Here’s How To Find A Lost Hamster – Find Your Furry Friend

So your hamster has gone missing. That’s okay, don’t worry, he’s not very far. I’ll tell you how to find your hamster friend, whether you lost your hamster in your home, or outside.

This guide is handy even if you’ve never lost your hamster so far. After all prevention is key and it’s better to already know what to do if you ever lose your hamster, than to try and find out everything on the spot.

How to find a lost hamster

What to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamster

Before you start looking for your hamster, keep in mind that he’s got some reasons for wandering off. That doesn’t necessarily mean he wanted to leave, maybe he found something interesting in a corner.

Hamsters are incredibly curious, about everything, and will want to investigate thing right away. You’ve seen him glue himself to the cage bars when you do something around his cage, you know he wants to know.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you start looking for your hamster, and here they are:

  • Keep away any and all pets that can move freely (like a cat, bird, or dog), as well as small children that might scare the hamster.
  • Close all doors, so your hamster won’t move about from one room to the other while you’re looking for him.
  • Remember that hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so your friend will probably come out at night, when it’s dark and quiet in the house.
  • Dim all the lights, and make as little noise as possible, so your hamster will think it’s safe to come out.
  • Try to remember where you last saw your hamster, and start from that room.
  • Be thorough in your search, hamsters are amazing at hiding. Look under, behind, over, between any piece of furniture you have, without moving it at first.
  • Make a mental note of any holes or large cracks in the walls or doors that your hammy might have escaped through.
  • Your hammy might be in odd, squishy places like between the sofa cushions, or in your sofa’s tapestry if he found a hole, so be careful where you step and sit.
  • The search might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, so be patient. Your hamster can survive for up to 3-4 days with no food or water.

So don’t worry, your hammy is probably somewhere in the kitchen munching on some peanuts behind a cupboard. Now let’s see how to find your hamster friend first.

Finding a lost hamster in your home

If you’ve lost your hamster in your home, the search will be easier, in a way. There is less space for him to hide in, and he can only run away so far.

So, we’ll start with this scenario since it’s the most common situation hamsters get lost in.

Where the hamster might have gone

This about where the hammy might go. Think about the room you last saw him in, and try and think in his shoes (or paws).

If it’s cold in the house, he might go for the warmest room he can find, so you can start there.

If it’s been a few days since he’s missing, and you only just noticed, he is probably looking for food so you can start with the pantry or kitchen.

Was there anything interesting in the room you last saw your hamster ? Like a very smelly food, or a bag of treats, or something that made a lot of noise (like a crinkly bag) ?

Are there any nook and crannies your hamster would love, close to where you last saw him ?

How to find a lost hamster (3)

What the hamster might have done/why he wandered off

Hamsters are very curious, about everything, so there’s a large chance that he maybe just wanted to investigate something.

It’s possible that your hamster was very scared, or stressed out. Like the cat pawing at his cage maybe, or the parrot bursting into song right next to his cage. Maybe the toaster went off in the other room and your hammy got scared.

Still, there are quite a few reasons your hamster might have escaped, starting with curiosity and ending with just because. If there were any weak wires in your hamster’s cage, you can be sure he found them.

Or, if you’ve got an aquarium for your hamster be warned that he needs a very tall edge in order to not climb over it – taller than your hamster’s total length, plus stretching. So it’s possible that he found a way to climb over the edge of the glass tank.

For more info on exactly what you should be looking for when getting you hamster an escape-proof cage, you can check out these top 5 hamster cages.

Setting the traps for your hamster

When you’re looking for your hamster, you’ll need to set some traps. Humane ones, of course, but still you need to trap him in one particular spot. Or, at least find out the room he’s in.

Baiting the hamster with food

You can try a few or all of these ideas, depending on your home, how many pets or children you have, and how much time you’ve got.

One idea would be to get a large treat, that your hamster likes. Like a dog biscuit, or a whole peanut(with shell, no salt), or a piece or cheese, and tie a bit of yarn around it. The rest of the yarn you can make into a long string that leads to a center piece you’re often next to.

So, when your hammy will try to take away the treat you will see where he it pulling from. Place just one big treat in each room.

Another extra step would be to tie a small bell onto the string of yarn. This way the treat will make some noise when the hamster picks it up.

Another idea would be to place some food in a small bowl made of crinkled up aluminium foil, with large, flowy edges. Think of it looking like a small volcano, with treats where the lava would be. The crinkled aluminium would make sounds when your hamster will be inspecting the food.

Or, you can sprinkle a fine, thin layer of flour all around the treats you left on the floor. Or, you can sprinkle it over the floor in front of where you think your hammy is hiding.

You can even sprinkle it across the whole floor, although there will be  lots of cleanup to do afterwards. Your hammy will leave tiny foot prints where he’s going through the flour, and you can narrow your search from there.

If you can’t sprinkle flour or tie in bells, you can simply put a specific number of treats in every room. Then, check the next day to see which room has less treats, so you know where the hamster is hiding.

Home-made trap

You can also use an actual trap made from thing you’ve got at home already.

Get yourself a bucket, or a large plastic bin. Something the hamster can’t climb out of. Add a layer of bedding so your hamster can get comfortable because he will be sitting there for a few hours.

Then, at the very top/edges, place either aluminium foil, or a large sheet of paper, or paper towel. Place on the paper or aluminium a few lightweight treats that your hamster will like, for example 1-2 peanuts or sunflower seeds, or a bit of biscuit.

Do not fasten the paper or aluminium onto the edges. The hamster will have to be able to fall into the bucket/bin, once he steps onto the paper.

Next, your hamster has to be able to get up to the edge. You can make a sort of stairway with a few books, or a piece of cardboard bent into the shape you want, or anything the hamster can climb.

Finally, sprinkle a few seeds or treats for your hammy to follow as a trail up to the top of the trap.

You hamster will smell the treat, come out of his hiding place, follow the trail of treats, and in the end go for the treat on top of the trap. He will end up falling into the bucket/bin, and you will find him munching on the treats.

Humane rodent trap

You can find these in many stores, and they’re safe for your hamster.

The point of these traps is that the hamster will only be caught in the closed off space, and not killed. They will not harm you hammy, but I do recommend checking up on these about once an hour.

Air holes do exist on these kind of traps, but they can only do so much.

There’s also condensation forming on the inside, so you don’t want your hammy getting wet – more on that here, and what you can do about it.

Place some bait your hammy loves, like maybe peanut butter, or a whole peanut, or a small bit of cooked chicken. Once your hammy walks over the trap door, the trap will spring shut and will keep him there.

Your hammy might get scared at first, that’s normal. But you’ll find him soon enough, so he won’t be staying in the trap too long.

You can find this kind of traps in lots of places, but you can check this one on Amazon to get an idea of it.

Finding a lost hamster outside

If your hammy is lost outside, this will be a bigger problem. He could’ve gone very far, but there’s still a chance he’s close by, just hiding somewhere.

Placing treats and baiting your hamster like in your home won’t work. Outside there’s cats, birds, and other creatures that will take the bait.

And depending on the type of terrain around your home, if it’s fenced in, if there’s a forest starting in your backyard, your search will be harder.

Best to just go for the humane mouse trap I linked earlier, since that’s pretty much the only way you’re sure something larger than your hamster will not steal the bait. 

In this case the bucket/bin trap won’t work either, since you might find yourself with a bird or squirrel in that trap.

In a worst case scenario, if it’s been more than a week and your hammy hasn’t showed, he’s probably wandered off into the wild, or had a nasty run-in with another animal.

This is also something to consider if you ever think about releasing your hamster into the wild. He might or might not make it. Life in the forest or plains or general wilderness in your are is probably too harsh for the little furball.

Escape-proofing your hamster’s cage

Prevention is the best way to be sure your hammy doesn’t escape. So let’s see what you can do about his cage.

First, you will find here a whole list of tips and pointers on how to choose the right cage for your hamster – both in terms of size, but safety as well.

In general, glass tanks/aquariums are much harder to escape than regular wire or plastic ones. Make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding.

Hamsters can and do jump, sometimes out of their cages, so be warned. You can find out more about that here, so you know what to watch out for. Also a wire mesh cover would be a good idea for the glass tank, just to be safe.

Another idea would be to get your hammy a wire cage that has 1 cm/0.4 inches or less spacing between the bars. Hamsters are actually very small, under all that fur. Like cats, if their head fits somewhere, their body will squeeze through as well.

So it is entirely possible for your hamster will squeeze through the bars of his cage and away he goes. Especially if you’ve got Dwarf types, which are so incredibly tiny. You can find out more about hamster sizes and how much they grow as adults – right here.

Make sure the latches on the cage doors are closed well enough. And finally, you can use some binder clips – the big, black, ones you use for lots of sheets of paper. You can use those to fasten the corners of a wire cage to make sure it stays put.

(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.)

How to find a lost hamster (2)

How to keep your hamster from wanting to escape in the first place

Hamsters that escaped because they were stressed or unhappy are a sad story. But, you can make sure your hamster doesn’t get in that position in the first place. You can also check here for 15 essential steps in caring for your hamster friend.

Keep your hamster friend happy and not stressed

This means keeping and pets or small children away from the hamster, or very supervised. A curious cat or a playful puppy will want to move the hammy around, try to paw it, bark at it maybe.

And since hamsters not only scare very easily, they are also not patient at all, this won’t go well.

Always make sure that the hamster is able to run away and hide if he feels threatened or uncomfortable. This is the major reason I do not recommend hamsters as pets for small children (under 13). Children are sometimes unaware, sometimes overly curious, and sometimes just don’t know their strength.

This can make handling a hamster very difficult, especially if it’s a very small hamster, and doesn’t sit still too long. Hammies will also bite and scratch their way out of a situation if they have to, so this is another reason to keep small children away from them.

Conversely, the cage and room you hamster lives in must be a calm, quiet one. Pets and kids zooming around your hammy during the day (when he sleeps) won’t make him feel safe at all.

If this is what your home usually sounds like, consider getting a guinea pig. Those are much more calm, and they kind of don’t care about anything. So a barking dog won’t be much of a bother, or a child picking them up while they eat.

Provide a large enough cage so your hamster has space

The size of the cage matters. I’ve been repeating this in most articles, and I will keep repeating it. Mostly because for a few weeks I had the wrong sized cage for my Teddy (adult Syrian male) and I only realized this too late.

Here you can find a good roundup of hamster cages according to what hamster you have.

So, a cage that is too small can get your hamster nervous, anxious, he will start biting the cage bars. All kinds of unwanted, unhealthy habits. Hamsters are very territorial, even if they’re so gosh darn small. They need lots of floor space to run around in, and they feel suffocated in a small cage.

The minimum cage for a Syrian hamster is of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This I’d say should be the minimum for a Dwarf hammy as well, since hamsters will go for larger cages if given the chance.

If you’ve got more than one hamster – like a pair of Dwarf hammies – you need to read this.

Play with your hamster to form a bond with it

Finally, playing with and handling your hamster daily will form a close bond between the two of you. This means that your hammy will have less of a reason to escape, since he will want to stick around for you.

So, here’s a nifty little article on how to actually tame your hamster, and one on how to show him affection and play with him. Some hamsters can be tamed but will never like being touched too much, so you’ll find ideas for those hamsters as well.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found out how to find your missing hammy. I know it might seem like a hassle, but we usually don’t wander off too far. We might go missing for a couple of days, only to turn up safe and sound in your cupboard when you least expect us.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the related articles below.

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Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf Hamsters
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf HamstersIf you own hamsters, you must know that you can actually make money off of breeding hamsters and selling their young. Or maybe you’re just looking to expand your group of rodents. Whatever the reason may be, you can definitely breed your hamsters. All rodents, including hamsters, breed like crazy and it doesn’t take long for them to make babies. Hamsters make for cute little furry pets, but breeding them needs to be a careful process, as pregnancy for any species is dangerous for both the mother and the child or children. This isn’t a decision to make lightly, as you need to carefully consider your hamster’s health before you decide to take this step. You also have to decide what you’ll do with the babies that are the result of breeding. Even if you haven’t planned on breeding your hamsters, you may find that your female is pregnant, and you need to know what to do. That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we will be tackling the subject of breeding dwarf hamsters, teaching you all the important ins and outs of that process. You will be learning what to expect, how often do these hamsters go in heat, how long are they pregnant for, how many babies should you expect, how to know when your hamster is ready to mate, how to breed Dwarf hamsters, and a few other things, as well. Without further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents ToggleAre Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners?How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat?How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate?How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters?How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For?How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have?Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Are Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners? It’s difficult to actually define good when it comes to hamster breeding. The truth is, unless you’re looking for a specific breed of hamsters, the differences between hamsters are really arbitrary. Dwarf hamsters certainly aren’t any more difficult to take care of than any other breed of hamster, and they’re not any more difficult to breed than any other breed of a hamster. The only breed of hamster that’s actually more difficult to breed is Syrian hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are actually among the breeds that are very easy to breed. What you should know is that if you’re looking to breed hamsters just to sell them to a pet shop – you’re likely not going to succeed. Pet shops usually have their own list of suppliers, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be making that list since most of these suppliers have whole compounds devoted to hamster breeding. However, if you’re looking to be a small, local breeder or you want to give hamsters as presents to your friends and family, then breeding hamsters can be a good idea. And breeding Dwarf hamsters aren’t any more difficult than breeding any other breed of hamsters. There are many things that you’re going to have to be careful about, and we’ll be covering that in this whole article. But, breeding hamsters isn’t exactly difficult and anyone with a cage and a male and a female hamster can do it. When you’re trying to breed hamsters, you’re going to want to get a male and a female from the pet shop, or from whoever your supplier is. You can also buy your hamsters from a breeder, this may be an even better option since you’ll have a greater choice when choosing colors and types. You also get the breeding history of the hamsters. At a pet shop, you will often find siblings or hybrid breed hamsters that are less desirable for breeding. Pet shop workers may also have a difficult time telling the difference between male and female hamsters. You have to decide what kind of hamster you want and what you’re looking to achieve. Always look for hamsters that are in good health. Their eyes should be clear and bright, their fur smooth and glossy, and they should look active and interested in their surroundings. Hamsters are wildly active animals, and it’s very unusual for a hamster to be disinterested in their surroundings. When choosing your hamsters, you’re going to need a male and a female. You should check their genitalia to make sure that you’ve picked up the proper animal. This can be tricky since hamsters are so furry. Usually, the testicles and anus are far apart for the male, while the genitalia and the anus are really closely together with the females, so much so that it almost looks like it’s the same thing. You can check this below the tail, between the hind legs. Males should be at least 30 days old, while females should be at least three months old. Don’t try to breed your hamsters before they reach this age. The next thing you’re going to want to do is to prepare the breeding area for the hamsters. This means buying cages – you’re going to need two cages. You should always buy plastic aquarium cages, not wire cages. Hamsters will always try to escape, instinctively, and small hamsters that are still babies can easily crawl through the wires of a metal cage – plastic cages are definitely the way to go here. Put one hamster in each cage and fill the bottom with wood shavings, megazorb, or carefresh. Sawdust is no good – it can get into the hamsters’ eyes and affect their breathing.  Avoid cedar or pine shavings because the wood bears natural chemicals harmful to your hamsters’ lungs. You should also get a small plastic or wood home for your hamster, and fill that with wood shavings, as well. You also have to buy a wheel for both of your hamsters (understand that they’ll be in separated cages until it’s time to mate, and they’ll be separated once again after mating). It’s vital that your hamsters can stay active, as they’re very energetic animals that get stressed out if they can’t spend that energy – this unfortunate occurrence would definitely not benefit your breeding plans. Also, buy two water bottles, two hamster food bowls, several packs of hamster food, treats, and toys. You should definitely move the female’s cage to a calmer area after breeding, and you should give the female extra bedding for nest building material. It’s important to feed your hamster properly, and that’s why it’s best to feed it with a hamster mix. You can also feed them fresh food, seeds, whole grains, fresh green vegetables, and boiled eggs. After the mother has given birth, you should supply her daily with a slice of bread soaked in cow’s skim milk. You should keep doing this until the babies reach four weeks of age. You shouldn’t disturb your hamsters when you take them home – give them a few days to adjust to the environment. This move is very stressful for them and you don’t want to stress them out before they have to breed. Don’t try handling your hamsters before they’ve spent at least two days in your home.  How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat? Hamsters breed like crazy, we’ve already said that. All rodents, actually, can breed very quickly and before you know it, you have a huge family of hamsters on your hands. Male hamsters reach their sexual maturity when they’re 28 days old, while it takes female hamsters three to four months (depending on the individual) to mature sexually, and from that point onwards – the female will enter heat roughly every 4 days.   Since hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals, a female will go into heat during the night and it will most likely be in heat for about 12 hours. How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate? When it comes to the males, they’re basically ready to mate after being alive for a month, and they can mate at any time. However, to tell if the female is in heat and ready to mate, you have to pay attention to signs. Hamsters, ironically, act very similarly to cats when they’re in heat. The female will be crouching low to the ground and raising its tail. The hamster is also likely to smell, as the female is releasing pheromones. It’s important to tell that your female is actually in heat because trying to breed your hamsters when your female isn’t in heat can be very dangerous – the female is most likely going to kill the male in self-defense, as it doesn’t want to breed. When you’re trying to breed your hamsters, it would be smart to put the cages one near the other for a few days – just so the hamsters can get to know one another and to let the pheromones do their job. How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters? Now, to breed your hamsters, you’re going to want to place them into one cage together, preferably the male’s cage, and only do that after recognizing signs of heat. Since hamsters are nocturnal, it’s best to do this in the evening. It’d be best to have a third cage, just for mating, as this is seen as some sort of neutral territory, but putting the female into the male’s cage is just as fine. If you do the opposite and put the male in the female’s cage she may get territorial and kill the male. If you see your hamsters fighting when you try to mate them, separate them and try again in a few days. However, if your hamsters aren’t fighting, feel free to keep the female in the male’s cage until they’ve mated. Dwarf hamsters are actually quite sociable, unlike Syrian hamsters, so you can keep them in the same cage. If you place the mating pair together without supervision, the female will become pregnant quickly. Evidence of a female’s first mating is blood near her genitalia, under her tail. You will also find a white substance on your female hamster’s vagina. This is called the copulatory plug, and it’s proof that the male has released sperm. This is definite proof that your hamsters have mated. You should definitely isolate the female from the male as soon as the breeding is over with. There are many hamsters that will take care of their babies, but some hamsters will attack and kill them. This can happen for several reasons, for example; even the mother may kill their babies. This happens if a human has touched the babies and the scent of the human stays on the baby, the mother doesn’t recognize it, and it kills its babies to protect the others. We’ll go deeper into this topic later on. It’s best to be on the safe side and remove the male for the duration of the gestation and birth. The female will also be in heat immediately after giving birth, and the male will want to breed with her. This can be incredibly dangerous and often lead to the female’s death. How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For? After this, all that remains to do is wait, as the bus pretty much drives itself at this point. You need to be patient and watch the progress, and make sure that you’re taking proper care of the hamsters. If your female is pregnant, she will start showing within a few days, and saddlebags will appear on each side when she’s ready to give birth. When she’s reaching that point, she’s going to build a nest in her pregnancy by gathering bedding material into one location. She will start eating more and grooming more. She will also be digging more, as well as becoming more restless and startling more easily. Restlessness means that she will start to wander around her cage with no apparent reason for that, she’ll be gathering more and more food. This period lasts anything from 18 to 30 days, depending on the hamster. Dwarf hamster gestation is between 18 and 30 days, but the average time from mating to birth is 21 days. The Roborovski Dwarf hamster’s gestation usually lasts for a full month. This basically means that you’re going to have babies about three weeks after placing a female and a male in the cage together. The female will go in heat 24 hours after having her pups. You’ll notice that she’s going into labor by her sides starting to heave – small, pink bodies will start to emerge. Hamster babies are born blind and bald. She’ll actually be giving birth to them while she’s moving around the cage. Then, she’ll pick her babies up in her mouth and take them back to her nest. Don’t try to help the birthing process in any way. Firstly, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help the hamster give birth more easily. Secondly, it’s already painful and stressful enough as it is, the hamster doesn’t need a giant hand waving around her cage. How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have? You should expect four to six babies, that’s the average size of a Dwarf hamster’s litter. Although, there are cases where the mother has given birth to as few as three and to as many as twelve babies, so be prepared for all scenarios. Once the mother has given birth, you have to pay special attention not to disturb her. Do not touch any babies that she might leave lying around her cage. If you for some reason must touch the baby, rub a spoon into the flooring of the cage, and touch the baby with the spoon, do not touch the baby with your bare hands. You should also let the mother nurse for her young for three weeks without disturbing her. You shouldn’t even be cleaning the cage during this time. Leave her, the cage, and her babies alone – the only thing you should do is refill her food and water supply, and you should try to do this discreetly, as well. This is especially important for the first-time mother, who under stress, has been known to kill and even eat her babies. Don’t think that the mother is eating her babies if you see that she’s putting them into her mouth – she’s just doing this because she’s trying to protect them. The mother will be very jumpy after birth, so you should avoid touching the nest for at least three weeks after the babies have been delivered. If you desperately need to clean a part of the cage, use a spoon to do it, but we have to stress that it’s really not important that the cage is clean during this time. Be very careful to avoid the nest. Every time you’re restocking the food supply and the water supply – completely refill it. This way, you won’t have to return too often. You should wait for four weeks before trying to separate the male babies from the female babies. The males will be sexually matured at this age, not to mention that they’ll be eating on their own, so you should definitely remove them from their sisters as you want to stop inbreeding. Rodents don’t have any problems with incest, so they’re likely to try to breed with their own sisters if you don’t remove them quickly enough. You can keep the females in the cage with the mother since Dwarf hamsters are milder than some other breeds. However, do not place the males with the father – the father will reject male babies (as many species do), so you should place them in a separate cage when they are weaned. They take three weeks to wean, but let them live with their mother for another week to get adjusted to eating solid food. The babies will begin drinking water at 13-15 days of age and eating food between 16-21 days – after this period has passed, they’re showing you the first signs of being old enough to be separated. During this period, you’ll want to keep the food bowl and the water bottle accessible to the babies, as sometimes the water bottle can be set too high and the babies might not be able to reach it. When you’re separating your babies, you’re going to have to be able to tell their sex. To do this, take a hamster and grasp it firmly around the body and lift it upright and tilt its body slightly backward. The hamster will not appreciate this, and it will struggle to get out of this position. However, you shouldn’t worry as you definitely aren’t hurting your hamster. Take a look at the genital area – the females have the genital opening and the anus close together, while the males have the genital opening separated from the anus by a distance approximately equal to your forefinger. If the babies are more than five weeks old, you can tell their sex even more easily, as the males’ testicles will fall down to the edge of the body forming two distinct pale pink lumps on each side of the anus. Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Yes, there are instances in which a hamster (be it the mother or the father) will kill their own babies. There are many reasons for which a hamster might kill their own babies: – the mother may feel stressed if you constantly keep checking on her and her litter. We’ve already mentioned that you should really leave the mother alone after she’s given birth – aside from feeding her and ensuring that she has water, you shouldn’t be disturbing the mother. This can cause her stress levels to rise and kill her young. Hamsters are very scared as a species (this applies to all hamsters, not just Dwarf hamsters), and it’s very easy for them to get stressed out. It’s normal that a hamster that’s just become a mother will already be under enough stress, and a giant human being annoying her is definitely not going to help with that. – her personal space is too small, and the babies are taking up too much space in a cage that’s too tiny. This can also happen if the cage you’ve purchased isn’t large enough. Baby hamsters can take up too much space and the mother sees no other escape other than killing them to provide more space. This may seem brutal, but hamsters find space to be very important – even if they don’t have any babies, hamsters will get stressed out if their cage is too small. Many times, you’ll witness two hamsters in the same cage fighting because there’s not enough space for both of them, sometimes even killing one another. – she is hungry after giving birth. This sounds unlikely to some, but the mother can be so starved after giving birth that she kills and eats her young. She may also kill them, but not eat them if she’s stressed from birth and from being hungry. – the mother accidentally killed the young while carrying them in her cheeks. This is actually a common occurrence in the hamster world – the mother will try to carry the young to the house or put them in her cheeks to protect them from outside factors. She can accidentally squeeze too hard and kill the baby or babies. – biting her young too hard when she’s carrying them – while carrying her young, a mother needs to bite down a bit to ensure that her babies don’t shake and aren’t thrown around her mouth. She can accidentally bite down a little too hard and crush her young. – the mother may think that there’s something wrong with her babies. If the mother suspects that her babies are sick or that there’s something physically wrong with them, she’ll kill her babies. Maybe out of mercy, maybe because this is the evolutionary way of survival of the fittest, but the mother will be getting rid of any offspring that seems to be faulty in any way (by her standards). – she can’t recognize their scent. This is a terrible way to go as it isn’t the mother’s fault, but if you touch the babies, you’ll leave your scent on their bodies and the mother won’t be able to recognize the babies. She won’t think that they’re hers, and she’ll kill them. That’s why you should never touch the babies, and never let anyone else touch them either. – the father can kill the babies, as well. This is actually fairly common in the animal kingdom, as the male will often see the newborns as competition and kill the young. That’s why you should always separate the male from the female and the babies, as soon as the babies are born. [...] Read more...
15 Essential Steps To Properly Care For Your Hamster
15 Essential Steps To Properly Care For Your HamsterHave you just gotten a hamster ? Or are you planning on getting a hamster and want to know how to care for him ? I’ll tell you everything I know, and I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) home. There are 15 essential steps to take and know, so you can be a good hamster owner. Some of these might be obvious, some might be counterintuitive. But they all help your hamster lead a healthy, happy life. As a sidenote, hamsters are actually cheap to care for, and they make good pets. It’s just that they have some very specific needs sometimes. Table of Contents Toggle1. Choose a good cage for your hamster2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks likeA word from Teddy 1. Choose a good cage for your hamster The first and biggest problem when getting a hamster is what kind of cage to get him. Now I’ve covered this in detail in this article on how to choose the best cage, but a short version would be this. A Syrian hamster (the biggest kind of hamster you can find as a pet) needs a minimum cage 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 for one Syrian hamster. They should always be kept alone. If you’re keeping Dwarf hamsters, then the same cage will fit a pair of Dwarves well enough. Always remember that while hamsters are so small and fluffy, they need a lot of space. They will always feel better in a large cage, rather than in a small one. This is because they do a lot of running around and roaming, and they get bored very easily in a small cage. Especially if it’s not almost nothing in it aside from bedding and some food. An overcrowded cage can also make the hamster irritable and nippy, so it’s best to only keep one hamster in one cage, even if he’s a Dwarf. As for examples of good cages, here is this one. It’s got a small space between the wires, so no hamster can escape. It’s also got an adjustable level which you can put wherever you like. I recommend keeping it pretty low though, since hamsters prefer the low ground. Of the commercial cages you can find available, this is the largest and safest. It provides lots of ventilation and it easy to take apart and clean. All in all a good choice for hamster owners who are both space and budget conscious. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews as well. If you want to go for a bigger cage, you’ll need to look for an Ikea Detolf. That’s basically a big standing shelf. You put it on its side, remove the shelves, and make a wire mesh to cover the top if need be. The only problem with the Detolf is that it’s heavy, and big. So wherever you put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. Cleaning the Detolf is going to require a few more steps, but it’s doable. What is brings though is almost double the space the cage I mentioned above does. So no hamster would feel cramped in a Detolf. 2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster Another big and important step to make is to provide the hamster with bedding (or substrate). That’s what the hamster will live on, eat on, sleep on, pee on, and generally live all his life on. It needs to be a safe and healthy, and you need to be able to provide lots of it. Hamsters generally dig into their bedding, so giving your hammy at least an inch/2-3 cm of bedding is a minimum. You can find several hamster bedding options are in this article, you can pick whichever you think works best. The safest bedding you can provide your hamster is aspen wood shavings. All hamsters react well to aspen, and it’s a type of bedding readily available in most parts of the world. Another option is paper bedding, however that’s not as easy to find as aspen shavings. When you go out looking for the wood shavings, please make sure to stay away from cedar and pine shavings. Sometimes they’re sold for pets, but for small animals like hamsters those wood types are too strong. Their smell will suffocate the hamster, who has a very sensitive nose to begin with anyway. A good example is this one for aspen shavings. The bag comes in different sizes, so it can last you anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, depending on which size you get. You will only need to replace the hamster’s bedding once per week, so it also depends on how much bedding you put down into the cage. It’s a dust-free bag of wood shavings, which is important hen dealing with small animals. Respiratory problems can and do some up when the hamster has contact with dust. A dust-free bedding will keep him safe from that point of view. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. You also need to know about hamster nesting materials. Now, there’s nesting material you can buy, yes. But that’s almost always textile based. It’s a type of fluff, which does keep the hamster very warm. It’s a lot like the stuffing inside a teddy bear. But the problem is that kind of material can get tangled around the hamster and suffocate him. Or get tangled in his teeth (hamsters always pouch their nesting material) and end very gruesomely. So what can you use ?  Toiled paper, unscented. Plain tissues. Plain paper towels. Bits of cardboard. Rip them into strips and shreds, and watch you hamster decorate his home. He’ll build a big and warm nest out of all of those things and sleep like an angel. 3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained The toys you choose for your hamster are important. Partly because a hamster can get bored if he’s got nothing to do in his cage. And partly because they need to be safe for the hamster and help file down his teeth. This means that hamsters will need plenty of wood or cardboard based toys. They can and will chew on absolutely everything in their cage. So for this reason wooden chews are a must, and cardboard too. Most toys can be either DYIed at home out of cardboard rolls, or bought from a store. This means the hamster can have an egg carton with holes in it an enjoy himself, using it as a hide and seek toy. You can even place a treat at one end of the carton and it’s just turned into a puzzle toy. You can also place a walnut inside the hamster’s cage. Make sure to remove any dirt off the walnut, and leave it whole in the hamster’s cage, He’ll go crazy over it and try to open it. He can’t, since he’s no squirrel. But he’ll try, and file down his teeth in the process. Hamster teeth always grow, so this is crucial. The most important thing in the hamster’s cage though, is his hideout. He will build a nest anyway, in the most hidden corner he can find. But he will feel more secure and safe in a hideout. It provides shelter, warmth, and a feeling of safety for the hamster. In the wild his nest would be in the ground, quite a few feet deep. It would be a series of tunnels, well hidden from any predators. In a cage though, he can’t do that. But a hideout is the next best thing. That hideout absolutely needs to be made of wood for two reasons: It will absorb moisture and release it outside. It’s basically breathable, and the hamster won’t have a damp nest, which means he won’t get a cold, or wet fur easily. Hamsters chew everything, even the hideout/nest. Wood is safe for them, and they even chew in their sleep. So it’s important that the hideout is of a safe material, not plastic or ceramic. A good example of a wooden hideout is this one. It’s a lot like my Teddy’s hideout actually. It’s big enough for a Syrian hamster, and it will also fit a Dwarf hammy. The wood is safe to chew on, and it has plenty of ventilation with all 3 holes available. They’ll be blocked with nesting material by the hamster, but he will still get fresh air. A hideout like this one will keep the hamster his whole life, unless he decides to use this as his one and only chew toy. Even then, it would take him quite some time to get through all that wood. You can check the listing on Amazon, and read the reviews as well. 4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs When it comes to food, you’ll be glad to hear hamsters can eat almost anything. But they do have a specific diet. The usually eat lots of grains, with a few vegetables and fruit thrown in for good measure. Nuts and seeds are okay too, as is a bit of protein in the form of cooked plain chicken, or even a mealworm or two. Actually most foods that are safe for hamsters are already in your fridge or pantry. The only problem is that they need a very specific diet, which you can always supplement with food from your kitchen. A good hamster mix will have his ideal diet in mind, and provide lots of vitamins and minerals as well. For example this one will last you quite a few months, because hamsters do not each very much. For a Syrian hamster two teaspoons per day are enough, and for Dwarf types just one teaspoon is enough. Hamsters will hide their food in their nest, so don’t panic if you see the food bowl is empty after a few minutes. This mix lasts long and is among the best for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Aside from the hamster commercial mix, you can give your hamster treats like bits of carrots, a plain peanut, a leaf of spinach and so on. He will enjoy the treat. But if your hamster is a diabetic hamster, keep fruits away from him. Carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes are off limits as well. 5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary Cleaning the hamster’s cage is the first way to make sure the cage does not get smelly, and the hamster stays healthy. Cleaning should be done once per week, and only clean the pee corner every few days. The thing about hamsters is that they’re very clean animals. They groom themselves constantly, almost as much as a cat does. So the hamster himself does not smell. However what does smell is the corner in which the hamster usually pees. This is always the corner farthest away from the hideout, and it’s usually wet or at least damp. That corner can be scooped up every few days, and you can place new bedding in that corner. But once a week, a full cleaning is needed. That means taking the cage apart, putting the hamster in a safe place (like his travel cage), and cleaning everything. You can find a whole tutorial on cleaning the hamster’s cage here. Including how to proceed in the case of a sick hamster, and what you should be aware of before you start cleaning any hamster’s cage, sick or not. 6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise Hamsters are runners, for the most part. Some will love to climb or dig more than running. But most hamsters will enjoy running, and that’s what they will need to do to expend all that energy. Keep in mind that a hamster can run as much as 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night. That’s a whole lot of running for a creature so small. So make sure you get your hamster an outlet for all that energy. This means providing him with a big enough hamster exercise wheel, and you can choose which is best for your hammy. A wheel will allow him to run as far and as much as his little feet can take him. It’s important that the wheel is a large enough one, because a small wheel can give the hamster back problems. You see, hamsters don’t have a straight-ish spine. They look like they’re hunched over all the time, because they actually are. Their spines need to remain mostly hunched even when running. A straight spine can be odd for them, and a backward bent spine is actually painful. So this means you need to get he biggest sized wheel your hamster can comfortable run on. For example this one is a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, and it will fit pretty much any hamster. It’s also got not middle fixture, so the hamster has nothing to hurt his back on. It stays where you put it, and it’s a very silent kind of wheel. It won’t wake you up in the night (like Teddy did with us when he was younger). It’s got a tail and foot guard, which means your hamster friend won’t catch important appendages in the wheel when he’s running. This is especially important for the Chinese hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often Taming the hamster is going to be either a breeze or a story to pass down onto your grandchildren. Some hamsters get used to their owners and warm up to them in just a few days, and some hamsters will never be okay with being picked up. It varies from hamster to hamster, and it also depends on how much patience you’ve got. Taming a hamster takes time, and consistency. It’s not hard, but it can be very slow. It’s also a bit hard to read the hamster’s reactions. If he’s not biting or running away, it’s a good sign. But noticing whether he actually likes something or not ? Your guess is as good as mine. Hamsters are easy to bribe with food though, so that’s always going to help. You’ll need to interact with the hamster constantly to gain and keep his trust. He might not always sit still so you can pet him, and he might not always like it when you pick him up. But in time he will learn to associate you and your hands with food and good things. Even if you’re not doing much, at least talk to the hammy. He’ll come up to the side of the cage to hear you out. He won’t understand a word, but at lest you’ve got his attention. 8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens Hamsters don’t need regular trips to the vet, and they don’t get sick often. For the most part hamsters will only stay in their cages, unless take out. This means the only moment they can get sick is if someone sick interacts with them. Or, if they become much too stressed or the cage is very dirty, and they develop wet-tail. But aside from that, hamsters aren’t sickly animals. That being said, when a hamster does get sick, it can get very serious, very fast. And you’re going to need a good vet for that. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet. That’s a vet who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Such a vet will be able to help more than a regular cat and dog veterinarian. You can find out more about choosing a good vet for your hamster here. 9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them When it comes to the hamster’s usual health problems, there aren’t as many as us humans can have, but they are serious. You can find a list of the main health problems here, and how to treat them. Of all the threats to a hamster’s well-being, wet-tail is the most notorious. This is a type or diarrhea, and it can become deadly in a matter of days. Hamsters usually contract it either from an already infected hamster, from an overly dirty cage, or through high stress levels which can disrupt their normal digestive system. Tumors and lumps are not uncommon, infections are about as common as they are in humans. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but tumors can sometimes be impossible to remove without putting the hamster at too much risk. Hammies can lose their eyesight and become blind, and this is usually a sign of old age. Blindness can come earlier than that in some cases though. While hamsters don’t really use their eyes, they are still vulnerable and can become injured or infected. There are treatments for almost all of the hamster’s health problems, and most of them are meant to be administered by a vet. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) 10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period Hamsters reproduce in large litters. They can fall pregnant very often – every 4 days actually – and their gestation period is short. Only 16-22 days, depending on which hamster type you’ve got. So if you brought home a pair of Dwarf hammies, and one of them seems to be too fluffy, you’ll find out in 2-3 weeks if you’ve got a pregnant female on your hands. This can happen because pet shops sometimes separate the hamsters into gender specific groups either too late, or misgender a male and put him with females. To find out more about finding your hamster’s gender, you should read here. The gender becomes important from week 4 of life, when the hamster babies are weaned by their mother. That’s when they can also start breeding, and sometimes unwanted accidents can happen. Once the hamster has reached 10 weeks, he or she may be introduced to the opposite sex, if you’re looking to breed them for a new liter. Pregnancies started past week 14 are not safe though, so keep an eye on the hamster’s age. For more info on the mating ritual and the reproduction itself, you will need to read here. And read here to make sure the babies survive until they are adults. New momma hamsters can be unpredictable. 11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have There are 5 main types of hamsters, 3 of which are Dwarf types. The 3 Dwarf types are hard to tell apart, but the Syrian is the largest and the Chinese is the only one with a noticeable tail. There are essential differences between the Syrian hamster and every other hamster out there. Including where they all came from, actually. Hamsters have only been pets for the past century or so, and they have some pretty rugged ancestors. Why does the breed matter ? In a way, it doesn’t. There aren’t severe temperament differences between hamster breeds like there are between dog breeds. Still, not all hamsters can live together. Only the Dwarf types can come to tolerate a sibling or two, as long as they were never separated since they were babies. Obviously, they need to be of the same gender, otherwise you’ll become a grandparent, not the way you’d like. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend putting any hamster in a cage with another hamster, Dwarf or not. Cohabiting is very rough, and there will be quarrels between the hamsters. To a certain degree they’re normal, as any sibling quarrels are. But, they can always degenerate into serious fights, sometimes deadly. For this reason I strongly recommend you keep each and every hamster in his own cage. 12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster Remember that hamsters are prey animals. This means that they’re used to running away, and hiding. They won’t really stay put so you can pick them up. It’s not their nature. So expect a certain degree of fear and jumpiness from your hamster. He will freeze up from time to time, for no immediate reason. He’s actually listening for predators, and learning the various sounds that go around in your home, and outside of it. A hamster will sleep most of the day, and only wake up at dusk. He’ll come put when his instincts tell him no predators are around. And he’ll stay up most of the night, and go back into his nest once dawn comes. He might make a couple of sounds, but aside from that he’s a very quiet pet. What you might hear though, is the sound of him chewing on something to wear down his teeth. He does this often, and it’s as important to him as brushing our teeth is to us. If your hammy doesn’t warm up to you very fast, don’t be disappointed. That’s a fairly normal reaction from a small animal used to being chased through the desert by animals much larger than himself. You’re not very different from the big animals chasing his ancestors. Other than that, hamsters are a loveable bunch, prone to all kinds of weird acrobatics. My Teddy was one hell of a climber when he was young, he was all over the cage. 13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town Hamsters can’t really be left to their own devices when you leave town. Much like fish or a pet turtle, your hamster is going to need someone to come over and feed him daily. Hammies do survive for a few days with no food or water. But I don’t think you’ll want to find out just how much your hamster can last like that. Best to have someone to take care of him, even if it’s just giving him food and changing the water. 14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals Hamsters are sensitive to everything. The light levels, the noise levels, the temperature, the stress levels, being handled too much, being handled too little, being held wrong, and drafts. So you’re going to have a to be a very careful person if you’re going to look out for a hamster. Most of their sensitivities stem from the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal animals, so they react to light levels and sounds. The other is that they are very very bad at managing stress factors. This means that about half of their health problems come from how stressed they are. Given the fact that these creatures are almost always on high alert, they’re also high-strung all the time. So not a very good thing. It’s also very hard to not scare a hamster. Really, they’re so on edge that even getting up can trigger them. Walking past their cage. Sneezing within a few feet of them is a cataclysmic event. In truth this is because hamsters have very poor eyesight. So if you sit quietly and fairly still, he won’t even know you’re there. That means when you move he’s going to have a small heart attack. He didn’t even notice you, when did you get there ? 15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks like Another thing to be aware of is how long your hamster will live. this will vary from hamster breed to hamster breed, but in general a hamster’s lifespan will be around 2-3 years. Hamsters are adults when they reach 3 months age, and they’re considered old when they reach their 2nd birthday. This means an old hamster will happen upon you faster than you’d think at first. Some hamsters don’t show their age, and some hamsters look very old even before their first birthday. Health problems become more common, walking becomes slow, and they slowly start to wither away. Old hamsters will need special care from you, and you can read up on this here. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look like cute and cuddle little things, but we do require a certain level of care. Hopefully this article gave you a lot of insight into what owning a hammy looks like. 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...
Hamsters Hiding Their Food – Why, When, And Where
Hamsters Hiding Their Food – Why, When, And WhereEver seen how your hammy stuffs his cheeks and then wanders off ? Did you ever wonder where all that food goes ? That’s a lot of food for such a tiny furry boy. Where does it all go ? As it happens, hammies like to hoard. Their name in Syria where the first hammy was discovered translated to Mr. Saddlebags. Apparently hamsters like to carry away their food, but what do they do with all of it ? Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters hide their food ?Why hamsters hide their foodWhen hamsters hide their foodWhere do hamsters hide their foodCan you stop your hamster from hiding his food ?Which foods are okay for hamstersA word from Teddy Do hamsters hide their food ? Yes, hamsters hide their food. In fact your per hamster is hiding the majority of the food you’re giving him. This is not to say you’re overfeeding him. We’ll discuss that later in this article. But hamsters are hardwired to hide away most of their food, in case of a long, hard winter. Or in case it’s too dangerous to go outside to forage for food. Pet hamsters still have this instinct, since it’s what kept them alive for so long in the wild. So they’re not going to forget it anytime soon. After all, they’ve only been with us for the last century or so. Now let’s see how and why this all happens, so you can better understand your friend. Why hamsters hide their food Hammies hide their food for a number of reasons. To understand this we need to look at the wild hamster, and how it survives in the wild. A wild hamster will come out of his hiding place in the evening, and hear for predators. He he thinks the coast is clear, he’ll run around looking for food. Now, given the fact that hamsters are prey and are always hunted by one animal or another, they move fast. They also have to move fast to cover lots of ground, their territory is large because the areas hamsters come from are quite barren. Not much vegetation or fruit or veggies to be found. So hamsters take what they can get, and cover a wide area to do so. They can cover 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night ! Imagine those tiny feet scurrying across the desert or steppes to find a few grains. On top of all this, winter does come. That means less food, and the need to stockpiling. Hamsters have evolved, because of all these reasons, to have one big pantry in their nest. That pantry is organized and cleaned daily. The hammy knows what he’s got there, and he knows it will last him through the cold. For convenience, for survival, and because of scarcity. This is also why hamsters usually eat dry, hard grains since those keep the best. They’ve also evolved to have long front teeth to manage eating those grains. More on hamster teeth here. How does this translate to your pet hamster ? Well, even if he’s a pet and he is safe and gets food constantly, he still has the instinct to hoard and make sure he has enough food. It’s something pet hamsters will probably never forget. When hamsters hide their food Hammies love to hide their food. They don’t usually need a time of the year to hide it, they always hide it. Whenever they find some food, they’ll hide it in their amazingly elastic cheek pouches and carry it with them. This means they’ll also have snacks along the way, and they don’t have to drop all their food if a predator comes along. So your pet hamster will hide his food when he finds it. This means that right after you put food in his little bowl, he will sniff it and start putting it in his cheeks. He’ll stuff his cheeks with as much food you’ve given him, or as much as his cheeks can carry. Then, he’ll wander off to his hideout, and put it in his food stash. More on that later in the article. Once his stash has been added to, he might stay there and eat a few bits of the food. Or, he might come out and play, or run on his wheel. Once he knows he’s got food, he won’t worry about much. If you give him additional bits of food, after his feeding time, he will still take those. hamsters are greedy little things, regardless of how much or how little food they have in their stash. They will always take the food offered. If it’s a food that spoils immediately, like a piece of cooked chicken or egg white, he’ll eat it right then and there. If it’s a food that keeps, including cheese, he’ll store it away. Where do hamsters hide their food Alright, hammies store their food, we know why and we know when. But where exactly do hamsters store their food ? Well, maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. Hamsters are good at hiding. But whenever you clean your hamster’s cage you’ll see he has a corner, tucked away in his hideout or nest, and it’s got plenty of food.  That’s the hammy’s storage place, or food stash. That’s where he keeps all the food you give him, and it’s convenient. Next time your think your hammy is sleeping try this. Keep your ears open for any chewing or small crunching sound. That’ll be your hammy taking a midnight snack. Hamsters keep their food close, and it will usually be in the lowest part of their nest. As in, they will build their sleeping area on top of the food, if they have no other option. In the wild hamsters only keep their food in a special, dedicated room. They have a different room for sleeping, another one for peeing, and so on. Hamsters are very organized, and in the wild their home is actually a series of tunnels on several levels, with many rooms. As a pet, they have either the hideout you provide them, or the nest they’ve built in a corner of the cage. For the sake of your hammy’s sanity, do get him a hideout. Or at the very least arrange a hidden, covered corner of the cage and you’ll see that’s where he will hide. (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.) Can you stop your hamster from hiding his food ? No. You can’t stop your hamster from hiding his food. It would be like trying to stop a dog from howling when he hears other dogs. Or a cat from surveying everything from the tallest object in your home. Or a parakeet from being… well, silly and noisy. It’s what the animal does, and it’s their instinct. A hamster will always hide his food, because this is what he knows. He knows food is scarce, and life in the desert or steppes is harsh, and he has to survive. The fact that he gets a steady, regular food supply from you is just happenstance for him. Giving him more food will only mean a larger food stash that will end up spoiling since he can’t eat it all. On the other hand, underfeeding your hamster will only give him a sense of anxiety. Having only enough food to eat in one sitting, and nothing to bring back home will make him stressed. Hamsters react very poorly to stress and can develop serious problems like fur loss, wet tail, and a series of digestive problems. So give your hamster food as usual, 2 teaspoons for a Syrian, and one teaspoon for a Dwarf type. That’s daily, and it’s for commercial mixes that have lots of dry grains and seeds and vitamins added in. He will have enough food to eat, and to hide. Do keep in mind that older hamsters become very picky, and won’t eat all of their food. Which foods are okay for hamsters This is a topic I’ve covered in a different article. Here you’ll find a whole list of safe and unsafe foods you can give your hamster. Some are already in your pantry, or fridge. However I do recommend a commercial food mix to give to your hammy, since that will have a balanced diet for him, with all the nutrients he needs. At a glance, hamsters eat mostly grains. They are omnivores, and will eat most things they find. But, not all are okay for them. Again, refer to the food list I’ve linked above. Aside from grains, hammies eat veggies, some root-type veggies, some fruits, a couple of insects, and lots of seeds and nuts. Very acidic foods like citrus or garlic or onion, and spices in general are very bad for hamsters. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies love to hide our food, just so we know we’ve got enough to last us for several days. It;s not you, it’s just us being hamsters. If you want to know more about us hammies and how to care for us, you should read the articles below for more info. [...] Read more...
Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main Reasons
Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters are rodents, they like to try and test things by biting instead of licking. But licking the cage or other objects in it is not unheard of. So let’s talk about a few reasons why your hamster is licking the cage. Before getting to the topic is important to know that hamsters have different personalities and not all of them would have the same behavior for the same reason. So, it is important to know all the possible reasons for your hamster licking the cage, but you might have to decide which is most likely. Table of Contents Toggle4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage1. Curiosity2. Cooling off3. Thirsty4. Lack of mineralsHow to clean the cage after a hamster licks it?Why does a hamster lick itself?Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands?Why do hamsters bite the cage?Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage?Conclusion 4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage Hamster licking the cage happens more often when we are talking about glass tanks and less often for bin cages or regular hamster cages. You can check my article about glass tanks for hamsters if you want to know more about how safe they are and what you should know when you keep your hamster in one of those. Here are a few reasons why a hamster is licking the cage. 1. Curiosity This is one of the main reasons why hamsters lick their cage, so you should not worry too much about it. Those little furballs are anxious by default, and at the same time they are also curious, which might not be the best idea in the wild since they can get into a predator trap but in some situations, it might help them get food.  Here is an article about what hamsters eat in the wild and how their diet differs from a pet hamster. I know that all the hamsters I had were curious, when they would hear a sound around their cage, the first instinct was to hide, but after a few seconds, they would come out to see what it was. You can imagine that this is not the safest behavior for a hamster in the wild but is fun to see it if you have a pet hamster. So them licking the cage, especially a glass tank it, is usually out of curiosity. They want to know if they should chew it and what it tastes like or simply want to explore more. 2. Cooling off If the room temperature is too high, they might lick the glass tank to cool off a bit, as we might eat ice cream on a sunny summer day. Compared to bin cages, glass tanks are cooler and your hamster can easily cool off (and even get too cold) when in direct contact with the glass.  If you want to know more ways to keep your hamster cool, here is an article about 9 ways to do that. But before that, you should check this article to know what is the best room temperature for a pet hamster. 3. Thirsty Being thirsty might make a hamster lick the cage, but this doesn’t happen as often since a pet hamster should always have a water bottle filled with fresh water. But to be sure, you better check that their water bottle is working properly if you see your hamster licking the cage. 4. Lack of minerals Hamsters lacking minerals might be an obvious reason for them licking the cage. However, I’ve put it last since a pet hamster usually gets all the minerals it needs from a pre-made food mix that you can find online or at the pet shop. So a pet hamster should not lack minerals. I gave a mineral chew to my first hamster, and right after that, I wrote an article about mineral chews for hamsters. You can read the article if you want to know more, but long story short, they don’t really need extra minerals, and it might actually be dangerous for them. So, a lack of minerals is not the most common cause for a hamster licking the cage but people usually think this is the main reason because we like to control things and know what the reasons and solutions are. While most of the time, the reason is unknown and you can’t do too much to stop it, but the good news is that the hamster is usually ok and doesn’t need special attention because it licks the cage. How to clean the cage after a hamster licks it? It is not crucial to clean the cage right away, but when you do, it is important to use just a bit of soap or even only hot water. Hamsters are very sensitive to the smell of soap, and if they start licking the cage again, it can be dangerous for them. My advice is not to rush to clean the cage when you see your hamster licking it but rather wait for when you do a complete clean anyway. Why does a hamster lick itself? Hamsters are very clean animals, you don’t ever need to wash them since they are doing a great job themselves and getting wet is dangerous for hamsters. They are always cleaning themselves to stay odor free, or they might leak their scent glands to release a specific odor that helps them confuse and/or scare predators. So a hamster constantly licking itself is normal behavior. You should not worry about that. The only thing that can be bad about that is when they lick and try to bite themselves since that might be a sign of having mites. Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands? Hamsters can lick the owner’s hand as well, they do this for a few reasons. They try to show affection by doing this, which sounds cute but it doesn’t happen as often as we think. We have to keep in mind that hamsters are not social animals and they don’t necessarily enjoy playing with you. They can tolerate you, but they cannot love you like a puppy would. Depending on the hamster’s personality, some of them might not be bothered by getting picked out of the cage, but to say that they love that is a bit much. This is similar to the first reason they lick the cage: curiosity. They will try to see if it’s safe to eat, so a small bite after they lick your hands shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hamsters explore their world with their mouth and teeth, so that’s how they will explore you as well.  Why do hamsters bite the cage? A more serious and annoying behavior is when a hamster is biting the cage, either the plastic part or the bars. This can be dangerous for your hamster since they can get to eat the toxins from the plastic if they chew it. There are a few reasons for this behavior that I discussed in my article about hamsters chewing the cage bars, but I will shortly touch on them here as well. Small cage. This is one of the main reasons a hamster bites on the cage or the cage bars. They feel like they need more space or they want to evade.  Stress. Hamsters are quite anxious animals, so a lot of things can easily stress them. It can be the food, the water, the temperature, the noises and so on. You might have to investigate more to see what bothers your hamster. Teeth are growing. The hamster’s teeth are constantly growing like any other rodent, and they have to chew something. It might be the fact that they don’t have any other chewing toys, or it might simply be their favorite place to chew on. Curiosity. Yet again, they are curious animals, and more often than licking something to see what it is, they are biting it. Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage? Yes, you can temporarily stop your hamster from licking the cage, but it is not guaranteed that you will always succeed in the long-term. If the reason is the fact that they need to cool of, the solution is quite simple, you have to make to room cooler. If the lack of minerals is the problem, you should be more careful with the food you give and read on the box to make sure it contains minerals and vitamins in the appropriate amount. When it comes to being thirsty, if they use the water bottle properly and the bottle has water in it, this should not be a reason for a hamster to lick the cage. The tricky part is when they are curious, in this case all you can do is to distract them with other toys and tunnels. Make sure you put some treats, and some of their food in those toys and tunnels to ensure your hamster will want to use them. A bored hamster will lick the cage, bite the cars, climb all over the cage, and generally be frustrated. Adding enrichment items will help your hamster. But don’t expect quick results, your hamster might be stubborn and ignore your treats and keep licking the cage. However, this behavior might change in time by itself without any intervention from you, so patience might be the key in this case. Conclusion A hamster licking the cage is not an actual problem most of the time, but you better make sure that reasons 2-4 are not the problem. If your hamster is just curious, that will not put them in danger, it is just how they are, curious and anxious simultaneously. I hope this article helped you better understand your little furball’s behavior. [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid These
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid TheseHamsters are very skittish creatures, and they scare easily. For example when I first got my Teddy he was scared of me and didn’t like being out of his hut. In time we grew closer and he is fine with me now, but he still has some random moments when he suddenly darts into his home. If your hammy is anything like mine, then you’re probably wondering why he’s so scared of you. Sometimes you can’t help it – no matter how much you weigh, you’ll always be a giant for your hamster, and that can be scary for him. Table of Contents ToggleSo why is your hamster so scared of you ?Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first placeYour hamster doesn’t trust you yetYour hamster is scared of sudden movementsYour hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new homeSome hamsters are very easy to scareA word from Teddy So why is your hamster so scared of you ? Generally hamsters are scared of everything, including you, until they get to know you better. Often it’s not necessarily your fault, since hamsters have an instinct to hide from everything. It could be how large you are in comparison to him, he maybe heard something spooky outside, maybe the cat keeps pawing at his cage every day ? So in short, your hamster could be scared because: he doesn’t trust you yet you did something very suddenly and scared him he’s currently in shock (like when you first bring him home) he’s a very shy hamster – some hamsters just are too easy to scare, no matter what. Alright, but aside from the personality, these can all be avoided. Or, at least made to be less scary for your hamster. Let’s get into detail with all of these, and see what you can do to help your hamster be more at ease. Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first place Imagine being so tiny, like your hamster. You barely weigh anything, and if the wind blows too hard you’ll roll over for a few minutes. Then, you’re somehow hunted day and night by anything from owls, to snakes, to wild cats and dogs, and sometimes even humans (in some parts of the world). You have to always be on the run, and nowhere you hide is safe. You dig underground, but the predators can hear you breathing or moving about. You run but they keep up. So you learn to have very quick reflexes, and run faster than your predators. You learn to dodge, suddenly stop, run the other way, and every other evasion tactic ever. You have to always be on high alert. Your best senses are hearing and smell, because the eyes don’t always tell the truth. This is usually what hamsters live like, and it’s a natural part of …well, nature. So your tiny furball is born to run and hide as fast and far as those tiny feet can get him. So whenever your notice that you scared your hamster by just walking by him, know that it’s 90% just his instinct. A few other reasons your hamster might be suddenly freezing can be found in this article. Now let’s see what can be done about the different reasons your hamster can get scared of you. Your hamster doesn’t trust you yet This is the main reason hamsters are scared of humans. We are so much larger than them, and we go to grab them with our big hands. The hamster’s first instinct is to shy away. So, what is best is to slowly let your hamster get to know you. As with dogs, hamsters have very fine smell, so let your hamster get used to your smell by placing your hand in the cage with a treat on it. Let the hamster get close, and take the treat from you. He will probably not eat from your hand at first but he will know your smell. Slowly progress over time to keeping more food in your hand so that your hamster gets to touch you more often. You can try gently petting him with a finger, and then later lifting the hand with the hamster on it, still in the cage, and slowly putting it back down. It takes time and repeated tries for your hammy to trust you, but it will probably happen. It might take a few days, or a few weeks. In some cases, it might not happen at all. Some hamsters are just very hard to tame, and it’s an achievement if they don’t bite at all. Your hamster is scared of sudden movements Since your hamster can’t see very well (but can hear and smell very well) sudden movements will make him jump. Literally jump. My Teddy did backflips when he was young if I somehow scared him, then he’d run into his hideout. So what I learned to do was not move too suddenly when I am around him, and talk to him as well. This way he knows where I am and can guess where I am going. Imagine some very large creature that you don’t understand, suddenly moving around you very fast. You’d probably hide too. Sudden sounds don’t really scare hamsters. Actually they will hear things you don’t, or would usually ignore. For example if it’s raining outside, you’ll notice your hamster stand still and listen for the water dripping outside. This is only until he learns to recognize the sound, then he will ignore it too. Your hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new home If your hamster is young, and you just brought him from the pet shop, leave him a couple of days to adjust. When you get your hamster, the employee who will catch him in the cardboard box needs to be gentle but determined to actually get him inside. Most hamster babies will run away when you reach for them to put them in the box, but picking them up with the box with a treat inside is much easier. Then, after you’ve picked up the hamster make it a short trip home. He will panic and start to pace his tiny box, scared. My Teddy started to chew around the air holes in his box when I got him, and we got an Uber home to get him in his cage fast. When you do get home and prepare his cage, place the box with the hamster inside the cage. Set a couple of treats outside his box, and open it. Then step away and let your hammy explore his new home. He will be shy at first, but the food will draw him out. Make sure that you’ve set up the bedding, hideout, food bowl and water tube and a few toys for him. You will need to give him about 2 full days to adjust to the cage and his hideout. In this time he will scare easily, and probably climb everywhere on the cage. For a good idea on what kind of hideout to get your furry buddy, check out this article. You’ll get some tips and pointers, along with clear examples. My Teddy made me wonder if I accidentally got a spider instead of a hamster. He was on the cage walls and ceiling more often than he was on the ground. Actually the first night I had him, I made myself some tea and just sat there watching him. He is my first hamster so I had no idea what he would be doing. Everything he did was funny, including that fuzzy face when he stares into the distance. In those first couple of days, do not reach into your hamster’s cage, to let him make the cage his. Then, after he calms down a bit, you can start talking to him, feed him a treat between the cage bars. Then, you can start building your relationship with him by doing what I suggested above, in the hamster trust part. But remember to give him time, it might take a few days or even a few weeks ! (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.) Some hamsters are very easy to scare This you cannot change, but you can improve it. Give the hamster time to get used to you, and go very slow with the taming process. Let him back in his cage if he looks like he’s restless. Most hamsters look like that but you can tell when your hamster want to jump out of your hand. It might be that he will never get used to being touched or held, and that’s not something you can change. Not all hamsters are like this, but a few can be very scared. With these hamsters, be extra cautious, move slowly, and talk to them. For example my Teddy is not the friendliest – he doesn’t let new people touch him. And sometimes not even me, depending on his mood. He’s more like a cat sometimes. Never disturb the hamster when he doesn’t need to be awake. You can read more about the daily routine of your hammy here, and why it’s a bad idea to wake him up too many times. A word from Teddy I hope you know now that us hamsters are easy to scare. So be gentle and slow, and we’ll learn to trust you. We can become very good friends if you give us enough time. If you want to know more about hammies, feel free to check the articles below. You’ll find more info on how much space we need, and how to feed us properly, along with other general care things. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Need A Vet ? Keeping Your Hamster Healthy
Do Hamsters Need A Vet ? Keeping Your Hamster HealthyFinding and holding onto a good vet is no joke. But do hamsters need veterinarians ? And how often do they need one ? Can hamsters be treated at home ? As a responsible hamster owner, you’ll need to know this. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need to visit the vet ?How to know your hamster is sick, or in need of medical attentionPicking out a good vet for your hamsterHow much a trip to the vet costs for a hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters need to visit the vet ? No, hamsters do not need mandatory veterinarian check-ups. Hamsters are hardy enough, and they’re usually shielded from most diseases by being safe in your home. There is also the fact that hamsters become very stressed when taken on a trip, and more than a couple of hours in a travel cage is disturbing for them. Keeping their time outside the house (traveling) to an absolute minimum is very important. However if the hamster is injured or sick, you will need to take him to a vet. Injuries can occur at any time, for many reasons. Diseases can still come into your home and reach your hamster – like the common cold for example. Let’s see how you will know if your hamster does need to see a vet though, and how to find a good vet for your hamster. How to know your hamster is sick, or in need of medical attention There are a few symptoms you’ll notice when your hamster is sick, or injured. Let’s go through them. Any discharge at all, from the nose, ears, eyes, anal or genital openings. Hamsters are meant to be dry, clean animals, and any discharge is a sign of severe infection. Meaning he will need a round of antibiotics for his treatment, and plenty of rest. Bleeding of any sort. The obvious kind, like an ingrown tooth that’s cut the hamster’s lip or a cut paw. But also anal/genital bleeding, since this is not normal for hamsters and is a sign of a terrible health problem. If you’ve got a female hamster and you notice her genitals bleeding, rush her to the vet. This is not normal for female hamsters, since they do not have bleeding periods like humans. Any broken paw, or limp in the hamster’s walk. If the hamster is overly hunched – hamsters rarely stand up straight, their backbone is different than ours – or very very slow. Basically anything that would show you that the hamster’s mobility is impacted. It could be ingrown/overgrown nails, or a cut toe or the result of a nasty fight with his cage mate. Any suspicious lumps or growths, even warts. This can be checked by handling your hamster, and you’ll notice through his very soft fur if there is anything hard or lumpy under the fur. Tumors can sometimes be noticed in time and the hamster can be saved. Remember that females have a row of teats down both side of the abdomen, and if you’re not careful you might mistake a teat for a wart. Signs of blood in the hamster’s nest, or on the bedding. Even if the hamster looks okay now, but you find blood in his cage, you should take him to the vet. Whatever the cause of that bleeding, it might not have healed well, or gotten infected. This can lead to a series of health problems. A bulging eye, looking like it’s about to pop out of its socket. Sometimes the tissue behind the eye can get inflamed and the hamster’s eye will be pushed outside. Any problem at all with the eye actually, even white spots (cataracts) on the hamster’s eyes. If you notice symptoms of diabetes in your hamster (usually the Dwarf types). Excessive drinking, peeing, dramatic weight change (up or down), dramatic change in appetite, weariness, no exercise. Wet-tail, usually the Syrian hamsters. This is a severe problem, and often lethal. You’ll notice the hamster’s rear is soiled, wet, smelly, and he might have a matted, sweaty look about him. He might drink a whole lot of water and still not feel better. (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.) Picking out a good vet for your hamster Knowing when to bring your hamster to the vet is one thing, but knowing who to bring him to is another. Finding a good veterinarian for your hamster isn’t exactly easy, so I recommend following recommendations from your friends at first. Ask the friends who own small animals like mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, lizards, parakeets, sugar-gliders, anything that would be small and not usually encountered as a pet. Not all veterinarians can treat hamsters. You should be looking for a vet labeled as ”exotic”. They’re usually the ones who have experience with this kind of small creatures. Although if you find a vet you’re comfortable with and he knows how to treat a hamster, even if he’s not an exotics vet, give him a chance. What should you look for in a vet ? Well, for the most part competence, yes. He should know what he’s doing and why things are happening or how he can help. But he should also be patient, both with you and your hamster. Hamsters are notorious for being skittish, and not staying put in one place. The vet should know this and move slowly to not spook the hamster who does not know him. Whatever questions you have, they should be answered thoroughly. Even if they might sound like silly questions at first, if you need to know he needs to tell you the answer. Having a good relationship with your vet will ensure your hamster gets treated fast, and very well for whatever problem he has. If you encounter a vet who seems to rush you and not have much patience either for the treatment or the questions, feel free to look for another veterinarian. If at all possible, try looking for a veterinarian who lives as close to you as possible. Travel upsets hamsters, so the shorter the distance, the better. But if the vet you find close to your home turns out to be not to your liking, look for another one, even if he’s a bit farther away. You will not need to see the vet often. But when you do, he needs to be a good, patient person, and able to competently help your hamster back on his feet. How much a trip to the vet costs for a hamster This I can’t say. It really depends on where you live, the vet himself, the treatment the hamster needs, for how long, and so on. Usually checkups should be cheap, seeing as they’re just checks to see if the hamster is in good condition. Lab tests, long-term treatments and some medications can be expensive. Most of the time though, the hamster will not have a health problem bad enough to need those. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look so small and fragile, but we’re fairly hardy. We’re sensitive too, but we usually don’t get sick. 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...