Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete Guide

When I first got my Teddy, I didn’t have an exercise ball for him. I didn’t even think that would be necessary. But a friend helped me out and let me have her hammy’s old exercise ball. After a few weeks I got Teddy his own exercise ball.

But that was when I learned most of the things I know about how much exercise a hamster needs, and how to help him get that exercise. That’s what I’m going to help you with here.

hamster exercise ball 2

So what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ?

A great exercise ball for hamsters is one that will fit the adult hamster properly. This means that an adult Syrian hamster like my Teddy will need at least a 7 inch exercise ball, up to 9 inches. That’s 18 cm to 23 cm, in diameter.

Smaller breeds of hamster like a dwarf or Campbell will do well in 5 inch exercise balls, up to 7 inches. So that’s 13 cm to 18 cm for your little hamster types.

Another thing about the hamster exercise balls is that you should be careful that your hammy’s feet or tail don’t slip through the air holes. This can happen with the very large exercise balls, that are geared towards guinea pigs or ferrets.

So inspect the air holes and vents carefully to see how wide they are. If it looks like your hamster’s entire foot could fit through there, then look for a size smaller.

All exercise balls are made of hard plastic, so your hamster will be safe.

Why hamsters need an exercise ball

If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, then he’s very curious and want to be everywhere, and know everything, right now. He’s a very active hammy and I wouldn’t label him as a ”relaxed” hamster.

He’s more like a border collie than anything, he’ll find something to do if I don’t give him something to do. So the exercise ball saved us both, especially in the beginning. He can roam the house as much as he likes.

This is the first way an exercise ball helps your hamster. It gives him the opportunity to roam, explore, get into all the nooks and crannies he sees from his cage, and wander under your desk when you’re busy.

Second, an exercise ball will help your hamster get more exercise than the running wheel. This is because the hamster has to push the weight of the ball as well, and that’s a great way to give him good exercise.

He can’t run as fast as he can in the running wheel, but it’s a different type of workout. To find out more about the kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, check out my article here.

Third, it gives him something to do. He can’t really chew at that ball from the inside, it keeps him moving, and he’s easy to contain. If you’re cleaning his cage and have nowhere to put him, try the exercise ball.

This is what I do with my Teddy, and he always gets excited when he sees it.

And fourth, they’re just so funny when they’re in that ball. This one is more for you than the hamster, I know. But you need a laugh every now and then too. A hamster in his exercise ball bumping into every bit of furniture, and trying his best to push the ball over that powerstrip cord is the best thing ever.

How to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ball

Teddy has a 7 inch exercise ball, and he’s had it since his first few weeks. The first one he had was a smaller, 5 inch one. Since he was a baby, it was alright for a couple of weeks. Back then he was the size of an adult dwarf hamster.

But he soon started to grow and get bigger and longer, and once I was that I went to look for a bigger exercise ball. The one I landed on was a 7 inch version, clear plastic, with removable lids on the side.

The way I could tell he was much more comfortable in this new ball was that his back was finally straight. When he ran/pushed the ball, his back wasn’t as arched as it was in the smaller ball.

So that’s one thing you can look for, how arched the hamster’s back is. His back isn’t meant to arch backwards, it’s built for hunching and standing straight at best. If you notice your hammy having back problems consider getting him a larger exercise ball.

Other signs to look for are how easy the hamster can move the ball from the inside, and how much his tail or feet stick out at times.

If the hammy can easily move the ball, that’s good. Some resistance is expected, if he’s on a carpet. The ball moves easier on hard surfaces like hardwood or tiles.

But if the hammy can’t move the ball easily, it might be just too big for him, even if it looks like he has enough space. Large exercise balls equal more plastic, so more weight. You hamster can only push so much, especially if he’s a smaller breed.

As for the tail and feet sticking out, they will stick out a bit anyway. His claws and tail are so small and thin it’s hard for them not to stick through the air vents. Especially when he stops to clean himself, check something and sits down.

But if the hammy’s entire leg can fit through an air hole, then the ball is not good for him. He can get hurt or catch his tail and that’s never good.

Precautions when using the hamster exercise ball

While the ball is made to protect your hammy, and it does that quite well, there are a few things you should be careful about.

Do not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long.

Best to put him in the ball several times a day, for set amounts of time. I usually leave Teddy in the ball for about 30 minutes, but not more. This is because the air inside is not very much, even with the air holes.

Also, he has no access to water or food. If you see droppings in your hammy’s exercise ball, then you can be sure he needs a break. If you can’t see them, you’ll definitely hear them jingling.

Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball.

If he gets stick on some carpet, or corner, or charger cord, help him out. Otherwise he will panic. If your house is on at least two levels, keep him away from the stairs. The ball will protect him, but only so much.

Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls.

Maybe it’s not closed properly, or maybe he’s a genius, no matter. Make sure you close the exercise ball very tightly, and keep an eye on him.

Be careful what surface you place the ball on.

Hardwood and short haired carpet are okay. But a shaggy carpet, with long frills is not okay, since it can stick into his exercise ball. The hamster, being curious, will shove the carpet pieces in his cheeks to use as nesting later. That’s not good, ever.

Watch out for dusty or unclean surfaces. Dirt and dust will find their way into your house anyway, but it’s important that you let the hamster run on a clean surface. Otherwise the dirt and dust will end up on him, and that can affect his health.

Proof your apartment or house.

The area your hamster will run around in needs to be safe, for him and for your furniture. So any corners the ball can fit into and actually get stuck in, should be blocked by a slipper or something like that.

If there is anything fragile like a mirror, either place it somewhere else when the hamster is in the ball, or put some slippers or rolled towel in front of it.

The ball bumping into furniture is incredibly noisy, so make sure you put him in a room where there is not much hard furniture, or try not to mind the noise.

Teddy: In general, if you can’t hear the ball moving for more than a few seconds, you should check on your hamster friend. He’s either stuck, or up to something.

My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ball

I looked around and found a good exercise ball on Amazon. It’s the same size as the one I have, and it has a lot of air vents for your hamster to breathe.

You can choose whichever color you like, but in the end all exercise balls end up with scratches on them after a few uses. Think of it as the polished armor on a knight.

This particular ball is 7 inches/18 cm, so that’s the minimum diameter for a Syrian hamster, and the maximum for a dwarf type. So both hamster types can use this kind of ball freely.

This kind of ball is easy enough to assemble, so there should be no problems there.

You can check out the listing on Amazon here.

Once you get your hamster an exercise ball, whether it’s the one above or a different one, you’ll need to know how to help your hammy use it. So let’s get into that, so you can watch your little friend run around.

How to use a hamster exercise ball

This will be very intuitive for your hamster, but he might need some time to adjust at first. I’ll give your Teddy’s example.

When he first found himself in a hamster ball, he was a bit confused. I made the mistake of putting him in the ball too soon after bringing him home. Teddy got used to the ball very quickly, and learned how to steer it properly in about a week.

Get your hamster used to the exercise ball

Leave the ball in his cage for about half an hour, maybe a full hour. Make sure one end is open, and the hamster has easy access to the opening.

Place a treat inside the ball, so your hammy has more reason to climb into the ball. Let him explore, smell, try to chew on it. He will get used to it, and will probably climb into it fairly fast.

After your hammy is used to the exercise ball, it will be much easier to get him into the ball. If he starts moving his nest into the ball, remove the ball, and leave the nest parts in the cage. It’s clear he’s comfortable in it.

Placing your hamster in the exercise ball

Once your hammy is used tot he exercise ball, this will be easy. You can do this 3 ways, depending on your hamster’s personality, current mood, and the type of cage you have.

First, you can place the ball in the cage with a treat inside. Once the hamster climbs in, scoop the ball up and close it. This works best for cages that have a top-side opening, and a large one at that. It’s also great if you’re hammy is in a very feisty or irritated mood and can not be held at the moment, but you need to clean the cage.

Second, you can  place the exercise ball (with a treat inside) with the opening on the side of the cage. It only works for cages that have side clasps. Then unhook one side, and slowly raise that part until your hamster can get through.

hamster exercise ball 1
Teddy looking for his treat

Most hamsters will be so curious about the new opening they will climb right into the ball. By keeping the opening flat against the side of the cage, you’ll make it easier to keep him in place until you put the lid on.

Third, if your hammy is very tame and is easy to hold, pick him up. Place him by hand in the exercise ball, which of course has a treat inside. This way you’re sure the hamster gets into the exercise ball, which makes cleaning the cage much easier.

Placing a treat inside the exercise ball will teach your hamster to always be excited when he sees the exercise ball. After a while he will climb into it even without the treat.

Placing the hamster back in his cage

This is a lot like the way you got him into the cage in the first place. Place a bit of food in the cage and place the open exercise ball near that food. The hamster will climb out, and will enjoy his treat.

If your have a cage that can lift the sides, place the food close to the side you will use to place the hamster back. So that when you lift the side of the cage to place your hamster back, he will see the food right away and go straight to it.

Never force or shake your hamster out of his exercise ball. Try coaxing him out with a treat, or just wiggling a finger where you want him to get. He’s very curious and will go to check it out.

When to place the hamster in his exercise ball

First off, let’s talk about how soon to place the hamster in the ball after bringing him home from the pet store. You should allow him about a week to get used to his new home, in which time he will build his nest and get a sense of  normality.

After that week, make sure you get the hamster slowly used to the ball by placing it in the cage like I explained above.

Aside from that, you can place the hamster in his ball at almost any point when he is awake, but there is a best time. If you see your hamster very agitated, or climbing all over the cage, that would be a good time. He has a lot of extra energy which he needs to release.

When to not place the hamster in his exercise ball

  • shortly after he woke up
  • when he is sitting on his hideout, scoping the area and being watchful
  • when he is eating
  • when he has low energy, and would be sleepy
  • when he is sick and needs a lot of rest and water

A word on hamster exercise balls with stands

I had one of these, actually I still do. The one I have used to have a stand for the ball, and a second set of lids so the hamster could climb into and out of the ball when he wants. It sounds like a great idea, but there are a couple of problems here.

First, the stand is meant as an actual stand. Not as a support for a spinning exercise ball. This is the mistake I made with Teddy, and after a couple of weeks, I heard the noise. Plastic on plastic eventually chewed down on the stand bits, and it started making the most awful screeches when Teddy ran in it.

It’s not like a metal wheel, which you can just oil and it will be fine for a couple of weeks. No, the plastic one actually gets ground down to nothing, both the stand handles and the holes they plug into.

Second, the hamster can somehow, some way, move its nest in that ball. This happened with Teddy, and I’m sure there are a few other people out there who had this happen too.

The little furball moved food, nesting material, and a few droppings into his exercise ball, and used that as a nest. Which wasn’t so terrible, except when he started running.

The contents Teddy brought into that exercise ball flew everywhere in the ball, and a bit outside. It actually woke me up a couple of nights.

So do yourself and your hammy a favor, and only use that stand outside the cage. Use it as a stand to actually keep the ball on, without the hamster inside.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

hamster exercise ball 3

How to clean a hamster exercise ball

The exercise ball will get a bit dirty, there’s no way around that. It will grind on whatever is on the floor, it will get all kinds of scratch marks on the outside from rolling around.

Aside from all that, it will pick up a bit of dust or other small debris that need to be cleaned off.

Make sure you use only hot (as hot as you can handle it) water, and the smallest amount of soap to clean the ball. Take it apart, and thoroughly scrub it down with hot water and a tiny amount of soap, inside and out. You can use the rough side of a dishwashing sponge, or a cloth, whichever you prefer.

Be extra careful in the inside of the ball to not use much soap. The soap has a strong scent for your hammy, and he might not want to get into the exercise ball if he can’t stand the smell.

The wash will also remove most of the hammy’s scent from inside the ball, so make sure you place a treat inside the exercise ball when you reintroduce it to the hamster.

As for how often to clean it, it depends on how often the hamster uses it, and how much it’s been through. If you place your hamster in the ball every day, and let him roam for a half hour, then the ball should be cleaned often. Best to do that daily, since there a lot on the floor usually.

If he only ever uses the exercise ball a few times a month, and for a short amount of time, you can even clean it every week.

Where to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using it

Wherever you keep it, it must be a clean, dust-free place. In a cupboard, or a drawer would be alright. Place it on its stand if it has one, and keep it somewhere the dust will not settle on or in it.

Do not leave it on the floor, especially if you have other pets or children. Someone might kick it by accident, or a dog might chew on it, or maybe one of your toddlers will confuse it with a bouncy ball.

A word from Teddy

This was all I could tell you about our exercise balls. How to pick one, how to keep it clean, and how to put one of us hamsters in an exercise ball.

We love to run around and play, us hamsters are very active creatures and we get anxious when we’re cooped up too much. So let us roam free-ish, in the exercise ball, so we can explore your home !

If you’d like to know more about us hamsters, and what kind of food we can eat, or how much water we need, you can check out the articles below.

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(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.) Whiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’ Alright, so your hamster’s got superhearing and dog-level smell. He’s also got ‘the touch’. I mean he sees with his little paws, and his whiskers. In the wild the hamster’s many tunnels are pitch black and winding, so he has to be able to navigate them somehow. The tunnels don’t hum, and they don’t smell, so he has to see with his paws and whiskers. This also applies to his cage, plus the fact that he knows where everything is because he’s memorized it. One of the reasons changing up his habitat is a bad idea. Hamsters don’t like change. When it comes to touch, he’s also sensitive to vibrations. He can sense them both in his paws and his whiskers too. Even if you got out of bed very quietly, and made sure to not turn on the light or step wrong, he still knows you’re up. 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5 Creative Ways to Tell Your Hamsters Apart
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Syrian hamsters, on the other hand, have to live alone. These hamsters only meet to mate and the rest of their lives must be kept separate. If you put two Syrian hamsters in the same cage, they will start to stress very quickly and they will fight, which can end in the death of one of the hamsters and serious injuries to the other. The golden rule for hamsters is to never, ever mix different hamster species in the same cage. If you want hamsters to live together, if they get along well it is best to keep siblings together to avoid fights. If you are taking hamsters from different nests try to get to know them as soon as possible to get along as well as possible. Once they are older than eight weeks they are very likely to react badly to one another. In addition, make sure you have a large enough cage for each hamster to have space for themselves and that you have more than one feeding area to be able to feed on their own food bowls and water bottles. No matter how hard you try, sometimes hamsters just won’t get along with each other. In these cases, hamsters will often fight or bully one another which can be very dangerous and even deadly to one of them. If you have two of the same hamsters living together in the cage observe well how they behave, whether they get along and whether there are any problems. Living in an environment where hamsters are constantly fighting and harassing each other can be very stressful so rest assured that none of your hamsters will be happy. In this case, it will be necessary to separate the hamsters into different cages. This will ultimately help differentiate hamsters, but it will also make their lives more beautiful and peaceful. 4. Study your hamsters’ personality You constantly observe your hamsters to find the slightest difference. You try and try, but you still can’t find the differences that would help you to know which hamster is which. Physical appearance is simply not a thing that can help you because your hamsters look identical. But if you study them well you will notice that hamsters do not behave identically. As much as they look the same as humans, hamsters have different personalities. One of them, for example, will be shy, will often spend time in the cottage, and will run away every time you give him food. The other will be brave and will like to cuddle, will spend a lot more time outside the house, and will be more open to contact with you. Hamster’s personality depends on the species of hamster, how tame they are, and do they like to have friends in the cave. For example, Syrian hamsters quickly develop a relationship with the owner and are in a very friendly mood. However, they like to be alone and are very aggressive towards other hamsters so you cannot keep them with others. According to the behavior they show towards you, but also, in general, the habits and behavior they show in the cage, you will be able to notice the behaviors according to which hamsters differ. Place in the cave two different feeding bowls and two different water bottles. Since hamsters are fairly territorial animals even when they live together they are very likely to drink from different water bottles and eat from different feeders. If it is easier for you, record their habits and notice if they repeat some behaviors and if they do some things that are specific only to them. For example, it could be carrying food to a certain part of the cage or sleeping in a specific place. It is also very important to observe how your identical hamsters get along. It can happen that hamsters will not get along best and will cause stress. If you hear them fighting or see injuries on one of them, don’t wait for the situation to calm down. The hamsters will just keep fighting more and more until they get completely angry and kill each other. So you can be left without both hamsters because they can easily die from injuries. By studying their personalities and behaviors you will notice in time if something is happening and you can easily prevent such events if you separate them into two different cages. If the hamsters look exactly the same, they will most often be hamsters from the same litter so you should have no problems with fights and bullying, but you never know with their personalities and primitive instincts. Personality can be a great indicator and help you distinguish which hamster you are at any time. For this, you will need a lot of patience, paper and pencil, and the interesting company of your little pets. This way you can get to know your pets very well, and you will feel like a real scientist studying animal behavior. If you have children, be sure to include them in this activity because they will learn everything about hamsters. Besides, it will certainly be interesting to them to notice new things about their pets every day. 5. Study the smallest differences on your hamsters This method may not be completely creative, but it will certainly help you differentiate your hamsters in the long run. Besides that, this method can be very interesting for you and especially for your children if you make it a real detective job. Your main task is to find a difference between hamsters. While your hamsters may seem exactly the same at first, there are small differences that can help you differentiate them. However, to find these differences you need to study the bodies of your hamsters well and look for any spot that deviates from the usual fur color or some irregularity. Even when you spot spots on both hamsters, observe if they are exactly the same shape and if they are in exactly the same place. It can happen that the spot on one is just a little bit higher or lower than on the other hamster. For example, when it comes to White WInter hamsters, it often happens that it is difficult to find differences between two completely identical all-white hamsters. In such situations, pay attention to detail. Does one of the hamsters have a slightly shorter or longer tail than the other? Does the hamster perhaps have some spot or any irregularity on its tail or on the rest of its body that could help you distinguish them? The owners of the looking hamsters themselves state that it was precisely these small details that enabled them to distinguish hamsters at all times. In addition, when you study two hamsters of the same species for a long time, you notice some details that you did not see at first. For example, one of the hamsters has a slightly different head shape, a slightly different ear shape, or a more protruding muzzle. One of the hamsters may be barely noticeably larger than the other or be a shade lighter or darker in color. These are all little things that you will notice over time. To identify which hamster it is, take a good look at the color of their eyes. Hamsters can also have different eye shades and you can differentiate them accordingly. If there are no obvious differences and you can’t find any difference even after a long study, it’s best to turn to study their personalities and behavior to help you differentiate them. If this is not possible then turn to the method of using food coloring or cutting the piece of their hair. One of these methods will surely help you to easily tell your hamsters apart. [...] Read more...
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told You
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told YouYou might wonder if your furry hamster can live with a friendly guinea pig. After all, they’re both rodents, and they might just get along, right ? As it turns out, guinea pigs and hamsters are very different animals, and housing them together is a delicate subject. Here’s the answer to what you were looking for. If you want a more detailed comparison between a hamster and a guinea pig, you should read this article. Table of Contents ToggleSo can a hamster live with a guinea pig ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the guinea pig’s personalityCage size for guinea pigs, and hamstersDifference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamstersFood fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue overA word from Teddy So can a hamster live with a guinea pig ? No. Hamsters can’t and shouldn’t live together with guinea pigs. Not because there is something wrong with guinea pigs. But because of a major difference in personality, how they react to strangers. One is fiercely territorial, while the other can live in a large group. And incredibly important, one sleeps the day away, while the other takes short naps throughout the 24 hours. They will inevitably annoy the hell out of each other. So if you ever mix a hamster and a guinea pig in the same cage, or even just during playtime, things will go bad. Very very fast, and you’ll need to be quick to separate the two. To really understand why these two furballs should be kept separate, we need to look at their personalities, cage requirements. and even playtime. About the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A guinea pig is much bigger, smells different, and acts different. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own  a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. While there are differences between hamsters, they are roughly the same. You need to know both hamsters and guinea pigs well before you even think of housing them together. About the guinea pig’s personality A guinea pig is a very social animal, and a great starter pet. They’re more docile than a puppy, but still show some personality so you learn that pets are their own beings and you need to do some things their way. That being said, guinea pigs don’t do well on their own, unless you’re always there to play with them and cuddle them. In nearly every case it’s best to get your guinea pig a buddy so they can keep each other company. A guinea pig is easy enough to tame, since it will react well to new sights and people. Still, some care should be taken, since they’re not immediately friendly like a puppy, or curious like a kitten. Guinea pigs will generally flee if they sense any danger, and won’t really bite unless in some extreme cases of self defense. And they’re not terribly territorial. However problems will arise when the hamster gets scared or annoyed by the pig, and will bite in retaliation. While hamsters are small, their jaws a powerful, and will injure the guinea pig. Think of the guinea pig as a gentle giant, who lets things slide for the most part. Very hard to anger, but once he is irritated, his teeth and jaws are much stronger than a hamster’s. The small piggy can only keep its patience for so long, and will eventually bite back. Given the sheer size difference between a guinea pig and a hamster, it won’t go well. You will end up with an injured, irritable guinea pig, and a dead hamster. Cage size for guinea pigs, and hamsters A single Syrian hamster can live in a cage the size of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. A Dwarf would need half that size, but I honestly recommend getting your hamster a very large cage, since he’ll feel much more comfortable with lots of space to run around. A guinea pig, on the other hand, needs 30 x 36 inches/ 76 x 91 cm cage. That is the absolute minimum, for just one guinea pig. The more piggies your have, you’ll have to almost double that size. As with the hamster, a larger cage is better. Alright, you might argue that you’ve got an incredibly large cage, big enough for both the piggy and the hamster. Fair enough, let’s look at how both animals keep their territory. A guinea pig will share his home with his partner, or the other 234 piggies it lives with. A guinea pig is a very social, herd animal. A hamster will attack anything that comes into his territory, and lives alone. He makes regular rounds of the space he owns, and will jump any creature stumbles upon. While the guinea pig will turn away, the hammy will chase him and eventually bite.  Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters are incredibly sensitive to smell, and very much love their routine. They need things to be in the same place, smelling of their scent, and nothing alien. A guinea pig wandering the cage will throw off the hammy’s routine, and become a nuisance without even trying. Finally, guinea pigs will get bored with the same setup, and move their herd from one hideout to another. The hamster will disagree with this. (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.) Difference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamsters What about the playtime between hamsters and guinea pigs ? Well, they both love to exercise, so they’ve got that in common. While the piggy won’t use the hamster’s wheel to run, he’ll use the entire cage for a quick sprint. And he will bump into the hammy’s wheel, or hideout or any other objects. This won’t sit well with the hamster. And finally with the playing and handling, the hamster can’t sit still for very long. But a guinea pig will stay put for longer, and come back with your scent. This will produce mixed feelings in the hamster, who is again a very smell-sensitive animal. So generally most interactions between the two don’t go too well, largely due to the hamster’s need for solitude. While hamsters will only come out and play in the evening and most of the night, a guinea pig is different. A guinea pig sleeps in patches throughout the day, and will generally follow the owner’s routine. A hamster on the other hand will sleep the day away, and only wake up in the evening, which will produce large amounts of stress. The hammy won’t rest well, since the piggy is running around the cage and the sounds will keep the hamster on alert. And when the guinea pig would take a short nap, the hammy could possibly stumble upon it (curious as hamsters are, but also silly and a bit thick). Which will not end up well, again. Food fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue over Alright, let’s cover the difference between foods, since this is a major problem. Hamsters are omnivores, so they eat anything from meat to grains and veggies, to fruits. In certain proportions, and they prefer grains for the most part. You can find out more about that here. A guinea pig on the other hand will need food based on veggies, Timothy hay, and lots of vitamin C. If you mix their food, or even if you put the food separately, there’s not telling who is going to eat whose food. Neither the hamster or the piggy will know the food is for the other one, and they will end up fighting over it. This is a serious issue with Dwarf hammies who live together and can lead to fatal injuries. Let alone a large guinea pig fighting a small hamster. Also take into account that hamsters live far less than guinea pigs. A hamster can live as long as 2-4 years, while a guinea pig can reach 7 years. An old hamster will probably become blind in his final weeks or months, and find it more difficult to navigate his cage. Normally hamsters memorize their cages and where to find everything, so they can do just fine without their eyesight. But stumbling upon the piggy, while blind, is bound to scare them. The hammy will be scared even if he’s alone in his cage and you don’t talk to him enough before coming close, when he’s blind. So to sum everything up, and give you a rounded answer: Hamsters and guinea pigs can’t live together. The hamster prefers to be alone and will consider the piggy an intruder, even if they’re introduced as babies. Best to keep them separate, and make sure they don’t even meet. You’ll save yourself and the two animals a lot of literal pain and heartache. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies seem like we could use a buddy, but we’re fine on our own. We like it that way, and won’t take kindly to other animals. Nothing personal, that’s just us being hamsters, is all. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should definitely check out the articles below to find out how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
The Hamster’s Lifespan – 7 Things Affecting It
The Hamster’s Lifespan – 7 Things Affecting ItYou’re off to get yourself a hamster friend ? Great ! You’ll need to know how long hamsters live for, so you know whether to get this kind of pet or not. We’ll cover the average lifespan of a hamster, and also what you can do to help him have a great and comfortable life. I’ll give you examples with my Teddy (Syrian, male hammy) to make things clearer too. Table of Contents ToggleSo how long do hamsters live for ?What affects the hamster’s lifespanThings you can’t control about the hamster1. The hamster’s breed/type2. Genes and other inherited traitsElements you have control over, and can influence1. Diet and additional foods2. Exercise3. Cage size and cleanliness4. General care and stress5. To pair or not to pairWhen is a hamster old ?The life cycle of a hamsterWhat owning a hamster is likeA word from Teddy So how long do hamsters live for ? Usually a hamster will live for about 2-3 years at most. This is the average lifespan, and there are many examples that have outlived 3 years, or never reached a year. The average lifespan varies for each hamster breed. The longest lived hamster breed is the Roborovski Dwarf (up to 4 years), while the shortest is the Chinese Dwarf ( a little under 2 years). Of course, there are hamsters who can outlive the average, like cases of Syrian hammies living for 5-6 years in captivity. In the wild, most don’t make it to their first birthday, given how many predators they’ve got. Still, there are some very crucial factors influencing how long and even how well your hamster friend is going to live. Some of them you can control, some are out of your hands. Let’s see which they are ! What affects the hamster’s lifespan There are inherited factors, like the hamster’s predisposition for an illness, or faulty genetics, as well as controllable factors like the quality of care the hamster gets. We’re going to go through each factor, and see how you can make your hamster friend lead a long and happy life. So keep in mind that the inherited traits – like breed, genetics, illness – will outweigh the elements you can control. For example if you’ve got a Robo hamster (which can live up to 4 years) with early onset diabetes, he might only live to 2 years, even with a wonderfully precise diet. Otherwise he might have lived a much shorter life. Take solace in knowing that you can, in fact, make your hamster’s life much easier and more comfortable, even if some things you can’t change. Things you can’t control about the hamster Alright, let’s see the inherited traits that will affect your hamster’s life. There are 2 major ones, and we’ll discuss them here. 1. The hamster’s breed/type You can indeed pick your hamster’s breed. When you go to the pet store and see all the available hammies, you will probably have to choose between a Syrian and a Dwarf type. There are 5 species in total to pick from, though not all pet shops will carry all 5, and I’ve never seen all 5 present at the same time. There are: Syrian hamsters – the largest hamster, and the most common one found in pet shops. Also called Teddy-bear hamsters (hence my little Teddy’s name). Roborovski Dwarf – much smaller than the Syrian, actually the tiniest of all the Dwarf types – only 2 inches/5 cm ! Djungarian/Winter White/Siberian Dwarf Campbell’s Dwarf Chinese Dwarf There are certain differences in the genetics of all 5 breeds, but they don’t differ all that much. The breed (and the coat color and sex) is all you can pick when it comes to the hamster’s genetic makeup. 2. Genes and other inherited traits When it comes to inherited traits, that’s completely out of your control. It depends on where you’re also getting your hamster from. For example you may get a hamster from a pet shop, but where does the pet shop have them from ? Sometimes they breed them there, sometimes they get a new litter from people who have had accidental litters. Some breeders aim for a docile line of hamsters, or more variation in coat colors, or size perhaps. However all those traits may come with certain genes. We all know about the white cat’s predisposition towards hearing problems. That’s simply the gene that comes with being a white cat most of the time. There are such genes with hamsters, but they’re not well documented, aside from the breeder’s own notes on their pets. So you won’t know if a black Syrian hamster comes with a gene that gives him weak kidneys and leads to a shorter lifespan. Or a white Robo hammy that somehow manages to live to the ripe age of 7, because his coat color gene comes with a long lifespan. However what you can count on is that the Dwarf types have an inherited risk of developing diabetes much faster that the Syrians.  The Syrians on the other hand have the misfortune of getting Wet-tail much easier than the Dwarf types. Whichever genes your hamster inherited you’ll be able to give him a wonderful life is you take into account the elements I’ve listed below. Those you actually have control over, and can change whenever necessary. Elements you have control over, and can influence There are a few things that are completely up to you. Like how well the hamster is fed, his health (partly), and his stress levels. Let’s see how to maximize all these elements so you give your hamster one happy, long life with you. 1. Diet and additional foods Diet is incredibly important for your hamster friend. Actually it’s more important than exercise, and that’s true for hamsters as well as other animals. What we eat has more impact that what we do. Which is why your hamster’s feed must be a high-quality feed, and whatever else you give him as treats must be safe. So, here is a clear list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. Those are foods you’ve already got in your pantry or fridge, and can give to you hamster either as regular food, or as a treat. Hamsters in general can eat anything, with a few exceptions. You can give them fruits, vegetables, nuts and peanuts, some types of meat, and even bread sometimes ! Whatever you decide to give your hamster friend, you’ll find more info in the links provided above. Do keep in mind that Dwarf hammies should be kept away from sweet foods (fruits, some veggies, most treats) since it will raise their chances of getting Diabetes. Also if you feed your hamster a commercial food mix, remember to not overfeed your hamster. This can only lead to obesity, which will lead to less exercise, which will lead to further weight gain, and serious health problems. A healthy daily portion is about 2 teaspoons of dry food for a Syrian hamster, and one teaspoon for a Dwarf type. A Syrian is double the size of a Dwarf, and all hamsters love to hoard their food. So do not panic if you’ve just fed your hammy and half an hour later everything’s gone. It’s okay, the food is tucked away in the hammy’s food stash, and he’ll nibble on it whenever he needs it. 2. Exercise Your hamster will need plenty of exercise throughout his life. Especially as a young hamster. Young ones have a tremendous amount of energy, much like toddler humans, and will want to explore everything. All at once. And run there, see that, sniff this other thing too. So a running wheel is absolutely mandatory for a healthy hamster. This will give our hammy the opportunity to run as far and as much as his little feet can carry him, with energy to spare. You see, in the wild hamsters always have to be on the run, and they’ve got amazing reflexes. They have to, in order to stay alive. Pet hamsters still have this instinct, much like domestic cats will pounce a laser dot or a dog will howl at the moon. After all, hamsters have only been pets for the last century or so, and they’re pretty much the same as they were in the wild. Another option is to give your hamster time outside the cage. This means an exercise ball. Your hammy can use it to explore your home and cover more ground than he would in his cage. It’s also a better and more intense workout than his usual running wheel. For this same reason hiding and climbing toys are important for the hamster too. They give your hamster something to do, and keep him away from the cage bars. A hamster with no exercise option will become irritable, nippy, and obese. This is never a good combination, neither for the hamster, or for you as an owner. 3. Cage size and cleanliness There is a required minimum for a hamster’s habitat. For example a Syrian hamster needs a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the absolute minimum, and I honestly would recommend looking for a cage larger than that. If you’ve got a Dwarf hamster he can live in such a cage easily enough. Unfortunately most cages on the market or in pet shops are not larger than the minimum, most not even respecting the minimum space requirement. Do keep in mind that while hamsters do climb and use the levels of a multi-level cage, why prefer the ground floor. This gives them more security, and it’s safe for them – hamsters are horrible at calculating depth and distances, and will jump from heights. Also if you’ve got a tube system installed your hammy will go nuts over it. My Teddy has a tube connecting 2 levels and he’s in it half the time. Hammies are attracted to small, cramped spaces. Their homes in the wild are composed of many tunnels, actually. As for the cage cleanliness, most of the time it’s okay to change the hamster’s bedding once per week, and can be stretched to once every two weeks. You see, hamsters are very clean animals, and they don’t smell. The only thing about them that can get smelly is their pee corner. That’s a specific corner in the cage that the hamster will use to pee. Always the same corner, the farthest away from his hideout. Make sure you use safe bedding options, like aspen wood shavings, or soft paper bedding. For more info on safe and unsafe hamster bedding material, check out this article. It also covers the cleaning routine in much more depth than I can here. 4. General care and stress Aside from everything we’ve discussed so far, the general care your hamster receives is going to decide how comfortable he feels around you, or in your home. This means that the temperature must be at a certain range for his comfort – that’s 20-23 C/68-75 F, and kept well away from any drafts or direct sunlight. Handling your hamster will also be important. The is a too little, and a too much, and they’re both influenced by the hamster’s personality. If you want to know how to tame your hamster friend without getting your hand bitten off, you need to read this article. As for whether they like being held, they generally do, once they’re tame. But many steps need to be taken before a solitary, not very cuddly hamster will feel okay being picked up. The placement of the cage in your home is crucial to how well the hamster can rest, and how safe he feels. If you notice your hamster being scared of you, rest assured this will go away in time with efforts on your part. You can read this article to know how to ease a scared hamster. A very stressed hamster will be a nippy, irritable hamster. he will be hard to handle until you remove the stress source. Unfortunately many things can stress him out, so you should check out this article, since it will shed some light on what having a hammy is like. 5. To pair or not to pair You’ve probably seen hamsters kept together before. Or even heard of a pair of hamsters being kept together. While this isn’t unusual, it’s not the best idea. True, Dwarf hamsters can live in pairs. But they require a much larger size cage than the minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is because hamsters are very territorial. While they can get along if they have no other choice, they will always prefer to live alone. Hamsters kept in pairs can become stressed, and one of them will eventually try to bully the other one. You can find out more about why hammies fight and how to separate them here. Syrian hamsters, as well as Chinese Dwarfs, will fight to the death any creature put in their cage, be it another hamster or a rabbit. So the most humane and comfortable thing to do for your hamster buddies is to keep them separated. I know this might go against many people you’ve heard say it’s fine to put them together. It’s an added stress, and it builds up in time. When is a hamster old ? When looking for answers on the general lifespan of a hamster, you’ll want to know when your hamster becomes a senior. This is part of the natural order of things, and every hamster will grow old and grey. Still, that does not mean old age in hamsters is terrible. Some may become blind, some may get an illness quicker. But most lead fairly normal lives up until their end. A hamster can be considered old when he reaches his second birthday. In the case of a Robo hammie, who can live up to 4 years this threshold can be extended to about 3 years. While for a Chinese that usually lives for two years, he can be considered old when he-s 1-1.5 years old. But 2 years is the accepted average. Your hamster might not show his true age until very late into his life. For example my teddy is a Syrian male hammy, and he was born in July 2017. That’d make him about a year and half old as I’m writing this. He doesn’t yet waddle, or lose his fur, although he’s getting close to his second birthday. But he has lost quite some energy, and sleeps much more than he used to. His fur is a bit silver around his ears, and he’s become very picky with his food. Still, he’s the same funny little furball we know. Always curious, always coming up for a treat, still panicked from time to 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 the image.) The life cycle of a hamster From birth to his final days, a hamster pet will always be a wonderful little thing. Right from the moment the hamster is born, he could possibly be in danger. Even in homes, baby hamsters don’t have a 100% survival rate, because of their mothers most of the time. You see hamster mothers are very skittish and nervous, and will resort to eating their babies if they feel in any way threatened. She may also do this if the baby hamster is ill or she thinks it’s too weak to survive to adulthood. So it’s best to leave a hamster mother alone for 2-3 weeks after she’s given birth and only just feed her. Absolutely no handling or cleaning or saying hi. More on that in the link above. Once the hamster has survived his first few weeks, he will be weaned. That usually happens around 3-4 weeks of age. At this stage it becomes crucial to separate the hamster babies into male and female enclosures. This is because even so young, they can start to reproduce, and no one wants surprise litters, plus the fact that the incredibly young mother has a very low chance of survival. You can find out more about how to figure out your hamster’s gender here. Once the babies have been separated, they end up at a pet shop or given away to prospective owners. This should all happen up until the hamster’s 12th weeks or life, or his 3rd month. This is when he has become an adult, and will start showing most of his fur marking and personality. He still has an immense amount of energy, needs to run, climb, hide, and generally investigate every new sound. Once the hamster has become a senior, around 2 years old, his metabolism will start to slow down. He may become blind, or develop an illness, or maybe just die peacefully in his sleep. It’s much like with human seniors, some are worn down and tired in their 50s, some are vibrant and energetic even in their 70s. What owning a hamster is like Finally, a hamster is a commitment. They may not live very long lives, like a cat or a dog. But they are still souls that need your attention and care. Sometimes you will have to schedule things around them, or not be able to leave town until you’ve found a sitter to look after them. There will be moments when you wonder why you got yourself a rodent, of all things. Then you’ll look at his cute fuzzy face when he wakes up, stretching, and know it was the best choice ever. Honestly when I got my Teddy I knew nothing about hamsters. I knew they had short lives, and were fuzzy. This whole blog is dedicated to folks like me, who had no idea about hammies and want to know everything there is. How to care for them, how to play with them, cages, toys, everything. You can check out this article to see some pros and cons of owning a hamster here. You’ll get a feel for how a hamster changes your life, and understand them better. Aside from all this, I’d only recommend a hamster as a pet to more mellow, quiet people. You see hamsters are very sensitive, and need much patience and gentle handling. A child for example would not be a good owner for a hamster. Children simply don’t have the patience and care for a hamster. A guinea pig, on the other hand, might be better suited for them. A hamster will bite when handled wrong, try to escape at the drop of a hat, and be endlessly curious. They’re not exactly low maintenance in that regard. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, I know us hammies can be very cute and cuddly, but we don’t live the longest lives out there. Still, you can make our stay with you as comfy as possible. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy too ! [...] Read more...
All About The Chinese Hamsters (Breed Info + Care Tips)
All About The Chinese Hamsters (Breed Info + Care Tips)Not often found in pet shops, Chinese hamsters are the least common hamster pets. Not very much is known about them (compared to the other hamster types), but they’re more common in Asia as pets. Still, I’ve looked around and found the info to make a guide on Chinese hamsters for you. Including whether they’re Dwarf hamsters or not. Table of Contents ToggleAbout the Chinese hamster – a short overviewIs the Chinese hamster a Dwarf hamster ?The Chinese hamster’s health and body sizeChinese hamster lifespan and breedingChinese hamster food and treatsChinese hamster exercise and toysChinese hamster cage requirementsA word from Teddy About the Chinese hamster – a short overview The Chinese hamster comes from, well, China. And Mongolia, which is right next to China. This hamster is very different from the Dwarf types (Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian), partly because of how he looks, and partly because of temperament. If anything, he’s more like the Syrian hamster. Chinese hamsters are halfway between a Dwarf and a Syrian in terms of size. They grow to be 3-5 inches/8-13 cm long, without their long tail. Yes, the Chinese have long tails, shorter than a mouse’ tail but it still reaches 0.7-1.1 inch/2-3 cm, which is much more than the stubs every other hamster type has. The Chinese hamster has a long body, fairly thin, and a generally brown color on the back, with a thing dark stripe going down the back, and white on their belly. As such, they’re often confused with mice at first glance, and some places actively forbid owning them as pets. These hammies are not social like Dwarf types, instead the lean more towards Syrians in terms of solitude. They like being alone, on their own, and they get along just fine. Females in particular are more aggressive towards other hamsters, but both sexes will start a deathmatch if introduced to another hamster. Chinese hamsters live between 2 and 3 years,  and they’re fairly calm once they’re tame. Until then they’re very skittish and won’t like being handled. But after taming they tend to remain calm around humans and like to play with them. Is the Chinese hamster a Dwarf hamster ? This is a common question, and one I’ve had myself. You see, Dwarf hamsters (the Roborovski, Campbell, and Djungarian) are named Dwarf types because they’re always compared to Syrian hamsters. They’re only about half the size of Syrians. But the Chinese don’t fit nicely in the Dwarf category, and they’re not Syrian-sized either. So, they’re often called Dwarf hamster because they’re just smaller than a Syrian, along with the other 3 types. I’ve sometimes called them Dwarf hamsters too, just for easier classification. But in terms of biology and official naming, Chinese hamsters are not Dwarf hamsters. The only true Dwarf hamsters are those of the Phodophus genus. To be fair, hamsters are a big family, and there are dozens of subspecies. Confusions are fairly common when we look at the hamsters who are not Syrians. Simply because Syrian hamsters are easy to tell apart from every other hamster. The Asian hamsters often look alike to an untrained eye, even if they have a few distinctive features like the presence or absence of a dark stripe, coat colorations, and so on. If you’re not sure which hamster type you’ve got, you can use this guide to figure it out, and them go to the corresponding care article. The Chinese hamster’s health and body size Usually the Chinese hamster looks a lot like a mouse. He’s got a long body, especially compared to the Dwarf hammies who look like a round ball of fluff. The Chinese hamster’s body length is 8-13 cm/3-5 inches. These hammies have a shorter looking fur, set closer to the body than the other types. His fur is usually brown, with flecks of dark grey and some white. His belly is whitish, and he has a dark, thin stripe going down his back. His tail is another defining feature, partly because it’s longer than the other hamsters’ tails, and partly because it’s thicker than a mouse’ tail. Every other hamster has a short, stubby tail, fleshy and hairless. The Chinese has a longer tail, 2-3 cm/0.7-1.1 inch long, covered in fur. There are other color variations, though not many. The wild color and the most common is the one described above with brown and white. But breeders have tried for other colors, like a sort of light grey instead of the brown, still with a dark stripe down the back, and a white belly. And there is a 3rd option, of an almost completely white Chinese hamster, with a black spot around one eye. The dark stripe is not usually present in this variation. As for their health problems, the Chinese aren’t especially prone to one disease or another. There is the danger of wet-tail, that threatens all hamsters regardless of type. This disease shows its ugly head mostly when the hamster is young (around 4 weeks of age) and is separated from the mother, and put into same-sex groups, to later be brought to a pet shop and them home. The whole process can be a bit stressful for the hamster, and stress s the biggest trigger for wet-tail, though not the only one. Aside from this, Chinese hamsters can have the usual health problems associated with hamsters. Eye infection, ear problems, tumors, fur loss, and so on. There are treatments for most, if not all of these problems. A veterinarian that can treat hamsters will usually be labeled as an ”exotics” vet, which means he is able to help rodents, reptiles and birds, or just most small animals. (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.) Chinese hamster lifespan and breeding The Chinese hamster can live up to 2-3 years, depending on genetics and the conditions the hamster is kept in. In the wild, most don’t make it past their first year, because of illnesses or predators. In captivity though, with the proper food and care their lifespan has increased significantly. These hamsters are hardy, and they reach adulthood around 12 weeks of life. That’s when they can also be bred, between 10-14 weeks, both for females and for males. Pregnancies started past that period can be dangerous both for the female, and the babies. The usual gestation period for Chinese hamsters is between 18 and 21 days, resulting in a litter of 3 to 15 hamsters. You can find out more about hamster reproduction here, and how to make sure the female carries her pregnancy safely. You’ll also find info on the birthing process, and the after-birth care, which is crucial for the hamsters babies’ survival. Chinese hamster food and treats Usually the Chinese  hamster will eat grains, along with some fruits and vegetables he can find. Nuts and seeds are welcome too, along with a couple of insects or mealworms. This is a combination usually found in the hamster’s commercial food mix. Without the insects or the mealworms, though. The protein in the commercial hamster food is either soy-based, whey or beef-based. A hamster safe food list will help you figure out which foods from your pantry or fridge are great for hamster snacks. For example a bit of cooked plain chicken, a bit of cheese, a small sized carrot, some lettuce (and most leafy greens) are all okay for hamster treats. Not given often though. There are foods you should definitely keep away from your little Chinese hamster, like onions, garlic, leek, citrus aloe vera plant skin, rosemary, and so on. You can find a safe and unsafe herb guide here as well. Chinese hamster exercise and toys Now, Chinese hamsters are still hamsters. As such, they absolutely love to run, and they have so much energy it’s almost unbelievable. This means an exercise wheel is going to be mandatory for your little guy, and it needs to be a bigger one so his tail doesn’t suffer. For example this one’s a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, complete with tail and foot guards. It’s a silent wheel, so it won’t wake you up squeaking and creaking in the middle of the night. It’s also got a heavy bottom, which means it will stay wherever you put it. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel, which your hamster will use a-plenty, there are other toys and cage objects he will need. Like a chew toy or two, or tunnel toys, hide and seek toys, a few puzzle toys as well. Most of these toys can be DYIed at home, out of cardboard. It could be cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper, it could be egg cartons with holes cut in them. Your hamster needs lots exercise and stimulation, to keep him happy and stimulated. Hamsters can get bored or stressed if they’re not stimulated, and if they have nothing to in, especially in a small cage. This can lead to behaviors like chewing the cage bars, nippy when trying to handle the hamster, and can even develop some illnesses. For example loss of appetite, fur loss, lethargy, can all be triggered by an extremely depressed and listless hamster. It can be avoided by giving the hamster plenty of toys and stimulation, and a large enough cage. Chinese hamster cage requirements The usual cage requirements for a Chinese hamster vary from continent to continent, sometimes from country to country. I’d recommend it to be 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Even if that’s the cage size necessary for a Syrian hamster, a Chinese will enjoy it too. This is because a larger cage will always be preferred, even if the hamster only needs a small space for himself to build a nest. The rest of the space available he considers his territory, which in the wild can be as large as 3.5 square km/2.17 square miles. So, you’re going to need a large cage. Given how small this hamster is, he can find some cages easy to escape. If you can find a very very large aquarium, than you’re set. If not, try for an Ikea Detolf. That’s a big standing shelf with glass sides. Remove the shelves, lay it on its side, and cover with a wire mesh. Unfortunately these ‘cages’ require lots of space available in your home, and they’re heavy. So wherever you decide to put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. But, if space and budget don’t allow a Detolf – that’s the case for most people, including us – you can always look for a big cage. For example this one is large enough for a Chinese hamster, it’s actually great for a Syrian as well. The spacing between the bars is small enough so the hamster will not escape. Aside from the ground floor, there is an upper level, which you can set to whichever height you like. Don’t set it too high though, hamsters prefer the ground anyway. You can fit a lot of toys in it, and even the wheel I talked about earlier. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Very important, and I know I mentioned this earlier too. Chinese hamsters are not social like Dwarf type hamsters. This means that keeping more than one Chinese hamster in the cage is not alright, since they will do a lot of fighting. It won’t end well, and you need to be a responsible hamster owner. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be confusing, with all our types and cousins. But we’re all cute and friendly, and great pets. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? The Sad Truth
Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? The Sad TruthIf one considers the gentle look that hamsters have, one may conclude that hamsters can never hurt each other. It seems the looks of hamsters are just a mere feign of gentleness since they sometimes eat each other. But why do these gentle-looking creatures become so aggressive to the point of eating each other? Hamsters will eat each other if their diets alter their nature or if other hamsters appear to reduce their chance of survival greatly. A few breeds of hamsters that are territorial in nature don’t even require diets to alter their nature before they eat each other. The non-territorial breeds of hamsters outnumber the territorial breeds, making it fair to generalize the statement that hamsters won’t eat each other unless their diets or mates force them to do so. Anyone who wishes to understand why hamsters eat each other must consider a variety of things. In this article, we shall talk about everything that readers need to know concerning this topic, so we advise you to read on.   Table of Contents ToggleDo Hamsters Cannibalize?Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other?Insufficient resourcesTerritorial attitudeCage rageDietWhy Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies?Deficiency in dietStressTo protect the living babiesChange in scentInsufficient resourcesThreat from a male hamsterWhy Do Female Hamsters Attack Male Hamsters?Is It OK to Have Two Hamsters in the Same Cage?What breeds are best to combine together? Do Hamsters Cannibalize? Under normal conditions, most breeds of hamsters don’t cannibalize. However, a number of things can force even the friendliest breeds of hamsters to become ferocious cannibals. Almost all the dwarf breeds of hamsters have a very low tendency of cannibalizing. In contrast, Syrian hamsters and Chinese hamsters have a high tendency of cannibalizing if they live in groups. Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? Hamsters eat each other only when there are genuine reasons. Some of those reasons are even meant to protect hamsters from going into extinction. You will find all the major reasons why hamsters eat each other as you read on. Perhaps, you might not be able to condemn hamsters after you understand why they eat each other. And of course, you will discover some things you can do to stop hamsters from eating each other if you own a few of them as pets. Insufficient resources Individual hamsters have a strong instinct for survival, and therefore they may see the need to eat their own kinds just to survive. In the wild, hamsters can spread about to find their own food, water, and shelter, so they will likely not kill each other in the wild.  However, domestic hamsters can only share the resources that their owner provides for them. If the resources aren’t enough, they may eat their fellows to reduce the pressure on the little resources available. Hamsters might have developed this nature to ensure the continued existence of their species in tough times. Territorial attitude Some breeds of hamsters are very territorial. Syrian hamsters, for instance, display different territorial behaviors. Cannibalism is one of the territorial behaviors that Syrian hamsters and other territorial breeds can display. Even if there are abundant resources for all the hamsters to share, hamsters that are territorial in nature will still eat each other. A strange hamster’s mere appearance is enough reason for cannibalism to occur among breeds of hamsters that are territorial in nature. Cage rage Hamsters are a bit vulnerable to cage rage, a psychological disorder that animals in the cage sometimes suffer from. When a hamster suffers from cage rage, it becomes very aggressive towards other hamsters and humans. Such aggression can lead to cannibalism. Hamsters that live in an inconducive cage are more vulnerable to cage rage than the ones that live in a conducive cage. A hamster that suffers from cage rage will not only attack other hamsters, but it will also be restless even when it stays all by itself. Diet The diets of hamsters can alter their behaviors. For instance, hamsters that feed on a monotonous diet of corn will develop aggressive behavior and eat each other. Hamsters in the wild are more likely to become cannibals now that they no longer have a variety of grains to consume. Why Do Hamsters Eat Their Own Babies? Deficiency in diet The diets that hamsters consume can alter their nature to some extent. When hamsters feed on diets that lack Vitamin B3, they eat their own babies. For instance, hamsters that feed on corn will eat their own babies since corn lacks Vitamin B3. Stress Hamsters go through a lot of stress while giving birth and nursing their babies. While hamsters can cope with the stress of parturition and nursing, they may not be able to cope with the additional stress that a harsh environment imposes on them. Some environmental factors that can stress hamsters include loud noises, excessive heat, and disturbance from other animals or man. To protect the living babies If a hamster gives birth to many babies in the wild, and one of them dies, predators can use the smell of the dead baby to locate the living ones since they are at the same place. To prevent this from happening, a hamster will eat her dead baby. Domestic hamsters also eat their dead babies despite how humans already protect them from predators. Change in scent Hamsters rely on scents to identify their babies. Hamsters will leave scents on their babies while they take care of them, making it easy to recognize their babies. However, if human touches one of the babies, the baby’s scient will change, so the mother will perceive such a baby as an outsider. The hamster will end up eating the supposed outsider. Insufficient resources A hamster will try her best to take care of the entire brood, but if she realizes that the resources like food and space aren’t enough, she can kill some of her babies. Hamsters won’t just kill her babies at random. Instead, she will watch out for weak ones and eat them so that the strong ones can survive with the little resources available. In case the mother is starving, and no food is available, she can eat all her babies to gain energy.  Threat from a male hamster Male hamsters are not as caring as female hamsters. All they care about is how to get the female’s attention. A male hamster usually bothers the innocent babies while attempting to get the attention of their mother, forcing the female hamster to hide the babies from the male hamster. If there are not good hideouts around, the female hamster can hide some of her babies in her cheek pouch until the babies suffocate. Why Do Female Hamsters Attack Male Hamsters? Females hamsters can attack male hamsters for two major reasons. The first reason is to show her unreadiness for mating. Usually, a female hamster will be ready for mating every four days, so if any male hamster attempts to mate with her before she is ready, she will attack such a male hamster. Another reason why a female hamster sometimes attacks a male is to exert her aggressive behavior. Female hamsters are generally more aggressive than male hamsters, which is why they sometimes do their best to dominate males when they come in contact for non-mating purposes. Is It OK to Have Two Hamsters in the Same Cage? Yes, you can keep two hamsters in the same cage, but you must design the cage in such a way that the two hamsters won’t have to share too many things. Food bowl, water bowl, and other necessary things must be available in more than one quantity so that the hamsters won’t have things to fight over. More importantly, you should consider the breeds of hamsters that you want to keep together. While some breeds of hamsters can live together in harmony, a few breeds can never live together without fighting one another. What breeds are best to combine together? You can combine two Roborovskis in the same cage. Roborovskis can live happily in pairs or in a small group both in the wild and in the cage. Kindly note that it’s best to keep same-sex Roborovski hamsters together, and not of different sex. Also, you need to pair the hamsters at a very young age so that they will become comfortable with each other as they grow up. Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters can also live together in harmony. They need to grow up together in order to get along with their cage mate. Dwarf winter white Russian hamsters can reproduce very rapidly, so try to keep same-sex together. Campbell’s dwarf Russian hamsters are also friendly to their breeds, which means you can combine two of them in the same cage. Just make sure you do so while they are still very young. While it’s okay to combine the breeds of hamsters above in the same cage, you still need to observe the hamsters for a few days to ensure they tolerate each other well. In case one hamster oppresses the other, you should remove the oppressed one from the cage and pair it up with another hamster of the same breed and sex. [...] Read more...