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.
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.
- Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster CagesThe hamster’s cage is the most important purchase you’ll ever make for your furry friend. I know I made some mistakes when I got my Teddy his first cage. And I’m here to help you get your hammy the best cage ever. My Teddy is a fully grown Syrian hamster, but I will also cover the cage requirements for dwarf hamsters as well. Table of Contents So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ?The best cage size for your hamsterCage size for Syrian hamstersCage size for Dwarf hamstersThe best cage type for your hamsterWire cages for hamstersA good wire cage for your hamsterPlastic cages for hamstersA good plastic hamster cage recommendationGlass tanks for hamstersA recommendation on glass tanks for hamstersSafety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cageHamster’s safety in his cageIs the hamster’s cage escape proof ?How to clean a hamster’s cageHow to place a hamster in a temporary holdingHow to clean wire or plastic cages for hamstersCleaning a glass tank for hamstersMultiple levels or one ground level ?The airflow of the cage is important for your hamsterPlacing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cageWhere to keep the hamster’s cage in your homeHow to safely move and handle a hamster’s cageA word from Teddy So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ? This depends on several factors, and I’ll list them here. Then, we’ll get into detail for each and every one of them, so you have the most information. So, you have to be mindful of: The cage size – different needs for different hamster species The cage type – plastic vs wire vs glass tank Escape-proof rating of the cage Multiple levels or a simple ground level Air flow – some cage types aren’t the most breatheable Whichever kind of cage you get, be careful to check every nook and cranny before you buy it. Or, when it ships to you. Your hamster will check it anyway, so if there’s anything wrong with the cage, best to know before you put your friend in it. Teddy: Us hamsters are very curious creatures, and we’ll get our little faces into EVERY part of the cage. So make sure it’s safe for us before you let us in ! The best cage size for your hamster It will vary from species to species, but I’ll cover both types. In general hamsters need more space than you’d think, since they’re very active creatures and love to run around. Even if you see your friend as the smallest ball of fur, he will still need plenty of room to roam and explore. Cage size for Syrian hamsters The best size cage for your Syrian hamster would be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. The height of the cage is not very important, because hamsters need more actual floor space than levels. Of course, you can get your hammy a cage with a few levels, aside from the ground floor. This is actually what my Teddy has. He has a combination of plastic and wire cage, with 2 attachable levels. I left the highest level out of the cage, so I can fit his 8.5 inch/23 cm wheel. Syrian hamsters are always housed alone. They are very territorial and will not share anything with another hamster, even a litter mate. Cage size for Dwarf hamsters The best size for a dwarf hamster is 18 x 10 inches, and a 12 inch height. That’s 46 cm x 25.4 cm, with a 30.5 cm height. That is for one dwarf hamster. You can house dwarf hamsters together, but not too many. 2 or 3 are enough, but for each hamster your add, you will need a bigger cage. So for example if you’ve got 2 dwarf hamsters, then they will need more space than I said above. They will need at least a Syrian cage, so that’s 24 inches by 12 inches (61 x 30.5 cm) for 2 dwarf hamsters. If you’ve got 3 dwarf hamsters, then you’ll need a much bigger cage. You’d be better off looking for a glass tank. We’ll cover that soon. The best cage type for your hamster There’s 3 main types of cages you can pick, and I’ll go through all of them. You can find combination cages (like plastic and wire cages), but not very often. Wire cages for hamsters The most common kind of hamster cage, and the one you will find in a pet shop most of the time. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll go through them here. This kind of cage is made up of a plastic bottom, usually about the height of your palm. The attachable wire walls, which are actually most of the cage itself. Although, the most important part is the bottom bit. That is where your hamster will live, walk, eat, sleep, and poo. The wire of the cage is just how far he can go. But the floor space is the most relevant part of your cage, to be honest. Good points for a wire cage: breathable, lots of air flow for your hamster easy to clean, just a wipe down with a warm, moist cloth easy to take apart and reassemble generally sturdy, will last a long time Bad points for a wire cage: can sometimes have metal wiring on the floor, and your hamster can get stuck there is the hamster’s favorite chew toy bedding can easily fly out of it wire spacing is often too large for hamsters, they can squeeze their heads through When it comes to the space between the wire of your cage, the smaller then better. The thing is, hamsters are very curious, and will stick their faces everywhere and will try chewing everything. If your hamster’s head can fit between the wires, then his body can fit as well and he can escape. So, for Syrian hamsters a maximum wire space should be 0.6 inches/1.5 cm. And for dwarf hamsters, a maximum of 0.4 inches/ 1 cm. The problems is that most of the cages your will find in a pet shop have the wiring too far apart. If they’re large enough for a Syrian, then the wiring is too far apart. If the wiring is good, they’re almost always just large enough for a parakeet, not a hamster of any kind. A good wire cage for your hamster A good wire cage is one that has a sensible wire spacing, This one’s got less than half an inch, so it will keep even dwarf hamsters inside. It’s easy enough to work with and you an fit any kind of hideout or toy inside, and a tall wheel will fit as well. It has the added benefit of an extra level, which hamsters will love. My Teddy loves to hide under the home level, and yours is probably no different. This one’s level is adjustable, so you can place it whichever way you want. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Plastic cages for hamsters These can be plastic bins that you can drill some holes in, and put a wire mesh in place of a lid. Or you can even find plastic cages at a pet shop, designed for your hamster. These are see-through, and are the second most common type of hamster cages. They’re usually a bit more pricey than wire cages, but they have the added benefit that they can be customized. Good points for plastic hamster cages: less bedding thrown outside the cage, contains poo and wood shavings better easier to customize, you can often find them with holes made for attaching tunnels and tubes less of a chew hazard, the hamster rarely chews on them since he can’t get his teeth on anything usually has a very large topside latch, so you can fit both hands inside the cage you can provide deeper bedding, since there is a higher plastic guard Bad points for plastic hamster cages: less airflow than wire cages or glass tanks, since the air holes are smaller more condensation or trapped air need more cleaning, since there is more surface to clean less sturdier than wire cages, careful when moving the plastic cages The plastic cages sound like a good option, and they can totally be a good option for your hamster. If you’ve got a hamster who loves to dig around and burrow, this might be for him. You can give your friend a lot of digging space and a whole bunch of bedding to roam around in. Just make sure that you get a version that’s well ventilated, so your hamster can breathe easily. As for the actual bins some people use in place of a hamster cage, I wouldn’t recommend that. The plastic is usually too soft and blurry, even if it can be drilled to get some air holes for your hamster. When it comes to basic, important hamster accessories like the cage or the wheel or exercise ball, or even the water bottle, I suggest you get a professional one. Those are made with the hamster’s comfort in mind. A good plastic hamster cage recommendation This is actually the cage I have for my Teddy. It has 2 levels, and they provide a lot of room for your hamster. My Teddy is a solitary adult Syrian hamster, But this would be alright for 2 dwarf hamsters as well. The best thing about this cage is that it comes with the tube attachments, which can actually fit an adult Syrian hamster inside easily. This is an easy to clean and assemble cage, with a great combo between plastic and metal cage advantages. There’s air, and there’s safety and containment as well. I removed the highest level so I can fit 9 inch wheel inside. The wheel that come with it, as well as the hideout I wouldn’t recommend, since they are plastic and small. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Glass tanks for hamsters A third and final option would be to keep your hammy in a glass tank. This is a great option if you have a lot of space in your home, and can place la large glass tank somewhere. There are some special precautions, though. Glass keeps cold for longer, so make sure you keep the tank in a definitely warm room. Hamsters need an temperature of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. A glass tank might keep them colder if not properly maintained. Good points for a glass tank: you can get them in a very large size, and will definitely fit any kind of hamster you have can be split down the middle with a large bendy bridge if the hamsters become rowdy you can see your hammy, but he can’t kick out any bedding can be found quite easily, it can even be a glass shelf with the shelves removed Bad points for a glass tank: cleaning and changing the bedding will need serious planning and will take more time more sensitive to temperature shifts you can’t move it around like a normal cage; the room you keep it in is its final room The glass tank is a seriously good option if you’ve got a room to keep the hamster in, and it won’t bother you during the night, and you can keep it an even temperature. Glass tanks don’t have to be aquariums. They can be that, but you can also use a glass shelf/display rack. When cleaning day comes, you’ll probably need a bit of help from a friend with this. But if you’re a dedicated hamster owner, you probably won’t mind the extra trouble to give your hammy the best home ever. The best thing to do is to find a wire mesh that you can use as a lid, on the top of your hamster’s glass tank. This is just a precaution. Most glass tanks are too tall for hamsters to climb, but you never know until they’re out. A recommendation on glass tanks for hamsters You can find a good glass tank here. It’s a 20 gallon tank, and that’s about the minimum for a hamster’s glass tank. The best part about it is that it’s tall enough the hamster can’t escape, and you probably won’t need a wire mesh to cover the top. Best to get one, just to be sure, though. The cleaning and washing and drying will be a longer process than the other cage types, but you can see your hamster clearly. When it comes to glass anything, it’s best to go there personally and buy it. Glass breaks very easily so don’t be surprised if that happens during transport. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this glass tank here. Safety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cage Another important aspect when you choose the hamster’s cage is how safe it is for your hamster, and how well it can keep him contained. Hamster’s safety in his cage Your hamster’s cage is his home. This is where he will eat, sleep, poop, run around, and just live out his entire life. It needs to be a safe place for your hamster. So let’s look at a few precautions to take: check for any sharp edges your hammy could hurt himself on, like some stray wires or sides no chipped edges if you’re using a glass tank the seams/corners are safe and can’t be chewed on, and have no visible glue that the hamster can gnaw on if you’ve got a multi level cage, make sure the levels aren’t too high so he can’t fall too far give your hammy lots and lots of bedding to shield him from any odd edges make sure the cage fastenings don’t come open easily, and keep the cage top well secured If you’ve checked all of the above, and you’re sure your hammy can’t hurt himself on anything, then great ! Remember to keep the room temperature between 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit and he will be fine. Is the hamster’s cage escape proof ? Hamsters are escape artists. Not because they reaaaaally want to escape, but because they’re curious and want to know everything, If there’s something that smells like food, they’ll be all over the cage to try to get to it. If they see you they’ll be clawing at the cage to come and smell you. Hamsters are busy things, people to see, things to do. So they will try their teeth on everything, including the cage. If you’re not careful, he might chew through a cage fastening (depending on the material) and hurt himself and/or manage to escape. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your hamster can’t escape. if you’ve got a glass tank, use a wire mesh with metal clamps to fit it on top of the cage make sure the cage wiring and the wire mesh holes don’t have more than 1.5 cm/0.6 inch opening for Syrian hamsters for dwarf hamsters, make sure the opening between wires is no more than 1 cm/0.4 inches; Syrian hamster babies need smaller openings, like this one make sure that the cage fastenings keep the cage well closed and can’t be opened easily check the cage for any weakness that the hamster night chew on, like ripped plastic bottom or a small hole somewhere How to clean a hamster’s cage This depends a bit on what type of cage you own, but I’ll go through each type. Whichever kind you have, you must first place the hamster(s) somewhere else. So use an exercise ball, or transport cage, to keep the hamster while you clean he cage. How to place a hamster in a temporary holding If you can hold your hamster, then scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball or transport cage. If the hamster can’t be handled, then coax him into the exercise ball or transport cage with a bit of food he loves. He only has to stay there until you clean his cage. If you’ve put him in an exercise ball, make sure you keep an eye on him as well. Remove any and all toys and home and food bowls from the cage, until you only have the bedding. The cages are very simple, open the latches on the cage (usually on the side) and remove the top. Then, after you’ve removed everything but the bedding, look for soiled parts. If the bedding looks relatively clean and doesn’t smell, remove only the dirty parts. Use a rubber glove, and throw away the parts that need to be thrown away. Keep a bit of the old bedding and nesting material, for your hamster to feel more familiar. If you’re using a sand bath for your hamster, make sure you change and clean that as well. How to clean wire or plastic cages for hamsters As for the cage itself, it will need only hot water and a bit of soap. Small quantities of soap, since hamsters are very sensitive to smell. You can scrub the sides of the cage, or wipe them down, your choice. You can also bring the cage parts into the shower and give them a good cleaning there, just make sure your pat them dry with paper towels and especially the lower part. The bedding can get wet if you don’t, and will become moldy. Once you’ve washed and dried the cage, place the parts of the old bedding back onto the lower part of the cage. Put new bedding if you need to, until you reach a depth of about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm. Then, place back every toy and food bowl or accessory in the hamster’s cage. In his hideout, place the bits of the old nesting material, and some new nesting material in the cage. Do not place new nesting material directly in the hamster’s hideout. He will take it out anyway, and bring it back in as he thinks fit. My Teddy got quite annoyed when he found his hideout full of ripped up paper towel not the way he left it. Cleaning a glass tank for hamsters The bedding and toys need to be removed the same way as the wire or plastic cages. But the last bits of bedding will require something like a vacuum cleaner, to make sure you get absolutely everything out. The cleaning and washing part is done with hot water and a small amount of soap, but will need more rinsing with a moist clean cloth. You can’t bring the glass tank to the shower, but you can rinse it thoroughly with lots and lots or moist cloth. When you’re done washing it, dry very well with paper towels. If you want to be extra sure there are no hidden water droplets in the corner, use a blow dryer. Keep it a safe distance from the glass, at least 40 cm/16 inches and use a warm setting. After you’re done washing and drying the glass tank, place back the bedding and nesting material, with bits of old bedding and nesting material as well. Place the toys and hideout and everything back, and use this as an excuse to maybe redecorate the hammy’s place. Even if the glass tank is a glass one, do now use window washing liquid on it. The alcohol and strong smell will be harmful for the hamster, just stick to hot water. Multiple levels or one ground level ? This is entirely up to you, and the hamster will enjoy both. The thing is that hamsters need a lot of leg room, because they run and climb and explore new places. If you’re looking for a hamster cage that will give your hamster a lot of space, look for a low cage, with lots of space in width and length. This will take up a lot of actual floor space in your home. So, it depends on your home as well. If you choose a multi-level cage, you do give your hamster more room, and he will use the higher levels as well. He will hangout mostly around his hideout, so make sure you put that somewhere he will not fall far from. For example my Teddy has a multiple level cage. I took out the last level so I can fit his wheel inside, but Teddy uses all the space he has. When I gave him the extra level, he used that one too. A word of caution though. Hamsters can’t judge heights very well, so they will jump or fall from a high ground if they think it’s a shortcut. My Teddy is also plain silly and just forgets he has a nice ramp set up from his upper level to the ground level. He sometimes just jumps from the upper level (like 15 cm/6 inches) to the ground floor. He often just climbs up instead of using that ramp. That’s okay, he’s working out quite well. So if you get your hamster a multi-level cage, make sure your give the levels lots of bedding. And also, make sure the levels overlap a little, so he can’t jump too far down. This is because hamsters will use the actual floor of the levels as much as they can, so there is no point if giving them a ‘high ceiling’ type of cage. Hamsters spend most of their time on all 4 feet, and don’t need a lot of vertical space to stand. Just make sure that a large exercise wheel (9 inches/23 cm and upwards) will fit into the type of cage you have. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The airflow of the cage is important for your hamster As with every living being, air is important. Stale air will give your hamster a lot of health issues, including lung problems, possible colds, and suffocation in extreme cases. To make sure your hamster gets lots of air, a wire cage is best. But to make sure the hamster won’t chew the bars, you need a plastic cage or glass tank. But with the plastic cage the air quality is often a problem. However a glass tank is often expensive. So what should you do ? Take a look at your budget, see which kind of cage you can provide your hamster and still be okay. Then, do the following: If you get a wire cage – keep it in a corner, away from drafts and in an even temp of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit If you get a plastic cage – place the hamster in his exercise ball more often, and use that time to air out the plastic cage If you’ve got a glass tank, the air will be sufficient but again keep it from drafts, and when the hamster is outside the cage remove the wire mesh to allow for more air If you hamster’s cage isn’t properly aired, the condensation and air quality will give him health problems, and we want to avoid that. This is especially important with the ammonia fumes from the hamster’s pee. Protect your hamster’s cage from drafts and any especially cold air. Placing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cage The hideout is where your hamster will spend most of his time. Place that in a corner, hidden from sight or at least under a bendy bridge or something similar. Hamsters will choose a very hidden and safe spot to build their nest, so put their hideout there. For example my Teddy often uses the most hidden corner of his cage to eat, under the upper level and blocked by paper tubes and bedding. To find out more about what kind of hideout is best for your hamster, as well as which kind of bedding is safe for him, check out my article. You’ll also find out what nesting material is okay, and how to take care if your hamster’s hideout. As for the toys and wheel, make sure you keep any tall toys away from the glass tank’s edge otherwise the hamster might climb out. The wheel can be anywhere in the cage, but make sure it fits into your cage. If it’s a mounted wheel, it will have to be attached to the side of the cage. A standing wheel can be placed anywhere. You can find my article on what kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, according to his size as well. You’ll also find out how to clean and acre for the exercise wheel, and how to acclimate him to one. The toys, whether they’re food bowls or chew toys or bendy bridges can be put anywhere. Anywhere in the cage is fine, as long as they’re not in the pee corner. Hamsters usually choose a corner to pee in, usually the farthest away from their hideout. So, in that particular corner I put Teddy a sand bath. It acts as a litter box, and it keeps smell down to a minimum. You can use an old hideout, with a removable lid, or even special sand containers. Your choice, as long as you put something there to contain the sand. Other toys, like the chew toys and climb toys you can find out more about here. You’ll learn about the kind of toys your hamster needs, and what to look for to figure out which he likes the most. And you’ll get some DYI ideas for some of them as well ! Where to keep the hamster’s cage in your home This is something you’ll have to think about for a few minutes, see where the best option is. Best not to move the hamster’s cage often. Hamsters are sensitive, and do notice and wake up when you move their cage. It won’t shock or scar them for life, but they do notice. That being said, I do move my Teddy’s cage every day, because of my apartment’s layout. During the day when he sleeps he is in our bedroom, and I never move him. But at night, before I go to bed, I move him to the kitchen where my girlfriend can’t hear him rummaging through his cage. Hamsters rarely make noise, and they’re very quiet by nature, but she’s a light sleeper. In the morning, we take him back to the bedroom and don’t disturb him for the rest of the day. Now, if you’ve got an apartment with a better setup than I do, figure out a place to keep him at all times. It’s best if it’s a room where he can’t be bothered by other pets or curious children when he sleeps. If you have a room for the hamster alone, then you can probably get him a glass tank (not taking the budget into account) since it will stay in one place. The room you keep your hamster in needs to be free of drafts, with an even temperature. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. How to safely move and handle a hamster’s cage The cage should not be moved often, but there will be times when you must do this. When this does happen, make sure you do not grab the cage by the top part, at all. Even if it has a nice handle to hold, do not trust it. Most of those are poorly build and will not hold that weight. Do not hold the wiring, since your fingers can become stuck, and the hamster will possibly chew them as well. If you’ve got a long sleeve shirt, keep the sleeves or any shirt part away from the wire cage wall. If possible, try not to bump the cage into the wall or drop it. Avoid taking it up and down the stairs, since you won’t see very well. Even more important, if the hamster is still inside the cage. In these situations use a transport cage for the hamster, and empty the large cage to hold it in an way you can see in front of you. When picking up the cage, pick it up by the lowest part of the bottom. Make sure your thumbs don’t stick into the cage or the hamster might nibble and you might drop him. When placing the hamster’s cage down on the floor, do not bend over, but kneel. This is easier on your back, and safe for the hamster as well. A word from Teddy I hope you have a clear idea of what kind of home us hamsters need now. There are difference between hammies like me (Syrian hamsters) and dwarf hamsters, but we’re more alike than different. Us Syrian hamsters need larger cages, and dwarf hamsters can do with smaller ones, but always add more space for each new hamster. For example my dwarf brothers and sisters can be housed together, in same sex pairs. But I need to be alone, I don’t like sharing my space or toys or… well, anything. If you want to know more about hamsters in general, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out more about why we eat our poop, and how much water we need as well !... Read more...
- Here’s How To Find A Hamster’s Gender (All Breeds And Ages)Knowing your hamster’s gender will save you from a world of trouble. Pairing a male with a female by mistake will get you a new litter faster than you’d like. When I got my Teddy I didn’t care about the gender, I just wanted him to be orange. It turned out he was the only orange hamster they had at the pet shop, so there we go. But today I’ll be talking about how to find the gender for your hamster, since this is very important. Especially if you’ve got Dwarf pairs. Table of Contents So how do you find a hamster’s gender ?Here’s how to find a hamster’s gender – step by stepGive the hamster attention beforehandPrepare your surroundingsOnly try it when the hamster is relaxedHold the hamster properlyLook at the underside of the hamsterAlternative ways to find out a hamster’s genderUsing a transparent containerLooking for size and shape difference between gendersWhen to separate hamster babiesA word from Teddy So how do you find a hamster’s gender ? The shortest and clearest answer is to check the hamster’s genitals. There are some very clear differences between males and females, and you will notice them in your hamster. Females – You’ll notice on the underside of the hamster a sort of bald spot where the rear end is. Those are the anal and vaginal openings for the female hamster. They are very close together, and will possibly look like the same organ. There is very little, to no hair at all in that area. Also, you will notice the nipples on her abdomen running on both sides of her belly. They might be covered by fur, but they will be there. Males – have a larger patch of fur between the genital and anal opening. Some breeds will have a third point on their belly, a scent gland higher up on the abdomen. Males have no nipples in hamsters, so you should find none. And in the end, the testicles will make the male hamster’s rear end look larger, and more elongated than the female. Alright, but how do you actually go about finding the hamster’s sex ? Hamsters spend most of their time on all fours, so they won’t really roll over and show you. Let’s see how to go about that. Here’s how to find a hamster’s gender – step by step I’ll give you a step by step guide here, but remember that this works mostly for tame hamsters. Untamed hamsters, that do no like to be handled at all, will need a different strategy. I’ll provide you with that as well, just scroll down a bit. Give the hamster attention beforehand Before you try to tell the hamster’s sex, you need to make sure the hamster is calm and relaxed. A treat and some playing and handling will help a lot with this. If you can actually incorporate this into the playtime it would be easier for your hamster. You will be holding your hamster tilted on his back, and he won’t really like that. So play with your hamster a bit, stroke him, talk to him softly, do as you would normally. Give him a treat, maybe a big one to distract him. For example a large piece of carrot that he can’t immediately show into his cheeks would be great. If not, a simple dog treat will suffice. If you’re unsure what to feed the hamster, you can check the list of safe foods here. You’ll find foods and treats as well. Prepare your surroundings Your hamster might squirm, even if he is tame. No hamster likes to be held on their backs, and you can’t really hold them above your face since this will be too high for them. So, it would be best to do this low on the ground, with a box lined with bedding under your hamster. This way if the hamster manages to wriggle out of your hands, he will only fall on the soft bedding. And he won’t really get very far, since the box will keep him contained. If you’ve got a glass tank, you can do this over the hamster’s tank, to stress him even less. Again, try to incorporate this into the play routine you have with your hamster. Make it feel like it’s another game, and he will be a bit more relaxed. Only try it when the hamster is relaxed This should go without saying, but do not try to handle the hamster when he’s irritated, or is sleeping. If he just woke up for good, and just started walking about his cage, this can be a good time. But if he was just chewing on the cage bars a second ago, and his teeth are chattering, stay away. Your hamster is not in a friendly mood, and will definitely bite you if you try to hold him now. An eating hamster will not like being held or handled either. So a good moment would be when he’s out and about as usual, or when he just woke up. Hold the hamster properly When you do hold your hamster in order to find its gender, make sure you’ve got your thumb across the hamster’s chest. The hamster should be cupped in your hand, and you will need to use both hands. Your hamster will probably squirm and try to escape, which is understandable. Do not hold him up very high, instead do this over his glass tank close to the bedding if you can. Or over a box lined with bedding, so he will fall somewhere safe and soft. If you’ve dropped your hamster and didn’t manage to figure out his gender, that’s okay. Keep playing with him, and give him a couple of bits of food for his trouble. You can try again in a few minutes. This is something that you might need to have patience with. Look at the underside of the hamster Hold the hamster a bit tilted on his back, so you can see his underside. He will probably squirm, but that’s reasonable. Use your other hand to try and feel on his abdomen for the nipples. If you find none, it’s a male. If you do find nipples, it’s a female. Take a look at the hammy’s rear end too. If you see the vaginal and anal opening close together, like they’re the same opening, it’s a female. If the openings are farther apart, and there is a patch of fur between them, then it is a male. You might also see a swelling near the tail, those are the testicles of the male. These will all look the same, whether you have a Syrian or Robo or Campbell or any other kind of hamster. Some breeds might have another point on the male’s abdomen, a scent gland. (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.) Alternative ways to find out a hamster’s gender If you’ve got an especially stubborn hamster, who does not like being handled at all, then you’ll need to find another way. Or, if you’re looking at a hamster at the pet shop, and can’t pick it up but you want to know which gender you’re picking. Using a transparent container You can use a transparent container to find your hamster’s gender as well. This means that you will need something clear, like a jar, or a plastic box. You need to be able to see clearly through it. Place the container on its side in your hammy’s cage, with a treat inside. Wait for your hamster to wander into it and take the treat, then pick up the container. This might take a few minutes, but it will happen. Once the hamster is in the container, make sure he can’t get out. This means that the sides must be high, or there must be a lid on, which the hamster has to be able to breathe through. Lift the container above your head, and look up. It might take some trying and your hamster might not flatten itself onto the floor of the container at first. But you should eventually be able to notice the hamster’s underside clearly. Look for the anal and vaginal openings, and for the nipple markings as well. This is easier on the hamster, but takes much more time. Looking for size and shape difference between genders There are a few difference between males and females, even if they’re not immediately obvious. First, a male will be a bit larger than a female. If you’ve got a Syrian, and he’s alone in his cage as he should be, this won’t be easy to tell. But if you’ve got a Dwarf pair, it will be much easier to compare a specific hamster against another. Then, another difference between male and female hamsters is the rear end. A male’s rear will be larger, and slightly elongated, pointier. This is because his testicles are there, and take up quite some space. Of all the breeds the Syrian is the most obvious one, with very large testicles. The females have a more rounder, kind of shorter end. So if you look there, you might find some tell tale signs. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters are weaned by their mother when they’re about 3-4 weeks of age. Whats more important here is that they can breed about as soon as they’re weaned. They still have a bit of growing up to do to become full adults, but they are capable of breeding even at 3-4 weeks. So this would be the time to separate the litter into male and female cages. Doing this too late can bring you surprise litters, so you should keep an eye on the mother. Once she starts weaning them, the babies will be pushed away by their mother. They can drink water and eat commercial food now. If there was a very large litter, and not all babies managed to grow and develop properly, you can leave those with the mother for another week. When you separate the babies into male and female groups, run another check a week later, to be sure that they are all male or female. Just to be sure and not have 20 more hamsters overnight. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here, and know whether you have a boy or a girl hammy. I’m a Syrian boy, and I was pretty obvious from the get go. But my Dwarf cousins might be harder to figure out, so try to be patient. If you want to know more about us hammies, like how how expensive or cheap it is to keep one of us at home, or what we like to eat, you can check the articles below.... Read more...
- Why Do Hamsters Pee In Their Wheel? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters peeing in their wheel is annoying for the owners since you have to clean the wheel more often, but is this a real problem for your hamster, or is it just a mild inconvenience for you? Hamsters do pee in their wheel, not all of them do this, but I have a hamster that has been doing this for quite a while. It stopped lately, so this behavior can change. The other two hamsters I had haven’t done this at all so I don’t know how often this happens, but I saw some people complaining about this little problem. In this article, I want to discuss all the reasons for this weird behavior, what you can do, and when and how to clean its wheel in this situation. Table of Contents Why Do Hamsters Pee On Their Wheel?1. Marking their territory2. Fear3. Preferred spot4. Busy runningWhat about hamsters’ poop in their wheel?Can you stop your hamster from peeing in his wheel?Do hamsters use the sand bath as litter?How to clean a hamster wheel?What wheel to buy for a hamster that is peeing in the wheel?Conclusion Why Do Hamsters Pee On Their Wheel? Here are the main five reasons why your hamster is peeing in the wheel: 1. Marking their territory This reason is the most frequent one, hamsters tend to mark their territory using their scent, they have a scent gland that is used for this, but they also can pee to mark the territory as a dog will do. You can see the glands on a Syrian hamster on their sides, which is a small spot(usually hairless) I know this because I was afraid that my hamster had a problem the first time I saw this. Dwarf hamsters have their scent gland on their belly, so it’s not as visible. So if you are not seeing your hamster actually peeing on its wheel, it might only be the secretion from its scent gland, which is yellowish and greasy. This might happen, especially if you clean their wheel too often, since it will lose the odor they use to mark their territory. We will discuss later how often you should clean a hamster’s wheel in this situation. 2. Fear Hamsters are prey animals in the wild, and they are easily scared, so they will have these instincts even if they are pets. They can pee when they are scared, and when they are running, they might suddenly be scared for no reason. Or when they run too fast, and go head over heels in their wheel, that might be a moment when they release urine. It might also be a sound or a movement they feel around them while they are running. 3. Preferred spot All my hamsters had a preferred spot where they would pee, those might be 2 or 3 spots, but they don’t pee randomly all over the cage. If your hamster decides that the wheel is the perfect spot, you can’t change that too easily since it appears that they don’t have a very good reason for choosing the spots other than the fact that they feel comfortable there. I had a hamster that used a plastic tunnel as a preferred pee spot, I had to remove that tunnel in the time since the tunnel was going outside the cage, and his pee got on the furniture multiple times. From a safety point of view, the tunnel wasn’t the safest if you think about it since it was outside his cage, but I guess the closed space made him feel safe and comfortable there. 4. Busy running Hamsters are not as aware as humans of what they are doing, they don’t consider the wheel as a treadmill used for cardio exercises. They are running to get somewhere else, but surprise, surprise, they are not getting too far away. When you think about this, peeing in the wheel is for your hamster, like a quick stop to pee at a gas station for you when you are on a road trip. So, it is not like peeing on the treadmill when exercising. What about hamsters’ poop in their wheel? Hamster pooping in their wheel is more common than hamsters peeing in their wheel. Hamsters don’t have a preferred spot for pooping as they have for peeing, so they can randomly poop all over the cage, including their wheel. It might also be the fact that they are scared or frightened, as many other animals, hamsters tend to poop when they are scared, so this might be the same as we talked about above about peeing when they are scared. The difference is that a hamster poops more often when scared rather than peeing. So you should not worry too much about hamster poop that you find in the wheel. They might also spit it there, yes you heard me right. I have an entire article about why hamsters eat their own poop, and in that article, I touched a bit on why hamster spit (fling) their poop outside the cage, but it can also be inside the cage or in their wheel. Can you stop your hamster from peeing in his wheel? You can try a few things to make your hamster stop peeing in their wheel. But they are just that, things that you can try, no one can guarantee success since hamsters have different personalities and behaviors. The first thing you can do is to remove the wheel for a few days, this might be a bit difficult for your hamster since it will get your hamster agitated without a place to exercise, but it will force it to find another place to pee. Then you can place the clean wheel back and hope for the best. Also, you can attempt to potty train a hamster. Keep in mind that the videos and articles you can find suggest that this is easy, but it can be quite difficult if you have a stubborn hamster. I will not get into all the details here, but check out this article to make sure you follow the right steps when potty training your hamster. Do hamsters use the sand bath as litter? A sand bath is not the same thing as a litter box, hamsters use sand baths for cleaning themselves, while a litter box should be used for the hamster to pee and poop in. So you should not add sand in the litter box but rather bedding and other materials that will absorb the pee. However, as with other animals, they might not think as you do and use their sand baths as litter and not for cleaning themselves, which can be annoying, but it is what it is, and you can’t change that easily. Here is an article I wrote about proper grooming and the importance of sand baths for hamsters. How to clean a hamster wheel? In order to clean a hamster wheel, you have to get it out of the cage and clean it thoroughly with hot water and a bit of soap, just a bit, don’t use much soap since the hamsters are very sensitive to strong smells. Also, make sure you rinse and dry the wheel very well before putting it back into the hamster cage. A hamster wheel can be cleaned when you clean the entire cage or even less often than that if the hamster is not peeing in the wheel. But if your hamster is peeing in the wheel or you find a greasy yellow secretion from its scent glands all over the wheel, you might have to clean it more often. Even in this case it is important to not clean the wheel way too often, so let’s say once a month is enough, because if you clean it once a week or so, you only encourage your hamster to mark it back when you add the clean wheel to the cage again. I know it can be weird to leave the wheel as it is in the cage but this is the better option, otherwise, you will stress your hamster more than necessary, and the end result will be the same. What wheel to buy for a hamster that is peeing in the wheel? You might be tempted to buy a metal wheel, but is usually not the best idea, especially if it’s a metal wheel with a lot of space between bars it can be dangerous for your hamster. I had a metal wheel, but it almost had no space between the bars and the bars were in very small x shapes, so not straight bars, which is a bit safer for the hamster. But I’ve also changed that wheel with a plastic one that is much safer and bigger. I’ve had the metal one since the first cage I had for my hamster wasn’t tall enough for the big plastic wheel I have now. Here is a good plastic wheel you can find one amazon: An important thing when you buy a wheel is to be silent and this one has silent in the name but also, people that bought it are pretty happy with what they’ve got. Unfortunately, it is not available in my country, so I couldn’t get it, but I saw many people recommending this wheel on forums and in communities after they bought it. Conclusion So marking territory, fear, preferred spot, and busy running are the main four reasons a hamster can pee in the wheel. When we talk about poo in the wheel, being scared is the main reason, but it is also the fact that they don’t care where they poo. I hope this article helped you know what to do when your hamster is peeing in the wheel and also realize that it might not be such a big problem. You can try the tips I give you above to make your hamster stop peeing in the wheel, but they are not guaranteed to work.... Read more...
- 11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your HamsterIt is believed that the type of habitat your hamster lives in has an effect on its well-being. Researches have tested 30 hamsters to see if adding toys and bedding to their cages would change how they make decisions when faced with an uncertain choice. They found out that hamsters who had more toys and beddings were more likely to make optimistic decisions, while hamsters that had fewer things made less optimistic decisions. Scientists link optimistic judgments with positive well-being in humans, so they used the same method to study hamsters. To keep your hamster happy, you will have to provide it with a lot of floor space where they can climb, explore, play, and exercise when they wake up during the night. You will need to place your hamster in a big enough cage with a deep base. When picking out a cage, you will want to get one with narrow wires so that your hamster can’t escape. Cages on multiple levels are the best way to make use of the space you have. Make sure you place the cage in a quiet location. Hamsters are very sensitive to ultrasounds, and they can be very stressed when they hear them. Keep your hamsters away from vacuums or running water. In the wild, hamsters love to burrow, so make sure you add a very thick layer to their cage so that they can dig and burrow as much as they want. Your hamster also needs a house where it will sleep and feel safe. The house should be big enough so that your hamster can build a nest in it, store food, and be comfortable when moving around. You should also keep a ceramic dish filled with chinchilla sand in your hamster’s cage, which will allow it to keep its coat clean. Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys. There are many toys for hamsters to choose from, such as tunnels, ladders, bridges, climbing boxes, and many more. Hamsters also need a running wheel, and it is very important that you get one that is the right size for your hamster. Getting all this stuff can be pretty expensive, but you don’t necessarily have to buy them to provide your hamster with the luxurious life it deserves. You can easily make all the toys, bedding, and the cage yourself, and only but the water bottle. Here is a list of 12 creative habitat ideas to make your hamster’s life better. Table of Contents 1. DIY Bin Cage2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage3. DIY Mansion4. DIY Hamster chew toys DIY Chew SticksDIY Chew Ball5. DIY Hamster Toy WheelsContainer Tub Wheel6. DIY Hamster Toy HouseDIY Popsicle Hamster HousePaper Mache Hamster House7. DIY Hamster Bedding8. DIY Hamster Toy TubesToilet Roll Tubes9. DIY Toy Ladder10. DIY Hamster Playground11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze 1. DIY Bin Cage The first thing your hamster will obviously need is a cage. You can get one in the pet store, or you can make your own. When you make your own cage you save money, but you are also not limited by what you can find in the pet store. Bin cages are the easiest and the cheapest way you can make a habitat for your hamster. When you make a bin cage, you don’t have to think about whether or not your hamster will grow out of it, because it’s so big. To make a DIY bin cage, you will need one big storage bin. It’s best that you get the clear one so that your hamster is able to see the outside. The size of the bin should be at least 20×30 inches, and you can fit one Syrian hamster or two Dwarf hamsters in it. If you have more hamsters than that, you will have to get a bigger bin. Another thing you will need is wire mesh, which is also called hardware cloth. If you plan on making only one cage, the smallest role will be enough, and the wire should be 19 or 23 gauge. Make sure you also get 16 nuts, bolts, and washers. Get 8-32×3/8 screws and size 8 washers. You will also need a foot of wire. Your hamster will also need a water bottle, you can get the 4 ounces one or 6 ounces one. Keep in mind that your hamster needs a wheel, and the bigger the better. If you have a Syrian hamster, get an 11’’ or a 12’’ wheel. If you notice that the hamster is bending its neck or back when it runs, get it a bigger wheel because it can get seriously injured. You will also need a wire cutter, a drill and drill bits, a permanent marker, and a utility knife with a new blade. Start by cutting the lid of the big. Put it in front of you, with the bottom facing up. It would be good if you cut out two windows because if you only cut one big window, it will probably lose a lot of strength. Keep in mind that you should leave about an inch and a half room on each side, and 3 or 4 inches in the middle to fit the screws. Draw the two windows with your permanent marker. When you’re sure that you have enough room for the screws, cut out the windows. Next, you will have to cut the mesh for the windows. Make sure you have at least an inch of mesh overlapping the lid. When you’ve cut out your windows, file down the sharp edges, or cover them with duct tape. If you don’t do this, your hamster could cut itself on the sharp edges. Then, center your mesh over the window and use the permanent marker to fill in where the drill holes will be. When you’re done drilling the first hole, get a screw and thread it through the hole, then flip the lid over, put the washer on, and tighten the bolt. Repeat the process until you’re done will all four holes. Then move on to the other window and repeat the process. When you’re completely done with your windows, you will move on to drilling holes for ventilation. You don’t have to do this if you make your windows big enough, but you never know when something can block the windows, so it’s better to have ventilation on the sides as well. If you will be drilling holes on the bottom of the bin, do it at least 3’’ from the bottom so that the bedding doesn’t cover your holes. You can also drill the holes on the top of the bin. The next step is to attach the water bottle to the bin. You should place the spout about 1’’-1.5’’ from the bedding, which should be at least 1’’ thick when you pat it down. You will put the water bottle flat against where you plan on placing it and draw 2 dots on each side of the bottle. These dots will be drilled so that you can thread the wire which will support the bottle, and you will also need a bigger hole for the spout. This hole can be a bit bigger than the spout is so that you can easily put it in and take it out. When you’re done setting up the water bottle, your cage will almost be done. You just have to wipe it with a washcloth, make sure there’s no plastic left inside, fill it with bedding and tap it down. 2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage You can make this cage if you want something sturdier, or if you’re worried about your hamster being in a plastic cage. To make this cage, you will need 4 precut panels, two 31.49×15.74 inches, and two 31.49×11.81 inches. You will also need an acrylic glass sheet, box cutter, acrylic glass glue, and wood screws, and a screwdriver. Start with the 4 panels, you will want them to be coated so that the hamster doesn’t destroy them. You will lay the panels on the floor, with 31.49×15.74 inches panels in the middle and 31.49×11.81 inches on the sides. You will screw the 31.49×11.81 inches panels to the big panel and use 2 screws or more for each side. Next, you will crew the 31.49×15.74 inches bottom panel to the three other panels and use at least 2 screws to do so. You can fill in any gaps you have with hot glue, but make sure you glue it from the back so that the hamster can’t chew on the glue. For the acrylic glass, you will need one 31.49×15.74 inches panel and two 3.93×11.82 inches panels. They should be around 0.07 inches thick. You will have to cut them and you will need a steel liner and a box cutter to do so. You should first glue the side panels to the cage and make sure you use glue on the inside and on the outside. Then you can glue on the main panel, and glue it on the inside as well as on the outside. Let the glue dry for a while. When your cage is completely dry, it’s time to add the bedding, and your cage is finished. 3. DIY Mansion If you have 2 or more hamsters, or you just want to give your hamster a luxurious life, then you can make it this mansion. This mansion will be made out of a dollhouse, so try to see if anyone in your family has one and they don’t use it anymore or try to find a used one. To make this mansion you will need a dollhouse, plastic fencing, a hot glue gun, and some long glue sticks, around 20 paperclips, an electric staple gun, spray paint, and wood which is 2 inches in height, and a razor knife. Start by spray painting your fence with the color of your choice. This step is optional, so if you don’t want to spray paint the fence, you don’t have to. Next, you will need a wood base-board which will add height so the bedding can’t escape the cage. Make sure you secure all open windows in the dollhouse with the fence so your hamster can’t escape. Glue the fence on the inside of the dollhouse with a hot glue gun. Then, you will use the fence to completely cover the open part of the dollhouse. You can use the electric stapler for this part. You will have to be very careful when cutting the doors through which you will be able to take care of your hamster. Lastly, you will have to attach the water bottle and put the rest of the stuff your hamster needs in its cage. 4. DIY Hamster chew toys Hamsters love toys and you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your furry friend entertained. Here are some chew toys you can make to keep your hamster entertained for hours while it’s relaxing in the cage. Hamsters have to chew on things to keep their teeth healthy. Hamster’s teeth constantly grow, which is why they have to chew on things all the time. DIY Chew Sticks You will need some flour and water to make non-toxic glue, wood skewers, and scissors to make chew sticks for your hamster. Start by cutting the wood skewers into 3-inch pieces. Make the non-toxic glue by mixing a 1:1 ratio of white flour and water. Then, you will dip the skewers into the glue and glue 5 pieces together. Let them dry overnight before you let your hamster play with them. DIY Chew Ball If you have toilet roll tubes, you can use them to make a chew ball for your hamster. Get the toilet roll tube and cut it into 5 equally big rings. You will only use 3 rings for each ball but cutting it into 5 pieces will give you the right size. You will take one of the rings and push it inside the other to create a sphere, and to the same thing with the third ring. This way you will create a sphere with small gaps between the toilet roll tube rings. Give it to your hamster to see if it likes it. If it doesn’t seem interested, you can fill the ball with some treats, like sunflower seeds, or mealworms. 5. DIY Hamster Toy Wheels Hamsters love running on wheels, and it’s a great exercise for them. Most wheels you find in the pet store are very noisy, so you can try making your own. Container Tub Wheel To make this container tub wheel, you will need a circular plastic container without a lid, 2 longer wooden strips, 1 shorter wooden strip, a bolt, and 2 nuts and 2 screws. Put the longer piece of wood and the longer piece of wood so that they form a T shape. This will be the base of the stand. Use one screw to secure them. It isn’t advisable to use non-toxic glue to do this because it won’t be as strong. Get the other long piece of wood and place it so that it stands upright on the first long piece. Make sure that it’s at a 90-degree angle from the short piece. Use another screw to attach this. Next, you will get the container and drill a hole in the middle of its bottom. This will be the place where your wheel will attach to the stand. Try to position the container on the stand to see if there will be enough room to spin it. When you’re sure that there will be enough room for it to spin, drill a hole in the upright wooden piece, the one that aligns with the hole in your container. Place the bolt in the hole in your container, and secure it with a nut on the other side, but don’t make it too tight because you want it to be able to spin. Next, you will have to push the rest of the bolt through the hole you’ve created in your stand and secure it with a nut on the back of the wood. In case your hamster’s cage is made out of wire, you can put the wheel against the wires to avoid your hamster chewing on the metal bolts. 6. DIY Hamster Toy House There are so many hamster houses you can get in the pet shop, but they are quite expensive. If you make your own toy house for your hamster, you can save some money, and even make more than just one house. DIY Popsicle Hamster House First, make some non-toxic glue. To make the glue, mix 1 part water and 1 part white flour and mix it to create a paste. Get some popsicles and glue them together to make a house. You will need to make 4 walls, a roof, and a stable base. Keep in mind that there should be at least one doorway in the house, but preferably two so that your hamster can run in and out of the house. Paper Mache Hamster House To make this house for your hamster, you will only need a jar, some water, and some paper. Make sure that the paper you choose to use doesn’t have any ink on it. Ink is harmful to hamsters and your hamster could chew on the house. Make the outside of the jar wet and out layers of paper in strips on the outside of the jar until you completely cover it. Let it dry overnight and remove the jar from the paper once it’s completely dry. If you’re struggling to remove it, get a popsicle and slide it down the sides to loosen the paper. When you remove the jar from the paper you will have the shape of your house, and you can cut out windows and doors, and fill it with bedding. You can also use a balloon instead of a jar to make your paper mache house since it’s easier to just pop a balloon than to remove a jar. Just remember that you have to use the non-toxic glue so that the paper sticks together, and make sure the house is thick enough to be stable. 7. DIY Hamster Bedding Hamsters need to walk on bedding in their cage, and you can also make your own bedding. To make sure your hamster is comfortable, you will have to make bedding that is clean, safe, absorbent, and doesn’t have a lot of dust. You can make your own bedding using a clean, single-ply toilet or tissue paper. You will just have to tear it up and put it in your hamster’s cage and your hamster’s house. Hamsters love burrowing, which means that you will have to put a thick layer of bedding to keep them happy. 8. DIY Hamster Toy Tubes Hamsters love playing in tubes. If you make your own toy tubes, you won’t have to clean them as often as you would plastic store-bought tubes. When they start to get worn down, you can just replace them with new ones. Toilet Roll Tubes You can make the best hamster tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls. They are very cheap and easy to make. Just cut holes in the tube and stick some favorite treats in it. You can also glue together multiple rolls so that your hamster has more places to run around. 9. DIY Toy Ladder If your hamster’s cage is on multiple levels, you should consider making it a toy ladder. Hamster ladders are really easy to make, and you will only need some non-toxic glue and popsicles. You will have to overlap the vertical sticks and glue them together. Next, you will place the sticks horizontally, and glue the ends to the vertical sticks in order to make steps. Repeat this process until you create a ladder that is tall enough for your hamster to use. Hamsters are known to nibble on wood so make sure you check whether the ladder is stable enough for your hamster to climb on it. 10. DIY Hamster Playground You can create a fun playground for your hamster using only wood popsicle sticks, toilet paper roll tubes, yarn, and glue. You will first have to build a box frame, out of glue and popsicles, that has a base, two sides, and a roof. Then, you will take the yarn and tie it to the roof. Thread one end of the yarn through the paper roll and tie it to the other end of your frame. This will make the tube hang in the air. Create as many of these hanging tunnels as you want, and you can even add some ladders. 11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze Hamsters love mazes, and you will have a lot of fun watching them play in its maze. If you have some legos in your home, use them to make walls that are tall enough so that your hamster can’t climb out of them. You can add some steps, slopes, and tunnels for an extra challenge. If you don’t have any legos you can use DVD boxes to make a maze. ... Read more...
- Why Is My Hamster Licking The Cage? 4 Main ReasonsHamsters are rodents, they like to try and test things by biting instead of licking. But licking the cage or other objects in it is not unheard of. So let’s talk about a few reasons why your hamster is licking the cage. Before getting to the topic is important to know that hamsters have different personalities and not all of them would have the same behavior for the same reason. So, it is important to know all the possible reasons for your hamster licking the cage, but you might have to decide which is most likely. Table of Contents 4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage1. Curiosity2. Cooling off3. Thirsty4. Lack of mineralsHow to clean the cage after a hamster licks it?Why does a hamster lick itself?Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands?Why do hamsters bite the cage?Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage?Conclusion 4 Reasons your hamster is licking the cage Hamster licking the cage happens more often when we are talking about glass tanks and less often for bin cages or regular hamster cages. You can check my article about glass tanks for hamsters if you want to know more about how safe they are and what you should know when you keep your hamster in one of those. Here are a few reasons why a hamster is licking the cage. 1. Curiosity This is one of the main reasons why hamsters lick their cage, so you should not worry too much about it. Those little furballs are anxious by default, and at the same time they are also curious, which might not be the best idea in the wild since they can get into a predator trap but in some situations, it might help them get food. Here is an article about what hamsters eat in the wild and how their diet differs from a pet hamster. I know that all the hamsters I had were curious, when they would hear a sound around their cage, the first instinct was to hide, but after a few seconds, they would come out to see what it was. You can imagine that this is not the safest behavior for a hamster in the wild but is fun to see it if you have a pet hamster. So them licking the cage, especially a glass tank it, is usually out of curiosity. They want to know if they should chew it and what it tastes like or simply want to explore more. 2. Cooling off If the room temperature is too high, they might lick the glass tank to cool off a bit, as we might eat ice cream on a sunny summer day. Compared to bin cages, glass tanks are cooler and your hamster can easily cool off (and even get too cold) when in direct contact with the glass. If you want to know more ways to keep your hamster cool, here is an article about 9 ways to do that. But before that, you should check this article to know what is the best room temperature for a pet hamster. 3. Thirsty Being thirsty might make a hamster lick the cage, but this doesn’t happen as often since a pet hamster should always have a water bottle filled with fresh water. But to be sure, you better check that their water bottle is working properly if you see your hamster licking the cage. 4. Lack of minerals Hamsters lacking minerals might be an obvious reason for them licking the cage. However, I’ve put it last since a pet hamster usually gets all the minerals it needs from a pre-made food mix that you can find online or at the pet shop. So a pet hamster should not lack minerals. I gave a mineral chew to my first hamster, and right after that, I wrote an article about mineral chews for hamsters. You can read the article if you want to know more, but long story short, they don’t really need extra minerals, and it might actually be dangerous for them. So, a lack of minerals is not the most common cause for a hamster licking the cage but people usually think this is the main reason because we like to control things and know what the reasons and solutions are. While most of the time, the reason is unknown and you can’t do too much to stop it, but the good news is that the hamster is usually ok and doesn’t need special attention because it licks the cage. How to clean the cage after a hamster licks it? It is not crucial to clean the cage right away, but when you do, it is important to use just a bit of soap or even only hot water. Hamsters are very sensitive to the smell of soap, and if they start licking the cage again, it can be dangerous for them. My advice is not to rush to clean the cage when you see your hamster licking it but rather wait for when you do a complete clean anyway. Why does a hamster lick itself? Hamsters are very clean animals, you don’t ever need to wash them since they are doing a great job themselves and getting wet is dangerous for hamsters. They are always cleaning themselves to stay odor free, or they might leak their scent glands to release a specific odor that helps them confuse and/or scare predators. So a hamster constantly licking itself is normal behavior. You should not worry about that. The only thing that can be bad about that is when they lick and try to bite themselves since that might be a sign of having mites. Is it ok for your hamster to lick your hands? Hamsters can lick the owner’s hand as well, they do this for a few reasons. They try to show affection by doing this, which sounds cute but it doesn’t happen as often as we think. We have to keep in mind that hamsters are not social animals and they don’t necessarily enjoy playing with you. They can tolerate you, but they cannot love you like a puppy would. Depending on the hamster’s personality, some of them might not be bothered by getting picked out of the cage, but to say that they love that is a bit much. This is similar to the first reason they lick the cage: curiosity. They will try to see if it’s safe to eat, so a small bite after they lick your hands shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hamsters explore their world with their mouth and teeth, so that’s how they will explore you as well. Why do hamsters bite the cage? A more serious and annoying behavior is when a hamster is biting the cage, either the plastic part or the bars. This can be dangerous for your hamster since they can get to eat the toxins from the plastic if they chew it. There are a few reasons for this behavior that I discussed in my article about hamsters chewing the cage bars, but I will shortly touch on them here as well. Small cage. This is one of the main reasons a hamster bites on the cage or the cage bars. They feel like they need more space or they want to evade. Stress. Hamsters are quite anxious animals, so a lot of things can easily stress them. It can be the food, the water, the temperature, the noises and so on. You might have to investigate more to see what bothers your hamster. Teeth are growing. The hamster’s teeth are constantly growing like any other rodent, and they have to chew something. It might be the fact that they don’t have any other chewing toys, or it might simply be their favorite place to chew on. Curiosity. Yet again, they are curious animals, and more often than licking something to see what it is, they are biting it. Can you stop a hamster from licking its cage? Yes, you can temporarily stop your hamster from licking the cage, but it is not guaranteed that you will always succeed in the long-term. If the reason is the fact that they need to cool of, the solution is quite simple, you have to make to room cooler. If the lack of minerals is the problem, you should be more careful with the food you give and read on the box to make sure it contains minerals and vitamins in the appropriate amount. When it comes to being thirsty, if they use the water bottle properly and the bottle has water in it, this should not be a reason for a hamster to lick the cage. The tricky part is when they are curious, in this case all you can do is to distract them with other toys and tunnels. Make sure you put some treats, and some of their food in those toys and tunnels to ensure your hamster will want to use them. A bored hamster will lick the cage, bite the cars, climb all over the cage, and generally be frustrated. Adding enrichment items will help your hamster. But don’t expect quick results, your hamster might be stubborn and ignore your treats and keep licking the cage. However, this behavior might change in time by itself without any intervention from you, so patience might be the key in this case. Conclusion A hamster licking the cage is not an actual problem most of the time, but you better make sure that reasons 2-4 are not the problem. If your hamster is just curious, that will not put them in danger, it is just how they are, curious and anxious simultaneously. I hope this article helped you better understand your little furball’s behavior.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?We see squirrels eating acorns all the time, and since they are rodents like our pet hamster, it is quite normal to believe that a hamster can eat acorns. But do they? Can your little hamster eat acorns? This is what I will discuss in this article since acorns as hamster treats are a bit more dangerous than they might look. Stick around till the end to see some cool homemade toy ideas that you can make for your hamster to chew on or play with. I will talk about this because many people use acorns as a toy for their hamsters to chew on rather than food. Table of Contents Can hamsters eat acorns?Can a hamster open an acorn?Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin?What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat?Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid.Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play withConclusion Can hamsters eat acorns? Hamsters should not eat acorns because they can have a lot of bacteria, parasites, harmful germs, and even fungal infections. There are actually two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster acorns: The first one is the one we talked about, acorns can be bad for your hamster’s health because they are not healthy for its digestive system. Even if we wash the acorns, we might not get rid of all those problems. I’ve heard there are some people that wash and bake the acorns before giving them to the hamster. This might get rid of most of the bacteria, parasites, and so on, but you still have one more problem. Acorns are quite sharp and can hurt your hamster’s intestines or cheek pouches if they store them. Hamsters tend to keep food in their cheek pouches and keeping a sharp object is dangerous since their cheek pouches are sensitive. Here you can read more about how cheek pouches work and common problems. So, while a hamster’s diet, especially a pet one, contains mostly seeds and nuts, it is important to know that acorns are still dangerous. Can a hamster open an acorn? Yes, hamsters can open acorns and get to the seed, it can take a while, but they will eventually succeed and eating the seed can be dangerous for them. If you plan on giving your hamster a natural chew toy, you can give him a walnut rather than a acorn since the walnuts are safe to eat for your hamster and it is a better option even as a toy. You give him a chewing toy, they can chew on walnuts for way longer than they would chew on an acorn, so it is not worth the risk, and there is no reward in giving him an acorn instead. Squirrels open walnuts pretty fast, have you ever seen one doing it? They are much stronger than a little hamster, and their digestive system is also different from the hamster one, and that’s why they can eat acorns much easier. Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin? Yes, hamsters can eat acorn squash or pumpkin and also their seeds. However, you should not give a big amount of acorn squash to your hamster even if it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, they don’t need much, and it’s very easy to overestimate how much they can eat. You can give them a small piece of pumpkin, 1 inch cube should be enough. If you plan to give the seeds of an acorn squash or pumpkin to your hamster, you should rinse them and dry roast the seeds before giving them to your hamster to make sure they are safe. If you want to know more about what a hamster can eat, I have an entire article where I included a food list that touches on all the important things you need to know when you feed your hamster. Check it out here. Also, if you want to give your hamster a healthy pre-made food mix, here is one that I found on Amazon. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside. It’s usually much safer to feed your hamster a pre-made mix than trying to come up with a homemade diet for a hamster since it’s quite hard to include all the nutrients they need and also, it’s much cheaper and less time-consuming this way. What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat? I don’t want to scare you with this article and make you believe that hamsters are more fragile than they actually are; hamsters can actually eat many nuts and seeds. When it comes to nuts, they can safely eat unsalted peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios (roasted but unsalted). I hope there is not something I forget here, but you get the idea. Here is what seeds they can safely eat: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds, wheat, corn kernels, and so on. Sunflower seeds are found in almost all pre-made food mixes for a hamster since they are a great source of fats and vitamins that a hamster needs. Observation: when you feed your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are unsalted or unspiced since they can be dangerous for our little hamster pets. Hamsters can also eat popcorn if it is plain, so when you buy popcorn, make sure it is not salty, sweet, or spicy. Also, it should not be microwaved since it can be dangerous for hamsters, so it is better to avoid it if you are not sure how that popcorn was made. Even when you decide to feed your hamster popcorn, make sure there are just a few pieces as a treat rather than the actual food. Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid. Here is a list of dangerous seeds and nuts for hamsters: -Almonds. They are considered nuts like the other ones, but bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound that can be poisonous for your hamster. When it comes to toxic seeds for your hamster, the list is a bit bigger: -Apple seeds -Pear seeds -Strawberry seeds -Cherry pit Some of those contain cyanogenic acids that can be lethal for a hamster. Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play with It is very important to keep your hamster as active as possible, and chewing toys or homemade puzzles can be a great option. The main reason why hamster needs to chew on something continuously is that, like many other rodents, their teeth are growing continuously. If they don’t wear down their teeth, it can become dangerous for their health, so chewing toys are not just for fun, they have an actual purpose. As I said, many people want to give acorns to hamsters to give them something to chew on, but since we’ve established that it can be dangerous, I will give you some other great ideas. -The first one and the most obvious one is to give a walnut to your hamster. Usually, they tend to chew more if you give them a walnut compared to a store-bought chew toy because they can smell that it is actual food inside that walnut shell, so they have a reason to chew on that other than wear down their continuously growing teeth. -Cardboard boxes with food inside. Closed cardboard boxes with food inside are a great way to make your hamster exercise for its food. If you are worrying about your hamster eating cardboard, I have an entire article about that. -Toilet paper roll puzzle. Cut some strips of a regular toilet roll that are about an inch or 2.5 cm long; these will form large frills at either end of the roll. Fold one end of the roll to secure any food or treats you put inside, then fold the other end to further ensure nothing spills out. To make the puzzle more difficult for your hamster, you can make the frills longer and twist them together. Your hamster will hear and smell the food, motivating him to try to figure out how to open it. There are also store-bought ones but you need to make sure they are safe for your hamster since some of them are made from pine or cedar wood which can be dangerous for your hamster. Conclusion Unfortunately, it is not safe for hamsters to eat acorns, even if you would love to see the little hammy chewing on an acorn like a cute little squirrel. We can always swap the acorn with walnut. I can promise your hamster will have a lot of work cracking a walnut. Mine chewed for a few weeks on it, and it didn’t crack. So even if it’s not a good food source because they don’t get to eat the walnut, it is a great chew toy. I hope this article helped you, and now you know what seeds and nuts to give to your hamster and which ones you should avoid.... Read more...
- What Do Hamsters Eat In The Wild? Don’t Feed Your Pet The SameAs a hamster owner, I always had this question in the back of my head, what do hamsters eat in the wild? Yes, my furball has food delivered to his house daily, which is not so bad, but it is not like this in the wild. There isn’t only one type of hamster, and they come from different parts of the world, so talking about what hamsters eat in the wild might be too general if you don’t talk about each species but the thing is that they have similar behaviors and diets in the wild no matter where they came from. There are a few differences between Syrian hamsters and the smaller ones, but we will talk about that a bit later. I decided to write this article because I wanted to make sure we don’t miss anything when we feed our hamsters, and for that, I had to do my research to see what they eat in the wild. But it is important to know that a wild hamster’s diet is not a perfect one, they might eat something they don’t like, or it is very healthy for them, but it might be the only thing they have. Table of Contents What do hamsters eat in the wild?When do hamsters eat in the wild?How does a wild hamster find water?Diet differences between pet hamsters and wild hamstersChallenges for a wild hamster to obtain food in the wild1. Avoiding predators while looking for food.2. Knowing what food is safe to eat.3. Storing food for later4. They compete with other animals for the same food.Do pet hamsters live more than wild hamsters?Conclusion What do hamsters eat in the wild? A wild hamster’s diet has a lot of seeds, grains(like wheat, oat, barley, and more), and all kinds of nuts, since those are the ones easier to find and they are pretty nutritious for a hamster, but they also might look for fruits and vegetables if possible. Last but not least, they can also eat insects if needed. The last ones are not their primary target since a hamster can live pretty well without the trouble of hunting for those, but they will not refuse them if they come in their way. Keep in mind that hamsters are prey animals, and they are not the most courageous hunters out there. They might prefer to eat the safer food they can find. When do hamsters eat in the wild? Most wild hamsters are crepuscular, which means that they are active at sunset and sunrise since the visibility for their predators is not so great, but the hamsters can see what they are doing. They usually don’t go outside during the day because they fear predators like snakes, eagles, and other wild animals, who are mostly active during the day. Most people think that hamsters are nocturnal, and they associate this with having good eyesight in the dark, which is not true, hamsters have pretty weak eyesight all the time, and it doesn’t get better in the dark. But they do have a very good sense of smell and hearing. So a hamster will procure food during those hours and store the food for later. They can carry a good amount of food in their cheek pouches but they have to store it in their burrows since they can’t keep it on them for too long. If you want to know more about hamsters’ cheek pouches, I have an entire article about how cheek pouches work and common problems. For them, the cheek pouches are similar to a shopping cart for us. How does a wild hamster find water? Wild hamsters will get most of their water requirements from their food, especially vegetables, seeds, and fruits. They might also drink water from puddles and streams but this might not be accessible for all wild hamsters, and as you can imagine, it can be quite dangerous to make noises while they drink, and storing water for later is not an option. Rainwater is also an option, but as we all know, it is not reliable, and they usually avoid the rain directly since they can get sick very fast if they get wet, check my article to see more on why you should never wash a hamster. They can drink rainwater only if they capture some water in their burrows, but they will not get outside when it rains to drink water. Diet differences between pet hamsters and wild hamsters I will not get into many details about what a pet hamster should eat since that would be an entire article and I already wrote a big article hamster’s diet. Most hamster owners feed their small friends with specially-formulated food pellets that usually have all the vitamins and minerals a hamster needs. You can also feed a pet hamster whatever a wild hamster can eat, but those mixes are more than enough and they usually cover all they need. So my advice is to feed your hamster with a pre-made mix, and if you want to give it some extra food, nuts, seeds, and even some cooked meat, if you respect what I’ve said in the article about what hamsters can eat, your hamster should be fine. Make sure you check the article since there are some exceptions, especially when you feed a dwarf hamster that has a predisposition to diabetes. While a Syrian hamster can eat small amounts of banana, a dwarf hamster should avoid it completely. A wild hamster on the other hand will not focus as much on a healthy and nutritious diet because his focus is surviving and not a balanced diet. So saying that you should feed a hamster what they actually eat in the wild instead of a pre-made mix might not be the best idea. The pre-made mix is the ideal version of what a wild hamster would need in the first place. Challenges for a wild hamster to obtain food in the wild As you can imagine, a wild hamster faces many challenges when trying to find food. I will list here a few of them: 1. Avoiding predators while looking for food. This one is the biggest challenge a wild hamster will face when finding food. They have predators everywhere, it might be a snake that comes from the ground or from the water, it might be other wild animals from the ground or burrows, an eagle or owl from the air, or even other hamsters. A hamster looking for food in the wild is in for a wild ride, with a high chance of the hamster actually becoming the food, which is pretty sad. 2. Knowing what food is safe to eat. They have a pretty good instinct for that, but they don’t know all the time which type of insect, plant or seed is poisonous and which one is not. Or if that food is safe in the long term, we as humans know what is safe for us and what is not. We know that if we eat only chocolate for a few months, we will end up with some serious health issues but a hamster might not realize that eating only fruits for a month might get them in trouble. But, the wild hamster will eat whatever it can get its paws on since it doesn’t have many options. 3. Storing food for later Hamsters have cheek pouches that are more like a shopping cart for them but they can’t store food in their cheeks for too long, so they have to come back to their burrows. This limits their ability to go too far for food, especially because they don’t have the best eyesight. 4. They compete with other animals for the same food. In the wild there are a lot of animals that will eat the same thing, so for the wild hamster it’s not only important to find food, but it is also important to find it first. Also, places with more food will be more crowded by animals and the stronger ones will get the most food. As you might imagine, hamsters are not the strongest animals in the wild since they are pretty small. They are pretty strong for their size and bite quite hard, but it is not enough to kill a snake or other predators. I remember when my hamster was hanging from the cage ceiling, and actually moving using only two paws which is quite incredible, I have to admit that I envy his power. Do pet hamsters live more than wild hamsters? Not having predators makes pet hamsters live longer than wild hamsters. Also, they don’t face all the challenges that a wild hamster would face when it comes to finding food or water. Hamsters are not social animals, and they are quite happy if they have food and water, so this might make them good pets but not perfect one. A hamster is not a puppy or a kitten is a bad pet for a young child (under 9 years old). Read my article on 10+ reasons why you should not get a hamster. Conclusion A wild hamster will eat way more things than a regular pet hamster but don’t confuse more things with a more diversified diet. They eat more things because this is what helps them survive, they don’t get to choose what they want to eat to complete their diet. So the life of a wild hamster is just that – “wild” when it comes to finding food or water. And this is without talking about finding a partner to reproduce with, which is a big challenge on its own. Check my article about hamster reproduction, it is way more interesting and complex than you might think. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between the life of a pet and a wild hamster. Please make sure you take good care of your little furball and you make its life as good as possible.... Read more...
- This Is Why Your Hamster Is Freezing And What It MeansEvery hamster owner ever has asked themselves this question. Why is my hamster freezing, and what does it mean ? Well, my Teddy (fully grown Syrian hamster) does this regularly, and we’re here to let you know your hamster is probably fine. There are a few reasons he can suddenly freeze, and we’ll cover them right now. Table of Contents So why does your hamster randomly freeze ?What to do when your hamster is frozenHamsters have very sensitive hearing and smellShould you worry about your hamster freezing ?Other hamster behaviors that might seem strangeA word from Teddy So why does your hamster randomly freeze ? Generally a hamster will freeze because he’s listening for something, or focusing intently to hear if there are predators around. Even if he’s lived his entire life with you safely, his instincts will kick in every now and then. Other possible reasons could be that you’ve surprised your hamster by suddenly moving, or you’ve scared him. Hamsters scare easily and are very skittish, so they will do this even if you do your best to not startle them. So for example if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and walk past your hamster’s cage, you’ll notice him staring at you blankly. Not moving at all, until you come close to him and try to interact. I’ve seen Teddy do this often, and I’ve always wondered if there’s something wrong with him. Turns out he’s alright, he’s just being a hamster. So your hamster could be listening for something, or he could be surprised, or scared. Or a combination of any and all of those 3. This happens less often over time, as your hamster learns every new sound that comes along. As long as your hamster is not frozen most of the time when you see him, he’s fine. What to do when your hamster is frozen It’s important to let your hamster listen for a few seconds for what just happened. They learn and get used to new sounds as time goes on. If he’s not coming out of it soon, you can try talking to your hammy. Keep in mind that he has sensitive hearing, so keep your voice low and soothing. You can bring him a small treat as well, to distract your hamster. I’ve done this with Teddy, and while at first he doesn’t react, after a few seconds he comes closer to hear me out. If you want to know what other foods you can give your hammy, check out my article about what do hamsters eat. I’ll also tell you about some other treat options that are safe for hamsters, and your hammy might love them ! Hamsters have very sensitive hearing and smell So it could be that your hamster froze for no reason. But he heard something you didn’t. It might not be anything, it could be leaves falling or a clock ticking. To your hamster it might sound interesting or scary or important. This is something hamsters do regularly, so do not worry. Your hamster is fine, he’s just listening for something. For example Teddy will run and run and run in his wheel and then suddenly stop, get on his hind feet, and just stand there for a full minute. He’s done this when eating, or drinking water, cleaning himself as well. Basically anytime. The main reason behind this behavior is that hamsters are prey, and they’re used to running away from everything. In time their instincts have evolved to get them to check for predators at all times. Even if your hamster grew up in your home, safe and sound, he will still do this. It’s normal, and part of a hamster’s life. Your hamster has very good hearing, to listen for any possible threat. But he also has very sensitive smell, so he will react to that as well. If your hamster is used to you and your smell, and you go to pick him up after handling something he might not like (like citrus) he will scurry away from you long before your hand gets close to it. When you do wash your hands, make sure it’s not with very floral or strongly scented soap. Otherwise your hamster will not want to get close to your hands. Also be careful when handling food and then your hamster. It might mistake the smell of chicken wings on your fingers for actual food, and bite. They don’t have very good eyesight, especially when compared to their hearing and smell. They’re very active at dawn and dusk, so crepuscular light is best for them. Should you worry about your hamster freezing ? Your hamster is alright, even if it might seem strange that it freezes suddenly. He’s simply listening for something, and just following his own instincts. Unless your hamster freezes often and for long periods of time, there is no reason to worry. However if you’re still worried, best to bring him to the vet, for a general checkup. One reason your hamster seems to freeze often could be that he’s very scared of you. This is fairly normal when your hamster is young or new to the house. For this it’s best to get your hamster slowly used to your presence, and feed him treats whenever you see him so he learns to trust you and get used to you. Limit those treats though, since an overweight hamster is not healthy and will develop serious health problems over time. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after this image.) Other hamster behaviors that might seem strange These are things I’ve seen Teddy do, and seen other hamsters in videos do. Some of them have an explanation, and some of them are just… random. Backflips. Hamsters react very suddenly when startled, so if you scare them and you’re very sudden, they might just do a backflip or jump to the side. Or just jump. Hamsters are kind of acrobats, and I’ve seen Teddy backflip and land safely. This does not mean you should make your hamster do a backflip, ever. But they can do this, and although it looks funny for humans, it’s a sign of fear. Sprints. Hamsters will sometimes suddenly sprint into their hideouts, or just through their cage. They can do this when they’re startled, or just because. I’ve seen Teddy do this for no apparent reason. Climbing and falling off the cage. This is something I’ve never managed to understand, and I’ve found no relevant answers online either. Teddy will sometimes scale the cage walls, and get a serious ab and back workout out of it. And then suddenly let go. He just falls. He lands on the bedding, and there’s lots of it, so he’s safe. But no one I’ve spoke to about this knows an answer. I’ve seen Teddy do this with the top of the cage as well. It happened more often when he was younger, and had more energy. For moments like these it’s important you get your hamster a very good cage, that’s also safe and large enough so he can run around. Hamsters scaling the cage walls are a sign of extra energy and you can provide your hamster with an exercise wheel, as they need to run to burn that energy. Here is an in-depth look at the best hamster wheels, according to hamster breeds and budget. I’ve taken care of that and provided him with a large cage and wheel anyway. But I still don’t know why my hamster suddenly falls off the cage walls. You can make sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself by giving him lots of bedding. To find out how much bedding a hamster needs, check out my article here. And here you’ll find a roundup of the best hamster bedding options available. Laying down slowly. It looks a lot like they’re melting or getting ready to sleep. As far as I’ve seen with Teddy, he slowly lays down near a corner of the cage, not in his house. He closes his eyes and drifts off. It’s like he forgot he has a house to sleep in. It never lasts more than a few minutes, and he does react if I speak to him or tap the cage. But he will put his head back down and lay flat. Other hamster owners I’ve spoken to said it might just be a form of dozing off. A word from Teddy I hope this article was helpful to you, and you know why we can sometimes freeze. I used to do that a lot when I was a ‘kid’, until I learned most of the sounds in the house. Now I just freeze if someone walks by me at night when I know I’m alone. If your hammy is doing the same, don’t worry. He’s probably curious about what’s happening and is focusing on figuring it out. Talk to him and he’ll come closer to listen to you instead. Feel free to look around the blog, you might find more useful articles on hamsters. Like how to feed us, what kind of cage we need, and how much water we need.... Read more...
- 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 So 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...
- Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?If you’re looking to get a rodent, but can’t decide between hamsters, mice or rats then this article will help you sort that out. Unfortunately they can’t be all kept together, you need to pick just one kind of pet. But they’ve all got different needs, even if they are so similar. Let’s see a bit about each rodent, so you know which would be the best pet for you. If you want to know how a hamster would fare if he were to live in the same cage as a rat or mouse, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents About the hamster – general info + personalityAbout mice – general info + personalityAbout rats – general info + personalityFood difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any)Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with ownersCage size and housing differencesA word from Teddy About the hamster – general info + personality A hamster is very small, can be as small as 2 inches/5 cm, and as large as 5 inches/13 cm. He doesn’t need as much room as a rabbit, and usually stays put. As in, leaving the hamster in his cage all his life is not a problem, as long as he has a large enough cage. He does need a bit of exercise, but this is where his exercise wheel comes to the rescue. Hammies don’t like to share and generally should not be housed together. The only exceptions are the Dwarf types, who can live with a sibling or two of the same sex. This is only true for siblings that have never been separated and live in a very large cage, so they won’t fight over food and toys and general resources. Even so, I recommend keeping any and all hamsters alone, one hamster per cage. This reduces the hamster’s stress levels and this way you make sure there are no unnecessary fights, which can sometimes be deadly. Hamsters are prey animals, so they’re used to running away and hiding. Their cages need to have plenty of hiding places, so they can feel safe. This also means that taming the hamster will not be as easy as taming a puppy. He will take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to trust you. And that trust can always be lost, or forgotten if you stop interacting with him for a few days. Still, hamsters make for very entertaining pets. It’s just that the vast majority of hamsters only come out of their hiding place at night. This means that if you go to bed before 10 PM you might just miss their waking up. And if you wake up around 6 AM, they’ve just gone to bed. So I’d only recommend a hamster to a person who either stays up very late, or works night shifts and can catch the hamster awake more often. They’re also very sensitive animals, in that there is such a thing as handling them too much, and too little. They get grumpy if you wake them up, they won’t always want to stay in your hands… okay, they rarely want to stay put. They want to explore and see everything. Their personalities are not obvious from the start, when they’re babies. But once they grow up (3 months-ish) you’ll realize you’ve either got a Rambo type (all over the place, exploring, trying to intimidate you, not staying still) or the world’s laziest and relaxed furball. There is no in-between. All hamsters mellow down once they become old, it’s just that some are absolutely spastic when they’re young. About mice – general info + personality Mice are very social animals, and will generally do better if they’re kept in a small group. For example 3 females, or 2 males seems to be the best kind of match. There will always be one mouse trying to be the dominant one. Mice are much smaller than hamsters – smaller than a Dwarf sometimes – and are so much more agile and quick. This means that trying to handle a mouse is very hard, since he’ll be all over the place. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to tame. But it is much harder than with a hamster. Usually mice are kept as pets to look at, rather than play with. Even if you do manage to hold onto one, he’ll almost immediately want to go exploring. Mice, like hamsters and rats, have poor eyesight and as a result they can’t really judge distances and heights. All 3 will try to jump off of ledges or out of your hands if they’ve had enough, but mice and hamsters are just plain terrible at this. They will jump from high places, even if they’re too high. Mice are only a slight bit smarter in this area. Still, seeing a small colony of mice interact and build their own little nests, and lay with every little toy is going to be fun. They’re almost always unpredictable, and seem not to care if they survive a climb or any special endeavor. Given how shall mice are, even the mellow, chill ones will seem skittish. That’s just the way mice are. They can get along with each other, but it’s a lot like with Dwarf hamsters. They must be siblings, and never been separated at all. Even then, they might argue from time to time. What sibling doesn’t, though ? About rats – general info + personality A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent. That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. They’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters. Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them. When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal anything if ever left outside of their cage, and let them out your should from time to time. This is mostly because they need lots of stimulation, and sometimes being kept in their cage isn’t enough. You can always keep just one rat, but you should be warned that you’ll need to interact with him often if you want him to not get bored. A bored rat is never good news. He will try to escape, chew through a part of the cage you’d never expect, or just wait for the perfect moment when you’re opening his cage to take him out. But, a rat is a smart animal, and he will be very entertaining. He’ll tend to understand you better, and sometimes even sit still when you need him to, or when you just want to keep him cuddled in your arms. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Food difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any) When it comes to food, hamsters mice and rats eat pretty much everything. They all eat mostly grains, with some fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too, ans so it a bit of meta. It’s okay if it’s mealworms, it can even if a bit of boiled plain chicken. Do keep in mind that the serving sizes vary from animal to animal. A hamster will need 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried commercial food mix (depending on whether you’ve got a Dwarf or a Syrian). This is per hamster, per day. A mouse will need just the one teaspoon, once a day, aside from whatever treats you give them. A rat will need much more, amounting to 2 tablespoons of their commercial mix food. They’re much larger and need more food than the other two rodents. However all 3 have teeth that never stop growing, and they will need to gnaw on something all the time. This is where the dry grains or pellets come in handy. Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with owners Hamsters are solitary animals. If you really want to, you can house a pair of Dwarf hamsters, but that often doesn’t end well. This is mostly because hamsters are very territorial, and they end up fighting over everything, unless they have a very very large cage. The only way you can keep a pair of Dwarf hamsters is if they’re siblings, of the same gender (so 2 girls or 2 boys), and they’ve never been separated. Hammies do interact with their owners, but they don’t bond with them as much. They can be rather aloof and disinterested most of the time, unless you’ve got a treat in your hands. Mice can be kept in more than just pairs, but it’s the same story as with Dwarf hamsters. They should be siblings, of the same sex, and never separated. They’re very skittish and all over the place. Handling them – and as such taming them – is going to be difficult, like with Dwarf hamsters. They simply don’t sit still, and don’t really like being handled. They bond a little more with their owners than hamsters, but that doesn’t say much. Rats are social too, but they should be kept with a buddy if you can’t talk to them or handle them often. They can grow bored very easily, and need a whole lot of toys. Cage size and housing differences When it comes to housing these rodents, things aren’t very different. For example a hamster can live in a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is for one lone Syrian hamster, or two Dwarf types. This same size is enough for one male rat, or 3 female mice. Mice males need a cage almost as big as a Syrian’s, just for one male mouse. Females live together easier. When it comes to toys and objects inside their cages, all 3 rodents need plenty of things to play with. Rats need the most stimulation, and will end up getting bored the fastest. This means that giving them plenty of puzzle toys is going to help. Puzzle toys can be something like a maze made out of an egg carton with holes cut in one end, and a treat at the other end. All 3 rodents are great with mazes. Another such toys would be a cardboard tube with a treat inside, but very tightly packed so the pet can’t get to the treat easily. Climbing toys are another object rodents will love, but especially mice and rats since they are used to climbing pipes or small plants. Hamsters prefer the low ground and tunnels. Rats and mice will go for hammocks, or maybe ladders, suspended bridges, and so on. If it requires a bit of acrobatics skill, it’s a rat or mouse toys, not a hamster toy. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies sometimes get confused with mice and rats, but we’re a bit different actually. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...