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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
- Are European Hamsters Endangered? What About The Other Ones?Wondering if your pet’s wild siblings are endangered ? Hamsters in the wild lead a difficult life, and not all of them survive. Let’s see whether each hamster species is endangered or not, starting with the largest one, the European hamster. If you’ve never heard of European hamsters before, don’t worry this is because they are not domesticated, but we will discuss this in more detail in this article. I want to discuss in this article about all hamster species out there since some of them might be considered endangered but they are too common as pets to disappear. Table of Contents Are European hamsters endangered ?Are Syrian hamsters endangered ?Are Dwarf hamsters endangered ?Are Chinese hamsters endangered ?Do hamsters reproduce fast ?Conclusion Are European hamsters endangered ? European hamsters are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Their natural habitat is seriously threatened by expanding agriculture, systematic hunting by farmers (hamsters are considered a crop pest), and also hunted for their fur. These are fairly large hamsters – as large as an adult guinea pig – so they are easy to spot when out and about. Normally European hamsters hide in their burrows during the daytime, but they make occasional trips for food. The European hamster’s natural habitat ranges from Central and Eastern Europe to Russia to Central Asia. They live in mostly grassy areas, the occasional meadow, and generally wherever there is fertile soil that will grow the seeds and grains these hamsters rely on. The expansion of farmland, and farmers trying to protect their crops, has led to a sharp decline in hamster numbers in the wild. Wondering if you could find one in a pet shop ? Unfortunately, this isn’t possible. European hamsters have been known for over a century, and attempts to tame them have been made. There are captive European hamsters, in laboratories for various studies, but none of these hamsters have shown less aggression or a more docile disposition, even a few generations into their captivity. So in short, these hamsters cannot be tamed, and won’t be present in a pet shop. Are Syrian hamsters endangered ? Wild Syrian hamsters are also a threatened species, classified as Endangered by IUCN. Their natural habitat is far smaller than the European hamster’s; it ranges from southern Turkey to northern Syria. Agriculture, farmers and the violence in northern Syria have led to dwindling numbers of Syrian hamsters. Despite this, captive (i.e. pet) Syrian hamsters are not endangered. These are the most common and popular hamsters you will find in pet shops, and their numbers are no cause for concern. This is a very interesting turn of fate, and here’s why. The vast, vast majority of Syrian hamsters you see today, either already in homes or in pet shops, are the descendants of a single female and her litter of pups. She and her pups were captured back in 1930 in Aleppo, Syria, in the hops of studying them. The hamsters adapted well to captivity, bred, and several pairs of these hamsters were then sent all over the world to be on exhibition at zoos, and studied in other labs. In 1937 the hamsters eventually would up with private breeders, and that is when they started to become very popular as pets. As time went on and selective breeding was applied, the Syrian hamsters became more docile, showed different coat patterns, and became less aggressive. A wild Syrian hamster is not nearly as tame as one you get from a pet shop or breeder. My very first hamster was a Syrian hamster, his name was Teddy. He had a golden coat, was very active, liked to jump but didn’t really like digging, and was always munching on something. He died of old age at nearly 2 years old. I then had another Syrian hamster, this one named Eggwhite since he was all-white. He was far tamer than Teddy, and had more patience with being picked up. He still wriggled out of my hands after 2-3 minutes, but that’s far longer than Teddy ever managed. Eggwhite died of old age as well when he was almost two. Are Dwarf hamsters endangered ? Dwarf hamsters are classified as Least Concern by IUCN, as their habitat is not endangered. These Dwarf hamsters are actually three species: the Roborovski, the Campbell’s, and the winter white (or Siberian). All three hamsters are also found in pet shops are extremely easy to confuse for one another. I’ve made an entire article on how to tell them apart. The habitat of all three hamster species overlaps for the most part, taking up Central Asia, Mongolia, Southeastern Russia. Despite this, these hamsters do not generally cross paths. Their habitat is less populated by humans, since it’s not a very hospitable area so there is very little threat to the hamsters (aside from their natural predators). My third hamster, after Teddy and Eggwhite, is currently alive and well. Her name is Rocket and she is a Siberian hamster, with light grey fur on her back, white fluffy paws, and a thin dark stripe on her back too. She’s very fast, never sits still, and doesn’t like being picked up at all. She climbs all over her cage and her toys, runs a lot in her wheel, and loves to dig in her substrate. Are Chinese hamsters endangered ? The Chinese hamster is not evaluated by the IUCN, so there is no information on whether this hamster is threatened or not. But my personal guess is that since its habitat is mostly in the desert without much fertile land (Mongolia and northern China) it’s in the same situation as the dwarf hamsters – doing very well. Chinese hamsters are rarely kept as pets outside of Asia, since both males and females are very aggressive when kept in any sort of captivity. Females are a little tamer, but even so, they are not common pets. If you want to learn more about Chinese hamsters you can read my article about what a Chinese hamster is and breed info+care tips. Do hamsters reproduce fast ? Hamsters mature very quickly and are able to sexually reproduce by 4 weeks of age. The usual gestation period is 18-22 days, and the litter can be as large as 10 pups, with some hamsters birthing up to 18. Females can fall pregnant in the same day as giving birth, so, in theory you could get hamsters to reproduce several times a year and their numbers would quickly multiply. This is not safe for the mother, nor the pups, but it is possible. Despite this potential for such large numbers, wild hamsters are fairly easy prey for their natural predators, many pups die when still young, and food is scarce. This ensures that their numbers don’t grow too large, but their habitat is also getting smaller. Where farms are set up, the hamsters will find plenty of food. But they will also be hunted by farmers trying to protect their crops, and their cats patrolling the area. In short, hamsters do reproduce very fast (can be 6 litters per year) but this does not guarantee their survival in the wild. It’s just the way things are. Also, the mother is guided by instinct, If they feel they don’t have enough resources or space to raise the babies properly, they might even kill their own babies. I know it’s sad but this behavior is common for many animals, not only for hamsters. Here is an entire article I wrote on this topic. A hamster mother will even attack the father if they come close to their babies, so a female hamster has quite a difficult and lonely life when it comes to raising their little babies. Conclusion Sometimes you might be thinking we shouldn’t keep hamsters as pets, but the truth is for some of them a pet life is better than wildlife, at least for the endangered ones. I know I sometimes looked at Eggwhite, my tamest Syrian hamster, and tried to imagine him foraging for food then an owl swooping in to try and grab him. If you want to learn more about hamsters’ life in the wild, I have an article about what hamsters eat in the wild and how their diet differs from the ones that we have as pets. This is something that happens regularly in the wild, but at home ? I was so glad he was safe, had plenty of food, and a nice cage and toys to keep himself entertained. I hope this article helped you understand the actual situation with the hamsters in the wild and your hamster friend is doing well at home.... Read more...
- Can You Wake Up A Hamster? Read This FirstWhen I had my first hamster, I always had this question. Is it a good or a bad idea to wake up a hamster? The answers I found online at the time were quite wrong now that I know what a hamster routine is and the fact that they are solitary animals and not social animals. Many people, like me, want a pet hamster to be able to play with, but they quickly realize that their schedules don’t align since most hamsters are crepuscular or nocturnal. Now the question is, do you wake up your hamster to play with it, or do you let it sleep? Before getting to this topic, check my article about the hamster’s routine, especially if you don’t have a hamster and are thinking of getting one. Table of Contents Can you wake up a hamster?Should you wake up your hamster to feed it?How to gently wake a hamster if you have toCan you change your hamster routine?Waking hamster by mistakeCan hamsters sleep in the dark?Conclusion Can you wake up a hamster? You should not wake up your hamster, it is stressful for it as it is for us or for any other pet. You better think twice when you want to play with your hamster, and if this is the only reason you want to wake it up. Your hamster might be grumpy, and biting you is possible in that situation. It is rude to wake up a human to have someone to play with but at least we are social animals, so we like spending time with others, hamsters are not. So, when you wake up a hamster to play with, it is like waking up someone that doesn’t like you to hang out with. It might sound harsh what I’m saying here, but even if you see a small cute furball, you have to remember that they don’t like company, even yours. There are some hamsters that look like they enjoy playing with humans, but in reality, they are just less afraid and want to explore, not play. And this happens especially when they are active already, not when you wake them up. Before getting discouraged, it’s important to know that they are waking up from time to time, even during the day. They don’t sleep continuously, so you might get a chance to play with them. Should you wake up your hamster to feed it? You should not wake up your hamster to feed it. I’ve heard and seen some people that wake up hamsters to feed them. You can imagine how bad of an idea that is. Again, imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night to give you food or tickle you. I had this experience once with my mom, me and my wife were visiting my parents and we took a short nap in the middle of the day. The funny part is that we just ate before going to sleep so we were kind of full, you know like you are when you are visiting your parents. My mother decided to wake us up after an hour to come and eat. I told her that we just ate, and I feel hungry when I’m hungry, not sleepy. Don’t understand me wrong, I know why she woke us up. She was doing her host and mom’s job, it was the wrong moment, though. So don’t wake your hamster up for food, they can eat when they wake up naturally. However, if you have to wake up your hamster for whatever reason, trying to wake them up with a treat is not the worst idea. Here is an entire article about what treats you can safely give to your hamster. How to gently wake a hamster if you have to There are some moments when you might have to wake up your hamster. In my case, I clean his cage on the same day when I clean the house so I have to wake him up when I’m cleaning, I can’t wait too much. If you have a good reason to wake up your hamster, here is a good way of doing it. Offer your pet a special treat or food item that he loves. Tap lightly on the side of his cage and talk to him while he is waking up. You will hear rustling as he stirs, then his nose will appear as he sniffs to check out the situation. Keep the treat close by so it is easily detectable by your pet. He will slowly come out, sleepy-eyed and ears tucked back. Your pet will move towards the treat and you can then pick him up. I saw some articles recommending gently blowing on the hamster when you want to wake them up. I would not do that, but if you do, make sure you don’t blow in their face, they hate that. Can you change your hamster routine? Changing your hamster routine is stressful and unhealthy. If you love your hamster, you should not think of doing that. Before buying or adopting a hamster, you should make sure your schedule suits their routine if you want to play with them. Of course, as I said, you will have some moments when your hamster will be awake during the day, but there are not as many as at night. One thing I noticed about the hamster routine is that they seem to be way more active when I leave the house for a few days. When I come back, they are still active, even during the day. But not nearly as much as evenings and nights. It always felt to me like he was waiting for me to leave so he could throw a party, and I caught him by surprise when I came back. My guess is that hamsters feel safer when it is quieter, even during the day. Waking hamster by mistake If you worry that you will wake up your hamster unintentionally by making noises around their cage, it is important to know that they have good hearing, but they will notice you only if you are quite close to their cage. All the hamsters I had slept well even when I had music going in the room, but if I made sudden noises around their cage, they would wake up. It’s almost impossible to have a room only for the hamster cage, so this is unavoidable that you or your kids will make noises around the cage, and it might wake up the hamster every now and then. Make sure it is not too often. All my hamsters had this habit of waking up to drink some water or for a small snack during the day, I know there are humans that do this during the night, so it’s easy to understand why. I’m saying this to clarify that you are not waking up your hamster by mistake when they are active during the day, it is just their routine. Can hamsters sleep in the dark? Yes, hamsters can sleep in the dark, hamsters don’t sleep like humans, they are intermittent sleepers if that is a word, so they will have short bursts of sleep. As you might get to see your hamster active during the day, you can see a hamster sleeping during the night. You don’t have to think too much about how is the light in the room for the hamster, just turn it off when you go to sleep and you can turn the light on when you are in the room. Hamsters have poor eyesight, they don’t use it too much. However their eyes are quite sensitive, so make sure you don’t direct the light to their cage. Even direct sunlight might be harmful to their small sensitive eyes. Conclusion Before you get a hamster as a pet, it’s very important to understand their habits and routine not to be surprised. They have a very specific routine that doesn’t suit most of our lifestyles, especially if you have a regular daytime schedule at work. Waking a hamster up just to play with it is pretty rude and stressful for them, so you should avoid doing that as much as possible. I hope this article helped you and your hamster will be happier and less stressed.... Read more...
- How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well. Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment.... Read more...
- Why Does Your Hamster Have Diarrhea? Here Are the FactsCaring for your hamster requires you to know the different aspects of its health such as the possible illnesses and conditions it might end up suffering. Diarrhea is merely one of the several health conditions that hamsters may end up suffering. But why does your hamster have diarrhea and what are the possible causes of its diarrhea? Your hamster could have diarrhea due to a different number of factors namely wet tail, influenza, salmonella, and dietary changes. Among all of the reasons for hamster diarrhea, the wet tail is one of the most dangerous causes of a hamster’s diarrhea as it requires immediate treatment and attention from a veterinarian. Hamsters are just like any other animal in the sense that they can be quite prone to a lot of different illnesses such as diarrhea. And in most cases, the causes of their diarrhea tends to be similar to the cause of diarrhea in most other animals. That is why you have to know how to properly care for your hamster so that you can prevent any kind of potentially dangerous disease or health condition stemming from diarrhea from developing. Table of Contents How do you know if your hamster has diarrhea?Why does your hamster have diarrhea?Can hamsters die from diarrhea?How to treat hamster diarrhea? How do you know if your hamster has diarrhea? Diarrhea has always been one of the most common health conditions suffered by humans and different animals. This is when the stool becomes wet due to a lot of different conditions but diarrhea is often caused by problems in the bowel movement as a result of viral infections or any other similar causes. Of course, hamsters also suffer from diarrhea just like most other animals do. When we are talking about hamster diarrhea, one of the most common ways for you to know that your hamster has diarrhea is when its tail is wet. The reason for its wet tail is, of course, due to the fact that its stool is also wet. Hence, that’s why diarrhea in hamsters is often called the wet tail, which isn’t always the generic term of hamster diarrhea but is actually an operative term for a more serious kind of hamster diarrhea. You can also inspect the hamster’s stool to detect whether or not it is suffering from diarrhea. Hamsters with diarrhea will have stools that are light in color, can be soft, and does not necessarily have to be watery and wet. It is usually in the more severe cases when the feces of a hamster will become very watery and wet. Loss of appetite can also be a good indication of hamster diarrhea but not all hamsters suffering from diarrhea will appear sick. It is only when the cause of diarrhea is a virus that you will notice your hamster looking sick, lethargic, and very tired. Hamsters that are suffering from diarrhea will eventually lose a lot of weight and may even become anorexic. Why does your hamster have diarrhea? Now that you noticed that your hamster is showing some of the more common signs and symptoms of diarrhea, it is now time for you to know what could have possibly caused your hamster’s diarrhea. So, why does your hamster have diarrhea? Well, there are plenty of different reasons why your hamster has diarrhea, and those different reasons can vary from simple causes to more serious illnesses that can possibly become too dangerous for your hamster. There will be cases where the hamster’s diarrhea is caused by changes in its diet because of how it is not used to eating a different type of food after spending most of its life eating the same meals over and over again. In most cases, when you feed your hamster with fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water, it’s stool will naturally become watery as well. This includes fruits and veggies such as tomato, cucumber, and orange. Even though fruits and vegetables are generally healthy for your hamster, it is best to control the amount you feed to your little pocket friend. Two other possible causes of diarrhea in your hamster are diseases and infections. The common flu and salmonella are quite common diseases and infections that your hamster can possibly suffer from. It is quite easy for hamsters to contract the flu from humans, which can possibly lead to not only diarrhea but also to sneezing and a runny and watery nose. Weight loss, lethargy, and loss of appetite may also become possible symptoms of flu other than diarrhea. Meanwhile, salmonella might not be very common in hamsters as they rarely infect them. However, if ever they do indeed get infected by salmonella, expect the hamster to suffer from diarrhea on top of lethargy, loss of appetite, and even vomiting. The most serious cause of diarrhea in hamsters is the common condition called the wet tail. Stress is the biggest culprit for wet tail in hamsters due to how some of the younger hamsters may end up suffering from a lot of stress as a result of the constant movement and adjustments they have to undergo on a regular basis especially when they move from pet store to pet store and eventually to your home. Due to the stress, the gut flora or the Campylobacter bacteria tends to overpopulate and will eventually develop into diarrhea. Wet tail is extremely contagious in hamsters and can easily spread from one hamster to another. That’s why, when you are choosing a pet hamster that’s also kept with other hamsters in a large cage, always choose the one that is most active so that the chances of it suffering from wet tail are slim. Can hamsters die from diarrhea? Normally, diarrhea caused by simple reasons such as dietary changes or the flu probably isn’t fatal unless the hamster is left untreated or uncared for during the time when it is suffering from diarrhea. However, a wet tail is actually a very serious condition that requires immediate attention and treatment from a veterinarian. The reason is that hamsters can easily decline in health when they are suffering from wet tail due to a combination of a lot of different factors but mainly because it won’t be eating a lot and it’s going to end up suffering from dehydration due to diarrhea. So yes, diarrhea in hamsters can be fatal especially when you don’t treat your hamster right away. While some forms of diarrhea are not as serious as the others and may end up subsiding over time, other causes of diarrhea such as wet tail should always be taken seriously enough that you need to get your little pal to the vet as quickly as possible. How to treat hamster diarrhea? Treatment for common diarrhea can vary depending on the cause of diarrhea. When your hamster is suffering from diarrhea as a result of a change in its diet, simply reverting back to its old diet while managing the symptoms such as providing enough water for your hamster may be able to help treat diarrhea. For diarrhea caused by flu, managing the symptoms of flu while making sure that your hamster is drinking enough water may be able to help alleviate the illness. But if the symptoms get worse, that should prompt you to take the hamster to a vet. In the case of the wet tail, immediate veterinary attention, and treatment is the only way for you to treat the hamster’s diarrhea. The vet will know what to do to help treat your hamster’s wet tail but the usual treatment involves using antibiotics that will kill and eliminate the bacteria that is causing diarrhea. Vets will also use a syringe or a dropper to feed your hamster, especially whenever it isn’t eating its food or drinking water at all. Wet tail is extremely serious to the point that it can even kill your hamster in a matter of hours when the signs of this illness become apparent. That’s why it is important that you take your hamster straight to the vet when it is showing symptoms of wet tail. Do not try to delay the illness on your own at home because the only way for you to get your hamster treated and cared for is through the professional expertise of a vet. Always keep it in your head that there are no natural home remedies that you can use to treat wet tail, and such an illness will not go away on its own when you allow the hamster to recover naturally. Even a special diet will not help treat wet tail. Again, the only way for you to have your hamster’s wet tail treated is to take it to the vet.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Like Being Held ? Hamster Affection And TrainingIf you’ve got a hammy you might be wondering if he likes being held. I wondered the same thing about my teddy, and I’m here to help you better understand your hammy’s need for affection and touch. We’ll talk about whether hammies like being held, how to train them to be comfortable with your hands, and a bit about their personalities in general. Table of Contents So do hamsters like being held ?About your furry friend’s personality and habitsTraining your hamster to be comfortable with being heldStart small, but be consistent and patient with your hamsterGraduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or soPick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with itHamsters and affection – do they like it ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters like being held ? This is not a straight answer. The short answer would be yes, but there are many things that must happen before your hamster is okay with you holding him. Hamsters are prey animals, and as such are not comfy with being picked up. They’ll have an instinct of pulling away, or trying to escape. The key is making your hamster comfortable enough with you that he will allow you to pick him up. Once he is comfy with you, he does indeed like your touch. Hamsters can bond with their owners, though not all hammies do this. There are many personality aspects that need to be taken into account, and we’ll get right to it. Also keep in mind that once you’ve tamed your hamster, you’ll need to constantly handle him. Otherwise the bond can grow cold, and your hamster will need to be tamed again. About your furry friend’s personality and habits Let’s look at what the hamster goes through in the wild, so we can understand the pet hamster. After all, there isn’t much difference between wild hamsters and pet hamsters. They’ve only been with us for about a century so far, and rodents aren’t as easy to domesticate as dogs for example. In the wild a hamster will pretty much run for his life, all his life. He is hunted by almost every other animal that’s larger than him. He must hear and smell very well, and always be on alert. He even evolved to come out when his predators aren’t hunting. That being said, hammies have an instinct of being afraid of everything, and will run away or jump off if they feel threatened. Aside from all that, hamsters are solitary animals. Yes, some types of hamsters can live together, but only under certain conditions. They must be the exact same hamster type, siblings, never separated, and carefully watched. Even then, tensions come up, one is dominant, and sometimes bullying and fighting ensues. Best to keep them separated, even the Dwarf types. Now imagine a slightly grumpy, panicky, small animal, who likes being left alone, being comfy with two hands bigger than his own body picking him up. Even your first reaction would be to panic. Still, it’s possible to get your hamster to be comfortable with your big, human hands. It takes a lot of patience and consistency, but it’s totally doable. Important note, though: Even after you’ve made every effort to make your hammy comfortable, his personality is key here. If he’s a very independent, active hamster, he wont stay put. No matter how hard you try, your hamster can possibly be one of the independent types who would rather you put them down. Respect your hamster’s personality, and don’t force him into anything. My Teddy is like this. I’ve tried and tried again, with every trick and bribery I know, to get him to stay. He won’t stay in my hands for more than a few seconds at a time. There’s always something more interesting he has to see, and he’s just itching to go. He’s barely ever bitten me to let him go, and I doubt he’s stressed when I pick him up. He won’t come up on my hand, but he won’t object to me picking him up either. Bribing him with a bit of food works wonders though. Still, he’s a hamster of his own, and I love him the way he is. I’ve learned that not all hamsters are cuddly, and mine’s great just the way he is. Training your hamster to be comfortable with being held Whether your hamster will actually stay put in your hands or not, you can still train him. Hamsters are skittish, jumpy furballs, so of course they won’t stay for very long. Still, some might stay put in your hands. But in order for them to stay put, they first need to know your hand is a safe place, and they’re okay there. So let’s go through a few quick steps. This is part of the taming process, and you can find more info on taming your hamster here. Do keep in mind that the hamster can be tamed in a few days or a few weeks. It varies from hamster to hamster, and you need to give him time. Start small, but be consistent and patient with your hamster A hamster is a skittish at first, and he won’t trust you. This is why you need to start slow, and feed him bits of food through the cage bars at first. This is aside from his usual meals. Your hammy will come to know your scent, and your voice, and associate them with food. When the hamster is okay with your smell, you can start putting your hand in the hammy’s cage. Have a treat on your hand, and he will come close. He might not have the courage to touch you and get the food, but he will come close. Keep doing this until the hamster eventually touches your hand to reach the food. Keep things like that for a couple of days. Then you can place both hands inside the hamster’s cage. Place a bit of food on the hand farthest away from the hamster. This will make the hammy have to walk over the first hand to get to the food, and thus get used to being in both hands. Once your hamster is okay with all of these steps, you can move on to the next one. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Graduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or so Once your hammy is okay with you, and your hands, you can place both hands on the floor of the cage and once he’s on them, lift them gently and slowly. Not much, just by an inch/2-3 cm or so. The lifting will possibly scare the hamster, so you might have to practice this for a longer time. Always keep the hamster off the ground only for a short amount of time, like 2-3 seconds. Once he’s okay with being held above the ground, you can practice cupping your hands over him. Again, only life the hammy an inch off the cage floor, and use the second hand to sort of cup/hold the hammy. Then put him back down after a couple of seconds. Your hamster need to get accustomed to being held, with both hands, and off the ground. Pick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with it Once your hamster is okay with being held in cupped hands an inch of the ground, you can pick him up higher. This is probably a few days or weeks into his taming. So do not expect quick results. Once the hammy is okay with being picked up like this, he’s pretty much tamed. He might want to walk around, so you can use your hands as mobile platforms for him to walk on. Only do this very close to his cage, or right above his cage, in case the hamster jumps. Having a bit of food nearby to feed him while he’s in your hand is going to help him relax some more. Hamsters and affection – do they like it ? Alright, now your hamster’s tamed and can stay in your hands. At least for a few seconds. But does he like it ? Does he see it as a form of affection ? Well, yes, he does like affection. He’s not against it, but hamsters don’t show affection like most pets – cats and dogs for example. They’re not overly friendly or cuddly, and won’t seek you out for a hug. That being said hamsters that have bonded with their owners do like it when they’re cuddled. Any other hamster might find it as too touchy-feely. You can find out much more about whether hamsters like human affection here. And you’ll also find out a bit more about a hamster’s way of building relationships, and how he views other creatures, including you. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hamsters do a lot of running around, but we do like being held by the person we trust. Only after a lot of taming though. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can read the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...
- This Is Why Your Hamster Is Freezing And What It MeansEvery hamster owner ever has asked themselves this question. Why is my hamster freezing, and what does it mean ? Well, my Teddy (fully grown Syrian hamster) does this regularly, and we’re here to let you know your hamster is probably fine. There are a few reasons he can suddenly freeze, and we’ll cover them right now. Table of Contents So why does your hamster randomly freeze ?What to do when your hamster is frozenHamsters have very sensitive hearing and smellShould you worry about your hamster freezing ?Other hamster behaviors that might seem strangeA word from Teddy So why does your hamster randomly freeze ? Generally a hamster will freeze because he’s listening for something, or focusing intently to hear if there are predators around. Even if he’s lived his entire life with you safely, his instincts will kick in every now and then. Other possible reasons could be that you’ve surprised your hamster by suddenly moving, or you’ve scared him. Hamsters scare easily and are very skittish, so they will do this even if you do your best to not startle them. So for example if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and walk past your hamster’s cage, you’ll notice him staring at you blankly. Not moving at all, until you come close to him and try to interact. I’ve seen Teddy do this often, and I’ve always wondered if there’s something wrong with him. Turns out he’s alright, he’s just being a hamster. So your hamster could be listening for something, or he could be surprised, or scared. Or a combination of any and all of those 3. This happens less often over time, as your hamster learns every new sound that comes along. As long as your hamster is not frozen most of the time when you see him, he’s fine. What to do when your hamster is frozen It’s important to let your hamster listen for a few seconds for what just happened. They learn and get used to new sounds as time goes on. If he’s not coming out of it soon, you can try talking to your hammy. Keep in mind that he has sensitive hearing, so keep your voice low and soothing. You can bring him a small treat as well, to distract your hamster. I’ve done this with Teddy, and while at first he doesn’t react, after a few seconds he comes closer to hear me out. If you want to know what other foods you can give your hammy, check out my article about what do hamsters eat. I’ll also tell you about some other treat options that are safe for hamsters, and your hammy might love them ! Hamsters have very sensitive hearing and smell So it could be that your hamster froze for no reason. But he heard something you didn’t. It might not be anything, it could be leaves falling or a clock ticking. To your hamster it might sound interesting or scary or important. This is something hamsters do regularly, so do not worry. Your hamster is fine, he’s just listening for something. For example Teddy will run and run and run in his wheel and then suddenly stop, get on his hind feet, and just stand there for a full minute. He’s done this when eating, or drinking water, cleaning himself as well. Basically anytime. The main reason behind this behavior is that hamsters are prey, and they’re used to running away from everything. In time their instincts have evolved to get them to check for predators at all times. Even if your hamster grew up in your home, safe and sound, he will still do this. It’s normal, and part of a hamster’s life. Your hamster has very good hearing, to listen for any possible threat. But he also has very sensitive smell, so he will react to that as well. If your hamster is used to you and your smell, and you go to pick him up after handling something he might not like (like citrus) he will scurry away from you long before your hand gets close to it. When you do wash your hands, make sure it’s not with very floral or strongly scented soap. Otherwise your hamster will not want to get close to your hands. Also be careful when handling food and then your hamster. It might mistake the smell of chicken wings on your fingers for actual food, and bite. They don’t have very good eyesight, especially when compared to their hearing and smell. They’re very active at dawn and dusk, so crepuscular light is best for them. Should you worry about your hamster freezing ? Your hamster is alright, even if it might seem strange that it freezes suddenly. He’s simply listening for something, and just following his own instincts. Unless your hamster freezes often and for long periods of time, there is no reason to worry. However if you’re still worried, best to bring him to the vet, for a general checkup. One reason your hamster seems to freeze often could be that he’s very scared of you. This is fairly normal when your hamster is young or new to the house. For this it’s best to get your hamster slowly used to your presence, and feed him treats whenever you see him so he learns to trust you and get used to you. Limit those treats though, since an overweight hamster is not healthy and will develop serious health problems over time. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after this image.) Other hamster behaviors that might seem strange These are things I’ve seen Teddy do, and seen other hamsters in videos do. Some of them have an explanation, and some of them are just… random. Backflips. Hamsters react very suddenly when startled, so if you scare them and you’re very sudden, they might just do a backflip or jump to the side. Or just jump. Hamsters are kind of acrobats, and I’ve seen Teddy backflip and land safely. This does not mean you should make your hamster do a backflip, ever. But they can do this, and although it looks funny for humans, it’s a sign of fear. Sprints. Hamsters will sometimes suddenly sprint into their hideouts, or just through their cage. They can do this when they’re startled, or just because. I’ve seen Teddy do this for no apparent reason. Climbing and falling off the cage. This is something I’ve never managed to understand, and I’ve found no relevant answers online either. Teddy will sometimes scale the cage walls, and get a serious ab and back workout out of it. And then suddenly let go. He just falls. He lands on the bedding, and there’s lots of it, so he’s safe. But no one I’ve spoke to about this knows an answer. I’ve seen Teddy do this with the top of the cage as well. It happened more often when he was younger, and had more energy. For moments like these it’s important you get your hamster a very good cage, that’s also safe and large enough so he can run around. Hamsters scaling the cage walls are a sign of extra energy and you can provide your hamster with an exercise wheel, as they need to run to burn that energy. Here is an in-depth look at the best hamster wheels, according to hamster breeds and budget. I’ve taken care of that and provided him with a large cage and wheel anyway. But I still don’t know why my hamster suddenly falls off the cage walls. You can make sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself by giving him lots of bedding. To find out how much bedding a hamster needs, check out my article here. And here you’ll find a roundup of the best hamster bedding options available. Laying down slowly. It looks a lot like they’re melting or getting ready to sleep. As far as I’ve seen with Teddy, he slowly lays down near a corner of the cage, not in his house. He closes his eyes and drifts off. It’s like he forgot he has a house to sleep in. It never lasts more than a few minutes, and he does react if I speak to him or tap the cage. But he will put his head back down and lay flat. Other hamster owners I’ve spoken to said it might just be a form of dozing off. A word from Teddy I hope this article was helpful to you, and you know why we can sometimes freeze. I used to do that a lot when I was a ‘kid’, until I learned most of the sounds in the house. Now I just freeze if someone walks by me at night when I know I’m alone. If your hammy is doing the same, don’t worry. He’s probably curious about what’s happening and is focusing on figuring it out. Talk to him and he’ll come closer to listen to you instead. Feel free to look around the blog, you might find more useful articles on hamsters. Like how to feed us, what kind of cage we need, and how much water we need.... Read more...
- Why Is My Hamster Breathing Fast? 5 Main ReasonsHamsters breathe pretty fast in general, but for a new owner that doesn’t know how fast they should breathe, it might be concerning to see your hamster breathing fast while they sleep. Of course, they can develop respiratory problems, so it is better to know what a regular breathing rate is for hamsters to know if it’s ok. It is easier to spot those problems if you have had your hamster for some time and you know how fast they usually breathe, but it is impossible to know when you just got it. In this article, I will talk about what is a normal and an abnormal breathing rate for hamsters. Unfortunately, all I can give you is a pretty wide range. But don’t worry, there are other signs you can check to ensure your hamster is ok. Table of Contents Why is my hamster breathing fast?Hamster respiratory problems1. Cold and flu2. Pneumonia3. Stress4. Tumors and lumps5 ObesityHow to exercise your hamster?Conclusion Why is my hamster breathing fast? Hamsters breathe at least three times faster than humans, so they breathe pretty fast. If you didn’t notice any change in your hamster’s breathing rate, there might not be any actual respiratory problems, but if you somehow noticed that they are breathing faster lately, you should get your little hamster to a specialized vet immediately. A hamster’s heart rate is between 34-114 bpm, which is a wide range but as in our case, it varies a lot from one hamster to another, and many other factors can affect this rate. Factors like the hamster’s age, health condition, weight, stress level, and so on. One very important thing about hamsters is that they make noises when they have a problem. Otherwise they are quiet, except for some random squeaky sounds they make when they sleep, those can be associated with dreaming. Yes, you’ve heard that right, your little furball can dream. So if you notice that your hamster is breathing fast and it is also sneezing and has a wheezing breath, there might be a respiratory problem and you have to get your hamster to the vet as soon as possible. Hamster respiratory problems Here are a few common respiratory problems in hamsters or problems that affect how fast a hamster breath. 1. Cold and flu Hamsters can get catch a cold or the flu as we can, they can also get it from us, so you should avoid playing with your hamster when you are sick. A cold hamster is more likely to be lethargic and unwilling to move around. You may also notice that your hamster is eating less than usual or has lost a significant amount of weight. Other signs that your hamster is cold include shivering, red eyes, and sneezing. If your hamster shows any of these signs, you should take them to a vet as soon as possible in order to assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary. Those problems are much more dangerous for your little furball than for you, so don’t treat them lightly. 2. Pneumonia Living in a cage, which prevents them from burrowing for warmth, and exposing them to drafts for extended periods, increases the risk of rodents developing serious pneumonia. Though this illness can be remedied in humans, it can have much more serious effects on the small respiratory system of a rodent. Signs of pneumonia in hamsters include: Pus or mucus oozing from the nose or eyes. Difficulty breathing. Loss of appetite. Lack of activity. So if you notice any of these signs, then your hamster might be sick and you have to get it to a specialized vet. 3. Stress Hamsters are very anxious animals and are easily stressed, which might make them breathe faster and heavier. There are many reasons for your hamster to be stressed, ranging from not having enough space in the cage to not liking the interaction with a human and so on. The signs of a stressed hamster are very important, and while the reason is hard to understand since it can be anything, the signs are quite clear. Signs of a stressed hamster include: Hiding away. Being hostile. Not eating as much. Becoming immobile when you are around them. Drooling excessively and being overly active. 4. Tumors and lumps Here is an entire article I wrote about tumors and lumps in hamsters, I will not get into as many details here as in that article to not repeat myself. However, it is important to know that hamsters can develop tumors and lumps and if they are on the chest area, it might affect the hamster’s respiratory rate. So if you notice that your hamster is breathing faster than usual, you might want to check if there are any tumors on its chest. 5 Obesity This is one of the most obvious reasons a hamster breathes faster or more heavily. If you want to know why your hamster is fat and how to make it slim without stressing it, check out my article on three main reasons a hamster can be fat. In that article, I talk about how much you should feed a hamster, how often, and other things that you should be aware of. How to exercise your hamster? An active hamster is less likely to have respiratory problems, so it is crucial to give our hamsters all tools they need to exercise properly. When we talk about an inactive hamster, one of the main reasons is a small cage without enough space for a proper wheel and other exercising toys and also not enough space for bedding for your hamster to dig in. Here is a big enough cage that you can find on amazon without hurting your wallet too much. Hamster cages can get quite expensive, but this one is great value for money. It isn’t a fancy cage, but you don’t necessarily need one with many tunnels and other stuff since you can add those yourself in the cage if it’s big enough. So if you start with a big enough cage, your hamster will most likely get enough exercise. The next important thing to get for your hamster is a proper wheel. They spend most of their time in the wheel when they are active so having a good one is crucial. The hamster wheel should be big enough for your hamster to exercise in it without bending his back because this will affect their spine health over time. Here is the best one I could find on amazon for you, it is an 11-inch plastic wheel that can be placed in the cage. If you have a small cage that can not fit an 11-inch wheel, here is a 9-inch one that is also good enough for most hamsters. No matter which one of those two you choose or any other good wheel you can find, it is important to get a big enough wheel for your hamster. Usually, they need a bigger cage and wheel than you might expect if you have no experience with hamster pets. The exercise a hamster gets from playing with you is nonsignificant compared to the exercise they get in the cage and wheel. So it doesn’t matter if you get your hamster out of the cage more often, if the cage is too small or they don’t have a wheel, they will not get enough exercise, and this will lead to some health issues, including respiratory ones. Some hamsters don’t use the wheel as often, and that is unfortunate since, for a pet hamster, that is where they get the most out of their exercise. Someone had a hamster that was going in the wheel only to sit there or sleep from time to time. So, if your hamster doesn’t want to exercise in the wheel, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to motivate it. However, if they don’t go in the wheel at all, you might want to try to place some treats in there for them to find the wheel and find out that it is moving. Conclusion In normal conditions, hamsters breathe pretty fast, between 34-114 bpm, so it’s hard to know when they have a problem only judging by their breathing rate, but if they have other symptoms we talked about, you have to get your hamster to the vet. I hope this article helped you asses properly if your hamster is sick or everything is normal, but you didn’t realize until now how fast those little furballs breathe.... Read more...
- Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s ComfortWhen I first got Teddy I was very curious about whether he needs extra-warm temperatures or not. After all, he’s a Syrian hamster, hailing from the desert. The same way I’d think Siberian hamsters would need cold temperatures. After all, Siberia is famous for being a cold, frigid tundra. But I quickly found out I was wrong. Table of Contents So what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and draftsBedding ideas to keep your hamster warmThe right home for your hamsterDifference between hamster species when it comes to temperatureDangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hotA word from Teddy So what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ? As it turns out, the ideal temperature for your hamster is basically the same for all species, with a few minor differences. But in general hamsters need around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit to live comfortably. They’re okay with the temperature dropping a few degrees, but once it reaches below 15 Celsius/60 Fahrenheit, they will enter a state of hibernation that can be dangerous to them. Hamsters do naturally hibernate in the wild, like bears for example. Hamsters only hibernate in case of extreme cold, so make sure you keep your hamster’s cage in a room that is 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and drafts Much of what is true for humans is true for hamsters as well. We are both mammals, and need warmer climates. But your hamster can’t adapt to the cold as fast as you. You can put on a sweater, but your hamster’s only got the one sweater he was born with – his fur. So, when it gets cold, your hamster will begin drawing more and more bedding into his house. If you gave him ripped paper towels for extra bedding, he will make a nest out of them and snuggle tightly to keep himself warm. When it gets too hot for the hamster – which is anything above 22 Celsius/72 Fahrenheit – you’ll see him start to push the bedding out of his house. This allows air to circulate through the house and cool him down. Hamsters can’t sweat like we do, and his fur coat will keep him warm no matter what. So higher temperatures are not good for him either. It’s very important that the room you keep your hamster in is one free from drafts. Those can create very cold and intense air that will give your hamster a cold. For them that cold can be fatal, even if for you it might be just a sniffle. Bedding ideas to keep your hamster warm Normally your hamster would run around the desert at night, to forage for food. Actually, they’re be running at dusk and dawn, when the temperature is more tolerable for them. Desert nights are colder than you’d think at first. So your hamster would stay in his burrow below the ground, when the temperature is too hot or too cold. In his little home he would have dried leaves, grass, and whatever plant material he can find that can be good insulation. What you can give your hamster is what I gave my Teddy. Lots of wood particles, or more commonly called sawdust. NOT the fine dusty kind ! And keep them unscented, since your hamster has a very very sensitive nose. The softer wood shavings that are left behind after working with wood are alright. We give Teddy a thick layer of the wood shavings for ‘ground’, which he has in his house as well. Then we also give him unscented, clean paper towels, ripped into smaller pieces that he can move easily. He usually uses those for the actual ‘bed’ inside his home. Aside from that, he also has the cardboard rolls that are left from the paper towels. He usually chews on them for fun, and he sometimes uses bits of it for his home, for extra insulation. As for just how much bedding to give, if it covers the bottom of the cage by a couple of inches (or 5 cm) then it will be enough. As for the paper towels, we usually give Teddy 2 sheets (3-ply) and he is fine with those. Never give your hamster cotton or fiber bedding. The hamster stores the bedding in his cheeks to use it in his home, and cotton keeps moisture and has fibers that can get stuck in your hammy’s teeth, which can be fatal. So stick to soft wood and paper. To find out more about the best kind of bedding you can give your hamster, check out my “best bedding” article. We’ll talk about the safest options you have, and which to avoid. The right home for your hamster The home your hamster lives in is crucial. And the material it’s made out of is very important for your hamster’s health. Ideally you want wood homes, because they ‘breathe’ and absorb moisture from the inside and let it evaporate outside. The home also needs some ventilation holes, like ‘doors’ or ‘windows’ that need to be large enough for your hamster to get through with his cheeks full. And finally, it’s okay if it’s small-ish, since your hammy will only use it to sleep and eat, and he does not take up much space. So in short, a plastic house, with just one entrance, is not okay. It will cause condensation and that can lead to your hamster catching a cold. You never want your hamster wet or staying in a humid place. I’ve seen this with Teddy when I first got him. The home that came with the cage was plastic, and whenever I’d clean it there would be beads of condensation on the ceiling of his home. I got him a wooden one, which has small cracks in the ceiling/roof to let air flow, and 3 big doors for air to flow freely. The condensation stopped, and the home never smells. Difference between hamster species when it comes to temperature There is little difference between species here, but there is one exception. While most hamsters need a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit range, Winter whites need an 18-21 Celsius/65-70 Fahrenheit range to be comfortable. Even if the difference between them and other hamster species is small, it’s still something to take note of. This is because Winter white (or Siberian) hamsters come from a colder climate than the other types. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Dangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hot While your hamster can take on a lower temperature easier than a warmer one, neither extreme is easy for him. If it get cold, your hamster will do like my Teddy does, and gather as much bedding as he can to keep himself warm. If it gets too cold for more than 24 hours, then your hamster can enter a kind of hibernation. If left in this state for long, he can develop serious health issues. He only does this in case of emergencies, and can’t keep it for long. You can bring your hamster out of hibernation by slowly raising the temperature around him. Do no place your hamster in a very warm room, or on a very warm heater surface (like an electric blanket). Slowly bring the temperature up, degree by degree, until he wakes up. It may take a couple of hours or just a few minutes, depending on your hamster’s health and age. But if you keep you hamster at a temperature that’s too hot for him then he is in danger of heatstroke and dehydration. Never let your hamster get too warm since it’s not easy for him to cool off naturally. What you can do to help your hammy during summer is to place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, inside a jar, which you can place in his cage. This way there will be no condensation on the outside that can keep the bedding wet and get too cold for the hamster. Or, another thing to do is keep him away from direct sunlight. Or place the cage on a cool surface, which will slowly cool the bedding as well. Make sure the room is not at all drafty and humid, otherwise you risk your hamster’s life. I usually keep Teddy in a corner of the room that is away from the window, so not drafty. And away from sunlight, so he will not overheat. The thermostat is around 22 Celsius all year round, so he is fine overall. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you figure out the best way to keep my kind happy when it comes to our environment. While most of us come from a desert landscape, we don’t stay out during the day because it’s too hot, not during the night because it’s too cold. But dawn and dusk are good temperature ranges for us, so remember that we need around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit to live comfortably. You can check out the other articles on this site as well, you’ll find great info on what we usually eat, how much water we drink, and why we eat our poop too !... Read more...
- 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 1. 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...
- How to Find a Hamster Breeder The EssentialsHamsters are such adorable creatures and I won’t be surprised if you are already researching how to find a hamster breeder. However, your search is going to become a lot easier as I’ve done all the hard work for you. In this article, I’ll be talking about how to find a hamster breeder and other sources where you can buy hamsters from. You can find a hamster breeder at hamster online communities, hamster shows and expos, and from online directories of hamster clubs. Now let’s see in full at the different places you can buy a hamster. You may be already familiar with some of them or learn new places where you can buy a hamster. Continue reading to find out the best places to buy a hamster. Table of Contents What are the best places to buy a hamster?1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder2. Pet stores3. Hamster Communities Online4. Hamster Shows5. Hamsters For Adoption6. Pet ExposHow to find a good hamster breeder?Questions to ask a hamster breeder What are the best places to buy a hamster? Hamsters make a great pet and parents usually get it for their child as his/her first pet. But hamsters are adorable creatures that are loved by the young and old alike. They are affordable, relatively easy to care and of course, cute! And they don’t take a lot of space. What’s not to love about hamsters, 1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder Hamster breeders are the most reputable source that you can get a hamster from. But the problem many people encounter here is finding hamster breeders near. However, finding local hamster breeders is a lot easier than many people realize. This is because local hamster breeders are usually part of regional and local groups. Now, the good news is that these groups usually have a website and can easily be found with a quick Google search. 2. Pet stores Chances are that you’ve seen hamsters for sale at a local pet store alongside other small animals like birds, mice, and guinea pigs. 3. Hamster Communities Online While there isn’t a hamster nationwide association in the United States, several states have at least one hamster fan club. These hamster fan clubs usually have an online directory of hamster breeders in their states. You can go through this directory to find the closest breeder to you. The California Hamster Organization is an example of a hamster fan club and it is based in Southern California. There are also online communities like Hamster Hideout where you can connect with hamster lovers and breeders in your area. The National Hamster Council (NHC) is the main body for hamster breeders in the UK. And the organization has three regional clubs that have lists of breeder members. The regional clubs have also been known to organize hamster shows. 4. Hamster Shows Hamster shows are events where hamster breeders bring out their hamsters for exhibit and sale. These shows are usually run by hamsters enthusiasts who are very passionate about these adorable little furry creatures and want to promote them as pets while also campaigning for the welfare of hamsters. Finding a hamster show is easy in the UK as local NHC run hamster shows from time to time following a well-established schedule. 5. Hamsters For Adoption Hamsters are usually put up for adoption at small animal rescue organizations and traditional animal shelters. These hamsters are homeless and you could be the one to give a hamster a home forever. You’ll have to inquire about the personality of any hamster you wish to adopt and chances are that a vet has come around to check on the hamsters before they are put up for adoption. 6. Pet Expos Pet expos give you an avenue to meet hamster lovers and breeders. You get to chat way about these adorable creatures as well as buy a hamster and their supplies. Most major cities usually have pet expos at least once a year. If you live in a rural area, you should check out county fairs as well as 4-H shows as they are great places to find hamsters. How to find a good hamster breeder? As discussed above, you can find hamster breeders from online communities, hamster shows, and expos. But you see. anyone can call themselves breeders. It doesn’t matter if they breed hundreds of litters or a single one in a year or whether their hamsters are living in a warehouse or sitting room. The fact that anyone can style themselves as hamster breeders makes things a bit complicated when you want to get hamsters from a breeder. This necessitates the need to differentiate good breeders from the wannabe breeders. One of the ways by which you can spot One of the best ways to know sensible breeders from mediocre ones is to ask questions, lots of questions. My advice to anyone considering getting a new pet is to do some research and learn about the pet. It’s important you know what you are committing to. Also, you’ll be able to judge if any information you receive from a breeder is correct. You can get reliable information about hamsters from Hamsterlopaedia by Chris and Pete Logsdail. So if you ask a breeder a question and he/she can’t or isn’t willing to answer, then that’s a red flag. You can also know if your hamster breeder is reputable or not by the record he/she keeps. Good breeders keep detailed records of their breeding stock. This makes every individual hamster easily identifiable. The records kept should contain the following information about individual hamsters: Birthdate Sex Color Show wins Medical records Mating and breeding log. The breeding log should record all their matings and details such as the number of offspring and any postnatal deaths while the medical records should detail past illnesses of the hamsters if any and the treatments. Questions to ask a hamster breeder 1) Why do you breed?: I think this is a very crucial question and answers like “I think hamsters are cute’ or “Because I want to” isn’t just going to cut it. Now, I think good hamster breeders usually have a vision in mind which ultimately relates to improving hamsters by establishing healthy lines that have good temperament. These hamsters should be able to meet the NHC show standards which are all about promoting good health and aesthetics. 2) Ask if the breeder provides ongoing support and whether you can return a hamster you bought from them if you can no longer keep it: Ideally, the answer to this should be ‘yes’. Responsible hamster breeders should not allow their hamsters to end up at shelter homes. The breeder will inform you of any policy he/she has in place concerning this. 3) Are you a hamster club member or do you hold a prefix?: Hamster organizations like NHC are all about promoting hamster care. These organizations give ‘prefixes’ which are hamsters’ names to breeders that have been members for a year. These breeders will be required to abide by the organization’s code of conduct as regards breeding and care. Ask your breeder if he/she is a member of any club. Also. ask if he/she has a prefix. And should they have a prefix, which you’ll confirm by asking for a prefix certificate, go to the organization’s website to check the current list of breeders that have prefixes? 4) Do you cull babies in litters?: The answer to this should be ‘no’. 5) What care do you give to mums and litters?: This has to do with the care and diet given to both hamster mums and baby hamsters. The diet given to hamsters mums-to-be is very important and should be especially rich in protein. Babies and mother hamsters are not supposed to be disturbed for the first two weeks. You should get some information about the care given to hamsters if the breeders keep detailed records. 6) Ask about how often the babies handled and from what age. Also, you should ask about the age at which the baby hamsters are available for rehoming. Baby hamsters are not supposed to be handled until they are 14 days old as this is when their eyes open. After that, the baby hamsters need to be handled regularly. The reason for this is to keep them tame and nice. And baby hamsters are ready to be moved to a new home by four weeks, though it’s common to do this at 6-8 weeks. A good breeder will provide you with all this information and more. 7) You also need to ask the breeder if they seek veterinary treatment for their hamsters and if there is a good local vet they can recommend. You also have to inquire about any existing health problems the hamster line/litter may have and a good breeder should be honest about this. ... Read more...