Have you got a hamster, and he’s all over the cage ? Climbing everything, the cage walls, the furniture, your arm, the dog maybe. My Teddy was part-tarantula when he was young, so let me tell you about climbing hamsters.
So do hamsters climb ?
Yes, hamsters do climb. They will climb everything they can get a grip on, and are endlessly curious.
Hamsters are exceptionally good climbers, though not nearly as good as mice or rats. Still, a hamster can climb anything as long as he’s got something to hold onto.
A hamster’s grasp is very strong, and his entire body is a lean, mean, climbing machine.
If you’ve ever seen your hamster climbing, you’ve probably seen the stripe down his fur on his abdomen. He’s very well muscled, and will scale every inch of his cage.
Let’s see why this happens though, and if you and make it more fun for him.
Hamsters have so much energy to burn
Hamsters climb for two great reasons:
- They’re so incredibly curious, they have to see and smell and hear everything, and will move towards you as often as they can.
- They’ve got a ridiculous amount of energy, and even with a running wheel in their cage, baby hamsters will still be clinging to the ceiling.
Let me tell you about my Teddy. He’s a Syrian male, and a fairly tough and energetic one at that.
The first day we brought him home, he had one of those every small, square cages that you get at the pet shop. Too small, we had to go get another, bigger cage the following couple of days. In time we replaced that one too.
In both cages, the very small one, and the large one, Teddy was all over everything. All over the walls, the cage ceiling, and he’s cross the whole cage suspended like that.
Honestly it was the funniest thing ever, and I thought we’d gotten a tarantula by mistake. But no, that was just Teddy being a bright, curious, ball of energy. His wheel needed oiling every week, he was running so much in it.
The best part of Teddy being such a climber was that he sometimes … well, I think he forgot he was climbing the the cage wires. I have no other explanation for this.
He’d climb up and down the whole cage, show off his amazing abs, cling with just one paw, the use all 4, all kinds of acrobatics.
Suddenly, he’s just let go, like his batteries ran out right then and there. It was always in weird places, like letting go from the side of the cage, or the ceiling of the cage.
He was always fine and kept doing it, aside from all the toys he had, the running wheel, the exercise ball, everything. Hamsters are just full of energy.
Maybe your hammy is a bit silly like my Teddy, maybe he’s more of a lazy puff. I’ve met hamsters that only used their running wheel to gently swing in it while they ate.
(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.)
Climbing toys for your hamster friend
If you do have a hamster buddy who loves to climb, then he’s going to need some stimulation. While climbing the cage bars is perfectly fine, it can sometimes lead to chewing the cage bars.
Not only is that annoying, it’s also not safe for his teeth at all. You can find out more on bar chewing here.
One kind of toy that climbing hamsters would love is one that’s going to give them a place to hide too.
This one’s got a coconut hideout connected to the ladder, and your hamster friend can get a lot of exercise through it.
In general, bird toys make good climbing toys for hamsters, as long as they’re the ladder/climbing types like this one.
You can find the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
Another kind of toy a climbing hamster might like is just the ladder itself. Like this one for example, and can be used to connect 2 side of the cage, or even as a hanging rope.
Hammies love to climb, but they will chew on everything. So their toys need to be safe. This one is made of wood and twine.
This means your hammy will get a good grip on it, and also chew on it safely.
Do remember that hamsters will jump from heights, since they can’t judge distances very well. I recommend hanging this toy not very high off the cage floor.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
Whichever toy you get your hamster, remember that he might still climb the cage itself too. That’s alright, as long as he has other forms of stimulation, he will be fine.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies are very curious and want to explore everything, so naturally we’ll climb over and onto anything.
If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check the links below for more info on how to keep us happy and safe.
- Dwarf Hamster Feeding Guide: Everything You Need to KnowDwarf hamsters definitely top the group for the most popular hamsters in the world. They’re immensely popular all around the world, and their numbers only grow by the day. If you’re an owner of this furry species, then you have to know their dietary requirements, how much they need to eat, and what they’re eating. Your hamster is only going to trust you if you feed it properly, so this is a must. There are many intricacies that we can notice when we’re researching this species’ feeding habits, and today, we’ll be saving you the trouble of having to do that research on your own. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at dwarf hamsters and their eating habits. We’ll be specifically defining how they eat, what they eat, etc. If you need the answers to questions like what do dwarf hamsters like to eat, what are they allergic to, how often do they need to be fed, how long can they go without food, what foods to avoid and what potential health risks do they have that are connected with food – you’re in the right place. We’ll be answering all of those questions today. So, without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents How Often Should I Feed My Dwarf Hamster?What Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat?Tiny Friends Farm LoveliesKaytee Healthy BitsNutsWhat Are Dwarf Hamsters Allergic To?How Long Can Dwarf Hamsters Go Without Food? How Often Should I Feed My Dwarf Hamster? You should feed your hamster daily, they require fresh food every day. However, this depends on what you’re feeding it. If you’re feeding your hamster with Hamster Formula, then you need to feed them twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening. You also need to remove any uneaten food as it will rot quickly. You should feed your hamster with hard treats twice a week. There’s a difference between everyday treats, (apples, for example) which you can use to reward your hamster for training and hard treats. Hard treats help your dwarf hamster keep his incisors filed down, which is good for his overall dental hygiene. This is similar to dog treats that are used for dog hygiene. You can actually use this, as well – you can let your hamster chew on small dog biscuits, commercial hamster treats, or a small branch taken from a fruit-bearing tree. You can also feed your hamster with soft treats, once or twice a week. Soft treats include protein sources such as cooked meats; low-fat, no-salt cottage cheese, or a hard-boiled egg. You can also include wheat bread and scrambled eggs for your hamster. Something people often overlook is to keep your hamster hydrated, as well as fed. Many people pose the question ‘How often should I feed my hamster?’, but there aren’t many people asking ‘How often should I change my hamster’s water supply?’ – we’re telling you now that it’s vital for you to change your hamster’s water bottle often. Buy a hamster-sized water bottle with a stem and ball bearing from your local pet store. The ball regulates how much water comes out each time the hamster takes a drink. This is great because your hamster can control how much they’re drinking, but it’s important for you to change the water often – the water needs to be fresh. Even though it takes two weeks for the water to go stale (and that’s only in case it’s not bottled but in a glass), you wouldn’t drink stale water, so why should your hamster? Change your hamster’s water every two days, and following consultation with your veterinarian, you can even add supplements to the water. Another tip, while we’re already on the topic of water – make sure you’re using a water bottle, not a water bowl or dish. Hamsters will surely make a mess out of this and that’s heaven for bacteria and parasites. It’s smart to feed your hamster at the same time every day, if you can, of course. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do this flawlessly every day, but you should try to maintain a schedule. Dwarf hamsters have a really strong and high metabolism, so they need food throughout the day, flawlessly. There is some debate about whether you should feed them in the evening or in the morning, though. If you feed them in the evening, you’re feeding them when they’re most active, as hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals. However, if you feed them in the morning, you’re ensuring that they have food throughout the day. It may be best to do both, that way, your hamster will have food all day, every day. One last tip before we move on to our next section: all fruits and vegetables that aren’t eaten within 24 hours should be thrown away. What Can Dwarf Hamsters Eat? Firstly, we’ll let you take a look at a list of literally all things that dwarf hamsters are allowed to eat, and following that, we’ll explain things you should focus on. Fruits: apples, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cherries, cranberries, seedless grapes, lychee, mangos, melons, peaches, plums, raspberries, raspberry leaves, and strawberries. Vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, dandelion leaves, cauliflower, clover, kale, bean sprouts, asparagus, chickweed, chicory, cucumber, corn, spinach, watercress, radicchio, romaine lettuce, turnip, peas, green beans, chestnuts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini. Nuts, seeds, and grains: pumpkin seeds, peanuts, millet, flaxseed, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, barley, walnuts, lentils, soybeans. Other foods hamsters can eat grasshoppers (pet food), mealworms (pet food), boiled eggs, plain grasshoppers, plain tofu, whole grain bread, codfish (with bones removed), low-fat cottage cheese, brown pasta, unsalted peanut butter. Now, these are all very specific foods that you can feed your hamster, but you should know that you can feed your hamster to limited amounts of grains, vegetables, fruits, or Timothy hay, but that should never exceed 10% of their diet. The best thing to feed your dwarf hamster with is a hamster food mix. These are the healthiest option for most hamsters, as they’re made to fit and complete their daily dietary needs. The things we’ve listed can be fed to them in case you’ve run out of hamster food and you can’t yet buy some. Here are some of the best options when it comes to hamster food that’s best for dwarf hamsters: Kaytee Fiesta Hamster Food – this food mix is actually great for both dwarf hamsters and larger Syrian hamsters. It has natural veggies and fruits to add some variety and improve the nutrient content of the mix. This mix should definitely be enough to keep your hamster’s dietary needs fulfilled. However, an issue that’s often noticed with this food mix is that hamsters will often run to the fattier stuff and completely ignore the healthier foods until they’re full. Some hamsters don’t return to finish their meal, so you might be throwing some of this food away. This mix is ideal for all types of hamsters and gerbils, it’s naturally preserved and it has plenty of natural fruits and veggies for your hamster to enjoy, it’s also rich in antioxidants to support your hamster’s immune system, and the shape of the food is good for their dental hygiene. Tiny Friends Farm Hazel Hamster Mix – this is our next choice for dwarf hamster food. It has a great choice of seeds, mealworms, and other healthy treats. Mealworms are important because they bring protein into the mix, which is very important if you want to keep your hamster’s body strong. This is also great because all hamsters love mealworms, so they definitely won’t be skipping this. This food mix is great for all hamsters, and your pet is definitely going to love it. It’s a tasty mix, and it’s the best choice for hamsters that tend to be picky. It’s nutritionally balanced, suitable for all breeds, and it has vitamins included in the mix. Kaytee Forti Diet Pro Health Hamster Food – last entry on this list, this food is great if you’re worried about your hamster’s health. If you check this product out online, you’ll notice great reviews, and it’s not difficult to see why. This mix is full of all the nutrients your dwarf hamster needs to keep a healthy body. The only complaint hamster owners have on this food is that some packs have too many sunflower seeds in them, so you have to keep an eye on your hamster’s seed intake. It also contains omega-3 oils, and its shape supports dental care, while it also contains probiotics and it’s supporting immune health. You should also keep an eye on what you’ll be feeding your hamster for treats. Hamsters love treats, and it’s crucial to give them treats as that’s the best way for you to reward them after a job well done, for example teaching them a trick. Take a look at some of the best and tastiest treats for your furry friend. Tiny Friends Farm Lovelies This is a well-known brand for hamster treats, and you can be sure that all hamsters are going to love these treats. These treats are safe for both Syrian and dwarf hamsters, and your hamster is surely going to find them satiable. Kaytee Healthy Bits The ‘Healthy Bits’ pack definitely won’t disappoint you. It includes honey in the food, so hamsters naturally love it. The treats are small, so there aren’t any hamsters that shouldn’t eat this because of their size, and they’re also nicely held together so they won’t fall all over the floor. Nuts Your hamster will definitely enjoy all sorts of nuts. They’re a natural source of protein and necessary fats. Different hamsters enjoy different nuts, and we’ve already provided you with a list of nuts, seeds, and grains that hamsters enjoy, but here we’ll expand on the list of nuts hamsters love barley, cashew, flaxseed, lentils, millet, oats, peanut, popcorn, walnuts, monkey nuts. It’s also important to add fiber to your hamster’s diet. Natural sources of fiber, such as timothy hay and alfalfa hay, are good sources of fiber. Another thing that you should know is that Syrian hamsters and dwarf hamsters absolutely love insects, and you should feed them (not all insects) if you can. This is because insects are their main food source in the wild and they’re packed with protein and energy. This isn’t essential, so if you’re not comfortable with keeping insects around, that’s okay – but you will certainly be doing a disservice to your hamster. There are insects that are definitely worth considering: mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and grasshoppers. You’re going to want to provide a well-balanced diet for your hamster. Use a mixture of the food suggestions listed above to create a diet that’s going to be both tasty and healthy for your hamster. It’s important that their diet is packed with energy, as hamsters are very active animals that spend a lot of energy. Choose a food mix as the main and essential part of your hamster’s diet, and then add treats, fresh fruits, and insects to this diet. The general rule is that a single tablespoon of the mix is enough, and mix that with a couple of treats. You should also try to keep it interesting for your pet. You don’t eat the exact same meal every day, so why should your hamster? Provide your hamster with different types of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds on a daily basis. Don’t fear to reduce the sizes of your hamster’s meals if you notice that it’s gaining a lot of weight, as you don’t want it to become too fat. When you’re feeding your hamster, it’s best to use a food bowl. The same doesn’t apply to water, as hamsters usually make a mess when they’re drinking water out of bowls, but you should definitely use a bowl for serving food. This way, all uneaten food will stay in the bowl and be ready to get eaten later. They provide a designated area for feeding and they keep all the leftover food clean. Hamsters quickly learn to check their food bowl, so you’ll notice your hamster checking the bowl every once in a while, and they’ll likely be waiting for you when you’re refilling it. Hamsters also have the habit of filling their cheek pouches with secret stashes of food to build secret food stores near their bed. This is a natural instinct to keep food hidden away from other animals who may try to steal it. If you have more than a single hamster in the same cage, you may even find hamsters hiding food from one another. Buy a ceramic food bowl, as hamsters are likely to topple a plastic food bowl and the mix will end up all over the place. You should definitely observe your hamster eating – this is a great way to find out what they like and what they dislike. Hamsters, just like humans, have different taste. One hamster may enjoy something, while the other won’t. If you notice that your hamster doesn’t like a certain vegetable, replace it with another vegetable. If you notice that it won’t eat a certain fruit, replace it with another fruit – you get it. If you see that it’s getting sick from eating a certain food, then stop giving your hamster that food. For example, they can get sick from eating too much watermelon. Before we end this section, we would like to point out that it’s bad to overfeed your hamster. Hamsters need a single tablespoon of the mixture a day and adding to that the occasional treat and fresh food – that should be more than enough. Overfeeding your hamster is bad. Many people make this mistake because a tablespoon of food is almost as big as the hamster itself, so they figure that it can’t possibly be enough for the animal, but it’s actually more than enough (and probably more than what they’d get in the wilderness). Dwarf hamsters have very fast and high metabolisms, and they can eat just as much food as larger hamsters can. Don’t be tempted to fill your hamster’s empty bowl – we’ve already explained that hamsters often fill their cheek pouches with food and then hide it next to their bed. This means that they may empty the food bowl, but that doesn’t mean that all food is eaten. Don’t let your furry friend fool you. We’ve just about covered the answer to the question of what can hamsters eat, but know that you can add supplements to your hamster’s diet if it’s ever necessary. This is sometimes needed because of many health concerns, but you should always speak with your vet before adding any supplements to your hamster’s water or food supply. What Are Dwarf Hamsters Allergic To? Hamsters, as a species, can have problems with certain foods. However, it’s also possible that an individual hamster develops an allergy to something. Let’s firstly take a look at all the things that you should avoid feeding your dwarf hamster with. Almonds, avocado (it’s literally poisonous to them), apple seeds, chocolate, sweets, potato chips, pork, raw potatoes, grape seeds, rhubarb, tomato leaves, citrus fruits, watermelon, jam, spices, garlic, onions, chives, leeks. There are many foods that should be kept out of your hamster’s diet as it will make your hamster sick. Watermelon, although considered healthy, can be dangerous if the hamster eats too much of it – a watermelon’s water concentration is too much for hamsters. Almonds contain cyanic acid, which can make your dwarf hamster very sick. Seeds can also be harmful, and most often are, so make sure to remove all seeds from the food before you serve it. This means that you can’t feed your hamster apples, peaches, and plums before you take out the seeds. Theobromine is a substance found in chocolate, and it negatively affects your hamster’s circulation. Also, you should always remove uneaten food. This can be as dangerous as feeding your hamster with something that they shouldn’t be eating. Fruits and vegetables can become spoiled and moldy very quickly, and it’s especially important to take them out after 24 hours. Something that you should keep in mind is that dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes. Their bodies are very small and it’s difficult for them to deal with high levels of sugar in their bodies. The main cause of diabetes is poor feeding habits and high-sugar treats that are provided by the owner. This means that the responsibility of keeping your hamster diabetes-free befalls exclusively on your shoulders. Provide your hamster with a healthy and balanced diet, and avoid too much sugar in the pet’s food. You can recognize the most common symptoms of diabetes as your hamster will start to urinate more frequently and it will become quite lethargic. Consult with a veterinarian if you notice this. A poor diet can also cause diarrhea. You will recognize this by a loose stool, and you should, once again, consult a vet. There are also other symptoms to a sick hamster, and take note that all sicknesses can be caused by an unhealthy diet. If you notice your hamster losing weight, losing fur, breathing in distress, having a nasal discharge or skin lesions, you should take it to a vet. Hamsters can also develop allergies just like humans do. If you’ve noticed your hamster sneezing, they may be allergic to their bedding or something in their food. It could also be microscopic dust in the air. Try switching beddings, foods, to an unscented fabric softener, and use an air filter by your hamster’s cage to eliminate all allergens in that environment. If the problems persist, you should contact a veterinarian. There are many things that hamsters aren’t exactly allergic to, but it’s causing irritation to them. Perfumes, pine and cedar shavings, scented candles, electric “plug-in” style diffusers, scented room sprays, and even some cleaning agents can be harmful and irritating to your hamster’s respiratory canal. The best way to deal with this is to move the cage away from these fumes. Another irritant that’s definitely going to bother hamsters is cigarette smoke. To treat an allergic hamster, firstly remove anything that might be causing the allergy. For example, if you’ve just put new bedding for the hamster and it started sneezing, remove the bedding and see if anything will change. If the pet doesn’t get better, try changing other things around the cage and observe whether it will help. If you can’t pinpoint what’s exactly making your hamster allergic and five days have passed without the hamster’s symptoms reducing – take your hamster to the vet. How Long Can Dwarf Hamsters Go Without Food? So, you’re going to stay at work until late and you’re wondering whether your hamster will feel hungry? Don’t worry, hamsters can go three to four days without food, depending on when have they eaten last and how much have they eaten. Obviously, larger hamsters that eat more are going to be able to last longer, but you shouldn’t worry about your hamster as long as you know you’ll be feeding it soon. This applies to water, as well, as it’s just as important as food to them. To sum up, when feeding your hamster, you should know that the mixture is the backbone of your hamster’s diet – everything else is an addition that can be healthy, but isn’t really required. There are many things that you can add to your hamster’s diet that can be bad for it, we have listed all of those things in this article, and you should definitely avoid that. There are also many treats that are good for your hamster, but you should never overfeed them with treats, as they will lose their point – treats are there to reward your hamster after doing something good. Know that each individual hamster has individual taste, just like people, so you should adapt your food to your pet. You should always keep your hamster’s water supply fresh and completely full. Know that hamsters can only live three to four days without food and/or water. You should feed your hamster twice a day, once in the morning, and once again in the evening. Your hamster should get a full tablespoon of hamster food mixture daily – so give your hamster half a tablespoon of mixture each time you feed it. Know that your hamster is going to store that food away, so don’t be fooled into thinking that your hamster’s hungry just because their food bowl is empty. Dwarf hamsters’ metabolism is fast, so they can eat just as much food as other hamsters.... Read more...
- Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?Wondering what to choose between a hamster and a gerbil ? After all, they’re both so very cute and cuddly, but you can’t keep them both. But which should you choose ? Let’s see some details about each pet, so you can make a wise decision. If you want to know how a hamster would do if he were living with a gerbil, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents Is a rodent a good pet for you ?About the hamsterAbout the gerbilThe hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a groupCage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbilFood and treats for the hamster and the gerbilHealth problems the two can getA word from Teddy Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself this question. Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Both the hamster and the gerbil are rodents, they’re both very small and agile, and not easy to catch once they’ve escaped. As rodents, they need plenty of wood to chew on – their teeth never stop growing and need to be filed down constantly. They will love to hide and spend lots of time digging, burrowing, and generally not being noticeable. After all, these poor souls have always been food for other, larger animals. It’s their instinct to hide and taming them can take a while. Very important: if you have children, especially if they’re very young and they’re begging you to get them a hammy or a gerbil, watch out. Both of these pets are too fragile and high-maintenance for a child. The cleaning, taming, and often even the playing will be passed onto you. Not every child is like this, I know, but a hamster is not a puppy. A hamster or a gerbil can’t be handled like a puppy or a grown cat, and can’t match the child’s energy, nor the appetite for play. They’re very sensitive creatures. Still, if this kind of pet sounds alright for you (it did for me), whether you have kids or not, then by all means go and get yourself either a hamster or a gerbil. They’ll bring countless moments of ”awwww” and ”ooooh” to your life, starting with how cute they look when they sleep, and ending with the odd sounds they can make sometimes. Now let’s see about each pet, so you know which would be the best for you. About the hamster Hamsters are very small, fluffy creatures. There are 5 types of hamsters you can choose from, and none of them ever grow very large. They all would fit in the palm of your hand, even as adults. Those 5 types are: Syrian hamsters – the biggest of the bunch, and the most common as a pet. Dwarf types – Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian hammies. Half the size of a Syrian. Chinese hamsters, sometimes called Chinese Dwarf hammies. The easiest to confuse with a gerbil, since they have a bit of a tail. Hamsters come from the general, wide area of south Turkey, Syria, Mongolia, northern China, Russia, Siberia. That’s an area with not much vegetation going on, and most of it is a sort of desert, either a hot sandy one (Syria and Turkey) or a cold, tundra type. Hamsters have adapted to eat mostly grains and a few veggies, maybe an insect or two. They don’t need much water, and they usually live alone. The Dwarf types can tolerate another of their own species, if it’s a sibling and they still might fight sometimes. They’re mostly nocturnal, as pets. So getting a hamster would mean you might miss him if you go to bed around 10 PM and wake up early to go to work or school. In terms of shape, hamsters are short, stocky little creatures. The Dwarf types look like they have no neck at all, while the Syrians have a distinct teddybear-like face. About the gerbil Gerbils are, for the most part, hard to tell apart from a hamster. Especially if you’ve never had to tell the difference between them very often. The main difference is that gerbils have a long tail, longer than the Chinese hamster’s tail. And their hind legs are longer and thinner, since they do a lot of standing and jumping. Gerbils come from roughly the same area as hamsters. Mostly Mongolia and northern China. As such they might resemble the Dwarf hamsters, who come from there as well. As a difference though, gerbils live in colonies and they don’t do well on their own. They need company to enjoy themselves, and they don’t like being alone. Another difference is that gerbils aren’t exactly nocturnal, rather they sleep in patches and seem to be always awake. Gerbils do a lot of digging, more than hamsters actually. So their cage would need to be filled up with more bedding, so they can tunnel away as much as they like. Food for gerbils is very similar to the food for hamsters: mostly grains, a bit of fruit and veg, and a bit of protein if they can catch it. In terms of what their bodies do and what they need for a happy life, hamsters and gerbils do not need very different things. Except for 2 things, which if you get wrong, it can be very bad. (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.) The hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a group One of the things you need to know about, and the most dangerous to get wrong, is the social aspect of these pets. You see hamsters and gerbils are fundamentally opposites in terms of being social. Hamsters like to be on their own, they will not share anything. Even the Dwarf types, which you can sometimes manage to raise successfully in a same-sex pair, will argue often. To a degree that’s normal, but even so it puts much stress on the hamster. A gerbil on the other hand will not like being alone. Much like guinea pigs, gerbils need to be kept in pairs, at the very least. A lone gerbil will become depressed and lose his appetite. A human, while entertaining, will never be able to supplement the attention of another gerbil. After all, we don’t speak gerbil very well, do we ? So, please remember. A hamster should always be alone, a gerbil should always have a buddy. A buddy means either 3 females, or 2 males. Or anything over that number, since it will benefit them to be in a larger number. That will mean a larger cage though, so take care how many gerbils you get. Cage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbil Now when it comes to housing a hamster, that can be fairly easy. A cage big enough for a hamster will be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s a cage big enough for a Syrian, although I recommend it for Dwarf type as well. Hamsters, like gerbils, will always pick a bigger cage if they can. Close quarters can make them stressed and nippy. A pair of gerbils would need a 12 x 20 inch cage, which is 30 x 51 cm. Not that very different from a Syrian cage. Still if you can afford to go for a bigger cage, do so. This is the second thing that needs to be done a certain way, otherwise your gerbils won’t be happy. While they do enjoy each other’s company, they also enjoy some space to run around in and have fun. Now, a good cage that would fit either a single hamster, or two gerbils is this one. It will provide air and lots of ventilation, being a wire cage. It’s also got a second level, which the gerbils or hamster can use as they wish, and it adds extra floor space. The wires in the cage are close together so that neither a gerbil nor a Dwarf hamster would be able to escape. And it’s got enough of a bottom to fill with bedding, so your gerbils have something to tunnel through. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the cage, both the gerbils and the hamster will need plenty of toys and objects in their cage. This means silly things like a cardboard tube can be amazing for them, since they both love to tunnel and they will stick their faces everywhere they can fit it. You can make most toys at home, with a bit of cardboard and creativity. For example an egg carton, with a few holes cut into it is going to be the best hide and seek toy ever. It just won’t last very long, since both the hamster and the gerbils will chew at them often. Some toys, like the exercise wheel, will need to be bought. This is mostly because the wheel needs to be silent, and run smooth, without a hitch. A tail and foot guard is welcome, and gerbil tails are not meant to get caught in anything. So an exercise wheel with just rungs, or wire mesh is not alright for gerbils. A solid-floored one, with not gaps for the little guys to catch their feet or tails on is great. One such example is this one, a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel which is both silent and solid. No tails or feet caught in this one, and it’s easy to spin both by a small Dwarf, and by a Syrian. Gerbils are alright in it too, and their tails will stay safe as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel and the toys the cage will need bedding and a hideout. I recommend you get a wooden hideout, since these two pets will chew at everything, including their nest. As for the bedding, it can be wood shavings or paper bedding. Stay away from wood pellets, since they’re too hard for hamsters and gerbils. If you get wood shavings, make sure you keep away from cedar and pine since their strong aroma can choke the rodents. Food and treats for the hamster and the gerbil In terms of food, these two eat mostly the same things. Both are alright with grains, in fact it’s what they eat most of the time. Fruits are welcome, although some should be avoided – like citrus for example, or apple cores and peels. Vegetables are good for them as well, just keep them away from onion, garlic, leek, and other such veggies. Best to ask before you feed your hamster or gerbils anything new. Nuts and peanuts are a favorite among these guys, so they will enjoy the treat. Just stay away from sweets, saucy foods, spicy foods, or any kind of condiments at all. Their tiny bodies can’t process those things, and they often end up with digestive problems. For the most part hamsters and gerbils have the same foods and treats. Often they’re put on the same packaging to make things very clear. Health problems the two can get Their health problems are mostly the same. Both rodents need their teeth constantly filed down, otherwise they just grow too large. So dental problems can be a big deal, whether it’s overgrown teeth or infected broken teeth, or another problem. Ear and hearing problems can arise as well, and so can eye problems. Tumors and lumps are a topic that is common for hamsters and gerbils, actually for rodents in general. Most of the problems can be easily solved by a vet, but you will need a specific one. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. If you just look to a small pet vet, he might only be able to help with pets as small as cats. Normally hamsters have a 2-4 year lifespan, depending on their type. The Robo Dwarf lives the longest (2 years) while the Chinese lives a shorter life, about 2 years. Gerbils on the other hand have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity. So whichever one you choose as a pet, make sure you have the time and willingness to take care of them properly. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are easy to confuse with gerbils, but we’re actually sort of cousins, twice removed. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- What Do Hamsters Eat In The Wild? Don’t Feed Your Pet The SameAs a hamster owner, I always had this question in the back of my head, what do hamsters eat in the wild? Yes, my furball has food delivered to his house daily, which is not so bad, but it is not like this in the wild. There isn’t only one type of hamster, and they come from different parts of the world, so talking about what hamsters eat in the wild might be too general if you don’t talk about each species but the thing is that they have similar behaviors and diets in the wild no matter where they came from. There are a few differences between Syrian hamsters and the smaller ones, but we will talk about that a bit later. I decided to write this article because I wanted to make sure we don’t miss anything when we feed our hamsters, and for that, I had to do my research to see what they eat in the wild. But it is important to know that a wild hamster’s diet is not a perfect one, they might eat something they don’t like, or it is very healthy for them, but it might be the only thing they have. Table of Contents What do hamsters eat in the wild?When do hamsters eat in the wild?How does a wild hamster find water?Diet differences between pet hamsters and wild hamstersChallenges for a wild hamster to obtain food in the wild1. Avoiding predators while looking for food.2. Knowing what food is safe to eat.3. Storing food for later4. They compete with other animals for the same food.Do pet hamsters live more than wild hamsters?Conclusion What do hamsters eat in the wild? A wild hamster’s diet has a lot of seeds, grains(like wheat, oat, barley, and more), and all kinds of nuts, since those are the ones easier to find and they are pretty nutritious for a hamster, but they also might look for fruits and vegetables if possible. Last but not least, they can also eat insects if needed. The last ones are not their primary target since a hamster can live pretty well without the trouble of hunting for those, but they will not refuse them if they come in their way. Keep in mind that hamsters are prey animals, and they are not the most courageous hunters out there. They might prefer to eat the safer food they can find. When do hamsters eat in the wild? Most wild hamsters are crepuscular, which means that they are active at sunset and sunrise since the visibility for their predators is not so great, but the hamsters can see what they are doing. They usually don’t go outside during the day because they fear predators like snakes, eagles, and other wild animals, who are mostly active during the day. Most people think that hamsters are nocturnal, and they associate this with having good eyesight in the dark, which is not true, hamsters have pretty weak eyesight all the time, and it doesn’t get better in the dark. But they do have a very good sense of smell and hearing. So a hamster will procure food during those hours and store the food for later. They can carry a good amount of food in their cheek pouches but they have to store it in their burrows since they can’t keep it on them for too long. If you want to know more about hamsters’ cheek pouches, I have an entire article about how cheek pouches work and common problems. For them, the cheek pouches are similar to a shopping cart for us. How does a wild hamster find water? Wild hamsters will get most of their water requirements from their food, especially vegetables, seeds, and fruits. They might also drink water from puddles and streams but this might not be accessible for all wild hamsters, and as you can imagine, it can be quite dangerous to make noises while they drink, and storing water for later is not an option. Rainwater is also an option, but as we all know, it is not reliable, and they usually avoid the rain directly since they can get sick very fast if they get wet, check my article to see more on why you should never wash a hamster. They can drink rainwater only if they capture some water in their burrows, but they will not get outside when it rains to drink water. Diet differences between pet hamsters and wild hamsters I will not get into many details about what a pet hamster should eat since that would be an entire article and I already wrote a big article hamster’s diet. Most hamster owners feed their small friends with specially-formulated food pellets that usually have all the vitamins and minerals a hamster needs. You can also feed a pet hamster whatever a wild hamster can eat, but those mixes are more than enough and they usually cover all they need. So my advice is to feed your hamster with a pre-made mix, and if you want to give it some extra food, nuts, seeds, and even some cooked meat, if you respect what I’ve said in the article about what hamsters can eat, your hamster should be fine. Make sure you check the article since there are some exceptions, especially when you feed a dwarf hamster that has a predisposition to diabetes. While a Syrian hamster can eat small amounts of banana, a dwarf hamster should avoid it completely. A wild hamster on the other hand will not focus as much on a healthy and nutritious diet because his focus is surviving and not a balanced diet. So saying that you should feed a hamster what they actually eat in the wild instead of a pre-made mix might not be the best idea. The pre-made mix is the ideal version of what a wild hamster would need in the first place. Challenges for a wild hamster to obtain food in the wild As you can imagine, a wild hamster faces many challenges when trying to find food. I will list here a few of them: 1. Avoiding predators while looking for food. This one is the biggest challenge a wild hamster will face when finding food. They have predators everywhere, it might be a snake that comes from the ground or from the water, it might be other wild animals from the ground or burrows, an eagle or owl from the air, or even other hamsters. A hamster looking for food in the wild is in for a wild ride, with a high chance of the hamster actually becoming the food, which is pretty sad. 2. Knowing what food is safe to eat. They have a pretty good instinct for that, but they don’t know all the time which type of insect, plant or seed is poisonous and which one is not. Or if that food is safe in the long term, we as humans know what is safe for us and what is not. We know that if we eat only chocolate for a few months, we will end up with some serious health issues but a hamster might not realize that eating only fruits for a month might get them in trouble. But, the wild hamster will eat whatever it can get its paws on since it doesn’t have many options. 3. Storing food for later Hamsters have cheek pouches that are more like a shopping cart for them but they can’t store food in their cheeks for too long, so they have to come back to their burrows. This limits their ability to go too far for food, especially because they don’t have the best eyesight. 4. They compete with other animals for the same food. In the wild there are a lot of animals that will eat the same thing, so for the wild hamster it’s not only important to find food, but it is also important to find it first. Also, places with more food will be more crowded by animals and the stronger ones will get the most food. As you might imagine, hamsters are not the strongest animals in the wild since they are pretty small. They are pretty strong for their size and bite quite hard, but it is not enough to kill a snake or other predators. I remember when my hamster was hanging from the cage ceiling, and actually moving using only two paws which is quite incredible, I have to admit that I envy his power. Do pet hamsters live more than wild hamsters? Not having predators makes pet hamsters live longer than wild hamsters. Also, they don’t face all the challenges that a wild hamster would face when it comes to finding food or water. Hamsters are not social animals, and they are quite happy if they have food and water, so this might make them good pets but not perfect one. A hamster is not a puppy or a kitten is a bad pet for a young child (under 9 years old). Read my article on 10+ reasons why you should not get a hamster. Conclusion A wild hamster will eat way more things than a regular pet hamster but don’t confuse more things with a more diversified diet. They eat more things because this is what helps them survive, they don’t get to choose what they want to eat to complete their diet. So the life of a wild hamster is just that – “wild” when it comes to finding food or water. And this is without talking about finding a partner to reproduce with, which is a big challenge on its own. Check my article about hamster reproduction, it is way more interesting and complex than you might think. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between the life of a pet and a wild hamster. Please make sure you take good care of your little furball and you make its life as good as possible.... Read more...
- How to Find a Hamster Breeder The EssentialsHamsters are such adorable creatures and I won’t be surprised if you are already researching how to find a hamster breeder. However, your search is going to become a lot easier as I’ve done all the hard work for you. In this article, I’ll be talking about how to find a hamster breeder and other sources where you can buy hamsters from. You can find a hamster breeder at hamster online communities, hamster shows and expos, and from online directories of hamster clubs. Now let’s see in full at the different places you can buy a hamster. You may be already familiar with some of them or learn new places where you can buy a hamster. Continue reading to find out the best places to buy a hamster. Table of Contents What are the best places to buy a hamster?1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder2. Pet stores3. Hamster Communities Online4. Hamster Shows5. Hamsters For Adoption6. Pet ExposHow to find a good hamster breeder?Questions to ask a hamster breeder What are the best places to buy a hamster? Hamsters make a great pet and parents usually get it for their child as his/her first pet. But hamsters are adorable creatures that are loved by the young and old alike. They are affordable, relatively easy to care and of course, cute! And they don’t take a lot of space. What’s not to love about hamsters, 1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder Hamster breeders are the most reputable source that you can get a hamster from. But the problem many people encounter here is finding hamster breeders near. However, finding local hamster breeders is a lot easier than many people realize. This is because local hamster breeders are usually part of regional and local groups. Now, the good news is that these groups usually have a website and can easily be found with a quick Google search. 2. Pet stores Chances are that you’ve seen hamsters for sale at a local pet store alongside other small animals like birds, mice, and guinea pigs. 3. Hamster Communities Online While there isn’t a hamster nationwide association in the United States, several states have at least one hamster fan club. These hamster fan clubs usually have an online directory of hamster breeders in their states. You can go through this directory to find the closest breeder to you. The California Hamster Organization is an example of a hamster fan club and it is based in Southern California. There are also online communities like Hamster Hideout where you can connect with hamster lovers and breeders in your area. The National Hamster Council (NHC) is the main body for hamster breeders in the UK. And the organization has three regional clubs that have lists of breeder members. The regional clubs have also been known to organize hamster shows. 4. Hamster Shows Hamster shows are events where hamster breeders bring out their hamsters for exhibit and sale. These shows are usually run by hamsters enthusiasts who are very passionate about these adorable little furry creatures and want to promote them as pets while also campaigning for the welfare of hamsters. Finding a hamster show is easy in the UK as local NHC run hamster shows from time to time following a well-established schedule. 5. Hamsters For Adoption Hamsters are usually put up for adoption at small animal rescue organizations and traditional animal shelters. These hamsters are homeless and you could be the one to give a hamster a home forever. You’ll have to inquire about the personality of any hamster you wish to adopt and chances are that a vet has come around to check on the hamsters before they are put up for adoption. 6. Pet Expos Pet expos give you an avenue to meet hamster lovers and breeders. You get to chat way about these adorable creatures as well as buy a hamster and their supplies. Most major cities usually have pet expos at least once a year. If you live in a rural area, you should check out county fairs as well as 4-H shows as they are great places to find hamsters. How to find a good hamster breeder? As discussed above, you can find hamster breeders from online communities, hamster shows, and expos. But you see. anyone can call themselves breeders. It doesn’t matter if they breed hundreds of litters or a single one in a year or whether their hamsters are living in a warehouse or sitting room. The fact that anyone can style themselves as hamster breeders makes things a bit complicated when you want to get hamsters from a breeder. This necessitates the need to differentiate good breeders from the wannabe breeders. One of the ways by which you can spot One of the best ways to know sensible breeders from mediocre ones is to ask questions, lots of questions. My advice to anyone considering getting a new pet is to do some research and learn about the pet. It’s important you know what you are committing to. Also, you’ll be able to judge if any information you receive from a breeder is correct. You can get reliable information about hamsters from Hamsterlopaedia by Chris and Pete Logsdail. So if you ask a breeder a question and he/she can’t or isn’t willing to answer, then that’s a red flag. You can also know if your hamster breeder is reputable or not by the record he/she keeps. Good breeders keep detailed records of their breeding stock. This makes every individual hamster easily identifiable. The records kept should contain the following information about individual hamsters: Birthdate Sex Color Show wins Medical records Mating and breeding log. The breeding log should record all their matings and details such as the number of offspring and any postnatal deaths while the medical records should detail past illnesses of the hamsters if any and the treatments. Questions to ask a hamster breeder 1) Why do you breed?: I think this is a very crucial question and answers like “I think hamsters are cute’ or “Because I want to” isn’t just going to cut it. Now, I think good hamster breeders usually have a vision in mind which ultimately relates to improving hamsters by establishing healthy lines that have good temperament. These hamsters should be able to meet the NHC show standards which are all about promoting good health and aesthetics. 2) Ask if the breeder provides ongoing support and whether you can return a hamster you bought from them if you can no longer keep it: Ideally, the answer to this should be ‘yes’. Responsible hamster breeders should not allow their hamsters to end up at shelter homes. The breeder will inform you of any policy he/she has in place concerning this. 3) Are you a hamster club member or do you hold a prefix?: Hamster organizations like NHC are all about promoting hamster care. These organizations give ‘prefixes’ which are hamsters’ names to breeders that have been members for a year. These breeders will be required to abide by the organization’s code of conduct as regards breeding and care. Ask your breeder if he/she is a member of any club. Also. ask if he/she has a prefix. And should they have a prefix, which you’ll confirm by asking for a prefix certificate, go to the organization’s website to check the current list of breeders that have prefixes? 4) Do you cull babies in litters?: The answer to this should be ‘no’. 5) What care do you give to mums and litters?: This has to do with the care and diet given to both hamster mums and baby hamsters. The diet given to hamsters mums-to-be is very important and should be especially rich in protein. Babies and mother hamsters are not supposed to be disturbed for the first two weeks. You should get some information about the care given to hamsters if the breeders keep detailed records. 6) Ask about how often the babies handled and from what age. Also, you should ask about the age at which the baby hamsters are available for rehoming. Baby hamsters are not supposed to be handled until they are 14 days old as this is when their eyes open. After that, the baby hamsters need to be handled regularly. The reason for this is to keep them tame and nice. And baby hamsters are ready to be moved to a new home by four weeks, though it’s common to do this at 6-8 weeks. A good breeder will provide you with all this information and more. 7) You also need to ask the breeder if they seek veterinary treatment for their hamsters and if there is a good local vet they can recommend. You also have to inquire about any existing health problems the hamster line/litter may have and a good breeder should be honest about this. ... Read more...
- Best Hamster Travel Cages, And How To Transport Your Hamster SafelyTaking your hamster somewhere is never easy. This is why having the best travel cage ever for your hamster is going to make things much easier, both for you and your hamster. This is what I’ll be helping you out with, and my Teddy will give you a few important things to remember along the way. Travelling with your hamster need to be done with care. Table of Contents Finding the best travel cages for your hamsterThe best transport cages for hamsters I’ve foundHabitrail OVO plastic transport cage for hamstersKaytee wire transport cage for hamstersLiving World Hagen Pet Carrier (hard plastic)How to safely transport your hamsterFood and water for transporting your hamsterWaterFoodKeeping your hamster comfortable during travelTry to keep him from scaring too muchKeep the hamster in the darkAvoid transporting the hamster in extreme temperaturesKeep the hamster’s cage secureFamiliar bedding for your hamster’s comfortGive the hamster time to adjustBest toys to keep your hamster occupied during travelToys.The hamster house or nestA word from Teddy Finding the best travel cages for your hamster Let’s talk about the transport cage itself. This is the most important part of transporting your hamster, since you can’t bring the cage your hamster lives in. The main debate about transport cages in whether you should get a very secure one – like those made of plastic – or a very breathable one, with wire. It’s entirely up to you, is what I say. You don’t need a transport cage often, but when you do you’ll be very specific about it. Of course you can later use it as a place to keep the hamster while you clean and change his big cage. Now, whatever type of cage you get, it’s important that it is very well secured. It should not spring open suddenly, and you hamster can’t gnaw on the clasps to open it easily. Just as important, how breathable is the cage ? Wire cages are very breathable but are not the most secure. However the plastic cages offer more safety but only have holes in them to allow air to pass through it. The size of the cage does not really matter, in that it can be smaller than the one your hamster lives in. But make sure that he will fit easily into the transporting unit, and you can take him out just as easy. The best transport cages for hamsters I’ve found I’ll go through the best transport cages I’ve found, both for plastic and for wire cages. You pick whichever you think sounds better for you and your hamster. Habitrail OVO plastic transport cage for hamsters This is the kind of cage that will stay securely closed, and your hammy can get inside easily. The two tube endings can be attached to the main cage through, well, tubes so your hamster can use it as an extra home when not traveling. The two endings can be closed off with lids that comes with the cage. There are enough air holes on the top of the cage, to let the hamster get enough air. It also prevents drafts since the holes will not catch a lot of sideways air. You can fit a lot of bedding in the lower part of the cage, since it will reach high enough. But don’t add any sand for a sand bath, since it can escape from tiny nooks. I’ve both checked the reviews on Amazon, and looked at one in our local petshop. This kind of cage looks and feels sturdy, and the handle will definitely keep when you travel. A couple of downsides are that if you order it or buy it in a sealed package, you might have to assemble it yourself. But as far as I’ve seen the instructions are very clear and most people managed to assemble it okay. The other small downside would be that longer journeys would be a bit more difficult, since there is not much space in this cage. The air holes do provide some air, but not for 24 hours. You can find it on Amazon here, and check its price as well. Kaytee wire transport cage for hamsters Wire cages are probably your best option for ventilation. But the problem is sometimes they are easy to open by the hamster, or they don’t close properly. It’s also harder to wrap a cloth around the cage to prevent drafts since the hamster will try to chew the cloth. But, in this case this cage has more space than the plastic one I talked about earlier. There’s an added level that can give your hamster a bit more space, but I recommend taking it out so he can’t fall. Your hamster will have a lot of breathing space, which is essential if you’re going on a long trip or he needs to be in that cage more than a couple of hours. The spacing between these bars is about 1.25 cm/0.5 inches so your hammy has no chance of fitting his head through the bars. Both Syrians and smaller breeds (like Siberians or Campbells) are alright in this kind of cage for transport. I can see only a couple of downsides to this cage, one being that the bedding can get all over the car in some cases, like if your hamster kicks it around or there is a sharp turn. And second, it is very hard to protect from drafts. You can check out this exact cage on Amazon, and see its price as well. Living World Hagen Pet Carrier (hard plastic) If you’re looking for more options then maybe this pet carrier will sound better for you and your pet. People have successfully transported small birds like cockatiels and sun conures to the vet in this transport cage, and it seems to be large enough for an adult hamster. It’s large enough for an adult Syrian, and definitely large enough for an adult Dwarf as well. Just remember to get the ‘large’ size, the maroon one with a gray and transparent top, as the smaller blue one is much too small. This transport cage is hard, thick plastic, and if you offer some amount of bedding and a hideout for your hammy then he should have no problem being relaxed in this cage. The overall size is 11.8 inch length by 9 inch width by 8.3 inch height, and most hammies won’t even reach the top part of the cage very easily. Air circulation is good enough, as there are holes on the upper part of the sides of the cage, and in the transparent lid as well. The lid is large, and opens completely, meaning you will have very easy access to your hamster when taking him out. And you will also easily keep an eye on him during travel. The fact that he won’t see anything around him may prove better at not scaring him. The only downside I see to this cage is the height of the cage. Hamsters love to gnaw on everything, and if yours gets his chompers on the upper part where there are holes, he might nibble at them and make a larger hole. Still, few hamsters get that far and I doubt it can become a problem if you’re using the cage for a quick trip to the vet. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. (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 safely transport your hamster The very idea of moving your hamster is not safe for him, but in general it’s best to keep the cage and the toys inside the hamster cage lightweight. During travel sudden stops or sharp turns might move the cage and the things inside the cage can hurt the hamster. Also, try and keep the duration and distance as short as possible. Avoid public transport, with loud noises and people bumping into you. Go for an air conditioned car that can get you there fast. There are more things to keep in mind than this, so Teddy and I will get into detail with all of them. But as a reminder: Teddy: Us hamsters are very easy to scare, so try not to rattle, bump, jostle, throw or shake our transport cage, and keep us well ventilated ! Food and water for transporting your hamster When you transport your little hamster, you’ll want to keep him well stocked on food and water. The problem is what kind of food and water. Water A water bottle or bowl is not good for transport. Every time your car or train or bus stops, they can leak and get the hamster wet, and possibly ill later on. What you can do instead is get a few slices of cucumber, and place them every once in a while in your hamster’s cage. Cucumbers have very high water content, and are safe for your hamster to eat. The cucumber will give your hamster enough water to last him the trip and back again, without spilling anything. Best to get several thick slices, and store them in a cool bag. Place one at a time every few hours in your hamster’s cage and he will have enough liquid. To know more about your hamster’s usual water needs, read my article here. Food As for the kind of food the hamster needs, it’s best if it is something dry like grains or a food mix from your favorite pet shop. Place a couple of his favorite treats in the cage as well, to make the trip more comfortable for him. Another type of food you should bring is a hard kind of treat for your hamster to nibble on. This is to give him something better than the cage to gnaw on, and also to relieve some of his anxiety. The best kind of dog treat for hamsters is either the plain kind – with no added flavors – or a milk bone. Milk bones are basically dog treats, but with added vitamins and minerals. They don’t necessarily contain milk, that’s just the name. Given the size of hamsters, and the size of dog treats, one treat will last your little one a long way. So basically a box of dog treats could possibly last the entire life of the hamster. Best to sprinkle the food in your hamster’s bedding, so he will forage for it during the trip and be distracted. For a clear list of what hamsters can and can not eat, read here. You’ll also find out what kind of treats you can give your hamster. Teddy: Hamsters need some simple dry food for transport, and sliced cucumber instead of a water bottle. We love cucumber ! Teddy enjoying his dry food from my hand Keeping your hamster comfortable during travel This is a topic just as important as what food you give the hamster when you transport him. Hamsters are easy to scare, they panic easily, and sometimes looking at your hamster wrong can scare him. I don’t know, all hamsters are different and some of them spook very easily. Try to keep him from scaring too much The weirdest example I have is when I was bent over my Teddy’s cage reaching for something. When I look down there’s Teddy, all shaking, on his hind paws, jaws open, trying to be big. I crouched down next to him, slowly, and spoke softly to him. It took him a minute but he was friendly after that. So unless you want your hamster to do something similar when he sees his vet after the trip, please make sure he is comfortable. That means that the cage should be shaken and moved around as little as possible. If possible, get a taxi or a friend to give you a ride to where you need to get. Do not keep your hamster on the road for more than he needs to be. It will freak him out and he will need some time to recover. Keep the hamster in the dark If possible, make sure that the cage you transport him with is not clear. Hamsters can’t see very well, but they can still see. And sudden movements will still scare them. If you can, cover the cage with something like a blanket to keep it dark. But make sure you do not cover the air holes, so that your hamster can still get enough air. However if your transport cage is an actual cage, not a plastic unit, then you need to make sure the hamster can’t reach the blanket and gnaw at it. My Teddy shoved a couple of centimeters of furry blanket in his cheeks when he first laid his paws on one, so be warned. Avoid transporting the hamster in extreme temperatures Unless you absolutely must, avoid transporting the hamster in very cold or very hot times of the year. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and need a range of 20-22 Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit to feel comfy. So make sure you can keep your hamster warm/cool, depending on the season. And also make sure that there is no draft where you keep your hamster during transport. Hamsters are very sensitive to this, and a cold for them is not as easy to shrug off as it is for humans. Keep the hamster’s cage secure When you travel by car, make sure that you have a seat belt strapped across the cage. This is to keep both you and the hammy safe. The cage needs to sit in place when traveling, and as long as you keep an eye on it, it should be fine. Try not to keep it on your lap, since it can hurt you in the case of sudden stops or turns. The same goes for keeping the cage in the trunk or at your feet in the car. If you’re travelling by train or bus, keep the cage on the seat next to you, with a hand on it or another way to make sure it stays in place. Familiar bedding for your hamster’s comfort In the end, you will need to place your hamster in a cage that is familiar to him. For this, use new bedding, mixed with bedding from his own cage. Make sure that the used bedding is not soiled or does not have too many droppings. A few droppings are okay, since it will be easier for your hamster to recognize the place as his own. But try to keep it mainly ‘clean’. The bedding you use for his home should have pieces that are from his own home as well. So if your gave your hamster ripped up paper towel to used as nesting material, grab a few pieces from his own home and place them in the transport cage. You can find out more about your hamster’s bedding here. What you can use, and what you should avoid. Give the hamster time to adjust Another thing that will help a lot is placing your hamster in the transport cage about an hour before you leave. This way you give him time to get used to his new cage, and he will not be as stressed. The best way to do this is to put the hamster in his exercise ball, and then put the exercise ball open in the transport cage. Or, place the transport cage directly into his usual cage, and let him explore it like that. For a discussion on what kind of cage is best for your hamster, check out my “best cages” article here. If your hamster is the kind that can be housed with several other hamsters, I’d recommend that you transport them in the same cage as well. Even if they don’t need a trip to the vet necessarily. This is to make the trip easier for the hamster that needs to be taken to the vet or somewhere specific. And also so that there is less hostility when you bring him back. The new smells on the transported hamster can make the ones left home get a bit aggressive. So try to avoid that by bringing them all if possible. This will not happen every time, the hamsters at home will not attack the transported hamster each occasion. But I’ve heard such stories and I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Teddy: That was a long read, I know ! But us hamsters are easy to scare, so extra steps are needed to make us comfortable. Make sure you don’t rattle or shake the cage too much, and keep us safe and in place in our transport. Best toys to keep your hamster occupied during travel Obviously, the best toys are the ones he already loves and uses in his cage. But if they are very large and chunky toys, like blocks of wood, or hide and seek wooden tubes, these are a problem. They are heavy, and in the case of a sudden stop they can injure your tiny hamster. Toys. So make sure that the toys you bring into your hamster’s transport cage are light. Things like cardboard, for example toilet rolls, or paper towel rolls or paper egg cartons are fine. Cut a few holes in the tubes and carton and you’ve got yourself some great toys for your hamster to enjoy and keep him distracted. This way they won’t hurt the hamster if the cage moves around too much. Another helpful idea can be a walnut, with a tiny hole in it. This will keep the hamster entertained and busy, and he’ll try to chew on it. Even better would be if your can get a few walnut halves, cleaned, and string them on a piece of string. Try securing it along the edge of the cage, if possible, to make sure it stays in place. If you can’t, best to leave out the walnuts completely. The hamster house or nest The same goes for your hamster’s home or hideout. Make sure it is something lightweight that will not hurt him if it rolls over during transport. Paper or cardboard houses can be an option, but your hamster will probably chew on them so they won’t be a house anymore. Best to opt for something made of plastic, very very light weight. Teddy: It’s important to remember that the toys we need during transport are light weight, and very simple. Us hamsters are very fragile and need some extra care, even when it comes to our toys ! A word from Teddy Hi ! I hope this article managed to clear up a lot of your questions, and you can safely transport my brother or sister. I know transport cages seem tiny compared to how much space us hamsters really need, but for a few hours it’s alright. As long as you can keep us safe, healthy, and well fed and watered, we’ll survive the trip. If you want to know more about hamsters, and for example how much we can go without food, or if we need a light on, then check out these other articles !... Read more...
- 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 So 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...
- This Is Why Your Hamster Is Freezing And What It MeansEvery hamster owner ever has asked themselves this question. Why is my hamster freezing, and what does it mean ? Well, my Teddy (fully grown Syrian hamster) does this regularly, and we’re here to let you know your hamster is probably fine. There are a few reasons he can suddenly freeze, and we’ll cover them right now. Table of Contents So why does your hamster randomly freeze ?What to do when your hamster is frozenHamsters have very sensitive hearing and smellShould you worry about your hamster freezing ?Other hamster behaviors that might seem strangeA word from Teddy So why does your hamster randomly freeze ? Generally a hamster will freeze because he’s listening for something, or focusing intently to hear if there are predators around. Even if he’s lived his entire life with you safely, his instincts will kick in every now and then. Other possible reasons could be that you’ve surprised your hamster by suddenly moving, or you’ve scared him. Hamsters scare easily and are very skittish, so they will do this even if you do your best to not startle them. So for example if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and walk past your hamster’s cage, you’ll notice him staring at you blankly. Not moving at all, until you come close to him and try to interact. I’ve seen Teddy do this often, and I’ve always wondered if there’s something wrong with him. Turns out he’s alright, he’s just being a hamster. So your hamster could be listening for something, or he could be surprised, or scared. Or a combination of any and all of those 3. This happens less often over time, as your hamster learns every new sound that comes along. As long as your hamster is not frozen most of the time when you see him, he’s fine. What to do when your hamster is frozen It’s important to let your hamster listen for a few seconds for what just happened. They learn and get used to new sounds as time goes on. If he’s not coming out of it soon, you can try talking to your hammy. Keep in mind that he has sensitive hearing, so keep your voice low and soothing. You can bring him a small treat as well, to distract your hamster. I’ve done this with Teddy, and while at first he doesn’t react, after a few seconds he comes closer to hear me out. If you want to know what other foods you can give your hammy, check out my article about what do hamsters eat. I’ll also tell you about some other treat options that are safe for hamsters, and your hammy might love them ! Hamsters have very sensitive hearing and smell So it could be that your hamster froze for no reason. But he heard something you didn’t. It might not be anything, it could be leaves falling or a clock ticking. To your hamster it might sound interesting or scary or important. This is something hamsters do regularly, so do not worry. Your hamster is fine, he’s just listening for something. For example Teddy will run and run and run in his wheel and then suddenly stop, get on his hind feet, and just stand there for a full minute. He’s done this when eating, or drinking water, cleaning himself as well. Basically anytime. The main reason behind this behavior is that hamsters are prey, and they’re used to running away from everything. In time their instincts have evolved to get them to check for predators at all times. Even if your hamster grew up in your home, safe and sound, he will still do this. It’s normal, and part of a hamster’s life. Your hamster has very good hearing, to listen for any possible threat. But he also has very sensitive smell, so he will react to that as well. If your hamster is used to you and your smell, and you go to pick him up after handling something he might not like (like citrus) he will scurry away from you long before your hand gets close to it. When you do wash your hands, make sure it’s not with very floral or strongly scented soap. Otherwise your hamster will not want to get close to your hands. Also be careful when handling food and then your hamster. It might mistake the smell of chicken wings on your fingers for actual food, and bite. They don’t have very good eyesight, especially when compared to their hearing and smell. They’re very active at dawn and dusk, so crepuscular light is best for them. Should you worry about your hamster freezing ? Your hamster is alright, even if it might seem strange that it freezes suddenly. He’s simply listening for something, and just following his own instincts. Unless your hamster freezes often and for long periods of time, there is no reason to worry. However if you’re still worried, best to bring him to the vet, for a general checkup. One reason your hamster seems to freeze often could be that he’s very scared of you. This is fairly normal when your hamster is young or new to the house. For this it’s best to get your hamster slowly used to your presence, and feed him treats whenever you see him so he learns to trust you and get used to you. Limit those treats though, since an overweight hamster is not healthy and will develop serious health problems over time. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after this image.) Other hamster behaviors that might seem strange These are things I’ve seen Teddy do, and seen other hamsters in videos do. Some of them have an explanation, and some of them are just… random. Backflips. Hamsters react very suddenly when startled, so if you scare them and you’re very sudden, they might just do a backflip or jump to the side. Or just jump. Hamsters are kind of acrobats, and I’ve seen Teddy backflip and land safely. This does not mean you should make your hamster do a backflip, ever. But they can do this, and although it looks funny for humans, it’s a sign of fear. Sprints. Hamsters will sometimes suddenly sprint into their hideouts, or just through their cage. They can do this when they’re startled, or just because. I’ve seen Teddy do this for no apparent reason. Climbing and falling off the cage. This is something I’ve never managed to understand, and I’ve found no relevant answers online either. Teddy will sometimes scale the cage walls, and get a serious ab and back workout out of it. And then suddenly let go. He just falls. He lands on the bedding, and there’s lots of it, so he’s safe. But no one I’ve spoke to about this knows an answer. I’ve seen Teddy do this with the top of the cage as well. It happened more often when he was younger, and had more energy. For moments like these it’s important you get your hamster a very good cage, that’s also safe and large enough so he can run around. Hamsters scaling the cage walls are a sign of extra energy and you can provide your hamster with an exercise wheel, as they need to run to burn that energy. Here is an in-depth look at the best hamster wheels, according to hamster breeds and budget. I’ve taken care of that and provided him with a large cage and wheel anyway. But I still don’t know why my hamster suddenly falls off the cage walls. You can make sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself by giving him lots of bedding. To find out how much bedding a hamster needs, check out my article here. And here you’ll find a roundup of the best hamster bedding options available. Laying down slowly. It looks a lot like they’re melting or getting ready to sleep. As far as I’ve seen with Teddy, he slowly lays down near a corner of the cage, not in his house. He closes his eyes and drifts off. It’s like he forgot he has a house to sleep in. It never lasts more than a few minutes, and he does react if I speak to him or tap the cage. But he will put his head back down and lay flat. Other hamster owners I’ve spoken to said it might just be a form of dozing off. A word from Teddy I hope this article was helpful to you, and you know why we can sometimes freeze. I used to do that a lot when I was a ‘kid’, until I learned most of the sounds in the house. Now I just freeze if someone walks by me at night when I know I’m alone. If your hammy is doing the same, don’t worry. He’s probably curious about what’s happening and is focusing on figuring it out. Talk to him and he’ll come closer to listen to you instead. Feel free to look around the blog, you might find more useful articles on hamsters. Like how to feed us, what kind of cage we need, and how much water we need.... Read more...
- Are Hamsters Rodents ? About Your Furry Hamster FriendWondering if a hamster is a rodent ? You’re not alone. A lot of our friends have asked us the same question, when they heard we’d got a hamster. So, let’s settle this and get to the bottom of the issue. We’ll cover how your hamster’s going to behave as a rodent pet, and the differences between hamsters and other pet rodents as well. Table of Contents So are hamsters rodents ?A hamster’s behavior as a pet, given that he’s a rodentWhat hamsters eat, as rodentsDo hamsters need to chew a lot ?Difference between hamsters and other rodent petsHamster vs mouseHamster vs ratHamster vs guinea pigHamster vs rabbitHamster vs ferretHamster vs squirrelA word on keeping a rodent as a petA word from Teddy So are hamsters rodents ? Yes, hamsters are rodents. Hamsters are rodents, like rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, squirrels, ferrets. There are many more rodents out there than that, but those are the most common ones kept as pets. They belong to a very large family, with several sub-families and classes, into which I won’t get right now. You can read much more about the exact scientific classification of hamsters right here. A hamster’s behavior as a pet, given that he’s a rodent A hamster, as a rodent, will behave in a certain way. Rodents in general are prey animals, so they all have a reflex to run and hide. That reflex kicks in very fast, and they’ll often jump out of your hands before you can react. So expect your hamster to be jumpy, not sit still, and look panicked half the time. They’re also incredibly easy to scare, since they’re on high alert most of the time. Who knows when a owl might swoop into your living room and take them away ? Jokes aside, that run and hide reflex is what saves hamsters from extinction in the wild. As a pet though, they can be hard to handle, especially the smaller breeds like the Dwarf types. Very small and wriggly, the Dwarf hammies are all over the place and you should not handle them away from their cage. Another thing about hamsters being rodents, is that they will have this instinct of burrowing. If you give them enough bedding to dig into, you will lose sight of your hamster very fast. You can find out more about bedding for hamsters and how to pick a safe one right here. Finally, as rodents hamsters have a different need for affection that other pets. They’re not keen on snuggling, like a dog or cat for example. But they do enjoy your company, and can let you handle them. Even if it’s just for a short few minutes at a time, hamsters can be handled. If you want to know more about how to successfully tame your hamster friend, you should check out this guide right here. It’s got addendums for Syrian and Dwarf types as well. What hamsters eat, as rodents As rodents hammies will eat mostly grains and veg, with a couple of insects or worms here and there. In the wild hamsters rely on grains, seeds, and some edible roots. But kept as pets, hamsters have a much wider variety of foods available for them. You can find here a good list of safe and unsafe foods you can give to your hamster. Some of them are already in your pantry or fridge. Or, if you want to be specific about it, you can check out each food group in particular. You can find out more about what kind of meat/protein your hamster can eat here. Another article about what kinds of dairy hamsters can eat is right here. You’ll find out about the kinds of vegetables your hamster can eat here, and about the fruits he can eat right here. Finally, more about hamsters and bread can be found right here. Another option is feeding your hamster commercial food mixes, which already have a healthy mix of all the nutrients your hamster needs for a good, long life. And you can add some safe foods you’ve already got around the house to that food mix, if you want to. But in general, hamsters will enjoy most of the things us humans can eat too. Do keep in ming that they love to chew and gnaw on things a lot. Do hamsters need to chew a lot ? Yes, hamsters have front teeth that keep growing. They never stop growing. This is why your hamster need a lot of chew toys – more on that here, and how to DYI some or buy them. Otherwise, your hammy will end up chewing whatever he can find, like the cage bars. My Teddy used to do that sometimes, and you can find out more about hamsters biting their cage here, and how to stop them. Or, at least make it happen mess frequently. Hamsters need to chew a lot, to keep their front teeth from overgrowing. They can develop a whole host of dental problems if their teeth aren’t kept healthy. So always make sure your hamster has something safe to chew on, like chew toys. And remember that he will chew on everything, including his own hideout, the food bowl, and whatever else is in his cage. (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.) Difference between hamsters and other rodent pets Hamsters aren’t the only rodents people keep as pets. As such, there are a few differences between hamsters and other pet rodents. So let’s get into those differences, so you can see if a hamster is a good pet for you or not. Hamster vs mouse Mice are much smaller than hamsters. They can be kept in small packs as far as I know, and they do have similar life spans to hamsters (2-3 years) However if a hamster is hard to hold onto, a mouse is much harder. A mouse is much smaller, and will definitely not sit still. Also mice smell much more than hamsters. That’s not to say they stink, but a hamster only smells if he’s sick. The female hammies come into heat every few days, and can develop a smell. But as a whole, hamsters are clean and not smelly at all. Mice have the bonus of being much more curious and eager to try new things than a hamster. A hammy si more of a creature of habit than anything. Hamster vs rat The rat wins in terms of intelligence here. However few people like keeping rats because of how large and non-cuddly they can look, compared to hamsters. That being said, rats are able to solve simple puzzles, and are calmer, more level-headed than hamsters. That also means they can get bored, and once that happens they will entertain themselves with the cage bars, or moving the things in their cage. Of all the mouse-type rodents, rats are the best escape artist. They will find a way. Rats can sometimes develop tumors, which can shorten their lifespan (3-4 years). The housing situation for a hamster and rat is much different, since a rat need a very large space to run around in, and they’re damn good climbers. Hamster vs guinea pig Here it really depends on what you like more. Hamsters tend to be cuter and fluffier than guinea pigs. But guinea pigs are much easier to handle and tame. Well, a guinea pig is pretty much already tame from the get-go. Both are rodents, but guinea pigs are very very mellow and will generally sit and stay wherever you left them. They also actually need company, even if it’s another guinea buddy to much a lettuce leaf with and stare at a wall. Whereas most hamsters should be kept my themselves, and can only live together under certain conditions. A guinea pig however can get smelly, since they pee a lot. So they require much more cleaning and maintenance than a hamster. Hamster vs rabbit Aside from the obvious size difference, hamsters can sometimes lose to the rabbit in terms of cuteness. Depends on whom you ask. While a rabbit can make do with a small enclosure, he needs to be let out often, and in a very large space. So your entire apartment will become his playground. If you decide to let your rabbit play outside, he’ll start burrowing fast and you have a higher chance of losing him. Once a rabbit decides to sprint, he’s gone. And we all know how hard it is to catch a rabbit running left and right. Of all the rodent types, rabbits are the best at avoiding being caught. Smell-wise, rabbits can get stinky fast if you don’t clean their cage every day. Hamster vs ferret Ferrets are much, much larger than a hamster. They are much faster, and agile, and need plenty of exercise. While your hamster can make do with his running wheel, a ferret will not. A ferret will need at least one cage mate, while hamsters need to mostly kept alone. Conversely, a ferret loose in your home is not alright with other animals. It will possibly attach smaller animals like the hamster, or a rat. And larger pets like a cat or dog can hurt the ferret with sharp teeth and a much larger size. Both ferrets are hamsters love to try and escape, however ferrets will be trying the sturdiness of their cage and your home at every possible turn. Hamsters are a bit … slower, if you will, and are easily distracted. Hamster vs squirrel A squirrel for a pet is nothing to laugh at. I mean they’re funny and have an amazing amount of energy, but compared to a hamster they are much harder to keep. While a hamster’s claws do very little damage to the human skin, a squirrel has actual talons. Natural, when you think that they’re meant to help the creature shimmy up and down a tree, all day long. But. this makes a squirrel much harder to hold and play with than a hamster. The space requirement for a squirrel is much larger than a hamster. It needs your entire apartment, and your backyard too if you’ve got a house. Still being rodents, squirrels will flee very fast, and will hide food stashes wherever they can. You’ve seen the video of a squirrel trying to hide an acorn in a dog’s fur. That’s the level of madness (and cuteness) that is trying to keep a squirrel as a pet. A word on keeping a rodent as a pet When it comes to pets, you have to accept that not all pets are the same. If you’re looking for a pet that will cuddle with you, play fetch, and patiently wait for your return home, a rodent is probably not the best idea. Rodent type pets can bond with their owner, and do like human company. However they’re not as domesticated as cats and dogs, and not suited for families or small children/other pets in general. That being said, rodent-types are funny, energetic, and make the oddest faces. They’ll always amaze your with their acrobatics, even hamsters. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a hamster trying to jump from a small ledge, and still fail. Some rodents are quiet, and calmer, like a hamster, a mouse, a guinea pig. While others are all over the place and will need your entire attention. It depends on what kind of pets you’re looking for. All in all, owning a hamster as a rodent can be rewarding in its own way – more on that here, and how to care for him in general. They’re not conventional pets, and will require different level of care from you. But they’re cute and funny in their own way. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hamsters can be a bit confusing sometimes, but we’re definitely rodents. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below.... Read more...
- All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying DiseasesIf you’re thinking about getting a hamster but you’re wondering if they carry any diseases, them this article will sort that out for you. Especially if you’ve got small children and you’re looking to shield them from unnecessary diseases. Table of Contents So do hamsters carry disease ?How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagiousWhat a healthy hamster looks likeIs a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters carry disease ? No, not in and of themselves. Hamsters are born ‘clean’, with no health problem that can be passed onto humans. They can pick up a disease and become carriers, about as much as a cat or dog or rabbit can become a carrier. Given the hamster’s usual habitat however, he will probably not come to you with any diseases. This also depends on the pet store you pick him up from, or the breeders you got him from. Another thing is the fact that hamsters are very clean animals by default, and they regularly groom themselves several times a day. Much like a cat, actually. So he will not be dirty, or diseased. This does not mean a hamster can’t transmit a disease he already has. A hamster suffering from a cold can pass it onto a human, for example. You should always wash your hands before and after handling the hamster, and supervise any small children interacting with him. Still, if you want to be sure your hamster’s alright and not carrying anything, let’s see what some usual symptoms are. How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagious You will notice some signs if the hamster has certain diseases. For example: Any runny or leaky nose, eyes, or ears. They can be signs of an infection or a cold, which can be contagious. Any scabs, flaky skin, open wounds, or other immediately noticeable skin conditions on a hamster are possibly contagious as well. A ring of exposed skin, especially if it’s patchy, flaky, and had little red dots all around its border is especially contagious. That’s the Ringworm, which is not a worm but a fungus. It’s easily passed through direct contact with the infected animal. Worms in hamsters might not be immediately noticeable. You might expect the hamster to be weak, not walk easily, huddle in a corner, and possibly have a messy stool. Wet-tail can also look like that, and it can be transmitted to humans. It’s an infection in the hamster’s digestive system that gives it severe diarrhea, and is often lethal for hamsters. It can be treated, but not all hamsters survive. In any case, a hamster cowering in a corner is not a hamster you want to bring home, as he is unfortunately suffering from something and needs medical attention. This also means that the other hamsters in the cage/box with him at the pet shop should probably be avoided as well, just in case it’s something contagious. Unless you’re willing to pick up the hamster and go straight to the veterinarian with him, for a check up. If you’re concerned about rabies, which I know is a common question related to pets, you’re safe. Hamsters can’t give humans rabies for 3 important reasons: Hamsters will not survive rabies as a disease long enough to be able to transmit it Rodents and lagomorphs aren’t able to carry rabies in the first place Pet/captive hamsters do not contact rabies, since there is no way for them to be exposed to it, and they are not born with it either. These are the main signs and symptoms that the hamster might be carrying some disease or another. Tumors or lumps are not contagious, but they can hurt the hamster himself and he will need medical attention. Now let see what a healthy hamster should look like, be it a new hamster from the pet shop, or the furball you already have at home. What a healthy hamster looks like Usually a hamster will have bright, clean fur. It may not be as shiny as a cat or dog’s coat, but it should look decidedly clean and well groomed. This is a sign that the hamster is grooming himself both regularly, and well enough. He will have bright eyes(whichever color they are), with no white spots or inflammations. Teeth should be aligned and not overgrown, although you will only notice the front teeth. Those are yellow-orange, and that is a healthy color for hamsters and rodents, no matter which hamster type you own. White spots on their teeth are a sign of a vitamin deficiency or weakness in the tooth’s structure. It can break most easily where it’s white. Ears, nose, eyes should be free of discharge, and no flaky or inflamed patches. If the ears are particularly dark and the hamster keeps scratching them, they might be ear mites. Keep in mind that many hamsters have ears darker than their bodies from birth, as part of their coat pattern. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, male, and his fur is orange, white and has bits of smoky grey. Hie ears however are dark grey, and always have been. The hamster’s rear should be dry, and well cleaned. If you notice any wetness or that the hamster’s soiled himself, it can mean two things. Either the hamster has a serious digestive problem (like wet-tail or another infection, or possibly worms) or he is very, very old. Finally, the hamster should be lively. Even if he’s a mellow sort of hamster, or a dynamite-powered little guy, he should be eating, drinking water, running on his wheel or using his toys, and at least be curious about you when you get close. A lethargic, huddling hamster (when he’s not sleeping) is bad news since that often means the hamster is fighting off a health problem. It could be stomach aches, worms, a sprained paw, anything. If your hamster looks sick or too tired, call your vet and set up an appointment. You will need to look for an a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds. (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.) Is a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ? You might ask yourself this, and you’d be right to do so. Looking at the health problems hamsters can carry, I would venture to say that yes, hamsters are safe for kids. If people managed to raise cats and dogs safely along small children, then a hamster is not a problem. I say this mostly because a hamster is very isolated, and has as much chance of picking up a disease as a sock in a drawer. Unless you expose him directly to something or someone who is sick, your hamster will be healthy. He never leaves the cage/room he is in, so if the people or pets interacting with him are healthy, so is he. When it comes to the hamster’s temperament however, he is not a good pet for children. Hamsters react very poorly to being handled wrong, or too much, and their most common reaction to this is biting. If he’s dropped, he will get even more scared and start running away, and trying to catch a panicky hamster ends with stress on everyone’s part, and lots of squeaking from the hamster. I’d rather recommend a guinea pig as a pet for children, since they’re much more relaxed and are easier to tame and literally pick up. They too run away, but they sit quietly once you’ve got them in your lap. Hamsters will never stop squirming, and that’s part of their charm, I think. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might look like we’re related to mice and rats, but we’re actually sort of distant cousins. And we don’t get exposed to as many diseases as wild rats or mice either. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters And Gerbils Live Together ? An Owner’s GuideIf you’re wondering if you can keep a hamster and a gerbil together, you need to read this. They’re often mistaken for one another, but the differences between hamsters and gerbils are critical. We’ll see whether these two rodents can live together, and what decides that fact. For a more detailed comparison between gerbils and hamster, you should read this article here. Table of Contents So can hamsters and gerbils live together ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the gerbil’s personalityMajor differences between hamsters and gerbilsHousing a hamster vs housing a gerbilA word from Teddy So can hamsters and gerbils live together ? No, hamsters and gerbils can not and should not live together. This is because the hamster is territorial, and will attack (and kill) anything that tries to come close, even their own siblings. While gerbils can and do live together, hamsters do not. This makes hamsters unable to share their home with anything, especially not an animal that is not another hamster. There are some very important differences between the two, and we’ll discuss them here. About the hamster’s personality Hamsters are small animals, about the size of a gerbil (without the gerbil’s tail) and they’re very much prey for other, larger animals. This means that they are skittish, will try to hide as often as they can, and do not react well to strangers. Hamsters are more aggressive than gerbils, and they will attack anyone or anything that comes too close. There are some submissive hamsters that just cower in a corner or freeze in fear, but most will actually attack and fight to the death. This means that housing a hamster with anything is a bad idea. Most of the time even another hamster is a bad idea, even if they’re siblings. Hamsters sleep during the day, and wake up in the evening. They stay up all night, running in their wheel and playing in their cage. In the wild they’d be running from predators and looking for food at the same time, while fending off intruders on their territory. Busy little things. A hamster doesn’t react well to stress, and is actually quite jittery and restless when handled. He will not stay put, at all, and will want to wander off and explore everything. As such, a big cage with lots of space is going to help the hamster feel more at ease, and less stressed. About the gerbil’s personality Gerbils are social animals, and they actually live in colonies of up to 20 individuals in a colony. This means that you can house together several gerbils and they would be fine, but their cage needs to be very large. The more gerbils you own, the larger the cage. Since gerbils are social, this means they’re okay with sharing, but only with gerbils they know. Strangers, or even siblings that smell different are attacked on sight (well, rather smell) and it’s usually deadly. Gerbils, like hamsters, will protect their own. It’s just that their definition of ”their” also includes their immediate family. Most of the time gerbils are kept only in pairs, partly because a cage big enough for 10 gerbils isn’t easy to find or fit somewhere. Compared to hamsters, gerbils are more mellow, and are easier to tame. They can still be skittish, especially as babies, but not nearly as much as hamsters. Gerbils too are very active animals (all rodents are), and they’re always exploring, digging a tunnel, making a nest, playing with a friend, or running on their wheel. Their energy is similar to the hamster, and as such they needs lots of stimulation. Unlike hamsters, a lone gerbil will become depressed, and possibly ill from being so lonely. They need the stimulation and activity a colony (or at least another gerbil) provides, and they grow up happier if they have a friend. Major differences between hamsters and gerbils A hamster is fairly short, stocky, and has barely any noticeable tail. There are 5 types of hamster to choose from (Syrian, Chinese, Roborovski, Campbell, and Djungarian) and they look very different from a gerbil. The only hamster that resembles a gerbil is the Chinese, with its long slender body and longer tail. Not as long as the gerbil’s tail, but definitely longer than the other hamster tails (which are just stubs). Gerbils have longer bodies, and look like a bit of a cross between a mouse and a squirrel, minus the bushy tail. A hamster has a much shorter neck, and a wider body. It looks fluffier than a gerbil, and has more of a rounded face. Both gerbils and hamsters love to run, but their needs are different. A hamster needs a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm for a wheel, but a gerbil will need a much larger one, since its tail is sensitive. If the tail is injured or caught in something (and it can happen in a wheel) it can and will fall off. This is not easy on the gerbil, nor on you as an owner. (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.) Another big difference is the sleeping and activity patterns. While the hamster sleeps during the day, the gerbil will go about his business. He will take short naps throughout the day, but the main sleeping time is the night. This annoys the hamster greatly, since he is trying to sleep. An irritated hamster that hasn’t rested well enough will be very hard to handle, and will snap at the gerbil. Conversely, while the gerbil sleeps at night, the hamster will wake up and do his own hamster things. This will wake up the gerbil and he will not rest well, leading to other fights. Food is pretty much the only thing hamsters and gerbils agree upon. They even share food mixes/pellets, since they both eat mostly grains, with some veggies and fruit, peanuts, and a bit of protein when they can. Housing a hamster vs housing a gerbil Two gerbils can live in a lone Syrian’s cage – 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. But a single hamster can’t live in a single gerbil’s cage, unless it is a Dwarf hamster. All this means is that a gerbil and a hamster have different housing needs, and they will end up fighting over space anyway. This is because most cages aren’t large enough for a hamster and a gerbil together, but also because both animals mark their territory. They both use their scent glands to mark what;s their, be it it with their bellies, hips, or faces rubbed against various objects. This leads to fighting in the end, and there is no amount of toys and duplicate of cage objects that will keep that from happening. Both the hamster and the gerbil love to chew, so in that respect they would need the same toys and hideouts. They would both end up chewing on the cage bars or trying to escape, so housing them together is not good. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies get confused with gerbils often, but we’re really very different. And we can’t live together, at all. We’d fight all the time. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...