Do Hamsters Climb ? The Funny Truth About Spider-Hamsters

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.

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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:

  1. They’re so incredibly curious, they have to see and smell and hear everything, and will move towards you as often as they can.
  2. 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.

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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.

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Are Hamsters Nocturnal ? – All About Your Hamster’s Routine
Are Hamsters Nocturnal ? – All About Your Hamster’s RoutineWhen you first got your hamster you probably asked yourself why it doesn’t come out during the day. Is it sick ? Is it afraid ? Is there anything you can do ? I know I was a bit worried when I first got my Teddy – he is my first ever hamster. I did not know until him what hamsters do during the day, or at night. But after talking to some hamster owner friends of mine, and watching my own hamster, I got my answers. Table of Contents ToggleSo are hamsters nocturnal or not ?How being crepuscular helps wild hamsters surviveSome hamsters are nocturnal, or even diurnalHamsters wake up for a few minutes in daytime as wellHamsters make weird sounds during the day tooYour hamster’s routine – what he usually doesHow to gently wake up your hamsterCaring for a nocturnal or crepuscular hamsterDoes your hamster need the light on at night ?A word from Teddy So are hamsters nocturnal or not ? Pet hamsters are nocturnal. Hamsters sleep during the day and wake up at night, so they can avoid predators. This means that most of the time you will only see your hamster before you go to bed. The reason pet hamsters are nocturnal is because there’s more activity near their habitat all day, to they adjust their schedule accordingly. Keep in mind that hamsters are solitary creatures and prefer to be left alone. They feel most comfortable when it’s quiet outside, and for most pet hamsters that means the night, when everyone at home is asleep. Of course, some pet hamsters may prefer the daytime and that’s fine. In short, hamsters end up being or seeming to be nocturnal because most folks only see hamsters who are pets, not wild ones. So, since pet hamsters tend to only come out at night, they end up being nocturnal. Wild hamsters have a more flexible schedule, and are actually crepuscular creatures. That means they come out at sunrise and sunset, when the light is easier on their sensitive eyes, and the temperature much more bearable. How being crepuscular helps wild hamsters survive Hamsters are prey, and they evolved to come out mostly at dawn and dusk because their main predators will hunt them during the day or the night. Those predators aren’t very active at dawn or dusk. Another reason is that, while most hamsters come from desert areas, they can’t stand high heat. Nor do they tolerate very low temperatures. Hamsters are most comfortable in a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit temperature range. And that is usually found during sunset and at sunrise. So being crepuscular is mostly an evolutionary advantage. Some hamsters are nocturnal, or even diurnal This can happen, because hamsters have their own personalities. It’s not something that you’ll see straight away at the pet shop. But your hammy could be a night hamster, and only come out late at night. For example my Teddy comes out around 8-9 PM, and I see him up even in the middle of the night if I walk past his cage. He seems to get some rest once I wake up, which is around 5 AM. Then comes out again around 7 AM for about half an hour, and then retires for the rest of the day. There are hamsters out there who are only awake during daytime. This is very rare but it can happen. It depends entirely on your hamster’s personality, but there are a few factors involved, like: If it’s too cold he won’t come out, and might even hibernate. If it’s too hot, again he will not come out. If he feels the coast is clear and feels that he is safe, he might come out to see what you’re doing during the day. Your hamster’s routine helps him keep a sort of internal clock. Since in your home there is no natural difference in temperature or light for your hamster to use as a guideline, his waking hours might shift over time. Hamsters wake up for a few minutes in daytime as well You can sometimes see your hamster during the day for a few minutes. Maybe he got up  for a sip of water, or maybe he did not leave the house but you hear him munching on some food in his house. Or, maybe he woke up because you moved his cage. Hamsters are very sensitive and will wake up easily, even if they do no leave their home. Something as simple as picking up and moving his cage can wake him up. This is the case with my Teddy. After work I usually need a nap, but Teddy sometimes chooses that moment to have a snack, which will wake me up. So I always move his cage to the other room, and I always see him come out a bit, all sleepy, to see what happened. Hamsters make weird sounds during the day too Even if you can’t see him, your hamster is sometimes awake in his little home, doing he knows what. And sometimes, weird noises come from that home. You’ll have a hard time seeing inside his home to figure out the reason. His home is usually packed with bedding and you can’t see through it. But he might sometimes ‘bark’ – I have no better way to explain this. It’s like a cross between a tiny bark and a hiccup, and it can last for 2 minutes sometimes. It can be completely random, and not seem to have an obvious reason. Other times your hammy might be chewing on a piece of cardboard, or eating something from his stash (hamsters keep a food stash in their homes). So you might hear chattering and tiny biting sounds from his home. Your hamster’s routine – what he usually does If you’ve observed your hamster when he is awake, you’ll know that what he does is both incredibly funny and boring at the same time. He can run and run and run in his wheel and look like he’s about to be swooped by an eagle. The he’ll suddenly stop and dart around his cage like he’s avoiding some other predator. The best parts are when he suddenly stops. Not when he freezes to hear something or check what that sound means. I mean when he just stops moving at all and even when you come to talk to him he’ll just stare at you. This can last for a few minutes. The weirdest moment like this was one where Teddy was sitting upright, holding a cage wire with one paw. More like resting his paw on it. And he was just looking at me. He did not change his position when I came close and moved around his cage, he just turned his head towards me and kept staring. After a couple of minutes he went to drink some water and that was it. Aside from things like these, hamsters don’t seem to do much. When they’re awake you can play with them, feed them treats with your hand, put them in an exercise ball, and even train them to stay on your hand. If you want to give your hamster a way to get a lot of exercise, here’s what to look for in a hamster exercise wheel. Or, you can look for a hamster exercise ball and watch him be funny in that. Don’t leave him more than 30 minutes in the ball though ! (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 gently wake up your hamster If, for whatever reason, you need your hamster awake right now, you can try this. Get a treat or kind of food he likes a lot, a small piece. And gently tap on the side of his cage and talk to him, coaxing him out. You’ll hear the rustle of bedding in his home as he wakes up and turns towards you. At first you’ll just see his nose, sniffing to ‘see’ what’s going on. That’s when it’s best to have the treat close enough to his home that he can detect it easily. Then you’ll see him slowly come out, with sleepy small eyes, and his ears tucked back. He’ll reach towards the treat and you can pick him up. If you want to know what kind of treats are okay for your hamster, here’s a list of foods and treats he can have and which he should avoid. Hamsters are like humans when they wake up. Groggy, and a bit confused. So for a few minutes your hamster will be extra-tame when you handle him. But I do not recommend abusing this method, since waking up your hamster too many times when he sleeps will get him frustrated. He will not be able to rest enough, and you’ll end up with a jittery, angry hamster biting the cage and possibly you. Caring for a nocturnal or crepuscular hamster Your hamster being awake in the latter part of the day, or at night, has some considerations. First, the playtime is shorter and you’ll need to work every day to train your hamster to be relaxed around you. Syrian hamsters remember interactions for up to a week, while the smaller breeds like the Chinese or Siberian need daily interaction. Second, it’s best to leave food for your hamster before he ‘starts his day’ so he has fresh food to nibble on. I usually leave Teddy 2 teaspoons of grains and pellets, enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Since you will probably be sleeping the night away, your hamster eating will not be something you’ll witness often. But he will eat, don’t worry. Third, it’s best to leave the thermostat on a temperature that’s suitable for your hamster for the night. That’s around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit. Make sure the room you keep your hamster in is not drafty or exposed to harsh light. Actually, it might be best if you check out my article on the right temperature for your hamster, and how to make him as comfortable as possible. Does your hamster need the light on at night ? Your hamster is nocturnal, or crepuscular, and you’re sleeping when he’s up. Would he need a night light ? Or the actual light in the room on ? Well, hamsters don’t really use their eyes, actually. Their vision is very poor. Hamsters use their sense of smell and hearing to navigate their environment. So leaving a light on is not necessary. In some cases, in might be a bad idea since their eyes are very sensitive and very bright, harsh light can hurt them. For example direct sunlight is not very good for your hamster’s eyes. My Teddy has a night light, but it’s not for him. It’s for me so I don’t bump into something at night when I go get a glass of water. He’s had the night light, and he’s had complete darkness as well. He was fine every morning, so a night light will not make much difference. A word from Teddy If you’re reading this then you’re probably wondering about your hamster. If he’s anything like me, he probably sleeps during the day and then runs all night. We hamsters have a different schedule than humans, so it might be a bit weird at first. But you’ll get used to it really fast. The face neighbors and friends make when you tell them we’re awake at night and sleep during the day is priceless though. “Don’t they get tired ??” they ask. Then they realize what they just asked and move along. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find great info on the best kind of food for us, how much water we need, and how much exercise we need as well. [...] Read more...
Why Do Hamsters Pee In Their Wheel? 4 Main Reasons
Why Do Hamsters Pee In Their Wheel? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters peeing in their wheel is annoying for the owners since you have to clean the wheel more often, but is this a real problem for your hamster, or is it just a mild inconvenience for you? Hamsters do pee in their wheel, not all of them do this, but I have a hamster that has been doing this for quite a while. It stopped lately, so this behavior can change. The other two hamsters I had haven’t done this at all so I don’t know how often this happens, but I saw some people complaining about this little problem. In this article, I want to discuss all the reasons for this weird behavior, what you can do, and when and how to clean its wheel in this situation. Table of Contents ToggleWhy Do Hamsters Pee On Their Wheel?1. Marking their territory2. Fear3. Preferred spot4. Busy runningWhat about hamsters’ poop in their wheel?Can you stop your hamster from peeing in his wheel?Do hamsters use the sand bath as litter?How to clean a hamster wheel?What wheel to buy for a hamster that is peeing in the wheel?Conclusion Why Do Hamsters Pee On Their Wheel? Here are the main five reasons why your hamster is peeing in the wheel: 1. Marking their territory This reason is the most frequent one, hamsters tend to mark their territory using their scent, they have a scent gland that is used for this, but they also can pee to mark the territory as a dog will do. You can see the glands on a Syrian hamster on their sides, which is a small spot(usually hairless) I know this because I was afraid that my hamster had a problem the first time I saw this. Dwarf hamsters have their scent gland on their belly, so it’s not as visible. So if you are not seeing your hamster actually peeing on its wheel, it might only be the secretion from its scent gland, which is yellowish and greasy. This might happen, especially if you clean their wheel too often, since it will lose the odor they use to mark their territory. We will discuss later how often you should clean a hamster’s wheel in this situation. 2. Fear Hamsters are prey animals in the wild, and they are easily scared, so they will have these instincts even if they are pets. They can pee when they are scared, and when they are running, they might suddenly be scared for no reason. Or when they run too fast, and go head over heels in their wheel, that might be a moment when they release urine. It might also be a sound or a movement they feel around them while they are running. 3. Preferred spot All my hamsters had a preferred spot where they would pee, those might be 2 or 3 spots, but they don’t pee randomly all over the cage. If your hamster decides that the wheel is the perfect spot, you can’t change that too easily since it appears that they don’t have a very good reason for choosing the spots other than the fact that they feel comfortable there. I had a hamster that used a plastic tunnel as a preferred pee spot, I had to remove that tunnel in the time since the tunnel was going outside the cage, and his pee got on the furniture multiple times.  From a safety point of view, the tunnel wasn’t the safest if you think about it since it was outside his cage, but I guess the closed space made him feel safe and comfortable there. 4. Busy running Hamsters are not as aware as humans of what they are doing, they don’t consider the wheel as a treadmill used for cardio exercises. They are running to get somewhere else, but surprise, surprise, they are not getting too far away. When you think about this, peeing in the wheel is for your hamster, like a quick stop to pee at a gas station for you when you are on a road trip. So, it is not like peeing on the treadmill when exercising. What about hamsters’ poop in their wheel? Hamster pooping in their wheel is more common than hamsters peeing in their wheel. Hamsters don’t have a preferred spot for pooping as they have for peeing, so they can randomly poop all over the cage, including their wheel. It might also be the fact that they are scared or frightened, as many other animals, hamsters tend to poop when they are scared, so this might be the same as we talked about above about peeing when they are scared. The difference is that a hamster poops more often when scared rather than peeing. So you should not worry too much about hamster poop that you find in the wheel. They might also spit it there, yes you heard me right. I have an entire article about why hamsters eat their own poop, and in that article, I touched a bit on why hamster spit (fling) their poop outside the cage, but it can also be inside the cage or in their wheel. Can you stop your hamster from peeing in his wheel? You can try a few things to make your hamster stop peeing in their wheel. But they are just that, things that you can try, no one can guarantee success since hamsters have different personalities and behaviors. The first thing you can do is to remove the wheel for a few days, this might be a bit difficult for your hamster since it will get your hamster agitated without a place to exercise, but it will force it to find another place to pee. Then you can place the clean wheel back and hope for the best. Also, you can attempt to potty train a hamster. Keep in mind that the videos and articles you can find suggest that this is easy, but it can be quite difficult if you have a stubborn hamster. I will not get into all the details here, but check out this article to make sure you follow the right steps when potty training your hamster. Do hamsters use the sand bath as litter? A sand bath is not the same thing as a litter box, hamsters use sand baths for cleaning themselves, while a litter box should be used for the hamster to pee and poop in. So you should not add sand in the litter box but rather bedding and other materials that will absorb the pee. However, as with other animals, they might not think as you do and use their sand baths as litter and not for cleaning themselves, which can be annoying, but it is what it is, and you can’t change that easily. Here is an article I wrote about proper grooming and the importance of sand baths for hamsters. How to clean a hamster wheel? In order to clean a hamster wheel, you have to get it out of the cage and clean it thoroughly with hot water and a bit of soap, just a bit, don’t use much soap since the hamsters are very sensitive to strong smells. Also, make sure you rinse and dry the wheel very well before putting it back into the hamster cage. A hamster wheel can be cleaned when you clean the entire cage or even less often than that if the hamster is not peeing in the wheel. But if your hamster is peeing in the wheel or you find a greasy yellow secretion from its scent glands all over the wheel, you might have to clean it more often. Even in this case it is important to not clean the wheel way too often, so let’s say once a month is enough, because if you clean it once a week or so, you only encourage your hamster to mark it back when you add the clean wheel to the cage again. I know it can be weird to leave the wheel as it is in the cage but this is the better option, otherwise, you will stress your hamster more than necessary, and the end result will be the same. What wheel to buy for a hamster that is peeing in the wheel? You might be tempted to buy a metal wheel, but is usually not the best idea, especially if it’s a metal wheel with a lot of space between bars it can be dangerous for your hamster. I had a metal wheel, but it almost had no space between the bars and the bars were in very small x shapes, so not straight bars, which is a bit safer for the hamster. But I’ve also changed that wheel with a plastic one that is much safer and bigger. I’ve had the metal one since the first cage I had for my hamster wasn’t tall enough for the big plastic wheel I have now. Here is a good plastic wheel you can find one amazon:   An important thing when you buy a wheel is to be silent and this one has silent in the name but also, people that bought it are pretty happy with what they’ve got. Unfortunately, it is not available in my country, so I couldn’t get it, but I saw many people recommending this wheel on forums and in communities after they bought it. Conclusion So marking territory, fear, preferred spot, and busy running are the main four reasons a hamster can pee in the wheel. When we talk about poo in the wheel, being scared is the main reason, but it is also the fact that they don’t care where they poo. I hope this article helped you know what to do when your hamster is peeing in the wheel and also realize that it might not be such a big problem. You can try the tips I give you above to make your hamster stop peeing in the wheel, but they are not guaranteed to work. [...] Read more...
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)Hamsters need a specific kind of bedding, and most pet shops don’t carry just the safe kinds. When I first got my Teddy I was lucky an acquaintance worked at that petshop. Otherwise I would’ve walked out with  some very bad bedding and hideout choices for my Teddy. As it happened, she gave me some very good advice that I’m going to pass onto you. Along with some info I learned along the way about what kind of bedding is best for hamsters, and what hideouts they like. We’ll cover how often to change/clean the cage as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best bedding for your hamster ?Safe wood-based bedding for your hamsterWood shavings as bedding for hamstersWood pellets bedding for hamsterGrass or seaweed bedding for your hamsterPaper based bedding for your hamsterWhat a hamster will use as nesting materialWhat nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamsterSand bath for your hamster friendSo what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ?Wood hideout for your hamster friendAn example of wood hideout for hamstersHow much bedding a hamster needsHow much nesting material a hamster needsHamsters hoard food in their nestHow often to change the hamster’s beddingHow often to change the nesting for your hamsterA word from Teddy So what is the best bedding for your hamster ? Generally the bedding for hamsters is easy to find, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Hamsters do well in paper/wood based kinds of bedding. So organic, bio-degradable wood or paper based bedding is alright for hamsters, under a few conditions. First, hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, so NOTHING scented will be alright for them. Do not get your hamster a scented bedding, even if you find one in your local petshop or online. Scented beddings are more for your comfort but give the hamster a bad time. Please stick to unscented, plain bedding. Second, whatever kind of bedding you choose, it must be dust-free. This is because your hamster will be breathing that dust in all day, every day, and it will cause serious lung problems for him. Make sure you get a dust free bedding. I’ll get into some clear examples of what is ok and what isn’t ok as a bedding for your hammy. Most wood based bedding are alright, but there are a few exceptions. Teddy: Remember, wood or paper bedding is ok for us hamsters. Keep them plain and unscented, and make sure they are dust free to keep your hammy safe ! Safe wood-based bedding for your hamster These can be wood shavings or wood pellets, and we’ll talk about both of them. Wood shavings as bedding for hamsters They’re the most common kinds of bedding, and this is the kind I have for my Teddy as well. I use aspen, since it is readily available in my area, and is one of the safest types of wood for hamsters. Most fruit trees are safe for hamster, so if you’ve got apple or pear wood shavings, you can use them as bedding for your hamster. Best to mix it with aspen or another neutral type of wood, since the fruit trees can have a strong aroma. Other options can be white birch, bamboo, rosehip, sycamore, elm or hazelnut. These are not always available in some stores, but depending on which area of the world you live in, you might find these. If you get wood shavings, make sure they’re dust free. You can check this by looking at the packaging, it’s usually clear and you will be able to see excess dust. The dust will cause lung problems for your hamster, so avoid that. Another thing to be very careful about, is that some wood shavings can be mixed with actual sawdust, which is the smaller, dustier kind of wood shaving. So make sure that does not happen with your hamster’s bedding. I looked around and found a big pack of aspen bedding for your hamster. This will keep your hammy for months. It’s got great reviews on Amazon, and a lot of people seem to be really happy about it. Aspen is the kind of wood I use for my Teddy too, so you can be sure it’s safe. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Wood pellets bedding for hamster These are not as easy to find, but they can still be found. You’ll often see them marketed towards rabbits or large rodents like ferrets. But for hamsters the wood pellets aren’t the most comfortable. Unless you set a layer of wood pellets, and then a layer or wood shavings, to simulate the dirt layer, but that one’s up to you. As for the kind of wood pellets to use, the same applies as with wood shavings. What is a safe wood for your hamster to live and breathe on, is also a safe wood for the pellets. Grass or seaweed bedding for your hamster These are common in my area as well, and I’d guess the seaweed based ones are even more common in countries or area with a lot of sea access. Both seaweed and grass are okay for hammies to live on, and in fact it simulates the hamster’s natural nesting material. When hamsters burrow, they use a mix of twigs, dried leaves, twigs, anything soft and plant-based that they can fit into their dwelling. So dried grass and seaweed are a good substitute for that. DO NOT get your hamster yellow hay ! That’s the tougher, twig-like dried grass. That can stick at weird angles and will not be comfortable for your hamster. The grass or seaweed versions are very clearly wider and softer, even if they are dried. But as a general rule, I’d give Teddy the grass or seaweed for nesting material, not bedding in the whole cage. While grass and seaweed are soft and easy to work with, I wouldn’t recommend them as bedding for a small rodent, like hamsters or gerbils since it will be harder for them to navigate their cages. But it is absolutely GREAT as nesting material, and it’s what your hammy will use it for. Paper based bedding for your hamster Paper bedding is fine for hamsters, and it’s usually just as easy to find as the wood shavings. But it’s a matter of personal preference I think, which one you use. Paper bedding is a bit more absorbent than the wood shavings, but it comes scented more often than it doesn’t. So make sure you get an unscented, plain version for your hamster so he can live comfortably. One thing about paper based beddings, is that they’re often in various colors, or color mixes. So if you want, you can make your hamster’s bedding pink and purple. The hamster will not mind, since he can’t see very well. But if it makes you happier, then go ahead. The paper bedding keeps the hamster just as warm or cool as the wood shavings. It’s just a matter of what you like and what you find in your area. I looked around and found a good option for paper bedding for your hammy. This will keep your hamster warm enough in winter as well as summer. It’s safe for the hamster to put in cheek pouches if he wants. It’s dust free and controls odor fairly well. It’s also a large size, 60 liters/15 gallons so you’re going to get a lot of uses out of it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. What a hamster will use as nesting material Hamsters usually use very soft, paper/wood/cardboard pieces for their nests. If you give your hamster seaweed or grass bedding, it will most probably end up in his nest. When I first got Teddy I gave him extra wood shavings in his hideout, so he has a nice base for his nest. In time I saw that he didn’t really use it for nesting, except for winter when he hoarded every warm material he could find. Most of the time, I give Teddy ripped paper towels. Honestly these are the cheapest and most effective things to keep your hamster warm. If you’ve got no paper towels, use toilet paper. Whatever you use, keep it unscented. Really, this is one of the most important things about a hamster’s bedding or nesting material. Do not give him anything scented, because his nose just can’t handle that. When you give your hammy the paper towel, make sure it is ripped into manageable pieces. They have a side which rips easily in a straight line. Use that side to give him ribbons of paper towel or toilet paper. All hamsters do this, but to me Teddy is the funniest. As soon as he sees the paper bits, he starts shoving them into his pouches and gets both of them as full as he can. Then, he goes into his hideout and I can see him pull them out of his cheek and start decorating the place. Then he goes out for more paper, and continues building his nest. He’s always so focused when he does that, he’s easy to scare by mistake. One time he jumped sideways because I got up too fast, and he was still shoving paper towel in his cheeks. I’ve never seen such dedication. What nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamster Never give your hamster cotton or fiber nesting material. There are several reasons for this. First, hamsters will eat a small part of whatever they put in their cheek pouches. So, your hamster eating cotton, even just a little bit, is never a good thing. Anyone eating cotton is not good, actually. Second, the fibers in this kind of nesting material can get caught in your hamster’s teeth, and cause serious problems for him. Those fibers can also get caught in his cheeks, and lead to deadly situations. Third, cotton absorbs and keeps moisture. So your hamster’s warm breathing and some condensation will be trapped in that cotton. Your hamster is in danger of colds and pneumonia in that case. It’s much harder for a hamster to fight a cold than it is for a human, so best to avoid that. Teddy: Remember, us hamsters need wood or paper based bedding, and we use soft paper or dry grass for nesting. Never give us cotton or fiber nesting, it an be lethal ! Sand bath for your hamster friend This is something that’s always funny to watch, and will bring joy to your hamster. A sandbath is what hamsters use for a sort of cleaning. Actually hamsters are incredibly clean, and clean themselves very very thoroughly, much like cats. They barely have a smell that humans notice. Unless you get your nose right in your hamster’s fur, which isn’t so nice for him. But as most animals do, hamsters need an extra bath or cleaning. This is also a sort of reflex of their to get rid of any possible parasites. If you’ve ever seen sparrows rolling around in sand, you’ll know what I mean. The best kind of sand to get your hamster is mineral sand. That’s just crushed up calcium and shells, so your hamster can get an actual sand bath going on. Make sure it’s actual sand, and not dust. If it’s the consistency of flour, send it back. If you put a bowl of that sand in your hamster’s usual peeing corner, he’ll use that as a potty too ! Be warned though, the hamster will kick up a lot of sand when he bathes, so you might find some in random places in your house. Best to use a second hideout with a detachable roof for this. Alright, now that you’re all set with your little one’s bedding, sand, and nesting material, let’s see to his hideout. Yes, a hamster’s hideout is just as sacred as your bed or own room. So I’ll get into a lot of detail with it. So what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ? Hamsters will need small hideouts in which to, well, hide. This is their nest, their food stash, their safe place. In the wild, it would be a burrow underground. But in their comfy warm cage, it’s usually a cute house-shaped hideout. The best kind is actually one that fits the general size of your hamster when he is fully grown, and with some spare room so he can wiggle around. So it doesn’t have to be a large hideout, a small one with some air flow is okay. The air in the hamster hideout is very important, since it needs to be able to travel easily. Even if the hamster will block up the air vents with his nesting material, it’s best to give him plenty of air. If your get your hamster a home with more than one exit, he will only use one and block up the other one. For example my Teddy has 3 entrances to his hideout, and he only uses one, depending on his mood. Sometimes he rearranges his hideout if he feels something is off. Finally, never get your hammy a plastic house. These trap condensation and are not breathable. Best to stick with wood. Wood hideout for your hamster friend A wood hideout is what I settled on for my Teddy, and I think it’s the best option out there, for anyone who has any kind of rodent. First, it’s a much more natural option, and very durable. Wood hideouts are more similar in feel to what the hamster would have as a burrow if he were underground, in that it’s a familiar material. Especially compared to plastic. Second, hamsters and other rodents will chew, gnaw, and bite into everything. Not because they’re wild or mean, just because that’s what they do. Their front teeth are always growing, so hamsters need to literally file down their teeth. They do that by chewing on whatever they find, and their hideout is a common option. So if the hideout is made of wood, that’s great since they love chewing wood anyway. Third, wood is much more breathable than other types of material. I’ve seen ceramic hideouts, and plastic as well. The thing is that unless the hideout is breathable, will absorb moisture and let it pass through to the outside, then it is a problem. Your hamster is in danger of hypothermia, pneumonia, and even a ordinary cold can get the best of them. The hideout must remain dry at all times, and be able to keep the warm as well. And fourth, wood retains the hamster’s scent the best. Compared to plastic or ceramic, wood keeps the scent of the hamster. This is very important to a creature that has a very sensitive sense of smell, so best not to mess with that. An example of wood hideout for hamsters Here’s what my Teddy has for a hideout, and you can see the gnaw and chew marks on the roof. At night he absolutely loves to just …sit… on his home and watch for possible predators. Usually that’s just me grabbing a glass of water in the middle of the night. But you never know, Teddy reckons. Constant vigilance. You can see my Teddy shoved all kinds of nesting material, like the paper towels, some cardboard pieces, and some random wood shavings. Your hammy will probably have something very similar in his hideout too, if you look. I found a great one on Amazon, and it looks a lot like the one I have for Teddy ! It’s wood, so your hamster can  chew on it as much as he likes. It will keep his scent, and it’s also got enough airflow so he will be fine. You might find your hammy on top of his hideout, like I sometimes find my Teddy. Just make sure that you put something of his, like a few droppings or  a bit of his nesting material in his new hideout, so he get more familiar with it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. Now that we’re all set with the hideout, let’s talk about how much of the bedding and nesting material your hammy will need. Teddy: wood is the most comfortable and safe option for us hamsters, and we love to chew on everything ! So make sure you get your hamster a hideout he will enjoy, and not hurt his teeth on. How much bedding a hamster needs This is a bit of a debate, since there isn’t really a too much, as well as there is a too little. But the enough part is what people never settle on. It also depends on your hamster’s personality. For example if your hamster is a digger, and he loves to burrow, then you’re going to need to give him much more bedding than other hamster owners. But if your hamster is like my Teddy, and burrowing or digging isn’t his favorite thing, then he won’t need too much. I’ve tried different amounts in Teddy’s cage, and I’ll tell you what I’ve found: just enough bedding to cover the cage floor – not good, he moved around a lot of it and brought it to his hideout; his wheel was noisy since it banged in the cage floor. bedding 2.5-3 inch/ 6-7.5 cm was too much, since there was always too little he used, and a lot he kicked around to get to different parts of the cage an inch, maybe a bit over/2-3 cm is what Teddy is most comfortable with; the wheel sits nice, and his hideout has a lot as well Now, your hamster could need more or less. Again, if he is a digger, then give your hamster what you think is too much, and he’ll dive right into it. If he’s more of a runner, he might need a thinner bedding. But in general, the bedding should cover the bottom of the cage by at least an inch, so the hamster can gather piles of it if he wants to, and not leave empty spots. If your hammy has a hideout, but chooses to build his nest somewhere else, look at where he builds his and add much more bedding and nesting material there. The bedding acts as a sort of insulation as well, so maybe you should check out the ideal temperature to keep your hamster comfortable. How much nesting material a hamster needs This is a clear case of give the hamster as much as you can. A whole roll of toilet paper. No, but he will use up however much you give him. I usually give Teddy 3 whole paper towel pieces, ripped into strips. He also has the cardboard roll that’s left front he paper towel. He sometimes chews on that to add some extra bedding if he needs more. I’ve given him 4 paper towels sometimes, and he found use for all 4. But it was a bit harder for him to navigate into and out of his hideout. So we stuck to 3 paper towels. Keep in mind that if you can still properly see your hamster in his hideout, then he probably needs a bit more nesting material. Hamsters form a sort of cocoon out of the nesting they find. So they will wrap that nest around them very well, to keep them warm. Sometimes Teddy even manages to knot the pieces of paper into a continuous piece, which he then wraps around himself. So give your hamster as much bedding as he needs, start with the 3 paper towels and see if he needs more. If you put 1 more he will take it, but see if he can move around well in his nest. Hamsters hoard food in their nest This is something I found out when I first cleaned Teddy’s cage. When I lifted his hideout, and saw the pile of while paper towel strips, I was not surprised. When I saw the droppings in his nest, I figured that’s just what he does. But when I saw his food stash, I was impressed. The little furball had a stash for the Apocalypse right there. So don’t be surprised if you find food and poo and a bit of pee in your hamster’s nest. That’s okay. But that’s another sign of just how important the nest is to your hamster, so make sure you get a good one for him. And try not to disturb his nest unless you absolutely have to. More on that later. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How often to change the hamster’s bedding By bedding I mean everything but the nest itself. Honestly the bedding stays clean (as in not smelly) for up to 2 weeks, but I recommend changing it every week. This applies especially to the corners where the hamster pees. Hamsters do have a peeing corner, and you’ll figure out which one it is by how smelly it can get. If your hamster is using the sandbath as a potty, then that’s even easier to clean. Just throw out the sand he’s used, and clean the residue that might have stuck to the bottom with hot water and a tooth pick. Then, pat dry with paper towel and place new sand. If you have a setup like that then your hamster’s bedding will only need changing every couple of weeks, when it gets a bit too overfilled with droppings. About droppings, if your hamster has somewhere safe/hidden to poop, and it’s also not his hideout, you’ll find most of the droppings there. But never let the bedding go for more than 2 weeks. It becomes stale and a bit funky past that point. How often to change the nesting for your hamster The nest itself is relatively clean and will not need changing more often than the bedding itself. So the nest can be left alone for up to 2 weeks, but I personally change it once per week. When I change it I make sure I keep a few pieces of the old nest, to place in his new nest in his hideout. Whatever food I find in his stash goes into Teddy’s food bowl, and I start ripping up new paper towels for him to use. It’s important to not change or disturb your hamster’s nest as much as you can. If it’s getting smelly, then change it. But hamsters rarely pee in their nest and that’s the only thing about them that smells. Keep the hamster in his travel cage or exercise ball while you’re cleaning his cage, to keep him occupied. A word from Teddy Long read, I know. But us hamsters need a bit of special care, so I hope you found all the information you need in this article. We’re very clean and like to take care of ourselves, so a smelly cage shouldn’t be a problem ! I’m an adult Syrian hamster, but what you just read applies to all my brothers and sisters, even if they’re dwarf hamsters. If you want to check out more important info on hamsters, then read the articles below. You’ll find out about what kind of cage us hamsters need, and even how long we can last without food or water. [...] Read more...
What Is A Teddy Bear Hamster? A Few Interesting Facts
What Is A Teddy Bear Hamster? A Few Interesting FactsWriting an article about what is a teddy bear hamster brings me a lot of joy since my first hamster, and the inspiration for this site, was named Teddy. But was Teddy a teddy bear hamster, though? As with all the good answers in the world, the answer is “it depends”. My hamster was a short hair Syrian hamster, and this is quite important when it comes to what people call a teddy bear hamster. In this article, I will talk about what is a teddy bear hamster but also what you should know before deciding to get one as a pet. Table of Contents ToggleWhat is a teddy bear hamster?How to care for a teddy bear hamster?Common diseases for teddy bear hamsters?Things to know before getting a teddy bear hamster as a petConclusion What is a teddy bear hamster? Teddy bear hamster is not a type of hamster, it is more of a nickname that people use for Syrian hamsters since they look like a small teddy bears. There is an entire debate about whether a teddy bear hamster is just a long-haired Syrian hamster and is called this for its long fur, or any Syrian hamster since they all look like a teddy bear. But in reality it doesn’t matter that much, we talk here about a nickname so you can call your hamster a teddy bear hamster if it is a Syrian hamster. When you are looking for images with teddy bear hamsters, you will see that there are a lot of short-haired Syrian hamsters, this happens because long-haired Syrian hamsters are rarer than short-haired ones. So if you look at your Syrian hamster and you think of a small teddy bear with big ears, small dark eyes, and a small cute nose, you can officially call your hamster a teddy bear hamster. I say officially with an ironic tone because how official can a nickname be? How to care for a teddy bear hamster? I will shortly get onto the most important things you need to know in order to properly care for your hamster, however if you are looking for a more in-depth guide, check my article on how to care for a hamster. Here are a few things you need to know. 1. Make sure your hamster has a water bottle full of fresh water. A hamster needs about 10ml of water per day but it can vary from one hamster to another, especially because of their different sizes. 2. Feed your hamster properly, a teddy bear hamster will need about two teaspoons full of pre-made hamster food mix every day. They usually hide their food, so make sure you don’t feed them too much since they can get fat pretty easily, which will come with some health issues. They eat mostly seeds and grains, but can eat the occasional insect. In some cases a very small amount of boiled, unseasoned meat or boiled unsalted egg white is fine. But you should do your research before feeding a hamster anything that is not in the pre-made food since there are a lot of exceptions and things to know. I have an entire article about what a hamster can eat. 3. Buy a large enough cage. This is one of the most common problems new hamster owners have, I did it as well when I first had Teddy but I quickly bought a bigger cage when I found out. We see a small hamster and think that they have enough space in a small cage, but they need a lot of space for bedding, wheel, hideout, and more. It might seem expensive at first but I guarantee that if you buy a small cage, you will end up worse since you will most probably go back to the pet shop and buy a bigger cage when you see your teddy bear hamster struggling in the small wheel that fitted the cage and being very stressed. 4. Clean your hamster cage when needed. Hamsters are quite easy to take care of and their cages don’t smell as bad as other’s small animals. But you still have to clean its cage when needed, here is a guide on how and when you should clean a hamster cage. 5. If your teddy bear hamster’s personality allows you to play with it, you should do it a few times per week to create a bond between you and the hamster. Luckily the teddy bear hamsters are the most playful ones, and easier to tame the smaller dwarf hamsters. 6. Make sure your hamster is exercising and chewing as much as he needs. You can buy hamster toys like ladders, bridges, tunnels, chewing toys and so on to make sure your hamster has enough activity and things to chew on and also a big enough hamster wheel that will keep it quite active. Those are a few essential steps to take care of your teddy bear hamster but as I said, read my entire guide on caring for a hamster that I linked above to know more. Common diseases for teddy bear hamsters? Regarding what diseases a teddy bear hamster can have, “the wet tail” is the most common problem for this type of hamster. Here is a guide to how to know when your hamster has wet tail and what you can do. The wet tail disease in hamsters is like diarrhea for humans, but for us is not as bad as it is for them.  If you spot wet poop in your hamster cage, you should call a small pet vet as soon as possible and follow the steps in the article I linked above. When it comes to diabetes, Syrian hamsters(teddy bear hamsters) are not as predisposed to it as the smaller hamsters so you don’t have to worry to much about it. That doesn’t mean that you should feed your hamster too many sweet fruits or anything like this since they can still develop diabetes, just not as easily as the dwarf hamsters. A hamster can have other kinds of diseases, from fungal infection to mites and more, but those are not as common as the wet tail. Things to know before getting a teddy bear hamster as a pet Here are a few essential things to know before buying a pet teddy bear hamster. 1. Teddy bear hamsters’ life span is usually 2-3 years, so you should be prepared to take care of it for a few years at least. They don’t require much maintenance and attention, but you can’t completely ignore them. My two Syrian hamsters each lived for nearly 2 years.  2. The real cost of owning a pet teddy bear hamster. When you think of buying a hamster it’s important to know that the hamster itself is the least expensive thing you will spend money on. The cage, wheel and bedding are usually way more expensive than the hamster itself, make sure you check how much those cost before considering buying a hamster. There might be a lot of people in your area that donate hamsters so you might want to check this out first. Most of them will donate the cage and the toys for the hamster as well. 3. They have different personalities, if you see someone on Youtube playing with a teddy bear hamster like playing with a puppy, you should not expect your hamster to be as friendly. Hamsters have different personalities and a lot of them are not actually playful and easy to tame. Teddy bear hamsters are easier to tame compared to dwarf hamsters, but even so, you have to think about the fact that they are solitary animals and not social animals, so you might not seem like a friend to them but rather more of a treat. 4. They are not great pets for kids. A teddy bear hamster might be easier to tame than other hamsters, but it will not be as easy as you expect. But let’s say you are lucky and you get the calmest teddy bear hamster. You still have to be very gentle with it, they weigh about 120 grams, so they are easy to hurt if you are not careful. You can’t expect a small kid to handle a hamster carefully. Most of the time, adults can’t do it properly, and we are aware that squishing those little furballs will hurt them a lot. When you play with a small hamster, if you don’t pay attention for a few seconds, they might get into the smallest places in your house since they tend to hide and will not come out easily. Also, they might hurt themselves since they don’t know the terrain. So this is a very important thing to consider when you plan to get a pet hamster. It might be easy to take care of them, but when it comes to playing with them, it is a wild ride with real chances of them getting hurt if you don’t know what you are doing. Conclusion So, the teddy bear hamster is a nickname for Syrian hamsters which are the best pet hamsters you can find. I hope this article helped you and now you know what to expect from a pet hamster and you will think twice before getting one. I don’t want to discourage you if you don’t have a hamster and are thinking of getting one, but you should know that there will be some responsibilities and a lot of things to know about those little fluffy teddy bears. [...] Read more...
5 Reasons Hamsters Chew On Cage Bars – And How To Stop Them
5 Reasons Hamsters Chew On Cage Bars – And How To Stop ThemIs your hamster chewing on his cage bars ? So does mine from time to time, and I know it’s awful to hear, and bad for his teeth. I’ll tel you what I know about how to stop your hammy from chewing the cage bars, and how to prevent it. Keep in mind that some hamsters simply have this habit, and will have their teeth on the bars (or anything else) often, just because. I’ll tell you what to do in those cases too. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters chew on the cage bars ?About rodents and chewing in generalGet your hamster a larger cageA hamster’s teeth are always growingAnxiety/stress is a common issue with hamstersYour hamster needs your attention, or is curious about somethingSome hamsters develop a habit of chewing on the cage barsWhat you can do about the hamster chewingChew toys for the hammyDistract the hamsterExercise the hamsterPlay with the hamsterWhat to do if your hamster just can’t stop chewing on the barsMove the hamster to a glass tankMove the hamster’s cage to a different roomIs a hamster a good choice for a pet ?A word from Teddy So why do hamsters chew on the cage bars ? Hamsters are rodents, so they will chew on everything by default. Still here’s a short, clear list of the main reasons your hamster is chewing on his cage bars: Small cage – this is often a big problem, since many hamsters are kept in tiny cages. Teeth growing – rodent teeth never stop growing, they must always chew and nibble on something . Anxiety/stress – hamsters can develop this habit as a way to cope with something. Need attention/curiosity – hamsters need to see and know everything, and will ask for attention. Habit – they’ve gotten this habit, and it’s going to be hard to unlearn it. Hammies are known to be quiet pets, but having them chew on the bars is incredibly annoying. Aside from being a possible sign of something wrong, it’s also bad for their teeth. Only because the metal is too harsh for their teeth, and they’ll need something softer like wood to chew on. We’ll cover that list in this article, so you know in more detail why hamsters end up chewing on the cage bars. But let’s first talk a bit about rodents and chewing in general, so we understand why this happens from their point of view. About rodents and chewing in general All rodents – hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, squirrels, and so on – have an innate need to chew. Their teeth never stop growing. If they don’t keep an eye on the growth, it can be deadly. So, rodents need to constantly chew and nibble on something. This is normal for them, and is a very good habit to have in order to file down their teeth. But what about pet rodents ? Well, your hamster doesn’t know the sound of his chewing is awful to you. And still, his teeth are always growing and always need to be filed down. Another thing about rodents, they like to try everything out with their teeth as well. Just like baby humans will put random objects in their mouth to ‘learn’ them, rodents will try out things too. It’s just that they’ll never grow out of that phase. So be prepared for this happening again and again. However you can do a few things to lower the chances of your hamster chewing on the bars. Let’s get to those right now. Get your hamster a larger cage One of the reasons, maybe half the time, is that hamsters are kept in way too small cages. The hamsters end up feeling cramped and grumpy. It varies from hamster to hamster type, but the absolute minimum is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That is for an adult Syrian hamster, but I’d recommend it to be the minimum for a Dwarf type as well. Hamsters need a lot of space, they run around a lot, they sprint at the drop of a feather, and will burrow often. That requires more space than you’d think at first. The small, square cages you can pick up at the pet shop – the ones that are most commonly sold when you get your hammy – are way too small. You can find a good guide on hamster cages here. Always go for a bigger cage, with lots of floor space. Hamsters need that space and will become jittery and irritable if they don’t have where and how to run around. Especially if you’re keeping two hamsters in a cage, this is crucial. They need to be able to hide from each other, run away, and have large spaces for themselves if they need to. Otherwise they’ll end up chewing the bars, in an attempt to get away, or escape, or just let out that anxiety and stress. A hamster’s teeth are always growing This is what the problem is most of the time. Hamsters are rodents, so their teeth will always grow. So, they will always need to file them down. There is not much you can do about this, other than giving the hamster chew toys. You’ll find a lot more info on that in the rest of the article. Your hammy will always try to put its teeth on everything. Sometimes to chew, sometimes to try them out. But there are moments when they chewing will happen often. This is when their teeth get sort of growth spurts, and the hammies will feel the instinctive need to chew on something. The best thing to do for a rodent, especially one that you’ve noticed is a big chewer, is to keep it in a large glass tank. There’s nothing to chew there, except for the toys. Anxiety/stress is a common issue with hamsters A hamster is used to hiding and being on alert all day, every day. That means that it’s prone to stress, an stress related illnesses. That also means that they will often need a way to release their stress. Most of the time, the hamster will end up chewing on the hardest surface he can find – the cage bars. He will still use his chew toys, but the hard surface of the cage bars will still be interesting. A few reasons hamsters can develop anxiety and stress can be: being scared too often – they’re very easy to startle being bullied by their cage mate – common problem new home – baby hamsters can sometimes adapt very slowly to their new homes poor housing  – small cage, improper bedding, not enough food, no exercise, could be many things What you can do is to try and make life easier for your hamster. So if your hammy is scared often – by a sudden noise, or the dog looking at them, you need to read this article. Do keep in mind that hamsters scare easily, so some things just can’t be helped. If your hammy is bullied by his cage mate, then you need to separate the two. This is a problem that can come up seemingly out of nowhere, even for hamsters that looked like they were getting along. Always keep an eye on them if you’ve got a pair, Your hamster needs your attention, or is curious about something Hamsters are incredibly curious, and will want to check out everything. Even if they’re scared, they will still try to investigate that sound. Most of the time they investigate or hear things out because they’re listening for predators. But a pet hamster will have the bravery to walk up to the cage bars and try to see and hear and smell why that bag is making those sounds. He will sometimes ask for your attention, even if you’re doing something else and didn’t notice he woke up. In these cases it’s best to give the hamster a bit of attention, but be careful. If you hear chattering teeth, and you see him very aggitated and jumpy, do not touch him directly. A hamster with chattering teeth is not a playful one. He is curious, but has a burst of energy that makes him hard to handle, and prone to biting. Best to play indirectly with him. Like a bit of paper towel through the bars, and a piece of cardboard in his cage, like you would play with a cat. Some hamsters develop a habit of chewing on the cage bars Unfortunately this is a habit very hard to kick. Mostly because it’s sort of addictive for hammies. They love the sound and feel of their teeth on the bars, as much as it might make your cringe. So getting your hamster to let go of something he loves will be incredibly difficult. The best option for this is to remove the bars completely. That means again, putting the hammy in a glass tank. For hamsters that developed a habit of chewing the bars, no matter how large their cage will be, they will find the corners and chew on them. A few things other people have tried – blowing on the hamster, using a paper towel on his nose, or even citrus oil on the bars – do not work. They’re only temporary reliefs, only for a few minutes. The hamster will start chewing again, this time with a vengeance. And in some cases, if you’ve got two hamsters in the same cage, they can copy each other. If one of them starts to chew on the bars, then the other will probably follow suit. If that’s the case, you will probably need to separate them. or move them both in a glass tank. Sometimes, there’s not much you can do. But you need to try everything else before moving him to a glass tank. What you can do about the hamster chewing Here’s a few things you can actually do about your hammy chewing on the cage bars. They will work, some temporary, some permanently, depending on your hamster, and the reason he is chewing. My Teddy still chews the bars every now and then, for a couple of minutes. I usually distract him, and move him to a different room at night anyway, so I do no hear him when I sleep. Chew toys for the hammy You can help your hamster by getting or making him some chew toys, and leaving them randomly around his cage. This means that your hamster will have plenty more opportunities to chew on solid things inside his cage. Often, your hammy will need something wood-based to chew on. The cage bars are too hard for your hamster’s teeth, even if he likes chewing on them. So you’ll need to provide him with some chew toys. You can find a whole article dedicated to hamster toys here, and you’ll get store-bought and DYI ideas as well. Mineral chews are actually not that useful for your hamster. They’re marketed as a chewing aid, and are supposed to bring more mineral content to your hamster’s diet. But the truth is, hamsters don’t need more minerals if they’ve got a good diet already. A pre-made food mix will take care of that. Distract the hamster You can distract the hamster, and this will work most of the time. As in, after you stop paying attention to the hamster it will probably not chew the bars for a few hours, or at least enough time for you to fall asleep. Exercise the hamster Exercising your hammy is probably the best way to get him to distract him. You can do this two ways. First, you can use his exercise wheel. If it’s a wheel he can see through, like a wire mesh one, you can use a bit of paper towel to guide your hamster through his cage, into the wheel. Then, your hamster will try to get to the paper towel or your hand. But if you place it directly in front of him while he is in the wheel, the hamster will end up running trying to get to you. You can do this several times a day, or whenever your hammy seems restless. Do let him get to the paper towel every now and then, to keep things interesting. Second, you can exercise the hamster by putting him in his exercise ball – you can find out more about that here. Once he’s in the exercise ball, let him roam the house as much as he likes, but make sure you don’t go over 30 minutes per session. Your hammy will need some water, and some food, and he can’t find those in the exercise ball. Also make sure that your hammy can’t fall down any stairs, or your other pets will not reach it. A barking, curious dog, or a playful cat will scare the hamster, and will only distress him more. Be warned though, exercise balls can be loud on their own. The hamster will bang it against the furniture, walls, the corner of your coffee table, the door, anything. So you can either proof an area to let your hamster run around, or make peace with the noise. To proof the area, you will just need to cover the surfaces the ball can hit with some textile, like a blanket or towel, to absorb noise. Or, in the case of odd corners, you can just put a slipper in the way and the hammy will not be able to reach that corner. Play with the hamster You can also play with your hamster to distract it. But again, if his teeth are chattering and he has a sort of odd look about him, best to not touch him directly. Give him a puzzle toy – you can find an example here – or use a bit of cardboard to guide him through an obstacle course in his cage. Or, you can pick him up if he seems fairly calm. Let the hamster run over your hands, talk to him, pet him, as you would normally. But if he seems like he’s about to jump out of your hands, make sure you’re every close to 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.) What to do if your hamster just can’t stop chewing on the bars Sometimes, there’s not much you can do. If you’ve tried every little thing you can think of, and every other alternative you’ve found in this article so far, and your hamster is still chewing, then it’s time to do something else. Move the hamster to a glass tank Your hamster will not have anything to chew, if he’s in a glass tank. The glass gives him nothing to hold onto, just plain, smooth, straight glass he can’t do anything with. In this case you will need to give your hamster ample wood-based toys to play with. He will chew on every little thing he can get his paws on. The hideout, the toys, the food bowl, in some cases even the water bottle. So, make sure the glass tank is large enough to fit your hamster, or your hamsters if you’ve got more than one. And you can check out this article for bedding and hideout ideas made of wood. You’ll find lots of toys ideas here, and depending on the kind of wheel you had before, it might need changing. You can find more info on the exercise wheel on here. As for where to find an actual glass tank, you can check this Amazon link for an example. It’s the minimum space requirement for a single hamster, and you can look at the reviews as well. Honestly, I recommend getting a glass tank from a pet shop, or somewhere you can actually go and see the tank for yourself. That way the transport can be arranged by you, and you’re in control of whether the glass breaks on the trip home or not. As you know, glass is difficult to safely transport, so it’s best if you’re involved as well. Still, you can check the link above to at least see what glass tanks have to offer, and the price range they’d be about. Move the hamster’s cage to a different room This is a last resort. If you do not want, or can’t afford or fit a large enough glass tank for your hamster, then this is your other option. Glass tanks can’t be moved about as easily as a cage. But a cage can be moved temporarily or permanently to a separate room. If your hamster keeps chewing the bars and he just won’t stop, no matter what, moving him to a different room will at least let you have your peace. There are a few things to keep in mind though, before you move the hamster.The temperature of the room you move the hamster to needs to be constant. Hamsters need a range between 20-23 C/68-75 F to feel comfortable, and anything below or above that range can make them uneasy. In some cases, if your hamster is exposed to sudden, very cold temperatures, it can hibernate. But since it’s sudden, it can be actually deadly for him, depending how long it lasts. You can find more info on hamster hibernation here, and how to save your hammy. So be sure to check up on your hammy every day, to make sure he feels alright in his room. Make sure he is safe from other pets, or overly curious small children. Is a hamster a good choice for a pet ? In this case, after talking about all the ruckus a hamster can make while chewing the bars, you’d think no, they’re not good pets. But the truth is, at least in my opinion, hamsters are actually good pets. They’re quiet most of the time, and will not bother you often. It’s just that they have some very specific necessities – like the chewing and temperature – that can make then a bit iffy. A hamster isn’t as easy to tame – and keep tame – as a dog or cat, and does not respond well to being held wrong or annoyed. So for this reason I’d advise against getting your child a pet hamster, of any kind. Children would need a more mellow, loving pet, like for example a dog that can take on the full force of a kid tackling him, or pulling his tail. You can read more whether hamsters make good pets or not here – and get a more detailed insight on why you need to know yourself and your limits before you get a hamster as a pet. A word from Teddy I hope you got some good ideas here on how to stop one of us hammies from chewing the cage bars. Sometimes we just love to chew the bars, and sometimes we can stop if you give us an alternative. It depends from hammy to hammy. If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we sometimes do odd things, like eat our poop or suddenly freeze, you should check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
When And How Hamsters Sleep – Your Furball’s Sleepy Time
When And How Hamsters Sleep – Your Furball’s Sleepy TimeIf you’ve got a hammy, you’ve probably wondered at first why he sleeps so much, especially during the day. Our guests always ask us where Teddy is, since he’s sleeping when they come over. Turns out hamsters have a veeery different sleeping pattern than us humans. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes you’ll wonder why you got yourself into this. But they’re always lovable. Table of Contents ToggleWhen is your hamster sleeping ?How your hamster usually sleepsDo hamsters sleep with their eyes open or closed ?No hamster likes being woken upDon’t change your hamster’s sleep scheduleKeep your hammy’s sleeping area undisturbedThe cage should be in a calm, secluded areaYour hamster might be making odd, random soundsHamsters get midnight munchies and bathroom trips tooA word from Teddy When is your hamster sleeping ? Hamsters sleep during the day, and are awake at night, or in the twilight hours. This is an instinct they’ve had since forever, and it’s what kept them alive for so long. Hamsters are prey animals, and most of their predators are awake during the day. This means the hamster must hide, so he sleeps the day away in his little burrow. Once evening sets in, he gets his little nose out and starts looking for food. But what about your domestic, furry little friend sleeping in his cage ? He’s sleeping the day away too, even if there are no predators around. That’s simply his schedule, and don’t take it personally. He will wake up in the evening, around 8-10 PM, and stay up til morning. His sleep pattern might change over the years a bit, but he is largely nocturnal, and it’s the best thing for him, given the way his body works. You can change his sleeping pattern, but you’re mistreating him and causing much discomfort. We’ll cover that part too, and why it hurts the hamster. How your hamster usually sleeps Your hamster friend usually sleeps in his hideout, or the nest he’s made in a corner if he has no hideout. He sleeps in a big, knotted pile of paper towels, toiler paper squares, chewed up cardboard, and some bits of wood shaving from the bedding. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of him sleeping, with his little feet curled up and ears folded. Seriously, a sleeping hammy is about the cutest thing ever. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, and a male at that. Syrian males are notorious for having ridiculously large testicles, and they just… hang out… when he sleeps. So I’ve had a few moments when I wanted to see him sleep and instead got a full view of the family jewels, and a furry foot. Hammies sleep curled up, and very well hidden in their little nest. So actually seeing the hamster will not be easy. But you can sometimes see parts of the nest moving when he twitches or shifts. Do hamsters sleep with their eyes open or closed ? I’ve seen no hamster sleep with his eyes open, nor have other hamster owners told me about that. It’s not something hamsters do, unlike bunnies. Hamsters sleep with their eyes closed, and they might crack one open if they hear something or feel the cage move. Other than that, a hamster sleeping with open eyes sounds like a possible medical problem. So it’d be best if you checked with your dedicated veterinarian. If you don’t have a vet on call, or are not sure what kind of vet you need, look for an ”exotics” vet. Hamsters, like parrots and guinea pigs and lizards, are considered exotic animals and a regular vet won’t have very much experience with them. No hamster likes being woken up On the topic of waking a hamster up, well, don’t. No one likes being woken up in the middle of the night, unless there’s a disaster happening right this minute. It might be 3 PM on a sunny afternoon for you, but it’s something like 4 AM for him. Let the little fella rest. Hamsters do a whole lot of sleeping for being such small creatures. For example an adult Syrian can sleep between 6 and 8 hours per day ! That’s about as much as you or I need, and we’re much larger than a fistful of fur. Hamsters need the rest, because they are always on high alert, and quite high strung. They’re jumpy and always on the move. Imagine your little friend on the wheel, all night long, running as far a 9 km/5.5 miles in one night. He needs the rest. If you do handle the hamster when he just woke up, that’s on your own risk. Hammies, like humans, are quite disoriented when they wake up. That means you’ve got an equal chance at a docile, hazy hamster as well as a snappy, irritable one. I usually leave Teddy alone when he wakes up, and only talk to him for the first few minutes. Don’t change your hamster’s sleep schedule Given the fact that you’re awake during the day, and sleeping at night, I know you probably don’t get to see your friend too often. Maybe a couple of hours in the evening before bed, and in the morning when you’re rushing to get somewhere. I know that’s my routine with Teddy, and we do a whole lot playing and handling in the evening when he’s up. It is at all possible to change your hamster’s sleeping pattern, and you’ll find plenty of guides on how to do that. However that’s not very safe for your hamster. Hear me out here. Hamsters have very sensitive eyes, even if their eyesight is almost non-existent. By forcing your hamster to stay up during the day, you’re putting a lot of bright daylight on his eyes. Even if it’s not direct, the light is still much too harsh for his sensitive night creature eyes. Hamsters do best in low light conditions, and harsh lighting can be painful for them. A regular light bulb won’t hurt him much, but it’s nothing compared to the sunlight. I doubt you have the lights on in the middle of the day. Then there’s the fact that hamsters are okay with humans handling them, but there is such a thing as too much for them. Handling your hammy too much might tire him out faster than you’d like, and faster than would be alright for him. Finally, it’s about the other bodily functions that hamsters have as nocturnal creatures, that don’t work as well in the middle of the day. So, again, please let your hamster have his normal routine, and try finding a happy medium between you both. Keep your hammy’s sleeping area undisturbed We’ve already covered the fact that hamsters don’t like being woken up. Neither do you, neither do I, for that matter. But the sleeping area is very important too. You see, hamsters don’t see very well but rely a whole lot on their sense of smell. Their sleeping area, or bed if you will, is full of their scent. Your hammy took the time and effort to decorate his bedroom just the way he likes it. But we can’t leave it like that, since it needs periodic cleaning. Now, there are way to clean the hamster’s nest without disturbing it too much. One of them is spot-cleaning the nest, where you only pick out the droppings, and maybe a piece of the nesting material that got soiled. Add a few fresh pieces of paper towel, and your hammy will add them to his bedroom. But what if you need to change the whole thing, since it’s been a while ? In that case remember to leave a few pieces of the old nest, and throw out the rest. The old bits will have your hammy’s scent, and make it much less annoying for him to rebuild. Changing the entire nest at a time can be a bit stressful for your hamster. He is after all a creature of habit, and needs things to be the way they always were. He doesn’t do well with change. The cage should be in a calm, secluded area The area in your house where you keep the cage needs to be in a calm area. For example if your living room has lots of guests, a couple of kids, and a puppy running about, it’s not a good place for a hamster. Find a room or a corner of the house where your hamster can hear the hustle and bustle of the house and get used to it. But, it should be a fairly private place where there’s not much traffic, and your hamster can sleep undisturbed. Even if he’s not sleeping, your hammy doesn’t take well to stress. By this I mean an overly curious cat, child, or even adult prodding at him, tapping the cage and trying to interact with the hamster when he’s not up for it. Truth is, hamsters are indeed friendly, but in short bursts. They won’t stay put long, and won’t stay in your hand for more than a couple of seconds. Hammies are always moving and curious and need to see and smell and know and inquire about every little thing. You’re literally holding them in place when they want to investigate that rustling bag. Maybe a bit exaggerated, but you get the general idea. (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.) Your hamster might be making odd, random sounds Even when he sleeps, your hamster is still a funny little thing. Not only is he a cute, curled up ball of fur, but he might also be making the oddest sounds. Maybe it’s just my Teddy, maybe it’s all Syrian hamsters. I know lots of hamsters make cute sounds, and I’ve heard of and read about other hammies squeaking in their sleep. My Teddy can be fast asleep and still squeaking. It’s somewhere between a hiccup and a bark, like he’s going ‘hmph’ left and right. Maybe your hammy does it too, maybe he doesn’t. But do expect odd noises coming from his nest when he sleeps. If it’s not the squeaking, it could be a rustle, or a chatter, or a chewing sound. Those are all normal. Think about when you sleep. You do a whole lot of moving in your sleep as well, so don’t be surprised if your hamster is not very different. Hamsters get midnight munchies and bathroom trips too Ah yes, the midnight snacks. Like we’ve never woken up to grab something from the fridge, on our way to the bathroom. Your hammy does that too. You see, hamsters designate a ”pee corner” and they only use that one. It just so happens to be on the farthest point from their nest. Hammies are very clean animals, and they keep their nest very clean. So if your hammy suddenly wakes up to much on a peanut,goes for a pee, and stops on his way to grab a drink, that’s okay. He’a a healthy, normal hamster, doing healthy, normal hamster things. Even if your hamster doesn’t wake up too much for a quick snack, that’s fine too. While hamsters do sleep for a lot of hours, they don’t necessarily have to be continuous. For example my Teddy wakes up randomly in the middle of the day (night for him) and takes a short walk of sorts. He might even get on his wheel for a bit, but he’s always up for just a few minutes. Every hamster wakes up with his fur a bit ruffled, ears folded back, eyes half closed. He might even stretch and yawn, and look bleary. He did just wake up, after all. Usually after that he’ll start grooming himself, and start his day. apparently A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info here. I know us hammies seem to sleep a lot, but it’s just the time difference between us. If you work a night shift, your’re probably on the same pattern as us. You’re probably very tired all the time, though. If you want to know more about us hammies, you an check out the articles below on how to take care of us properly. [...] Read more...