If you’ve got a hammy in your life, you know they can be the funniest, cutest little creatures ever. If you haven’t got one, you’ll find out now why hamsters are a favorite among pets.
My Teddy is a Syrian male, and I’ve had him since August 2017. Since then he’s done the weirdest, funniest things you can imagine a hamster doing.
So sit down and get ready to go ”awww, mine does that too !” because here’s a list of all re reasons hammies are the cutest things ever !
1. Hamsters make the cutest faces
Hammies have this cute little face, you can’t really resist them. Especially the Dwarf types, with their fuzzy faces and practically no necks.
My Teddy got his name from his cute face, even if he’s a Syrian. He’s got the cutest little teddy bear face I’ve ever seen. My favorite part, and probably yours too, is where the whiskers start on a hamster’s snout. It’s looks like they’re sort of pouting, all the time.
And I’ve never seen a bad photo of a hamster. Seriously, those faces will look good in any photo, since they’re always very dramatic and expressive.
For example here’s my Teddy scratching himself, and you can see every small thought going through his head in this photo.
2. They freeze for no apparent reason
It’s a well known, and often searched thing, that hamsters freeze. Like you’re both just minding your own business, and suddenly your hamster will just stand up with this shocked, panicked expression on his face and just… exist.
Talking to him or tapping the cage won’t work most of the time, since he’s so focused on whatever he’s doing just standing there.
Turns out, there a reason behind hamsters suddenly freezing, and you can in fact unfreeze them. I won’t spoil the surprise, you can read about why they are freezing here.
Still, hammies suddenly stopping to stare into the distance for 2 minutes are a classic.
3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason
My Teddy is a champion here, I think. When he was younger he not only jumped, he did backflips.
This was mostly when something spooked him, and he had the funniest reactions to me just opening the fridge.
But the funniest moment my Teddy jumped was when we were all doing our own thing, and Teddy was busy shoving paper towels in his cheeks, as per usual. I reached around his cage for something, and apparently that’s a terrifying thing for him.
He jumped sideways about 12 inches/30 cm, while still shoving all those paper towels in his little face. When he landed he kept shoving them, like it was all part of his plan.
When I first got him home from the pet shop, I wondered if hamsters jump. They do, in fact, and Teddy jumped right at me in his cage.
4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have
Hamsters are incredibly small, and they’re the smallest pet you can get your hands on. Well, there’s fish you can also get, but you can’t really pet a goldfish, can you ?
Hammies are tiny, and that’s a big part of their charm. If you’ve got a bunch of Dwarf types, you know they’re so small it’s hard to notice them in their cage sometimes.
However since they’re so small that also means that holding them is not very easy, since they will jump out of your hands, and never sit still.
You can still watch your hammies have a great time squeezing themselves into the smallest places they can find, though.
My Teddy loves shoving his face between the cage bars and his hideout to … get to the bars ? that he already has access to ? but the view is better from there, I guess.
5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable
The first time my Teddy touched my hand was magical. There’s just something about your normally jittery and active hammy actively touching your hand that feels great.
He’s always busy doing this and that, and you’ve maybe touched his fur. But have you ever touched your hamster’s paws ?
I do this with Teddy when I give him a treat, especially a larger one. I hold onto it with two fingers, and I don’t let go for a few seconds. So Teddy starts to push with his mighty paws to get the treat for himself, and let go after a bit.
You can also try this with your hammy when you’re feeding him. If you place food in your hand, and let him forage for food in your hand, eventually he will touch it.
It will feel a bit weird, since your hammy’s paw feels a lit like a reptile’s skin. You won’t be sure if it’s cold or wet, but that’s just his paws.
6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything
If you’ve ever let your hamster onto your bed, you’ve maybe seen him try to hide a bit of your covers into his little cheeks. Hamsters will try to put anything that’s food or nesting material in their cheeks.
This is how my Teddy ended up with half an inch of fleece blanket in his cheek before I could even react. He was on my bed, and I made a sort of enclosure for him with the rolled up blanket. Once he got to the blanket, he just had to have it apparently.
You’ve probably seen your hammy do the same with a lot of stuff. Try to bribe him with a bit of food to come close so you can pet him, and he’ll just shove the whole peanut in his cheek and stare at you. Mocking you. The only things I’ve seen my Teddy eat immediately were cooked chicken, and boiled egg white.
My Teddy always has something in his cheeks, from paper towels, to bits of poo, a bit of food, and some broccoli somewhere.
And he’s always very fast about it, you can’t really get between him and whatever he wants to put in his cheeks. When his cheeks are full, he looks like a weird lizard, with bulges going down the sides of his face.
7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers
Ah yes, hamsters decorating and redecorating their homes are a thing. It’s always funny to watch Teddy pull, push, drag, fold, and shove bits of paper towel into his hideout.
Then he’d drag some more bedding into the hideout. After that, he decides he needs more chewed up cardboard. No,no, less bedding. An extra paper towel would be nice, though.
Whenever I think he’s done moving things around, there’s always something else that needs to be put in place. Have you ever seen your hammy move the nesting material in his hideout, pull it out, then put it all back in ? The same way it was before, only now it’s different. The same, but different.
8. Hamsters are athletic furballs
You’ve heard of hamsters needing an exercise wheel. But have you ever just watched your hamster to see how much he runs in a night ? He’s always on the thing, and he keeps on running.
On average a hammy will run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a night !
If he’s not running in his wheel, he’s climbing his cage bars to get to somewhere important. Or jumping over something, or crawling through a tube.
It’s like he’s in military training all day, every day, and nothing will stop him. Except for a piece of walnut, hamsters are cheap like that.
For example my Teddy would scale the cage bars, even the cage ceiling. I could see he has some very defined and strong abs, and you’ve probably seen hamster videos about the same thing.
As your hamster gets older he might stop doing that.
9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed
Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. But when your hamster sits down to groom himself, he;s not going anywhere for the next 10 minutes. That’s a lot, given how small he is.
Hamsters are very clean, very sensitive creatures, and they clean themselves often. They do complete cleanings in their fur a few times a day, every day, forever.
And it’s always this long, detailed process, where cleaning one ear will take up a minute and lots of scratches. But still, they are incredibly cute, and very flexible too. It’s always funny to watch my Teddy sit on his big rear-end start scratching and patting and pulling he knows what from his fur.
(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. They have the weirdest habits sometimes
I think this is something weird my Teddy does, and maybe you’ve seen other hamster do this as well. He’ll start scaling the cage bars, maybe even get to the ceiling and imitate a tarantula.
He has a lot of strength, and I know he can hold on very well. Until his batteries suddenly give out and he just… lets go. Just like that, he just lets go and falls on the bedding. I never understood that one.
Or when he throws his droppings around. He holds a piece in his teeth, and flicks it somewhere. He’s not eating them, he’s just kind of playing with them.
And when he suddenly barks/hiccups, again I never found out the reason behind that one. It’s quiet, nothing’s happening, there is no sudden noise. Teddy will just make the oddest noises, like a series of loud, high-pitched “hmph’; we probably offended him somehow.
But he’s a cute and lovable creature, and I’m sure you’ve got some funny hammies at home too !
11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on
Hamsters are well knows for their ability to shove everything in their cheeks and run home with those things. Actually the Syrian hammy got its original arabic name as ‘‘mister saddlebags”, since he can carry so much.
So your hammy, and probably everyone’s hammy, is a bit of a hoarder. You’ve seen his stash when you clean his cage, and it’s always incredible how neat and tidy he is with all of his belongings.
My Teddy brings into his hideout food, bits of fruit, all the paper towels, a walnut, a whole hammy biscuit, cardboard, a chew toy, everything.
Hamsters will try to build their nests out of everything soft you give them, or they can find, so make sure they stay away from anything cotton or fiber (choking hazard).
12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorable
If you’ve seen anyone wake up, you know their eyes are puffy, half open, hair messy, and they can barely walk. Well, imagine a furball waking up all disheveled, with eyes barely open, and his ears folded onto themselves.
Hamsters who just woke up look a lot like when they were babies, so warm and fuzzy and disoriented. Much like humans, hammies will wake up for a trip to the bathroom, grab a drink, and go back to sleep.
My Teddy is at his cutest when he wakes up and looks around his cage, to see if everything is okay. He just tip toes and sniffs just outside his hideout for a bit, and then stretches.
If you ever thought hammies were cute, a stretching, yawning hamster is a nightmare. But it only lasts for a few seconds, and he’s back to his cute, fluffy self.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found a few extra reasons on why us hammies are cute pets, and funny too ! I know we’re small and maybe harder to hold and pet, but we’re funny on our own too.
If you want to find out more about us hamsters, you can read the articles below. You’ll find more info on what we can and can not eat, how big of a cage we need, and even why we suddenly freeze sometimes.
- Can Hamsters Eat Fruits ? Safe And Unsafe Fruits For Your HammyIf you’re wondering about whether your hammy can eat fruit or not, you’re not the only one. My Teddy is always curious about what I have in my hands, and we eat a lot of fruit in this house. At first I had no idea which fruit was okay for him, or if any fruit was okay to begin with. But let e tell you what I found out, so you’ll know as well. Table of Contents So can hamsters eat fruits ?Some differences between Syrian and Dwarf hamstersFruits your hammy can eat safelyFruits your hamster should be kept away fromYou can use fruits as a treat for your hamsterDo not give your hamster too much fruitA word from Teddy So can hamsters eat fruits ? Yes, hamsters can eat some types of fruits. However hamsters should eat fruits in very small amounts, and not often. The majority of fruits are okay for hamsters to eat, however citrus type fruits are not. They’re too acidic for the hamster’s gut. We’ll cover in the rest of the article which fruits are safe for your hamster, and which should definitely be avoided. And also how much fruit you should give your hamster, and how often. Some differences between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters There’s a big difference between Dwarf hammies (Roborovski, Campbell, Siberian, and Chinese) and the large Syrian hammy. The Dwarf types are prone to diabetes, and need to stay away from very sugary foods and drinks. So that means that they can, in fact eat some fruits, but in a very small amount. And much less often than a Syrian hamster. This is largely due to the size difference between the two hamster types. A piece of apple, for example, as big as a peanut might be acceptable for your Syrian hamster. But for a Dwarf, the exact same piece holds much more sugars and carbs, which will lead to unwanted weight gain and the early stages of diabetes. Not only with fruits, but with some vegetables as well – like carrots, corn, and sweet potato as well. You can check the article “Can Hamsters Eat Vegetables” to read more about this. Fruits your hammy can eat safely Alright, with the difference between Dwarf ans Syrian hamsters in mind, let’s see which fruits your hamster can eat safely. The most common fruits like apples, plums, cherries and grapes are alright. However all hamsters, everywhere, do not react well to the seeds of a fruit. In most cases the seeds are poisonous. So it’s best if you never give your hamster a piece of fruit with seeds in it, of any kind. Then, the very sweet fruits like banana, apricot, peach, mango, pineapple, papaya – most of the yellow fruits – should be given in tiny, tiny amounts. For us these fruits are amazing and have the best taste and smell. However for hamsters these are just too sweet and savory. So it’s best if your hammy only gets an incredibly small amount of them. None of these are poisonous so far, they’re just way too sweet for a hamster so you need to be careful. Now, the berry types – like strawberry and raspberry, these are all alright for your hamster. But, again, without any seeds. So for example a strawberry should be lightly scraped to get all the seeds out, and the green top cut off. A Raspberry is okay by itself, since the white core will come off by itself when the fruit is done. Blueberries and cranberries are alright, but in very small amounts as well. As in, one or two berries every week. Figs are alright for your hamster, but n a very small amount. And Dates are alright too, as long as they have no pit. Coconut is safe for hamsters, but it should be given in very small amounts and sparsely. Coconut has a higher fat-count than peanuts and can make your hamster gain weight faster than bananas or mangos. And finally, watermelon is safe for hamsters, if given in a small amount, just the red part, and without seeds. This is partly because of how sweet it can be, and the fact that it has a very high water content. Too much of it can upset your hammy’s stomach. Fruits your hamster should be kept away from Kiwi – although it’s great as a fruit by itself, the kiwi is not very safe for the hamster. It can be very sour sometimes, and the seeds are not alright for hamsters to eat. This applies to Dragon fruit as well, since it has just as many seeds, everywhere in its flesh. Blackberry – while they’re okay for hamsters by their nutritional value, I put them on the unsafe list because of how many seeds it has, and how hard it is to get rid of them. There’s no way you can remove the seeds from a blackberry and have it whole. So for this reason, I advise against them. Citrus – no citrus fruits are alright for the hamster. Actually, hamsters shy away from the smell of oranges and tangerines. You can check for yourself with a citrus fruit. That includes oranges, tangerines, mandarines, kumquat, clementines, grapefruit (all kinds), lemon, and lime. Star fruit – not safe for hamsters, since they contain a neurotoxin that can be fatal to hamsters, or other small animals. It can cause kidney problems in some sensitive humans too. Best to avoid it for your hamster. (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.) You can use fruits as a treat for your hamster Since your hamster can’t have fruits very often, you can use it as a sort of treat. Particularly, you can use it as a very special treat when you’re taming your hamster. That means that your hamster should not get this treat very often. But he cans till get a small piece of apple, or maybe a cube of mango, depending on whatever you’ve got lying around. Simple treats like fruit chips – slices of fruit that have been carefully dried and made sure they’re not moldy – can be great for hammies. I’ve used banana chips for my Teddy, and he loves them. It’s something he gets a kick out of. Probably the crispy, crunchy texture gives him a lot of incentive to nibble and nibble. However these are banana chips, so they’re still sweet. Not as sweet as regular banana slices, the taste is a bit different. But do not go overboard when feeding your hammy these chips, since they are in fact real banana slices. In this respect, the whole bag will last your hamster probably a year. If you get into the bag, that’s another story and completely up to you. You can check the Amazon listing here, and see the reviews as well. Do not give your hamster too much fruit Whether you have a Dwarf or Syrian hamster, they can both develop health issues if given too much sugary foods. While a slice of apple does not compare to a cube of chocolate when it comes to sugar and fats, they are both still sweet. Especially for your sensitive hamster’s taste buds. So it’s best to keep an eye on how much fruit and sweets you give your hammy. A hamster that’s had too much sugar will become overweight, and develop diabetes. Both conditions can be life-threatening. Especially for a creature as small as a hamster. If your hamster’s already overweight, you can read this article to see how to get him to a healthy, safe weight. A word from Teddy I hope you know now which fruits are okay for us hammies. I love banana chips, and I sometimes get bits of apple. But maybe your friend is into mangos more, you could try it out. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on things like how big a cage we need, and how much food we need in a day.... Read more...
- Ultimate Guide to Breeding Syrian HamstersAll Syrian hamsters that you can find on the market today have originated from the original 3 Syrian hamsters that were bred in the 1930s. Because they frequently go into heat and their pregnancy lasts for a short amount of time, Syrian hamsters are able to produce more babies than mice and rats. Syrian hamsters are solitary and they have to live alone, which means that your female hamster can’t get pregnant on accident. If you want to breed your hamsters, you will have to get involved. Syrian hamsters become sexually mature when they are 5 weeks old, but they won’t be successful parents until they are 4 months old. All-female hamsters come into heat every 4 days, which means that you can breed them every 4 days. There are some things you should think about before you decide to breed your hamster. The first thing is that most hamsters aren’t supposed to be bred. Just because your hamster is friendly, doesn’t mean that it’s a good material for breeding. Responsible breeders have to take into consideration the size of the hamster, the depth of the color, quality of markings and fur, and health along with the good temperament. Most hamsters that come from pet shops have unknown backgrounds, and you can’t know what the babies will turn out to be when you breed your hamsters. You also have to think about whether or not you have enough room to keep 20 hamsters at the same time considering that each of them has to be in its own cage. Syrian hamsters live for about 3 years, so try to think about whether you can afford to feed that many hamsters for 3 years and provide toys. Keep in mind that there will also be unexpected trips to the vet. You should also think about whether you can cope if the mother eats its babies, or if it dies during labor. If you’ve thought about all these things and you still want to breed your hamsters, keep reading to find out how to do it. Table of Contents What are the Syrian hamsters?How to breed Syrian hamsters?How often do Syrian hamsters go into heat?How do you know when your hamster is ready to mate?How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for?How many babies do Syrian hamsters have?Do hamsters kill their babies?When should I separate my Syrian hamsters?How do you take care of Syrian hamster babies?How to take care of the mother? What are the Syrian hamsters? Syrian hamsters are hamsters that originated from dry parts of Syria and Turkey. They are also known as golden hamsters. They are the most common hamsters people keep as pets because they are easy to tame and take care of and fun to play with. Most of these hamsters will have golden brown fur with a lighter belly. You can, however, find Syrian hamsters in many different colors because of the selective breeding. Syrian hamsters have been bred since the 1930s both for scientific purposes and for pet shops. They are 5 to 9 inches long and they weigh about 5 ounces. If you take good care of them you can expect them to live for 2 to 4 years. Syrian hamsters can sometimes bite, but that’s mostly people’s fault because they don’t know how to handle them. Syrian hamster will have to learn to trust you while you handle it, and that’s why you should never shake or squeeze it. In the wild, Syrian hamsters are very solitary and territorial. It is very important that you always keep your Syrian hamsters separated and that each of them has its own cage. Syrian hamsters will tolerate each other while they are still young, but as they grow up they will become more aggressive and even kill each other. You should also keep your Syrian hamster from any pets because they could get into a fight. Syrian hamsters are nocturnal, which means that they sleep during the day and are active during the night. They usually wake up in the evening. You shouldn’t keep them in your bedroom because they could wake you up while they are active. Some hamsters are able to adapt to their owner’s schedule. That being said, you should never try to pick up your hamster while it’s sleeping because it will most likely bite you. You won’t be able to form a close bond with your hamster like you would with a dog or a cat. They will sometimes come to the side of their cage if they see you and most hamsters will like sleeping in your hands. Syrian hamsters need very big cages because they need a lot of exercises. The smallest cage you can put your Syrian hamster into can be 1x2x1 feet. You can choose between a plastic cage that has a wire on the top and a glass aquarium. While the glass aquarium allows your hamster to see the outside world better, the wire cage allows better airflow. Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys in its cage. If you have more than one hamster, make sure that each hamster has its own toys, water bottles, and food bowls. You should also give your hamster wooden blocks so it has something to chew on and always place a sleeping nest in the cage. You will have to add bedding to the bottom of the cage. Make sure that it’s a few inches thick and use paper or aspen products. It is not recommended that you use cedar or pine bedding because it can cause respiratory problems for your hamster. Syrian hamster’s diet consists of nuts, seeds, and grains, and it is supplemented with some fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. Because they are omnivores, you can give them some cooked chicken, hardboiled eggs, or insects. Make sure that the supplemental food doesn’t make more than 10% of their diet. The hamster’s cage will have to be clean, otherwise, it could contract fur and ear mites. A hamster that has mites will be itchy, and it will lose hair in patches. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet if you suspect that it has mites. Another common health problem that hamsters can develop is overgrown teeth. If your Syrian hamster doesn’t have anything to chew on, it won’t be able to shorten its teeth and it will have a very hard time eating. You will have to take it to the vet so that the vet can shorten your hamster’s teeth. You can get a Syrian hamster from a pet shop or a reputable breeder or a rescue group. It’s always better to get your hamster from a breeder because you will know its background and whether it will have any health issues which is very important if you want to breed it. If you don’t care about its background and you won’t be breeding it, it’s best that you get it from a rescue group. Rescue groups and breeders take better care of their hamsters. You will pay around $20 for this hamster. When trying to pick which one to get, always observe them while they are awake. Ask the seller what’s the best time for you to visit hamsters. Some sellers will wake up their hamsters with treats during the day so you will be able to decide which one you want. You will recognize a healthy hamster because it will be active and curious. A healthy hamster will have clean fur and clear and bright eyes. Never get a hamster that has trouble breathing or a dirty bottom- How to breed Syrian hamsters? To breed your Syrian hamsters, you will need a box that is 18 inches square and about 12 inches high. You should also wear gloves in case the female doesn’t want to mate and starts attacking the male and you have to intervene. Place the female hamster and the male hamster into the box and watch how they act. If your female hamster doesn’t want to mate it will squat and try to turn the male onto its back. The female hamster will put its nose under the belly of the male hamster to try and turn it onto its back. If this happens, you should take the female hamster out of the box and try to mate them some other night. If the female hamster wants to mate, it will start running but it will “freeze” when the male hamster puts its front paws on your female hamster. If this is the first time your male hamster is breeding, it will be a bit confused but it won’t take it a long time to figure out what to do. Female hamsters that haven’t been bred before probably won’t tolerate the hamster trying to figure out what to do, while those that did breed before are more tolerant. In most cases, mating will be successful if both of your hamsters have been bred before. You should leave them to mate for about 20 to 30 minutes but keep an eye on them in case any of them loses interest. If they do, they will get aggressive and start fighting. Remove the female from the box after 20 to 30 minutes, or if you notice that either of them is losing interest. Breeding won’t always be successful and it might take a while before the male hamster gets the female hamster pregnant. Make sure that the room is warm because male hamsters don’t show any interest in mating when it’s cold. When your female hamster is pregnant, it won’t come into season so you can test to see if it is pregnant by checking if it’s in season. Female hamsters become sterile when they are 12 to 14 months old, but some of them still go into heat. If you are considering breeding your hamsters to sell the babies to pet stores or even online, you should think again. You probably won’t be able to sell them fast enough online and they will grow up, and selling pets to pet shops is almost impossible. You should also check laws about selling hamsters in your state. How often do Syrian hamsters go into heat? Female Syrian hamsters go into heat every four days, but that depends on the season. During winter, you will have to keep the lights on for over 12 hours, and heat the room that they live in to trick them into thinking that it’s the right time of the year to mate. The female hamster should be at least 13 weeks old because younger hamsters have problems in pregnancy. The age of the male hamster isn’t important, it’s only important that it’s sexually mature. How do you know when your hamster is ready to mate? Male hamsters are always ready to mate, you will have to see if your female hamster is ready to mate. We know that female hamster comes into heat about every 4 days, and some come into heat every 3 to 5 days. You will notice that your female hamster is ready to mate when it’s more active and receptive to the attention it gets from the male hamster. They will go into heat during the evening and this can last between 4 and 24 hours. Before the female comes into heat it will produce a strong musky smell. You will probably notice this more in the summer. A day after your female hamster goes into heat you will be able to notice a thick white discharge which can make its urine appear cloudy. It will usually go into heat again 3 days after you notice this. How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for? Female hamsters are pregnant for 16 days, which is one of the shortest pregnancies in mammals. You should give the female milk every day while it’s pregnant. You can give it some runny porridge, or bread soaked in milk. You can also give it some sunflower seeds from the twelfth day of the pregnancy to help with lactation. About two days before the female is supposed to have babies, you have to clean the cage and put a lot of new bedding so that the female can make a nest. You should also remove any old and uneaten food and put new food in the cage. In most cases, the babies will be born after 6 p.m. on the 16th day of the pregnancy. Most babies will be born in the first few hours, however, some might not come until the next evening. If the babies haven’t been born by the morning of the 18th day, you should take your hamster to the vet and see whether you will induce birth. Once your hamster has given birth you should continue giving it food with milk and sunflower seeds, but you should be careful with how much milk you put in the bowl. Baby hamsters can walk and they might wander and drown in the milk. You can give some milk to the babies when they are seven days old, but make sure that the milk is in a shallow plate so they can’t drown. You might also want to sprinkle some solid food into the nest for babies to eat. How many babies do Syrian hamsters have? On average, a Syrian hamster will have 4 to 12 babies. Sometimes it can happen that your hamster has up to 20 babies. This depends on the age of your hamster. If you’re new to breeding and you’ve accidentally bred your Syrian hamster with some other breed, the babies could have birth defects. You could end up with babies that are born without eyes or teeth and they will probably die in the first two weeks of their life. This can also happen if you breed two Syrian hamsters with a recessive anophthalmia gene. Do hamsters kill their babies? If you notice that your female hamster covers the babies whenever it leaves the nest, don’t go looking at the babies. The female hamster will think that they are in danger and eat them. However, if it leaves them uncovered, you can look at them, but don’t touch them so you don’t upset them or the female hamster. You will notice that some female hamsters let their babies wander and explore the cage, while others drag their babies by the paw or tailback to the nest. It might look as if the mother is hurting them, but don’t worry, it’s not. When the babies are 14 days old, you can try to clean any wet areas of the cage, remove any old food and water and add fresh food and water, but you have to be careful not to upset the female hamster. When should I separate my Syrian hamsters? Syrian hamsters are solitary, which means that they live alone, and you will need to place each hamster into its own cage. Usually, Syrian hamsters have to be removed from the cage when they are 8 to 10 weeks old. If you don’t remove them by then, there could be some serious fighting and they could even kill each other. Sometimes they won’t fight, but living in groups causes stress for Syrian hamsters which will shorten their lifespan, so you should still separate them. It is advisable that you remove them even earlier. If your hamsters become sexually mature and you still keep them together, it could lead to babies becoming pregnant, or the mother becoming pregnant again. You can split them from their mother as early as 21 days after they were born. After you’ve split them from their mother, you should handle them every day to tame them. How do you take care of Syrian hamster babies? Hamster babies will be born naked and blind. They will weigh less than 0.07 ounces, which makes them very vulnerable. They will start nursing right away. By the time they are 4 days old, they will have doubled in weight, their ear canals will start to open and you will be able to see their fur. They will start to crawl around 6 days of age and by the time they are 10 days old, they will blindly wander around the cage and eat solid food. The eyes of the baby hamsters open when they are two weeks old and they are finally able to see. Their mother will nurse them until they are three months old and then lose interest. After four months the mother will abandon them but it will still tolerate if you keep them in the same cage for a while. But, what when your female hamster doesn’t have any motherly instincts and abandons its babies in the nest? If your female hamster abandons its babies, you will have to try and find a surrogate mother, or hand raises them, which is very difficult. If you decide to hand raise them you will have to talk to your vet and they will advise you on how to do it. You will need to get a special baby formula and a syringe to feed them and you will have to feed them every hour during the whole day and night. It would be better and easier if you got another female hamster that would raise the babies. However, this also isn’t easy because female hamsters will eat babies when they smell that those aren’t their babies. You can try cleaning baby hamsters first so they don’t smell like their mother and try to cover them in the nesting material of the other mother to try and make it smell like the other mother. You should then convince the other mother to come out of its cage by offering it a treat and place the orphan babies with its other babies. The more babies you add to the other mother’s nest, the lower the chances that it will accept them. How to take care of the mother? You can help your female hamster take care of its babies by adding some strips of toilet paper in the cage to create soft, clean bedding that it can use to make a nest. Make sure you clean the cage completely before the babies arrive. You should feed your female hamster with a high-quality hamster diet that has a lot of protein all throughout its pregnancy and until the babies are weaned. You can feed your female hamster with some hardboiled eggs, cooked chicken, cheese, and wheat germ. You should always keep an eye on its water bottle to make sure it always has fresh water. Even though Syrian hamsters like living alone, if you’ve been keeping them in groups, you should separate the mother from the rest of the hamsters. This way you will keep the babies safe and the adults won’t fight. You will upset the mother if you try to touch the babies or get your scent on them. If you absolutely have to move a baby hamster for some reason, do it with a spoon so you avoid leaving any of your scent on the baby. Make sure you’re always quiet when you’re around the cage so you don’t stress out the mother. Try to be as quick and quiet as you can while you’re cleaning the cage and bringing food and water. The mother will be very protective and it will be more aggressive than it usually is. It will try to bite you or stand on its back legs if you get too close to the babies. ... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking HamsYou’ve maybe wondered if your hamster ever blinks. He just seems to sit there and stare at you, endlessly. Or maybe he just stares into space. Does a hamster ever blink ? I’ve found myself watching my Teddy to see if he ever does blink. And, as luck would have it, I found the answer to whether hamsters blink or not. It’s maybe not the key to the universe, but it can help us understand our furry friends better. Table of Contents So do hamsters blink ?Hamsters need their eyes clean, too !Your hamster isn’t just staring at youA few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirtyA word from Teddy So do hamsters blink ? Yes, hamsters do blink. Just not exactly like us humans. Hamsters have evolved to blink with only one eye at a time, possibly because they are prey for many animals. So they can’t really afford to even not be on guard. It’s a sort of defense mechanism like bunnies sleeping with their eyes open. Or guinea pigs only sleeping for a few minutes at a time, in patches throughout the day. You might have wondered if hamsters blink after your hammy kept looking at you and he never seemed to blink. Truth is, in the presence of humans (bigger predators) hamsters will rarely blink. That does not mean they blink their heart out when you’re not looking. It just means that until they come to trust you they won’t even try blinking. Hamsters need their eyes clean, too ! Hamsters. like any other creature with eyes, need their eyes clean. Some animals, like frogs or crocodiles have 2 sets of eyelids, one to protect the eye from injury, and one to protect the eye from the muddy water. Hamsters have just one set of eyelids – yes, hamsters have eyelids – which serve to clean their eyes when they blink, just like us humans. You might not have noticed their eyelids when looking at them, but hamsters have them. Try peeking at them when they sleep, there you will see their eyes closed. Another thing that helps keep the hamster’s eyes clean is their eyelashes. Generally eyelashes are soft, fuzzy, and very noticeable. But in hamster’s they’re thin and wispy, because the rest of their fur is like one big eyelash/brow. Their fur serves the same purpose as an eyelash, to trap debris and foreign objects that might get into their eyes. Given the hamster’s natural habitat – dry, earthy tunnels dug deep under the ground – this is a very smart adaptation. Their eyes are protected at all times. Your hamster isn’t just staring at you You might think your hamster is just staring at you. Especially if he keeps looking and doesn’t blink. I was weirded out by Teddy at first, I’ll say that. He used to just stare at me and not move. He still does that, just that now I know why. It turns out hamsters look like they’re staring at you, but in fact they’re just staring into space. Add to that the fact that they will often stop to hear if there are predators around, with a very intense look on their face. It looks like they’re staring you down, but really hamsters barely see. They don’t even really use their eyes, and they will freak out if you suddenly move. They only see what is directly in front of them, the rest is blurry. So the next time your hammy looks at you funny, know that it’s not you. It’s him, hearing things out, or just being still. (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.) A few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirty Hamsters have great protection for their eyes. However problems can and do occur, and they need your help to fix most of these issues. Even if hamsters don’t really use their eyes, these problems still can happen, like: Eye infections – where they eye can be swollen, red, hot to the touch. Pus will possibly ooze from the eye as well, as as such you will need to clean/rinse the eye with a saline solution. Bulging eye – the eye will appear larger than normal, like it’s about to pop from its place. This is often because if an inflammation of the tissue behind the eye itself. Cataracts/blindness – unfortunately many hamsters end up with this problem in their old are. This is what happens naturally to the body when the eye starts to break down on its own. There problems, and a few others, can all be solved at your local vet. It would be wise to look for an ”exotic” vet, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Or, possibly a small pet vet will be able to help too. Just keep in mind that sometimes small pet can mean a cat or bunny. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look like we’re trying to stare you down, but really we’re just being hamsters. Don’t take it personally. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...
- Why Is My Hamster’s Water Bottle Leaking? 4 Main ReasonsA hamster water bottle leaking is annoying, but many times is quite easy to solve the problem since there are only a few things you can check. Most water bottles have five elements: the tube where you put the water, the lid, a drinking metal tube with a metal ball, a gasket, and a clip to be attached by the cage. Before getting to the article is important to know that one or two drips from the water bottle when you just filled it are fine. It’s usually what was on the tube since you move it quite a lot. Table of Contents 4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle1. Missing or damaged casket2. Loose lid3. The ball bearing4. Crack in the bottleCan you use a water bowl?Types of water bottlesHow much water does a hamster drink?How often to change the water?How to clean a water bottle?Conclusion 4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle Those are the four main reasons for a leaky water bottle. 1. Missing or damaged casket As with all things that have a gasket, this is the most common reason for a leaking water bottle. The good part is that it can be fixed, the bad part is that it can be quite hard to find a gasket that suits your water bottle. Also, considering the time and money spent to find a gasket might not be worth it since the water bottle itself is quite cheap. You might find one online, and if you have free shipping, it can be a solution, but if you have to pay shipping costs, it will probably cost more than a new water bottle. So make sure you check the bottle to have all the parts when you buy it. 2. Loose lid A loose lid is more common, but it’s usually not the fault of the water bottle itself, but rather you didn’t close it tight enough. So this is not a problem that a water bottle has but rather negligence on your part. As you can imagine, this is quite easy to fix. All you have to do to fix a loose lid is to open it, fill the bottle with water if needed, and close it tightly. I know from my water bottle that sometimes it doesn’t align perfectly, and I have to do it again. Make sure you check if the bottle is leaky before attaching it to the cage. 3. The ball bearing Most water bottles have one or more ball bearings that create a vacuum and stop the water from leaking uncontrollably. They should not drip if they are in the right position, but a few things can displace the small metal balls. If you don’t wash the bottle regularly, it might accumulate debris that can change the ball’s position and make the bottle leak. We will talk about how to clean water bottles later in the article. If the bottle is clean, but the balls are still displaced, all you have to do is to take the lid out and shake it a bit. 4. Crack in the bottle This one is quite obvious, and hard to fix. If you see a crack in your hamster water bottle, your best option is to change it with a new one or to return it to where you bought it if it’s new. There might be a few temporary solutions, but it is not worth the time and effort. You don’t know when it will crack again if you don’t fix it well, and you might not be home for a few days, which can put your small hamster in danger. Here is an article about how much time a hamster can live without food or water. One extra tip, this is not for a water bottle that is leaking, but it’s similar. I noticed that my current hamster, while digging in the bedding, moved it underneath the water bottle and it touched the ball bearing, essentially letting water run constantly and soaking all the bedding. So it wasn’t the bottle’s fault, but it can be quite dangerous for your hamster, especially if you leave the house for a few days. So make sure you don’t add too much bedding in the area where the water bottle is to avoid this situation. This is especially true if your hamster loves to dig and thus move things around. Can you use a water bowl? You should not use a water bowl for your hamster, despite many people recommending it. It can be quite dangerous for you little furballs since they should never get wet. Hamsters have some natural oils in their fur and getting wet might get rid of those oils, which protects them from sudden temperature shifts. The worst part is that those oils do not regenerate, so once they are washed from the hamster’s fur, they will not have them anymore. Hamsters are very active and don’t have good eyesight, so we can only imagine that they will get into the bowl or spill it over them sooner or later. They are also not very careful walkers, so their bowl would often get filled with debris like seeds, poop, and bedding, making the water essentially undrinkable. It bothers me when I see people recommending water bowls for hamsters without knowing those facts. A water bowl might be an option only if your hamster doesn’t want to drink from the bottle, but you should be careful with how much water you put into the bowl in this case. If you do want to use a bowl, make sure you buy a small bowl and don’t fill it up in case your hamster gets into the bowl not to get wet more than the paws. Types of water bottles There are many models/designs for water bottles but as far as types, there are only two. The regular water bottle that you attach to the cage, and only the metal tube gets inside the cage, which is the most popular one and, in my opinion, the most effective since your hamster doesn’t get to chew on the bottle. I always used this type since it’s the easiest to get out and change the water without bothering your hamster too much. Here you can find a good one on amazon: The second type comes with a stand, and you place them inside the cage. Those are the best ones if your cage doesn’t allow you to place the bottle on the bars or if you have a glass tank, which can be a great house for your hamster, but it will not allow you to use a regular water bottle, except this one from amazon which can work but I haven’t tried it. But if you are looking for a type that stays in the cage, this one might be the best for you: How much water does a hamster drink? A hamster will drink about 10ml water per 100g body weight. A Syrian hamster weighs between 85 and 150 grams, meaning a maximum of 15ml water per day should be enough. So when you buy a bottle, you should aim for a big enough bottle to make sure your hamster has enough water in case you leave the house for a few days (so something like 100 ml). But make sure the tube is not large, do not get a bottle fit for a guinea pig or rabbit ! To ensure your hamster bottle is working and your hamster is actually drinking water, you should see a bubble that goes up in the tube when the hamster is actively drinking water. How often to change the water? There is no rule that says how often you should change the water of your hamster, usually it should be good until it empties if the bottle is not way too big. It depends more on the water quality than anything else, so if the water is good, you should not worry about how often to change the water in the bottle. When it comes to what temperature the water should be, room temperature or cold but not very cold water is good. How to clean a water bottle? I’ve said that I will come back and talk about how to clean the water bottle, so here we are. Many people recommend using disinfectants or homemade ones with bleach and so on, but there is a huge risk if you don’t rinse the water bottle thoroughly after using bleach or any soap or disinfectant. This is my 6th year of having a hamster pet, and the first two died of old age so they were pretty healthy, I would say, but I never used anything else other than hot water to clean their water bottles. It is safer this way, you can unscrew the tube from the water bottle and rinse it with hot water, then do the same with the bottle itself. Afterward, wrap a paper towel on the end of a spoon and clean the inside of the bottle with that paper towel. Rinse them with hot water one more time, and everything should be clean and ready to use again. Conclusion A leaking hamster bottle is annoying, but now you know where to check and how to fix it, or if the bottle is cracked, at least you know that you should buy a new one without trying to fix it. And again, do not use a water bowl for your hamster only when they don’t want to drink from the water bottle.... Read more...
- How To Choose Your First Hamster – Health And TemperamentIf you’re looking to get a hamster, you’ll want to know how to choose your first hamster. Getting a hammy for the first time is exciting, and a big responsibility, even if he’s so small. Even if you’re not headed out the door to find your furry friend right now, there’s a few things you should know before you get a 2-3 year commitment. I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Table of Contents How to choose your first hamsterThe hamster’s healthThe hamster’s eyesNo missing teethClean earsNo odd lumpsBald spots, and how the fur looksDischarge in the eyes or nose or earsWet tail, or soiled bottomSlender hamsterNo weird smellsThe hamster’s personalityBaby hamsters are hard to readMale or female hamsterWhich hamster breed to getBringing your new hamster friend homeIs a hamster really the pet for you ?A word from Teddy How to choose your first hamster The best way to choose a hamster is to look both for a healthy one, but also a even-tempered hamster. Hamsters are skittish and jumpy by nature, but they should be relatively easy to tame, and not very afraid of you. It’s easier to find a healthy hamster than a calmer, cooperative hamster. Most of the health checks are obvious and immediately noticeable, like scabs, missing teeth, bald spots, leaky nose, etc. The temperament however is a bit trickier, and won’t show completely until the hamster becomes an adult – around 3 months old. Until then, you’ll have to look for some specific signs. Let’s start with the health checklist, to see if your future hammy is healthy. The hamster’s health A healthy hamster is easy enough to find, although some signs of illness won’t be immediately obvious. Some depend on the sex and breed of hamster you’re looking for as well. The hamster’s eyes A hammy’s eyes are supposed to be bright, and clear. Now hamsters usually have black eyes, but they can also be dark red, red, or even pink, and some look like a very deep dark blue. However the color should be clear, with no milky or whitish spots. They should not be hazy. Bright, sparkly, bulging eyes are a trait that hammies are known for. No missing teeth It should be obvious, but a hamster should have all of its teeth. That means 2 pair of front incisors, that you should be able to see clearly. They are very long, especially the bottom pair. Hamster teeth are yellow, sometimes even orange. That’s okay. You should only worry if you see white teeth, or whitish teeth, since those are signs of an illness or deficiency. Broken, cracked, crossed, or even missing teeth are a bad sign. They can come about from poor handling by the caretakers, or it could be a hereditary problem. Teeth are crucial to a hamster’s health, so they should be something you look at. You can find out more about hamster dental issues here, and what to look out for. Clean ears A hammy’s ears are the first thing he will use to make sense of his surroundings. Hamsters don’t see very well, so they rely a lot on smell and hearing. A pair of clean, thin ears is ideal, with no bite marks or missing bits. Do take note that many hammies have harder ears than the rest of their body. So you’ll need to get a bit of a closer look into the hamster’s ear for an infection or any other issues. No odd lumps Hamsters are this small ball of fur. But they should have no lumps, since that usually means an odd growth, or tumor, or a possible impacted cheek or abscess. None of those are good news. You might see your preferred hammy with a cheek full, or maybe both. That’s usually just food stored in his cheeks, though it’s not a common sight in pet stores. A note to be mindful of Syrian hammies. I wish I knew this about Teddy, because I was afraid he was sick when I first saw this. Syrian hamsters have two black mole-like spots on their hips, with barely any fur around them. Those are normal, and they are the scent glands. You will probably only notice them of the hamster is licking that spot. Bald spots, and how the fur looks The fur of a hamster should be fluffy, and clean looking. It should not be particularly shiny, unless the hamster was bred for that purpose. That being said, no bald spots (aside from the scent gland or genital area) should be present on the hamster. Any bald spot could be an indication of a skin disease, some of which could be contagious. However some bald spots can simply mean that he hamster somehow hurt himself, and managed to rip some fur off of himself. Be sure to check the habitat the hamster is in for other clues. Are there other hamsters with bald spots ? Are they actually scars from fighting ? Is there a part of the habitat the hamster could have cut himself on ? Discharge in the eyes or nose or ears A healthy, happy hamster should be completely dry. No discharge or liquids from the ears, nose, tail area, or mouth. Discharge can be a sign of infection, and it’s most probably contagious as well. SO it could be that your chosen hamster is sick, or is in the incubation phase. Any sign of infection however should be immediately treated by the staff at the pet store, since that isn’t a humane way to keep hamsters. Wet tail, or soiled bottom Wet tail is noticeable if the tail is, well, wet or soiled. It’s a type or diarrhea and can be extremely dangerous for your hamster’s health. You can find out more about wet tail here, and the chances your hamster has of getting it and surviving. If one hamster does have wet tail, or any other disease, it’s very possible that the other hamsters in the habitat have got it too, or they’re in the incubation phase. You’ll also notice signs of wet tail on the bedding, as it might be soiled and very smelly. Slender hamster A baby hamster – between 4 and 12 weeks old – should be neither skinny nor fat. This is actually how you should keep him as an adult, as well. An obese baby hamster will have a much shorter life span, and have several health issues, including and not stopping at diabetes and joint problems. An underfed hamster will be noticeable if you hold the hamster and feel its spine and leg bones very clearly. Since hamsters are so fluffy, it can be difficult to tell if they’re skinny or fat. The fur will cheat you there, but you should be able to tell if you look at the head and eyes, and how plump the skin is there. You can find out more about how big a hamster can get, depending on his breed. And find out here what you can do if you hamster’s already overweight. No weird smells An odd smell coming from your hamster is not a good sign. Hamsters are actually incredibly clean animals, and they clean themselves regularly, several times a day, very thoroughly. They have no scent that a human can detect, aside from female hamsters in heat. So if your hamster smells odd, you should check it for any signs of infection as well. It could be that the hamster has an abscess in his mouth (possibly because if a bad tooth) and that could be the source. Or a possible ear infection that isn’t obvious right away. The hamster’s personality Your hammy’s personality is probably something you won’t think of immediately, but you’ll notice it’s more important than anything. This is what I wish I knew before I got Teddy. You see, I wanted an orange hammy, and that was it. I had no idea about hamster breeds, temperaments, calmness, and so on. In time I saw that my Teddy is a bit of a despot, if you will. He must know, he must see, he will have his way, and he always has something to object. A bit annoying, but still a lovable ball of fur. Just not what I had in mind when I decided I want a hamster. I wanted a cuddly, friendly hammy, who will sleep on my shoulder and want to play all the time. Basically the world’s tiniest puppy. Again, I knew absolutely nothing about hamsters. Baby hamsters are hard to read When selecting your hamster, keep in mind that babies don’t have their personalities completely formed. You can’t look at a baby Syrian and know it’ll be friendly straight away, as you would a Lab puppy for example. Still, you can look at a few things when selecting your new hamster: Is he afraid or just cautious ? He should want to come closer if you reach for him, but not too confidently. Does the hamster run away as soon as it sees anyone ? Hamsters are shy, yes, but an extra shy hamster who bolts into his hideout all the time is very hard to tame. Does he look mostly calm and curious ? Hamsters are notoriously hyper, and older hammies are calmer than babies. Syrians are calmer than Dwarf types. Depends on what kind of hammy you want. Does the hammy look like it’s angry or snappy ? Might be best to stay away from that one, he will be harder to tame. Is the hamster trying to attack you ? It might sound silly, but if your hamster of choice starts making himself look bigger and tries to intimidate you, you’ve got a difficult one. Best to leave him be and find a different one. Keep in mind that previously owned hamsters might be a better choice, since they’ve been handled before and are most probably already tamed. They can be traumatised, however, so be gentle with them. If you’re selecting a baby hamster, make sure it is curious, and can hold its attention for several seconds. Hamsters are always on the move and are curious about a million things at a time, but still, if you put your hand on the cage, he should notice it and try to come closer. Your petshop should be able to let you handle the hammy before you walk out with him. Make sure you handle him beforehand, otherwise you’ll end up with not exactly what you were looking for. I didn’t ask to handle Teddy when I got him, and I’m not sure that pet store lets you do that. But handling him would’ve shown us that he wasn’t the calmest hamster in the cage. Male or female hamster This is up to you, and your preference. Males are generally a bit calmer, and easier to handle than females. That being said, if you’re getting a Dwarf type hammy, both genders are hyper and won’t sit still. Females come into heat every few days, about once a week. They become very irritable and a bit smelly in that period. You can recognize male hammies by the genital openings. In males the genital and anal opening are far apart, and do have fur between the two spots. Some hamster types may have a scent gland on the abdomen, so it will look like a third opening. Female hamsters have the obligatory and noticeable rows on nipples, and the genital and anal openings very close together. It will look like a bit of a bald spot with two pink dots. When picking a pair of hamsters, you’ll want to get them in same-sex pairs. This means no surprise, unplanned litters. Also, if you select a female hamster keep in mind that they can become pregnant as soon as they’re weaned – aprox . 4 weeks old. This means that if the caretakers didn’t separate the hamsters into same sex groups early enough, you might just bring home a pregnant female hamster without knowing. If your hammy is a pregnant female and you only just found out, congratulations on your new litter ! And here’s how to make sure they survive. Which hamster breed to get When it comes to the hamster breed, this is again up to you and your preference. There are two main types of hamsters available – Syrian and Dwarf hamsters. The Syrian is the most common one, it’s the largest, and easiest to tame. The Dwarf types (4 of them) are much smaller, and faster and agile and, can be a bit harder to tame since they just won’t sit still. No hamster ever sits in one place for more than a few seconds, but Dwarves are terrible at it. I have a Syrian male, and I sometimes have trouble keeping up with him. You can imagine how well I’d do with a Dwarf. Actually, Dwarf types are harder to handle, and as such are best left as observational pets. A bit like fish, but cuddly and much faster. Here’s how to identify each hamster type, and pick out the one you think you’d like the most. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Bringing your new hamster friend home Alright, you’ve picked out your new friend, he’s in his nice cardboard box and ready to go home. I’ll urge you to bring your pet as fast as you can to his new home, so he can accommodate. Hamsters don’t like change too much, so they won’t like being taken away. Make sure you get home and have his cage set up beforehand. You can read here about the recommended cage sizes for each hamster type, and how to pick one out for your hamster. An in-depth look at the best hamster cages available will be helpful before you actually go and buy your hammy’s cage. The bedding and hideout should be picked out beforehand too, so they’re already laid out in the cage and ready for your hamster friend. You can find here a good roundup of safe hamster bedding/substrate options, and pick your favorite. Toys and food bowl, should be available and already in place when your hammy comes home for the first time. As well as a running wheel for your hamster, and browsing a nice selection according to hamster breed will be useful to pick out a good exercise wheel. And finally, a bit of food and a treat in his cage will help your hamster settle in easier. This means that the hamster himself will be the last thing you buy when you decide to get this cuddly pet. This is because the moment you bring your hammy home and settle him in his new home, you won’t disturb him at all for at least a couple of days, if not 3-4. The transition from being with his siblings, and then being put in a box, and then put in another box is very disorienting and stressful, and hamsters are very very bad at handling stress. So when you get home, place the cardboard box in the hamster’s cage, with the hamster still in the box. Open a side of the box, and from then on leave the hammy alone. Talk to him when you walk past his cage, and dedicate some minutes every day to just let him smell you. Do not touch or try to handle him at all for a couple of days. Once he’s settled in, you can begin taming him, and you’ll become friends fairly quickly. Is a hamster really the pet for you ? This is a question you should ask yourself very seriously. I’ve seen a lot of people get a hamster without knowing what they’re getting themselves into. Me included. A hamster is not a puppy, and won’t always be there as you want him to be. In this respect, a hamster is more like a cat, if you will. He has a lot of personality, for being so incredibly small. And he can be aloof and hard to read sometimes. Hamsters don’t wag their tails, or purr to show affection or happiness. They do have their own special charm, but they’re a different pet than the norm. And they are definitely not suited for small children, no matter what else you hear. Hamsters don’t take well to being handled wrong, or too much, or loud noises, or sudden movements. These are all things a 6 year old can and will do, since they’re children. A guinea pig would be more suited for a small child, since they’re incredibly calm and serene (compared to a hamster). If you want to get a more in-depth view on what owning a hamster is like, and some pros and cons, you need to check this article. You’ll get much more info, and see if a hammy is really the one for you. And if you’d like to know more about how to properly care for your hamster, you can check out these essential steps. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and know how to pick out the best hammy. I know us hamsters can be the cutest things ever, but we have our own personalities. So, make sure you check out the health and personality of your new friend before bringing him home. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below for more info.... Read more...
- Releasing Your Hamster Into The Wild – Is It A Bad Idea ?Wondering if you should let your hamster roam free ? Releasing a hamster into the wild can sound like a good idea, but is it really ? Let’s see everything we should take into account when we’re thinking about such a big decision. I’ll be honest with you, I sometimes wondered if I should release my own Teddy (male Syrian hammy). So these are the things I’ve thought about before deciding what to do with him. Table of Contents So should I release my hamster in the wild ?Hamsters haven’t been pets for very longA hamster’s usual food probably isn’t available in your areaYou probably don’t live in the hamster’s natural habitatKeep in mind predators and other dangersIt’s your decision in the endA word from Teddy So should I release my hamster in the wild ? Short answer – NO. Do not release your pet hamster into the wild. Long answer – it depends on a series of factors like the area you live in, predators, how easily the hammy can find its food, if it will survive the winter or a storm, and so on. For the vast majority of people who own a hamster, the outside conditions, even in the countryside, could not sustain a hamster. Some select few could release their hamster and he could live a happy life. But let’s see what those factors are, and how they could affect your hamster’s lifespan and quality of life. Hamsters haven’t been pets for very long Let’s start with the beginning. Where hamsters come from, and where they should go, if you ever want to let them go. There’s 5 types of hamsters: Syrian or Golden hamster, Roborovski Dwarf, Campbell’s Dwarf, Djungarian Dwarf, and the Chinese Dwarf. These hammies come from a very specific part of our planet. The Syrian from Syria, Southern turkey and the arid land between them. The Dwarf types come from the area between Siberia, southern Russia, Mongolia, Northern China. Hamsters have become pets only in the last century or so, and that means one thing: they’re still very much like their ancestors. So, in theory, if you were to release your pet hamster in the wild, he would still know what to do. His instincts are intact, even if he comes from a breeder who focused on docile hamsters. However the problem is that a hamster that’s already an adult (3 months and older) is already used to human interaction, and will be a bit confused for the first few days if you were to release him into the countryside. If he’s an especially docile hamster, he will have a bit more trouble adapting. You can’t really release a baby hamster into the wild since he will immediately become dog food, There’s also the fact that a baby hasn’t learned everything from his mother yet. So there’s that, but there are still many things that would be not safe or alright for a pet hamster in the wild. A hamster’s usual food probably isn’t available in your area Another concern is that the hamster will probably not have his usual food in the wild, in your part of the world. The thing is, hamsters can and do eat many things. Grains, fruit, veggies, some types of meat, etc. But they rely mostly on grains, and if you’re living in a very urban area, you’ll have to drive to the countryside to release him. There he might be able to find some grains and a few veggies to forage. The problem with that is that unless you’re from the origin area of your hamster type (figure out which type you’ve got here), his normal food won’t be available. If you were to release him next to a corn field, he would indeed find the corn, and also a few other unsafe foods. Hamsters are very curious, and will try anything new that they find. This includes safe and unsafe weeds and plants. If the hamster were to somehow find the right kind of food, he would be able to survive in the wild. Not a guarantee, but it could be possible, strictly form a dietary point of view. You probably don’t live in the hamster’s natural habitat This is the biggest concern I have with releasing hamsters into the wild. As I said above, hamsters come from a very specific area of our planet. Those areas happen to be very sparsely populated. Most people who own a hamster do no live in the rural parts of northern China, or Mongolia. Actually many people don’t live at all in those areas, since they’re mostly barren. Some vegetation grows, which is where the hamster will find his food. But aside from that, it’s very hard living. The terrain is harsh, cold, and stretches on forever. This is one of the reasons hamsters are born to run (aside from predators), so they cover more ground looking for food. If, however, you do live in an area close to the hamster origin, you could release him into the wild. Again, the area depends on which type of hamster you’ve got. There are indeed differences between the Syrian and Dwarf hammies, and they could not live in swapped homes. We need to also take into account the difference in weather. It might sound silly, but it’s something that can make your hamster’s life in the wild unnecessarily hard. For example if you’ve got a Syrian hammy, and you live in the mountainside in France, releasing him there would be a death sentence. The cold would be too much for him, and the rains would kill him as well. Hamsters do not take well to being wet, and they have a hard time recovering from that. If you were to have a Djungarian Dwarf, he’d be more suited to the cold. The problem is that the terrain is very different from what his ancestors had. A cold, permanently snowy mountain is very different from the dry, plain tundra of Siberia or Mongolia. Again, the food source he’d find would not be similar to what his ancestors found. Keep in mind predators and other dangers Predators are a given. Whether you release the hamster in his normal habitat, or another different habitat, he will still be hunted. That’s just the nature of hamster life. A wild hamster has a much shorter life span than a pet hamster. A wild hamster has to run for his life nearly all the time, and is going to need all the energy he can muster from those little feet. In the wild there are snakes, foxes, owls, cats, wild dogs, and so on. They all hunt the tiny hamster, and he will not be safe anywhere. Wherever you release him, he has a very high chance or not making it until for long. (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.) It’s your decision in the end After everything you’ve read, do keep in mind that keeping or releasing your hamster is your decision. When I thought about releasing Teddy, it was when we were making incredibly slow progress with the taming process. We did have a breakthrough in the end and we get along fine now. But I asked myself the same things I’ve shared with you above. Would he survive in the wild here ? Would he find food ? Could he find a mate ? Would I be sending him to certain death ? Those are questions I had to ponder, and in the end I decided to keep Teddy. That’s how I decided to make this site, too. To help others understand and care for their little hamster friends, with what I’ve learned from Teddy and other hamster owners. What got to me the most was the image of Teddy’s hideout, under a tree, with rain pouring down on every side. The poor thing shivering inside his little hut, with barely a few grains he found, and nothing else. Rainy seasons are fairly long, and I knew that even if he could survive the rains, he wouldn’t survive the cold. So in the end it all comes down to what you decide. You should weight the pros and cons, although the cons seem to far outweigh the pros. What I’d suggest, if you do not want to keep your hamster anymore, is to donate him. There are certain sites, or even social media groups dedicated for donations. That’s how we got our pair of guinea pigs, actually. Or, you could take them to a shelter or pet shop, to be taken in by another owner. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might seem like we’d get along fine in the wild, but the truth is if we’re a pet, were probably very far away from our homes. If you want to know more about us hammies, and how to keep us safe, you can read the related articles below.... Read more...
- 5 Best Hamster Cages For Syrian And Dwarf (An Owner’s Opinion)Looking for the best hamster cage for your little furball ? I was too, and I’ve changed 3 cages until I got to the one Teddy currently has. You already know about the poorly made pet store cages, too small for even one Dwarf hamster, let alone a Syrian. You’ll be very pleased to know that there’s many options for hamster cages out there, many of them big enough. I’ve looked around and found the best 5 hamster cages that you can order online. And you’ll be able to see their pros, cons, and a comparison between all 5. Let’s get to it ! Table of Contents A short comparison of all 5 hamster cages1. The best cage for curious, exploring hamstersThe pros:The cons:2. Simple, safe, large cage for Syrian hamstersThe pros:The cons:3. All-around great cage both for Syrian and Dwarf hamstersThe prosThe cons4. A great option for lots of substrate, or a digging hamsterThe prosThe cons5. The best aquarium for escape-artist hamstersThe prosThe consBonus: try to find a glass cabinet as a cage for your hamsterA word from Teddy A short comparison of all 5 hamster cages You’ll find here all 5 hamster cages compared side by side. I think it’s always going to be very helpful to see things compared side by side. Once you’re done reading this table you’ll find each cage discussed in very much detail in the rest of this article. For mobile users, you can navigate this table by swiping left or right on it. Lixit w/tubes Lixit simple Prevue simple Ferplast (clear) Glass Aquarium Image Size in sq in/cm 630 sq in/ 4080 sq cm 630 sq in/ 4080 sq cm 617.5 sq in/ 3983.8 sq cm 339.8 sq in/ 2192 sq cm 288 sq in/ 1858 sq cm Escape- proof yes yes yes yes yes Air flow 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% Best for explorer types runners, climbers runners, climbers diggers escape artists Material wire, plastic wire, plastic wire, plastic wire, plastic glass Price on Amazon check here check here check here check here check here 1. The best cage for curious, exploring hamsters This cage is big, large enough to fit either a Syrian, or 2 Dwarf hammies. The more Dwarves you have, the more space you need, even if they seem to be getting along just fine. This cage has pretty much everything. It’s got tunnels, it’s got catwalks (close to the ground though), it’s got several huts, and comes with all the necessary accessories. In terms of actual size it measures 31.5 x 20 x 20 inches. That’s 80 x 51 x 51 cm. Get a measuring tape and try to imagine that. It’s going to take up a lot of space wherever you put it. This means your hamster is going to be a-okay, with room to spare. After all, no cage is too big for hammies and that’s where they’re going to live their entire lives. There is the ground level, which is conveniently plastic and the sides are tall. So your hamster’s going to have a lot of room to dig around, if you decide to fill up the lower part with bedding. You can find great hamster bedding here, and what to look out for. All picked out by someone who actually owns a hamster. Back to the cage, if you decide to fill up the lower part, then your hamster’s going to dig around, but you’ll find lots of it on the floor. I did this with my Teddy and he’s not very impressed, since he likes to run rather than dig. If your hammy is like mine, then you can simply add a bit of bedding on the floor and insert a large hamster wheel for him to get all his exercise. The pros: Very large cage, lots of room for your hammy to run around in and dig around and do whatever a hamster does. Bars are very close together, and your hammy won’t be able to squeeze his way out of the cage. Lots of accessories, like the tunnels and the catwalks and the upper house. Adds variety to the hamster’s routine. Easy to carry from one place to another, since it’s got sturdy handles. Just make sure you’ve secured the latches on the sides tightly. The cons: The hamster wheel it comes with is too small, and a bit flimsy. I recommend looking for a better one. The food bowl and water bottle are fine. Mind the tunnels, they can block up with bedding if you add some in the upper green house. Overall, I think this cage is pretty much a villa. I see no problems that can’t be amended by a resourceful and creative hamster owner. It’s a pricey item, but it’s going to last the hamster’s entire life. You’ll be avoiding lots of heartache, frustration and money poorly spent if you go with a big cage from the get-go, instead of switching up cages and wasting money. You can check out the listing for this cage on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 2. Simple, safe, large cage for Syrian hamsters Another large cage, but it’s a bit smaller than the one before. Produced by the same brand. It’s much simpler, no external tubes or other overly fancy accessories. It does come with a wheel, upper level, lots of room to add bedding like before, and water and food bowls. I think this is the simplest hamster cage you can find that’s also very large. It measures 20 x 31.5 x 15 inches, which is 51 x 80 x 38 cm. Like the one before, it’s going to take up a lot of space in the house but you’re getting this for your little hammy, and this is where he’s going to stay all his life. Now, I recommend this for Syrian hamsters because the bar spacing seems to be a little wider than the one before. It’s still pretty close, so I guess you could try it for a Dwarf pair. Just make sure to look it over for any possible gaps the tiny things could escape through. Another thing that needs mentioning is that the upper level (or half level) is made out of wire as well. So any kind of bedding you might add there will most probably end up on the ground floor. The pros: Very large cage, rather on the wide side than tall. Hamsters prefer low cages anyway, so this is a plus. Deep lower part, good for filling with bedding so the hammy can dig if he likes. Or to add a large wheel for him to run in. Wires very close together, very hard to escape. Very breathable, since 80% of it is wire and allows for much airflow. Easy to transport, as this one has handles as well. The cons: Almost all the accessories it comes with are too small or not meant to be plastic. The water bottle is alright, as is the food bowl. The upper floor would need a fleece lining to keep the hammy warm, or some other such modification Overall I think this cage proves that if you’re patient and take some time to look around, you can find good quality hamster cages. Finding a large one that’s got the proper bar spacing is a bit of a task, since most are meant for rabbits or guinea pigs. A great cage to use for your hamster, without all the extra accessories. Many hamster toys can be DYIed, and they seem to absolutely love cardboard tubes. This cage is a bit cheaper than the one with the tubes before, but still on the more expensive end. You can check the listing on Amazon for this cage, and read the reviews as well. 3. All-around great cage both for Syrian and Dwarf hamsters One of the best cages both for Syrians and for Dwarf hammies, this cage looks much simpler than the ones before. However the upper level is adjustable, and the ramp leading up to it is very well made, and the plastic seems very sturdy. This cage, too, has a deep bottom portion which can be filled with lots of bedding if you wish. This also means you can add a large wheel in there for your hammy to run around in. In terms of size, this cage is 32.5 x 19 x 17.5 inches, which is 82.5 x 48 x 44.5 cm. So, just a tad bit smaller than the ones we looked at before. However this cage is much cheaper than the first two, being more of a mid-range one. Still large, and very well thought out. The wire spacing is very small, which again is a plus. It’s also got 2 main entrances. One from above, and one from the side. Both are very large/wide, which means you can comfortably fit both hands into the cage. This is makes taming the hamster much easier, since you can easily teach him to stay in both hands. The pros Very tight wire spacing, practically no way for the hammy to escape. Roomy, lots of space for the hamster to run around in and for many toys to be placed. Deep bottom, can fit a large wheel or lots of bedding. The upper level is adjustable, which I think will help in furnishing the cage Breathable, allows much air flow. The cons Comes with no accessories aside from the upper level and ramp, you will need to provide food bowl and water bottle. I barely found any cons for this cage, since it’s so well thought out. I know I mentioned the lack of accessories as a con, but in some cases they’re mostly useless anyway. It;s probably better that it comes just by itself. Overall I think this is a great cage, both in terms of size, safety for the hamster, and budget as well. It can’t connect to tunnels, so you’re going to need to entertain your hammy with toys placed inside. Still, it’s such a great compromise between size and budget that I have hardly a thing to reproach. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 4. A great option for lots of substrate, or a digging hamster If your hamster’s a digger, then he’s going to need lots of bedding/substrate to dig through. More on that here. This particular cage fits very well for such a hamster. Yes, it has a deep bottom like the other cages. But, it’s also transparent, which means you can also see the little guy when he starts meandering about. Another thing that makes this cage the best one possible for digging hams is the fact that its upper level manages to keep in any stray bits of bedding that may fly out when the hamster is digging. There are two main exits/entrances onto the upper level. One very large, in the middle, complete with a raised ledge. And another, smaller one to which you can also connect a nice ladder for your hammy to use. In terms of size, the whole cage is 23.6 x 14.4 x 11.8 inches. That’s 60 x 36.5 x 30 cm, so this makes it the smallest cage, so far. It’s still a large cage, and you can also fit a large wheel if you don’t want to fill the lower part with bedding. (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 pros Large enough cage, can fit a Syrian or two Dwarf hammies well enough. The transparent lower half lets you see the hamster at all times. Very well thought out digging space, if you choose to use it. Sturdy upper level. Can easily connect to other cages or tubes, since it has an opening. Can be closed if desired. Breathable, lots of air flow. The cons Wheel is too small and flimsy, so I recommend getting a large one, especially is you own Syrian The hut is plastic, which is not alright in the long run. I recommend looking for a wooden one. Overall I think this cage is a great one if your hamster loves to dig, or if you just want to be able to see your hamster at all times. Or, as much as you possibly can. The opening for tubes is a nice touch, I have to admit. It comes with a cap that can block it if you wish. But if you want to connect it to anything else, then you’re going to need to buy the tubes separately. Unless you already have them. All in all, a great hammy cage. Similar in price to the simple cage we talked about before, slightly cheaper. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 5. The best aquarium for escape-artist hamsters Ah, now we come to the ultimate hamster cage. If he’s a notorious escape artist and has somehow learned to open latches and wire doors by himself, then this will keep him in. There is nothing for the hamster to climb, no bars for him to hang from, and he can’t possibly jump that high. It’s pretty much escape-proof, no matter what kind of hamster you have. It’s a 20 gallon/75.7 liter tank, so it’s got lots of space for your hammy. For measurements, it’s 24 × 12 × 16, which is 71 x 30.5 x 40.6 cm. About as big as the first two cages we were looking at in the beginning. If you secure the top with a wire mesh (easy to find in a crafts store) then you’re going to have the best hamster cage out there. This is a much heavier item than anything else we’ve discussed so far, so you’ve been warned. It’s also made entirely of glass, so shipping could be an issue if ti’s not properly packed. The pros Transparent, can see you hamster at any time. Escape-proof, there is nothing to squeeze through or use to climb out. Wire mesh can be easily fitted on top to further proof it. The cons Heavy, not easy to maneuver. Cleaning will take more time Less airflow than a wire cage. Still alright, but there is a difference Fragile, being made of glass Overall I think this aquarium is a great way to contain a hamster with wanderlust. Finding and securing the wire mesh is easy enough, so that won’t really be a problem. As long as you don’t fill up the tank with too much bedding, the hamster won’t be able to jump high enough to reach the edge anyway. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Bonus: try to find a glass cabinet as a cage for your hamster As a bonus, I’m going to recommend you find a very large, tall and thin glass cabinet. Many companies offer this kind of item, so I won’t be directing you one way or another. Just make sure that if you do look for such a cabinet, its sides are well sealed, and there is no way your hamster could escape. You’re meant to lay the cabinet on its side, with the glass door facing up. This means its height will become its length. Remove the glass panes that make up the shelves, and you’ve got yourself a very large, very long hamster cage. It’s the kind of item you have to go to a furniture shop to inspect thoroughly and bring home yourself (or arrange for transport), but it’s worth the time. Your hamster’s going to have a ridiculously large home, and he will be thankful. This is a very heavy item, and very large, so make sure you have enough space in your home to fit one of these in a room. Wherever you decide to place it, that’s where it’s going to stay since it’s not exactly easy to move around. I have no link for you, but if you look up the Detolf cabinet from Ikea, you should have a good idea about what you’re looking for. A word from Teddy I hope you found some great options in this article. I know us hammies are so very small, but we need a lot of space to run around in and play. Especially if there’s more than one of us, like with Dwarf hamsters. Us hammies are a very energetic bunch, so we cover a lot of space in a short amount of time. Providing us with lots of ground space is going to make us much happier than a multi-level cage. If you want to know more about us hamsters, and how to keep us safe and happy, you can check the related articles below.... Read more...
- What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And ExceptionsWhat do you usually feed your hamster ? What can hamsters eat ? What should they NOT eat ? I had some many of these questions when I first got my Teddy, and I can tell you what I found out. Some I found out by trial and error, some I asked vets, and some still I found out from other hamster enthusiasts. So I’ve compiled a big ol’ list here, so you can have all the info you need for your hamster’s food and diet. Table of Contents So what can hamsters eat ?What hamsters should never eatProtein foods your hamster can eatVegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamsterHamsters can eat pasta and bread too !Nuts and seeds your hamster can eatFruits your hamster can eatPre-made food mixes for your hamsterGrain and pellet food mix for your hamsterTreats for your hamsterHow much does a hamster eat ?Dangers of overfeeding your hamsterWhat to do if your hamster is not eatingA word from Teddy So what can hamsters eat ? First off, hamsters are omnivores. That means they can and will eat anything from plant-based food, to grains, to meat and insects. This applies for every kind of hamster out there, be it Syrian, Robo, Campbell, or Chinese. If you look at a box of hamster feed, you will usually just see grains, a few seeds, and a few vitamin pellets. But if you turn the box and look at the ingredients, you will often see protein sources like chicken/fish/beef/shrimp. You can feed the hamster an omnivore diet yourself, or get a pre-made mix that will last for several weeks, even a couple of months. I’ll get into more detail with each food group a hamster can eat, along with actual examples you probably have in your home. And I’ll give you a couple of food mixes you can buy for your hamster, along with other treats. But first, let’s see what hamsters should definitely avoid. What hamsters should never eat In general hamsters should stay away from anything acidic. Even if you give your hammy a piece of orange he will turn away from it, but that’s just because of the strong smell. Best to avoid acidic food altogether. There are other foods your hamster should avoid, mainly because his stomach is not built for such foods. Here are a few examples of foods your hamster should never eat: any type of citrus at all – lemon, orange, clementine, grapefruit, etc. any part of a tomato, it’s acidic as well, even if less than a lemon chocolate, and anything sweet – can cause diabetes fruit seeds or peels – apple, grapes, strawberry, etc onions, garlic, peppers, spices – anything extra spicy or tasty will upset his stomach high-fat content foods – like extra fat meat, or even some types of dairy anything unwashed like unwashed fruits or vegetables any part of a rhubarb(1) almonds, apricot pits can be highly toxic celery or very stringy/fibery foods like cabbage anything containing added sugar or salt raw potato or beans (any kind) These are all foods that your hamster is better off not eating, since he can’t digest them. In some cases these foods will kill the hamster, so best to avoid them completely. Alright, now let’s get into the food groups your hammy can eat, along with actual examples. Yay ! Protein foods your hamster can eat Hammies do eat protein, and it doesn’t have to be soy-based necessarily. While you can feed your little hammy something soy-based like tofu, you can also find some soy protein in his food mix as well. But I wouldn’t advise giving the hamster and actual, raw soy bean. Best to stay away from that. For example I’ve given my Teddy boiled egg white, boiled unseasoned chicken and turkey, and he loves them both. Actually, most of the time hamsters just store food in their cheeks and hide it in the house. But with the egg and chicken, Teddy dropped everything he had and ate them right there. Of course, the pieces you feed your hammy should be small, so he can eat them on the spot. If you give him too big a piece, he might want to save some of it for later and we all know how quickly meat goes bad. Mealworms are sometimes a treat for hamsters. I’ve never give my Teddy one, but I’ve met hamster owners who give them to their hammies as treats. Not all hamsters will like them, but you can try. Do not give them mealworms too often though, since they are very filling. Teddy: If your feed any kind of meat or egg to you hammy, keep it simple, unsalted, unseasoned. Never feed any raw protein tot us, like raw meat or egg. Dairy is also a good protein source, but don’t give it to your hammy often ! Hamsters are mammals just like us humans, and as such we can’t process milk-based products very well when they are in large quantities. So, keep the dairy to a minimum. Something like a peanut sized piece, once per week is alright. Vegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamster Most vegetables are safe for hamsters to eat, but some are to be avoided. Especially legumes like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas and so on are not alright. This is mostly because of their high fiber content, which can upset your hamster’s guts. So best to stay away from legumes for your hamster. Vegetables like leafy greens and roots are mostly alright. But let’s talk about a few clear examples. Here are some vegetables your hammy can totally eat: most leafy greens, like spinach, watercress, lettuce, kale cucumber, zucchini carrots are okay, but any other hamster than a Syrian will have to eat them less frequently (higher sugar content than other vegetables, can cause diabetes for dwarf hamsters) sweet potato, cooked – same as carrots, keep a very low intake for dwarf hamsters asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower (cooked) You probably have most of these in your fridge or pantry already. So feel free to feed your hamster small pieces of these veggies as a treat, or even as a supplement to his usual food mix. Hamsters can eat pasta and bread too ! But only in small quantities. The thing with pasta, bread, rice, and so on, is that they’re all high carbohydrate foods. As such, your hamster needs them, but not as much as you’d think. The carb content of a hamster diet should not get past 20%, since they require a balanced dies of protein and veggies as well. So here are a few examples or carbs and bread your hammy can safely eat: Bread, as long as it has no added sugar and has a low salt content. That rules out toast bread, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns as well. Whole grain or multi-cereal bread is great for hamsters actually. Dry grains, of basically any kind Cooked brown rice, unseasoned Cooked wholegrain pasta, unseasoned. Regular white pasta becomes too sticky for your hamster, and will leave residues in his cheek pouches that can cause problems later on. Corn flakes, oat flakes, most muesli mixes Unsalted, unsweetened crackers and biscuits, small piece The food mix you give your hamster is usually well balanced, so don’t feed your hammy too much additional bread or other carbs. Keep them as a small treat every now and then. Nuts and seeds your hamster can eat Hamsters love to chew on a lot of things, and nuts and seeds give them just that opportunity. Most nuts and seeds are okay for hamsters to eat, but there are a few exceptions. Here’s a list of seeds and nuts your hamster can enjoy: dried sunflower and pumpkin seeds, with or without shell, unseasoned peanuts and hazelnuts, unsalted, plain; remove shell and skin walnuts chestnuts, without shell, cooked, plain sesame seeds Do keep in mind that nuts and seeds have a high fat content. So don’t feed too many or too often to your hamster. Keep them as a treat every now and then. Especially if the food mix you bought for the hamster already has a couple of seeds and nuts included. Teddy: Stay away from almonds though. They classify as a nut, but they are toxic for us hamsters ! Fruits your hamster can eat Most kinds o fruit are safe for hamsters. There are a few exceptions, and I’ll cover those too. But first, here is a list of fruits your hamster can eat: apple, pear, peeled and cored (no seeds) strawberries, no seeds banana slice, in a very small amount grape, no seeds, peeled dates and figs, dried raisins blueberries, blackberry, raspberry cherries, no seeds Again, keep the hamster away from citrus fruits. The citrus oils is toxic for hamsters, and will harm them. If you’ve ever peeled an orange and got your hand close to your hammy, you saw him pull away. (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.) Pre-made food mixes for your hamster These are a convenient way to feed your hamster, and often are actually pretty well thought out. If you see the ingredient list, and think there’s something vital that’s missing (like proteins) you can look for another brand or supplement with proteins like the list above. Grain and pellet food mix for your hamster I use a pre-made mix for my Teddy, and give him fruits, veggies, and meat whenever I’m cooking. So he gets the grain and pellets mix, with an assortment of carrots and other foods I have around the house and are safe for him. As I said above, I’ll give you a few options on store bough food to give to your hamster. The first one I found is an actual food mix, with a fair amount of seeds and pellets as well. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside (More on that below). You can check the Amazon pricing here, and other details as well. Treats for your hamster While most hamster food mixes have a balance of protein, vitamins, and carbs, you can give your hamster occasional treats. These don’t have to be often, but need to be kept as a treat every few days, or when you’re trying to teach or tame your hamster. For example I give Teddy cheese drops as a treat, and he absolutely loves them. The drops can be made of other fruits or veggies too. But Teddy seems to prefer the cheese. I found a variety pack that you can give your hamster. They’re yogurt based and suitable for all kinds of hamster, rats, gerbils, even ferrets. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and check the price as well. There are other types of treats hamsters go for, like for example simple dog treats (no flavors) or milk bones, and some granola bars(no sugar or honey). But my Teddy loves these cheese yogurt drops, and he gets them 2-3 times a week. Teddy: Whatever treat or food you choose, make sure you feed us hamsters responsibly ! Treats are treats and we don’t need them every day. Food mix is a great way to make sure we get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. How much does a hamster eat ? Alright, now that you know what kind of foods your hammy can and can not eat, and you’ve seen a few examples of pre-made food and treats, let’s talk about how often to feed the hamster. This depends mostly on the hamster himself, in that a baby hamster will need a bit less food than an adult hamster. But in general, 2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. It might sound like very little food, but look at the size of your hamster. Not only can he not eat much, but also dry food keeps him full for much longer than veggies. If you’re unsure, grab a teaspoon and put the necessary amount in your hand. I’ll attach a photo here of how much 2 teaspoons of dry food is for my Teddy. This is enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Teddy: Remember, we don’t need a lot of food, and we also hide food in our hideouts ! So if you just fed your hammy, and see no food there 5 minutes later, don’t give him more food. He just took the food into his hideout, to snack on later. Us hamsters are funny like that, and love to hoard our food ! Dangers of overfeeding your hamster The first and immediate danger is getting your hamster fat. While you might think that a chubby hamster looks cute (and he does, not gonna lie) it’s very bad for his health. Hamsters are very active creatures, and must be able to run and sprint and dart through tubes or into hideouts at any point. This is their instinct, and a large fat hamster will not be able to do any of these, or at least not properly. This will shorten the hamster’s lifespan as well. A hamster can only live for so long (2-3 years), might as well make his short life comfortable. If you want to know more about why your hamster can get so big or fat, check out my article on this exact topic. There I’ll tell you everything you need to know about why hamsters can get fat, and even how to slim yours down. Hint: it involves getting your hammy more exercise opportunities. For this a great hamster wheel is essential. You’ll also find out what a reasonable weight is for the hamster himself, so you have a guideline to follow. What to do if your hamster is not eating Some hamsters are very picky about their food. They will not eat just anything, and need more attention in that way. So play around with his food, change up the flavors a bit. Maybe he only likes chicken flavored pellets or treats. That could be a start to your hamster eating more. If your hammy is not touching dry food, try with veggies. Give him alternatives, like a piece of broccoli, one asparagus, and a small kale leaf. See which he likes, and keep giving him that. Then, continue adding new foods to his diet, from the list of foods I wrote above. Until you reach a mix of vegetables that you can give him daily, and you know he will eat them. If veggies are not an option for him, try giving the hamster meat. I’ve never seen a hamster turn down meat. Make sure the piece is cooked, but unseasoned. The extra salt is not needed in your hamster’s diet, since he needs much less than humans. If, in an exceptional case, your hamster turns down every kind of food, call the vet. Especially if you see other signs of a possible illness like sparse fur, a wet tail (very bad), dried blood on his body, or anything that looks out of the ordinary. In a worst case scenario, you might want to know how much a hamster can survive without any food and water. I wrote an article on that topic, and the point is that if your hamster is not eating, but at least has water he has a higher chance or survival. In any case, contact your vet if your hammy seems sick, along with not eating. A word from Teddy I hope you’re very clear now on what us hamster can and can not eat. I know it’s a bit of a list to remember, but it’s in your hamster’s benefit. If you’re not sure about a food, and you can’t find any info anywhere, maybe don’t feed it to your hammy. That way at least you’ll be sure he’s safe. You can find more info on the best kind of bedding for us hamsters, or why we sometimes eat our own poo, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you ! Just check out the articles below and you’ll find your answers. References: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet... Read more...
- 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 4 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...
- Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster CagesThe hamster’s cage is the most important purchase you’ll ever make for your furry friend. I know I made some mistakes when I got my Teddy his first cage. And I’m here to help you get your hammy the best cage ever. My Teddy is a fully grown Syrian hamster, but I will also cover the cage requirements for dwarf hamsters as well. Table of Contents So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ?The best cage size for your hamsterCage size for Syrian hamstersCage size for Dwarf hamstersThe best cage type for your hamsterWire cages for hamstersA good wire cage for your hamsterPlastic cages for hamstersA good plastic hamster cage recommendationGlass tanks for hamstersA recommendation on glass tanks for hamstersSafety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cageHamster’s safety in his cageIs the hamster’s cage escape proof ?How to clean a hamster’s cageHow to place a hamster in a temporary holdingHow to clean wire or plastic cages for hamstersCleaning a glass tank for hamstersMultiple levels or one ground level ?The airflow of the cage is important for your hamsterPlacing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cageWhere to keep the hamster’s cage in your homeHow to safely move and handle a hamster’s cageA word from Teddy So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ? This depends on several factors, and I’ll list them here. Then, we’ll get into detail for each and every one of them, so you have the most information. So, you have to be mindful of: The cage size – different needs for different hamster species The cage type – plastic vs wire vs glass tank Escape-proof rating of the cage Multiple levels or a simple ground level Air flow – some cage types aren’t the most breatheable Whichever kind of cage you get, be careful to check every nook and cranny before you buy it. Or, when it ships to you. Your hamster will check it anyway, so if there’s anything wrong with the cage, best to know before you put your friend in it. Teddy: Us hamsters are very curious creatures, and we’ll get our little faces into EVERY part of the cage. So make sure it’s safe for us before you let us in ! The best cage size for your hamster It will vary from species to species, but I’ll cover both types. In general hamsters need more space than you’d think, since they’re very active creatures and love to run around. Even if you see your friend as the smallest ball of fur, he will still need plenty of room to roam and explore. Cage size for Syrian hamsters The best size cage for your Syrian hamster would be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. The height of the cage is not very important, because hamsters need more actual floor space than levels. Of course, you can get your hammy a cage with a few levels, aside from the ground floor. This is actually what my Teddy has. He has a combination of plastic and wire cage, with 2 attachable levels. I left the highest level out of the cage, so I can fit his 8.5 inch/23 cm wheel. Syrian hamsters are always housed alone. They are very territorial and will not share anything with another hamster, even a litter mate. Cage size for Dwarf hamsters The best size for a dwarf hamster is 18 x 10 inches, and a 12 inch height. That’s 46 cm x 25.4 cm, with a 30.5 cm height. That is for one dwarf hamster. You can house dwarf hamsters together, but not too many. 2 or 3 are enough, but for each hamster your add, you will need a bigger cage. So for example if you’ve got 2 dwarf hamsters, then they will need more space than I said above. They will need at least a Syrian cage, so that’s 24 inches by 12 inches (61 x 30.5 cm) for 2 dwarf hamsters. If you’ve got 3 dwarf hamsters, then you’ll need a much bigger cage. You’d be better off looking for a glass tank. We’ll cover that soon. The best cage type for your hamster There’s 3 main types of cages you can pick, and I’ll go through all of them. You can find combination cages (like plastic and wire cages), but not very often. Wire cages for hamsters The most common kind of hamster cage, and the one you will find in a pet shop most of the time. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll go through them here. This kind of cage is made up of a plastic bottom, usually about the height of your palm. The attachable wire walls, which are actually most of the cage itself. Although, the most important part is the bottom bit. That is where your hamster will live, walk, eat, sleep, and poo. The wire of the cage is just how far he can go. But the floor space is the most relevant part of your cage, to be honest. Good points for a wire cage: breathable, lots of air flow for your hamster easy to clean, just a wipe down with a warm, moist cloth easy to take apart and reassemble generally sturdy, will last a long time Bad points for a wire cage: can sometimes have metal wiring on the floor, and your hamster can get stuck there is the hamster’s favorite chew toy bedding can easily fly out of it wire spacing is often too large for hamsters, they can squeeze their heads through When it comes to the space between the wire of your cage, the smaller then better. The thing is, hamsters are very curious, and will stick their faces everywhere and will try chewing everything. If your hamster’s head can fit between the wires, then his body can fit as well and he can escape. So, for Syrian hamsters a maximum wire space should be 0.6 inches/1.5 cm. And for dwarf hamsters, a maximum of 0.4 inches/ 1 cm. The problems is that most of the cages your will find in a pet shop have the wiring too far apart. If they’re large enough for a Syrian, then the wiring is too far apart. If the wiring is good, they’re almost always just large enough for a parakeet, not a hamster of any kind. A good wire cage for your hamster A good wire cage is one that has a sensible wire spacing, This one’s got less than half an inch, so it will keep even dwarf hamsters inside. It’s easy enough to work with and you an fit any kind of hideout or toy inside, and a tall wheel will fit as well. It has the added benefit of an extra level, which hamsters will love. My Teddy loves to hide under the home level, and yours is probably no different. This one’s level is adjustable, so you can place it whichever way you want. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Plastic cages for hamsters These can be plastic bins that you can drill some holes in, and put a wire mesh in place of a lid. Or you can even find plastic cages at a pet shop, designed for your hamster. These are see-through, and are the second most common type of hamster cages. They’re usually a bit more pricey than wire cages, but they have the added benefit that they can be customized. Good points for plastic hamster cages: less bedding thrown outside the cage, contains poo and wood shavings better easier to customize, you can often find them with holes made for attaching tunnels and tubes less of a chew hazard, the hamster rarely chews on them since he can’t get his teeth on anything usually has a very large topside latch, so you can fit both hands inside the cage you can provide deeper bedding, since there is a higher plastic guard Bad points for plastic hamster cages: less airflow than wire cages or glass tanks, since the air holes are smaller more condensation or trapped air need more cleaning, since there is more surface to clean less sturdier than wire cages, careful when moving the plastic cages The plastic cages sound like a good option, and they can totally be a good option for your hamster. If you’ve got a hamster who loves to dig around and burrow, this might be for him. You can give your friend a lot of digging space and a whole bunch of bedding to roam around in. Just make sure that you get a version that’s well ventilated, so your hamster can breathe easily. As for the actual bins some people use in place of a hamster cage, I wouldn’t recommend that. The plastic is usually too soft and blurry, even if it can be drilled to get some air holes for your hamster. When it comes to basic, important hamster accessories like the cage or the wheel or exercise ball, or even the water bottle, I suggest you get a professional one. Those are made with the hamster’s comfort in mind. A good plastic hamster cage recommendation This is actually the cage I have for my Teddy. It has 2 levels, and they provide a lot of room for your hamster. My Teddy is a solitary adult Syrian hamster, But this would be alright for 2 dwarf hamsters as well. The best thing about this cage is that it comes with the tube attachments, which can actually fit an adult Syrian hamster inside easily. This is an easy to clean and assemble cage, with a great combo between plastic and metal cage advantages. There’s air, and there’s safety and containment as well. I removed the highest level so I can fit 9 inch wheel inside. The wheel that come with it, as well as the hideout I wouldn’t recommend, since they are plastic and small. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Glass tanks for hamsters A third and final option would be to keep your hammy in a glass tank. This is a great option if you have a lot of space in your home, and can place la large glass tank somewhere. There are some special precautions, though. Glass keeps cold for longer, so make sure you keep the tank in a definitely warm room. Hamsters need an temperature of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. A glass tank might keep them colder if not properly maintained. Good points for a glass tank: you can get them in a very large size, and will definitely fit any kind of hamster you have can be split down the middle with a large bendy bridge if the hamsters become rowdy you can see your hammy, but he can’t kick out any bedding can be found quite easily, it can even be a glass shelf with the shelves removed Bad points for a glass tank: cleaning and changing the bedding will need serious planning and will take more time more sensitive to temperature shifts you can’t move it around like a normal cage; the room you keep it in is its final room The glass tank is a seriously good option if you’ve got a room to keep the hamster in, and it won’t bother you during the night, and you can keep it an even temperature. Glass tanks don’t have to be aquariums. They can be that, but you can also use a glass shelf/display rack. When cleaning day comes, you’ll probably need a bit of help from a friend with this. But if you’re a dedicated hamster owner, you probably won’t mind the extra trouble to give your hammy the best home ever. The best thing to do is to find a wire mesh that you can use as a lid, on the top of your hamster’s glass tank. This is just a precaution. Most glass tanks are too tall for hamsters to climb, but you never know until they’re out. A recommendation on glass tanks for hamsters You can find a good glass tank here. It’s a 20 gallon tank, and that’s about the minimum for a hamster’s glass tank. The best part about it is that it’s tall enough the hamster can’t escape, and you probably won’t need a wire mesh to cover the top. Best to get one, just to be sure, though. The cleaning and washing and drying will be a longer process than the other cage types, but you can see your hamster clearly. When it comes to glass anything, it’s best to go there personally and buy it. Glass breaks very easily so don’t be surprised if that happens during transport. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this glass tank here. Safety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cage Another important aspect when you choose the hamster’s cage is how safe it is for your hamster, and how well it can keep him contained. Hamster’s safety in his cage Your hamster’s cage is his home. This is where he will eat, sleep, poop, run around, and just live out his entire life. It needs to be a safe place for your hamster. So let’s look at a few precautions to take: check for any sharp edges your hammy could hurt himself on, like some stray wires or sides no chipped edges if you’re using a glass tank the seams/corners are safe and can’t be chewed on, and have no visible glue that the hamster can gnaw on if you’ve got a multi level cage, make sure the levels aren’t too high so he can’t fall too far give your hammy lots and lots of bedding to shield him from any odd edges make sure the cage fastenings don’t come open easily, and keep the cage top well secured If you’ve checked all of the above, and you’re sure your hammy can’t hurt himself on anything, then great ! Remember to keep the room temperature between 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit and he will be fine. Is the hamster’s cage escape proof ? Hamsters are escape artists. Not because they reaaaaally want to escape, but because they’re curious and want to know everything, If there’s something that smells like food, they’ll be all over the cage to try to get to it. If they see you they’ll be clawing at the cage to come and smell you. Hamsters are busy things, people to see, things to do. So they will try their teeth on everything, including the cage. If you’re not careful, he might chew through a cage fastening (depending on the material) and hurt himself and/or manage to escape. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your hamster can’t escape. if you’ve got a glass tank, use a wire mesh with metal clamps to fit it on top of the cage make sure the cage wiring and the wire mesh holes don’t have more than 1.5 cm/0.6 inch opening for Syrian hamsters for dwarf hamsters, make sure the opening between wires is no more than 1 cm/0.4 inches; Syrian hamster babies need smaller openings, like this one make sure that the cage fastenings keep the cage well closed and can’t be opened easily check the cage for any weakness that the hamster night chew on, like ripped plastic bottom or a small hole somewhere How to clean a hamster’s cage This depends a bit on what type of cage you own, but I’ll go through each type. Whichever kind you have, you must first place the hamster(s) somewhere else. So use an exercise ball, or transport cage, to keep the hamster while you clean he cage. How to place a hamster in a temporary holding If you can hold your hamster, then scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball or transport cage. If the hamster can’t be handled, then coax him into the exercise ball or transport cage with a bit of food he loves. He only has to stay there until you clean his cage. If you’ve put him in an exercise ball, make sure you keep an eye on him as well. Remove any and all toys and home and food bowls from the cage, until you only have the bedding. The cages are very simple, open the latches on the cage (usually on the side) and remove the top. Then, after you’ve removed everything but the bedding, look for soiled parts. If the bedding looks relatively clean and doesn’t smell, remove only the dirty parts. Use a rubber glove, and throw away the parts that need to be thrown away. Keep a bit of the old bedding and nesting material, for your hamster to feel more familiar. If you’re using a sand bath for your hamster, make sure you change and clean that as well. How to clean wire or plastic cages for hamsters As for the cage itself, it will need only hot water and a bit of soap. Small quantities of soap, since hamsters are very sensitive to smell. You can scrub the sides of the cage, or wipe them down, your choice. You can also bring the cage parts into the shower and give them a good cleaning there, just make sure your pat them dry with paper towels and especially the lower part. The bedding can get wet if you don’t, and will become moldy. Once you’ve washed and dried the cage, place the parts of the old bedding back onto the lower part of the cage. Put new bedding if you need to, until you reach a depth of about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm. Then, place back every toy and food bowl or accessory in the hamster’s cage. In his hideout, place the bits of the old nesting material, and some new nesting material in the cage. Do not place new nesting material directly in the hamster’s hideout. He will take it out anyway, and bring it back in as he thinks fit. My Teddy got quite annoyed when he found his hideout full of ripped up paper towel not the way he left it. Cleaning a glass tank for hamsters The bedding and toys need to be removed the same way as the wire or plastic cages. But the last bits of bedding will require something like a vacuum cleaner, to make sure you get absolutely everything out. The cleaning and washing part is done with hot water and a small amount of soap, but will need more rinsing with a moist clean cloth. You can’t bring the glass tank to the shower, but you can rinse it thoroughly with lots and lots or moist cloth. When you’re done washing it, dry very well with paper towels. If you want to be extra sure there are no hidden water droplets in the corner, use a blow dryer. Keep it a safe distance from the glass, at least 40 cm/16 inches and use a warm setting. After you’re done washing and drying the glass tank, place back the bedding and nesting material, with bits of old bedding and nesting material as well. Place the toys and hideout and everything back, and use this as an excuse to maybe redecorate the hammy’s place. Even if the glass tank is a glass one, do now use window washing liquid on it. The alcohol and strong smell will be harmful for the hamster, just stick to hot water. Multiple levels or one ground level ? This is entirely up to you, and the hamster will enjoy both. The thing is that hamsters need a lot of leg room, because they run and climb and explore new places. If you’re looking for a hamster cage that will give your hamster a lot of space, look for a low cage, with lots of space in width and length. This will take up a lot of actual floor space in your home. So, it depends on your home as well. If you choose a multi-level cage, you do give your hamster more room, and he will use the higher levels as well. He will hangout mostly around his hideout, so make sure you put that somewhere he will not fall far from. For example my Teddy has a multiple level cage. I took out the last level so I can fit his wheel inside, but Teddy uses all the space he has. When I gave him the extra level, he used that one too. A word of caution though. Hamsters can’t judge heights very well, so they will jump or fall from a high ground if they think it’s a shortcut. My Teddy is also plain silly and just forgets he has a nice ramp set up from his upper level to the ground level. He sometimes just jumps from the upper level (like 15 cm/6 inches) to the ground floor. He often just climbs up instead of using that ramp. That’s okay, he’s working out quite well. So if you get your hamster a multi-level cage, make sure your give the levels lots of bedding. And also, make sure the levels overlap a little, so he can’t jump too far down. This is because hamsters will use the actual floor of the levels as much as they can, so there is no point if giving them a ‘high ceiling’ type of cage. Hamsters spend most of their time on all 4 feet, and don’t need a lot of vertical space to stand. Just make sure that a large exercise wheel (9 inches/23 cm and upwards) will fit into the type of cage you have. (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 airflow of the cage is important for your hamster As with every living being, air is important. Stale air will give your hamster a lot of health issues, including lung problems, possible colds, and suffocation in extreme cases. To make sure your hamster gets lots of air, a wire cage is best. But to make sure the hamster won’t chew the bars, you need a plastic cage or glass tank. But with the plastic cage the air quality is often a problem. However a glass tank is often expensive. So what should you do ? Take a look at your budget, see which kind of cage you can provide your hamster and still be okay. Then, do the following: If you get a wire cage – keep it in a corner, away from drafts and in an even temp of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit If you get a plastic cage – place the hamster in his exercise ball more often, and use that time to air out the plastic cage If you’ve got a glass tank, the air will be sufficient but again keep it from drafts, and when the hamster is outside the cage remove the wire mesh to allow for more air If you hamster’s cage isn’t properly aired, the condensation and air quality will give him health problems, and we want to avoid that. This is especially important with the ammonia fumes from the hamster’s pee. Protect your hamster’s cage from drafts and any especially cold air. Placing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cage The hideout is where your hamster will spend most of his time. Place that in a corner, hidden from sight or at least under a bendy bridge or something similar. Hamsters will choose a very hidden and safe spot to build their nest, so put their hideout there. For example my Teddy often uses the most hidden corner of his cage to eat, under the upper level and blocked by paper tubes and bedding. To find out more about what kind of hideout is best for your hamster, as well as which kind of bedding is safe for him, check out my article. You’ll also find out what nesting material is okay, and how to take care if your hamster’s hideout. As for the toys and wheel, make sure you keep any tall toys away from the glass tank’s edge otherwise the hamster might climb out. The wheel can be anywhere in the cage, but make sure it fits into your cage. If it’s a mounted wheel, it will have to be attached to the side of the cage. A standing wheel can be placed anywhere. You can find my article on what kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, according to his size as well. You’ll also find out how to clean and acre for the exercise wheel, and how to acclimate him to one. The toys, whether they’re food bowls or chew toys or bendy bridges can be put anywhere. Anywhere in the cage is fine, as long as they’re not in the pee corner. Hamsters usually choose a corner to pee in, usually the farthest away from their hideout. So, in that particular corner I put Teddy a sand bath. It acts as a litter box, and it keeps smell down to a minimum. You can use an old hideout, with a removable lid, or even special sand containers. Your choice, as long as you put something there to contain the sand. Other toys, like the chew toys and climb toys you can find out more about here. You’ll learn about the kind of toys your hamster needs, and what to look for to figure out which he likes the most. And you’ll get some DYI ideas for some of them as well ! Where to keep the hamster’s cage in your home This is something you’ll have to think about for a few minutes, see where the best option is. Best not to move the hamster’s cage often. Hamsters are sensitive, and do notice and wake up when you move their cage. It won’t shock or scar them for life, but they do notice. That being said, I do move my Teddy’s cage every day, because of my apartment’s layout. During the day when he sleeps he is in our bedroom, and I never move him. But at night, before I go to bed, I move him to the kitchen where my girlfriend can’t hear him rummaging through his cage. Hamsters rarely make noise, and they’re very quiet by nature, but she’s a light sleeper. In the morning, we take him back to the bedroom and don’t disturb him for the rest of the day. Now, if you’ve got an apartment with a better setup than I do, figure out a place to keep him at all times. It’s best if it’s a room where he can’t be bothered by other pets or curious children when he sleeps. If you have a room for the hamster alone, then you can probably get him a glass tank (not taking the budget into account) since it will stay in one place. The room you keep your hamster in needs to be free of drafts, with an even temperature. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. How to safely move and handle a hamster’s cage The cage should not be moved often, but there will be times when you must do this. When this does happen, make sure you do not grab the cage by the top part, at all. Even if it has a nice handle to hold, do not trust it. Most of those are poorly build and will not hold that weight. Do not hold the wiring, since your fingers can become stuck, and the hamster will possibly chew them as well. If you’ve got a long sleeve shirt, keep the sleeves or any shirt part away from the wire cage wall. If possible, try not to bump the cage into the wall or drop it. Avoid taking it up and down the stairs, since you won’t see very well. Even more important, if the hamster is still inside the cage. In these situations use a transport cage for the hamster, and empty the large cage to hold it in an way you can see in front of you. When picking up the cage, pick it up by the lowest part of the bottom. Make sure your thumbs don’t stick into the cage or the hamster might nibble and you might drop him. When placing the hamster’s cage down on the floor, do not bend over, but kneel. This is easier on your back, and safe for the hamster as well. A word from Teddy I hope you have a clear idea of what kind of home us hamsters need now. There are difference between hammies like me (Syrian hamsters) and dwarf hamsters, but we’re more alike than different. Us Syrian hamsters need larger cages, and dwarf hamsters can do with smaller ones, but always add more space for each new hamster. For example my dwarf brothers and sisters can be housed together, in same sex pairs. But I need to be alone, I don’t like sharing my space or toys or… well, anything. If you want to know more about hamsters in general, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out more about why we eat our poop, and how much water we need as well !... Read more...