If 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.
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.
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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.
- Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to KnowWho doesn’t love their furry pet and enjoy spending time with them? Hamsters have become wildly popular, as they’re sociable and don’t require too much maintenance. The latter is one of the primary reasons that they’re so popular, and that makes them a favorite for kids, as they can slowly start to learn the basic responsibilities of caring for a pet. However, pets need to be trained. Hamsters, just like any other animal, aren’t going to make good pets if they aren’t trained. Every animal is naturally defensive when interacting with a human until it’s taught to become social. The same principle applies to hamsters – they need to be taught how to interact with humans if we want them to make good pets. This is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we’ll be taking a look into hamster training techniques, and seeing how to make them better for human interaction. We’ll be covering an array of topics in hamster training; how to teach them not to bite, how to teach them to be held, how to teach them to use a litter box, and how to teach them to do tricks. Hamsters can make wonderful pets if they’re trained well, and that’s exactly what we’ll be teaching you today. Let’s get started! Table of Contents Training a Hamster Not to Bite.Training a Hamster to be Held.Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box.Training a Hamster Tricks. Training a Hamster Not to Bite. There’s a reason that hamsters are considered to be great pets for kids, but despite that, they’re sometimes known to bite. It’s very rare for a hamster to actually display aggressive behavior, and they usually bite only when they get scared. Hamster teeth are tiny and people naturally think that they won’t do too much damage, but they are going to cut you if bitten. If this has happened, make sure to disinfect the wound. The sole reason hamsters bite is because they’re afraid. Tame hamsters that are used to being around people aren’t afraid of us, and they don’t mind being held. On the other hand, there are hamsters that still aren’t used to being in human company, and they don’t enjoy being held. These hamsters are the ones that bite. It’s important to remember that they’re not biting out of spite or out of hatred, but because they’re afraid of us. After all, you’d probably be scared too is a creature that’s literally twenty times your size picked you up, and toyed around with you. Now, if you want your hamster to stop biting, you’re first going to have to be patient. It’s going to take a while before your hamster gets used to you and they can truly trust you. You’re going to need to earn that trust, which is a slow and gradual process. Don’t be discouraged if this process takes over a month, or even longer than that, but also don’t be surprised if your hamster takes quickly to your ways. If your hamster is advancing rapidly, then you can shorten the period between the steps we’re about to describe. If you’re still witnessing some hesitation from their side, it’s best to return to the previous step and repeat it until the animal is completely comfortable with you (on that level). This will take a while, but it’s definitely worth it. This process will take weeks, so we’ll be describing it week by week. Week 1: let your hamster get used to you – your hamster needs to get to know you without much physical contact. Since they’re most active in the evening and at night, it’s a good idea to sit next to your hamster in the evening and talk to them. You don’t even have to talk to them, you can talk to someone else, but let them get used to your voice and your presence. It’s also important for the hamster to get used to your scent. If you don’t know what to say, feel free to read a book, or if you’re working or studying – you can read out loud to them. Since moving to a new cage and a new home is very stressful, this will give your hamster enough time to adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t try to touch your hamster just yet. This may be a problem when you have to take the hamster out of the cage for cleaning – or returning the hamster to the cage if it’s escaped. To do this, corner them with a towel or a large glass, and then let them enter the towel or the glass. Week 2: let your hamster get used to your hand – it’s very important for any animal to get used to the scent of their owner in order for them to form a good relationship. You can gently place your hand in your hamster’s cage, and you’ll see how it will react. Not all hamsters are the same, and they’re not all equally easy to train – just like humans, all animals have distinct characteristics to their behavior, and that should be respected just like we respect it with humans. Do this very slowly, on the first day, put your hand on the cage or just inside the door of the cage. Following the same practice each day, try placing your hand a little further and a little further. Don’t yet try to touch your hamster, but if it wants to sniff your hand or explore it, let it. Week 3: offer your hamster treats – it’s common knowledge that treats are one of the best ways to train animals, as their instinct conditions them not to reject food. By now, you could have easily figured out which treats are your hamster’s favorites. These treats can be great training tools, and you should offer your hamster these goodies from the hand that’s in the cage. With time, your hamster will eat out of your hand, which will develop trust between you. Why is this so important? All animals, including humans, are vulnerable when they’re feeding. The fact that an animal is ready to eat out of your hand means that it trusts you to the point it’s ready to stick its head into your hand which could easily harm it if you wanted to. So, an animal eating from your hand means that it trusts you. If you’re still undecided on the treats for your hamsters, try with apples, raising, and sunflower seeds. Week 4: pet your hamster – once your hamster has gotten used to your scent and your presence, you can try to pet it. Do this gently, and if your hamster is okay with this, you can try to pick up your hamster (which is our next step). Week 5: pick up your hamster – so, your hamster is accepting treats and it’s letting you pet it, this means that it’s time to try to pick it up. To do this, firstly buy your way in with some treats, and gently reach for your hamster – let your hamster determine how far you can get in each session. Entice the hamster onto your hands with the treats. Then, you can try scooping it up with both hands. The best way to do this is to place each hand on either side of your hamster, and then connect them under your belly. Cup your hamster gently in your hands, that’s much better than tightly gripping over its back. Don’t hold your hamster too high above ground – in case it wants to jump out. You don’t want it facing a fall from six feet. Firstly, just hold it in its cage, and then with time, you can take it out. If you turn the hamster towards your body, it’s less likely to try and jump away. A few things you should keep on your mind when doing this: – make sure to wash your hands before you start working with your hamster, you don’t want it to smell food on you. That can be distracting. – some people will suggest wearing thick gloves to help with the biting. This can be useful, but your hamster needs to get used to your scent, and in that regard – this isn’t a good solution. – sometimes, when you pick your hamster up, they will clamp themselves onto your hand with their tiny paws. Don’t shake your hand to dislodge them – just gently put them down and let them come off. – don’t scold, yell, or hit the hamster. Smaller animals are afraid of loud and sudden noises, so much so that they can actually die from shock. – different hamsters act differently – Dwarf hamsters are very territorial, this means that they’re not going to appreciate you pushing your fingers into their cage. If this is the cage, let the hamster exit the cage (into a wider area, but still an area they can’t escape or hurt themselves in) and try to train them there. Training a Hamster to be Held. Now, when you’re buying a hamster and you want to teach it to be tame and train it, the first thing you should do is let the hamster rest. Smaller animals are very easy to frighten, so it’s best to let your hamster get used to its new surroundings before trying to teach it anything. However, if your hamster has become adjusted, you can now try to teach it to be held Before doing that, you need to teach your hamster not to bite. This is actually the first thing to teach it, as it’s synonymous with teaching your hamster that you’re its friend. When you teach your hamster not to bite (following the steps in the previous section), you can move on to teaching it to be held. Stress can make a lot of hamsters sick, so make sure that you’re not stressing your hamster out and that you’re taking it slow. Firstly, don’t try to handle your hamster when it’s sleeping. Just like humans – hamsters don’t like to be woken up, so don’t disturb your hamster when it’s sleeping. This can cause health issues and it’s more likely that your hamster will bite if you’ve just woken it up. Similar to the steps for teaching the hamster not to bite in our previous section, you’re going to need to take it slow. Use treats to gain trust with your hamster and slowly start putting your hand in the cage – let it climb into your hand. In the beginning, don’t take your hand out of the cage. Raise it, and the hamster will realize that you’re holding it. Feed it a treat and let the hamster back on the ground, repeat this process for a day. After that, you can let the hamster climb into your hand and you can take your hand out. It’s likely that this will scare the hamster, so it may want to jump out of your hand. Don’t hold your hamster too high, just in case your hamster jumps out. Also, tame them with treats, even when they’re stressed and scared. Turning your hamster towards your body makes it less likely for them to jump out. One thing owners don’t realize is that the hamster isn’t that afraid of the feeling of being carried, as much as they’re scared of all the sights and the sounds they see around them. These animals are very easily scared and it’s important to take your time with them. Reward your animals for good behavior with treats. If you feel that your hamster is becoming stressed or that they’re uncomfortable, gently place them back in their cage and try again later. Here are some tips on teaching your hamster to enjoy being handled: – keep every interaction short – hamsters have bad and short eyesight, so make sure that you’re staying low when you’re interacting with your hamster. Don’t sit on a couch or a chair (in the beginning), as your hamster will try to run away if it gets scared, and it will fall to the floor because it can’t see where the floor is. Some experts recommend starting out in the bathtub. – each pet is individual, so don’t force things upon your hamster that they don’t enjoy doing. Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box. Many people have their doubts, but it’s actually possible to potty train a hamster. To potty train a hamster, you’re going to need a litter box and litter. Make sure to always have a litter at hand – if you can’t find hamster litter, you can buy dust-free, scent-free, clumping cat litter. Avoid litter with silica dust, and in case you can’t find any hamster litter, you can get pellet litter made of wood, paper, grain, or grass. To train your hamster to use a litter box, firstly you’ll need to figure out what corner of the cage your hamster most often uses to do their business. Put the litter box in that corner. This is very important, as hamsters don’t instinctively run to the litter box – if you don’t place it properly, it will just ignore it and proceed to take care of their business elsewhere. If the enclosure you’ve set up is still new and you haven’t a clue where to put the litter box, wait a week or two and let your hamster establish a spot. Once you’ve settled on a spot, pour in enough litter to cover the bottom of the box. Add a little soiled bedding and some droppings from your hamster. This will make the hamster follow those droppings to that spot instinctively. Once your hamster has woken up, you can pick them up and put them in the litter box for them to figure out what’s going on. After that, just let your hamster do its job on its own. Don’t force them into the potty, you don’t want to get bit or turn him away from the idea of using the litter box. Most hamsters will eventually figure out the point of the box on their own. There are, however, instances where hamsters won’t use the litter box for its intents and purposes. Hamsters will sometimes eat or sleep there, and do anything but the one thing they’re supposed to do. If this is the case, make sure to check on the areas your hamster is supposed to be using for this. For example, if your hamster is sleeping in the litter box, check their sleeping area – it’s likely that there’s something wrong with it if they’re so persistent in sleeping in the litter box. It can happen that the hamster will hide its food in the litter box – this usually means that they find the cage to be too small and they have no other place to hide their food at. There’s no other solution to this than buying a larger cage. It can also happen that the cage is too large and the hamster is using the litter box, but it’s also defecating all around the cage. In that case, place multiple litter boxes around the cage. Training a Hamster Tricks. Just like with handling and biting, you should use treats as rewards for your hamster to teach it something. Let’s cover a few tricks. Stand – a lot of animals, including hamsters, can stand on their hind feet. To teach your hamster to stand, you’re going to want to hold the treat in front of the hamster, just over its head so that the hamster can see it but not reach it. While doing this, say “Stand.” – this means nothing to the hamster right now, as they can’t understand articulated speech, but with time – they will recognize the specific sound of the word ‘stand’ as the command to stand on their hind feet. When you’re doing this, your hamster will instinctively stand up in order to get closer to the treat. When the hamster stands, give it the treat and verbal praise. Only reward the hamster if it actually stands up, don’t reward it if it doesn’t. This way, you’re teaching the hamster that it’s good for it to stand up once it hears the word ‘stand’. If your hamster doesn’t stand it might be because he or she is not hungry at that moment, or distracted by something else going on in the room. Feel free to repeat for a few times a day, and don’t stop the process until your hamster is ready to stand up after hearing your command, even when you’re not dangling a treat in front of its face. This can take a week or two. The most important thing to remember is to reward the hamster every single time it stands up. Jump – you can teach your hamster to jump, as well. You first need to teach your hamster the standing trick. To teach it this trick, get your hamster to stand, and then move your hand up and forward (while holding a treat) and say “Jump.” – it will instinctively try to jump. If the hamster tries to jump, praise him or her and give the treat. Once you’ve practiced this enough, you can add a hoop in the mix if you want to – hold a hoop between the hamster and the treat, and the hamster will jump through the hoop to get the treat. Say “Hoop.” as they’re doing it, to teach them the command of jumping through the hoop. Start by holding it low and slowly raising it up. Roll over – this is a trick that you can teach to any pet. To do this, place a seed on your hamster’s back and ask them to “Roll over.” – if they do it, reward them with a seed. After a while, they’ll be rolling over even without you placing seed on their back. Spinning in circles – after you’ve gotten your hamster used to eat treats out of your hand, you can teach them to spin in circles. Hold your hand out with the treat out and once they approach you, tell them to “Spin.” – and move your hand in a circle. The hamster will naturally follow your hand, and with time it will spin in circles just on command. Building an obstacle course – you can even build an obstacle course for your hamster to go through. Use Lego building blocks and jars, or funnels for your hamster to jump over, crawl through, etc. Make sure that nothing’s too tall, as your hamster is more likely to run around it than jump over it. Hold the treat and let it lead the hamster’s way by moving in front of it. The hamster will follow the treat anywhere. You can also make a seesaw with a simple plank and a wooden triangle, making your hamster have to balance on it. Make sure to place a wall around the obstacle course to bind it. Teaching your hamster to wear a hat or clothing – yes, this is also possible. If your hamster is used to being handled and has a good temperament, it won’t be a problem to teach it to do this. Firstly, make sure that the items fit your hamster. Keep them snug, but not tight. You can’t just cram the outfit on your hamster, so make sure that you put it on gently. Talk to them happily while you’re doing this. Give your hamster a treat as soon as you put something on. Take your hamster’s focus off the clothing and let them focus on something fun, like an apple or whatever is your hamster’s favorite treat. At first, only leave the items on for a minute, not for too long. Your hamster will learn to wear them with time and won’t have an issue with them. Let the hamster sit in your hand for the first time, as they’re probably going to be afraid. Later on, they’ll be able to wear the clothing on their own. It won’t take long before your hamster’s ready to wear clothes without you holding them. There are many things you can teach your hamster, and it’s important to constantly keep working with them in order to build and cultivate a healthy relationship. The most important thing to remember is to have patience, some hamsters are less trusting and are slower than others. Always reward your hamster with treats for a job well done, and never forget to respect its private area. Hamsters are just as vulnerable as humans, and you should keep that in mind when working with them.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Bread ? Keep Your Hamster HealthyIf you’ve got a hamster and you’re wondering if hamsters can eat bread, you’re not alone. I had the same question when I first got my Teddy. So I asked around, and then I tried giving Teddy a piece of bread. Turns out, hamsters are surprisingly much like humans when it comes to food. Table of Contents So can hamsters eat bread ?Hamsters eat mostly grainsHow much bread and pasta is safe for your hamsterA word on hamster cheek pouches, be careful what you feed your hammyHow much bread to feed your hamsterHow much pasta to feed your hamsterWhat kind of bread or pasta hamsters can eatOverfeeding your hamster on breadCommercial food provides a good enough baseA word from Teddy So can hamsters eat bread ? Yes, hamsters can eat bread. They should not have much of it though, because they gain very little nutrition from regular, white bread. So yes, you can feed your hamster some pieces of bread. But not often, and not many at a time. He will enjoy munching on it, and you can pretend you had morning toast together. Still, not all breads are created equal. Some are okay for hamsters, other breads should be avoided. The same goes for pasta actually. Let’s get into the details a bit. Hamsters eat mostly grains In the wild, hamsters eat mostly grains. This means that their diet consists mostly of grains they find around their environment, and a few veggies they stumble upon. However given the region hamsters come from – from Syria, all the way into Russia and Mongolia and parts of China – their food is scarce. The terrains in the wilderness in those places do not grow many kinds of food for hamsters. So, the hammies have to make do with whatever they find. Like grains, a lot of plant seeds, a couple of veggies, maybe even an edible root or two. But grains and seeds are the hamster’s preferred food. And this is what you will also find in your hamster’s commercial food mix as well. To tie into the topic at hand, bread is made from different grains that were ground into flour. So, by relation yes bread can be okay for hamsters. But there are definitely some things you need to consider before your feed your hamster any kind of bread. How much bread and pasta is safe for your hamster First off, let’s talk about portion sizes. For humans, bread can be eaten in very large quantities. The health benefits and dangers of eating bread won’t be discussed here. But I will tell you that hamsters can’t eat as much as humans, even scaled down to their size. Hammies are very greedy little creatures, and they will eat everything you give them. That does not mean that you should, or that it’s healthy for them, at all. A word on hamster cheek pouches, be careful what you feed your hammy An injury to a hammy’s cheek pouch is one of the worst, since it’s not an easy place to fix or get into without hurting the hamster. So best to avoid that problem altogether by not giving your hammy anything sharp, or very big. The same condition goes for any kind of food that can get sticky. Parts of it will remain stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches, leading to various diseases and infections. If the hamster can’t push all the food out of his cheeks, he will not feel alright and keep trying to push it until he hurts himself. This applies for cooked, sticky pasta, any kind of sauces, anything sweet, or any fluffy parts of bread. Best to feed him things that are dry. Those can’t leave much of a residue in the hamster’s cheeks. He can’t stick his tongue in those cheeks to clean them out, like humans. How much bread to feed your hamster When giving your hammy bread, you should focus on the crust. This is the crunchy bit that hamsters will love. But make sure the shell is not overly crunchy, and can’t break into small shards that will cut the hamster’s cheek pouches. Also, make sure your avoid the white, fluffy part of the bread. As for how much bread, I usually give my Teddy – adult Syrian hammy – a half inch/1 cm piece every few weeks. This is partly because there are a lot of extra carbs in the bread, that the hamster does not need. And partly because he has a lot of grains and seeds in his usual food mix. How much pasta to feed your hamster When it comes to pasta, your hammy can eat it as well. But you need to give him very small amounts, and only dry pasta. This is because your hamster will probably just shove the whole thing into his cheeks. And we’ve just discussed the whole sticky cheeks deal. So, best to give your hamster dry pasta, in small pieces. Make sure the shapes are small, like a letter from the alphabet pasta. Just make sure the letter isn’t an I or something with sharp parts. The pasta should not be fed often to your hamster. This is because it has a lot of carbs, like the bread, and the hamster does have carbs coming in from the grains in his food mix. What kind of bread or pasta hamsters can eat Ah yes. Hammies can have bread and pasta – but what kind ? Well, for hamsters, the grains they eat in the wild are great because they’ve got the shell. The shell of the grains has a lot of vitamins and minerals. When it comes to regular, white bread or pasta, those shells are gone. That’s why they’re so white, because they’ve been processed to remove anything but the inside of the grain. As such, they have a high gluten and carb content, but no other nutritional value. They’re basically empty carbs. This does not help your hamster. It doesn’t help you either, to be honest. So the best thing to do, for yourself, and for your hamster – trade up to whole grain. Whole grain bread, pasta, and brown rice. These still have their shells, mostly, and have much more nutrients. They’re healthier both for yourself and for your hamster. If you’re wondering, yes, hamsters can have cooked brown rice. Just not more than a couple of grains at a time, since they will hide them in their cheeks. Aside from all that, the bread must not be sweetened in any way. That excludes the majority of Western bread, like the Toast/French toast square bread, and hot dog buns, or burger buns. So where does that leave you ? Well, with the rustic looking, European-style wholegrain bread. Those are not usually sweetened, they just have a bit of salt. Maybe it sounds odd to you, or maybe it’s the bread you usually eat. I’m just telling you which is healthier for your hamster. And ultimately for you too. The same goes for pasta too. Go for wholegrain pasta, and you’re better off. And you won’t get as sticky a pasta dish either. (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.) Overfeeding your hamster on bread Alright then, what if you overfeed your hamster on bread or pasta ? Or if you already did ? The main problem here is weight gain. For hamsters this is more of an issue, because they won’t have the will to exercise that humans do. We know why we’d need to shed some weight. Your hamster doesn’t understand the health benefits, though. An obese hamster will have heart and circulatory problems, and develop joint problems as well. Those are very hard to treat in a hamster, since he is so small. If your hamster’s already overweight, you need to check out this article right away. You’ll find out the dangers of overfeeding your hamster in more detail, and how to slim him down. Of all the things to overfeed a hamster on, carbs are the worst idea. A big, fluffy hamster is cute and all, but think about his health. If the running wheel becomes a problem for him, then he is in clear danger. Commercial food provides a good enough base You can totally feed your hamster food you have in your pantry and kitchen. However that means his meals won’t always be balanced. In my opinion, and this is what I’ve been doing with my Teddy since I first got him, it’s best to give your hamster a commercial food mix. Then if you want, you can add a bit of fruit, or veg, or whatever you think is fine in his diet, as an extra. For more info on what you can safely add to your hamster’s diet, check out this safe foods list. When it comes to commercial food mixes, they are almost always well thought out. They have a healthy balance or carbs, proteins, vitamins, and some minerals and fibers. This one is a good blend, and the whole bag can last your for a couple of months or more. Depending on what kind of hamster you have, and how many you have. A Syrian hammy needs 2 teaspoons of food mix per day, every day. While Dwarf types are fine with just one teaspoon. Your hammy will become a picky eater in time, this happens with most of them. Just make sure he gets all of his food. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this food mix here, and read the reviews as well. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies can have a bit of bread and pasta too, just not a lot, and not often. We like peanuts more, to be honest. But we’re happy you want to share your food with us ! If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Smell Bad ? Here’s How To Make Sure They Don’tA smelly hamster is no fun. But do they exist ? Do hamsters smell ? If they do, how do you take care of that ? I know I had these questions when I first got my Teddy. I found outthrough trial and error what to do when there is a funky smell coming from your hammy’s cage. But let’s talk about whether hamsters do or do not smell first. Table of Contents So do hamsters smell ?Hamsters are very clean animalsA hamster’s hideout will have his scentWhy the hamster’s cage can get smelly – and what to do about itThe hamster’s pee corner is the main culpritA litter box for your hamsterYour hamster might be sickThe hamster might have some food hidden in his hideoutHamsters have their seasons as wellFemale hamsters can get a bit smellyHow to clean a hamster cage properlyPlace the hamster in a temporary holding placeRemove the toys and hideoutTake out all the bedding and nesting materialPlace fresh, clean bedding and nesting materialA word from Teddy So do hamsters smell ? No – hamsters themselves, the animals, do not smell. They don’t develop a stink that clings to their bodies. But their environment can get a bit smelly, in some cases. That’s what some people might confuse with the hamster itself being smelly. For example I’ve had my Teddy since August 2017. At the time of writing this he is nearly a year and a half old. In this time I’ve handled him often, and he’s never smelled bad. Or had any particular smell to him at all. I’ve spoken to other hamster owners, and their pets don’t smell either. But Teddy’s cage can sometimes get smelly, under certain circumstances. He is an adult Syrian hamster, but this applies across all hamster breeds. Hamsters are very clean animals In fact, hamsters clean themselves about as often and thorough as house cats. Half the time when you see a cat it’s cleaning itself, like it just came from the dirtiest place ever and needs a nice long shower. That’s how meticulous hamsters are with their cleaning routine too. If you pick him up, you’ll see he starts cleaning himself almost immediately after you put him back down. This is a habit and instinct that they’ve had since forever. In the wild hamsters are prey, and are hunted by basically every animal. Some of them fly, some crawl, some slither, and some run. But they will all look for the hammy’s smell. So, the hamster will obsessively clean himself at every turn, to make sure he has as little scent as possible. This way his predators won’t find him as easily. A hamster’s hideout will have his scent While the hamster’s hideout will have his scent, it will not get smelly under normal circumstances. Hamsters actually pee outside their hideouts, so their predators will have a harder time finding them. They also have a very sensitive nose, hamsters, so that’s another reason they avoid using their nests as bathrooms. If you observe your hamster, you’ll notice he always picks a particular spot to use as his bathroom. Always the furthest from where you placed his hideout. If anything, the hamster’s pee corner will be what gets smelly. The poo doesn’t smell, since it’s dry droppings, and his food doesn’t smell either. Hamster are very clean little things, and watching them clean themselves is always cute. But as I said above, his cage can get a bit smelly sometimes. There are a few reasons for that, let’s talk about that. Why the hamster’s cage can get smelly – and what to do about it A hamster’s cage is where he will live his entire life. So of course he will eat, poo, sleep, run in this cage and these can all leave a mark, or scent. So here are the main reasons your hamster’s cage might get smelly. The hamster’s pee corner is the main culprit This is what smells most often, and what will stand out easily. You can find that corner by noticing your hamster when he wakes up to use that corner. Or, you can look for any recently wet or moist corners. It’s usually easy to find, so you won’t have much trouble seeing or smelling it. If you’re not sure which corner it is, or your hamsters uses more than 1 corner, that’s fine. Just change the bedding in every corner if you want to be extra sure. Hamsters do poo in their hideouts, you’ve probably seen this on the cleaning days. But they rarely ever pee there. I’ve never found pee stains on the nesting in my Teddy’s hideout, but I have heard of rare cases when this happened. So, make sure you change the bedding in the corners more often than the whole bedding. If you change the entire bedding once per week that’s fine. The corners might need changing every 2-3 days though, depending on your hamster and how sensitive your smell is. A litter box for your hamster It might sound like you have a cat now. The hamster cleans himself regularly and now needs a litter box. But hamsters do use a litter box, if you give them one. You can use the bottom half of a hideout, this one actually should be plastic for ease of cleaning. Then, place mineral sand in that halved hideout. Tadaa, litter box ! As long as you place it in the corner your hamster usually uses for peeing, everything will be fine. The hamster might kick some of it up and take a sandbath as well. But that’s okay, if you want you can place another sandbox for him for this reason. If you’re not crazy about the litter box idea, you can just change the bedding in the corners every 2-3 days. If you want to know which kind of bedding is safe for hamsters, and which bedding to never get, read this list here. You’ll find out about the bedding and nesting materials your hamster will need, and how to clean them properly. Your hamster might be sick Sometimes this happens to hamsters, like wet tail for example. Wet tail is an illness more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarfs. It’s basically brought on by stress, and one of the most noticeable signs is a very very runny stool. This can be treated, but you need to call your vet as soon as you spot this. It’s not difficult to treat,but you need a vet and immediate attention. Now, when or if your hamster gets wet tail, the stool will be a bit smelly, and will wet the bedding as well. Wet bedding doesn’t smell great either, even if it’s just with water. Or, maybe your hamster has a different type of illness that can make his urine smell particularly bad. Like an infection for example. Again, contact your vet as soon as you notice this. If your hamster seems to be moving very slowly, always has his ears folded, is more hunched than usual, and sleeps a lot, call your veterinarian. The hamster might have some food hidden in his hideout Some foods can get very smelly if left out for too long. The clearest example I have is when I gave Teddy some cabbage. Well, I gave him a whole leaf, just to see how he’d react to a food 15 times larger than him. He was a funny sight, nipping at the cabbage from left to right like a typing machine. I took it out after a few minutes, since he didn’t need a whole entire leaf. But he did take a few pieces which he didn’t eat straight away. Some of them he hid in his hideout, and I only noticed the next day. There was a weird, sulphury smell around his cage. I put Teddy in his exercise ball, and looked inside his hideout. He had some cabbage pieces, and they stank. Oh boy. So, if you give your hammy a kind of food that can get smelly fast, give him very small amounts, and not often. This applies for vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus. They’re all related, and all get smelly. Cheese of any kind, even tofu, should be give in very small pieces that you’re sure the hamster will eat quickly. Boiled egg white is in this category as well. If you do find some food that’s very smelly in your hamster’s cage or hideout, remove it, and change the nesting material as well. Hamsters have their seasons as well By this I mean that hamsters have periods when their cage can get much smellier than usual. I’ve noticed this with my Teddy. I could never track it to a specific season – like winter or summer, or rainy or very dry, or something else. But it happened about twice a year. He’d have these periods when his cage would smell much more, and I’d have to change the bedding in his corners almost every day. I chalked that up to him just being a male, and maybe marking his territory more aggressively. As to why exactly, I’m not sure since males do not go into heat the same way females do. The period for Teddy goes away after a couple of weeks, and he never looked ill or lethargic, or out of place. Just a stinky cage, is all. Female hamsters can get a bit smelly As I’ve noticed from other hamster owners, the females can get a bit stinky in their mating periods. Females go into heat every few days. Females can actually breed immediately after giving birth, so their mating periods are short but much more often than other animals. Every 4 days to be exact. So, a female hamster might get a bit smelly when she’s in heat, to attract any male around her. However if you’re not planning on breeding your female hamster, this won’t have too much of a point for you as an owner. A female going into heat is normal, and healthy. It can get a bit smelly, but again, changing the bedding more often will help with this. (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 clean a hamster cage properly This depends a bit on what kind of cage you have for your hamster. But keeping a clean cage for your hamster will keep it non-smelly as long as possible. If you want to know what kind and size cage your hamster needs, check out this article. You’ll get a rundown of the most common cage types, and the pros and cons of all 3, including a care and maintenance guide for those cages. Place the hamster in a temporary holding place This can be an exercise ball, a transport cage, or anything else that can safely keep your hamster and allows him air to breathe. Pick up your hamster and place him directly where he needs to be, like the ball or transport cage. Always use a scooping and cupping method, and do not come from behind him. If the hamster is not easy to pick up, or very difficult to handle, bait him with a treat. Place the treat inside the transport cage or exercise ball, then close it once he’s in. Remove the toys and hideout Take everything out of the hamster’s cage. If they need cleaning, do so with a warm moist cloth, or hot water and a very small amount of soap, and leave out to dry very well. Food bowls and water bottles need cleaning more often than the wheel or hideout. Take out all the bedding and nesting material Keep just a bit of it, to make things more familiar for your hamster. If he’s been sick, skip this step. Once all the bedding is removed you should be left with an empty cage or glass tank. Those can be wiped down and/or washed with hot water and a very small amount of soap. In the pee corner you might see some very dry white substances. That’s just the work of the acidity of the urine, combined with the bedding and some dust from the bedding. It can be scrubbed off, but only if you allow it enough time to soak. Use something very coarse like a metal brush will help. But unless you do this regularly every week, that corner will become white forever. This is why I recommend the litter box, since it’s easier to clean this way. Speaking of, if you’re using a litter box, you will find some dried compacted sand, mixed with the hamster’s urine. Clean everything off with hot water, and use a toothpick or the metal brush to scrub and pick away at it. Once you’re done cleaning and washing everything, make sure you dry everything completely. Use a hair dryer if you have to. Excess moisture can make the new bedding smelly, and even build up some moldy spots. Place fresh, clean bedding and nesting material Give your hamster 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm of bedding and 2-3 torn up paper towels to use as nesting material. Place the toys and hideout back into his cage, and let the hamster back in. If you’d like to know more about how to properly care for your hamster friend, you can check out this very thorough article on exactly that. A word from Teddy I hope you found your answers here, and know that us hamsters aren’t smelly. We’re actually very clean and like to take very long ‘showers’. If your hammy’s cage is smelly, you can fix that with what you read from my owner. But if you want to know more about us hamsters, make sure to check the articles below ! You’ll find stuff like why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking HamsYou’ve maybe wondered if your hamster ever blinks. He just seems to sit there and stare at you, endlessly. Or maybe he just stares into space. Does a hamster ever blink ? I’ve found myself watching my Teddy to see if he ever does blink. And, as luck would have it, I found the answer to whether hamsters blink or not. It’s maybe not the key to the universe, but it can help us understand our furry friends better. Table of Contents So do hamsters blink ?Hamsters need their eyes clean, too !Your hamster isn’t just staring at youA few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirtyA word from Teddy So do hamsters blink ? Yes, hamsters do blink. Just not exactly like us humans. Hamsters have evolved to blink with only one eye at a time, possibly because they are prey for many animals. So they can’t really afford to even not be on guard. It’s a sort of defense mechanism like bunnies sleeping with their eyes open. Or guinea pigs only sleeping for a few minutes at a time, in patches throughout the day. You might have wondered if hamsters blink after your hammy kept looking at you and he never seemed to blink. Truth is, in the presence of humans (bigger predators) hamsters will rarely blink. That does not mean they blink their heart out when you’re not looking. It just means that until they come to trust you they won’t even try blinking. Hamsters need their eyes clean, too ! Hamsters. like any other creature with eyes, need their eyes clean. Some animals, like frogs or crocodiles have 2 sets of eyelids, one to protect the eye from injury, and one to protect the eye from the muddy water. Hamsters have just one set of eyelids – yes, hamsters have eyelids – which serve to clean their eyes when they blink, just like us humans. You might not have noticed their eyelids when looking at them, but hamsters have them. Try peeking at them when they sleep, there you will see their eyes closed. Another thing that helps keep the hamster’s eyes clean is their eyelashes. Generally eyelashes are soft, fuzzy, and very noticeable. But in hamster’s they’re thin and wispy, because the rest of their fur is like one big eyelash/brow. Their fur serves the same purpose as an eyelash, to trap debris and foreign objects that might get into their eyes. Given the hamster’s natural habitat – dry, earthy tunnels dug deep under the ground – this is a very smart adaptation. Their eyes are protected at all times. Your hamster isn’t just staring at you You might think your hamster is just staring at you. Especially if he keeps looking and doesn’t blink. I was weirded out by Teddy at first, I’ll say that. He used to just stare at me and not move. He still does that, just that now I know why. It turns out hamsters look like they’re staring at you, but in fact they’re just staring into space. Add to that the fact that they will often stop to hear if there are predators around, with a very intense look on their face. It looks like they’re staring you down, but really hamsters barely see. They don’t even really use their eyes, and they will freak out if you suddenly move. They only see what is directly in front of them, the rest is blurry. So the next time your hammy looks at you funny, know that it’s not you. It’s him, hearing things out, or just being still. (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.) A few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirty Hamsters have great protection for their eyes. However problems can and do occur, and they need your help to fix most of these issues. Even if hamsters don’t really use their eyes, these problems still can happen, like: Eye infections – where they eye can be swollen, red, hot to the touch. Pus will possibly ooze from the eye as well, as as such you will need to clean/rinse the eye with a saline solution. Bulging eye – the eye will appear larger than normal, like it’s about to pop from its place. This is often because if an inflammation of the tissue behind the eye itself. Cataracts/blindness – unfortunately many hamsters end up with this problem in their old are. This is what happens naturally to the body when the eye starts to break down on its own. There problems, and a few others, can all be solved at your local vet. It would be wise to look for an ”exotic” vet, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Or, possibly a small pet vet will be able to help too. Just keep in mind that sometimes small pet can mean a cat or bunny. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look like we’re trying to stare you down, but really we’re just being hamsters. Don’t take it personally. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...
- Releasing Your Hamster Into The Wild – Is It A Bad Idea ?Wondering if you should let your hamster roam free ? Releasing a hamster into the wild can sound like a good idea, but is it really ? Let’s see everything we should take into account when we’re thinking about such a big decision. I’ll be honest with you, I sometimes wondered if I should release my own Teddy (male Syrian hammy). So these are the things I’ve thought about before deciding what to do with him. Table of Contents So should I release my hamster in the wild ?Hamsters haven’t been pets for very longA hamster’s usual food probably isn’t available in your areaYou probably don’t live in the hamster’s natural habitatKeep in mind predators and other dangersIt’s your decision in the endA word from Teddy So should I release my hamster in the wild ? Short answer – NO. Do not release your pet hamster into the wild. Long answer – it depends on a series of factors like the area you live in, predators, how easily the hammy can find its food, if it will survive the winter or a storm, and so on. For the vast majority of people who own a hamster, the outside conditions, even in the countryside, could not sustain a hamster. Some select few could release their hamster and he could live a happy life. But let’s see what those factors are, and how they could affect your hamster’s lifespan and quality of life. Hamsters haven’t been pets for very long Let’s start with the beginning. Where hamsters come from, and where they should go, if you ever want to let them go. There’s 5 types of hamsters: Syrian or Golden hamster, Roborovski Dwarf, Campbell’s Dwarf, Djungarian Dwarf, and the Chinese Dwarf. These hammies come from a very specific part of our planet. The Syrian from Syria, Southern turkey and the arid land between them. The Dwarf types come from the area between Siberia, southern Russia, Mongolia, Northern China. Hamsters have become pets only in the last century or so, and that means one thing: they’re still very much like their ancestors. So, in theory, if you were to release your pet hamster in the wild, he would still know what to do. His instincts are intact, even if he comes from a breeder who focused on docile hamsters. However the problem is that a hamster that’s already an adult (3 months and older) is already used to human interaction, and will be a bit confused for the first few days if you were to release him into the countryside. If he’s an especially docile hamster, he will have a bit more trouble adapting. You can’t really release a baby hamster into the wild since he will immediately become dog food, There’s also the fact that a baby hasn’t learned everything from his mother yet. So there’s that, but there are still many things that would be not safe or alright for a pet hamster in the wild. A hamster’s usual food probably isn’t available in your area Another concern is that the hamster will probably not have his usual food in the wild, in your part of the world. The thing is, hamsters can and do eat many things. Grains, fruit, veggies, some types of meat, etc. But they rely mostly on grains, and if you’re living in a very urban area, you’ll have to drive to the countryside to release him. There he might be able to find some grains and a few veggies to forage. The problem with that is that unless you’re from the origin area of your hamster type (figure out which type you’ve got here), his normal food won’t be available. If you were to release him next to a corn field, he would indeed find the corn, and also a few other unsafe foods. Hamsters are very curious, and will try anything new that they find. This includes safe and unsafe weeds and plants. If the hamster were to somehow find the right kind of food, he would be able to survive in the wild. Not a guarantee, but it could be possible, strictly form a dietary point of view. You probably don’t live in the hamster’s natural habitat This is the biggest concern I have with releasing hamsters into the wild. As I said above, hamsters come from a very specific area of our planet. Those areas happen to be very sparsely populated. Most people who own a hamster do no live in the rural parts of northern China, or Mongolia. Actually many people don’t live at all in those areas, since they’re mostly barren. Some vegetation grows, which is where the hamster will find his food. But aside from that, it’s very hard living. The terrain is harsh, cold, and stretches on forever. This is one of the reasons hamsters are born to run (aside from predators), so they cover more ground looking for food. If, however, you do live in an area close to the hamster origin, you could release him into the wild. Again, the area depends on which type of hamster you’ve got. There are indeed differences between the Syrian and Dwarf hammies, and they could not live in swapped homes. We need to also take into account the difference in weather. It might sound silly, but it’s something that can make your hamster’s life in the wild unnecessarily hard. For example if you’ve got a Syrian hammy, and you live in the mountainside in France, releasing him there would be a death sentence. The cold would be too much for him, and the rains would kill him as well. Hamsters do not take well to being wet, and they have a hard time recovering from that. If you were to have a Djungarian Dwarf, he’d be more suited to the cold. The problem is that the terrain is very different from what his ancestors had. A cold, permanently snowy mountain is very different from the dry, plain tundra of Siberia or Mongolia. Again, the food source he’d find would not be similar to what his ancestors found. Keep in mind predators and other dangers Predators are a given. Whether you release the hamster in his normal habitat, or another different habitat, he will still be hunted. That’s just the nature of hamster life. A wild hamster has a much shorter life span than a pet hamster. A wild hamster has to run for his life nearly all the time, and is going to need all the energy he can muster from those little feet. In the wild there are snakes, foxes, owls, cats, wild dogs, and so on. They all hunt the tiny hamster, and he will not be safe anywhere. Wherever you release him, he has a very high chance or not making it until for long. (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.) It’s your decision in the end After everything you’ve read, do keep in mind that keeping or releasing your hamster is your decision. When I thought about releasing Teddy, it was when we were making incredibly slow progress with the taming process. We did have a breakthrough in the end and we get along fine now. But I asked myself the same things I’ve shared with you above. Would he survive in the wild here ? Would he find food ? Could he find a mate ? Would I be sending him to certain death ? Those are questions I had to ponder, and in the end I decided to keep Teddy. That’s how I decided to make this site, too. To help others understand and care for their little hamster friends, with what I’ve learned from Teddy and other hamster owners. What got to me the most was the image of Teddy’s hideout, under a tree, with rain pouring down on every side. The poor thing shivering inside his little hut, with barely a few grains he found, and nothing else. Rainy seasons are fairly long, and I knew that even if he could survive the rains, he wouldn’t survive the cold. So in the end it all comes down to what you decide. You should weight the pros and cons, although the cons seem to far outweigh the pros. What I’d suggest, if you do not want to keep your hamster anymore, is to donate him. There are certain sites, or even social media groups dedicated for donations. That’s how we got our pair of guinea pigs, actually. Or, you could take them to a shelter or pet shop, to be taken in by another owner. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might seem like we’d get along fine in the wild, but the truth is if we’re a pet, were probably very far away from our homes. If you want to know more about us hammies, and how to keep us safe, you can read the related articles below.... Read more...
- Can You Wake Up A Hamster? Read This FirstWhen I had my first hamster, I always had this question. Is it a good or a bad idea to wake up a hamster? The answers I found online at the time were quite wrong now that I know what a hamster routine is and the fact that they are solitary animals and not social animals. Many people, like me, want a pet hamster to be able to play with, but they quickly realize that their schedules don’t align since most hamsters are crepuscular or nocturnal. Now the question is, do you wake up your hamster to play with it, or do you let it sleep? Before getting to this topic, check my article about the hamster’s routine, especially if you don’t have a hamster and are thinking of getting one. Table of Contents Can you wake up a hamster?Should you wake up your hamster to feed it?How to gently wake a hamster if you have toCan you change your hamster routine?Waking hamster by mistakeCan hamsters sleep in the dark?Conclusion Can you wake up a hamster? You should not wake up your hamster, it is stressful for it as it is for us or for any other pet. You better think twice when you want to play with your hamster, and if this is the only reason you want to wake it up. Your hamster might be grumpy, and biting you is possible in that situation. It is rude to wake up a human to have someone to play with but at least we are social animals, so we like spending time with others, hamsters are not. So, when you wake up a hamster to play with, it is like waking up someone that doesn’t like you to hang out with. It might sound harsh what I’m saying here, but even if you see a small cute furball, you have to remember that they don’t like company, even yours. There are some hamsters that look like they enjoy playing with humans, but in reality, they are just less afraid and want to explore, not play. And this happens especially when they are active already, not when you wake them up. Before getting discouraged, it’s important to know that they are waking up from time to time, even during the day. They don’t sleep continuously, so you might get a chance to play with them. Should you wake up your hamster to feed it? You should not wake up your hamster to feed it. I’ve heard and seen some people that wake up hamsters to feed them. You can imagine how bad of an idea that is. Again, imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night to give you food or tickle you. I had this experience once with my mom, me and my wife were visiting my parents and we took a short nap in the middle of the day. The funny part is that we just ate before going to sleep so we were kind of full, you know like you are when you are visiting your parents. My mother decided to wake us up after an hour to come and eat. I told her that we just ate, and I feel hungry when I’m hungry, not sleepy. Don’t understand me wrong, I know why she woke us up. She was doing her host and mom’s job, it was the wrong moment, though. So don’t wake your hamster up for food, they can eat when they wake up naturally. However, if you have to wake up your hamster for whatever reason, trying to wake them up with a treat is not the worst idea. Here is an entire article about what treats you can safely give to your hamster. How to gently wake a hamster if you have to There are some moments when you might have to wake up your hamster. In my case, I clean his cage on the same day when I clean the house so I have to wake him up when I’m cleaning, I can’t wait too much. If you have a good reason to wake up your hamster, here is a good way of doing it. Offer your pet a special treat or food item that he loves. Tap lightly on the side of his cage and talk to him while he is waking up. You will hear rustling as he stirs, then his nose will appear as he sniffs to check out the situation. Keep the treat close by so it is easily detectable by your pet. He will slowly come out, sleepy-eyed and ears tucked back. Your pet will move towards the treat and you can then pick him up. I saw some articles recommending gently blowing on the hamster when you want to wake them up. I would not do that, but if you do, make sure you don’t blow in their face, they hate that. Can you change your hamster routine? Changing your hamster routine is stressful and unhealthy. If you love your hamster, you should not think of doing that. Before buying or adopting a hamster, you should make sure your schedule suits their routine if you want to play with them. Of course, as I said, you will have some moments when your hamster will be awake during the day, but there are not as many as at night. One thing I noticed about the hamster routine is that they seem to be way more active when I leave the house for a few days. When I come back, they are still active, even during the day. But not nearly as much as evenings and nights. It always felt to me like he was waiting for me to leave so he could throw a party, and I caught him by surprise when I came back. My guess is that hamsters feel safer when it is quieter, even during the day. Waking hamster by mistake If you worry that you will wake up your hamster unintentionally by making noises around their cage, it is important to know that they have good hearing, but they will notice you only if you are quite close to their cage. All the hamsters I had slept well even when I had music going in the room, but if I made sudden noises around their cage, they would wake up. It’s almost impossible to have a room only for the hamster cage, so this is unavoidable that you or your kids will make noises around the cage, and it might wake up the hamster every now and then. Make sure it is not too often. All my hamsters had this habit of waking up to drink some water or for a small snack during the day, I know there are humans that do this during the night, so it’s easy to understand why. I’m saying this to clarify that you are not waking up your hamster by mistake when they are active during the day, it is just their routine. Can hamsters sleep in the dark? Yes, hamsters can sleep in the dark, hamsters don’t sleep like humans, they are intermittent sleepers if that is a word, so they will have short bursts of sleep. As you might get to see your hamster active during the day, you can see a hamster sleeping during the night. You don’t have to think too much about how is the light in the room for the hamster, just turn it off when you go to sleep and you can turn the light on when you are in the room. Hamsters have poor eyesight, they don’t use it too much. However their eyes are quite sensitive, so make sure you don’t direct the light to their cage. Even direct sunlight might be harmful to their small sensitive eyes. Conclusion Before you get a hamster as a pet, it’s very important to understand their habits and routine not to be surprised. They have a very specific routine that doesn’t suit most of our lifestyles, especially if you have a regular daytime schedule at work. Waking a hamster up just to play with it is pretty rude and stressful for them, so you should avoid doing that as much as possible. I hope this article helped you and your hamster will be happier and less stressed.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Get Hiccups? And More Interesting FactsHamsters getting hiccups seems like a funny thing to think about, but is it true? Do they get hiccups? Are they as funny as we are when we get hiccups? Hamsters are very quiet animals, they don’t make a lot of noise; this is another great reason to have a pet hamster. They are quiet, clean, and easy to take care of, what a dream pet ! But hamsters can make some weird noises from time to time and it is quite important to know them in order to know for sure if your hamster is in pain or not. In this article, we will discuss about hiccups and other weird noises a hamster can make and more so stick with me. Table of Contents Can hamsters get hiccups?Are hamsters noisy?5 Main reasons for hamsters making noises1. Cold2. Respiratory infections3. Stress4. An accident5. Teeth clickingDo hamsters make noises when they sleep?Conclusion Can hamsters get hiccups? Hamsters can get hiccups for the same reason why humans do, they are caused by a spasm of the diaphragm, and they are uncontrollable. Hamster hiccups are not often and they should not pose a serious threat to your hamster’s health. So, if you are not sure whether your hamster has hiccups or other respiratory problems, you can give it a few minutes to see if it goes away. If you notice that the noises continue, you have to get your little friend to a specialized vet as soon as possible. Note that not all vets work with hamsters, you might need to find a vet specialized in small pets, rodents, or exotic animals. Hamsters can also sneeze and if you don’t pay close attention to the difference between those two noises, you can confuse them, but we will get to this later in the article. Are hamsters noisy? Hamsters are quiet animals, they don’t make any sound without reason. Being so quiet helps them stay under the radar when it comes to all the natural predators they have in the wild. Most of the time, when they are making noises, they have a health problem. I had a lot of pets until now, especially when I was a kid. I had a cat, a dog, guinea pigs, parrots, rabbits, and now a hamster. So I can tell you from experience that hamsters are the most quiet pet by far, which is pretty important when you want to sleep or when you work from home and don’t want to get distracted. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you can sleep in the same room where you keep your hamster. They might not make any sound themselves but they are continuously chewing on something, drinking water and running in their wheel, or playing with their chewing toys. You will hear all of that. Oh the wheel, this one is usually the loudest noise you will hear from your hamster cage, it is quite hard to make it completely silent. Even if you have a good plastic hamster wheel, the hamster paws touching the wheel will still make a little noise. 5 Main reasons for hamsters making noises Here are the five reasons a hamster would make any noise, other than the hiccups which we already discussed. 1. Cold If your pet hamster suddenly starts wheezing and sneezing, it may have the sniffles, but it could also be a sign of something more serious. Take it to the vet for a checkup and in the meantime, isolate it from other pets, keep it warm and hydrated, and care for it as best you can. Disinfect the cage regularly, and if the hamster is in another temporary cage, remember to scrub and rinse the original one with a bleach-water solution. A hamster might sneeze once in a while without actually being sick so you should check other factors like the presence of mucus near their eyes, lose of appetite, a weird behavior, trying to move all the bedding into the hideout and so on. If you want to know more about hamsters getting cold, check my article on this topic here. 2. Respiratory infections Hamsters can easily develop respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. These illnesses may present through signs such as coughing, wheezing, clicking noises and heavy breathing, especially when exposed to drafts. If your hamster starts exhibiting these symptoms, it is important to seek veterinary help as soon as possible in order to prevent lung disease or further complications. 3. Stress This is not as common but a hamster might make some noises like squeaking if it is too stressed. Hamsters have lots of reason to be stressed, they are quite anxious animals, too small of a cage, being scared all of a sudden, mites, a health problem, and many other factors can stress a hamster. However, that doesn’t mean that they will make any noise, they are used to staying quiet even in dangerous situations, this is a defense mechanism that helps them avoid predators. So unfortunately, most of the time, your hamster will not let you know that it has a problem or that something bothers it, at least not by making noises. 4. An accident Like any other animal or humans, if they have an accident, they will make some noises, especially squeaking. If they fall from heights or they hurt themselves on something in the cage, you might hear an alarming squeak which is quite heartbreaking, especially since those little furballs are so quiet. It is important to make sure they don’t have the chance to get hurt in the cage, so a multi-story cage is not recommended without taking all the safety measures you can. You have to make sure that the hamster can fall from too high of a distance, especially on something solid. If it falls into the bedding, it might be safer but even then, they might move away all the bedding that you put there to make sure they fall on something soft. They don’t have a good eyesight and can’t estimate the distance they will fall if they jump. I noticed this with my first hamster and from that moment, I took the second level out of the cage. My silly hamster jumped a few times from that level like he wanted to fly, luckily it wasn’t too high up and he fell on the bedding, but he could hurt himself if he was to fall into the food bowl or something solid that was close. 5. Teeth clicking Hamsters may click their teeth as a sign of agitation or annoyance. It is best to stay away from hamsters when they are clicking their teeth, as they may be too jittery to be handled safely. In these cases, it is best to give them some space and come back when they are calm. My first hamster did this quite often and I could never touch him in those moments. This might be a common behavior for rodents since my guinea pigs did the same thing when they were nervous or angry. I had two guinea pigs that didn’t get along when they grew up. While they are way more friendly than a hamster, they can be territorial in some situations and don’t want to share the cage with other guinea pigs. So I had two cages, close to each other and when I tried to put them closer, they would start clicking their teeth continuously and making angry noises. I had a guinea pig for eight years when I was a kid, and those are the opposite of a hamster when it comes to how vocal they are. Do hamsters make noises when they sleep? My first hamster was making some weird noises when he was sleeping, it was a funny squeak and some twitching, like he had a bad dream. So I did my research and I found out that hamsters can dream and make noises while they are dreaming, especially if they have an engaging dream. So it is much like us. I’m really curious to know what those little furballs are dreaming and what nightmares they have, a big snake coming to eat them or an eagle or something like that, I guess. But the good dreams, what are they all about? I guess we will never know. Conclusion The conclusion is that a hamster can get hiccups, but it is not very often and should not be a concern. Make sure you check all the other signs to ensure your hamster has hiccups, not other health issues, and he is making noises because he is in pain. But if the noises do not persist, it should be fine. I hope this article was helpful for your and for your little hamster, now you can understand your hamster behaviors better and why it might make some noises from time to time.... Read more...
- Cleaning A Hamster Cage – How Often, And How To Do It RightEvery hamster owner’s got this question, and I know I had it too when I first got my Teddy. How often should I clean the hamster’s cage ? How do I clean it right ? Do I need to spot-clean every few days ? In time, and with a bit of help from other hamster owners, I figured out how often to clean Teddy’s cage. And I learned how to do it without disturbing him too much, so he’s not shocked to find a completely different cage when I let him back in. Table of Contents So how often should I clean the hamster’s cage ?Why a hamster’s cage can get smelly in the first placeCleaning the hamster’s cage, the right wayPut the hamster in his transport cage/exercise ballTake out everything already inside the hamster’s cageDeep-cleaning in case of illness or too many stainsRinse/scrub especially dirty objects or parts of the cagePut the bedding and objects back into the hamster’s cagePlace the hamster back into his homeShould you spot-clean the hamster’s cage every few days ?A word from Teddy So how often should I clean the hamster’s cage ? Ideally the hamster’s cage should be cleaned once a week. In some cases it can be once ever two weeks. This is for a single hamster, if you’ve got two or more living in the same cage, you won’t be able to leave it for 2 weeks. This is because several hamsters pee, poop, and leave bits of food in more numbers than just one hamster. And these are the activities that make a cage messy. So more hamsters in a cage equal more frequent cleaning. Still, there are some shortcuts you can take without hurting the hamster, and I’ll tell you in this article. But first, let’s see in detail what makes a hamster’s cage messy. Why a hamster’s cage can get smelly in the first place Usually a hamster will spend the majority of his time in his cage. Unless you’re putting him in an exercise ball, or transport cage to go somewhere. That means there will be lots of poop, food, and pee in the bedding. For the most part, it’s the pee that smells. This is easy to clean, since hamsters always choose one corner of the cage to pee in. Pooping can be done anywhere though. The hamster’s pee corner is always the same, unless he decides to change/move his nests’ location. The pee corner will be the one farthest away from the nest. So simply removing the bedding from that corner will be enough to remove the smell. There will be a white, dry spot under the bedding, which will not come off easy. We’ll deal with that later. If you’ve got more than one hamster, then there will possibly be more than one pee corner. It depends on whether your hamsters share a nest, or just the cage. It varies from hamster to hamster. Finding the pee corner is easy enough, though. Aside from that, droppings will be absolutely everywhere. In the nest, in the food bowl, under the water bottle, sometimes sticking to their fur (rarely, but I saw that on Teddy a could of times and he took it off real quick). Droppings do not smell, and they’re very dry. But they do look bad, and some people spot-clean them just to make the cage look better. As for the food, there will always be a food stash hidden in the hamster’s nest. He never eats all of the food at once, but he makes this huge stash of food, just to be sure h always has enough. Giving him more food won’t stop this from happening, it’s simply the hamster’s instinct. Depending on what you’ve give the hamsters to eat, you might find bits of fruit or veg in his food stash. They might start to smell, so taking them out fast would be a good idea. So those are the main culprits for why a hamster’s can develop a smell. Unless the hamster is seriously ill and needs a vet immediately, it won’t be him that’s smelling bad. He’s actually a very clean and non-smelly creature, and keeps his scent down to a minimum. Cleaning the hamster’s cage, the right way Now that we know what can get the hamster’s cage dirty, let’s see how we can clean it – the right way. I say this because there are some people who do it wrong, even if they have the best intentions. Those are all honest mistakes, and can be easily corrected. I’ve made a few of them myself. Let’s see what we should be careful with: Scent – no strong chemicals used to clean the hamster’s cage, or scented soap. There are hamster-safe disinfectants available at your vet’s office, ask him for a recommendation. Leave the hamster a piece of his old bedding and nest. It will be easier for him to recognize his home, even if it is the same cage he’s known his whole life. Do not rearrange the cage unless absolutely necessary. Hamsters rely on smell and memory to navigate their cage, and are not keen on changes. They become nervous/stressed when they don’t recognize or find their nest. Provide enough bedding, but keep it reasonable. The hamster needs to be able to move about his cage. This varies from hamster to hamster. Digging hamsters need more bedding than runners, for example. Hamsters are very sensitive creatures. Removing him from his cage and putting him in a new habitat is stressful for him, especially if he does not have his scent there to know it’s a familiar place. This means that cleaning his cage isn’t something he likes, but it must be done to keep your home clean. So we need to be very careful with some things when we clean the hamster’s cage. Chief among them being scent and cage layout. Hamsters do not really use their eyes, they can’t see well. But they have a great sense of smell, and they rely on it heavily. Leaving them a handful of their old bedding, even with a few droppings, will make the place seem familiar. The nest should have as much of his old nest as possible, without being too dirty. Giving him a completely new set of paper towel strips to use as a nest, without some of his old nest, is going to be hard on him. Also, changing the location of his hideout(where he builds his nest) is not okay. I did this with Teddy and he spent the entire night with his cheeks full because he didn’t recognize his hideout all the way on the other side of his cage. Moving the general location of the food bowl or water bottle, and other objects he uses often isn’t recommended either. This is especially true if you own a blind hamster. He will rely on his memory alone to figure out his cage, and will be very grumpy after you’ve moved his furniture around. Now let’s start with the cleaning process. Put the hamster in his transport cage/exercise ball You’ll want the hamster out of his cage for this. This is a stressful operation for him, and it’s best of he’s not there. You can use his exercise ball (this is what I do with Teddy) and let him roam the house for a while, until you’re done cleaning. This is only recommended if you finish cleaning his cage in under half an hour. Leaving the hamster in a closed space like the exercise ball is not safe, as he’ll need water and fresh air. If you’re taking longer than 30 minutes, or don’t have an exercise ball, you can also use the hammy’s travel cage. It should have a bit of bedding in it as well, a hideout and a few objects to keep him distracted. Whichever method you use, you’ll need to pick you hamster up and place him in the cage or ball. Baiting him with a bit of food in your hand works best. Take out everything already inside the hamster’s cage Once the hamster is safe and out of the way, you can start with his cage. Take out everything that’s in his cage, his wheel, hideout, food bowl, water bottle, toys, everything. Set them aside and check which need to be scrubbed, if any of them do. Most of the time they’re okay and do not need a rinse. You’ll notice your hamster’s nest, and that he’s got a food stash to survive the Apocalypse. Take everything out, but save some of the food and nest to put back into the cage when you’re done. About the bedding, changing the whole thing once per week seems to be the best bet. There will be bits of poo, but not too many, and the cage will start to smell a little, but not bad enough to be noticed from across the room. We use a litter scoop to dig out the bedding and keep things sanitary. For example this one. It’s fairly large, yes but changing the bedding by tipping the whole cage over isn’t the best idea. For a while we did it like that, and got bedding all over the floor, even when we tried to be careful. A scoop will just make life easier. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Once you’re done with removing all of the bedding, you’re left with an empty, dusty cage. Sometimes it will need a complete rinse, sometimes it will be decent. However I recommend rinsing the cage in the shower with hot water if the size isn’t too large. Or, you can use a moist, clean towel to wipe down the cage and remove most of the dust. When you’re done with the cleaning process, pat the cage dry and make sure there are no wet spots. Deep-cleaning in case of illness or too many stains Sometimes you need to deep-clean the cage. For example if the hamster is very ill, lives in a temporary quarantine in a different cage, and this one needs cleaning. Or if there’s too many pee stains on the cage bottom. You will need a hamster-safe disinfectant from your local vet. Make sure it does not smell strong, or doesn’t leave an odor behind. Use it as the bottle says, and make sure you scrub the affected ares very well. If you’ve got no disinfectant on hand, a mixture of 1:1 water and vinegar will work well. Whichever you use, make sure to rinse everything very very well. If you can still smell it, it will be way too much for the hamster. If it needs a scrub with unscented soap, do that too. The pee stains (the white, crusty stains) will need extra scrubbing and won’t come off easy. The disinfectant might remove a good part of it, however most of it will only be removed after you’ve left it to soak overnight. After you’re done with everything, pat the cage dry and make sure it has no wet spots. The bedding will stick to those parts and mold will have an easier time forming. (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.) Rinse/scrub especially dirty objects or parts of the cage Sometimes the objects inside the cage will need some extra cleaning. For example if you’ve got a plastic hideout for your hamster, it will form condensation and will need to be rinsed in hot water and patted dry every time you clean the cage. Wooden objects can be cleaned too, if they’ve been stained (with blood for example, in case the hamster nicked himself on something, or two hammies had a fight) with hot water and a bit of non-scented soap. Food stains will come out too. However they need to be very well dried before you put the back into the hamster’s cage. Which means that if you’ve got a spare (like a spare food bowl or hideout) you will need to use that one for the next week. There are some objects that become much too dirty and need to be completely replaced. For example a textile-based hamster toy can be washed, yes, but some stains or smells possibly won’t some out. In such cases you’ll need to throw out the object and get a new one. Put the bedding and objects back into the hamster’s cage Once everything is cleaned, dried, and ready to be assembled, we can start putting it all back together. Starting with the bedding, place about an inch/2-3 cm of bedding evenly across the surface of the cage. Place a bit more in the corner the hamster uses as a hideout/nest. Make sure to sprinkle bits of his old bedding all over the cage. If you hamster is a runner like my Teddy, this is enough bedding. If he’s a digger however, he will need at least double this amount of bedding so he can burrow into it. Place every object the way it was before you cleaned the cage. The hideout, the food bowl, the water, toys, everything. The new nesting material should be left right outside the hamster’s hideout, along with bits of his old nest. Putting them directly into his hideout won’t help, as you’ll never be able to arrange them the way he likes it. Best to let him redecorate his home the way he always does. Make sure his food bowl is full, and his water bottle full as well. Once you’re sure you’ve put everything back into place, you can place the hamster back inside. Place the hamster back into his home Putting the hamster back into his cage will be fairly easy. If he’s in an exercise ball, you can open it inside the cage, near the food bowl. He’ll definitely come out then, and start pouching everything. If he’s in his travel cage, baiting him with a bit of food in your hands will work well too. Baiting hamsters with food always works, since they’re hoarders and will jump at every opportunity to eat. Once the hamster is safely in his cleaned cage, everything is done. Should you spot-clean the hamster’s cage every few days ? Yes, if you think the cage gets a bit too smelly from time to time you can do this. It’s usually the pee corners that smell, so that’s what you’ll need to change. I said I have a trick I can tell you about, and I will right not. See, hamsters will always pee in the same corner. So placing a bowl or half of a plastic hideout in that corner, filled with chinchilla sand is going to act like a litter box. The sand will clump up and you can remove the clumps when necessary. Or, you can throw out the sand altogether and replace it every few days. There’s something very important here though. Sand is great for hamsters, and they’ll even take a bath in it. But it needs to be sand, not dust. Many chinchilla bath sands (even if they say hamster sand or small rodent sand) are great for hamsters, but there is a problem. As far as I could find online, none of the formulations are sandy, they are dusty, more like flour. If you were to press the sand with the back of a spoon, it would keep its shape. This is not alright, since hamsters are very sensitive and inhaling that much dust can be lethal for them. So whichever brand of sand you use, make sure it is sand, and not dust. It can be more on the granulated side, it will work well. Most of them are made of dried up sea shells and minerals, which is alright. They’re usually whitish grey, but don’t be surprised if you find brown sand too. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters are fairly easy to take care of, but we do need regular cleaning and we need your help with that. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...
- Why Hamsters Die (Main Reasons, Some Of Them Preventable)Hamsters can die, and it’s never pleasant news to hear your little friend passed away. But why did that happen ? Was it old age ? Was the hamster suffering from an illness or an injury ? Let’s see what the most common causes are. Table of Contents So why do hamsters die ?When is a hamster considered old ?Health problems hamsters can commonly getDo not confuse hibernation with hypothermiaMaking sure you keep your hamster safeA word from Teddy So why do hamsters die ? Hamsters can die for a number of reasons, and it’s usually a medical condition. Even old hamsters, very old ones, pass away because their bodies simply don’t function as well as they used to, and some critical part of their body no longer works. Sometimes, hamsters can die of diseases or injuries, most of them preventable. Not all are noticeable. Or, if you do notice, you don’t figure out what the problem is until it’s too late. Knowing the usual health problems hamsters can get, and what old age looks like for hamsters will help you know when and if there is anything left to do. When is a hamster considered old ? Usually a hamster is old by the time he reaches 2 years of age. In Chinese hamsters this threshold is lower, since their average lifespan is 2 years. So they can be considered old by the time they reach their first birthday. Most hamsters live 2-3 years, and as such you’ll notice the changes happening to then when they get old fairly quickly. Sparse fur, weak legs, cataracts, a withered look about them, a distinct neck – these are all clear signs your hamster is a senior in his right. Along with old age come a host of health problems, mostly because it’s easier for them to come along. Like wet-tail for example, which can be brought on either by stress or an infection. An infection happens easier if the hamster is not clean, and a very old hamster will stop grooming himself as much. So, an old hamster who develops wet-tail has very little chances of survival, and his death could be attributed to both the disease and the old age. Old age also makes the immune system weaker, and the body weaker overall. Bones don’t mend as easily, sores don’t go away. Any injury to an old hamster is harder to heal than one to a young hamster. Health problems hamsters can commonly get Most health problems can be avoided, like infections, overgrown teeth, cuts and scrapes, injuries from falling and so on. They can also be easily treated with the help of a competent veterinarian. You will need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Antibiotics will take care of infections. Tumors can be removed most of the time. bones can be mended, But there are some diseases or problems that can be… well, deadly. Especially so if not noticed in time and treated. Let’s go over a few of them. Wet-tail is the first to spring into mind. It’s a sort of digestive problem, with symptoms like diarrhea, excessive water drinking, loss of appetite, a sweaty/wet look, a soiled wet hamster bottom, possibly smelly cage. Can be lethal in less than a week if left untreated. If treated within 24h of developing, it can be survived. Longer than that. and the chances are lower. Even after treatment some hamsters still pass away, because they were too drained from the illness itself. It took a huge toll on their bodies and they withered away. Any sort of infection, if it’s not treated right away. By this I mean the infections filled with pus, whether it’s an infected tooth, eye, or ear. All of them can spread to the brain, and inside the body. If the hamster swallows the pus (in the case of an infected tooth or cheek) this can lead to sepsis, which too can be fatal. Lumps and tumors can be deadly as well, mostly because they can be very hard to operate on. The hamster, being so very small, has little chance of surviving anaethesia, although there have been cases. In some cases the tumor is inside the body, and removing it is sentencing the hamster to certain death, with blood loss as the main cause. The surgery would be too big of a risk, again. Chemotherapy is hard to survive even for humans, let alone for hamsters. Injuries, like a broken spine because of a nasty fall, can be deadly too. While a fall from the height of an ordinary table isn’t much for a human, it can be deadly for a hamster. Keep in mind that they’re so very small, and have a fragile frame. This means that falls from heights like your table, dresser, even just your hands while you stand up, can all lead to serious injuries and sometimes even death. Those falls can be deadly either on impact, like a fractured skull, or serious internal organ injuries, and they can also be deadly by result. Like internal bleeding, ruptured organs, and so on. It’s a terrible thought to write about, so please handle your hamster very carefully. When it comes to bedding, and textiles introduced to your hamster, be careful. The extra fluffy, puffy kind of textile sometimes found on or in hamster toys (the ones with very long fibers, like the stuffing inside teddy bears). That is dangerous for hamsters, since they will find it and stuff it in their cheeks, and use it as nesting material. While it does keep them warm, it’s also too easy for them to tangle that material in their teeth or cheeks, or get a foot stuck inside, or in some cases pretty much wrap it around their necks and suffocate. I’m sorry to paint pictures like these, but this has happened before to other hamster owners. Please keep plush and overly fluffy things far away from hamsters. As a sidenote, I have a blanket with a plush side. When I let Teddy onto the bed one day and the blanket was there, he immediately started putting it in his cheeks. They’re very fast, and you need to spot them right away to stop them. Finally, there is another reason for hamsters seeming to suddenly die. Some people have reported their hamsters being happy and healthy yesterday, only to find them lifeless this morning. Those cases, while unfortunate and traumatic, always have an explanation. Most of the time, it’s a circulatory problem. Like a blood clot forming in the brain, or a form of heart attack brought on by a scare in the middle of the night. Hamsters are very sensitive, and scaring them too hard is … well, easier than necessary. This is one reason you should not scare your hamster, or let it get too stressed. Being barked at, handled too often, dangled upside down, continuously poked and prodded and so on. These are very stressful things for a hamster, and can be the final straw in some cases. (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.) Do not confuse hibernation with hypothermia I’ve set this one aside because it’s a common problem. Hamsters do hibernate, but only in the wild. In the wild, they have a weeks and months in advance to prepare for the cold. Gather food, get fat and have energy stored up, dig a big warm nest, get safe. They go to sleep once winter comes and they only wake up from time to time (like once a week !) to nibble on something they’ve stored up. When they wake up, the earth is thawing, they’re hungry and dehydrated. At home, in your warm house, the cold doesn’t gradually creep in over the span of a few months. It never does, because you keep your home warm. So why do some hamsters end up ‘hibernating’ ? Well, they’ve sometimes been left out in the garage for a few hours, or another such space that’s used for storage and is usually cold. Or they were maybe forgotten next to an opened window. Really, it could be any occasion with cold temperatures. The point is that the hamster will go into a sort of hibernation, but in truth it’s actually hypothermia. He did not have time to build an extra warm nest, build a protective layer of fat on his body, but he did store some food. The problem is that this is not true hibernation, and he will likely die if not woken up fast. You might think he is dead, be might be cold. He might not move at all. But a dead hamster will be rigid, like a statue. He will be cold. A hibernating hamster will be cold-ish, but his whiskers or ears might twitch if you touch them. He will be limp, that’s the first major sign he is alright. For more info on waking up a hamster from such a situation, check this article. Always, always attempt to warm him up or wake him before deciding he has passed away. There have been accounts of hamsters thrown away in the trash bin, only to be found by the garbage disposal service later, alive and kicking. Making sure you keep your hamster safe There are ways your can make sure your hamster lives a happy, healthy life. Now, although what I explained above might make you want to keep him under a glass dome, don’t do that. Instead, be a responsible hamster owner and keep him out of trouble. Let’s see what that means: Keep the hamster away from overly curious pets who might disturb him, like a cat or a puppy or even parrots or other rodents. Basically any pet that can move through the house on its own. Always supervise kids playing with the hamster. Accidents can happen, and it’s your responsibility to both teach the child and keep the hamster safe. Only handle the hamster close to his cage, and not allow more than double his height as a falling height. If you’re letting the hamster onto the floor, make sure there are no places for him to get inside or under or between pieces of furniture and be impossible to get out safely. Keep any fluffy textile or materials away from your hamster. Some are sold as nesting material. Stay away from them. Never overfeed your hamster, else he might grow obese and develop diabetes and joint problems. Be careful which foods from your fridge or pantry you feed you hamster. Some are safe, some not. Always clean his cage, once a week, a full cleaning complete with a cage wipe-down or actual rinsing on the shower. Make sure you bring your hamster to the vet, even if it might be nothing. Better to have him checked and find out he’s okay, than leave it to chance and figure out there is a problem when it’s too late. Thees are the absolute basics of keeping your hamster healthy and safe, more info can be found in the related articles below. Until then, read Teddy’s thoughts on the matter. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies are cute and cuddly, but we do pass away. That means we’re sometimes too sick, or we grow too old to fight an injury or sickness. We rely on you to spot the problem and help us out. 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...
- Here’s How To Find A Hamster’s Gender (All Breeds And Ages)Knowing your hamster’s gender will save you from a world of trouble. Pairing a male with a female by mistake will get you a new litter faster than you’d like. When I got my Teddy I didn’t care about the gender, I just wanted him to be orange. It turned out he was the only orange hamster they had at the pet shop, so there we go. But today I’ll be talking about how to find the gender for your hamster, since this is very important. Especially if you’ve got Dwarf pairs. Table of Contents So how do you find a hamster’s gender ?Here’s how to find a hamster’s gender – step by stepGive the hamster attention beforehandPrepare your surroundingsOnly try it when the hamster is relaxedHold the hamster properlyLook at the underside of the hamsterAlternative ways to find out a hamster’s genderUsing a transparent containerLooking for size and shape difference between gendersWhen to separate hamster babiesA word from Teddy So how do you find a hamster’s gender ? The shortest and clearest answer is to check the hamster’s genitals. There are some very clear differences between males and females, and you will notice them in your hamster. Females – You’ll notice on the underside of the hamster a sort of bald spot where the rear end is. Those are the anal and vaginal openings for the female hamster. They are very close together, and will possibly look like the same organ. There is very little, to no hair at all in that area. Also, you will notice the nipples on her abdomen running on both sides of her belly. They might be covered by fur, but they will be there. Males – have a larger patch of fur between the genital and anal opening. Some breeds will have a third point on their belly, a scent gland higher up on the abdomen. Males have no nipples in hamsters, so you should find none. And in the end, the testicles will make the male hamster’s rear end look larger, and more elongated than the female. Alright, but how do you actually go about finding the hamster’s sex ? Hamsters spend most of their time on all fours, so they won’t really roll over and show you. Let’s see how to go about that. Here’s how to find a hamster’s gender – step by step I’ll give you a step by step guide here, but remember that this works mostly for tame hamsters. Untamed hamsters, that do no like to be handled at all, will need a different strategy. I’ll provide you with that as well, just scroll down a bit. Give the hamster attention beforehand Before you try to tell the hamster’s sex, you need to make sure the hamster is calm and relaxed. A treat and some playing and handling will help a lot with this. If you can actually incorporate this into the playtime it would be easier for your hamster. You will be holding your hamster tilted on his back, and he won’t really like that. So play with your hamster a bit, stroke him, talk to him softly, do as you would normally. Give him a treat, maybe a big one to distract him. For example a large piece of carrot that he can’t immediately show into his cheeks would be great. If not, a simple dog treat will suffice. If you’re unsure what to feed the hamster, you can check the list of safe foods here. You’ll find foods and treats as well. Prepare your surroundings Your hamster might squirm, even if he is tame. No hamster likes to be held on their backs, and you can’t really hold them above your face since this will be too high for them. So, it would be best to do this low on the ground, with a box lined with bedding under your hamster. This way if the hamster manages to wriggle out of your hands, he will only fall on the soft bedding. And he won’t really get very far, since the box will keep him contained. If you’ve got a glass tank, you can do this over the hamster’s tank, to stress him even less. Again, try to incorporate this into the play routine you have with your hamster. Make it feel like it’s another game, and he will be a bit more relaxed. Only try it when the hamster is relaxed This should go without saying, but do not try to handle the hamster when he’s irritated, or is sleeping. If he just woke up for good, and just started walking about his cage, this can be a good time. But if he was just chewing on the cage bars a second ago, and his teeth are chattering, stay away. Your hamster is not in a friendly mood, and will definitely bite you if you try to hold him now. An eating hamster will not like being held or handled either. So a good moment would be when he’s out and about as usual, or when he just woke up. Hold the hamster properly When you do hold your hamster in order to find its gender, make sure you’ve got your thumb across the hamster’s chest. The hamster should be cupped in your hand, and you will need to use both hands. Your hamster will probably squirm and try to escape, which is understandable. Do not hold him up very high, instead do this over his glass tank close to the bedding if you can. Or over a box lined with bedding, so he will fall somewhere safe and soft. If you’ve dropped your hamster and didn’t manage to figure out his gender, that’s okay. Keep playing with him, and give him a couple of bits of food for his trouble. You can try again in a few minutes. This is something that you might need to have patience with. Look at the underside of the hamster Hold the hamster a bit tilted on his back, so you can see his underside. He will probably squirm, but that’s reasonable. Use your other hand to try and feel on his abdomen for the nipples. If you find none, it’s a male. If you do find nipples, it’s a female. Take a look at the hammy’s rear end too. If you see the vaginal and anal opening close together, like they’re the same opening, it’s a female. If the openings are farther apart, and there is a patch of fur between them, then it is a male. You might also see a swelling near the tail, those are the testicles of the male. These will all look the same, whether you have a Syrian or Robo or Campbell or any other kind of hamster. Some breeds might have another point on the male’s abdomen, a scent gland. (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.) Alternative ways to find out a hamster’s gender If you’ve got an especially stubborn hamster, who does not like being handled at all, then you’ll need to find another way. Or, if you’re looking at a hamster at the pet shop, and can’t pick it up but you want to know which gender you’re picking. Using a transparent container You can use a transparent container to find your hamster’s gender as well. This means that you will need something clear, like a jar, or a plastic box. You need to be able to see clearly through it. Place the container on its side in your hammy’s cage, with a treat inside. Wait for your hamster to wander into it and take the treat, then pick up the container. This might take a few minutes, but it will happen. Once the hamster is in the container, make sure he can’t get out. This means that the sides must be high, or there must be a lid on, which the hamster has to be able to breathe through. Lift the container above your head, and look up. It might take some trying and your hamster might not flatten itself onto the floor of the container at first. But you should eventually be able to notice the hamster’s underside clearly. Look for the anal and vaginal openings, and for the nipple markings as well. This is easier on the hamster, but takes much more time. Looking for size and shape difference between genders There are a few difference between males and females, even if they’re not immediately obvious. First, a male will be a bit larger than a female. If you’ve got a Syrian, and he’s alone in his cage as he should be, this won’t be easy to tell. But if you’ve got a Dwarf pair, it will be much easier to compare a specific hamster against another. Then, another difference between male and female hamsters is the rear end. A male’s rear will be larger, and slightly elongated, pointier. This is because his testicles are there, and take up quite some space. Of all the breeds the Syrian is the most obvious one, with very large testicles. The females have a more rounder, kind of shorter end. So if you look there, you might find some tell tale signs. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters are weaned by their mother when they’re about 3-4 weeks of age. Whats more important here is that they can breed about as soon as they’re weaned. They still have a bit of growing up to do to become full adults, but they are capable of breeding even at 3-4 weeks. So this would be the time to separate the litter into male and female cages. Doing this too late can bring you surprise litters, so you should keep an eye on the mother. Once she starts weaning them, the babies will be pushed away by their mother. They can drink water and eat commercial food now. If there was a very large litter, and not all babies managed to grow and develop properly, you can leave those with the mother for another week. When you separate the babies into male and female groups, run another check a week later, to be sure that they are all male or female. Just to be sure and not have 20 more hamsters overnight. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here, and know whether you have a boy or a girl hammy. I’m a Syrian boy, and I was pretty obvious from the get go. But my Dwarf cousins might be harder to figure out, so try to be patient. If you want to know more about us hammies, like how how expensive or cheap it is to keep one of us at home, or what we like to eat, you can check the articles below.... Read more...