Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle In

If you’ve got a hamster you probably want to treat him to the best there is. We humans love hammocks, but do hamsters use them ? Would they swing in a hammock like us ? Or would they just ignore it ?

I found the answer to this, and I’m here to help you figure out how to make your hamster a happy ball of fur.

hamsters hammock (2)

So do hamsters use hammocks ?

Some hamsters do. Not all hamsters will go crazy over hammocks, but some will love to burrow into that warm fabric. It depends on each hamster’s personality.

Some hamsters, like my Teddy, are runners and chewers. Some are diggers, some love to climb more than anything. You can’t guess beforehand which type will like a hammock.

But I can tell you that giving a hammock to a hamster who loves to chew (more than other hamsters) is not going to end well.

Knowing if your hamster would love hammocks is not going to happen unless you try one. There are some guidelines to follow, and some things to look out for when you put a hammock into your hamster’s cage. So let’s see them.

The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safety

Hamsters love to chew, they always need to file their teeth down. So this gives them an instinct to chew and nibble on everything they can get their paws on. They’re also very curious and will try out anything with their teeth too, much like a baby human.

When it comes to hammocks, the fabric they’re made of is crucial. The wrong fabric can be dangerous for hamsters, some hazards including:

  • choking on loose strings and pieces of fiber
  • swallowing loose fluffy fabric and damaging their digestive system
  • hurting themselves on sharp pieces of metal or plastic in the hammock
  • stuffing loose, fluffy fabric into their cheeks and getting it caught up in their teeth or paws

None of those situations are comfortable, for anyone involved. So it’s very important to check the potential hammock for any pieces the hamster could hurt himself on, before you present it to him.

A word of caution, hamsters are always looking for soft materials to use for their nests. This is why very fluffy, wooly fabrics are a no go, like plush, fake fur, fur-like textures like on teddy bears, and the lining you will find in some house slippers.

So if it’s soft and fluffy and makes you, a human, want to cuddle in it, keep it away from the hamster. He’ll want to do that too, but he won’t just drag it to his nest. He’ll tear it apart and put it in his cheeks, and then get tangled in it.

What does this mean, then ? What fabrics are okay to use on in a hammock ? Well, for the most part very flat fabrics work well, the ones the hamster won’t be very tempted to chew on and take back to his nest.

Fur-like fabrics would be alright too, if you can find a short-haired version, and not too soft or fluffy or easy to rip a piece out.

A few examples of safe hamster hammocks

I’ve got here a few examples of hammocks that are safe for hamsters (and other rodents as well), and you can pick whichever you like best. Or pick out a completely different one. That’s up to you, as long as you look at the reviews and take a good look at the material it’s made of.

Option 1

This hammock is a fairly large one, and any hamster will definitely fit inside. It’s got metal chains to suspend it inside the cage, and it keeps its shape very well.

It can fit something a bit larger than a hamster, like for example a chinchilla, but you can also turn it over, take out the chains, and use it as a hamster hideout.

As far as I know there is just the one color option you see, but it’s a very well made product. Washing machine safe, and the material is safe for hamsters.

You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.

Option 2

This one, much smaller, but very colorful, is another option. It’s more of a hut/hideout, but it’s warm and cozy.

You’ll be able to spot your hamster right away against the colors of the hammock (blue, red, or pink) and I’m sure he’s enjoy playing in it.

Like all hammocks though, it will have bits of food and poop after a few hours of your hamster sitting in it.. That’s okay, since this hammock can be washed safely.

You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.

Whichever hammock you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the design and keep an eye on your hamster when he is interacting with it. There’s some general precautions you should take before getting your hamster a hammock, so let’s see those.

(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.)

hamsters hammock (1)

General precautions when getting your hamster a hammock

When letting your hamster onto the hammock, make sure there are no sharp pieces he can hurt himself on. Sometimes the hammocks are sewn together with a plastic thread, and it sticks out a bit. Or, possibly the metal clips (if there are any) are sticking out or need to be closed better.

Most of the time the hammocks that have a bed/lining inside are adorable, but the hamster ends up taking the small bed out. Not sure why, maybe they feel it’s too crowded. But the point is that the walls and inside structure of the hammock needs to be very good and sturdy.

If you notice your hamster chewing a bit on the hammock, that’s okay. Some chewing is normal, since hamsters chew absolutely everything. If it turns into cheek-stuffing then you’ll want to remove the hammock, or at least the lining.

Hammocks, no matter the brand, can’t withstand the constant wear and tear of a busy hamster for more than a few months. They keep getting into and out of them, clawing at them chewing a bit, soiling them, etc. In time it will show and you might have to replace their old hammock.

Make sure the hammock doesn’t have an odd or strong smell  when you first give it to your hamster. Hamsters have very sensitive noses, and won’t like something that smells strong. If need be, you can wash the hammock by itself with the minimum amount of detergent, and absolutely no fabric softener.

Finally, if your hamster doesn’t take to the hammock instantly, have patience. He might not understand what it is at first. He might need a few days (some need a few weeks) to get cozy in there, but once they do, they will probably use it as their nest.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters do use our hammocks, just not all the time. We’re different, you know; each of us has a different personality. We do appreciate the effort, though !

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

Related blog post
10+ Reasons You Should Not Get a Hamster
10+ Reasons You Should Not Get a HamsterHamsters definitely belong on the list of the most popular pets in the world. Everyone wanted one as a kid, and many people still keep them as adults. They’re easy to take care of, and if you have two they’ll socialize between themselves, so they won’t be lonely when you’re away. However, not all is as it seems on the surface. As it is with every topic, keeping hamsters as pets have both its pros and cons. And today – we will be focusing on the cons. There are many things that may attract you to hamsters. They’re small, cute, their fur is shiny, and they basically look like small fluff toys, only they’re alive. However, there are many things about hamsters that you should know before you decide to adopt one. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at that side of these fluffy creatures – reasons why you shouldn’t get a hamster. Without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Biting2. Nocturnal Behavior and Early Rising3. Hereditary Diseases4. Training and Taming5. Hamsters Aren’t Very Affectionate6. Hamsters Are Very Sensitive7. Breeding8. Escaping9. Cages Need Constant Cleaning10. Infection11. Lifespan12. Hamsters Require Adult Supervision13. Hamsters Aren’t Good Pets for Children 1. Biting Hamsters actually tend to bite more than other pet rodents. This is mostly fueled by their poor eyesight – they rely on smell and taste to tell what’s in front of them, and if you stick your finger or your hand into their cage – they’re likely to bite it in order to find out if it’s food. These bites hurt and they will bleed, as their teeth are very sharp, despite not being that large. Their general lack of good eyesight most definitely has an effect on their behavior, as it makes them generally nervous – hamsters can be frightened quite easily, and when they’re frightened – they bite. It’s important to understand that they will bite you for only two reasons: fear (you would probably be willing to bite too if you were handled by a creature twenty or thirty times your size), and curiosity (if they mistake your hands for food or something else that’s interesting). For this reason, make sure to always wash your hands before handling hamsters – they’re more likely to bite you if your hands smell like food. Hamsters can also hurt themselves – as they’re a very frightened species, they’re ready to jump out of your hands when you’re carrying them. Let’s just say that jumping from such a height isn’t the smartest idea if you’re a hamster. Hamsters’ bites shouldn’t be underestimated, as they can be quite painful and draw a lot of blood. As an adult, you can probably handle this, but children can often be put off from this and not only lose interest in the hamster but start to dislike it altogether. There have been numerous occasions where a child has grown fearful of their hamster, and who can blame them? Probably anyone would if they had a pet who kept biting them. Gerbils, for example, are much better pets for children. They can be held and petted at will, and they rarely bite or scratch. 2. Nocturnal Behavior and Early Rising These animals actually spend the majority of the day curled up and sleeping. They don’t like to be disturbed when they’re resting (just like us), and they’ll defend themselves if you disturb them. However, once everything at your home goes silent, hamsters wake up. At that point, hamsters get crazily active, which can actually wake up the whole house – especially if the hamster decides to start running on the wheel. They also get up very early, as they’re most active at dusk and dawn. 3. Hereditary Diseases Unfortunately, hamsters are prone to inheriting hereditary diseases. Because of overbreeding, they’re prone to congestive heart failure at an early age (as early as 6 months old). There’s no cure for this condition, and the treatment can be very expensive. They’re also prone to an incurable kidney disease called amyloidosis, which means that you’re going to have to be looking out on multiple fronts for the sake of their health. They are susceptible to many dangerous bacteria, ultimately leading to diarrhea and dehydration. Some of these bacteria, predominantly ringworm, can also infect humans. It’s very important to focus on two specific bacteria that can easily infect children. We’re talking about salmonella bacteria and lymphocytic choriomeningitis and hantavirus. These can be transmitted from animals to humans, and salmonella can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever. 4. Training and Taming Hamsters are very difficult to tame, much more difficult than other animals, and the main reason for this is the fact that they’re so scared of everything. They’re not trusting as dogs, they’re not even trusting as cats. Cats are actually more likely to approach you than hamsters. Their evolution has given them the ability to run and hide from any threat, and that’s what they will do if they see you coming. On top of that, hamsters have a lot of energy, meaning that they’re jumpy, active, and want to play – all the time. A pet that’s energetic but runs from anyone that pays it any attention is very difficult to train. 5. Hamsters Aren’t Very Affectionate Hamsters don’t enjoy being picked up and held, cuddled, and kissed like many dogs would. They will certainly put up with it for a while, but after a while, they’ll get tired of it and jump away. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a pet with which you’ll be able to strike a real connection – they’re not the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They will somewhat bond with their owner and come closer when they hear their owner’s voice, but that’s about it. Hamsters are not as loving and as playful as dogs. 6. Hamsters Are Very Sensitive Hamsters are sensitive to many things. Firstly, their diet isn’t exactly something you should take lightly, as not correcting it when you need to can cause many dietary issues like diarrhea, dehydration, fur loss, etc. Secondly, they’re so easily frightened and they are so weak that they can literally die from too much stress. Hamsters are known to die from a dog barking at them or something else scaring them. You, personally, can scare your hamster in many ways – the hamster may not trust you yet and even feeding it will scare it (nothing you can do about that aside from trying to be as gentle as possible), if you do something very sudden it will scare it and that can be difficult for you as an owner to adjust to, your hamster may be in permanent shock (from moving to a new cage, for example) and during this period it will be easily agitated, and some hamsters are also naturally shy and difficult to handle. Also, hamsters’ immunity is terrible. They can easily contract any disease and unless you recognize it and take them to the vet immediately, they have almost no chances of survival. On top of this, they’re also very sensitive to temperatures. They can die from hypothermia very easily, and they can overheat easily. Your hamster’s cage is also going to have a massive effect on it, as hamsters get agitated easily in smaller cages. They’ll also get stressed easily if they don’t exercise enough, so it’s best to let them have a wheel. Transporting them is also not good, as that causes major stress. Now that we’re taking a look at all this in retrospect, evolution hasn’t really been beneficial to hamsters. 7. Breeding In case you didn’t know that all rodents breed extremely fast. Hamsters can breed three to four weeks after being born, and when they breed, they breed like crazy. You could make the massive mistake of buying a pair of hamsters and having almost twenty of them after a while. This problem is usually solved by pet shops where you purchase your hamsters, as the workers can separate the hamsters and divide them by gender. However, if a mistake is made and a single male hamster is put amongst female hamsters…well, we’re sure that you know what kind of a mess that is. 8. Escaping Hamsters can truly be defined as escape artists. They have the ability to flatten their body and they can fit through very small holes and crevices. An even larger issue is the fact that they love doing this and they’re likely to use every opportunity to escape. It’s their instinct telling them that they should escape and return to the wild. They’re also very good at hiding, so you won’t be finding them easily. This can actually lead to them being injured or killed while on the loose, as they’re very vulnerable. 9. Cages Need Constant Cleaning Hamsters themselves are very clean, similar to cats. They groom themselves all the time and this way they minimize their scent, which keeps them almost undetectable in the wilderness. Their cages, on the other hand, aren’t as nearly as clean. Exactly the opposite, actually. Hamsters are known for their inexplicable inability to keep their quarters clean. If you place a hamster in a perfectly clean cage, it’s going to take it less than three days to cover it in droppings and pee. Their droppings can smell very foul and many people can’t stand it. These dirty cages also tend to attract bugs, and they’re more prone to developing infections and your hamster will get sick more easily in such an environment. Now, you may be thinking “Fine, I’ll just teach it to use a litter box.” – that’s fine, only we’ve already mentioned that training is terribly difficult with hamsters and you’re not teaching them anything easily. There are hamsters that openly and seemingly without reason refuse to use the litter box. Cleaning the enclosure always means that you have to take the hamster out of the enclosure. This means that you have to grab it without it biting you. If it bites you, you have to disinfect the wound and put a bandaid over it. Repeat the process until you manage to take the hamster without it biting you, and now put it somewhere where it can’t escape from. However, your hamster has still escaped while you were scrubbing its cage because they’re great at that, and now you have to find a hamster before putting it back into the cage. See why it’s difficult? 10. Infection Even though it may seem like a good idea to have your child clean the hamster’s cage to teach them responsibility, it’s sort of an unsafe idea – these cages can be salmonella heaven, and children can be especially vulnerable to that. Children don’t exactly understand the dangers of illnesses and they may not wash their hands properly, which could, unfortunately, lead to them contracting salmonella. 11. Lifespan Hamsters don’t really live for too long. Most hamsters live from two to four years, with a two-year-old hamster already being considered old. If you’re looking for a short-term pet, that’s great. But very few people are looking for that sort of a companion, and most people want a pet that’s going to spend time with them for years to come (like dogs, who can spend up to a fifth of a lifetime with their human companions). Changing pets every few years may not be in your interest. Secondly, if you’re thinking about purchasing a hamster for your child, we’re advising you now that you shouldn’t. Children get attached to everything very easily and having to watch the hamster grow up only to die quicker than they can graduate from the elementary can and will break your child’s heart. 12. Hamsters Require Adult Supervision Even though the maintenance they require is low in frequency, if you’re purchasing a hamster for your child, know that the maintenance your child is going to have to keep up with is complicated. They may not have to do it often, but when they do it, you’re going to have to be there. The same goes for training the hamster – since hamsters are so frightened and are easy to agitate and have them bite their trainer, it’d be best if you were there when your child was training the hamster. 13. Hamsters Aren’t Good Pets for Children Despite the general opinion being the exact opposite, hamsters aren’t really good pets for children. At least not the youngest children under the age of eight or nine. They can prove to be aggressive which will only scare the children away, they can also be very difficult to train which won’t encourage your child to keep trying around them. Having to clean their cages and feed them may be a great way to instill some sense of responsibility in your child early on, but it’s quickly going to become a chore to them and they’re going to start avoiding it. Hamsters can also transmit a disease to your child. Ringworm infection, for example, can easily be transmitted to your child or yourself despite you being careful and wearing gloves. Salmonella, what we’ve already mentioned, is also a threat for children and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because of their sensitivity, and because of children’s general lack thereof, your child could accidentally harm the hamster. And their constant escaping isn’t going to help either, just like the hamster’s short lifespan won’t be helping. Hamsters also stay awake at night and they’re very active, which may keep your child from sleeping well. All in all, if you’re looking for a pet for your child, you should think twice before purchasing a hamster for your child.   Hamsters often seem like an ideal pet for anyone, but that’s far from the truth. There are many things that have to be taken into account when discussing these animals, as they’re not as nearly as perfect as they seem to be. You should keep in mind that no animal is inherently evil or aggressive, only defensive. Hamsters are just like that, and the fact that they’re so scared of everything and everyone makes it fairly difficult to interact with them. Teaching your hamster not to bite you will take weeks, and if you’re interested in potty training or teaching them tricks, that’s going to take even longer. They’re quick to turn against their owner, even if you mean them no harm, because they’re scared, and maybe it would be best to let this one go, and buy a different pet. There are many pets on the market that may be more suited to your needs. If you’re ever looking for any advice, feel free to consult your local veterinarian. [...] Read more...
13 Signs Of Old Age In Hamsters, And How To Care For Them
13 Signs Of Old Age In Hamsters, And How To Care For ThemIf you’ve got hamster and you think he is getting old, you should check out a few signs. My Teddy is a year and a half when I am writing this, so some of these signs I’ve seen in him. Others I’ve seen in other hammies I know, particularly Oscar (family friend) who was a very gentle and mellow hammy. So let’s see when hammies are old, and what signs to look for, and how to care for your old friend. Here are the signs you should look out for. Table of Contents Toggle1. Your hammy is close to his 2nd birthday2. His fur is starting to look sparse and matted3. Eye problems occur, especially cataracts4. Far less grooming than before5. Your hammy has lost most of his appetite6. Lack of energy, less playtime7. More sleep and resting time8. Shaky, unsure walking about the cage9. Dental problems, teeth break easily10. His cage is less clean, needs cleaning more often11. You notice less droppings in his cage12. Your friend might protest when picked up13. His general shape will changeCaring for a senior hamsterAdd softer food to his dietContinue interacting with himKeep his habitat/room comfortableWhen hammy passes awayA word from Teddy 1. Your hammy is close to his 2nd birthday Usually hamsters live 2-4 years, with Roborovski living the longest. A hamster, regardless of type, is considered old when he’s close to his second birthday. He may live much longer than this, or might not even reach his second birthday. But, that’s the majority of the cases. This is not to say that hamsters die of old age around 24 months, but that’s when they’re about 80 years old (in human years). As with humans, some hamsters live a very active life even in their old age, and some quiet down for the last 30 years of their life. For example my Teddy is a Syrian male, and he was born mid-July 2017. At the time I’m writing this he’s a year and half old, and he has slowed down, and plays less. He’s not 2 weeks away from his end, thankfully we still have some time together. But, he is way past his young adult life. Still, there are other signs you need to watch out for, in conjunction to the age of your hamster. 2. His fur is starting to look sparse and matted A hammy’s fur is usually bright, clean, possibly shiny, and always put together. Well, now that your hamster friend is becoming a senior, he might get a bit lazy or forgetful. So if his fur becomes a bit ruffled or matted, this is why. Older hamsters might also start to lose their fur. Hamsters are born blind, and bald, and unfortunately some hammies end up like that in their old age. You might start seeing bald patches in your hamster’s fur. Or it might just become sparse, and the hairs themselves will not be as soft and shiny as before. They’ll be rather matte, and coarse. They might also change color. For example my Teddy has a bit of silver hairs around his ears, where there wasn’t that color before. This will sound funny and/or gross, but it reminds me a lot of the ear hair some seniors get. Except it’s on top of his ears. He looks a bit like a madman. Do keep in mind that your hamster’s fur could also be looking bad because of a skin condition, which is very probably in his old age. So while fur loss isn’t a definitive sign of old age, it’s still worth noting. 3. Eye problems occur, especially cataracts Hamsters, like humans, can develop cataracts in their old age. This is because the composition of the inside of the eyeball naturally starts to break down. As such, the eyes will become milky, and unfocused. A hamster usually has bright eyes, even if they’re such a dark color. Most have black eyes, but I’ve seen hammies with red eyes, dark red eyes, midnight blue eyes too. You’ll notice your hamster has cataracts by the whiteness of his eyes. It might start out as a single white spot, and extend to the rest of his eye. Other eye problems might occur but the most common one of the loss of eyesight. Don’t panic if this happens to your hamster. In truth hamsters barely use their eyes in the first place. They’re notorious for not seeing well, and are very poor with judging distances or depth. You can find out more about hamster eyesight here. The point is that a hamster without eyesight can lead a perfectly normal life. He will still react to sound and smell, and will recognize you. 4. Far less grooming than before A hamster is usually a very clean, well groomed creature. You’ve probably noticed your hamster is grooming himself whenever he is not eating or running in his wheel. Cleanliness is very important to hamsters, since this is what keeps their scent to a minimum, thus attracting no predators. So, when your once very clean and shiny hammy starts to get a bit dusty, and doesn’t clean himself as much, he is getting old. Old hamsters don’t clean themselves as much. Partly because they can’t reach ever place anymore, and partly because they kind of don’t care. Especially the back of their heads, that’s a place you’ve probably seen your hammy tug at and comb like crazy. That requires the most effort, as well as twisting to the side to clean his flanks. Those probably don’t happen anymore. As a result, your hammy might get a bit smelly. This is especially true for the hamster’s rear-end. You might find his rear soiled from time to time, without there being an infection, or wet tail. You can help your hammy by using a clean cotton bud, dipped in a bit of warm water, and cleaning that area. You will need several cotton buds. Do not soak the buds, they need to be moist but not drenched. 5. Your hammy has lost most of his appetite An old hamster will change his eating patterns too. While usually he would eat a commercial hamster mix, with grains, seeds, and a few vitamins, now he will be picky. This happens with most hamsters, and my Teddy is starting to leave the hard, dry grains in his food bowl more often. He’ll go for softer foods like walnuts, carrots, boiled brown rice, broccoli, and so on. He does still hoard food, and I find grains there as well. But he doesn’t eat them as much as before. He simply doesn’t eat as much as he used to. Your hammy might be the same, and it can have several explanations. One of them could be that his teeth can’t deal with hard food as well as before. Another could be that grains can’t be digested as well, so he will need softer food. You should still keep his usual food mix, but only keep it to half. The other half replace with cooked, softer food like a bit of plain omelet or egg white, steamed broccoli, steamed brown rice, a bit of boiled plain chicken or even porridge. For more info on which foods are safe for hamsters, you should check out this safe and unsafe food list. About porridge, it should be cooked in water, plain with no salt, sugar, or any other condiments. Half a teaspoon of porridge or more than enough. Keep it on the dryer, lumpier side of porridge. 6. Lack of energy, less playtime An old hamster is a tired hamster. You could say he;s gotten lazy, but that’s not particularly true. Hammies are bundles of energy, and the only reason they even stop running on their wheel or playing with their toys is because they’re starting to get tired. No amount of extra sleep will get them bouncing back through their cage. It’s just something that comes with old age. For example my Teddy used to be a runner. My God he’d run the night away and wake us up with his squeaky wheel. When it wasn’t squeaking it was bumping against the cage, he was running so hard with his little hamster feet. Now I haven’t had to oil the wheel in several months. He does get into it, gives it a few spins, and follows my hand into the wheel if i hold it in front of the wheel. But on his own he won’t do much running or playing around anymore. He’s starting to turn into an orange fluffy potato, sitting on his hind-end, blinking at me. Even so, he’s still got some energy in him.   7. More sleep and resting time Another thing that comes with a lack of energy is more sleep. Yes, hamsters will sleep a lot even as adults. But as seniors, you’ll see even less of them. Unlike human seniors, who seem to not be able to sleep as much as they used to, hamsters will spend significantly more time sleeping than before. They still wake up and run around, eat, pee, spin the wheel a bit. But they go back into their nest soon enough. My Teddy used to be up around 9 PM, and start his usual rounds. Now he’s up earlier around 7 PM, for about an hours, then pops back into his nest. Which he moved out of his hideout, by the way, and now nests under the first floor of his cage. Which is transparent, and I can see him sleeping there. He does groom and eat in his nest, but he sleeps so much more. So if this happens with your hamster friend, don’t worry. He’s trying to rest, and catch up on some sleep. It won’t help him much, since his body is slowly breaking down and he is not a young hammy anymore. But he is still healthy, even in his old age. 8. Shaky, unsure walking about the cage A hammy is not the brightest creature, but he normally doesn’t bump against the cage. However an old hamster will start to slowly lose control of his footing. His feet will be weaker, and some joint or bone problems might occur. Problems like arthritis, for example, will make it harder for your friend to travel from one end of his habitat, to the other. He might stop in his tracks more often, or seem to trip. This will be present n very old hamsters usually, since it’s a sign that the body is very worn out. 9. Dental problems, teeth break easily A major problem with hammies is their teeth. They’re constantly growing, and need to be constantly filed down. An old hamster is often going to avoid the hard, dry grains in his food mix. This can lead to overgrown teeth, and other teeth-related problems. Dental infections can be more common in a senior hamster. Normally a hamster’s teeth get filed down when the hamster eats something very hard, like grains, or chews on something wooden. Like his chew toys, or possibly his hideout. An old hamster that’s avoiding hard surfaces for his teeth probably already has dental problems, but they will become worse with overgrown teeth. If this is the case, I recommend taking your hamster to a veterinarian. He will be able to file down, or clip the hamster’s teeth to an appropriate length. Another problems with teeth is that they might break more easily in senior hamsters. A broken tooth can lead to a infection more easily, and is painful for the hamster himself. Dental problems can make eating a chore for your hammy, and you will need to add softer food to his food bowl. 10. His cage is less clean, needs cleaning more often Usually a hammy’s cage is pretty clean. Aside from the odd droppings and seed shells, there isn’t much to clean. There is the pee corner, and if you’ve put a small litter box there then that’s easy to clean too. But a senior hammy will not keep just one pee corner. He will go on other places in his cage, and on his very old age will also pee in his nest. This is something hamsters – adult, healthy hamsters – never do. The whole point of having a pee corner is to keep the smell as far away from their nest as possible. This is done to keep predators from figuring out where the nest is. So an old hammy not using his pee corner is in his final stages. This will mean that you’ll have to clean the cage and change the bedding much more often. You can find out more about that here, including which beddings are safe for your hamster. 11. You notice less droppings in his cage Less droppings are related to less eating. If your hammy is not eating as much, he won’t be passing as much. This can also be because of blockage along the intestines. Constipation is not uncommon in seniors, both human and hamsters, and is one of he reasons you might notice significantly less droppings in your hammy’s cage. If this is the case for your hammy, make sure you bring him to a vet. He will know what to do to help the hamster’s gut, and if there is anything to be done in the first place. 12. Your friend might protest when picked up If your friend was usually calm and okay with being picked up, he might protest now. Nothing personal, it’s just that he is tired and would like a nap. As a senior he’s always tired, and would like a nap. It could also be that something inside of him is hurting, or he might have a sore part of his body. Hamsters aren’t the most expressive when it comes to pain, so you might not notice for a long time. 13. His general shape will change By this I mean that whether he was a chubby or slim hamster in his youth, now he will be oddly shaped. One of the first things you will notice is his neck. Usually his cheek pouches kept his neck fluffy and puffed. Now however his neck will be noticeable, and a bit on the skinny side. In fact the entire muscle structure will start to shrink and shrivel, and the skin will start to become thin and sag in places. Of course, your friend is still furry and this will be harder to tell. But you can still make out the general shape of him, and whether it’s starting to look bony or not. His eyes might look like they’re bulging too, since your friend’s face won’t be as full or fluffy as before. (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.) Caring for a senior hamster Your hammy has been by your side, all his life. Now that he’s getting old it’s important to make his final days as comfortable as possible. There are a few things your can do to make it easier for your friend, and here they are. Also, if you’re looking for a general supply list with what your hamster will need throughout his life, here it is. Add softer food to his diet An old hamster will have trouble eating. Not only that but he will also become a picky eater. However most hamsters won’t say no to a piece of cooker chicken or a bit of porridge. Here’s a rundown of the foods you can add to an old hamster’s diet: Porridge – cooked with water, not salt, sugar, any condiments. Keep it on the dry, lumpy side. Half a teaspoon per day is enough. Steamed veggies like carrot, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus Cooked chicken or fish, plain, no oil Cucumber slice Cooked egg white, plain Steamed brown rice or wholegrain pasta These are all in conjunction with Hammie’s regular food. So feel free to make it a sort of half and half mix of his commercial food and these softer options. Be warned that he might ignore the commercial food if you give him too much cooked food, and you’ll end up creating an imbalance in his diet. Continue interacting with him A senior hammy, even on that can’t see very well, or at all, still needs your presence. Pay with his like before, bu expect him to not come out as often. Talk to him whenever you see him, and generally pay attention to the creature that brought you so many cute moments. He might be old and shaky now, but he was a maniac tearing the exercise wheel when he was younger. Remember that hamster, and honor him. Even if he’s not as active as he used to be, he might be easier to pick up, if he usually was very fussy about it. Keep his habitat/room comfortable Keeping your hammy’s habitat clean and warm makes things much easier for him. While a healthy, adult hamster will only need a cage cleaning about once per week, a senior might need it twice per week. However this is only if you notice a strong smell coming from his cage. If everything is okay, you can keep the cleaning schedule as it is. Do remember that cleaning the cage is stressful for the hamster. Even if you put him in a transport cage while you clean his usual cage, he will know something has changed. Hamsters are sensitive to smell, and a freshly cleaned cage will have much less of his smell than before. For that, you should keep a bit of his old bedding and nesting material in the cleaned cage, to make things more familiar. Another element if the temperature, which should be a 20-23 C/68-75 F range. That’s the most comfortable range for hamsters, and will keep your hamster friend happy and warm. Make sure the cage is away from any drafts, and won’t be in direct sunlight either. Any objects in the cage that require climbing like a rope or a high bridge should probably be taken out, since they can become dangerous. Especially if the hamster has also become blind or is a daredevil like mine. When hammy passes away At one point, even with all your efforts to make things comfortable and cozy, you friend will unfortunately pass away. While painful, try and focus on how well you took care of him. The feedings, the playtimes, the funny faces, even the annoying bar chewing. Your hammy was your furry little friend, and no other hamster will replace him. Even if you do end up getting another hammy, they will have a different personality, and be their own hamster. Honor your late friend, and say your goodbyes. You’ve done all you can for him, and now it’s time for him to rest. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies don’t have a very long life, but I know we can make you happy. I hope the hammy you have is feeling well, and is as happy as a hammy can be. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should read the related articles below. You’ll find out how to care for us and keep us healthy. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters and Hedgehogs Get Along?
Do Hamsters and Hedgehogs Get Along?Hamsters and hedgehogs are two of the most popular small pets in the entire world as many different households take care of these tiny critters. But can you take care of both of these animals at the same time? Do hamsters and hedgehogs get along fine with each other in case you own both of these animals? While you can keep hamsters and hedgehogs as pets at the same time, it is not a good idea to make them get along and allow them to live together because of how hedgehogs can be dangerous to your hamsters. And even if that’s not the case, it might end up stressing the animals out to the point that they might fall ill. As a pet owner, it might sound like a good idea for your pets to live together in harmony. But you also have to understand that some pets just don’t naturally get along with others due to their nature and physical characteristics. This includes your hamsters and hedgehogs as we will now talk more about why these small pets don’t necessarily get along. Do hamsters and hedgehogs get along? When you own more than one pet, it sounds like a good idea for all of your animals to live in harmony with one another because you treat them all as members of your family. After all, family members should be able to get along fine with each other especially when they are living under the same roof. In most cases especially when you are talking about two different animals belonging to the same species, it is quite easy to make them get along with each other. That is why a lot of pet owners are able to keep multiple dogs, cats, and rabbits under one roof or are even able to make their dogs get along fine with their cats. In that case, can the same scenario become possible when you are talking about small pets? Can you make your hamsters and hedgehogs get along fine with one another when you are keeping them both as pets? Well, not exactly. When you are talking about hamsters, these animals may look quite cute and cuddly but don’t let their friendly looks fool you. One would think that hamsters love playing with their fellow hamsters and would prefer to live together with a friend but this should never be the case if you want your hamster to live a long and healthy life because these animals are highly territorial and would rather be left alone instead of sharing the same space with another fellow animal. While the hamster’s territorial instincts kick in more often when they live together with their fellow hamsters, it still is a bad idea to make them get along with another animal roughly of the same size because they might get too territorial to the point that they would use their sharp teeth to try to attack the other animal in an attempt to preserve its sense of territory and space. Moreover, hamsters really don’t like other species no matter how hard you try to make them get along. On the other hand, hedgehogs are growing in popularity as exotic pets but these small and cute balls of pins are also better off not interacting with other animals because of the fact that they are walking and living pin cushions. Having them get along with any other pet in your house can spell disaster for either one of them because the hedgehog may easily harm the other pet due to its sharp pins. So, while hedgehogs are not as territorial as hamsters are, they are pretty dangerous to be around other pets. If they are dangerous for humans to touch especially if we are not careful enough with them, the same is true when it comes to other pets like hamsters because the hedgehog can easily prick them and injure them beyond recovery.  All in all, while there is no consensus as to whether or not hamsters and hedgehogs can end up getting along with one another if you try your best to make them friendly with one another, the fact is that it is a bad idea in the first place. It is best to make sure that you keep them away from each other at all times without ever letting them try to get along with each other to be on the safe side of things. Still, though, there are instances where owners were able to safely introduce their hamsters and hedgehogs. In such rare cases, introductions are usually made with them holding on to their hedgehogs while allowing the two animals to meet. But the fact is that it might be better off for you to never leave them together in one place thinking that the two small animals can end up getting along fine with one another without your supervision. Can a hamster and a hedgehog live in the same cage? For a lot of different pet owners, keeping two small pets in one single cage can be a good idea so that they can save up money and space. It might also be a good way for the animals to end up getting along with each other especially considering that they are forced to share the same space throughout their entire lives. But, is it a good idea to keep your hamster and your hedgehog together in the same cage? If it isn’t a good idea for you to force your hamsters and hedgehogs to try to get along with one another, then it is never a good idea for them to live together in the same cage as well. In fact, that might be one of the worst decisions you can make in your entire life as a pet owner precisely due to the fact that hamsters and hedgehogs are better off living solitary lives in their own individual cages. In the case of a hamster, as mentioned, these animals are highly territorial and are best kept individually because of that nature of theirs. It’s not even a good idea for you to keep multiple hamsters in one cage due to how they might end up attacking one another. As such, it would be an even worse idea for you to keep a hamster in a single cage together with an entirely different species of animal such as a hedgehog. Moreover, are usually at the lower end of the food chain when it comes to other pets. That means that they are used to such a life and can be quite defensive when they are together with another animal. As such, this could end up stressing the hamster out if it keeps on thinking that, at any given moment, it could get eaten regardless of whether the hedgehog does indeed include hamsters in its regular diet. In the case of a hedgehog, it is never a good idea to keep it together with a hamster because of how dangerous it can be. A hedgehog’s quills are sharp and can easily prick a hamster to the point that the injury could possibly become fatal.  While hedgehogs are not aggressive or territorial animals, there is still always a good chance for them to accidentally prick a hamster if it is in defense mode and the hamster gets too close to it. While this instance may be rare when it comes to hamsters and hedgehogs, you do have to consider that hedgehogs can possibly end up eating the hamster if you keep them both in the same cage.  The reason is that hedgehogs eat a wide variety of different things including smaller rodents such as mice. Some owners even feed their hedgehogs baby mice. So, if your hamster is a lot smaller than your hedgehog, there might be a chance that the hedgehog will treat it as food and end up eating it. In any other case, the fact that you are keeping two different species together in the same cage is never a good idea because of how it could end up placing both or either of these animals in stressful situations. A stressed animal can fall ill and may end up dying because of that. And, on top of that, a hedgehog may actually carry bacteria that can end up harming the hamster in the long run.  That is why it should never be a good idea for you to keep these pets together in the same cage even if you think that doing so will help save you money or even allow these animals to get along well with one another. [...] Read more...
Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to Know
Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to KnowWho doesn’t love their furry pet and enjoy spending time with them? Hamsters have become wildly popular, as they’re sociable and don’t require too much maintenance. The latter is one of the primary reasons that they’re so popular, and that makes them a favorite for kids, as they can slowly start to learn the basic responsibilities of caring for a pet. However, pets need to be trained. Hamsters, just like any other animal, aren’t going to make good pets if they aren’t trained. Every animal is naturally defensive when interacting with a human until it’s taught to become social. The same principle applies to hamsters – they need to be taught how to interact with humans if we want them to make good pets. This is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we’ll be taking a look into hamster training techniques, and seeing how to make them better for human interaction. We’ll be covering an array of topics in hamster training; how to teach them not to bite, how to teach them to be held, how to teach them to use a litter box, and how to teach them to do tricks. Hamsters can make wonderful pets if they’re trained well, and that’s exactly what we’ll be teaching you today. Let’s get started! Table of Contents ToggleTraining a Hamster Not to Bite.Training a Hamster to be Held.Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box.Training a Hamster Tricks. Training a Hamster Not to Bite. There’s a reason that hamsters are considered to be great pets for kids, but despite that, they’re sometimes known to bite. It’s very rare for a hamster to actually display aggressive behavior, and they usually bite only when they get scared. Hamster teeth are tiny and people naturally think that they won’t do too much damage, but they are going to cut you if bitten. If this has happened, make sure to disinfect the wound. The sole reason hamsters bite is because they’re afraid. Tame hamsters that are used to being around people aren’t afraid of us, and they don’t mind being held. On the other hand, there are hamsters that still aren’t used to being in human company, and they don’t enjoy being held. These hamsters are the ones that bite. It’s important to remember that they’re not biting out of spite or out of hatred, but because they’re afraid of us. After all, you’d probably be scared too is a creature that’s literally twenty times your size picked you up, and toyed around with you. Now, if you want your hamster to stop biting, you’re first going to have to be patient. It’s going to take a while before your hamster gets used to you and they can truly trust you. You’re going to need to earn that trust, which is a slow and gradual process. Don’t be discouraged if this process takes over a month, or even longer than that, but also don’t be surprised if your hamster takes quickly to your ways. If your hamster is advancing rapidly, then you can shorten the period between the steps we’re about to describe. If you’re still witnessing some hesitation from their side, it’s best to return to the previous step and repeat it until the animal is completely comfortable with you (on that level). This will take a while, but it’s definitely worth it. This process will take weeks, so we’ll be describing it week by week. Week 1: let your hamster get used to you – your hamster needs to get to know you without much physical contact. Since they’re most active in the evening and at night, it’s a good idea to sit next to your hamster in the evening and talk to them. You don’t even have to talk to them, you can talk to someone else, but let them get used to your voice and your presence. It’s also important for the hamster to get used to your scent. If you don’t know what to say, feel free to read a book, or if you’re working or studying – you can read out loud to them. Since moving to a new cage and a new home is very stressful, this will give your hamster enough time to adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t try to touch your hamster just yet. This may be a problem when you have to take the hamster out of the cage for cleaning – or returning the hamster to the cage if it’s escaped. To do this, corner them with a towel or a large glass, and then let them enter the towel or the glass. Week 2: let your hamster get used to your hand – it’s very important for any animal to get used to the scent of their owner in order for them to form a good relationship. You can gently place your hand in your hamster’s cage, and you’ll see how it will react. Not all hamsters are the same, and they’re not all equally easy to train – just like humans, all animals have distinct characteristics to their behavior, and that should be respected just like we respect it with humans. Do this very slowly, on the first day, put your hand on the cage or just inside the door of the cage. Following the same practice each day, try placing your hand a little further and a little further. Don’t yet try to touch your hamster, but if it wants to sniff your hand or explore it, let it. Week 3: offer your hamster treats – it’s common knowledge that treats are one of the best ways to train animals, as their instinct conditions them not to reject food. By now, you could have easily figured out which treats are your hamster’s favorites. These treats can be great training tools, and you should offer your hamster these goodies from the hand that’s in the cage. With time, your hamster will eat out of your hand, which will develop trust between you. Why is this so important? All animals, including humans, are vulnerable when they’re feeding. The fact that an animal is ready to eat out of your hand means that it trusts you to the point it’s ready to stick its head into your hand which could easily harm it if you wanted to. So, an animal eating from your hand means that it trusts you. If you’re still undecided on the treats for your hamsters, try with apples, raising, and sunflower seeds. Week 4: pet your hamster – once your hamster has gotten used to your scent and your presence, you can try to pet it. Do this gently, and if your hamster is okay with this, you can try to pick up your hamster (which is our next step). Week 5: pick up your hamster – so, your hamster is accepting treats and it’s letting you pet it, this means that it’s time to try to pick it up. To do this, firstly buy your way in with some treats, and gently reach for your hamster – let your hamster determine how far you can get in each session. Entice the hamster onto your hands with the treats. Then, you can try scooping it up with both hands. The best way to do this is to place each hand on either side of your hamster, and then connect them under your belly. Cup your hamster gently in your hands, that’s much better than tightly gripping over its back. Don’t hold your hamster too high above ground – in case it wants to jump out. You don’t want it facing a fall from six feet. Firstly, just hold it in its cage, and then with time, you can take it out. If you turn the hamster towards your body, it’s less likely to try and jump away. A few things you should keep on your mind when doing this: – make sure to wash your hands before you start working with your hamster, you don’t want it to smell food on you. That can be distracting. – some people will suggest wearing thick gloves to help with the biting. This can be useful, but your hamster needs to get used to your scent, and in that regard – this isn’t a good solution. – sometimes, when you pick your hamster up, they will clamp themselves onto your hand with their tiny paws. Don’t shake your hand to dislodge them – just gently put them down and let them come off. – don’t scold, yell, or hit the hamster. Smaller animals are afraid of loud and sudden noises, so much so that they can actually die from shock. – different hamsters act differently – Dwarf hamsters are very territorial, this means that they’re not going to appreciate you pushing your fingers into their cage. If this is the cage, let the hamster exit the cage (into a wider area, but still an area they can’t escape or hurt themselves in) and try to train them there. Training a Hamster to be Held. Now, when you’re buying a hamster and you want to teach it to be tame and train it, the first thing you should do is let the hamster rest. Smaller animals are very easy to frighten, so it’s best to let your hamster get used to its new surroundings before trying to teach it anything. However, if your hamster has become adjusted, you can now try to teach it to be held Before doing that, you need to teach your hamster not to bite. This is actually the first thing to teach it, as it’s synonymous with teaching your hamster that you’re its friend. When you teach your hamster not to bite (following the steps in the previous section), you can move on to teaching it to be held. Stress can make a lot of hamsters sick, so make sure that you’re not stressing your hamster out and that you’re taking it slow. Firstly, don’t try to handle your hamster when it’s sleeping. Just like humans – hamsters don’t like to be woken up, so don’t disturb your hamster when it’s sleeping. This can cause health issues and it’s more likely that your hamster will bite if you’ve just woken it up. Similar to the steps for teaching the hamster not to bite in our previous section, you’re going to need to take it slow. Use treats to gain trust with your hamster and slowly start putting your hand in the cage – let it climb into your hand. In the beginning, don’t take your hand out of the cage. Raise it, and the hamster will realize that you’re holding it. Feed it a treat and let the hamster back on the ground, repeat this process for a day. After that, you can let the hamster climb into your hand and you can take your hand out. It’s likely that this will scare the hamster, so it may want to jump out of your hand. Don’t hold your hamster too high, just in case your hamster jumps out. Also, tame them with treats, even when they’re stressed and scared. Turning your hamster towards your body makes it less likely for them to jump out. One thing owners don’t realize is that the hamster isn’t that afraid of the feeling of being carried, as much as they’re scared of all the sights and the sounds they see around them. These animals are very easily scared and it’s important to take your time with them. Reward your animals for good behavior with treats. If you feel that your hamster is becoming stressed or that they’re uncomfortable, gently place them back in their cage and try again later. Here are some tips on teaching your hamster to enjoy being handled: – keep every interaction short – hamsters have bad and short eyesight, so make sure that you’re staying low when you’re interacting with your hamster. Don’t sit on a couch or a chair (in the beginning), as your hamster will try to run away if it gets scared, and it will fall to the floor because it can’t see where the floor is. Some experts recommend starting out in the bathtub. – each pet is individual, so don’t force things upon your hamster that they don’t enjoy doing. Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box. Many people have their doubts, but it’s actually possible to potty train a hamster. To potty train a hamster, you’re going to need a litter box and litter. Make sure to always have a litter at hand – if you can’t find hamster litter, you can buy dust-free, scent-free, clumping cat litter. Avoid litter with silica dust, and in case you can’t find any hamster litter, you can get pellet litter made of wood, paper, grain, or grass. To train your hamster to use a litter box, firstly you’ll need to figure out what corner of the cage your hamster most often uses to do their business. Put the litter box in that corner. This is very important, as hamsters don’t instinctively run to the litter box – if you don’t place it properly, it will just ignore it and proceed to take care of their business elsewhere. If the enclosure you’ve set up is still new and you haven’t a clue where to put the litter box, wait a week or two and let your hamster establish a spot. Once you’ve settled on a spot, pour in enough litter to cover the bottom of the box. Add a little soiled bedding and some droppings from your hamster. This will make the hamster follow those droppings to that spot instinctively. Once your hamster has woken up, you can pick them up and put them in the litter box for them to figure out what’s going on. After that, just let your hamster do its job on its own. Don’t force them into the potty, you don’t want to get bit or turn him away from the idea of using the litter box. Most hamsters will eventually figure out the point of the box on their own. There are, however, instances where hamsters won’t use the litter box for its intents and purposes. Hamsters will sometimes eat or sleep there, and do anything but the one thing they’re supposed to do. If this is the case, make sure to check on the areas your hamster is supposed to be using for this. For example, if your hamster is sleeping in the litter box, check their sleeping area – it’s likely that there’s something wrong with it if they’re so persistent in sleeping in the litter box. It can happen that the hamster will hide its food in the litter box – this usually means that they find the cage to be too small and they have no other place to hide their food at. There’s no other solution to this than buying a larger cage. It can also happen that the cage is too large and the hamster is using the litter box, but it’s also defecating all around the cage. In that case, place multiple litter boxes around the cage. Training a Hamster Tricks. Just like with handling and biting, you should use treats as rewards for your hamster to teach it something. Let’s cover a few tricks. Stand – a lot of animals, including hamsters, can stand on their hind feet. To teach your hamster to stand, you’re going to want to hold the treat in front of the hamster, just over its head so that the hamster can see it but not reach it. While doing this, say “Stand.” – this means nothing to the hamster right now, as they can’t understand articulated speech, but with time – they will recognize the specific sound of the word ‘stand’ as the command to stand on their hind feet. When you’re doing this, your hamster will instinctively stand up in order to get closer to the treat. When the hamster stands, give it the treat and verbal praise. Only reward the hamster if it actually stands up, don’t reward it if it doesn’t. This way, you’re teaching the hamster that it’s good for it to stand up once it hears the word ‘stand’. If your hamster doesn’t stand it might be because he or she is not hungry at that moment, or distracted by something else going on in the room. Feel free to repeat for a few times a day, and don’t stop the process until your hamster is ready to stand up after hearing your command, even when you’re not dangling a treat in front of its face. This can take a week or two. The most important thing to remember is to reward the hamster every single time it stands up. Jump – you can teach your hamster to jump, as well. You first need to teach your hamster the standing trick. To teach it this trick, get your hamster to stand, and then move your hand up and forward (while holding a treat) and say “Jump.” – it will instinctively try to jump. If the hamster tries to jump, praise him or her and give the treat. Once you’ve practiced this enough, you can add a hoop in the mix if you want to – hold a hoop between the hamster and the treat, and the hamster will jump through the hoop to get the treat. Say “Hoop.” as they’re doing it, to teach them the command of jumping through the hoop. Start by holding it low and slowly raising it up. Roll over – this is a trick that you can teach to any pet. To do this, place a seed on your hamster’s back and ask them to “Roll over.” – if they do it, reward them with a seed. After a while, they’ll be rolling over even without you placing seed on their back. Spinning in circles – after you’ve gotten your hamster used to eat treats out of your hand, you can teach them to spin in circles. Hold your hand out with the treat out and once they approach you, tell them to “Spin.” – and move your hand in a circle. The hamster will naturally follow your hand, and with time it will spin in circles just on command. Building an obstacle course – you can even build an obstacle course for your hamster to go through. Use Lego building blocks and jars, or funnels for your hamster to jump over, crawl through, etc. Make sure that nothing’s too tall, as your hamster is more likely to run around it than jump over it. Hold the treat and let it lead the hamster’s way by moving in front of it. The hamster will follow the treat anywhere. You can also make a seesaw with a simple plank and a wooden triangle, making your hamster have to balance on it. Make sure to place a wall around the obstacle course to bind it. Teaching your hamster to wear a hat or clothing – yes, this is also possible. If your hamster is used to being handled and has a good temperament, it won’t be a problem to teach it to do this. Firstly, make sure that the items fit your hamster. Keep them snug, but not tight. You can’t just cram the outfit on your hamster, so make sure that you put it on gently. Talk to them happily while you’re doing this. Give your hamster a treat as soon as you put something on. Take your hamster’s focus off the clothing and let them focus on something fun, like an apple or whatever is your hamster’s favorite treat. At first, only leave the items on for a minute, not for too long. Your hamster will learn to wear them with time and won’t have an issue with them. Let the hamster sit in your hand for the first time, as they’re probably going to be afraid. Later on, they’ll be able to wear the clothing on their own. It won’t take long before your hamster’s ready to wear clothes without you holding them.  There are many things you can teach your hamster, and it’s important to constantly keep working with them in order to build and cultivate a healthy relationship. The most important thing to remember is to have patience, some hamsters are less trusting and are slower than others. Always reward your hamster with treats for a job well done, and never forget to respect its private area. Hamsters are just as vulnerable as humans, and you should keep that in mind when working with them. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Need Affection ? How To Keep Your Furball Happy
Do Hamsters Need Affection ? How To Keep Your Furball HappyWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t know how much attention he’d need from me. Or if he’d need any at all. I only knew hamsters can be left by themselves in their cages and be fine, but do hammies really need your attention ? Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need attention from their owners ?It depends on your hamster’s personalityHamsters are always very curious and activeHow to keep your hamster friend happyPlay with the hamsterGive the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exerciseGet your hamster the right sized everythingHamsters do not get lonelyA word from Teddy So do hamsters need attention from their owners ? YES, much less than other pets but yes. Hamsters are solitary by nature, but they still enjoy human company, and can grow to be attached to their owners. This means you need to handle and play with the hamster very often, to form this bond. But your hammy will not be lonely if you don’t pay him too much attention. Hamsters are solitary by nature, and do not miss company necessarily. This means that they can live on their own, and not miss the owner too much. However a hamster not handled regularly will need a lot more space and activities, to consume all of his energy. He’s basically an untamed hamster in this case. But let’s get into detail with this, and see how and when to give your hamster attention. It depends on your hamster’s personality Some hamsters are more cuddly, some are more aloof. In general Syrian hamsters are easier to tame, and thus will be a bit more affectionate than other hamster types. But this is only because the Syrians are much larger than the other hammies, and thus can be handled easier. However there are hamsters and hamsters. For example my Teddy – adult Syrian male –  is not the cuddliest of hamsters. He’s not completely aloof, but he is always on the go, doing something, too busy to stay in my hands and relax a little. To be honest he was not what I imagined when I said I wanted a hammy, but he’s got a whole personality of his own. He may not be cuddly, but he makes a lot of funny faces, and would be a really good circus acrobat. Maybe your hammy is like my Teddy, or maybe he’s a very mellow hamster. A family friend of ours had a hammy, his name was Oscar, and he was the tamest thing ever. He let anyone touch him, and would come up to the cage bars if he heard you, asking for a bit of attention. There’s hamsters and hamsters, and you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting when he is a baby. But it’s important to realize that your pet is his own creature, and won’t always be what you imagined. You can, however, do your best to try and tame your hamster. Just don’t be surprised by the outcome, and love him anyway. Hamsters are always very curious and active Your hamster need your attention, even if it’s not for reasons as sentimental as a puppy. True, hamsters do need attention, but they do not crave it as much as dogs. Hamsters can’t be emotionally handicapped (since they’re loners by default) like a puppy starving for affection, but still you should give your hamster plenty of love and attention. Still, your hamster will be curious. About everything. Including what you’ve got in that bag you’re rustling next to his cage, or 2 rooms away. So even for something as small as this, hamsters do need your attention so they know what you’re doing, and they can investigate in peace. Just bring the bag close to the cage and let him sniff what you’ve got there. Chances are he won’t be interested. For example my Teddy goes nuts when I’m doing something next to his cage, but the second I let him get a sniff of what I’m doing (often just heating something in the microwave) he loses all interest and walks away. Sometimes I think I have a cat. So, sometimes your hamster’s curiosity might be mistaken for asking for affection. Hamsters aren’t aloof like fish, or spiders or reptiles, but they’re not nearly as cuddly as dogs, cats, or parrots. How to keep your hamster friend happy You can keep your hamster friend happy, and give him a lot of attention and love. There’s a few ways you can do that, and I’ll tell you right here. Play with the hamster The first and most obvious thing to do is to play with your hamster. This will create and deepen the bond between the two of you. Also, you’re giving your hamster plenty of attention by constantly handling him, and letting him get your scent. For example my Teddy’s fave playtime is a toilet paper square, dangled in front of him and he tries to climb onto it half the time. He just loves chasing that bit of paper around his cage every time he notices it. Even if you don’t want to take the hamster out of his cage, you can still talk to him and touch him in the cage. This helps him get closer to you, because hamsters need plenty of stimulation. Give the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exercise This is the next best thing after playing with your hamster. Sometimes, like when you’re sleeping and your hamster is awake, your hammy needs things to do. So giving the hamster chew toys and a running wheel is going to give him something to do. As said before in this article hamsters sometimes are just very curious, and sometimes that can be mistaken for asking for attention. If your hammy has not much to do in his cage, then he’ll grow bored and want to explore the outside. And if the outside means you, making coffee next to him, then he will absolutely need to know what’s in that cup. So a good option is getting your hamster some toys – here’s a link for some DYI and store bought toy ideas for your hamster, so he never gets bored. And here is an article on running wheels for hamsters, so you know what to look for when you get one for your hamster. Or, if the one you’ve already got is good enough. There’s wheel size requirements, depending on your hamster’s breed. Get your hamster the right sized everything From food bowl to water bottle to hideout and cage, everything needs to be the right size for your hammy. A very small cage will make your hamster nervous and anxious, and he will be all over the cage bars. It will look like he’s asking for your attention, but once you do handle him he will not be friendly or sit still. He will be happy he is out, and can explore, but you’re not letting him. So for this reason (and many others) getting your hamster a large enough cage is one of the most important things to do to keep him comfortable and happy. Hamsters are very small, but they need quite a bit of space. You can read more about hamster cages – size, types, and how to clean them – right here, so you can take care of your hamster friend as best you can. Remember, if you’ve got Dwarf hammies and they’re at least two, you’re going to need a bigger cage. As for the hideout your hamster will spend most of his time in, it’s important that you get your hammy a wooden one. He will chew on everything in his cage, even the hideout, so it’s best to get him one that’s safe for his teeth. You can see more about hamster hideouts and the bedding hamsters usually need right here. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Hamsters do not get lonely You might think that hamsters can get lonely, all by themselves in those cages. Well, hamsters are okay to be left alone, after all they’re loners by nature. In the wild hamsters live alone, and only meet other hamsters to mate. Or, the occasional trespasser in their territory who they will fight. There are some hamster breeds that can live together. But even those hamsters need to be introduced as babies, and be of the same litter, in order to get a long. Even so, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So if you’ve got an adult Syrian hammy, and you’re feeling bad because you feel like you’re not paying him enough attention, do not get him a friend. He will fight anyone new that you put into his cage, even a baby hamster. Syrians and Chinese hamsters are especially territorial, and will get into an actual, legit deathmatch with another hamster in their cage. Hamsters are not puppies, and won’t do well in a group. Some Dwarf types are okay being raised with a sibling of theirs, but even there they can get on each other’s nerves and develop stress-related illnesses. A word from Teddy I hope you know more about us hammies now, and know that we do in fact need your attention. Maybe not as much as other pets, and we won’t jump on you to lick your face to show affection. But we love you in our own way, and we do like your company ! So if you want to know more about us hamsters, feel free to check out the articles below. You’l find more info on what kind of food we need, how much water we can drink, and even why we play with our poop. [...] Read more...
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat It
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat ItIs your hamster feeling ill ? Is the hamster ignoring his water bottle ? Lack of water in the hamster’s system is a very bad situation, but one that can be fixed. Hamsters can and should drink water, so if yours is dehydrated he will need some medical attention. Let’s see what dehydration is, how to prevent it, some symptoms, and how to help a dehydrated hamster back on his feet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is dehydration in hamsters ?How dehydration can happen in hamstersSymptoms and signs of dehydration in hamstersTreatment and care for a dehydrated hamsterPreventing dehydration in hamstersIf the hamster won’t or can’t drink waterA word from Teddy So what is dehydration in hamsters ? In short dehydration is the loss of water from the hamster’s body. The hamster has lost a significant amount of water through urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or drooling and is now in serious danger. Dehydration is a problem because the cells of the body do not function very well without water, and they can shut down entirely. There is also the problem of the salts and minerals that usually come with the body’s water content, but are now missing. This is why simple tap water won’t do to rehydrate a hamster. You will need to add salts, minerals, and sugar to his diet while he’s recovering. We’ll cover everything you can do to help the hamster, right after we find out just how a hamster become dehydrated. How dehydration can happen in hamsters Hamsters, like all animals, can become dehydrated for a number of reasons. Many health problems will require the body to overheat, in order to fight off an infection for example. This is how a cold can be much harder on a hamster, or even some abscesses if they’ve gone too far. Wet-tail is another serious condition, and hamsters suffering from it become dehydrated in a matter of hours. It’s a treatable condition, but it needs to be discovered in the beginning. Too late and even if the infection is treated the hamster will be too weakened. Diabetes can be another problem for hamsters, since there is never enough water for them. They will also pee every few minutes, but the thirst is always there. Digestive problems like a loose stool or vomiting can also make the hamster dehydrated. Excessive drooling, which can be a sign of overgrown teeth or a possible neurological problem, can make the hamster dehydrated too. Whichever problem the hamster has, it can usually be treated by a veterinarian. But the real danger of dehydration lies in the fact that it will slowly start shutting down bodily functions in the hamster. It will be important to rehydrate the hamster mostly for this reason, more than all the other ones. Symptoms and signs of dehydration in hamsters There are a few ways to see if your hamster is dehydrated, most are easy to notice by just the hamster’s owner, like you and I. For example: The hamster is not drinking water. This is the most obvious one, I know, but it’s a dead giveaway. There are hamsters who just drink very little water, yes. But if your hamster hasn’t had any water at all in the last 24h then you will need to take some measures. I’ll describe them later in this article. The best way to check if the hamster isn’t drinking water is to mark where the current water level is in his water bottle, and check again after 24 hours. Hammies usually drink about 10 ml water per 100 gr of hamster daily. That’s 0.33 oz water for every 3.5 oz of hamster. So if you’ve got a Dwarf, you’ll barely notice the water he’s drinking, but try taking photos from the same exact angle and compare them. The hamster’s skin is very tight and dry. You can check this by scruffing the hamster and watching how fast the skin pulls back. Hold the hamster firmly but gently with one hand, and with your other hand pinch the back of the hamster’s neck. That will not hurt the hamster,  but it will pull back some skin. If the skin snaps back into place quickly (or immediately) the hamster is just fine. If it takes a while to get back into its shape, or even still has a ridge where you pinched the hammy, the hamster is definitely dehydrated. The hamster looks tired and weak. Dehydration tires out the body, and it will only have enough energy for the most basic things like breathing and eating a bit. Other than that the hamster will not expend any energy, like running on his wheel or playing with his cage mates. He will mostly huddle in a corner and sleep a whole lot. His usual routine will be disrupted, and he won’t be out in the open as much. You will possibly see a very dry and warm nose on him (as in flaky nose), and possibly on his feet as well. The hamster has lost weight, or at least looks thinner. His fur might be thinner, and he might have even lost some fur. Weight loss isn’t out of the ordinary for a dehydrated hamster, but it can have a big impact on his health. This is because the weight loss is sudden, and in a large amount. It may not seem like much, since the hamster is so very small to begin with. But losing the water weight and some actual weight makes things much harder for the hamster. Treatment and care for a dehydrated hamster Alright, now that we know what dehydration is, and what the symptoms are, we can start treating it. Treatment should be done by a professional, like a veterinarian. You will need to look for an ‘exotics’ vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Although for this particular problem all vets should be able to help. The vet will administer fluids to the hamster most probably by a shot, since an I.V. drip is not very practical. You will also receive recommendations from your vet on what medicine (if any) you need to give to you hamster afterwards, like a few vitamins for example. If your hamster has an underlying condition which is causing the dehydration – like wet-tail or vomiting – the vet will treat that as well. In some cases he might need the hamster to stay with him for a couple of days for observations and further treatment. But if for some reason you can’t reach the vet, there are a few things you can do at home. Very few of them will work as well as a professional treatment, but you can try these to help your hamster feel better. Give your hamster slices of fruit and veg. Like cucumber, peeled apple, lettuce, a few leafy greens, carrot. Give a little at a time, since too much can cause diarrhea, which will worsen the dehydration. Add an electrolyte water to his water bottle. Unflavored Pedialyte will work well, and can be found fairly easy. If your hamster is diabetic this is not recommended, as Pedialyte contains sugar. Place the hamster’s water in a shallow dish, so he can access it easily. Sometimes the dehydration is so severe the hammy can’t even get up to the nozzle of the bottle. Rehydrate by mouth, with an eye dropper or small syringe (no needle). Hold the hamster firmly but gently, and place a drop of water on his lips every half hour. More than a drop at a time may go in the wrong way. Plain water isn’t going to help very much, since it lacks the salts and minerals needed by a dehydrated body. These are all steps you can take so the hamster’s treatment goes along smoothly, and in a couple of days he should recover. Feeding the hamster overly wet food (like too much cucumber for example) will upset his stomach. His usual dry grain mix will be fine. You can also take steps to ensure the hamster gets better by not placing him near warm spots, like a heater or in the kitchen when there is a lot of cooking(and heat) going on. Keep him away from drafts as well, as those can worsen his health and add another problem to his already weak body. Dehydration itself isn’t a threat to the hamster’s cage mates, but his other possible conditions (if it’s not just dehydration) might be, so separating the sick hamster is probably a good idea. (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.) Preventing dehydration in hamsters Dehydration can be prevented, but in most cases isn’t a sum of many steps. So we’ll go through the various steps you can take to make sure the hamster is safe from dehydration. Make sure that the hamster’s water bottle is working properly. This means that the bottle’s nozzle should be free of any blockages, and there should not be anything sticking into or out of it. The little metal ball at the end of the nozzle should move freely, and allow water to drip, if pushed back. You can test this by tapping the small ball with your finger, and observing whether water is coming out or not. If it does, that it’s fine. If it doesn’t, there might be something inside the nozzle. You will have to take it apart and use a Q-tip to inspect the length of the nozzle. Another way to test the water bottle is to squeeze the side of it, and see if water drips out of the nozzle. Most of the time the water bottle is working just fine, and it’s an illness that’s actually affecting the hamster. The temperature and general ‘weather’ of the room you keep the hamster in is very important. The temperature should be around 20-23 C/68-75 F, and his cage away from any direct heat, sunlight, drafts, or cold corners. Try and offer your hamster a mix of dry, commercial mix, and some safe foods found in your pantry and freezer. Too much wet food can cause digestive problems in your hamster, and give him a bout of diarrhea. Which is why veggies like cucumbers or lettuce should be given sparingly, and only in small amounts. The same goes for apple, watermelon, and most everything that has juice in it. If you’ve got more than one hamster in the same cage, and one becomes sick, separate them immediately. The illness from the first hamster can get to the healthy hamster, and manifest itself through dehydration, even if it’s nut just that. Always wash your hands before and after handling your hamster. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria from your hands to the hamster, and keep everyone safe. A stressed hamster will refuse to eat, drink, and even rest properly. Hamsters can get stressed by things like handling them too much, an abusive cage mate, overly curious pets and children, getting scared too often, and even being brought home for the first time. If the hamster won’t or can’t drink water There are some hamsters, possibly those who have been taken away from their mother or siblings earlier than necessary, who haven’t learned to associate the water bottle with water, and drinking. They simply don’t know what to do with that bottle. In this case you can again squeeze the sides of the bottle to make a small drop appear, which hopefully will attract the hamster. Once the hamster drinks that drop, his tongue will push the ball at the end of the nozzle, releasing more water. If that does not work, try putting his water in a small, shallow dish in a corner of the cage. Make sure that dish isn’t easy to overturn, since a wet hamster is a sick hamster and he will not recover fast. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us figure things out and treat us. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe, and give us a good life. [...] Read more...