Do Hamsters Cause Allergies ? How Hamsters Affect Your Health

If your allergies have flared up since you got your new hamster, this article might help. Even if you’ve never been allergic and you’re just now starting to react poorly to hamsters, this will help make things clear.

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So do hamsters cause allergies ?

Yes, hamsters can cause allergies. Any animal with fur or hair will cause allergies to flare up in a person who is already allergic. Some people who never had allergies can suddenly develop one, be it from hamster fur or cat fur or someone’s beard. 

The problem is the same, whether it’s a hamster or a different animal. But back to hamsters, most allergies are because of trapped dander inside the hamster’s fur.

It’s not the fur itself but the fine particles within the layer of fur that make you sneeze, cough, your throat close up, or other severe reactions.

Now let’s talk about why pet-related (and thus hamster-related) allergies come up, and what you can do to lessen the reactions.

What you’re actually allergic to

For the most part, allergies are a pain to pinpoint. Not only are they not always immediately clear – like peanut or shellfish, for example – but they can annoyingly change over time.

But, for the most part, people with allergies react to very fine foreign particles in the air. Those particles are usually pollen or dander. Since hamsters don’t frolic in flowers all day long, only dander remains as a culprit.

You see, hamsters have skin like everyone else, and those skin cells eventually die off and get renewed. The dead skin needs to go somewhere. It’s the fact that it’s dander not our own that sets things off, really.

In humans, we wash it off. In furry animals, it stays in their fur for an amount of time. Sometimes it breaks into very very small little pieces. Not those white clumps, immediately noticeable. No, very very fine particles that stay trapped in the animal’s fur.

Once your hammy moves, those particles get released into the air. If you’re sensitive to fine particles, you’ll feel those in your nose and lungs and eventually start reacting to them.

Those are most cases. Sometimes it’s the smell itself that can trigger a reaction. Like the smell of hamster pee. Or, another trigger can be the bedding on which your hamster lives. You might be allergic to whatever bedding the hamster has, when it is in fine particles.

But most of the time it’s just the dander that sets people off.

Most pets have the potential to cause an allergic reaction

This can and does happen with every and all animals who have fur. Even those with no fur, actually. Because it has to do with the skin, not the fur.

The fur acts as a trap for the dander. But even a Sphinx cat – hairless cat – can cause allergies. It won’t trigger them for most people who have allergies. But those with severe allergies can get reactions even from a hairless cat.

This is because the dander – dead skin cells – still exist, everywhere the skin is. A hairless animal won’t have as much since most of it falls off. But there will still be some.

So the only way you can be truly sure you won’t get a reaction at all is to get an unconventional pet. That’s a fish or a reptile. Reptiles don’t shed parts of their skin, but it all comes off in one clean, simple molt. No debris and flying skin anywhere with a snake or a lizard.

And a fish is… well, underwater, so you won’t be breathing anything in.

Birds also have this amazing potential to cause allergies. Birds have a fine dusting on their feathers, to keep them waterproof and it happens to contain a bit of dandruff as well. If you’re a person with allergies, they might flare up if you get a budgie for example. Or any other bird.

My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatoos. Always had birds since I could remember. When those two birdies ruffle their feathers and preen themselves, a whole layer or dandruff settles on the surfaces around them.

(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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Keeping your allergies down when you’ve got a hamster

If you’ve got a hamster but you’re allergic to him, there are a few things you can do to make your reactions not as severe. The biggest problem is the dandruff, and where and how it settles.

Aside from the hamster’s fur, it can get on the carpets, curtains, on your clothes, in your own hair, and so on. So let’s see what you can do.

Do not handle the hamster. Most obvious one, and most painful one if you really love your hamster. Simply not handling him will get you as far away from his fur and dander as possible.

Regularly groom him. Never bathe a hamster, since that can be deadly for hamsters. But a light grooming with a soft comb would help get the dander off. You’ll probably need a friend to do this for you, since this will release a whole lot of dander in the air. A surgical mask won’t help much there.

Don’t let the hamster onto carpets or any textile surface. This means your bed, the floor, the curtains if he can get to them (hammies will climb your curtains if you don’t stop them), your clothes as well.

Clean the hamster’s cage often. This means twice per week. Usually you should do this once a week, but if you’re very sensitive to the particles in his cage, cleaning it out might help with the symptoms.

Carry a shot of epinephrine, or adrenaline with you. If you get into anaphylactic shock, a shot will help. This is only temporary, and you need to get to the hospital straight away.

Use an air purifier. This will trap most of the harmful particles in the air, and relieve most of your symptoms.

Visit a doctor to look for treatment options. Allergies come and go, and sometimes they even suddenly disappear. But you should still seek a professional for medical help.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are very fluffy and cute, but we sometimes do cause allergies. It’s nothing personal, it’s just us being hamsters.

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.

Related blog post
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...
Here’s Why You Should Never Get Your Hamster Wet
Here’s Why You Should Never Get Your Hamster WetWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t really know he should never get wet. I saw no reason to give him a bath, but I didn’t know the main 2 reasons for not getting a hamster wet. So, here I am with what I’ve learned, to help you take the best care for your hammy. I’ll also cover what to do in case your hamster did get wet, if this ever happens. Table of Contents ToggleSo why can’t hamsters get wet ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shiftsHamsters are very clean animalsHow to make sure your hamster never gets wetAlways use a water bottleBe careful what kind of bedding your get your hamsterThe hideout matters a lot, it can trap moistureNever handle the hamster far from his cageChildren or other pets should always be supervised around a hamsterHow to dry a wet hamsterMove the hamster to an overly warm roomUse lot and lots of paper towelsTry to hold him in a dry, clean cotton clothDo not use direct heat on the hamsterA word from Teddy So why can’t hamsters get wet ? The main reason hamsters should never get wet is because their bodies can’t stand the sudden shift in temperature. The thermal shock of wet fur will send your hamster right into shiver territory. This is not good since hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and develop hypothermia easily, even if the room they got wet in is warm. The secondary reason your hammy should never get wet is because there is absolutely no need, ever, for him to be wet. Hamsters are very clean animals, and they comb through their fur several times per day, much like a cat. There’s videos going around with hammies getting a bath, and you should always look at the immense dislike rates on those videos. A hamster getting a bath isn’t healthy for him at all, and you should never get your hamster wet. If you’ve never had a hamster before, this might all seem very odd to you. But let’s go through those 2 reasons, and see in more detail why your hammy should always stay dry. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shifts Hammies are very sensitive creatures. They are easy to scare, and they’re always alert, and you might even scare them by just getting up. This constant alertness and sort of built-in anxiety will make the hamster have an even harder time if he gets wet. You see, a wet hamster is not used to being wet, so he will panic. Hamsters are terrible stress-managers, and can develop a series of illnesses because they get so stressed. Combine that with how easy it is for hammies to get too cold if their fur can’t insulate them – and you’ve got an emergency trip to the vet on your hands. A hamster’s fur is very wooly, and it has a lot of shorter, very very fine strands of fur that keep the hamster very warm. They are very close to the body, and if those get wet, they lose their insulation power. Worse still, they will keep the hamster wet, so he will get cold faster. If you want to know more about just how sensitive hamsters are to temperature, you need to read this ideal temperature for hamsters article. You’ll find out the right temp range for your furry friend, and what to do if he gets too cold. It’s never a good experience for a hamster to get wet, so you should do your very best to make sure he can’t ever get close to a situation like that. I’ll cover that in another part of this article. Hamsters are very clean animals Hamsters never need a bath, because they’re taking a shower about a third of their waking time. Seriously, I’ve seen my Teddy clean and preen himself almost as often as I’ve seen him eating. Now, since hamsters are awake mostly at night, when you’re usually asleep, you might not know this. Understandable, and many people don’t know that; it’s okay. But, hamsters are very clean, the only thing about them that ever smells is their pee corner – more on that here, and what you can do about it. This means that there is never a reason to wash or bathe the hamster, as you would a dog. A dog is meant to be able to wade through water, even swim. Dog fur has a lot of water repellent strands, and so it can handle being wet. But a hamster is not meant for that. Not only does a hamster not get dirty as other pets, he does not need any help cleaning himself. Another thing about hamster fur, is that it’s got natural oils that help keep the hamster clean. If you’re bathing your hamster, and especially if you’re using a washing liquid on him, your’re stripping the oils from his fur, the worst part is, those oils never come back. So your hamster’s fur will never look the same, and won’t do its job as well either. How to make sure your hamster never gets wet Keeping your hamster dry is the first step to keeping your hamster healthy, and free from stress-related issues. There’s a few things to keep in mind, and I’ll help you out here with what I’ve learned. Always use a water bottle This is mostly because your hamster can and will trip over a water bowl, and give himself an accidental bath. Hamster’s aren’t very aware of their surroundings from that point of view, and will chew and pull at everything possible. If it’s not nailed down, it’s fair game. So you can imagine what trouble a water bowl would cause in your hamster’s cage. The bedding can get wet, and can develop moldy spots, which are a serious concern for your hamster. His nose is always on the ground, so he’d be inhaling those spores constantly. For more info on how to give your hamster water, and how to care for his water bottle, check out this article. Be careful what kind of bedding your get your hamster The bedding your hamster lives on is important, since it can be a huge health concern if it’s not a good one. So, best to go here to know which bedding types are safe for your hamster friend, and which are not. A very important thing about bedding, and nesting material, is that it can trap moisture. So it’s important to change it about once a week, to keep your hammy’s cage clean and not funky-smelling. Here’s more info on how to properly change the hamster’s bedding and care for his cage. And here’s more info on what can get smelly in a hamster’s cage, so you know what to look for when you’re cleaning his cage. The hideout matters a lot, it can trap moisture The hideout your hamster lives in is going to determine a large part of his health. A plastic hideout can and will trap moisture. A few times I even found condensation in my Teddy’s hideout when he had the plastic one. His nesting material got a bit moist too, and it was not pee. A moist nest is a cold nest, so it’s best to avoid that. The best way yo make sure your hamster’s nest is always dry and clean is to get him a wooden hideout. Wood is a very breatheable kind of material, and will absorb and expel moisture. My Teddy’s hideout has a few spots in the roof where the air can get in and out, and a lot of ‘doors’ to allow a lot of air. Actually, it’s best if you read on here more about what to look for when you get your hammy a hideout, and how to care for it as well. Never handle the hamster far from his cage When you do play with your hamster friend outside of his cage, make sure you’re not far from it. If possible, try playing with his in his cage. Or play with your hammy over his cage. If he does jump out of your hands, he will land on the bedding, and in the cage safely. And if he falls he won;t have any body of water to splash into. This also means that you should keep your hamster and his cage away from any sources of water, like the tap. And not placing glasses of water, or a vase or anything that can hold water close to the hamster’s cage. Children or other pets should always be supervised around a hamster If you’ve got small children (under 12 years old), or other pets that can move around on their own, make sure they can’t harm the hamster. It’s easy for a child to see if a hamster can swim while you go to grab the mail, or for a dog to kick over a water bowl over the hamster’s cage. These things happen, and it’s a normal part of having pets and/or small children. So always make sure you supervise any interaction with the hamster, especially if it involved actually picking up the hamster. Hamsters are in fact good pets, but they’re very sensitive to a lot of things, and need a whole lot of patience. So unless you’re sure you can provide your hammy a safe home, you might do better with a different type of pet. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to dry a wet hamster If your hamster did manage to get wet, one way or another, you’re going to need to be very careful drying him. There’s a few steps you should take to make sure your hamster stays safe during the drying process. Move the hamster to an overly warm room The ambient temperature will need to be much above what the hamster can handle when dry. So if your hammy needs usually around 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit when he is dry, he will need around 30 C/86 F in the room when he is soaking wet and needs to dry. This is to compensate for how cold it will seem for the hamster when he’s wet. If you’ve ever walked out of the shower without a towel, into a room that was nice and cozy before your shower, you’ll know what I mean. Once your hamster’s beginning to dry, lower the temperature slowly back to 20-23 C/68-75 F. Use lot and lots of paper towels Your hamster will probably be too all over the place to let you hold him. So place him in a box lined with lots and lots of paper towels, that will soak up all the water from his fur. So not use toilet paper, since that will disintegrate very fast and stick to your hammy’s wet fur. Change the paper towels as often as possible since your hammy will be rolling in the a lot, and shaking the water of like a puppy. You can also use a clean dry cotton cloth, or even a towel, but be warned that your hamster might try to put some corners in his cheeks. Hamsters are attracted to everything soft and fluffy, to try and build a nest out of it. Try to hold him in a dry, clean cotton cloth You can try holding your hamster in your hands, and giving him a gentle wipe down. You won’t be able to wipe off all the water, but you can get most of it. The point is that you’re helping your hammy out, even just a little. He might be very wriggly, and not want to stay put. That’s understandable, just wipe him down as best and as much as you can. If you notice your hammy getting too anxious, and getting ready to jump out of your hands, place him in the box I mentioned earlier. Do not use direct heat on the hamster As tempting as it may sound, so not put your hamster on the heater or use a blow dryer. They are both too hot for the hammy, and the dryer will make your hammy irritated and even more scared. Raise the ambient temperature until your hamster is nearly completely dry. Then, you can place the hamster in a box liked with lots of bedding, and a thick towel under the box to disperse heat. A word from Teddy I hope you know how to help your hammy if he gets wet now. We don’t really like being wet, we aren’t meant to swim or stay in the rain. So never give one of us a bath, and make sure you spread the word ! You can check out the articles below for more info on us hammies, and how to take care of us the right way. Like what we can eat, what kind of cage we need, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you. [...] Read more...
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)Hamsters need a specific kind of bedding, and most pet shops don’t carry just the safe kinds. When I first got my Teddy I was lucky an acquaintance worked at that petshop. Otherwise I would’ve walked out with  some very bad bedding and hideout choices for my Teddy. As it happened, she gave me some very good advice that I’m going to pass onto you. Along with some info I learned along the way about what kind of bedding is best for hamsters, and what hideouts they like. We’ll cover how often to change/clean the cage as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best bedding for your hamster ?Safe wood-based bedding for your hamsterWood shavings as bedding for hamstersWood pellets bedding for hamsterGrass or seaweed bedding for your hamsterPaper based bedding for your hamsterWhat a hamster will use as nesting materialWhat nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamsterSand bath for your hamster friendSo what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ?Wood hideout for your hamster friendAn example of wood hideout for hamstersHow much bedding a hamster needsHow much nesting material a hamster needsHamsters hoard food in their nestHow often to change the hamster’s beddingHow often to change the nesting for your hamsterA word from Teddy So what is the best bedding for your hamster ? Generally the bedding for hamsters is easy to find, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Hamsters do well in paper/wood based kinds of bedding. So organic, bio-degradable wood or paper based bedding is alright for hamsters, under a few conditions. First, hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, so NOTHING scented will be alright for them. Do not get your hamster a scented bedding, even if you find one in your local petshop or online. Scented beddings are more for your comfort but give the hamster a bad time. Please stick to unscented, plain bedding. Second, whatever kind of bedding you choose, it must be dust-free. This is because your hamster will be breathing that dust in all day, every day, and it will cause serious lung problems for him. Make sure you get a dust free bedding. I’ll get into some clear examples of what is ok and what isn’t ok as a bedding for your hammy. Most wood based bedding are alright, but there are a few exceptions. Teddy: Remember, wood or paper bedding is ok for us hamsters. Keep them plain and unscented, and make sure they are dust free to keep your hammy safe ! Safe wood-based bedding for your hamster These can be wood shavings or wood pellets, and we’ll talk about both of them. Wood shavings as bedding for hamsters They’re the most common kinds of bedding, and this is the kind I have for my Teddy as well. I use aspen, since it is readily available in my area, and is one of the safest types of wood for hamsters. Most fruit trees are safe for hamster, so if you’ve got apple or pear wood shavings, you can use them as bedding for your hamster. Best to mix it with aspen or another neutral type of wood, since the fruit trees can have a strong aroma. Other options can be white birch, bamboo, rosehip, sycamore, elm or hazelnut. These are not always available in some stores, but depending on which area of the world you live in, you might find these. If you get wood shavings, make sure they’re dust free. You can check this by looking at the packaging, it’s usually clear and you will be able to see excess dust. The dust will cause lung problems for your hamster, so avoid that. Another thing to be very careful about, is that some wood shavings can be mixed with actual sawdust, which is the smaller, dustier kind of wood shaving. So make sure that does not happen with your hamster’s bedding. I looked around and found a big pack of aspen bedding for your hamster. This will keep your hammy for months. It’s got great reviews on Amazon, and a lot of people seem to be really happy about it. Aspen is the kind of wood I use for my Teddy too, so you can be sure it’s safe. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Wood pellets bedding for hamster These are not as easy to find, but they can still be found. You’ll often see them marketed towards rabbits or large rodents like ferrets. But for hamsters the wood pellets aren’t the most comfortable. Unless you set a layer of wood pellets, and then a layer or wood shavings, to simulate the dirt layer, but that one’s up to you. As for the kind of wood pellets to use, the same applies as with wood shavings. What is a safe wood for your hamster to live and breathe on, is also a safe wood for the pellets. Grass or seaweed bedding for your hamster These are common in my area as well, and I’d guess the seaweed based ones are even more common in countries or area with a lot of sea access. Both seaweed and grass are okay for hammies to live on, and in fact it simulates the hamster’s natural nesting material. When hamsters burrow, they use a mix of twigs, dried leaves, twigs, anything soft and plant-based that they can fit into their dwelling. So dried grass and seaweed are a good substitute for that. DO NOT get your hamster yellow hay ! That’s the tougher, twig-like dried grass. That can stick at weird angles and will not be comfortable for your hamster. The grass or seaweed versions are very clearly wider and softer, even if they are dried. But as a general rule, I’d give Teddy the grass or seaweed for nesting material, not bedding in the whole cage. While grass and seaweed are soft and easy to work with, I wouldn’t recommend them as bedding for a small rodent, like hamsters or gerbils since it will be harder for them to navigate their cages. But it is absolutely GREAT as nesting material, and it’s what your hammy will use it for. Paper based bedding for your hamster Paper bedding is fine for hamsters, and it’s usually just as easy to find as the wood shavings. But it’s a matter of personal preference I think, which one you use. Paper bedding is a bit more absorbent than the wood shavings, but it comes scented more often than it doesn’t. So make sure you get an unscented, plain version for your hamster so he can live comfortably. One thing about paper based beddings, is that they’re often in various colors, or color mixes. So if you want, you can make your hamster’s bedding pink and purple. The hamster will not mind, since he can’t see very well. But if it makes you happier, then go ahead. The paper bedding keeps the hamster just as warm or cool as the wood shavings. It’s just a matter of what you like and what you find in your area. I looked around and found a good option for paper bedding for your hammy. This will keep your hamster warm enough in winter as well as summer. It’s safe for the hamster to put in cheek pouches if he wants. It’s dust free and controls odor fairly well. It’s also a large size, 60 liters/15 gallons so you’re going to get a lot of uses out of it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. What a hamster will use as nesting material Hamsters usually use very soft, paper/wood/cardboard pieces for their nests. If you give your hamster seaweed or grass bedding, it will most probably end up in his nest. When I first got Teddy I gave him extra wood shavings in his hideout, so he has a nice base for his nest. In time I saw that he didn’t really use it for nesting, except for winter when he hoarded every warm material he could find. Most of the time, I give Teddy ripped paper towels. Honestly these are the cheapest and most effective things to keep your hamster warm. If you’ve got no paper towels, use toilet paper. Whatever you use, keep it unscented. Really, this is one of the most important things about a hamster’s bedding or nesting material. Do not give him anything scented, because his nose just can’t handle that. When you give your hammy the paper towel, make sure it is ripped into manageable pieces. They have a side which rips easily in a straight line. Use that side to give him ribbons of paper towel or toilet paper. All hamsters do this, but to me Teddy is the funniest. As soon as he sees the paper bits, he starts shoving them into his pouches and gets both of them as full as he can. Then, he goes into his hideout and I can see him pull them out of his cheek and start decorating the place. Then he goes out for more paper, and continues building his nest. He’s always so focused when he does that, he’s easy to scare by mistake. One time he jumped sideways because I got up too fast, and he was still shoving paper towel in his cheeks. I’ve never seen such dedication. What nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamster Never give your hamster cotton or fiber nesting material. There are several reasons for this. First, hamsters will eat a small part of whatever they put in their cheek pouches. So, your hamster eating cotton, even just a little bit, is never a good thing. Anyone eating cotton is not good, actually. Second, the fibers in this kind of nesting material can get caught in your hamster’s teeth, and cause serious problems for him. Those fibers can also get caught in his cheeks, and lead to deadly situations. Third, cotton absorbs and keeps moisture. So your hamster’s warm breathing and some condensation will be trapped in that cotton. Your hamster is in danger of colds and pneumonia in that case. It’s much harder for a hamster to fight a cold than it is for a human, so best to avoid that. Teddy: Remember, us hamsters need wood or paper based bedding, and we use soft paper or dry grass for nesting. Never give us cotton or fiber nesting, it an be lethal ! Sand bath for your hamster friend This is something that’s always funny to watch, and will bring joy to your hamster. A sandbath is what hamsters use for a sort of cleaning. Actually hamsters are incredibly clean, and clean themselves very very thoroughly, much like cats. They barely have a smell that humans notice. Unless you get your nose right in your hamster’s fur, which isn’t so nice for him. But as most animals do, hamsters need an extra bath or cleaning. This is also a sort of reflex of their to get rid of any possible parasites. If you’ve ever seen sparrows rolling around in sand, you’ll know what I mean. The best kind of sand to get your hamster is mineral sand. That’s just crushed up calcium and shells, so your hamster can get an actual sand bath going on. Make sure it’s actual sand, and not dust. If it’s the consistency of flour, send it back. If you put a bowl of that sand in your hamster’s usual peeing corner, he’ll use that as a potty too ! Be warned though, the hamster will kick up a lot of sand when he bathes, so you might find some in random places in your house. Best to use a second hideout with a detachable roof for this. Alright, now that you’re all set with your little one’s bedding, sand, and nesting material, let’s see to his hideout. Yes, a hamster’s hideout is just as sacred as your bed or own room. So I’ll get into a lot of detail with it. So what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ? Hamsters will need small hideouts in which to, well, hide. This is their nest, their food stash, their safe place. In the wild, it would be a burrow underground. But in their comfy warm cage, it’s usually a cute house-shaped hideout. The best kind is actually one that fits the general size of your hamster when he is fully grown, and with some spare room so he can wiggle around. So it doesn’t have to be a large hideout, a small one with some air flow is okay. The air in the hamster hideout is very important, since it needs to be able to travel easily. Even if the hamster will block up the air vents with his nesting material, it’s best to give him plenty of air. If your get your hamster a home with more than one exit, he will only use one and block up the other one. For example my Teddy has 3 entrances to his hideout, and he only uses one, depending on his mood. Sometimes he rearranges his hideout if he feels something is off. Finally, never get your hammy a plastic house. These trap condensation and are not breathable. Best to stick with wood. Wood hideout for your hamster friend A wood hideout is what I settled on for my Teddy, and I think it’s the best option out there, for anyone who has any kind of rodent. First, it’s a much more natural option, and very durable. Wood hideouts are more similar in feel to what the hamster would have as a burrow if he were underground, in that it’s a familiar material. Especially compared to plastic. Second, hamsters and other rodents will chew, gnaw, and bite into everything. Not because they’re wild or mean, just because that’s what they do. Their front teeth are always growing, so hamsters need to literally file down their teeth. They do that by chewing on whatever they find, and their hideout is a common option. So if the hideout is made of wood, that’s great since they love chewing wood anyway. Third, wood is much more breathable than other types of material. I’ve seen ceramic hideouts, and plastic as well. The thing is that unless the hideout is breathable, will absorb moisture and let it pass through to the outside, then it is a problem. Your hamster is in danger of hypothermia, pneumonia, and even a ordinary cold can get the best of them. The hideout must remain dry at all times, and be able to keep the warm as well. And fourth, wood retains the hamster’s scent the best. Compared to plastic or ceramic, wood keeps the scent of the hamster. This is very important to a creature that has a very sensitive sense of smell, so best not to mess with that. An example of wood hideout for hamsters Here’s what my Teddy has for a hideout, and you can see the gnaw and chew marks on the roof. At night he absolutely loves to just …sit… on his home and watch for possible predators. Usually that’s just me grabbing a glass of water in the middle of the night. But you never know, Teddy reckons. Constant vigilance. You can see my Teddy shoved all kinds of nesting material, like the paper towels, some cardboard pieces, and some random wood shavings. Your hammy will probably have something very similar in his hideout too, if you look. I found a great one on Amazon, and it looks a lot like the one I have for Teddy ! It’s wood, so your hamster can  chew on it as much as he likes. It will keep his scent, and it’s also got enough airflow so he will be fine. You might find your hammy on top of his hideout, like I sometimes find my Teddy. Just make sure that you put something of his, like a few droppings or  a bit of his nesting material in his new hideout, so he get more familiar with it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. Now that we’re all set with the hideout, let’s talk about how much of the bedding and nesting material your hammy will need. Teddy: wood is the most comfortable and safe option for us hamsters, and we love to chew on everything ! So make sure you get your hamster a hideout he will enjoy, and not hurt his teeth on. How much bedding a hamster needs This is a bit of a debate, since there isn’t really a too much, as well as there is a too little. But the enough part is what people never settle on. It also depends on your hamster’s personality. For example if your hamster is a digger, and he loves to burrow, then you’re going to need to give him much more bedding than other hamster owners. But if your hamster is like my Teddy, and burrowing or digging isn’t his favorite thing, then he won’t need too much. I’ve tried different amounts in Teddy’s cage, and I’ll tell you what I’ve found: just enough bedding to cover the cage floor – not good, he moved around a lot of it and brought it to his hideout; his wheel was noisy since it banged in the cage floor. bedding 2.5-3 inch/ 6-7.5 cm was too much, since there was always too little he used, and a lot he kicked around to get to different parts of the cage an inch, maybe a bit over/2-3 cm is what Teddy is most comfortable with; the wheel sits nice, and his hideout has a lot as well Now, your hamster could need more or less. Again, if he is a digger, then give your hamster what you think is too much, and he’ll dive right into it. If he’s more of a runner, he might need a thinner bedding. But in general, the bedding should cover the bottom of the cage by at least an inch, so the hamster can gather piles of it if he wants to, and not leave empty spots. If your hammy has a hideout, but chooses to build his nest somewhere else, look at where he builds his and add much more bedding and nesting material there. The bedding acts as a sort of insulation as well, so maybe you should check out the ideal temperature to keep your hamster comfortable. How much nesting material a hamster needs This is a clear case of give the hamster as much as you can. A whole roll of toilet paper. No, but he will use up however much you give him. I usually give Teddy 3 whole paper towel pieces, ripped into strips. He also has the cardboard roll that’s left front he paper towel. He sometimes chews on that to add some extra bedding if he needs more. I’ve given him 4 paper towels sometimes, and he found use for all 4. But it was a bit harder for him to navigate into and out of his hideout. So we stuck to 3 paper towels. Keep in mind that if you can still properly see your hamster in his hideout, then he probably needs a bit more nesting material. Hamsters form a sort of cocoon out of the nesting they find. So they will wrap that nest around them very well, to keep them warm. Sometimes Teddy even manages to knot the pieces of paper into a continuous piece, which he then wraps around himself. So give your hamster as much bedding as he needs, start with the 3 paper towels and see if he needs more. If you put 1 more he will take it, but see if he can move around well in his nest. Hamsters hoard food in their nest This is something I found out when I first cleaned Teddy’s cage. When I lifted his hideout, and saw the pile of while paper towel strips, I was not surprised. When I saw the droppings in his nest, I figured that’s just what he does. But when I saw his food stash, I was impressed. The little furball had a stash for the Apocalypse right there. So don’t be surprised if you find food and poo and a bit of pee in your hamster’s nest. That’s okay. But that’s another sign of just how important the nest is to your hamster, so make sure you get a good one for him. And try not to disturb his nest unless you absolutely have to. More on that later. (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 often to change the hamster’s bedding By bedding I mean everything but the nest itself. Honestly the bedding stays clean (as in not smelly) for up to 2 weeks, but I recommend changing it every week. This applies especially to the corners where the hamster pees. Hamsters do have a peeing corner, and you’ll figure out which one it is by how smelly it can get. If your hamster is using the sandbath as a potty, then that’s even easier to clean. Just throw out the sand he’s used, and clean the residue that might have stuck to the bottom with hot water and a tooth pick. Then, pat dry with paper towel and place new sand. If you have a setup like that then your hamster’s bedding will only need changing every couple of weeks, when it gets a bit too overfilled with droppings. About droppings, if your hamster has somewhere safe/hidden to poop, and it’s also not his hideout, you’ll find most of the droppings there. But never let the bedding go for more than 2 weeks. It becomes stale and a bit funky past that point. How often to change the nesting for your hamster The nest itself is relatively clean and will not need changing more often than the bedding itself. So the nest can be left alone for up to 2 weeks, but I personally change it once per week. When I change it I make sure I keep a few pieces of the old nest, to place in his new nest in his hideout. Whatever food I find in his stash goes into Teddy’s food bowl, and I start ripping up new paper towels for him to use. It’s important to not change or disturb your hamster’s nest as much as you can. If it’s getting smelly, then change it. But hamsters rarely pee in their nest and that’s the only thing about them that smells. Keep the hamster in his travel cage or exercise ball while you’re cleaning his cage, to keep him occupied. A word from Teddy Long read, I know. But us hamsters need a bit of special care, so I hope you found all the information you need in this article. We’re very clean and like to take care of ourselves, so a smelly cage shouldn’t be a problem ! I’m an adult Syrian hamster, but what you just read applies to all my brothers and sisters, even if they’re dwarf hamsters. If you want to check out more important info on hamsters, then read the articles below. You’ll find out about what kind of cage us hamsters need, and even how long we can last without food or water. [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid These
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid TheseHamsters are very skittish creatures, and they scare easily. For example when I first got my Teddy he was scared of me and didn’t like being out of his hut. In time we grew closer and he is fine with me now, but he still has some random moments when he suddenly darts into his home. If your hammy is anything like mine, then you’re probably wondering why he’s so scared of you. Sometimes you can’t help it – no matter how much you weigh, you’ll always be a giant for your hamster, and that can be scary for him. Table of Contents ToggleSo why is your hamster so scared of you ?Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first placeYour hamster doesn’t trust you yetYour hamster is scared of sudden movementsYour hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new homeSome hamsters are very easy to scareA word from Teddy So why is your hamster so scared of you ? Generally hamsters are scared of everything, including you, until they get to know you better. Often it’s not necessarily your fault, since hamsters have an instinct to hide from everything. It could be how large you are in comparison to him, he maybe heard something spooky outside, maybe the cat keeps pawing at his cage every day ? So in short, your hamster could be scared because: he doesn’t trust you yet you did something very suddenly and scared him he’s currently in shock (like when you first bring him home) he’s a very shy hamster – some hamsters just are too easy to scare, no matter what. Alright, but aside from the personality, these can all be avoided. Or, at least made to be less scary for your hamster. Let’s get into detail with all of these, and see what you can do to help your hamster be more at ease. Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first place Imagine being so tiny, like your hamster. You barely weigh anything, and if the wind blows too hard you’ll roll over for a few minutes. Then, you’re somehow hunted day and night by anything from owls, to snakes, to wild cats and dogs, and sometimes even humans (in some parts of the world). You have to always be on the run, and nowhere you hide is safe. You dig underground, but the predators can hear you breathing or moving about. You run but they keep up. So you learn to have very quick reflexes, and run faster than your predators. You learn to dodge, suddenly stop, run the other way, and every other evasion tactic ever. You have to always be on high alert. Your best senses are hearing and smell, because the eyes don’t always tell the truth. This is usually what hamsters live like, and it’s a natural part of …well, nature. So your tiny furball is born to run and hide as fast and far as those tiny feet can get him. So whenever your notice that you scared your hamster by just walking by him, know that it’s 90% just his instinct. A few other reasons your hamster might be suddenly freezing can be found in this article. Now let’s see what can be done about the different reasons your hamster can get scared of you. Your hamster doesn’t trust you yet This is the main reason hamsters are scared of humans. We are so much larger than them, and we go to grab them with our big hands. The hamster’s first instinct is to shy away. So, what is best is to slowly let your hamster get to know you. As with dogs, hamsters have very fine smell, so let your hamster get used to your smell by placing your hand in the cage with a treat on it. Let the hamster get close, and take the treat from you. He will probably not eat from your hand at first but he will know your smell. Slowly progress over time to keeping more food in your hand so that your hamster gets to touch you more often. You can try gently petting him with a finger, and then later lifting the hand with the hamster on it, still in the cage, and slowly putting it back down. It takes time and repeated tries for your hammy to trust you, but it will probably happen. It might take a few days, or a few weeks. In some cases, it might not happen at all. Some hamsters are just very hard to tame, and it’s an achievement if they don’t bite at all. Your hamster is scared of sudden movements Since your hamster can’t see very well (but can hear and smell very well) sudden movements will make him jump. Literally jump. My Teddy did backflips when he was young if I somehow scared him, then he’d run into his hideout. So what I learned to do was not move too suddenly when I am around him, and talk to him as well. This way he knows where I am and can guess where I am going. Imagine some very large creature that you don’t understand, suddenly moving around you very fast. You’d probably hide too. Sudden sounds don’t really scare hamsters. Actually they will hear things you don’t, or would usually ignore. For example if it’s raining outside, you’ll notice your hamster stand still and listen for the water dripping outside. This is only until he learns to recognize the sound, then he will ignore it too. Your hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new home If your hamster is young, and you just brought him from the pet shop, leave him a couple of days to adjust. When you get your hamster, the employee who will catch him in the cardboard box needs to be gentle but determined to actually get him inside. Most hamster babies will run away when you reach for them to put them in the box, but picking them up with the box with a treat inside is much easier. Then, after you’ve picked up the hamster make it a short trip home. He will panic and start to pace his tiny box, scared. My Teddy started to chew around the air holes in his box when I got him, and we got an Uber home to get him in his cage fast. When you do get home and prepare his cage, place the box with the hamster inside the cage. Set a couple of treats outside his box, and open it. Then step away and let your hammy explore his new home. He will be shy at first, but the food will draw him out. Make sure that you’ve set up the bedding, hideout, food bowl and water tube and a few toys for him. You will need to give him about 2 full days to adjust to the cage and his hideout. In this time he will scare easily, and probably climb everywhere on the cage. For a good idea on what kind of hideout to get your furry buddy, check out this article. You’ll get some tips and pointers, along with clear examples. My Teddy made me wonder if I accidentally got a spider instead of a hamster. He was on the cage walls and ceiling more often than he was on the ground. Actually the first night I had him, I made myself some tea and just sat there watching him. He is my first hamster so I had no idea what he would be doing. Everything he did was funny, including that fuzzy face when he stares into the distance. In those first couple of days, do not reach into your hamster’s cage, to let him make the cage his. Then, after he calms down a bit, you can start talking to him, feed him a treat between the cage bars. Then, you can start building your relationship with him by doing what I suggested above, in the hamster trust part. But remember to give him time, it might take a few days or even a few weeks ! (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.) Some hamsters are very easy to scare This you cannot change, but you can improve it. Give the hamster time to get used to you, and go very slow with the taming process. Let him back in his cage if he looks like he’s restless. Most hamsters look like that but you can tell when your hamster want to jump out of your hand. It might be that he will never get used to being touched or held, and that’s not something you can change. Not all hamsters are like this, but a few can be very scared. With these hamsters, be extra cautious, move slowly, and talk to them. For example my Teddy is not the friendliest – he doesn’t let new people touch him. And sometimes not even me, depending on his mood. He’s more like a cat sometimes. Never disturb the hamster when he doesn’t need to be awake. You can read more about the daily routine of your hammy here, and why it’s a bad idea to wake him up too many times. A word from Teddy I hope you know now that us hamsters are easy to scare. So be gentle and slow, and we’ll learn to trust you. We can become very good friends if you give us enough time. If you want to know more about hammies, feel free to check the articles below. You’ll find more info on how much space we need, and how to feed us properly, along with other general care things. [...] Read more...
6 Amazing Hamster Maze Kits (And 5 DIY Ideas)
6 Amazing Hamster Maze Kits (And 5 DIY Ideas)Hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they have the most activity during the night while sleeping through the day. But among all, hamsters need to have daily exercises. The best way to give them joy and stimulate their natural instinct is to give them a maze. You need to provide a hamster is a physical exercise routine to burn energy, better rest, and optimal health. You must know the basic concepts of hamster care, but among them is the topic of exercise because the animal is essential to be perfect and to live longer. Hamsters must exercise to prevent them from becoming hangmen and to mimic the performance of what they would do to live in the wild. Lack of exercise for your hamster can lead to obesity and even paralysis in some hamsters. Table of Contents ToggleBuy a hamster maze1. Hiding house with a maze2. Wooden maze tunnel3. Wooden maze playground4. Wooden maze with six rooms5. Hamster house maze6. Hamster habitat with tunnelsDIY hamster mazes1. DIY Tissue box maze2. DIY Tunnel Maze3. DIY Maze with Tunnels4. DIY Cardboard maze with obstacles5. DIY Lego maze Buy a hamster maze In the wild, hamsters constantly dig, improve, and enhance their burrows. Gradually, the tunnels become more intricate and branched. For hamsters, digging is a process that is no less natural than running or looking for food. It takes a lot of energy in nature, and hamsters do not need additional simulators to burn the required minimum of calories. For home conditions, it is necessary to build artificial labyrinths for a hamster. Natural labyrinths are often located on several levels, and usually have fairly long side aisles, emergency exits, storage rooms, and bedrooms. A well-assembled maze with a system of safe and attractive tunnels is the key to the long and happy life of this animal. A hamster not only burns calories collected from food but also entertains its small but very curious brain. That is why diversity can be one of the conditions for choosing a structure. Tunnels and labyrinth elements can combine different materials, which will give the animals additional research opportunities. 1. Hiding house with a maze If you want to provide your hamsters with a comfortable hiding home with a playground, this two-in-one playing nest is perfect for that. Hamsters appreciate small houses made for their rest. Since they are nocturnal animals, they will usually sleep during the day and will play and run around at night. This little home is perfectly enclosed, so the hamster can sleep during the day without bother. It has exercise features to keep the hamster healthier. There is a small ladder on the side of the hose, that allows the hamster to climb it. The main part of the hideout has a slide, which can be very fun for your hamster. The best part is that it’s made of wood, meaning that it is safe for use. Because of the material, you do not have to worry if the hamster starts chewing it. Also, a big plus is that you don’t have to assemble it. It comes in one part so you can unbox it and put it in the cage immediately. The openings on the structure are wide enough for every hamster. But make sure that you have a lid on your cage after you put the house inside. You can risk hamsters climbing on the roof of the hideout and jumping out of the cage. If your hamster doesn’t enjoy the slide, you can simply detach it. On the other side of the house, there is a climbing wall that the hamsters will use for the exercise as well. Overall, this construction is a perfect way to provide your hamster a hiding home with a maze in one. 2. Wooden maze tunnel This wooden maze is the most common and typical maze for the hamsters. This type is made from high-quality natural wood, making it safe to use around your hamsters. The maze comes assembled so you don’t have to worry about piecing it together. It has 16 entrance holes, with a total of 13 compartments, giving all the fun to your pet. It can fit in a cage and you get 2 small brushes for cleaning the maze. The brushes come in handy if you have to clean the feces or any dirt and dust particles from the maze. It can be used open, but it comes with a glass cover as well. Either way, the maze provides transparency, so you can keep an eye on your hamster at all times. It gives a perfect opportunity for your hamster to have fun and run around the maze. Also, you can amaze your hamster by putting treats around the maze and make him look for them. Some people even put little balls inside the maze so the hamster can run around and roll the balls as well. You can find this wooden maze tunnel on this Amazon link. 3. Wooden maze playground Similar to the previous maze, this wooden playground comes with climbing chambers and instead of laying it just horizontally, you can put it in the cage standing upright as well. You have to make sure to check the measurements because this wooden maze is bigger than mazes you can find online. This maze also comes with a glass cover, but you can also leave it open. If you plan to put the maze to stand upright, you might want to slide in the glass cover, to make sure your hamsters don’t fall off the maze. The maze has 2 openings and 6 compartments. It is made to mimic the wild burrows of hamsters, which will help them stimulate their instinct to explore. The openings are 2 inches wide, perfect for your tiny hamsters to enter. The compartments can be used as an exercise spot, hiding spot, and exploring spot. This maze keeps the hamsters active during the night. It doesn’t have any loose ends or parts that will accidentally come apart, so they can have their fun quietly. The maze is made from plywood and it has no nails that will accidentally come through. The maze has sanded corners, meaning it is extremely safe to use around hamsters, without worrying about any accidents. The wood doesn’t have any toxic coating, so you don’t have to worry if the hamster starts to bite and chew it. 4. Wooden maze with six rooms Multi-chamber mazes are perfect for hamsters because it gives them the joy of exploration. This wooden maze is designed to be standing upright since it has stairs that allow your hamster to climb. This maze is also multi-purpose, as it allows your hamster to have a napping place, a structure to hide and to sleep in. It is also designed to keep the hamster active. It is made from natural wood. It has a stable platform, climbing ladder, some ramps, and a food bowl. The material used to build the structure is a special apple wood, which is safe if the hamsters begin to chew it. The best thing is that chewing it will help their teeth be healthy. The maze is safe to use, which means that you can leave your hamsters to explore and have fun in peace. It can be covered with plexiglass to provide an additional safety feature to make sure your hamster doesn’t fall off. The maze is also extremely sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over. It comes assembled and can be put in the cage or the tank right after you get it out. You must clean this maze only with a clean cloth. Gently clean it and don’t rub too hard. Be sure not to use wet wipes or wipes with alcohol. You shouldn’t soak the maze in water as well. 5. Hamster house maze This house maze is perfect for all small hamsters. It has two openings and six small rooms, with tunnel openings to ensure all the fun for your hamster. The house maze is also designed to mimic the underground burrow, used by wild hamsters. The design helps them stimulate their natural instinct to explore. It is perfect for enriching their night-time activity. It has a wooden cover, which makes it look like a house, but it also provides darkness so the hamster can sleep during the day without disturbance. The cover is removable, making it easy to check on your hamster, while also providing you better access for cleaning. It fits into any cage and you get a two-in-one structure with which the hamsters get a hiding spot and an exercise spot. The house maze is, of course, made of wood. If you fear that the wood will soak up the urine and odor, be sure to use aspen as bedding, to give you worry-free use. The six compartments give the hamster a free choice on what to do with them. Usually, they will use one room to store their food, while it will use the others just to run around. The house maze is perfect for Syrian hamsters, especially adult females since they tend to be larger than males. It doesn’t take up too much space and is safe to chew. This amazing wooden house maze can be found on Amazon. 6. Hamster habitat with tunnels If you want a habitat that has a tunnel maze attached, this Habitrail Hamster Habitat is an amazing choice. This habitat stimulates the natural burrow of hamsters. It has connected tubes with additional rooms that serve as bedrooms and storage rooms. This habitat will provide endless hours of fun for your hamster. It is very easy to clean and assemble. It is also a perfect starting point if you don’t know how to provide for your hamster. This habitat is perfect for smaller hamsters. The clear tubes provide safety for the hamster and you can always see what your hamster is doing. Their tubes are made for hamsters that are not used to them. Usually, the tip is to put a small treat at the very top so the hamsters will start climbing them. Habitrail is a known brand in making hamster habitats and tunnel mazes. They design their products so they are cooperative with each other and you can always upgrade the habitat of your hamsters with their products. DIY hamster mazes If you don’t want to buy a maze, you can always make one yourself. This will save you a lot of money and it gives you the freedom of making your design. Sometimes if the size of already-made mazes does not fit your or hamsters’ needs, you can modify whatever you want. This also allows you to switch the mazes every once in a while. Making your hamster maze gives you a choice of material. The most popular ones are cardboard and wood. You can get cardboard from boxes, display boards, and even rolls of toilet paper. It may not be very durable, but it is the cheapest alternative. Make sure it’s thick and solid, or the hamster is going to chew holes in the walls and run away. Wood is more durable than cardboard, but more costly as well. Make sure that it is a hardwood, such as birch, oak, or walnut when purchasing wood. Avoid wood that is harmful to hamsters, such as pine or cedar. Also, make sure that the wood is smooth and doesn’t have any cracks that can cause damage to your hamster. Wooden boards or blocks may be used. Make sure that you also use the right kind of glue, to make the maze extremely durable. If you plan to use wood, it is best to use wood glue. For cardboard mazes, you can use hot glue. The most important thing is to use non-toxic glue that is not harmful to your hamsters. Also, make sure that you’re not using nails or screws. If the nail happens to stick out, the hamsters can get hurt on the nails. You want the maze to be safe to use for your pet. There are many options to choose from and we bring you 5 tips to make a hamster maze. 1. DIY Tissue box maze   Next time you use all of your tissues, save the boxes to make mazes. Take two boxes and use scissors to cut out the fronts of the tissue paper boxes. Glue them together and let them dry. You can paint the outside of the box, but be sure to use non-toxic paint. When the glue has dried and your boxes are stuck together, get a pen, and plan out the labyrinth. With the pencil, draw on the base where you plan to put the walls. Take one more tissue box, or any cardboard box and cut it into small pieces. Cut rectangular strips of cardboard that will represent the walls of the maze and fold them into the appropriate shape. Place the walls on the base of the tissue boxes and secure them with glue in one place. Leave them to dry. Carefully cut out the entry and exit openings in the sides of the connected tissue boxes and the inner wall, if necessary. You can also decorate the inside of the box with paint if you want and you’re done. You can find the full tutorial for the tissue box maze on this link. 2. DIY Tunnel Maze   You can make a tunnel maze for your hamster from plastic bottles. Smaller ones will work perfectly fine for small hamsters, but if you have a larger one, opt to use large bottles. Make sure to thoroughly wash the bottles to remove any odors. Also, take off any labels and lids. You can start with any number of bottles and you can keep adding some from time to time. You will also need some scissors, tape, and a Stanley knife. Carefully use a Stanley knife to remove the tops and bottoms of the bottles. Make sure you have a sturdy surface that you won’t harm. Hold the bottles tightly so they won’t slip and cause accidents. The knife will leave the edges of the bottle jagged. Use tape, best to use is an electrical tape, and tap around the edges. This step is very important as you will protect your hamsters from unwanted injuries. To connect all the bottles and make the tunnels, you will need to cut a plus sign into the side of the bottle. This opening will create a path so you can slip in your scissors and cut out a neat circle. Use the tape again to protect the edges. Pick up the bottle you want to attach and squeeze it tight so it’s almost flat. Use the scissors to cut out the diagonal lines, so the bottle can sit comfortably in the opening. When you get the bottle in position, hold them, and use tape to secure it in place. Repeat this step with all the bottles you have and you can use this method for future adaptations for the tunnel. You find the full tutorial with pictures on this link. 3. DIY Maze with Tunnels   You can make a combination of a tunnel and maze. You will need to save tissue boxes and empty toilet paper rolls. If you want a long tunnel you can save the rolls from the paper towels. Use a tissue box as a base for your maze. Find where you want to place your tubes. On this link, you can find an example of doing so. Trace with a pencil the opening for the tube. You place the end of the tube against the spot where you want the hole to be and trace the roll’s outline. To properly cut out the traced holes, use scissors, a craft knife, or a Stanley knife. Be careful not to make the holes too big, as this could allow your hamster to squeeze out of the maze, or it could cause the maze to collapse when your hamster is inside. Attach any tubes that would go into openings, and then line up the end of the remaining tube to end. To make the maze durable, add tape to the tubes, layering many bits. The hamster would need to be able to run inside the tubes, without the maze breaking apart. This is also a type of maze which you can gradually build up and add add-ons. In the tissue box, but some of the hamsters bedding, so it becomes familiar with the maze. You can place various treats inside the tubes. 4. DIY Cardboard maze with obstacles For this maze, you will need a cardboard box, popsicle sticks, and paper rolls. Make one side of the cardboard box to use as a base while cutting the remainder of the box to make walls and accessories for the obstacles. As with the tutorial before, use a pencil to draw on the base where you want to place the walls of the maze. Glue the pieces you cut before to glue down on the base. When you have the walls of the maze, start planning where you want to put the obstacles. Using popsicle sticks, you can create obstacles that your hamster can jump over. Glue them on the walls and make sure they are glued down tightly. Take the empty toilet paper roll and place it inside the maze. They can be used as an obstacle that the hamster can jump over, or crawl through. 5. DIY Lego maze Take out your old Legos and gather as many pieces as you can. This is one maze where you can get very creative, as you have many possibilities. Start by building a base for the maze. You can make a wide base or a narrow one. Everything depends on how you want the maze to look. You can build a narrower base, put up the walls, and place the stairs at the end. These stairs can be used to add another level to the maze or to even make the bridge and lead to another base. If you don’t know how or where to start, build a large base and use Legos to construct the walls, just like with the traditional maze. Legos give you a chance to build several levels to the maze, which your hamster will certainly enjoy. Whichever way you decide to make the maze for your hamster, make sure that you have a good base. The base is mostly responsible for the durability of the maze. If you choose to make cardboard of a wooden structure, it is best to use a plastic cover for the base to make it easier to clean. You can also glue the cover to the base to make sure it doesn’t slip off. When designing a maze, you can find inspiration online, or you can construct one of your own. The mazes do not have to be perfect. Either way, you make it, the hamsters will have fun while running around and exploring. To make it easier to build, construct your maze so that it has straight lines instead of curved ones. Make sure that the site of your maze fits your hamster. When you make an opening for your hamster, make sure that it is not too small, as the hamster can get stuck and injure itself. The walls of the maze don’t have to be too high; they just need to be high enough so the hamster will not jump over them. When constructing a large artificial maze with several levels of transition, you should try to avoid too steep slopes. Hamsters can get injured because it will be very difficult for them to fix their position with their claws. And also, in artificial tunnels ventilation should be organized so that the hamster does not suffer from lack of oxygen. If you’re making a bigger maze, not intended to be kept inside the cage, put it on the floor and not on the table. The hamsters can fall off the table once they leave the maze. There are many things you can do with the maze. You can leave various treats for your hamster to make sure he follows the path and exits the maze. [...] Read more...
Here’s How To Find A Hamster’s Gender (All Breeds And Ages)
Here’s How To Find A Hamster’s Gender (All Breeds And Ages)Knowing your hamster’s gender will save you from a world of trouble. Pairing a male with a female by mistake will get you a new litter faster than you’d like. When I got my Teddy I didn’t care about the gender, I just wanted him to be orange. It turned out he was the only orange hamster they had at the pet shop, so there we go. But today I’ll be talking about how to find the gender for your hamster, since this is very important. Especially if you’ve got Dwarf pairs. Table of Contents ToggleSo how do you find a hamster’s gender ?Here’s how to find a hamster’s gender – step by stepGive the hamster attention beforehandPrepare your surroundingsOnly try it when the hamster is relaxedHold the hamster properlyLook at the underside of the hamsterAlternative ways to find out a hamster’s genderUsing a transparent containerLooking for size and shape difference between gendersWhen to separate hamster babiesA word from Teddy So how do you find a hamster’s gender ? The shortest and clearest answer is to check the hamster’s genitals. There are some very clear differences between males and females, and you will notice them in your hamster. Females – You’ll notice on the underside of the hamster a sort of bald spot where the rear end is. Those are the anal and vaginal openings for the female hamster. They are very close together, and will possibly look like the same organ. There is very little, to no hair at all in that area. Also, you will notice the nipples on her abdomen running on both sides of her belly. They might be covered by fur, but they will be there. Males – have a larger patch of fur between the genital and anal opening. Some breeds will have a third point on their belly, a scent gland higher up on the abdomen. Males have no nipples in hamsters, so you should find none. And in the end, the testicles will make the male hamster’s rear end look larger, and more elongated than the female. Alright, but how do you actually go about finding the hamster’s sex ? Hamsters spend most of their time on all fours, so they won’t really roll over and show you. Let’s see how to go about that. Here’s how to find a hamster’s gender – step by step I’ll give you a step by step guide here, but remember that this works mostly for tame hamsters. Untamed hamsters, that do no like to be handled at all, will need a different strategy. I’ll provide you with that as well, just scroll down a bit. Give the hamster attention beforehand Before you try to tell the hamster’s sex, you need to make sure the hamster is calm and relaxed. A treat and some playing and handling will help a lot with this. If you can actually incorporate this into the playtime it would be easier for your hamster. You will be holding your hamster tilted on his back, and he won’t really like that. So play with your hamster a bit, stroke him, talk to him softly, do as you would normally. Give him a treat, maybe a big one to distract him. For example a large piece of carrot that he can’t immediately show into his cheeks would be great. If not, a simple dog treat will suffice. If you’re unsure what to feed the hamster, you can check the list of safe foods here. You’ll find foods and treats as well. Prepare your surroundings Your hamster might squirm, even if he is tame. No hamster likes to be held on their backs, and you can’t really hold them above your face since this will be too high for them. So, it would be best to do this low on the ground, with a box lined with bedding under your hamster. This way if the hamster manages to wriggle out of your hands, he will only fall on the soft bedding. And he won’t really get very far, since the box will keep him contained. If you’ve got a glass tank, you can do this over the hamster’s tank, to stress him even less. Again, try to incorporate this into the play routine you have with your hamster. Make it feel like it’s another game, and he will be a bit more relaxed. Only try it when the hamster is relaxed This should go without saying, but do not try to handle the hamster when he’s irritated, or is sleeping. If he just woke up for good, and just started walking about his cage, this can be a good time. But if he was just chewing on the cage bars a second ago, and his teeth are chattering, stay away. Your hamster is not in a friendly mood, and will definitely bite you if you try to hold him now. An eating hamster will not like being held or handled either. So a good moment would be when he’s out and about as usual, or when he just woke up. Hold the hamster properly When you do hold your hamster in order to find its gender, make sure you’ve got your thumb across the hamster’s chest. The hamster should be cupped in your hand, and you will need to use both hands. Your hamster will probably squirm and try to escape, which is understandable. Do not hold him up very high, instead do this over his glass tank close to the bedding if you can. Or over a box lined with bedding, so he will fall somewhere safe and soft. If you’ve dropped your hamster and didn’t manage to figure out his gender, that’s okay. Keep playing with him, and give him a couple of bits of food for his trouble. You can try again in a few minutes. This is something that you might need to have patience with. Look at the underside of the hamster Hold the hamster a bit tilted on his back, so you can see his underside. He will probably squirm, but that’s reasonable. Use your other hand to try and feel on his abdomen for the nipples. If you find none, it’s a male. If you do find nipples, it’s a female. Take a look at the hammy’s rear end too. If you see the vaginal and anal opening close together, like they’re the same opening, it’s a female. If the openings are farther apart, and there is a patch of fur between them, then it is a male. You might also see a swelling near the tail, those are the testicles of the male. These will all look the same, whether you have a Syrian or Robo or Campbell or any other kind of hamster. Some breeds might have another point on the male’s abdomen, a scent gland. (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.) Alternative ways to find out a hamster’s gender If you’ve got an especially stubborn hamster, who does not like being handled at all, then you’ll need to find another way. Or, if you’re looking at a hamster at the pet shop, and can’t pick it up but you want to know which gender you’re picking. Using a transparent container You can use a transparent container to find your hamster’s gender as well. This means that you will need something clear, like a jar, or a plastic box. You need to be able to see clearly through it. Place the container on its side in your hammy’s cage, with a treat inside. Wait for your hamster to wander into it and take the treat, then pick up the container. This might take a few minutes, but it will happen. Once the hamster is in the container, make sure he can’t get out. This means that the sides must be high, or there must be a lid on, which the hamster has to be able to breathe through. Lift the container above your head, and look up. It might take some trying and your hamster might not flatten itself onto the floor of the container at first. But you should eventually be able to notice the hamster’s underside clearly. Look for the anal and vaginal openings, and for the nipple markings as well. This is easier on the hamster, but takes much more time. Looking for size and shape difference between genders There are a few difference between males and females, even if they’re not immediately obvious. First, a male will be a bit larger than a female. If you’ve got a Syrian, and he’s alone in his cage as he should be, this won’t be easy to tell. But if you’ve got a Dwarf pair, it will be much easier to compare a specific hamster against another. Then, another difference between male and female hamsters is the rear end. A male’s rear will be larger, and slightly elongated, pointier. This is because his testicles are there, and take up quite some space. Of all the breeds the Syrian is the most obvious one, with very large testicles. The females have a more rounder, kind of shorter end. So if you look there, you might find some tell tale signs. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters are weaned by their mother when they’re about 3-4 weeks of age. Whats more important here is that they can breed about as soon as they’re weaned. They still have a bit of growing up to do to become full adults, but they are capable of breeding even at 3-4 weeks. So this would be the time to separate the litter into male and female cages. Doing this too late can bring you surprise litters, so you should keep an eye on the mother. Once she starts weaning them, the babies will be pushed away by their mother. They can drink water and eat commercial food now. If there was a very large litter, and not all babies managed to grow and develop properly, you can leave those with the mother for another week. When you separate the babies into male and female groups, run another check a week later, to be sure that they are all male or female. Just to be sure and not have 20 more hamsters overnight. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here, and know whether you have a boy or a girl hammy. I’m a Syrian boy, and I was pretty obvious from the get go. But my Dwarf cousins might be harder to figure out, so try to be patient. If you want to know more about us hammies, like how how expensive or cheap it is to keep one of us at home, or what we like to eat, you can check the articles below. [...] Read more...