All About Hamster Diabetes – Symptoms, Prevention, And Care

Any hamster owner is worried their hammy might get sick. The two main worries are diabetes, and wet tail, and today we’re discussing diabetes in hamsters.

How to know if your hammy has diabetes, how to care for a diabetic hamster, symptoms to look out for, and which hamsters are most vulnerable. Let’s get into it.

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What is diabetes in hamsters ?

Diabetes (in a simplified version) is an illness that keeps the blood sugar very high. Usually the pancreas deals with this, and it must produce insulin.

Insulin is needed to regulate how well the body manages its sugar levels. Sometimes the body becomes immune to insulin, or it produces too little insulin. This is where insulin shots come in.

In very broad terms, and simplified, this is what diabetes is.

When it comes to hamsters, this is a dangerous illness to have since they are so very small, and caring for them isn’t as easy as with a human. They might require insulin shots too, and will need regular testing in order to monitor their levels.

Please remember:

Your best option is to seek out a veterinarian who will be able to diagnose your hamster properly.

Do not diagnose or treat your hamster’s condition without consulting with a medical professional beforehand.

Now let’s talk a bit about what your can do to prevent diabetes in your little friend, and which hammies are at risk.

Preventing your hamster from developing diabetes

No hamster is born directly diabetic. True, a hammy can have the genetic makeup that makes diabetes easier to happen. But born diabetic, no.

This means diabetes can be prevented, for the most part. A hamster can still get this illness even if you do prevent it as best you can, if it’s one of the breeds at risk.

Still, you can rest assured that by trying to prevent it you’ve delayed the onset. Now let’s see which hammies are at risk, and why that is.

Genetic predisposition – some hamster breeds are vulnerable

If you’ve got a Dwarf hammy, then it’s very possible you’re going to have a diabetic hamster later on. Not all Dwarf hamsters will develop diabetes.

But all Dwarf hamsters can develop it, they have the  genetic makeup that makes it easier.

As for Syrians, they don’t have this predisposition. They can develop diabetes too, but not as easily as the Dwarf types. For Syrians there needs to be a very high carb, high fat diet and very little exercise for diabetes to set in.

Syrians have the misfortune of getting wet-tail easier, so if you’ve got a Syrian like me, you should check out this article on wet-tail and how to help your hammy.

If you’re not very sure which hamster breed you’ve got, here’s a guide on figuring that out.

Your hamster’s diet and exercise can make things worse

Aside from the breed, which makes your hamster prone to either diabetes of wet-tail, there is also the influence of food and exercise.

Exercise will help your diabetic hamster burn off the excess fat that likely developed, and use up the blood sugar. This will make the impact of diabetes on your hamster’s live lower, and his life easier.

Regular, simple exercise like a running wheel can be enough. If your hamster’s gotten lazy, or just isn’t a running hamster, you can place him in an exercise ball. 

Never keep him there more than 30 minutes at a time, though, since he will need water and a bathroom break. If your hamster’s already diabetic, he will pee every 15-20 minutes, so keep him in the ball much less.

Alright, now onto the food. This is a major player in your hamster’s condition.

A diabetic (or diabetes-prone) hamster eating high carb, high fat foods will have a terrible time. This means most fruits are of limits for diabetic hamsters, and even the Dwarf types that aren’t diabetic yet.

You can find out more about the fruits that are safe for hamsters to eat here. Of that list, berries/forest fruits, apples, pears, are the safest bet for a Dwarf. Always in very small pieces (half an inch/ 1 cm), and only rarely (once per week or less often).

A word on sugar and carb in your hammy’s diet

Do not remove sugar completely from the hamster’s diet. That will send your hammy into a hypoglycemic shock, and be another problem of its own. Instead, only allow a small amount of sugars.

This means that you need to check out the label on your hamster’s food mix. If it’s got any kind of sugars – cane sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, agave, honey, fructose, dextrose, those pieces need to be picked out of your hammy’s feed.

The problem is not with just sugar. Yes, sugar and overly sweet foods will make your hamster’s diabetes worse. But, the problem is bigger than this.

You see, when the hamster eats, his body breaks down all the food into sugars. Sugary foods produce more sugars, and high-carb foods produce more sugars as well. This is by comparison with protein meats, or veggies.

So keeping chocolate away from your hamster is good, but giving him a slice of italian bread is just as bad. A bit exaggerated, but you get the idea.

High-carb foods like bread, pasta, rice, maize, corn, are all foods that should be kept away from your hamster since they will produce almost the same effect as giving your hamster a slice of sweet, sticky banana.

It might sound like your hamster’s got nothing left to eat, but he does. Check out this handy guide on what is safe and unsafe for hamsters to eat, and you’ll see the foods that are still on the list, even for diabetic hamsters.

Signs of diabetes in your little hamster

Alright, now that you know what you can do to prevent your hamster from getting diabetes, let’s see the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters.

There are several signs, and please remember that you can’t take into account just one sign or another. Diagnosis is really more complex than this, and some symptoms may not even show up, even if the hamster is diabetic.

Again, the best bet is to get your hamster friend to a veterinarian who will diagnose him correctly. A vet that can help you is going to be an ”exotics” vet. They have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds in general.

Onto the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters:

Frequent urination

A hamster with diabetes will urinate much more often than a hamster without diabetes. This means as often as every 15 minutes, for example.

You’ll notice your hamster is peeing more often if you actually see him. He usually goes in his corner – he has just one corner – rolls back his little tail, and just wees. He will be immobile, and look like he’s staring into space for a couple of seconds.

Another sign, if you’ve never caught your hamster peeing, is that his corner will be wet much more often. Pretty much always wet, and smelling fairly sweet and pungent. Think nail polish remover.

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Dehydration

The easiest and clearest way to find out if your hamster is dehydrated, is to scruff the hamster by the back of the neck.

It won’t hurt the hamster if done properly. Hold the hamster gently, but with a good enough grip that he won’t jump away. Then, right on the back of the hamster’s neck, you can use your fingers to pinch/pull at the skin a bit. Let go of the skin immediately, and you should see it sliding back into place.

If it takes more than a second to spring back, your hamster is dehydrated. The hammy’s skin has lost it’s collagen and doesn’t arrange itself back into position as fast. You might even notice the skin is slightly raised where you picked it.

The longer the skin takes to get back in place the more severe the dehydration.

Increased thirst

Along with dehydration comes increased thirst. Ironic, but the problem is not the water intake. But the regulation of how the electrolytes are being used by the hamster’s body.

This can be noticed by your hamster drinking water much faster and often than usual. A healthy hamster consumes about 10 ml water/100 gr hamster per day. That’s 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster.

You can find out more about hamsters and their water requirements here, and how to give your hamster water the right way.

That being said, a diabetic hamster will consume much more water than that, getting to even 3-4 times the amount of water. However he will be dehydrated still, since his body isn’t functioning properly.

Should your give a dehydrated diabetic hamster Pedialyte ?

This is something I’ve heard about, and did some googling to find people who have experience with this. As it happens, I did find the answer for this on thepipsqueakery.org.

You can read their full blog post here. They also have experience with giving hamsters insulin shots, so you might want to check their article for that too.

About the Pedialyte, the clear answer is no, you should no give it to a dehydrated diabetic hamster. This is because Pedialyte is a mix of water, sugar, and salt. The sugar will not help the diabetes, even if it does bring back some electrolytes.

It may seem like it’s helping, but it’s actually make things worse.

Change in appetite

Another symptom is a sudden change in your hamster’s appetite. It may be that your hamster will eat much more, or much less. It varies from hamster to hamster. But there is a clear difference between a diabetic hamster, and a healthy one.

2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. So if your hamster is going through his food, and his food stash as well, quicker than you can feed him in a day, this is something to worry about.

Dramatic weight gain or loss

As a result of a sudden change of appetite, and also dehydration, your hamster will have a very different weight. He might gain weight, or drop a lot of weight.

You can use a kitchen scale that measure in exact grams or ounces and track your hamster’s daily progress.

Place the hamster in a cup he can’t climb out of, and use that do weight him on the kitchen scale. Of course, take the weight of the cup into account.

Yellow, thick nails

Not all thick yellow nails mean your hamster’s got diabetes. But it can be a sign, and is worth noting.

Testing your hamster for diabetes

Of course, you can test your hamster’s sugar levels at home too. You can test your hamster’s glucose and ketone levels with ketone test trips.

Your veterinarian will do the same in his lab, with urine samples from your diabetic hamster.

But, if you want to monitor your hamster’s progress and see how his treatment is coming along, then you can also use these strips at home.

This particular box will last for several months, since you do not need to check the hamster’s urine daily.

Do keep in mind that these test strips are not meant just for diabetics, but can also be used by them to monitor their health.

Remember that the glucose levels aren’t always normal. They can sometimes be off, due to an infection for example. So it’s important that you consult with your veterinarian as well the first few times you use these strips, to know how to best read them.

There are manufacturer’s indications yes, but your vet is the best person to ask about this.

Treatment and care for a diabetic hamster

Part of caring for the diabetic hamster includes changing the diet and exercise routine like we’ve discussed before.

Another part is the treatment. There are treatments that can be successful, but it depends on how well the hamster responds to them, and what the veterinarian will recommend.

Treatment with fenugreek is a common way of helping hamsters with diabetes, but the dosage is harder to be exact with. Fenugreek has been used as a healing plant for centuries, and often in diabetes treatment. It’s not  a definite cure, but might be an option.

Another option your vet might present you with is Glipidize tablets to mix into the hamster’s food or drink. It’s basically going to make the hamster’s pancreas produce more insulin. So shots are out of the question here.

And finally, insulin shots for a diabetic hamster are what your mind probably first wandered to. Honestly, they were my first guess too, given how humans are usually treated.

The thing about insulin shots is that they need to constantly be adjusted to how well the hamster’s responding to other treatments, the new diet, the urine needs frequent measurements and so on.

So it’s not a great idea to do this without a vet’s help, or if you’re not a vet at all. A trained professional will know how to dose the amount according to the hamster’s size and resistance to insulin.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick sometimes, and we rely on you for help. Diabetic hammies can lead normal lives, but we need some treatment.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out more about how to keep up happy and safe.

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These Are The 4 Best Hamsters For Beginners
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When they wake up, they will make noises during the night, so you shouldn’t keep them in your bedroom if you are a light sleeper.  This type of hamsters usually likes being held by people, however, if they feel uncomfortable, they will bite you. You should start handling them when they are young and always be careful and gentle. This way they will learn that they shouldn’t be afraid when you handle them. When you try holding your hamster, it’s best that you’re in a closed room and that there’s something soft underneath you. Hamsters are very quick and they can escape from your hands before you realize it. That’s why there should be something soft for them to land on, and the door should be closed so they can’t escape to the other room. If your hamster falls from even a couple of feet and hits the ground it could lead to some serious injuries.  Your Dwarf hamster should have a big cage because it needs a lot of room to play in. 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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. 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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. 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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...
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...
Here’s How Much Water Your Hamster Needs
Here’s How Much Water Your Hamster NeedsWhen it comes to water, hamsters do need it for drinking. But how much should you give to your hamster ? Does it need any special treatments ? This is what I asked myself when I first got my hamster – how much water will he need ? Does he need a big bottle ? Is a bowl okay ? This article will answer all of those questions, and more. Table of Contents ToggleSo how much water does a hamster need ?How to give your hamster waterWhen does a hamster usually drink waterHow often to change your hamster’s waterHow to clean the water bottleHow to know if the water bottle is workingWhat to do when your hamster does not drink waterA word from Teddy So how much water does a hamster need ? The short answer is that a hamster usually needs around 10 ml/100 gr of hamster, every day. So that’s 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster. This is the same whether we are talking about syrian hamsters or the small types. So if your hamster is like mine, an adult syrian hamster, who weighs around 170 gr, then he’d need around 17 ml per day. That’s 0.57 ml for 6 oz, every day. This does change according to how much your hamster is running around. A more active hamster will need the full 10 ml per day. But a sedentary hamster or one who is very old and does not run as much will end up drinking less. Another factor is your hamster’s diet. What you feed your hamster will make him drink more or less water. If you feed your hammy exclusively dry food (pellets, grains, seeds) he will drink more water. But if you give him mostly vegetables then he will draw a lot of water from them, and not use the water bottle much. For more info on what to feed your hamster, and what foods he draws water from, check out my food list article. I also cover the wide range of treats a hamster can safely eat. How to give your hamster water The best way to bring water to your hamster is with a water bottle(1) or tube. This is what I have for my hamster, and he grew up drinking out of a water feeder. You can see in the photo above the kind of water bottle he has. It’s easier for hamsters to lick the end of a tube than to drink like dogs or cats from a bowl. Those water bottles have a small tube that goes into the cage itself, and have a small ball at the end, to make sure water doesn’t flow freely. But your hamster can easily drink like that, since all he has to do is push the ball with his tongue when drinking. It may sound strange for a human, but for hamsters it’s normal and he has no problems drinking like that. The temperature of the water does not really matter, as long as it’s not very warm water. For example Teddy drank both room temp water, and cold tap water. He was fine with both, and there was no immediate difference. You can try bottled water, or tap water. Hamsters are fine with both. When does a hamster usually drink water Hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so that’s when they’re most active. So, that’s when they’ll be drinking water the most. Teddy does come out during the day for a small drink, or because he’s heard movement in the house. But most of his drinking is at night. I often put him in an exercise ball and let him roam the house. After about half an hour I put him back in his cage, and he goes straight for the water tube. You can read my article on how to properly exercise your hamster in his exercise ball, and how long to leave him in one. So like humans, hamsters will drink a lot of water immediately after a workout. Aside from this, they will drink water after eating very dry food,  and small sips of water when their body needs it. But since your hamster is very active during the night, when you’re most probably asleep, you won’t see him drink often. Rest assured that your hamster probably is drinking water. How often to change your hamster’s water There is no definitive answer to this. It depends a lot on your disposition, the quality of the water you give, and how clean the water bottle is. For example I change Teddy’s water once per week, when I clean the whole cage. He has a full water bottle, that reaches 150 ml/ 5 fl oz and he drinks out of that the whole week. If you want, you can change your hamster’s water every day, or every few days. This depends a lot on the quality of the water. Where I live the tap water is fresh and clean, safe for any human or animal. I know that there are places where this is not the case. So the water I put Sunday evening when I clean his cage, is still good next Sunday. If you know your water is not very fresh, I suggest changing it more often. Or switching to bottled water and leaving that for more days if you wish. There really is no clear answer, your hamster is capable of drinking condensation on water pipes so taste is not a matter to him. But do keep the water as fresh and clean as possible, to avoid any problems for your hamster. If your hamster is very very active and drinks his water very fast, then obviously you will need to provide more water, or change it more often. A sedentary hamster can live with less water and not really need much. How to clean the water bottle I usually clean Teddy’s bottle when I change the water. So I unscrew the tube part from the bottle, throw out the remaining water, and get a clean paper towel. Rinse out the bottle just to be safe, then wrap the paper towel on the end of a spoon or fork. This way I can reach inside the whole bottle and wipe it all down. If your water bottle is not very long and you can get your fingers in, then do that and a paper towel. Of course, you will have to keep changing the parts of the paper towel so it’s always dry and you can completely clean the bottle on the inside. Then, rinse once more and put enough water in the bottle. Do not clean the water bottle with any kind of soap or disinfectant. Those require much rinsing and even then it might not be safe for your hamster to drink. I’ve had Teddy’s bottle since I got him in August 2017 and it’s been fine since then, with just regular cleaning. If the water bottle is damaged or really needs a thorough cleaning, consider getting a new one. They’re usually inexpensive, and most of them hold a large amount of water. I looked around for a good water bottle, and looked at the reviews as well. You can find a good water bottle for your hammy on Amazon, and it can hold about 11 ounces of water for your hamster. Also make sure to clean the water tube itself with a Q-tip on the inside. Be careful to not leave cotton fibers on the tube, so your hamster will not catch its teeth in it. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) How to know if the water bottle is working If you haven’t seen your hamster drinking from the water bottle, then you might worry it’s not working. The water bottle usually works, but here is how to check it. The small ball at the end of the tube must move freely, even at the smallest touch. There should be no resistance when you try to push it with your finger. So keep the water bottle in the cage, and reach for it. Gently push with one finger to see if the ball gives way. If it gives way you will also see a bit of water come out. That means it’s working and your hamster can drink. If it doesn’t move much, consider adjusting the position of he bottle. If it’s the kind of bottle that has clasps that go onto the cage wires, try moving the clasps until the angle of the tube changes. You might have to take the water bottle out and put it back in a better angle. Some cages have a small hole on the side, to put the tube through. If it does, then you can be sure that the position the bottle will stay in is correct. If none of this works, and the ball does not move when you push with your finger, take the water bottle out. Get a clean Q-tip and fiddle around the tube itself until you see what the problem is. Make sure the tube is facing upwards, so you don’t spill water on you. Or, unscrew the water tube part and rub it inside with the Q-tip. What to do when your hamster does not drink water Your hamster not drinking water is a serious thing, and it must be checked. You can check for signs of dehydration by pulling very gently on the scruff of your hamster’s neck. He will not be hurt by this, since he has part of his pouch there, and it is used to expanding to great sizes. Hold your hamster in your hand, and gently tug at his scruff. When your let go, the skin should snap back easily. This means your hamster is not dehydrated and is drinking water. But if the skin on his scruff does not snap back easily, and instead slowly goes back to its initial shape, your hamster is very dehydrated. Especially if you still see a bit of raised skin where you tugged. If your hamster is indeed dehydrated, do the following: Check that the metal ball on the water bottle is fine, and lets water drip. You might see air bubbles come out when you check, this is a good sign. Provide your hamster with ‘wet’ food, a lot of veggies like cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and even some fruits like seedless grapes and apple. If after a couple of days of changing his diet and checking his water, your hamster is still dehydrated bring him to the vet. He could be having a more severe problem. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you understand how much water we need, and how to make sure we’re hydrated. I hope your hamster is drinking enough water, and he’s happy. Remember, a very active hamster will drink more water and more often, so make sure you provide lots of water for him ! If you’d like, you can check out the other articles on here. You’ll find great info on how to best care for hamsters, what kind of cage we need, and how to tame one of us. References: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid These
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Scared Of You – Try To Avoid TheseHamsters are very skittish creatures, and they scare easily. For example when I first got my Teddy he was scared of me and didn’t like being out of his hut. In time we grew closer and he is fine with me now, but he still has some random moments when he suddenly darts into his home. If your hammy is anything like mine, then you’re probably wondering why he’s so scared of you. Sometimes you can’t help it – no matter how much you weigh, you’ll always be a giant for your hamster, and that can be scary for him. Table of Contents ToggleSo why is your hamster so scared of you ?Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first placeYour hamster doesn’t trust you yetYour hamster is scared of sudden movementsYour hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new homeSome hamsters are very easy to scareA word from Teddy So why is your hamster so scared of you ? Generally hamsters are scared of everything, including you, until they get to know you better. Often it’s not necessarily your fault, since hamsters have an instinct to hide from everything. It could be how large you are in comparison to him, he maybe heard something spooky outside, maybe the cat keeps pawing at his cage every day ? So in short, your hamster could be scared because: he doesn’t trust you yet you did something very suddenly and scared him he’s currently in shock (like when you first bring him home) he’s a very shy hamster – some hamsters just are too easy to scare, no matter what. Alright, but aside from the personality, these can all be avoided. Or, at least made to be less scary for your hamster. Let’s get into detail with all of these, and see what you can do to help your hamster be more at ease. Why hamsters are easy to scare in the first place Imagine being so tiny, like your hamster. You barely weigh anything, and if the wind blows too hard you’ll roll over for a few minutes. Then, you’re somehow hunted day and night by anything from owls, to snakes, to wild cats and dogs, and sometimes even humans (in some parts of the world). You have to always be on the run, and nowhere you hide is safe. You dig underground, but the predators can hear you breathing or moving about. You run but they keep up. So you learn to have very quick reflexes, and run faster than your predators. You learn to dodge, suddenly stop, run the other way, and every other evasion tactic ever. You have to always be on high alert. Your best senses are hearing and smell, because the eyes don’t always tell the truth. This is usually what hamsters live like, and it’s a natural part of …well, nature. So your tiny furball is born to run and hide as fast and far as those tiny feet can get him. So whenever your notice that you scared your hamster by just walking by him, know that it’s 90% just his instinct. A few other reasons your hamster might be suddenly freezing can be found in this article. Now let’s see what can be done about the different reasons your hamster can get scared of you. Your hamster doesn’t trust you yet This is the main reason hamsters are scared of humans. We are so much larger than them, and we go to grab them with our big hands. The hamster’s first instinct is to shy away. So, what is best is to slowly let your hamster get to know you. As with dogs, hamsters have very fine smell, so let your hamster get used to your smell by placing your hand in the cage with a treat on it. Let the hamster get close, and take the treat from you. He will probably not eat from your hand at first but he will know your smell. Slowly progress over time to keeping more food in your hand so that your hamster gets to touch you more often. You can try gently petting him with a finger, and then later lifting the hand with the hamster on it, still in the cage, and slowly putting it back down. It takes time and repeated tries for your hammy to trust you, but it will probably happen. It might take a few days, or a few weeks. In some cases, it might not happen at all. Some hamsters are just very hard to tame, and it’s an achievement if they don’t bite at all. Your hamster is scared of sudden movements Since your hamster can’t see very well (but can hear and smell very well) sudden movements will make him jump. Literally jump. My Teddy did backflips when he was young if I somehow scared him, then he’d run into his hideout. So what I learned to do was not move too suddenly when I am around him, and talk to him as well. This way he knows where I am and can guess where I am going. Imagine some very large creature that you don’t understand, suddenly moving around you very fast. You’d probably hide too. Sudden sounds don’t really scare hamsters. Actually they will hear things you don’t, or would usually ignore. For example if it’s raining outside, you’ll notice your hamster stand still and listen for the water dripping outside. This is only until he learns to recognize the sound, then he will ignore it too. Your hamster is still in shock and needs to adapt to his new home If your hamster is young, and you just brought him from the pet shop, leave him a couple of days to adjust. When you get your hamster, the employee who will catch him in the cardboard box needs to be gentle but determined to actually get him inside. Most hamster babies will run away when you reach for them to put them in the box, but picking them up with the box with a treat inside is much easier. Then, after you’ve picked up the hamster make it a short trip home. He will panic and start to pace his tiny box, scared. My Teddy started to chew around the air holes in his box when I got him, and we got an Uber home to get him in his cage fast. When you do get home and prepare his cage, place the box with the hamster inside the cage. Set a couple of treats outside his box, and open it. Then step away and let your hammy explore his new home. He will be shy at first, but the food will draw him out. Make sure that you’ve set up the bedding, hideout, food bowl and water tube and a few toys for him. You will need to give him about 2 full days to adjust to the cage and his hideout. In this time he will scare easily, and probably climb everywhere on the cage. For a good idea on what kind of hideout to get your furry buddy, check out this article. You’ll get some tips and pointers, along with clear examples. My Teddy made me wonder if I accidentally got a spider instead of a hamster. He was on the cage walls and ceiling more often than he was on the ground. Actually the first night I had him, I made myself some tea and just sat there watching him. He is my first hamster so I had no idea what he would be doing. Everything he did was funny, including that fuzzy face when he stares into the distance. In those first couple of days, do not reach into your hamster’s cage, to let him make the cage his. Then, after he calms down a bit, you can start talking to him, feed him a treat between the cage bars. Then, you can start building your relationship with him by doing what I suggested above, in the hamster trust part. But remember to give him time, it might take a few days or even a few weeks ! (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Some hamsters are very easy to scare This you cannot change, but you can improve it. Give the hamster time to get used to you, and go very slow with the taming process. Let him back in his cage if he looks like he’s restless. Most hamsters look like that but you can tell when your hamster want to jump out of your hand. It might be that he will never get used to being touched or held, and that’s not something you can change. Not all hamsters are like this, but a few can be very scared. With these hamsters, be extra cautious, move slowly, and talk to them. For example my Teddy is not the friendliest – he doesn’t let new people touch him. And sometimes not even me, depending on his mood. He’s more like a cat sometimes. Never disturb the hamster when he doesn’t need to be awake. You can read more about the daily routine of your hammy here, and why it’s a bad idea to wake him up too many times. A word from Teddy I hope you know now that us hamsters are easy to scare. So be gentle and slow, and we’ll learn to trust you. We can become very good friends if you give us enough time. If you want to know more about hammies, feel free to check the articles below. You’ll find more info on how much space we need, and how to feed us properly, along with other general care things. [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To Do
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To DoHamsters escaping are never good news . So the best thing to do is to prevent your hamster from escaping in the first place. But for that, we need to figure out why hamsters try to escape in the first place. This is what I’ve done with my Teddy, and how it can help you too. This can be applied for all hamster types, and I’ll tell you where things need to be different for each of them. Table of Contents ToggleSo why does your hamster try to escape ?Hamsters are very curious and want to exploreMost hamsters are very active and will be all over the placeHamsters need more space than you’d thinkA scared hamster will try to escapeA word from Teddy So why does your hamster try to escape ? Some hamsters adapt to their home, some don’t. But generally hamsters try to escape when they don’t feel comfortable in their home. If they feel threatened, or like they don’t have enough space, or if they’re constantly tormented by kids or other pets. Since hamsters are very quiet creatures, easy to scare, they can get uneasy in their homes. So make sure that any other pets in the house leave the hamster alone, by separating the hamster in a different room. If it’s the children who are always on the hamster when it would need rest, or they keep scaring the hamster, that is an entire talk you need to have with them, that I am not entitled to guide here. But the children need to give the small animal his own space, and understand that it won’t always want to play. Alright, now let’s talk about some common reasons that your hamster could be trying to escape, and how to prevent those. Hamsters are very curious and want to explore Despite being easy to scare and sometimes too shy, hamsters are curious. They want to know everything that goes on, and will pop their heads out to see see what you’re doing. So sometimes you might see your hammy all over the place, climbing the cage walls as well, to try to get to what is happening. Sometimes he might chew the bars in frustration that he can’t get to it. If that is the case, make sure you give the hamster plenty of attention. If it’s suitable, then you can bring the action to the hamster. Like if you’re chopping carrots, you can give him a fresh new piece to sate him and his curiosity. An example is when I make evening tea. I usually set the mug on the kitchen counter, which is where I keep Teddy at night. He’s always curious what I have there, and I bring the mug close to him so he can smell the tea. Once he gets a few whiffs he figures it’s not that interesting and starts doing something else. Or when you notice your hamster very focused on trying to reach something outside the cage, distract him with a treat on the other side of the cage. Also remove the distraction, or move the cage. Most hamsters are very active and will be all over the place Sometimes it might seem like he’s trying to escape, but he’s just being a hamster. Rodents in general, and especially hamsters, live a very fast-paced life. They climb their cage, they run around, they will chew on everything. So it’s not something that you should worry about, but it is something you should keep an eye on. Make sure your hamster has enough toys to keep him entertained – like bendy bridge, a hide and seek tube, lots of hiding places. And most importantly make sure you keep your hamster well exercised. That means a hamster wheel, for him to run in. The minimum for Syrian hamsters is 9 inches/23 cm diameter wheel. The smaller breeds like Siberian o Campbell can do with smaller wheels like 6-7 inches/15-18 cm but I recommend getting them a larger wheel as well. This is to prevent back injuries and keep the hamster from feeling too confined. A few things to keep in mind when looking for the hamster’s exercise wheel can be found here. Also, an exercise ball for when he is outside the cage will help greatly. Your hamster can explore the house, and will learn the smells and sounds of it as well. As well as run as much as his heart tells him to. Just be sure to keep the ball away from other pets when the hamster is inside. A few considerations for a hamster exercise ball can be found here. For exercise balls the same space requirements apply as the exercise wheel. Hamsters need more space than you’d think The cage your hamster lives in needs to be a certain size. The absolute minimum for Syrian hamsters is 24 inches by 12 inches in floor space. That’s 61 cm by 30.5 cm for your hamster to run in. But I do recommend getting a cage with more space than that. Siberian and other small breeds of hamsters far well in smaller cages than Syrians, but with hamsters you should always get a bigger cage than you’d first think. (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.) Keep in mind that most of the cages you find in stores are too small for Syrians, and the accessories that come with them are too small as well. The best cages for Syrians are actually the ones that are suited for ferrets or chinchillas or guinea pigs. But there the space between bars is a problem because the Syrian can escape through them. Giving your hamster a lot of space to run around and play is going to keep him much happier, and he will want to escape much less. In general hamsters need a wide and low cage, instead of one with many levels, but they can enjoy those too. The distance between the cage wires is important, since the hamster can squeeze through them. If they can get their head through, they can get their body through as well. So for Syrians the wire distance should be 0.4 inches/1 cm or smaller, so they can’t get their head through. Siberians and smaller breeds need much less space between the wires. Actually, for the small breeds it’s best to get n glass tank with a wire mesh over the top. My Teddy has a 21 inch by 12/53 cm by 30.5 with 2 extra floors, which give him about double that running space. He has bridges connecting the floors and a thick layer of bedding in case he falls. If your want to know more about what kind of cage to get your hammy, look here to know how to choose a hamster cage. I cover the 3 main types of cage, as well as how to clean the 3 kinds of cages. A scared hamster will try to escape If there is something bothering or even scaring your hamster consistently, he will try to escape. He will try to run as far away as possible, and will keep escaping if you bring him back. This is a case where cage size and temperature and food quality does not matter. So watch your hamster for a few days, and see what keeps spooking him. Pets, kids, lawnmowers, visiting aunts, it could be anything. Find the reason, and figure out a way to keep your hamster safe. An idea would be to keep the hamster in a different room, where nothing can bother him and he can sleep peacefully. This way pets like a very curious cat won’t be able to paw at the poor hamster. If the hamster is scared of you, the owner, then you need to build trust with him. Let him get used to you, let him know your smell, and do not rush him. Check the article on how to tame your hamster. Place your hand into his cage, with a treat on it. He will come to take the food, but possibly run away after that. It’s okay, it’s a step forward. Repeat this every day until your hamster trusts you to touch your hand. From there, small steps towards holding your hamster in your hand, inside the cage. Talk to your hamster, even if he doesn’t understand the words he understands the tone. He knows a friendly tone from a harsh one. A word from Teddy This was about why we hammies try to escape, but really it’s about how you can help us lead a better life with you. A happy hamster might try to escape sometimes, since we are a curious and energetic bunch. But if you keep us well exercised, and with lots of toys and love, we’ll stick around. If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we throw our poop around or the best way to feed us, check the articles below. You’ll get lots of great info on hamster care ! [...] Read more...