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.

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

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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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Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle In
Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle InIf you’ve got a hamster you probably want to treat him to the best there is. We humans love hammocks, but do hamsters use them ? Would they swing in a hammock like us ? Or would they just ignore it ? I found the answer to this, and I’m here to help you figure out how to make your hamster a happy ball of fur. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters use hammocks ?The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safetyA few examples of safe hamster hammocksOption 1Option 2General precautions when getting your hamster a hammockA word from Teddy So do hamsters use hammocks ? Some hamsters do. Not all hamsters will go crazy over hammocks, but some will love to burrow into that warm fabric. It depends on each hamster’s personality. Some hamsters, like my Teddy, are runners and chewers. Some are diggers, some love to climb more than anything. You can’t guess beforehand which type will like a hammock. But I can tell you that giving a hammock to a hamster who loves to chew (more than other hamsters) is not going to end well. Knowing if your hamster would love hammocks is not going to happen unless you try one. There are some guidelines to follow, and some things to look out for when you put a hammock into your hamster’s cage. So let’s see them. The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safety Hamsters love to chew, they always need to file their teeth down. So this gives them an instinct to chew and nibble on everything they can get their paws on. They’re also very curious and will try out anything with their teeth too, much like a baby human. When it comes to hammocks, the fabric they’re made of is crucial. The wrong fabric can be dangerous for hamsters, some hazards including: choking on loose strings and pieces of fiber swallowing loose fluffy fabric and damaging their digestive system hurting themselves on sharp pieces of metal or plastic in the hammock stuffing loose, fluffy fabric into their cheeks and getting it caught up in their teeth or paws None of those situations are comfortable, for anyone involved. So it’s very important to check the potential hammock for any pieces the hamster could hurt himself on, before you present it to him. A word of caution, hamsters are always looking for soft materials to use for their nests. This is why very fluffy, wooly fabrics are a no go, like plush, fake fur, fur-like textures like on teddy bears, and the lining you will find in some house slippers. So if it’s soft and fluffy and makes you, a human, want to cuddle in it, keep it away from the hamster. He’ll want to do that too, but he won’t just drag it to his nest. He’ll tear it apart and put it in his cheeks, and then get tangled in it. What does this mean, then ? What fabrics are okay to use on in a hammock ? Well, for the most part very flat fabrics work well, the ones the hamster won’t be very tempted to chew on and take back to his nest. Fur-like fabrics would be alright too, if you can find a short-haired version, and not too soft or fluffy or easy to rip a piece out. A few examples of safe hamster hammocks I’ve got here a few examples of hammocks that are safe for hamsters (and other rodents as well), and you can pick whichever you like best. Or pick out a completely different one. That’s up to you, as long as you look at the reviews and take a good look at the material it’s made of. Option 1 This hammock is a fairly large one, and any hamster will definitely fit inside. It’s got metal chains to suspend it inside the cage, and it keeps its shape very well. It can fit something a bit larger than a hamster, like for example a chinchilla, but you can also turn it over, take out the chains, and use it as a hamster hideout. As far as I know there is just the one color option you see, but it’s a very well made product. Washing machine safe, and the material is safe for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Option 2 This one, much smaller, but very colorful, is another option. It’s more of a hut/hideout, but it’s warm and cozy. You’ll be able to spot your hamster right away against the colors of the hammock (blue, red, or pink) and I’m sure he’s enjoy playing in it. Like all hammocks though, it will have bits of food and poop after a few hours of your hamster sitting in it.. That’s okay, since this hammock can be washed safely. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Whichever hammock you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the design and keep an eye on your hamster when he is interacting with it. There’s some general precautions you should take before getting your hamster a hammock, so let’s see those. (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.) General precautions when getting your hamster a hammock When letting your hamster onto the hammock, make sure there are no sharp pieces he can hurt himself on. Sometimes the hammocks are sewn together with a plastic thread, and it sticks out a bit. Or, possibly the metal clips (if there are any) are sticking out or need to be closed better. Most of the time the hammocks that have a bed/lining inside are adorable, but the hamster ends up taking the small bed out. Not sure why, maybe they feel it’s too crowded. But the point is that the walls and inside structure of the hammock needs to be very good and sturdy. If you notice your hamster chewing a bit on the hammock, that’s okay. Some chewing is normal, since hamsters chew absolutely everything. If it turns into cheek-stuffing then you’ll want to remove the hammock, or at least the lining. Hammocks, no matter the brand, can’t withstand the constant wear and tear of a busy hamster for more than a few months. They keep getting into and out of them, clawing at them chewing a bit, soiling them, etc. In time it will show and you might have to replace their old hammock. Make sure the hammock doesn’t have an odd or strong smell  when you first give it to your hamster. Hamsters have very sensitive noses, and won’t like something that smells strong. If need be, you can wash the hammock by itself with the minimum amount of detergent, and absolutely no fabric softener. Finally, if your hamster doesn’t take to the hammock instantly, have patience. He might not understand what it is at first. He might need a few days (some need a few weeks) to get cozy in there, but once they do, they will probably use it as their nest. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters do use our hammocks, just not all the time. We’re different, you know; each of us has a different personality. We do appreciate the effort, though ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out For
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out ForOwning a pet hamster requires you to be perceptive and knowledgeable when it comes to the hamster’s natural habits. That means that you should know when they are about to hibernate and what the signs of their impending or current hibernation look like considering the fact that some breeds of hamsters just aren’t suited for the cold and may end up dying when they go into hibernation.  After all, it’s going to be natural for hamsters to go into hibernation when the season gets cold but the problem is that some people cannot really tell whether or not the hamster is hibernating, sick, or dead. That’s why we have come up with the 9 signs that you should look out for to know whether or not your hamster is just hibernating. Table of Contents Toggle1. Binge-eating2. Shivering3. It starts to become lethargic4. Hamster hibernation temperature 5. Check for breathing6. Inspect its heartbeat7. Its food and water will remain untouched8. The hamster will become stiff9. It should feel cold to the touch 1. Binge-eating This is probably the most common sign of hibernation in any kind of animal. It is quite normal for hibernating animals to start binge-eating before they go into hibernation because they would need all that food during the winter when they will enter a long state of suspension. During that state of hibernation, they won’t be able to eat anything. So, in your hamster’s case, if you notice that it is eating far more than it does on a regular basis, it may actually be storing food for energy in time for winter when it is about to hibernate. After all, it needs the excess fat to keep its body well-nourished during its state of hibernation.  This will happen when the temperatures start dropping. As such, the best thing to do in your case is to keep the temperatures higher than 20 degrees Celsius so that the pet hamster won’t end up having to binge eat in time for winter. 2. Shivering Even before the hamster begins its hibernation cycle, you will actually see tell-tale signs that it will begin to hibernate. One of them is when the little pocket pal begins to shiver due to how the temperatures are starting to get colder and colder. Your hamster won’t be able to handle temperatures that are too cold, hence it will begin to hibernate when that happens. So, your best bet here is to keep your hamster’s habitat as warm as it can be without making it too warm. Your hamster needs to be placed in an area where there is enough ventilation such as a window but windows may end up becoming too cold for it.  What you can do in such a case is to provide it with a warm lamp that is capable of heating up its enclosure so that it won’t get too cold even when it is in a particularly cold corner of the room. 3. It starts to become lethargic Before your hamster begins its hibernation, you may notice that it becoming a bit lethargic and lazy. That means that it won’t be moving as often as it did in the past before the temperatures got a bit too cold.  There are times that it could mean that your hamster has simply fallen ill but, if it is still in perfect health, it could only mean that it will begin to start hibernating as soon as the temperatures become cold enough for it to hibernate. But before you assume that its lethargy is a sign of an impending hibernation, you have to make sure that it was completely healthy just a few days before the season got cold. That’s because its lethargy, as mentioned, could just be a sign of sickness. 4. Hamster hibernation temperature   Hamsters will only hibernate whenever the temperatures are getting cold. This usually happens when the winter is approaching because that is when the season gets too cold to prompt your little furball to start hibernating. Check the temperatures and see if they are steadily below 20 degrees Celsius. If yes, then the hamster is probably hibernating. However, if you want to check whether or not your hamster is hibernating or is sick, you may gradually increase the temperatures to over 20 degrees. If the hamster wakes up, then that means that it was just hibernating.  This might take a few hours to a few days but a hamster that was just hibernating will eventually wake up when the temperatures become too warm for it to hibernate. 5. Check for breathing This can be pretty challenging especially because hamsters that are hibernating are most likely going to be breathing very slowly to the point that they may sometimes appear to be dead or very sick. But you can still tell that they are breathing even when they are hibernating.  Just inspect the little guy closely and see whether or not it is taking short but deep breaths. If yes, then it just means that it is hibernating. You may also pick a hibernating hamster up but you will notice that it will be quite weak and limp due to the fact that it is dehydrated. Its ears and nose will also be quite cold if you try touching them but that doesn’t mean that it is dead. 6. Inspect its heartbeat Another sign of life that you should look out for when you think your hamster is hibernating is its heartbeat. A beating heart will always tell you that it is still alive but is merely in a suspended state of hibernation. But the problem is that telling whether or not your hamster has a heartbeat can be pretty tough considering how small these little furballs are. In that case, what you need to do is to place your forefinger and thumb on the sides of the hamster’s chest. Try applying a bit of pressure but not too much. When you do so, the heart will start beating in about a minute after applying a slight pressure to its chest. But be careful not to apply too much pressure as it can actually end up causing internal injuries to the hamster. 7. Its food and water will remain untouched Naturally, whenever an animal is hibernating, it will undergo a period where it will be in a state of suspension. As such, when that happens, they will become inactive as they fall into a deep slumber. They will not move around or even eat and drink. So, obviously, if the hamster is hibernating, it only means that it won’t be eating its food or drinking its water in that state of hibernation. As such, if you check its food and water and they remain untouched, that could only mean that your hamster has entered a state of hibernation and will not wake up until the temperatures begin to warm up again. 8. The hamster will become stiff The problem when it comes to hamster hibernation is that these little furballs will become so stiff whenever they are hibernating. In fact, they are so stiff that you might think that they are actually dead.  Their entire body will become so stiff that one would think that it would be impossible for its limbs to begin moving again. It would appear lifeless and may not even move even if you try to manipulate the hamster’s body into moving. That doesn’t mean that the hamster is dead. If you try to apply a bit of heat to the hamster’s habitat and gradually increase the temperatures to more than 20 degrees Celsius, you might soon notice the hamster moving its limbs again even though it might be weak and limp due to lack of water when it was hibernation.  9. It should feel cold to the touch Your hamster should not feel warm at all while it is hibernating. The truth is that it should feel so cold that you would think that you are feeling a dead body. But body temperature shouldn’t always be an indication when it comes to telling whether or not your hamster is dead or is just hibernating considering that this animal naturally becomes cold to the touch during winter seasons. However, if you tried to warm its habitat but it still feels unresponsive even after a few hours or a few days, there is a good reason to believe that it has fallen ill or may have even died due to the cold temperatures. That’s why it is always important to make sure that you don’t allow the cold to take your hamster as there is a good chance that it will end up dying while hibernating due to dehydration. [...] Read more...
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)You’ve got a new friend ! You brought your hamster home, but now he needs a name. But what should you name your hamster ? I had the name picked out for my Teddy even before I got him, but sometimes it’s not that easy. I’ll help you pick out a name for your hamster, and give you a few tips on interacting with him as well. But first… Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters know their name ?List of hamster names, for female hamsters:List of hamster names, for male hamsters:Talking and interacting with your hamsterLetting your hamster pick his own nameA word from Teddy Do hamsters know their name ? No, hamsters don’t really recognize their name. Some of them can recognize their owner in some cases, but that’s it. So what does that mean ? You can name your hamster whatever you like ! He won’t mind, or notice at all. You can opt for silly names, or fairly serious/normal pet names. You can even give your hamster especially complicated and long names, it will be the same. Whatever name you end up giving your hamster, you need to interact with him often. Not necessarily to pick him up often (some hamsters do not like that at all) but to talk to him and feed him a couple of treats. Spend time with him. Create a sort of bond between you two. And a name you like and feel like it fits the hamster will help a lot in that way. Let’s see a few examples. List of hamster names, for female hamsters: Abby Annabelle Amelia Arya Amethyst Azura Buttercup Butterscotch Bambi Cotton Candy Camelia Camel Dolly DaQueen Eve Eggy Emma Evelyn Faye Fig Fawn Frisky Funny Gwen Goldie Ginger Hiccup Iris Ivy Ice cream Junie Jackie Juniper Kylie Kesha Krispy Layla Lizzie Lady Leeloo Madeira Minnie Mocha Maab (as in Queen Maab) Nina Namira Nora Olla Olive Okie Pepita Pam (Pamela Hamsterson) Peanut Poppy Pufferina Pearl Queenie Rey Ruby Rose Shiloh Sasha Sansa Trixie Turnip Tabby Tiny Tinkerbell Umbra Umbriel Vanilla (in honor of the late Vanilla HamHam) Viking Willow Wololo Xena Ygritte Yasmin Zelda List of hamster names, for male hamsters: Ace Alduin Adam Anthony Arnold Bucky Balthazar Boy Brutus Bob Bear Grylls Boo Biscuit Boomer Basil Conan Coco Commader Whiskers Chewie Chico Disco Dexter Danzig Drax the Destroyer Danny Dunkirk Damon Eeyore Elvis Elmo Eddie Fry Cheese Fry Furball Gerry Guy Ghandi Guillermo Del Hamstero Gizmo Gary Grizzly General Napkin the Second Honey Hannibal Hector Hamish Hunter Hamlet Ham Hachiko Hammy Ian Ice Iggy Jericho Jasper Jack Jumbo Kirk Kirby Larry Leo Leonardo Da Hammy Leopold the Skittish Lightning Mascot Mo Maury Mickey MJ Munchkin Messi Napoleon Napkin Oscar Ozzy Piggy Pooh Quentin Ripley Rami Rasputin Radagast Rhubarb Randall Rudy Randy Ruckus Rambler Steve Sparky Spot Shaggy Scooby Small Guy Scaramouche Shorty Taz Tippy Thunder Uncle Usain Vic Vladimir the Restless Vandal Whiskers Wolfenstein Wolf Wiggy Wolverine Xavier York Yogi the Bear Zoomer Zayn Talking and interacting with your hamster Whenever you talk to your hamster, name sure to use a soft, low voice. Be as soothing as you possibly can, since these creatures are very skittish. Using a calm, soothing voice will help relax the hamster. Now, hamsters are almost never calm and collected, but you can still try. Also be aware that hamsters have very sensitive ears and hearing, and as such speaking to them in a soft, low voice will be easy on their ears and they won’t shy away from you. Always use the hamster’s name as often as you can when talking to him, and try to spend as much time as you possibly can. Tell him about your day and feed him a couple leaves of parsley. Give him a small bit of cooked plain chicken and ask him if he slept well last night. Of course he won’t be able to piece together anything you’re saying, but he will understand that you’re interacting with him. In time he will learn to associate you with food, and with good times and safety. If you’ve very patient, this can lead to a great bond between you and your hamster. Please remember though that the hamster’s taming can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It depends on the hamster’s personality, and your patience. Sometimes even after the hamster’s tamed he still won’t be the friendliest or cuddliest furball. That’s okay, each hamster is different. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Letting your hamster pick his own name If you’re not very decided, you can let the hamster pick out his own name. We got this idea from Pethelpful.com and thought it’s actually a great way to let fate decide. Kind of. You can do this several ways. For example you can chose a few hamster names and write them out on a paper plate or tray. Make sure they’re evenly spaced  out, no more than 3-5 names. Then, place bits of food or hamster treats on top of each name – like a piece of carrot, a peanut, a bit of cooked chicken, or something else from this safe foods list. Whichever food/name the hamster first goes for, that’s his name ! Another way is to place the hamster in his exercise ball, and stick a few sticky notes with the names written on them. Let the hamster roam the house in the ball, and whichever note falls off first, that’s the name. You can also make a maze our of an empty egg carton. Cut a few holes in it, as exit holes. Assign a name for each hole. Whichever hole the hamster exits the maze through, that’s going to be his name. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are cute and you have a hard time naming us, but I’m sure you’ll find a great one for your friend. My owner knew my name long before he picked me up, and I think Teddy suits me great. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Where Hamsters Come From – Origin Story Of Your Furry Friend
Where Hamsters Come From – Origin Story Of Your Furry FriendIf you’ve ever wondered where your hamster comes from, know that I asked myself the same question. Turns out hamsters have a short history of being pets, and some really wild and rugged ancestors. It’s a whole story, really. And there’s more than just one hamster type. Today there’s 5 types of hamster available for purchase, and they’re all a bit different. But let’s start with the basics: where do they come from, where do they go ? (Cotton-eyed Joe) Table of Contents ToggleSo where do hamsters come from ?About the Syrian hamsterAbout the Roborovski DwarfAbout the Campbell DwarfAbout the Siberian/Winter white DwarfAbout the Chinese DwarfThere is a wild European hamster no one has ever tamedHow the wild hamster came to be your cuddly petPet hamsters vs wild hamsters – is there a difference ?Is a hamster a good pet for your home ?A word from Teddy So where do hamsters come from ? Hamsters, as a whole, have several ‘roots’ but they all stem from the same general region. Reaching from southern Turkey, Syria, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, parts of China, hamsters are mostly Asian in descent.  At least the ones that we’ve been able to domesticate somewhat, and keep as pets. Each hamster type has a different story, but they have a common thread. That of being noticed in the wild by one scientist or explorer, and brought back to the Western world as pets. The modern hamster, aside from variations in coat patterns, is very much the same as the wild hamsters discovered about a century ago. Next, we’ll cover the roots of each hamster type, and how they came to be our pets, including how to care for them given their ancestry. About the Syrian hamster Originally from southern Turkey and Syria, the Syrian hamster is the largest of the pet hamsters (up to 7 inches/18 cm). They come from a very hot and dry place on this planet. They’re the most diverse-looking hamsters out there. They can be all in one color, spotted, ringed, with a dominant spot, golden, or ashen, or pretty much any color combination you can imagine. The most common is the Golden variation – also the one found in the wild – with orange on the back, and white on the belly, with a bit of grey on his ears. My Teddy is like that. The Syrian was first sighted in 1839, but didn’t become a pet until the past few decades. You see what happened was that all the way back in 1930 a zoologist named Israel Aharoni was able to find a mother hamster, with a litter of 11 babies. They were found in Syria, and brought to Jerusalem for study. Not all of the litter survived, since the mother sensed danger and started eating the babies. Unfortunately that happens, and the zoologist wasn’t aware, no one had known hamsters before. A few of the babies survived, and were raised in the laboratory in Jerusalem. Some escaped, and became the wild hamsters of Israel. In 1931 a few of them were transported to Britain, and from the on raised and passed on to various laboratories for studies, and to breeders as well. Today’s modern Syrian hammies are descended from that one mother found in Syria, since none have ever been successfully captured and bred since. So my Teddy – Golden Syrian male – is probably related to your Syrian hammy, like very very distant cousins. About the Roborovski Dwarf The Roborovski hammy, or the Robo Dwarf, was first sighted and noted by Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski, a russian expeditioner. These hammies are much, much smaller than the Syrian, and they’re actually the tiniest of all hamsters. They grow up to 2 inches/ 5 cm and that’s it. Robos live in parts of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. The regions of those countries that the hamster lives in are particularly dry and sandy, with very little vegetation and water, so this hammy has learned to be great at surviving on very little water. The Robo was brought in the common household only around 1960 when they were imported into the London Zoo, in the U.K. Given their small size Roborovski hammies have become very popular as pets, and they’re among the hamster types that can live in a pair. Even if they’re the smallest and hardest pet to literally hold onto, Robos win with their cuteness. Their fur markings are more limited than the Syrian hamsters, but they live the longest – up to 4 years being the record. About the Campbell Dwarf The first ever Campbell Dwarf was found and collected in 1902 in Mongolia by Charles William Campbell (hence the name). The territory these hamsters live in is somewhere between southern Russia, northern China, Mongolia, and a part of Kazakhstan. Most hamsters, aside from the Syrian and European hamster, come from that area, actually. Of all the hamster species, the Campbell Dwarf is the most social. They’ve been found living with other hamster types in order to share tunnels, protection, and food. They also come close to human settlements to find warmth, shelter, and food. For example they can be sometimes found in mongolian yurts in the winter months. It’s unclear how these furry creatures came to the Western world since there are no definite records. Still, I’d imagine it happened like with the rest of the hammies that can be purchased now.. About the Siberian/Winter white Dwarf The most confusing hamster type out there, it’s usually confused with the Campbell Dwarf. The Siberian hammy’s name is always a mix, ranging from: Siberian (given the region it lives in) to Winter White since its fur changes to white in the winter to Russian since it inhabits parts of Russia and finally Djungarian for another region of China this hamster lives in plus the added “Dwarf”, to make it all even more confusing Now that being said, this particular hamster lives in parts of Russia, Siberia, China, and Mongolia. The appearance is a lot like the Campbell Dwarf, but with a few key differences. The Siberian Dwarf is small, with a white belly, and a browny color on its back, a dark stripe going down the back, and a dark spot on its crown.  In the winter the fur goes almost completely white. The Campbell hamster has the same look, but grey on its belly, and has a much thinner stripe down the back, with no dark fur on the crown. They can interbreed only by male Siberian and female Campbell , but the result is a sterile litter. Naming and discovery happened in 1773 by Peter Simon Pallas, who first described it as a mouse, and later renamed it Mouse Songarus. The Siberian hammy was brought to Germany (and the West in general) only in 1968, all the way from western Siberia to the Max Planck institute in Germany. About the Chinese Dwarf This hamster was also discovered by the same zoologist as the Siberian Dwarf, Peter Simon Pallas, and recorded in 1773. There is some serious confusion between the Chinese hamster, and the Striped Chinese hamster. They seem to be the same species, but it’s honestly hard to make sense of the conflicting info. Some say they’re the same, some say they’re each other subspecies, some say they’re completely different. What’s definite though is that they both have a longer tail than other domestic hamsters, and look mostly the same. As in mostly brown with a few darker hairs, and a very thin dark stripe going down the back. These hammies are larger than a Dwarf, but smaller than a Syrian. As in, the reach up to 4 inches/ 10 cm, yet they’re classified as Dwarf types, given that they’re still smaller than the Syrian. Chinese hamsters are also very territorial, and can’t be housed together. They and the Syrian hamster will fight to the death, even if introduced to their own siblings as babies. The region these hamsters live in ranges from Mongolia, China, Korea, Western Siberia, Southern Russia. There is a wild European hamster no one has ever tamed Alright, after all these hamster types that you can find in most pet shops, there is another one. A much larger, completely impossible to tame hamster. The European hamster, or black-bellied hamster, can grow to double the size of a Syrian hammy. So that puts an adult European to about 8-14 inches/20-35 cm ! Their fur is usually brown, with a black belly, chest, and neck and a few white markings on the neck and paws. Its territory ranges from Belgium and Eastern Europe, all the way to Western Russia. Aside from this, not much is known about this hamster when it comes to who named it and why it’s not suitable as a pet. I’m guessing its large size makes it harder to keep in check, and thus wouldn’t be a good pet. That’s just my guess though. How the wild hamster came to be your cuddly pet Now that you know where your hammy came from, now let’s see which kind of hamster you have. You can find a simple, clear guide to hamster breeds here, so you know which hamster type you have. And here you’ll find the main differences between the Syrian hammy, and the Dwarf type hammies out there. There’s quite a few differences. Okay, now you know which hammy you have. But how did it become your pet ? Actually, why did hamsters in general become pets ? Well, as you’ve read most of the hamster types were imported to either Britain or Germany for study. Back in the day zoologists and explorers did intense research and expeditions to find out everything you now read in your zoology and biology textbook. They did more than just that, but that’s the part where the hamsters come in. So hamsters became both laboratory animals, and zoo expositions as well. Once scientists and professors started getting valuable info about the hamsters and they became widely known, they started to become gifts. For a dignitary or diplomat, hamsters were given as pets, and were exported into toe U.S. as well in the late 1900’s. So the hamster has a history of curiosity in the wild, to laboratory animal, to zoo animal, and finally as a pet.  They became very popular as pets in 1930-40, and only grown in popularity since. (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.) Pet hamsters vs wild hamsters – is there a difference ? When it comes to temperament, the modern hamster isn’t all that different from the wild hamster. Given the fact that the selective breeding process has been going on for less than a century, your hammy at home isn’t decidedly tame or domesticated. Unlike dogs for example, who’ve been bred for thousands of years, and became domestic and tame and loving pets, hamsters have a very short history of being pets. And there is also the difference between rodents and canines, which makes rodents harder to teach. That being said, if you were to release your Syrian hammy in your back yard, it would have a low chance or survival, depending on where you live. If you’re in a warm, sandy, dry place, it would be a lot like his home and he’d scamper away to dig a burrow. If you’re like us in a cooler, more humid place, with all 4 seasons, your Syrian hammy would perish as soon as autumn kicked in. It’s not necessarily the cold that gets to them, but the humidity that goes through their fur and makes them sick very fast. When it comes to markings though, the modern hamster has many more variations than the wild one. Aside from that though, your pet hammy is mostly the same as his wild cousin. Is a hamster a good pet for your home ? A hamster is a great pet to have, but he comes with his own challenges. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, light, sounds, and smells. They don’t do well in crowded, loud homes, and react very badly under stress. They also get stressed very easily, to there’s that too. The ideal home for a hamster is a quiet, calm home, with not many adults, children, or pets running around the house, and of an even temperature. For this reason, and the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal and sleep during the day, hamsters are deceptive pets. They look cute and sound easy to take care of, but need constant handling in order to remain tame. A lot of patience and calmness in needed to take care of a hamster, and quite a bit of attention to detail too. Like the cage size, the spacing between bars, the kinds of food he gets, and so on. Hamsters are still wild animals, and rodents at that. So they’re excellent escape artists, and will often gnaw on everything they can. That being said, having a hamster as a pet can be rewarding on its own. It’s just very different from having a puppy or a kitten. You can find out more about what having a hamster is like. And if you want to know how to choose a good hamster for you, check out this guide on the health and personality traits to look out for in your pet hamster. A word from Teddy I hope you liked reading about us hammies, and how we came to be your pets. I know it can be a bit confusing, but we’ve had a wild ride all the way to your home. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can read the related articles below, for steps on how to care for us and so on. 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Do Hamsters Eat Or Need Hay ? Extra Treats For Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Eat Or Need Hay ? Extra Treats For Your HamsterHamsters eating hay is a not a common thought for hamster owners. But if you also own a guinea pig, who needs hay, you might wonder if your hammy would like some too. After all, there’s tons of hamster toys and cage objects made of hay. Wouldn’t it be safe for hamsters ? Would they eat it ? Would they nest in it ? Ignore it ? Well, let’s find out. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need or eat hay ?Types of hay safe for hamstersHay bedding for hamstersA word from Teddy So do hamsters need or eat hay ? Yes, some hamsters do eat hay. Some only use it as bedding, because it is so pliable and soft. At least when compared to wood shavings.  Hay isn’t necessary for hamsters, as it would be for guinea pigs or rabbits. It does provide some nutritional value to them, mostly minerals and fibers. But it’s not necessary, as in they are okay if they never see a straw of hay in their life. Most hamsters will interact with it somehow, at least using it as a bedding or foraging substrate. Some will eat it, some will just chew on it to file down their teeth, like with wood. And some might just ignore the hay. Let’s see what you should know about hay before you give it to your hamster, and which types are okay. Types of hay safe for hamsters There are several types of hay available on the market. Alfalfa, timothy hay, orchard grass, clover, and so on. Not all are okay for hamsters, but I’ll help you out. Hammies can have timothy hay, alfalfa, and meadow hay. Those are the ones they get long with well. It does not mean other types of hay will necessarily harm your hamster. It’s just that they might not like other types as much. After all, hay is just dried grass, of various types. So the dried version of your hamster’s favorite herb should be okay. You can find out more about hamster-safe herbs here. A few other examples of safe hay, as in dried herbs, can include marigold, wheat, daisy, clover, chamomile. These are also safe plants to feed to your hamster, but in moderation. As for their ‘hay’ version, all the plants mentioned above could be more expensive if you’re buying them from somewhere. This is because for example marigold hay, while not unheard of, is not a common item found on pet shops. You can make your own, by picking marigolds and letting them dry in the sun. The process take time and is very… well, you’re working with individual stalks, so it’s time consuming and painstakingly detailed. Still, it’s worth it if you’re really set to give your hamster premium hay. If you get a ballot of commercial hay, you should make sure it’s not the yellow type usually given to farm animals. The yellow straws are too hard for hamster cheeks. And the hamster will pouch the hay, even if he’s perplexed by it at first. Especially if he’s going to use it as bedding. (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.) Hay bedding for hamsters Hamsters will use anything soft enough for bedding and nesting. You can give your hamster wood shavings (not cedar or pine !), wood pellets, hay, dried grass (wider hay), paper bedding. Hay is not often used for bedding for hamsters, simply because it’s not something commonly associated with hamsters. But if you do give them a full cage of hay, they’ll treat it like the ‘ground’, and maybe drag a few extra bits to their hideout. If you just add some hay on top of their usual bedding, they’ll move all of it to their hideout and start building a nest with it. In the wild hamsters use small twigs, dried leaves, anything vegetal soft or pliable enough to be rolled and coiled around them in the shape of a warm, comfy nest. A bunch of hay would not be out of the ordinary in a hamster nest, if they ever find it in the wild to bring home. Do be careful with hay if you give it to your hamster for nesting or bedding. Often the hay is meant for larger animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, who can easily chew though the tough bits. Hamsters are much smaller, and while they can chew the tough parts, sleeping on them is not comfy. So make sure you go the extra mile for your hammy and look for the sharp, hard bits of hay (like some exceptionally hard stalks) and remove them. This way they won’t poke the hamster and he can’t hurt himself on them either. Do not underestimate how silly hamsters can be, they will pouch anything, and they can sometimes hurt themselves on the weirdest of things. If your hamster starts to sneeze in they hay, it might just be a small piece tickling his nose. But if he keeps sneezing, remove it or change they hay brand. Sometimes it can be too dusty and affect the hamster’s nose. Other times, the hay smell is just too strong and you’ll need to leave it out air it out the day before you put it in his cage. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters can use hay, either to eat or to chew on, or even just for bedding. But you’ll never know if your hammy likes it until you try it. 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...
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat Them
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat ThemA hamster with a health problem is a sorry sight. But, most health issues in hamsters can be solved, especially if caught in time. Let’s see what those problems are, and how to help your hammy. You’ll find these health issues grouped by body parts or type. Where possible I’ll link you to articles where I’ve covered that specific topic in more detail. Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster eye problems2. Hamster dental problems3. Hamster ear and hearing problems4. Hamster nail problems5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites6. Hamster Digestive problems7. Wet-tail in hamsters8. Diabetes in hamsters9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters10. Hamster cheek problemsAbout a hamster’s general healthKeeping your hamster healthyA word from Teddy 1. Hamster eye problems Hamsters rarely use their eyes, that much is known to most hamster owners. Whether you’ve got a Syrian or a Dwarf type, they both can’t really see. Still, health issues do come up with a hamster’s eyes. The most common of them being cataracts/blindness. This comes especially with old age in hammies. Do keep in mind that a hamster without his sight will be able to live his life almost the same. Since he doesn’t usually rely on his eyes, not seeing anymore will not be a big loss, as it could be for humans. Other problems include infections, pink eye, bulging eye, and eyes that have stuck shut due to a possible infection. Still, for a detailed rundown on all the possible issues that can happen with a hammy’s eyes, I recommend you check out this article. You’ll find there the issues themselves, and the treatments necessary. Sometimes a trip to the vet is necessary, sometimes the problems can be treated at home. 2. Hamster dental problems A hamster’s teeth are possibly the most important tool the hamster has. His teeth never stop growing, in order for him to be able to eat the hard, dry grains his diet is based on. Sometimes though, problems come up. Teeth become overgrown, possibly due to soft food or lack of a chew toy. Or a tooth might break or crack, or it could become infected. You can find out more about hamster dental problems here, and how to treat them. Again, some may require a vet treatment, some can be treated at home. For example overgrown teeth can be fixed by giving the hamster a multitude of chew toys he can file his teeth on. Most of the time though, hamster teeth problems can be corrected. Even in the case of an abscess an antibiotic treatment will help the hamster recover. A word on hamster teeth: they are never white. If you’re looking at your hammy’s long, yellow (possibly orange) teeth and wondering if you should brush them, don’t. When I first got my Teddy I thought I had to do something. Turns out hamster teeth are not meant to be white. Any white spots on the teeth are a sign of the tooth breaking down and possibly breaking away. 3. Hamster ear and hearing problems Hearing is one of the primary ways a hamster navigates his surroundings. As such, any problem related to their ears and how well they can hear becomes a serious concern. Possible problems include: Parasites like mites, than can travel deep into the hamster’s ear Earwax buildup, preventing hearing and can become painful Ear infection, which can spread to the brain Possible tumor which can take on the whole ear These are all treatable, however the hamster won’t be able to much on his own. Actually most of the time the hammy will need your help, with any kind of health issue. To find out more about the health problems hamsters can have with their ears, you can check out this article. You’ll find both the issues and the treatments, and even an example of a successful tumor surgery on a Dwarf hammy. 4. Hamster nail problems Nail problems are few, and are treatable too. A hamster’s nails are used mostly for scratching and pawing at food or bedding. Problems come up when the nails become too long, and that’s where most of the problems stem from. A hamster’s nails grow too long when he has nothing to wear them out on. Like plenty of wood surfaces, possibly a large flat rock, or any hard surface on his cage. This means that a hamster living solely on soft bedding, and nothing else, will end up with overgrown nails. The nails will grow very long, and eventually curve into the hammy’s paw. In some cases they will break and fall off. My Teddy had this happen, and ever since we’ve installed 2 more levels in his cage, which are bare plastic, and he also uses his tunnel which is made of hard plastic. An exercise wheel, used constantly, helps a lot in this regard. It wears down the hammy’s nails and keeps them trim. Aside from overgrown nails, hamsters can also get nail infections. If they’re small, as in they don’t reach the surface and only stay for a couple of days, they’re safe to ignore. However if it goes on for more than 2 days, and even comes to a point, you should visit a veterinarian. He will prescribe an antibiotic for the hammy to combat the infection. 5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites Hamsters are usually very clean animals. This means that they clean themselves daily, several times a day actually, and don’t  normally attract parasites. However they can get certain skin conditions if their cage is unclean, or has spores of fungi. 2 of the most common are: Aspergillus – forms in the hamster’s pee corner. Grows white, and in time turns black. Spores can be deadly to hamsters, and very bad for humans too. If this happens, get the hamster to the vet immediately, and clean and disinfect the cage. Ringworm – not an actual worm, but a fungus. It will form bald patches on the hamster, in the shape of a circle (hence the name). Dry, flaky skin is on those bald patches, and the hamster might scratch at them furiously. Treatable, but again a vet is necessary. Aside from these two fungi, hammies can lose their fur because of old age. Other skin problems can be mites, and fleas as well. You can find out more on fleas on hamsters here, and how to treat them. All of these problems require a veterinarian and a deep cleaning of the hamster’s cage, and his toys and objects. 6. Hamster Digestive problems Digestive problems are never fun for anyone. However a hamster is more in danger than other mammals, because of hos their stomach is shaped. You see a hammy’s stomach forms a sort of U bend, which means that any gasses or bloating is very hard to release. Yes, hamsters are able to pass gas if necessary, but not as easily as us humans. And you probably won’t ever hear the hammy fart, sorry to disappoint. Given the hamster’s stomach and gut layout and design, something like diarrhea does not go well. Or an upset stomach either. This is why giving the hamster foods he can’t properly digest will be a big issue for him. You can find out more about hamster-safe foods here, most of them already in your fridge or pantry. Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters can become constipated. This is more common with old hamsters, given that their system is breaking down and doesn’t digest foods as well as it used to. You can help a constipated hammy by giving him softer foods like carrots, steamed veggies from this hamster-safe veggie list, and getting him to a veterinarian if he does not produce and droppings in 24 hours after the soft food. 7. Wet-tail in hamsters Wet-tail is more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarf types. Still , that does not mean Dwarf types can’t get wet-tail at all. They’re just much less likely to get it. Wet-tail is most frequent in young hamsters, that were just weaned (approx. 4 weeks old) and are eligible for adoption. It’s usually stress based, and everything from his mother pushing him away when he still tries to suckle, to being taken to the pet shop, and then take to your home is all very alien to him. So a young Syrian hammy that was just brought home might develop wet tail. Treatment does exist, but it’s not a 100% survival rate. Still, your hammy needs to see a vet right away. If you’ve noticed the symptoms within 24 hours the survival chances are pretty high. Symptoms include: a wet tail, because if a very watery diarrhea possibly smelly rear-end, because of the constant soiling smelly cage weakness, lack of appetite or thirst a matted, sweaty look about the hamster You can find out more about wet-tail in hamsters here, including how to treat it and the steps you should take in caring for a hamster recovering from wet-tail. 8. Diabetes in hamsters Another big problem in hamsters is diabetes. This is most common in the Dwarf types, so the Syrians have it easier here. Diabetes can come about in a few ways, mostly because of a poor diet. That means a diet with too much sugar and carbs, and very little exercise. This is not the only reason, but one of the biggest. Another reason is that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or that the body is very resistant to it. This means that the body’s blood sugar will stay very high. It will cause weight gain, circulatory problems, difficult breathing, and other problems that stem from these. You can find out more about diabetes in hamsters here, and also about how to treat it. Sometimes it’s not completely treatable, but at least you can do some things to make the hamster’s life comfortable even so. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) 9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters Sometimes hammies develop extra cells. These cells are sometimes benign, sometimes they’re harmful and become cancer. However even benign tumors can be bad for the hamster’s health, as they can block certain body parts. For example a tumor around the ear can extend to the entire half of the face. These usually can be removed, but not many vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small animal. The problem is that the anaesthesia is hard to do, and the patient himself is very.. well, tiny. Still, some vets have tried and even succeeded. I’m sure in your area you’ll be able to find someone who can help. Best to look for an ‘exotics’ veterinarian. They have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will possibly be able to help you more than a regular vet. Try everyone though, you never know who is going to save your friend. 10. Hamster cheek problems Finally, the hamster’s cheeks are another problem. The thing is that hammies stuff everything in their cheeks. Food, nesting material, a bit of bedding, droppings. Mothers even stuff their babies there when they move them. However sometimes these cheeks can become injured, either by a sharp corner from the food, or maybe they were over stuffed. They can sometimes come out completely, like an inside-out pocket. Other times the cheek becomes sticky with residue and whatever is in the cheek will become stuck. All of these can be solved, and they can also be avoided. Mostly by not giving your hamster any sticky, saucy foods that he will put in his cheeks (grain-based foods end up in his cheeks usually). You can find out much more about hamster cheek pouches here, including how to treat the various problems that come up, and how to identify each one. About a hamster’s general health Hamsters are fairly hardy animals. They don’t develop health issues very easily, even if they are so sensitive. However once they do happen, hammies don’t really know what to do on their own. That is, they can’t get over most problems on their own. A flea infestation will drag on for months, a cold can be fatal, and an infected cheek pouch can lead to death. Still, hamsters are able to take care of themselves, mostly by how absolutely clean they are. Up until their very last days, hamsters know that cleanliness equals health. So they tug and pull at their fur, comb through it, fluff it up, groom it some more, every few hours. This is also done to avoid developing a strong scent that predators will use to find them. Your help is crucial here. Your hammy depends on you, and his health becomes your responsibility. This is a reason to become fast friends with a good veterinarian (again, look for one labeled ”exotic”). Keeping your hamster healthy Keeping your hamster healthy revolves around a few simple things. Cleanliness is chief among them, and the hammy himself is very good at keeping himself clean. Still, there are a few things you can do to help your hamster friend stay healthy: Regularly cleaning the cage, once per week. More on safe bedding and nesting material here. Giving the hamster a commercial food mix, which has all the nutrients balanced the way he needs them. Only treating him to occasional treats, and in moderation to avoid weight gain and joint problems. More on hamster-safe foods here. Making sure that the floor or other surfaces you let him roam in the exercise ball are clean, and dust free. More about hamster exercise balls here. Keeping the hammy in a room that’s at a constant temperature. The optimal range is 20-23 C/68-75 F, and the cage should be kept away from drafts or direct sunlight. Having an exercise wheel for your hamster friend, so he can run to his little heart’s content. More on hamster exercise wheels here. Aside from all these, remember that your pet hamster needs a calm and gentle person handling him. So a child or other pet should be kept away from the hamster. Any interaction should be supervised. Hamsters are very bad with stress, and will bite back if handled wrong. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies do get sick every now and then, and we need your help with getting healthy. So this article was supposed to give you an overview of what kind of problems we can have. If you want to know more about us hamsters, check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...