Do Hamsters Like Being Held ? Hamster Affection And Training

If you’ve got a hammy you might be wondering if he likes being held. I wondered the same thing about my teddy, and I’m here to help you better understand your hammy’s need for affection and touch.

We’ll talk about whether hammies like being held, how to train them to be comfortable with your hands, and a bit about their personalities in general.

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So do hamsters like being held ?

This is not a straight answer. The short answer would be yes, but there are many things that must happen before your hamster is okay with you holding him.

Hamsters are prey animals, and as such are not comfy with being picked up. They’ll have an instinct of pulling away, or trying to escape

The key is making your hamster comfortable enough with you that he will allow you to pick him up. Once he is comfy with you, he does indeed like your touch.

Hamsters can bond with their owners, though not all hammies do this. There are many personality aspects that need to be taken into account, and we’ll get right to it.

Also keep in mind that once you’ve tamed your hamster, you’ll need to constantly handle him. Otherwise the bond can grow cold, and your hamster will need to be tamed again.

About your furry friend’s personality and habits

Let’s look at what the hamster goes through in the wild, so we can understand the pet hamster. After all, there isn’t much difference between wild hamsters and pet hamsters.

They’ve only been with us for about a century so far, and rodents aren’t as easy to domesticate as dogs for example.

In the wild a hamster will pretty much run for his life, all his life. He is hunted by almost every other animal that’s larger than him.

He must hear and smell very well, and always be on alert. He even evolved to come out when his predators aren’t hunting.

That being said, hammies have an instinct of being afraid of everything, and will run away or jump off if they feel threatened.

Aside from all that, hamsters are solitary animals. Yes, some types of hamsters can live together, but only under certain conditions. They must be the exact same hamster type, siblings, never separated, and carefully watched.

Even then, tensions come up, one is dominant, and sometimes bullying and fighting ensues. Best to keep them separated, even the Dwarf types.

Now imagine a slightly grumpy, panicky, small animal, who likes being left alone, being comfy with two hands bigger than his own body picking him up.

Even your first reaction would be to panic. Still, it’s possible to get your hamster to be comfortable with your big, human hands. It takes a lot of patience and consistency, but it’s totally doable.

Important note, though:

Even after you’ve made every effort to make your hammy comfortable, his personality is key here.

If he’s a very independent, active hamster, he wont stay put. No matter how hard you try, your hamster can possibly be one of the independent types who would rather you put them down.

Respect your hamster’s personality, and don’t force him into anything.

My Teddy is like this. I’ve tried and tried again, with every trick and bribery I know, to get him to stay. He won’t stay in my hands for more than a few seconds at a time. There’s always something more interesting he has to see, and he’s just itching to go.

He’s barely ever bitten me to let him go, and I doubt he’s stressed when I pick him up. He won’t come up on my hand, but he won’t object to me picking him up either. Bribing him with a bit of food works wonders though.

Still, he’s a hamster of his own, and I love him the way he is. I’ve learned that not all hamsters are cuddly, and mine’s great just the way he is.

Training your hamster to be comfortable with being held

Whether your hamster will actually stay put in your hands or not, you can still train him. Hamsters are skittish, jumpy furballs, so of course they won’t stay for very long. Still, some might stay put in your hands.

But in order for them to stay put, they first need to know your hand is a safe place, and they’re okay there.

So let’s go through a few quick steps. This is part of the taming process, and you can find more info on taming your hamster here. 

Do keep in mind that the hamster can be tamed in a few days or a few weeks. It varies from hamster to hamster, and you need to give him time.

Start small, but be consistent and patient with your hamster

A hamster is a skittish at first, and he won’t trust you. This is why you need to start slow, and feed him bits of food through the cage bars at first. This is aside from his usual meals.

Your hammy will come to know your scent, and your voice, and associate them with food.

When the hamster is okay with your smell, you can start putting your hand in the hammy’s cage. Have a treat on your hand, and he will come close. He might not have the courage to touch you and get the food, but he will come close.

Keep doing this until the hamster eventually touches your hand to reach the food. Keep things like that for a couple of days.

Then you can place both hands inside the hamster’s cage. Place a bit of food on the hand farthest away from the hamster. This will make the hammy have to walk over the first hand to get to the food, and thus get used to being in both hands.

Once your hamster is okay with all of these steps, you can move on to the next one.

(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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Graduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or so

Once your hammy is okay with you, and your hands, you can place both hands on the floor of the cage and once he’s on them, lift them gently and slowly.

Not much, just by an inch/2-3 cm or so. The lifting will possibly scare the hamster, so you might have to practice this for a longer time.

Always keep the hamster off the ground only for a short amount of time, like 2-3 seconds. Once he’s okay with being held above the ground, you can practice cupping your hands over him.

Again, only life the hammy an inch off the cage floor, and use the second hand to sort of cup/hold the hammy. Then put him back down after a couple of seconds.

Your hamster need to get accustomed to being held, with both hands, and off the ground.

Pick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with it

Once your hamster is okay with being held in cupped hands an inch of the ground, you can pick him up higher.

This is probably a few days or weeks into his taming. So do not expect quick results. Once the hammy is okay with being picked up like this, he’s pretty much tamed.

He might want to walk around, so you can use your hands as mobile platforms for him to walk on. Only do this very close to his cage, or right above his cage, in case the hamster jumps.

Having a bit of food nearby to feed him while he’s in your hand is going to help him relax some more.

Hamsters and affection – do they like it ?

Alright, now your hamster’s tamed and can stay in your hands. At least for a few seconds. But does he like it ? Does he see it as a form of affection ?

Well, yes, he does like affection. He’s not against it, but hamsters don’t show affection like most pets – cats and dogs for example. They’re not overly friendly or cuddly, and won’t seek you out for a hug.

That being said hamsters that have bonded with their owners do like it when they’re cuddled. Any other hamster might find it as too touchy-feely.

You can find out much more about whether hamsters like human affection here. And you’ll also find out a bit more about a hamster’s way of building relationships, and how he views other creatures, including you.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hamsters do a lot of running around, but we do like being held by the person we trust. Only after a lot of taming though.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you can read the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.

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Can Hamsters Eat Cheese ? Are The Cartoons Right ?
Can Hamsters Eat Cheese ? Are The Cartoons Right ?When I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat cheese like I saw in Tom & Jerry. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge ! Table of Contents ToggleSo can my hamster eat dairy ?Hamsters can eat cheeseHamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurtHammies should avoid milkCommercial hamster food has enough mineral contentA word from Teddy So can my hamster eat dairy ? The short answer – yes, hamsters can eat some types of  dairy. But in a small amounts, and only certain kinds. Some dairy products are safe for hamsters, some can cause digestive problems. Lactose content plays a major role in how well mammals respond to dairy, and hamsters fall into the mammal category. Not all milk-based products are okay for hammies. This is due to the small size of hamsters, and their different gut than humans. Hamsters can tolerate some kinds of dairy, and I’ll cover the main kinds in the rest of the article. Hamsters can eat cheese Cheese is safe for hamsters, both regular cheese and white/cottage cheese, including feta. This is mostly because the fermenting process ends in a product that is safe to consume for most creatures. The lactose content in cheese is much smaller than in regular milk. The gut has an easier time processing cheese than any other dairy product, since there’s less lactose in it. You’ve seen Jerry in the cartoons go nuts over a bit of cheese. Well, hamsters love cheese just as much as mice do, since they’re not so distantly related after all. Also, the strong smell makes hammies want to go for it instantly. You can see my Teddy in the first photo of this article, happily munching on a bit of Gouda. The first time he even smelled it, he was all over it. So yes, hamsters can eat cheese, and their stomach is okay with it. Be sure to give your hamsters mild cheese that is not very aged. Overly smelly (pungent) cheese may sit badly with them, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. Soft cheeses like brie, or washed rind cheeses have a mold or bacteria culture that may be unsafe for hamsters, so try and avoid giving them to hamsters. Hamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurt Yogurt is another story here. The probiotics are a welcome bonus, and it will help with digestive problems. However with hamsters it’s the bacteria culture that  can cause trouble. You see, hammies have a different kind of stool than humans. The only reason hammies ever have a wet stool is if they’re very very ill and this is not something okay for them. So I’m not saying giving your hamster yogurt will give him a runny stool. But I am saying that yogurt may cause bloating and digestive problems for your hamster. Which is why I recommend that you don’t give your hamster yogurt often, or in large amounts. Something like half a teaspoon is enough, and it should not be given more than once per week. Hammies will eat many things that are not okay for them. They can’t really know the difference between the foods unless they try it, so they rely on you to keep them safe. You will find yogurt listed as an ingredient for some treats for hamsters. That’s usually alright, since it’s in a small amount, and mostly there’s powdered milk where it says yogurt. Actual, natural yogurt does not keep and can’t be used in most treats. Hammies should avoid milk When it comes to milk, I recommend you avoid it completely for your hamster. The amount of lactose is the highest in milk, and it’s the one most likely to give your hamster a bad tummy. Hamsters only suckle from their mothers until they’re 3-4 weeks old. After they’re weaned, like most mammals, they can’t process lactose and will have trouble digesting it. Most everyone has a degree of lactose intolerance, some more extreme, some more manageable. Younger mammals, like baby hamsters or humans can process it well enough. Adult humans or hamsters can’t stomach milk and will have trouble with it. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Commercial hamster food has enough mineral content You can feed your hamster with things you’ve already got around the house. Like meat, and veggies, and some cheese. You can find a list of safe foods for your hamster right here. But it’s both easier and more nutrition-conscious of you to feed your hammy a pre-made food mix, that will give your hamster enough to cover the basics. Commercial food mixes do have a high enough mineral content, which is something you might think you’re helping your hamster get with extra cheese or yogurt. A good food mix like this one is going to help your hamster cover all his bases. You’ve got protein, veggies, vitamins, fibers, and minerals. And the selection in this bag is very wide, so your hamster can choose whatever he like. Be warned though, that hamsters can become very picky with their food, and they might ignore bits of the mix sometimes. That’s okay, you can add a peanut here, a walnut there, and make sure your hammy gets all the nutrition he needs. You’ll find the Amazon listing for this food mix here, and you can check out the reviews as well. You can supplement your hammy’s food with whatever you have on hand as is okay for him to eat. For example I give my Teddy a small bit of cooked chicken, or cooked egg white whenever we’re cooking, er even a bit of carrot. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might want to eat everything, but only some kinds of dairy are okay. For example I love Gouda, and Maasdam cheese, but maybe your hammy likes Cheddar better ? If you want to know more about us hamster you should check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like how large a cage we need, and why we sometimes freeze when you walk by us. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Change Color ? (And Other Fur Facts)
Do Hamsters Change Color ? (And Other Fur Facts)Hamsters come in so many furs and colors and patterns it’s hard to remember which is which sometimes. And other times, they turn around and surprise you and change their fur ! Nothing as dramatic as going from blonde to redhead, but sometimes some hamsters might change their color. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters change color ?Very young hamsters will change their fur as they become adultsSome hamsters change their fur in winterVery old hamsters lose fur and go a bit grayOther hamster fur factsThere are versions of Syrian hamsters with long furLong fur can get very mattedHamster fur can grow back in most casesHamster fur should never get wet, don’t bathe your hamster ! Do hamsters change color ? Some hamsters can change color, either because they are very young and coming into their adult fur, or because they are getting very old and turning a bit gray, or because they’re a type of hamster that turns white when the cold season hits. Aside from the Winter White hamsters, no color change is dramatic but it’s a fun thing to observe in your hamster.  Hamsters come in so many fur colors, to begin with, it’s interesting to see how their fur can change as they age or the seasons change. Let’s start with the most common reason their fur can change.  Very young hamsters will change their fur as they become adults When hamsters are born, they are hairless. Then they get their initial fur growth, and it’s usually something very light, very fluffy, and very close to what their adult color will be. But as they reach maturity (about 3 months) their fur color will develop more. Some colors will be brighter, and some extra hairs will grow in, especially agouti hairs (with black at the end of each hair). For example when I first got my Teddy, he was maybe a little over a month old. So tiny ! He was a golden Syrian hamster, so he already had a light orange/gold on his back, with grey ears, and white markings on his face and feet. But as he grew a little more, I noticed he had a bit of a spot on his forehead, like a gray smudge. At first, I thought he got dirty somewhere, somehow.  But nope, turns out he actually had some agouti hairs growing all over him, and a very pale grey mark on his forehead. So as an adult my teddy was orange, with agouti hairs, mostly on his back, and a grey mark on his forehead. He was might lighter looking as a tiny little 1 month old boy.  Some hamsters change their fur in winter Some hamsters can change their fur when winter comes. This change is triggered by a shift in temperatures, but especially by a shift in daylight. The only hamsters to do this are the Winter White dwarf hamster, otherwise known as Siberian dwarf, or Djungarian dwarf.  In the wild this happens all the time. But when we’re talking about pet Winer Whites, this rarely happens, because of artificial lighting, and the even temperature inside our homes. You can induce this change, but it means only subjecting your hamster to natural daylight and nothing more. I imagine this is easier to do in the countryside due to much less light pollution.   Very old hamsters lose fur and go a bit gray Another reason for hamsters to change their fur is when they get very, very old. Like humans, old hamsters get slower, and turn gray, and start to lose their fur. Well not exactly the same, but they get silver spots. The most common places for silver or white fur in an old hamster are around the ears and neck, as far as I’ve seen. These changes seem to be more noticeable in Syrian hamsters than dwarfs. Most hamsters have a short lifespan, around 2-3 years. The hamsters I’ve had, 2 died of old age and one is still around but also growing old. When Teddy died, he was almost 2 years old. His fur was thinning on his neck and back, and his ears were drooping a little, and he suddenly had these white tufts around his ears. He started looking alike a grumpy old man, balding but with a lot of hair around his ears.  When Eggwhite died, he was also almost 2 years old, but he was a creamy white so I couldn’t notice a change in color. But I did notice his fur getting thinner, his eyelids drooping a little, and he also developed some tufts around his ears like Teddy did before he passed away.  Both Teddy and Eggwhite were Syrian hamsters. My third hamster is a Winter White, called Rocket, but she’s never changed her fur in the 2 years we’ve had her. She can (theoretically) live up to 4 years, and so far we haven’t seen any signs of old age on her, such as white hairs, droopy ears or eyes, or even getting slower. The fur on her paws is a little thinner, but that’s the only thing.  Other hamster fur facts Here are some other interesting hamster fur facts, since these little guys are far more fun than they appear. Their fur comes in many colors and patterns, but that’s not where it stops.  There are versions of Syrian hamsters with long fur When scientists captured Syrian hamsters for their labs, they also bred them to be more docile and this also led to them expressing different fur patterns. In time the hamsters wound up with breeders, who tried to see if there could be long haired hamsters. And eventually they succeeded, long-haired Syrian hamsters are here and they look absolutely funny. The long hair can sometimes be long and flowy, other times it can be a mix of long and short with just a few tufts sticking out, and in some cases it’s long fur all over the hamster.  These long-haired hamsters sound fun, and they may seem a bit more cuddly than the others, but their temperament is the same. They don’t really enjoy being picked up, but you can try. Their fur requires a lot of extra care though, since it can easily get matted. Hamsters are very clean creatures, and they clean themselves several times a day. But they weren’t ‘programmed’ for long fur, so they can’t clean it as well as short fur. Sometimes they need help, which brings us to the next point.  Long fur can get very matted This is mostly the case for long-haired Syrian hamsters, but in theory it could happen to any hamster. When the fur becomes too long, the hamster has trouble keeping it clean and detangled. In these cases you can either help the hamster by brushing out the mats, or cutting the knots out. Both are quite difficult, and your hamster’s temperament will dictate how to handle this.  So let’s start with the first one, trying to brush out the matted fur. If you’ve ever had knots in your own hair you know how difficult they can be, and how painful it is to comb them out. You have to start at the ends, and very slowly work your way up. Your hamster will obviously not want to sit still for half an hour until you get all the knots.  This will be slow, and you will have to let the furball sit as he wants to keep him calm. Try to grab his attention with a small treat, and attempt to comb out some knots at his backside, starting from the edges. He might flinch, or he might not care; not all hamsters are the same. This won’t last long, and you may only have a couple of minutes to work on his fur.  That’s okay, let him be and try again in an hour or two. Don’t try to do this all in one day. It’s really not easy.  The second option, perhaps easier, is to simply cut off the knots you can’t brush out. Your hamster will get some uneven fur but this takes less time. Again, do this on the hammy’s own terms. If he wants to go away let him go away. If he squirms, put him down and try again later. Always use something to distract him.  You need a pair of very sharp hair cutting scissors. Hopefully the knots are towards the end of the fur. If there are any knots close to the body or directly against the skin leave them alone. The risk of hurting your hamster by accident is too high.  Like combing out knots, this can take a while too. Maybe your hamster doesn’t mind the sound of scissors, maybe he gets frightened. There is no safe way to keep him in place, without injury or extreme distress for both of you. Best to just go very slow, and use a good pair of scissors. Hamster fur can grow back in most cases Sometimes a hamster will lose some of its fur, and sometimes that fur can grow back. Not always, such as very old hamsters who lose their fur due to old age. Or hamsters with a genetic condition that prevents them from growing fur in the first place. The fur on these hamsters sadly won’t ever grow.  But if your hammy lost a patch of fur because of a skin condition, an irritation, ringworm, or just because he scratched himself too much, there is good news ! The fur can grow back, as soon as the skin condition is treated and healed ! In case of excessing scratching, it’s usually due to an irritant, like a rash, or the hammy got bit by something and it’s now itching. Once that is gone and the hamster doesn’t have a reason to keep scratching, the fur will grow back.  Hamster fur should never get wet, don’t bathe your hamster ! Hamsters have very delicate fur, especially the fluff right next to the skin. It’s meant to insulate the hamster and keep it both warm and cool, depending on the weather. Hammies are exceptionally good at keeping themselves clean, they lick and nibble at their fur constantly so it is always clean. Kind of like a cat cleans itself, except this one isn’t meowing.  There is no real reason to give a hamster a bath to clean it, unless it somehow got something on it that the hamster can’t or shouldn’t clean by itself, like car grease or ketchup.  If you do get your hamster’s fur wet, know that washing it with any sort of soap will disturb the natural oils on its skin. Not only that but these animals are so frail, they need to be dried immediately after getting wet since they can’t easily handle it. Where hamsters come from water (rain) is rare, so they haven’t adapted their fur to be water-proof.  So, it’s best to never put your hamster in a situation where it could get its fur wet. And never handle your hamster with dirty hands. The hammy will clean itself after you play with it even if you’ve just washed your hands, imagine how icky it’d feel if you picked it up with Cheetos dust on your fingers.  [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Get Cold ? Keep Your Hamster Warm And Happy
Do Hamsters Get Cold ? Keep Your Hamster Warm And HappyA hamster is a very sensitive creature, and temperatures can affect his as well as us humans. Let’s see if a hamster can get too cold, and if he can even get the sniffles too. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get cold ?How to tell if your hamster’s too coldDangers of keeping your hamster in a room that’s too coldHow to tell if your hammy has a coldTreating and caring for a hammy with a coldA word from Teddy So do hamsters get cold ? Yes, hamsters can and do get cold. This happens when the room you keep the hamster in falls far below 20 C/68 F, for a long period of time. Even a few hours is too much for the hamster. This is because the ideal temperature to keep your hammy is between 20-23 C/68-75 F, with no drafts or direct sunlight. If your hamster lives in a room that consistently falls below the those temperatures, he might just get cold. A hamster left in a cold room for too long can develop several health problems. But let’s see some signs that our hamster is too cold. How to tell if your hamster’s too cold One way to tell if your hammy is cold is if he draws lots of his bedding towards his hideout. Hamsters will do this naturally, even if they have lots of nesting material in their hideout. But a hamster that feels his habitat is too cold will pile up the bedding like it’s nobody’s business. When this happens with my Teddy he scrapes and moves  all of the bedding to the side where his hideout is. Regardless of how many squares of toilet paper, cardboard, or paper towels I give him. Another sign is if you friend becomes lethargic, and even loses his appetite. He might be trying to conserve body heat and energy by sleeping much more, and so you might see him less often. In extreme cases of cold, your hamster might actually shiver and shake ! If this happens take your hamster to a warm room immediately. Dangers of keeping your hamster in a room that’s too cold One of the main dangers is what people call hibernation. Hamster can hibernate, yes, but they only need to do so on the wild. Wild hamsters get many warnings from the weather that the cold season is coming, and have time to prepare and survive. A pet hamster put in a very cold room has no time or warnings. He will have to act quick, and fall into a sort of slumber that not only can’t keep him alive for long, but will dehydrate him as well. In extreme cases, that slumber is actually hypothermic shock, and can be fatal. You need to check this article on how to save your hamster from such a situation, and how to make sure it does not happen. Another problem that can come up is that the hamster can in fact catch a cold. Like us humans, and most mammals, hamsters can catch colds. They will sneeze and have runny noses and feel like they need to sleep for much longer. How to tell if your hammy has a cold Does your buddy have a cold ? There’s a few ways you can tell. You should look for: Runny or wet nose. Hamster noses run, like ours do, but they do no have the luxury of tissues Sneezing Possibly sticky eyes, or discharge from the eyes Matted, ruffled fur Low energy, loss of appetite Sleeping for much longer Thirstier than usual Hot to the touch when you pick him up If a few or all of these are checked you can be pretty sure your hamster’s got a cold. You will need to get your little friend to a veterinarian, who will prescribe a treatment. It could be a round of antibiotics, or something else. Depending on how severe the cold is, and what your vet thinks is best for the hamster. (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.) Treating and caring for a hammy with a cold If your hamster friend’s got a cold, do not worry, Hamsters usually survive a cold, but they need help. The treatment you will get from the vet will work. But do remember that colds go away on their own in about a week, whether treated or not. You can only alleviate the symptoms. To help your hamster go through this cold easier, you can change his bedding once, and then leave him alone to build a new, warm nest. Give the hammy a lot of nesting material. More than you think he needs. He will use all of it and build himself a big, tangly mess to keep himself warm and hide away in for a few days. Keep the hamster’s room in the temp range mentioned above. That’s 20-23 C/68-75 F. Do no go over that range, since a room too warm will make the hamster too warm and make it difficult for him to breathe. Make sure the room is well ventilated, but not drafty. In that respect, you can also make sure that his cage is not near a window or door, or on an external wall. Finally, make sure to separate the sick hamster from his mates if you’ve got several hamsters. You might even have to take the sick hammy to another room. If all goes well your friend should be fine in about a week, and able to return to normal. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies look so cute and fluffy, but we can get cold too. And if we catch a cold it’s not easy on our noses either. At least you have nose drops. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
4 Best Hamster Wheels For Syrian And Dwarf (An Owner’s Opinion)
4 Best Hamster Wheels For Syrian And Dwarf (An Owner’s Opinion)Caring for your hamster includes giving him all the toys and exercise opportunities you can. Having a good exercise wheel for your hamster is an important way of taking care of him. But what kind of exercise wheel should you get for your hamster ? And which is the best ? We’ll look at safety hazards, general preferences, and budget as well. For now, let’s start with the principles you should guide yourself by when getting your hammy an exercise wheel. Table of Contents ToggleSo what’s the best kind of wheel for my hamster ?A comparison between 4 great hamster wheels1. Eleven inch closed wheel with heavy stand2. Nine inch silent closed wheel with heavy stand3. Eight inch metal wire wheel, like Teddy has4. Seven inch plastic flying saucer wheelSo what kind of wheel should you get for your hamster ?A word from Teddy So what’s the best kind of wheel for my hamster ? Generally you should look for a hamster wheel that’s well secured, and won’t be a health hazard for your hammy. Of course, any wheel can break, but some designs are prone to certain problems. You should look for: A good running surface, so the hamster has a good grip Tail guards, if you’ve got a Chinese hammy or a mouse or rat (or any other long-tailed pet) Low noise level, since you’ll want to be able to sleep at night Durability, so you won’t replace it every other month Good size compared to the hamster, we’ll get into more detail in this article Safety precautions, so the hammy has less chances of hurting himself Again, not all wheels will hit all those marks. Some might only be good for Dwarf hammies, some might be very poorly made and not good at all. And some might be the best option out there, year in and year out. I’ve looked around, and found the best 4 hamster exercise wheels you can order online, and I’m going to compare them in this article. They’re all good, in their own way. And you can get a good guess for which would be best for your hammy. A comparison between 4 great hamster wheels Before you choose any wheel at all, please take into account how large your hamster cage is. If You choose a wheel and once ti arrives you notice it won’t fit into the cage, that will be unpleasant. Please measure your cage, in height and width beforehand, starting with the level at which the bedding stops. So if your hamster’s cage is 30 inches high, and you’ve got 2 inches of bedding, calculate with 28 inches since that’s only as much as it will allow. After you’re done reading this table, you’ll find each wheel discussed in much more detail in the rest of this article.   11 inch plastic 9 inch plastic 8 inch wire mesh 7 inch flying saucer image material plastic, metal base plastic, metal base metal plastic size (diameter) 11 inches/ 28 cm 9 inch/ 23 cm 8 inch/ 20 cm 7 inch/18 cm good for syrian syrian, dwarf syrian dwarf durable yes yes yes will wear down in time safety 100% 100% cannot guarantee 100% good running surface/ grip yes yes yes yes silent yes yes yes, if oiled wears down in time price on Amazon check here check here check here check here   1. Eleven inch closed wheel with heavy stand This wheel’s got pretty much all the marks. It’s large, one of the largest available for small rodents. Eleven inches is more than enough for a Syrian hamster, and he should be able to spin it easily enough. It’s got a heavy bottom that’s going to keep it safe in one place, and it’s fairly heavy on its own. It’s 2 pounds/ 1 kg, so your hammy won’t be able to move it either by pushing or by use. The fact that it’s such a large size means it’s going to be a very good fit for Syrian hamsters. They can grow to be very large, up to 8 inches/ 20 cm in length, and about 2 inches/5 cm in width. Dwarf hamsters are smaller, about half the size of a Syrian. If you’re not sure which breed you’ve got, you can find out here. As you’ve noticed, hammies are kind of hunch-backed. This means their backs should remain this way, since that’s the way nature intended them to be. They can run with a straight spine, but any backwards bend for them will be very painful. So if you’ve got a Syrian hammy, you’ll need to look for big wheels, even if he’s such a tiny little guy. They grow fast, from pups to adults it takes only 3 months and they will soon need adult-sized everything in their cage. If you’ve got a Dwarf hamster, this wheel might be a bit large for him. No worries though, the next one will suit him better. As for safety, this wheel’s got a tail guard, and the axle is well covered so it’s not going to hurt the hamster. No feet getting stuck anywhere, and no tails or tufts of hair either. The inside of the wheel’s a ribbed plastic, so there is good grip. The noise level is very low, since this kind of wheel doesn’t really contain any loud parts. If you place it directly onto plain glass or plastic, then it might make a little noise as it vibrates from the running hamster. I recommend placing it over a thin layer of bedding, preferably wood shavings. Finally, in terms of durability this wheel looks like it could stand up to several years of heavy use, so I doubt replacing it would really be an issue. If you’d like, you can check the listing on Amazon and read the reviews as well. 2. Nine inch silent closed wheel with heavy stand This wheel is, again, a closed wheel. Also plastic, but smaller and a much better fit for a Dwarf hamster. It’s still a good size for Syrian hamsters if you’ve got one. This one’s a bit lighter than the 11 inch one. It’s about 1.4 lbs/0.6 kg so it’s still going to stay put. The best part is that it comes with a cage attachment, and you can lock it into one place. For the cage attachment, be warned that these can sometimes break the bars of the cage in time, if your cage is flimsy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t attach it, but you should not be completely surprised if one of the bars gives in after a while. My Teddy had a plastic wheel in his old cage that we attached like this and the bars broke after a few weeks. You might be luckier, I don’t know. Again, this has nothing to do with this particular exercise wheel, but with attaching wheels to cage bars in general. Aside from this, the plastic inside the wheel is a good grip, and your hammy will be able to run on it well enough. It’s textured and non-slip, so again there won’t be any mishaps for your furry one. In terms of silence, this one should be definitely silent, or at least more silent than other hamster exercise wheels. It’s supposed to operate on ball bearings, so it should be quiet enough that you can’t hear your hamster running around. And durable it is, same as the one before. Tail and foot guard are present, so your little one will be as safe as he can be. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 3. Eight inch metal wire wheel, like Teddy has My Teddy’s got one of these wheels, and it can get fairly noisy, that’s true. This is one of the most basic wheels you can get for your hammy, and you’ll find it in many pet shops as well. The reason people tend to be scared of them is because they can be very noisy, and if your hammy’s a small one (like a Dwarf) he might get a foot stuck in those bars. Hence, I do no recommend this for Dwarf hamsters. My Teddy is a Syrian, and he’s had wire wheels his whole life. He’s almost two years old as I’m writing this, so he had time to complain if he wanted to. As for noise, these metal wheels can and do get squeaky if you don’t oil them regularly. But, I oil my Teddy’s wheel once a week, every week, when I clean his cage. This results in no noise at all for us, and the wheel itself does not make any other sound since it sits in a thin layer of bedding on that side of the cage. You could call this personal preference, I don’t know. But I think wire cages work almost as well as the closed, heavy, plastic ones with the tail guards. There is a bit of safety concern yes, but my Teddy’s been just fine so far. In terms of budget, this kind of wheel is much more accessible, since it’s about 1/3 of the price of the other two plastic ones. So keep that in mind as well. The way the wire is made makes sure the hamster can comfortably grip the bars and actually spin it around, so slipping is not a problem. Don’t be surprised if your hamster ends up chewing the wheel almost as much as he runs on it. Hammies do that, and while it;s not the best idea for them to chew metal, they can;t really be stopped. My Teddy chewed everything in his cage, the bars, the food bowl, the hideout, the water bottle, the wheel, the walnut, everything but the chew toys themselves. Ah well. In terms of durability this wheel’s made of metal, so I can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to last for years. Unless you somehow bend it out of shape or something terrible happens to it. As long as you remember to oil it every now and then, you should be fine. You can check the listing on Amazon for this wheel, and read the reviews as well. 4. Seven inch plastic flying saucer wheel Finally, we come to the smallest wheel on this list. This size is great for Dwarf hammies, but barely enough for Syrians. The flying saucer wheels have always been funny, at least in my opinion. Especially when they’re used by Dwarf hammies, who tend to hop onto the same wheel several at a time and just get in each other’s way. Ah well, you can always get them a couple of these wheels, since they cost even less than the wire mesh wheels we discussed above. There’s grip alright, the plastic is hard and ribbed, so it’s going to provide your hamster with a good running track. I would recommend it for a Dwarf hamster as this size is more suited for them, and maybe a tiny Syrian. Compared with other wheel designs, flying saucers don’t have the whole bent-over spine problem and I think that’s an important factor to consider. There’s barely any health hazard, since there’s nothing sticking out, or no place the hamster could catch his foot or tail. Worst that could happen is if he suddenly stopped and flew off the wheel. Which can happen with any wheel design. As for durability, keep in mind that this is hard plastic, but can still wear down a bit. Given the angle of the saucer and how the whole thing is meant to operate, you might have to replace it after a few months of heavy use. The heavier the hamster, the more the wheel will wear down since it’s going to be forced at an angle. Exactly how long that will take, I do not know. It could be that you’ve got the world’s lightest Robo and he might not break the wheel at all. And in terms of noise, this kind of wheel should be silent enough, though it might squeak a little after it starts to wear down. It’s a hit or miss with these, so you might get one that’s always going to be silent, or one that’s going to squeak after a few months. You can check the listing on Amazon for this wheel, and read the reviews as well. So what kind of wheel should you get for your hamster ? You’ve got the table to better compare these 4 wheels, and you’ve got a detailed run-down of each wheel in particular. I think the heavy-bottomed plastic ones are the safest, most silent, and generally long lasting ones. They’re a bit expensive, then again a running wheel will last the hamster’s whole life. And run is pretty much all he does. So if budget isn’t a problem, then I recommend the heavy plastic ones. The 11 inch for the Syrian owners, and the 9 inch for the Dwarf owners. If you are, in fact, on a budget, or simply don’t want to spend as much on your hammy, then the flying saucer and wire mesh wheels are good options as well. I’d advise Dwarf owners to stay away from the wire mesh wheels, since the feet of a Dwarf are just too tiny to safely use that. And the flying saucer seems the best for for Dwarf hamsters, but could also be alright for Syrians in a pinch. A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of info here on what kind of wheel to get your hammy. I know us hamsters look so tiny and fluffy, but we need some very large toys, and the exercise wheel is one of them. I for one run all night, and would be horrified if I ever had no wheel to run on. So please don’t skimp out on your hammy’s wheel, he only needs one. If you’d like to know more about us hamsters and how to care for us properly, you can check the articles below for more info. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Eat Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?
Do Hamsters Eat Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?If you’ve even given your hamster a piece of toilet paper, you’ve seen him shove it in his mouth. Did the hamster eat the toilet paper ? Do hamsters even eat TP in the first place ? Sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no, and we need to dive into a bit of a talk. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat toilet paper ?Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ?What hamsters actually do with the TP you give themBedding and nesting material for your hamster friendHamsters store everything in their cheek pouchesSafe foods for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat toilet paper ? No, hamsters do not eat toilet paper. They wad it up and store it in their cheeks to use as bedding or nesting material. There are times when the hamster does ingest a tiny bit of TP, because the difference between his cheek pouches and mouth is very small. He sometimes misses. If you’ve never had a hammy before, it can look like he’s eating the TP. But if you look closely, his cheeks are swollen and he hid it there. Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ? Yes, toilet paper is safe for hamsters. Even if your hammy ends up ingesting the TP, it is safe. Modern toilet paper is meant to dissolve in water after a short while. This also means that it will break apart when it reaches your hammy’s stomach, so he will have no trouble passing it out. It won’t even be noticeable. That being said, i depends what kind of TP your hamster got his paws on. Scented, and/or colorful TP isn’t poisonous for hamsters, but it can upset their stomach. Hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, and if you give them a TP smelling of peaches they will probably think it’s actually peaches and try to eat it. The best TP to give to hamsters – not for food – is plain, unscented. The most regular, boring version you can find is going to work just great. What hamsters actually do with the TP you give them Whenever you give your hammy a TP square, you probably see him going a bit crazy. You see, hamsters absolutely love anything soft and cuddly that can be used as nesting material. This also means you should keep hammies away from fleece or cotton, since they will shove it in their cheeks and hurt themselves or get some fibers caught in their teeth. So, your hamster will fit as much TP as he can in his cheeks, then make a bee line for his nest. Wherever his nest is, not matter how much nesting it’s already got – it always needs more. Your hammy’s going to decorate his place with all the TP and paper towels you give him. All of them. It can get ridiculous. Look at my Teddy, his hideout’s bursting with TP and paper towels. Hamsters decorate their nest with toilet paper, and with paper towels as well. For this reason, I recommend giving rather paper towels for his nesting material. TP is highly absorbent, and will mat up more than paper towels. And it’s less resistant, so he will need more pieces. Whatever you do give him (TP or paper towel) he’ll hoard all of it. Bedding and nesting material for your hamster friend You might be wondering if you’ve given your hamster too little bedding if he gets like that when he sees crumply paper. Well, no. Hamsters have an inherent need to nest and build a warm, big nest to cuddle and hide in. So they will go overboard with the nesting material. An ideal bedding depth is somewhere around 1-2 inches, so your hamster has something to dig into. Not all hamsters are diggers though. Some are climbers, or runners, and won’t be interested in digging too much. You can find out much more about the right kind of bedding you can get your hamster friend right here. You’ll find which beddings are safe and which are unsafe, and all the options you can choose from. As for warmth, hamsters require a temp range between 20-23 C/68-75 F to feel comfortable. You should check here for more info on that, and see how you can make your hammy comfortable in your home. So if you’ve give your hamster lots of warmth, and he’s still building his nest, don’t be alarmed. He’s fine, he just builds big, fluffy, flowy nests. In the wild he’d have a whole series of tunnels to live in, and several ‘bedrooms’ full of leaves and twigs. Other options your hamster might use as his nesting material is cardboard. The long cardboard tubes left over from toilet paper, or paper towels are okay for hamsters to use. They even play in them. Cut a few holes into the tube, like swiss cheese, and he’ll dart in and out of those tubes. YOu can find out more about hamster toys (DYI and store bought) here, and some ideas on what you can make for you hammy at home. Hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches Alright, now you know what your hammy’s doing with the TP. But does he put everything in his cheeks ? Well, yes, hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches. Everything, Bits of food, nesting material, a few bits of poo, a half eaten cricket, anything. Hamsters have those pouches in order to be able run away if they have to make a quick split. This also makes it easier for them to cover a lot of ground without having to keep returning to their nest to store everything. Kinda smart, if you think about it. This is one reason to never give your hamster something very sharp or extra saucy as food. If it’s a bit of chicken or boiled egg white, he will eat it right away. But anything less than tasty protein or fruit will be shoved into the cheek pouch. A tasty noodle ? In the cheek, and it will leave some residue that the hammy can’t clean out. It has a high chance of infection, and an infected cheek pouch is not easy to treat. Mostly because the cheek itself isn’t easy to reach into without hurting the hamster. Plus, if the hammy feels like he still has something in his cheeks he’ll keep pushing and pawing at his cheeks until he hurts himself. So be very careful what foods you give your hamster friend ! (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.) Safe foods for your hamster friend You can feed your hamster lots of foods that are acceptable for you as well. For the most part, hamsters can eat meat, veggies, fruit, grains, and seeds, just like us. It’s just that they have a few conditions, and some foods are too fat or to sweet for them. Especially for the Dwarf types. They are prone to diabetes, and as such should be definitely kept away from sweets. Both Dwarf and Syrian types should have a very small amount of fats in their diet as well. They are living in your warm, comfy home, no reason to build up a layer of insulating fat. I’m going to give you a few useful links for the foods hamsters can eat, for each category available. So, if you want to know more about hamsters and meat, what kind of meat they can have, check out this nifty article, with a clear explanation of which meats are okay for hammies. When it comes to dairy, hamsters can eat some kinds, but not too much. It’s the high-lactose one that don’t sit well with them. You can read more about that here. For bread and grains, you can check out here to see when and how you can feed your hamster friend bread and/or pasta. And here you can find out more about what veggies are safe for hamsters, and here learn about the kinds of fruit your hammy can eat, and which to avoid. Finally, you can read on here to learn more about nuts and the kinds hamsters can eat safely, and how much of them they can have at a time. These are all items you’ve probably already got in your fridge or pantry. Do remember that a commercial food mix has the basics all covered, and is designed to give your hamster the nutrition it needs. Still, you can feed your hamster friend food from the lists I mentioned above, as small treats or if you’ve got them on hand when cooking. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. I know us hammies love toilet paper, but we don’t normally eat it. We hide lots of it in our cheeks, and it looks like we eat it. But we just build our nests with them. If you want to know more about us hammies you can check out the articles below, to learn how to feed and house us properly, and how to play with us too. [...] 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...