About Hamsters And Light – Do They Even Need It To See ?

My Teddy loves to just run around all night. But sometimes I wonder if he can even see where he’s going, or he just knows his cage very well. Actually, do hamsters see in the dark ?

Does the nightlight I leave on for Teddy help him in any way ? Is he some kind of super-soldier with night vision and fine hearing ?

My hammy is a bit of a Rambo type, but I went looking for answers on whether hamsters need light to see, just to be sure. Here’s what I found out.

hamster need light (1)

 

So do hamsters need light to see ?

As it turns out – yes, hamsters do need light to see. Just not very much light, and not as much as us humans do. A hamster’s eye does pick up more ambient light, but not as much as a cat or owl, or most night animals.

As such, a hamster can see better in low-light conditions, rather than the full brightness of daylight. Conversely, hamsters can’t see very well in pitch-dark conditions either. They can see in the dark, but not that well.

Hamsters rely mostly on their sense of touch – paws and whiskers – and their sense of smell, and their hearing to navigate their surroundings.

Should you leave the light on at night for your hamster ?

No, that’s not necessary. Leaving the overhead light isn’t necessary, but a faint light might give your hammy a permanent dusk/dawn conditions, that he can see in.

For example I have for my Teddy – Syrian male hammy – a sort of dim nightlight that has lots of blue, green, and purple in it. It’s a small LED light, and it’s the color range hamsters are most likely to actually see.

Now, the light wasn’t originally for him. In truth, my girlfriend can’t stand complete darkness and she needed a nightlight to at least guess where she’s going through the house at night. The fact that it helped Teddy was an added bonus.

This doesn’t mean your hamster won’t see at all if you give him no nightlight. He can see better than you in the dark, but not that much better.

However his eyes will pick up the light from a streetlight, or the blinking of an electronic’s light, even the small green dot of light on your central heating unit.

Most human homes have at least a faint bit of light, even at night, from all the electronics. That small amount of light makes it easier for your hammy to see.

Does your hamster have night vision ?

No, not really. Hammies don’t have night vision per-se, but they do see better than us when it comes to low light conditions.

If you were to compare a cat, a human, and a hamster in terms of night vision, the cat would obviously win. But the hamster wouldn’t see that much better than us humans.

So, that means that your hamster can’t really see in the dark, but that is not a problem. Hamster use their sense of smell and touch a lot more than they use their vision. Even in their borrows in the wild, their tunnels are pitch black. So they can’t really see where they’re going.

However that’s not a problem since they will feel and smell their way around. That, combined with a memory map of their home, gives them lots of ways to navigate their home.

So do not worry if you’ve turned off the light in your hamster’s room at night – he will be fine, and can find his way even if it’s dark.

Hamsters get scared by sudden movements

If you’ve ever suddenly got up and spooked your hamster, you know what I mean. There could be a sudden Apocalypse raging next to his cage and he won’t care too much, but suddenly getting a glass of water is the pinnacle of terror.

So, why is that ? Well, hamsters have very poor eyesight – more on that soon. That means that they can see well what’s directly in front of them, and that’s about it. They’re near-sighted, and don’t have the luxury of glasses like us humans.

They can’t see too well in the distance, and they’re terrible judges of length, depth, or anything that involves jumping.

Seriously, hamsters will jump from high places to try to get somewhere faster, without realizing they might harm themselves. So it’s best to not get your hammy a cage with high levels.

My Teddy used to be a bit of a pain when he was younger. He was jumpier, and easier to scare. Now he’s a grown adult and knows pretty much every sound and movement in our home.

But when he was young he’d get scared half the time. Whenever I opened the fridge, walked past him, got up, sat down, or even reached over his cage for something. He is fine now, but I still remember when he darted into his hideout because I got up from bed.

(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.)

hamster need light (2)

Hamsters see best in low light conditions – like dusk and dawn

So does this mean you should give your hamster low light conditions ? Well, yes, for the most part.

A hamster’s normal daily life includes going to bed/hiding when the sun has risen and it’s very bright outside. This is because his eyes hurt when it’s too bright, and his predators start to come out and hunt.

Then at dusk, when the sun’s  light is much dimmer he can come out, because he can see very well at that moment. In the middle of the night, wild hamsters will go back to their burrows and eat, or sleep a bit more, or tidy up their homes.

And finally at dawn, and right before dawn, wild hamsters will come out again. Forage some more, maybe find a lady hamster, run a round a bit, then hide in their burrow again for the rest of the day.

So that means that pet hamsters don’t normally have these conditions, and will adapt to being mostly nocturnal, and to know more about what hammies do at night.

If you can replicate the conditions from the wild for your pet hamster, he will be much happier. Like a night light that has a timer to turn itself off after a few hours, for example.

Or, turning the overhead light in your hamster’s room a few hours before you go to bed. Only leave a small lamp on, or something that has barely any light. Then, when you do go to bed you can turn off the lights in the house completely.

This can and will make your hamster a much happier and healthier pet.

Where and how to keep your hamster’s cage in your home

Where you keep your hamster’s cage can determine your hamster’s health and happiness. If the room he’s in is cold and drafty, your hamster will have a host of troubles.

First, because hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shifts.

And second, because hamsters don’t respond well to sudden cold conditions – they end up in a state like hibernation, but it’s more of a hypothermia shock than anything else, and can be very dangerous.

Providing your hamster with the best bedding/substrate will help a lot in keeping him warm enough.

Likewise, keeping your hamster somewhere dark all the time isn’t good for him, same as it wouldn’t be to keep him in the light all the time.

So one of the best places to keep your hammy would be your bedroom, or a similar room that has a day-to-night cycle of light. It’s important that the room is also a calm, quiet place so he will not get woken up constantly by children or pets, and can rest well.

A good hamster cage will have plenty of space for the hammy to choose a hiding spot.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know you might think us hammies need the light on at night, but you’re hurting us more than helping with a bright light.

Best to give us a very dim nightlight, and turn it off after a few hours to make it like our home in the wild.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you can read the articles below for more info on how to take care of us the right way. Like for example how big of a cage we need, how much we can go without food and water, or even why we need to always run.

Related blog post
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...
11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your Hamster
11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your HamsterIt is believed that the type of habitat your hamster lives in has an effect on its well-being. Researches have tested 30 hamsters to see if adding toys and bedding to their cages would change how they make decisions when faced with an uncertain choice. They found out that hamsters who had more toys and beddings were more likely to make optimistic decisions, while hamsters that had fewer things made less optimistic decisions. Scientists link optimistic judgments with positive well-being in humans, so they used the same method to study hamsters.  To keep your hamster happy, you will have to provide it with a lot of floor space where they can climb, explore, play, and exercise when they wake up during the night. You will need to place your hamster in a big enough cage with a deep base. When picking out a cage, you will want to get one with narrow wires so that your hamster can’t escape. Cages on multiple levels are the best way to make use of the space you have. Make sure you place the cage in a quiet location. Hamsters are very sensitive to ultrasounds, and they can be very stressed when they hear them. Keep your hamsters away from vacuums or running water. In the wild, hamsters love to burrow, so make sure you add a very thick layer to their cage so that they can dig and burrow as much as they want. Your hamster also needs a house where it will sleep and feel safe. The house should be big enough so that your hamster can build a nest in it, store food, and be comfortable when moving around.  You should also keep a ceramic dish filled with chinchilla sand in your hamster’s cage, which will allow it to keep its coat clean. Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys. There are many toys for hamsters to choose from, such as tunnels, ladders, bridges, climbing boxes, and many more. Hamsters also need a running wheel, and it is very important that you get one that is the right size for your hamster.  Getting all this stuff can be pretty expensive, but you don’t necessarily have to buy them to provide your hamster with the luxurious life it deserves. You can easily make all the toys, bedding, and the cage yourself, and only but the water bottle. Here is a list of 12 creative habitat ideas to make your hamster’s life better. Table of Contents Toggle1. DIY Bin Cage2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage3. DIY Mansion4. DIY Hamster chew toys DIY Chew SticksDIY Chew Ball5. DIY Hamster Toy WheelsContainer Tub Wheel6. DIY Hamster Toy HouseDIY Popsicle Hamster HousePaper Mache Hamster House7. DIY Hamster Bedding8. DIY Hamster Toy TubesToilet Roll Tubes9. DIY Toy Ladder10. DIY Hamster Playground11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze 1. DIY Bin Cage The first thing your hamster will obviously need is a cage. You can get one in the pet store, or you can make your own. When you make your own cage you save money, but you are also not limited by what you can find in the pet store.  Bin cages are the easiest and the cheapest way you can make a habitat for your hamster. When you make a bin cage, you don’t have to think about whether or not your hamster will grow out of it, because it’s so big. To make a DIY bin cage, you will need one big storage bin. It’s best that you get the clear one so that your hamster is able to see the outside. The size of the bin should be at least 20×30 inches, and you can fit one Syrian hamster or two Dwarf hamsters in it. If you have more hamsters than that, you will have to get a bigger bin. Another thing you will need is wire mesh, which is also called hardware cloth. If you plan on making only one cage, the smallest role will be enough, and the wire should be 19 or 23 gauge. Make sure you also get 16 nuts, bolts, and washers. Get 8-32×3/8 screws and size 8 washers. You will also need a foot of wire. Your hamster will also need a water bottle, you can get the 4 ounces one or 6 ounces one. Keep in mind that your hamster needs a wheel, and the bigger the better. If you have a Syrian hamster, get an 11’’ or a 12’’ wheel. If you notice that the hamster is bending its neck or back when it runs, get it a bigger wheel because it can get seriously injured. You will also need a wire cutter, a drill and drill bits, a permanent marker, and a utility knife with a new blade. Start by cutting the lid of the big. Put it in front of you, with the bottom facing up. It would be good if you cut out two windows because if you only cut one big window, it will probably lose a lot of strength. Keep in mind that you should leave about an inch and a half room on each side, and 3 or 4 inches in the middle to fit the screws. Draw the two windows with your permanent marker. When you’re sure that you have enough room for the screws, cut out the windows.  Next, you will have to cut the mesh for the windows. Make sure you have at least an inch of mesh overlapping the lid. When you’ve cut out your windows, file down the sharp edges, or cover them with duct tape. If you don’t do this, your hamster could cut itself on the sharp edges.  Then, center your mesh over the window and use the permanent marker to fill in where the drill holes will be. When you’re done drilling the first hole, get a screw and thread it through the hole, then flip the lid over, put the washer on, and tighten the bolt. Repeat the process until you’re done will all four holes. Then move on to the other window and repeat the process. When you’re completely done with your windows, you will move on to drilling holes for ventilation. You don’t have to do this if you make your windows big enough, but you never know when something can block the windows, so it’s better to have ventilation on the sides as well. If you will be drilling holes on the bottom of the bin, do it at least 3’’ from the bottom so that the bedding doesn’t cover your holes. You can also drill the holes on the top of the bin.  The next step is to attach the water bottle to the bin. You should place the spout about 1’’-1.5’’ from the bedding, which should be at least 1’’ thick when you pat it down. You will put the water bottle flat against where you plan on placing it and draw 2 dots on each side of the bottle. These dots will be drilled so that you can thread the wire which will support the bottle, and you will also need a bigger hole for the spout. This hole can be a bit bigger than the spout is so that you can easily put it in and take it out.  When you’re done setting up the water bottle, your cage will almost be done. You just have to wipe it with a washcloth, make sure there’s no plastic left inside, fill it with bedding and tap it down.  2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage You can make this cage if you want something sturdier, or if you’re worried about your hamster being in a plastic cage.  To make this cage, you will need 4 precut panels, two 31.49×15.74 inches, and two 31.49×11.81 inches. You will also need an acrylic glass sheet, box cutter, acrylic glass glue, and wood screws, and a screwdriver.  Start with the 4 panels, you will want them to be coated so that the hamster doesn’t destroy them. You will lay the panels on the floor, with 31.49×15.74 inches panels in the middle and 31.49×11.81 inches on the sides. You will screw the  31.49×11.81 inches panels to the big panel and use 2 screws or more for each side. Next, you will crew the 31.49×15.74 inches bottom panel to the three other panels and use at least 2 screws to do so. You can fill in any gaps you have with hot glue, but make sure you glue it from the back so that the hamster can’t chew on the glue.  For the acrylic glass, you will need one 31.49×15.74 inches panel and two 3.93×11.82 inches panels. They should be around 0.07 inches thick. You will have to cut them and you will need a steel liner and a box cutter to do so. You should first glue the side panels to the cage and make sure you use glue on the inside and on the outside. Then you can glue on the main panel, and glue it on the inside as well as on the outside. Let the glue dry for a while.  When your cage is completely dry, it’s time to add the bedding, and your cage is finished. 3. DIY Mansion If you have 2 or more hamsters, or you just want to give your hamster a luxurious life, then you can make it this mansion. This mansion will be made out of a dollhouse, so try to see if anyone in your family has one and they don’t use it anymore or try to find a used one.  To make this mansion you will need a dollhouse, plastic fencing, a hot glue gun, and some long glue sticks, around 20 paperclips, an electric staple gun, spray paint, and wood which is 2 inches in height, and a razor knife. Start by spray painting your fence with the color of your choice. This step is optional, so if you don’t want to spray paint the fence, you don’t have to. Next, you will need a wood base-board which will add height so the bedding can’t escape the cage.  Make sure you secure all open windows in the dollhouse with the fence so your hamster can’t escape. Glue the fence on the inside of the dollhouse with a hot glue gun.  Then, you will use the fence to completely cover the open part of the dollhouse. You can use the electric stapler for this part.  You will have to be very careful when cutting the doors through which you will be able to take care of your hamster.  Lastly, you will have to attach the water bottle and put the rest of the stuff your hamster needs in its cage. 4. DIY Hamster chew toys Hamsters love toys and you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your furry friend entertained. Here are some chew toys you can make to keep your hamster entertained for hours while it’s relaxing in the cage. Hamsters have to chew on things to keep their teeth healthy. Hamster’s teeth constantly grow, which is why they have to chew on things all the time. DIY Chew Sticks You will need some flour and water to make non-toxic glue, wood skewers, and scissors to make chew sticks for your hamster. Start by cutting the wood skewers into 3-inch pieces. Make the non-toxic glue by mixing a 1:1 ratio of white flour and water. Then, you will dip the skewers into the glue and glue 5 pieces together. Let them dry overnight before you let your hamster play with them. DIY Chew Ball If you have toilet roll tubes, you can use them to make a chew ball for your hamster. Get the toilet roll tube and cut it into 5 equally big rings. You will only use 3 rings for each ball but cutting it into 5 pieces will give you the right size. You will take one of the rings and push it inside the other to create a sphere, and to the same thing with the third ring. This way you will create a sphere with small gaps between the toilet roll tube rings. Give it to your hamster to see if it likes it. If it doesn’t seem interested, you can fill the ball with some treats, like sunflower seeds, or mealworms. 5. DIY Hamster Toy Wheels Hamsters love running on wheels, and it’s a great exercise for them. Most wheels you find in the pet store are very noisy, so you can try making your own. Container Tub Wheel To make this container tub wheel, you will need a circular plastic container without a lid, 2 longer wooden strips, 1 shorter wooden strip, a bolt, and 2 nuts and 2 screws. Put the longer piece of wood and the longer piece of wood so that they form a T shape. This will be the base of the stand. Use one screw to secure them. It isn’t advisable to use non-toxic glue to do this because it won’t be as strong.   Get the other long piece of wood and place it so that it stands upright on the first long piece. Make sure that it’s at a 90-degree angle from the short piece. Use another screw to attach this.  Next, you will get the container and drill a hole in the middle of its bottom. This will be the place where your wheel will attach to the stand. Try to position the container on the stand to see if there will be enough room to spin it. When you’re sure that there will be enough room for it to spin, drill a hole in the upright wooden piece, the one that aligns with the hole in your container. Place the bolt in the hole in your container, and secure it with a nut on the other side, but don’t make it too tight because you want it to be able to spin. Next, you will have to push the rest of the bolt through the hole you’ve created in your stand and secure it with a nut on the back of the wood. In case your hamster’s cage is made out of wire, you can put the wheel against the wires to avoid your hamster chewing on the metal bolts.  6. DIY Hamster Toy House There are so many hamster houses you can get in the pet shop, but they are quite expensive. If you make your own toy house for your hamster, you can save some money, and even make more than just one house. DIY Popsicle Hamster House First, make some non-toxic glue. To make the glue, mix 1 part water and 1 part white flour and mix it to create a paste.  Get some popsicles and glue them together to make a house. You will need to make 4 walls, a roof, and a stable base. Keep in mind that there should be at least one doorway in the house, but preferably two so that your hamster can run in and out of the house.  Paper Mache Hamster House To make this house for your hamster, you will only need a jar, some water, and some paper. Make sure that the paper you choose to use doesn’t have any ink on it. Ink is harmful to hamsters and your hamster could chew on the house. Make the outside of the jar wet and out layers of paper in strips on the outside of the jar until you completely cover it. Let it dry overnight and remove the jar from the paper once it’s completely dry. If you’re struggling to remove it, get a popsicle and slide it down the sides to loosen the paper.  When you remove the jar from the paper you will have the shape of your house, and you can cut out windows and doors, and fill it with bedding.  You can also use a balloon instead of a jar to make your paper mache house since it’s easier to just pop a balloon than to remove a jar. Just remember that you have to use the non-toxic glue so that the paper sticks together, and make sure the house is thick enough to be stable.  7. DIY Hamster Bedding Hamsters need to walk on bedding in their cage, and you can also make your own bedding. To make sure your hamster is comfortable, you will have to make bedding that is clean, safe, absorbent, and doesn’t have a lot of dust.  You can make your own bedding using a clean, single-ply toilet or tissue paper. You will just have to tear it up and put it in your hamster’s cage and your hamster’s house. Hamsters love burrowing, which means that you will have to put a thick layer of bedding to keep them happy.  8. DIY Hamster Toy Tubes Hamsters love playing in tubes. If you make your own toy tubes, you won’t have to clean them as often as you would plastic store-bought tubes. When they start to get worn down, you can just replace them with new ones.  Toilet Roll Tubes You can make the best hamster tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls. They are very cheap and easy to make. Just cut holes in the tube and stick some favorite treats in it. You can also glue together multiple rolls so that your hamster has more places to run around.  9. DIY Toy Ladder If your hamster’s cage is on multiple levels, you should consider making it a toy ladder. Hamster ladders are really easy to make, and you will only need some non-toxic glue and popsicles. You will have to overlap the vertical sticks and glue them together. Next, you will place the sticks horizontally, and glue the ends to the vertical sticks in order to make steps. Repeat this process until you create a ladder that is tall enough for your hamster to use. Hamsters are known to nibble on wood so make sure you check whether the ladder is stable enough for your hamster to climb on it.  10. DIY Hamster Playground You can create a fun playground for your hamster using only wood popsicle sticks, toilet paper roll tubes, yarn, and glue. You will first have to build a box frame, out of glue and popsicles, that has a base, two sides, and a roof. Then, you will take the yarn and tie it to the roof. Thread one end of the yarn through the paper roll and tie it to the other end of your frame. This will make the tube hang in the air. Create as many of these hanging tunnels as you want, and you can even add some ladders. 11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze Hamsters love mazes, and you will have a lot of fun watching them play in its maze. If you have some legos in your home, use them to make walls that are tall enough so that your hamster can’t climb out of them. You can add some steps, slopes, and tunnels for an extra challenge. If you don’t have any legos you can use DVD boxes to make a maze.  [...] Read more...
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and Treatments
Hamster Fur Loss: 4 Causes and TreatmentsWe all love our pets and enjoy spending time with them, but it’s our duty to take care of them and keep them healthy. Many animals develop dermatological problems with age, shedding fur to the point where they’ve completely lost it, and hamsters are no different. It’s terrible to see your hamster lose its fur, as that’s the animal’s equivalent of humans being left without clothes on. Whenever we can, we should try to help our pet. That’s exactly what we’ll be discussing in this article: hamster fur loss. We’ll be taking a look at the reasons for your hamster’s fur loss and how to treat it. As these causes can vary from stress to old age, and the fur loss can appear at different places, keep in mind that there’s a lot to this topic, and you should visit a vet if this article can’t help you. Today, we’ll be covering hamster fur loss on their backs and behind their ears, and we’ll also be taking a look at flaky skin and fur loss due to old age, as well. Let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back.2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin.4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. 1. Hamster Fur Loss on Back. There are many reasons why your hamster may be losing its fur. Friction is one of the most common reasons for this. If you’ve noticed your hamster losing fur after they’ve spent a lot of time burrowing or rubbing against the cage or toys, then friction is likely the reason for them losing fur. This is actually natural for hamsters, and you shouldn’t be worried. When they’re in the wild, they spend a lot of time digging and burrowing, so this is a normal process for them. Hamsters can also develop face sores from rubbing their face against the bars of the wire cage, or by water dripping down their face when they’re drinking. If it’s the latter, then you have to buy a better water bottle. If it’s the former, it may be a sign that the cage is too small, so you should get a larger cage for your hamster (preferably not a wire one). Even though many people find hamsters running on wheels amusing, overuse can lead to the hamster losing fur on its legs. Remove the wheel until the hamster’s fur grows back. Secondly, your hamster may be suffering from nutritional deficiencies. This is, clearly, a lot more serious than simple friction, and it’s just as common. If your hamster’s diet is low in vitamin B, then that could be the reason for its fur loss. Another thing that can also have an effect on fur loss is the lack of protein. If you think that this is the problem, you’re going to have to start supplementing your hamster’s meals with certain foods. Add unsweetened cereal, cheese, cooked eggs, whole-wheat pasta, and fresh fruits and veggies. Make sure to talk to your vet, as well, and if they recommend it, you can add water-soluble vitamins to their diet. Another unfortunate cause for fur loss can be found in parasites – ticks, fleas, ringworm, and mites are all capable of affecting your pet’s hair. If you notice that your hamster’s constantly itchy and it’s scratching itself – that may be because of ectoparasites. This excessive scratching is what’s causing the fur loss, and you should definitely contact your vet for assistance. Hamsters rarely get ticks, because ticks are mostly found outdoors, and hamsters rarely venture outdoors. Most ticks lay dormant during the winter, aside from a few species, and the only way for your hamster to contract a tick is for you or someone else to bring it in the house. If your hamster has contracted a tick, they’ll be scratching that area a lot – this is because they feel the bite from the tick and it causes an itch. When we’re talking about fleas, they’re also very rare for hamsters. However, when a hamster does contract fleas, they can shed all of their furs away. It’s easy to determine whether your hamster actually has fleas since they’re visible to the naked eye. You can also see their droppings, which look like small black dots on your hamster’s skin, easily. If your hamster does have fleas, all you have to do is buy one of the products made for clearing fleas off. There are many products for all furry animals, but try to find a product specifically for hamsters. It’s much more likely that you’ll find mites on your hamster than fleas or ticks. These are invisible to the naked eye, so it’s almost impossible for you to identify them on your own. They won’t cause any problems if they’re small in numbers, but if your hamster has a weakened immune system, irregular grooming patterns, or is stressed, the mites will increase their numbers. Signs that mites are present in this situation: reddened skin, rough dry patches, and fur loss. The best way to deal with this is by taking your hamster to the vet and let them take skin samples and take a look at it under the microscope. Mites are treated with topical sprays for hamsters, so make sure to buy that and use it the way it’s instructed on the packaging. Also clean your hamster’s cage, taking everything out and disinfecting it. A ringworm infection is also possible. All animals can get ringworm, and that includes hamsters. These fungal infections will appear as a distinctive ring of hair loss with flaky, yellowed skin. You have to be careful if you’re handling a hamster with ringworm, because you’re vulnerable to it, as well. Make sure that you’re always wearing gloves, that’s the best way to deal with that. Ringworm develops in environments that are too humid, so you’re going to want to keep your hamster’s cage properly ventilated. The way to treat ringworm is to wash your hamster with a topical shampoo for ringworm. Most of these contain miconazole, povidone-iodine, or keratolytic, and either of them should do the trick. If your hamster’s hair is already long, you may want to shorten it to ensure that the shampoo gets to all areas and washes everything. Shedding is another reason for fur loss, but this isn’t a reason you should worry about. Most furry animals shed, most often during spring and fall – it is normal to see periods of thin fur at this time, and keep in mind that Syrian and Russian hamsters tend to shed more than the Chinese and Roborovski types do. Hot spots are another cause for hamsters losing fur. Hot spots are, however, pretty rare when it comes to hamsters. These spots are actually open wounds, caused by a fungal infection that causes the hamster to scratch and chew their own fur and skin. To deal with this, take your hamster to the vet. Another thing that may cause your hamster’s fur loss is allergies. Hamsters can often become allergic to substances in their cages, usually their bedding – this can cause them to develop a rash and lose some fur. Don’t use cedarwood shavings for your hamster’s bedding, this is because oils within the wood are too strong for the hamster’s sensitive skin. Another thing that may cause this is dyed paper bedding, as well as dyed food. This is easy to fix – just find better bedding and provide a better diet to your pet. There are other possible causes for your hamster’s recent fur loss, but they’re less common and it’s unlikely that either of those things is happening. However, we’ll list them just in case: your hamster may be suffering from kidney inflammations, or T-cell lymphoma – cancer that attacks the skin, hormonal imbalances may be an issue, as well. However, these causes are all very rare and you should exhaust your options with the list of the most common reasons before you even think about any of these serious things. When discussing the loss of hair specifically on a hamster’s back, you have to understand that the most likely cause for that is one of the causes we’ve already discussed. There are perhaps a few things that cause hamsters to suffer from fur loss in specific areas, but their backs can be affected by any of the things we’ve mentioned. If you’ve noticed that your hamster’s losing hair on its back – it’s most likely because of one of the things we’ve already talked about. However, another reason why your hamster may be losing fur is because of its age, as older hamsters tend to lose fur, which is exactly what we’ll be talking about in our next section. 2. Hamster Fur Loss – Old Age.   One of the clearest signs of your hamster starting to age is their fur looking sparse and matted. A hamster’s fur is usually bright, clean, possibly shiny, and always put together – this is one of the reasons that makes them so appealing to the eye. However, once they start aging, they start losing their fur, and here’s why. The fur is mostly defined by genetics – most hamsters are born blind, and they’re also mostly born bald. Unfortunately, some hamsters end up like that in their older days, as well. Once your hamster ages (hamsters live from 2 to 4 years, depending on the species), you will probably start noticing patches of skin where fur simply doesn’t grow – this is because your hamster’s old. Even if your hamster is not balding, you may notice that their hair isn’t as soft and shiny as it was before, but it’s rather sparse. It can become matte and coarse, which is something that’s deemed odd for hamsters, who are usually shiny. The fur may also start to change color, just like with humans. Your hamster may actually start having their first grey hairs. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for aging, so you can’t exactly fix this. However, as they age, hamsters are more prone to diseases (just like humans are, as well). So, the reason for your hamster’s hair loss may not be hidden in numbers, but rather in a disease. Hamsters are also very well-groomed creatures, similar to cats (although those species aren’t exactly the best of friends in real life). They’re usually grooming themselves whenever they’re not eating, sleeping, or playing on the wheel. Their cleanliness is very important to them, as it keeps their scent to a minimum, which is a great defense against predators. So, if you’ve noticed that your hamster’s hair is less shiny and well-groomed, and is now becoming dustier and more reminiscent of a certain German scientist’s hair – it’s because your hamster’s getting old. Older hamsters can’t clean themselves as well as younger hamsters because of their many physical restrictions, they are also careless. The most effort usually goes towards cleaning the tops of their little heads and cleaning their flanks, they need to bend around like crazy to reach these spots. These spots are the first you’ll notice are becoming less groomed, because they’re usually the most well-maintained spots. The result of this is your hamster getting a bit more smelly, which is especially applicable to your hamster’s rear end. You might find his rear soiled from time to time, without there being an infection or wet tail. This actually also refers to the cage, as the hamster will clean their cageless when they’re in their older days. Older hamsters can also lose their hair due to a lack of protein (less than 16%) or iron in their diet. As we’ve already said, there isn’t really a way for you to affect this. We all get old and you can’t stop your hamster from getting old. Help your pet during this time and ensure that their final days are happy and enjoyable. 3. Hamster Fur Loss and Flaky Skin. We’ve already mentioned a few reasons for flaky skin or skin cabs when we were discussing fur loss, but let’s go into detail with them. One of the most common skin diseases that causes both fur loss and flaky skin are mites. Mites are one of the most common skin diseases in hamsters. If you’re suspecting mites, you won’t be able to identify them on your own in any way, as they’re invisible to the naked eye. You need to take your hamster to the vet. The vet will take a sample of the hamster’s skin and take a look at it under the microscope. Your vet may also brush your hamster while holding a white piece of paper to catch the mites, and then take a look at them using a magnifying glass. If your vet has diagnosed your hamster with mites, the first thing you need to do is isolate it from all other hamsters, as you don’t want them to get infected, as well. You should also wash your hamsters, and return them to their cages after washing and disinfecting the cages, as well. Mites are contagious, so your healthy hamsters are very likely to catch them if you don’t isolate the ill hamster. If multiple hamsters have already caught mites, then treat them all as prescribed. After that, you need to treat your hamster as your vet has prescribed. The most common and the most popular treatment with vets is medicated shampoo. However, hamsters don’t really like showers and baths, so they may resist and not let you apply the shampoo and wash them. The alternative to this is medicated ointment that you’ll apply to the affected area. There are different options when it comes to this: oral ivermectin, which kills parasites, is a treatment option. To apply this, place the prescribed number of drops of this solution in your hamster’s mouth. There are also anti-mite sprays available. However, they’re mostly an over-the-counter treatment, and you need to discuss this with your vet before you decide to apply it to your pet. Severe mite infestations are most often treated with a full-body dip. This dip is basically just a medicated bath containing ivermectin. Your vet will explain how to perform this, but know that your hamster could resist because they don’t really like baths. You may need to repeat this process numerous times, as many hamsters (especially older hamsters or hamsters with lower immunity) need to be treated for mites more than once. Make sure that you discuss this with your vet before you repeat the process. We’ve already mentioned that it’s important to clean your hamster’s cage before you put them back in. When doing this, wash all of the accessories in the cage; all the toys, water bottles, food bowls, etc. – do this with hot, soapy water. Use a hamster-safe cage disinfectant, as some other disinfectants may harm the pet. Make sure that everything has dried before you put it all back. Another disease that may cause skin scabs is ringworm infection. We’ve already discussed this and said that humans can catch ringworm, as well, so make sure that you’re always wearing gloves when dealing with this. To treat this, you’ll first need to visit the vet, as they need to diagnose the ringworm for you to treat it. You should suspect a ringworm infection is at play if you notice patches of hair loss where the skin looks crusty, flaky, and red. Your vet will take a look at this and take a look at the fur with a microscope – the affected area looks like rings. It’s especially possible if your hamster is older, as older animals have a weaker immunity. To treat this, follow your vet’s treatment instructions. Firstly, always wear gloves and make sure you’re not making any contact with your hamster or its cage without wearing gloves – humans can also catch ringworms. One option of treatment is medicated shampoo, containing either povidone-iodine (antibacterial) or antifungal medication. You should cut your hamster’s hair before you go through with the treatment, as it’s very important that they’re completely cleaned. This way, the shampooing will be very effective. Once again, just like with mites, isolate this hamster from other hamsters and place it in a separated cage (and make sure that all cages are properly cleaned). Another treatment option is topical treatment with griseofulvin, an antifungal medication. This is an ointment, so if your vet prescribes this, they’ll shave the affected area and you’ll have to apply the ointment. Know that treatment for ringworm usually lasts between 18 and 21 days, so this isn’t going to be finished very soon. Make sure that you’re keeping your hamster’s cage ventilated, as it can become damp inside if you don’t. Damp areas are ideal for fungal growth and they’re an increased risk for all kinds of infections, including ringworm. Wire cages usually have great ventilation, so you should consider buying one if you don’t already own one. Lastly, the most common reason for your hamster’s skin scabs are actually wounds. We’re not talking about wounds caused by diseases or infections, but by your hamster fighting (female hamsters are more likely to bite than male hamsters because they’re more territorial) with its cage mate or getting scratched by sharp bedding. This wound can become infected and it can cause a pocket of infection to form and leak abscess. Your vet will take a sample of the abscess and will have to surgically remove it and close the wound. After that, you’ll have to apply an ointment on the wounded area for some time. During this time, until your hamster’s wound has completely healed, you’ll need to remove the cause of the wound. This means that you have to isolate that hamster from all the other hamsters, as a fight or biting could reopen the wound and cause even more damage. If the wound was caused by sharp bedding, replace the bedding with something soft. Here are some other, more simple reasons for your hamster’s flaky skin: – if you have an older hamster, their skin is naturally weaker and their scabs may be caused by them scratching their belly on their bedding or any other hard surface. Your hamster’s skin will become sensitive when it gets old, so it doesn’t matter if this bedding didn’t cause any problems before. – you could notice your hamster’s scent gland having sores, this is usually caused by excessive grooming and licking. 4. Hamster Fur Loss Behind Ears. If your hamster’s getting older, then it’s completely normal for them to lose fur anywhere, including right behind the ears. If this is the case (you should primarily gauge that by its age), you won’t really be able to do anything about that. However, this doesn’t have to be the only reason. If you’ve also noticed redness or swelling around that same area, it may be because your hamster’s scratching itself too much. This can be caused by a number of reasons – firstly, just like humans, animals sometimes have to scratch themselves for no good reason. Secondly, it may be mites or fleas – this will cause the hamster to scratch themselves to the point of losing fur. You can cancel this out if you’ve recently cleaned their cage and they’ve only started scratching themselves recently – this means that the cause is most likely not mites or fleas. Thirdly, your hamster may be having an allergic reaction to something. Take a look at their diet and see if anything has changed. Maybe you’ve got a new pet? A dog or a cat and they’re having a reaction to them. Also, although it’s rare amongst animals, it may be psychosomatic. Maybe your hamster is under a lot of stress for some reason and that’s causing them to scratch their fur out. If you can’t find a reason for this article, we’d suggest visiting your local vet and let them find out what’s going on. Hamsters are without a doubt some of the most popular pets in the world. If you have a hamster and you’ve recently noticed that it’s started to lose fur, it’s most likely because of old age. However, if your hamster is not that old and that shouldn’t be happening, then it can be a number of reasons, ranging from dietary restrictions to infections. Make sure to clean your hamster’s cage regularly, even if they’re not having problems with their fur at the moment, as that’s the best way for you to ensure that they don’t start suffering from any issues in the future. If you’re having any further trouble, make sure to call your vet. [...] Read more...
Five Best Ways to Bond With Your Hamster
Five Best Ways to Bond With Your HamsterWe all want our pets to live healthy and happy lives, and in order to ensure that, we have to cultivate a loving relationship with them. This means that we have to bond with our pets. If you have a hamster, bonding may be a little more difficult, as hamsters are relatively untrusting animals that don’t exactly enjoy human touch. This is completely due to evolution, so you shouldn’t blame yourself if your hamster isn’t exactly showing signs of affection. However, there are many ways you can bond with your hamster. It needs to be addressed that hamsters are very frightful animals that don’t really trust anyone, so you should know that your hamster is going to be afraid of you for a very long time. And even after you’ve bonded with your hamster, it’s still going to take a step back before it takes a step forward. These animals have no defense system aside from running away, and they’re always at the bottom of the food chain, so they instinctively fear everything. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to overcome this problem and how to form a strong bond with your hamster. It’s important to stay patient and not give up just because it’s going slowly. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the most important conditions you will need to fulfill if you want your hamster to trust you. Without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Make Sure That Your Hamster is Comfortable2. Talk to Your Hamster3. Feeding Your Hamster4. Handling Your Hamster5. Playing with Your HamsterUseful Tips 1. Make Sure That Your Hamster is Comfortable This is very important to any animal, not only to hamsters. Even we, humans, can’t really fulfill our full potential unless our environment is good. We can’t study if our room is a mess, and we can’t work if everyone in the office is shouting – the same principle applies to hamsters; they won’t feel comfortable if their environment isn’t comfortable. You have to understand that hamsters are afraid of everything, and they’re under a great deal of stress after moving. So, when you get your hamster, know that it’s going to take weeks for the hamster to settle in and feel comfortable and adjusted to their new surroundings. To speed up this process, you have to make sure that you’ve made the hamster feel good in their own fur and that their home isn’t presented as a danger to them. This requires two things: buying a good cage and placing that cage. Let’s cover the placement first. You don’t want to place that cage near a TV or a speaker, because hamsters have a very good hearing (and terrible eyesight, while we’re at that), and even though the television or the speaker may not be loud by your standards – they’re going to be obnoxiously loud to the hamster and they’re going to have a lot of trouble functioning. Also, putting them in children’s rooms may not be the best idea, as children are likely to play with them while they’re unsupervised. This is a problem because the hamster can’t be played with until they completely trust their owner(s), and that process takes time. Children immediately playing with the hamster is only going to scare the animal to death, and it’s likely that the hamster will bite to defend itself. Even though hamster bites can’t do much damage, as long as the wound is disinfected and healed properly, this sort of negative interaction will make the hamster trust you even less, and it’s only dragging the process back. It’s also important to note that the expression ‘scare to death’ is quite literal when we’re discussing hamsters (and many other small animals). Their hearts are known to give out if they’re put under too much stress, and a five-foot-tall child pushing their fingers into the cage of a few inches tall hamsters is incredibly scary for them, and that will definitely make them fight back (even though the child has no harmful intent). So, make sure that the space you’re putting the cage in isn’t under too much light, there isn’t too much noise, and there’s not a lot of movement from people. The ideal temperature for a hamster is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure not to put the cage next to a source of heat, draft, or too much sun. The second thing you have to ensure is a good cage. The most important thing for a cage is for it to have enough room. This depends from hamster to hamster, as hamsters (just like us) have their own personal preferences, and two hamsters of the same species may not need the same amount of space. When the cage is too small, the hamster is going to feel stressed out and that can even lead to injury. Hamsters are known to rub their faces against the cage bars, which causes them to lose fur. If the hamster doesn’t feel comfortable in the cage, then it’s not going to feel comfortable around you. Every cage should have plenty of room, bedding, a hiding spot, fresh food and water, and a wheel to run on. The latter is very important, and even though some people think it’s just a gimmick, hamsters actually enjoy running on their wheels – these animals have a lot of energy and they need to burn it off, otherwise, they won’t feel good. When you’re choosing the right cage, you can choose between mesh cages, glass aquariums, and plastic cages. Metal mesh cages are okay, especially because of ventilation and ease of maintenance, but smaller hamsters can run away. Take note that hamsters will always try to run away, even if they adore you and have fully bonded with you – they’ll still try to run away and get to the wilderness if the opportunity for that arises. They can’t exactly help it, it’s in their instinct. Hamsters can fit through insanely small spaces, so you should keep this in mind when purchasing a cage. Glass aquariums are the safest for the hamster, as they can’t hurt themselves and they can’t run away – but they’re hell when it comes to cleaning. Lastly, we have plastic cages, which are great and fun for the hamster, but have poor ventilation and are difficult to clean. When it comes to size – two square feet is a minimum, but your hamster may require more. Look for advice from your local pet shop. 2. Talk to Your Hamster Hamsters have very good hearing, and the first thing you should do to bond with your hamster is talked to it. Just sit in front of the cage and talk. You don’t even have to be talking to the hamster, you can be talking on the phone, read a book out loud, or simply think out loud while working – it’s just important for the hamster to hear your voice and get used to it. After a few weeks the hamster get completely used to your voice and it won’t shiver upon hearing it. It’s also good to talk to the hamster when it’s doing enjoyable things like eating or running on the wheel. 3. Feeding Your Hamster Now, another great thing you can do for your hamster to get more acclimated to you is to feed it. Don’t just feed it the same thing every day – you don’t eat the exact same meal daily, so why should your hamster do that? There are many treats, like apples and seeds that you can give to your hamster. With time, you will be able to try to feed your hamster out of your open palm. This is very important and a great way to improve the relationship between you and your hamster. Firstly, make sure to wash your hands before you place them in your hamster’s cage for any reason. Hamsters can’t see well, so they use their sense of smell and touch to tell what’s what. They tend to bite, even if they don’t feel threatened, to see if what’s in front of them is actually food. So, if you push your finger in your hamster’s cage and it smells like the pot roast you’ve had for lunch, you’re basically guaranteeing that your hamster will bite your finger. Hamsters can’t control this instinct, once again, as they’re conditioned by evolution to eat (or at least store) every sort of food they come upon. It’s important that your hamster trusts you enough to eat out of your open palm. Just like hamsters, every other animal (including humans) is vulnerable when eating. And being vulnerable on the open palm of a creature that’s twenty or thirty times your size is very risky. The fact that your hamster is willing to casually eat out of your hand means that it understands that you have no intention of harming it. Place a small piece of apple in your open palm and put your hand in the cage. Let the hamster come to you. It may not work the first time, but it’ll work after a while. Talk to the hamster as you’re doing this – we’ve already discussed how important it is for the hamster to recognize your voice, and this will make it understand that you’re not a threat. 4. Handling Your Hamster It’s going to take a while for your hamster to let you hold it. It’s best to do this after you’ve been feeding it by hand, because that’s a clear sign that your hamster trusts you (somewhat), and it’s time to move to the next step. To hold your hamster, put both hands in the cage, and when your hamster has allowed you to keep them there – connect them to cup them together under your hamster’s belly. You can then raise your hands and you’ll be holding your hamster. Don’t take your hands out of the cage and start carrying your hamster around just yet, for the first time, just let it lie on your cupped hands and let it go back after a while. Try this a few times a day for a few days, each time going a little bit further – taking the hamster out of the cage, putting the hamster close to your chest, carrying the hamster. You have to know that despite the hamster trusting you, it will try to jump out of your hands at the smallest sign of danger – a dog barking, you shaking, etc. This will become a huge problem because it’s very difficult to catch a hamster once it runs away, so the best way to deal with this is to point the hamster towards your chest. Let it feel your body’s warmth, and it will also be more difficult for it to escape because it’s going to be rotated towards you, not away from you. You should do this for a while, and after a few weeks, your hamster will trust you enough to let you hold it whenever you like. Make sure to reward your hamster with a treat every time you hold it like this, that will make it understand that it’s all for a good reason and that you have no intention of harming it, but quite the opposite – rewarding it. You can use this opportunity to pet your hamster. Just like any other animal, hamsters enjoy being pet on the back of their heads. This will further deepen your relationship. 5. Playing with Your Hamster Playing with your hamster is the ultimate level of trust with your pet. It’s difficult to come to this point, but once you do, your hamster trusts you almost completely. Know that your hamster will still try to run away if you don’t enclose its playing area, so it’s best to place some sort of wooden enclosure on the floor when you’re playing with your hamster. One of the most fun things is to teach your hamster tricks. This is actually fairly simple to do, as all hamsters are motivated by food and you can use that to teach them to jump, flip, roll over, spin in a circle, and even wear clothes. Another thing you can do is to buy toys for your hamster. There are many toys available for hamsters at pet stores, but the most popular one is the exercise ball. This is a plastic ball that the hamster can enter and run around with it. This is a form of exercise, but it’s also fun for the hamster. This ball will allow your hamster to safely explore your home, but make sure that it doesn’t fall down the stairs and that it doesn’t roll around for longer than twenty minutes without a water and snack break – hamsters don’t have the strongest stamina. One thing that you have to make sure of when playing with your hamster is to check for any hazards. Make sure that your hamster can’t reach any electrical outlets or chew on a cable. Also, don’t let any other pets in the room while your hamster is there, and block any spaces that your hamster might crawl into. There are times when your hamster will just want to hop into your lap and let you pet it, this is also a form of playing and let your hamster enjoy it. Useful Tips Only approach your hamster when it’s awake. Hamsters like to sleep, a lot, and they usually spend the largest part of the day sleeping, and they’re at their most active when the sun is setting, and later when it’s rising in the morning. They are not going to appreciate you waking them up, and they’re not going to want to play. Approach the hamster when it’s ready to be approached. Let your hamster climb on you. Once your hamster starts finding you trustworthy, it’s going to want to climb on you. They’re pretty good climbers, and they’re not going to hurt you, so you should let them climb on you. This is another form of playing to them, so they’re not going to cause any harm. Groom your hamster – your hamster’s fur is going to grow. Hamsters are actually some of the most well-groomed pets, very similar to cats, and they’re going to spend a large part of their conscious life grooming themselves. Still, make sure that they’re properly groomed. Clean your hamster’s cage often – nobody likes to live in a dirty home, and hamsters don’t like it either. Unfortunately, they can’t exactly clean after themselves, so make sure to clean your hamster’s cage whenever it gets dirty. [...] Read more...
How To Choose Your First Hamster – Health And Temperament
How To Choose Your First Hamster – Health And TemperamentIf you’re looking to get a hamster, you’ll want to know how to choose your first hamster. Getting a hammy for the first time is exciting, and a big responsibility, even if he’s so small. Even if you’re not headed out the door to find your furry friend right now, there’s a few things you should know before you get a 2-3 year commitment. I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Table of Contents ToggleHow to choose your first hamsterThe hamster’s healthThe hamster’s eyesNo missing teethClean earsNo odd lumpsBald spots, and how the fur looksDischarge in the eyes or nose or earsWet tail, or soiled bottomSlender hamsterNo weird smellsThe hamster’s personalityBaby hamsters are hard to readMale or female hamsterWhich hamster breed to getBringing your new hamster friend homeIs a hamster really the pet for you ?A word from Teddy How to choose your first hamster The best way to choose a hamster is to look both for a healthy one, but also a even-tempered hamster. Hamsters are skittish and jumpy by nature, but they should be relatively easy to tame, and not very afraid of you. It’s easier to find a healthy hamster than a calmer, cooperative hamster. Most of the health checks are obvious and immediately noticeable, like scabs, missing teeth, bald spots, leaky nose, etc. The temperament however is a bit trickier, and won’t show completely until the hamster becomes an adult – around 3 months old. Until then, you’ll have to look for some specific signs. Let’s start with the health checklist, to see if your future hammy is healthy. The hamster’s health A healthy hamster  is easy enough to find, although some signs of illness won’t be immediately obvious. Some depend on the sex and breed of hamster you’re looking for as well. The hamster’s eyes A hammy’s eyes are supposed to be bright, and clear. Now hamsters usually have black eyes, but they can also be dark red, red, or even pink, and some look like a very deep dark blue. However the color should be clear, with no milky or whitish spots. They should not be hazy. Bright, sparkly, bulging eyes are a trait that hammies are known for. No missing teeth It should be obvious, but a hamster should have all of its teeth. That means 2 pair of front incisors, that you should be able to see clearly. They are very long, especially the bottom pair. Hamster teeth are yellow, sometimes even orange. That’s okay. You should only worry if you see white teeth, or whitish teeth, since those are signs of an illness or deficiency. Broken, cracked, crossed, or even missing teeth are a bad sign. They can come about from poor handling by the caretakers, or it could be a hereditary problem. Teeth are crucial to a hamster’s health, so they should be something you look at. You can find out more about hamster dental issues here, and what to look out for. Clean ears A hammy’s ears are the first thing he will use to make sense of his surroundings. Hamsters don’t see very well, so they rely a lot on smell and hearing. A pair of clean, thin ears is ideal, with no bite marks or missing bits. Do take note that many hammies have harder ears than the rest of their body. So you’ll need to get a bit of a closer look into the hamster’s ear for an infection or any other issues. No odd lumps Hamsters are this small ball of fur. But they should have no lumps, since that usually means an odd growth, or tumor, or a possible impacted cheek or abscess. None of those are good news. You might see your preferred hammy with a cheek full, or maybe both. That’s usually just food stored in his cheeks, though it’s not a common sight in pet stores. A note to be mindful of Syrian hammies. I wish I knew this about Teddy, because I was afraid he was sick when I first saw this. Syrian hamsters have two black mole-like spots on their hips, with barely any fur around them. Those are normal, and they are the scent glands. You will probably only notice them of the hamster is licking that spot. Bald spots, and how the fur looks The fur of a hamster should be fluffy, and clean looking. It should not be particularly shiny, unless the hamster was bred for that purpose. That being said, no bald spots (aside from the scent gland or genital area) should be present on the hamster. Any bald spot could be an indication of a skin disease, some of which could be contagious. However some bald spots can simply mean that he hamster somehow hurt himself, and managed to rip some fur off of himself. Be sure to check the habitat the hamster is in for other clues. Are there other hamsters with bald spots ? Are they actually scars from fighting ? Is there a part of the habitat the hamster could have cut himself on ? Discharge in the eyes or nose or ears A healthy, happy hamster should be completely dry. No discharge or liquids from the ears, nose, tail area, or mouth. Discharge can be a sign of infection, and it’s most probably contagious as well. SO it could be that your chosen hamster is sick, or is in the incubation phase. Any sign of infection however should be immediately treated by the staff at the pet store, since that isn’t a humane way to keep hamsters. Wet tail, or soiled bottom Wet tail is noticeable if the tail is, well, wet or soiled. It’s a type or diarrhea and can be extremely dangerous for your hamster’s health. You can find out more about wet tail here, and the chances your hamster has of getting it and surviving. If one hamster does have wet tail, or any other disease, it’s very possible that the other hamsters in the habitat have got it too, or they’re in the incubation phase. You’ll also notice signs of wet tail on the bedding, as it might be soiled and very smelly. Slender hamster A baby hamster – between 4 and 12 weeks old – should be neither skinny nor fat. This is actually how you should keep him as an adult, as well. An obese baby hamster will have a much shorter life span, and have several health issues, including and not stopping at diabetes and joint problems. An underfed hamster will be noticeable if you hold the hamster and feel its spine and leg bones very clearly. Since hamsters are so fluffy, it can be difficult to tell if they’re skinny or fat. The fur will cheat you there, but you should be able to tell if you look at the head and eyes, and how plump the skin is there. You can find out more about how big a hamster can get, depending on his breed. And find out here what you can do if you hamster’s already overweight. No weird smells An odd smell coming from your hamster is not a good sign. Hamsters are actually incredibly clean animals, and they clean themselves regularly, several times a day, very thoroughly. They have no scent that a human can detect, aside from female hamsters in heat. So if your hamster smells odd, you should check it for any signs of infection as well. It could be that the hamster has an abscess in his mouth (possibly because if a bad tooth) and that could be the source. Or a possible ear infection that isn’t obvious right away. The hamster’s personality Your hammy’s personality is probably something you won’t think of immediately, but you’ll notice it’s more important than anything. This is what I wish I knew before I got Teddy. You see, I wanted an orange hammy, and that was it. I had no idea about hamster breeds, temperaments, calmness, and so on. In time I saw that my Teddy is a bit of a despot, if you will. He must know, he must see, he will have his way, and he always has something to object. A bit annoying, but still a lovable ball of fur. Just not what I had in mind when I decided I want a hamster. I wanted a cuddly, friendly hammy, who will sleep on my shoulder and want to play all the time. Basically the world’s tiniest puppy. Again, I knew absolutely nothing about hamsters. Baby hamsters are hard to read When selecting your hamster, keep in mind that babies don’t have their personalities completely formed. You can’t look at a baby Syrian and know it’ll be friendly straight away, as you would a Lab puppy for example. Still, you can look at a few things when selecting your new hamster: Is he afraid or just cautious ? He should want to come closer if you reach for him, but not too confidently. Does the hamster run away as soon as it sees anyone ? Hamsters are shy, yes, but an extra shy hamster who bolts into his hideout all the time is very hard to tame. Does he look mostly calm and curious ? Hamsters are notoriously hyper, and older hammies are calmer than babies. Syrians are calmer than Dwarf types. Depends on what kind of hammy you want. Does the hammy look like it’s angry or snappy ? Might be best to stay away from that one, he will be harder to tame. Is the hamster trying to attack you ? It might sound silly, but if your hamster of choice starts making himself look bigger and tries to intimidate you, you’ve got a difficult one. Best to leave him be and find a different one. Keep in mind that previously owned hamsters might be a better choice, since they’ve been handled before and are most probably already tamed. They can be traumatised, however, so be gentle with them. If you’re selecting a baby hamster, make sure it is curious, and can hold its attention for several seconds. Hamsters are always on the move and are curious about a million things at a time, but still, if you put your hand on the cage, he should notice it and try to come closer. Your petshop should be able to let you handle the hammy before you walk out with him. Make sure you handle him beforehand, otherwise you’ll end up with not exactly what you were looking for. I didn’t ask to handle Teddy when I got him, and I’m not sure that pet store lets you do that. But handling him would’ve shown us that he wasn’t the calmest hamster in the cage. Male or female hamster This is up to you, and your preference. Males are generally a bit calmer, and easier to handle than females. That being said, if you’re getting a Dwarf type hammy, both genders are hyper and won’t sit still. Females come into heat every few days, about once a week. They become very irritable and a bit smelly in that period. You can recognize male hammies by the genital openings. In males the genital and anal opening are far apart, and do have fur between the two spots. Some hamster types may have a scent gland on the abdomen, so it will look like a third opening. Female hamsters have the obligatory and noticeable rows on nipples, and the genital and anal openings very close together. It will look like a bit of a bald spot with two pink dots. When picking a pair of hamsters, you’ll want to get them in same-sex pairs. This means no surprise, unplanned litters. Also, if you select a female hamster keep in mind that they can become pregnant as soon as they’re weaned – aprox . 4 weeks old. This means that if the caretakers didn’t separate the hamsters into same sex groups early enough, you might just bring home a pregnant female hamster without knowing. If your hammy is a pregnant female and you only just found out, congratulations on your new litter ! And here’s how to make sure they survive. Which hamster breed to get When it comes to the hamster breed, this is again up to you and your preference. There are two main types of hamsters available – Syrian and Dwarf hamsters. The Syrian is the most common one, it’s the largest, and easiest to tame. The Dwarf types (4 of them) are much smaller, and faster and agile and, can be a bit harder to tame since they just won’t sit still. No hamster ever sits in one place for more than a few seconds, but Dwarves are terrible at it. I have a Syrian male, and I sometimes have trouble keeping up with him. You can imagine how well I’d do with a Dwarf. Actually, Dwarf types are harder to handle, and as such are best left as observational pets. A bit like fish, but cuddly and much faster. Here’s how to identify each hamster type, and pick out the one you think you’d like the most. (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.) Bringing your new hamster friend home Alright, you’ve picked out your new friend, he’s in his nice cardboard box and ready to go home. I’ll urge you to bring your pet as fast as you can to his new home, so he can accommodate. Hamsters don’t like change too much, so they won’t like being taken away. Make sure you get home and have his cage set up beforehand. You can read here about the recommended cage sizes for each hamster type, and how to pick one out for your hamster. An in-depth look at the best hamster cages available will be helpful before you actually go and buy your hammy’s cage. The bedding and hideout should be picked out beforehand too, so they’re already laid out in the cage and ready for your hamster friend. You can find here a good roundup of safe hamster bedding/substrate options, and pick your favorite. Toys and food bowl, should be available and already in place when your hammy comes home for the first time. As well as a running wheel for your hamster, and browsing a nice selection according to hamster breed will be useful to pick out a good exercise wheel. And finally, a bit of food and a treat in his cage will help your hamster settle in easier. This means that the hamster himself will be the last thing you buy when you decide to get this cuddly pet. This is because the moment you bring your hammy home and settle him in his new home, you won’t disturb him at all for at least a couple of days, if not 3-4. The transition from being with his siblings, and then being put in a box, and then put in another box is very disorienting and stressful, and hamsters are very very bad at handling stress. So when you get home, place the cardboard box in the hamster’s cage, with the hamster still in the box. Open a side of the box, and from then on leave the hammy alone. Talk to him when you walk past his cage, and dedicate some minutes every day to just let him smell you. Do not touch or try to handle him at all for a couple of days. Once he’s settled in, you can begin taming him, and you’ll become friends fairly quickly. Is a hamster really the pet for you ? This is a question you should ask yourself very seriously. I’ve seen a lot of people get a hamster without knowing what they’re getting themselves into. Me included. A hamster is not a puppy, and won’t always be there as you want him to be. In this respect, a hamster is more like a cat, if you will. He has a lot of personality, for being so incredibly small. And he can be aloof and hard to read sometimes. Hamsters don’t wag their tails, or purr to show affection or happiness. They do have their own special charm, but they’re a different pet than the norm. And they are definitely not suited for small children, no matter what else you hear. Hamsters don’t take well to being handled wrong, or too much, or loud noises, or sudden movements. These are all things a 6 year old can and will do, since they’re children. A guinea pig would be more suited for a small child, since they’re incredibly calm and serene (compared to a hamster). If you want to get a more in-depth view on what owning a hamster is like, and some pros and cons, you need to check this article. You’ll get much more info, and see if a hammy is really the one for you. And if you’d like to know more about how to properly care for your hamster, you can check out these essential steps. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and know how to pick out the best hammy. I know us hamsters can be the cutest things ever, but we have our own personalities. So, make sure you check out the health and personality of your new friend before bringing him home. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below for more info. [...] Read more...
12 Reasons Why Hamsters Are Good Pets, And A Few Cons
12 Reasons Why Hamsters Are Good Pets, And A Few ConsHamsters are a very common pet to own. When I first got my Teddy, I’d heard of and seen hamster pets before, but never had one myself. I didn’t know if Teddy would make a good pet, but I wanted a cute hammy running around the house in his exercise ball. Then, once I got him I figured out just how good of a pet he can be, and hamsters in general. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but this will apply to Dwarf types as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo why are hamsters good pets ?Hamsters are low maintenance petsThey’re funny on their ownThe hamster’s cage will not take up much spaceHamsters are very clean animalsHamsters are cheap pets to keepHamsters are among the cutest petsThey have a shorter lifespan than most petsYou will not need to exercise them yourself too muchThere is no shedding problemHamsters are very quiet 90% of the timeYou won’t trip over them randomlyHamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartmentsBut are hamsters good pets for children ?Downsides/cons of having a pet hamsterA hamster is harder to tame than other petsIt’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babiesHamsters are less affectionateThey’re nocturnal, you might miss them oftenHamsters are very sensitive to a lot of thingsSurprise littersA word from Teddy So why are hamsters good pets ? Hamsters are good pets, for the most parts. They have their good and their bad sides, and I’ll tell you both. Here’s why hamsters make good pets: They’re low maintenance – not hard to look after Funny even when not handled – they make the weirdest faces and do the silliest things Take up little space – a hamster’s cage is the only thing taking up space, and that’s not much Clean animal – hamsters groom themselves as much as a cat does Cheap to keep – will not burn a hole in your wallet Cuter than most pets, being so small – a hamster will always have that ‘baby animal’ face Short lifespan, not a long term commitment – only 2-4 years Do not need much exercise from you – they exercise on their own, if given a running wheel Do not shed – no allergies, and minimal cleanup Quiet most of the time – hamsters rarely make any noise, and sleep most of the day They stay where you put their cage – you won’t trip over them when you get out of bed or go down the stairs Accepted in no-pet buildings or apartments – this is a big plus for most city dwellers ! Alright, those are some pretty good reasons to get a hamster, I’d say. But let’s talk about why hamsters make good pets in more detail, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Hamsters are low maintenance pets This is something I imagined would be the case when I got my Teddy. I mean, it’s a pet that spends most of its time in a cage, and half that time it sleeps. Now much maintenance can it need ? To be fair, there is a bit of work involved, like changing the bedding, and feeding the pet daily, along with playing with it whenever you can. But aside from that hamsters are very easy to take care of. If you want more info on how often to change the hammy’s bedding, and which type of bedding is best for him, then you should read this. There are people who say that hamsters aren’t really that easy to keep. I’d argue that they’re wrong. Sure there are certain things to consider – like the temperature to keep in the room for the hamster, or what to feed the hamster. But when you compare a hamster with a shedding cat, a dog that needs regular walks and trips to the vet, and a squeaky parrot that you need to constantly clean up after, a hamster is just breezy. My girlfriend’s parents have a couple of cockatiels and they’re a chore. Lovable and fun, but still a lot of cleanup and upkeep. They’re funny on their own My Teddy does the weirdest things in his cage. I think most hamsters do, aside from the extra lazy ones. But even those are funny. For example Teddy sometimes pushes his hideout to the side in order to get a better look at us. Like he doesn’t have the rest of the cage to see us, but okay. And he does it in the most complicated and backwards way possible. He gets on top of the hideout, then kind of… melts between his hideout and the cage bars. Then he shoves his little face in that small space until he moves the hideout. You’ve maybe seen videos of hamsters flying off their running wheels because they stopped randomly. Or maybe hamsters falling asleep and actually falling over. Even when they suddenly stop and listen for something, they have that ‘did I leave the gas on ?’ face about them. Funniest of all, hammies can and do fart. They’re just embarrassed you’d find out so they only make a faint whoosh sound. No really, they do fart. They also blink like lizards, one eye at a time. It looks like the world’s slowest wink. You can also name your hamster whatever you think suits him or her. I’ve met hamsters named Oscar, Hamster-boy, and Peanut. They’re a lot like cats in this respect, so their name can be anything you like. The hamster’s cage will not take up much space A hamster’s cage is basically the only thing taking up space in your home. Depending on what kind of cage you get your hamster – like a cage or a large glass tank – you might have more or less space taken up. But the end result is the same, your hamster will only take up that much space, ever. As for how large a hamster’s cage should be, I’ll link you to an article about exactly that. You’ll find out how large a hamster’s cage should be, and what kind of cage suits him best. As always with hamsters, even if they’re such small creatures, they need more space than you’d think. So always go for a bigger cage. Never buy those tiny, square, cramped cages you see at pet shops. Hamsters are very clean animals It might come as a surprise to you or not, but hamsters are very clean animals. They clean and groom themselves regularly. Almost obsessively. If you’ve ever seen a cat spend 20 minutes licking and cleaning itself, a hamster will do the exact same thing. Minus the hairballs. And it will take less time since he is much smaller than a cat. But still, a very very clean pet all around. Even in their hideout, hamsters keep their pile of food well away from droppings, and only pee in the opposite corner of the cage. As far away from their hideout as possible. The only things that will ever smell will be the hamster’s pee corners. Those need their bedding changed more often than the entire bedding. Or, you can use a sandbath in the corner your hammy uses as a bathroom. He will use the sandbath as a litterbox. Hamsters are cheap pets to keep As far as expenses go, hamsters are inexpensive. They run around $10 per month, for food and bedding. It’s only the initial costs that can throw you off if you’re not expecting it. An average budget, for a new cage, wheel, exercise ball, transport cage, hideout, and toys can get to $225. But those are all things you only ever buy once, in the hamster’s entire life. You can find out more about hamster expenses here. And the hamster itself is incredibly cheap, somewhere between $5-10. Hamsters are among the cutest pets You know how cute your puppy was when you got him ? He’s cute now too, all grown up, but he’s not a puppy anymore. Well, a hamster will always have that kind of ‘baby face’. Especially baby hamsters, they’re even sweeter. But an adult hamster will have the cutest, furriest face you’ve ever seen. They’re just fuzzy all around, and they have those big black beady eyes. If you look at their wiggling noses, you’ll notice they look a lot like rabbits when they move their noses. Hamsters never really ‘grow up’, as most pets do. They stay that fluffy, cute little creature you fell in love with when you first brought home. They have a shorter lifespan than most pets A hamster’s life isn’t that long. That’s both a downside and a good thing, depending on which way you look at it. I’ve put it as a good thing, because this means the hamster is a smaller commitment than a dog or a cat. Hamsters only live for 2-4 years, with the Dwarf types living the longest. This is for hamsters kept as pets. In the wild hamsters do no reach such an old age. So if you’re looking for a furry friend to keep you company for a couple of years, a hamster will be a good match for you. Or, if you want to try your hand at raising and keeping a pet, a hamster is a good starting point. You will not need to exercise them yourself too much This is great news for very busy people, and it’s an easy thing to take care of. A hamster will exercise on his own, as long as you give him an exercise wheel and/or ball. An exercise wheel is the best way for your hamster to let out the immense energy it has. The hamster will have access to the wheel 24/7, since it’s in his cage all day and night. Also, an exercise ball will be a great help for keeping the hamster from becoming anxious or stressed. All you as a human need to do is help the hamster into the ball, and he will do the rest by himself. So if you’re a very busy person, and you often work long hours and don’t have a lot of time to walk a dog or play with a cat, a hamster might be great for you. Especially since most of the hamster’s exercise takes place when he is awake, which is usually at night, when you sleep. There is no shedding problem Hamsters do not shed, so if you’ve got an allergy to fur you should be safe with a hamster. Your clothes and furniture will not need a regular brushing as well, since there are no stray hamster hairs laying about. The only thing about the hamster is that there will be stray bits of bedding in odd places, but that’s the extent of the ‘mess’ a hamster will make in your home. Hamsters are very quiet 90% of the time Most of the time hamsters make absolutely no noise. Sure, you will hear them faintly rummaging in their hideouts, or digging in their bedding. But they don’t get noisier than that most of the time. So if you’re a very quiet person, and you need a quiet pet that won’t disturb you, a hamster could be for you. Most of the hamster’s activity happens at night. So while you’re sleeping is when he might make the most noise, but again he makes very little noise. Hamsters are very quiet since they’re prey. So they’ve evolved to be very quiet creatures, and not make noise unless absolutely necessary. You won’t trip over them randomly Since most of the time your hamster will be in his cage, you can’t trip over him randomly when getting out of the shower. If you’ve ever had your dog paw at the door when you’re using the bathroom, or your cat judge you when you’re in the shower, you know what I mean. Hamsters won’t be out unless you let them out, in their special exercise balls. My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatiels, and they run around the house all day. They’re funny and love to chase you, but you can literally step on them if you’re not careful. Or you’ll find them perched on top of the open door and freak out if you want to close it. A hamster will not give you any surprises. Hamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartments Many apartments, or even entire buildings, do not allow pets. This is mainly because of damage to the furniture, noise level, and some types of mess that can only happen with pets larger than a guinea pig. So a hamster that stays in its cage most of the time, is quiet, and does not make a mess will be okay in those buildings. I guess the same could be said about any pet that needs to be kept in a cage or tank. Hamsters are also easier to accept by roommates, since they won’t be noisy or messy or smelly. So there is nothing to object to there. But are hamsters good pets for children ? You might be wondering if a hamster might be a good pet for your kid. The short answer is no. The longer one is still no, and here is why. While hamsters are fairly easy to care for, they still need a level of responsibility and patience that a child just doesn’t have yet. To be clear, I’m talking about children under 12-13 years of age, when they start to become more responsible. A 9 years old might love to have a hamster, but will probably forget to feed the hammy, or close the cage properly, or might scare him just for fun. A dog or a cat might run away and hide if they don’t like the way they’re treated. But a hamster can’t get very far, and can only hide in his cage. Aside from that, a hamster is not a very patient pet, and won’t take well to being held wrong or pulled by the ears. It will bite and scratch ad squirm to try to get away, which is no fun for anyone involved. In general, the younger the child, the worse a hamster will be as a pet for them. (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.) Downsides/cons of having a pet hamster There are a few downside to having a hamster as a pet, although the upsides more than make up for these. Still, I think you should know what the cons could be, just so you’re prepared. A hamster is harder to tame than other pets Since hamsters are so jumpy, and easy to scare, they’re harder to handle than a dog or a cat for example. Taming a hamster means handling it, playing with it, letting it get used to your scent. Hamsters are much harder to tame than most pets. They’re not as trusting as dogs, not even cats. Hamsters have evolved to run away from everything, since anything can be a predator for them. This, combined with the immense amount of energy a hamster has, so restless and jittery, gives you a very active, possibly difficult pet. You need a lot of patience. It’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babies So you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting. And once you do figure out the hamster’s personality, it’s a very strong one anyway. There’s not much changing it. If it’s a very independent hamster that doesn’t like to be handled, you might dismiss that early on as ‘not yet tame’. Their personalities are simple enough, but can vary wildly from hamster to hamster. The Syrian hamsters are a bit mellower compared to their Dwarf cousins, and easier to handle. Hamsters are less affectionate They’re not crazy about hugs and kisses and cuddles and scratches. Sure, they’ll tolerate them a bit but you can’t hold and cuddle a hamster for a half hour as you could a dog. So keep that in mind if you’re looking for a cuddly, affectionate pet. Hamsters aren’t the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They can bond with their owners and come closer when you talk to them. But that’s about it. This was a big drawback for me initially, since the main reason I wanted a hamster was to cuddle and play with it. My mistake was expecting it to be as loving and playful as a dog. Hamsters do ask for attention, just not in the same way and don’t need nearly as much emotional attachment. They’re nocturnal, you might miss them often This depends on the kind of schedule you have. Pet hamsters are nocturnal, and will come out possibly when you’re getting ready for bed, like 9 PM. So you might miss out a lot on your hamster’s funny antics. Hamsters are mostly solitary creatures, so they won’t miss you terribly. But still, talking to them and handling them is important to taming the hamsters and keeping them tame. If you go to bed early and wake early, then a hamster might not be for you. But if you’re awake late int the night regularly, you might get along with a hamster just fine. To find out more about a hamster’s night routine, you should check out this article. Hamsters are very sensitive to a lot of things It’s common knowledge that hamsters scare easily. Well, most rodents do. They can even die of heart attacks from a dog barking at them. So that’s one thing to be careful about, keeping the hamster from scaring too much. You can find some useful info on that here. Hamsters are also very sensitive to shifts in temperature, and can easily die of hypothermia. Once a hamster contracts a disease, it needs immediate care or else it has basically zero chances of survival. There are a lot of things to mind when you’re considering getting a hamster, including how large a cage you can get him. A small cage will make your hamster stressed, which will make him chew the bars and develop a serious case of anxiety. The same goes for how much exercise your hamster gets. And transporting a hamster is often a bad idea. Best to leave him at home, with someone to check up on him. Surprise litters This is especially true for Dwarf pairs. You see a cute pair at the pet shop, you get them home, and a couple of weeks later you find yourself with 15 hamsters, not 2. You see, baby hamsters can breed as soon as they’re weaned – that’s just 3-4 weeks after being born. And if the males and females aren’t kept separate immediately after weaning, they can start to breed, even so young. Most of the times they’re separated in time. But sometimes it’s too late, or one male gets tagged as female by mistake and put in an all female enclosure. You can see where that can go. This is possible with every type of hamster, but especially true for Dwarf kinds because only these can be kept in pairs. Syrians need to be alone, and will fight literally anything or anyone put in their cage. So there’s less of a chance of accidental litters. A word from Teddy I hope you can get a feel for how it would be to have one of us hammies as a pet. I’ve been a good pet so far, and I think that if you’re a patient, calm person then one of us would be a good match for you. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check the articles below. [...] Read more...