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.

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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.

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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.

Related blog post
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat Them
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat ThemA 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. Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster eye problems2. Hamster dental problems3. Hamster ear and hearing problems4. Hamster nail problems5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites6. Hamster Digestive problems7. Wet-tail in hamsters8. Diabetes in hamsters9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters10. Hamster cheek problemsAbout a hamster’s general healthKeeping your hamster healthyA word from Teddy 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.) 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. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Get Bored ? How To Keep Your Hamster Entertained
Do Hamsters Get Bored ? How To Keep Your Hamster EntertainedIf you’ve got a hammy you want to make sure he has the best life. So, sometimes you wonder if your hamster is bored, and how you can keep your hamster friend entertained. I know I had these thoughts for my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) and here’s what I found out. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get bored ?A look at a hamster’s usual life and daily routineWhat your hamster would do in the wildWhat can make your hamster boredDo you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters get bored ? No, not really. Hamsters don’t see the passing of time the same way as we humans do. Aside from their instincts (survive, reproduce, find food, etc.) hamsters don’t have grand goals that could suffer from being kept in a cage. That being said, hamsters can become stressed or sad if their cage/habitat is terrible. Too small, dirty, no toys, no hideout, too many sounds and people trying to get to them, being handled too much, etc. We’ll cover those too. But first let’s take a look at the usual life of a hamster, and see that it’s not terribly different from the one ha has in your home. There are a few key differences, yes, but they’re all in his benefit. A look at a hamster’s usual life and daily routine Normally a hamster spends most of the day sleeping in his little warm nest, and once night starts to set in, he will come out. He’ll start looking for food, and that’s the best moment to feed him. The sound of his food being put in his cage while he is sleeping will wake him up, and he’ll be a grumpy little furball. Best to wait until he’s up. After finding his food and pouching most of it your hammy will move back into his nest, where he’ll hide all of his food. Yes, hamsters have an amazing stash of food in their nests, and they will hoard everything. Once he’s done with his food he’ll spend most of his time running around his cage. He’ll end up on his wheel for most of the night. Actually he can run for up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a whole night ! That’s a lot of running around, and it’s no wonder he’s dozing off in the morning. Every once in a while, he’ll stop running around and just… check. Sit up, eyes wide open, ears strained, trying to hear if there’s any danger around. He’ll look like he’s freezing, but in truth he’s just hearing things out. It’s what kept him alive in the wild, after all. If he’s got any toys he will use them. If he’s got tunnels, he will do laps in his tunnels too. Chew on everything available, including his hideout – great to have a wooden hideout for that reason. This is his usual routine, and it’s what will keep him busy. He’s got a ridiculous amount of energy, and need to burn it all. Unless he’s got a very bare cage, he can’t get bored. This isn’t very different from his usual routine in the wild, although there is the element of adrenaline that’s missing. Let me explain, What your hamster would do in the wild In the wild, the essential activities would be the same ones I described above. Except the hamster can be found and eaten by a predator at any moment. So that means the hammy is always on edge, always hearing things out, always running away. That makes for a very skittish and shy animal – if you were ever wondering why he’s like that. In the wild toys would have no purpose. The running around and dodging predators would be ‘fun’ enough. In your home there’s nothing to hunt him, hence why he needs toys to keep him busy. Finally, in the wild the hammy would try to find a mate too. He’d patrol his territory, and if he met a female in heat he’d try his luck. What can make your hamster bored As you’ve seen, your hamster has a whole lot of things to do. This means that you won’t really be up to see him do most of these things, since he’s awake when you’re sleeping. But if you were to ever stay up all night and just observe him, you’d see all the things I described above. He can get bored though, only if you’ve given him an especially bare and small cage. Let’s see what that means. The minimum cage size for a single hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Every hamster will like a larger cage better, so if you can get a big cage you should do that. Aside from the minimum bedding on the cage floor, there is also the absolute need for a hideout. Your hamster will make himself a nest anyway in the most hidden corner he an find. But a hideout will provide definite shelter, and he’ll be thankful for it. A food bowl and water bottle are mandatory as well, and they’re easy to find. An exercise wheel is mandatory as well, simply because running is half of everything a hamster does. He spends most of his life running, so not getting him that would be like someone never letting you out of your house. These are the bare minimum, but there are toys to take into consideration. Some you can DYI, some are store bought. Look around and see which you like best. You can save up money and still keep you hammy happy with cardboard tubes (from paper towels and toilet paper rolls). Teddy has a grand time with those cardboard rolls, and he uses them as chew toys too. Any other distractions you can provide your hamster – like time outside his cage in an exercise ball – will be welcome too. A large cage will also mean lots of space for him to run around in, explore, and have a whole bunch of toys. Finally, keeping your hamster in a dirty cage will lower his general disposition, since no one likes that. A hamster’s cage needs a full cleaning once per week. A dirty cage can lead to several health issues, which is never something you want. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Do you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ? Alright, let’s say you’ve got a hamster, and he’s got a very big cage, with every toy ever and everything he could ever want. But you think he’s possibly bored, and wouldn’t he maybe need a friend ? To be fair, that’s a question many hamster owners have at first. However hamsters do not need a buddy. That sounds terrible, but bear with me. Hamsters can be social, sometimes, under certain circumstances. But for the most part they will fight to the death with other hamsters. In the wild the hamster is not a very cuddly animal. Sure, Dwarf types can live together if they absolutely have to, but they end up fighting over food and space in the nest. They end up on their own, and the Syrians are definitely to be kept alone. And very important – if you’ve got a hamster already, and he’s past the 3 month mark, then introducing him to any other hamster will most likely not go well. Hamsters need to grow up together in a very large cage, with lots of food and toys and space, order to get along. Introducing a new hamster out of the blue ends in pain. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters may look like we’re bored every now and then, but we’re very different from you humans. We  don’t do the same things or have the same thoughts. 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...
Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete Guide
Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete GuideWhen I first got my Teddy, I didn’t have an exercise ball for him. I didn’t even think that would be necessary. But a friend helped me out and let me have her hammy’s old exercise ball. After a few weeks I got Teddy his own exercise ball. But that was when I learned most of the things I know about how much exercise a hamster needs, and how to help him get that exercise. That’s what I’m going to help you with here. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ?Why hamsters need an exercise ballHow to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ballPrecautions when using the hamster exercise ballDo not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long.Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball.Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls.Be careful what surface you place the ball on.Proof your apartment or house.My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ballHow to use a hamster exercise ballGet your hamster used to the exercise ballPlacing your hamster in the exercise ballPlacing the hamster back in his cageWhen to place the hamster in his exercise ballWhen to not place the hamster in his exercise ballA word on hamster exercise balls with standsHow to clean a hamster exercise ballWhere to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using itA word from Teddy So what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ? A great exercise ball for hamsters is one that will fit the adult hamster properly. This means that an adult Syrian hamster like my Teddy will need at least a 7 inch exercise ball, up to 9 inches. That’s 18 cm to 23 cm, in diameter. Smaller breeds of hamster like a dwarf or Campbell will do well in 5 inch exercise balls, up to 7 inches. So that’s 13 cm to 18 cm for your little hamster types. Another thing about the hamster exercise balls is that you should be careful that your hammy’s feet or tail don’t slip through the air holes. This can happen with the very large exercise balls, that are geared towards guinea pigs or ferrets. So inspect the air holes and vents carefully to see how wide they are. If it looks like your hamster’s entire foot could fit through there, then look for a size smaller. All exercise balls are made of hard plastic, so your hamster will be safe. Why hamsters need an exercise ball If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, then he’s very curious and want to be everywhere, and know everything, right now. He’s a very active hammy and I wouldn’t label him as a ”relaxed” hamster. He’s more like a border collie than anything, he’ll find something to do if I don’t give him something to do. So the exercise ball saved us both, especially in the beginning. He can roam the house as much as he likes. This is the first way an exercise ball helps your hamster. It gives him the opportunity to roam, explore, get into all the nooks and crannies he sees from his cage, and wander under your desk when you’re busy. Second, an exercise ball will help your hamster get more exercise than the running wheel. This is because the hamster has to push the weight of the ball as well, and that’s a great way to give him good exercise. He can’t run as fast as he can in the running wheel, but it’s a different type of workout. To find out more about the kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, check out my article here. Third, it gives him something to do. He can’t really chew at that ball from the inside, it keeps him moving, and he’s easy to contain. If you’re cleaning his cage and have nowhere to put him, try the exercise ball. This is what I do with my Teddy, and he always gets excited when he sees it. And fourth, they’re just so funny when they’re in that ball. This one is more for you than the hamster, I know. But you need a laugh every now and then too. A hamster in his exercise ball bumping into every bit of furniture, and trying his best to push the ball over that powerstrip cord is the best thing ever. How to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ball Teddy has a 7 inch exercise ball, and he’s had it since his first few weeks. The first one he had was a smaller, 5 inch one. Since he was a baby, it was alright for a couple of weeks. Back then he was the size of an adult dwarf hamster. But he soon started to grow and get bigger and longer, and once I was that I went to look for a bigger exercise ball. The one I landed on was a 7 inch version, clear plastic, with removable lids on the side. The way I could tell he was much more comfortable in this new ball was that his back was finally straight. When he ran/pushed the ball, his back wasn’t as arched as it was in the smaller ball. So that’s one thing you can look for, how arched the hamster’s back is. His back isn’t meant to arch backwards, it’s built for hunching and standing straight at best. If you notice your hammy having back problems consider getting him a larger exercise ball. Other signs to look for are how easy the hamster can move the ball from the inside, and how much his tail or feet stick out at times. If the hammy can easily move the ball, that’s good. Some resistance is expected, if he’s on a carpet. The ball moves easier on hard surfaces like hardwood or tiles. But if the hammy can’t move the ball easily, it might be just too big for him, even if it looks like he has enough space. Large exercise balls equal more plastic, so more weight. You hamster can only push so much, especially if he’s a smaller breed. As for the tail and feet sticking out, they will stick out a bit anyway. His claws and tail are so small and thin it’s hard for them not to stick through the air vents. Especially when he stops to clean himself, check something and sits down. But if the hammy’s entire leg can fit through an air hole, then the ball is not good for him. He can get hurt or catch his tail and that’s never good. Precautions when using the hamster exercise ball While the ball is made to protect your hammy, and it does that quite well, there are a few things you should be careful about. Do not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long. Best to put him in the ball several times a day, for set amounts of time. I usually leave Teddy in the ball for about 30 minutes, but not more. This is because the air inside is not very much, even with the air holes. Also, he has no access to water or food. If you see droppings in your hammy’s exercise ball, then you can be sure he needs a break. If you can’t see them, you’ll definitely hear them jingling. Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball. If he gets stick on some carpet, or corner, or charger cord, help him out. Otherwise he will panic. If your house is on at least two levels, keep him away from the stairs. The ball will protect him, but only so much. Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls. Maybe it’s not closed properly, or maybe he’s a genius, no matter. Make sure you close the exercise ball very tightly, and keep an eye on him. Be careful what surface you place the ball on. Hardwood and short haired carpet are okay. But a shaggy carpet, with long frills is not okay, since it can stick into his exercise ball. The hamster, being curious, will shove the carpet pieces in his cheeks to use as nesting later. That’s not good, ever. Watch out for dusty or unclean surfaces. Dirt and dust will find their way into your house anyway, but it’s important that you let the hamster run on a clean surface. Otherwise the dirt and dust will end up on him, and that can affect his health. Proof your apartment or house. The area your hamster will run around in needs to be safe, for him and for your furniture. So any corners the ball can fit into and actually get stuck in, should be blocked by a slipper or something like that. If there is anything fragile like a mirror, either place it somewhere else when the hamster is in the ball, or put some slippers or rolled towel in front of it. The ball bumping into furniture is incredibly noisy, so make sure you put him in a room where there is not much hard furniture, or try not to mind the noise. Teddy: In general, if you can’t hear the ball moving for more than a few seconds, you should check on your hamster friend. He’s either stuck, or up to something. My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ball I looked around and found a good exercise ball on Amazon. It’s the same size as the one I have, and it has a lot of air vents for your hamster to breathe. You can choose whichever color you like, but in the end all exercise balls end up with scratches on them after a few uses. Think of it as the polished armor on a knight. This particular ball is 7 inches/18 cm, so that’s the minimum diameter for a Syrian hamster, and the maximum for a dwarf type. So both hamster types can use this kind of ball freely. This kind of ball is easy enough to assemble, so there should be no problems there. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Once you get your hamster an exercise ball, whether it’s the one above or a different one, you’ll need to know how to help your hammy use it. So let’s get into that, so you can watch your little friend run around. How to use a hamster exercise ball This will be very intuitive for your hamster, but he might need some time to adjust at first. I’ll give your Teddy’s example. When he first found himself in a hamster ball, he was a bit confused. I made the mistake of putting him in the ball too soon after bringing him home. Teddy got used to the ball very quickly, and learned how to steer it properly in about a week. Get your hamster used to the exercise ball Leave the ball in his cage for about half an hour, maybe a full hour. Make sure one end is open, and the hamster has easy access to the opening. Place a treat inside the ball, so your hammy has more reason to climb into the ball. Let him explore, smell, try to chew on it. He will get used to it, and will probably climb into it fairly fast. After your hammy is used to the exercise ball, it will be much easier to get him into the ball. If he starts moving his nest into the ball, remove the ball, and leave the nest parts in the cage. It’s clear he’s comfortable in it. Placing your hamster in the exercise ball Once your hammy is used tot he exercise ball, this will be easy. You can do this 3 ways, depending on your hamster’s personality, current mood, and the type of cage you have. First, you can place the ball in the cage with a treat inside. Once the hamster climbs in, scoop the ball up and close it. This works best for cages that have a top-side opening, and a large one at that. It’s also great if you’re hammy is in a very feisty or irritated mood and can not be held at the moment, but you need to clean the cage. Second, you can  place the exercise ball (with a treat inside) with the opening on the side of the cage. It only works for cages that have side clasps. Then unhook one side, and slowly raise that part until your hamster can get through. Most hamsters will be so curious about the new opening they will climb right into the ball. By keeping the opening flat against the side of the cage, you’ll make it easier to keep him in place until you put the lid on. Third, if your hammy is very tame and is easy to hold, pick him up. Place him by hand in the exercise ball, which of course has a treat inside. This way you’re sure the hamster gets into the exercise ball, which makes cleaning the cage much easier. Placing a treat inside the exercise ball will teach your hamster to always be excited when he sees the exercise ball. After a while he will climb into it even without the treat. Placing the hamster back in his cage This is a lot like the way you got him into the cage in the first place. Place a bit of food in the cage and place the open exercise ball near that food. The hamster will climb out, and will enjoy his treat. If your have a cage that can lift the sides, place the food close to the side you will use to place the hamster back. So that when you lift the side of the cage to place your hamster back, he will see the food right away and go straight to it. Never force or shake your hamster out of his exercise ball. Try coaxing him out with a treat, or just wiggling a finger where you want him to get. He’s very curious and will go to check it out. When to place the hamster in his exercise ball First off, let’s talk about how soon to place the hamster in the ball after bringing him home from the pet store. You should allow him about a week to get used to his new home, in which time he will build his nest and get a sense of  normality. After that week, make sure you get the hamster slowly used to the ball by placing it in the cage like I explained above. Aside from that, you can place the hamster in his ball at almost any point when he is awake, but there is a best time. If you see your hamster very agitated, or climbing all over the cage, that would be a good time. He has a lot of extra energy which he needs to release. When to not place the hamster in his exercise ball shortly after he woke up when he is sitting on his hideout, scoping the area and being watchful when he is eating when he has low energy, and would be sleepy when he is sick and needs a lot of rest and water A word on hamster exercise balls with stands I had one of these, actually I still do. The one I have used to have a stand for the ball, and a second set of lids so the hamster could climb into and out of the ball when he wants. It sounds like a great idea, but there are a couple of problems here. First, the stand is meant as an actual stand. Not as a support for a spinning exercise ball. This is the mistake I made with Teddy, and after a couple of weeks, I heard the noise. Plastic on plastic eventually chewed down on the stand bits, and it started making the most awful screeches when Teddy ran in it. It’s not like a metal wheel, which you can just oil and it will be fine for a couple of weeks. No, the plastic one actually gets ground down to nothing, both the stand handles and the holes they plug into. Second, the hamster can somehow, some way, move its nest in that ball. This happened with Teddy, and I’m sure there are a few other people out there who had this happen too. The little furball moved food, nesting material, and a few droppings into his exercise ball, and used that as a nest. Which wasn’t so terrible, except when he started running. The contents Teddy brought into that exercise ball flew everywhere in the ball, and a bit outside. It actually woke me up a couple of nights. So do yourself and your hammy a favor, and only use that stand outside the cage. Use it as a stand to actually keep the ball on, without the hamster inside. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to clean a hamster exercise ball The exercise ball will get a bit dirty, there’s no way around that. It will grind on whatever is on the floor, it will get all kinds of scratch marks on the outside from rolling around. Aside from all that, it will pick up a bit of dust or other small debris that need to be cleaned off. Make sure you use only hot (as hot as you can handle it) water, and the smallest amount of soap to clean the ball. Take it apart, and thoroughly scrub it down with hot water and a tiny amount of soap, inside and out. You can use the rough side of a dishwashing sponge, or a cloth, whichever you prefer. Be extra careful in the inside of the ball to not use much soap. The soap has a strong scent for your hammy, and he might not want to get into the exercise ball if he can’t stand the smell. The wash will also remove most of the hammy’s scent from inside the ball, so make sure you place a treat inside the exercise ball when you reintroduce it to the hamster. As for how often to clean it, it depends on how often the hamster uses it, and how much it’s been through. If you place your hamster in the ball every day, and let him roam for a half hour, then the ball should be cleaned often. Best to do that daily, since there a lot on the floor usually. If he only ever uses the exercise ball a few times a month, and for a short amount of time, you can even clean it every week. Where to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using it Wherever you keep it, it must be a clean, dust-free place. In a cupboard, or a drawer would be alright. Place it on its stand if it has one, and keep it somewhere the dust will not settle on or in it. Do not leave it on the floor, especially if you have other pets or children. Someone might kick it by accident, or a dog might chew on it, or maybe one of your toddlers will confuse it with a bouncy ball. A word from Teddy This was all I could tell you about our exercise balls. How to pick one, how to keep it clean, and how to put one of us hamsters in an exercise ball. We love to run around and play, us hamsters are very active creatures and we get anxious when we’re cooped up too much. So let us roam free-ish, in the exercise ball, so we can explore your home ! If you’d like to know more about us hamsters, and what kind of food we can eat, or how much water we need, you can check out the articles below.   [...] Read more...
15 Essential Steps To Properly Care For Your Hamster
15 Essential Steps To Properly Care For Your HamsterHave you just gotten a hamster ? Or are you planning on getting a hamster and want to know how to care for him ? I’ll tell you everything I know, and I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) home. There are 15 essential steps to take and know, so you can be a good hamster owner. Some of these might be obvious, some might be counterintuitive. But they all help your hamster lead a healthy, happy life. As a sidenote, hamsters are actually cheap to care for, and they make good pets. It’s just that they have some very specific needs sometimes. Table of Contents Toggle1. Choose a good cage for your hamster2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks likeA word from Teddy 1. Choose a good cage for your hamster The first and biggest problem when getting a hamster is what kind of cage to get him. Now I’ve covered this in detail in this article on how to choose the best cage, but a short version would be this. A Syrian hamster (the biggest kind of hamster you can find as a pet) needs a minimum 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 Syrian hamster. They should always be kept alone. If you’re keeping Dwarf hamsters, then the same cage will fit a pair of Dwarves well enough. Always remember that while hamsters are so small and fluffy, they need a lot of space. They will always feel better in a large cage, rather than in a small one. This is because they do a lot of running around and roaming, and they get bored very easily in a small cage. Especially if it’s not almost nothing in it aside from bedding and some food. An overcrowded cage can also make the hamster irritable and nippy, so it’s best to only keep one hamster in one cage, even if he’s a Dwarf. As for examples of good cages, here is this one. It’s got a small space between the wires, so no hamster can escape. It’s also got an adjustable level which you can put wherever you like. I recommend keeping it pretty low though, since hamsters prefer the low ground. Of the commercial cages you can find available, this is the largest and safest. It provides lots of ventilation and it easy to take apart and clean. All in all a good choice for hamster owners who are both space and budget conscious. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews as well. If you want to go for a bigger cage, you’ll need to look for an Ikea Detolf. That’s basically a big standing shelf. You put it on its side, remove the shelves, and make a wire mesh to cover the top if need be. The only problem with the Detolf is that it’s heavy, and big. So wherever you put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. Cleaning the Detolf is going to require a few more steps, but it’s doable. What is brings though is almost double the space the cage I mentioned above does. So no hamster would feel cramped in a Detolf. 2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster Another big and important step to make is to provide the hamster with bedding (or substrate). That’s what the hamster will live on, eat on, sleep on, pee on, and generally live all his life on. It needs to be a safe and healthy, and you need to be able to provide lots of it. Hamsters generally dig into their bedding, so giving your hammy at least an inch/2-3 cm of bedding is a minimum. You can find several hamster bedding options are in this article, you can pick whichever you think works best. The safest bedding you can provide your hamster is aspen wood shavings. All hamsters react well to aspen, and it’s a type of bedding readily available in most parts of the world. Another option is paper bedding, however that’s not as easy to find as aspen shavings. When you go out looking for the wood shavings, please make sure to stay away from cedar and pine shavings. Sometimes they’re sold for pets, but for small animals like hamsters those wood types are too strong. Their smell will suffocate the hamster, who has a very sensitive nose to begin with anyway. A good example is this one for aspen shavings. The bag comes in different sizes, so it can last you anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, depending on which size you get. You will only need to replace the hamster’s bedding once per week, so it also depends on how much bedding you put down into the cage. It’s a dust-free bag of wood shavings, which is important hen dealing with small animals. Respiratory problems can and do some up when the hamster has contact with dust. A dust-free bedding will keep him safe from that point of view. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. You also need to know about hamster nesting materials. Now, there’s nesting material you can buy, yes. But that’s almost always textile based. It’s a type of fluff, which does keep the hamster very warm. It’s a lot like the stuffing inside a teddy bear. But the problem is that kind of material can get tangled around the hamster and suffocate him. Or get tangled in his teeth (hamsters always pouch their nesting material) and end very gruesomely. So what can you use ?  Toiled paper, unscented. Plain tissues. Plain paper towels. Bits of cardboard. Rip them into strips and shreds, and watch you hamster decorate his home. He’ll build a big and warm nest out of all of those things and sleep like an angel. 3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained The toys you choose for your hamster are important. Partly because a hamster can get bored if he’s got nothing to do in his cage. And partly because they need to be safe for the hamster and help file down his teeth. This means that hamsters will need plenty of wood or cardboard based toys. They can and will chew on absolutely everything in their cage. So for this reason wooden chews are a must, and cardboard too. Most toys can be either DYIed at home out of cardboard rolls, or bought from a store. This means the hamster can have an egg carton with holes in it an enjoy himself, using it as a hide and seek toy. You can even place a treat at one end of the carton and it’s just turned into a puzzle toy. You can also place a walnut inside the hamster’s cage. Make sure to remove any dirt off the walnut, and leave it whole in the hamster’s cage, He’ll go crazy over it and try to open it. He can’t, since he’s no squirrel. But he’ll try, and file down his teeth in the process. Hamster teeth always grow, so this is crucial. The most important thing in the hamster’s cage though, is his hideout. He will build a nest anyway, in the most hidden corner he can find. But he will feel more secure and safe in a hideout. It provides shelter, warmth, and a feeling of safety for the hamster. In the wild his nest would be in the ground, quite a few feet deep. It would be a series of tunnels, well hidden from any predators. In a cage though, he can’t do that. But a hideout is the next best thing. That hideout absolutely needs to be made of wood for two reasons: It will absorb moisture and release it outside. It’s basically breathable, and the hamster won’t have a damp nest, which means he won’t get a cold, or wet fur easily. Hamsters chew everything, even the hideout/nest. Wood is safe for them, and they even chew in their sleep. So it’s important that the hideout is of a safe material, not plastic or ceramic. A good example of a wooden hideout is this one. It’s a lot like my Teddy’s hideout actually. It’s big enough for a Syrian hamster, and it will also fit a Dwarf hammy. The wood is safe to chew on, and it has plenty of ventilation with all 3 holes available. They’ll be blocked with nesting material by the hamster, but he will still get fresh air. A hideout like this one will keep the hamster his whole life, unless he decides to use this as his one and only chew toy. Even then, it would take him quite some time to get through all that wood. You can check the listing on Amazon, and read the reviews as well. 4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs When it comes to food, you’ll be glad to hear hamsters can eat almost anything. But they do have a specific diet. The usually eat lots of grains, with a few vegetables and fruit thrown in for good measure. Nuts and seeds are okay too, as is a bit of protein in the form of cooked plain chicken, or even a mealworm or two. Actually most foods that are safe for hamsters are already in your fridge or pantry. The only problem is that they need a very specific diet, which you can always supplement with food from your kitchen. A good hamster mix will have his ideal diet in mind, and provide lots of vitamins and minerals as well. For example this one will last you quite a few months, because hamsters do not each very much. For a Syrian hamster two teaspoons per day are enough, and for Dwarf types just one teaspoon is enough. Hamsters will hide their food in their nest, so don’t panic if you see the food bowl is empty after a few minutes. This mix lasts long and is among the best for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Aside from the hamster commercial mix, you can give your hamster treats like bits of carrots, a plain peanut, a leaf of spinach and so on. He will enjoy the treat. But if your hamster is a diabetic hamster, keep fruits away from him. Carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes are off limits as well. 5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary Cleaning the hamster’s cage is the first way to make sure the cage does not get smelly, and the hamster stays healthy. Cleaning should be done once per week, and only clean the pee corner every few days. The thing about hamsters is that they’re very clean animals. They groom themselves constantly, almost as much as a cat does. So the hamster himself does not smell. However what does smell is the corner in which the hamster usually pees. This is always the corner farthest away from the hideout, and it’s usually wet or at least damp. That corner can be scooped up every few days, and you can place new bedding in that corner. But once a week, a full cleaning is needed. That means taking the cage apart, putting the hamster in a safe place (like his travel cage), and cleaning everything. You can find a whole tutorial on cleaning the hamster’s cage here. Including how to proceed in the case of a sick hamster, and what you should be aware of before you start cleaning any hamster’s cage, sick or not. 6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise Hamsters are runners, for the most part. Some will love to climb or dig more than running. But most hamsters will enjoy running, and that’s what they will need to do to expend all that energy. Keep in mind that a hamster can run as much as 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night. That’s a whole lot of running for a creature so small. So make sure you get your hamster an outlet for all that energy. This means providing him with a big enough hamster exercise wheel, and you can choose which is best for your hammy. A wheel will allow him to run as far and as much as his little feet can take him. It’s important that the wheel is a large enough one, because a small wheel can give the hamster back problems. You see, hamsters don’t have a straight-ish spine. They look like they’re hunched over all the time, because they actually are. Their spines need to remain mostly hunched even when running. A straight spine can be odd for them, and a backward bent spine is actually painful. So this means you need to get he biggest sized wheel your hamster can comfortable run on. For example this one is a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, and it will fit pretty much any hamster. It’s also got not middle fixture, so the hamster has nothing to hurt his back on. It stays where you put it, and it’s a very silent kind of wheel. It won’t wake you up in the night (like Teddy did with us when he was younger). It’s got a tail and foot guard, which means your hamster friend won’t catch important appendages in the wheel when he’s running. This is especially important for the Chinese hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often Taming the hamster is going to be either a breeze or a story to pass down onto your grandchildren. Some hamsters get used to their owners and warm up to them in just a few days, and some hamsters will never be okay with being picked up. It varies from hamster to hamster, and it also depends on how much patience you’ve got. Taming a hamster takes time, and consistency. It’s not hard, but it can be very slow. It’s also a bit hard to read the hamster’s reactions. If he’s not biting or running away, it’s a good sign. But noticing whether he actually likes something or not ? Your guess is as good as mine. Hamsters are easy to bribe with food though, so that’s always going to help. You’ll need to interact with the hamster constantly to gain and keep his trust. He might not always sit still so you can pet him, and he might not always like it when you pick him up. But in time he will learn to associate you and your hands with food and good things. Even if you’re not doing much, at least talk to the hammy. He’ll come up to the side of the cage to hear you out. He won’t understand a word, but at lest you’ve got his attention. 8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens Hamsters don’t need regular trips to the vet, and they don’t get sick often. For the most part hamsters will only stay in their cages, unless take out. This means the only moment they can get sick is if someone sick interacts with them. Or, if they become much too stressed or the cage is very dirty, and they develop wet-tail. But aside from that, hamsters aren’t sickly animals. That being said, when a hamster does get sick, it can get very serious, very fast. And you’re going to need a good vet for that. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet. That’s a vet who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Such a vet will be able to help more than a regular cat and dog veterinarian. You can find out more about choosing a good vet for your hamster here. 9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them When it comes to the hamster’s usual health problems, there aren’t as many as us humans can have, but they are serious. You can find a list of the main health problems here, and how to treat them. Of all the threats to a hamster’s well-being, wet-tail is the most notorious. This is a type or diarrhea, and it can become deadly in a matter of days. Hamsters usually contract it either from an already infected hamster, from an overly dirty cage, or through high stress levels which can disrupt their normal digestive system. Tumors and lumps are not uncommon, infections are about as common as they are in humans. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but tumors can sometimes be impossible to remove without putting the hamster at too much risk. Hammies can lose their eyesight and become blind, and this is usually a sign of old age. Blindness can come earlier than that in some cases though. While hamsters don’t really use their eyes, they are still vulnerable and can become injured or infected. There are treatments for almost all of the hamster’s health problems, and most of them are meant to be administered by a vet. (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.) 10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period Hamsters reproduce in large litters. They can fall pregnant very often – every 4 days actually – and their gestation period is short. Only 16-22 days, depending on which hamster type you’ve got. So if you brought home a pair of Dwarf hammies, and one of them seems to be too fluffy, you’ll find out in 2-3 weeks if you’ve got a pregnant female on your hands. This can happen because pet shops sometimes separate the hamsters into gender specific groups either too late, or misgender a male and put him with females. To find out more about finding your hamster’s gender, you should read here. The gender becomes important from week 4 of life, when the hamster babies are weaned by their mother. That’s when they can also start breeding, and sometimes unwanted accidents can happen. Once the hamster has reached 10 weeks, he or she may be introduced to the opposite sex, if you’re looking to breed them for a new liter. Pregnancies started past week 14 are not safe though, so keep an eye on the hamster’s age. For more info on the mating ritual and the reproduction itself, you will need to read here. And read here to make sure the babies survive until they are adults. New momma hamsters can be unpredictable. 11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have There are 5 main types of hamsters, 3 of which are Dwarf types. The 3 Dwarf types are hard to tell apart, but the Syrian is the largest and the Chinese is the only one with a noticeable tail. There are essential differences between the Syrian hamster and every other hamster out there. Including where they all came from, actually. Hamsters have only been pets for the past century or so, and they have some pretty rugged ancestors. Why does the breed matter ? In a way, it doesn’t. There aren’t severe temperament differences between hamster breeds like there are between dog breeds. Still, not all hamsters can live together. Only the Dwarf types can come to tolerate a sibling or two, as long as they were never separated since they were babies. Obviously, they need to be of the same gender, otherwise you’ll become a grandparent, not the way you’d like. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend putting any hamster in a cage with another hamster, Dwarf or not. Cohabiting is very rough, and there will be quarrels between the hamsters. To a certain degree they’re normal, as any sibling quarrels are. But, they can always degenerate into serious fights, sometimes deadly. For this reason I strongly recommend you keep each and every hamster in his own cage. 12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster Remember that hamsters are prey animals. This means that they’re used to running away, and hiding. They won’t really stay put so you can pick them up. It’s not their nature. So expect a certain degree of fear and jumpiness from your hamster. He will freeze up from time to time, for no immediate reason. He’s actually listening for predators, and learning the various sounds that go around in your home, and outside of it. A hamster will sleep most of the day, and only wake up at dusk. He’ll come put when his instincts tell him no predators are around. And he’ll stay up most of the night, and go back into his nest once dawn comes. He might make a couple of sounds, but aside from that he’s a very quiet pet. What you might hear though, is the sound of him chewing on something to wear down his teeth. He does this often, and it’s as important to him as brushing our teeth is to us. If your hammy doesn’t warm up to you very fast, don’t be disappointed. That’s a fairly normal reaction from a small animal used to being chased through the desert by animals much larger than himself. You’re not very different from the big animals chasing his ancestors. Other than that, hamsters are a loveable bunch, prone to all kinds of weird acrobatics. My Teddy was one hell of a climber when he was young, he was all over the cage. 13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town Hamsters can’t really be left to their own devices when you leave town. Much like fish or a pet turtle, your hamster is going to need someone to come over and feed him daily. Hammies do survive for a few days with no food or water. But I don’t think you’ll want to find out just how much your hamster can last like that. Best to have someone to take care of him, even if it’s just giving him food and changing the water. 14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals Hamsters are sensitive to everything. The light levels, the noise levels, the temperature, the stress levels, being handled too much, being handled too little, being held wrong, and drafts. So you’re going to have a to be a very careful person if you’re going to look out for a hamster. Most of their sensitivities stem from the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal animals, so they react to light levels and sounds. The other is that they are very very bad at managing stress factors. This means that about half of their health problems come from how stressed they are. Given the fact that these creatures are almost always on high alert, they’re also high-strung all the time. So not a very good thing. It’s also very hard to not scare a hamster. Really, they’re so on edge that even getting up can trigger them. Walking past their cage. Sneezing within a few feet of them is a cataclysmic event. In truth this is because hamsters have very poor eyesight. So if you sit quietly and fairly still, he won’t even know you’re there. That means when you move he’s going to have a small heart attack. He didn’t even notice you, when did you get there ? 15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks like Another thing to be aware of is how long your hamster will live. this will vary from hamster breed to hamster breed, but in general a hamster’s lifespan will be around 2-3 years. Hamsters are adults when they reach 3 months age, and they’re considered old when they reach their 2nd birthday. This means an old hamster will happen upon you faster than you’d think at first. Some hamsters don’t show their age, and some hamsters look very old even before their first birthday. Health problems become more common, walking becomes slow, and they slowly start to wither away. Old hamsters will need special care from you, and you can read up on this here. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look like cute and cuddle little things, but we do require a certain level of care. Hopefully this article gave you a lot of insight into what owning a hammy looks like. 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...
Do Hamsters Attract Mice ? Or Other Pests Like Bugs Or Rats
Do Hamsters Attract Mice ? Or Other Pests Like Bugs Or RatsYou might wonder if your hamster is attracting pests, like roaches or mice or even snakes. The thing is, pests don’t come out of nowhere, they have a reason for coming to your home. So is it the hamster ? We’ll delve into this today, and how to rid your home of said pests. Keep in mind that sometimes you might have to ask a professional for help. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters attract pests ?Why pests might show up in the first placeAgain, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend.Keeping your hamster pest-freeConsider calling a professional to deal with a large infestationA word from Teddy So do hamsters attract pests ? No, hamsters do not attract pests. Hamsters do not attract mice, rats, bugs, snakes, or any other creature that might make your guts squirm. You might think that the hamster’s scent might attract other rodents like mice or rats. This is not true. They are very different species, and will generally avoid each other. The same goes for snakes and bugs. They will not come to you because you’ve touched your pet hamster. Pests do show up when the hamster’s cage becomes dirty, especially with dirty old rotten food. If there are bits of old food on the floor too, then that’s more incentive. But it is not the hamster’s fault. At all. Why pests might show up in the first place To understand why pests might show up in a certain area, we have to know how pests work. You see, the vast majority of creatures regarded as pests – rodents and insects most commonly – are opportunistic feeders. They eat what they can, when they can, if they can get it. As such, a nice crop of corn, for example, can be decimated by a brood of mice, a murder of crows, or a whole locus infestation. But what if you’ve got no such crop ? Well, some food bags in your garage might suffice. If you live in a house and you’ve got foodstuffs stored in your garage or other places in your home, those might attract mice or roaches of not stored properly. This doesn’t mean a stray bag of cereal will make a horde of mice come running. But a bulk of 30 boxes, left in a part of the house that has access to ares that aren’t usually well traveled – like a storage unit or garage or closet or basement – can attract them. If they can pick up the scent of the food, and the food is unguarded, and left in an area that people don’t go through often, then pests can come. Another possibility, if you live in an apartment building: your drawer of snacks can be very inviting. This is more difficult though, since pests don’t come barging because you’ve left an energy bar open in that drawer. But if the building or neighborhood itself has a problem – like possibly your neighbors 2 floors down having a roach infestation – they you might too. They will choose your home over other homes because it has the most unguarded food. Again, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend. But, if you do not regularly clean the hamster’s cage and bits of food and droppings often end up on the floor, pests can show up. They sense where the home is most unkempt, and they go there, knowing no one will be in their way. For example our neighbors have a pair of parakeets. They often leave them in their cage outside in the summer, to enjoy the sun and fresh air. In that cage there’s food, and the birds outside know that. We’ve chased away sparrows trying to steal the parakeet feed more than once. The same scenario could happen with your hamster too, if you keep him in a room where people don’t go much. Sometimes, it could be about something else, and not food. Pests, especially mice and rats, are incredibly curious. and hardy. They will poke and prod and push and try every little corner of the plumbing and outside until they will get inside your home. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Keeping your hamster pest-free Alright, now we know why pests show up. Now we can figure out how to keep the home, and the hamster’s cage pest-free. Here’s a few ideas: Regularly clean the hamster’s cage, once per week. Make sure there is no stray food or poop outside his cage. Do not keep the hamster in a side room. So rooms like basement, closet, garage, storage unit, attic are not okay to keep your living, breathing hamster in. Regularly check the areas where the plumbing comes out of the walls. Like under sinks, bathtubs, drains, etc. Make sure no food has fallen behind a counter, which might attract bugs or mice Keep up to date with your building or neighborhood’s pests infestation, see if your area is clear Make sure your trash can and bags are stored properly, not left outside overnight. For the most part, pests will show up in areas of the home where you don’t really go. So any hidden, dark corner, especially if it connects to a series of tunnels like plumbing for example. For very old houses pests can be a serious problem, since they can infest the walls themselves, and weaken the structure of the house itself. Consider calling a professional to deal with a large infestation If you’ve already got an infestation, you’ll want to get rid of the creatures. While one stray mouse or bug can be dealt with easily, and entire colony is hard to get rid of. There are certain treatments for insects, or poisons for rats, there are even humane traps. But they need to be used effectively. If you’ve got a large infestation, you’ll want to call some professionals. This is mostly because of convenience. By this I mean you can always find the correct dosage for poisons online, or how to set up certain traps as well. But the hassle and time spent on ridding your home of pests is best left to people who are meant to do just that. And you can mind your day-to-day life as usual, until things have settled. Aside from knowing that you’ve got a warranty, in case anything goes wrong. Now I have no recommendation for you, but I’m sure you will be able to look up a team of experts in your area. Do tell them that you’ve got pets, and ask if they’ve got any pet-safe treatments. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies may be rodents but we don’t attract pests, and we’re good guys on our own. We do love to chew though. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below, to know how to care for us and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
4 Differences Between Syrian And European Hamster
4 Differences Between Syrian And European HamsterAre you looking for the perfect hamster pet ? Then perhaps you’ve heard there are several species, and two of the best known are European and Syrian hamster. While they do look similar, one of them is completely unsuited to be a pet, even if it is a cute furball like the other one. I’ve decided to write this article because there are a lot of people confusing those two when they see images of hamsters, which is understandable since they look so similar. Let’s take a look at their key differences and why they matter.  Table of Contents ToggleWhat are Syrian hamsters ?What are European Hamsters ?1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamsterCan you keep a European hamster as a pet ?Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ?Conclusion What are Syrian hamsters ? Syrian hamsters are a type of rodent (family Cricetidae, species Mesocricetus auratus), that is native to northern Syria and southern Turkey. Its habitat in the wild is greatly reduced and it is now classed as an endangered species (in the wild). In captivity however, these are by far the most popular hamster pets and are not endangered at all (as pets).  The captive Syrian hamsters you see (such as in pet shops) are the result of hundreds of generations of selective breeding, which brought about better traits (more docile, less aggressive) and a high variety of fur colors and markings. If you were to pick up a random wild Syrian hamster, it’d be very different from a pet.  I’ve had three hamsters so far, one Syrian (Teddy, he’s mentioned often on this site), and then Eggwhite (a white Syrian) after Teddy died of old age, and now Rocket after Eggwhite died of old age as well. Rocket is a dwarf hamster, specifically a Siberian hamster (light grey with white, fluffy paws and a dark stripe down her back).  I can attest that Eggwhite and Teddy were both very tame compared to Rocket, with Eggwhite the tamest of the bunch.  What are European Hamsters ? European hamsters are similar to Syrian hamsters, in that they’re also a rodent in the family Cricetidae, species Cricetus Cricetus. These hamsters are native to a wide habitat ranging from Central and East Europe to Russia and Central Asia. For reference, Syrian hamsters typically live far below where European hamsters live.  European hamsters are considered a critically endangered species, partly due to losing their habitat to agriculture, and partly because they are viewed as pests by farmers.  I’ve seen a European hamster personally once. It was in a local park in my city, and I saw it going in and out of its burrow at the root of a big tree. I took a few photos but they are very zoomed in because once I got close the hamster scampered into its home.  Not let’s do a more thorough comparison of European and Syrian hamsters.  1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters The first and biggest difference between European and Syrian hamsters is their size. European hamsters are very large, for a hamster. They’re the size of an adult guinea pig, while adult Syrian hamsters are a bit smaller than your computer mouse.  This difference in size should be your biggest tip-off of what you’re looking at. A young European hamster will be the size of an adult Syrian hamster, and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever find one in a pet shop.  And because of this difference, if you were to try and keep a European hamster as a pet you’d need a far larger cage with very strong wires. More than you’d need if you had a Syrian hamster, who also needs a large cage to begin with. See here about how big or small their cage needs to be.  2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot Both Syrian hamsters and European hamsters have been kept in laboratories to be studied, and also be used for various studies. One thing scientists have noted: European hamsters do not get more docile or tame, even on their second or third generation in captivity. This is opposed to Syrian hamsters, who tend to be the most docile and less aggressive of any hamster species. It is true that the vast majority of Syrian hamsters you find for sale are all descended from a single female and her offspring, back in 1930. It’s possible that the one female had a gene that made her more docile, and her offspring inherited that gene as well, allowing for more and more docile hamsters as time went on.  Even so, it’s clear that European hamsters would make a very aggressive pet, and definitely not something suitable for children or possibly even adults. 3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange There is a big difference in color when it comes to European and Syrian hamsters. European hamsters share a similar template with the Syrian’s classic look: white feet and hands, and white spots on the cheeks and mouth. But where Syrian hamsters are a golden orange color, European hamsters are a dark brown-reddish color.  Syrian hamsters have been bred for so many generations that their potential for different coats has been discovered. You can get Syrians in any color you can think of, with or without spots, without white feet or hands, and even with varying lengths of fur. The original gold and white fur were the best ones for blending into their surroundings, but it wasn’t the only one they were capable of.  European hamsters come in just one style, the one most suited to their environment. If they were to be bred for several generations you’d probably see a change in their color patterns as well. 4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamster If there’s one thing European and Syrian hamsters absolutely share, it’s their dislike of other hamsters. All hamsters are territorial and should never be kept in the same pen as another hamster. Syrian and European hamsters can and will attack their siblings in an attempt to claim a territory for their own. The result is often deadly so I recommend you don’t put two hamsters in the same cage ever, regardless of their species. Not even if they grew up together.  Can you keep a European hamster as a pet ? No, European hamsters cannot be kept as pets. They are very difficult to spot in the wild, let alone capture. Few were captured and any attempts at taming them (and their offspring) have failed.  Their much larger size (about as big as an adult guinea pig) makes any potential bite or scratch much more dangerous than one from a Syrian hamster (much smaller). That’s very unfortunate since they are super cute furballs and they might be as funny as a Syrian hamster, but just bigger. You would need a huge cage for them since even regular hamsters require quite big cages to be able to do all their workout routine, they are super active and need space. Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ? Syrian hamsters make good pets only for those who have the patience to get to know their pet, understand and respect their habits, and are gentle enough when handling them. They are mostly active at night but will occasionally come out during the day too. They tend to be shy, and you can’t play with them as you would with a puppy. You can hold a Syrian hamster, but not for very long. They have a bit of patience, the most out of all hamster species, but they will not sit in one place for more than a few seconds. If it’s in your hands it will want to wiggle out and keep moving. If they get frustrated they can bite in an attempt to escape your hands.  However, even if you are unlucky and you get one hamster that is not calm or willing to play, one extra benefit of pet hamsters are that they are incredibly funny and cute, so you will not get bored even if you don’t get to touch the little furball too much. Here is one of my articles where I listed 12 reasons why hamsters can be super cute and funny. No hamster is a good pet for a young child (under 9 years old), not even a Syrian hamster. If you’re looking for a companion, something to cuddle, take on walks, and even play with, a hamster is not the answer. Conclusion Syrian and European hamsters are similar enough to confuse them sometimes, but they have quite different personalities. Despite this, neither of them likes sharing their space with another individual, so they should be kept separate. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between a Syrian and a European hamster, for an untrained eye they are not as noticeable so it’s easy to confuse them, however you will never get to see a European hamster at your pet shop, so if you think of buying a hamster you will have to get a Syrian hamster, which is the best choice anyway. If you plan to buy a hamster, here is an article that will help you understand the real cost of owning a hamster, the cage is the most expensive thing you will ever buy for the hamster but the hamster itself should not cost too much. [...] Read more...