Do hamsters eat veggies ? Do they even like them ? Did their mothers scold them because they didn’t eat their peas and broccoli ? Jokes aside, hamsters eating vegetables is a big topic, and a very important one when it comes to what you can safely feed your hamster friend.
So do hamsters eat vegetables ?
Yes, they do. Hamsters do eat vegetables, and they actually like them.
In the wild hamsters forage for grains and vegetables, so that’s a large part of their diet. They do catch the occasional cricket or worm, but veggies and grains/seeds are the biggest part of their diet.
Not all vegetables are safe for hamsters – you can find a list of safe and unsafe foods for your hammy here. We’ll cover the veggies your hamster can eat in this article, and the ones he should be kept away from as well.
Hamsters can eat leafy greens
This is what you will find most common for your hammy. Like spinach leaves, watercress, lettuce, kale, iceberg, arugula, even a bit of cabbage.
Easy on the cabbage though, since it’s got a large fiber content which can upset your hamster’s stomach. I gave my Teddy (Syrian hammy) a whole cabbage leaf, to see what he would do. He just sat there, munching on it. I took it out after a few minutes, since it was much too large for him.
Hamsters can eat lots of leafy greens. Pretty much whatever you put in your salad is fine for him as well. With a few exceptions, which we’ll cover in the rest of this article.
Some kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamsters
Some root types are okay for your hammy, like for example carrots are good. But watch out if you’ve got anything other than a Syrian hammy.
The Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) are very small and need very very tiny pieces of carrots. They’re prone to developing diabetes, so it’s best to keep them away from sweet-ish veggies.
The same goes for sweet potatoes and corn. Those, if you even feed your hammy, should always be boiled/cooked.
Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin are all okay, although it’s best to cook the pumpkin before your give it to your hamster.
All kinds of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus are alright for your hammy – but at least steamed. They have a high fiber content, even if it’s less than cabbage.
Make sure you feed your hammy only the upper parts, like the heads or tips. The stalks are too tough for their stomachs.
What veggies to never feed your hamster
There are a few veggies you should keep you hammy away from. For example regular potato, especially raw, is not recommended. The same goes for eggplant, rhubarb, and celery.
The same goes for most legumes like peas, beans, if they’re not cooked. Even if they are cooked, they should still be given in a very small amount. As in, only one single bean. They have a tendency to create gas and your hamster’s gut can’t handle that very well.
Very acidic veggies are a no-go, like onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are a no-go. This is because the hamster’s stomach and gut does not react well to acidic foods, of any kind.
The same goes for spices. Whatever you feed your hammy, make sure it’s never seasoned, not even with salt. It needs to be either boiled in plain water, or baked plain, by itself. No added oils, spices, sauces, or whatever you’d like to add to your own food.
Commercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sources
You can also feed your hamster a pre-made food mix that already has enough vitamins and fibers. This is what your hamster usually would find in the veggies you give him.
Still, you can give your hammy a few vegetables aside from the commercial food mix.
For example a food mix like this one has plenty of nutritional value for your hammy. It will keep you for a couple or months, or a bit more, depending on how much you feed him.
I’d recommend 2 teaspoons/day for a Syrian hammy, and just 1 teaspoon for a Dwarf type.
This mix, along with the occasional veggie from you, and maybe a bit of boiled egg white or piece of cooked chicken will give your hammy a very happy, balanced diet.
You can check the listing on Amazon for this food mix, and read the reviews as well.
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Can vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ?
There’s times when your hamster will need to get his water from a very stable source. One that will not drip or spill over.
For these times, like when you’re transporting your hamster to the vet, or you’re taking him somewhere, a couple of veggies will give your hamster enough water for a few hours.
For more info on how to safely transport your hamster, you need to check out this article. You’ll find out how to transport him, as well as what kind of cage you need, and how to make sure he isn’t scared on the road.
As for the kind of veggies your hamster can get water from, cucumber is the best option. It’s got a whole lot of water content, and a couple of slices, kept fairly cold, are going to provide your hamster with enough water for a few hours.
You can substitute cucumber with some iceberg lettuce, which again has a very high water content. However those have a bit more fiber than cucumber, so do not rely on those entirely.
How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggie
Whenever you give your hammy a new food, of any kind, try it out in small pieces. So if you want to introduce carrot into your hamster’s diet for example. start this way.
Give him a very small piece, about the size of your pinky finger’s nail. Make sure that is the only bit of new food he gets for 24 hours. You can still feed him his usual food, but do not give him more that a very small piece of the new food.
After 24 hours, if you see he’s still well, has no wet stool, and is not lethargic, then you can introduce the new food in larger amounts. Do remember that the pieces of veggies you give your hammy should never be larger than an inch/2.5 cm.
A word from Teddy
I hope you know now if us hammies can eat different kinds of veggies. For example I love munching on a bit of carrot from time to time. And maybe your friend likes spinach leaves.
If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on how large a cage we need, how much water we need in a day, and even why we sometimes eat our poop.
- 5 Creative Ways to Tell Your Hamsters ApartIf you have two hamsters from the same species, they can look exactly the same, especially if they are hamsters from the same litter. In that case, it can be quite difficult to distinguish hamsters when you first become their owner. To differentiate them, you need to figure out a way to tell your hamsters apart. On the internet, you can find various tips on how to mark your hamsters to tell them apart. However, you have to be very careful. Tips such as to tie a ribbon around your hamster can be extremely dangerous and can even cause the death of the hamster. To help you safely differentiate your hamsters, here are some creative ways to tell your hamsters apart. Table of Contents 1. Food colors2. Cut a small piece of hair from your hamster3. Put hamsters in different cages4. Study your hamsters’ personality5. Study the smallest differences on your hamsters 1. Food colors Sometimes it will happen that hamsters have absolutely no noticeable physical differences. In such cases, unless you know them very well, you will not be able to distinguish them which can sometimes create problems. Some owners have therefore decided to use the hamster labeling method with food colors. Food colors are edible and non-toxic if used in very small amounts in the hamster diet or when coloring toys in the cave. This is why some owners have decided that food color could be used to put small dots on your hamsters so they can distinguish them. For example, one hamster will have a blue dot and the other a red one. Another method that some owners use is dyeing the tail of your hamster. Previously, this method was questionable for use because food coloring contains many chemical ingredients that can cause skin irritation and various inflammations. Even today the safety of artificial food dyes is highly controversial. However, in modern times there are many food colors that are made from natural ingredients, and there are simple instructions on the Internet for making your own natural food colors. For example, carrot or paprika is used for orange, spinach for green, strawberries or raspberries for pink or for red color beets. Such natural colors are safe to use on the hamster. If you just put a dot on your hamster with natural food colors, your hamster should have no consequences. Some owners recommend that the same can be done with a permanent marker. However, hamsters are constantly cleaning and licking, so they would surely lick a dot made with a permanent marker at some point, which would certainly be poisonous for them. The hamster might not die, but he could easily experience poisoning and get sick. By no means put permanent markers because, in addition to being intensely fragrant, they contain figures of chemical ingredients that can be poisonous, but also irritate hamsters skin. However, if you have two hamsters and cannot distinguish them, there is no need to label both hamsters with food colors, but only label one. You will know which hamster has a dot and which does not. Also if you opt for food coloring you will have to repeatedly label the hamsters with a dot because the food color will be constantly rinsed off. If you notice that the hamster has any reaction at the place where you put the food coloring, immediately stop using food coloring to distinguish the hamster and turn to one of the safer methods. 2. Cut a small piece of hair from your hamster Although the method with food colors is safe to use today if you use natural food coloring, there are also simpler ways to distinguish hamsters. A safe and easy way to distinguish hamsters is to definitely cut a small piece of hair from one of them. Some owners usually cut hamsters’ hair because their hair grows too much, so it is full of food and dirt. Haircutting a pet is very simple, and all you need are good scissors. To cut your little five, or in this case, cut off a small piece of hair, it is best to use surgical scissors or scissors for children. Surgical scissors are very sharp so you will simply be able to cut off all the hair you want with one stroke. If you use scissors for children, they have a rounded tip that will prevent injuries even if the hamster twitches and is restless during the haircut. It is best to cut a piece of hair on the upper part of the hamster’s body so that the cut is noticeable and so that you can immediately distinguish it from another hamster. It is easiest to cut a hamster if it is done by two people at the same time. One person needs to gently hold the hamster to calm him down. The other person should use both hands to cut a piece of hamster’s hair without injuring it. Use one hand to hold the hamster’s hair while you will use the other hand to cut it. It is best to hold the chunk of hair between your middle and index finger and then to cut it past it so as not to injure the hamster. If the hamster trusts you and is fairly calm in your arms, you don’t have to seek the help of another person. Grab the hamster in one hand and play with it until it calms down. When it calms down, take scissors and carefully cut a piece of hair in a visible place and the job is done. If your hamsters are spirited and you can’t tire them out or you are afraid that you might hurt them if you cut a piece of hair yourself, it is best not to do it. Take one of your hamsters to a vet that will cut off a piece of your hamster’s hair in just a few seconds without hurting him. There is a possibility that they will charge you for it, but it is certainly better to pay for that vet than to hurt your hamster. 3. Put hamsters in different cages To distinguish hamsters, perhaps the easiest way is to put them in different cages. If for some reason, you do not want to use any of the above methods, it may be easiest for you to place the hamsters in separate cages that you will arrange differently or to place a name tag on each. That way you will know at all times which hamster it is and you will not be able to replace them. Unless of course, you let them both out of their cages at the same time. If you put them back in the wrong cages, you will notice that they are behaving confused and that they are not used to being in that cage so you will quickly notice your mistake. This solution in some cases is not only desirable but also necessary. Most hamsters are very territorial animals that love solitude and their space. If you want to keep hamsters in the same cage, the best option is to take a Dwarf hamster that can live in pairs with other members of its species. Moreover, they even enjoy their company. But it can also happen to them that over time they stop getting along and start bullying each other. Syrian hamsters, on the other hand, have to live alone. These hamsters only meet to mate and the rest of their lives must be kept separate. If you put two Syrian hamsters in the same cage, they will start to stress very quickly and they will fight, which can end in the death of one of the hamsters and serious injuries to the other. The golden rule for hamsters is to never, ever mix different hamster species in the same cage. If you want hamsters to live together, if they get along well it is best to keep siblings together to avoid fights. If you are taking hamsters from different nests try to get to know them as soon as possible to get along as well as possible. Once they are older than eight weeks they are very likely to react badly to one another. In addition, make sure you have a large enough cage for each hamster to have space for themselves and that you have more than one feeding area to be able to feed on their own food bowls and water bottles. No matter how hard you try, sometimes hamsters just won’t get along with each other. In these cases, hamsters will often fight or bully one another which can be very dangerous and even deadly to one of them. If you have two of the same hamsters living together in the cage observe well how they behave, whether they get along and whether there are any problems. Living in an environment where hamsters are constantly fighting and harassing each other can be very stressful so rest assured that none of your hamsters will be happy. In this case, it will be necessary to separate the hamsters into different cages. This will ultimately help differentiate hamsters, but it will also make their lives more beautiful and peaceful. 4. Study your hamsters’ personality You constantly observe your hamsters to find the slightest difference. You try and try, but you still can’t find the differences that would help you to know which hamster is which. Physical appearance is simply not a thing that can help you because your hamsters look identical. But if you study them well you will notice that hamsters do not behave identically. As much as they look the same as humans, hamsters have different personalities. One of them, for example, will be shy, will often spend time in the cottage, and will run away every time you give him food. The other will be brave and will like to cuddle, will spend a lot more time outside the house, and will be more open to contact with you. Hamster’s personality depends on the species of hamster, how tame they are, and do they like to have friends in the cave. For example, Syrian hamsters quickly develop a relationship with the owner and are in a very friendly mood. However, they like to be alone and are very aggressive towards other hamsters so you cannot keep them with others. According to the behavior they show towards you, but also, in general, the habits and behavior they show in the cage, you will be able to notice the behaviors according to which hamsters differ. Place in the cave two different feeding bowls and two different water bottles. Since hamsters are fairly territorial animals even when they live together they are very likely to drink from different water bottles and eat from different feeders. If it is easier for you, record their habits and notice if they repeat some behaviors and if they do some things that are specific only to them. For example, it could be carrying food to a certain part of the cage or sleeping in a specific place. It is also very important to observe how your identical hamsters get along. It can happen that hamsters will not get along best and will cause stress. If you hear them fighting or see injuries on one of them, don’t wait for the situation to calm down. The hamsters will just keep fighting more and more until they get completely angry and kill each other. So you can be left without both hamsters because they can easily die from injuries. By studying their personalities and behaviors you will notice in time if something is happening and you can easily prevent such events if you separate them into two different cages. If the hamsters look exactly the same, they will most often be hamsters from the same litter so you should have no problems with fights and bullying, but you never know with their personalities and primitive instincts. Personality can be a great indicator and help you distinguish which hamster you are at any time. For this, you will need a lot of patience, paper and pencil, and the interesting company of your little pets. This way you can get to know your pets very well, and you will feel like a real scientist studying animal behavior. If you have children, be sure to include them in this activity because they will learn everything about hamsters. Besides, it will certainly be interesting to them to notice new things about their pets every day. 5. Study the smallest differences on your hamsters This method may not be completely creative, but it will certainly help you differentiate your hamsters in the long run. Besides that, this method can be very interesting for you and especially for your children if you make it a real detective job. Your main task is to find a difference between hamsters. While your hamsters may seem exactly the same at first, there are small differences that can help you differentiate them. However, to find these differences you need to study the bodies of your hamsters well and look for any spot that deviates from the usual fur color or some irregularity. Even when you spot spots on both hamsters, observe if they are exactly the same shape and if they are in exactly the same place. It can happen that the spot on one is just a little bit higher or lower than on the other hamster. For example, when it comes to White WInter hamsters, it often happens that it is difficult to find differences between two completely identical all-white hamsters. In such situations, pay attention to detail. Does one of the hamsters have a slightly shorter or longer tail than the other? Does the hamster perhaps have some spot or any irregularity on its tail or on the rest of its body that could help you distinguish them? The owners of the looking hamsters themselves state that it was precisely these small details that enabled them to distinguish hamsters at all times. In addition, when you study two hamsters of the same species for a long time, you notice some details that you did not see at first. For example, one of the hamsters has a slightly different head shape, a slightly different ear shape, or a more protruding muzzle. One of the hamsters may be barely noticeably larger than the other or be a shade lighter or darker in color. These are all little things that you will notice over time. To identify which hamster it is, take a good look at the color of their eyes. Hamsters can also have different eye shades and you can differentiate them accordingly. If there are no obvious differences and you can’t find any difference even after a long study, it’s best to turn to study their personalities and behavior to help you differentiate them. If this is not possible then turn to the method of using food coloring or cutting the piece of their hair. One of these methods will surely help you to easily tell your hamsters apart.... Read more...
- Here’s How To Find A Lost Hamster – Find Your Furry FriendSo your hamster has gone missing. That’s okay, don’t worry, he’s not very far. I’ll tell you how to find your hamster friend, whether you lost your hamster in your home, or outside. This guide is handy even if you’ve never lost your hamster so far. After all prevention is key and it’s better to already know what to do if you ever lose your hamster, than to try and find out everything on the spot. Table of Contents What to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamsterFinding a lost hamster in your homeWhere the hamster might have goneWhat the hamster might have done/why he wandered offSetting the traps for your hamsterBaiting the hamster with foodHome-made trapHumane rodent trapFinding a lost hamster outsideEscape-proofing your hamster’s cageHow to keep your hamster from wanting to escape in the first placeKeep your hamster friend happy and not stressedProvide a large enough cage so your hamster has spacePlay with your hamster to form a bond with itA word from Teddy What to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamster Before you start looking for your hamster, keep in mind that he’s got some reasons for wandering off. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wanted to leave, maybe he found something interesting in a corner. Hamsters are incredibly curious, about everything, and will want to investigate thing right away. You’ve seen him glue himself to the cage bars when you do something around his cage, you know he wants to know. There are a few things to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamster, and here they are: Keep away any and all pets that can move freely (like a cat, bird, or dog), as well as small children that might scare the hamster. Close all doors, so your hamster won’t move about from one room to the other while you’re looking for him. Remember that hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so your friend will probably come out at night, when it’s dark and quiet in the house. Dim all the lights, and make as little noise as possible, so your hamster will think it’s safe to come out. Try to remember where you last saw your hamster, and start from that room. Be thorough in your search, hamsters are amazing at hiding. Look under, behind, over, between any piece of furniture you have, without moving it at first. Make a mental note of any holes or large cracks in the walls or doors that your hammy might have escaped through. Your hammy might be in odd, squishy places like between the sofa cushions, or in your sofa’s tapestry if he found a hole, so be careful where you step and sit. The search might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, so be patient. Your hamster can survive for up to 3-4 days with no food or water. So don’t worry, your hammy is probably somewhere in the kitchen munching on some peanuts behind a cupboard. Now let’s see how to find your hamster friend first. Finding a lost hamster in your home If you’ve lost your hamster in your home, the search will be easier, in a way. There is less space for him to hide in, and he can only run away so far. So, we’ll start with this scenario since it’s the most common situation hamsters get lost in. Where the hamster might have gone This about where the hammy might go. Think about the room you last saw him in, and try and think in his shoes (or paws). If it’s cold in the house, he might go for the warmest room he can find, so you can start there. If it’s been a few days since he’s missing, and you only just noticed, he is probably looking for food so you can start with the pantry or kitchen. Was there anything interesting in the room you last saw your hamster ? Like a very smelly food, or a bag of treats, or something that made a lot of noise (like a crinkly bag) ? Are there any nook and crannies your hamster would love, close to where you last saw him ? What the hamster might have done/why he wandered off Hamsters are very curious, about everything, so there’s a large chance that he maybe just wanted to investigate something. It’s possible that your hamster was very scared, or stressed out. Like the cat pawing at his cage maybe, or the parrot bursting into song right next to his cage. Maybe the toaster went off in the other room and your hammy got scared. Still, there are quite a few reasons your hamster might have escaped, starting with curiosity and ending with just because. If there were any weak wires in your hamster’s cage, you can be sure he found them. Or, if you’ve got an aquarium for your hamster be warned that he needs a very tall edge in order to not climb over it – taller than your hamster’s total length, plus stretching. So it’s possible that he found a way to climb over the edge of the glass tank. For more info on exactly what you should be looking for when getting you hamster an escape-proof cage, you can check out these top 5 hamster cages. Setting the traps for your hamster When you’re looking for your hamster, you’ll need to set some traps. Humane ones, of course, but still you need to trap him in one particular spot. Or, at least find out the room he’s in. Baiting the hamster with food You can try a few or all of these ideas, depending on your home, how many pets or children you have, and how much time you’ve got. One idea would be to get a large treat, that your hamster likes. Like a dog biscuit, or a whole peanut(with shell, no salt), or a piece or cheese, and tie a bit of yarn around it. The rest of the yarn you can make into a long string that leads to a center piece you’re often next to. So, when your hammy will try to take away the treat you will see where he it pulling from. Place just one big treat in each room. Another extra step would be to tie a small bell onto the string of yarn. This way the treat will make some noise when the hamster picks it up. Another idea would be to place some food in a small bowl made of crinkled up aluminium foil, with large, flowy edges. Think of it looking like a small volcano, with treats where the lava would be. The crinkled aluminium would make sounds when your hamster will be inspecting the food. Or, you can sprinkle a fine, thin layer of flour all around the treats you left on the floor. Or, you can sprinkle it over the floor in front of where you think your hammy is hiding. You can even sprinkle it across the whole floor, although there will be lots of cleanup to do afterwards. Your hammy will leave tiny foot prints where he’s going through the flour, and you can narrow your search from there. If you can’t sprinkle flour or tie in bells, you can simply put a specific number of treats in every room. Then, check the next day to see which room has less treats, so you know where the hamster is hiding. Home-made trap You can also use an actual trap made from thing you’ve got at home already. Get yourself a bucket, or a large plastic bin. Something the hamster can’t climb out of. Add a layer of bedding so your hamster can get comfortable because he will be sitting there for a few hours. Then, at the very top/edges, place either aluminium foil, or a large sheet of paper, or paper towel. Place on the paper or aluminium a few lightweight treats that your hamster will like, for example 1-2 peanuts or sunflower seeds, or a bit of biscuit. Do not fasten the paper or aluminium onto the edges. The hamster will have to be able to fall into the bucket/bin, once he steps onto the paper. Next, your hamster has to be able to get up to the edge. You can make a sort of stairway with a few books, or a piece of cardboard bent into the shape you want, or anything the hamster can climb. Finally, sprinkle a few seeds or treats for your hammy to follow as a trail up to the top of the trap. You hamster will smell the treat, come out of his hiding place, follow the trail of treats, and in the end go for the treat on top of the trap. He will end up falling into the bucket/bin, and you will find him munching on the treats. Humane rodent trap You can find these in many stores, and they’re safe for your hamster. The point of these traps is that the hamster will only be caught in the closed off space, and not killed. They will not harm you hammy, but I do recommend checking up on these about once an hour. Air holes do exist on these kind of traps, but they can only do so much. There’s also condensation forming on the inside, so you don’t want your hammy getting wet – more on that here, and what you can do about it. Place some bait your hammy loves, like maybe peanut butter, or a whole peanut, or a small bit of cooked chicken. Once your hammy walks over the trap door, the trap will spring shut and will keep him there. Your hammy might get scared at first, that’s normal. But you’ll find him soon enough, so he won’t be staying in the trap too long. You can find this kind of traps in lots of places, but you can check this one on Amazon to get an idea of it. Finding a lost hamster outside If your hammy is lost outside, this will be a bigger problem. He could’ve gone very far, but there’s still a chance he’s close by, just hiding somewhere. Placing treats and baiting your hamster like in your home won’t work. Outside there’s cats, birds, and other creatures that will take the bait. And depending on the type of terrain around your home, if it’s fenced in, if there’s a forest starting in your backyard, your search will be harder. Best to just go for the humane mouse trap I linked earlier, since that’s pretty much the only way you’re sure something larger than your hamster will not steal the bait. In this case the bucket/bin trap won’t work either, since you might find yourself with a bird or squirrel in that trap. In a worst case scenario, if it’s been more than a week and your hammy hasn’t showed, he’s probably wandered off into the wild, or had a nasty run-in with another animal. This is also something to consider if you ever think about releasing your hamster into the wild. He might or might not make it. Life in the forest or plains or general wilderness in your are is probably too harsh for the little furball. Escape-proofing your hamster’s cage Prevention is the best way to be sure your hammy doesn’t escape. So let’s see what you can do about his cage. First, you will find here a whole list of tips and pointers on how to choose the right cage for your hamster – both in terms of size, but safety as well. In general, glass tanks/aquariums are much harder to escape than regular wire or plastic ones. Make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding. Hamsters can and do jump, sometimes out of their cages, so be warned. You can find out more about that here, so you know what to watch out for. Also a wire mesh cover would be a good idea for the glass tank, just to be safe. Another idea would be to get your hammy a wire cage that has 1 cm/0.4 inches or less spacing between the bars. Hamsters are actually very small, under all that fur. Like cats, if their head fits somewhere, their body will squeeze through as well. So it is entirely possible for your hamster will squeeze through the bars of his cage and away he goes. Especially if you’ve got Dwarf types, which are so incredibly tiny. You can find out more about hamster sizes and how much they grow as adults – right here. Make sure the latches on the cage doors are closed well enough. And finally, you can use some binder clips – the big, black, ones you use for lots of sheets of paper. You can use those to fasten the corners of a wire cage to make sure it stays put. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to keep your hamster from wanting to escape in the first place Hamsters that escaped because they were stressed or unhappy are a sad story. But, you can make sure your hamster doesn’t get in that position in the first place. You can also check here for 15 essential steps in caring for your hamster friend. Keep your hamster friend happy and not stressed This means keeping and pets or small children away from the hamster, or very supervised. A curious cat or a playful puppy will want to move the hammy around, try to paw it, bark at it maybe. And since hamsters not only scare very easily, they are also not patient at all, this won’t go well. Always make sure that the hamster is able to run away and hide if he feels threatened or uncomfortable. This is the major reason I do not recommend hamsters as pets for small children (under 13). Children are sometimes unaware, sometimes overly curious, and sometimes just don’t know their strength. This can make handling a hamster very difficult, especially if it’s a very small hamster, and doesn’t sit still too long. Hammies will also bite and scratch their way out of a situation if they have to, so this is another reason to keep small children away from them. Conversely, the cage and room you hamster lives in must be a calm, quiet one. Pets and kids zooming around your hammy during the day (when he sleeps) won’t make him feel safe at all. If this is what your home usually sounds like, consider getting a guinea pig. Those are much more calm, and they kind of don’t care about anything. So a barking dog won’t be much of a bother, or a child picking them up while they eat. Provide a large enough cage so your hamster has space The size of the cage matters. I’ve been repeating this in most articles, and I will keep repeating it. Mostly because for a few weeks I had the wrong sized cage for my Teddy (adult Syrian male) and I only realized this too late. Here you can find a good roundup of hamster cages according to what hamster you have. So, a cage that is too small can get your hamster nervous, anxious, he will start biting the cage bars. All kinds of unwanted, unhealthy habits. Hamsters are very territorial, even if they’re so gosh darn small. They need lots of floor space to run around in, and they feel suffocated in a small cage. The minimum cage for a Syrian hamster is of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This I’d say should be the minimum for a Dwarf hammy as well, since hamsters will go for larger cages if given the chance. If you’ve got more than one hamster – like a pair of Dwarf hammies – you need to read this. Play with your hamster to form a bond with it Finally, playing with and handling your hamster daily will form a close bond between the two of you. This means that your hammy will have less of a reason to escape, since he will want to stick around for you. So, here’s a nifty little article on how to actually tame your hamster, and one on how to show him affection and play with him. Some hamsters can be tamed but will never like being touched too much, so you’ll find ideas for those hamsters as well. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to find your missing hammy. I know it might seem like a hassle, but we usually don’t wander off too far. We might go missing for a couple of days, only to turn up safe and sound in your cupboard when you least expect us. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the related articles below.... Read more...
- Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? The Sad TruthIf one considers the gentle look that hamsters have, one may conclude that hamsters can never hurt each other. It seems the looks of hamsters are just a mere feign of gentleness since they sometimes eat each other. But why do these gentle-looking creatures become so aggressive to the point of eating each other? Hamsters will eat each other if their diets alter their nature or if other hamsters appear to reduce their chance of survival greatly. A few breeds of hamsters that are territorial in nature don’t even require diets to alter their nature before they eat each other. The non-territorial breeds of hamsters outnumber the territorial breeds, making it fair to generalize the statement that hamsters won’t eat each other unless their diets or mates force them to do so. Anyone who wishes to understand why hamsters eat each other must consider a variety of things. In this article, we shall talk about everything that readers need to know concerning this topic, so we advise you to read on. Table of Contents Do Hamsters Cannibalize?Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other?Insufficient resourcesTerritorial attitudeCage rageDietWhy Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies?Deficiency in dietStressTo protect the living babiesChange in scentInsufficient resourcesThreat from a male hamsterWhy Do Female Hamsters Attack Male Hamsters?Is It OK to Have Two Hamsters in the Same Cage?What breeds are best to combine together? Do Hamsters Cannibalize? Under normal conditions, most breeds of hamsters don’t cannibalize. However, a number of things can force even the friendliest breeds of hamsters to become ferocious cannibals. Almost all the dwarf breeds of hamsters have a very low tendency of cannibalizing. In contrast, Syrian hamsters and Chinese hamsters have a high tendency of cannibalizing if they live in groups. Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? Hamsters eat each other only when there are genuine reasons. Some of those reasons are even meant to protect hamsters from going into extinction. You will find all the major reasons why hamsters eat each other as you read on. Perhaps, you might not be able to condemn hamsters after you understand why they eat each other. And of course, you will discover some things you can do to stop hamsters from eating each other if you own a few of them as pets. Insufficient resources Individual hamsters have a strong instinct for survival, and therefore they may see the need to eat their own kinds just to survive. In the wild, hamsters can spread about to find their own food, water, and shelter, so they will likely not kill each other in the wild. However, domestic hamsters can only share the resources that their owner provides for them. If the resources aren’t enough, they may eat their fellows to reduce the pressure on the little resources available. Hamsters might have developed this nature to ensure the continued existence of their species in tough times. Territorial attitude Some breeds of hamsters are very territorial. Syrian hamsters, for instance, display different territorial behaviors. Cannibalism is one of the territorial behaviors that Syrian hamsters and other territorial breeds can display. Even if there are abundant resources for all the hamsters to share, hamsters that are territorial in nature will still eat each other. A strange hamster’s mere appearance is enough reason for cannibalism to occur among breeds of hamsters that are territorial in nature. Cage rage Hamsters are a bit vulnerable to cage rage, a psychological disorder that animals in the cage sometimes suffer from. When a hamster suffers from cage rage, it becomes very aggressive towards other hamsters and humans. Such aggression can lead to cannibalism. Hamsters that live in an inconducive cage are more vulnerable to cage rage than the ones that live in a conducive cage. A hamster that suffers from cage rage will not only attack other hamsters, but it will also be restless even when it stays all by itself. Diet The diets of hamsters can alter their behaviors. For instance, hamsters that feed on a monotonous diet of corn will develop aggressive behavior and eat each other. Hamsters in the wild are more likely to become cannibals now that they no longer have a variety of grains to consume. Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies? Deficiency in diet The diets that hamsters consume can alter their nature to some extent. When hamsters feed on diets that lack Vitamin B3, they eat their own babies. For instance, hamsters that feed on corn will eat their own babies since corn lacks Vitamin B3. Stress Hamsters go through a lot of stress while giving birth and nursing their babies. While hamsters can cope with the stress of parturition and nursing, they may not be able to cope with the additional stress that a harsh environment imposes on them. Some environmental factors that can stress hamsters include loud noises, excessive heat, and disturbance from other animals or man. To protect the living babies If a hamster gives birth to many babies in the wild, and one of them dies, predators can use the smell of the dead baby to locate the living ones since they are at the same place. To prevent this from happening, a hamster will eat her dead baby. Domestic hamsters also eat their dead babies despite how humans already protect them from predators. Change in scent Hamsters rely on scents to identify their babies. Hamsters will leave scents on their babies while they take care of them, making it easy to recognize their babies. However, if human touches one of the babies, the baby’s scient will change, so the mother will perceive such a baby as an outsider. The hamster will end up eating the supposed outsider. Insufficient resources A hamster will try her best to take care of the entire brood, but if she realizes that the resources like food and space aren’t enough, she can kill some of her babies. Hamsters won’t just kill her babies at random. Instead, she will watch out for weak ones and eat them so that the strong ones can survive with the little resources available. In case the mother is starving, and no food is available, she can eat all her babies to gain energy. Threat from a male hamster Male hamsters are not as caring as female hamsters. All they care about is how to get the female’s attention. A male hamster usually bothers the innocent babies while attempting to get the attention of their mother, forcing the female hamster to hide the babies from the male hamster. If there are not good hideouts around, the female hamster can hide some of her babies in her cheek pouch until the babies suffocate. Why Do Female Hamsters Attack Male Hamsters? Females hamsters can attack male hamsters for two major reasons. The first reason is to show her unreadiness for mating. Usually, a female hamster will be ready for mating every four days, so if any male hamster attempts to mate with her before she is ready, she will attack such a male hamster. Another reason why a female hamster sometimes attacks a male is to exert her aggressive behavior. Female hamsters are generally more aggressive than male hamsters, which is why they sometimes do their best to dominate males when they come in contact for non-mating purposes. Is It OK to Have Two Hamsters in the Same Cage? Yes, you can keep two hamsters in the same cage, but you must design the cage in such a way that the two hamsters won’t have to share too many things. Food bowl, water bowl, and other necessary things must be available in more than one quantity so that the hamsters won’t have things to fight over. More importantly, you should consider the breeds of hamsters that you want to keep together. While some breeds of hamsters can live together in harmony, a few breeds can never live together without fighting one another. What breeds are best to combine together? You can combine two Roborovskis in the same cage. Roborovskis can live happily in pairs or in a small group both in the wild and in the cage. Kindly note that it’s best to keep same-sex Roborovski hamsters together, and not of different sex. Also, you need to pair the hamsters at a very young age so that they will become comfortable with each other as they grow up. Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters can also live together in harmony. They need to grow up together in order to get along with their cage mate. Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters can reproduce very rapidly, so try to keep same-sex together. Campbell’s dwarf Russian hamsters are also friendly to their breeds, which means you can combine two of them in the same cage. Just make sure you do so while they are still very young. While it’s okay to combine the breeds of hamsters above in the same cage, you still need to observe the hamsters for a few days to ensure they tolerate each other well. In case one hamster oppresses the other, you should remove the oppressed one from the cage and pair it up with another hamster of the same breed and sex.... Read more...
- Hamsters vs Guinea Pigs – Take It From Someone Who Owns BothIf you’re aching for a pet but can’t decide between a guinea pig or a hamster, let me help you. I have a Syrian hammy, and 2 guinea piggies and believe me, there are some very important differences between them. In this article we’ll look at the main differences between them, and how much they both impact your life, so you can take a very well informed decision. If you’d like to know what would happen if you were to raise a hamster with a guinea pig in the same cage, you should read this article. Table of Contents Deciding between a guinea pig or a hamsterA quick rundown on hamstersA quick overview of guinea pigsDifferent temperaments between the two petsAbout the guinea pig’s personalityAbout the hamster’s personalityKid-friendly or quiet home ?Feeding requirements for hamsters and guinea pigsExercise and floor time for guinea pigs and hamstersHamster exercise and running routineGuinea pig exercise and floor timeCage requirements are very different between the twoBedding, nests, and objects in their cageTake your schedule and daily life into accountA word from Teddy Deciding between a guinea pig or a hamster That one is completely up to you. Decide after you’ve read this entire article, and see which would be best for you. I got a hamster at first, a Syrian male named Teddy. About a year and a half later, we got two piggies from a friend who did not have the time to look after them anymore. We’ve named them Jessi and Ka, because my piggies when I was young were named Jessica (both of them). So I’ve come to know some clear differences between hamsters and guinea pigs, and some common grounds as well. But let’s start with the basics. A quick rundown on hamsters Hamsters are nocturnal/crepuscular animals, and will sleep most of the day away. Their diet is made of mostly grains, with some fruits, veggies, meat, and nuts added to the equation. They need fairly large cages ( a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.) and certain conditions to live in. Hamsters are solitary animals, even if you’ve seen some people keep pair of hamsters in the same cage. There are 5 types of hamsters: The Syrian hamster, the largest one and with the most coat color variations The Roborovski Dwarf, the tiniest of the Dwarf types – only 2 inches/5 cm The Campbell Dwarf The Djungarian/Winter white Dwarf The Chinese Dwarf You’ll rarely find all 5 types of hamsters in a pet shop, but you might find 2-3 types at a time. Syrians are the most common hamster you can get as a pet. The average hamster’s lifespan is 2-3 years. The Chinese Dwarf has the shortest lifespan, around 1.5-2 years, while the Robo Dwarf can live up to 4 years. A quick overview of guinea pigs Guinea pigs are larger than hamsters, about 20-25 cm/8-10 inches long and with a very wide array of colors. Some are shorthaired, some have long hair, some have swirls in their fur as a pattern, but their personalities do not vary from one fur type to another Guinea pigs live in herds, one male leading a groups of females. With pet piggies this is not wise, unless you’re looking to breed them. Pet piggies are usually kept in all male or all female herds, and if males are ever kept with females the male is spayed. Their usual diet is made of timothy hay, along with leafy greens, some root-type veggies, and the occasional fruit. Guinea pigs have an average lifespan of 6-8 years, though there have been piggies that lived over 10 years, so getting a piggie is a commitment. For the most part guinea pigs are neither nocturnal nor diurnal. Instead, they sleep in patches throughout the day, and have a certain sleep schedule you’ll be able to observe after a few weeks. Different temperaments between the two pets Both the hamster and the guinea pig are prey animals. They’re both skittish and both need some time before they’re comfy with you picking them up. Sometimes they’re never okay with that. But the common grounds stop there. There are many differences between hamsters and guinea pigs. When it comes to which would make the best pet for you, you need to take those into account. About the guinea pig’s personality Guinea pigs are herd animals. As such, they’re much more social and laid back than a hamster, who is a solitary animal. In fact, keeping a guinea pig alone is a terrible idea, even if you’re always there to play with her. The company of another piggie can’t be replaced with human interaction, simply because we don’t understand piggies as well as another piggy. So, guinea pigs do well in groups or at least pairs. They can have varying personalities, the piggies themselves. Some are more outgoing, curious, and might come to check you out. others will shy away and rarely leave their huts if they know you’re there, even after taming them. Some will be relaxed and won’t protest when you pick them up, some will try their hardest to get out of your hands. Piggies rarely ever bite, even when they’re stressed. They can bite, yes, but they’re very docile and will avoid doing this most of the time. It varies from piggy to piggy. The one we have, Ka is a bit more outgoing, and is okay with being held, while Jessi hides most of the time. They don’t really get along and need 2 separate cages, but they talk to each other a lot. Another thing about a piggy’s personality and temperament, they are easier to bond with a young piggy. So if you’ve got an adult piggy, and bring in a young one, the young one will learn from the old one and become submissive. To even things out, it’s best to always get both or all the piggies young, and introduce them as youngsters so they can grow together and form their own relationship. Guinea pigs actually become depressed if they’ve got no friends, even if they do have human company. This is another reason to never keep a lone piggy. About the hamster’s personality A hamster, on the other hand, is very territorial. He has his own things, and will not share them with anyone. Putting two hamsters together is generally a bad idea, even the Dwarf types. While they may tolerate each other, they usually end up fighting and need to be separated. Hamsters are also skittish and will try to run away or hide when you try to interact with them. But they can be tamed, at least a bit, to know that you’re no danger to them. They have no problem biting you if you handle them wrong, or they feel threatened. For example my Teddy is a bit of a Rambo type, always curious, will fight anything (even a toilet paper roll) if it gets too close, and doesn’t really like to be held for more than 3 seconds. Some hamsters are a bit more tame, for example a family friend had a hamster named Oscar. He was the tamest, most relaxed hammy, and he let anyone hold him. The thing is hamsters are not very cuddly creatures, and won’t seek out your hugs and scratches on their own. Maybe a few select will, but as a whole this is something they learn to associate with food, and nothing more. Kid-friendly or quiet home ? Another important aspect, and a possible deal breaker for many people out there. If you’ve got children, or other small pets, the a hamster is the worst idea ever. This is because hamsters are very sensitive to everything – the room temperature, the noise level, the light level, drafts, being picked up wrong, being held too long, a sick person, and so on. Guinea pigs are sensitive too, but much less than hamsters. A hamster can get stressed very easily and develop an entire host of illnesses based on stress. A curious cat or a barking dog can be too much for the hamster, and kids continuously prodding at their cage can be very stressful. A guinea pig on the other hand is more relaxed. They don’t like being woken up and put on display either, but they react much less negatively than a hamster, and they recover pretty quickly. For kids I think a guinea pig is the best choice, instead of a hamster. I’d recommend a hamster only to quiet, patient, calm people who have time at night to tame and play with the hamster. A rowdy home with many pets and young children is not recommended for piggies, nor for hamsters. Feeding requirements for hamsters and guinea pigs Both the guinea pig and the hamster have very specific feeds. While a hamster could steal anything the piggy would eat (except the hay), a piggy couldn’t eat much of the hamster’s food. There is also the question of how often to feed them, and how much. For Syrian hamsters 2 teaspoons of commercial food mix is enough, daily. The Dwarf types only need one teaspoon. Much of the food will be hoarded for later snacks. Guinea pigs, on the other hand, need a fresh supply of timothy hay, available at all times, in endless amounts. Commercial food mix should be given 2 tablespoons per piggy, daily. So on short, you’re going to feed the piggy more often, and in larger quantities. There always needs to be a hay bag on hand, to re-stock their hay pile. Both Jessi and Ka go through about 3-4 fistfuls of hay, each, per day. Both guinea pigs and hamsters can be fed various treats that are already in your pantry or fridge. Fresh fruit and veg are favorites, a few examples include: guinea pigs – raw bell pepper, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, small slice of apple hamsters – cucumber, carrots, peanuts (unsalted, shelled), plain cooked chicken While the hamster will pick up all the food in his food bowl and store it in his nest for later use, a guinea pig does not. Piggies pretty much mess with their food and it ends up all over the cage. For example ours put a paw inside their bowls and tip them over to get to the feed. If we put the feed directly on their bedding, half of it ends up forgotten in the bedding. Exercise and floor time for guinea pigs and hamsters This is a very big difference between hamsters and guinea pigs. They both need exercise, and will run around pretty much all their waking time. But, they do it differently. Hamster exercise and running routine Hamsters are famous for their running wheels and exercise balls. We’ve all seen or at least heard of a hammy running as far as his little feet can take him, all night long. Given their small size, agility, and how hard they are to catch in general (especially if lost), hamsters aren’t let outside their cage often. In fact, the only way a hamster can spend time outside his cage is inside his exercise ball. This keeps things safe for everyone involved. Even then, they should not be kept in the ball for more than 30 minutes at a time. They will need water, a quick snack, and they will probably need their pee corner as well. Most of the hamster’s exercise is done inside the cage. This means that whatever running wheel you end up getting your hamster, it better be sturdy. He will use it every night, for hours on end, pretty much all his life. Hamsters can get bored very easily if they’ve got no way to expend all that energy. Many times this can lead to chewing the cage bars, or even trying to escape. Some people decide to let their hammy roam free in a hamster-proof room. This means that the room needs to have no hidden corners, or furniture that the hamster can get under, behind, into or between (hamsters are ridiculously good at this), and have no exposed surfaces that can harm them. Or that the hamster can harm, like a power strip cable, or charger for example. If you decide to let your hamster have floor time, have a good plan to catch him. Baiting him with food into his cage or exercise ball usually helps. Guinea pig exercise and floor time Guinea pigs are fairly different from hamsters in this respect. They need plenty of exercise too, but it’s a bit hard for them to get a good wheel, and an exercise ball is not a good idea. The main reason is that both a ball and an wheel need to be very large in order for the piggy’s back to be straight. Most people don’t have room for such a large wheel in their home, let alone the piggy’s cage. So that leaves the guinea pig owner with two choices: get a very very large cage, and/or supplement it with lots of floor time. Now, even if you do have a very large cage for the guinea pig, it’s probably not enough. This is because they need to be able to roam as much as they like, at all times. As large as a cage can be, it just isn’t enough and becomes repetitive. Some people dedicate an entire room to the piggies. That room is guinea-pig proofed, meaning the floor is easy to clean (piggies pee and poop incredibly often), there is no furniture the pig can chew on, there are several huts/hideouts the pigs can use, and they are well contained. If you’ve got the spare room for that, it would be a great treat for your piggies, giving them so much space all for themselves. But, if you’ve only got the cage, you will need to improvise with floor time. This means that a certain patch of a room you designate will have to be guinea pig proofed. News paper lining on the floor, a small wire fence to keep them inside their enclosure, food and a hideout or two to cuddle in, and lots of running around. Giving your guinea floor time will greatly reduce their boredom levels and will keep them happy and bouncy. (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.) Cage requirements are very different between the two Alright, we’ve just talked about the exercise and floor time/free roam requirements. This means that their cages need to be very large in order to keep them happy and not stressed. For hamsters the absolute minimum is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and he will do great in a larger cage than that. Dwarf hamsters can make do with smaller cages, but I’d recommend getting them a Syrian sized one as well. The problem is that most people don’t really have the space for a cage larger than that, so they end up with the minimum. Guinea pig cages do come in large sizes, and in fact the minimum is 110 by 60 cm/43 by 23.5 inches, for one guinea pig. Since guinea pigs should be kept in pairs you will need a cage almost double that size for both of them. Many people opt to make their cages C&C style – corrugated plastic and cubes. It’s basically a plastic bottom cage, which can be adjusted as much as you would like, with wire mesh as a fence to keep the piggies in. Most of these cages can be handmade, as long as you have the proper materials. They’re usually found at hardware stores, or building supply stores. Unfortunately hamsters can’t live in a C&C cage, since the spacing is too large for them, and they will easily escape. A guinea pig is large enough that the C&C cage will keep her in. Bedding, nests, and objects in their cage Both hamsters and guinea pigs need toys and some basic objects in their cage. Both can live well enough with paper-based bedding, or aspen shavings. Neither of them tolerates dust, and they have sensitive noses. Pine and cedar shavings or toys should be avoided. A hamster will need a hideout, in which to build his nest. So does a guinea pig, but she is not as attached to her hideout as the hamster. While the hamster will build his base and make it an impenetrable fortress, the guinea pig will switch between multiple hideouts. This means that yes, she will need many places to hide. Both the hamster and the guinea pig need wood-based objects to chew on. Their teeth always grow, even if they’re not both rodents (guinea pigs are caviidaes, or cavies for short). They need to constantly file down their teeth, in order to keep them in check and avoid dental problems. In the same vein, both hamsters and guinea pigs need toys in their cages to stave off boredom. Bored piggies and hamsters can get restless, start chewing the bars, try to escape, and even get depressed. They both need food bowls, simply because scatter-feeding them often ends up with a lot of food forgotten under all the bedding. Take your schedule and daily life into account Hamsters and guinea pigs need lots of time with their owners in order to come to trust them. Even after being tamed, they can lose that trust if you make a wrong move or scare them too much. Remember that they are prey animals, in the end. So in order to take your hamster or guinea pig, you need to dedicate time and effort. It could take days, it could only be a few weeks. but if you’ve got a very busy schedule, neither of them will be good for you. If you’re working nights and you need to be awake and at home in the evening, then you will have time and patience to train and tame your hamster. Possibly the guinea pigs too. But, hamsters sleep during the day, all day. If you’re like me and work during the day and go to bed fairly early (10 PM) you’re probably better off with the guinea pigs. They’re active during the day as well as the night, so you will end get plenty of time to spend with them. If you’re away from home very often, and for long periods of time, then neither of these pets are suited for you. This is because they don’t get a attached to their owners as other pets, and can’t travel with you as easily. In this case a dog would be better suited, depending what king of travel you’re doing. If you’ve got children that need changing, feeding, put to bed, a home to clean and some other errands to run, then a stationary pet like a hamster or guinea pig probably is not good for you either. Both the hamster and the guinea pig are confined to their cage, and won’t be able to follow you around. A cat, however, will be able to come and go as she pleases and will be with you in bed, the kitchen, the bathroom, and possibly in your work bag as well. Finally, keep in mind that guinea pigs are noisier than hamsters. The array of sounds they make, the loudness, and the frequency are all much higher. Depending on what kind of bedding you provide, you might also hear the guinea pigs moving about in their cage at night. You’ll simply her them much more often than a hamster. So take into account the kind of life you have, and whether you can dedicate enough time and energy to these creatures. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Many people have a hard time choosing between us hammies and guinea pigs, but we’ve both got our good side and our bad sides. In the end it comes down to how well we’d work with your daily life. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to care for us and keep us happy too.... Read more...
- Are Hamsters Blind ? The Truth About Your Hamster’s EyesightA blind hamster is a bit of a myth. Or is it ? Hamsters don’t have great eyesight, but are they really blind ? I looked around, asked a few questions, and found out if hamsters can see. My Teddy was a bit of a guide here, since I compared what I found out with what I’ve seen Teddy do or how he’s reacted in the past. Here’s what I found out about hamster eyesight. Table of Contents So are hamsters blind ?Hamsters don’t rely on their eyesA hamster has a great sense of smellHammies use their hearing for nearly everythingWhiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’Don’t make sudden movements around your hamsterHamsters are very sensitive to light levelsA word from Teddy So are hamsters blind ? No, hamsters are not blind. They are born blind, like most animals, but they don’t stay blind. The eyesight in hamsters forms after a few days, but it never really develops very well. Hamsters have poor eyesight, but blind they are not. They won’t notice you if you just sit still, since they don’t perceive things that are farther away from their whiskers, or directly in front of them. This also means your hamster can’t judge distances or depth, at all, and he will jump from a higher level in his cage to take a shortcut, and possibly hurt himself. Or jump out of your hands, thinking the cage is just a sneeze away. Alright, so hamsters aren’t blind, but they don’t see well either. How do they navigate and survive then ? Let’s see. Hamsters don’t rely on their eyes Hamsters use their other senses much more than they use their eyes. Even if your hamster becomes blind over time, it won’t impact him very much. This is because hamsters don’t relay on seeing what’s in front of them or around them, as much as they rely on hearing and smelling their environment. If you’ve got a blind hamster, you’ll notice he’s got the cage all memorized and knows where to go and how to navigate. There might be a few things you’ll have to get out of his way that he might bump into, like toys that move (a see-saw for example) or bridges. Other than that, a blind hamster will know where his food is, where is nest is, where the water bottle is, and will recognize your voice. He might be a bit nippy, but that’s about the only change people have ever reported about hamsters that turned blind. A hamster has a great sense of smell Hamsters use their smell for lots of things. Even if they don’t see very well, hamsters can still ‘see’ their surroundings. Us humans don’t rely on smell too much, but hamsters do. Your hammy knows your scent, knows the smell of the house, and doesn’t like air fresheners too much. This means that any strong smell will be overwhelming for your hamster. Like perfume, for example, which can be way too strong for his sensitive little nose. If you’re handling your hamster you should wash your hands before. Depending on what you’ve done before, he might not like the smell and bite, or me might love the smell and try to… well, eat your hand. My girlfriend touched some cooked chicken once, wiped her hands on a towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy smelled the chicken and chomped down on her finger, and she’s been afraid of him ever since. Best to avoid that, and wash your hands. Do be careful to use non-perfumed, anti-bacterial soap. An overly floral or fruity soap might have the opposite effect and make your hamster think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands. Conversely, hamsters absolutely hate citrus. Teddy shies away from my hand after I’ve peeled any kind of citrus. Even after I wash my hands. He just can’t stand the smell. Hammies use their hearing for nearly everything Hearing is what hamsters use most in the wild to figure out if there’s predators around or not. Have you ever seen your hammy just freeze in place, with this focused, intense look on his furry face ? He’s listening. Veeery very carefully, who knows when a fox might jump through the window to get him. Jokes aside, it’s funny with pet hamsters, but a life-saving trait for wild hamsters. There’s no fox or owl or snake trying to get to your pet hamster, but in the wild, his predators might be just around the corner. They make sounds, even when they’re trying to be sneaky. Your hamster knows those sounds. Hammies need some time to learn every sound in the house in order to feel comfortable and not panic at every floorboard creaking. After a while they’ll stop freezing as often, and be more relaxed. They are hamsters, however, and won’t really ever relax. Hamsters are sensitive to sound, but not the way you’d think. Loud noises are not comfortable for their ears, but don’t phase them much. They’re a bit stressful, but they know what’s going on. So for example in a fireworks display it’s not the loud noises that scare them, but the bright, sudden lights. (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.) Whiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’ Alright, so your hamster’s got superhearing and dog-level smell. He’s also got ‘the touch’. I mean he sees with his little paws, and his whiskers. In the wild the hamster’s many tunnels are pitch black and winding, so he has to be able to navigate them somehow. The tunnels don’t hum, and they don’t smell, so he has to see with his paws and whiskers. This also applies to his cage, plus the fact that he knows where everything is because he’s memorized it. One of the reasons changing up his habitat is a bad idea. Hamsters don’t like change. When it comes to touch, he’s also sensitive to vibrations. He can sense them both in his paws and his whiskers too. Even if you got out of bed very quietly, and made sure to not turn on the light or step wrong, he still knows you’re up. You every move is a small vibration, and he can sense that. Not in a weird way, it’s just his super-sensitive sense of touch. For example my Teddy keeps sleeping if I just rummage in the room he’s in. But once I speak towards his cage, or stand there for a few minutes, he comes out. He just knows I’m there. Don’t make sudden movements around your hamster If you were sitting down and you suddenly move, chances are your hamster only just noticed you were there. And panicked. Hammies are not very bright, and they’re very easy to scare unfortunately. This means that even if you’re not trying to scare your hamster, you probably still did. Some hammies are extra jumpy and panicky, and will scamper away if they see or hear anything new. But, you can make sure you don’t scare your hamster friend by not moving suddenly. That means that if you’ve got business around his cage, move a bit slower than usual. Try not to turn around too fast, and make your movements slower, deliberate. Another thing that helps is to talk to your hamster while you’re near his cage, so he knows your general position. Hamsters are very sensitive to light levels The final warning about a hamster’s poor eyesight, sunlight hurts his eyes. The light is much too harsh for him, and actually painful. You see hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means their eyes simply can’t handle the amount of light in the daytime. Unlike cats or humans who can regulate how much light enters their eyes, hamster eyes are not as adaptable. Their pupils do adjust, but not by much. This means that the best time for a hamster to use his limited eyesight is dawn and dusk. The light levels are low enough that his eyes don’t hurt, but high enough that he can see. That being said, hamsters have very poor eyesight, even at night. But they don’t necessarily need the light on, or a nightlight at that. Just think of your hamster as your cute, fluffy, incredibly near-sighted friend who lost his glasses. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be a bit clumsy at times, and we don’t see very well, no. However we’re not blind. We can become blind with old age, or an illness, so we rely on you to help us there. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the related articles below to get more info on how to best care for us.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Need A Vet ? Keeping Your Hamster HealthyFinding and holding onto a good vet is no joke. But do hamsters need veterinarians ? And how often do they need one ? Can hamsters be treated at home ? As a responsible hamster owner, you’ll need to know this. Table of Contents So do hamsters need to visit the vet ?How to know your hamster is sick, or in need of medical attentionPicking out a good vet for your hamsterHow much a trip to the vet costs for a hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters need to visit the vet ? No, hamsters do not need mandatory veterinarian check-ups. Hamsters are hardy enough, and they’re usually shielded from most diseases by being safe in your home. There is also the fact that hamsters become very stressed when taken on a trip, and more than a couple of hours in a travel cage is disturbing for them. Keeping their time outside the house (traveling) to an absolute minimum is very important. However if the hamster is injured or sick, you will need to take him to a vet. Injuries can occur at any time, for many reasons. Diseases can still come into your home and reach your hamster – like the common cold for example. Let’s see how you will know if your hamster does need to see a vet though, and how to find a good vet for your hamster. How to know your hamster is sick, or in need of medical attention There are a few symptoms you’ll notice when your hamster is sick, or injured. Let’s go through them. Any discharge at all, from the nose, ears, eyes, anal or genital openings. Hamsters are meant to be dry, clean animals, and any discharge is a sign of severe infection. Meaning he will need a round of antibiotics for his treatment, and plenty of rest. Bleeding of any sort. The obvious kind, like an ingrown tooth that’s cut the hamster’s lip or a cut paw. But also anal/genital bleeding, since this is not normal for hamsters and is a sign of a terrible health problem. If you’ve got a female hamster and you notice her genitals bleeding, rush her to the vet. This is not normal for female hamsters, since they do not have bleeding periods like humans. Any broken paw, or limp in the hamster’s walk. If the hamster is overly hunched – hamsters rarely stand up straight, their backbone is different than ours – or very very slow. Basically anything that would show you that the hamster’s mobility is impacted. It could be ingrown/overgrown nails, or a cut toe or the result of a nasty fight with his cage mate. Any suspicious lumps or growths, even warts. This can be checked by handling your hamster, and you’ll notice through his very soft fur if there is anything hard or lumpy under the fur. Tumors can sometimes be noticed in time and the hamster can be saved. Remember that females have a row of teats down both side of the abdomen, and if you’re not careful you might mistake a teat for a wart. Signs of blood in the hamster’s nest, or on the bedding. Even if the hamster looks okay now, but you find blood in his cage, you should take him to the vet. Whatever the cause of that bleeding, it might not have healed well, or gotten infected. This can lead to a series of health problems. A bulging eye, looking like it’s about to pop out of its socket. Sometimes the tissue behind the eye can get inflamed and the hamster’s eye will be pushed outside. Any problem at all with the eye actually, even white spots (cataracts) on the hamster’s eyes. If you notice symptoms of diabetes in your hamster (usually the Dwarf types). Excessive drinking, peeing, dramatic weight change (up or down), dramatic change in appetite, weariness, no exercise. Wet-tail, usually the Syrian hamsters. This is a severe problem, and often lethal. You’ll notice the hamster’s rear is soiled, wet, smelly, and he might have a matted, sweaty look about him. He might drink a whole lot of water and still not feel better. (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.) Picking out a good vet for your hamster Knowing when to bring your hamster to the vet is one thing, but knowing who to bring him to is another. Finding a good veterinarian for your hamster isn’t exactly easy, so I recommend following recommendations from your friends at first. Ask the friends who own small animals like mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, parakeets, sugar-gliders, anything that would be small and not usually encountered as a pet. Not all veterinarians can treat hamsters. You should be looking for a vet labeled as ”exotic”. They’re usually the ones who have experience with this kind of small creatures. Although if you find a vet you’re comfortable with and he knows how to treat a hamster, even if he’s not an exotics vet, give him a chance. What should you look for in a vet ? Well, for the most part competence, yes. He should know what he’s doing and why things are happening or how he can help. But he should also be patient, both with you and your hamster. Hamsters are notorious for being skittish, and not staying put in one place. The vet should know this and move slowly to not spook the hamster who does not know him. Whatever questions you have, they should be answered thoroughly. Even if they might sound like silly questions at first, if you need to know he needs to tell you the answer. Having a good relationship with your vet will ensure your hamster gets treated fast, and very well for whatever problem he has. If you encounter a vet who seems to rush you and not have much patience either for the treatment or the questions, feel free to look for another veterinarian. If at all possible, try looking for a veterinarian who lives as close to you as possible. Travel upsets hamsters, so the shorter the distance, the better. But if the vet you find close to your home turns out to be not to your liking, look for another one, even if he’s a bit farther away. You will not need to see the vet often. But when you do, he needs to be a good, patient person, and able to competently help your hamster back on his feet. How much a trip to the vet costs for a hamster This I can’t say. It really depends on where you live, the vet himself, the treatment the hamster needs, for how long, and so on. Usually checkups should be cheap, seeing as they’re just checks to see if the hamster is in good condition. Lab tests, long-term treatments and some medications can be expensive. Most of the time though, the hamster will not have a health problem bad enough to need those. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look so small and fragile, but we’re fairly hardy. We’re sensitive too, but we usually don’t get sick. 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...
- Do Hamsters Eat Vegetables – What To Feed Your HammyDo hamsters eat veggies ? Do they even like them ? Did their mothers scold them because they didn’t eat their peas and broccoli ? Jokes aside, hamsters eating vegetables is a big topic, and a very important one when it comes to what you can safely feed your hamster friend. Table of Contents So do hamsters eat vegetables ?Hamsters can eat leafy greensSome kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamstersWhat veggies to never feed your hamsterCommercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sourcesCan vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ?How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggieA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat vegetables ? Yes, they do. Hamsters do eat vegetables, and they actually like them. In the wild hamsters forage for grains and vegetables, so that’s a large part of their diet. They do catch the occasional cricket or worm, but veggies and grains/seeds are the biggest part of their diet. Not all vegetables are safe for hamsters – you can find a list of safe and unsafe foods for your hammy here. We’ll cover the veggies your hamster can eat in this article, and the ones he should be kept away from as well. Hamsters can eat leafy greens This is what you will find most common for your hammy. Like spinach leaves, watercress, lettuce, kale, iceberg, arugula, even a bit of cabbage. Easy on the cabbage though, since it’s got a large fiber content which can upset your hamster’s stomach. I gave my Teddy (Syrian hammy) a whole cabbage leaf, to see what he would do. He just sat there, munching on it. I took it out after a few minutes, since it was much too large for him. Hamsters can eat lots of leafy greens. Pretty much whatever you put in your salad is fine for him as well. With a few exceptions, which we’ll cover in the rest of this article. Some kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamsters Some root types are okay for your hammy, like for example carrots are good. But watch out if you’ve got anything other than a Syrian hammy. The Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) are very small and need very very tiny pieces of carrots. They’re prone to developing diabetes, so it’s best to keep them away from sweet-ish veggies. The same goes for sweet potatoes and corn. Those, if you even feed your hammy, should always be boiled/cooked. Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin are all okay, although it’s best to cook the pumpkin before your give it to your hamster. All kinds of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus are alright for your hammy – but at least steamed. They have a high fiber content, even if it’s less than cabbage. Make sure you feed your hammy only the upper parts, like the heads or tips. The stalks are too tough for their stomachs. What veggies to never feed your hamster There are a few veggies you should keep you hammy away from. For example regular potato, especially raw, is not recommended. The same goes for eggplant, rhubarb, and celery. The same goes for most legumes like peas, beans, if they’re not cooked. Even if they are cooked, they should still be given in a very small amount. As in, only one single bean. They have a tendency to create gas and your hamster’s gut can’t handle that very well. Very acidic veggies are a no-go, like onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are a no-go. This is because the hamster’s stomach and gut does not react well to acidic foods, of any kind. The same goes for spices. Whatever you feed your hammy, make sure it’s never seasoned, not even with salt. It needs to be either boiled in plain water, or baked plain, by itself. No added oils, spices, sauces, or whatever you’d like to add to your own food. Commercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sources You can also feed your hamster a pre-made food mix that already has enough vitamins and fibers. This is what your hamster usually would find in the veggies you give him. Still, you can give your hammy a few vegetables aside from the commercial food mix. For example a food mix like this one has plenty of nutritional value for your hammy. It will keep you for a couple or months, or a bit more, depending on how much you feed him. I’d recommend 2 teaspoons/day for a Syrian hammy, and just 1 teaspoon for a Dwarf type. This mix, along with the occasional veggie from you, and maybe a bit of boiled egg white or piece of cooked chicken will give your hammy a very happy, balanced diet. You can check the listing on Amazon for this food mix, and read the reviews as well. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Can vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ? There’s times when your hamster will need to get his water from a very stable source. One that will not drip or spill over. For these times, like when you’re transporting your hamster to the vet, or you’re taking him somewhere, a couple of veggies will give your hamster enough water for a few hours. For more info on how to safely transport your hamster, you need to check out this article. You’ll find out how to transport him, as well as what kind of cage you need, and how to make sure he isn’t scared on the road. As for the kind of veggies your hamster can get water from, cucumber is the best option. It’s got a whole lot of water content, and a couple of slices, kept fairly cold, are going to provide your hamster with enough water for a few hours. You can substitute cucumber with some iceberg lettuce, which again has a very high water content. However those have a bit more fiber than cucumber, so do not rely on those entirely. How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggie Whenever you give your hammy a new food, of any kind, try it out in small pieces. So if you want to introduce carrot into your hamster’s diet for example. start this way. Give him a very small piece, about the size of your pinky finger’s nail. Make sure that is the only bit of new food he gets for 24 hours. You can still feed him his usual food, but do not give him more that a very small piece of the new food. After 24 hours, if you see he’s still well, has no wet stool, and is not lethargic, then you can introduce the new food in larger amounts. Do remember that the pieces of veggies you give your hammy should never be larger than an inch/2.5 cm. A word from Teddy I hope you know now if us hammies can eat different kinds of veggies. For example I love munching on a bit of carrot from time to time. And maybe your friend likes spinach leaves. If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on how large a cage we need, how much water we need in a day, and even why we sometimes eat our poop.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Cheese ? Are The Cartoons Right ?When I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat cheese like I saw in Tom & Jerry. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge ! Table of Contents So can my hamster eat dairy ?Hamsters can eat cheeseHamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurtHammies should avoid milkCommercial hamster food has enough mineral contentA word from Teddy So can my hamster eat dairy ? The short answer – yes, hamsters can eat some types of dairy. But in a small amounts, and only certain kinds. Some dairy products are safe for hamsters, some can cause digestive problems. Lactose content plays a major role in how well mammals respond to dairy, and hamsters fall into the mammal category. Not all milk-based products are okay for hammies. This is due to the small size of hamsters, and their different gut than humans. Hamsters can tolerate some kinds of dairy, and I’ll cover the main kinds in the rest of the article. Hamsters can eat cheese Cheese is safe for hamsters, both regular cheese and white/cottage cheese, including feta. This is mostly because the fermenting process ends in a product that is safe to consume for most creatures. The lactose content in cheese is much smaller than in regular milk. The gut has an easier time processing cheese than any other dairy product, since there’s less lactose in it. You’ve seen Jerry in the cartoons go nuts over a bit of cheese. Well, hamsters love cheese just as much as mice do, since they’re not so distantly related after all. Also, the strong smell makes hammies want to go for it instantly. You can see my Teddy in the first photo of this article, happily munching on a bit of Gouda. The first time he even smelled it, he was all over it. So yes, hamsters can eat cheese, and their stomach is okay with it. Be sure to give your hamsters mild cheese that is not very aged. Overly smelly (pungent) cheese may sit badly with them, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. Soft cheeses like brie, or washed rind cheeses have a mold or bacteria culture that may be unsafe for hamsters, so try and avoid giving them to hamsters. Hamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurt Yogurt is another story here. The probiotics are a welcome bonus, and it will help with digestive problems. However with hamsters it’s the bacteria culture that can cause trouble. You see, hammies have a different kind of stool than humans. The only reason hammies ever have a wet stool is if they’re very very ill and this is not something okay for them. So I’m not saying giving your hamster yogurt will give him a runny stool. But I am saying that yogurt may cause bloating and digestive problems for your hamster. Which is why I recommend that you don’t give your hamster yogurt often, or in large amounts. Something like half a teaspoon is enough, and it should not be given more than once per week. Hammies will eat many things that are not okay for them. They can’t really know the difference between the foods unless they try it, so they rely on you to keep them safe. You will find yogurt listed as an ingredient for some treats for hamsters. That’s usually alright, since it’s in a small amount, and mostly there’s powdered milk where it says yogurt. Actual, natural yogurt does not keep and can’t be used in most treats. Hammies should avoid milk When it comes to milk, I recommend you avoid it completely for your hamster. The amount of lactose is the highest in milk, and it’s the one most likely to give your hamster a bad tummy. Hamsters only suckle from their mothers until they’re 3-4 weeks old. After they’re weaned, like most mammals, they can’t process lactose and will have trouble digesting it. Most everyone has a degree of lactose intolerance, some more extreme, some more manageable. Younger mammals, like baby hamsters or humans can process it well enough. Adult humans or hamsters can’t stomach milk and will have trouble with it. (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.) Commercial hamster food has enough mineral content You can feed your hamster with things you’ve already got around the house. Like meat, and veggies, and some cheese. You can find a list of safe foods for your hamster right here. But it’s both easier and more nutrition-conscious of you to feed your hammy a pre-made food mix, that will give your hamster enough to cover the basics. Commercial food mixes do have a high enough mineral content, which is something you might think you’re helping your hamster get with extra cheese or yogurt. A good food mix like this one is going to help your hamster cover all his bases. You’ve got protein, veggies, vitamins, fibers, and minerals. And the selection in this bag is very wide, so your hamster can choose whatever he like. Be warned though, that hamsters can become very picky with their food, and they might ignore bits of the mix sometimes. That’s okay, you can add a peanut here, a walnut there, and make sure your hammy gets all the nutrition he needs. You’ll find the Amazon listing for this food mix here, and you can check out the reviews as well. You can supplement your hammy’s food with whatever you have on hand as is okay for him to eat. For example I give my Teddy a small bit of cooked chicken, or cooked egg white whenever we’re cooking, er even a bit of carrot. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might want to eat everything, but only some kinds of dairy are okay. For example I love Gouda, and Maasdam cheese, but maybe your hammy likes Cheddar better ? If you want to know more about us hamster you should check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like how large a cage we need, and why we sometimes freeze when you walk by us.... Read more...
- About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other ParasitesIf you’ve got a hammy and he’s suddenly scratching too much, or keeps losing his fur, you might be wondering if he’s got a skin condition. Or if a parasite found its way onto your friend. Well, it’s very probable, and we’re going to look at what the most common symptoms are for skin/fur conditions and parasite, both external and internal. Table of Contents Hamster skin/fur conditionsHamster fur becoming very sparseHamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratchesSyrian hamster has a black dot on each hipOdd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or earsMites in hamstersMites in the hamster’s furMites in the hamster’s earsWorm parasites in hamstersFungal parasites in hamstersThe first is the Aspergillus fungusThe other fungus that can affect hamsters is the RingwormKeeping the hamster parasite-freeA word from Teddy Hamster skin/fur conditions For the most part hamsters are clean animals. Except for some terrible illness like wet-tail, their fur is very bright, fluffy, and well put together. So why is your hammy suddenly losing patches of fur ? Or having small red inflammations under its fur ? Hamster fur becoming very sparse Hammies will start losing their fur under certain conditions. One of those conditions is old age. Just like very old humans start to lose large amounts of hair, so do hamster seniors. By this I means the hamster’s fur will become sparse, you might even see some skin peeking here and there. It might be especially severe around the hammy’s hind quarters. A hamster is a senior once he gets close to his second birthday. Hamsters only live between 2 to 4 years, and will become very slow once they get old. Their body starts to shut down, and there isn’t much you can do. Aside from make life easier for them with nice food and a warmer nest. Unfortunately hair loss is part of that process. Another condition under which hamsters can start losing fur is stress. Hamsters react very, very poorly to stress. A number of health issues can come up from having the hamster too stressed. From an upset stomach, lack of appetite, bar chewing, biting himself, even hair loss. Only this type of hair loss is in patches, as opposed to thinning hair. A stressed hamster can be due to: a bullying cage mate too much handling on your part (or whomever handles the hamster) not feeling safe – curious cat or barking dog always around the hamster’s cage too much traffic around the hamster’s habitat, especially during the day when it sleeps another illness, that isn’t immediately obvious Most of the reasons I outlined above can be avoided. The hamster’s cage can be moved to a quieter, safe, calm room. A bad cage mate can be separated – either in the same cage if it’s large enough, or by getting another cage altogether for the bully. Fur loss can happen for other reasons, like a parasite, but we will cover that in the Parasite section of the article. Hamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratches Hamsters can get rashes, and the reasons are not clear. Just like in humans, a random rash can be just that – random, and not easy to figure out. Usually a rash on the hammy can be a sign of a parasite or allergy on the skin, but in the cases it is not, your veterinarian will be able to help you. Look for a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since these have the most experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. You’ll notice your hammy has a rash if he keeps scratching himself in one particular spot. It will usually be red, possibly a bit inflamed, the skin might get a bit dry and flaky and the fur will have fallen off in that are. The fur usually does come back. Your veterinarian will most probably give you a cream treatment to help your hammy with the itching. If it’s an allergy, it will usually clear up once the allergen is taken away. However figuring out which object form the cage is the cause can be difficult. Watch your hamster closely, notice where the rash is, and what he interacts with in his cage. It could be a few hours until you notice something. Syrian hamster has a black dot on each hip I put this one here because I was completely stumped as to what was wrong with my Teddy. He is a Syrian male, and one day he came out of his hideout with both hips licked flat, and two large black dots on his hips. I first thought this was some sort of tumor or huge scab I didn’t notice on him before. As it turns out, not, the dots are not dangerous. They are in fact the scent glands. Hammies lick and nibble at their scent glands every now and then, and that’s when you are able to notice them. Usually they’re invisible under all that fur. A Dwarf type hammy has hos scent gland on his belly, and it’s not colored black. Odd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or ears An odd growth on the hammy sometimes can be a tumor. It’s not a tumor every time, but it can be one sometimes. You’ll notice it’s a tumor if it’s more of a lump of skin than anything. It might become very large and fleshy, and just look out of place. If it is indeed a tumor, a vet will be able to remove it from the hamster. Not all vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small creature, but some can help. If the growth is smaller, harder, possibly even longer than it’s wide, it could be a skin tag. Or wart, depending on the name your vet gives it. These are usually harmless and do not hurt or otherwise inconvenience the hamster. But the hammy might not like them and will try to tear them off, which will make them bleed. They will come back with a vengeance and grow bigger and uglier. You can find them anywhere, but they’re usually around the nose, ears, feet, tail, rarely the eyes or mouth. Treatment is available, but your need to see a vet for this. Mites in hamsters Mites are not uncommon in pets, nor are they in humans. With your friend, there are 2 possibilities. Mites in the hamster’s fur Fur mites are invisible to the naked eye. They burrow and live inside the hammy’s fur, and feed off dead skin cells. They can produce irritations and dry, flaky, itchy skin in your hammy. They’re usually present on the hammy, but in a small amount. Only a large amount of them leads to the symptoms I just described. These can be treated at the veterinarian’s office, but never get a medication online. Or in pet shops. The problems with these medications is that the dosage is hard to get right, and you risk hurting your hamster More than helping him. Some medications even require the hamster to be fully bathed in them, which is never a good idea for a hamster. So stick to whatever your vet recommends. Mites in the hamster’s ears Ear mites are different, and these you might notice. They’re darker in color, and can be seen moving if you look closely at the hamster’s ear. They will produce red, crusty lesions on the hammy’s ears, and they might extend to the eyes, mouth, even tail. Mites are contagious, both the ear mites and the fur mites. So if you’ve got a pair of hamsters living together, separate the infected one while he gets his treatment. Worm parasites in hamsters Hamsters can get worm parasites as well, however they are not immediately noticeable. The hammy might have an itchy rear-end, or you might notice part of the worm in a few droppings. Deworming treatments are available, however they should be administered by your veterinarian. Symptoms can be dehydration, loss of appetite, weight loss, intestinal blockage, or possibly diarrhea. These are the extreme cases. Usually they’re not immediately obvious. Some worms can transfer from hamsters to humans, for example the worm’s eggs on the hamster’s food or droppings. For this reason a hamster with a worm parasite should be handled with gloves, and the hands thoroughly washed afterwards, as a secondary precaution. The worm eggs can spring up when the cage is in a bug-infested area, since some worms can live inside insects as well. Another possibility is an unkempt cage, which should be cleaned once per week. And finally, the eggs can also be present on hamster food, or the bedding itself. For this reason freezing the hamster’s food and bedding for a minimum of 48 hours should be done. The extreme cold will kill off the eggs and larvae. Do keep in mind that if you live in warmer, more humid climates, the eggs can hatch much faster. (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.) Fungal parasites in hamsters There are 2 main types of fungus that can affect your hamster friend. Both can be treated, however they are different in how they manifest themselves. Both are very dangerous, and are contagious. The first is the Aspergillus fungus It will grow primarily in the hamster’s pee corner. I’m not sure if a litter box will save you form one of these infections, but it’s worth a shot. You can find out more about litter boxes and potty trained hamsters here. So the way the Aspergillus fungus works is that it grows on the wet/moist bedding in the hamster’s cage. That can either be the pee corner, or the are directly under the water bottle if there is leakage. First it will grow white, and in time it will turn black. It will end up spreading its spores all around the hamster’s cage, and you need to act quick. This can be deadly for the hamster. The hamster must be taken to the vet as soon as you see the white formation in his cage. The vet will give him the proper treatment. As for the cage itself, it will need a complete clean and disinfection from top to bottom. With the help of a disinfectant from the vet, soap, and hot water. The other fungus that can affect hamsters is the Ringworm Not a worm, per-se, but that’s the name. It’s actually a fungus. It can come about from other infected hamsters, humans, even infected bedding, and is highly contagious. You’ll notice the hammy has a Ringworm infection if there are round patches on his skin, with no fur on them. There will be a red ring (many tiny red dots) towards the edge of the ring, and the skin will be dry. Patchy, dry, possibly itchy, and the hamster will be very annoyed by it. Treatment is possible, but it take a few weeks. In this time the hamster should only be handled with gloved hands, and definitely kept away from other hamsters. As with the Aspergillus fungus, the cage must be deep-cleaned too. This means a disinfectant, hot water, soap, and possibly throwing out some objects that can’t be cleaned. Those might be the wood objects. Do talk to your vet, see if he has a way to disinfect wood safely. Keeping the hamster parasite-free The first thing you can do to keep you hamster friend parasite free is to keep the cage clean. This is not always the problem, but is the most common culprit. The cage should be cleaned once per week, possibly every two weeks if it does not develop a strong odor. This means new bedding, nesting material, and running the plastic objects under hot water. Another thing is to deep-freeze and then properly dry the hamster’s food and bedding. Often the eggs for various worms, or the spores for certain fungi are present on the food or bedding. Extreme heat or cold will kill them off. Be careful with your hamster’s water supply. Tap water is safe for hamsters, as long as it is clean. However a bottled option would be safer. Look for a bottle that says it can also be used to prepare baby food as well. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your hamster. Many diseases are contagious, and can easily be passed from hamster to human, or vice versa. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. We hamsters are a hardy bunch, but we do get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check the related articles below for more info on how to care for us properly.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your HamsterIf you’re wondering if your hamster get a bit lonely and needs a friend, let’s clear that up. It’s a very common question for hamster owners, and I had that question too when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Here’s what I found out, and whether it’s worth getting your hamster a friend. Table of Contents So do hamsters get lonely ?Hamsters are not very sociable animalsWhy do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successfulA few considerations about the hamster’s cageYour hamster doesn’t really get bored eitherA word from Teddy So do hamsters get lonely ? No. Hamsters do not get lonely. They can live in a pair or small group if they have no choice, but there will be fights every now and then, and half the time they need to be separated into individual cages. If your hamster’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new hamster is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hamsters are very territorial, and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other hamsters, at any cost. So let’s take a look into the hamster’s general personality, and why they wouldn’t ever be lonely. Hamsters are not very sociable animals While you’ve heard of, or seem people keep pairs of hamsters, that’s not always a good idea. You see in the wild hamsters are territorial – in captivity too – and will protect what is theirs. This means that every night, when the hamster is up and awake, he patrols his territory. He finds food and dodges predators, and if he ever finds another hamster, there will be a brutal, bloody fight. The only moment this does not happen is if a male meets a female in heat. Even then their mating ritual is fairly violent. So a pet hamster will pretty much do the same. There are some things you can’t breed out of a creature, and this is one of them. Besides, hamsters have only ever been pets for the last century or so. Why do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Good question, and a very common one. You see, baby hamsters (up to 12 weeks old) are a bit less territorial than adults and will be fairly okay with sharing with their siblings. However once the hamster reaches 4 weeks, he’s weaned and they can reproduce. So that means splitting into same-sex pairs, for obvious reasons. Most hamsters get adopted before they reach adulthood (12 weeks), but the closer they get to that mark the more aggressive they become with their siblings. Pet shops are a bit short on space, and will keep hamsters together as long as they possibly can, until they notice the hamsters starting to fight too much. So in short, a mix between not enough space, and the hamsters being somewhat docile until they’re adults are the main reasons pet shops keep hamsters together. This is especially stressful for Syrian hamsters and Chinese Dwarfs, who are the most territorial and aggressive hamsters out there. Those two can never live with another hamster, not even their own siblings. (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.) Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successful You can always get a pair of hamsters, but that means you’ll need to get Dwarf hamsters. Those are the only hamsters that can live with another hamster, and only under certain circumstances. You see, hamsters are territorial and will not share anything. This is true for Dwarf hamsters too, however they can be a bit more lenient towards siblings they’ve grown up with, and have never been separated from. So in short the only way you can pair Dwarves is if they’re siblings, of the same sex, and have never been separated. They will need to be introduced to the same cage, at the same time, and the cage must be new (not have any of their scents beforehand). Even so, there can still be fights every now and then. One hamster can become too dominant and start bullying the other one, who will in turn become stressed. This means a host of health issues for the bullied hamster and behaviors like cage chewing or trying to escape. There are times when the fights become very violent, and if they ever get bloody you need to separate the two. A bit of sparring and asserting of dominance is normal, but drawing blood is serious business. Giving your hamsters room to hide and run away from each other is essential, so the bullied one can get free. A few considerations about the hamster’s cage A very large cage helps keep a pair of hamsters from fighting too much. Lots of space, plenty of hideouts, food bowls, water bottles and toys, and they should be fine. They can still fight, but a large cage with many accessories is all you can do to lower the chances. For example the absolute minimum for a hamster’s cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and I’d recommend it for a Dwarf pair too. However a cage larger than this is welcome, but hard to find. Unfortunately most cages on the market are smaller than this, or this size at most. You’re better off looking for the Detolf shelf from Ikea – expensive, yes, but there is no complaining about your hamsters not having enough space there. If you’ve got a lone hamster – which is what I’d recommend – he will still benefit from a large cage. The more space the hamster has to run around in, play, and generally just be a hamster, the better. Your hamster doesn’t really get bored either You might think a lone hamster will get bored. As in, if he’s a lone all day, every day, he’s probably sad and bored all the time. Well, the truth is that hamsters simply aren’t like us humans. They don’t have big goals, are not trying to build something with their lives, and as such aren’t really bothered by being kept in a cage. As long as the cage has toys and plenty of things to do, he’s just peachy. By this I mean a wheel for your hamster to run in, and an added exercise ball for time outside of his cage will help too. A few toys – some DYI some store-bought – will relieve a lot of boredom. Hamsters especially love puzzle toys, like a few bits of food inside a cardboard cube that he’s going to have to tear open to get inside to the food. Tubes are another option, since they give your hamster time outside the cage, and are also a good imitation of their nest in the wild. If you get toys for your hamster, make sure they’re made of wood since hamsters love to chew on everything they can, including their own nest. True, a hamster with a buddy will definitely never be bored. But the risk of them not getting along is high enough that it might not be worth it. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. I know you mean well, but us hamsters don’t really get lonely. We’re perfectly fine on our own, and don’t really crave company. 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...