surfaces to wear them down on. This means that your pet hamster will need your help for several reasons. First an overgrown nail will curve in on itself and become painful for the hamster. In some extreme cases the nail can start growing into the hamster’s paw, curving back towards his paw. This will lead to pain, infection, and the hamster’s feet won’t be able to do their job. Second, nails too long will make grooming painful for the hamster. When he grooms, he also grabs onto his fur and hold it in place to clean it. With nails too long, that starts to hurt, and even walking becomes a hassle since he can’t step normally. Third, overgrown nails, if left unattended will fall off. But this is never a pleasant ans simple process. They fall off because the motion of the hamster’s paws when he goes about his business weakens the nails near the quick. So they end up bending over backwards, for lack of a better term. The nail will not simply fall off, it will hang in there for a couple of days, until the new nail grows back. This is both painful and awkward for the hamster, because using his paws won’t be easy at all. These are all things that can be avoided. Not all hamsters get overgrown nails. How to trim overgrown hamster nails Trimming your hamster’s nails will not be easy, at all. Hamsters are notorious for not staying put, and squirming. A hammy kept in one place so you can clip his nails definitely won’t cooperate easily. Trimming them at home Arm yourself with patience, and don’t expect to finish everything in one day. Your hamster should first of all be comfortable with being held. If he’s not, read this guide on taming your hamster and work on getting him comfy with you. Once he’s okay with being held, try and find a position for him that’s okay for both of you. Some hamsters will be okay with being on their backs, some will not. One position would be holding the hamster’s back against your stomach or chest, and holding one of his paws with your finger. Another could be the hamster just being on all 4 and you holding one of his paws. If you think you need help, ask a friend to hole the hamster while you trim the nails. Do expect fidgeting, and do expect squirming, maybe even a few protesting sounds. No hamster likes being held for this. Also be aware that even if your hamster might get relaxed enough to let you hold him, the sound of the nail being clipped can spook him. So be prepared for anything. Inspect the hamster’s nails before trimming When you do cut the hamster’s nail, look for the quick. You’ll need very good lighting for this, or even some sunlight. Make sure the hamster’s eyes aren’t in the bright light, or the sunlight, as they’re very sensitive to that. You’ll notice the hamster’s nails are kind of transparent. Not completely, they will have a whitish/yellowish tint to them and their very edges might be lighter in color. But look at where the nail starts, from the finger. You’ll notice a pinkish, cloudy area. Its very small, and very short, about the size of a couple of grains of sand. While very small, that little pink cloudy part is crucial. Do not cut into it. It has lots of blood vessels, and cutting into it is like cutting into the neat right under your nail. Actually, they’re the exact same area, just that our nails have a different shape from hamster nails. So when you cut your hamster’s nails, make sure you give the quick (pink part) a wide berth. When you cut the nail part, the translucent part of the nail, make sure you leave at least as much nail as the pink part. That means if there are 2 grains of sand of quick, then you should leave 2 grains of sand of transparent nail on your hamster. It might be hard to do, if your hamster isn’t used to this kind of operation. And he probably isn’t so don’t be surprised if you can’t manage to get all of his nails clipped in one day. Giving your hamster a treat after each nail successfully clipped is going to help him learn that everything’s okay, he’s safe, and you’re not hurting him. Seeing a vet for professional help Getting your hamster to a veterinarian to help trim his nails is probably the best decision. I say this only because finding the quick, and keeping the hamster still so you don’t cut into the quick are 2 hard things to do. A vet will have more experience with clipping a pet’s nails, and he will notice the quick very easily. Also, in the case of a bleeding accident, he will have a solution to stop the bleeding and disinfect everything. (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 overgrown hamster nails Preventing is always much easier than treating. This is true for everything, and it’s also true for keeping your hamster’s nails filed down. But for this we need to look at why hamster nails can become overgrown in the first place. A hamster’s nails always grow, much like our human nails. Usually hamsters wear them down with their day-to-day activities in the wild. But in their warm, safe cages this doesn’t happen as much. Pet hamsters have fairly soft beddings, and they don’t get to dig into the earth a complex series of tunnels. This means the hamster’s nails have not very much to hit against. Wood shavings or paper bedding are much too soft for hamster nails, and they’re loose and move around. The objects around the cage will help wear the nails down, like the hideout or a couple of toys, but that’s it. So you will need to provide your hamster with a few hard, rugged surfaces to walk over or climb onto. For example a few flat stones from your garden (rinsed and dried, of course) arranged around his cage are going to help. each time he steps over those stones, his nails will wear down a little bit. 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Or, you can keep the board perfectly horizontal, and only have a treat tied to a string or on the end of a stick. This is teasing, yes, but the hamster does get the treat in the end. Simply make him walk over the board a few times, and let him have his treat. Always check to see if his paws are okay. If you get grit small enough, he should be fine. You can try this exercise every 2-3 weeks, to make sure your hamster keeps his nails short. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies usually take good care of our bodies, so our nails are usually pretty trim. It’s just that some of us need a little help from time to time. 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...
8 Reasons Hamsters Eat Their Babies, And How To Save Them
8 Reasons Hamsters Eat Their Babies, And How To Save ThemIt sounds like a horror story, a mother hamster eating her babies. But it can happen, and it’s never fun to watch. There’s a few ways you can save the babies, but you have to be careful.  You can’t save them every time, but you can still do your best to make sure they don’t end up horribly. There are some reasons though, why the hamster mothers do that. Those are very important to understand, in order to save the babies. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters eat their babies ?How to save the hamster babies from being eatenDo not stress the motherLeave food/protein for the mother before she gives birthGive the mother plenty of space, in a large cageDo not disturb the mother or cage for at least 2 weeks after giving birthDo not touch the babies at all until the mother weans them (3-4 weeks)Separate the father from the litter at all timesSome things you can’t change or saveHow to tell your hamster is pregnantAbout hamster fertility and breedingA word from Teddy So why do hamsters eat their babies ? Mother hamsters are not as emotional as human mothers.  There are a few reasons a hamster mother might eat her young, and here they are: She feels stressed/threatened like if you constantly check on her and the litter Her personal space in too small, the babies take up too much space in a cage that is too tiny She is very hungry after giving birth Accidentally storing them in her cheeks to carry them Biting them too hard when she carries them She thinks something’s wrong with them (diseased, or something physical they can’t survive) You or someone else have touched them (changed their scent) and she doesn’t think they’re hers Father hamsters are liable to eating their young as well  These are mostly reasons that can be avoided, or can be worked on so the mother is comfortable.  Rodent mothers are not the most careful mothers in the first place, compared to other mothers, for example cats or dogs. All animals can eat or kill their young, if they consider something is wrong with them. But rodent mothers, and hamsters are rodents, are much less attached to their babies. So let’s get into every reason the mother can eat her young, and how you can avoid this from happening, and/or possibly save the babies. How to save the hamster babies from being eaten Many times when the mother decides eating her young is an option, there’s not much you can do. But, you can save the babies 90% of the time by not putting the mother in a position where she thinks she needs to eat them. Here are the most common examples, and how you can save those babies by helping the mother. Do not stress the mother This is the major reason hamster mothers end up eating their young. The stress and effort of giving birth, especially her first litter, combined with you checking up on her constantly will annoy her.  Once you notice the mother is approaching her due date (18-22 days after mating), start giving her much more food than usual, and bedding and nesting material as well. She will find the most hidden corner, or use her hideout, to give birth, and you must leave her alone during this time. Best to even leave the room. Fortunately it will probably happen at night, when you’re sleeping. So if you know your hammy is about to give birth, be careful when approaching her in the morning. Do not poke at her or the cage, talk to her, or try to interact with the babies. Keep her warm and well fed, and make sure she has plenty of quiet and small children or other pets can’t reach her. Leave food/protein for the mother before she gives birth If you notice that your hamster has give birth overnight, bring her some protein. This is the food that will help her regain her strength immediately. Something like cooked egg white, or cooked plain chicken is good for your hamster.  You could leave her pieces of chicken every evening until she gives birth if you want, but it’s best to not give her something that will leave a tasty smell on the bedding right before she gives birth. She might get confused as to which one is chicken and which is her baby.  So only give her chicken or egg after she gave birth, only  while you can see her. Even if you don’t stay more than a few minutes, make sure she finishes the piece and not the babies.  In the mean time, continue feeding her through the bars, without placing your hand inside the cage. You can introduce a teaspoon through the bars to give her dry food, or sprinkle some on her food bowl. She will have a stash of food anyway, but right now would be a good time to give her more. For a list of safe foods you can give your hammy, check out this food list article. Give the mother plenty of space, in a large cage This is again something that will always come up. Space, lots of it, is something that hamsters need. The absolute minimum for a hamster cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and it’s what I’d recommend for a dwarf hamster as well. A hamster mother giving birth to 6-12 babies at once is going to fill up a cage fast. In those times, even her large cage might seem a bit cramped for her.  So always get your hamster a large cage, larger than you’d think. Especially if it’s a female you will want to breed later. You can find out more about hamster cages here, since you’ll get a rundown of all cage types and which is best for your hammy. If you’ve got 2 or more hamsters housed in the same cage, remove the mother-to-be and put her in a different, large cage long before she gives birth. She needs to adjust and feel comfortable in her new home as soon as you put her there, so place some of her old bedding and nesting material in her new temporary cage. Do not disturb the mother or cage for at least 2 weeks after giving birth This is because the mother is very tired ans started and jumpy while her babies are still very young. So do not open her cage, or change the bedding, try to put her in an exercise ball or separate her from her babies. Hamster mothers will do their best to raise and wean every one of their young, but they can scare very easily and end up eating their babies. This includes feeding the mother as well, feed her through the bars with a teaspoon or sprinkle some dry food onto her bowl. Do not touch the babies at all until the mother weans them (3-4 weeks) Touching the babies is a big mistake, when they’re so young. A baby hamster can only be removed from his mother after 3-4 weeks, and can be given for adoption immediately after. You will notice the mother has weaned them when she pushes them away after they try to nurse from her. In this period it’s important to provide her cage with even more food, since the babies will now need ‘adult’ food, like a food mix or some safe foods from your fridge or pantry. Touching or handling the babies before they are weaned will make the mother think they’re foreign, and not hers. She will reject or even eat them, so it’s best to wait a few more weeks. Separate the father from the litter at all times If the father was in the same cage as the mother, and you didn’t know she was pregnant, remove the father from the cage. Surprises happen, especially with dwarf pairs, since their sex is difficult to tell sometimes. So you might end up with a male and female pair that will give you a surprise litter one morning. The father will try to get the mother’s attention, and might eat or hurt the babies while trying to get her attention. Hamster fathers are not nurturing, and will not tolerate the babies for long, so it’s best to remove him from the cage. If you don’t want any more litters, keep the male and female separate at all times. Hamsters can mate again, right after the mother gave birth, so keep them apart. Some things you can’t change or save Even if you do you best to keep the mother safe, warm, well fed, not stressed, and on her own in a very large cage, she still might eat at least some of her babies. This is mostly due to accidents, like her biting too hard on the baby when she tries to pick him up. Or maybe she stores the baby in her cheeks to move and forgets that’s her baby. It sounds horrible, but small animals can get clumsy like this too. If this happens, there’s not much you can do. If the baby is not weaned yet, you can not touch it because the mother will reject it and then definitely eat it. Unless you want to raise the litter on your own, since they are just a few days old. But then they will lack the important interaction they need with their mother, to learn how to ‘be’ hamsters. This is a very touchy topic, and one I’m not about to breach here. The same goes for hamster mothers who kill the babies on purpose, because they think there’s something wrong with them. Like they might be sick or have something wrong with their body, that only she can tell. She might kill them if this is the case, because she thinks they will not survive on their own. This is again something that can’t be helped, and it’s sad but it can happen. How to tell your hamster is pregnant Maybe you ended up with a pregnant hamster when you bought her from the pet store. Or maybe you notice that one of your dwarf hammies is looking a bit odd. Whatever the case, here is how the pregnancy happens and how you can tell your hamster is pregnant. First, the pregnancy lasts from 18 to 22 days, time in which the hamster’s midsection will become larger and larger. You will notice she eats much more, and doesn’t exercise as much. She is saving her strength. She will become more and more irritable as her dues date approaches, and will look for hidden, safe corners n her cage. At this time it’s best to remover her from her cage mate, and place her in a large cage on her own, with plenty of familiar old bedding and nesting material, and plenty of places to hide. If you’re not sure if your hamster is pregnant, but she seems to suddenly be a bit larger and is constantly digging and burrowing and building a large nest, best to separate her from her cage mate. If you’re wrong and she’s not pregnant, that’s okay and you can place her back. But wait for at least 3 weeks after you separate her, to see if she does give birth or not. (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.) About hamster fertility and breeding Hamsters can breed basically every month. In theory, you can have a new litter every month. This is because a hamster can get pregnant within minutes after giving birth. The problem with this that the mother will be dehydrated and malnourished, and won’t be able to care properly for her existing litter. Baby hamsters can mate as soon as their mother weaned them.  That’s around 3-4 weeks of age, so you need to separate the hamsters into male and female cages immediately after this happens. If you don’t, more hamster litters will come in a few weeks. To figure out which is male and which is female, pick the hamster up, and look at his rear end. In females the genitals are right under the anus. In males, there is a more noticeable space left between them. If you tilt a male a bit back while you told him, you might even notice his testicles around his tail. This is more difficult with the smaller breeds, so every breed except for the Syrian. And hamsters do not like to be held this much or in that position, so they will squirm a bit. But you must do this to figure out which is which, in order to separate them. Female hamsters are in heat every few days, during the night, so they can be mated at any point. There is no mating seasons for hamsters, as there is with other animals. A word from Teddy I hope you found out a lot about us hammies here. I know a momma eating her babies is terrible, but it can happen sometimes, and I’m glad you found out how to make sure it doesn’t happen. Us hamsters grow up fast, so make sure you keep us separated by sexes or we’ll make a whole clan in a few weeks. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find out things like why we freeze, how much food we need, and even why we eat our poop ! [...] Read more...
Jumping Hamsters – Why Hamsters Jump, And How High
Jumping Hamsters – Why Hamsters Jump, And How HighDid your hamster ever jump out of your hands ? I know my Teddy did. I barely caught him in time. If you have a hamster, and you’ve picked him up, you know what I’m talking about. So I’m going to talk about why hamsters jump, how high hamsters can jump, and how you can make sure they don’t hurt themselves by falling. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters jump ?Hamsters can jump out of your handsHamsters can also randomly jump in their cageHamsters will fall, or jump from heightsMaking sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumpsGive the hamster plenty of bedding to fall onOverlapping levels in a cageDon’t give the hamster very tall toysOpt for wood-based toysCover the sides of the levels in the cageA few precautions for jumping hamstersA word from Teddy So why do hamsters jump ? A jumping hamster might sound silly, but it’s for a reason. A hamster will jump just like any other animal when it want to break free, or get to something. Most of the time when he jumps, it’s because the hamster is uncomfortable. His legs and paws are not meant to jump very high(unlike mice or rabbits). But your hammy will jump out of your hands if he’s had enough of your handling and wants to be put in his cage. This can happen with any hamster, be it a tame or difficult one. More difficult hamsters will jump out of your hands more often. But all hamsters will jump away if there’s something bothering them. Like scaring the hamster, or holding him for too long, or too high. As for jumping for food, hamsters rarely jump for or towards something. They rather climb, since their limbs are meant for running and climbing. Hamsters can jump out of your hands For example Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) was more active when he was younger, so he was more fidgety. This got me to constantly keep having to move my hands, like a handwashing motion. Sometimes, he’d have enough of me holding and playing with him, and jump out of my hands. The first time this happened I was lucky to be close to his cage. He fell on the cage, and I let him in. He was fine, nothing hurt or broken. But I had to be careful. So whenever you handle a hamster, be close to his cage, or where you’ve decided his playpen is. If he’s a confirmed jumper, be extra sure to be close to the cage, or near a soft surface he can fall on, like the bed or a sofa. A good way to distract the hamster in your hands is to give him a treat or piece of food. You can check this food list to find out which foods and treats are safe for hamsters, and which are not. Hamsters will also jump out of your hands when they wanted to do something else and you interrupted them. Like maybe you picked your hamster up when he was eating, or while he was cleaning himself. He’ll want to get back to whatever he was doing, fast. Hamsters can also randomly jump in their cage This is more common for more active hamsters, like the smaller Roborovski or Campbell hamsters or their other small brethren. Basically all hamsters aside from Syrians. Syrians do jump around their cage, but mostly when they’re very young. This is because of the amazing energy small hamsters have, and how incredibly agile they are. You can take care f this by providing your hamster with a good exercise wheel, according to his breed. He’ll burn off more energy that way and be less likely to jump for no reason. Sometimes the jumping has no clear purpose or trigger. They weren’t trying to get somewhere, or reach something. No, they were scurrying somewhere and did a backflip on the way. I’ve seen it with Teddy as well, and I can’t really explain why he randomly jumped. Sometimes he jumped onto the cage bars, and started scaling the cage. That has no clear purpose either, aside from expending excess energy. Hamsters will fall, or jump from heights Unfortunately hamsters are very poor judges of heights. Hamsters do not see very well, and can’t use anything else to judge distance. But they are curious creatures and want to inspect everything. So if your cage has a taller level – like a multi-level cage – make sure that the hamster will not injure himself. This means that the height of the fall should not be more than 25 cm/10 inch. This is actually the average height a hamster can jump, and safely land from. This selection of the best and safest hamster cages will make sure your hamster has a good place to live in. For example my Teddy’s cage is a multi-level cage. The topmost level was a safe distance, however there was a slight gap that I had to mind, the two levels didn’t overlap completely. Teddy did jump from the highest level all the way down. He didn’t end up on the first level, he actually landed on the ground floor. He was fine, but I removed his second level soon after that. He didn’t jump often, but when he did he had no clear reason. He had a very easy to access ramp he used to get there in the first place, which he ignored when trying to get down. Hamsters do not judge distances very well, since their eyes don’t help them much. So make sure you fall/jump proof your hammy’s cage. Making sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumps There’s a few things you should consider, and I’ll get into each of them. It’s mostly the same across all hamster breeds, maybe some adjustments would need to be made according to the hamster’s size. Give the hamster plenty of bedding to fall on This is what will help him have an easier landing, much like a pile of hay. So that would mean covering every surface he could land on with bedding. If you have a single level cage, then you’re set. If you’ve got a multi-level cage, provide bedding for all levels, even if just a bit. This roundup of great hamster bedding options will help you figure out which will work for you. Overlapping levels in a cage If you do get a multi-level cage for your hammy, make sure the levels overlap, mostly. For example my cage’s levels don’t overlap completely, and Teddy had to be very skilled to fall like he did. When you’re online or at the pet store, make sure you check the cage as best you can. To figure out the best kind of cage your hamster would need, as well as which of the 3 most common types would suit him, check out this article. You’ll find out cage sizes and options, as well as the pros and cons of each type. Don’t give the hamster very tall toys Now, the running wheel will have to be tall in order to be a proper size for him. But your hammy can’t get all the way on top of the wheel wince it will spin with him. But digging towers are different, as well as hideout complexes. Try looking for something no taller than those 25 cm/10 inches we talked about earlier. If your give the hamster no tall toys, he will have nowhere to fall from. This includes hammocks and mesh nets. These should not be more than 10 inches off the ground for your hammy. Especially for the dwarf hamsters out there. Opt for wood-based toys While the wheel will most probably not be metal, in order to be easy to spin and get a large enough one, the other toys should be wood. This is partly because hamsters chew on everything and wood is safe for them. And the other part is because wood lets the hamster have an easier landing than hard plastic or metal. Cover the sides of the levels in the cage If you’ve got a multi-level cage, but they don’t overlap that much, consider covering those sides with something like a fence that goes all the way up, or at least as nigh as the hamster’s full body. A good option would be popsicle sticks. They’re safe for hamsters, and you can get them in most arts and crafts stores. A good, non-toxic glue that the hamster will be able to hold the popsicles in place. Make sure that you only do this if the hamster can’t reach the place there you’ve glued the popsicles. (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.) A few precautions for jumping hamsters When you’re handling your hammy, he might jump. So make sure you are very close to his cage, or something soft that he can land on. Like the bed or a sofa, or anything else soft. If you’ve got a tank for your hamster, make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding. This is the least, since some hamsters can jump higher than this. They don’t jump often, but all it takes is once. Best would be to actually cover the top of the tank with a wire mesh. You can find those at some pet shops, or most hardware shops as well. A hamster that’s about to jump will give warning signs. It’s up to you to notice them, and I’ll help you with a few. For example your hamster will start to move faster in your hands, and his nose and whiskers will twitch more. He’ll look left and right and start moving out of your hand. That’s when you should definitely put him back in his cage. If you put him on the floor or somewhere not contained, he will run everywhere. Hamsters get restless easily, and it’s best to leave them in a well contained area when they’re like this, so they can run and play at will. Do not scare the hamster, or handle him when there’s a lot of things going on around you. Make sure you’re in a calm, quiet place, with not many things flying or moving around. A scared hamster has incredibly fast reflexes, so he will jump without warning. Another thing to remember is that hamsters are not calm animals. They won’t be as cuddly as a cat or guinea pig. A hamster will not stay in your hands for more than 2 couple of minutes(and he will never sit still), after which he’ll try to get away. He is restless and that’s his nature. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for, and know why us hamsters jump. We don’t do that often, but it’s usually for a reason. Although we can jump randomly too. Mostly we want to be left alone to roam our cages. If you want to know more about us hammies, and what kind of cages we need, or how much water we need, check the articles below ! [...] Read more...
How Do Hamsters Mark Their Territory? Interesting Facts
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 ToggleHow 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...
Hamsters Living With Rabbits ? Shedding Some Light On This
Hamsters Living With Rabbits ? Shedding Some Light On ThisA hamster and a rabbit living together might sound odd, but it’s a question we stumble upon often. Can hamsters live with rabbits ? Would they get along ? Sounds like a reasonable, if a bit misguided,  question from an owner who would like to introduce his two pets. While rabbits are fairly even tempered and seem kind of relaxed, hamsters are another story. Let’s see if they would get along, though. For a more detailed comparison between hamsters or rabbits, you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleSo should hamsters be living with rabbits ?A little about the hamster’s personalityAbout the rabbit’s personalitySize and cage differences between the twoFood and diet difference between a hamster and a rabbitA word from Teddy So should hamsters be living with rabbits ? No, hamsters and rabbits should not and can not live together. There are a few reasons for this. First, the hamster is very territorial, will fight anything that tries to trespass, and is very jumpy and easy to frighten. Second, a rabbit is a very social animal, who will want to cuddle and also establish a hierarchy of sorts. Bunnies have a lot of personality, and they also have the advantage of being ridiculously larger than hamsters. In short, a hamster-rabbit combo can’t go well, at all. The bunny will demand cuddles, grooming, run around, and generally own the place. This leaves the hamster in a subordinate position, which he does not take well to, and will bite, hide, and be stressed out of his mind. In some extreme cases the hamster may end up dead, since a kick or bite from the a bunny can be fatal for it. And given how tiny a hammy is, an accident isn’t that unheard of. But let’s get into the personalities of each animal, and see why they are they way they are. A little about the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. About the rabbit’s personality A rabbit is very different from a hamster. I’m not even going to cover the size difference, since that’s one major but obvious reason to never house them with a hamster. A quick word for those who assume rabbits are rodents – like I did until I got my own hamster and learned the differences: Rabbis are not related to hamsters, they are not rodents. Yes they bite and chew and burrow, but rabbits are lagomorphs. They share a very distant ancestor with the hamster – about as distant as the dinosaur extinction – but that’s about it. That being said, rabbits are very social animals, and in the wild they live in colonies. They love being groomed, and they actually have a hierarchy. If you’ve ever been to the pet store and seen 78 rabbits piled on top of each other, maybe you thought it was cute (like I did). But it’s their way of establishing dominance. The top rabbit is the one getting all the attention, food, grooming and so on. This doesn’t sit well with other species, like the hamster. Rabbits will actually come up to each other and ask for (or demand) attention, cuddling, and general social chit chat. They will mark their territory with large pellets (aside from their regular droppings), or spraying pee, or rubbing their chins (scent glands) on things they’ll consider their own. Rabbits aren’t aggressive by nature, but they won’t think twice about kicking or biting back if they feel threatened. They do give out warnings though, but unless you’re a rabbit, or a human with a keen eye, you won’t know what’s coming. Actually if you’ve got a rabbit, or are thinking of getting one, I really think you should check out this site. It’s got a clear explanation of most bunny behaviors, and you’ll get a good glimpse into what having a bunny is like. As far as I’ve read it’s a bit like having a cat, except the meowing and shedding. (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.) Size and cage differences between the two There’s a few differences when it comes to habitats, between hammies are rabbits. A hamster can live in a cage that’s 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and they prefer larger cages anyway. A rabbit will need much more than that. It needs both a living space, and an exercise space. The minimum for the living space would be 90 x 60 cm, and 90 cm high/ 35.4 x 23.6 inches, and 35.4 inches high. The exercise space should be a minimum of 2.43 x 1.21 m/ 8 x 4 feet, with height allowance. Rabbits can sometimes jump very high, and like to jump on top of things. Finally, for rabbits the living and exercise areas should be linked together, for easy access. If you want to know more about picking out a good rabbit habitat, you need to check out this site. It’s also where I did part of my research for this article, and they’re pretty good with rabbits. Alright, you might say that hamsters love a big cage anyway, and would do well in a habitat as large as the rabbit needs. Fair point, but let’s consider how these two animals keep their space. A hamster will sleep the day away, much like the rabbit, and will make regular rounds of his space. A rabbit will do the same, and they are both very territorial. No matter how large their territory is, these two can’t live together. They’re both too attached to ‘their’ things to share them with anyone else. Well, rabbits do share their ‘home’ but only with those they consider to be family (never a hamster). And they do see some areas as theirs, some as public areas, and some as ”do not enter”. They’ll try to enter those anyway when you’re not looking, entitled little fluffballs these guys. Hamsters on the other hand only know ”their” space. All of it. So finding bunny scent on the outside of their hideout will be a source of stress and lots of fighting. Food and diet difference between a hamster and a rabbit Alright, now that we’ve settled territory and living spaces and personalities, let’s talk about their food. Since they’re not even related, their foods will be very, very different. As with any other combination between hamsters and another animal, keeping their food separate won’t be feasible. One will poke into the other’s food bowl, and that’s not a good idea. Not only because of tensions coming up between the two. But also because the rabbit won’t find anything worthwhile in the hamster’s food, and the hamster will steal the good bits from the rabbit’s food. A hamster will have an omnivore diet. That means they can eat any type of food, with some exceptions – more on that here. However they will need grains and hard dry food to keep their teeth in check. A rabbit on the other hand will need a different diet. First off, hay, lot and lots of hay since they much on it pretty much all day. This can be a problem, since the hamster will try to use this as his nesting material. Another thing rabbits need is fresh veggies and some fruits, which again can be attractive for the hamster. Finally, pellets are considered to be the best kind of feed for rabbits. This way they won’t be able to pick and choose their favorites. A pellet is like a large kibble, with all the nutrients the rabbit needs, and all pellets in the bag are the same. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies don’t really like to share anything, and a big bunny can be very intimidating for us. Best to keep us separate. If you want to know more about us hamsters, then your should check out the related articles below. You’ll find info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Eat Cardboard ? About Your Hamster’s Chew Habit
Do Hamsters Eat Cardboard ? About Your Hamster’s Chew HabitIf you’ve got a hammy you’re probably wondering if he’ll chew through cardboard. Would a hamster eat cardboard ? I looked at my Teddy since I first got him, and knew he’d have a special relationship with cardboard tubes. So let’s see if hamsters eat cardboard, and if cardboard is even safe for them in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat cardboard ?Make sure it’s just plain cardboardOnly use cardboard for toys and nesting materialOther chewing alternatives for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat cardboard ? No, hamsters do not eat cardboard. Unlike with soft materials like paper towels or toilet squares, which can get into the hamster’s moth and swallowed up. Cardboard is not something hamsters eat, not even by mistake like with paper. They do however love to chew through it and they will not stop until the whole roll is done.  You might think the hamster finds the cardboard tasty, given how much he’s munching on it. But no, he’s just clipping at it like a small maniac. My Teddy for example goes through an entire paper towel cardboard roll, which is almost 3 toilet paper rolls, in one night ! Now let’s see which kinds of cardboard are okay for hamsters, and what you should look out for. Make sure it’s just plain cardboard By plain I mean the simple, brown/grey kind of cardboard. It’s usually the cheapest option because it requires no further treatment like bleaching and recoloring or laminating. Incidentally, this keeps it safe for hamsters and rodents. A few examples of safe, simple cardboard are: toilet paper rolls paper towel rolls any other roll that’s made of plain cardboard, like some aluminium foil rolls or saran wrap rolls actual, cardboard boxes that some packages come in It could be the wrinkly, ruffled cardboard that’s made to withstand lots of force, or it could be a thin kind of cardboard. If it’s got some paper still on, the hamster will love ripping it apart and stuffing that in his cheeks as well. However there are some kinds of cardboard you should keep your hamster away from. These are pieces of cardboard that are not only painted, they’re also laminated or at least lined with plastic (like milk cartons for example), or have aluminium sides. So items like liquid cartons, packaging boxes that are very colorful or have a plastic-like outside and they’re almost waterproof, cardboard boxes from very strong smelling products (like lotion or perfume), and so on. (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.) Only use cardboard for toys and nesting material I wouldn’t recommend using cardboard for anything other than just toys or nesting material for your hamster. This is because he will tear through it with ease, and you’ll have to keep replacing them. Replacing a chew toy made of a cardboard roll with another cardboard roll is no problem. But replacing a hamster food bowl or hideout every day, even if it’s just cardboard, is just not worth the effort. A hamster hideout should be made of wood, so he had something to chew on all the time, but still a place to sleep. Your hamster will also use the cardboard as extra lining for his nest if he feels too cold. I’ve found bits of chewed up cardboard in my Teddy’s nest more than once. For the most part he just chews and chews and chews away at those cardboard rolls, but sometimes he finds a bit more use for them. You can check out this article to see how you can use cardboard to make DYI toys for your hamster too. Hamsters need to chew, otherwise their teeth grow much too large. They can develop serious dental problems if their teeth are left unchecked. Most of those problems can be solved at a veterinarian, but preventing them works much better. In some cases when the hamster keeps chewing on the cage bars, and you’ve found no other solution you can use the cardboard rolls like I used them here with my Teddy. He goes for the bars but end up chewing the cardboard instead, and it’s a welcome change from the usual bar chewing. Other chewing alternatives for your hamster friend Some people swear by mineral chews. While they keep the hamster busy, they’re not exactly needed. The thing is that mineral chews are meant to give the hamster minerals if he lacks them, but most hamsters do no need the extra minerals. The commercial mix they get supplements them with enough minerals and salts. There is also the issue with dust, and how that affects the hamster’s lungs. My Teddy looked like a construction worker whenever he took to that mineral chew. If you want to find out more about mineral chews, you should check out this article. Another way for your hamster to get his chewing fix is wood. Wood-based toys and objects in his cage will make sure he chews on something safe whenever he feels the urge to chomp down on something. For example my Teddy’s hideout’s made of wood, and he has a few wood objects to nibble on as well. He’s also got this walnut, that I’ve cleaned and left in his cage. He goes crazy over it, and keeps trying to open it. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies chew on everything, but cardboard is okay for us. Well, most cardboard objects I mean. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related article below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy. [...] Read more...