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.

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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.)

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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.

Related blog post
Cleaning A Hamster Cage – How Often, And How To Do It Right
Cleaning A Hamster Cage – How Often, And How To Do It RightEvery hamster owner’s got this question, and I know I had it too when I first got my Teddy. How often should I clean the hamster’s cage ? How do I clean it right ? Do I need to spot-clean every few days ?  In time, and with a bit of help from other hamster owners, I figured out how often to clean Teddy’s cage. And I learned how to do it without disturbing him too much, so he’s not shocked to find a completely different cage when I let him back in. Table of Contents ToggleSo how often should I clean the hamster’s cage ?Why a hamster’s cage can get smelly in the first placeCleaning the hamster’s cage, the right wayPut the hamster in his transport cage/exercise ballTake out everything already inside the hamster’s cageDeep-cleaning in case of illness or too many stainsRinse/scrub especially dirty objects or parts of the cagePut the bedding and objects back into the hamster’s cagePlace the hamster back into his homeShould you spot-clean the hamster’s cage every few days ?A word from Teddy So how often should I clean the hamster’s cage ? Ideally the hamster’s cage should be cleaned once a week. In some cases it can be once ever two weeks. This is for a single hamster, if you’ve got two or more living in the same cage, you won’t be able to leave it for 2 weeks. This is because several hamsters pee, poop, and leave bits of food in more numbers than just one hamster. And these are the activities that make a cage messy. So more hamsters in a cage equal more frequent cleaning. Still, there are some shortcuts you can take without hurting the hamster, and I’ll tell you in this article. But first, let’s see in detail what makes a hamster’s cage messy. Why a hamster’s cage can get smelly in the first place Usually a hamster will spend the majority of his time in his cage. Unless you’re putting him in an exercise ball, or transport cage to go somewhere. That means there will be lots of poop, food, and pee in the bedding. For the most part, it’s the pee that smells. This is easy to clean, since hamsters always choose one corner of the cage to pee in. Pooping can be done anywhere though. The hamster’s pee corner is always the same, unless he decides to change/move his nests’ location. The pee corner will be the one farthest away from the nest. So simply removing the bedding from that corner will be enough to remove the smell. There will be a white, dry spot under the bedding, which will not come off easy. We’ll deal with that later. If you’ve got more than one hamster, then there will possibly be more than one pee corner. It depends on whether your hamsters share a nest, or just the cage. It varies from hamster to hamster. Finding the pee corner is easy enough, though. Aside from that, droppings will be absolutely everywhere. In the nest, in the food bowl, under the water bottle, sometimes sticking to their fur (rarely, but I saw that on Teddy a could of times and he took it off real quick). Droppings do not smell, and they’re very dry. But they do look bad, and some people spot-clean them just to make the cage look better. As for the food, there will always be a food stash hidden in the hamster’s nest. He never eats all of the food at once, but he makes this huge stash of food, just to be sure h always has enough. Giving him more food won’t stop this from happening, it’s simply the hamster’s instinct. Depending on what you’ve give the hamsters to eat, you might find bits of fruit or veg in his food stash. They might start to smell, so taking them out fast would be a good idea. So those are the main culprits for why a hamster’s can develop a smell. Unless the hamster is seriously ill and needs a vet immediately, it won’t be him that’s smelling bad. He’s actually a very clean and non-smelly creature, and keeps his scent down to a minimum.   Cleaning the hamster’s cage, the right way Now that we know what can get the hamster’s cage dirty, let’s see how we can clean it – the right way. I say this because there are some people who do it wrong, even if they have the best intentions. Those are all honest mistakes, and can be easily corrected. I’ve made a few of them myself. Let’s see what we should be careful with: Scent – no strong chemicals used to clean the hamster’s cage, or scented soap. There are hamster-safe disinfectants available at your vet’s office, ask him for a recommendation. Leave the hamster a piece of his old bedding and nest. It will be easier for him to recognize his home, even if it is the same cage he’s known his whole life. Do not rearrange the cage unless absolutely necessary. Hamsters rely on smell and memory to navigate their cage, and are not keen on changes. They become nervous/stressed when they don’t recognize or find their nest. Provide enough bedding, but keep it reasonable. The hamster needs to be able to move about his cage. This varies from hamster to hamster. Digging hamsters need more bedding than runners, for example. Hamsters are very sensitive creatures. Removing him from his cage and putting him in a new habitat is stressful for him, especially if he does not have his scent there to know it’s a familiar place. This means that cleaning his cage isn’t something he likes, but it must be done to keep your home clean. So we need to be very careful with some things when we clean the hamster’s cage. Chief among them being scent and cage layout. Hamsters do not really use their eyes, they can’t see well. But they have a great sense of smell, and they rely on it heavily. Leaving them a handful of their old bedding, even with a few droppings, will make the place seem familiar. The nest should have as much of his old nest as possible, without being too dirty. Giving him a completely new set of paper towel strips to use as a nest, without some of his old nest, is going to be hard on him. Also, changing the location of his hideout(where he builds his nest) is not okay. I did this with Teddy and he spent the entire night with his cheeks full because he didn’t recognize his hideout all the way on the other side of his cage. Moving the general location of the food bowl or water bottle, and other objects he uses often isn’t recommended either. This is especially true if you own a blind hamster. He will rely on his memory alone to figure out his cage, and will be very grumpy after you’ve moved his furniture around. Now let’s start with the cleaning process. Put the hamster in his transport cage/exercise ball You’ll want the hamster out of his cage for this. This is a stressful operation for him, and it’s best of he’s not there. You can use  his exercise ball (this is what I do with Teddy) and let him roam the house for a while, until you’re done cleaning. This is only recommended if you finish cleaning his cage in under half an hour. Leaving the hamster in a closed space like the exercise ball is not safe, as he’ll need water and fresh air. If you’re taking longer than 30 minutes, or don’t have an exercise ball, you can also use the hammy’s travel cage. It should have a bit of bedding in it as well, a hideout and a few objects to keep him distracted. Whichever method you use, you’ll need to pick you hamster up and place him in the cage or ball. Baiting him with a bit of food in your hand works best. Take out everything already inside the hamster’s cage Once the hamster is safe and out of the way, you can start with his cage. Take out everything that’s in his cage, his wheel, hideout, food bowl, water bottle, toys, everything. Set them aside and check which need to be scrubbed, if any of them do. Most of the time they’re okay and do not need a rinse. You’ll notice your hamster’s nest, and that he’s got a food stash to survive the Apocalypse. Take everything out, but save some of the food and nest to put back into the cage when you’re done. About the bedding, changing the whole thing once per week seems to be the best bet. There will be bits of poo, but not too many, and the cage will start to smell a little, but not bad enough to be noticed from across the room. We use a litter scoop to dig out the bedding and keep things sanitary. For example this one. It’s fairly large, yes but changing the bedding by tipping the whole cage over isn’t the best idea. For a while we did it like that, and got bedding all over the floor, even when we tried to be careful. A scoop will just make life easier. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Once you’re done with removing all of the bedding, you’re left with an empty, dusty cage. Sometimes it will need a complete rinse, sometimes it will be decent. However I recommend rinsing the cage in the shower with hot water if the size isn’t too large. Or, you can use a moist, clean towel to wipe down the cage and remove most of the dust. When you’re done with the cleaning process, pat the cage dry and make sure there are no wet spots. Deep-cleaning in case of illness or too many stains Sometimes you need to deep-clean the cage. For example if the hamster is very ill, lives in a temporary quarantine in a different cage, and this one needs cleaning. Or if there’s too many pee stains on the cage bottom. You will need a hamster-safe disinfectant from your local vet. Make sure it does not smell strong, or doesn’t leave an odor behind. Use it as the bottle says, and make sure you scrub the affected ares very well. If you’ve got no disinfectant on hand, a mixture of 1:1 water and vinegar will work well. Whichever you use, make sure to rinse everything very very well. If you can still smell it, it will be way too much for the hamster. If it needs a scrub with unscented soap, do that too. The pee stains (the white, crusty stains) will need extra scrubbing and won’t come off easy. The disinfectant might remove a good part of it, however most of it will only be removed after you’ve left it to soak overnight. After you’re done with everything, pat the cage dry and make sure it has no wet spots. The bedding will stick to those parts and mold will have an easier time forming. (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.) Rinse/scrub especially dirty objects or parts of the cage Sometimes the objects inside the cage will need some extra cleaning. For example if you’ve got a plastic hideout for your hamster, it will form condensation and will need to be rinsed in hot water and patted dry every time you clean the cage. Wooden objects can be cleaned too, if they’ve been stained (with blood for example, in case the hamster nicked himself on something, or two hammies had a fight) with hot water and a bit of non-scented soap. Food stains will come out too. However they need to be very well dried before you put the back into the hamster’s cage. Which means that if you’ve got a spare (like a spare food bowl or hideout) you will need to use that one for the next week. There are some objects that become much too dirty and need to be completely replaced. For example a textile-based hamster toy can be washed, yes, but some stains or smells possibly won’t some out. In such cases you’ll need to throw out the object and get a new one. Put the bedding and objects back into the hamster’s cage Once everything is cleaned, dried, and ready to be assembled, we can start putting it all back together. Starting with the bedding, place about an inch/2-3 cm of bedding evenly across the surface of the cage. Place a bit more in the corner the hamster uses as a hideout/nest. Make sure to sprinkle bits of his old bedding all over the cage. If you hamster is a runner like my Teddy, this is enough bedding. If he’s a digger however, he will need at least double this amount of bedding so he can burrow into it. Place every object the way it was before you cleaned the cage. The hideout, the food bowl, the water, toys, everything. The new nesting material should be left right outside the hamster’s hideout, along with bits of his old nest. Putting them directly into his hideout won’t help, as you’ll never be able to arrange them the way he likes it. Best to let him redecorate his home the way he always does. Make sure his food bowl is full, and his water bottle full as well. Once you’re sure you’ve put everything back into place, you can place the hamster back inside. Place the hamster back into his home Putting the hamster back into his cage will be fairly easy. If he’s in an exercise ball, you can open it inside the cage, near the food bowl. He’ll definitely come out then, and start pouching everything. If he’s in his travel cage, baiting him with a bit of food in your hands will work well too. Baiting hamsters with food always works, since they’re hoarders and will jump at every opportunity to eat. Once the hamster is safely in his cleaned cage, everything is done. Should you spot-clean the hamster’s cage every few days ? Yes, if you think the cage gets a bit too smelly from time to time you can do this. It’s usually the pee corners that smell, so that’s what you’ll need to change. I said I have a trick I can tell you about, and I will right not. See, hamsters will always pee in the same corner. So placing a bowl or half of a plastic hideout in that corner, filled with chinchilla sand is going to act like a litter box. The sand will clump up and you can remove the clumps when necessary. Or, you can throw out the sand altogether and replace it every few days. There’s something very important here though. Sand is great for hamsters, and they’ll even take a bath in it. But it needs to be sand, not dust. Many chinchilla bath sands (even if they say hamster sand or small rodent sand) are great for hamsters, but there is a problem. As far as I could find online, none of the formulations are sandy, they are dusty, more like flour. If you were to press the sand with the back of a spoon, it would keep its shape. This is not alright, since hamsters are very sensitive and inhaling that much dust can be lethal for them. So whichever brand of sand you use, make sure it is sand, and not dust. It can be more on the granulated side, it will work well. Most of them are made of dried up sea shells and minerals, which is alright. They’re usually whitish grey, but don’t be surprised if you find brown sand too. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters are fairly easy to take care of, but we do need regular cleaning and we need your help with that. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking Hams
Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking HamsYou’ve maybe wondered if your hamster ever blinks. He just seems to sit there and stare at you, endlessly. Or maybe he just stares into space. Does a hamster ever blink ? I’ve found myself watching my Teddy to see if he ever does blink. And, as luck would have it, I found the answer to whether hamsters blink or not. It’s maybe not the key to the universe, but it can help us understand our furry friends better. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters blink ?Hamsters need their eyes clean, too !Your hamster isn’t just staring at youA few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirtyA word from Teddy So do hamsters blink ? Yes, hamsters do blink. Just not exactly like us humans. Hamsters have evolved to blink with only one eye at a time, possibly because they are prey for many animals. So they can’t really afford to even not be on guard. It’s a sort of defense mechanism like bunnies sleeping with their eyes open. Or guinea pigs only sleeping for a few minutes at a time, in patches throughout the day. You might have wondered if hamsters blink after your hammy kept looking at you and he never seemed to blink. Truth is, in the presence of humans (bigger predators) hamsters will rarely blink. That does not mean they blink their heart out when you’re not looking. It just means that until they come to trust you they won’t even try blinking. Hamsters need their eyes clean, too ! Hamsters. like any other creature with eyes, need their eyes clean. Some animals, like frogs or crocodiles have 2 sets of eyelids, one to protect the eye from injury, and one to protect the eye from the muddy water. Hamsters have just one set of eyelids – yes, hamsters have eyelids – which serve to clean their eyes when they blink, just like us humans. You might not have noticed their eyelids when looking at them, but hamsters have them. Try peeking at them when they sleep, there you will see their eyes closed. Another thing that helps keep the hamster’s eyes clean is their eyelashes. Generally eyelashes are soft, fuzzy, and very noticeable. But in hamster’s they’re thin and wispy, because the rest of their fur is like one big eyelash/brow. Their fur serves the same purpose as an eyelash, to trap debris and foreign objects that might get into their eyes. Given the hamster’s natural habitat – dry, earthy tunnels dug deep under the ground – this is a very smart adaptation. Their eyes are protected at all times. Your hamster isn’t just staring at you You might think your hamster is just staring at you. Especially if he keeps looking and doesn’t blink. I was weirded out by Teddy at first, I’ll say that. He used to just stare at me and not move. He still does that, just that now I know why. It turns out hamsters look like they’re staring at you, but in fact they’re just staring into space. Add to that the fact that they will often stop to hear if there are predators around, with a very intense look on their face. It looks like they’re staring you down, but really hamsters barely see. They don’t even really use their eyes, and they will freak out if you suddenly move. They only see what is directly in front of them, the rest is blurry. So the next time your hammy looks at you funny, know that it’s not you. It’s him, hearing things out, or just being still. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirty Hamsters have great protection for their eyes. However problems can and do occur, and they need your help to fix most of these issues. Even if hamsters don’t really use their eyes, these problems still can happen, like: Eye infections – where they eye can be swollen, red, hot to the touch. Pus will possibly ooze from the eye as well, as as such you will need to clean/rinse the eye with a saline solution. Bulging eye – the eye will appear larger than normal, like it’s about to pop from its place. This is often because if an inflammation of the tissue behind the eye itself. Cataracts/blindness – unfortunately many hamsters end up with this problem in their old are. This is what happens naturally to the body when the eye starts to break down on its own. There problems, and a few others, can all be solved at your local vet. It would be wise to look for an ”exotic” vet, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Or, possibly a small pet vet will be able to help too. Just keep in mind that sometimes small pet can mean a cat or bunny. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look like we’re trying to stare you down, but really we’re just being hamsters. Don’t take it personally. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Get Fleas ? How To Check And Treat Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Get Fleas ? How To Check And Treat Your HamsterA hamster with fleas isn’t a common sight, but I’ve heard stories about this. Anyone, at any point, can get fleas. But what about hamsters ? Do hamster fleas get on humans too ? Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get fleas ?How to check if your hamster has fleasTreating your hamster of a flea infestationMake sure to clean and treat the entire housePreventing fleas from getting to your hamsterHow fleas get in the house in the first placeA word from Teddy So do hamsters get fleas ? Yes, unfortunately hamsters can and do get fleas. Not all hamsters, all the time, but if there is a flea infestation in the house, your hamster can get a few fleas of his own. This has more to do with the nature of the fleas themselves, than the hamster. You see fleas will look for anything furry and/or warm to settle into. The worst part is that they can live for a long time in hiding, even with no host. So your hamster can even get a flea from an blanket you haven’t used in a year but kept in the attic. Let’s see how you can help your hamster friend when fleas attack. How to check if your hamster has fleas Alright, fleas are fairly easy to spot. Usually you’ll notice small black dots moving on your hamster, in his fur. Those are the fleas, if here is more than one. If there’s just one, it might be harder to spot. You’ll notice your hamster is in distress however when he scratches himself much more often than normal, and very much in some specific areas where the flea bit him. The hamster might even make a few angry sounds, as he’s not used to the terrible itch of a flea bite. Sometimes the hamster will try to bite where he thinks the flea is, or try to lick it off, and you’ll notice wet, matted spots on your hamster’s fur. If you see a large black dot on either side of your Syrian hamster’s hips, do not worry. Those are the scent glands. The Dwarf types have them on their bellies. Another way to check if the hamster has a flea is to gently comb through his fur with your fingers. Slowly part every bit of the hamster’s fur, and at some point you will notice a tiny black dot running away. Finally, you can also check for flea dirt. That’s basically flea droppings. You see the flea feeds on blood, and it’s also what the droppings are made of. So you’ll see something like tiny splotches of dried blood, and if you add a few drops of water you’ll notice them becoming red. Fleas feed very often throughout the day, so if you found flea droppings today, the flea is definitely still there. If you’ve got a dark haired, or even black hamster, this will be harder to spot. However the flea will be shinier than the hamster’s fur, but you will only notice if you look very closely. Unfortunately most hamsters don’t sit still very long so you’ll have to be patient. Treating your hamster of a flea infestation Flea treatments are possible yes, but with hamsters it’s a little different. This is because the vast majority of flea shots are okay for cats or dogs – so larger animals – but may be poisonous for small animals. So something like a guinea pig, hamster, chinchilla, even a rat, could not take such a shot. There definitely are some flea treatments that are safe for hamsters. But that’s something your veterinarian will be able to tell you. It varies from country to country, in terms of what each country decides is safe in terms of ingredients. Talk to your veterinarian, and ask him about flea treatments for your pet hamster. He will surely know what to do. If you’ve never gone to a vet with your hamster before, be sure to look for an ”exotics” vet. There are vets that have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds, and can help you. (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.) Make sure to clean and treat the entire house After you’ve got a treatment from your vet, you’ll also need to deep clean the hamster’s cage. This means completely replacing the bedding and nesting material, and cleaning/disinfecting the objects in his cage. Your vet will be able to give you a good disinfectant, that’s good for the cage and your hammy’s nose. Use said solution to clean everything that your hamster has touched, or will touch. Like his hideout, running wheel, food bowl, everything. The reason behind this is because fleas lay eggs, so many eggs – about 50 eggs a day – which will get everywhere in the cage. The bedding, the sandbath, every nook and cranny possible. They can even get into the carpets, even if your hamster was never on the carpet. This will mean whatever pets you’ve got, they will need a flea treatment of their own. Aside form this, the house itself will need a flea bomb. Fleas are hard to kick out of the house, but they’re easier to prevent. So once you get fleas, you will need to purge everything. After that’s all done with, a yearly flea bomb will be necessary to keep flea eggs and larvae away. You see, after hatching from their egg, flea larvae can survive for months without a host. This is because they’re hiding in the base of the fibers of the carpets or linens, feeding off dead skin or dropped food, or any other random small parasites they might find. Preventing fleas from getting to your hamster The first way to prevent your hamster from getting fleas is to keep him away from any animals that you know have fleas. Housepets rarely get fleas. However if this does happen, make sure whichever pet is infested can’t reach your hamster’s room until they’ve had a flea treatment. If it’s you who has the flea, try to not get near your hamster until you’ve gotten rid of the flea. Do keep in mind though, that even if you try very hard to keep the flea away from the hamster, it will possibly not work. Fleas can jump very far, and travel easily from a host to another. Even something as small and innocent as petting a flea-infested cat can get the flea on you. When you sit the down the flea can jump off you and stop on the carpet outside the bathroom, where the dog will pick it up and jump on your bed. Which just happens to be next to the hamster’s cage. This might all sound very convoluted, but if you’ve ever had a flea, you know what I’m talking about. Fleas are notoriously hard to catch. The simplest and most reliable way to keep fleas away from your hamster, and incidentally your house, is a regular flea bomb. And keeping a flea collar on the pets you own, or giving them periodic flea shots. How fleas get in the house in the first place Fleas can get in your home even by just jumping by. Now, granted, fleas don’t stay long without a host. So it will probably get into your home by a chain of happenings that starts from petting or playing with an infested animal. The bigger problem is that once a flea has entered your house, it can lay up to 50 eggs per day. Those eggs will end up everywhere in the house, and they’ve hard to see. A regular adult flea is just 2-3 mm/0.8-011 inches, barely noticeable. The eggs are nearly invisible to the naked eye. Once the eggs have landed in a fuzzy, cozy spot they can hatch in up to 12 days. Once they hatch, they become larvae and that stage can take a few weeks too. In the winter when it is cold and dry, it can even last up to 200 days. In this stage the larvae feed off dead skin and other organic cells on the ground. After this, they cocoon into the pupae stage, and finally become full adults. This whole process can take up to a year in certain conditions. You can find more info on the life cycle of fleas on this site, including how to rid them from your home. So the problems isn’t with how the flea gets into your home – that’s easy enough. But when it’s already in the house. Again, a regular, periodic flea-bomb will keep the whole house safe. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies don’t really know what to do with fleas, we don’t normally get them in the wild. But we’re glad you can help us out ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related videos below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters and Hedgehogs Get Along?
Do Hamsters and Hedgehogs Get Along?Hamsters and hedgehogs are two of the most popular small pets in the entire world as many different households take care of these tiny critters. But can you take care of both of these animals at the same time? Do hamsters and hedgehogs get along fine with each other in case you own both of these animals? While you can keep hamsters and hedgehogs as pets at the same time, it is not a good idea to make them get along and allow them to live together because of how hedgehogs can be dangerous to your hamsters. And even if that’s not the case, it might end up stressing the animals out to the point that they might fall ill. As a pet owner, it might sound like a good idea for your pets to live together in harmony. But you also have to understand that some pets just don’t naturally get along with others due to their nature and physical characteristics. This includes your hamsters and hedgehogs as we will now talk more about why these small pets don’t necessarily get along. Do hamsters and hedgehogs get along? When you own more than one pet, it sounds like a good idea for all of your animals to live in harmony with one another because you treat them all as members of your family. After all, family members should be able to get along fine with each other especially when they are living under the same roof. In most cases especially when you are talking about two different animals belonging to the same species, it is quite easy to make them get along with each other. That is why a lot of pet owners are able to keep multiple dogs, cats, and rabbits under one roof or are even able to make their dogs get along fine with their cats. In that case, can the same scenario become possible when you are talking about small pets? Can you make your hamsters and hedgehogs get along fine with one another when you are keeping them both as pets? Well, not exactly. When you are talking about hamsters, these animals may look quite cute and cuddly but don’t let their friendly looks fool you. One would think that hamsters love playing with their fellow hamsters and would prefer to live together with a friend but this should never be the case if you want your hamster to live a long and healthy life because these animals are highly territorial and would rather be left alone instead of sharing the same space with another fellow animal. While the hamster’s territorial instincts kick in more often when they live together with their fellow hamsters, it still is a bad idea to make them get along with another animal roughly of the same size because they might get too territorial to the point that they would use their sharp teeth to try to attack the other animal in an attempt to preserve its sense of territory and space. Moreover, hamsters really don’t like other species no matter how hard you try to make them get along. On the other hand, hedgehogs are growing in popularity as exotic pets but these small and cute balls of pins are also better off not interacting with other animals because of the fact that they are walking and living pin cushions. Having them get along with any other pet in your house can spell disaster for either one of them because the hedgehog may easily harm the other pet due to its sharp pins. So, while hedgehogs are not as territorial as hamsters are, they are pretty dangerous to be around other pets. If they are dangerous for humans to touch especially if we are not careful enough with them, the same is true when it comes to other pets like hamsters because the hedgehog can easily prick them and injure them beyond recovery.  All in all, while there is no consensus as to whether or not hamsters and hedgehogs can end up getting along with one another if you try your best to make them friendly with one another, the fact is that it is a bad idea in the first place. It is best to make sure that you keep them away from each other at all times without ever letting them try to get along with each other to be on the safe side of things. Still, though, there are instances where owners were able to safely introduce their hamsters and hedgehogs. In such rare cases, introductions are usually made with them holding on to their hedgehogs while allowing the two animals to meet. But the fact is that it might be better off for you to never leave them together in one place thinking that the two small animals can end up getting along fine with one another without your supervision. Can a hamster and a hedgehog live in the same cage? For a lot of different pet owners, keeping two small pets in one single cage can be a good idea so that they can save up money and space. It might also be a good way for the animals to end up getting along with each other especially considering that they are forced to share the same space throughout their entire lives. But, is it a good idea to keep your hamster and your hedgehog together in the same cage? If it isn’t a good idea for you to force your hamsters and hedgehogs to try to get along with one another, then it is never a good idea for them to live together in the same cage as well. In fact, that might be one of the worst decisions you can make in your entire life as a pet owner precisely due to the fact that hamsters and hedgehogs are better off living solitary lives in their own individual cages. In the case of a hamster, as mentioned, these animals are highly territorial and are best kept individually because of that nature of theirs. It’s not even a good idea for you to keep multiple hamsters in one cage due to how they might end up attacking one another. As such, it would be an even worse idea for you to keep a hamster in a single cage together with an entirely different species of animal such as a hedgehog. Moreover, are usually at the lower end of the food chain when it comes to other pets. That means that they are used to such a life and can be quite defensive when they are together with another animal. As such, this could end up stressing the hamster out if it keeps on thinking that, at any given moment, it could get eaten regardless of whether the hedgehog does indeed include hamsters in its regular diet. In the case of a hedgehog, it is never a good idea to keep it together with a hamster because of how dangerous it can be. A hedgehog’s quills are sharp and can easily prick a hamster to the point that the injury could possibly become fatal.  While hedgehogs are not aggressive or territorial animals, there is still always a good chance for them to accidentally prick a hamster if it is in defense mode and the hamster gets too close to it. While this instance may be rare when it comes to hamsters and hedgehogs, you do have to consider that hedgehogs can possibly end up eating the hamster if you keep them both in the same cage.  The reason is that hedgehogs eat a wide variety of different things including smaller rodents such as mice. Some owners even feed their hedgehogs baby mice. So, if your hamster is a lot smaller than your hedgehog, there might be a chance that the hedgehog will treat it as food and end up eating it. In any other case, the fact that you are keeping two different species together in the same cage is never a good idea because of how it could end up placing both or either of these animals in stressful situations. A stressed animal can fall ill and may end up dying because of that. And, on top of that, a hedgehog may actually carry bacteria that can end up harming the hamster in the long run.  That is why it should never be a good idea for you to keep these pets together in the same cage even if you think that doing so will help save you money or even allow these animals to get along well with one another. [...] Read more...
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live Together
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live TogetherYour cute and cuddly hammies are fighting ! In some cases this can be a nightmare, especially if they were fine until recently. I asked around, and talked to other hamster owners as well about why hamsters fight. Turns out there are a few things to consider before you get a pair of hamsters in the same cage. Also, not all hamster breeds can live together. Sometimes even those breeds that everyone knows can live together can get into serious fights. But let’s first see why hamsters fight in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters fight ?Are your hamsters really fightingHamsters need plenty of territoryHamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up withWhich hamster breeds can live together ?Do hamsters get lonely ?When to separate hamster babiesHow to find your hamster’s genderHow to house 2 dwarf hamstersIntroduce the hamstersIntervene if you notice them fighting too hardHandle the hamsters so they get the same attentionSet up the cage for the hamsters’ comfortShould you even keep hamsters together at all ?A word from Teddy So why do hamsters fight ? For the most part, hamsters fight over territory. In the wild all hamsters are solitary, and require a certain space of their own. And when they happen upon another hamster, they treat him as a trespasser. Pet or captive hamsters haven’t forgotten this instinct, and will still fight a new hamster if they ever meet. There are some exceptions, like litter mates that were brought up together, but even then there can be fights. When it comes to paired hamsters, they can also fight over resources (food, hideout, bedding, toys, etc). We’ll get into more detail with why hamsters fight over territory and how they can tolerate litter mates in the rest of the article. But first we need to touch on the topic of play fighting, since this can be confused with actual fighting. Are your hamsters really fighting This is a topic you can’t really find a lot of answers for. But still, hamsters do playfight. This is mostly as babies, and mostly the males. It’s a normal part of their upbringing. They learn how to be hamsters, what’s okay, what isn’t, and develop their core personalities. But what about your adult hamsters, same gender, litter mates, suddenly fighting ? Is it a real fight ? The answer depends a lot on whether they’ve done this before. Most likely, it’s the beginning of a real fight. Small skirmishes can spring up from nowhere, and they’re largely unpredictable. If your hamsters are babies, and you’ve only just brought them home, it’s possible that they’re establishing the roles. In a pair one hamster is always a bit more dominant, even if it’s just a little. Supervise them when they’re young, and see if it devolved into actual fighting. For the most part, hamsters can play fight, or have small arguments. These are usually harmless, even if they are loud. One hamster will jump on the other one, they may squeak and run around, but in the end one will give in. That’s the submissive hamster, and if they return to whatever they were doing beforehand, it’s okay. If it all turns into biting, cornering, relentlessly chasing and you start to see blood and a bit of stray fur, you need to separate them. The small arguments are more common when the hamsters are first introduced together in the same cage. Over time they subside, but they can still come up from time to time. Hamsters need plenty of territory This is the main reason hamsters should be kept alone. Yes, some breeds are okay with living together with another, but in general they should be alone. This is because hamsters require a lot of territory to run around, forage, and generally have their own turf. When they share that territory with another hamster, it can become a problem. So, make sure you get your hamsters a big enough cage – more on that here. In that article you’ll find the minimum cage requirement for a single hamster. But when you have two hamsters, you need to double that. That means that the minimum for one hammy is  24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. In this case, the minimum for 2 hamsters, even if they’re just Dwarf types, is 48 x 24 inches by 12 inches tall. In centimeters that’s 122 x 61, by 30.5 cm tall. Hamsters don’t need a lot of height in their cages, but they do need a lot of floor space. Always go for a bigger cage. You’re sparing yourself and you hamsters a lot of trouble. Hamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up with As it turns out, not all hamsters can get along. This is aside from the breeds that can’t be housed together. If your hamsters are of a different litter, but still babies, they might still fight. The younger and more similar the hamsters are, the easier it will be for them to tolerate each other. So it’s best to pair hamsters which are from the same litter. And it’s best to do this before they’re 6-7 weeks old. That’s when hamsters mature, and maturing together will help your hamsters tolerate each other better. Even so, sometimes hamsters from the same litter raised together can still not get along. Each pairing can be more or less successful, depending on the hamsters’ personalities. So again, supervise their first interactions and see if they can get along. Which hamster breeds can live together ? Of all the hamster breeds, only some Dwarf types can live together. Specifically Roborovski, Campbell’s, and Siberian hamsters can live together and not fight. This is only true for hamsters that were born in the same litter, so are siblings. If they were raised together by their mother, and brought home in a same-sex pair, and put in a cage together they will most probably get along well. There is a Dwarf type that should not be housed with another, and that is the Chinese hamster. The Chinese is slightly larger than the other 3 dwarf types, more territorial, and needs to be left by himself. And finally, Syrian hamsters will be aggressive toward any hamster,ans should always be kept alone. Never get your Syrian hamster a friend, they will fight to the death. For Chinese and Syrian hamsters, even if you bring home 2 hammies of the same gender and litter, it’s a bad idea. They will fight and this can devolve into actual death matches. Do hamsters get lonely ? For the most part, no, hamsters do not get lonely. The more sociable ones, like the Roborovski, Campbell, and Siberian can live without their cage mates as well. As for the more aloof Syrian and Chinese, they definitely do not need a friend. All hamsters are okay with human interaction, and they will remember their owner. But hamsters do not get attached as much as other kinds of pets do (like a dog, for example). Still, they will ask for your attention if they see you. This is for the most part curiosity about everything that surrounds them. So in short – hamsters do not really get lonely. While some hamster types can live together, they do not need to live together in order to feel alright or safe. In the wild they would be living alone. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters will need to be separated into gender specific groups when their mother weans them. Usually that’s around 3-4 weeks of age. When hamsters reach that age they can eat commercial food, and drink water. But most importantly they can start to breed, even so young. So it’s important to separate the hamsters into genders for that reason alone. This is also useful when you’re preparing the hamsters to later be kept in pairs. Having their cage mate with them from the very beginning will be much easier for both hamsters. Always get same sex pairs, unless you want a new litter. If you do want a new litter, you must separate the two because the female will go into heat every few days. Also, she can become pregnant right after giving birth, so it might even slip your notice. Best to be safe and get all male or all female pairs, and house them together in a very large cage. How to find your hamster’s gender A hamster’s gender is easy enough to tell, but some breeds are harder to figure out. Those are the Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) since they are so small and wriggly. For more info on how to find your hamster’s gender, you need to read this article. You’ll get info on how to handle untamed hamsters as well, and this is crucial when you’ve got baby Dwarf hamsters. In short, you need to look for the genital area of your hamster, and notice the differences. On males, you will notice that the genital opening and anal opening are farther apart, and have a patch of fur between them. If you hold the hamster and tilt him on his back a bit, you will notice that his testicles will show more clearly. On females, the genital and anal openings are almost the same, in that they are extremely close together. You might even have trouble telling them apart. Females will have 2 rows of nipples running down their abdomen. When you’re holding your hamster he will most probably try to wriggle out of your hand. That’s normal, no hamster likes to be handled like that. So make sure you keep the process very short, so as not to irritate the hamster. Now that you know all of this, let’s talk about how to house the two hamsters properly. (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.) How to house 2 dwarf hamsters You will need a bit of patience and a sharp eye for this process. It can work out half the time, but the other half is not too pretty. Let’s see how to introduce the hamsters first. You can only do this with baby hamsters. Adults (6 weeks and up) of any kind will fight ferociously ! Introduce the hamsters If you’ve got hamsters from the same litter, so sibling hamsters, this will be easy. Simply place them in a cage large enough for both of them as adults. That’s a cage 24 x 12 inches wide, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That is the absolute minimum, and you’re better off with a glass tank for Dwarf types. They are so small they can escape through the bars of a normal cage. If you’ve got 2 different hamsters, from 2 separate litters, you need to be careful. Get 2 cages, and keep them close together so that the hamsters can see and smell each other regularly. After a couple of days, if you see them trying to interact with each other, you can move them in together. If they ignore each other, they might not get along if you try to put them together. But if they are curious and sniff around a lot, you can try putting them together. But this requires a third cage, that smells of neither of them. Clean, fresh bedding, clean toys, food bowls, and hideout and wheels as well. This way they won’t have ‘personal’ belongings, and will learn to share more easily. Your hammies might ignore each other, or they might be very curious. A bit of sniffing and play fighting is normal, until they get used to each other. Intervene if you notice them fighting too hard The hamsters will do a lot of pouncing on each other, and will interact a lot. In the beginning, when they are just getting used to each other, and their personalities are developing, this is normal. They’re also asserting their dominance and trying each other out. As long as it doesn’t get bloody and vicious, it’s alright. It will be loud, and it will involve a lot of chasing around. Again, another reason to get the hamsters a large enough cage or glass tank. If the hamsters have small arguments what come out of nowhere and go away in a couple of seconds, that’s alright too. As long as they don’t devolve into something worse, it’s still play fighting. Your hamsters will have short bursts like this every now and then, but they should be fairly rare. However if they are consistent and start to last longer each time, it’s a sign that they’re not getting along. If you see one of the cornering the other hamster, biting, scratching, even blood – definitely separate them. When separated the hamsters should be very far apart, even in different rooms. They can still hear and smell each other, which will stress them out. Handle the hamsters so they get the same attention If your hamsters get along and are okay, then great. Handling them will need to be done with care. Since hamsters are so sensitive to smell, having your scent on just one of them will increase the tension between the two. So, try to handle them at the same time or in the same amount. Pick them up from their cage together, feed them together, and make sure they both get just as much attention from you. This also means that you will need to do this daily, since Dwarf hamsters have a shorter memory. They need constant stimulation, and will forget owners after a few days. Set up the cage for the hamsters’ comfort Largely this means that you will need 2(or more) of everything in your hamster cage. Hideouts, food bowls, water bottles, toys, wheels, everything will need to be at least double. Getting them 2 of each will mean that they have less opportunities to argue over who gets what. Hamsters are very territorial, and will argue over lots of things. Even if they’re siblings. Another thing to be very careful for is how you set up the cage itself. Make sure that there are no blocked corners than your hamsters can get stuck in. When they chase each other around it’s important that they can actually run away. Also, get them hideouts with at least 2 exits, so they can never corner one another. If their relationship devolves to bullying, the victim needs to have opportunities to flee. That means that long tubes or cramped corners should not exist in the cage. Should you even keep hamsters together at all ? In my opinion – no, you should not. Even Dwarf types, who can live together with another hamster of their kind. Hamsters are very territorial, and will eventually fight over many things. Small things like squabbles add up over time, and build tension. Hamsters are so very sensitive to stress, and can develop all kinds of problems based on stress. So, for the hamster’s health, and your ease of conscience, you I recommend you keep all hamsters alone. They live alone in the wild, and they are perfectly okay living on their own. They get a lot of love and affection from you, and even that can be too much sometimes. They can hide from you if they want. But another hamster in their cage can happen upon them at any time, whether they like it or not. A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info on here. I know a lot of people keep us hammies together, even if it’s not the best idea. If you do want to keep us together, make sure we’re Dwarf types and you give us a very very very large cage. If you want to know more about us hammies, like why we’re scared of your sometimes, or how long we can go without food and water, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
8 Reasons Hamsters Eat Their Babies, And How To Save Them
8 Reasons Hamsters Eat Their Babies, And How To Save ThemIt sounds like a horror story, a mother hamster eating her babies. But it can happen, and it’s never fun to watch. There’s a few ways you can save the babies, but you have to be careful.  You can’t save them every time, but you can still do your best to make sure they don’t end up horribly. There are some reasons though, why the hamster mothers do that. Those are very important to understand, in order to save the babies. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters eat their babies ?How to save the hamster babies from being eatenDo not stress the motherLeave food/protein for the mother before she gives birthGive the mother plenty of space, in a large cageDo not disturb the mother or cage for at least 2 weeks after giving birthDo not touch the babies at all until the mother weans them (3-4 weeks)Separate the father from the litter at all timesSome things you can’t change or saveHow to tell your hamster is pregnantAbout hamster fertility and breedingA word from Teddy So why do hamsters eat their babies ? Mother hamsters are not as emotional as human mothers.  There are a few reasons a hamster mother might eat her young, and here they are: She feels stressed/threatened like if you constantly check on her and the litter Her personal space in too small, the babies take up too much space in a cage that is too tiny She is very hungry after giving birth Accidentally storing them in her cheeks to carry them Biting them too hard when she carries them She thinks something’s wrong with them (diseased, or something physical they can’t survive) You or someone else have touched them (changed their scent) and she doesn’t think they’re hers Father hamsters are liable to eating their young as well  These are mostly reasons that can be avoided, or can be worked on so the mother is comfortable.  Rodent mothers are not the most careful mothers in the first place, compared to other mothers, for example cats or dogs. All animals can eat or kill their young, if they consider something is wrong with them. But rodent mothers, and hamsters are rodents, are much less attached to their babies. So let’s get into every reason the mother can eat her young, and how you can avoid this from happening, and/or possibly save the babies. How to save the hamster babies from being eaten Many times when the mother decides eating her young is an option, there’s not much you can do. But, you can save the babies 90% of the time by not putting the mother in a position where she thinks she needs to eat them. Here are the most common examples, and how you can save those babies by helping the mother. Do not stress the mother This is the major reason hamster mothers end up eating their young. The stress and effort of giving birth, especially her first litter, combined with you checking up on her constantly will annoy her.  Once you notice the mother is approaching her due date (18-22 days after mating), start giving her much more food than usual, and bedding and nesting material as well. She will find the most hidden corner, or use her hideout, to give birth, and you must leave her alone during this time. Best to even leave the room. Fortunately it will probably happen at night, when you’re sleeping. So if you know your hammy is about to give birth, be careful when approaching her in the morning. Do not poke at her or the cage, talk to her, or try to interact with the babies. Keep her warm and well fed, and make sure she has plenty of quiet and small children or other pets can’t reach her. Leave food/protein for the mother before she gives birth If you notice that your hamster has give birth overnight, bring her some protein. This is the food that will help her regain her strength immediately. Something like cooked egg white, or cooked plain chicken is good for your hamster.  You could leave her pieces of chicken every evening until she gives birth if you want, but it’s best to not give her something that will leave a tasty smell on the bedding right before she gives birth. She might get confused as to which one is chicken and which is her baby.  So only give her chicken or egg after she gave birth, only  while you can see her. Even if you don’t stay more than a few minutes, make sure she finishes the piece and not the babies.  In the mean time, continue feeding her through the bars, without placing your hand inside the cage. You can introduce a teaspoon through the bars to give her dry food, or sprinkle some on her food bowl. She will have a stash of food anyway, but right now would be a good time to give her more. For a list of safe foods you can give your hammy, check out this food list article. Give the mother plenty of space, in a large cage This is again something that will always come up. Space, lots of it, is something that hamsters need. The absolute minimum for a hamster cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and it’s what I’d recommend for a dwarf hamster as well. A hamster mother giving birth to 6-12 babies at once is going to fill up a cage fast. In those times, even her large cage might seem a bit cramped for her.  So always get your hamster a large cage, larger than you’d think. Especially if it’s a female you will want to breed later. You can find out more about hamster cages here, since you’ll get a rundown of all cage types and which is best for your hammy. If you’ve got 2 or more hamsters housed in the same cage, remove the mother-to-be and put her in a different, large cage long before she gives birth. She needs to adjust and feel comfortable in her new home as soon as you put her there, so place some of her old bedding and nesting material in her new temporary cage. Do not disturb the mother or cage for at least 2 weeks after giving birth This is because the mother is very tired ans started and jumpy while her babies are still very young. So do not open her cage, or change the bedding, try to put her in an exercise ball or separate her from her babies. Hamster mothers will do their best to raise and wean every one of their young, but they can scare very easily and end up eating their babies. This includes feeding the mother as well, feed her through the bars with a teaspoon or sprinkle some dry food onto her bowl. Do not touch the babies at all until the mother weans them (3-4 weeks) Touching the babies is a big mistake, when they’re so young. A baby hamster can only be removed from his mother after 3-4 weeks, and can be given for adoption immediately after. You will notice the mother has weaned them when she pushes them away after they try to nurse from her. In this period it’s important to provide her cage with even more food, since the babies will now need ‘adult’ food, like a food mix or some safe foods from your fridge or pantry. Touching or handling the babies before they are weaned will make the mother think they’re foreign, and not hers. She will reject or even eat them, so it’s best to wait a few more weeks. Separate the father from the litter at all times If the father was in the same cage as the mother, and you didn’t know she was pregnant, remove the father from the cage. Surprises happen, especially with dwarf pairs, since their sex is difficult to tell sometimes. So you might end up with a male and female pair that will give you a surprise litter one morning. The father will try to get the mother’s attention, and might eat or hurt the babies while trying to get her attention. Hamster fathers are not nurturing, and will not tolerate the babies for long, so it’s best to remove him from the cage. If you don’t want any more litters, keep the male and female separate at all times. Hamsters can mate again, right after the mother gave birth, so keep them apart. Some things you can’t change or save Even if you do you best to keep the mother safe, warm, well fed, not stressed, and on her own in a very large cage, she still might eat at least some of her babies. This is mostly due to accidents, like her biting too hard on the baby when she tries to pick him up. Or maybe she stores the baby in her cheeks to move and forgets that’s her baby. It sounds horrible, but small animals can get clumsy like this too. If this happens, there’s not much you can do. If the baby is not weaned yet, you can not touch it because the mother will reject it and then definitely eat it. Unless you want to raise the litter on your own, since they are just a few days old. But then they will lack the important interaction they need with their mother, to learn how to ‘be’ hamsters. This is a very touchy topic, and one I’m not about to breach here. The same goes for hamster mothers who kill the babies on purpose, because they think there’s something wrong with them. Like they might be sick or have something wrong with their body, that only she can tell. She might kill them if this is the case, because she thinks they will not survive on their own. This is again something that can’t be helped, and it’s sad but it can happen. How to tell your hamster is pregnant Maybe you ended up with a pregnant hamster when you bought her from the pet store. Or maybe you notice that one of your dwarf hammies is looking a bit odd. Whatever the case, here is how the pregnancy happens and how you can tell your hamster is pregnant. First, the pregnancy lasts from 18 to 22 days, time in which the hamster’s midsection will become larger and larger. You will notice she eats much more, and doesn’t exercise as much. She is saving her strength. She will become more and more irritable as her dues date approaches, and will look for hidden, safe corners n her cage. At this time it’s best to remover her from her cage mate, and place her in a large cage on her own, with plenty of familiar old bedding and nesting material, and plenty of places to hide. If you’re not sure if your hamster is pregnant, but she seems to suddenly be a bit larger and is constantly digging and burrowing and building a large nest, best to separate her from her cage mate. If you’re wrong and she’s not pregnant, that’s okay and you can place her back. But wait for at least 3 weeks after you separate her, to see if she does give birth or not. (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.) About hamster fertility and breeding Hamsters can breed basically every month. In theory, you can have a new litter every month. This is because a hamster can get pregnant within minutes after giving birth. The problem with this that the mother will be dehydrated and malnourished, and won’t be able to care properly for her existing litter. Baby hamsters can mate as soon as their mother weaned them.  That’s around 3-4 weeks of age, so you need to separate the hamsters into male and female cages immediately after this happens. If you don’t, more hamster litters will come in a few weeks. To figure out which is male and which is female, pick the hamster up, and look at his rear end. In females the genitals are right under the anus. In males, there is a more noticeable space left between them. If you tilt a male a bit back while you told him, you might even notice his testicles around his tail. This is more difficult with the smaller breeds, so every breed except for the Syrian. And hamsters do not like to be held this much or in that position, so they will squirm a bit. But you must do this to figure out which is which, in order to separate them. Female hamsters are in heat every few days, during the night, so they can be mated at any point. There is no mating seasons for hamsters, as there is with other animals. A word from Teddy I hope you found out a lot about us hammies here. I know a momma eating her babies is terrible, but it can happen sometimes, and I’m glad you found out how to make sure it doesn’t happen. Us hamsters grow up fast, so make sure you keep us separated by sexes or we’ll make a whole clan in a few weeks. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find out things like why we freeze, how much food we need, and even why we eat our poop ! [...] Read more...