12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs Ever

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.

hamster funny cute (1)

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.

hamster funny cute (4)

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.)

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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.

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Buyer’s Guide – Choosing The Best Hamster Exercise Wheel
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing The Best Hamster Exercise WheelWhen your first get your hamster home, you probably have the small wheel that comes with the cage. Then you find out that wheel’s not good enough, and you need to find a bigger, better one. But how big ? How do you know which is best ? This is something I went through as well when I got Teddy, and I’ll tell you how I found a great wheel for him. Table of Contents ToggleSo how do you choose a good exercise wheel for your hamster ?How to introduce a hamster to his running wheelHow to care for a hamster running wheelHow to clean a hamster running wheelWhat to do if your hamster does not use his running wheelDo hamsters even need exercise wheels ?A good hamster exercise wheel recommendationDangers of not exercising your hamsterPrecautions when using a hamster exercise wheelHow to tell when your hamster is comfortable in his exercise wheelA word from Teddy So how do you choose a good exercise wheel for your hamster ? There are a few factors involved, and we’ll go through all of them. 1. The size of the wheel is very important. That depends on the size of your hamster. A large hamster, like a Syrian hamster, will need a minimum of 8 inches (20 cm) wheel. Smaller breeds like dwarf and Campbell hamsters need a minimum of 5.5 inches (14 cm). But make sure you go above the minimum requirement. The width of the running band is a minimum of 2.5 inch (6 cm) to fit the hamster properly, for all species. 2. The type of the wheel. Full, weighted, plastic wheels are better for your hamster. The metal ones are the next best thing, as long as the hamster has no way of hurting himself. 3. Mounted vs grounded wheels. Both are good options, but it depends on the type of cage you have. If you have no way to mount the wheel, then you’ll need to go for a grounded one. 4. Noise level. It’s important to get a silent hamster wheel, so be sure to check that when you get the wheel. Or to find some ways to make sure the wheel can be silent. 5. The hamster’s back should always be straight. If your hammy has his back arched back when he uses his wheel, then it is too small for him. Syrian hamsters have a big problem with this, since most commercial wheels are too small for them. These are the basics. Teddy and I will walk your through how to properly use a hamster wheel, how to care for it, and precautions. How to introduce a hamster to his running wheel A hamster is a very curious creature, and he will inspect anything in his cage that is new. So when you place your hamster’s new wheel in his c age, put a treat in it. The treat will draw the hamster towards the wheel, and he’ll notice that the wheel moves. It might take him a few tries to figure it out, but he will. Once your hamster learns that the wheel moves, and is for running, he will start using it. This was the case with my Teddy, a full grown Syrian hamster. When he was a few weeks old, he had a small, plastic wheel that was mounted on the side of the cage. It was too small for him, even as a small hamster. So I went and got him a bigger one, a 7 inch/18 cm wheel, which he used until he grew too big for that one too. Then I got him a larger, 8.5 inch/21.5 cm one. But Teddy took to his wheel like a fish to water. So I’m pretty sure your hammy will jump right into his wheel once he finds it. It might take him a few minutes to figure it out, or even a few days. But he will eventually get there. There are however a few hamsters that don’t use their wheel, they just walk through it. But we’ll cover that in a different part of the article. The cage you have plays an important role here. If you have no way to attach the wheel to the side of the cage, you will need a standing wheel. To find out more about the different kinds of cages and what your hamster needs from his cage, check out my article here. How to care for a hamster running wheel Caring for a running wheel for your hamster is not going to be difficult, but some things need to be kept in mind. For example the metal wheels will start screeching after a while, and will need regular oiling in order to be silent. That means taking the wheel apart, wiping off the old oil, and putting on a very small amount of fresh oil. You can use almost any kind of oil, but remember to use just a small amount. Stay away from very fragrant oils, like olive oil, since your hamster might be tempted to lick it off the wheel. First hand experience here, had to take the wheel out. Plastic, full wheels with guards on need you to take them apart, and some may require a screwdriver. Whenever you clean one of those, best to leave them to dry very well before putting them back. Plastic wheels don’t need any regular upkeep. If you’ve got a grounded wheel, make sure to not get it all the way down to the bottom of the cage. Leave a layer of bedding just under it, to make as little noise as possible. This is also make sure the wheel doesn’t move around the cage much, and won’t bang into anything it shouldn’t. The hamster will bite into and chew everything, including his exercise wheel. So do not mind the bite marks on the wheel. If you’ve got a metal one, the paint on it is safe for hamsters as well. Teddy’s been chewing on his since forever and he is fine. How to clean a hamster running wheel The solution to use when cleaning the wheel itself is very hot water, with just a bit of soap. A very small amount of soap is needed, and must be very well rinsed. As I said above, you’ll need to take the wheel apart, and clean each surface thoroughly. Make sure that when you finish cleaning the hamster’s exercise wheel, you allow it to dry completely. If you need to, you can use a blow dryer on a low setting. As for how often to clean the hamster’s exercise wheel, twice a year is enough. The hamster himself is a very clean creature, so he won’t be soiling the wheel by himself too often. What to do if your hamster does not use his running wheel Let’s say your hammy knows he has a wheel, he knows it moves, but he just doesn’t use it. Maybe he never did use it. Maybe he just recently stopped using it. Let’s see what you can try. Start by placing a treat inside the wheel, to draw your hamster in. Continue doing this for a few time throughout the day, for a couple of days. Your hammy might need to re-learn or rediscover his wheel. Now, after your hammy is back in his wheel, what if he just sits in it ? Try moving the wheel very gently. Do not move the wheel suddenly, but be slow and deliberate about it. Your hamster will most likely follow along, and start walking in the exercise wheel. Keep doing this for a few seconds, and then let him move the wheel by himself. If he doesn’t, give him more time. Repeat this method for a couple of days, and if your hammy still won’t use the wheel, it’s best to stop insisting. Some hamsters just aren’t runners. However, you should be very careful about something. When you see your hamster not walking properly, or limping a bit when he’s in his wheel, contact your vet. Your hamster could be avoiding the wheel because one of his paws hurt. Especially if he stopped just recently. And finally, some hamsters stop using their wheel when they get older. The older the hamster, the bigger the chances are that he’ll stop running. It could be that they’re more comfy, they feel no threat, or they’ve just become lazy. The point is that they can sometimes stop using it at all. And there’s not much we can do about that. Do hamsters even need exercise wheels ? Yes, hamsters need an exercise wheel. In the wild hamsters are very active, fidgety creatures. They’re used to running around, darting here and hiding there. They can’t and won’t sit still for long. How I wish I knew this before I got Teddy. I knew nothing of hamsters, I only knew they were cute and fluffy. But I never imagined he’d be a dynamo. Turns out not all hamsters are cuddly and like to be held, some are more energetic and want to be everywhere. Still, Teddy is the cutest thing, and I’m glad I got an excited and energetic hamster. He makes for a funny pet, and pulls the wildest stunts. Now, imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t get Teddy an exercise wheel. He’d be all over the place, and I’d be worrying about what to do. But since Teddy does have a wheel, he expends a lot of his energy on that wheel. Hamsters need to have someplace to be active, like a running wheel or an exercise ball, or toys around their cage. The exercise/running wheel allows your hammy to do what he’d normally do in the wild. Usually a hamster can cover up to 5.5 miles/ 9 km in one night ! This is looking for food, running from predators, finding new territory, and being curious in general.  Imagine your hammy with all that energy and no wheel to burn it all on. A good hamster exercise wheel recommendation A good hamster wheel is for life. It’s best to get your hammy his wheel since he is a baby, and let him grow into it. If you’ve got a Syrian hamster like me, then you’ll know they can grow pretty big. The absolute minimum for a Syrian hamster is a 8 inch/20 cm wheel, but it’s important to go past that minimum since your hammy needs a bit more space than that, and he might grow very large. This applies to dwarf hamsters as well, since they need a fair amount of space themselves. So this is my recommendation, and a very good wheel as far as I can tell. This is not the wheel I have for my Teddy, since these are not available in my are, and do not ship here either. However they are just above the wheel I have for Teddy. As far as I’ve seen, it’s a silent wheel, and it stays put quite well. It has a weighted bottom, so it will stay where you put it. This means it will be heavier than your standard wheel, but that’s just the bottom part, the wheel itself is easy to move by the hamster. A hamster exercise wheel is going to last him his entire life, so don’t skimp out on it. It’s just as vital as the size of the cage he lives in, and what food you feed your hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon for the exercise wheel here. Dangers of not exercising your hamster There are a few problems that come us when you’re not exercising your hamster, let’s talk about that. If your hamster has so much energy to spend, but nowhere to go, that’s a problem. First, hamster can get anxiety and depression out of being cooped up for long periods of time with no activity. Hamsters bore easily, and need a lot of stimulation. Exercise gives them exactly that, so make sure you get your hamster a lot of exercise. Second, in lack of anything else to do, your hamster will scale the cage walls, and try to escape. Partly out of boredom, and partly out of curiosity. Third, he might develop a cage biting habit. If your hamster feel closed off, and wants to escape or find something to do, he might end up chewing on his cage bars. While that may sound like an innocent thing to do, it’s not. It hurts his teeth, since the metal is too hard for them and is not an okay material to chew on. Aside from that, it’s incredibly loud and it woke me up more than once. So make sure you keep your hamster well exercised, whether it is with a hamster wheel, or exercise ball. Giving your hamster lots of toys to play with will also keep him active, even if he’s not running. (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.) Precautions when using a hamster exercise wheel When I first put Teddy in his wheel, I didn’t know about all of these. I learned in time, and I’m giving you these pointers to make sure you have all the info you need. The wheel needs to have enough space to spin properly. That means that it needs to have just a bit of space between itself and the bedding. Otherwise the wheel won’t spin, and the bedding will go flying everywhere. Best to prevent that by keeping some space. Sometimes, if you’re using a simple metal wheel, the metal bars will become misaligned. This can hurt the hamster, since he can get hit by those bars. Best to check them every day, to see if they get a bit wonky. This happened with my Teddy, and I had to move the bars a bit. They may be metal, but they’re still malleable, so if your hamster’s hitting the bars, you should be able to twist them just a bit. The best way to check this is by looking at the bars themselves. The ones Teddy kept hitting had a bit of the natural oil that builds up on Teddy’s fur, and dirt on the side. This was where it kept brushing up against the hamster, and that’s how I figured that I had to twist the bars a bit. The plastic wheels don’t have this problem, but they have their own. For example flying saucer wheels require much more space inside the hamster’s cage than a simple vertical wheel, so keep that in mind as well. Also the hamster can suddenly ‘fly’ off that wheel if he stops so it can be a bit dangerous for him And finally, be sure that whatever kind of wheel you get, the hamster can’t catch his feet in it. For example some metal and plastic wheels have a very poorly though out spacing between the bars, and the hamster can easily stick a whole foot inside. If your have 2 hamsters, get them 2 wheels. This way your will avoid any possible injuries from one hamster getting in the wheel while another is running. Or out of the wheel. You’ve probably seen videos of hamsters flying out of a running wheel because their cage mate was still running. Avoid that. How to tell when your hamster is comfortable in his exercise wheel The hammy should feel a natural call to run in his wheel. Hamsters are meant to run, and they enjoy every kind of activity that lets them do that. But there are a few ways to tell if your hamster is in pain or has a problem with his running wheel, and it’s important to know them. This way you can prevent larger problems like fur loss, injury or even worse. The hamster’s back is straight, and not arched back. As with the exercise ball, the wheel is meant to be a running simulator and hamsters run with their back straight, or even a bit hunched. The hamster is able to run in a straight line. This means that the bars on the wheel are properly aligned, and there is no tilting of the wheel. If there is any tilting, the hamster might get injured. He has enough space to run on. By this I mean he has enough ‘lane’ to run in, and his running band is at least 2.5 inches/6 cm wide. Otherwise the hammy will hit his rear end on the sides of the wheel. The hamster can keep up a consistent run. He does not have to stop often to readjust his position. This won’t really happen when he knows you’re there, since you will distract him. Watch your hamster from a distance to get a clear observation. A word from Teddy You know everything there is to know about us hammies now ! Running is a large part of our lives, and you know how much we run, and how big our wheel needs to be. I know it might sound like a lot of space, but it will matter a lot to your hamster friend if he has a lot of space to run in. If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info like what we can and can not eat, and even what kind of cage we need. [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?
Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?If you’re looking to get a rodent, but can’t decide between hamsters, mice or rats then this article will help you sort that out. Unfortunately they can’t be all kept together, you need to pick just one kind of pet. But they’ve all got different needs, even if they are so similar. Let’s see a bit about each rodent, so you know which would be the best pet for you. If you want to know how a hamster would fare if he were to live in the same cage as a rat or mouse, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleAbout the hamster – general info + personalityAbout mice – general info + personalityAbout rats – general info + personalityFood difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any)Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with ownersCage size and housing differencesA word from Teddy About the hamster – general info + personality A hamster is very small, can be as small as 2 inches/5 cm, and as large as 5 inches/13 cm. He doesn’t need as much room as a rabbit, and usually stays put. As in, leaving the hamster in his cage all his life is not a problem, as long as he has a large enough cage. He does need a bit of exercise, but this is where his exercise wheel comes to the rescue. Hammies don’t like to share and generally should not be housed together. The only exceptions are the Dwarf types, who can live with a sibling or two of the same sex. This is only true for siblings that have never been separated and live in a very large cage, so they won’t fight over food and toys and general resources. Even so, I recommend keeping any and all hamsters alone, one hamster per cage. This reduces the hamster’s stress levels and this way you make sure there are no unnecessary fights, which can sometimes be deadly. Hamsters are prey animals, so they’re used to running away and hiding. Their cages need to have plenty of hiding places, so they can feel safe. This also means that taming the hamster will not be as easy as taming a puppy. He will take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to trust you. And that trust can always be lost, or forgotten if you stop interacting with him for a few days. Still, hamsters make for very entertaining pets. It’s just that the vast majority of hamsters only come out of their hiding place at night. This means that if you go to bed before 10 PM you might just miss their waking up.  And if you wake up around 6 AM, they’ve just gone to bed. So I’d only recommend a hamster to a person who either stays up very late, or works night shifts and can catch the hamster awake more often. They’re also very sensitive animals, in that there is such a thing as handling them too much, and too little. They get grumpy if you wake them up, they won’t always want to stay in your hands… okay, they rarely want to stay put. They want to explore and see everything. Their personalities are not obvious from the start, when they’re babies. But once they grow up (3 months-ish) you’ll realize you’ve either got a Rambo type (all over the place, exploring, trying to intimidate you, not staying still) or the world’s laziest and relaxed furball. There is no in-between. All hamsters mellow down once they become old, it’s just that some are absolutely spastic when they’re young. About mice – general info + personality Mice are very social animals, and will generally do better if they’re kept in a small group. For example 3 females, or 2 males seems to be the best kind of match. There will always be one mouse trying to be the dominant one. Mice are much smaller than hamsters – smaller than a Dwarf sometimes – and are so much more agile and quick. This means that trying to handle a mouse is very hard, since he’ll be all over the place. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to tame. But it is much harder than with a hamster. Usually mice are kept as pets to look at, rather than play with. Even if you do manage to hold onto one, he’ll almost immediately want to go exploring. Mice, like hamsters and rats, have poor eyesight and as a result they can’t really judge distances and heights. All 3 will try to jump off of ledges or out of your hands if they’ve had enough, but mice and hamsters are just plain terrible at this. They will jump from high places, even if they’re too high. Mice are only a slight bit smarter in this area. Still, seeing a small colony of mice interact and build their own little nests, and lay with every little toy is going to be fun. They’re almost always unpredictable, and seem not to care if they survive a climb or any special endeavor. Given how shall mice are, even the mellow, chill ones will seem skittish. That’s just the way mice are. They can get along with each other, but it’s a lot like with Dwarf hamsters. They must be siblings, and never been separated at all. Even then, they might argue from time to time. What sibling doesn’t, though ? About rats – general info + personality A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent. That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. They’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters. Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them. When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal anything if ever left outside of their cage, and let them out your should from time to time. This is mostly because they need lots of stimulation, and sometimes being kept in their cage isn’t enough. You can always keep just one rat, but you should be warned that you’ll need to interact with him often if you want him to not get bored. A bored rat is never good news. He will try to escape, chew through a part of the cage you’d never expect, or just wait for the perfect moment when you’re opening his cage to take him out. But, a rat is a smart animal, and he will be very entertaining. He’ll tend to understand you better, and sometimes even sit still when you need him to, or when you just want to keep him cuddled in your arms. (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.) Food difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any) When it comes to food, hamsters mice and rats eat pretty much everything. They all eat mostly grains, with some fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too, ans so it a bit of meta. It’s okay if it’s mealworms, it can even if a bit of boiled plain chicken. Do keep in mind that the serving sizes vary from animal to animal. A hamster will need 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried commercial food mix (depending on whether you’ve got a Dwarf or a Syrian). This is per hamster, per day. A mouse will need just the one teaspoon, once a day, aside from whatever treats you give them. A rat will need much more, amounting to 2 tablespoons of their commercial mix food. They’re much larger and need more food than the other two rodents. However all 3 have teeth that never stop growing, and they will need to gnaw on something all the time. This is where the dry grains or pellets come in handy. Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with owners Hamsters are solitary animals. If you really want to, you can house a pair of Dwarf hamsters,  but that often doesn’t end well. This is mostly because hamsters are very territorial, and they end up fighting over everything, unless they have a very very large cage. The only way you can keep a pair of Dwarf hamsters is if they’re siblings, of the same gender (so 2 girls or 2 boys), and they’ve never been separated. Hammies do interact with their owners, but they don’t bond with them as much. They can be rather aloof and disinterested most of the time, unless you’ve got a treat in your hands. Mice can be kept in more than just pairs, but it’s the same story as with Dwarf hamsters. They should be siblings, of the same sex, and never separated. They’re very skittish and all over the place. Handling them – and as such taming them – is going to be difficult, like with Dwarf hamsters. They simply don’t sit still, and don’t really like being handled. They bond a little more with their owners than hamsters, but that doesn’t say much. Rats are social too, but they should be kept with a buddy if you can’t talk to them or handle them often. They can grow bored very easily, and need a whole lot of toys. Cage size and housing differences When it comes to housing these rodents, things aren’t very different. For example a hamster can live in a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is for one lone Syrian hamster, or two Dwarf types. This same size is enough for one male rat, or 3 female mice. Mice males need a cage almost as big as a Syrian’s, just for one male mouse. Females live together easier. When it comes to toys and objects inside their cages, all 3 rodents need plenty of things to play with. Rats need the most stimulation, and will end up getting bored the fastest. This means that giving them plenty of puzzle toys is going to help. Puzzle toys can be something like a maze made out of an egg carton with holes cut in one end, and a treat at the other end. All 3 rodents are great with mazes. Another such toys would be a cardboard tube with a treat inside, but very tightly packed so the pet can’t get to the treat easily. Climbing toys are another object rodents will love, but especially mice and rats since they are used to climbing pipes or small plants. Hamsters prefer the low ground and tunnels. Rats and mice will go for hammocks, or maybe ladders, suspended bridges, and so on. If it requires a bit of acrobatics skill, it’s a rat or mouse toys, not a hamster toy. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies sometimes get confused with mice and rats, but we’re a bit different actually. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?
Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?Debating whether to get your hamster a new home ? There are so many versions of hamster cages, and one of them is a glass tank. Now, you might be wondering if you can actually keep a hamster in a glass tank, if your pet will be comfortable there, and how easy it is to take care of a glass tank. Today we’re tackling this topic and helping you figure out whether your hammy will live on one of these or not.  Table of Contents ToggleCan you keep hamsters in a glass tank ?Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tankCons of keeping your hamster in a glass tankWhat to look for in a glass tank for hamstersThe inner corners and edges should not be gluedThe tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape)The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tallTips on buying a glass tank for your hamsterGetting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventureLook for used or second hand tanks firstGlass cabinets or displays are another option Can you keep hamsters in a glass tank ? Yes, you can safely keep your pet hamster in a glass tank, provided it’s a large enough tank (at least 40 gallons/151 liters). Hamsters are small animals but they do a whole lot of running and walking and playing and they need a lot of horizontal space. A small cage or tank will stress them out, so always get the bigger tank, if you have the option to choose.  A glass tank is not hard to find, but it’s usually going to be more expensive than a wire cage or plastic bin. However you can safely keep your hamster in a glass tank, as long as you keep it clean and the tank has airflow.  Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Less chances of draft for your hamster – hamsters are sensitive creatures, and should not be put in cold and drafty areas. A glass tank, with its closed sides, offers far less changes of a draft. But it can also mean there is less airflow in the tank if it’s too small. Again, a 40 gallon/151 liter tank is the minimum if you’re going to get a glass tank.  You can see through the glass, into the bedding – this is perhaps the biggest reason people opt for a glass tank. Compared to plastic bins and wire cages it’s far easier top see into a glass tank. You can observe your hamster, and if you’re lucky you might even see some of its burrow and tunnels if it gets close to the edge of the tank.  The cleaning process is simple and straightforward – a glass tank is easier to clean than a wire cage or a plastic bin. As long as you wipe it down with a mix of vinegar and warm water, then wipe it down again with warm water, and then pat it dry, the tank will be clean. Compared to wiping down a wire cage or plastic bin, glass is far easier to clean as a material.  Cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Glass tanks are harder to handle by just one person – these things are heavy, and easily crack or shatter. You have to choose your spot carefully, and ideally have at least one other person with you while moving the tank. And possibly while cleaning it too, if you need to move it again. Overall, I suggest you choose a spot that’s out of the way, and rarely ever move the tank from there.  Glass tanks can be very cold – this means you need to offer proper bedding for your hamster, to snuggle into something warm. It also means you should not place the tank directly on the floor, since that is always colder. If you have floor heating, definitely do not put the tank on the floor as the hamster might overheat.  Most tanks are smaller than a hamster would need – getting an appropriate sized tank isn’t easy. You can easily find fish tanks, but those are generally smaller. The minimum you’d need for a hamster is the 40 gallon/151 liter one, so it ahs sufficient floor space, and also height. You might have to look around a lot of pet stores until you find a tank you can use. Check my article on how to choose the best hamster cage to find out more about cages and glass tanks. What to look for in a glass tank for hamsters If you’ve decided the pros and cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank sound good, then great ! There are just a few things you need to look out for when deciding which tank to get. These are just basic things, aside from getting a large enough one.  The inner corners and edges should not be glued Not all glass tanks are made the same way. Some are cheap, and some are better quality. The cheaper ones will have glue keeping them together at the edges, which may or may not be a good thing. It’s a good thing because you don’t need it to be waterproof, but the glue can weaken over time, and worse, the hamster might be attracted by the smell of the glue and chew on it. Not all tank have their glue well hidden. Then there are glass tanks with frames, keeping each glass sheet in its place. Those are better, but also more expensive.  Or, if you can’t find any glass tanks then a glass display or cabinet will do just fine, as long as it’s larger enough. Those won’t have their edges completely shut, meaning that if you pour water it will leak through. But since this is a hamster and it will only need bedding, the edges aren’t much of an issue.  The tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape) Glass tanks are usually reserved for fish, and fish don’t need wire mesh or wire lids to keep them from escaping. But hamsters are rodents, and they are master escape artists. They cannot chew through glass (thankfully) and they can’t grew through semi-thick wire. So, you will need a lid for your glass tank.  Most of the time those are easy to improvise. All you need is some DIY skill, wire mesh that has very small holes (less than 1 cm in diameter), and a bit of time. You also need a wire lid or mesh if you’re using a glass cabinet or display.  Never use a glass lid to completely shut in your hamster. It needs plenty of airflow, if you close the glass lit on the cage you’re limiting its air supply. Also don’t use a plastic lid, even if it has air holes. While a hamster can’t chew through wire, it can and will chew through plastic. And if your hamster will get to the top of the cage and hand from the lid (all of mine did) it might start chewing onto it and you will have a problem. This is actually one of the main drawbacks of plastic bins by the way; their plastic is just too easy to chew through.  The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tall Your glass tank should be more wide than tall. Hamsters aren’t exactly climbers, but they will climb if they need to. Instead they prefer to run and walk, which means a lot of horizontal terrain. But, your tank should be able to accommodate your hamster’s habitat (toys, home, wheel, chews, etc) and a few inches of bedding.  Out of all the things listed, the wheel is the most important and should be as large as possible. The larger the wheel, the ‘flatter’ the terrain your hamster runs on, and the less stress it will have on its spine. The best wheels are always the largest (11-12 inches), regardless of whether you have a dwarf or a Syrian hamster.  You need to account for the wheel’s diameter plus its stand, and however many inches of bedding you’re going to use. I suggest going for a 15 inch/40 cm deep tank, but I realize this isn’t always available, even if it’s the ideal minimum depth. What you can do is get a slightly smaller one, and only account for the wheel plus its stand. There you can use a very, very small amount of bedding, and concentrate most of the bedding on the other end of the tank.  This way you can get a, say 13 inch deep tank, add in a 12 inch wheel (11 inches plus stand), and add some bedding so the tank isn’t completely barren in that area.  Tips on buying a glass tank for your hamster Just before you walk out that door to buy a glass tank, here are a few tips on actually getting one, getting it in one piece home, and how to get a deal or an alternative for the tank.  Getting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventure If you’ve found a glass tank, it will already be assembled. Fortunately most respectable pet stores can offer transport for fragile items like this. But if for some reason the store doesn’t, you will need to bring it home in one piece.  I’m assuming you have a car, or an Uber, or a taxi close by with an empty backseat. When you get the glass tank out of the store, it should be wrapped in something shock-resistant like bubble wrap (a lot of it!), and then perhaps placed into a large enough cardboard box. You might need 2 people holding the tank.  Never hold the tank by one of its sides, it’s heavy and the frame or glue won’t hold. Always hold from the bottom of the tank, one person on each side.  Once the tank is in the car, use the seatbelt(s) to secure it in place. You will hit bumps and take a turn here or there. The tank should be as secure as possible so it won’t slide around or bump into anything.  Once you’re home you will again need help bringing it in, but at least you’re 75% done. Look for used or second hand tanks first Glass tanks can get expensive (around $10-250), but they are easy to clean or disinfect in most cases. So before you go to a store, look around for sales, offers, or even second hand tanks. As long as the glass is not cracked, the edges are still holding together nicely, the tank is fine.  Some owners swap out their old tanks for newer ones, of a different size. Those will usually be fish tanks and you might have to scrub those a bit more, just to be sure there is no residue on the glass.  Glass tanks that are on sale or offer at a store might not be 100% water proof, but still good enough to keep a hamster safe. Perhaps the frame doesn’t attach to the glass perfectly and it leaves a 1 mm gap all around, allowing water to trickle out. For a hamster you only need the edges to be closed and inescapable, not waterproof.  As long as the glass is clean, not cracked, and the edges hold together well, the tank is good.  Glass cabinets or displays are another option Okays so what if you looked everywhere and you just can’t find a glass tank big enough ? Your other options are a glass cabinet or glass display. Those are usually tall and somewhat skinny, with plenty of glass shelves. Depending on what you get, they can be anywhere from $150 to $300.  Once you get one, all you have to do is lay the cabinet or display on its side, remove the shelves and the glass door, and you’ve got an improvised glass tank. These are never waterproof, but they’ll be good enough to keep your hamster safe.  The only down side is that you’ll have to take a look at the top and bottom of the cabinet. When you lay it on its side, does it keep the glass suspended from the floor ? Or is the glass making direct contact with the floor ? You want direct contact, otherwise the glass will bow under the weight of the bedding. But an easy fix for this is to get something like a folded blanket or foam mat to put under the glass, so it makes up for the height difference.  Overall, you’ll notice that a glass tank or cabinet is not only heavier but more expensive than any other hamster cage. But, it’s also one of the most durable (provided you don’t break the glass) and it offers your hamster more roaming space.  [...] Read more...
About Hamsters Eating Dog Food (Or Any Other Animal Food)
About Hamsters Eating Dog Food (Or Any Other Animal Food)If you’ve got a hammy you’ve probably heard discussions on whether hamsters can eat dog food or not. Or why dog treats are okay for hamsters, but dog food isn’t.  Well, I’m going to help you figure that out, since this is something I had to learn about for my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) as well. Let’s get down to the first question. Table of Contents ToggleCan hamsters eat dog food ?Why hamsters can have dog treats, but not dog foodCan hamsters eat other animal foods ?The typical hamster dietA word from Teddy Can hamsters eat dog food ? No. Hamsters can’t eat dog food. This is the same whether it’s a high or low quality dog feed. Dogs are carnivorous animals, they live off of meat, so protein and fats. They don’t need much in terms of grains or vegetables to live a healthy life. They do need them, but in a very small amount. Hamsters are the opposite of that. Hamsters are omnivores, who maybe sometimes eat protein if the get the chance. Aside from that, hammies need grains and veggies and a whole lot of minerals and vitamins that dogs don’t need the same. We’ll cover this in more detail through the article, but the short of it is: No, hammies can’t have dog food, neither wet nor dry because they have a different digestive system (and dietary needs) than dogs. Why hamsters can have dog treats, but not dog food There is also the way dog feed is thought out. It’s meant as a way to bring not only protein but also vitamins a mineral to your dog. Those amounts are thought to be safe for a dog, and as such are tailored for small dogs, large dogs, senior dogs, young puppies, and so on. So, your hamster can’t have dog food also because of the mineral/vitamin content. You might ask if there’s a thing like taking too many vitamins or minerals. Yes, there is, and giving your hammy dog food instead of his usual meals will eventually lead to a vitamin OD. What about dog treats ? Why are those safe for hamsters ? Well, dog treats are meant as treats. That means they’re supposed to be given sparingly, and in small amounts. This is because while they’re tasty, they’re not exactly the most nutritious for a dog, often being based on grains and a bit of soy protein. This makes them safe for the hamster since they’re very close to what a hamster’s diet would look like. What a hamster would need to eat to be healthy. It also depends on the dog treats you give your hamster. Milkbones for example are a good choice for occasional treats for your hamster. The fact that they’re so hard makes them great actually to wear down the hamster’s teeth. However a hamster will take days to go through just one of these treats. Don’t feed them often, since the box will last you a long time, and for several hamsters at a time. Do not replace the hamster’s usual meals with dog treats. But they can be added in as an occasional supplement. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Can hamsters eat other animal foods ? Your safest bet – no, don’t feed your hammy any other food than hamster food. Doesn’t matter if it’s dry food (kibbles) or wet food. That being said, there are some small, rodent animals that eat mostly the same as hamsters. Gerbils, for example, are very similar to hamsters and may even share the exact kind of feed mix. However other rodents often have slightly different needs. For example guinea pigs need an external source of Vitamin C, and their pellets are infused with the vitamin. Hamsters don’t need extra vit. C, so you risk poisoning your hammy by mistake. You might argue that it’s possible to feed your hammy pellets or kibbles from other animals, grain-based, and supplement with fresh fruit and veg and meat from your own pantry. I honestly discourage that, since you can get the hamster’s diet wrong (the ratios and proportions of different elements) and it’s a whole level of effort that’s east to skip by letting the hamster have his own, specialized food. Best to just opt for a commercial food mix designed for hamsters. You can find out much more about a hamster’s healthy, safe diet right here. There you’ll find the list of safe and unsafe foods you can feed your hammy from your pantry or fridge, if you want to give him a little bit extra. (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 typical hamster diet  A hamster usually eats grains. That’s the vast majority of what your hammy needs to eat, whether he’s a Syrian or Dwarf type – more on each breed type here. You see in the wild hamsters have to forage for food, in ares that are mostly barren. There are some stray veggies, but mostly they’ll find grains and seeds from different plants. Fruits are not uncommon, but they’re not found often and are a very small portion of their daily food. And finally, hamsters do in fact eat meat and protein (bugs or worms), they just don’t find them often. And their digestive system is not meant for a meat-only kind of diet. A hamster’s teeth will tell you a lot about what they’re meant to eat. Hammies have very large front teeth, with two pairs (upper and lower). The lower pair is longer, and stronger, since hamsters are meant to bite into and chew on their food, which is hard. That means grains, since they’re the ones that can stand up to the bite of a hamster. A hamster’s teeth are always growing, so if he were to eat soft food like meat, or bread, his teeth would become too large. A word from Teddy I hop you know now why us hammies can’teat dog food. Even if we can eat dog treats, sometimes, we don’t have the same digestion as a doggy. So please give us proper, hamster food made for our guts and teeth. If your want to find out more about us hammies, you can read the articles below. You’ll find out more info on how to take care of us, and what we need to be happy. [...] Read more...
Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main Reasons
Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters are rodents, they like to try and test things by biting instead of licking. But licking the cage or other objects in it is not unheard of. So let’s talk about a few reasons why your hamster is licking the cage. Before getting to the topic is important to know that hamsters have different personalities and not all of them would have the same behavior for the same reason. So, it is important to know all the possible reasons for your hamster licking the cage, but you might have to decide which is most likely. Table of Contents Toggle4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage1. Curiosity2. Cooling off3. Thirsty4. Lack of mineralsHow to clean the cage after a hamster licks it?Why does a hamster lick itself?Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands?Why do hamsters bite the cage?Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage?Conclusion 4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage Hamster licking the cage happens more often when we are talking about glass tanks and less often for bin cages or regular hamster cages. You can check my article about glass tanks for hamsters if you want to know more about how safe they are and what you should know when you keep your hamster in one of those. Here are a few reasons why a hamster is licking the cage. 1. Curiosity This is one of the main reasons why hamsters lick their cage, so you should not worry too much about it. Those little furballs are anxious by default, and at the same time they are also curious, which might not be the best idea in the wild since they can get into a predator trap but in some situations, it might help them get food.  Here is an article about what hamsters eat in the wild and how their diet differs from a pet hamster. I know that all the hamsters I had were curious, when they would hear a sound around their cage, the first instinct was to hide, but after a few seconds, they would come out to see what it was. You can imagine that this is not the safest behavior for a hamster in the wild but is fun to see it if you have a pet hamster. So them licking the cage, especially a glass tank it, is usually out of curiosity. They want to know if they should chew it and what it tastes like or simply want to explore more. 2. Cooling off If the room temperature is too high, they might lick the glass tank to cool off a bit, as we might eat ice cream on a sunny summer day. Compared to bin cages, glass tanks are cooler and your hamster can easily cool off (and even get too cold) when in direct contact with the glass.  If you want to know more ways to keep your hamster cool, here is an article about 9 ways to do that. But before that, you should check this article to know what is the best room temperature for a pet hamster. 3. Thirsty Being thirsty might make a hamster lick the cage, but this doesn’t happen as often since a pet hamster should always have a water bottle filled with fresh water. But to be sure, you better check that their water bottle is working properly if you see your hamster licking the cage. 4. Lack of minerals Hamsters lacking minerals might be an obvious reason for them licking the cage. However, I’ve put it last since a pet hamster usually gets all the minerals it needs from a pre-made food mix that you can find online or at the pet shop. So a pet hamster should not lack minerals. I gave a mineral chew to my first hamster, and right after that, I wrote an article about mineral chews for hamsters. You can read the article if you want to know more, but long story short, they don’t really need extra minerals, and it might actually be dangerous for them. So, a lack of minerals is not the most common cause for a hamster licking the cage but people usually think this is the main reason because we like to control things and know what the reasons and solutions are. While most of the time, the reason is unknown and you can’t do too much to stop it, but the good news is that the hamster is usually ok and doesn’t need special attention because it licks the cage. How to clean the cage after a hamster licks it? It is not crucial to clean the cage right away, but when you do, it is important to use just a bit of soap or even only hot water. Hamsters are very sensitive to the smell of soap, and if they start licking the cage again, it can be dangerous for them. My advice is not to rush to clean the cage when you see your hamster licking it but rather wait for when you do a complete clean anyway. Why does a hamster lick itself? Hamsters are very clean animals, you don’t ever need to wash them since they are doing a great job themselves and getting wet is dangerous for hamsters. They are always cleaning themselves to stay odor free, or they might leak their scent glands to release a specific odor that helps them confuse and/or scare predators. So a hamster constantly licking itself is normal behavior. You should not worry about that. The only thing that can be bad about that is when they lick and try to bite themselves since that might be a sign of having mites. Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands? Hamsters can lick the owner’s hand as well, they do this for a few reasons. They try to show affection by doing this, which sounds cute but it doesn’t happen as often as we think. We have to keep in mind that hamsters are not social animals and they don’t necessarily enjoy playing with you. They can tolerate you, but they cannot love you like a puppy would. Depending on the hamster’s personality, some of them might not be bothered by getting picked out of the cage, but to say that they love that is a bit much. This is similar to the first reason they lick the cage: curiosity. They will try to see if it’s safe to eat, so a small bite after they lick your hands shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hamsters explore their world with their mouth and teeth, so that’s how they will explore you as well.  Why do hamsters bite the cage? A more serious and annoying behavior is when a hamster is biting the cage, either the plastic part or the bars. This can be dangerous for your hamster since they can get to eat the toxins from the plastic if they chew it. There are a few reasons for this behavior that I discussed in my article about hamsters chewing the cage bars, but I will shortly touch on them here as well. Small cage. This is one of the main reasons a hamster bites on the cage or the cage bars. They feel like they need more space or they want to evade.  Stress. Hamsters are quite anxious animals, so a lot of things can easily stress them. It can be the food, the water, the temperature, the noises and so on. You might have to investigate more to see what bothers your hamster. Teeth are growing. The hamster’s teeth are constantly growing like any other rodent, and they have to chew something. It might be the fact that they don’t have any other chewing toys, or it might simply be their favorite place to chew on. Curiosity. Yet again, they are curious animals, and more often than licking something to see what it is, they are biting it. Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage? Yes, you can temporarily stop your hamster from licking the cage, but it is not guaranteed that you will always succeed in the long-term. If the reason is the fact that they need to cool of, the solution is quite simple, you have to make to room cooler. If the lack of minerals is the problem, you should be more careful with the food you give and read on the box to make sure it contains minerals and vitamins in the appropriate amount. When it comes to being thirsty, if they use the water bottle properly and the bottle has water in it, this should not be a reason for a hamster to lick the cage. The tricky part is when they are curious, in this case all you can do is to distract them with other toys and tunnels. Make sure you put some treats, and some of their food in those toys and tunnels to ensure your hamster will want to use them. A bored hamster will lick the cage, bite the cars, climb all over the cage, and generally be frustrated. Adding enrichment items will help your hamster. But don’t expect quick results, your hamster might be stubborn and ignore your treats and keep licking the cage. However, this behavior might change in time by itself without any intervention from you, so patience might be the key in this case. Conclusion A hamster licking the cage is not an actual problem most of the time, but you better make sure that reasons 2-4 are not the problem. If your hamster is just curious, that will not put them in danger, it is just how they are, curious and anxious simultaneously. I hope this article helped you better understand your little furball’s behavior. [...] Read more...
Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to Know
Training a Hamster: Everything You Need to KnowWho doesn’t love their furry pet and enjoy spending time with them? Hamsters have become wildly popular, as they’re sociable and don’t require too much maintenance. The latter is one of the primary reasons that they’re so popular, and that makes them a favorite for kids, as they can slowly start to learn the basic responsibilities of caring for a pet. However, pets need to be trained. Hamsters, just like any other animal, aren’t going to make good pets if they aren’t trained. Every animal is naturally defensive when interacting with a human until it’s taught to become social. The same principle applies to hamsters – they need to be taught how to interact with humans if we want them to make good pets. This is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we’ll be taking a look into hamster training techniques, and seeing how to make them better for human interaction. We’ll be covering an array of topics in hamster training; how to teach them not to bite, how to teach them to be held, how to teach them to use a litter box, and how to teach them to do tricks. Hamsters can make wonderful pets if they’re trained well, and that’s exactly what we’ll be teaching you today. Let’s get started! Table of Contents ToggleTraining a Hamster Not to Bite.Training a Hamster to be Held.Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box.Training a Hamster Tricks. Training a Hamster Not to Bite. There’s a reason that hamsters are considered to be great pets for kids, but despite that, they’re sometimes known to bite. It’s very rare for a hamster to actually display aggressive behavior, and they usually bite only when they get scared. Hamster teeth are tiny and people naturally think that they won’t do too much damage, but they are going to cut you if bitten. If this has happened, make sure to disinfect the wound. The sole reason hamsters bite is because they’re afraid. Tame hamsters that are used to being around people aren’t afraid of us, and they don’t mind being held. On the other hand, there are hamsters that still aren’t used to being in human company, and they don’t enjoy being held. These hamsters are the ones that bite. It’s important to remember that they’re not biting out of spite or out of hatred, but because they’re afraid of us. After all, you’d probably be scared too is a creature that’s literally twenty times your size picked you up, and toyed around with you. Now, if you want your hamster to stop biting, you’re first going to have to be patient. It’s going to take a while before your hamster gets used to you and they can truly trust you. You’re going to need to earn that trust, which is a slow and gradual process. Don’t be discouraged if this process takes over a month, or even longer than that, but also don’t be surprised if your hamster takes quickly to your ways. If your hamster is advancing rapidly, then you can shorten the period between the steps we’re about to describe. If you’re still witnessing some hesitation from their side, it’s best to return to the previous step and repeat it until the animal is completely comfortable with you (on that level). This will take a while, but it’s definitely worth it. This process will take weeks, so we’ll be describing it week by week. Week 1: let your hamster get used to you – your hamster needs to get to know you without much physical contact. Since they’re most active in the evening and at night, it’s a good idea to sit next to your hamster in the evening and talk to them. You don’t even have to talk to them, you can talk to someone else, but let them get used to your voice and your presence. It’s also important for the hamster to get used to your scent. If you don’t know what to say, feel free to read a book, or if you’re working or studying – you can read out loud to them. Since moving to a new cage and a new home is very stressful, this will give your hamster enough time to adjust to their new surroundings. Don’t try to touch your hamster just yet. This may be a problem when you have to take the hamster out of the cage for cleaning – or returning the hamster to the cage if it’s escaped. To do this, corner them with a towel or a large glass, and then let them enter the towel or the glass. Week 2: let your hamster get used to your hand – it’s very important for any animal to get used to the scent of their owner in order for them to form a good relationship. You can gently place your hand in your hamster’s cage, and you’ll see how it will react. Not all hamsters are the same, and they’re not all equally easy to train – just like humans, all animals have distinct characteristics to their behavior, and that should be respected just like we respect it with humans. Do this very slowly, on the first day, put your hand on the cage or just inside the door of the cage. Following the same practice each day, try placing your hand a little further and a little further. Don’t yet try to touch your hamster, but if it wants to sniff your hand or explore it, let it. Week 3: offer your hamster treats – it’s common knowledge that treats are one of the best ways to train animals, as their instinct conditions them not to reject food. By now, you could have easily figured out which treats are your hamster’s favorites. These treats can be great training tools, and you should offer your hamster these goodies from the hand that’s in the cage. With time, your hamster will eat out of your hand, which will develop trust between you. Why is this so important? All animals, including humans, are vulnerable when they’re feeding. The fact that an animal is ready to eat out of your hand means that it trusts you to the point it’s ready to stick its head into your hand which could easily harm it if you wanted to. So, an animal eating from your hand means that it trusts you. If you’re still undecided on the treats for your hamsters, try with apples, raising, and sunflower seeds. Week 4: pet your hamster – once your hamster has gotten used to your scent and your presence, you can try to pet it. Do this gently, and if your hamster is okay with this, you can try to pick up your hamster (which is our next step). Week 5: pick up your hamster – so, your hamster is accepting treats and it’s letting you pet it, this means that it’s time to try to pick it up. To do this, firstly buy your way in with some treats, and gently reach for your hamster – let your hamster determine how far you can get in each session. Entice the hamster onto your hands with the treats. Then, you can try scooping it up with both hands. The best way to do this is to place each hand on either side of your hamster, and then connect them under your belly. Cup your hamster gently in your hands, that’s much better than tightly gripping over its back. Don’t hold your hamster too high above ground – in case it wants to jump out. You don’t want it facing a fall from six feet. Firstly, just hold it in its cage, and then with time, you can take it out. If you turn the hamster towards your body, it’s less likely to try and jump away. A few things you should keep on your mind when doing this: – make sure to wash your hands before you start working with your hamster, you don’t want it to smell food on you. That can be distracting. – some people will suggest wearing thick gloves to help with the biting. This can be useful, but your hamster needs to get used to your scent, and in that regard – this isn’t a good solution. – sometimes, when you pick your hamster up, they will clamp themselves onto your hand with their tiny paws. Don’t shake your hand to dislodge them – just gently put them down and let them come off. – don’t scold, yell, or hit the hamster. Smaller animals are afraid of loud and sudden noises, so much so that they can actually die from shock. – different hamsters act differently – Dwarf hamsters are very territorial, this means that they’re not going to appreciate you pushing your fingers into their cage. If this is the cage, let the hamster exit the cage (into a wider area, but still an area they can’t escape or hurt themselves in) and try to train them there. Training a Hamster to be Held. Now, when you’re buying a hamster and you want to teach it to be tame and train it, the first thing you should do is let the hamster rest. Smaller animals are very easy to frighten, so it’s best to let your hamster get used to its new surroundings before trying to teach it anything. However, if your hamster has become adjusted, you can now try to teach it to be held Before doing that, you need to teach your hamster not to bite. This is actually the first thing to teach it, as it’s synonymous with teaching your hamster that you’re its friend. When you teach your hamster not to bite (following the steps in the previous section), you can move on to teaching it to be held. Stress can make a lot of hamsters sick, so make sure that you’re not stressing your hamster out and that you’re taking it slow. Firstly, don’t try to handle your hamster when it’s sleeping. Just like humans – hamsters don’t like to be woken up, so don’t disturb your hamster when it’s sleeping. This can cause health issues and it’s more likely that your hamster will bite if you’ve just woken it up. Similar to the steps for teaching the hamster not to bite in our previous section, you’re going to need to take it slow. Use treats to gain trust with your hamster and slowly start putting your hand in the cage – let it climb into your hand. In the beginning, don’t take your hand out of the cage. Raise it, and the hamster will realize that you’re holding it. Feed it a treat and let the hamster back on the ground, repeat this process for a day. After that, you can let the hamster climb into your hand and you can take your hand out. It’s likely that this will scare the hamster, so it may want to jump out of your hand. Don’t hold your hamster too high, just in case your hamster jumps out. Also, tame them with treats, even when they’re stressed and scared. Turning your hamster towards your body makes it less likely for them to jump out. One thing owners don’t realize is that the hamster isn’t that afraid of the feeling of being carried, as much as they’re scared of all the sights and the sounds they see around them. These animals are very easily scared and it’s important to take your time with them. Reward your animals for good behavior with treats. If you feel that your hamster is becoming stressed or that they’re uncomfortable, gently place them back in their cage and try again later. Here are some tips on teaching your hamster to enjoy being handled: – keep every interaction short – hamsters have bad and short eyesight, so make sure that you’re staying low when you’re interacting with your hamster. Don’t sit on a couch or a chair (in the beginning), as your hamster will try to run away if it gets scared, and it will fall to the floor because it can’t see where the floor is. Some experts recommend starting out in the bathtub. – each pet is individual, so don’t force things upon your hamster that they don’t enjoy doing. Training a Hamster to Use a Litter Box. Many people have their doubts, but it’s actually possible to potty train a hamster. To potty train a hamster, you’re going to need a litter box and litter. Make sure to always have a litter at hand – if you can’t find hamster litter, you can buy dust-free, scent-free, clumping cat litter. Avoid litter with silica dust, and in case you can’t find any hamster litter, you can get pellet litter made of wood, paper, grain, or grass. To train your hamster to use a litter box, firstly you’ll need to figure out what corner of the cage your hamster most often uses to do their business. Put the litter box in that corner. This is very important, as hamsters don’t instinctively run to the litter box – if you don’t place it properly, it will just ignore it and proceed to take care of their business elsewhere. If the enclosure you’ve set up is still new and you haven’t a clue where to put the litter box, wait a week or two and let your hamster establish a spot. Once you’ve settled on a spot, pour in enough litter to cover the bottom of the box. Add a little soiled bedding and some droppings from your hamster. This will make the hamster follow those droppings to that spot instinctively. Once your hamster has woken up, you can pick them up and put them in the litter box for them to figure out what’s going on. After that, just let your hamster do its job on its own. Don’t force them into the potty, you don’t want to get bit or turn him away from the idea of using the litter box. Most hamsters will eventually figure out the point of the box on their own. There are, however, instances where hamsters won’t use the litter box for its intents and purposes. Hamsters will sometimes eat or sleep there, and do anything but the one thing they’re supposed to do. If this is the case, make sure to check on the areas your hamster is supposed to be using for this. For example, if your hamster is sleeping in the litter box, check their sleeping area – it’s likely that there’s something wrong with it if they’re so persistent in sleeping in the litter box. It can happen that the hamster will hide its food in the litter box – this usually means that they find the cage to be too small and they have no other place to hide their food at. There’s no other solution to this than buying a larger cage. It can also happen that the cage is too large and the hamster is using the litter box, but it’s also defecating all around the cage. In that case, place multiple litter boxes around the cage. Training a Hamster Tricks. Just like with handling and biting, you should use treats as rewards for your hamster to teach it something. Let’s cover a few tricks. Stand – a lot of animals, including hamsters, can stand on their hind feet. To teach your hamster to stand, you’re going to want to hold the treat in front of the hamster, just over its head so that the hamster can see it but not reach it. While doing this, say “Stand.” – this means nothing to the hamster right now, as they can’t understand articulated speech, but with time – they will recognize the specific sound of the word ‘stand’ as the command to stand on their hind feet. When you’re doing this, your hamster will instinctively stand up in order to get closer to the treat. When the hamster stands, give it the treat and verbal praise. Only reward the hamster if it actually stands up, don’t reward it if it doesn’t. This way, you’re teaching the hamster that it’s good for it to stand up once it hears the word ‘stand’. If your hamster doesn’t stand it might be because he or she is not hungry at that moment, or distracted by something else going on in the room. Feel free to repeat for a few times a day, and don’t stop the process until your hamster is ready to stand up after hearing your command, even when you’re not dangling a treat in front of its face. This can take a week or two. The most important thing to remember is to reward the hamster every single time it stands up. Jump – you can teach your hamster to jump, as well. You first need to teach your hamster the standing trick. To teach it this trick, get your hamster to stand, and then move your hand up and forward (while holding a treat) and say “Jump.” – it will instinctively try to jump. If the hamster tries to jump, praise him or her and give the treat. Once you’ve practiced this enough, you can add a hoop in the mix if you want to – hold a hoop between the hamster and the treat, and the hamster will jump through the hoop to get the treat. Say “Hoop.” as they’re doing it, to teach them the command of jumping through the hoop. Start by holding it low and slowly raising it up. Roll over – this is a trick that you can teach to any pet. To do this, place a seed on your hamster’s back and ask them to “Roll over.” – if they do it, reward them with a seed. After a while, they’ll be rolling over even without you placing seed on their back. Spinning in circles – after you’ve gotten your hamster used to eat treats out of your hand, you can teach them to spin in circles. Hold your hand out with the treat out and once they approach you, tell them to “Spin.” – and move your hand in a circle. The hamster will naturally follow your hand, and with time it will spin in circles just on command. Building an obstacle course – you can even build an obstacle course for your hamster to go through. Use Lego building blocks and jars, or funnels for your hamster to jump over, crawl through, etc. Make sure that nothing’s too tall, as your hamster is more likely to run around it than jump over it. Hold the treat and let it lead the hamster’s way by moving in front of it. The hamster will follow the treat anywhere. You can also make a seesaw with a simple plank and a wooden triangle, making your hamster have to balance on it. Make sure to place a wall around the obstacle course to bind it. Teaching your hamster to wear a hat or clothing – yes, this is also possible. If your hamster is used to being handled and has a good temperament, it won’t be a problem to teach it to do this. Firstly, make sure that the items fit your hamster. Keep them snug, but not tight. You can’t just cram the outfit on your hamster, so make sure that you put it on gently. Talk to them happily while you’re doing this. Give your hamster a treat as soon as you put something on. Take your hamster’s focus off the clothing and let them focus on something fun, like an apple or whatever is your hamster’s favorite treat. At first, only leave the items on for a minute, not for too long. Your hamster will learn to wear them with time and won’t have an issue with them. Let the hamster sit in your hand for the first time, as they’re probably going to be afraid. Later on, they’ll be able to wear the clothing on their own. It won’t take long before your hamster’s ready to wear clothes without you holding them.  There are many things you can teach your hamster, and it’s important to constantly keep working with them in order to build and cultivate a healthy relationship. The most important thing to remember is to have patience, some hamsters are less trusting and are slower than others. Always reward your hamster with treats for a job well done, and never forget to respect its private area. Hamsters are just as vulnerable as humans, and you should keep that in mind when working with them. [...] Read more...