Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy Facts

If 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.

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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.

So we turn the freshener off (it’s on auto) so Teddy’s nose doesn’t have to be bombarded with lilac and vanilla.

So if you’ve got anything very strong smelling or scented, make sure it is as far away from you hamster’s cage as possible.

The same goes for food. If you’ve got great, delicious food laid out somewhere, make sure it’s not near your hamster’s cage. He will smell the food, and try very very hard to get to it, chewing on the cage bars in the process.

Once he gets into the habit of biting the bars, it’s nearly impossible to get him off of them.

Syrians can’t really stay close to each other

I’m taking a separate note on Syrians here because most other hamsters – the Dwarf types – can live together. Syrians however will fight to the death and will not share one measly wood shaving with anyone.

So if you’ve got two Syrian hammies, and they’re hopefully in different cages, they need to be far apart. 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.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

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Keeping the hamster’s nose healthy

Hammies can develop different illnesses and diseases, like us humans. When it comes to noses both us and hammies need  them to breathe, but they rely on their noses to ‘see’ the world too.

While a cold can just annoy a human, for a hamster that blocks a lot of signals he gets from his habitat.

So you can do the following to make sure your hamster friend not only doesn’t get a cold, but keeps his nose safe and clean.

Keep the temperature in the room between 20-23 C/ 68-78 F

Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and can catch colds quite easily. So, you should keep the hamster’s room at an even temperature like described above.

A temperature lower than that can weaken the hamster’s immune system and welcome in a cold, which will impair his sense of smell.

A much much lower temperature that that will set in a hypothermic shock, which can be lethal to the hamster.

Do not leave anything sharp or rough in the cage

Hammies can’t see very well, but they can distinguish what’s directly in front of them. Still, they can be a bit clumsy, and it’s your job as a responsible pet owner so make sure your hammy is safe in his cage.

This means that pieces of toys or the hideout or the wheel that might stick out and be extra sharp, should be removed. The same goes for wooden objects, which maybe have certain very rough corners.

Make sure those wooden objects are sanded down properly, so your hammy doesn’t have tiny razors to nick himself on.

That being said, be sure to check everything, since I found a bit of dried pain in my Teddy’s wheel that I had to chip off, or it would’ve been like a nail for him to step on.

Clean your hands before handling the hamster

Another reason to clean your hands before handling your hamster, aside from the scent, is possible bacteria. Hamsters do have an immune system, but they’re very small creatures. They can’t withstand most infections and a stray bacteria or virus can be lethal to them.

Best to make sure your hands are as clean as possible before you touch your hamster, or handle his food, or do anything with his habitat.

Keep dust away from your hamster

Hammies have very sensitive noses, and as such can develop lung problems easier than us humans. This means keeping your hamster away from any dust or dusty surfaces is mandatory.

For example if you’ve got an exercise ball for your hamster, make sure the floor you let him roam on is clean, and has no debris or dust. The dust and debris will end up in the hamster’s ball, where he will breather them in. Never a good thing.

The same goes for toys and a new cage, or anything really. A quick wipedown or cleaning will do the trick, even if it’s a bit of a hassle.

The cage Teddy currently has was absolutely dirty and dusty when we got it, given how it was stored in the back of the shop. We gave it a thorough  cleaning in the shower, dried it down, and it was great for use

Only use safe bedding for the hamster

The bedding you give your hamster is like the drapes and carpet in your room. If they smell funny, you won’t feel alright, and they probably need changing.

Wood shavings are what hammies usually get as bedding, and it’s a very good idea. Just make sure they’re not dusty, since wood shavings are made in the same place as sawdust.

So, the bags can sometimes have a bit of dust in them, make sure you check for that.

Also make sure you do not give your hamster pine wood shavings. Pine wood has phenols that are harmful for your hamster in large quantities. When it’s spread all over the cage as a bedding the hamster will have no option but to breathe them in.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found out more about us hammies’ sense of smell. We’re pretty good at it, and we can figure out lots of things with our tiny noses. In the wild we use our noses to find out food over vast territories !

If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the articles below, so you know how to best care for us and keep us safe.

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Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your HamsterIf you’re wondering if your hamster get a bit lonely and needs a friend, let’s clear that up. It’s a very common question for hamster owners, and I had that question too when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Here’s what I found out, and whether it’s worth getting your hamster a friend. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get lonely ?Hamsters are not very sociable animalsWhy do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successfulA few considerations about the hamster’s cageYour hamster doesn’t really get bored eitherA word from Teddy So do hamsters get lonely ? No. Hamsters do not get lonely. They can live in a pair or small group if they have no choice, but there will be fights every now and then, and half the time they need to be separated into individual cages. If your hamster’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new hamster is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hamsters are very territorial, and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other hamsters, at any cost. So let’s take a look into the hamster’s general personality, and why they wouldn’t ever be lonely. Hamsters are not very sociable animals While you’ve heard of, or seem people keep pairs of hamsters, that’s not always a good idea. You see in the wild hamsters are territorial – in captivity too – and will protect what is theirs. This means that every night, when the hamster is up and awake, he patrols his territory. He finds food and dodges predators, and if he ever finds another hamster, there will be a brutal, bloody fight. The only moment this does not happen is if a male meets a female in heat. Even then their mating ritual is fairly violent. So a pet hamster will pretty much do the same. There are some things you can’t breed out of a creature, and this is one of them. Besides, hamsters have only ever been pets for the last century or so. Why do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ?  Good question, and a very common one. You see, baby hamsters (up to 12 weeks old) are a bit less territorial than adults and will be fairly okay with sharing with their siblings. However once the hamster reaches 4 weeks, he’s weaned and they can reproduce. So that means splitting into same-sex pairs, for obvious reasons. Most hamsters get adopted before they reach adulthood (12 weeks), but the closer they get to that mark the more aggressive they become with their siblings. Pet shops are a bit short on space, and will keep hamsters together as long as they possibly can, until they notice the hamsters starting to fight too much. So in short, a mix between not enough space, and the hamsters being somewhat docile until they’re adults are the main reasons pet shops keep hamsters together. This is especially stressful for Syrian hamsters and Chinese Dwarfs, who are the most territorial and aggressive hamsters out there. Those two can never live with another hamster, not even their own siblings. (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.) Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successful You can always get a pair of hamsters, but that means you’ll need to get Dwarf hamsters. Those are the only hamsters that can live with another hamster, and only under certain circumstances. You see, hamsters are territorial and will not share anything. This is true for Dwarf hamsters too, however they can be a bit more lenient towards siblings they’ve grown up with, and have never been separated from. So in short the only way you can pair Dwarves is if they’re siblings, of the same sex, and have never been separated. They will need to be introduced to the same cage, at the same time, and the cage must be new (not have any of their scents beforehand). Even so, there can still be fights every now and then. One hamster can become too dominant and start bullying the other one, who will in turn become stressed. This means a host of health issues for the bullied hamster and behaviors like cage chewing or trying to escape. There are times when the fights become very violent, and if they ever get bloody you need to separate the two. A bit of sparring and asserting of dominance is normal, but drawing blood is serious business. Giving your hamsters room to hide and run away from each other is essential, so the bullied one can get free. A few considerations about the hamster’s cage A very large cage helps keep a pair of hamsters from fighting too much. Lots of space, plenty of hideouts, food bowls, water bottles and toys, and they should be fine. They can still fight, but a large cage with many accessories is all you can do to lower the chances. For example the absolute minimum for a hamster’s cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and I’d recommend it for a Dwarf pair too. However a cage larger than this is welcome, but hard to find. Unfortunately most cages on the market are smaller than this, or this size at most. You’re better off looking for the Detolf shelf from Ikea – expensive, yes, but there is no complaining about your hamsters not having enough space there. If you’ve got a lone hamster – which is what I’d recommend – he will still benefit from a large cage. The more space the hamster has to run around in, play, and generally just be a hamster, the better. Your hamster doesn’t really get bored either You might think a lone hamster will get bored. As in, if he’s a lone all day, every day, he’s probably sad and bored all the time. Well, the truth is that hamsters simply aren’t like us humans. They don’t have big goals, are not trying to build something with their lives, and as such aren’t really bothered by being kept in a cage. As long as the cage has toys and plenty of things to do, he’s just peachy. By this I mean a wheel for your hamster to run in, and an added exercise ball for time outside of his cage will help too. A few toys – some DYI some store-bought – will relieve a lot of boredom. Hamsters especially love puzzle toys, like a few bits of food inside a cardboard cube that he’s going to have to tear open to get inside to the food. Tubes are another option, since they give your hamster time outside the cage, and are also a good imitation of their nest in the wild. If you get toys for your hamster, make sure they’re made of wood since hamsters love to chew on everything they can, including their own nest. True, a hamster with a buddy will definitely never be bored. But the risk of them not getting along is high enough that it might not be worth it. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. I know you mean well, but us hamsters don’t really get lonely. We’re perfectly fine on our own, and don’t really crave company. 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...
12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs Ever
12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs EverIf you’ve got a hammy in your life, you know they can be the funniest, cutest little creatures ever. If you haven’t got one, you’ll find out now why hamsters are a favorite among pets. My Teddy is a Syrian male, and I’ve had him since August 2017. Since then he’s done the weirdest, funniest things you can imagine a hamster doing. So sit down and get ready to go ”awww, mine does that too !” because here’s a list of all re reasons hammies are the cutest things ever ! Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamsters make the cutest faces2. They freeze for no apparent reason3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers8. Hamsters are athletic furballs9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorableA word from Teddy 1. Hamsters make the cutest faces Hammies have this cute little face, you can’t really resist them. Especially the Dwarf types, with their fuzzy faces and practically no necks. My Teddy got his name from his cute face, even if he’s a Syrian. He’s got the cutest little teddy bear face I’ve ever seen. My favorite part, and probably yours too, is where the whiskers start on a hamster’s snout. It’s looks like they’re sort of pouting, all the time. And I’ve never seen a bad photo of a hamster. Seriously, those faces will look good in any photo, since they’re always very dramatic and expressive. For example here’s my Teddy scratching himself, and you can see every small thought going through his head in this photo. 2. They freeze for no apparent reason It’s a well known, and often searched thing, that hamsters freeze. Like you’re both just minding your own business, and suddenly your hamster will just stand up with this shocked, panicked expression on his face and just… exist. Talking to him or tapping the cage won’t work most of the time, since he’s so focused on whatever he’s doing just standing there. Turns out, there a reason behind hamsters suddenly freezing, and you can in fact unfreeze them. I won’t spoil the surprise, you can read about why they are freezing here.  Still, hammies suddenly stopping to stare into the distance for 2 minutes are a classic. 3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason My Teddy is a champion here, I think. When he was younger he not only jumped, he did backflips. This was mostly when something spooked him, and he had the funniest reactions to me just opening the fridge. But the funniest moment my Teddy jumped was when we were all doing our own thing, and Teddy was busy shoving paper towels in his cheeks, as per usual. I reached around his cage for something, and apparently that’s a terrifying thing for him. He jumped sideways about 12 inches/30 cm, while still shoving all those paper towels in his little face. When he landed he kept shoving them, like it was all part of his plan. When I first got him home from the pet shop, I wondered if hamsters jump. They do, in fact, and Teddy jumped right at me in his cage. 4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have Hamsters are incredibly small, and they’re the smallest pet you can get your hands on. Well, there’s fish you can also get, but you can’t really pet a goldfish, can you ? Hammies are tiny, and that’s a big part of their charm. If you’ve got a bunch of Dwarf types, you know they’re so small it’s hard to notice them in their cage sometimes. However since they’re so small that also means that holding them is not very easy, since they will jump out of your hands, and never sit still. You can still watch your hammies have a great time squeezing themselves into the smallest places they can find, though. My Teddy loves shoving his face between the cage bars and his hideout to … get to the bars ? that he already has access to ? but the view is better from there, I guess. 5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable The first time my Teddy touched my hand was magical. There’s just something about your normally jittery and active hammy actively touching your hand that feels great. He’s always busy doing this and that, and you’ve maybe touched his fur. But have you ever touched your hamster’s paws ? I do this with Teddy when I give him a treat, especially a larger one. I hold onto it with two fingers, and I don’t let go for a few seconds. So Teddy starts to push with his mighty paws to get the treat for himself, and  let go after a bit. You can also try this with your hammy when you’re feeding him. If you place food in your hand, and let him forage for food in your hand, eventually he will touch it. It will feel a bit weird, since your hammy’s paw feels a lit like a reptile’s skin. You won’t be sure if it’s cold or wet, but that’s just his paws. 6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything If you’ve ever let your hamster onto your bed, you’ve maybe seen him try to hide a bit of your covers into his little cheeks. Hamsters will try to put anything that’s food or nesting material in their cheeks. This is how my Teddy ended up with half an inch of fleece blanket in his cheek before I could even react. He was on my bed, and I made a sort of enclosure for him with the rolled up blanket. Once he got to the blanket, he just had to have it apparently. You’ve probably seen your hammy do the same with a lot of stuff. Try to bribe him with a bit of food to come close so you can pet him, and he’ll just shove the whole peanut in his cheek and stare at you. Mocking you. The only things I’ve seen my Teddy eat immediately were cooked chicken, and boiled egg white. My Teddy always has something in his cheeks, from paper towels, to bits of poo, a bit of food, and some broccoli somewhere. And he’s always very fast about it, you can’t really get between him and whatever he wants to put in his cheeks. When his cheeks are full, he looks like a weird lizard, with bulges going down the sides of his face. 7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers Ah yes, hamsters decorating and redecorating their homes are a thing. It’s always funny to watch Teddy pull, push, drag, fold, and shove bits of paper towel into his hideout. Then he’d drag some more bedding into the hideout. After that, he decides he needs more chewed up cardboard. No,no, less bedding. An extra paper towel would be nice, though. Whenever I think he’s done moving things around, there’s always something else that needs to be put in place.  Have you ever seen your hammy move the nesting material in his hideout, pull it out, then put it all back in ? The same way it was before, only now it’s different. The same, but different. 8. Hamsters are athletic furballs You’ve heard of hamsters needing an exercise wheel. But have you ever just watched your hamster to see how much he runs in a night ? He’s always on the thing, and he keeps on running. On average a hammy will run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a night ! If he’s not running in his wheel, he’s climbing his cage bars to get to somewhere important. Or jumping over something, or crawling through a tube. It’s like he’s in military training all day, every day, and nothing will stop him. Except for a piece of walnut, hamsters are cheap like that. For example my Teddy would scale the cage bars, even the cage ceiling. I could see he has some very defined and strong abs, and you’ve probably seen hamster videos about the same thing. As your hamster gets older he might stop doing that. 9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. But when your hamster sits down to groom himself, he;s not going anywhere for the next 10 minutes. That’s a lot, given how small he is. Hamsters are very clean, very sensitive creatures, and they clean themselves often. They do complete cleanings in their fur a few times a day, every day, forever. And it’s always this long, detailed process, where cleaning one ear will take up a minute and lots of scratches. But still, they are incredibly cute, and very flexible too. It’s always funny to watch my Teddy sit on his big rear-end start scratching and patting and pulling he knows what from his fur. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) 10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes I think this is something weird my Teddy does, and maybe you’ve seen other hamster do this as well. He’ll start scaling the cage bars, maybe even get to the ceiling and imitate a tarantula. He has a lot of strength, and I know he can hold on very well. Until his batteries suddenly give out and he just… lets go. Just like that, he just lets go and falls on the bedding. I never understood that one. Or when he throws his droppings around. He holds a piece in his teeth, and flicks it somewhere. He’s not eating them, he’s just kind of playing with them. And when he suddenly barks/hiccups, again I never found out the reason behind that one. It’s quiet, nothing’s happening, there is no sudden noise. Teddy will just make the oddest noises, like a series of loud, high-pitched “hmph’; we probably offended him somehow. But he’s a cute and lovable creature, and I’m sure you’ve got some funny hammies at home too ! 11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on Hamsters are well knows for their ability to shove everything in their cheeks and run home with those things. Actually the Syrian hammy got its original arabic name as ‘‘mister saddlebags”, since he can carry so much. So your hammy, and probably everyone’s hammy, is a bit of a hoarder. You’ve seen his stash when you clean his cage, and it’s always incredible how neat and tidy he is with all of his belongings. My Teddy brings into his hideout food, bits of fruit, all the paper towels, a walnut, a whole hammy biscuit, cardboard, a chew toy, everything. Hamsters will try to build their nests out of everything soft you give them, or they can find, so make sure they stay away from anything cotton or fiber (choking hazard). 12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorable If you’ve seen anyone wake up, you know their eyes are puffy, half open, hair messy, and they can barely walk. Well, imagine a furball waking up all disheveled, with eyes barely open, and his ears folded onto themselves. Hamsters who just woke up look a lot like when they were babies, so warm and fuzzy and disoriented. Much like humans, hammies will wake up for a trip to the bathroom, grab a drink, and go back to sleep. My Teddy is at his cutest when he wakes up and looks around his cage, to see if everything is okay. He just tip toes and sniffs just outside his hideout for a bit, and then stretches. If you ever thought hammies were cute, a stretching, yawning hamster is a nightmare. But it only lasts for a few seconds, and he’s back to his cute, fluffy self. A word from Teddy I hope you found a few extra reasons on why us hammies are cute pets, and funny too ! I know we’re small and maybe harder to hold and pet, but we’re funny on our own too. If you want to find out more about us hamsters, you can read the articles below. You’ll find more info on what we can and can not eat, how big of a cage we need, and even why we suddenly freeze sometimes. [...] Read more...
10 Things To Get For Your Hamster (Essential Supply List)
10 Things To Get For Your Hamster (Essential Supply List)So you’re off to get yourself a hamster ! Great, I wish you two all the luck. Let’s see what the essentials are, when you get your hamster all of his supplies.  When I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) I didn’t know how many things I’d need for him, so I went back the next day and got several other items. Best if you get most of these things at once, at lest the ones that go inside the cage. Table of Contents Toggle1. Cage for your hamster friend2. Bedding and nesting material for the hamster3. Hideout so the hamster has somewhere to sleep4. Food bowl and water bottle for the hamster5. Food mix and treats the hamster will love6. Toys and tubes, so the hamster has plenty of fun7. Exercise/running wheel for the restless hamster8. Exercise ball for time outside the cage9. Travel/transport cage for vet visits10. The hamster himselfKeeping a hamster as a pet – know what you’re getting yourself intoA word from Teddy 1. Cage for your hamster friend A hamster’s cage is basically the most important thing you’ll need to buy. There are minimum sizes, but don’t let the pet shops fool you. The minimum for a Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. I’d recommend that for a pair of Dwarf hamsters as a minimum too. The cages sold as ‘starter homes’ are much too small. They’re the square, brightly colored cages, barely enough for one Dwarf hamster. They look a lot like budgie cages. Unfortunately, those aren’t okay. I learned that the hard way with my Teddy. When I got him, I got one of those cages. The moment I saw him try to use the much too small wheel I knew I made a mistake. He was a baby Syrian, he’d grow to be 5-7 inches long and fairly fluffy. He needed a new cage ASAP. So I did get him a new cage, the next day, and it’s got several levels. Actually I’ll show you the cage I have for him right here. It’s this one, and Teddy seems to enjoy it. He uses both levels, although the top level isn’t his favorite. The tubes is something I’m very glad the cage has, since Teddy’s in them all night. It’s fairly easy to clean and take apart, and it’s got a nice combo of wire cage and plastic cage advantages (air flow, and containment and safety) You can check the listing on Amazon here. My Teddy loves that cage, although it’s not the only model that would work well for hamsters. There’s also this one, which admittedly you’d need a bit more room for. The thing about this one is that it provides half a level extra, while still being fairly large on its own. The level is adjustable, and can be put  why way you want it. The spacing between the bars is small enough to keep a dwarf hamster inside too. Most toys and wheels would fit inside this cage fairly well. You can check the listing on Amazon here. If you want to know more about picking out the best cage for your hamster, you’ll need this article. The thing is, hamsters are very small, yes, but they don’t stay babies all their life. They grow incredibly fast. Actually a hamster is an adult when he reaches 3 months. Most hamsters get adopted before that age though, so that means your hamster will grow. Best to get him a cage you won’t have to change, and that will fit him as an adult. Hamsters are after all wild animals, and they do a whole lot of running around. They need to explore things and they need a much larger cage that you’d first think. Yes, budget can be an issue but the cage, the exercise wheel, and the hideout are what the hamster will use literally his entire life, until he passes away. No point in skimping on his essentials, since he only needs one of each. 2. Bedding and nesting material for the hamster Bedding is something that will need to be repurchased every few months or so. There are many options you can use for your hamster’s bedding, some safe, some not so safe. Your best bet is aspen shavings, since those are fairly easy to find, and are hamster-safe. Other types of wood like cedar or pine are unsafe, since their scent is not only too strong, but also dangerous for hamsters. The phenols released by those wood types are too much for the hamster. So that leaves you with aspen, you can find an example right here. I use aspen for my Teddy, I have since I first got him and he is a big strong boy now (currently 1 year and a half as I’m typing this). A bag like this one can last you for months on end, since you only need to clean the cage and change the bedding once per week. If you’ve got other small animals you can give them aspen bedding as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here. Another option is paper-based bedding, which controls odor a bit better than aspen.  Just be advised that paper beddings tend to be a bit noisier in comparison to wood shavings. We have paper bedding for our guinea pigs and I can hear them moving about their cage. Then again, I’m especially sensitive to sound so keep that in mind. Maybe for you paper bedding wouldn’t be a problem. Once you’ve got your hamster’s bedding, you’ll need nesting material too. You can find a much more in-depth article about this right here. But in short, do not use anything but paper towels or toilet paper, unscented. Stay away from fabric-based nesting material, some petshops have those too. 3. Hideout so the hamster has somewhere to sleep Another essential is the hamster’s hideout. Hamsters love to hide, it’s what they’re amazing at. In the wild that’s what kept the alive all this time, actually. So in order for him to feel safe, he needs a place (or several) to hide. This means a hideout in which to build his nest. Now, keep in mind that hamsters chew on everything, including their nest and hideout. So you’ve got to get him a wooden hideout, for a few reasons. First, the hamster will chew on it. Even when he’s sleeping, he’s going to wake up for a midnight snack, pee, and chew on his hideout a bit. This is because a hamster’s teeth never stop growing. Ever. So he has to always file them down with something. Second, anything other than wood won’t let the hamster’s nest breathe. This means condensation forming on the walls, which will keep things humid, which will keep the hamster cold. And a cold, wet hamster is never a good idea. And third, plastic hideouts don’t keep the hamster’s scent all that well. They do keep some of it, but wood is better at that. And a hamster will freak out is he doesn’t immediately recognize his home. Smell is the first thing hamsters use to ”see” their habitat. This hideout, for example, is very much like the one I have for my Teddy. It’s going to be stuffed to the brim with paper towels and toiler paper when you hamster’s done building his nest, but you’ll know he’s a happy little guy. Hamsters will love the wood and will chew on it whenever they need to file down their teeth. All in all the best kind of hideout to keep a hamster happy. You can find the listing on Amazon here. Your hamster will hide in everything he can. This means that aside from his hideout, he will use cardboard tubes to crawl into and spend some time thinking about cheese. Or maybe bury himself in the bedding, to look for hidden treasures, hamsters are hamsters, and they love to hide. If you don’t immediately spot him, don’t freak out. He’s in there somewhere. A sparse cage is no fun for a hamster, he’ll feel like he’s exposed. So he will look for places to hide or crawl under. 4. Food bowl and water bottle for the hamster Usually food bowls and water bottles come with the cage you buy. Not always, but sometimes they do. If your cage came with a food bowl, it’s most likely alright. You see, hamsters are foragers, and you can even scatter their food all over the cage to encourage them to look for it. They will appreciate the comfort of finding all their food in one place. Still, the main thing to look for in a food bowl is for the hamster to not easily tip it over. This means that the sides should not be up, like a regular human bowl, but rather pointing down (much like a doggy bowl). If your cage came with a food bowl like that, great. If not, you can look at options like this one for example. It’s got a fairly cute design with a watermelon motif too. It’s ceramic, to your hamster’s gonna have a hard time tipping this one over or moving it around. It’s pretty much going to stay where you put it. Just be advised that ceramic, like glass, can be fragile during shipping. You can check the listing on Amazon here. As for the water bottle, the ones that come with the cage are usually alright too. They’re big enough and are fairly well made. But if you’re unhappy with the one you got, you can look a other options too. For example this one on Amazon can hold 12 ounces of water for your hamster. That’s 325 ml of water ! As for how much water your hamster needs, usually 10 ml/100 gr of hamster is enough, daily. That’s 0.33 fl oz/3.52 oz of hamster, daily. Most water bottles go way bigger than that, so your hamster should be safe for 7-10 days. 5. Food mix and treats the hamster will love Food is something the hamster will need, and you will have to repurchase every few months. For example my Teddy eats 2 teaspoons of dry commercial food mix per day. A dwarf hamster on the other hand will need just one teaspoon per day. Keep in mind that hamsters will hide their food. So if you’ve just fed your hamster, and half an hour later there is no more food in his bowl, don’t worry. That’s okay. Hamsters put all the food in their cheeks, and then hide it all away in their nest. This isn’t something you can stop, and giving him more food will only result in him hiding more food. That’s just the way hamsters are. That being said, hamsters eat mostly grains, with a few veg and fruit here and there. They love nuts, and if you give them plain cooked chicken they will go crazy over it. However they need those hard dry grains to keep their teeth in check. This means that their main source of food needs to be their food mix. A good one like this one will bring all the nutrients your hamster needs, in a controlled, safe diet. It’s got a fair amount of seeds mixed in with the pellets, and will last your hamster for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you give him. You can find the listing on Amazon here. Aside from the hamster’s food mix, you’ll want to look into a few treats for him as well. Those can be sunflower seeds, a peanut, a slice or carrot for example. You can also find pre-made hamster treats, for example yogurt based drops. These are Teddy’s favorite drops, and he loves cheese as well. They’re fairly colored, but that’s okay since the coloring is safe for humans and hamsters as well. You can find the listing on Amazon here. Remember that hamsters will eat anything you give them, not matter how much you give them. So be responsible and do not overfeed your hamster, else it can lead to obesity and possible joint and diabetes problems. You can always supplement your hamster’s food with some safe foods you have around the house. But only keep those as occasional treats. 6. Toys and tubes, so the hamster has plenty of fun Hamsters love to play and explore things, so they need toys. And tubes. Some toys you can make at home, with cardboard. For example something like an empty egg carton with a few holes cut in it can be a great hide-and-seek toy, and safe for hamsters. Or the cardboard rolls that are left from toilet paper rolls or paper towels, those are great toys too. Fold them shut at both ends, with a bit of food inside the roll, and you’ve got yourself a hamster puzzle toy. For more DYI toy ideas, you can check out this article right here. As for the store-bought toys, the best ones are, yes, made of wood. The hamster will chew on them all day, every day. For example this set of chew toys will not only help your hamster file down his teeth, but also keep him interested in what’s inside them. They’re all wood based, so safe to chew, and fairly durable. You can hide something like a peanut in one of them, or just leave the bell inside to keep your hamster guessing what’s inside. You can check the listing on Amazon here. Another little thing hamsters love is tubes. Getting your hamster a set of tubes for exploring outside his cage is going to mimic his normal nest. Think of tubes/tunnels like the world’s most amazing view-sites… for hamsters. You can find lots of versions online and in pet shops, and most of them will be like this one. You can build any kind of tube maze for your hamster with these items, and your hamster will love spending time outside his cage in these things. You should check if your cage allows for tube entrances though, not all cages to. In the photo there’s just one shape of tube, but you’ll find the rest of the shapes (like tees, corners, towers, etc) in the link. You can find the listing on Amazon here. 7. Exercise/running wheel for the restless hamster One of the most important things hamsters ever do is run. Hamsters run and run and run as much as their little feet will allow them. This means that they can run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night ! Imagine all that energy spent on not running in his cage. He’d be all over the cage, climbing it, chewing on the bars moving his toys around. An exercise wheel is as much for the hamster as it is for your own good. A bored and irritated hamster is not only grumpy but also hard to tame, and will try to escape. So a good exercise wheel like this one will help your hamster burn off all his energy and run as far as his little feet will take him. Wheel are notorious for being loud, so this one is made especially to be silent. It’s got a guard for your hamster’s feet and tail, and will stay in place (heavy bottom). You can check the listing on Amazon here. Your hamster will end up on his wheel most of the night. So this is one of those things that your hamster definitely needs, all his life. You can find out more about hamsters and running wheels here. 8. Exercise ball for time outside the cage An exercise ball is not mandatory, but it’s a welcome toy. It will allow you to take the hamster out of his cage, and let him roam the house as he pleases – as long as he’s safe. Now, even if you don’t let him stray too far, he still needs a secondary place to be when you clean out his cage. He can’t be inside the cage, otherwise he would have a panic attack and try to bite everything. Best to keep him out of your hair while you clean the cage. A good exercise ball should be big enough so that the hamster’s back should not be arched. He will arch it a bit when he pushes into the ball to move forward, but that’s about it. He should fit comfortably. Most balls are clear plastic, and have air holes for your hamster to get some fresh air. Even so, they don’t provide as much air as a wire cage, for example. This means that the amount of time you let the hamster inside the ball should not be more than 30 minutes at a time. You can find a good example of an exercise ball here, since it’s big enough to fit a Syrian hamster inside easily. A dwarf hammy will be able to enjoy himself too in such a ball. It’s got enough air holes so the hamster can breathe easily, and you can pick whichever color you like. You can find the listing on Amazon here. 9. Travel/transport cage for vet visits Another cage for the hamster ? Well, yes, because carrying the hamster’s big cage with you to the vet isn’t very easy or comfortable. So a travel cage will be needed. Luckily the hamster isn’t a very sickly animal, so vet visits aren’t on the agenda often. They do have their own health problems, but for the most part they’re healthy. The travel cage can also be used to keep the hamster safe while you clean his cage (in place of the exercise ball). Some travel cages can be attached to the permanent cage, as a sort of extended home. The travel cage doesn’t need to be large or fancy, but it does need to keep the hamster inside. Since these cages are so small, this means the hamster will become restless after a few hours. So limit his time in the travel cage to under 2 hours to avoid any stress on your hamster. A good example of a travel cage could be this one, and it would fit a Syrian hamster well enough. It’s got a lid that closes shut and a handle for easy carrying. As all travel cages, this one is large enough to keep the hamster comfortable for a couple of hours but do not keep him inside for more than that. You can check the listing on Amazon here. 10. The hamster himself Finally, you’ll need the hamster himself. He is the last on this list because everything else needs to be in place before you get your furry friend. This is because hamsters are bad at handling stress, and as such when you first bring a hamster home you’ll need to leave him alone for the next 2-3 days. Feed him and talk to him, but do not open the cage or poke at him. Hamsters brought home for the first time are in danger of developing wet-tail, so be careful to keep him in a safe and calm room. As for how to pick out your hamster, I recommend you check this article. It’s got every nook and cranny covered, and the story of how i got my Teddy too. He’s a Syrian male hamster, and he’s the funniest, grumpiest little cheese ball I’ve ever met. (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.) Keeping a hamster as a pet – know what you’re getting yourself into Alright, we’ve got one last thing to cover. Well, maybe it should’ve been the first thing we covered. But you need to know what life with a hamster is like. Hamsters aren’t expensive to keep, actually they’re fairly cheap. But keeping a hamster as a pet changes you. You learn that not everything is about you, and sometimes there are some things that won’t go your way. Maybe your hammy won’t like being petted, maybe he’s crazy about peanuts. Still, you need to learn his personality and adjust yourself to it. Your hamster will learn yours too and be accommodating … kinda. Hamsters need a calm, quiet home with not many unforeseen things going on. They react poorly to stress and loud noises, being picked up wrong, being handled too much, and they get scared easily. If you’ve got a rowdy home with a few pets and small children, a hamster is definitely a bad idea. The children will need constant supervision with the hamster and the hamster won’t be very happy. In that respect, a puppy would be better since he can match the energy of a small child. But, if staying up late is your thing, and you like quiet nights with only your hamster’s feet padding on the wheel, while you read a book and sip some tea, hamsters could be okay for you. They’re more observational pets, and they’re funny to watch when they make every face ever. If you need a few more thoughts on whether you should get a hamster or not, you can read this article to settle it once and for all. A word from Teddy I hope you found everything you were looking for in this article. Us hammies have a fairly long supply list, but we’re grateful for anything you can manage to get. 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...
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf Hamsters
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf HamstersIf you own hamsters, you must know that you can actually make money off of breeding hamsters and selling their young. Or maybe you’re just looking to expand your group of rodents. Whatever the reason may be, you can definitely breed your hamsters. All rodents, including hamsters, breed like crazy and it doesn’t take long for them to make babies. Hamsters make for cute little furry pets, but breeding them needs to be a careful process, as pregnancy for any species is dangerous for both the mother and the child or children. This isn’t a decision to make lightly, as you need to carefully consider your hamster’s health before you decide to take this step. You also have to decide what you’ll do with the babies that are the result of breeding. Even if you haven’t planned on breeding your hamsters, you may find that your female is pregnant, and you need to know what to do. That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we will be tackling the subject of breeding dwarf hamsters, teaching you all the important ins and outs of that process. You will be learning what to expect, how often do these hamsters go in heat, how long are they pregnant for, how many babies should you expect, how to know when your hamster is ready to mate, how to breed Dwarf hamsters, and a few other things, as well. Without further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents ToggleAre Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners?How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat?How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate?How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters?How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For?How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have?Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Are Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners? It’s difficult to actually define good when it comes to hamster breeding. The truth is, unless you’re looking for a specific breed of hamsters, the differences between hamsters are really arbitrary. Dwarf hamsters certainly aren’t any more difficult to take care of than any other breed of hamster, and they’re not any more difficult to breed than any other breed of a hamster. The only breed of hamster that’s actually more difficult to breed is Syrian hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are actually among the breeds that are very easy to breed. What you should know is that if you’re looking to breed hamsters just to sell them to a pet shop – you’re likely not going to succeed. Pet shops usually have their own list of suppliers, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be making that list since most of these suppliers have whole compounds devoted to hamster breeding. However, if you’re looking to be a small, local breeder or you want to give hamsters as presents to your friends and family, then breeding hamsters can be a good idea. And breeding Dwarf hamsters aren’t any more difficult than breeding any other breed of hamsters. There are many things that you’re going to have to be careful about, and we’ll be covering that in this whole article. But, breeding hamsters isn’t exactly difficult and anyone with a cage and a male and a female hamster can do it. When you’re trying to breed hamsters, you’re going to want to get a male and a female from the pet shop, or from whoever your supplier is. You can also buy your hamsters from a breeder, this may be an even better option since you’ll have a greater choice when choosing colors and types. You also get the breeding history of the hamsters. At a pet shop, you will often find siblings or hybrid breed hamsters that are less desirable for breeding. Pet shop workers may also have a difficult time telling the difference between male and female hamsters. You have to decide what kind of hamster you want and what you’re looking to achieve. Always look for hamsters that are in good health. Their eyes should be clear and bright, their fur smooth and glossy, and they should look active and interested in their surroundings. Hamsters are wildly active animals, and it’s very unusual for a hamster to be disinterested in their surroundings. When choosing your hamsters, you’re going to need a male and a female. You should check their genitalia to make sure that you’ve picked up the proper animal. This can be tricky since hamsters are so furry. Usually, the testicles and anus are far apart for the male, while the genitalia and the anus are really closely together with the females, so much so that it almost looks like it’s the same thing. You can check this below the tail, between the hind legs. Males should be at least 30 days old, while females should be at least three months old. Don’t try to breed your hamsters before they reach this age. The next thing you’re going to want to do is to prepare the breeding area for the hamsters. This means buying cages – you’re going to need two cages. You should always buy plastic aquarium cages, not wire cages. Hamsters will always try to escape, instinctively, and small hamsters that are still babies can easily crawl through the wires of a metal cage – plastic cages are definitely the way to go here. Put one hamster in each cage and fill the bottom with wood shavings, megazorb, or carefresh. Sawdust is no good – it can get into the hamsters’ eyes and affect their breathing.  Avoid cedar or pine shavings because the wood bears natural chemicals harmful to your hamsters’ lungs. You should also get a small plastic or wood home for your hamster, and fill that with wood shavings, as well. You also have to buy a wheel for both of your hamsters (understand that they’ll be in separated cages until it’s time to mate, and they’ll be separated once again after mating). It’s vital that your hamsters can stay active, as they’re very energetic animals that get stressed out if they can’t spend that energy – this unfortunate occurrence would definitely not benefit your breeding plans. Also, buy two water bottles, two hamster food bowls, several packs of hamster food, treats, and toys. You should definitely move the female’s cage to a calmer area after breeding, and you should give the female extra bedding for nest building material. It’s important to feed your hamster properly, and that’s why it’s best to feed it with a hamster mix. You can also feed them fresh food, seeds, whole grains, fresh green vegetables, and boiled eggs. After the mother has given birth, you should supply her daily with a slice of bread soaked in cow’s skim milk. You should keep doing this until the babies reach four weeks of age. You shouldn’t disturb your hamsters when you take them home – give them a few days to adjust to the environment. This move is very stressful for them and you don’t want to stress them out before they have to breed. Don’t try handling your hamsters before they’ve spent at least two days in your home.  How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat? Hamsters breed like crazy, we’ve already said that. All rodents, actually, can breed very quickly and before you know it, you have a huge family of hamsters on your hands. Male hamsters reach their sexual maturity when they’re 28 days old, while it takes female hamsters three to four months (depending on the individual) to mature sexually, and from that point onwards – the female will enter heat roughly every 4 days.   Since hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals, a female will go into heat during the night and it will most likely be in heat for about 12 hours. How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate? When it comes to the males, they’re basically ready to mate after being alive for a month, and they can mate at any time. However, to tell if the female is in heat and ready to mate, you have to pay attention to signs. Hamsters, ironically, act very similarly to cats when they’re in heat. The female will be crouching low to the ground and raising its tail. The hamster is also likely to smell, as the female is releasing pheromones. It’s important to tell that your female is actually in heat because trying to breed your hamsters when your female isn’t in heat can be very dangerous – the female is most likely going to kill the male in self-defense, as it doesn’t want to breed. When you’re trying to breed your hamsters, it would be smart to put the cages one near the other for a few days – just so the hamsters can get to know one another and to let the pheromones do their job. How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters? Now, to breed your hamsters, you’re going to want to place them into one cage together, preferably the male’s cage, and only do that after recognizing signs of heat. Since hamsters are nocturnal, it’s best to do this in the evening. It’d be best to have a third cage, just for mating, as this is seen as some sort of neutral territory, but putting the female into the male’s cage is just as fine. If you do the opposite and put the male in the female’s cage she may get territorial and kill the male. If you see your hamsters fighting when you try to mate them, separate them and try again in a few days. However, if your hamsters aren’t fighting, feel free to keep the female in the male’s cage until they’ve mated. Dwarf hamsters are actually quite sociable, unlike Syrian hamsters, so you can keep them in the same cage. If you place the mating pair together without supervision, the female will become pregnant quickly. Evidence of a female’s first mating is blood near her genitalia, under her tail. You will also find a white substance on your female hamster’s vagina. This is called the copulatory plug, and it’s proof that the male has released sperm. This is definite proof that your hamsters have mated. You should definitely isolate the female from the male as soon as the breeding is over with. There are many hamsters that will take care of their babies, but some hamsters will attack and kill them. This can happen for several reasons, for example; even the mother may kill their babies. This happens if a human has touched the babies and the scent of the human stays on the baby, the mother doesn’t recognize it, and it kills its babies to protect the others. We’ll go deeper into this topic later on. It’s best to be on the safe side and remove the male for the duration of the gestation and birth. The female will also be in heat immediately after giving birth, and the male will want to breed with her. This can be incredibly dangerous and often lead to the female’s death. How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For? After this, all that remains to do is wait, as the bus pretty much drives itself at this point. You need to be patient and watch the progress, and make sure that you’re taking proper care of the hamsters. If your female is pregnant, she will start showing within a few days, and saddlebags will appear on each side when she’s ready to give birth. When she’s reaching that point, she’s going to build a nest in her pregnancy by gathering bedding material into one location. She will start eating more and grooming more. She will also be digging more, as well as becoming more restless and startling more easily. Restlessness means that she will start to wander around her cage with no apparent reason for that, she’ll be gathering more and more food. This period lasts anything from 18 to 30 days, depending on the hamster. Dwarf hamster gestation is between 18 and 30 days, but the average time from mating to birth is 21 days. The Roborovski Dwarf hamster’s gestation usually lasts for a full month. This basically means that you’re going to have babies about three weeks after placing a female and a male in the cage together. The female will go in heat 24 hours after having her pups. You’ll notice that she’s going into labor by her sides starting to heave – small, pink bodies will start to emerge. Hamster babies are born blind and bald. She’ll actually be giving birth to them while she’s moving around the cage. Then, she’ll pick her babies up in her mouth and take them back to her nest. Don’t try to help the birthing process in any way. Firstly, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help the hamster give birth more easily. Secondly, it’s already painful and stressful enough as it is, the hamster doesn’t need a giant hand waving around her cage. How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have? You should expect four to six babies, that’s the average size of a Dwarf hamster’s litter. Although, there are cases where the mother has given birth to as few as three and to as many as twelve babies, so be prepared for all scenarios. Once the mother has given birth, you have to pay special attention not to disturb her. Do not touch any babies that she might leave lying around her cage. If you for some reason must touch the baby, rub a spoon into the flooring of the cage, and touch the baby with the spoon, do not touch the baby with your bare hands. You should also let the mother nurse for her young for three weeks without disturbing her. You shouldn’t even be cleaning the cage during this time. Leave her, the cage, and her babies alone – the only thing you should do is refill her food and water supply, and you should try to do this discreetly, as well. This is especially important for the first-time mother, who under stress, has been known to kill and even eat her babies. Don’t think that the mother is eating her babies if you see that she’s putting them into her mouth – she’s just doing this because she’s trying to protect them. The mother will be very jumpy after birth, so you should avoid touching the nest for at least three weeks after the babies have been delivered. If you desperately need to clean a part of the cage, use a spoon to do it, but we have to stress that it’s really not important that the cage is clean during this time. Be very careful to avoid the nest. Every time you’re restocking the food supply and the water supply – completely refill it. This way, you won’t have to return too often. You should wait for four weeks before trying to separate the male babies from the female babies. The males will be sexually matured at this age, not to mention that they’ll be eating on their own, so you should definitely remove them from their sisters as you want to stop inbreeding. Rodents don’t have any problems with incest, so they’re likely to try to breed with their own sisters if you don’t remove them quickly enough. You can keep the females in the cage with the mother since Dwarf hamsters are milder than some other breeds. However, do not place the males with the father – the father will reject male babies (as many species do), so you should place them in a separate cage when they are weaned. They take three weeks to wean, but let them live with their mother for another week to get adjusted to eating solid food. The babies will begin drinking water at 13-15 days of age and eating food between 16-21 days – after this period has passed, they’re showing you the first signs of being old enough to be separated. During this period, you’ll want to keep the food bowl and the water bottle accessible to the babies, as sometimes the water bottle can be set too high and the babies might not be able to reach it. When you’re separating your babies, you’re going to have to be able to tell their sex. To do this, take a hamster and grasp it firmly around the body and lift it upright and tilt its body slightly backward. The hamster will not appreciate this, and it will struggle to get out of this position. However, you shouldn’t worry as you definitely aren’t hurting your hamster. Take a look at the genital area – the females have the genital opening and the anus close together, while the males have the genital opening separated from the anus by a distance approximately equal to your forefinger. If the babies are more than five weeks old, you can tell their sex even more easily, as the males’ testicles will fall down to the edge of the body forming two distinct pale pink lumps on each side of the anus. Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Yes, there are instances in which a hamster (be it the mother or the father) will kill their own babies. There are many reasons for which a hamster might kill their own babies: – the mother may feel stressed if you constantly keep checking on her and her litter. We’ve already mentioned that you should really leave the mother alone after she’s given birth – aside from feeding her and ensuring that she has water, you shouldn’t be disturbing the mother. This can cause her stress levels to rise and kill her young. Hamsters are very scared as a species (this applies to all hamsters, not just Dwarf hamsters), and it’s very easy for them to get stressed out. It’s normal that a hamster that’s just become a mother will already be under enough stress, and a giant human being annoying her is definitely not going to help with that. – her personal space is too small, and the babies are taking up too much space in a cage that’s too tiny. This can also happen if the cage you’ve purchased isn’t large enough. Baby hamsters can take up too much space and the mother sees no other escape other than killing them to provide more space. This may seem brutal, but hamsters find space to be very important – even if they don’t have any babies, hamsters will get stressed out if their cage is too small. Many times, you’ll witness two hamsters in the same cage fighting because there’s not enough space for both of them, sometimes even killing one another. – she is hungry after giving birth. This sounds unlikely to some, but the mother can be so starved after giving birth that she kills and eats her young. She may also kill them, but not eat them if she’s stressed from birth and from being hungry. – the mother accidentally killed the young while carrying them in her cheeks. This is actually a common occurrence in the hamster world – the mother will try to carry the young to the house or put them in her cheeks to protect them from outside factors. She can accidentally squeeze too hard and kill the baby or babies. – biting her young too hard when she’s carrying them – while carrying her young, a mother needs to bite down a bit to ensure that her babies don’t shake and aren’t thrown around her mouth. She can accidentally bite down a little too hard and crush her young. – the mother may think that there’s something wrong with her babies. If the mother suspects that her babies are sick or that there’s something physically wrong with them, she’ll kill her babies. Maybe out of mercy, maybe because this is the evolutionary way of survival of the fittest, but the mother will be getting rid of any offspring that seems to be faulty in any way (by her standards). – she can’t recognize their scent. This is a terrible way to go as it isn’t the mother’s fault, but if you touch the babies, you’ll leave your scent on their bodies and the mother won’t be able to recognize the babies. She won’t think that they’re hers, and she’ll kill them. That’s why you should never touch the babies, and never let anyone else touch them either. – the father can kill the babies, as well. This is actually fairly common in the animal kingdom, as the male will often see the newborns as competition and kill the young. That’s why you should always separate the male from the female and the babies, as soon as the babies are born. [...] Read more...
Safe And Unsafe Herbs For Hamsters – What To Feed Hamsters
Safe And Unsafe Herbs For Hamsters – What To Feed HamstersIf you’re wondering if your hamster can eat parsley, or dill, rosemary, even dandelions, you’re right where you need to be. I asked myself the same thing when my girlfriend was chopping a bunch of parsley the other day, and wondered if Teddy can have some. Well, we tried giving him a little bit, and we googled and asked other hamster owner friends. This is what we found out, and you can use this list to know what kind of herbs you can give your hamster. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters eat herbs like parsley or dill or rosemary ?Herbs safe for hamsters to eatHerbs your hamster should never eatWhat to feed hamsters (in general)A word from Teddy So can hamsters eat herbs like parsley or dill or rosemary ? Yes, hamsters can eat some herbs. Not all herbs, and not in large quantities. But they can still eat them. There are safe and unsafe herbs for hamsters, and we’ll look over both lists. Most of these herbs are possibly already in your cupboard (dried and ground up) or maybe in your garden, fresh and green. For the most part, hamsters rely on grains as their main source of food. So herbs while tasty, should not be given often or in large bunches. A few leaves here and there are enough. Take into account how small the hamster is too. If you’re interested to know what herbs are safe, you may also be interested in knowing the supply list a hamster will need throughout his life. You can find it here, with everything he’ll ever need. Now let’s see which herbs are safe for hamsters to eat. Herbs safe for hamsters to eat There isn’t much info available on herbs for hamsters, but this is what we found out. There will be herbs and a couple of plants in this article, just to see the general profile hamsters go for. So here are the safe hamster herbs and plants: parsley dill basil oregano sage thyme fennel mint grass alfalfa wheat sprouts marigold dandelion chamomile cornflower daisy beetroot (all the plant) ribwort plantain clover chickweed wormwood plant rose petals watercress We’ve given Teddy (male Syrian hamster) a few leaves of parsley and he ate them right up. Didn’t even pouch them, he just ate them on the spot. Our two guinea pigs love parsley too, so I guess the flavor is mild enough for small animals. When it comes to flowers, you’ll see hamsters are okay with the short-petal kind of flowers. Like marigold, dandelion, daisy and so on. They’ve got short flowers, and their pollen carriers (stamems if I remember anything from biology classes) are short, unlike for example lilies. When it comes to how much and how often you can give these herbs and plants to your hamster, there is a caveat. They are indeed safe, but only if given in small amounts, and not often. Too much can upset the hamster’s stomach. And when it comes to hamster digestive problems, those are very hard to handle since hamster stomachs are fairly different to treat than human stomachs. You’ll find some of these herbs in the hamster’s food mix too, sometimes. Or possibly in some hamster treats. A word on mint, though. While it is safe, it definitely needs to be given sparingly and in very small amounts. Too much mint can cause stomach problems even in humans, let alone small hamsters. Herbs your hamster should never eat There are such herbs, and sometimes they’re not immediately obvious. So let’s see which herbs aren’t safe for hamsters: bay laurel borage caraway/cumin cilantro catnip chervil lavender lemon grass lemon balm lemon verbena marjoram rosemary tarragon aloe vera plant skin (the gel is fine) lily tulip elder most flowers (except the ones I mentioned above) bamboo english ivy or any ivy There are a few herb-like veggies like garlic, onion, and leek. None of these are safe for hamsters, because they’re too acidic. The same goes for the lemon-related plants mentioned above (like lemongrass), since they release a lemon-like scent, taste, and oil. So there’s the whole ”don’t feed your hamster any citrus” thing again. Some of these herbs are used in human cuisine, like for example cilantro and cumin are used in most variants of curry. As for aloe vera, most aloe vera plants (and there are hundreds) are unsafe to eat. Of all the available ones, aloe barbadensis miller is the most common safe one. That being said, the skin of the plant is not good for anyone to eat. The gel, in the other hand, is safe. It’s not tasty, it’s actually bitter-sour but it has great healing properties. Too much aloe vera can upset the stomach and give your hamster a case of diarrhea. So only give it sparingly, and remember that it oxidizes very fast (it won’t keep for more than a few hours). (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.) What to feed hamsters (in general) Usually a hamster’s diet consists of grains and grain-based foods (with lots of fiber), a bit of veggies, some fruits, and some protein whenever the hamster can find a bit. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too. That being said, most commercial hamster foods have a healthy mix of all food sources. So supplementing the hamster’s food with a few herbs is fine, but not entirely necessary. You can either leave the food for your hamster in his food bowl, or sprinkle it in his bedding. He’ll forage for it, and it will be a good way to keep his weight under control if he has a problem. You can read more about what hamsters can eat here, and find the general list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. You probably have some of them in your fridge or pantry already. Generally, hamsters can eat many things humans eat. Like for example carrots, cucumbers, a bit of salad (or most leafy greens), broccoli, asparagus, boiled plain chicken, plain peanuts, a slice of apple, and so on. You can find out much more in general hamster care with these 15 essential steps. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies are very greedy and will eat anything you give us, but there are some herbs we just can’t stand ! 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...
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat It
Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat ItIs your hamster feeling ill ? Is the hamster ignoring his water bottle ? Lack of water in the hamster’s system is a very bad situation, but one that can be fixed. Hamsters can and should drink water, so if yours is dehydrated he will need some medical attention. Let’s see what dehydration is, how to prevent it, some symptoms, and how to help a dehydrated hamster back on his feet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is dehydration in hamsters ?How dehydration can happen in hamstersSymptoms and signs of dehydration in hamstersTreatment and care for a dehydrated hamsterPreventing dehydration in hamstersIf the hamster won’t or can’t drink waterA word from Teddy So what is dehydration in hamsters ? In short dehydration is the loss of water from the hamster’s body. The hamster has lost a significant amount of water through urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or drooling and is now in serious danger. Dehydration is a problem because the cells of the body do not function very well without water, and they can shut down entirely. There is also the problem of the salts and minerals that usually come with the body’s water content, but are now missing. This is why simple tap water won’t do to rehydrate a hamster. You will need to add salts, minerals, and sugar to his diet while he’s recovering. We’ll cover everything you can do to help the hamster, right after we find out just how a hamster become dehydrated. How dehydration can happen in hamsters Hamsters, like all animals, can become dehydrated for a number of reasons. Many health problems will require the body to overheat, in order to fight off an infection for example. This is how a cold can be much harder on a hamster, or even some abscesses if they’ve gone too far. Wet-tail is another serious condition, and hamsters suffering from it become dehydrated in a matter of hours. It’s a treatable condition, but it needs to be discovered in the beginning. Too late and even if the infection is treated the hamster will be too weakened. Diabetes can be another problem for hamsters, since there is never enough water for them. They will also pee every few minutes, but the thirst is always there. Digestive problems like a loose stool or vomiting can also make the hamster dehydrated. Excessive drooling, which can be a sign of overgrown teeth or a possible neurological problem, can make the hamster dehydrated too. Whichever problem the hamster has, it can usually be treated by a veterinarian. But the real danger of dehydration lies in the fact that it will slowly start shutting down bodily functions in the hamster. It will be important to rehydrate the hamster mostly for this reason, more than all the other ones. Symptoms and signs of dehydration in hamsters There are a few ways to see if your hamster is dehydrated, most are easy to notice by just the hamster’s owner, like you and I. For example: The hamster is not drinking water. This is the most obvious one, I know, but it’s a dead giveaway. There are hamsters who just drink very little water, yes. But if your hamster hasn’t had any water at all in the last 24h then you will need to take some measures. I’ll describe them later in this article. The best way to check if the hamster isn’t drinking water is to mark where the current water level is in his water bottle, and check again after 24 hours. Hammies usually drink about 10 ml water per 100 gr of hamster daily. That’s 0.33 oz water for every 3.5 oz of hamster. So if you’ve got a Dwarf, you’ll barely notice the water he’s drinking, but try taking photos from the same exact angle and compare them. The hamster’s skin is very tight and dry. You can check this by scruffing the hamster and watching how fast the skin pulls back. Hold the hamster firmly but gently with one hand, and with your other hand pinch the back of the hamster’s neck. That will not hurt the hamster,  but it will pull back some skin. If the skin snaps back into place quickly (or immediately) the hamster is just fine. If it takes a while to get back into its shape, or even still has a ridge where you pinched the hammy, the hamster is definitely dehydrated. The hamster looks tired and weak. Dehydration tires out the body, and it will only have enough energy for the most basic things like breathing and eating a bit. Other than that the hamster will not expend any energy, like running on his wheel or playing with his cage mates. He will mostly huddle in a corner and sleep a whole lot. His usual routine will be disrupted, and he won’t be out in the open as much. You will possibly see a very dry and warm nose on him (as in flaky nose), and possibly on his feet as well. The hamster has lost weight, or at least looks thinner. His fur might be thinner, and he might have even lost some fur. Weight loss isn’t out of the ordinary for a dehydrated hamster, but it can have a big impact on his health. This is because the weight loss is sudden, and in a large amount. It may not seem like much, since the hamster is so very small to begin with. But losing the water weight and some actual weight makes things much harder for the hamster. Treatment and care for a dehydrated hamster Alright, now that we know what dehydration is, and what the symptoms are, we can start treating it. Treatment should be done by a professional, like a veterinarian. You will need to look for an ‘exotics’ vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Although for this particular problem all vets should be able to help. The vet will administer fluids to the hamster most probably by a shot, since an I.V. drip is not very practical. You will also receive recommendations from your vet on what medicine (if any) you need to give to you hamster afterwards, like a few vitamins for example. If your hamster has an underlying condition which is causing the dehydration – like wet-tail or vomiting – the vet will treat that as well. In some cases he might need the hamster to stay with him for a couple of days for observations and further treatment. But if for some reason you can’t reach the vet, there are a few things you can do at home. Very few of them will work as well as a professional treatment, but you can try these to help your hamster feel better. Give your hamster slices of fruit and veg. Like cucumber, peeled apple, lettuce, a few leafy greens, carrot. Give a little at a time, since too much can cause diarrhea, which will worsen the dehydration. Add an electrolyte water to his water bottle. Unflavored Pedialyte will work well, and can be found fairly easy. If your hamster is diabetic this is not recommended, as Pedialyte contains sugar. Place the hamster’s water in a shallow dish, so he can access it easily. Sometimes the dehydration is so severe the hammy can’t even get up to the nozzle of the bottle. Rehydrate by mouth, with an eye dropper or small syringe (no needle). Hold the hamster firmly but gently, and place a drop of water on his lips every half hour. More than a drop at a time may go in the wrong way. Plain water isn’t going to help very much, since it lacks the salts and minerals needed by a dehydrated body. These are all steps you can take so the hamster’s treatment goes along smoothly, and in a couple of days he should recover. Feeding the hamster overly wet food (like too much cucumber for example) will upset his stomach. His usual dry grain mix will be fine. You can also take steps to ensure the hamster gets better by not placing him near warm spots, like a heater or in the kitchen when there is a lot of cooking(and heat) going on. Keep him away from drafts as well, as those can worsen his health and add another problem to his already weak body. Dehydration itself isn’t a threat to the hamster’s cage mates, but his other possible conditions (if it’s not just dehydration) might be, so separating the sick hamster is probably a good idea. (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.) Preventing dehydration in hamsters Dehydration can be prevented, but in most cases isn’t a sum of many steps. So we’ll go through the various steps you can take to make sure the hamster is safe from dehydration. Make sure that the hamster’s water bottle is working properly. This means that the bottle’s nozzle should be free of any blockages, and there should not be anything sticking into or out of it. The little metal ball at the end of the nozzle should move freely, and allow water to drip, if pushed back. You can test this by tapping the small ball with your finger, and observing whether water is coming out or not. If it does, that it’s fine. If it doesn’t, there might be something inside the nozzle. You will have to take it apart and use a Q-tip to inspect the length of the nozzle. Another way to test the water bottle is to squeeze the side of it, and see if water drips out of the nozzle. Most of the time the water bottle is working just fine, and it’s an illness that’s actually affecting the hamster. The temperature and general ‘weather’ of the room you keep the hamster in is very important. The temperature should be around 20-23 C/68-75 F, and his cage away from any direct heat, sunlight, drafts, or cold corners. Try and offer your hamster a mix of dry, commercial mix, and some safe foods found in your pantry and freezer. Too much wet food can cause digestive problems in your hamster, and give him a bout of diarrhea. Which is why veggies like cucumbers or lettuce should be given sparingly, and only in small amounts. The same goes for apple, watermelon, and most everything that has juice in it. If you’ve got more than one hamster in the same cage, and one becomes sick, separate them immediately. The illness from the first hamster can get to the healthy hamster, and manifest itself through dehydration, even if it’s nut just that. Always wash your hands before and after handling your hamster. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria from your hands to the hamster, and keep everyone safe. A stressed hamster will refuse to eat, drink, and even rest properly. Hamsters can get stressed by things like handling them too much, an abusive cage mate, overly curious pets and children, getting scared too often, and even being brought home for the first time. If the hamster won’t or can’t drink water There are some hamsters, possibly those who have been taken away from their mother or siblings earlier than necessary, who haven’t learned to associate the water bottle with water, and drinking. They simply don’t know what to do with that bottle. In this case you can again squeeze the sides of the bottle to make a small drop appear, which hopefully will attract the hamster. Once the hamster drinks that drop, his tongue will push the ball at the end of the nozzle, releasing more water. If that does not work, try putting his water in a small, shallow dish in a corner of the cage. Make sure that dish isn’t easy to overturn, since a wet hamster is a sick hamster and he will not recover fast. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us figure things out and treat us. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe, and give us a good life. [...] Read more...