Do Hamsters Eat Or Need Hay ? Extra Treats For Your Hamster

Hamsters 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.

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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.)

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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.

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Do Hamsters Get Fleas ? How To Check And Treat Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Get Fleas ? How To Check And Treat Your HamsterA hamster with fleas isn’t a common sight, but I’ve heard stories about this. Anyone, at any point, can get fleas. But what about hamsters ? Do hamster fleas get on humans too ? Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get fleas ?How to check if your hamster has fleasTreating your hamster of a flea infestationMake sure to clean and treat the entire housePreventing fleas from getting to your hamsterHow fleas get in the house in the first placeA word from Teddy So do hamsters get fleas ? Yes, unfortunately hamsters can and do get fleas. Not all hamsters, all the time, but if there is a flea infestation in the house, your hamster can get a few fleas of his own. This has more to do with the nature of the fleas themselves, than the hamster. You see fleas will look for anything furry and/or warm to settle into. The worst part is that they can live for a long time in hiding, even with no host. So your hamster can even get a flea from an blanket you haven’t used in a year but kept in the attic. Let’s see how you can help your hamster friend when fleas attack. How to check if your hamster has fleas Alright, fleas are fairly easy to spot. Usually you’ll notice small black dots moving on your hamster, in his fur. Those are the fleas, if here is more than one. If there’s just one, it might be harder to spot. You’ll notice your hamster is in distress however when he scratches himself much more often than normal, and very much in some specific areas where the flea bit him. The hamster might even make a few angry sounds, as he’s not used to the terrible itch of a flea bite. Sometimes the hamster will try to bite where he thinks the flea is, or try to lick it off, and you’ll notice wet, matted spots on your hamster’s fur. If you see a large black dot on either side of your Syrian hamster’s hips, do not worry. Those are the scent glands. The Dwarf types have them on their bellies. Another way to check if the hamster has a flea is to gently comb through his fur with your fingers. Slowly part every bit of the hamster’s fur, and at some point you will notice a tiny black dot running away. Finally, you can also check for flea dirt. That’s basically flea droppings. You see the flea feeds on blood, and it’s also what the droppings are made of. So you’ll see something like tiny splotches of dried blood, and if you add a few drops of water you’ll notice them becoming red. Fleas feed very often throughout the day, so if you found flea droppings today, the flea is definitely still there. If you’ve got a dark haired, or even black hamster, this will be harder to spot. However the flea will be shinier than the hamster’s fur, but you will only notice if you look very closely. Unfortunately most hamsters don’t sit still very long so you’ll have to be patient. Treating your hamster of a flea infestation Flea treatments are possible yes, but with hamsters it’s a little different. This is because the vast majority of flea shots are okay for cats or dogs – so larger animals – but may be poisonous for small animals. So something like a guinea pig, hamster, chinchilla, even a rat, could not take such a shot. There definitely are some flea treatments that are safe for hamsters. But that’s something your veterinarian will be able to tell you. It varies from country to country, in terms of what each country decides is safe in terms of ingredients. Talk to your veterinarian, and ask him about flea treatments for your pet hamster. He will surely know what to do. If you’ve never gone to a vet with your hamster before, be sure to look for an ”exotics” vet. There are vets that have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds, and can help you. (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.) Make sure to clean and treat the entire house After you’ve got a treatment from your vet, you’ll also need to deep clean the hamster’s cage. This means completely replacing the bedding and nesting material, and cleaning/disinfecting the objects in his cage. Your vet will be able to give you a good disinfectant, that’s good for the cage and your hammy’s nose. Use said solution to clean everything that your hamster has touched, or will touch. Like his hideout, running wheel, food bowl, everything. The reason behind this is because fleas lay eggs, so many eggs – about 50 eggs a day – which will get everywhere in the cage. The bedding, the sandbath, every nook and cranny possible. They can even get into the carpets, even if your hamster was never on the carpet. This will mean whatever pets you’ve got, they will need a flea treatment of their own. Aside form this, the house itself will need a flea bomb. Fleas are hard to kick out of the house, but they’re easier to prevent. So once you get fleas, you will need to purge everything. After that’s all done with, a yearly flea bomb will be necessary to keep flea eggs and larvae away. You see, after hatching from their egg, flea larvae can survive for months without a host. This is because they’re hiding in the base of the fibers of the carpets or linens, feeding off dead skin or dropped food, or any other random small parasites they might find. Preventing fleas from getting to your hamster The first way to prevent your hamster from getting fleas is to keep him away from any animals that you know have fleas. Housepets rarely get fleas. However if this does happen, make sure whichever pet is infested can’t reach your hamster’s room until they’ve had a flea treatment. If it’s you who has the flea, try to not get near your hamster until you’ve gotten rid of the flea. Do keep in mind though, that even if you try very hard to keep the flea away from the hamster, it will possibly not work. Fleas can jump very far, and travel easily from a host to another. Even something as small and innocent as petting a flea-infested cat can get the flea on you. When you sit the down the flea can jump off you and stop on the carpet outside the bathroom, where the dog will pick it up and jump on your bed. Which just happens to be next to the hamster’s cage. This might all sound very convoluted, but if you’ve ever had a flea, you know what I’m talking about. Fleas are notoriously hard to catch. The simplest and most reliable way to keep fleas away from your hamster, and incidentally your house, is a regular flea bomb. And keeping a flea collar on the pets you own, or giving them periodic flea shots. How fleas get in the house in the first place Fleas can get in your home even by just jumping by. Now, granted, fleas don’t stay long without a host. So it will probably get into your home by a chain of happenings that starts from petting or playing with an infested animal. The bigger problem is that once a flea has entered your house, it can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Those eggs will end up everywhere in the house, and they’ve hard to see. A regular adult flea is just 2-3 mm/0.8-011 inches, barely noticeable. The eggs are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Once the eggs have landed in a fuzzy, cozy spot they can hatch in up to 12 days. Once they hatch, they become larvae and that stage can take a few weeks too. In the winter when it is cold and dry, it can even last up to 200 days. In this stage the larvae feed off dead skin and other organic cells on the ground. After this, they cocoon into the pupae stage, and finally become full adults. This whole process can take up to a year in certain conditions. You can find more info on the life cycle of fleas on this site, including how to rid them from your home. So the problems isn’t with how the flea gets into your home – that’s easy enough. But when it’s already in the house. Again, a regular, periodic flea-bomb will keep the whole house safe. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies don’t really know what to do with fleas, we don’t normally get them in the wild. But we’re glad you can help us out ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related videos below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?
Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?We see squirrels eating acorns all the time, and since they are rodents like our pet hamster, it is quite normal to believe that a hamster can eat acorns. But do they? Can your little hamster eat acorns? This is what I will discuss in this article since acorns as hamster treats are a bit more dangerous than they might look. Stick around till the end to see some cool homemade toy ideas that you can make for your hamster to chew on or play with. I will talk about this because many people use acorns as a toy for their hamsters to chew on rather than food. Table of Contents ToggleCan hamsters eat acorns?Can a hamster open an acorn?Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin?What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat?Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid.Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play withConclusion Can hamsters eat acorns? Hamsters should not eat acorns because they can have a lot of bacteria, parasites, harmful germs, and even fungal infections. There are actually two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster acorns: The first one is the one we talked about, acorns can be bad for your hamster’s health because they are not healthy for its digestive system. Even if we wash the acorns, we might not get rid of all those problems. I’ve heard there are some people that wash and bake the acorns before giving them to the hamster. This might get rid of most of the bacteria, parasites, and so on, but you still have one more problem. Acorns are quite sharp and can hurt your hamster’s intestines or cheek pouches if they store them. Hamsters tend to keep food in their cheek pouches and keeping a sharp object is dangerous since their cheek pouches are sensitive. Here you can read more about how cheek pouches work and common problems. So, while a hamster’s diet, especially a pet one, contains mostly seeds and nuts, it is important to know that acorns are still dangerous. Can a hamster open an acorn? Yes, hamsters can open acorns and get to the seed, it can take a while, but they will eventually succeed and eating the seed can be dangerous for them. If you plan on giving your hamster a natural chew toy, you can give him a walnut rather than a acorn since the walnuts are safe to eat for your hamster and it is a better option even as a toy. You give him a chewing toy, they can chew on walnuts for way longer than they would chew on an acorn, so it is not worth the risk, and there is no reward in giving him an acorn instead. Squirrels open walnuts pretty fast, have you ever seen one doing it?  They are much stronger than a little hamster, and their digestive system is also different from the hamster one, and that’s why they can eat acorns much easier. Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin? Yes, hamsters can eat acorn squash or pumpkin and also their seeds. However, you should not give a big amount of acorn squash to your hamster even if it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, they don’t need much, and it’s very easy to overestimate how much they can eat. You can give them a small piece of pumpkin, 1 inch cube should be enough. If you plan to give the seeds of an acorn squash or pumpkin to your hamster, you should rinse them and dry roast the seeds before giving them to your hamster to make sure they are safe. If you want to know more about what a hamster can eat, I have an entire article where I included a food list that touches on all the important things you need to know when you feed your hamster. Check it out here. Also, if you want to give your hamster a healthy pre-made food mix, here is one that I found on Amazon. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside. It’s usually much safer to feed your hamster a pre-made mix than trying to come up with a homemade diet for a hamster since it’s quite hard to include all the nutrients they need and also, it’s much cheaper and less time-consuming this way. What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat? I don’t want to scare you with this article and make you believe that hamsters are more fragile than they actually are; hamsters can actually eat many nuts and seeds. When it comes to nuts, they can safely eat unsalted peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios (roasted but unsalted). I hope there is not something I forget here, but you get the idea. Here is what seeds they can safely eat: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds, wheat, corn kernels, and so on. Sunflower seeds are found in almost all pre-made food mixes for a hamster since they are a great source of fats and vitamins that a hamster needs.  Observation: when you feed your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are unsalted or unspiced since they can be dangerous for our little hamster pets. Hamsters can also eat popcorn if it is plain, so when you buy popcorn, make sure it is not salty, sweet, or spicy. Also, it should not be microwaved since it can be dangerous for hamsters, so it is better to avoid it if you are not sure how that popcorn was made. Even when you decide to feed your hamster popcorn, make sure there are just a few pieces as a treat rather than the actual food. Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid. Here is a list of dangerous seeds and nuts for hamsters: -Almonds. They are considered nuts like the other ones, but bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound that can be poisonous for your hamster. When it comes to toxic seeds for your hamster, the list is a bit bigger:  -Apple seeds -Pear seeds -Strawberry seeds -Cherry pit Some of those contain cyanogenic acids that can be lethal for a hamster. Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play with It is very important to keep your hamster as active as possible, and chewing toys or homemade puzzles can be a great option. The main reason why hamster needs to chew on something continuously is that, like many other rodents, their teeth are growing continuously. If they don’t wear down their teeth, it can become dangerous for their health, so chewing toys are not just for fun, they have an actual purpose. As I said, many people want to give acorns to hamsters to give them something to chew on, but since we’ve established that it can be dangerous, I will give you some other great ideas. -The first one and the most obvious one is to give a walnut to your hamster. Usually, they tend to chew more if you give them a walnut compared to a store-bought chew toy because they can smell that it is actual food inside that walnut shell, so they have a reason to chew on that other than wear down their continuously growing teeth. -Cardboard boxes with food inside. Closed cardboard boxes with food inside are a great way to make your hamster exercise for its food. If you are worrying about your hamster eating cardboard, I have an entire article about that. -Toilet paper roll puzzle. Cut some strips of a regular toilet roll that are about an inch or 2.5 cm long; these will form large frills at either end of the roll. Fold one end of the roll to secure any food or treats you put inside, then fold the other end to further ensure nothing spills out. To make the puzzle more difficult for your hamster, you can make the frills longer and twist them together. Your hamster will hear and smell the food, motivating him to try to figure out how to open it. There are also store-bought ones but you need to make sure they are safe for your hamster since some of them are made from pine or cedar wood which can be dangerous for your hamster. Conclusion Unfortunately, it is not safe for hamsters to eat acorns, even if you would love to see the little hammy chewing on an acorn like a cute little squirrel. We can always swap the acorn with walnut. I can promise your hamster will have a lot of work cracking a walnut. Mine chewed for a few weeks on it, and it didn’t crack. So even if it’s not a good food source because they don’t get to eat the walnut, it is a great chew toy. I hope this article helped you, and now you know what seeds and nuts to give to your hamster and which ones you should avoid. [...] Read more...
Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?
Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?Debating whether to get your hamster a new home ? There are so many versions of hamster cages, and one of them is a glass tank. Now, you might be wondering if you can actually keep a hamster in a glass tank, if your pet will be comfortable there, and how easy it is to take care of a glass tank. Today we’re tackling this topic and helping you figure out whether your hammy will live on one of these or not.  Table of Contents ToggleCan you keep hamsters in a glass tank ?Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tankCons of keeping your hamster in a glass tankWhat to look for in a glass tank for hamstersThe inner corners and edges should not be gluedThe tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape)The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tallTips on buying a glass tank for your hamsterGetting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventureLook for used or second hand tanks firstGlass cabinets or displays are another option Can you keep hamsters in a glass tank ? Yes, you can safely keep your pet hamster in a glass tank, provided it’s a large enough tank (at least 40 gallons/151 liters). Hamsters are small animals but they do a whole lot of running and walking and playing and they need a lot of horizontal space. A small cage or tank will stress them out, so always get the bigger tank, if you have the option to choose.  A glass tank is not hard to find, but it’s usually going to be more expensive than a wire cage or plastic bin. However you can safely keep your hamster in a glass tank, as long as you keep it clean and the tank has airflow.  Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Less chances of draft for your hamster – hamsters are sensitive creatures, and should not be put in cold and drafty areas. A glass tank, with its closed sides, offers far less changes of a draft. But it can also mean there is less airflow in the tank if it’s too small. Again, a 40 gallon/151 liter tank is the minimum if you’re going to get a glass tank.  You can see through the glass, into the bedding – this is perhaps the biggest reason people opt for a glass tank. Compared to plastic bins and wire cages it’s far easier top see into a glass tank. You can observe your hamster, and if you’re lucky you might even see some of its burrow and tunnels if it gets close to the edge of the tank.  The cleaning process is simple and straightforward – a glass tank is easier to clean than a wire cage or a plastic bin. As long as you wipe it down with a mix of vinegar and warm water, then wipe it down again with warm water, and then pat it dry, the tank will be clean. Compared to wiping down a wire cage or plastic bin, glass is far easier to clean as a material.  Cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Glass tanks are harder to handle by just one person – these things are heavy, and easily crack or shatter. You have to choose your spot carefully, and ideally have at least one other person with you while moving the tank. And possibly while cleaning it too, if you need to move it again. Overall, I suggest you choose a spot that’s out of the way, and rarely ever move the tank from there.  Glass tanks can be very cold – this means you need to offer proper bedding for your hamster, to snuggle into something warm. It also means you should not place the tank directly on the floor, since that is always colder. If you have floor heating, definitely do not put the tank on the floor as the hamster might overheat.  Most tanks are smaller than a hamster would need – getting an appropriate sized tank isn’t easy. You can easily find fish tanks, but those are generally smaller. The minimum you’d need for a hamster is the 40 gallon/151 liter one, so it ahs sufficient floor space, and also height. You might have to look around a lot of pet stores until you find a tank you can use. Check my article on how to choose the best hamster cage to find out more about cages and glass tanks. What to look for in a glass tank for hamsters If you’ve decided the pros and cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank sound good, then great ! There are just a few things you need to look out for when deciding which tank to get. These are just basic things, aside from getting a large enough one.  The inner corners and edges should not be glued Not all glass tanks are made the same way. Some are cheap, and some are better quality. The cheaper ones will have glue keeping them together at the edges, which may or may not be a good thing. It’s a good thing because you don’t need it to be waterproof, but the glue can weaken over time, and worse, the hamster might be attracted by the smell of the glue and chew on it. Not all tank have their glue well hidden. Then there are glass tanks with frames, keeping each glass sheet in its place. Those are better, but also more expensive.  Or, if you can’t find any glass tanks then a glass display or cabinet will do just fine, as long as it’s larger enough. Those won’t have their edges completely shut, meaning that if you pour water it will leak through. But since this is a hamster and it will only need bedding, the edges aren’t much of an issue.  The tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape) Glass tanks are usually reserved for fish, and fish don’t need wire mesh or wire lids to keep them from escaping. But hamsters are rodents, and they are master escape artists. They cannot chew through glass (thankfully) and they can’t grew through semi-thick wire. So, you will need a lid for your glass tank.  Most of the time those are easy to improvise. All you need is some DIY skill, wire mesh that has very small holes (less than 1 cm in diameter), and a bit of time. You also need a wire lid or mesh if you’re using a glass cabinet or display.  Never use a glass lid to completely shut in your hamster. It needs plenty of airflow, if you close the glass lit on the cage you’re limiting its air supply. Also don’t use a plastic lid, even if it has air holes. While a hamster can’t chew through wire, it can and will chew through plastic. And if your hamster will get to the top of the cage and hand from the lid (all of mine did) it might start chewing onto it and you will have a problem. This is actually one of the main drawbacks of plastic bins by the way; their plastic is just too easy to chew through.  The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tall Your glass tank should be more wide than tall. Hamsters aren’t exactly climbers, but they will climb if they need to. Instead they prefer to run and walk, which means a lot of horizontal terrain. But, your tank should be able to accommodate your hamster’s habitat (toys, home, wheel, chews, etc) and a few inches of bedding.  Out of all the things listed, the wheel is the most important and should be as large as possible. The larger the wheel, the ‘flatter’ the terrain your hamster runs on, and the less stress it will have on its spine. The best wheels are always the largest (11-12 inches), regardless of whether you have a dwarf or a Syrian hamster.  You need to account for the wheel’s diameter plus its stand, and however many inches of bedding you’re going to use. I suggest going for a 15 inch/40 cm deep tank, but I realize this isn’t always available, even if it’s the ideal minimum depth. What you can do is get a slightly smaller one, and only account for the wheel plus its stand. There you can use a very, very small amount of bedding, and concentrate most of the bedding on the other end of the tank.  This way you can get a, say 13 inch deep tank, add in a 12 inch wheel (11 inches plus stand), and add some bedding so the tank isn’t completely barren in that area.  Tips on buying a glass tank for your hamster Just before you walk out that door to buy a glass tank, here are a few tips on actually getting one, getting it in one piece home, and how to get a deal or an alternative for the tank.  Getting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventure If you’ve found a glass tank, it will already be assembled. Fortunately most respectable pet stores can offer transport for fragile items like this. But if for some reason the store doesn’t, you will need to bring it home in one piece.  I’m assuming you have a car, or an Uber, or a taxi close by with an empty backseat. When you get the glass tank out of the store, it should be wrapped in something shock-resistant like bubble wrap (a lot of it!), and then perhaps placed into a large enough cardboard box. You might need 2 people holding the tank.  Never hold the tank by one of its sides, it’s heavy and the frame or glue won’t hold. Always hold from the bottom of the tank, one person on each side.  Once the tank is in the car, use the seatbelt(s) to secure it in place. You will hit bumps and take a turn here or there. The tank should be as secure as possible so it won’t slide around or bump into anything.  Once you’re home you will again need help bringing it in, but at least you’re 75% done. Look for used or second hand tanks first Glass tanks can get expensive (around $10-250), but they are easy to clean or disinfect in most cases. So before you go to a store, look around for sales, offers, or even second hand tanks. As long as the glass is not cracked, the edges are still holding together nicely, the tank is fine.  Some owners swap out their old tanks for newer ones, of a different size. Those will usually be fish tanks and you might have to scrub those a bit more, just to be sure there is no residue on the glass.  Glass tanks that are on sale or offer at a store might not be 100% water proof, but still good enough to keep a hamster safe. Perhaps the frame doesn’t attach to the glass perfectly and it leaves a 1 mm gap all around, allowing water to trickle out. For a hamster you only need the edges to be closed and inescapable, not waterproof.  As long as the glass is clean, not cracked, and the edges hold together well, the tank is good.  Glass cabinets or displays are another option Okays so what if you looked everywhere and you just can’t find a glass tank big enough ? Your other options are a glass cabinet or glass display. Those are usually tall and somewhat skinny, with plenty of glass shelves. Depending on what you get, they can be anywhere from $150 to $300.  Once you get one, all you have to do is lay the cabinet or display on its side, remove the shelves and the glass door, and you’ve got an improvised glass tank. These are never waterproof, but they’ll be good enough to keep your hamster safe.  The only down side is that you’ll have to take a look at the top and bottom of the cabinet. When you lay it on its side, does it keep the glass suspended from the floor ? Or is the glass making direct contact with the floor ? You want direct contact, otherwise the glass will bow under the weight of the bedding. But an easy fix for this is to get something like a folded blanket or foam mat to put under the glass, so it makes up for the height difference.  Overall, you’ll notice that a glass tank or cabinet is not only heavier but more expensive than any other hamster cage. But, it’s also one of the most durable (provided you don’t break the glass) and it offers your hamster more roaming space.  [...] Read more...
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing The Best Hamster Exercise Wheel
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing The Best Hamster Exercise WheelWhen your first get your hamster home, you probably have the small wheel that comes with the cage. Then you find out that wheel’s not good enough, and you need to find a bigger, better one. But how big ? How do you know which is best ? This is something I went through as well when I got Teddy, and I’ll tell you how I found a great wheel for him. Table of Contents ToggleSo how do you choose a good exercise wheel for your hamster ?How to introduce a hamster to his running wheelHow to care for a hamster running wheelHow to clean a hamster running wheelWhat to do if your hamster does not use his running wheelDo hamsters even need exercise wheels ?A good hamster exercise wheel recommendationDangers of not exercising your hamsterPrecautions when using a hamster exercise wheelHow to tell when your hamster is comfortable in his exercise wheelA word from Teddy So how do you choose a good exercise wheel for your hamster ? There are a few factors involved, and we’ll go through all of them. 1. The size of the wheel is very important. That depends on the size of your hamster. A large hamster, like a Syrian hamster, will need a minimum of 8 inches (20 cm) wheel. Smaller breeds like dwarf and Campbell hamsters need a minimum of 5.5 inches (14 cm). But make sure you go above the minimum requirement. The width of the running band is a minimum of 2.5 inch (6 cm) to fit the hamster properly, for all species. 2. The type of the wheel. Full, weighted, plastic wheels are better for your hamster. The metal ones are the next best thing, as long as the hamster has no way of hurting himself. 3. Mounted vs grounded wheels. Both are good options, but it depends on the type of cage you have. If you have no way to mount the wheel, then you’ll need to go for a grounded one. 4. Noise level. It’s important to get a silent hamster wheel, so be sure to check that when you get the wheel. Or to find some ways to make sure the wheel can be silent. 5. The hamster’s back should always be straight. If your hammy has his back arched back when he uses his wheel, then it is too small for him. Syrian hamsters have a big problem with this, since most commercial wheels are too small for them. These are the basics. Teddy and I will walk your through how to properly use a hamster wheel, how to care for it, and precautions. How to introduce a hamster to his running wheel A hamster is a very curious creature, and he will inspect anything in his cage that is new. So when you place your hamster’s new wheel in his c age, put a treat in it. The treat will draw the hamster towards the wheel, and he’ll notice that the wheel moves. It might take him a few tries to figure it out, but he will. Once your hamster learns that the wheel moves, and is for running, he will start using it. This was the case with my Teddy, a full grown Syrian hamster. When he was a few weeks old, he had a small, plastic wheel that was mounted on the side of the cage. It was too small for him, even as a small hamster. So I went and got him a bigger one, a 7 inch/18 cm wheel, which he used until he grew too big for that one too. Then I got him a larger, 8.5 inch/21.5 cm one. But Teddy took to his wheel like a fish to water. So I’m pretty sure your hammy will jump right into his wheel once he finds it. It might take him a few minutes to figure it out, or even a few days. But he will eventually get there. There are however a few hamsters that don’t use their wheel, they just walk through it. But we’ll cover that in a different part of the article. The cage you have plays an important role here. If you have no way to attach the wheel to the side of the cage, you will need a standing wheel. To find out more about the different kinds of cages and what your hamster needs from his cage, check out my article here. How to care for a hamster running wheel Caring for a running wheel for your hamster is not going to be difficult, but some things need to be kept in mind. For example the metal wheels will start screeching after a while, and will need regular oiling in order to be silent. That means taking the wheel apart, wiping off the old oil, and putting on a very small amount of fresh oil. You can use almost any kind of oil, but remember to use just a small amount. Stay away from very fragrant oils, like olive oil, since your hamster might be tempted to lick it off the wheel. First hand experience here, had to take the wheel out. Plastic, full wheels with guards on need you to take them apart, and some may require a screwdriver. Whenever you clean one of those, best to leave them to dry very well before putting them back. Plastic wheels don’t need any regular upkeep. If you’ve got a grounded wheel, make sure to not get it all the way down to the bottom of the cage. Leave a layer of bedding just under it, to make as little noise as possible. This is also make sure the wheel doesn’t move around the cage much, and won’t bang into anything it shouldn’t. The hamster will bite into and chew everything, including his exercise wheel. So do not mind the bite marks on the wheel. If you’ve got a metal one, the paint on it is safe for hamsters as well. Teddy’s been chewing on his since forever and he is fine. How to clean a hamster running wheel The solution to use when cleaning the wheel itself is very hot water, with just a bit of soap. A very small amount of soap is needed, and must be very well rinsed. As I said above, you’ll need to take the wheel apart, and clean each surface thoroughly. Make sure that when you finish cleaning the hamster’s exercise wheel, you allow it to dry completely. If you need to, you can use a blow dryer on a low setting. As for how often to clean the hamster’s exercise wheel, twice a year is enough. The hamster himself is a very clean creature, so he won’t be soiling the wheel by himself too often. What to do if your hamster does not use his running wheel Let’s say your hammy knows he has a wheel, he knows it moves, but he just doesn’t use it. Maybe he never did use it. Maybe he just recently stopped using it. Let’s see what you can try. Start by placing a treat inside the wheel, to draw your hamster in. Continue doing this for a few time throughout the day, for a couple of days. Your hammy might need to re-learn or rediscover his wheel. Now, after your hammy is back in his wheel, what if he just sits in it ? Try moving the wheel very gently. Do not move the wheel suddenly, but be slow and deliberate about it. Your hamster will most likely follow along, and start walking in the exercise wheel. Keep doing this for a few seconds, and then let him move the wheel by himself. If he doesn’t, give him more time. Repeat this method for a couple of days, and if your hammy still won’t use the wheel, it’s best to stop insisting. Some hamsters just aren’t runners. However, you should be very careful about something. When you see your hamster not walking properly, or limping a bit when he’s in his wheel, contact your vet. Your hamster could be avoiding the wheel because one of his paws hurt. Especially if he stopped just recently. And finally, some hamsters stop using their wheel when they get older. The older the hamster, the bigger the chances are that he’ll stop running. It could be that they’re more comfy, they feel no threat, or they’ve just become lazy. The point is that they can sometimes stop using it at all. And there’s not much we can do about that. Do hamsters even need exercise wheels ? Yes, hamsters need an exercise wheel. In the wild hamsters are very active, fidgety creatures. They’re used to running around, darting here and hiding there. They can’t and won’t sit still for long. How I wish I knew this before I got Teddy. I knew nothing of hamsters, I only knew they were cute and fluffy. But I never imagined he’d be a dynamo. Turns out not all hamsters are cuddly and like to be held, some are more energetic and want to be everywhere. Still, Teddy is the cutest thing, and I’m glad I got an excited and energetic hamster. He makes for a funny pet, and pulls the wildest stunts. Now, imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t get Teddy an exercise wheel. He’d be all over the place, and I’d be worrying about what to do. But since Teddy does have a wheel, he expends a lot of his energy on that wheel. Hamsters need to have someplace to be active, like a running wheel or an exercise ball, or toys around their cage. The exercise/running wheel allows your hammy to do what he’d normally do in the wild. Usually a hamster can cover up to 5.5 miles/ 9 km in one night ! This is looking for food, running from predators, finding new territory, and being curious in general.  Imagine your hammy with all that energy and no wheel to burn it all on. A good hamster exercise wheel recommendation A good hamster wheel is for life. It’s best to get your hammy his wheel since he is a baby, and let him grow into it. If you’ve got a Syrian hamster like me, then you’ll know they can grow pretty big. The absolute minimum for a Syrian hamster is a 8 inch/20 cm wheel, but it’s important to go past that minimum since your hammy needs a bit more space than that, and he might grow very large. This applies to dwarf hamsters as well, since they need a fair amount of space themselves. So this is my recommendation, and a very good wheel as far as I can tell. This is not the wheel I have for my Teddy, since these are not available in my are, and do not ship here either. However they are just above the wheel I have for Teddy. As far as I’ve seen, it’s a silent wheel, and it stays put quite well. It has a weighted bottom, so it will stay where you put it. This means it will be heavier than your standard wheel, but that’s just the bottom part, the wheel itself is easy to move by the hamster. A hamster exercise wheel is going to last him his entire life, so don’t skimp out on it. It’s just as vital as the size of the cage he lives in, and what food you feed your hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon for the exercise wheel here. Dangers of not exercising your hamster There are a few problems that come us when you’re not exercising your hamster, let’s talk about that. If your hamster has so much energy to spend, but nowhere to go, that’s a problem. First, hamster can get anxiety and depression out of being cooped up for long periods of time with no activity. Hamsters bore easily, and need a lot of stimulation. Exercise gives them exactly that, so make sure you get your hamster a lot of exercise. Second, in lack of anything else to do, your hamster will scale the cage walls, and try to escape. Partly out of boredom, and partly out of curiosity. Third, he might develop a cage biting habit. If your hamster feel closed off, and wants to escape or find something to do, he might end up chewing on his cage bars. While that may sound like an innocent thing to do, it’s not. It hurts his teeth, since the metal is too hard for them and is not an okay material to chew on. Aside from that, it’s incredibly loud and it woke me up more than once. So make sure you keep your hamster well exercised, whether it is with a hamster wheel, or exercise ball. Giving your hamster lots of toys to play with will also keep him active, even if he’s not running. (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.) Precautions when using a hamster exercise wheel When I first put Teddy in his wheel, I didn’t know about all of these. I learned in time, and I’m giving you these pointers to make sure you have all the info you need. The wheel needs to have enough space to spin properly. That means that it needs to have just a bit of space between itself and the bedding. Otherwise the wheel won’t spin, and the bedding will go flying everywhere. Best to prevent that by keeping some space. Sometimes, if you’re using a simple metal wheel, the metal bars will become misaligned. This can hurt the hamster, since he can get hit by those bars. Best to check them every day, to see if they get a bit wonky. This happened with my Teddy, and I had to move the bars a bit. They may be metal, but they’re still malleable, so if your hamster’s hitting the bars, you should be able to twist them just a bit. The best way to check this is by looking at the bars themselves. The ones Teddy kept hitting had a bit of the natural oil that builds up on Teddy’s fur, and dirt on the side. This was where it kept brushing up against the hamster, and that’s how I figured that I had to twist the bars a bit. The plastic wheels don’t have this problem, but they have their own. For example flying saucer wheels require much more space inside the hamster’s cage than a simple vertical wheel, so keep that in mind as well. Also the hamster can suddenly ‘fly’ off that wheel if he stops so it can be a bit dangerous for him And finally, be sure that whatever kind of wheel you get, the hamster can’t catch his feet in it. For example some metal and plastic wheels have a very poorly though out spacing between the bars, and the hamster can easily stick a whole foot inside. If your have 2 hamsters, get them 2 wheels. This way your will avoid any possible injuries from one hamster getting in the wheel while another is running. Or out of the wheel. You’ve probably seen videos of hamsters flying out of a running wheel because their cage mate was still running. Avoid that. How to tell when your hamster is comfortable in his exercise wheel The hammy should feel a natural call to run in his wheel. Hamsters are meant to run, and they enjoy every kind of activity that lets them do that. But there are a few ways to tell if your hamster is in pain or has a problem with his running wheel, and it’s important to know them. This way you can prevent larger problems like fur loss, injury or even worse. The hamster’s back is straight, and not arched back. As with the exercise ball, the wheel is meant to be a running simulator and hamsters run with their back straight, or even a bit hunched. The hamster is able to run in a straight line. This means that the bars on the wheel are properly aligned, and there is no tilting of the wheel. If there is any tilting, the hamster might get injured. He has enough space to run on. By this I mean he has enough ‘lane’ to run in, and his running band is at least 2.5 inches/6 cm wide. Otherwise the hammy will hit his rear end on the sides of the wheel. The hamster can keep up a consistent run. He does not have to stop often to readjust his position. This won’t really happen when he knows you’re there, since you will distract him. Watch your hamster from a distance to get a clear observation. A word from Teddy You know everything there is to know about us hammies now ! Running is a large part of our lives, and you know how much we run, and how big our wheel needs to be. I know it might sound like a lot of space, but it will matter a lot to your hamster friend if he has a lot of space to run in. If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info like what we can and can not eat, and even what kind of cage we need. [...] Read more...
Should You Take Your Hamster Wheel Out at Night?
Should You Take Your Hamster Wheel Out at Night?If you own a hamster, you may already know that these animals love playing by themselves and are pretty active even when they are left alone. This is due in large part to the hamster wheel, which allows the hamster to move and play all on its own whenever it wants to. But it can be pretty annoying whenever the hamster is playing with its hamster wheel at night because of all the noise it makes. So, should you take your hamster wheel out at night? Hamster wheels should not be taken out during the night because hamsters are nocturnal animals that prefer to be active whenever it’s nighttime. They can even run up to five miles every single night. Taking the hamster wheel out at night will be sort of cruel because of how you are taking away its source of fun. Because it is never really advisable for you to take your hamster’s wheel away during the night because you are taking away its only source of fun and activity whenever it is most active, there should be alternatives on your part if you feel like hamster wheels are too noisy at night. That’s what this article is here for. Table of Contents ToggleWhat happens if you take your hamster’s wheel out at night?How long can a hamster go without a wheel?How to keep your hamster quiet at night1. Change the hamster’s cage to a location far away from your bed2. Soundproof the hamster’s cage3. Lubricate the wheel4. Give your hamster a larger and enclosed place to live in5. Buy a new and quieter hamster wheelBest silent spinner hamster wheel1. Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel – Best Overall2. Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel – Best for the Price What happens if you take your hamster’s wheel out at night? For those who didn’t know, hamsters are actually nocturnal animals. That means that they are mostly active during the night and are usually asleep whenever it’s the day. Being active at night also means that a lot of the physical things a hamster does to have fun is done when the sun is out. This includes using its hamster wheel. Hamster wheels are invaluable for hamsters because it is their only source of fun and activity whenever they are kept in their habitats. They mostly run on their hamster wheel at night and may even reach up to five miles at night. At one point, a hamster was able to complete 26 miles on the hamster wheel in five days while most people can’t even go five miles of running in five days. Just goes to show how important the hamster wheel is for your hamster. So, if you were to take away the hamster’s wheel at night just because you think it was making so much noise, you are basically taking away its only source of fun and activity. This can be borderline cruel on your part because you are basically going to leave your hamster without anything to do whenever it is at its most active. On top of that, your hamster may actually end up with health concerns precisely because of its inactivity. As such, it is not advisable for you to remove the hamster’s wheel at night because it is the only way for it to stay active and happy while also giving it a way to lose those extra calories. Instead, what you need to do on your part is to find alternatives that you can do so that you can sleep better at night if you find the hamster wheel noisy. How long can a hamster go without a wheel? While it is not advisable for you to take away your hamster wheel at night, there are some instances where the hamster won’t be able to use its wheel. This can happen if it outgrew its old wheel or if the wheel is broken. In such cases, it might take a while for you to replace its old wheel especially if you ordered it online or if there are no nearby stores selling hamster wheels. So, theoretically speaking, how long can a hamster go without a wheel? Well, for starters, hamsters can live and survive without a wheel but they might get bored. If it’s only a few days, your hamster will be perfectly fine without a wheel especially if you are going to eventually replace its old wheel.  However, if you keep it without a wheel for weeks, then that would be concerning because of how the hamster might end up gaining a lot of weight or even develop bad habits due to how it was inactive for quite some time.  That’s why you shouldn’t ever allow your hamster to go without a wheel for a long time. But a few days without a wheel will be fine especially if you are just waiting for the new wheel to arrive. How to keep your hamster quiet at night So, if you feel like your hamster is a bit too noisy during the night while it is playing with its hamster wheel, there are some alternatives that you can take. There will be some people who would suggest that you try to make your hamster diurnal and change its habits so that it would sleep at night but that would be tampering with its natural habit. Instead, try respecting your hamster’s nocturnal nature and use these alternatives instead: 1. Change the hamster’s cage to a location far away from your bed If you are keeping your hamster’s cage in your bedroom, try to change its location and place it in a room where you won’t be able to hear what your hamster is doing at night. For those who are living in small studio apartments, try keeping the hamster’s cage in a corner that’s far away from your bed. That way, you could sleep better at night without getting bothered by what the hamster is doing with its hamster wheel. 2. Soundproof the hamster’s cage If you can’t relocate the hamster’s cage to a room or a location that’s far away from where you are sleeping due to certain reasons, then a good alternative that you can do is to soundproof the hamster’s cage by insulating it. Insulating the cage by covering some of the open spaces will allow the sound to get trapped inside the cage so that all the noise that the hamster is doing while using its wheel won’t end up bothering you. A thick blanket would be enough to insulate the hamster’s cage but make sure that you only do so during the night when you are about to sleep and the hamster is wide awake and active. 3. Lubricate the wheel Because the hamster wheel is a spinning object with many different moving parts, the squeaking noises it is making may be due in large part to how some of the parts aren’t moving so wheel. As such, one way for you to make the hamster wheel a bit quieter is by lubricating it so that it will run smoother than before. 4. Give your hamster a larger and enclosed place to live in Most hamster cages are designed to be quite open, and that is why it is easy for the sound of the hamster wheel to escape. But if you want to keep the noise inside the hamster’s habitat, you may want to replace its old home with a newer and enclosed housing unit that only has a few openings to let air in. A good aquarium might be nice. That way, the noise gets trapped inside the hamster’s home and the noise that the wheel makes is minimized and kept inside the habitat. 5. Buy a new and quieter hamster wheel Believe it or not, there are some instances where the hamster wheel you chose was the reason why your pocket friend is making so much noise at night. In such a case, the best thing you can do is to buy a new and quieter hamster wheel that won’t make a ton of noise even when your hamster running five miles a night on it. Best silent spinner hamster wheel If you are in the market for a silent spinner hamster wheel, here are our choices. 1. Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel – Best Overall The Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel is one of the best silent hamster wheels you can get on the market and is actually our top choice for the best overall silent hamster wheel that money can buy. The reason is that it comes with a closed design that keeps the sound inside the wheel. Meanwhile, the build quality of this product is so amazing that it will surely last for a very long time. You can check out the Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel on Amazon here. 2. Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel – Best for the Price Our favorite budget choice when it comes to silent hamster wheels is the Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel, which promises to be a lot cheaper than most of the other hamster wheels the market has to offer without compromising on how silent it is. It was specifically designed to be very silent because there aren’t a lot of moving parts that would make so much noise. So, if you want to get your hands on this product, here is its page on Amazon. [...] Read more...
All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying Diseases
All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying DiseasesIf you’re thinking about getting a hamster but you’re wondering if they carry any diseases, them this article will sort that out for you. Especially if you’ve got small children and you’re looking to shield them from unnecessary diseases. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters carry disease ?How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagiousWhat a healthy hamster looks likeIs a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters carry disease ? No, not in and of themselves. Hamsters are born ‘clean’, with no health problem that can be passed onto humans. They can pick up a disease and become carriers, about as much as a cat or dog or rabbit can become a carrier. Given the hamster’s usual habitat however, he will probably not come to you with any diseases. This also depends on the pet store you pick him up from, or the breeders you got him from. Another thing is the fact that hamsters are very clean animals by default, and they regularly groom themselves several times a day. Much like a cat, actually. So he will not be dirty, or diseased. This does not mean a hamster can’t transmit a disease he already has. A hamster suffering from a cold can pass it onto a human, for example. You should always wash your hands before and after handling the hamster, and supervise any small children interacting with him. Still, if you want to be sure your hamster’s alright and not carrying anything, let’s see what some usual symptoms are. How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagious You will notice some signs if the hamster has certain diseases. For example: Any runny or leaky nose, eyes, or ears. They can be signs of an infection or a cold, which can be contagious. Any scabs, flaky skin, open wounds, or other immediately noticeable skin conditions on a hamster are possibly contagious as well. A ring of exposed skin, especially if it’s patchy, flaky, and had little red dots all around its border is especially contagious. That’s the Ringworm, which is not a worm but a fungus. It’s easily passed through direct contact with the infected animal. Worms in hamsters might not be immediately noticeable. You might expect the hamster to be weak, not walk easily, huddle in a corner, and possibly have a messy stool. Wet-tail can also look like that, and it can be transmitted to humans. It’s an infection in the hamster’s digestive system that gives it severe diarrhea, and is often lethal for hamsters. It can be treated, but not all hamsters survive. In any case, a hamster cowering in a corner is not a hamster you want to bring home, as he is unfortunately suffering from something and needs medical attention. This also means that the other hamsters in the cage/box with him at the pet shop should probably be avoided as well, just in case it’s something contagious. Unless you’re willing to pick up the hamster and go straight to the veterinarian with him, for a check up. If you’re concerned about rabies, which I know is a common question related to pets, you’re safe. Hamsters can’t give humans rabies for 3 important reasons: Hamsters will not survive rabies as a disease long enough to be able to transmit it Rodents and lagomorphs aren’t able to carry rabies in the first place Pet/captive hamsters do not contact rabies, since there is no way for them to be exposed to it, and they are not born with it either. These are the main signs and symptoms that the hamster might be carrying some disease or another. Tumors or lumps are not contagious, but they can hurt the hamster himself and he will need medical attention. Now let see what a healthy hamster should look like, be it a new hamster from the pet shop, or the furball you already have at home. What a healthy hamster looks like Usually a hamster will have bright, clean fur. It may not be as shiny as a cat or dog’s coat, but it should look decidedly clean and well groomed. This is a sign that the hamster is grooming himself both regularly, and well enough. He will have bright eyes(whichever color they are), with no white spots or inflammations. Teeth should be aligned and not overgrown, although you will only notice the front teeth. Those are yellow-orange, and that is a healthy color for hamsters and rodents, no matter which hamster type you own. White spots on their teeth are a sign of a vitamin deficiency or weakness in the tooth’s structure. It can break most easily where it’s white. Ears, nose, eyes should be free of discharge, and no flaky or inflamed patches. If the ears are particularly dark and the hamster keeps scratching them, they might be ear mites. Keep in mind that many hamsters have ears darker than their bodies from birth, as part of their coat pattern. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, male, and his fur is orange, white and has bits of smoky grey. Hie ears however are dark grey, and always have been. The hamster’s rear should be dry, and well cleaned. If you notice any wetness or that the hamster’s soiled himself, it can mean two things. Either the hamster has a serious digestive problem (like wet-tail or another infection, or possibly worms) or he is very, very old. Finally, the hamster should be lively. Even if he’s a mellow sort of hamster, or a dynamite-powered little guy, he should be eating, drinking water, running on his wheel or using his toys, and at least be curious about you when you get close. A lethargic, huddling hamster (when he’s not sleeping) is bad news since that often means the hamster is fighting off a health problem. It could be stomach aches, worms, a sprained paw, anything. If your hamster looks sick or too tired, call your vet and set up an appointment. You will need to look for an a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Is a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ? You might ask yourself this, and you’d be right to do so. Looking at the health problems hamsters can carry, I would venture to say that yes, hamsters are safe for kids. If people managed to raise cats and dogs safely along small children, then a hamster is not a problem. I say this mostly because a hamster is very isolated, and has as much chance of picking up a disease as a sock in a drawer. Unless you expose him directly to something or someone who is sick, your hamster will be healthy. He never leaves the cage/room he is in, so if the people or pets interacting with him are healthy, so is he. When it comes to the hamster’s temperament however, he is not a good pet for children. Hamsters react very poorly to being handled wrong, or too much, and their most common reaction to this is biting. If he’s dropped, he will get even more scared and start running away, and trying to catch a panicky hamster ends with stress on everyone’s part, and lots of squeaking from the hamster. I’d rather recommend a guinea pig as a pet for children, since they’re much more relaxed and are easier to tame and literally pick up. They too run away, but they sit quietly once you’ve got them in your lap. Hamsters will never stop squirming, and that’s part of their charm, I think. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might look like we’re related to mice and rats, but we’re actually sort of distant cousins. And we don’t get exposed to as many diseases as wild rats or mice either. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...