Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking Hams

You’ve maybe wondered if your hamster ever blinks. He just seems to sit there and stare at you, endlessly. Or maybe he just stares into space. Does a hamster ever blink ? I’ve found myself watching my Teddy to see if he ever does blink.

And, as luck would have it, I found the answer to whether hamsters blink or not. It’s maybe not the key to the universe, but it can help us understand our furry friends better.

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So do hamsters blink ?

Yes, hamsters do blink. Just not exactly like us humans. Hamsters have evolved to blink with only one eye at a time, possibly because they are prey for many animals.

So they can’t really afford to even not be on guard. It’s a sort of defense mechanism like bunnies sleeping with their eyes open. Or guinea pigs only sleeping for a few minutes at a time, in patches throughout the day.

You might have wondered if hamsters blink after your hammy kept looking at you and he never seemed to blink. Truth is, in the presence of humans (bigger predators) hamsters will rarely blink.

That does not mean they blink their heart out when you’re not looking. It just means that until they come to trust you they won’t even try blinking.

Hamsters need their eyes clean, too !

Hamsters. like any other creature with eyes, need their eyes clean. Some animals, like frogs or crocodiles have 2 sets of eyelids, one to protect the eye from injury, and one to protect the eye from the muddy water.

Hamsters have just one set of eyelids – yes, hamsters have eyelids – which serve to clean their eyes when they blink, just like us humans. You might not have noticed their eyelids when looking at them, but hamsters have them.

Try peeking at them when they sleep, there you will see their eyes closed.

Another thing that helps keep the hamster’s eyes clean is their eyelashes. Generally eyelashes are soft, fuzzy, and very noticeable. But in hamster’s they’re thin and wispy, because the rest of their fur is like one big eyelash/brow.

Their fur serves the same purpose as an eyelash, to trap debris and foreign objects that might get into their eyes.

Given the hamster’s natural habitat – dry, earthy tunnels dug deep under the ground – this is a very smart adaptation. Their eyes are protected at all times.

Your hamster isn’t just staring at you

You might think your hamster is just staring at you. Especially if he keeps looking and doesn’t blink. I was weirded out by Teddy at first, I’ll say that. He used to just stare at me and not move. He still does that, just that now I know why.

It turns out hamsters look like they’re staring at you, but in fact they’re just staring into space. Add to that the fact that they will often stop to hear if there are predators around, with a very intense look on their face.

It looks like they’re staring you down, but really hamsters barely see. They don’t even really use their eyes, and they will freak out if you suddenly move. They only see what is directly in front of them, the rest is blurry.

So the next time your hammy looks at you funny, know that it’s not you. It’s him, hearing things out, or just being still.

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

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A few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirty

Hamsters have great protection for their eyes. However problems can and do occur, and they need your help to fix most of these issues.

Even if hamsters don’t really use their eyes, these problems still can happen, like:

  • Eye infections – where they eye can be swollen, red, hot to the touch. Pus will possibly ooze from the eye as well, as as such you will need to clean/rinse the eye with a saline solution.
  • Bulging eye – the eye will appear larger than normal, like it’s about to pop from its place. This is often because if an inflammation of the tissue behind the eye itself.
  • Cataracts/blindness – unfortunately many hamsters end up with this problem in their old are. This is what happens naturally to the body when the eye starts to break down on its own.

There problems, and a few others, can all be solved at your local vet. It would be wise to look for an ”exotic” vet, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds.

Or, possibly a small pet vet will be able to help too. Just keep in mind that sometimes small pet can mean a cat or bunny.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look like we’re trying to stare you down, but really we’re just being hamsters. Don’t take it personally.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us happy and safe.

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How to Find a Hamster Breeder The Essentials
How to Find a Hamster Breeder The EssentialsHamsters are such adorable creatures and I won’t be surprised if you are already researching how to find a hamster breeder. However, your search is going to become a lot easier as I’ve done all the hard work for you. In this article, I’ll be talking about how to find a hamster breeder and other sources where you can buy hamsters from. You can find a hamster breeder at hamster online communities, hamster shows and expos, and from online directories of hamster clubs.  Now let’s see in full at the different places you can buy a hamster. You may be already familiar with some of them or learn new places where you can buy a hamster. Continue reading to find out the best places to buy a hamster. Table of Contents ToggleWhat are the best places to buy a hamster?1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder2. Pet stores3. Hamster Communities Online4. Hamster Shows5. Hamsters For Adoption6. Pet ExposHow to find a good hamster breeder?Questions to ask a hamster breeder What are the best places to buy a hamster? Hamsters make a great pet and parents usually get it for their child as his/her first pet. But hamsters are adorable creatures that are loved by the young and old alike. They are affordable, relatively easy to care and of course, cute! And they don’t take a lot of space. What’s not to love about hamsters, 1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder Hamster breeders are the most reputable source that you can get a hamster from. But the problem many people encounter here is finding hamster breeders near. However, finding local hamster breeders is a lot easier than many people realize. This is because local hamster breeders are usually part of regional and local groups. Now, the good news is that these groups usually have a website and can easily be found with a quick Google search. 2. Pet stores Chances are that you’ve seen hamsters for sale at a local pet store alongside other small animals like birds, mice, and guinea pigs.  3. Hamster Communities Online While there isn’t a hamster nationwide association in the United States, several states have at least one hamster fan club. These hamster fan clubs usually have an online directory of hamster breeders in their states. You can go through this directory to find the closest breeder to you.  The California Hamster Organization is an example of a hamster fan club and it is based in Southern California. There are also online communities like Hamster Hideout where you can connect with hamster lovers and breeders in your area.  The National Hamster Council (NHC) is the main body for hamster breeders in the UK. And the organization has three regional clubs that have lists of breeder members. The regional clubs have also been known to organize hamster shows. 4. Hamster Shows Hamster shows are events where hamster breeders bring out their hamsters for exhibit and sale. These shows are usually run by hamsters enthusiasts who are very passionate about these adorable little furry creatures and want to promote them as pets while also campaigning for the welfare of hamsters. Finding a hamster show is easy in the UK as local NHC run hamster shows from time to time following a well-established schedule.  5. Hamsters For Adoption Hamsters are usually put up for adoption at small animal rescue organizations and traditional animal shelters. These hamsters are homeless and you could be the one to give a hamster a home forever. You’ll have to inquire about the personality of any hamster you wish to adopt and chances are that a vet has come around to check on the hamsters before they are put up for adoption.  6. Pet Expos Pet expos give you an avenue to meet hamster lovers and breeders. You get to chat way about these adorable creatures as well as buy a hamster and their supplies. Most major cities usually have pet expos at least once a year. If you live in a rural area, you should check out county fairs as well as 4-H shows as they are great places to find hamsters.  How to find a good hamster breeder? As discussed above, you can find hamster breeders from online communities, hamster shows, and expos. But you see. anyone can call themselves breeders. It doesn’t matter if they breed hundreds of litters or a single one in a year or whether their hamsters are living in a warehouse or sitting room.  The fact that anyone can style themselves as hamster breeders makes things a bit complicated when you want to get hamsters from a breeder. This necessitates the need to differentiate good breeders from the wannabe breeders. One of the ways by which you can spot  One of the best ways to know sensible breeders from mediocre ones is to ask questions, lots of questions. My advice to anyone considering getting a new pet is to do some research and learn about the pet. It’s important you know what you are committing to. Also, you’ll be able to judge if any information you receive from a breeder is correct. You can get reliable information about hamsters from Hamsterlopaedia by Chris and Pete Logsdail. So if you ask a breeder a question and he/she can’t or isn’t willing to answer, then that’s a red flag.  You can also know if your hamster breeder is reputable or not by the record he/she keeps. Good breeders keep detailed records of their breeding stock. This makes every individual hamster easily identifiable. The records kept should contain the following information about individual hamsters: Birthdate Sex Color Show wins Medical records Mating and breeding log. The breeding log should record all their matings and details such as the number of offspring and any postnatal deaths while the medical records should detail past illnesses of the hamsters if any and the treatments.  Questions to ask a hamster breeder 1) Why do you breed?: I think this is a very crucial question and answers like “I think hamsters are cute’ or “Because I want to” isn’t just going to cut it. Now, I think good hamster breeders usually have a vision in mind which ultimately relates to improving hamsters by establishing healthy lines that have good temperament. These hamsters should be able to meet the NHC show standards which are all about promoting good health and aesthetics.  2) Ask if the breeder provides ongoing support and whether you can return a hamster you bought from them if you can no longer keep it: Ideally, the answer to this should be ‘yes’. Responsible hamster breeders should not allow their hamsters to end up at shelter homes. The breeder will inform you of any policy he/she has in place concerning this.  3) Are you a hamster club member or do you hold a prefix?: Hamster organizations like NHC are all about promoting hamster care. These organizations give ‘prefixes’ which are hamsters’ names to breeders that have been members for a year. These breeders will be required to abide by the organization’s code of conduct as regards breeding and care.  Ask your breeder if he/she is a member of any club. Also. ask if he/she has a prefix. And should they have a prefix, which you’ll confirm by asking for a prefix certificate, go to the organization’s website to check the current list of breeders that have prefixes?  4) Do you cull babies in litters?: The answer to this should be ‘no’. 5) What care do you give to mums and litters?: This has to do with the care and diet given to both hamster mums and baby hamsters. The diet given to hamsters mums-to-be is very important and should be especially rich in protein. Babies and mother hamsters are not supposed to be disturbed for the first two weeks. You should get some information about the care given to hamsters if the breeders keep detailed records.  6) Ask about how often the babies handled and from what age. Also, you should ask about the age at which the baby hamsters are available for rehoming. Baby hamsters are not supposed to be handled until they are 14 days old as this is when their eyes open. After that, the baby hamsters need to be handled regularly. The reason for this is to keep them tame and nice. And baby hamsters are ready to be moved to a new home by four weeks, though it’s common to do this at 6-8 weeks. A good breeder will provide you with all this information and more.  7) You also need to ask the breeder if they seek veterinary treatment for their hamsters and if there is a good local vet they can recommend.  You also have to inquire about any existing health problems the hamster line/litter may have and a good breeder should be honest about this.  [...] Read more...
These Are The Best Ways to Exercise a Hamster
These Are The Best Ways to Exercise a HamsterHamsters are incredibly active animals. Often reminiscent of squirrels, for whom people often say are completely restless, hamsters need a lot of activity to feel comfortable. People may think that hamsters running on wheels is a gimmick, but it’s actually a form of exercise to them. Moreover, it’s a form of exercise that’s crucial – without exercise, hamsters feel dull and stressed out, they need an activity to function well. This is because they’re constantly moving around in the wilderness, and this instinct doesn’t go away just because they’re kept as a pet. If you want your hamster to stay healthy, and just as important as that, if you want it to be calm enough to have a healthy relationship with you – the owner, you’re going to have to provide a way for the hamster to exercise. This can be done in many ways, and we’ll be discussing all of the ways your hamster can exercise today. In this article, we’ll be covering all forms of exercise for hamsters, and what should you allow your hamster to do. There are many things you can do for your hamster to let them exercise and you should always try to keep them as active as possible. Today, we’ll be taking a look at those exercises. Without further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Exercise Wheel2. Exercise Ball/Hamster Ball3. A Secure Playing Area4. Tunnels5. Climbing6. Obstacle Courses 1. Exercise Wheel This is without a doubt the most popular form of exercise for hamsters. It’s the wheel you’ve seen in every film or TV-show that showed a hamster. This shouldn’t be considered an optional accessory – this is a must-have for every hamster. These wheels provide entertainment and physical activity for the hamster. This wheel turns about when the hamster steps inside and cause the hamster to run as he continues to turn it around – it’s basically a treadmill for hamsters. This wheel will help your hamster burn off boredom and extra pounds (a form of expression, hamsters don’t weigh that much). There are many cages that come with the exercise wheel attached to them, but if you don’t have a wheel (or it’s broken), you’re going to need to buy a wheel. You need to make sure that the wheel is solid. Hamsters will instinctively chew everything, and some of them will stop biting metal once they realize that there’s no actual use to it – but if your hamster is that stubborn, then it’d be best to buy a metal running wheel, as they’re most likely to chew through a plastic model. Buying mesh or barred wheels is dangerous, as the hamster can get its feet stuck between the slats or bars. Also, different species of hamsters need different kinds of wheels. Syrian hamsters need wheels that are at least 8 inches in diameter, although if you buy a 10-inch wheel, you’re good for the rest of their life. Dwarf hamsters need a wheel that’s at least 6.5 inches in diameter. You don’t want to buy a wheel that’s too small, as that can cause major back problems for the animal. If you buy a wheel that’s too small, the hamster will stop using it after a while and it will get bored. If your hamster is a female and she’s a nursing mother, then take the wheel out. The hamster will lose interest in her young and won’t get off the wheel. There’s also the option of the young running on the wheel together, which creates the potential for injury. 2. Exercise Ball/Hamster Ball This ball is a great way for your pet to both have fun and explore its surroundings, getting better acquainted with your home. Hamster balls are plastic balls your hamster can enter and run around. This is great because your hamster is protected and can’t hurt itself (as long as you establish an area where it can move, if it falls down the stairs in the ball, then it’s definitely hurting itself). All you have to do is let the hamster enter the ball and then close the lid to the ball safely. The only dangers to this toy are drop off points, like the aforementioned stairs. Your hamster will power the ball with its feet, just like with the wheel, but unlike the wheel (which just spins in circles), this ball will actually take your hamster places. Your hamster will be able to explore your home and get more comfortable in the environment. The sizes for the exercise balls follow the same rules as with exercise wheels, so you can take a look at that section if you’re interested in sizes. Make sure to be present when your hamster is using the ball outside the cage – other pets may want to play with the ball and that’s just a barrel of dynamite waiting to be lit. It’s best to let the hamster run around a flat ground (like a single floor of the house) with all the doors closed. One of the greatest advantages of this toy, in comparison to letting your hamster freely roam your home, is the fact that it can’t get stuck under any furniture. However, you have to make sure that the ball you’re choosing has ventilation holes small enough. If they’re too large, your hamster might get their feet stuck in those holes, or even their heads (they tend to push their heads in literally every open hole). Since hamsters have such poor vision, it’s best to buy a ball that’s made from clear plastic. Tinted plastic is also an option, but why only make matters even worse. Another thing that you should keep in mind is the lid/flap of the ball, which you open and close from the outside. It would be smart to put a sliver of scotch tape over it, just to make sure that it doesn’t accidentally open while your hamster’s running all over the place. Children, just like pets, are sort of a hazard to this way of playing, as they may be tempted to kick the ball. You should also keep in mind that a ball that’s too large will cause your hamster to be thrown around it once they reach enough speed, because of inertia. Also, if the ball is properly sized and they still manage to reach enough speed, the same effect may be achieved. You shouldn’t let your hamster run around for longer than 20 minutes – they’ll tire and get dizzy, so it’s time for snacks, dehydration, and rest after 20 minutes. 3. A Secure Playing Area You should make an enclosure outside the cage, where your hamster can roam freely. Take four planks, each three feet long, and make a frame. Set that frame down on the ground and let your hamster play in that area. Make sure that the planks are tall enough, as hamsters are very good at climbing and they might climb out of the frame – if your hamster gets loose you’re going to spend hours chasing it. Your hamster should be able to move freely. Even if you haven’t purchased any toys for your hamster, it will still run around and enjoy the free space. However, you should definitely buy toys. They’re cheap and they keep your hamster entertained. Play is exercise and toys are the tools of play that lead to exercise. There are many toys you can purchase at the pet store, but we’ll list a few of them. You can even use some of these inside the cage. A piece of rope – you can hang this piece of rope from the top of the cage – this is great for climbing. Twigs – you can simply take twigs from any tree and let your hamster play with those. It will bite them and chew on them, which will exercise their jaws, and it will also provide your hamster with the materials they can carry around and build stuff with. You can also make toys out of everyday household items, like toilet paper rolls. Hamsters will roll these rollers around and have fun with them. This is actually very similar to the movement provided by the hamster ball, as they have to push with their forward feet. It will provide fun for a long time, at least until they realize that they can chew that up, as well. You can also use a tin can (once you’re removed and smoothened all the sharp edges), which makes an even heavier exercise tool. The next level to this can be a glass jar, but take the lid off and let the hamster explore the inside. Small pebbles and stones. These will act as weights for your hamster, it will pick them up and carry them around, roll them, and build things with them. You can also cut multiple entrances and exits to cardboard or a wooden box and let your hamster play around with it. This is actually great because it will resemble its natural environment (as hamsters live in complex burrows with many entrances and exits in the wilderness), and the hamster will naturally enjoy it. 4. Tunnels We’ve already explained that hamsters live in tunnels when they’re in the wild, so making a tunnel labyrinth is going to be a great form of exercise for your hamster. You can do this in two ways, collect used toilet paper rolls, or you can buy hamster tubes. Using toilet paper rolls is the cheaper option, as the hamster is definitely going to figure out that it can simply chew through those. Buying hamster tubes is the better option. These tubes are connectable, which allows you to create any shape you want and any sort of maze you want to. They’re also more stable than used toilet paper rolls, so you don’t have to worry about your hamster breaking them or disassembling them from the inside out. This gives the hamster a lot of places to climb and plenty of tubes to run around through. You can actually use this in the cage, but also let your hamster leave the cage to a playing area via these tubes – this is great because your hamster can get to its playing area whenever it wants to. And if you’ve made the walls tall enough, then it won’t be able to escape from the playing area, and the hamster’s exercising will be completely independent. You can also create a tunnel that lets your hamster leave the cage, with the other end of the tunnel returning to the cage, which ensures that it won’t run away. You can create tunnels that are incredibly complex, but still have only one or two entrance and exit points. You also have cages that have tubes installed in them, or you can purchase two cages and connect them, making an interesting habitat. You can also cover the whole wall with tubes and watch your hamster crawl on the wall. There are so many options with this, and since hamsters love tunnels, they will enjoy it too. The only thing you should keep an eye out for is the size of the tubes in diameter. You don’t want to buy a tube system that’s too tight for your hamster – they will get stuck and you’ll have to get them out. 5. Climbing Hamsters are natural climbers, so allowing them to climb is a great way of exercising them. If you have a metal mesh cage, you’re most likely going to notice that your hamster is climbing on the walls. This is completely normal, and if anything, you should encourage it! If you’ve developed a healthy relationship with your hamster, it’s most likely going to try and climb on you. You should allow this as well if you don’t have any problems with it on the hygienic front, and hamsters won’t scratch you or hurt you in any way. Aside from that, you can attach ropes, twigs, etc. in their cage to create a climbing environment. The only downside to this is that having a metal cage is definitely great, especially for ventilation, but there is a problem that you might be overseeing – and that’s their droppings. To resolve this, place a sheet of newspapers on the bottom of the cage and take it out when you gauge that it’s time to change it. If you have a Roborovski hamster, then you should be careful with metal cages and consider buying a mouse cage. These hamsters are great at crawling through small spaces and they will use this to escape. 6. Obstacle Courses You can also create obstacle courses for your hamster – include toys, branches, twigs, rope, and all sorts of things that your hamster has to crawl through, jump over, climb over, etc. This is a great way for them to exercise their muscles and have fun at the same time, just make sure that you’re using an enclosed area for these courses, as they’re likely to escape if you don’t. There are things you should keep in mind when exercising your hamster. Safety should always come first, that’s why you shouldn’t let other pets near the area where your hamster’s playing. Cats and dogs are 100% guaranteed to chase, and most likely catch your hamster, so it’s best to isolate them while your hamster’s playing. Another thing that you should always keep in mind are other hazardous things, like electricity – hamsters will maybe try to chew through electric cords, touch sockets, etc. If contact is ever achieved, it will most definitely kill the hamster, so make sure that your hamster can’t reach any of this. Another hazard that’s very dangerous for hamsters is sudden drops. This means: staircases, shelves, couches, tables, etc. – hamsters can’t see well, and when they’re on the couch or on a table, they will run around and possibly fall off, or even jump off the table or couch because they can’t see that it’s ending. And even if they see that the table is actually ending, they can’t gauge how tall it is and how high of a fall that is, so it’s best to enclose an environment for them when they’re playing like this. It’s also important to keep your water supply ready and full. Hamsters can get very tired and very dehydrated when they’re exercising, so it’s important that they can go back to their cage and rehydrate whenever they need to. It’s also important to have treats ready for them once they’re done. You shouldn’t let your hamster exercise for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and make sure that they rehydrate whenever they’re done. [...] Read more...
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)You’ve got a new friend ! You brought your hamster home, but now he needs a name. But what should you name your hamster ? I had the name picked out for my Teddy even before I got him, but sometimes it’s not that easy. I’ll help you pick out a name for your hamster, and give you a few tips on interacting with him as well. But first… Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters know their name ?List of hamster names, for female hamsters:List of hamster names, for male hamsters:Talking and interacting with your hamsterLetting your hamster pick his own nameA word from Teddy Do hamsters know their name ? No, hamsters don’t really recognize their name. Some of them can recognize their owner in some cases, but that’s it. So what does that mean ? You can name your hamster whatever you like ! He won’t mind, or notice at all. You can opt for silly names, or fairly serious/normal pet names. You can even give your hamster especially complicated and long names, it will be the same. Whatever name you end up giving your hamster, you need to interact with him often. Not necessarily to pick him up often (some hamsters do not like that at all) but to talk to him and feed him a couple of treats. Spend time with him. Create a sort of bond between you two. And a name you like and feel like it fits the hamster will help a lot in that way. Let’s see a few examples. List of hamster names, for female hamsters: Abby Annabelle Amelia Arya Amethyst Azura Buttercup Butterscotch Bambi Cotton Candy Camelia Camel Dolly DaQueen Eve Eggy Emma Evelyn Faye Fig Fawn Frisky Funny Gwen Goldie Ginger Hiccup Iris Ivy Ice cream Junie Jackie Juniper Kylie Kesha Krispy Layla Lizzie Lady Leeloo Madeira Minnie Mocha Maab (as in Queen Maab) Nina Namira Nora Olla Olive Okie Pepita Pam (Pamela Hamsterson) Peanut Poppy Pufferina Pearl Queenie Rey Ruby Rose Shiloh Sasha Sansa Trixie Turnip Tabby Tiny Tinkerbell Umbra Umbriel Vanilla (in honor of the late Vanilla HamHam) Viking Willow Wololo Xena Ygritte Yasmin Zelda List of hamster names, for male hamsters: Ace Alduin Adam Anthony Arnold Bucky Balthazar Boy Brutus Bob Bear Grylls Boo Biscuit Boomer Basil Conan Coco Commader Whiskers Chewie Chico Disco Dexter Danzig Drax the Destroyer Danny Dunkirk Damon Eeyore Elvis Elmo Eddie Fry Cheese Fry Furball Gerry Guy Ghandi Guillermo Del Hamstero Gizmo Gary Grizzly General Napkin the Second Honey Hannibal Hector Hamish Hunter Hamlet Ham Hachiko Hammy Ian Ice Iggy Jericho Jasper Jack Jumbo Kirk Kirby Larry Leo Leonardo Da Hammy Leopold the Skittish Lightning Mascot Mo Maury Mickey MJ Munchkin Messi Napoleon Napkin Oscar Ozzy Piggy Pooh Quentin Ripley Rami Rasputin Radagast Rhubarb Randall Rudy Randy Ruckus Rambler Steve Sparky Spot Shaggy Scooby Small Guy Scaramouche Shorty Taz Tippy Thunder Uncle Usain Vic Vladimir the Restless Vandal Whiskers Wolfenstein Wolf Wiggy Wolverine Xavier York Yogi the Bear Zoomer Zayn Talking and interacting with your hamster Whenever you talk to your hamster, name sure to use a soft, low voice. Be as soothing as you possibly can, since these creatures are very skittish. Using a calm, soothing voice will help relax the hamster. Now, hamsters are almost never calm and collected, but you can still try. Also be aware that hamsters have very sensitive ears and hearing, and as such speaking to them in a soft, low voice will be easy on their ears and they won’t shy away from you. Always use the hamster’s name as often as you can when talking to him, and try to spend as much time as you possibly can. Tell him about your day and feed him a couple leaves of parsley. Give him a small bit of cooked plain chicken and ask him if he slept well last night. Of course he won’t be able to piece together anything you’re saying, but he will understand that you’re interacting with him. In time he will learn to associate you with food, and with good times and safety. If you’ve very patient, this can lead to a great bond between you and your hamster. Please remember though that the hamster’s taming can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It depends on the hamster’s personality, and your patience. Sometimes even after the hamster’s tamed he still won’t be the friendliest or cuddliest furball. That’s okay, each hamster is different. (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.) Letting your hamster pick his own name If you’re not very decided, you can let the hamster pick out his own name. We got this idea from Pethelpful.com and thought it’s actually a great way to let fate decide. Kind of. You can do this several ways. For example you can chose a few hamster names and write them out on a paper plate or tray. Make sure they’re evenly spaced  out, no more than 3-5 names. Then, place bits of food or hamster treats on top of each name – like a piece of carrot, a peanut, a bit of cooked chicken, or something else from this safe foods list. Whichever food/name the hamster first goes for, that’s his name ! Another way is to place the hamster in his exercise ball, and stick a few sticky notes with the names written on them. Let the hamster roam the house in the ball, and whichever note falls off first, that’s the name. You can also make a maze our of an empty egg carton. Cut a few holes in it, as exit holes. Assign a name for each hole. Whichever hole the hamster exits the maze through, that’s going to be his name. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are cute and you have a hard time naming us, but I’m sure you’ll find a great one for your friend. My owner knew my name long before he picked me up, and I think Teddy suits me great. 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...
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...
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live Together
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live TogetherYour cute and cuddly hammies are fighting ! In some cases this can be a nightmare, especially if they were fine until recently. I asked around, and talked to other hamster owners as well about why hamsters fight. Turns out there are a few things to consider before you get a pair of hamsters in the same cage. Also, not all hamster breeds can live together. Sometimes even those breeds that everyone knows can live together can get into serious fights. But let’s first see why hamsters fight in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters fight ?Are your hamsters really fightingHamsters need plenty of territoryHamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up withWhich hamster breeds can live together ?Do hamsters get lonely ?When to separate hamster babiesHow to find your hamster’s genderHow to house 2 dwarf hamstersIntroduce the hamstersIntervene if you notice them fighting too hardHandle the hamsters so they get the same attentionSet up the cage for the hamsters’ comfortShould you even keep hamsters together at all ?A word from Teddy So why do hamsters fight ? For the most part, hamsters fight over territory. In the wild all hamsters are solitary, and require a certain space of their own. And when they happen upon another hamster, they treat him as a trespasser. Pet or captive hamsters haven’t forgotten this instinct, and will still fight a new hamster if they ever meet. There are some exceptions, like litter mates that were brought up together, but even then there can be fights. When it comes to paired hamsters, they can also fight over resources (food, hideout, bedding, toys, etc). We’ll get into more detail with why hamsters fight over territory and how they can tolerate litter mates in the rest of the article. But first we need to touch on the topic of play fighting, since this can be confused with actual fighting. Are your hamsters really fighting This is a topic you can’t really find a lot of answers for. But still, hamsters do playfight. This is mostly as babies, and mostly the males. It’s a normal part of their upbringing. They learn how to be hamsters, what’s okay, what isn’t, and develop their core personalities. But what about your adult hamsters, same gender, litter mates, suddenly fighting ? Is it a real fight ? The answer depends a lot on whether they’ve done this before. Most likely, it’s the beginning of a real fight. Small skirmishes can spring up from nowhere, and they’re largely unpredictable. If your hamsters are babies, and you’ve only just brought them home, it’s possible that they’re establishing the roles. In a pair one hamster is always a bit more dominant, even if it’s just a little. Supervise them when they’re young, and see if it devolved into actual fighting. For the most part, hamsters can play fight, or have small arguments. These are usually harmless, even if they are loud. One hamster will jump on the other one, they may squeak and run around, but in the end one will give in. That’s the submissive hamster, and if they return to whatever they were doing beforehand, it’s okay. If it all turns into biting, cornering, relentlessly chasing and you start to see blood and a bit of stray fur, you need to separate them. The small arguments are more common when the hamsters are first introduced together in the same cage. Over time they subside, but they can still come up from time to time. Hamsters need plenty of territory This is the main reason hamsters should be kept alone. Yes, some breeds are okay with living together with another, but in general they should be alone. This is because hamsters require a lot of territory to run around, forage, and generally have their own turf. When they share that territory with another hamster, it can become a problem. So, make sure you get your hamsters a big enough cage – more on that here. In that article you’ll find the minimum cage requirement for a single hamster. But when you have two hamsters, you need to double that. That means that the minimum for one hammy is  24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. In this case, the minimum for 2 hamsters, even if they’re just Dwarf types, is 48 x 24 inches by 12 inches tall. In centimeters that’s 122 x 61, by 30.5 cm tall. Hamsters don’t need a lot of height in their cages, but they do need a lot of floor space. Always go for a bigger cage. You’re sparing yourself and you hamsters a lot of trouble. Hamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up with As it turns out, not all hamsters can get along. This is aside from the breeds that can’t be housed together. If your hamsters are of a different litter, but still babies, they might still fight. The younger and more similar the hamsters are, the easier it will be for them to tolerate each other. So it’s best to pair hamsters which are from the same litter. And it’s best to do this before they’re 6-7 weeks old. That’s when hamsters mature, and maturing together will help your hamsters tolerate each other better. Even so, sometimes hamsters from the same litter raised together can still not get along. Each pairing can be more or less successful, depending on the hamsters’ personalities. So again, supervise their first interactions and see if they can get along. Which hamster breeds can live together ? Of all the hamster breeds, only some Dwarf types can live together. Specifically Roborovski, Campbell’s, and Siberian hamsters can live together and not fight. This is only true for hamsters that were born in the same litter, so are siblings. If they were raised together by their mother, and brought home in a same-sex pair, and put in a cage together they will most probably get along well. There is a Dwarf type that should not be housed with another, and that is the Chinese hamster. The Chinese is slightly larger than the other 3 dwarf types, more territorial, and needs to be left by himself. And finally, Syrian hamsters will be aggressive toward any hamster,ans should always be kept alone. Never get your Syrian hamster a friend, they will fight to the death. For Chinese and Syrian hamsters, even if you bring home 2 hammies of the same gender and litter, it’s a bad idea. They will fight and this can devolve into actual death matches. Do hamsters get lonely ? For the most part, no, hamsters do not get lonely. The more sociable ones, like the Roborovski, Campbell, and Siberian can live without their cage mates as well. As for the more aloof Syrian and Chinese, they definitely do not need a friend. All hamsters are okay with human interaction, and they will remember their owner. But hamsters do not get attached as much as other kinds of pets do (like a dog, for example). Still, they will ask for your attention if they see you. This is for the most part curiosity about everything that surrounds them. So in short – hamsters do not really get lonely. While some hamster types can live together, they do not need to live together in order to feel alright or safe. In the wild they would be living alone. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters will need to be separated into gender specific groups when their mother weans them. Usually that’s around 3-4 weeks of age. When hamsters reach that age they can eat commercial food, and drink water. But most importantly they can start to breed, even so young. So it’s important to separate the hamsters into genders for that reason alone. This is also useful when you’re preparing the hamsters to later be kept in pairs. Having their cage mate with them from the very beginning will be much easier for both hamsters. Always get same sex pairs, unless you want a new litter. If you do want a new litter, you must separate the two because the female will go into heat every few days. Also, she can become pregnant right after giving birth, so it might even slip your notice. Best to be safe and get all male or all female pairs, and house them together in a very large cage. How to find your hamster’s gender A hamster’s gender is easy enough to tell, but some breeds are harder to figure out. Those are the Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) since they are so small and wriggly. For more info on how to find your hamster’s gender, you need to read this article. You’ll get info on how to handle untamed hamsters as well, and this is crucial when you’ve got baby Dwarf hamsters. In short, you need to look for the genital area of your hamster, and notice the differences. On males, you will notice that the genital opening and anal opening are farther apart, and have a patch of fur between them. If you hold the hamster and tilt him on his back a bit, you will notice that his testicles will show more clearly. On females, the genital and anal openings are almost the same, in that they are extremely close together. You might even have trouble telling them apart. Females will have 2 rows of nipples running down their abdomen. When you’re holding your hamster he will most probably try to wriggle out of your hand. That’s normal, no hamster likes to be handled like that. So make sure you keep the process very short, so as not to irritate the hamster. Now that you know all of this, let’s talk about how to house the two hamsters properly. (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 house 2 dwarf hamsters You will need a bit of patience and a sharp eye for this process. It can work out half the time, but the other half is not too pretty. Let’s see how to introduce the hamsters first. You can only do this with baby hamsters. Adults (6 weeks and up) of any kind will fight ferociously ! Introduce the hamsters If you’ve got hamsters from the same litter, so sibling hamsters, this will be easy. Simply place them in a cage large enough for both of them as adults. That’s a cage 24 x 12 inches wide, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That is the absolute minimum, and you’re better off with a glass tank for Dwarf types. They are so small they can escape through the bars of a normal cage. If you’ve got 2 different hamsters, from 2 separate litters, you need to be careful. Get 2 cages, and keep them close together so that the hamsters can see and smell each other regularly. After a couple of days, if you see them trying to interact with each other, you can move them in together. If they ignore each other, they might not get along if you try to put them together. But if they are curious and sniff around a lot, you can try putting them together. But this requires a third cage, that smells of neither of them. Clean, fresh bedding, clean toys, food bowls, and hideout and wheels as well. This way they won’t have ‘personal’ belongings, and will learn to share more easily. Your hammies might ignore each other, or they might be very curious. A bit of sniffing and play fighting is normal, until they get used to each other. Intervene if you notice them fighting too hard The hamsters will do a lot of pouncing on each other, and will interact a lot. In the beginning, when they are just getting used to each other, and their personalities are developing, this is normal. They’re also asserting their dominance and trying each other out. As long as it doesn’t get bloody and vicious, it’s alright. It will be loud, and it will involve a lot of chasing around. Again, another reason to get the hamsters a large enough cage or glass tank. If the hamsters have small arguments what come out of nowhere and go away in a couple of seconds, that’s alright too. As long as they don’t devolve into something worse, it’s still play fighting. Your hamsters will have short bursts like this every now and then, but they should be fairly rare. However if they are consistent and start to last longer each time, it’s a sign that they’re not getting along. If you see one of the cornering the other hamster, biting, scratching, even blood – definitely separate them. When separated the hamsters should be very far apart, even in different rooms. They can still hear and smell each other, which will stress them out. Handle the hamsters so they get the same attention If your hamsters get along and are okay, then great. Handling them will need to be done with care. Since hamsters are so sensitive to smell, having your scent on just one of them will increase the tension between the two. So, try to handle them at the same time or in the same amount. Pick them up from their cage together, feed them together, and make sure they both get just as much attention from you. This also means that you will need to do this daily, since Dwarf hamsters have a shorter memory. They need constant stimulation, and will forget owners after a few days. Set up the cage for the hamsters’ comfort Largely this means that you will need 2(or more) of everything in your hamster cage. Hideouts, food bowls, water bottles, toys, wheels, everything will need to be at least double. Getting them 2 of each will mean that they have less opportunities to argue over who gets what. Hamsters are very territorial, and will argue over lots of things. Even if they’re siblings. Another thing to be very careful for is how you set up the cage itself. Make sure that there are no blocked corners than your hamsters can get stuck in. When they chase each other around it’s important that they can actually run away. Also, get them hideouts with at least 2 exits, so they can never corner one another. If their relationship devolves to bullying, the victim needs to have opportunities to flee. That means that long tubes or cramped corners should not exist in the cage. Should you even keep hamsters together at all ? In my opinion – no, you should not. Even Dwarf types, who can live together with another hamster of their kind. Hamsters are very territorial, and will eventually fight over many things. Small things like squabbles add up over time, and build tension. Hamsters are so very sensitive to stress, and can develop all kinds of problems based on stress. So, for the hamster’s health, and your ease of conscience, you I recommend you keep all hamsters alone. They live alone in the wild, and they are perfectly okay living on their own. They get a lot of love and affection from you, and even that can be too much sometimes. They can hide from you if they want. But another hamster in their cage can happen upon them at any time, whether they like it or not. A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info on here. I know a lot of people keep us hammies together, even if it’s not the best idea. If you do want to keep us together, make sure we’re Dwarf types and you give us a very very very large cage. If you want to know more about us hammies, like why we’re scared of your sometimes, or how long we can go without food and water, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Need Affection ? How To Keep Your Furball Happy
Do Hamsters Need Affection ? How To Keep Your Furball HappyWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t know how much attention he’d need from me. Or if he’d need any at all. I only knew hamsters can be left by themselves in their cages and be fine, but do hammies really need your attention ? Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need attention from their owners ?It depends on your hamster’s personalityHamsters are always very curious and activeHow to keep your hamster friend happyPlay with the hamsterGive the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exerciseGet your hamster the right sized everythingHamsters do not get lonelyA word from Teddy So do hamsters need attention from their owners ? YES, much less than other pets but yes. Hamsters are solitary by nature, but they still enjoy human company, and can grow to be attached to their owners. This means you need to handle and play with the hamster very often, to form this bond. But your hammy will not be lonely if you don’t pay him too much attention. Hamsters are solitary by nature, and do not miss company necessarily. This means that they can live on their own, and not miss the owner too much. However a hamster not handled regularly will need a lot more space and activities, to consume all of his energy. He’s basically an untamed hamster in this case. But let’s get into detail with this, and see how and when to give your hamster attention. It depends on your hamster’s personality Some hamsters are more cuddly, some are more aloof. In general Syrian hamsters are easier to tame, and thus will be a bit more affectionate than other hamster types. But this is only because the Syrians are much larger than the other hammies, and thus can be handled easier. However there are hamsters and hamsters. For example my Teddy – adult Syrian male –  is not the cuddliest of hamsters. He’s not completely aloof, but he is always on the go, doing something, too busy to stay in my hands and relax a little. To be honest he was not what I imagined when I said I wanted a hammy, but he’s got a whole personality of his own. He may not be cuddly, but he makes a lot of funny faces, and would be a really good circus acrobat. Maybe your hammy is like my Teddy, or maybe he’s a very mellow hamster. A family friend of ours had a hammy, his name was Oscar, and he was the tamest thing ever. He let anyone touch him, and would come up to the cage bars if he heard you, asking for a bit of attention. There’s hamsters and hamsters, and you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting when he is a baby. But it’s important to realize that your pet is his own creature, and won’t always be what you imagined. You can, however, do your best to try and tame your hamster. Just don’t be surprised by the outcome, and love him anyway. Hamsters are always very curious and active Your hamster need your attention, even if it’s not for reasons as sentimental as a puppy. True, hamsters do need attention, but they do not crave it as much as dogs. Hamsters can’t be emotionally handicapped (since they’re loners by default) like a puppy starving for affection, but still you should give your hamster plenty of love and attention. Still, your hamster will be curious. About everything. Including what you’ve got in that bag you’re rustling next to his cage, or 2 rooms away. So even for something as small as this, hamsters do need your attention so they know what you’re doing, and they can investigate in peace. Just bring the bag close to the cage and let him sniff what you’ve got there. Chances are he won’t be interested. For example my Teddy goes nuts when I’m doing something next to his cage, but the second I let him get a sniff of what I’m doing (often just heating something in the microwave) he loses all interest and walks away. Sometimes I think I have a cat. So, sometimes your hamster’s curiosity might be mistaken for asking for affection. Hamsters aren’t aloof like fish, or spiders or reptiles, but they’re not nearly as cuddly as dogs, cats, or parrots. How to keep your hamster friend happy You can keep your hamster friend happy, and give him a lot of attention and love. There’s a few ways you can do that, and I’ll tell you right here. Play with the hamster The first and most obvious thing to do is to play with your hamster. This will create and deepen the bond between the two of you. Also, you’re giving your hamster plenty of attention by constantly handling him, and letting him get your scent. For example my Teddy’s fave playtime is a toilet paper square, dangled in front of him and he tries to climb onto it half the time. He just loves chasing that bit of paper around his cage every time he notices it. Even if you don’t want to take the hamster out of his cage, you can still talk to him and touch him in the cage. This helps him get closer to you, because hamsters need plenty of stimulation. Give the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exercise This is the next best thing after playing with your hamster. Sometimes, like when you’re sleeping and your hamster is awake, your hammy needs things to do. So giving the hamster chew toys and a running wheel is going to give him something to do. As said before in this article hamsters sometimes are just very curious, and sometimes that can be mistaken for asking for attention. If your hammy has not much to do in his cage, then he’ll grow bored and want to explore the outside. And if the outside means you, making coffee next to him, then he will absolutely need to know what’s in that cup. So a good option is getting your hamster some toys – here’s a link for some DYI and store bought toy ideas for your hamster, so he never gets bored. And here is an article on running wheels for hamsters, so you know what to look for when you get one for your hamster. Or, if the one you’ve already got is good enough. There’s wheel size requirements, depending on your hamster’s breed. Get your hamster the right sized everything From food bowl to water bottle to hideout and cage, everything needs to be the right size for your hammy. A very small cage will make your hamster nervous and anxious, and he will be all over the cage bars. It will look like he’s asking for your attention, but once you do handle him he will not be friendly or sit still. He will be happy he is out, and can explore, but you’re not letting him. So for this reason (and many others) getting your hamster a large enough cage is one of the most important things to do to keep him comfortable and happy. Hamsters are very small, but they need quite a bit of space. You can read more about hamster cages – size, types, and how to clean them – right here, so you can take care of your hamster friend as best you can. Remember, if you’ve got Dwarf hammies and they’re at least two, you’re going to need a bigger cage. As for the hideout your hamster will spend most of his time in, it’s important that you get your hammy a wooden one. He will chew on everything in his cage, even the hideout, so it’s best to get him one that’s safe for his teeth. You can see more about hamster hideouts and the bedding hamsters usually need right here. (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.) Hamsters do not get lonely You might think that hamsters can get lonely, all by themselves in those cages. Well, hamsters are okay to be left alone, after all they’re loners by nature. In the wild hamsters live alone, and only meet other hamsters to mate. Or, the occasional trespasser in their territory who they will fight. There are some hamster breeds that can live together. But even those hamsters need to be introduced as babies, and be of the same litter, in order to get a long. Even so, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So if you’ve got an adult Syrian hammy, and you’re feeling bad because you feel like you’re not paying him enough attention, do not get him a friend. He will fight anyone new that you put into his cage, even a baby hamster. Syrians and Chinese hamsters are especially territorial, and will get into an actual, legit deathmatch with another hamster in their cage. Hamsters are not puppies, and won’t do well in a group. Some Dwarf types are okay being raised with a sibling of theirs, but even there they can get on each other’s nerves and develop stress-related illnesses. A word from Teddy I hope you know more about us hammies now, and know that we do in fact need your attention. Maybe not as much as other pets, and we won’t jump on you to lick your face to show affection. But we love you in our own way, and we do like your company ! So if you want to know more about us hamsters, feel free to check out the articles below. You’l find more info on what kind of food we need, how much water we can drink, and even why we play with our poop. [...] Read more...