Do Hamsters Need Affection ? How To Keep Your Furball Happy

When I first got my Teddy I didn’t know how much attention he’d need from me. Or if he’d need any at all. I only knew hamsters can be left by themselves in their cages and be fine, but do hammies really need your attention ?

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So do hamsters need attention from their owners ?

YES, much less than other pets but yes. Hamsters are solitary by nature, but they still enjoy human company, and can grow to be attached to their owners.

This means you need to handle and play with the hamster very often, to form this bond.

But your hammy will not be lonely if you don’t pay him too much attention. Hamsters are solitary by nature, and do not miss company necessarily. This means that they can live on their own, and not miss the owner too much.

However a hamster not handled regularly will need a lot more space and activities, to consume all of his energy. He’s basically an untamed hamster in this case.

But let’s get into detail with this, and see how and when to give your hamster attention.

It depends on your hamster’s personality

Some hamsters are more cuddly, some are more aloof. In general Syrian hamsters are easier to tame, and thus will be a bit more affectionate than other hamster types.

But this is only because the Syrians are much larger than the other hammies, and thus can be handled easier.

However there are hamsters and hamsters. For example my Teddy – adult Syrian male –  is not the cuddliest of hamsters. He’s not completely aloof, but he is always on the go, doing something, too busy to stay in my hands and relax a little.

To be honest he was not what I imagined when I said I wanted a hammy, but he’s got a whole personality of his own. He may not be cuddly, but he makes a lot of funny faces, and would be a really good circus acrobat.

Maybe your hammy is like my Teddy, or maybe he’s a very mellow hamster. A family friend of ours had a hammy, his name was Oscar, and he was the tamest thing ever. He let anyone touch him, and would come up to the cage bars if he heard you, asking for a bit of attention.

There’s hamsters and hamsters, and you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting when he is a baby. But it’s important to realize that your pet is his own creature, and won’t always be what you imagined.

You can, however, do your best to try and tame your hamster. Just don’t be surprised by the outcome, and love him anyway.

Hamsters are always very curious and active

Your hamster need your attention, even if it’s not for reasons as sentimental as a puppy. True, hamsters do need attention, but they do not crave it as much as dogs.

Hamsters can’t be emotionally handicapped (since they’re loners by default) like a puppy starving for affection, but still you should give your hamster plenty of love and attention.

Still, your hamster will be curious. About everything. Including what you’ve got in that bag you’re rustling next to his cage, or 2 rooms away.

So even for something as small as this, hamsters do need your attention so they know what you’re doing, and they can investigate in peace. Just bring the bag close to the cage and let him sniff what you’ve got there. Chances are he won’t be interested.

For example my Teddy goes nuts when I’m doing something next to his cage, but the second I let him get a sniff of what I’m doing (often just heating something in the microwave) he loses all interest and walks away. Sometimes I think I have a cat.

So, sometimes your hamster’s curiosity might be mistaken for asking for affection. Hamsters aren’t aloof like fish, or spiders or reptiles, but they’re not nearly as cuddly as dogs, cats, or parrots.

How to keep your hamster friend happy

You can keep your hamster friend happy, and give him a lot of attention and love. There’s a few ways you can do that, and I’ll tell you right here.

Play with the hamster

The first and most obvious thing to do is to play with your hamster. This will create and deepen the bond between the two of you. Also, you’re giving your hamster plenty of attention by constantly handling him, and letting him get your scent.

For example my Teddy’s fave playtime is a toilet paper square, dangled in front of him and he tries to climb onto it half the time. He just loves chasing that bit of paper around his cage every time he notices it.

Even if you don’t want to take the hamster out of his cage, you can still talk to him and touch him in the cage. This helps him get closer to you, because hamsters need plenty of stimulation.

Give the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exercise

This is the next best thing after playing with your hamster. Sometimes, like when you’re sleeping and your hamster is awake, your hammy needs things to do.

So giving the hamster chew toys and a running wheel is going to give him something to do.

As said before in this article hamsters sometimes are just very curious, and sometimes that can be mistaken for asking for attention.

If your hammy has not much to do in his cage, then he’ll grow bored and want to explore the outside. And if the outside means you, making coffee next to him, then he will absolutely need to know what’s in that cup.

So a good option is getting your hamster some toys – here’s a link for some DYI and store bought toy ideas for your hamster, so he never gets bored.

And here is an article on running wheels for hamsters, so you know what to look for when you get one for your hamster. Or, if the one you’ve already got is good enough. There’s wheel size requirements, depending on your hamster’s breed.

Get your hamster the right sized everything

From food bowl to water bottle to hideout and cage, everything needs to be the right size for your hammy.

A very small cage will make your hamster nervous and anxious, and he will be all over the cage bars. It will look like he’s asking for your attention, but once you do handle him he will not be friendly or sit still. He will be happy he is out, and can explore, but you’re not letting him.

So for this reason (and many others) getting your hamster a large enough cage is one of the most important things to do to keep him comfortable and happy. Hamsters are very small, but they need quite a bit of space.

You can read more about hamster cages – size, types, and how to clean them – right here, so you can take care of your hamster friend as best you can. Remember, if you’ve got Dwarf hammies and they’re at least two, you’re going to need a bigger cage.

As for the hideout your hamster will spend most of his time in, it’s important that you get your hammy a wooden one. He will chew on everything in his cage, even the hideout, so it’s best to get him one that’s safe for his teeth. You can see more about hamster hideouts and the bedding hamsters usually need right here.

(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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Hamsters do not get lonely

You might think that hamsters can get lonely, all by themselves in those cages. Well, hamsters are okay to be left alone, after all they’re loners by nature.

In the wild hamsters live alone, and only meet other hamsters to mate. Or, the occasional trespasser in their territory who they will fight.

There are some hamster breeds that can live together. But even those hamsters need to be introduced as babies, and be of the same litter, in order to get a long. Even so, sometimes it just doesn’t work.

So if you’ve got an adult Syrian hammy, and you’re feeling bad because you feel like you’re not paying him enough attention, do not get him a friend. He will fight anyone new that you put into his cage, even a baby hamster.

Syrians and Chinese hamsters are especially territorial, and will get into an actual, legit deathmatch with another hamster in their cage.

Hamsters are not puppies, and won’t do well in a group. Some Dwarf types are okay being raised with a sibling of theirs, but even there they can get on each other’s nerves and develop stress-related illnesses.

A word from Teddy

I hope you know more about us hammies now, and know that we do in fact need your attention. Maybe not as much as other pets, and we won’t jump on you to lick your face to show affection. But we love you in our own way, and we do like your company !

So if you want to know more about us hamsters, feel free to check out the articles below. You’l find more info on what kind of food we need, how much water we can drink, and even why we play with our poop.

Related blog post
12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs Ever
12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs EverIf you’ve got a hammy in your life, you know they can be the funniest, cutest little creatures ever. If you haven’t got one, you’ll find out now why hamsters are a favorite among pets. My Teddy is a Syrian male, and I’ve had him since August 2017. Since then he’s done the weirdest, funniest things you can imagine a hamster doing. So sit down and get ready to go ”awww, mine does that too !” because here’s a list of all re reasons hammies are the cutest things ever ! Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamsters make the cutest faces2. They freeze for no apparent reason3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers8. Hamsters are athletic furballs9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorableA word from Teddy 1. Hamsters make the cutest faces Hammies have this cute little face, you can’t really resist them. Especially the Dwarf types, with their fuzzy faces and practically no necks. My Teddy got his name from his cute face, even if he’s a Syrian. He’s got the cutest little teddy bear face I’ve ever seen. My favorite part, and probably yours too, is where the whiskers start on a hamster’s snout. It’s looks like they’re sort of pouting, all the time. And I’ve never seen a bad photo of a hamster. Seriously, those faces will look good in any photo, since they’re always very dramatic and expressive. For example here’s my Teddy scratching himself, and you can see every small thought going through his head in this photo. 2. They freeze for no apparent reason It’s a well known, and often searched thing, that hamsters freeze. Like you’re both just minding your own business, and suddenly your hamster will just stand up with this shocked, panicked expression on his face and just… exist. Talking to him or tapping the cage won’t work most of the time, since he’s so focused on whatever he’s doing just standing there. Turns out, there a reason behind hamsters suddenly freezing, and you can in fact unfreeze them. I won’t spoil the surprise, you can read about why they are freezing here.  Still, hammies suddenly stopping to stare into the distance for 2 minutes are a classic. 3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason My Teddy is a champion here, I think. When he was younger he not only jumped, he did backflips. This was mostly when something spooked him, and he had the funniest reactions to me just opening the fridge. But the funniest moment my Teddy jumped was when we were all doing our own thing, and Teddy was busy shoving paper towels in his cheeks, as per usual. I reached around his cage for something, and apparently that’s a terrifying thing for him. He jumped sideways about 12 inches/30 cm, while still shoving all those paper towels in his little face. When he landed he kept shoving them, like it was all part of his plan. When I first got him home from the pet shop, I wondered if hamsters jump. They do, in fact, and Teddy jumped right at me in his cage. 4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have Hamsters are incredibly small, and they’re the smallest pet you can get your hands on. Well, there’s fish you can also get, but you can’t really pet a goldfish, can you ? Hammies are tiny, and that’s a big part of their charm. If you’ve got a bunch of Dwarf types, you know they’re so small it’s hard to notice them in their cage sometimes. However since they’re so small that also means that holding them is not very easy, since they will jump out of your hands, and never sit still. You can still watch your hammies have a great time squeezing themselves into the smallest places they can find, though. My Teddy loves shoving his face between the cage bars and his hideout to … get to the bars ? that he already has access to ? but the view is better from there, I guess. 5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable The first time my Teddy touched my hand was magical. There’s just something about your normally jittery and active hammy actively touching your hand that feels great. He’s always busy doing this and that, and you’ve maybe touched his fur. But have you ever touched your hamster’s paws ? I do this with Teddy when I give him a treat, especially a larger one. I hold onto it with two fingers, and I don’t let go for a few seconds. So Teddy starts to push with his mighty paws to get the treat for himself, and  let go after a bit. You can also try this with your hammy when you’re feeding him. If you place food in your hand, and let him forage for food in your hand, eventually he will touch it. It will feel a bit weird, since your hammy’s paw feels a lit like a reptile’s skin. You won’t be sure if it’s cold or wet, but that’s just his paws. 6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything If you’ve ever let your hamster onto your bed, you’ve maybe seen him try to hide a bit of your covers into his little cheeks. Hamsters will try to put anything that’s food or nesting material in their cheeks. This is how my Teddy ended up with half an inch of fleece blanket in his cheek before I could even react. He was on my bed, and I made a sort of enclosure for him with the rolled up blanket. Once he got to the blanket, he just had to have it apparently. You’ve probably seen your hammy do the same with a lot of stuff. Try to bribe him with a bit of food to come close so you can pet him, and he’ll just shove the whole peanut in his cheek and stare at you. Mocking you. The only things I’ve seen my Teddy eat immediately were cooked chicken, and boiled egg white. My Teddy always has something in his cheeks, from paper towels, to bits of poo, a bit of food, and some broccoli somewhere. And he’s always very fast about it, you can’t really get between him and whatever he wants to put in his cheeks. When his cheeks are full, he looks like a weird lizard, with bulges going down the sides of his face. 7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers Ah yes, hamsters decorating and redecorating their homes are a thing. It’s always funny to watch Teddy pull, push, drag, fold, and shove bits of paper towel into his hideout. Then he’d drag some more bedding into the hideout. After that, he decides he needs more chewed up cardboard. No,no, less bedding. An extra paper towel would be nice, though. Whenever I think he’s done moving things around, there’s always something else that needs to be put in place.  Have you ever seen your hammy move the nesting material in his hideout, pull it out, then put it all back in ? The same way it was before, only now it’s different. The same, but different. 8. Hamsters are athletic furballs You’ve heard of hamsters needing an exercise wheel. But have you ever just watched your hamster to see how much he runs in a night ? He’s always on the thing, and he keeps on running. On average a hammy will run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a night ! If he’s not running in his wheel, he’s climbing his cage bars to get to somewhere important. Or jumping over something, or crawling through a tube. It’s like he’s in military training all day, every day, and nothing will stop him. Except for a piece of walnut, hamsters are cheap like that. For example my Teddy would scale the cage bars, even the cage ceiling. I could see he has some very defined and strong abs, and you’ve probably seen hamster videos about the same thing. As your hamster gets older he might stop doing that. 9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. But when your hamster sits down to groom himself, he;s not going anywhere for the next 10 minutes. That’s a lot, given how small he is. Hamsters are very clean, very sensitive creatures, and they clean themselves often. They do complete cleanings in their fur a few times a day, every day, forever. And it’s always this long, detailed process, where cleaning one ear will take up a minute and lots of scratches. But still, they are incredibly cute, and very flexible too. It’s always funny to watch my Teddy sit on his big rear-end start scratching and patting and pulling he knows what from his fur. (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.) 10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes I think this is something weird my Teddy does, and maybe you’ve seen other hamster do this as well. He’ll start scaling the cage bars, maybe even get to the ceiling and imitate a tarantula. He has a lot of strength, and I know he can hold on very well. Until his batteries suddenly give out and he just… lets go. Just like that, he just lets go and falls on the bedding. I never understood that one. Or when he throws his droppings around. He holds a piece in his teeth, and flicks it somewhere. He’s not eating them, he’s just kind of playing with them. And when he suddenly barks/hiccups, again I never found out the reason behind that one. It’s quiet, nothing’s happening, there is no sudden noise. Teddy will just make the oddest noises, like a series of loud, high-pitched “hmph’; we probably offended him somehow. But he’s a cute and lovable creature, and I’m sure you’ve got some funny hammies at home too ! 11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on Hamsters are well knows for their ability to shove everything in their cheeks and run home with those things. Actually the Syrian hammy got its original arabic name as ‘‘mister saddlebags”, since he can carry so much. So your hammy, and probably everyone’s hammy, is a bit of a hoarder. You’ve seen his stash when you clean his cage, and it’s always incredible how neat and tidy he is with all of his belongings. My Teddy brings into his hideout food, bits of fruit, all the paper towels, a walnut, a whole hammy biscuit, cardboard, a chew toy, everything. Hamsters will try to build their nests out of everything soft you give them, or they can find, so make sure they stay away from anything cotton or fiber (choking hazard). 12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorable If you’ve seen anyone wake up, you know their eyes are puffy, half open, hair messy, and they can barely walk. Well, imagine a furball waking up all disheveled, with eyes barely open, and his ears folded onto themselves. Hamsters who just woke up look a lot like when they were babies, so warm and fuzzy and disoriented. Much like humans, hammies will wake up for a trip to the bathroom, grab a drink, and go back to sleep. My Teddy is at his cutest when he wakes up and looks around his cage, to see if everything is okay. He just tip toes and sniffs just outside his hideout for a bit, and then stretches. If you ever thought hammies were cute, a stretching, yawning hamster is a nightmare. But it only lasts for a few seconds, and he’s back to his cute, fluffy self. A word from Teddy I hope you found a few extra reasons on why us hammies are cute pets, and funny too ! I know we’re small and maybe harder to hold and pet, but we’re funny on our own too. If you want to find out more about us hamsters, you can read the articles below. You’ll find more info on what we can and can not eat, how big of a cage we need, and even why we suddenly freeze sometimes. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Get Periods And Bleed ? A Word On Hamster Mating
Do Hamsters Get Periods And Bleed ? A Word On Hamster MatingIf you own a female hamster, you will need to know about her menstrual cycle, and if she bleeds during her period. Or if she even gets a period at all. Not all creatures are the same. Let’s see how the female hamster’s reproductive cycle works, and how it affects the mating process. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get periods ?How you can tell your hamster is in heatWhen/what age to let the female hamster mateSigns your female hamster is pregnantPregnancy and birth of the hamster litterDo hamsters bleed during their period ?Genital problems in female hamstersA word from Teddy So do hamsters get periods ? No, not the same way other female mammals do. The female hamster does produce eggs that need to be fertilized by the male, but there is no bloody discharge if the eggs haven’t been fertilized. There can be one single drop of blood, occasionally, but that’s it. Instead there will be a whitish substance that the female will release at the end of her ‘period’. This repeats every 4 days, and the window in which the female is available for breeding is only 12 hours long, at night.  On that night, she gives off a strong smell, to attract the male hamster. This is the hamster version of being ‘in heat’. This starts once the hamster becomes sexually mature (around 8 weeks) and lasts until she either dies, or becomes too old. How you can tell your hamster is in heat Aside from the strong smell the female gives off, there are other signs. For example on the day when the female is available (day 2 of her cycle), she will secrete a whitish substance that also contributes to the general smell around her. By the end of her cycle (day 3 and 4) the substance secreted from the genital opening becomes drier, more waxy. You will notice the hamster is more agitated, and if you stroke her back she will flatten her body and splay her legs. This means she’s ready to receive the male, and if you’re looking to breed hamsters, this is the right time. Then everything starts again, with the thinner secretions on the first day. Female hamsters have regular whitish secretions, much like human females. This is partly a cleaning mechanism, and a part of the mucus that is meant to receive the male’s sperm. This will continue until the hamster becomes pregnant, and them resume after she gives birth. And this will continue until she falls pregnant again, or become too old (a sort of menopause). When/what age to let the female hamster mate There are best and worst moments to let the female hamster breed. This is because pregnancies when the hamster is too young is taxing since she is still growing and it’s not an easy pregnancy. Pregnancies in hamsters older than 15 weeks is not recommended, since it often has many complications. Anything between 10 to 15 weeks is fine. As for how early you can start breeding the hamsters, the male is said to be in peak between week 10 and 14, while the female can start as soon as she 10 weeks. When you do introduce the female to the male to let them mate, you should take a few precautions. Even though the female is willing to mate, she will not always accept the male. This can vary from hamster to hamster, but the mating ritual is a bit violent. There will be tussling and a bit of fighting. She will test the male to see if he’s worth her eggs, and most of the time he is. There are times when the male is either weak, or the female is too violent. This means that male needs to be removed and a different male introduced, possibly one who can stand against her. This needs to be done in the evening, when the female wakes up, and her secretion is whitish and fairly thin. She should be on her second day, right in the middle of the cycle. It only lasts for 12 hours, and the male only has that one night to impregnate her. Signs your female hamster is pregnant If the breeding is successful, you will notice something that’s called a copulatory plug. This is kind of an actual plug, made of the male sperm, and the female excretions. It’s hardened and white, and will remain there for the first 5 days of the pregnancy. This is the most obvious and definitive sign that the male has successfully impregnated the female. Another sign, in case you missed the plug, is the fact that the hamster will still secrete a whitish substance but this will be consistent, creamy, and whitish. There will be no thin secretion, only the thick one for the following 5 days. After that night, the pair needs to be separated. The female will be aggressive towards the male, and it’s best to keep a gestating female hamster undisturbed, on her own. The gestation period varies from hamster breed to breed, but generally is between 16 to 22 days. Dwarf hamsters have the longest pregnancy (20-22) while the Syrian hamsters have the shortest pregnancy. You’ll notice the female is pregnant about 10 days after the mating, her belly will swell and she will be more and more irritable. At this time it’s best to give her more and more food, especially protein like cooked plain chicken or egg white. Also, more nesting material is required, since she will start building this big, warm, sprawling nest for her and the babies. So make sure you’ve for tissues, toilet paper and paper towels at hand, and give her more than you think she needs. She will use all of 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.) Pregnancy and birth of the hamster litter The female needs to be kept alone, away from her cage mates, so nothing can disturb her. This is because any stress or annoyance can spook her, and she has a high chance of eating her young once they’re born. This is especially true if it’s her first litter, and has no previous experience with young hamsters. Once her due date approaches she will become restless, she will eat more, and she will stop using her wheel. She might be sleeping or just resting more. You might see a drop of blood or two just before the birth. On the day of birth, you need to make sure she has a good stock of food and water on hand. She will stand up, and deliver one baby hamster. She will clean him, sever the umbilical cord, tidy around the nest or take a short nap, and a few minutes later deliver the second baby, and so on until all babies have been born and cleaned. Once she is done, she will be very tired, and irritable. Be sure to leave her alone completely, and only bring food and give it through the cage bars. Do not try to peek at the babies or poke at her. So not clean her cage, neither spot-clean nor completely clean. This will be the norm for about 2 weeks after she has given birth. The babies are born hairless and blind, and will suckle from her until they reach 4 weeks of age. That is when she will wean them, and you will need to separate them into same-sex groups to avoid surprise litters. Do hamsters bleed during their period ? No, not usually. There might  be a drop of blood every now and again for some hamsters. But a hamster period does not include a heavy, bloody flow like in human females. This means that if your hamster is a female, and she bleeds during each of her periods, you should have her checked out. Even if it’s just a drop of blood, if it’s consistent and always happens (every 4 days) you need to be sure everything is okay. Genital problems in female hamsters A heavy flow of blood during the hamster’s period can indicate a serious health issue. It could be the a urinary tract infection that went very far. Or it could be an internal injury, especially if the bleeding is fairly constant (over a few hours). Another problem is pyometra. It’s an infection in the uterus, which will produce a yellowish discharge from the hamster’s genital opening. It will be noticeable, and especially smelly since for the most part it will be pus. The hamster’s belly will also be swollen if she has pyometra. This is more common in older hamsters, rather than young ones, so take that into account. It’s treatable, and you’ll need a good vet for that. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be confusing at times, but we’re quite a bit different from you. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
4 Differences Between Syrian And European Hamster
4 Differences Between Syrian And European HamsterAre you looking for the perfect hamster pet ? Then perhaps you’ve heard there are several species, and two of the best known are European and Syrian hamster. While they do look similar, one of them is completely unsuited to be a pet, even if it is a cute furball like the other one. I’ve decided to write this article because there are a lot of people confusing those two when they see images of hamsters, which is understandable since they look so similar. Let’s take a look at their key differences and why they matter.  Table of Contents ToggleWhat are Syrian hamsters ?What are European Hamsters ?1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamsterCan you keep a European hamster as a pet ?Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ?Conclusion What are Syrian hamsters ? Syrian hamsters are a type of rodent (family Cricetidae, species Mesocricetus auratus), that is native to northern Syria and southern Turkey. Its habitat in the wild is greatly reduced and it is now classed as an endangered species (in the wild). In captivity however, these are by far the most popular hamster pets and are not endangered at all (as pets).  The captive Syrian hamsters you see (such as in pet shops) are the result of hundreds of generations of selective breeding, which brought about better traits (more docile, less aggressive) and a high variety of fur colors and markings. If you were to pick up a random wild Syrian hamster, it’d be very different from a pet.  I’ve had three hamsters so far, one Syrian (Teddy, he’s mentioned often on this site), and then Eggwhite (a white Syrian) after Teddy died of old age, and now Rocket after Eggwhite died of old age as well. Rocket is a dwarf hamster, specifically a Siberian hamster (light grey with white, fluffy paws and a dark stripe down her back).  I can attest that Eggwhite and Teddy were both very tame compared to Rocket, with Eggwhite the tamest of the bunch.  What are European Hamsters ? European hamsters are similar to Syrian hamsters, in that they’re also a rodent in the family Cricetidae, species Cricetus Cricetus. These hamsters are native to a wide habitat ranging from Central and East Europe to Russia and Central Asia. For reference, Syrian hamsters typically live far below where European hamsters live.  European hamsters are considered a critically endangered species, partly due to losing their habitat to agriculture, and partly because they are viewed as pests by farmers.  I’ve seen a European hamster personally once. It was in a local park in my city, and I saw it going in and out of its burrow at the root of a big tree. I took a few photos but they are very zoomed in because once I got close the hamster scampered into its home.  Not let’s do a more thorough comparison of European and Syrian hamsters.  1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters The first and biggest difference between European and Syrian hamsters is their size. European hamsters are very large, for a hamster. They’re the size of an adult guinea pig, while adult Syrian hamsters are a bit smaller than your computer mouse.  This difference in size should be your biggest tip-off of what you’re looking at. A young European hamster will be the size of an adult Syrian hamster, and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever find one in a pet shop.  And because of this difference, if you were to try and keep a European hamster as a pet you’d need a far larger cage with very strong wires. More than you’d need if you had a Syrian hamster, who also needs a large cage to begin with. See here about how big or small their cage needs to be.  2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot Both Syrian hamsters and European hamsters have been kept in laboratories to be studied, and also be used for various studies. One thing scientists have noted: European hamsters do not get more docile or tame, even on their second or third generation in captivity. This is opposed to Syrian hamsters, who tend to be the most docile and less aggressive of any hamster species. It is true that the vast majority of Syrian hamsters you find for sale are all descended from a single female and her offspring, back in 1930. It’s possible that the one female had a gene that made her more docile, and her offspring inherited that gene as well, allowing for more and more docile hamsters as time went on.  Even so, it’s clear that European hamsters would make a very aggressive pet, and definitely not something suitable for children or possibly even adults. 3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange There is a big difference in color when it comes to European and Syrian hamsters. European hamsters share a similar template with the Syrian’s classic look: white feet and hands, and white spots on the cheeks and mouth. But where Syrian hamsters are a golden orange color, European hamsters are a dark brown-reddish color.  Syrian hamsters have been bred for so many generations that their potential for different coats has been discovered. You can get Syrians in any color you can think of, with or without spots, without white feet or hands, and even with varying lengths of fur. The original gold and white fur were the best ones for blending into their surroundings, but it wasn’t the only one they were capable of.  European hamsters come in just one style, the one most suited to their environment. If they were to be bred for several generations you’d probably see a change in their color patterns as well. 4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamster If there’s one thing European and Syrian hamsters absolutely share, it’s their dislike of other hamsters. All hamsters are territorial and should never be kept in the same pen as another hamster. Syrian and European hamsters can and will attack their siblings in an attempt to claim a territory for their own. The result is often deadly so I recommend you don’t put two hamsters in the same cage ever, regardless of their species. Not even if they grew up together.  Can you keep a European hamster as a pet ? No, European hamsters cannot be kept as pets. They are very difficult to spot in the wild, let alone capture. Few were captured and any attempts at taming them (and their offspring) have failed.  Their much larger size (about as big as an adult guinea pig) makes any potential bite or scratch much more dangerous than one from a Syrian hamster (much smaller). That’s very unfortunate since they are super cute furballs and they might be as funny as a Syrian hamster, but just bigger. You would need a huge cage for them since even regular hamsters require quite big cages to be able to do all their workout routine, they are super active and need space. Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ? Syrian hamsters make good pets only for those who have the patience to get to know their pet, understand and respect their habits, and are gentle enough when handling them. They are mostly active at night but will occasionally come out during the day too. They tend to be shy, and you can’t play with them as you would with a puppy. You can hold a Syrian hamster, but not for very long. They have a bit of patience, the most out of all hamster species, but they will not sit in one place for more than a few seconds. If it’s in your hands it will want to wiggle out and keep moving. If they get frustrated they can bite in an attempt to escape your hands.  However, even if you are unlucky and you get one hamster that is not calm or willing to play, one extra benefit of pet hamsters are that they are incredibly funny and cute, so you will not get bored even if you don’t get to touch the little furball too much. Here is one of my articles where I listed 12 reasons why hamsters can be super cute and funny. No hamster is a good pet for a young child (under 9 years old), not even a Syrian hamster. If you’re looking for a companion, something to cuddle, take on walks, and even play with, a hamster is not the answer. Conclusion Syrian and European hamsters are similar enough to confuse them sometimes, but they have quite different personalities. Despite this, neither of them likes sharing their space with another individual, so they should be kept separate. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between a Syrian and a European hamster, for an untrained eye they are not as noticeable so it’s easy to confuse them, however you will never get to see a European hamster at your pet shop, so if you think of buying a hamster you will have to get a Syrian hamster, which is the best choice anyway. If you plan to buy a hamster, here is an article that will help you understand the real cost of owning a hamster, the cage is the most expensive thing you will ever buy for the hamster but the hamster itself should not cost too much. [...] Read more...
The Real Cost Of Buying And Owning A Hamster
The Real Cost Of Buying And Owning A HamsterIf you’re thinking about getting a hamster, you need to read this. I had only a vague idea before I got my Teddy. I knew I wanted a cute and cuddly orange hamster, and I knew nothing about hamsters. Then I found out through trial and error how to properly care for a hamster, and how having a hamster changes your life. This is what I’ll be talking about here. How much a hamster costs, how much it costs to get him food and bedding, cages costs, everything. Table of Contents ToggleSo how much does a hamster cost, buying and monthly expenses ?How much for the hamsterWhat a hamster’s cage will costGenerally there’s 3 kinds of cage types:How much the hamster’s bedding will costHow much the hamster’s hideout will costHamster toys, bought and DYIHow much a hamster wheel can costHow much an exercise ball for your hamster will costHow much the hamster’s food costsHamster health and vet visitsTransport cage for the hamsterConsider this before getting a hamsterCan you offer the hamster the right conditions ?Do you have the time to play with your hamster ?Is there someone who can watch your hamster when you’re gone ?Do you have a calm, quiet place for your hamster to stay ?A hamster’s average life expectancyHow a hamster will change your lifeA word from Teddy So how much does a hamster cost, buying and monthly expenses ? To be fair, the hamster itself is incredibly cheap. A Syrian hamster will run about 5-10 dollars, while a Dwarf (whether Roborowski, Campbell, Siberian, or Chinese) will be slightly cheaper. As for the monthly expenses, those include only bedding and food/treats, which can vary depending on what you get your hamster. An estimate would be around $10 per month for food and bedding. There are initial expenses, like the cage, wheel, exercise ball, toys, and so on. An absolute minimum, considering the  cage size, and wheel and ball size, would be $225, of which the cage is he most expensive. You can find an exhaustive hamster supply list here, complete with everything you’ll need once you decide to get yourself a hamster. Aside from those, which I’ll cover in detail in the article, there’s the impact the hamster has on your life. Owning a hamster is, after all, a responsibility and you need to think about it before you get a hamster. Now let’s get into the details of how much a hamster costs. All expenses in this article are in U.S. dollars, to stay coherent throughout the article. How much for the hamster Hamsters are actually very cheap. In that, most of the time you’ll find them along with fish in terms of cost. For example my Teddy was 4.90 USD. That’s incredible for owning a pet that will be by my side for the next 2-3 years. Now, Teddy is a Syrian hamster. A dwarf type will cost less, but how much less depends on the pet shop you pick him up from. But on average, hamsters will go between $5-10, with the dwarf kind on the cheaper end. You can also get hamsters from a private breeder. But in those cases you must make sure that those breeders treat their hamsters humanely, and have medical checks run on the parents frequently. A private breeder will not cost more than the pet shop, and getting a baby hamster from a friend will be basically free. But you must be sure that the hamster parents are healthy before you get your baby hamster. Visit your friends who have hamsters a few times to check up on the female, to see how her litter is coming along and pick out the one you like. So in short, an actual hamster can be anything between $5-10, even free if you know someone who had a recent litter. What a hamster’s cage will cost This depends on what kind of cage you want to get your hamster. Normally the minimum cage size for hamsters is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This the minimum for a Syrian hamster, but this will work for dwarf hamsters as well. When it comes to cage size, it’s best to go for bigger cages. This is because the hamsters need more space than the absolute minimum. Of course, it depends on your home as well. Can you fit a large glass tank somewhere ? Do you need to move the cage often ? How much space to spare do you have in the room you want to keep the hamster ? What is your budget ? A large enough cage will be somewhere around $120-150, plus handling and shipping if you’re ordering online. Picking it up from a petshop will spare you those taxes, but might be more expensive overall. Generally there’s 3 kinds of cage types: Plastic – the most common after metal, can easily fit tube accessories. Not the most breatheable, be careful which kind you get. I’ll leave you an Amazon link to the one I have, you can check it out there as well as the pricing. Metal/wire – very breatheable, but you need to be sure the spacing between wires is less than half an inch so the hamster can’t escape. Here’s an Amazon link to a good, large wire cage, which also has a movable level. Glass tanks – can get these in larger sizes than plastic or metal cages, but they need to stay put. You need a lot of space and a wire mesh for the top of the tank. I looked around and found a fairly good one on Amazon, you can check it out here. A word on glass tanks. They’re great for hamsters but ordering online is a bit tricky, with the transport. Sometimes glass comes whole and the tank is fine, sometimes it comes broken. Honestly it’s best to pick up a glass tank from a pet shop or somewhere you can inspect it yourself, and bring it home yourself. If you want a much more detailed breakdown on each hamster cage, and which type you’d like for your hamster, you need to read this best cages article. You will find the same Amazon links as above, but discussed in more detail, along with pictures. It’s got all 3 types of hamster cages, their pros and cons, and how to clean and care for the cages too. A hamster cage might seem expensive at first, and at a first glance it might be. But you only need one, and your hamster will use it his entire life. This is not something you buy again and again every few months. Do not make the mistake I did, and skimp out on the cage. I ended up changing 3 cages just because I didn’t want to spend a little extra on the first purchase. The first 2 I got Teddy were too small for an adult Syrian hamster. How much the hamster’s bedding will cost Hamsters need a lot of bedding, and the most readily available is wood chips. The best kind of bedding you can get your hamster would be aspen wood chips, if they’re available in your area. If not, another option would be paper bedding. Bedding is something that lasts you for several weeks, even months, depending on how much you give your hamster, and how often you change it. If you want much more info on how often to change the hamster’s bedding, which kind is safe, and how to pick the right one for him, I suggest you read this article. It’s got the bedding types available, along with a list of unsafe beddings you need to avoid. For example my Teddy’s bedding is about $12 and 3.2 kg/7 lbs, and it’s good for about 3 whole months. I change his whole bedding every week, and his corners a bit more often. So that’s $15 every 3 months, 4 times a year. $5 a month for something that will help keep the hamster warm is not that much, really. A good option for aspen bedding is this one by Kaytee. It’s twice the size I get my Teddy so it can seriously last your hamster for half a year, if not more. Aspen bedding is one of the safest types you can get for a hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. You can also get paper bedding for your hamster, if aspen isn’t available where you are. Here’s an Amazon link for a paper bedding, which will last your hamster about 3 months. Paper beddings are a bit more expensive than wood shavings. It’s up to you which you think would be best for your hammy. I use wood shavings since they’re easy to find in my area. As for the nesting material the hamster needs to put in his nest, a couple of ripped up paper towels will be enough. Or, unscented, plain toilet paper squares. Teddy shoves the paper in his cheek pouches, and then starts taking them out in his home, decorating the place. How much the hamster’s hideout will cost As for the hideout for the hamster, his hideout is where he will spend the majority of his time. Hamsters need just a bit of space to build their nest, and a good hideout will protect them A good hideout is one made of wood. It keeps the hamster warmer, absorbs moisture and prevents condensation, and is safe to chew. Hamsters chew absolutely everything, including their hideout, so get your hammy a wood one. If you want to know more about the kind of hideout a hamster needs in general, you can check out this article. In the second half of the article you’ll find out how your hammy will use his hideout, and how to clean it properly. I got my Teddy a plastic one at first, and I kept it for a while until I noticed it kept the moisture inside, which kept Teddy’s nest wet in some places. So I got him a slightly larger, sturdier wood one. I’ll leave you an Amazon link for a wood hideout that looks a lot like the one I have for my Teddy. The thing about hideouts and toys for hamsters, most of the time they are too small for Syrian hamsters. Most of them are geared towards dwarf hamsters. But I’m showing you one that’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit in, and feel comfortable. So the hideout would be somewhere around $10, which is again something you buy only once. Even if your hammy will chew and chew and chew on it, that hideout will still be in place for years. Hamster toys, bought and DYI The hamster’s toys will need to be made of wood as well. This is because hamster, again, chew on everything. If the hamster doesn’t chew on his toys, he will chew on the cage bars, or his hideout, or his water bottle, anything. A hamster’s teeth never stop growing, so he needs to always file them down. And wood is he best material for their teeth, since it will file them down without hurting the hamster. There are a whole array of toys you can get your hamster, some you can buy, some are best if you make at home. For example cardboard tubes left from paper towels (the ones you have in your kitchen, maybe) are great for hamsters. Cut a few holes in them and you’ve got a hide-and-seek toy that can fit an adult Syrian hamster. Again, the Syrian hamsters need much more space than a dwarf so be careful when you choose toys for your hammy. I’ll link you to an article on the best toys you can both buy and DYI for your hamster friend. You’ll find some links for Amazon listings for the toys which are best if you don’t invent them (like a wheel) and some ideas on what you can make at home. Everything I link in this article is also suitable for a Syrian hamster, since this was what I was looking for when I got toys for my Teddy. As for the cost, it depends on what you end up getting your hamster. These are again things you buy for your hamster only once, and he will use his entire life. So it could be anywhere from nothing (like the paper towel tubes) to $22 for a digging tower. It’s up to you, but remember that your hammy will need a few toys, even if you make all of them at home. How much a hamster wheel can cost Hamsters need a lot of exercise, and fortunately an exercise wheel and ball are things you only buy once. Actually everything except the food and bedding will keep the hamster forever. Again, don’t make the mistake I made when I got my Teddy. I skimped out on the cage, but the wheel as well. At first I left him that small plastic wheel that came with the cage, too small by even a baby Syrian. The I bought him a bigger, metal wheel, a 7 inch/18 cm one. Which was fine, but only for a while. One he grew to his full size, he needed a larger one. Again. So I went a bought the biggest I could find, a 9 inch/23 cm one, which fits hit much better. When you get your hamster an exercise wheel, you need to account for how large he will get as an adult. An adult Syrian hamster will need a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm to be able to run freely. A dwarf hamster can do with just inches/13 cm but that’s the minimum. If you want to know much more about choosing the right exercise wheel for your hamster, you definitely need to read this. You’ll also find out how much exercise a hamster needs, and how much he can run in a night as well ! A large enough wheel for a Syrian hamster can run around $30, which will last him his entire life. How much an exercise ball for your hamster will cost As with the exercise wheel, and exercise ball is a good way to give your hamster an opportunity to leave his cage safely. You can place the hamster in his exercise ball, and let him roam the house. Or, you can use it as a temporary place to keep him while you clean his cage. If you want to know more about how to care for your hamster when he is n his exercise ball, you can read this article. You’ll find out how to properly introduce him to his exercise ball, how to make sure he is comfortable, and how to keep the ball clean. Exercise balls for hamsters run around $8 plus shipping and handling, if you order online. If you get it from a petshop it might have less taxes, but be a bit more expensive overall. Again, this is an item you only buy once, like the wheel and cage and hideout. For example my Teddy has his ball since he was young, and I just figured out that I should get him a large enough ball to fit him as an adult. All exercise balls for hamsters are made of hard, durable plastic, so you won’t need to replace it under normal circumstances. Unless someone steps on the ball, or a large pet or child plays with it, it should stay intact even if it bangs against the furniture. How much the hamster’s food costs The food is the cheapest thing on this list, I think. This is partly because you can feed the hamster the food you eat as well, or you can get him a pre-made food mix. If you decide to feed your hamster whole foods from your home, then this food list article will help you figure out what kind of foods are safe and unsafe for a hamster to eat. Overall, I’d advise getting your hamster a pre-made food mix. Those usually have dry food that keeps for long, and is more suitable for a hamster’s usual diet and what he’d normally find in the wild. If you feed your hamster exclusively from your fridge or pantry, then his food will cost basically nothing. But you’re in danger of not meeting his dietary requirements, or overfeeding him. If you’re using a pre-made mix, it can get to $10, both online and in a pet shop. I get Teddy a 1 kg/2 lbs food mix with grains and pellets and a few seeds. It lasts him about as much as the bedding, so 3 months. So that’s $10 every 3 months, which I also supplement with a bit of veggies or cooked chicken whenever we’re cooking. Hamster health and vet visits Hamster’s can’t really be described as sickly animals by nature. They stay healthy for along time, but once they get sick they need immediate attention. Those I can’t give you an estimate for, since it can vary wildly according to the hamster’s illness. The most common problems a hamster can run into are wet tail, diabetes, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation, and colds. Of course, there are a lot of other problems that can come up, but these are the most common. And most of these are easily fixable, if noticed in time. Bringing the hamster to a vet within 24 hours of developing a disease, or getting injured, is going to save him in most cases. But I can tell you that if you keep your hamster in the right conditions, feed him properly, give him plenty of room and exercise, he will be fine. So a trip to the vet will be basically free. Just watch out for the temperature in the room you keep him in – more on that here. Transport cage for the hamster Your hammy will probably never have to leave you home. But there might be moments when he’ll have to go to the vet, or you’re moving house and can’t move him in his entire cage. A transport cage can be an old, smaller cage that your hammy had when he was a baby, or you can get one that’s made specifically for temporary keeping. As with everything else for the hamster, this is something you only buy once. And a transport cage can be anything from $10 to $30, and some types can be used as a permanent fixture to your hammy’s habitat. If you want to know more about traveling with your hamster, and how to make sure he is comfortable during travel, you should check this out. You’ll get a few hamster travel cage ideas, and find out how to keep him safe during travel too. Consider this before getting a hamster When I first got my Teddy I had no real info on hamsters. I’d seen one or two before, I knew they were small and fluffy, and needed a cage, and didn’t live more than a couple of years. My girlfriend fell in love with the idea of Teddy in an exercise ball running around the house, so we went looking for an orange Syrian hamster. When we got him, we spend an entire evening looking at him, at how cute he is, and how much energy he has. We wouldn’t trade him for anything, even if he’s a bit over the top sometimes, like waking us up in the middle of the night with a squeaky wheel. We had no idea what to expect, and there were some odd surprises. But I think that there definitely are some things you should think log and hard about before you get a hamster. Can you offer the hamster the right conditions ? By this I mean that hamsters need some specific conditions to live in. There’s temperature, spacing, bedding and food, and toys to take into account. Unless you can keep the hamster at a 20-23 C/65-75 F temperature, with a cage 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall (that’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall), you shouldn’t get one. Hamsters need proper conditions, along with the right amount of bedding and food to stay healthy and happy. Do you have the time to play with your hamster ? Hamsters are in fact a mix between nocturnal and crepuscular. That means that some will come out during the night, and some will only come out at dusk and dawn. Their waking hours can change over time, but this is how they usually work. If you’re working a very early shift, with a very early bedtime, you might miss your hamster waking up. Or you might only catch about an hour or half an hour of playtime with him before you must sleep. I’d recommend a hamster to those people who do not work an early shift, and can stay up later than 10 pm without worrying about how tired they’ll be tomorrow. To tame your hamster you need a lot of interaction with him, and if you’re sleeping when he’s up, that will be harder to do. Is there someone who can watch your hamster when you’re gone ? There’s no good reason to bring the hamster out of his habitat or your home, aside from a vet visit or something major like moving house. Travel can stress the hamster too much, so it’s best to leave him in one place. But when you have to leave town for a few days, do you have someone who can come over and feed him ? A friend or a family member, or even a neighbor who have the time and disposition to come over every evening and feed the hamster, see if he’s alright, check up on him. Do you have a calm, quiet place for your hamster to stay ? Even if you’ve got an especially rowdy home, with 4 small kids, 2 dogs and a parrot, you must have some sort of quiet place. Hamsters need a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed while they sleep, which is much of the day. So keeping him in the living room with barking dogs and people running around won’t be healthy or comfy for your hamster at all. If you can keep the hamster in a quiet room, where nothing can disturb him, then that’s great. The attic or a cupboard or basement are not good places for your hamster, even if they’re quiet. (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 hamster’s average life expectancy Hamsters are fairly short-lived. Both Syrians and Dwarf hamsters live up to 2-4 years, under the right circumstances as pets. They can die young, around 4 weeks of age, if they develop wet-tail and aren’t give treatment fast, or they can develop diabetes when they’re older, aside form a host of other problems. But in general, your furry friend will stay with you from 2 to 4 years, Dwarf hamsters being the most long-lived of all. So if you do decide to get a hamster, take into account that random bits of wood shavings, a furry face, and evenings playing with a walnut or toilet paper roll will be in your life for the next 2-4 years. How a hamster will change your life Owning a hamster is not that difficult, all things considered. When I first got Teddy, I didn’t know hat to expect, but I’m glad I got him. He’s taught me that some things must be done his way( like leaving a lot of room on the kitchen counter for him at night). And many things that would annoy me in the day would just disappear when I play with him. A hamster, or a pet in general, will put a smile on your face, with everything this ball of fur does. Once you get a hamster, you will be more aware of how warm or clean your home is (like bedding strewn everywhere), and even the noise level. You will become a very responsible person when you know you can’t really take him with your everywhere, like a cat or dog, to set up someone to take care of him. And you will see a piece of cardboard and know exactly what he’d do with it. A word from Teddy I hope you found everything you were looking for here. I know us hamsters can seem like forgettable pets compared to larger ones, like cats or dogs. But we are a whole other type of pet, with lots of love and funny tricks to offer. So make sure you think about it well enough before you get one of us hammies to live with you. We need some accommodation, but if you can make some room for us in your life, we’ll put a smile on your face every day. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below ! You’ll find out why we need so much exercise, and how to feed us properly, and much more. [...] Read more...
What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And Exceptions
What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And ExceptionsWhat do you usually feed your hamster ? What can hamsters eat ? What should they NOT eat ? I had some many of these questions when I first got my Teddy, and I can tell you what I found out. Some I found out by trial and error, some I asked vets, and some still I found out from other hamster enthusiasts. So I’ve compiled a big ol’ list here, so you can have all the info you need for your hamster’s food and diet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what can hamsters eat ?What hamsters should never eatProtein foods your hamster can eatVegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamsterHamsters can eat pasta and bread too !Nuts and seeds your hamster can eatFruits your hamster can eatPre-made food mixes for your hamsterGrain and pellet food mix for your hamsterTreats for your hamsterHow much does a hamster eat ?Dangers of overfeeding your hamsterWhat to do if your hamster is not eatingA word from Teddy So what can hamsters eat ? First off, hamsters are omnivores. That means they can and will eat anything from plant-based food, to grains, to meat and insects. This applies for every kind of hamster out there, be it Syrian, Robo, Campbell, or Chinese. If you look at a box of hamster feed, you will usually just see grains, a few seeds, and a few vitamin pellets. But if you turn the box and look at the ingredients, you will often see protein sources like chicken/fish/beef/shrimp.  You can feed the hamster an omnivore diet yourself, or get a pre-made mix that will last for several weeks, even a couple of months. I’ll get into more detail with each food group a hamster can eat, along with actual examples you probably have in your home. And I’ll give you a couple of food mixes you can buy for your hamster, along with other treats. But first, let’s see what hamsters should definitely avoid. What hamsters should never eat In general hamsters should stay away from anything acidic. Even if you give your hammy a piece of orange he will turn away from it, but that’s just because of the strong smell. Best to avoid acidic food altogether. There are other foods your hamster should avoid, mainly because his stomach is not built for such foods. Here are a few examples of foods your hamster should never eat: any type of citrus at all – lemon, orange, clementine, grapefruit, etc. any part of a tomato, it’s acidic as well, even if less than a lemon chocolate, and anything sweet – can cause diabetes fruit seeds or peels – apple, grapes, strawberry, etc onions, garlic, peppers, spices – anything extra spicy or tasty will upset his stomach high-fat content foods – like extra fat meat, or even some types of dairy anything unwashed like unwashed fruits or vegetables any part of a rhubarb(1) almonds, apricot pits can be highly toxic celery or very stringy/fibery foods like cabbage anything containing added sugar or salt raw potato or beans (any kind) These are all foods that your hamster is better off not eating, since he can’t digest them. In some cases these foods will kill the hamster, so best to avoid them completely. Alright, now let’s get into the food groups your hammy can eat, along with actual examples. Yay ! Protein foods your hamster can eat Hammies do eat protein, and it doesn’t have to be soy-based necessarily. While you can feed your little hammy something soy-based like tofu, you can also find some soy protein in his food mix as well. But I wouldn’t advise giving the hamster and actual, raw soy bean. Best to stay away from that. For example I’ve given my Teddy boiled egg white, boiled unseasoned chicken and turkey, and he loves them both. Actually, most of the time hamsters just store food in their cheeks and hide it in the house. But with the egg and chicken, Teddy dropped everything he had and ate them right there. Of course, the pieces you feed your hammy should be small, so he can eat them on the spot. If you give him too big a piece, he might want to save some of it for later and we all know how quickly meat goes bad. Mealworms are sometimes a treat for hamsters. I’ve never give my Teddy one, but I’ve met hamster owners who give them to their hammies as treats. Not all hamsters will like them, but you can try. Do not give them mealworms too often though, since they are very filling. Teddy: If your feed any kind of meat or egg to you hammy, keep it simple, unsalted, unseasoned. Never feed any raw protein tot us, like raw meat or egg. Dairy is also a good protein source, but don’t give it to your hammy often ! Hamsters are mammals just like us humans, and as such we can’t process milk-based products very well when they are in large quantities. So, keep the dairy to a minimum. Something like a peanut sized piece, once per week is alright. Vegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamster Most vegetables are safe for hamsters to eat, but some are to be avoided. Especially legumes like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas and so on are not alright. This is mostly because of their high fiber content, which can upset your hamster’s guts. So best to stay away from legumes for your hamster. Vegetables like leafy greens and roots are mostly alright. But let’s talk about a few clear examples. Here are some vegetables your hammy can totally eat: most leafy greens, like spinach, watercress, lettuce, kale cucumber, zucchini carrots are okay, but any other hamster than a Syrian will have to eat them less frequently (higher sugar content than other vegetables, can cause diabetes for dwarf hamsters) sweet potato, cooked – same as carrots, keep a very low intake for dwarf hamsters asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower (cooked) You probably have most of these in your fridge or pantry already. So feel free to feed your hamster small pieces of these veggies as a treat, or even as a supplement to his usual food mix. Hamsters can eat pasta and bread too ! But only in small quantities. The thing with pasta, bread, rice, and so on, is that they’re all high carbohydrate foods. As such, your hamster needs them, but not as much as you’d think. The carb content of a hamster diet should not get past 20%, since they require a balanced dies of protein and veggies as well. So here are a few examples or carbs and bread your hammy can safely eat: Bread, as long as it has no added sugar and has a low salt content. That rules out toast bread, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns as well. Whole grain or multi-cereal bread is great for hamsters actually. Dry grains, of basically any kind Cooked brown rice, unseasoned Cooked wholegrain pasta, unseasoned. Regular white pasta becomes too sticky for your hamster, and will leave residues in his cheek pouches that can cause problems later on. Corn flakes, oat flakes, most muesli mixes Unsalted, unsweetened crackers and biscuits, small piece The food mix you give your hamster is usually well balanced, so don’t feed your hammy too much additional bread or other carbs. Keep them as a small treat every now and then. Nuts and seeds your hamster can eat Hamsters love to chew on a lot of things, and nuts and seeds give them just that opportunity. Most nuts and seeds are okay for hamsters to eat, but there are a few exceptions. Here’s a list of seeds and nuts your hamster can enjoy: dried sunflower and pumpkin seeds, with or without shell, unseasoned peanuts and hazelnuts, unsalted, plain; remove shell and skin walnuts chestnuts, without shell, cooked, plain sesame seeds Do keep in mind that nuts and seeds have a high fat content. So don’t feed too many or too often to your hamster. Keep them as a treat every now and then. Especially if the food mix you bought for the hamster already has a couple of seeds and nuts included. Teddy: Stay away from almonds though. They classify as a nut, but they are toxic for us hamsters ! Fruits your hamster can eat Most kinds o fruit are safe for hamsters. There are a few exceptions, and I’ll cover those too. But first, here is a list of fruits your hamster can eat: apple, pear, peeled and cored (no seeds) strawberries, no seeds banana slice, in a very small amount grape, no seeds, peeled dates and figs, dried raisins blueberries, blackberry, raspberry cherries, no seeds Again, keep the hamster away from citrus fruits. The citrus oils is toxic for hamsters, and will harm them. If you’ve ever peeled an orange and got your hand close to your hammy, you saw him pull away. (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.) Pre-made food mixes for your hamster These are a convenient way to feed your hamster, and often are actually pretty well thought out. If you see the ingredient list, and think there’s something vital that’s missing (like proteins) you can look for another brand or supplement with proteins like the list above. Grain and pellet food mix for your hamster I use a pre-made mix for my Teddy, and give him fruits, veggies, and meat whenever I’m cooking. So he gets the grain and pellets mix, with an assortment of carrots and other foods I have around the house and are safe for him. As I said above, I’ll give you a few options on store bough food to give to your hamster. The first one I found is an actual food mix, with a fair amount of seeds and pellets as well. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside (More on that below). You can check the Amazon pricing here, and other details as well. Treats for your hamster While most hamster food mixes have a balance of protein, vitamins, and carbs, you can give your hamster occasional treats. These don’t have to be often, but need to be kept as a treat every few days, or when you’re trying to teach or tame your hamster. For example I give Teddy cheese drops as a treat, and he absolutely loves them. The drops can be made of other fruits or veggies too. But Teddy seems to prefer the cheese. I found a variety pack that you can give your hamster. They’re yogurt based and suitable for all kinds of hamster, rats, gerbils, even ferrets. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and check the price as well. There are other types of treats hamsters go for, like for example simple dog treats (no flavors) or milk bones, and some granola bars(no sugar or honey). But my Teddy loves these cheese yogurt drops, and he gets them 2-3 times a week. Teddy: Whatever treat or food you choose, make sure you feed us hamsters responsibly ! Treats are treats and we don’t need them every day. Food mix is a great way to make sure we get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. How much does a hamster eat ? Alright, now that you know what kind of foods your hammy can and can not eat, and you’ve seen a few examples of pre-made food and treats, let’s talk about how often to feed the hamster. This depends mostly on the hamster himself, in that a baby hamster will need a bit less food than an adult hamster. But in general, 2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. It might sound like very little food, but look at the size of your hamster. Not only can he not eat much, but also dry food keeps him full for much longer than veggies. If you’re unsure, grab a teaspoon and put the necessary amount in your hand. I’ll attach a photo here of how much 2 teaspoons of dry food is for my Teddy. This is enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Teddy: Remember, we don’t need a lot of food, and we also hide food in our hideouts ! So if you just fed your hammy, and see no food there 5 minutes later, don’t give him more food. He just took the food into his hideout, to snack on later. Us hamsters are funny like that, and love to hoard our food ! Dangers of overfeeding your hamster The first and immediate danger is getting your hamster fat. While you might think that a chubby hamster looks cute (and he does, not gonna lie) it’s very bad for his health. Hamsters are very active creatures, and must be able to run and sprint and dart through tubes or into hideouts at any point. This is their instinct, and a large fat hamster will not be able to do any of these, or at least not properly. This will shorten the hamster’s lifespan as well. A hamster can only live for so long (2-3 years), might as well make his short life comfortable. If you want to know more about why your hamster can get so big or fat, check out my article on this exact topic. There I’ll tell you everything you need to know about why hamsters can get fat, and even how to slim yours down. Hint: it involves getting your hammy more exercise opportunities. For this a great hamster wheel is essential. You’ll also find out what a reasonable weight is for the hamster himself, so you have a guideline to follow. What to do if your hamster is not eating Some hamsters are very picky about their food. They will not eat just anything, and need more attention in that way. So play around with his food, change up the flavors a bit. Maybe he only likes chicken flavored pellets or treats. That could be a start to your hamster eating more. If your hammy is not touching dry food, try with veggies. Give him alternatives, like a piece of broccoli, one asparagus, and a small kale leaf. See which he likes, and keep giving him that. Then, continue adding new foods to his diet, from the list of foods I wrote above. Until you reach a mix of vegetables that you can give him daily, and you know he will eat them. If veggies are not an option for him, try giving the hamster meat. I’ve never seen a hamster turn down meat. Make sure the piece is cooked, but unseasoned. The extra salt is not needed in your hamster’s diet, since he needs much less than humans. If, in an exceptional case, your hamster turns down every kind of food, call the vet. Especially if you see other signs of a possible illness like sparse fur, a wet tail (very bad), dried blood on his body, or anything that looks out of the ordinary. In a worst case scenario, you might want to know how much a hamster can survive without any food and water. I wrote an article on that topic, and the point is that if your hamster is not eating, but at least has water he has a higher chance or survival. In any case, contact your vet if your hammy seems sick, along with not eating. A word from Teddy I hope you’re very clear now on what us hamster can and can not eat. I know it’s a bit of a list to remember, but it’s in your hamster’s benefit. If you’re not sure about a food, and you can’t find any info anywhere, maybe don’t feed it to your hammy. That way at least you’ll be sure he’s safe. You can find more info on the best kind of bedding for us hamsters, or why we sometimes eat our own poo, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you ! Just check out the articles below and you’ll find your answers. References: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet [...] Read more...
All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying Diseases
All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying DiseasesIf you’re thinking about getting a hamster but you’re wondering if they carry any diseases, them this article will sort that out for you. Especially if you’ve got small children and you’re looking to shield them from unnecessary diseases. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters carry disease ?How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagiousWhat a healthy hamster looks likeIs a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters carry disease ? No, not in and of themselves. Hamsters are born ‘clean’, with no health problem that can be passed onto humans. They can pick up a disease and become carriers, about as much as a cat or dog or rabbit can become a carrier. Given the hamster’s usual habitat however, he will probably not come to you with any diseases. This also depends on the pet store you pick him up from, or the breeders you got him from. Another thing is the fact that hamsters are very clean animals by default, and they regularly groom themselves several times a day. Much like a cat, actually. So he will not be dirty, or diseased. This does not mean a hamster can’t transmit a disease he already has. A hamster suffering from a cold can pass it onto a human, for example. You should always wash your hands before and after handling the hamster, and supervise any small children interacting with him. Still, if you want to be sure your hamster’s alright and not carrying anything, let’s see what some usual symptoms are. How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagious You will notice some signs if the hamster has certain diseases. For example: Any runny or leaky nose, eyes, or ears. They can be signs of an infection or a cold, which can be contagious. Any scabs, flaky skin, open wounds, or other immediately noticeable skin conditions on a hamster are possibly contagious as well. A ring of exposed skin, especially if it’s patchy, flaky, and had little red dots all around its border is especially contagious. That’s the Ringworm, which is not a worm but a fungus. It’s easily passed through direct contact with the infected animal. Worms in hamsters might not be immediately noticeable. You might expect the hamster to be weak, not walk easily, huddle in a corner, and possibly have a messy stool. Wet-tail can also look like that, and it can be transmitted to humans. It’s an infection in the hamster’s digestive system that gives it severe diarrhea, and is often lethal for hamsters. It can be treated, but not all hamsters survive. In any case, a hamster cowering in a corner is not a hamster you want to bring home, as he is unfortunately suffering from something and needs medical attention. This also means that the other hamsters in the cage/box with him at the pet shop should probably be avoided as well, just in case it’s something contagious. Unless you’re willing to pick up the hamster and go straight to the veterinarian with him, for a check up. If you’re concerned about rabies, which I know is a common question related to pets, you’re safe. Hamsters can’t give humans rabies for 3 important reasons: Hamsters will not survive rabies as a disease long enough to be able to transmit it Rodents and lagomorphs aren’t able to carry rabies in the first place Pet/captive hamsters do not contact rabies, since there is no way for them to be exposed to it, and they are not born with it either. These are the main signs and symptoms that the hamster might be carrying some disease or another. Tumors or lumps are not contagious, but they can hurt the hamster himself and he will need medical attention. Now let see what a healthy hamster should look like, be it a new hamster from the pet shop, or the furball you already have at home. What a healthy hamster looks like Usually a hamster will have bright, clean fur. It may not be as shiny as a cat or dog’s coat, but it should look decidedly clean and well groomed. This is a sign that the hamster is grooming himself both regularly, and well enough. He will have bright eyes(whichever color they are), with no white spots or inflammations. Teeth should be aligned and not overgrown, although you will only notice the front teeth. Those are yellow-orange, and that is a healthy color for hamsters and rodents, no matter which hamster type you own. White spots on their teeth are a sign of a vitamin deficiency or weakness in the tooth’s structure. It can break most easily where it’s white. Ears, nose, eyes should be free of discharge, and no flaky or inflamed patches. If the ears are particularly dark and the hamster keeps scratching them, they might be ear mites. Keep in mind that many hamsters have ears darker than their bodies from birth, as part of their coat pattern. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, male, and his fur is orange, white and has bits of smoky grey. Hie ears however are dark grey, and always have been. The hamster’s rear should be dry, and well cleaned. If you notice any wetness or that the hamster’s soiled himself, it can mean two things. Either the hamster has a serious digestive problem (like wet-tail or another infection, or possibly worms) or he is very, very old. Finally, the hamster should be lively. Even if he’s a mellow sort of hamster, or a dynamite-powered little guy, he should be eating, drinking water, running on his wheel or using his toys, and at least be curious about you when you get close. A lethargic, huddling hamster (when he’s not sleeping) is bad news since that often means the hamster is fighting off a health problem. It could be stomach aches, worms, a sprained paw, anything. If your hamster looks sick or too tired, call your vet and set up an appointment. You will need to look for an a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Is a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ? You might ask yourself this, and you’d be right to do so. Looking at the health problems hamsters can carry, I would venture to say that yes, hamsters are safe for kids. If people managed to raise cats and dogs safely along small children, then a hamster is not a problem. I say this mostly because a hamster is very isolated, and has as much chance of picking up a disease as a sock in a drawer. Unless you expose him directly to something or someone who is sick, your hamster will be healthy. He never leaves the cage/room he is in, so if the people or pets interacting with him are healthy, so is he. When it comes to the hamster’s temperament however, he is not a good pet for children. Hamsters react very poorly to being handled wrong, or too much, and their most common reaction to this is biting. If he’s dropped, he will get even more scared and start running away, and trying to catch a panicky hamster ends with stress on everyone’s part, and lots of squeaking from the hamster. I’d rather recommend a guinea pig as a pet for children, since they’re much more relaxed and are easier to tame and literally pick up. They too run away, but they sit quietly once you’ve got them in your lap. Hamsters will never stop squirming, and that’s part of their charm, I think. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might look like we’re related to mice and rats, but we’re actually sort of distant cousins. And we don’t get exposed to as many diseases as wild rats or mice either. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...