The Surprising Reason Your Hamster Is Eating His Own Poop

Poop eating is never comfortable to imagine, let alone witness. But maybe you’ve seen your ball of fur do that. Maybe you were confused and grossed out like I was.

After catching my Teddy do this a few times, talking to other hamster owners, and doing some research, I found out why this happens.

Turns out, there is no reason to panic, and there’s actually a very good reason this happens.

Hamster eating his poop

So why is your hamster eating his poop ?

The short answer is that there are 2 types of poop. The regular, dry droppings that you find in his cage, and then softer droppings that occur mostly at night.

When your hamster is eating his poop, he is eating the night poop. These are called caecotrophia and they are necessary for your hammy. His night poop contains a lot of vitamin B12 and it’s basically the only way for him to obtain that vitamin.

Also, since some nutrients are not absorbed by their bodies properly on the first go, by eating their night poop they get more nutrients.

The B12 vitamin is only produced by the hamster’s small intestine, but it can only be absorbed into the body by the stomach. So that means your hammy has to bring the poop back to the stomach by eating it.

That’s the short version, and it sounds kind of icky. But that’s what it is, and it is normal for your hamster. Actually a lot of rodents do this, including the guinea pig, mice, and even rabbits.

Changing your hamster’s diet to stop poop eating

It will not work. This is something that your hamster will do anyway, since that is simply his programming from mother nature. He needs to digest and redigest some foods in order to get all the benefits.

Even if you bring more nutritional food for your hamster, he will still need to eat his poop sometimes, because his body is made that way. He needs to digest twice in order to get all the nutrients.

I understand that seeing your cute friend eat his poop might look and sound icky, but this is normal for him.

So let your hamster eat his night droppings, since it is a normal and healthy thing for him to do.

If you want to know what to feed your hamster in general, read my  food list article here. I’ll also cover what to not give your hamster to eat, and what treats he can have.

The nutritional value of night poop

Your hamster needs his night poop for one very good reason. Once he eats something, it passes through his stomach and gut, and he gets a part of the nutrition he needs.

Once that food forms into droppings and comes out, your hamster will eat it, to bring it back to his stomach so he can get more nutrition from it.

This is something your hamster does when he is a baby as well. When the baby hamsters are born, their gut does not contain the necessary bacteria to break down their food. Also, they do not immediately know what is food and what is not.

So, they will eat their mother’s night poop, to get the bacteria they need for their own gut. And also to learn what can be food.

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Hamster eating his poop Pin

The dry poop you’re used to seeing

That’s the poop we all know our hamsters have, and the ones you see in their cage when you clean the cage.

Those droppings are dry and hard, and sometimes your hamster might leave them in weird places. I’ve seen Teddy poop in his food bowl, hoard poop in his house, and store it in his cheeks sometimes.

The oddest part was when we’d just cleaned his cage, and we knew there was no poop inside. After we put him back into the cage, we saw 5 new droppings. He didn’t have time to poop, but he’d kept them in his cheeks along with a bit of food.

I’ve seen him sometimes throw the dry poop across his ‘room’, or even spit it out of his cage. It’s never funny to step on a dry poop and only realize it after a few minutes when you feel something weird on your sock.

But it happens, and it’s part of owning a hamster.

Your hamster will not eat the dry poop, since it has no nutritional value.

Your hamster could be pooping in his food

It’s strange, but you’ll find the poop everywhere. Everywhere. In your hamster’s food bowl. In his home. In his sand bath.

You have to understand that animals, especially rodents, don’t care about their droppings as much as humans do.

With rodents, and including your hamster as well as mine, the poop happens everywhere they live. You’ll find a large amount in his nest, since that’s where he spends most of his time.

If your hamster’s cage smells, it’s not the poop. For humans the dry poop the hamster makes is nearly odorless. What smells is where the hamster pees, which will usually be in a corner. If you’re not careful, repeatedly using the same corner for his needs will make that corner very hard to clean.

So I’d recommend getting some mineral sand for your hamster, and placing a few tablespoons in the corners, for easier cleaning. And to  trap odor as well.

Place the hamster cage to avoid a mess

This is something I’ve learned the hard way. I’ve always kept Teddy’s cage just on the carpet, and found out soon enough that the dry poop can cling to the carpet. Even if it’s dry, it’s a bit sticky.

And depending on the color of your carpet, you might not know it’s there until you squished it into the fibers.

So what I’d recommend is what I did, which is keep the cage on a piece of cardboard, or cloth that can easily be cleaned or even just shaken clean.

Your hamster will probably spit out some dry poop around his cage, along with some stray bedding. And while poop is easier to get rid of, bedding is like glitter. 4 months later you still have bedding around the house, and you’ll find it in your pants as well.

So make sure you place the cage on something that can be removed easily, and is easy to clean.

As for the cage itself, check out my article on the best cages for hamsters. You’ll see the pros and cons of each cage type, and which have the most bedding spill-over.

For more info on how to properly care for your little hamster friend, you can check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll get everything from what kind of food to what temperature he needs, and how to figure out what kind of hamster you’ve got.

A word from Teddy

I know this is not a topic you want to think about very much, but this is normal for us.

We need the night poop to get all the nutrients we can from our food. This does not mean you’re not feeding us right ! It’s just that we have to do this, because of the way we’re made.

I hope you’ll still see us as the cute ball of fluff you’re used to, and let us do our thing in peace.

If you want to know more about us hamsters, and what the bet cage would be, or why we need a certain temperature in the room, and even why we’re night creatures, you can check the articles below. You’ll find more quality content on hamster care and facts.

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Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy Facts
Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy FactsIf you’ve got a hamster you know he’s a cutie pie, and he’s always sniffing out some thing or another. Does that mean he’s got a great sense of smell, or is he just curious ? Well, let’s see just how well hammies can sniff things out, and if they’ve got super-smell or not. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters have a good sense of smell ?Hamsters can smell anything on youMake sure your hands are clean when handling your hamsterHamsters are very sensitive to artificial smellsSyrians can’t really stay close to each otherKeeping the hamster’s nose healthyKeep the temperature in the room between 20-23 C/ 68-78 FDo not leave anything sharp or rough in the cageClean your hands before handling the hamsterKeep dust away from your hamsterOnly use safe bedding for the hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters have a good sense of smell ? Yes, hamsters do have a very good sense of smell. In fact, smell is your hamster’s first sense he uses when navigating his cage, and figuring things out about you. Hamsters have very poor eyesight, so they have to compensate with their other senses. The sense of smell will tell your hamster if there are predators around, if there is food, and if there’s another hammy nearby. Us humans don’t have the greatest nose, true. But hamsters have a very sharp sense of smell, and as such are actually sensitive to smells we like. Hamsters particularly hate citrus scents, since the smell is overwhelming for them. My Teddy scrunches up his face and wanders off whenever I peel an orange or cut a lemon. Hamsters can smell anything on you As it happens with pets that have keep sense of smell, hamsters can tell what you did. What you ate. Who you just hugged, and where those shoes have been. This is a reason to be careful about how strongly you smell when handling your hamster. I don’t mean body odor, hamsters tolerate a faint, intensely human smell. For example a perfume, even a gentle one, can be too much for your hamster. Any essential oils you may have rubbed on you fall into that category as well. Deodorant too, and in some cases fabric softener. Basically hamsters are the most sensitive things ever, especially since they are so small. So if you’ve got a strong smell on yourself or your clothes, they will feel it and shy away from it. Make sure your hands are clean when handling your hamster When picking up your hamster make sure you’ve got clean hands. I’m saying this as a warning, since hammies are easy to trick with smells. For example my girlfriend touched a few pieces of cooked chicken one day, we’d just eaten. She just wiped her hands on a kitchen towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy, thinking she really did have chicken fingers, bit into her finger like it was food. She’s never touched Teddy since, even if she knows why it happened. Now I’d have for you to end up in the same situation as my girlfriend, so please make sure your hands are clean. Before handling your hamster, make sure you wash your hands very well with soap. It should be antibacterial soap, and unscented. A very strong scented soap will either make your hamster pull away, like citrus for example. Or it’ll make him think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands and try to eat some. This happens with especially fruity soaps. If you want to know which fruits hammies can eat, so you know which soaps aren’t smart to use with him, try this list here. Hamsters are very sensitive to artificial smells Hammies have a very sensitive nose, yes. The will learn the smell of the house and know it as their habitat. However artificial smells are often used in homes, like air fresheners for example. We have one too, and it’s always on, except at night. At night, given the way our apartment is laid out, Teddy’s cage sits right under the air freshener shelf. 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Even if they’ve both got their own, private cage, they will know the other hamster’s there. You see hamsters communicate with each other through pheromones. That means that your hammy will literally smell other hamsters’ feelings and emotions. All hammies emit pheromones, as do we humans. Fear smells a certain way, heat a certain way, playfulness a certain way, and so on. Hamsters use that to communicate with eachother. However since Syrians are solitary animals, smelling another hamster will make them continuously irritated and territorial. A Syrian hamster will mark his territory through the scent glands on his hips(big black dots under his fur), and this will annoy the other hammy. He will see that as a sort of threat, and mark his territory, which will annoy the other hammy who will mark his and so on. Case in point, don’t keep solitary hamsters close together, even if they’re in different cages. 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Do Hamsters Change Color ? (And Other Fur Facts)
Do Hamsters Change Color ? (And Other Fur Facts)Hamsters come in so many furs and colors and patterns it’s hard to remember which is which sometimes. And other times, they turn around and surprise you and change their fur ! Nothing as dramatic as going from blonde to redhead, but sometimes some hamsters might change their color. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters change color ?Very young hamsters will change their fur as they become adultsSome hamsters change their fur in winterVery old hamsters lose fur and go a bit grayOther hamster fur factsThere are versions of Syrian hamsters with long furLong fur can get very mattedHamster fur can grow back in most casesHamster fur should never get wet, don’t bathe your hamster ! Do hamsters change color ? Some hamsters can change color, either because they are very young and coming into their adult fur, or because they are getting very old and turning a bit gray, or because they’re a type of hamster that turns white when the cold season hits. 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Hopefully the knots are towards the end of the fur. If there are any knots close to the body or directly against the skin leave them alone. The risk of hurting your hamster by accident is too high.  Like combing out knots, this can take a while too. Maybe your hamster doesn’t mind the sound of scissors, maybe he gets frightened. There is no safe way to keep him in place, without injury or extreme distress for both of you. Best to just go very slow, and use a good pair of scissors. Hamster fur can grow back in most cases Sometimes a hamster will lose some of its fur, and sometimes that fur can grow back. Not always, such as very old hamsters who lose their fur due to old age. Or hamsters with a genetic condition that prevents them from growing fur in the first place. The fur on these hamsters sadly won’t ever grow.  But if your hammy lost a patch of fur because of a skin condition, an irritation, ringworm, or just because he scratched himself too much, there is good news ! The fur can grow back, as soon as the skin condition is treated and healed ! In case of excessing scratching, it’s usually due to an irritant, like a rash, or the hammy got bit by something and it’s now itching. Once that is gone and the hamster doesn’t have a reason to keep scratching, the fur will grow back.  Hamster fur should never get wet, don’t bathe your hamster ! Hamsters have very delicate fur, especially the fluff right next to the skin. It’s meant to insulate the hamster and keep it both warm and cool, depending on the weather. Hammies are exceptionally good at keeping themselves clean, they lick and nibble at their fur constantly so it is always clean. Kind of like a cat cleans itself, except this one isn’t meowing.  There is no real reason to give a hamster a bath to clean it, unless it somehow got something on it that the hamster can’t or shouldn’t clean by itself, like car grease or ketchup.  If you do get your hamster’s fur wet, know that washing it with any sort of soap will disturb the natural oils on its skin. Not only that but these animals are so frail, they need to be dried immediately after getting wet since they can’t easily handle it. Where hamsters come from water (rain) is rare, so they haven’t adapted their fur to be water-proof.  So, it’s best to never put your hamster in a situation where it could get its fur wet. And never handle your hamster with dirty hands. The hammy will clean itself after you play with it even if you’ve just washed your hands, imagine how icky it’d feel if you picked it up with Cheetos dust on your fingers.  [...] Read more...
5 Surprising Places Where Hamsters Are Illegal
5 Surprising Places Where Hamsters Are IllegalMost of us are familiar with the little creatures called hamsters, but if you live in a country where hamsters are not very popular, you may wonder why that is and whether you are allowed to own one where you live. Although hamsters are seen as very gentle and lovable animals, they are illegal in some countries. These small animals can pose a threat to the country’s ecosystem. Throughout history, many imported animals wreaked havoc inside the country. When exotic animals are introduced to the country, they have a great impact on native animals and wildlife. This is the reason that countries will introduce restrictions, to preserve the welfare of the environment.  Table of Contents Toggle1. AustraliaAlternatives for pet hamsters2. QueenslandAlternative pets3. New ZealandAlternative pets4. HawaiiAlternative pets5. CaliforniaAlternative petsWhy do countries ban certain pets? 1. Australia The import and possession of all kinds of animals in Australia is strictly regulated by the 1999 Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and only animals that comply with the strict regulations are permitted to enter the country. Sadly, for all Australian hamster lovers, these little creatures are strictly banned. Anyone found trying to bring a hamster into Australia or discovered to be in possession of one breaks the law and is likely to be subject to a fine or punishment. According to Australian quarantine regulations, hamsters are listed as an invasive pest. Australia is worried about what could be happening to the ecosystem by an unregulated population of hamsters. The main concern about the introduction of hamsters into Australia is the possible effects they could have on the climate, native plants, and animals. Australia has dealt with the arrival of a variety of non-native animals throughout its history, including rodents, foxes, cane toads, and carps, which have caused untold environmental damage, pushed many native species to the verge of extinction, and produced agricultural and economic catastrophes. The unintended or deliberate release of hamsters into the Australian landscape is feared to have a similar effect. Hamsters are particularly likely to adapt to Australia’s extreme climate as descendants of desert species and reproduce at rapid rates, raising competition for limited food and habitat that is essential to native animals. Wild hamsters are also at risk of affecting crops and agriculture, further amplifying the issue created by imported rabbits, and although hamsters are small and relatively simple prey, there is just not a large number of natural predators who could manage a growing population of hamsters. Anyone caught trying to import or owning a hamster could face up to 5 years in jail, a $210,000 (AUD) fine, or both, according to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy. Alternatives for pet hamsters There’s always a misunderstanding in Australia about the distinction between hamsters and guinea pigs. Maybe it’s because people are not used to seeing hamsters, so the two are the same thing, but hamsters and guinea pigs are completely different animals. The good news for Australian people is that guinea pigs are absolutely legal and they still have the same adorable and affectionate personality though they are a little bigger than their distant hamster cousins. Australia also allows keeping a rabbit as a pet. The common house mouse or pet rat is perhaps the most closely connected alternative to a hamster in terms of size. These little critters may be kept in relatively small indoor enclosures, offering hours of fun for their owners as they investigate and interact in their surroundings. You may not have previously considered a ferret as a pet, but they can make an adorable hamster replacement. They are larger than a hamster, but in Australia, they are legal to own. 2. Queensland Numerous species imported into Queensland became serious pests. The cane toad, mouse, cat, European rabbit, and many other less common species are examples. These species cost a lot of money for Queensland and may have led to the extinction of many indigenous creatures. Infectious diseases, including exotic diseases, such as rabies, and other diseases that are harmful to humans, such as herpes B, can be transmitted by imported animals. The legislation prohibits the importation and retention of such animals as pets. Any animals would inevitably escape if there were no restrictions on the keeping and importation of possible pest animals. These animals can increase their number in the wilderness. All imported mammal species, unless mentioned as exceptions, are banned as pets. Cats, dogs, horses, goats, and several more are those exceptions. Hamsters are seen as pests and by that rule, they can be a threat to the environment and economy. It’s not just the hamsters that are illegal. As mentioned above, every introduced mammal species is prohibited. This includes Squirrels, foxes, rabbits, gerbils, monkeys, and weasels. Queensland sees these as exotic animals and cannot be imported into the country. Queensland issued a Biosecurity Act in 2014 that prescribed animal species as prohibited. These restrictions prevent the keeping of most species as pets. Alternative pets Unlike in the rest of Australia, Queensland banned many exotic animals to be kept as pets. As well as hamsters, ferrets, gerbils, and rabbits are not allowed. But they have no placed restrictions on cats, dogs, rats, and mice. Also, just like in the rest of Australia, guinea pigs are very legal to own. Guinea pigs are common in Queensland and they are the most common choice for a hamster replacement. Many places in Queensland offer guinea pigs. 3. New Zealand Many animals that have been introduced to New Zealand by the Europeans have been accepted and pets. That is not the case with hamsters. Unlike rabbits and rats, the hamsters were not introduced to New Zealand. The reason there are no hamsters there is that they are viewed as pests. New Zealand cares to protect its natural flora and fauna, so pests, or in this case hamsters, are not imported. The Ministry of Primary Industries explained that the hamsters and their risks have not been investigated, like other pests. They also said that investigation is a lengthy process and that they pose many threats to native species. The main reason New Zealand is so firm in its position is that the nation is proud of biodiversity and much of the economy of the world relies on the environment, which may be placed at risk by allowing any animals to reach the country. Pets in New Zealand must have been born, raised or lived-in countries deemed by New Zealand to be either rabies-free or rabies-controlled for at least six months before they are permitted to join the country. New Zealand requires many permits for importing pets, including cats and dogs. You won’t need an import permit if you come from Australia. Your animal will be quarantined for ten days. Importantly, certain breeds of dogs cannot be imported. Entry would be denied to the American pit bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Brazilian Fila. One thing to also remember is that New Zealand is a snake-free country, so they are definitely not approved by the New Zealand government. Alternative pets The best replacement for a hamster and a pet that can be kept in New Zealand is a chinchilla. But some chinchillas are unwelcomed in New Zealand, as well. You will need a permit for breeding chinchillas and if you want to keep one as a pet, the chinchillas have to be imported from Great Britain. Sadly, ferrets and guinea pigs are not allowed to be imported into New Zealand. Although, there is an exception for guinea pigs. They can be imported to New Zealand only if they come from Australia. You would need papers that state that the guinea pig was born and raised in Australia. Rabbits can also be imported and kept as pets if they are imported from Australia. There are also restrictions on mice and rats to be imported into the country. They can be imported in New Zealand only as laboratory animals.   4. Hawaii Hawaii has a very sensitive population of wild animals and plant life. The fear of hamsters is that they will migrate to the countryside and prey on vulnerable crops and tiny animals. There are several endangered species living on Hawaii Island and these delicate species may be jeopardized by some non-native species introduced into the wild. To secure the natural ecosystem and the environment, there are specific pet rules in Hawaii. They might create wild colonies and injure crops, native plants, and animals if hamsters or related pets were to escape into the field. Having been found in hamster possession, the pet will be seized immediately. You will also be served with a notice to never keep these pets again or pay a fee. Whether it wasn’t the first time you were caught, the authorities felt that you understood the law, but simply violated it. You will be charged with a $500-$10,000 civil fine, including the costs of the removal, handling, and maintenance of the animal. You could be charged with a misdemeanor too, which is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The Hawaiian government is worried that, given that hamsters are appropriate for Hawaii’s climate, hamsters could easily establish themselves as an invasive species in Hawaii. If hamsters were released into the wild, they may have a significant effect on native plants and animals. The hamsters are not the only ones prohibited in the country. Gerbils can also not be kept as pets for the same fear as hamsters. Ferrets cannot be kept as pets because they have been known to carry the rabies virus, and Hawaii has been a rabies-free country for a long time. Many animals are banned in Hawaii. These animals do not have natural predators in the country, which poses a threat to the ecosystem and the food pyramid in the country. Alternative pets Hawaii does not have some unusual pets that you can see around the world. They mostly keep cats, dogs as well as pigs, goats, sheep, and horses. Lizards are also the most popular pets there. 5. California California has some of the world’s most strict pet rules, second to Hawaii. You could face a hefty fine if you are caught with an exotic pet or even a small one on the banned list and the animal would be removed from you without a doubt. The hamster ban is due to the threat of a new population of invasive animals. It might easily breed out of control if hamsters were to start populating in California. Local plants and livestock may also be affected by them. California has some magnificent plant life and wildlife that must be preserved by the natural inhabitants of this state. You will be charged with criminal prosecution with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in county prison and/or a fine of up to $ 1,000 if you are caught in possession of an illegal hamster. Fines and even imprisonment are very uncommon, but not unheard of. The typical consequence is that the animal is removed and sadly disposed of. Secure homes are usually found for them, but others cannot be sheltered and are thus put to sleep, unfortunately. But on the bright side, some hamster species are legal to own in California. This means that you would not face prosecution for owning them. These species include golden hamsters and dwarf hamsters, also known as Chinese hamsters. You can also hold chinchillas and guinea pigs. Although, you have to buy or adopt them from registered breeders and pet stores. Ferrets are also illegal to keep a pet in California. The California Department of Wildlife takes the view that escaped pet ferrets pose a serious risk to the rare native animals and birds. As a consequence, ferrets in California cannot legally be imported, transported, or possessed except by a permit given for a particular legal reason, such as medical research or transporting rescued ferrets. Alternative pets In California, it is perfectly legal to own a rabbit as a pet. They are also one of the most popular pets in the country. Rabbits are commonly used as an alternative to pet hamsters. Also, the alternative to hamsters is chinchillas. They are also legal to own in California. Californians are also fans of miniature animals, meaning they commonly keep pygmy goats, miniature horses, and small pigs as pets – and they are legal to own. Why do countries ban certain pets? When you think about exotic pets, the first thought can be animals that are very rare to keep as pets. These usually include animals that are usually seen in the wilderness and not suitable for living in a home. In most cases, people think about monkeys, certain parrots, lizards, spiders, snakes, and many more. In terms of hamsters, you might think that they are not unusual, and primarily see them as pets, mostly gifted to small children. As mentioned above, many countries do not see them as pets, because the animal is not native to them. Hamsters are found in Europe and have not been introduced in Australia or New Zealand. Even though they have the perfect climate for them to survive, that can be a problem. If hamsters reproduce and build their habitat in those countries, it means that some species may become extinct. Hamsters will also search for food, taking it away from animals that are native to that country. This is the reason that hamsters are seen as pests and exotic animals because they are not native. But hamsters are not the only ones that can be banned in a country. Many states restricted importing exotic animals for the well-fare of the country and the well-fare of the animals. The importation of animals to the country involves a certain level of disease risk. One or more diseases, infections, or infestations can reflect this risk as well. There are many steps that countries take to know which animals can be imported and which cannot. Regulations and restrictions vary from country to country. Some counties inside a state will have different regulations as well, but restrictions are mostly written as a blanket cover, meaning they are applied throughout the country. If you want to travel with your pet, it is best to research what are the restrictions for your pet in that country. Some will say that an animal has to be in quarantine for 10 days after entering a country. Many will require a bunch of certificates to ensure that the animal is healthy, while others will not cause a big hassle. [...] Read more...
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told You
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told YouYou might wonder if your furry hamster can live with a friendly guinea pig. After all, they’re both rodents, and they might just get along, right ? As it turns out, guinea pigs and hamsters are very different animals, and housing them together is a delicate subject. Here’s the answer to what you were looking for. If you want a more detailed comparison between a hamster and a guinea pig, you should read this article. Table of Contents ToggleSo can a hamster live with a guinea pig ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the guinea pig’s personalityCage size for guinea pigs, and hamstersDifference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamstersFood fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue overA word from Teddy So can a hamster live with a guinea pig ? No. Hamsters can’t and shouldn’t live together with guinea pigs. Not because there is something wrong with guinea pigs. But because of a major difference in personality, how they react to strangers. One is fiercely territorial, while the other can live in a large group. And incredibly important, one sleeps the day away, while the other takes short naps throughout the 24 hours. They will inevitably annoy the hell out of each other. So if you ever mix a hamster and a guinea pig in the same cage, or even just during playtime, things will go bad. Very very fast, and you’ll need to be quick to separate the two. To really understand why these two furballs should be kept separate, we need to look at their personalities, cage requirements. and even playtime. About the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A guinea pig is much bigger, smells different, and acts different. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own  a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. While there are differences between hamsters, they are roughly the same. You need to know both hamsters and guinea pigs well before you even think of housing them together. About the guinea pig’s personality A guinea pig is a very social animal, and a great starter pet. They’re more docile than a puppy, but still show some personality so you learn that pets are their own beings and you need to do some things their way. That being said, guinea pigs don’t do well on their own, unless you’re always there to play with them and cuddle them. In nearly every case it’s best to get your guinea pig a buddy so they can keep each other company. A guinea pig is easy enough to tame, since it will react well to new sights and people. Still, some care should be taken, since they’re not immediately friendly like a puppy, or curious like a kitten. Guinea pigs will generally flee if they sense any danger, and won’t really bite unless in some extreme cases of self defense. And they’re not terribly territorial. However problems will arise when the hamster gets scared or annoyed by the pig, and will bite in retaliation. While hamsters are small, their jaws a powerful, and will injure the guinea pig. Think of the guinea pig as a gentle giant, who lets things slide for the most part. Very hard to anger, but once he is irritated, his teeth and jaws are much stronger than a hamster’s. The small piggy can only keep its patience for so long, and will eventually bite back. Given the sheer size difference between a guinea pig and a hamster, it won’t go well. You will end up with an injured, irritable guinea pig, and a dead hamster. Cage size for guinea pigs, and hamsters A single Syrian hamster can live in a cage the size of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. A Dwarf would need half that size, but I honestly recommend getting your hamster a very large cage, since he’ll feel much more comfortable with lots of space to run around. A guinea pig, on the other hand, needs 30 x 36 inches/ 76 x 91 cm cage. That is the absolute minimum, for just one guinea pig. The more piggies your have, you’ll have to almost double that size. As with the hamster, a larger cage is better. Alright, you might argue that you’ve got an incredibly large cage, big enough for both the piggy and the hamster. Fair enough, let’s look at how both animals keep their territory. A guinea pig will share his home with his partner, or the other 234 piggies it lives with. A guinea pig is a very social, herd animal. A hamster will attack anything that comes into his territory, and lives alone. He makes regular rounds of the space he owns, and will jump any creature stumbles upon. While the guinea pig will turn away, the hammy will chase him and eventually bite.  Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters are incredibly sensitive to smell, and very much love their routine. They need things to be in the same place, smelling of their scent, and nothing alien. A guinea pig wandering the cage will throw off the hammy’s routine, and become a nuisance without even trying. Finally, guinea pigs will get bored with the same setup, and move their herd from one hideout to another. The hamster will disagree with this. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Difference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamsters What about the playtime between hamsters and guinea pigs ? Well, they both love to exercise, so they’ve got that in common. While the piggy won’t use the hamster’s wheel to run, he’ll use the entire cage for a quick sprint. And he will bump into the hammy’s wheel, or hideout or any other objects. This won’t sit well with the hamster. And finally with the playing and handling, the hamster can’t sit still for very long. But a guinea pig will stay put for longer, and come back with your scent. This will produce mixed feelings in the hamster, who is again a very smell-sensitive animal. So generally most interactions between the two don’t go too well, largely due to the hamster’s need for solitude. While hamsters will only come out and play in the evening and most of the night, a guinea pig is different. A guinea pig sleeps in patches throughout the day, and will generally follow the owner’s routine. A hamster on the other hand will sleep the day away, and only wake up in the evening, which will produce large amounts of stress. The hammy won’t rest well, since the piggy is running around the cage and the sounds will keep the hamster on alert. And when the guinea pig would take a short nap, the hammy could possibly stumble upon it (curious as hamsters are, but also silly and a bit thick). Which will not end up well, again. Food fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue over Alright, let’s cover the difference between foods, since this is a major problem. Hamsters are omnivores, so they eat anything from meat to grains and veggies, to fruits. In certain proportions, and they prefer grains for the most part. You can find out more about that here. A guinea pig on the other hand will need food based on veggies, Timothy hay, and lots of vitamin C. If you mix their food, or even if you put the food separately, there’s not telling who is going to eat whose food. Neither the hamster or the piggy will know the food is for the other one, and they will end up fighting over it. This is a serious issue with Dwarf hammies who live together and can lead to fatal injuries. Let alone a large guinea pig fighting a small hamster. Also take into account that hamsters live far less than guinea pigs. A hamster can live as long as 2-4 years, while a guinea pig can reach 7 years. An old hamster will probably become blind in his final weeks or months, and find it more difficult to navigate his cage. Normally hamsters memorize their cages and where to find everything, so they can do just fine without their eyesight. But stumbling upon the piggy, while blind, is bound to scare them. The hammy will be scared even if he’s alone in his cage and you don’t talk to him enough before coming close, when he’s blind. So to sum everything up, and give you a rounded answer: Hamsters and guinea pigs can’t live together. The hamster prefers to be alone and will consider the piggy an intruder, even if they’re introduced as babies. Best to keep them separate, and make sure they don’t even meet. You’ll save yourself and the two animals a lot of literal pain and heartache. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies seem like we could use a buddy, but we’re fine on our own. We like it that way, and won’t take kindly to other animals. Nothing personal, that’s just us being hamsters, is all. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should definitely check out the articles below to find out how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
How Do Hamsters Mark Their Territory? Interesting Facts
How Do Hamsters Mark Their Territory? Interesting FactsI never had more than one hamster at a time since I had two Syrian hamsters, which are solitary animals and they don’t share a cage with other hamsters. So I never questioned how a hamster marks its territory and why they are doing it before doing research on this topic. However, I kind of knew they were doing this since I saw the scent glands on my first hamster, I thought he had a health problem, and that’s when I found out that those little black spots on the side were actually the scent glands. So in this article, we will discuss about why and how hamsters mark their territory and what you should know when you want to keep more hamsters together. Excluding Syrian ones, which you should never have more than one in a cage. Table of Contents ToggleHow do hamsters mark their territory?Why do hamsters mark their territory?Do female hamsters mark their territory?Which hamsters can live together?Can you introduce a new dwarf hamster to the ones you already have?Conclusion How do hamsters mark their territory? Hamsters mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on the objects or territory they want to mark. Those scent glands can be located on the sides of a Syrian hamster or on the belly of dwarf ones. Syrian hamsters have one scent gland on each side, you can see a hairless spot that can be a darker color than their skin and show some greasy, yellowish secretion. Dwarf hamsters have only one scent gland on their belly, I talked a bit about this topic in the article about why hamsters pee in their wheel. I confused the secretion from their scent gland with pee. It smells a little bit like popcorn. Why do hamsters mark their territory? Hamsters mark their territory to assert authority like many other animals. Hamsters are very territorial and they will be quick to fight with other hamsters for their territory if they feel threatened. While dwarf hamsters can live together with another of their kind, that doesn’t mean they will gladly share the cage and never fight. In fact, it is quite hard to keep more hamsters together even if they are the right breed and even siblings. Some hamsters might even pee to mark their territory, this is not their primary method, but it can happen in some instances, especially when they have a problem with their scent glands. While marking territory might seem unnecessary for a pet hamster, in the wild, they have quite a few reasons for doing that. They have bad eyesight, and marking territory with their scent can help them get faster to their home, or at least what they consider to be a safer territory for them. In the cage, it is useless since they are in the same place, but in the wild, they travel for food, and getting lost can be quite dangerous, so they will ensure they know their way back by marking the territory. This might be one reason for marking the territory while they are running in the wheel, they don’t know they are on a treadmill, so they have to make sure they know their way back. With dwarf hamsters this happens naturally as the gland is on their belly.  Do female hamsters mark their territory? Female hamsters also mark their territory, but the purpose is not to assert authority but rather to let male hamsters know that they are coming into heat. If you have a female hamster and you notice a weird smell from time to time, this might be the reason. It might happen quite often since female hamsters get into heat at short intervals of about four days. Which hamsters can live together? Only certain Dwarf hamster breeds can peacefully cohabitate, such as Roborovski, Campbell’s and Siberian hamsters, but only if they come from the same litter. If they have been raised as siblings in their mother’s nest, they can then be housed together but you should still expect occasional fights. When it comes to Chinese hamsters, it is not recommended to house them with any of the other three species due to their larger size and more aggressive territorial behavior. Chinese hamsters, especially males, are extremely violent against other hamsters and should always be kept solitary. It is important to understand that even smaller hamsters still need plenty of space to live their lives. If they feel that the cage is too small, they might start fighting each other, even if they are from the same litter. It is important to have enough space for each hamster to exercise, eat and drink water. Can you introduce a new dwarf hamster to the ones you already have? We will not discuss here about Syrian hamsters since for those ones even the breeding process is a complicated task where you have to get the male out of the cage immediately after if you don’t want the female and male to fight. When it comes to dwarf hamsters, introducing a new hamster to the cage is quite challenging. You might see videos and blog posts with people succeeding but the odds are not in your favor, and this is important to know. Even if you do everything right, they have a big chance of not accepting each other. If you want to do that anyway, here are the steps you have to follow. -Thoroughly clean the cage and separate it into two sections with a mesh divider.  -Place the old and new hamster in each compartment.  -Allow them to acclimate to each other through sight and smell before removing the separator. Keep them separated for a few days. -Pay close attention and be ready to intervene if they start fighting So the process requires you to actively watch the hamsters while you are introducing the new hamster, so it is quite time-consuming and can be dangerous. I recommend keeping a gardening or thick rubber glove near the cage since intervening between two fighting hamsters can leave serious wounds. Conclusion Hamsters are territorial animals and they will try to mark their territory as fast as possible even if they are alone in the cage, they don’t know that the cage is only for them, so they have to make sure other hamsters know that the territory is occupied. Can you imagine your little hammy always marking its territory when you clean its cage to make sure other hamsters will not invade them, it is funny to think about it. I hope this article helped you understand a bit better hamster behavior when it comes to marking its territory, why they are doing it, and how you can keep more hamsters together without increasing their chances of fighting. [...] 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...