Do Hamsters Have Tails ? Plus A Few Odd Hamster Facts

You might be wondering if your tiny hamster friend has a tail at all. I mean, he’s so small and fluffy, and if it’s there you can barely see it. Truth be told, I never looked at my Teddy’s behind a lot, until I stumbled upon this discussion in a group board somewhere.

So, I looked at my Teddy(Syrian male hammy), and I googled around until I could come up with a competent answer on whether hamsters have tails or not. And what they do with them, if they have one.

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So do hamsters have tails ?

Yes, hamsters do have tails. They’re very small, and stubby, but they’re definitely there. Hamsters, like all mammals have their spine ending in a sort of tail.

In some mammals, like us humans, the tail became useless and we evolved out of having a tail. We just have the stump at the end of our spine.

Hamsters, on the other hand, still keep their tail. A very short one, but it’s still a tail. Notable is the Chinese hamster, who still has a longer tail. Not nearly as long as a rat’s or mouse’s tail, but much longer than the other Dwarf types, or the Syrian.

Let’s get into how each other hammies have their tails, and how to tell them apart.

Syrian vs Dwarf vs Chinese tails

A Syrian hamster has a short, thin tail. Half an inch/1 cm long, although it’s hard to tell with so much fur going on.

It’s skin colored (usually pink), and completely hairless. Think of a grain of long-grain rice. And pink, fleshy, and attached to your hamster.

It sometimes sticks out of the exercise ball, so you need to be careful what kind of exercise ball you get your hamster, so it doesn’t hurt the hammy. More info on that here.

A Dwarf type’s tail is a bit shorter than the Syrian’s, but it’s covered in fur. It’s colored according to the various color marking he hamster has, and it looks like a tuft of fur on the hammy’s rear.

Of all the tails, I think this is the hardest one to notice since it tends to blend into the rest of the hamster.

Finally, a Chinese hamster’s tail is the longest tail among hamsters. It’s usually about 3 cm/a little over an inch. It’s furry, and the same color as the rest of the hamster.

Important to note here that these hamsters don’e have as many color variations, and are usually a browny color with a dark stripe down their back, with a slim and long body. People often confuse them with mice, although the differences are many.

Why a hamster’s tail is so short

You might be wondering why the hamster has such a short tail. Even the Chinese Dwarf’s got a small tail, and the reasons are not clear.

Aside from an educated guess, I haven’t found info on this.

My guess is that hamsters evolved to have short tails because they no longer needed them. While rats and mice do run, like hamsters, they also do an awful lot of climbing. Their tails help them a lot in that respect.

A hamster on the other hand does not climb as much or as often, and doesn’t seem to need his tail. Your average hamster is more focused on digging burrows and not having anything for a predator to hold onto.

That being said, perhaps there is another, more scientific reason hamsters have such short tails. But, until more research is done, we’re stumped (I hope you like that joke, I’m proud of it).

How your hamster uses his tail

We’ve discussed hamsters not really using their tails for much, so what do they end up using it for ?

As far as I’ve observed my Teddy, he doesn’t seem to actively use it all that much. A tail usually serves to keep a hamster’s balance. But it’s so short it doesn’t seem to matter.

All I’ve seen Teddy do with his tail is curl it up like the weirdest thing when he pees in his corner. As you know, hamsters are very clean animals, and only use a corner in their habitat to pee.

This will be the corner farthest from their hideout and they will use it even if you place a small litter box there.

Aside from this, Teddy’s tail doesn’t seem to have more purpose. If anyone finds more info on this, I’d like to know too.

A few other small facts about the hamster’s body

Alright, we know hammies have tails, and that they don’t do much with them. What other mysteries do hamsters hold ? Let’s see.

Hamsters do have eyelashes

Yes, hamsters have eyelashes. In fact all mammals have eyelashes. Even if they’re very fine and short hairs, the eyelashes are still there.

Now if your hamster’s got dark-rimmed eyes like my Teddy, you might not see them very well. But they’re there, and they’re meant to help catch dust and other particles before they enter the eye.

However, given how furry hamsters are, their lashes aren’t as noticeable as a human’s. Specifically, how long the hair shafts are, compared to the rest of their body.

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

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Hamster teeth never stop growing

Hammies always have to chew on something, whether they annoy you or not. I know I can’t really stand it when my teddy starts gnawing, but I know he needs to file down his teeth.

You see, hamster teeth (the front pairs) never stop growing. If left unchecked, they can become seriously overgrown and a problem of their own. More on hamster dental problems here.

So your hamster friend always needs to chew on something hard. Preferably not his cage bars, since those are too hard for his teeth, and can break them.

The best things for a hamster to chew on are chew toys, made of wood, or very hard cardboard. You can find here a guide on store bought and DYI hamster chew toys.

Hamsters barely use their eyes

Hammies are nearly blind. Well, they do see, but very poorly. Only directly in front of them, and only a few inches.

Because of this, they have very poor depth perception, and can’t judge distances at all. They can and will jump form a high place and honestly think it’s a safe shortcut to their food bowl.

You can find out more about hamster eyesight here, and more about the kind of problems hamsters can develop when it comes to eyes.

That being said, no, hamsters don’t really need lots of light to see. They do well in low-light conditions. They rely on their keen sense of smell, and their great hearing to navigate their habitat.

Hamsters do have bones

This is one that had me chuckling at first, when I heard a friend ask. But the more I thought about it, the more I could understand why a person could ask this.

When you pick a hamster up, it’s a very light creature. When I first got Teddy I had no idea how to hold him, he weighted nothing and I was afraid I’d crush him.

And given how fluffy hamsters are, you can’t really feel their bones very easily.

But yes, hamsters do have bones. Very small, very thin, but still they have bones. They, like all creatures except for insects, have bones and a skeletal structure. The tail we were talking about earlier is a small bone too.

Hamsters are capable of passing gas

Hamsters are cute little things, but they can pass gas. That being said, they don’t necessarily do so openly, lest you hear them and they’ll die of embarrassment.

Seriously though, few people have reported actually hearing their hamster fart. I for one have never heard Teddy. But, given how much fur a hamster has on its rear, and how small the creature is, I doubt it could even be audible.

There was a veterinarian who reviewed this question, and he came to the conclusion that hammies can indeed fart. The more you know !

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies like to keep some things mysterious. You know, to keep you guessing.

If you want to know more info about us hammies, you can read he articles below. You’ll find great info on how to care for us and keep us happy.

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3 Reasons Your Hamster Can Be Big/Fat, And How To Slim It
3 Reasons Your Hamster Can Be Big/Fat, And How To Slim It A fat hamster is always funny. But is your hamster too fat ? I know I wanted to be careful with my Teddy so that he never ends up too fat. Actually he’s pretty fit. But how do you know when your hamster is too fat ? How big can hamsters get in general ? Is he eating too much ? This is what I’ll talk you through today, and Teddy will be our reference. Let’s start by figuring out if your hamster is fat.   Table of Contents ToggleSo is your hamster fat ?Is the hamster fat or just fluffy ?Why your hamster is fat in the first placeWhat to do when your hamster is fatNot all hamsters are the sameA word from Teddy So is your hamster fat ? Often times hamster owners don’t know how much to feed the hamster, and end up making their pets fat. For reference, a healthy, adult Syrian hamster will be around 6-7 ounces/170-200 gr. They will weigh much less as babies, but they reach their largest size when they’re around 3 months old. You can use a kitchen scale to weigh your hamster to see how much he weighs. He should not be having any food in his cheeks at this time. Our Teddy doesn’t really sit still, and your hamster probably won’t either. So you must be quick, or you can put your hamster in a cup that he can’t climb out of, and measure him like that. Take into account the weight of the cup as well. If your hamster is of a smaller breed, like Chinese or Roborovski those are usually much lighter. They reach between 20-25 gr/0.70-0.88 ounces. They are very tiny and very fast, so you definitely need to put them in something when you want to weigh them. Is the hamster fat or just fluffy ? This is something that made me look intently at Teddy so many times. Hamsters rarely every sit up straight, so the skin on them will bunch up. Their cheek pouches can reach behind their head and on their shoulders, so that can throw you off as well. And finally they’re the fluffiest thing ever. You can’t figure out anything through all that fur. So how do you tell if he’s really fat or just fluffy ? Well, one thing to look for is when your hamster does sit up straight. This usually happens when there’s something he wants and it’s way above him. Or, you can try feeding him a treat but holding onto it with your thumb and index finger. Once your hamster holds onto the treat, lift him gently off the ground a couple of inches/cm, still inside his cage. He will hang freely, and not be hurt. If when you see him straight like this he is… well, straight and not fat, then he’s fine. Just a lot of fur. But if your hamster is chubby and slightly round even when he’s straight, then you can be sure he’s fat. Why your hamster is fat in the first place If your hamster is in fact fat, there’s a couple of reasons for that. First, he can get fat if you feed him too much. For an adult Syrian hamster anything past 2 teaspoons of dry food will be too much. Hamsters hide a lot of food in their house, or stash it away under some bedding in the corner of the cage. So if you put some food for your hamster now, and check back after half an hour and it’s all gone, don’t put more. You hamster just took it into his house, where he will eat it as he needs. This is normal for all hamsters. Sometimes you’ll see some food left in the bowl even after a few hours. This happens when he still has enough food in his house, and also if he feels very safe and doesn’t need to hide his food. Second, you hamster could be fat because of what you’re feeding him. A diet heavy on nuts and sugary treats will get your hamster fat. So peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, etc are all fine for your hamster but do no feed him just that. Keep them as nice treats every now and then. Third, your hamster can get fat if he does not get enough exercise. If he has no wheel to run in, or an exercise ball, some other form of activity, he will get fat. So, provide your hamster with a wheel to run in, and possibly an exercise ball for when you take him out of the cage. What to do when your hamster is fat Slimming down your hamster will be to his benefit, and will extend his life expectancy. So here area few things you can try for your hammy to help him slim down. First, you can reduce the amount of food you give him. If you’re overfeeding him, then this will be the first step to help your hamster reach a normal weight. Transition feeding sizes slowly, until you reach the amount of food he normally needs. Second, make your hamster work for his treats. For example you can set up a sort of obstacle course for him, and place a bit of food at the end. If your hammy will have to climb a few toys and squeeze through some nooks and crannies to get to a treat every day, he will shed a bit of weight. Of course, the most work is done when he is running, so make sure he has a running wheel. For Syrians the wheel should be at least 8-10 inches across, to allow their backs to be straight. Smaller breeds need slightly smaller wheels, but it’s better to get a bigger wheel for them as well. Hamsters can damage their backs if their wheel is too small, so best to get a large wheel for your hammy to run. The best would be those metal wheels, with barely any space for his feet to sink into or he might hurt himself. If you can find a full wheel, even better. If you want to know more about hamster exercise wheels, check my full guide. Third, you can change his food. Switch your hamster to vegetables and dry grains, and you’ll see a clear difference. Make the switch slowly over a few days, so he has time to get used to it. If you want to know exactly what a hamster can eat, and what he should not eat read my article on how to properly feed your hamster. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Not all hamsters are the same Some hamsters eat a lot, some are kind of constantly dieting. Some are greedy and some can be more tempered with their food. It really comes down to your hamster’s personality, aside from what you feed him and how much, or how much activity he has. For example my Teddy is a very very active Syrian. He runs most of the nights and rarely ever sits still more than half a minute. His little paws are everywhere and when he was younger he used to scale his cage to reach me. He gets into the weirdest situations and does silly things like jump out of his moving wheel to race around his tube. Maybe your hamster is the same, or maybe yours is slow, or more relaxed. Hamsters in general are jumpy and tend to be all over the place. But I’ve met really tame and slow hamsters, who are still healthy, they’re just … so relaxed. This translates into how your hamster eats its food as well. Teddy gets his daily feeding, 2 teaspoons of dry grains and pellets, and some occasional slices of carrot or a piece of lettuce. Depending on what we have around the house he’s gotten fruits and vegetables on different occasions. And he only takes as much as he needs, and leaves the rest for later. I’ve often found spare food in his house when I clean his cage, from the days before. I’ve spoken to other hamster owners and some of them leave food for the entire week, and their hamster will only take as much as it needs. Others have hamsters that would binge on everything if they found enough food. Not all hamsters are the same, and some of them will have an easier time getting fat. If you end up with a hamster that is not very active and absolutely loves food, then he’ll get fat faster. If you’d like to know more about how to properly are for your hamster, then feel free to check this guide on the 15 essential steps to take car of your furry little friend. A word from Teddy I hope you’re clear on why we can get fat, and just how big a hamster needs to be. Remember, there’s clear differences between Syrian hamsters and the smaller sizes. I am a Syrian hamster, and my kind is the largest. Roborovski and Chinese hamsters are much smaller, but you can figure out for any of us if we’re fat or not. Feel free to look around the site, you might find something you like. There’s info on how to choose a cage for us, or how to feed us, and even why and how we eat our poop ! toto togel situs togel toto slot situs toto rtp slot cerutu4d toto slot situs toto bo togel situs togel situs toto situs togel situs togel toto togel pam4d toto togel situs toto situs togel situs toto situs togel toto togel situs togel situs togel bandar toto situs togel bo togel situs toto situs togel situs toto situs togel toto slot pam4d bento4d bento4d bento4d jacktoto jacktoto cerutu4d cerutu4d situs toto situs togel situs togel situs toto situs toto situs toto situs togel bandar togel situs toto situs toto situs toto situs toto situs togel situs togel resmi situs togel situs toto resmi situs togel resmi situs toto toto slot situs toto situs toto situs toto situs togel situs toto situs toto macau bo toto bo toto situs toto toto togel situs toto togel resmi situs toto situs toto situs togel situs togel resmi pengeluaran macau situs toto situs toto situs togel situs togel situs toto situs toto toto slot situs toto situs togel situs toto slot cerutu4d bo toto situs toto situs toto situs toto situs toto macau cerutu4d situs toto situs toto macau bet togel toto togel gimbal4d gimbal4d toto slot situs toto situs toto toto slot situs toto situs toto toto togel situs toto toto slot situs togel situs toto slot live casino toto slot toto togel situs togel situs toto bandar togel bandar togel situs toto bo togel situs toto daftar situs togel situs togel situs toto situs toto situs toto bakautoto situs bandar togel bakautoto situs resmi toto togel bakautoto situs toto togel terpercaya 2024 situs toto [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid These
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid TheseHamsters are very skittish creatures, and they scare easily. For example when I first got my Teddy he was scared of me and didn’t like being out of his hut. In time we grew closer and he is fine with me now, but he still has some random moments when he suddenly darts into his home. If your hammy is anything like mine, then you’re probably wondering why he’s so scared of you. Sometimes you can’t help it – no matter how much you weigh, you’ll always be a giant for your hamster, and that can be scary for him. Table of Contents ToggleSo why is your hamster so scared of you ?Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first placeYour hamster doesn’t trust you yetYour hamster is scared of sudden movementsYour hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new homeSome hamsters are very easy to scareA word from Teddy So why is your hamster so scared of you ? Generally hamsters are scared of everything, including you, until they get to know you better. Often it’s not necessarily your fault, since hamsters have an instinct to hide from everything. It could be how large you are in comparison to him, he maybe heard something spooky outside, maybe the cat keeps pawing at his cage every day ? So in short, your hamster could be scared because: he doesn’t trust you yet you did something very suddenly and scared him he’s currently in shock (like when you first bring him home) he’s a very shy hamster – some hamsters just are too easy to scare, no matter what. Alright, but aside from the personality, these can all be avoided. Or, at least made to be less scary for your hamster. Let’s get into detail with all of these, and see what you can do to help your hamster be more at ease. Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first place Imagine being so tiny, like your hamster. You barely weigh anything, and if the wind blows too hard you’ll roll over for a few minutes. Then, you’re somehow hunted day and night by anything from owls, to snakes, to wild cats and dogs, and sometimes even humans (in some parts of the world). You have to always be on the run, and nowhere you hide is safe. You dig underground, but the predators can hear you breathing or moving about. You run but they keep up. So you learn to have very quick reflexes, and run faster than your predators. You learn to dodge, suddenly stop, run the other way, and every other evasion tactic ever. You have to always be on high alert. Your best senses are hearing and smell, because the eyes don’t always tell the truth. This is usually what hamsters live like, and it’s a natural part of …well, nature. So your tiny furball is born to run and hide as fast and far as those tiny feet can get him. So whenever your notice that you scared your hamster by just walking by him, know that it’s 90% just his instinct. A few other reasons your hamster might be suddenly freezing can be found in this article. Now let’s see what can be done about the different reasons your hamster can get scared of you. Your hamster doesn’t trust you yet This is the main reason hamsters are scared of humans. We are so much larger than them, and we go to grab them with our big hands. The hamster’s first instinct is to shy away. So, what is best is to slowly let your hamster get to know you. As with dogs, hamsters have very fine smell, so let your hamster get used to your smell by placing your hand in the cage with a treat on it. Let the hamster get close, and take the treat from you. He will probably not eat from your hand at first but he will know your smell. Slowly progress over time to keeping more food in your hand so that your hamster gets to touch you more often. You can try gently petting him with a finger, and then later lifting the hand with the hamster on it, still in the cage, and slowly putting it back down. It takes time and repeated tries for your hammy to trust you, but it will probably happen. It might take a few days, or a few weeks. In some cases, it might not happen at all. Some hamsters are just very hard to tame, and it’s an achievement if they don’t bite at all. Your hamster is scared of sudden movements Since your hamster can’t see very well (but can hear and smell very well) sudden movements will make him jump. Literally jump. My Teddy did backflips when he was young if I somehow scared him, then he’d run into his hideout. So what I learned to do was not move too suddenly when I am around him, and talk to him as well. This way he knows where I am and can guess where I am going. Imagine some very large creature that you don’t understand, suddenly moving around you very fast. You’d probably hide too. Sudden sounds don’t really scare hamsters. Actually they will hear things you don’t, or would usually ignore. For example if it’s raining outside, you’ll notice your hamster stand still and listen for the water dripping outside. This is only until he learns to recognize the sound, then he will ignore it too. Your hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new home If your hamster is young, and you just brought him from the pet shop, leave him a couple of days to adjust. When you get your hamster, the employee who will catch him in the cardboard box needs to be gentle but determined to actually get him inside. Most hamster babies will run away when you reach for them to put them in the box, but picking them up with the box with a treat inside is much easier. Then, after you’ve picked up the hamster make it a short trip home. He will panic and start to pace his tiny box, scared. My Teddy started to chew around the air holes in his box when I got him, and we got an Uber home to get him in his cage fast. When you do get home and prepare his cage, place the box with the hamster inside the cage. Set a couple of treats outside his box, and open it. Then step away and let your hammy explore his new home. He will be shy at first, but the food will draw him out. Make sure that you’ve set up the bedding, hideout, food bowl and water tube and a few toys for him. You will need to give him about 2 full days to adjust to the cage and his hideout. In this time he will scare easily, and probably climb everywhere on the cage. For a good idea on what kind of hideout to get your furry buddy, check out this article. You’ll get some tips and pointers, along with clear examples. My Teddy made me wonder if I accidentally got a spider instead of a hamster. He was on the cage walls and ceiling more often than he was on the ground. Actually the first night I had him, I made myself some tea and just sat there watching him. He is my first hamster so I had no idea what he would be doing. Everything he did was funny, including that fuzzy face when he stares into the distance. In those first couple of days, do not reach into your hamster’s cage, to let him make the cage his. Then, after he calms down a bit, you can start talking to him, feed him a treat between the cage bars. Then, you can start building your relationship with him by doing what I suggested above, in the hamster trust part. But remember to give him time, it might take a few days or even a few weeks ! (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.) Some hamsters are very easy to scare This you cannot change, but you can improve it. Give the hamster time to get used to you, and go very slow with the taming process. Let him back in his cage if he looks like he’s restless. Most hamsters look like that but you can tell when your hamster want to jump out of your hand. It might be that he will never get used to being touched or held, and that’s not something you can change. Not all hamsters are like this, but a few can be very scared. With these hamsters, be extra cautious, move slowly, and talk to them. For example my Teddy is not the friendliest – he doesn’t let new people touch him. And sometimes not even me, depending on his mood. He’s more like a cat sometimes. Never disturb the hamster when he doesn’t need to be awake. You can read more about the daily routine of your hammy here, and why it’s a bad idea to wake him up too many times. A word from Teddy I hope you know now that us hamsters are easy to scare. So be gentle and slow, and we’ll learn to trust you. We can become very good friends if you give us enough time. If you want to know more about hammies, feel free to check the articles below. You’ll find more info on how much space we need, and how to feed us properly, along with other general care things. [...] Read more...
Are European Hamsters Endangered? What About The Other Ones?
Are European Hamsters Endangered? What About The Other Ones?Wondering if your pet’s wild siblings are endangered ? Hamsters in the wild lead a difficult life, and not all of them survive. Let’s see whether each hamster species is endangered or not, starting with the largest one, the European hamster. If you’ve never heard of European hamsters before, don’t worry this is because they are not domesticated, but we will discuss this in more detail in this article. I want to discuss in this article about all hamster species out there since some of them might be considered endangered but they are too common as pets to disappear. Table of Contents ToggleAre European hamsters endangered ?Are Syrian hamsters endangered ?Are Dwarf hamsters endangered ?Are Chinese hamsters endangered ?Do hamsters reproduce fast ?Conclusion Are European hamsters endangered ? European hamsters are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Their natural habitat is seriously threatened by expanding agriculture, systematic hunting by farmers (hamsters are considered a crop pest), and also hunted for their fur.  These are fairly large hamsters – as large as an adult guinea pig – so they are easy to spot when out and about. Normally European hamsters hide in their burrows during the daytime, but they make occasional trips for food.  The European hamster’s natural habitat ranges from Central and Eastern Europe to Russia to Central Asia. They live in mostly grassy areas, the occasional meadow, and generally wherever there is fertile soil that will grow the seeds and grains these hamsters rely on. The expansion of farmland, and farmers trying to protect their crops, has led to a sharp decline in hamster numbers in the wild. Wondering if you could find one in a pet shop ? Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. European hamsters have been known for over a century, and attempts to tame them have been made. There are captive European hamsters, in laboratories for various studies, but none of these hamsters have shown less aggression or a more docile disposition, even a few generations into their captivity.  So in short, these hamsters cannot be tamed, and won’t be present in a pet shop.  Are Syrian hamsters endangered ? Wild Syrian hamsters are also a threatened species, classified as Endangered by IUCN. Their natural habitat is far smaller than the European hamster’s; it ranges from southern Turkey to northern Syria. Agriculture, farmers and the violence in northern Syria have led to dwindling numbers of Syrian hamsters.  Despite this, captive (i.e. pet) Syrian hamsters are not endangered. These are the most common and popular hamsters you will find in pet shops, and their numbers are no cause for concern.  This is a very interesting turn of fate, and here’s why. The vast, vast majority of Syrian hamsters you see today, either already in homes or in pet shops, are the descendants of a single female and her litter of pups. She and her pups were captured back in 1930 in Aleppo, Syria, in the hops of studying them.  The hamsters adapted well to captivity, bred, and several pairs of these hamsters were then sent all over the world to be on exhibition at zoos, and studied in other labs. In 1937 the hamsters eventually would up with private breeders, and that is when they started to become very popular as pets.  As time went on and selective breeding was applied, the Syrian hamsters became more docile, showed different coat patterns, and became less aggressive. A wild Syrian hamster is not nearly as tame as one you get from a pet shop or breeder.  My very first hamster was a Syrian hamster, his name was Teddy. He had a golden coat, was very active, liked to jump but didn’t really like digging, and was always munching on something. He died of old age at nearly 2 years old.  I then had another Syrian hamster, this one named Eggwhite since he was all-white. He was far tamer than Teddy, and had more patience with being picked up. He still wriggled out of my hands after 2-3 minutes, but that’s far longer than Teddy ever managed. Eggwhite died of old age as well when he was almost two.  Are Dwarf hamsters endangered ? Dwarf hamsters are classified as Least Concern by IUCN, as their habitat is not endangered. These Dwarf hamsters are actually three species: the Roborovski, the Campbell’s, and the winter white (or Siberian).   All three hamsters are also found in pet shops are extremely easy to confuse for one another. I’ve made an entire article on how to tell them apart.  The habitat of all three hamster species overlaps for the most part, taking up Central Asia, Mongolia, Southeastern Russia. Despite this, these hamsters do not generally cross paths. Their habitat is less populated by humans, since it’s not a very hospitable area so there is very little threat to the hamsters (aside from their natural predators).  My third hamster, after Teddy and Eggwhite, is currently alive and well. Her name is Rocket and she is a Siberian hamster, with light grey fur on her back, white fluffy paws, and a thin dark stripe on her back too. She’s very fast, never sits still, and doesn’t like being picked up at all. She climbs all over her cage and her toys, runs a lot in her wheel, and loves to dig in her substrate.   Are Chinese hamsters endangered ? The Chinese hamster is not evaluated by the IUCN, so there is no information on whether this hamster is threatened or not. But my personal guess is that since its habitat is mostly in the desert without much fertile land (Mongolia and northern China) it’s in the same situation as the dwarf hamsters – doing very well.  Chinese hamsters are rarely kept as pets outside of Asia, since both males and females are very aggressive when kept in any sort of captivity. Females are a little tamer, but even so, they are not common pets. If you want to learn more about Chinese hamsters you can read my article about what a Chinese hamster is and breed info+care tips. Do hamsters reproduce fast ? Hamsters mature very quickly and are able to sexually reproduce by 4 weeks of age. The usual gestation period is 18-22 days, and the litter can be as large as 10 pups, with some hamsters birthing up to 18.  Females can fall pregnant in the same day as giving birth, so, in theory you could get hamsters to reproduce several times a year and their numbers would quickly multiply. This is not safe for the mother, nor the pups, but it is possible.  Despite this potential for such large numbers, wild hamsters are fairly easy prey for their natural predators, many pups die when still young, and food is scarce. This ensures that their numbers don’t grow too large, but their habitat is also getting smaller.  Where farms are set up, the hamsters will find plenty of food. But they will also be hunted by farmers trying to protect their crops, and their cats patrolling the area.  In short, hamsters do reproduce very fast (can be 6 litters per year) but this does not guarantee their survival in the wild. It’s just the way things are. Also, the mother is guided by instinct, If they feel they don’t have enough resources or space to raise the babies properly, they might even kill their own babies. I know it’s sad but this behavior is common for many animals, not only for hamsters. Here is an entire article I wrote on this topic. A hamster mother will even attack the father if they come close to their babies, so a female hamster has quite a difficult and lonely life when it comes to raising their little babies. Conclusion Sometimes you might be thinking we shouldn’t keep hamsters as pets, but the truth is for some of them a pet life is better than wildlife, at least for the endangered ones. I know I sometimes looked at Eggwhite, my tamest Syrian hamster, and tried to imagine him foraging for food then an owl swooping in to try and grab him. If you want to learn more about hamsters’ life in the wild, I have an article about what hamsters eat in the wild and how their diet differs from the ones that we have as pets. This is something that happens regularly in the wild, but at home ? I was so glad he was safe, had plenty of food, and a nice cage and toys to keep himself entertained. I hope this article helped you understand the actual situation with the hamsters in the wild and your hamster friend is doing well at home. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Eat Insects? You Need To Know This!
Do Hamsters Eat Insects? You Need To Know This!If you have a small hamster, you are probably asking yourself if a hamster can eat small insects. It might be because some insects might get into your hamster’s cage, or you are curious about what a wild hamster looks like. We know cats might hunt and eat some little flies, which might make us think insects are safe for pets, but there is a big difference between a small hamster and a cat. I have an entire article about what hamsters eat in the wild, and it can be fascinating to understand the difference between a pet diet and a wild hamster diet. In this article, I want to talk about what insects a hamster can eat, when it can happen, and if you have to give insects to your pet hamster for a balanced diet. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters eat insects?What kind of insects do hamsters eat?Should you feed your pet hamster with insects?Should you give extra protein to your hamster?Can hamsters eat other small animals?Do hamsters get or eat fleas?Do hamsters eat each other?Conclusion Do hamsters eat insects? Yes, hamsters can eat insects in the wild. However, they don’t do this too often because it can be dangerous for them since a lot of insects might contain harmful bacteria for the hamsters. They will eat insects only if this is the last food option they have and only if the insects get in their way, a wild hamster will not hunt for insects on purpose. Most people think that hamsters eat more insects than they actually do because hamsters are omnivores. However, in reality, they eat very few and only when they have no other choice. If you want to know more about what a hamster diet looks like and what you should feed your pet hamster, I have an article about what food a hamster can eat and the exceptions. What kind of insects do hamsters eat? Wild hamsters can eat worms, grasshoppers, small bugs and even spiders, but it is important to know that all of those might be harmful to a hamster if they eat big amounts. This is one of the main reasons why a wild hamster usually doesn’t live as long as a pet hamster, they don’t really know what food is harmful to them. It might be a plant or a toxic seed for the wild hamster, and if they are hungry, they will eat it anyway. Of course, this is not the main reason for a wild hamster living less than a pet, but it is up there, with the most important one being the fact that they have a lot of predators. Should you feed your pet hamster with insects? I saw some people consider that they have to give insects to their pet hamsters, which might make sense if you consider that hamsters are omnivore animals we tend to believe they might need some meat in their diet. However, they can live very well only with seeds, grains, and vegetables. So it is not worth the effort of trying to give your hamster insects, and it might also be dangerous for them. Should you give extra protein to your hamster? Aside from a pre-made mix, seeds have a lot of protein, so you should not worry about that. You can give your hamster a little bit of boiled, unseasoned chicken, or a little piece of boiled egg white if you are worried about the protein intake of your hamster. As I said before, it is not necessary, but it is much safer than giving insects to your pet hamster. When you think about good protein sources, you might be tempted to feed your hamster legumes like peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils but those also have a high amount of fibers which might upset the hamster’s guts.  The best and safest protein sources for a hamster are seeds and nuts. Can hamsters eat other small animals? I saw this in a few articles that claim that a wild hamster can eat small birds, frogs, or lizards, but I believe this is true only for European hamsters, which are much bigger and stronger, but even then, they will not look for those if it is not the last option they have. Especially since in the wild, most frogs and lizards can be poisonous, even for humans or other bigger animals than hamsters, so we can imagine why it is not safe for hamsters to eat those kinds of animals. Do hamsters get or eat fleas? Talking about insects, one of the most annoying insects for any kind of animal, including us, are fleas. They are annoying, hard to kill or get rid of them, and obnoxiously fast. Unfortunately, hamsters can also get fleas. Pet hamsters will only get fleas if directly exposed to them like by you or another pet you have that might have fleas. In this case, if you observe your hamster carefully, you might see black dots moving in its fur, which are fleas. If there is more than one, it should be visible. However, if there is only one flea, it might be harder to spot.  If you own a Syrian hamster do not confuse its black spots for fleas ! Syrian hamster s have a black spot on each hip, which are scent glands. The spots are much larger than a flea, and resemble the brown skin spots some humans get. I was scared the first time I saw those spots since they look like the hamster has a health problem. You will know without a doubt if your hamster has fleas when he scratches and bites excessively at certain areas of his body, accompanied by vocal sounds indicating irritation. Furthermore, wet spots may appear on the fur due to the hamster’s attempts to lick off the flea. About hamster eating the fleas, like other animals that get fleas, they will have a hard time caching the flea before it jumps elsewhere, so there are not big chances that your hamster will actually eat the flea. Here is an article that will guide you to get rid of the hamster’s fleas. By the way, I wrote a big article about 10 most common health problems in hamsters that is very useful for any hamster owner. Do hamsters eat each other? Yes, hamsters can eat each other in certain situations. They actually fight to death more often without actually eating each other. This is especially true for Syrian hamsters, which are solitary animals, so they don’t share their space with other hamsters. For them, any hamster is an enemy like any other animals, so they will fight right away if it crosses their property. Syrian hamsters have a hard time even reproducing since the female will fight the male shortly after they have time to make babies. Females raise the babies on their own without the male being there. Even the hamsters that can live together will often fight each other. The fact that dwarf hamsters can live together doesn’t mean that they will. It is a pretty delicate process to make hamsters be friendly with each other and usually, it happens only for the hamsters that are from the same family. It is quite hard to introduce a new member to a family of dwarf hamsters without them fighting. Dwarf hamsters are still territorial animals, so they will protect their territory. Some hamsters develop this territorial attitude later than others, so you might be surprised that hamsters that get along pretty well start fighting suddenly. Conclusion So the conclusion is that hamsters can eat insects, but that doesn’t mean that it is recommended to feed your pet hamster with insects, in fact, it can be quite dangerous. I hope this article clarifies the misconception that insects are part of the hamster diet because they are omnivores and need animal protein. Keep your hamster safe, and don’t be afraid to rely mostly on pre-made mixes that you buy from the pet shop. Most of the time, they are good enough and save you from wasted time and unnecessary risk for your hamster. [...] Read more...
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and Treatments
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and TreatmentsWe all love our pets and enjoy spending time with them, but it’s our duty to take care of them and keep them healthy. Many animals develop dermatological problems with age, shedding fur to the point where they’ve completely lost it, and hamsters are no different. It’s terrible to see your hamster lose its fur, as that’s the animal’s equivalent of humans being left without clothes on. Whenever we can, we should try to help our pet. That’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article: hamster fur loss. We’ll be taking a look at the reasons for your hamster’s fur loss and how to treat it. As these causes can vary from stress to old age, and the fur loss can appear at different places, keep in mind that there’s a lot to this topic, and you should visit a vet if this article can’t help you. Today, we’ll be covering hamster fur loss on their backs and behind their ears, and we’ll also be taking a look at flaky skin and fur loss due to old age, as well. Let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back.2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin.4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. 1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back. There are many reasons why your hamster may be losing its fur. Friction is one of the most common reasons for this. If you’ve noticed your hamster losing fur after they’ve spent a lot of time burrowing or rubbing against the cage or toys, then friction is likely the reason for them losing fur. This is actually natural for hamsters, and you shouldn’t be worried. When they’re in the wild, they spend a lot of time digging and burrowing, so this is a normal process for them. Hamsters can also develop face sores from rubbing their face against the bars of the wire cage, or by water dripping down their face when they’re drinking. If it’s the latter, then you have to buy a better water bottle. If it’s the former, it may be a sign that the cage is too small, so you should get a larger cage for your hamster (preferably not a wire one). Even though many people find hamsters running on wheels amusing, overuse can lead to the hamster losing fur on its legs. Remove the wheel until the hamster’s fur grows back. Secondly, your hamster may be suffering from nutritional deficiencies. This is, clearly, a lot more serious than simple friction, and it’s just as common. If your hamster’s diet is low in vitamin B, then that could be the reason for its fur loss. Another thing that can also have an effect on fur loss is the lack of protein. If you think that this is the problem, you’re going to have to start supplementing your hamster’s meals with certain foods. Add unsweetened cereal, cheese, cooked eggs, whole-wheat pasta, and fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure to talk to your vet, as well, and if they recommend it, you can add water-soluble vitamins to their diet. Another unfortunate cause for fur loss can be found in parasites – ticks, fleas, ringworm, and mites are all capable of affecting your pet’s hair. If you notice that your hamster’s constantly itchy and it’s scratching itself – that may be because of ectoparasites. This excessive scratching is what’s causing the fur loss, and you should definitely contact your vet for assistance. Hamsters rarely get ticks, because ticks are mostly found outdoors, and hamsters rarely venture outdoors. Most ticks lay dormant during the winter, aside from a few species, and the only way for your hamster to contract a tick is for you or someone else to bring it in the house. If your hamster has contracted a tick, they’ll be scratching that area a lot – this is because they feel the bite from the tick and it causes an itch. When we’re talking about fleas, they’re also very rare for hamsters. However, when a hamster does contract fleas, they can shed all of their furs away. It’s easy to determine whether your hamster actually has fleas since they’re visible to the naked eye. You can also see their droppings, which look like small black dots on your hamster’s skin, easily. If your hamster does have fleas, all you have to do is buy one of the products made for clearing fleas off. There are many products for all furry animals, but try to find a product specifically for hamsters. It’s much more likely that you’ll find mites on your hamster than fleas or ticks. These are invisible to the naked eye, so it’s almost impossible for you to identify them on your own. They won’t cause any problems if they’re small in numbers, but if your hamster has a weakened immune system, irregular grooming patterns, or is stressed, the mites will increase their numbers. Signs that mites are present in this situation: reddened skin, rough dry patches, and fur loss. The best way to deal with this is by taking your hamster to the vet and let them take skin samples and take a look at it under the microscope. Mites are treated with topical sprays for hamsters, so make sure to buy that and use it the way it’s instructed on the packaging. Also clean your hamster’s cage, taking everything out and disinfecting it. A ringworm infection is also possible. All animals can get ringworm, and that includes hamsters. These fungal infections will appear as a distinctive ring of hair loss with flaky, yellowed skin. You have to be careful if you’re handling a hamster with ringworm, because you’re vulnerable to it, as well. Make sure that you’re always wearing gloves, that’s the best way to deal with that. Ringworm develops in environments that are too humid, so you’re going to want to keep your hamster’s cage properly ventilated. The way to treat ringworm is to wash your hamster with a topical shampoo for ringworm. Most of these contain miconazole, povidone-iodine, or keratolytic, and either of them should do the trick. If your hamster’s hair is already long, you may want to shorten it to ensure that the shampoo gets to all areas and washes everything. Shedding is another reason for fur loss, but this isn’t a reason you should worry about. Most furry animals shed, most often during spring and fall – it is normal to see periods of thin fur at this time, and keep in mind that Syrian and Russian hamsters tend to shed more than the Chinese and Roborovski types do. Hot spots are another cause for hamsters losing fur. Hot spots are, however, pretty rare when it comes to hamsters. These spots are actually open wounds, caused by a fungal infection that causes the hamster to scratch and chew their own fur and skin. To deal with this, take your hamster to the vet. Another thing that may cause your hamster’s fur loss is allergies. Hamsters can often become allergic to substances in their cages, usually their bedding – this can cause them to develop a rash and lose some fur. Don’t use cedarwood shavings for your hamster’s bedding, this is because oils within the wood are too strong for the hamster’s sensitive skin. Another thing that may cause this is dyed paper bedding, as well as dyed food. This is easy to fix – just find better bedding and provide a better diet to your pet. There are other possible causes for your hamster’s recent fur loss, but they’re less common and it’s unlikely that either of those things is happening. However, we’ll list them just in case: your hamster may be suffering from kidney inflammations, or T-cell lymphoma – cancer that attacks the skin, hormonal imbalances may be an issue, as well. However, these causes are all very rare and you should exhaust your options with the list of the most common reasons before you even think about any of these serious things. When discussing the loss of hair specifically on a hamster’s back, you have to understand that the most likely cause for that is one of the causes we’ve already discussed. There are perhaps a few things that cause hamsters to suffer from fur loss in specific areas, but their backs can be affected by any of the things we’ve mentioned. If you’ve noticed that your hamster’s losing hair on its back – it’s most likely because of one of the things we’ve already talked about. However, another reason why your hamster may be losing fur is because of its age, as older hamsters tend to lose fur, which is exactly what we’ll be talking about in our next section. 2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.   One of the clearest signs of your hamster starting to age is their fur looking sparse and matted. A hamster’s fur is usually bright, clean, possibly shiny, and always put together – this is one of the reasons that makes them so appealing to the eye. However, once they start aging, they start losing their fur, and here’s why. The fur is mostly defined by genetics – most hamsters are born blind, and they’re also mostly born bald. Unfortunately, some hamsters end up like that in their older days, as well. Once your hamster ages (hamsters live from 2 to 4 years, depending on the species), you will probably start noticing patches of skin where fur simply doesn’t grow – this is because your hamster’s old. Even if your hamster is not balding, you may notice that their hair isn’t as soft and shiny as it was before, but it’s rather sparse. It can become matte and coarse, which is something that’s deemed odd for hamsters, who are usually shiny. The fur may also start to change color, just like with humans. Your hamster may actually start having their first grey hairs. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for aging, so you can’t exactly fix this. However, as they age, hamsters are more prone to diseases (just like humans are, as well). So, the reason for your hamster’s hair loss may not be hidden in numbers, but rather in a disease. Hamsters are also very well-groomed creatures, similar to cats (although those species aren’t exactly the best of friends in real life). They’re usually grooming themselves whenever they’re not eating, sleeping, or playing on the wheel. Their cleanliness is very important to them, as it keeps their scent to a minimum, which is a great defense against predators. So, if you’ve noticed that your hamster’s hair is less shiny and well-groomed, and is now becoming dustier and more reminiscent of a certain German scientist’s hair – it’s because your hamster’s getting old. Older hamsters can’t clean themselves as well as younger hamsters because of their many physical restrictions, they are also careless. The most effort usually goes towards cleaning the tops of their little heads and cleaning their flanks, they need to bend around like crazy to reach these spots. These spots are the first you’ll notice are becoming less groomed, because they’re usually the most well-maintained spots. The result of this is your hamster getting a bit more smelly, which is especially applicable to your hamster’s rear end. You might find his rear soiled from time to time, without there being an infection or wet tail. This actually also refers to the cage, as the hamster will clean their cageless when they’re in their older days. Older hamsters can also lose their hair due to a lack of protein (less than 16%) or iron in their diet. As we’ve already said, there isn’t really a way for you to affect this. We all get old and you can’t stop your hamster from getting old. Help your pet during this time and ensure that their final days are happy and enjoyable. 3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin. We’ve already mentioned a few reasons for flaky skin or skin cabs when we were discussing fur loss, but let’s go into detail with them. One of the most common skin diseases that causes both fur loss and flaky skin are mites. Mites are one of the most common skin diseases in hamsters. If you’re suspecting mites, you won’t be able to identify them on your own in any way, as they’re invisible to the naked eye. You need to take your hamster to the vet. The vet will take a sample of the hamster’s skin and take a look at it under the microscope. Your vet may also brush your hamster while holding a white piece of paper to catch the mites, and then take a look at them using a magnifying glass. If your vet has diagnosed your hamster with mites, the first thing you need to do is isolate it from all other hamsters, as you don’t want them to get infected, as well. You should also wash your hamsters, and return them to their cages after washing and disinfecting the cages, as well. Mites are contagious, so your healthy hamsters are very likely to catch them if you don’t isolate the ill hamster. If multiple hamsters have already caught mites, then treat them all as prescribed. After that, you need to treat your hamster as your vet has prescribed. The most common and the most popular treatment with vets is medicated shampoo. However, hamsters don’t really like showers and baths, so they may resist and not let you apply the shampoo and wash them. The alternative to this is medicated ointment that you’ll apply to the affected area. There are different options when it comes to this: oral ivermectin, which kills parasites, is a treatment option. To apply this, place the prescribed number of drops of this solution in your hamster’s mouth. There are also anti-mite sprays available. However, they’re mostly an over-the-counter treatment, and you need to discuss this with your vet before you decide to apply it to your pet. Severe mite infestations are most often treated with a full-body dip. This dip is basically just a medicated bath containing ivermectin. Your vet will explain how to perform this, but know that your hamster could resist because they don’t really like baths. You may need to repeat this process numerous times, as many hamsters (especially older hamsters or hamsters with lower immunity) need to be treated for mites more than once. Make sure that you discuss this with your vet before you repeat the process. We’ve already mentioned that it’s important to clean your hamster’s cage before you put them back in. When doing this, wash all of the accessories in the cage; all the toys, water bottles, food bowls, etc. – do this with hot, soapy water. Use a hamster-safe cage disinfectant, as some other disinfectants may harm the pet. Make sure that everything has dried before you put it all back. Another disease that may cause skin scabs is ringworm infection. We’ve already discussed this and said that humans can catch ringworm, as well, so make sure that you’re always wearing gloves when dealing with this. To treat this, you’ll first need to visit the vet, as they need to diagnose the ringworm for you to treat it. You should suspect a ringworm infection is at play if you notice patches of hair loss where the skin looks crusty, flaky, and red. Your vet will take a look at this and take a look at the fur with a microscope – the affected area looks like rings. It’s especially possible if your hamster is older, as older animals have a weaker immunity. To treat this, follow your vet’s treatment instructions. Firstly, always wear gloves and make sure you’re not making any contact with your hamster or its cage without wearing gloves – humans can also catch ringworms. One option of treatment is medicated shampoo, containing either povidone-iodine (antibacterial) or antifungal medication. You should cut your hamster’s hair before you go through with the treatment, as it’s very important that they’re completely cleaned. This way, the shampooing will be very effective. Once again, just like with mites, isolate this hamster from other hamsters and place it in a separated cage (and make sure that all cages are properly cleaned). Another treatment option is topical treatment with griseofulvin, an antifungal medication. This is an ointment, so if your vet prescribes this, they’ll shave the affected area and you’ll have to apply the ointment. Know that treatment for ringworm usually lasts between 18 and 21 days, so this isn’t going to be finished very soon. Make sure that you’re keeping your hamster’s cage ventilated, as it can become damp inside if you don’t. Damp areas are ideal for fungal growth and they’re an increased risk for all kinds of infections, including ringworm. Wire cages usually have great ventilation, so you should consider buying one if you don’t already own one. Lastly, the most common reason for your hamster’s skin scabs are actually wounds. We’re not talking about wounds caused by diseases or infections, but by your hamster fighting (female hamsters are more likely to bite than male hamsters because they’re more territorial) with its cage mate or getting scratched by sharp bedding. This wound can become infected and it can cause a pocket of infection to form and leak abscess. Your vet will take a sample of the abscess and will have to surgically remove it and close the wound. After that, you’ll have to apply an ointment on the wounded area for some time. During this time, until your hamster’s wound has completely healed, you’ll need to remove the cause of the wound. This means that you have to isolate that hamster from all the other hamsters, as a fight or biting could reopen the wound and cause even more damage. If the wound was caused by sharp bedding, replace the bedding with something soft. Here are some other, more simple reasons for your hamster’s flaky skin: – if you have an older hamster, their skin is naturally weaker and their scabs may be caused by them scratching their belly on their bedding or any other hard surface. Your hamster’s skin will become sensitive when it gets old, so it doesn’t matter if this bedding didn’t cause any problems before. – you could notice your hamster’s scent gland having sores, this is usually caused by excessive grooming and licking. 4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. If your hamster’s getting older, then it’s completely normal for them to lose fur anywhere, including right behind the ears. If this is the case (you should primarily gauge that by its age), you won’t really be able to do anything about that. However, this doesn’t have to be the only reason. If you’ve also noticed redness or swelling around that same area, it may be because your hamster’s scratching itself too much. This can be caused by a number of reasons – firstly, just like humans, animals sometimes have to scratch themselves for no good reason. Secondly, it may be mites or fleas – this will cause the hamster to scratch themselves to the point of losing fur. You can cancel this out if you’ve recently cleaned their cage and they’ve only started scratching themselves recently – this means that the cause is most likely not mites or fleas. Thirdly, your hamster may be having an allergic reaction to something. Take a look at their diet and see if anything has changed. Maybe you’ve got a new pet? A dog or a cat and they’re having a reaction to them. Also, although it’s rare amongst animals, it may be psychosomatic. Maybe your hamster is under a lot of stress for some reason and that’s causing them to scratch their fur out. If you can’t find a reason for this article, we’d suggest visiting your local vet and let them find out what’s going on. Hamsters are without a doubt some of the most popular pets in the world. If you have a hamster and you’ve recently noticed that it’s started to lose fur, it’s most likely because of old age. However, if your hamster is not that old and that shouldn’t be happening, then it can be a number of reasons, ranging from dietary restrictions to infections. Make sure to clean your hamster’s cage regularly, even if they’re not having problems with their fur at the moment, as that’s the best way for you to ensure that they don’t start suffering from any issues in the future. If you’re having any further trouble, make sure to call your vet. [...] Read more...
The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great Alternatives
The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great AlternativesWhen I first got Teddy I also got a bunch of toys for him, including some mineral chews. Since he is my first hamster, I did not know if he’d need them or not, but I got them just to be sure. But do hamsters really need mineral chews ? Are they useful ? Do they stop the hamster from biting the cage ? Here’s what I found out, and how you can help your hamster as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need mineral chews ?High mineral content foods for hamstersThe right nutrition for your hamsterMineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cageA few chew toy ideas for your hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters need mineral chews ? As it turns out, no. Hamsters do not need mineral chews. This is because the feed you give them already has enough minerals in the mix. If you are using a well balanced muesli mix – grains, dried fruit, some vitamin colored bits – then your hamster is doing just fine. As soon as I found this out, I stopped getting mineral chews for my Teddy. He went through them really fast, since he’s a chewer. The same goes for salt licks for your hamsters. Hamster do not need salt licks any more than they need mineral chews. They get enough salt from their food mix, so they should not have any deficiency. If you are unsure, check your food mix box to check for mineral content. High mineral content foods for hamsters Some food alternatives you can give your hamster are easily available, and are easy to eat for hamsters. For example you can give your hamster nuts and seeds, since they have a high mineral content that will help your hamster prevent health problems. Just be careful to not give the hamster too many nuts and seeds, since they do have a higher fat content. Limit them to just a couple of peanuts, or half a walnut per day. Unsalted, raw. Another idea is broccoli, along with some dark leafy greens like kale or spinach leaves. They are rich in minerals and fibers, so your hamster is getting a full meal out of them. Dried fruit and tofu are also good alternatives for your hamster to get his minerals, just keep these on a low intake since they can get sticky for the hamster. With the dried fruit make sure they are not sweetened, and you don’t give the hamster too much of it. The right nutrition for your hamster Whatever brand of hamster feed you use, make sure it has a balanced content of vegetables, added vitamins and minerals, dried fruit, and some grains as well. Most manufacturers have good mixes, so it does not really matter what brand you get, as long as the ingredients are alright. Aside from the food mix, you can give your hamster some of the foods I mentioned earlier. I give Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) unsalted raw peanuts every now and then, or pumpkin seeds as a treat. He’s had some spinach leaves when we were cooking spinach, and he liked that as well. Just be warned that the hamster will store some food in his house as well, and stale spinach or broccoli does not smell great. So, make sure that you give the hamster a small amount, that he will eat soon. For a clear list on what your hamster can eat, and what he should avoid, check out the food list article here. You’ll also find the kind of treats your hamster can eat as well. Mineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cage This is something I did at first, to stop Teddy from chewing on the bars. Hamster chewing on bars can be out of annoyance or their teeth growing. A hamster’s teeth will keep growing his entire life, so he must constantly chew on hard surfaces to keep them at a healthy length. If the hardest surface is the cage bars, then that’s what he will use. You can find a few cage ideas here. However you can give your hammy what I gave Teddy – wooden accessories for his cage. For example his home is entirely out of wood, and he sometimes chews on that as well. Another idea is bendy bridges, the kind that’s made out of cut tree branches and you can shape them however you want. They can be used as a toy, or even a home for your hamster. But the most important fact is that they’re made of wood, so your hamster will chew on them instead of the cage when he needs to take care of his teeth. Mineral chews are not a good idea to keep your hamster from chewing the cage or something else, because they are too soft. If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, he will tear through an entire mineral block in 20 minutes. Teddy just goes crazy when he has a mineral block, it’s like he must rip it to pieces or else. The second reason mineral chews are not good for hamsters to chew on is because they are incredibly dusty. They’re usually made up of crushed shells, tapioca, and some calcium powder, and when they break into pieces they leave a whole lot of dust. That dust is never good for your hamster. When Teddy had mineral chews he looked like a construction worker, he was covered in that dust and had to clean himself more often. (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 chew toy ideas for your hamster If you’re trying to give your hamster something more bearable to chew on, consider these options. These make much less noise, are better for your hamster’s teeth, and do not contain odd ingredients. Actually they’re mostly wood. Like the bendy bridges I mentioned before, or the wooden home for the hamster. Another idea would be the dense cardboard tubes that are left from aluminium foil wraps. Those are much much denser and stronger than toilet rolls, and they give the hamster more to chew on. Another idea would be whole walnuts or a very large chestnut. The point is that it must be too big for your hamster to try to shove it in his cheeks. If you make a small hole in the nut the hamster will smell it, and attempt to reach it. So he’ll chew and chew and keep his teeth in check. Finally, you can try toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls. As long as they are unscented, they’re fine. You can use Paper egg cartons as well, just make sure they are clean and not stained. For a more comprehensive list of toys you hamster can safely chew and play with, here is a list of store bought toys and also how to make them at home. If you’d like more info on how to properly care for your hamster, then you should check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll find out everything from what kind of cage he needs, to how much food he needs, and how to figure out which breed you’ve got. A word from Teddy I hope you understand more about us hamsters and mineral chews. We don’t really need them, since the food you give us is usually good enough and has enough minerals. If you want to keep one of us off the cage bars, you could try something made of wood. We love chewing and wood is a friendly material for us. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info on why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and much more. [...] Read more...