Best Hamster Toys – DYI And Store Bought

The best hamster toys ever are not easy to find, but they’re there if you look for them. Some of them can even be made at home !

This is my guide to the best hamster toys ever, and a few tips on making your own. Teddy loves both kinds, and he’ll show you some of his favorites.

My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but the toys we’ll talk about are also good for smaller breeds like Robo hammies or Campbell.

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Teddy enjoying his nature-made chewing toy

In this guide I’ll show you the best hamster toys I’ve found online (which can be bought), and also give you a few ideas of how to make your own hamster toys at home, as a DYI project.

Remember that not all hamsters are alike. Some hamsters might like chewing toys best, while others might like digging towers even more, or are only interested in exercise wheels. Get to know your hammy, and expose him to several toys types, so you know which he likes best.

Chewing toys for your hamster

Chewing toys are necessary for all hamsters, even if they’re not really chewers. Hamsters need to constantly chew in order to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Their front teeth are always growing, and if left unchecked can reach into their lower jaw can cause serious health problems.

Best store bought chew toys for hamsters

Every pet store carries at least a few types of chew toys. Most of them are made of wood that is safe for hamsters, while the remaining others are made of materials that are safe for hamsters but are not wood. I’ll give you a couple of examples here.

Best wood chews for hamsters

Here’s a fun little wooden set your hammy will enjoy. They have some bells in them as well, which is great for hamsters since they react to sound.

The wood is a great way to help your hamster file down his teeth, and it’s really sturdy. So those pieces will last your hamster for a long time.

You can check the set on Amazon here, along with the price.

Best non-wood chews

Apple chews are a great way for hammies to file down their teeth and get some extra fruit in their diet. It’s best to give these to your hamster along with other treats, not just this one.

Since it is organic and exclusively fruit, your hammy might go through it fairly fast but he’s sure to love it. Banana chips work well too.

You can find it here on Amazon to check it out for yourself, and check the price.

Dog biscuits

Weird, I know, but hamsters will go for dog treats as well. Actually, the fact that dog treats are very hard and crunchy is what hamsters love.

It’s best to stay away from any flavored dog biscuits, and just get plain ones. Or, you can get a box of milk bones.

The hamster will take entire days to go through the treat, and a whole box will last you pretty much forever, given the size of the hamster and the number of treats inside.

You can check out the milk bones on Amazon here, and see the price as well.

Home-made chew toy

One of the best home-made toys for your hamster to gnaw on is…. a walnut ! Or chestnut !

My Teddy has a couple of walnuts he usually plays with, and he’s always trying to get them open. He gnaws at them for a few minutes then leaves them alone. Then he comes back later, and so on.

Whatever nut you choose for your hamster (walnut, chestnut, ) make sure it is clean and dirt-free. Wash it beforehand with extremely hot water, and use a tooth pick to pick out any stuck dirt or particles.

Do not use detergent or a disinfecting agent. If you’re not sure it’s clean, best to not give it to your hammy.

Another great chew toy is a piece of thick twig, or a small branch that you’ve cleaned beforehand. The best kind of wood for your hamster to chew on is also the one he has the bedding usually made of. That’s aspen, but you can also go with some fruit trees (like apple or pear).

Running toys for your hamster

Most hamsters are runners by nature. This is what they have to do anyway, and my Teddy is ridiculously fast on his running wheel.

Best store bought exercise toys for hamsters

A running wheel is one of the most basic things you need for your hammy. As such, it should be quiet, it should stay in its place, and made of something your hamster won’t hurt itself on.

To find out more about exercise wheels for your hamsters and how to use them right, you can read here.

The vast majority of running wheels that you get when purchasing your hamster cage are horrible. Too small, won’t spin, cheap plastic.

A good running wheel is a bit of an investment, but will last literally your hamster’s entire life. So don’t skimp out on the running wheel for that matter. It’s what will keep your hamster busy 60% of the time.

For this I’ve found a great, silent wheel that’s suitable for all hamster types, Syrian and Robo as well. It has a tail and neck guard, and will stay in place.

It is heavier, like 2 lbs/nearly 1 kg but that is because of the heavy base to keep it in place in the cage. The wheel itself is not heavy, so your hamster will be able to spin it well enough.

You can check it out on Amazon here and see the price as well.

Home-made exercise toys

A home-made running wheel is not something I would recommend.

This is because running itself is a very fast activity for your hamster, so unless every nook and cranny is well calculated, I’d avoid making them at home.

It might be too risky for the hamster to run in a running wheel designed at home, since it might come apart in a way you didn’t anticipate. Or it may snag on your hammy’s paw, because of the material used.

Digging toys for your hamster

Some hamsters are diggers, some are not. My Teddy isn’t a digger, so I have no bright ideas for digging toys, but I will tell you this.

The bottom of your hamster’s cage/glass tank must be filled with a lot of bedding. A whole lot. The more the better, since the hamster will have a lot of fun digging around.

So don’t skimp on the bedding, give you hamster plenty, something like the width of your palm is good.

You can read nice roundup of the 4 best hamster bedding options out there, and see which would work best for you.

As for which kind of bedding is okay, your safest bet is aspen. But for a more comprehensive talk on the safe and unsafe kinds of bedding for your hamster, check out this article on how to choose the best bedding for your hamster.

Best store bought digging toy

A digging tower is easily the best thing for your hammy, and I looked around for a good one on Amazon. Unfortunately there are not many options, but this one seems to be the best.

It’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit, and you can fill it with whatever kind of bedding your hamster likes. You can look at him through both sides since 2 are transparent. And you’ll be able to see him crawl through the bedding and find the exit.

You can check the Amazon pricing for it here.

Home-made digging tower

I’ve found a great video on Youtube for a home made digging tower for your hamster. You can easily do it at home, just that you need a few supplies and tools. I’ll link the video here, and you can watch it anytime.

Erin (the lady in the video) is the number one channel I watched in the first few weeks of owning Teddy.

Hiding toys for your hamsters

Hamsters live to hide, it’s what they do half the time. So you can give your hamster a lot of options here.

Best store bought hiding toys

Hide and seek toys are always fun, but most of them are too small for a Syrian hamster.

If your hamster is smaller, like a Robo or a Campbell, then most hiding tunnels will fit your hamsters well enough. But here I’ve found a toy that will fit a Syrian as well, and can be enjoyed by all kinds of hamsters.

It’s made of wood, and has a whole lot of entrances and separate exits. Your hamster will be darting in and out of it all day, every day.

You can check its pricing on Amazon here.

Home-made hide and seek toy

Most of these will be toilet rolls, paper towel rolls, or egg cartons. You can put them in your hamster’s cage as is. You can  also cut a few holes in them to make them a sort of maze or puzzle.

Other hiding places for your hammy to use could be very sturdy plastic cups that he can hide in. Just make sure that the plastic is a very hard one. Hamsters will chew on everything, even just to try them out, and soft plastic is not good for them.

Another idea would be those bendy plastic tubes you’d normally attach to the sink, but much wider. The width of the tube must be at least 2.5 inch/7 cm so your hamster can easily fit through it.

You can bend it into all kinds of shapes, and even bury parts of it under the bedding to make for more underground space.

Climbing toys for your hamster

Some of the weirdest things a hamster can do is climb. Climb everything. If you’re a new hamster owner, this will probably blow your mind. I know it was complete news to me that hamsters are part spider.

Best store bought climbing toy

I’ve found this cute and colored climbing toy for hamsters, along with great reviews on Amazon. It attaches to the top of the cage (like the wire mesh or wire lid).

Your hamster can climb on it, and chew on it as well, since it’s made of wood. It will suit Syrian hamsters and Chinese or Campbells as well.

You can check the pricing on Amazon here.

Home-made climbing toy

Here’s a home-made climbing toy idea for your hamster. Grab a few walnut halves, a long piece of twine, maybe a few pieces of wood, and put a hole in each of those. Feed the twine through all those holes, making a know after each new piece.

At the end you should have a series of walnut halves, pieces of wood, all on a long piece of twine. You can tie the twine to the top of the cage, or use a D-link to fasten it to the top of the cage.

You can also hide a couple of treats in those walnut halves for your hamster to find.

If you don’t have walnuts, you can still use twine and wood pieces, to make a sort of ladder. Popsicle or bamboo skewers are good substitutes too.

Simple puzzles for hamsters

Your hammy is a very curious one, even if he doesn’t have the voice to ask about his or that. He still wants to know everything that’s going on, and will investigate thoroughly.

Home-made puzzles

Again, most of the home-made puzzles will be made of toilet rolls. They’re the easier, cheapest, and safest material to work with or your hamster’s home-made toys.

One example is a regular toilet roll, cut some strips into it, make them about an inch/2.5 cm long. They should end up looking like large frills, at each end of the toilet roll.

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Teddy’s DYI puzzle toy

Then, one end will be folded so nothing can escape, and you will place a bit of food or treats for your hamster.

Then fold the other end to make sure no food will get out. If you want, you can make the frills longer and twist them together, making it more complicated to open.

Your hamster will hear and smell the food inside and do his best to rip, tear, chew and find a way to open the puzzle.

You can do the same with small boxes, if you have some. whichever tiny boxes made of cardboard are good for him. Place a bit of food in the smallest one, and place as many boxes as you can inside the other, like a russian doll.

Hiding a bit of food into the suspended walnuts I talked about earlier is a great idea too.

Store bought puzzles

Unfortunately most of the searches I’ve done came up empty, and the ones I have found are too complex for hamsters.

So in this case it’s best to stick to making your hammy his own puzzle, with a toilet roll and a bit of imagination.

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

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What makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ?

This depends mostly upon your hamster’s personality. Most hamsters will love most toys, but they can still ignore some kinds.

Some hamsters like to chew. Others like to dig, some like to run, others love to hide. You’ll notice this about your hamster only after a few weeks, if you’ve given him every type of toy, and see which he uses the most.

For example my Teddy is a chewer, and he loves everything made of wood that he can gnaw on, including bendy bridges, walnuts, his home, and so on.

He doesn’t like tubes as much, or hide and seek toys. He doesn’t hide a lot, but he is curious and sticks his face everywhere.

He also runs a lot, so his wheel was the best thing ever. It still is, but not as much as it was when he was younger. You can find out more about hamster wheels here.

Some hamster toys can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on your budget and disposition which kind you want for your hamster. But as with most animals, home made versions are sometimes the best.

Like a paper bag that drives the cat crazy, or a slipper that will become your dog’s favorite toy. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you can make from toilet rolls and a bit of creativity.

But sometimes, there are toys that are out of this world and can only be bought. I hope I gave you enough options to choose from, so you can make your little friend happy.

Why hamsters need toys

The usual life of a hamster in the wild can be pretty … wild. He will run away from predators, hide, dig his way out of a predicament. But in your home he is much safer and it can get a bit boring at times.

So your hammy will need some stimulation, otherwise he might start chewing the cage bars, or becoming very very agitated.

You can take care of this by providing your hamster with toys of different types, sometimes reintroducing toys he used to ignore, maybe he changed his mind.

Also providing your hamster with a large enough cage will make sure he has enough space to explore and not feel cramped. You can check the 5 best hamster cages (for Syrians and Dwarf types) and see what I mean.

Just like with humans, hamsters are curious and intelligent, and will need stimulation. For example my Teddy sometimes starts chewing on the cage bars if he is ignored, or bored. So I’ll start playing with him or give him a new puzzle to solve.

Teddy: Us hamsters are very active, and we need something to keep us busy most of the time ! So make sure you give your hammy a couple of toys to make life more interesting.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found some great ideas for us hamsters here ! I know toys for hamsters might be a bit weird to figure out at first, but  you can definitely find ideas around.

Remember that each of us has their own personality, likes, and dislikes. So if I’m a chewer and a runner, maybe your hammy is a digger, or a climber, and needs different toys than me.

If you want to find more info on hamsters, check out the articles below. You’ll find out how much food we need, what kind of home we like, and why we sometimes eat our poo !

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Vegetables: carrots, celery, broccoli, dandelion leaves, cauliflower, clover, kale, bean sprouts, asparagus, chickweed, chicory, cucumber, corn, spinach, watercress, radicchio, romaine lettuce, turnip, peas, green beans, chestnuts, squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini. Nuts, seeds, and grains: pumpkin seeds, peanuts, millet, flaxseed, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, barley, walnuts, lentils, soybeans. Other foods hamsters can eat grasshoppers (pet food), mealworms (pet food), boiled eggs, plain grasshoppers, plain tofu, whole grain bread, cod fish (with bones removed), low-fat cottage cheese, brown pasta, unsalted peanut butter. You shouldn’t feed these things to your hamster too much, though. These are all things that your hamster can eat, yes, and they eat these things in the wilderness, but today’s food mixes for hamsters are optimized for their dietary needs. 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It has so many fatty things (which is important for your hamster, but in this case, these fatty scraps in the mix are too tempting) that hamsters run and eat those as soon as possible, and leave out healthy foods. Since they’re full, many hamsters don’t return to finish their meal, so you might be throwing some of this food away. You can even use this mix for gerbils, as it’s good for them, as well. It also has plenty of natural fruits and veggies for your hamster to enjoy, and it’s rich in antioxidants to support your hamster’s immune system. When we’re discussing treats, you can use anything we’ve listed above as a treat. There’s no need for you to spend money on factory-made treats. However, there are some advantages to this, the most obvious one being that those treats are clean and optimized for hamsters, so you can be sure that what you’re rewarding them with isn’t unhealthy. We’ll take a look at just two examples: Tiny Friends Farm Lovelies and Kaytee Healthy Bits. These treats are universally loved by all hamsters, and they’re both fine for Syrian and dwarf hamsters. The Healthy Bits treat mix is definitely going to cause happiness with your hamster, as it actually contains honey. These treats aren’t too big, so your hamster(s) won’t have any trouble eating them. When it comes to nuts, we know that we’ve already mentioned them along with seeds, but it’s important to note that they’re a natural source of protein and necessary fats, with different hamsters liking different nuts. Here, we’ll expand on the list of nuts we’ve already mentioned: barley, cashew, flaxseed, lentils, millet, oats, peanut, popcorn, walnuts, monkey nuts. It’s also important to add fiber to your hamster’s diet, just like it’s important to have fiber in your own diet. Timothy hay alfalfa hay is a good, natural source of fiber. You should also know that Syrian hamsters absolutely love insects and you should definitely try to feed them whenever you can. Insects are a great source of protein, and they’re their main food source in the wild. Feeding them with insects isn’t essential, we understand that not all people are happy with keeping bugs in their home, but your hamster will definitely be grateful if you do. However, not all insects are good for your hamster, so here’s a list of insects that are: mealworms, wax worms, crickets, and grasshoppers. It’s important to create a well-balanced diet for your hamster. It’s best to use a mixture of the food suggestions listed above to create a diet that’s going to be both tasty and healthy for your hamster. Then, combine that mix with treats. Their diet needs to provide them with enough energy for the day. Hamsters are very energetic animals that need to burn that off in order to function properly. If they don’t run around enough, they will get stressed out. Choose a food mix as the backbone of your pet’s dietary plan, and surround it with treats and additions. The general rule is that a single tablespoon of the mix is enough, and mix that with a couple of treats. You should also try to keep it interesting for your pet. You can change your hamster’s meal plans, don’t be constantly feeding it crickets or mealworms, switch it up. You’re definitely not eating the exact same thing every day, so why should your hamster. If you notice that your hamster’s gaining a lot of weight, don’t fear cutting down on the portions. When feeding your hamster, use a ceramic food bowl. This is the best solution for feeding and a much better option than plastic feeding bowls. Hamsters will definitely knock the plastic feeding bowl over and spill food all over the place. This way, all uneaten food will stay in the bowl and be ready to get eaten later. They provide a designated area for feeding and they keep all the leftover food clean. Your hamster will quickly learn that it will always be getting food in that bowl, so it will start to move around it when it’s hungry. Hamsters will also fill their cheek pouches with secret stashes of food to build secret food stores near their bed. They do this by instinct, as in the wilderness they’re hiding their food from other hamsters. If you have more than a single hamster in the same cage, you’ll even notice that they keep hiding food away from one another. If you have the time, observe your hamster as it’s eating – this will give you a good idea of what it likes and what it doesn’t like. If you notice that your hamster doesn’t like a certain vegetable, replace it with another vegetable. If you notice that it won’t eat a certain fruit, replace it with another fruit. Obviously, if you see that your hamster’s sick from eating a certain food – don’t allow them to eat it anymore. A good example of this is watermelon. Even though it’s not poisonous for hamsters, it has so much water that their little bodies simply can’t handle it. While we’re at it, let’s just say that it’s also bad to overfeed your hamster. It’s in the hamster’s instinct to eat and eat and eat until they can’t eat anymore, they can’t help it. They’ll only stop eating when they’re absolutely full, and even then, they’ll stuff food in their cheek pouches and hide it somewhere. So, you can easily get your hamster fat if you’re not careful. Stick to the ‘one tablespoon a day’ plan. Also, don’t let your hamster fool you into thinking it’s hungry just because the bowl is empty – they’ve most likely hidden their food away in an attempt to get more of it. Hamsters would most likely eat even less than a single tablespoon a day in the wilderness, so you’re feeding them more than enough. Owners are often confused as the tablespoon of food can be larger than the hamster itself, but that’s more than enough for them. What Are Syrian Hamsters Allergic To? There are many foods that you should never feed your hamster, but it’s also possible that your hamster, as an individual, has developed an allergy to something. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t feed your hamster. Almonds, avocado (it’s literally poisonous to them), apple seeds, chocolate, sweets, potato chips, pork, raw potatoes, grape seeds, rhubarb, tomato leaves, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc.), watermelon, jam, spices, garlic, onions, chives, leeks. All hamsters are allergic to these foods, not just Syrian hamsters. You should always avoid feeding these foods to your hamster, as it will make it very sick. Almonds contain cyanic acid, which can make your Syrian hamster very sick. Seeds can also be harmful, and most often are, so remove them from the foods. There are certain seeds that are okay (we’ve listed them in the previous section), and those seeds are safe to feed to your hamster. Seeds that are in food mixes are okay, as long as there’s not too much of them. However, seeds from fruits are a big no when it comes to hamsters, so you should always remove them before feeding your hamster a fruit. This means that you can’t feed your hamster apples, peaches, and plums before you take out the seeds. Unfortunately (for the hamster), you can’t feed it chocolate. Theobromine is a substance found in chocolate, and it negatively affects your hamster’s circulation. Syrian hamsters are very strong, with very strong immunity, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be facing any problems with them. Unlike dwarf hamsters that develop diabetes easily. However, a poor diet can cause a few issues with any hamster. A poor diet can also cause diarrhea. You will recognize this by a loose stool, and you should consult a vet. Many illnesses can be caused by a bad diet, so you should always keep in mind that the problem might originate in food intake. If you notice your hamster losing weight, losing fur, breathing in distress, having a nasal discharge or skin lesions, you should take it to a vet. When it comes to allergies in the normal sense, hamsters can develop allergies the same way humans do, and they even sneeze the same way humans do. If you’ve noticed your hamster sneezing, they may be allergic to their bedding or something in their food. They’re also allergic to dust, just like us, so there may be microscopic dust in the air. To eliminate this problem, try changing beddings, foods, to an unscented fabric softener, and use an air filter by your hamster’s cage to eliminate all allergens in that environment. However, if the problems refuse to go away, contact a vet. There are also many things that irritate hamsters, although they’re not exactly allergic to them. Perfumes, pine and cedar shavings, scented candles, electric “plug-in” style diffusers, scented room sprays, and even some cleaning agents can be harmful and irritating to your hamster’s respiratory canal. You should move your hamster’s cage away from these fumes to deal with this problem – this is the path of least resistance. Cigarette smoke is especially irritating to hamsters, not to mention that it’s especially harmful. If you’re trying everything and you still can’t get your hamster to stop sneezing and it’s clearly in distress for more than five days – contact a vet. How Long Can Syrian Hamsters Go Without Food? This applies to all hamsters: hamsters can’t go for longer than three to four days without food and/or water. It depends on when did they have their last meal, what did they eat, how much did they eat, and how active they have been for the past few days. If you’re just going to be staying at work a bit longer than you’ve planned, you don’t have to worry about your hamster’s health – they’re going to be fine if they have their dinner a few hours later.  In summation – the feeding mix should be the backbone of your hamster’s diet. You should build your diet around it by adding various snacks and treats, that we’ve listed before. Those things are healthy additions, but they’re not exactly required. You should definitely avoid all foods on the list we’ve mentioned, as they’re toxic for your hamster. Not all of those things are lethal for your hamster, but many of them will still harm your furry friend. You should never overfeed your hamster with treats, as they should mostly be used as a reward for a job well done, for example; when you’re teaching it a new trick. Also, never overfeed your hamster on the food mix, your pet will get fat and that’s a whole other barrel of monkeys to deal with. Understand that each hamster has their own individual taste just like people do, and try to find out exactly what they enjoy eating, and what things they do not enjoy eating. Always keep your hamster’s water supply fresh and full, try to change your hamster’s water every two days. Know that hamsters can only live three to four days without food and/or water, so you shouldn’t worry if you can’t make it back home on time, or if you stay somewhere for another day unplanned, without a method of feeding your hamster (they probably have a hidden stash of food somewhere, anyway). Try to feed your hamster once in the morning and once in the evening, with keeping a single tablespoon for norm – half a tablespoon in the morning, half a tablespoon in the evening. Know that your hamster is definitely storing food away, so don’t be fooled into thinking that your hamster is hungry just because its bowl is empty. Always make sure to keep the food clean, and use it before the expiration date – never keep fruits and vegetables in the cage for longer than 24 hours if the hamster hasn’t eaten it, as it will rot and that can harm the hamster. Try to feed your hamster during a certain period every day, that way, it can get used to your schedule and won’t make a fuss if you’re present but not feeding it. [...] Read more...
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out For
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out ForOwning a pet hamster requires you to be perceptive and knowledgeable when it comes to the hamster’s natural habits. That means that you should know when they are about to hibernate and what the signs of their impending or current hibernation look like considering the fact that some breeds of hamsters just aren’t suited for the cold and may end up dying when they go into hibernation.  After all, it’s going to be natural for hamsters to go into hibernation when the season gets cold but the problem is that some people cannot really tell whether or not the hamster is hibernating, sick, or dead. That’s why we have come up with the 9 signs that you should look out for to know whether or not your hamster is just hibernating. Table of Contents Toggle1. Binge-eating2. Shivering3. It starts to become lethargic4. Hamster hibernation temperature 5. Check for breathing6. Inspect its heartbeat7. Its food and water will remain untouched8. The hamster will become stiff9. It should feel cold to the touch 1. Binge-eating This is probably the most common sign of hibernation in any kind of animal. It is quite normal for hibernating animals to start binge-eating before they go into hibernation because they would need all that food during the winter when they will enter a long state of suspension. During that state of hibernation, they won’t be able to eat anything. So, in your hamster’s case, if you notice that it is eating far more than it does on a regular basis, it may actually be storing food for energy in time for winter when it is about to hibernate. After all, it needs the excess fat to keep its body well-nourished during its state of hibernation.  This will happen when the temperatures start dropping. As such, the best thing to do in your case is to keep the temperatures higher than 20 degrees Celsius so that the pet hamster won’t end up having to binge eat in time for winter. 2. Shivering Even before the hamster begins its hibernation cycle, you will actually see tell-tale signs that it will begin to hibernate. One of them is when the little pocket pal begins to shiver due to how the temperatures are starting to get colder and colder. Your hamster won’t be able to handle temperatures that are too cold, hence it will begin to hibernate when that happens. So, your best bet here is to keep your hamster’s habitat as warm as it can be without making it too warm. Your hamster needs to be placed in an area where there is enough ventilation such as a window but windows may end up becoming too cold for it.  What you can do in such a case is to provide it with a warm lamp that is capable of heating up its enclosure so that it won’t get too cold even when it is in a particularly cold corner of the room. 3. It starts to become lethargic Before your hamster begins its hibernation, you may notice that it becoming a bit lethargic and lazy. That means that it won’t be moving as often as it did in the past before the temperatures got a bit too cold.  There are times that it could mean that your hamster has simply fallen ill but, if it is still in perfect health, it could only mean that it will begin to start hibernating as soon as the temperatures become cold enough for it to hibernate. But before you assume that its lethargy is a sign of an impending hibernation, you have to make sure that it was completely healthy just a few days before the season got cold. That’s because its lethargy, as mentioned, could just be a sign of sickness. 4. Hamster hibernation temperature   Hamsters will only hibernate whenever the temperatures are getting cold. This usually happens when the winter is approaching because that is when the season gets too cold to prompt your little furball to start hibernating. Check the temperatures and see if they are steadily below 20 degrees Celsius. If yes, then the hamster is probably hibernating. However, if you want to check whether or not your hamster is hibernating or is sick, you may gradually increase the temperatures to over 20 degrees. If the hamster wakes up, then that means that it was just hibernating.  This might take a few hours to a few days but a hamster that was just hibernating will eventually wake up when the temperatures become too warm for it to hibernate. 5. Check for breathing This can be pretty challenging especially because hamsters that are hibernating are most likely going to be breathing very slowly to the point that they may sometimes appear to be dead or very sick. But you can still tell that they are breathing even when they are hibernating.  Just inspect the little guy closely and see whether or not it is taking short but deep breaths. If yes, then it just means that it is hibernating. You may also pick a hibernating hamster up but you will notice that it will be quite weak and limp due to the fact that it is dehydrated. Its ears and nose will also be quite cold if you try touching them but that doesn’t mean that it is dead. 6. Inspect its heartbeat Another sign of life that you should look out for when you think your hamster is hibernating is its heartbeat. A beating heart will always tell you that it is still alive but is merely in a suspended state of hibernation. But the problem is that telling whether or not your hamster has a heartbeat can be pretty tough considering how small these little furballs are. In that case, what you need to do is to place your forefinger and thumb on the sides of the hamster’s chest. Try applying a bit of pressure but not too much. When you do so, the heart will start beating in about a minute after applying a slight pressure to its chest. But be careful not to apply too much pressure as it can actually end up causing internal injuries to the hamster. 7. Its food and water will remain untouched Naturally, whenever an animal is hibernating, it will undergo a period where it will be in a state of suspension. As such, when that happens, they will become inactive as they fall into a deep slumber. They will not move around or even eat and drink. So, obviously, if the hamster is hibernating, it only means that it won’t be eating its food or drinking its water in that state of hibernation. As such, if you check its food and water and they remain untouched, that could only mean that your hamster has entered a state of hibernation and will not wake up until the temperatures begin to warm up again. 8. The hamster will become stiff The problem when it comes to hamster hibernation is that these little furballs will become so stiff whenever they are hibernating. In fact, they are so stiff that you might think that they are actually dead.  Their entire body will become so stiff that one would think that it would be impossible for its limbs to begin moving again. It would appear lifeless and may not even move even if you try to manipulate the hamster’s body into moving. That doesn’t mean that the hamster is dead. If you try to apply a bit of heat to the hamster’s habitat and gradually increase the temperatures to more than 20 degrees Celsius, you might soon notice the hamster moving its limbs again even though it might be weak and limp due to lack of water when it was hibernation.  9. It should feel cold to the touch Your hamster should not feel warm at all while it is hibernating. The truth is that it should feel so cold that you would think that you are feeling a dead body. But body temperature shouldn’t always be an indication when it comes to telling whether or not your hamster is dead or is just hibernating considering that this animal naturally becomes cold to the touch during winter seasons. However, if you tried to warm its habitat but it still feels unresponsive even after a few hours or a few days, there is a good reason to believe that it has fallen ill or may have even died due to the cold temperatures. That’s why it is always important to make sure that you don’t allow the cold to take your hamster as there is a good chance that it will end up dying while hibernating due to dehydration. [...] Read more...
Five Best Ways to Bond With Your Hamster
Five Best Ways to Bond With Your HamsterWe all want our pets to live healthy and happy lives, and in order to ensure that, we have to cultivate a loving relationship with them. This means that we have to bond with our pets. If you have a hamster, bonding may be a little more difficult, as hamsters are relatively untrusting animals that don’t exactly enjoy human touch. This is completely due to evolution, so you shouldn’t blame yourself if your hamster isn’t exactly showing signs of affection. However, there are many ways you can bond with your hamster. It needs to be addressed that hamsters are very frightful animals that don’t really trust anyone, so you should know that your hamster is going to be afraid of you for a very long time. And even after you’ve bonded with your hamster, it’s still going to take a step back before it takes a step forward. These animals have no defense system aside from running away, and they’re always at the bottom of the food chain, so they instinctively fear everything. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to overcome this problem and how to form a strong bond with your hamster. It’s important to stay patient and not give up just because it’s going slowly. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the most important conditions you will need to fulfill if you want your hamster to trust you. Without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Toggle1. Make Sure That Your Hamster is Comfortable2. Talk to Your Hamster3. Feeding Your Hamster4. Handling Your Hamster5. Playing with Your HamsterUseful Tips 1. Make Sure That Your Hamster is Comfortable This is very important to any animal, not only to hamsters. Even we, humans, can’t really fulfill our full potential unless our environment is good. We can’t study if our room is a mess, and we can’t work if everyone in the office is shouting – the same principle applies to hamsters; they won’t feel comfortable if their environment isn’t comfortable. You have to understand that hamsters are afraid of everything, and they’re under a great deal of stress after moving. So, when you get your hamster, know that it’s going to take weeks for the hamster to settle in and feel comfortable and adjusted to their new surroundings. To speed up this process, you have to make sure that you’ve made the hamster feel good in their own fur and that their home isn’t presented as a danger to them. This requires two things: buying a good cage and placing that cage. Let’s cover the placement first. You don’t want to place that cage near a TV or a speaker, because hamsters have a very good hearing (and terrible eyesight, while we’re at that), and even though the television or the speaker may not be loud by your standards – they’re going to be obnoxiously loud to the hamster and they’re going to have a lot of trouble functioning. Also, putting them in children’s rooms may not be the best idea, as children are likely to play with them while they’re unsupervised. This is a problem because the hamster can’t be played with until they completely trust their owner(s), and that process takes time. Children immediately playing with the hamster is only going to scare the animal to death, and it’s likely that the hamster will bite to defend itself. Even though hamster bites can’t do much damage, as long as the wound is disinfected and healed properly, this sort of negative interaction will make the hamster trust you even less, and it’s only dragging the process back. It’s also important to note that the expression ‘scare to death’ is quite literal when we’re discussing hamsters (and many other small animals). Their hearts are known to give out if they’re put under too much stress, and a five-foot-tall child pushing their fingers into the cage of a few inches tall hamsters is incredibly scary for them, and that will definitely make them fight back (even though the child has no harmful intent). So, make sure that the space you’re putting the cage in isn’t under too much light, there isn’t too much noise, and there’s not a lot of movement from people. The ideal temperature for a hamster is between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure not to put the cage next to a source of heat, draft, or too much sun. The second thing you have to ensure is a good cage. The most important thing for a cage is for it to have enough room. This depends from hamster to hamster, as hamsters (just like us) have their own personal preferences, and two hamsters of the same species may not need the same amount of space. When the cage is too small, the hamster is going to feel stressed out and that can even lead to injury. Hamsters are known to rub their faces against the cage bars, which causes them to lose fur. If the hamster doesn’t feel comfortable in the cage, then it’s not going to feel comfortable around you. Every cage should have plenty of room, bedding, a hiding spot, fresh food and water, and a wheel to run on. The latter is very important, and even though some people think it’s just a gimmick, hamsters actually enjoy running on their wheels – these animals have a lot of energy and they need to burn it off, otherwise, they won’t feel good. When you’re choosing the right cage, you can choose between mesh cages, glass aquariums, and plastic cages. Metal mesh cages are okay, especially because of ventilation and ease of maintenance, but smaller hamsters can run away. Take note that hamsters will always try to run away, even if they adore you and have fully bonded with you – they’ll still try to run away and get to the wilderness if the opportunity for that arises. They can’t exactly help it, it’s in their instinct. Hamsters can fit through insanely small spaces, so you should keep this in mind when purchasing a cage. Glass aquariums are the safest for the hamster, as they can’t hurt themselves and they can’t run away – but they’re hell when it comes to cleaning. Lastly, we have plastic cages, which are great and fun for the hamster, but have poor ventilation and are difficult to clean. When it comes to size – two square feet is a minimum, but your hamster may require more. Look for advice from your local pet shop. 2. Talk to Your Hamster Hamsters have very good hearing, and the first thing you should do to bond with your hamster is talked to it. Just sit in front of the cage and talk. You don’t even have to be talking to the hamster, you can be talking on the phone, read a book out loud, or simply think out loud while working – it’s just important for the hamster to hear your voice and get used to it. After a few weeks the hamster get completely used to your voice and it won’t shiver upon hearing it. It’s also good to talk to the hamster when it’s doing enjoyable things like eating or running on the wheel. 3. Feeding Your Hamster Now, another great thing you can do for your hamster to get more acclimated to you is to feed it. Don’t just feed it the same thing every day – you don’t eat the exact same meal daily, so why should your hamster do that? There are many treats, like apples and seeds that you can give to your hamster. With time, you will be able to try to feed your hamster out of your open palm. This is very important and a great way to improve the relationship between you and your hamster. Firstly, make sure to wash your hands before you place them in your hamster’s cage for any reason. Hamsters can’t see well, so they use their sense of smell and touch to tell what’s what. They tend to bite, even if they don’t feel threatened, to see if what’s in front of them is actually food. So, if you push your finger in your hamster’s cage and it smells like the pot roast you’ve had for lunch, you’re basically guaranteeing that your hamster will bite your finger. Hamsters can’t control this instinct, once again, as they’re conditioned by evolution to eat (or at least store) every sort of food they come upon. It’s important that your hamster trusts you enough to eat out of your open palm. Just like hamsters, every other animal (including humans) is vulnerable when eating. And being vulnerable on the open palm of a creature that’s twenty or thirty times your size is very risky. The fact that your hamster is willing to casually eat out of your hand means that it understands that you have no intention of harming it. Place a small piece of apple in your open palm and put your hand in the cage. Let the hamster come to you. It may not work the first time, but it’ll work after a while. Talk to the hamster as you’re doing this – we’ve already discussed how important it is for the hamster to recognize your voice, and this will make it understand that you’re not a threat. 4. Handling Your Hamster It’s going to take a while for your hamster to let you hold it. It’s best to do this after you’ve been feeding it by hand, because that’s a clear sign that your hamster trusts you (somewhat), and it’s time to move to the next step. To hold your hamster, put both hands in the cage, and when your hamster has allowed you to keep them there – connect them to cup them together under your hamster’s belly. You can then raise your hands and you’ll be holding your hamster. Don’t take your hands out of the cage and start carrying your hamster around just yet, for the first time, just let it lie on your cupped hands and let it go back after a while. Try this a few times a day for a few days, each time going a little bit further – taking the hamster out of the cage, putting the hamster close to your chest, carrying the hamster. You have to know that despite the hamster trusting you, it will try to jump out of your hands at the smallest sign of danger – a dog barking, you shaking, etc. This will become a huge problem because it’s very difficult to catch a hamster once it runs away, so the best way to deal with this is to point the hamster towards your chest. Let it feel your body’s warmth, and it will also be more difficult for it to escape because it’s going to be rotated towards you, not away from you. You should do this for a while, and after a few weeks, your hamster will trust you enough to let you hold it whenever you like. Make sure to reward your hamster with a treat every time you hold it like this, that will make it understand that it’s all for a good reason and that you have no intention of harming it, but quite the opposite – rewarding it. You can use this opportunity to pet your hamster. Just like any other animal, hamsters enjoy being pet on the back of their heads. This will further deepen your relationship. 5. Playing with Your Hamster Playing with your hamster is the ultimate level of trust with your pet. It’s difficult to come to this point, but once you do, your hamster trusts you almost completely. Know that your hamster will still try to run away if you don’t enclose its playing area, so it’s best to place some sort of wooden enclosure on the floor when you’re playing with your hamster. One of the most fun things is to teach your hamster tricks. This is actually fairly simple to do, as all hamsters are motivated by food and you can use that to teach them to jump, flip, roll over, spin in a circle, and even wear clothes. Another thing you can do is to buy toys for your hamster. There are many toys available for hamsters at pet stores, but the most popular one is the exercise ball. This is a plastic ball that the hamster can enter and run around with it. This is a form of exercise, but it’s also fun for the hamster. This ball will allow your hamster to safely explore your home, but make sure that it doesn’t fall down the stairs and that it doesn’t roll around for longer than twenty minutes without a water and snack break – hamsters don’t have the strongest stamina. One thing that you have to make sure of when playing with your hamster is to check for any hazards. Make sure that your hamster can’t reach any electrical outlets or chew on a cable. Also, don’t let any other pets in the room while your hamster is there, and block any spaces that your hamster might crawl into. There are times when your hamster will just want to hop into your lap and let you pet it, this is also a form of playing and let your hamster enjoy it. Useful Tips Only approach your hamster when it’s awake. Hamsters like to sleep, a lot, and they usually spend the largest part of the day sleeping, and they’re at their most active when the sun is setting, and later when it’s rising in the morning. They are not going to appreciate you waking them up, and they’re not going to want to play. Approach the hamster when it’s ready to be approached. Let your hamster climb on you. Once your hamster starts finding you trustworthy, it’s going to want to climb on you. They’re pretty good climbers, and they’re not going to hurt you, so you should let them climb on you. This is another form of playing to them, so they’re not going to cause any harm. Groom your hamster – your hamster’s fur is going to grow. Hamsters are actually some of the most well-groomed pets, very similar to cats, and they’re going to spend a large part of their conscious life grooming themselves. Still, make sure that they’re properly groomed. Clean your hamster’s cage often – nobody likes to live in a dirty home, and hamsters don’t like it either. Unfortunately, they can’t exactly clean after themselves, so make sure to clean your hamster’s cage whenever it gets dirty. [...] Read more...
Where Hamsters Come From – Origin Story Of Your Furry Friend
Where Hamsters Come From – Origin Story Of Your Furry FriendIf you’ve ever wondered where your hamster comes from, know that I asked myself the same question. Turns out hamsters have a short history of being pets, and some really wild and rugged ancestors. It’s a whole story, really. And there’s more than just one hamster type. Today there’s 5 types of hamster available for purchase, and they’re all a bit different. But let’s start with the basics: where do they come from, where do they go ? (Cotton-eyed Joe) Table of Contents ToggleSo where do hamsters come from ?About the Syrian hamsterAbout the Roborovski DwarfAbout the Campbell DwarfAbout the Siberian/Winter white DwarfAbout the Chinese DwarfThere is a wild European hamster no one has ever tamedHow the wild hamster came to be your cuddly petPet hamsters vs wild hamsters – is there a difference ?Is a hamster a good pet for your home ?A word from Teddy So where do hamsters come from ? Hamsters, as a whole, have several ‘roots’ but they all stem from the same general region. Reaching from southern Turkey, Syria, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, parts of China, hamsters are mostly Asian in descent.  At least the ones that we’ve been able to domesticate somewhat, and keep as pets. Each hamster type has a different story, but they have a common thread. That of being noticed in the wild by one scientist or explorer, and brought back to the Western world as pets. The modern hamster, aside from variations in coat patterns, is very much the same as the wild hamsters discovered about a century ago. Next, we’ll cover the roots of each hamster type, and how they came to be our pets, including how to care for them given their ancestry. About the Syrian hamster Originally from southern Turkey and Syria, the Syrian hamster is the largest of the pet hamsters (up to 7 inches/18 cm). They come from a very hot and dry place on this planet. They’re the most diverse-looking hamsters out there. They can be all in one color, spotted, ringed, with a dominant spot, golden, or ashen, or pretty much any color combination you can imagine. The most common is the Golden variation – also the one found in the wild – with orange on the back, and white on the belly, with a bit of grey on his ears. My Teddy is like that. The Syrian was first sighted in 1839, but didn’t become a pet until the past few decades. You see what happened was that all the way back in 1930 a zoologist named Israel Aharoni was able to find a mother hamster, with a litter of 11 babies. They were found in Syria, and brought to Jerusalem for study. Not all of the litter survived, since the mother sensed danger and started eating the babies. Unfortunately that happens, and the zoologist wasn’t aware, no one had known hamsters before. A few of the babies survived, and were raised in the laboratory in Jerusalem. Some escaped, and became the wild hamsters of Israel. In 1931 a few of them were transported to Britain, and from the on raised and passed on to various laboratories for studies, and to breeders as well. Today’s modern Syrian hammies are descended from that one mother found in Syria, since none have ever been successfully captured and bred since. So my Teddy – Golden Syrian male – is probably related to your Syrian hammy, like very very distant cousins. About the Roborovski Dwarf The Roborovski hammy, or the Robo Dwarf, was first sighted and noted by Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski, a russian expeditioner. These hammies are much, much smaller than the Syrian, and they’re actually the tiniest of all hamsters. They grow up to 2 inches/ 5 cm and that’s it. Robos live in parts of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. The regions of those countries that the hamster lives in are particularly dry and sandy, with very little vegetation and water, so this hammy has learned to be great at surviving on very little water. The Robo was brought in the common household only around 1960 when they were imported into the London Zoo, in the U.K. Given their small size Roborovski hammies have become very popular as pets, and they’re among the hamster types that can live in a pair. Even if they’re the smallest and hardest pet to literally hold onto, Robos win with their cuteness. Their fur markings are more limited than the Syrian hamsters, but they live the longest – up to 4 years being the record. About the Campbell Dwarf The first ever Campbell Dwarf was found and collected in 1902 in Mongolia by Charles William Campbell (hence the name). The territory these hamsters live in is somewhere between southern Russia, northern China, Mongolia, and a part of Kazakhstan. Most hamsters, aside from the Syrian and European hamster, come from that area, actually. Of all the hamster species, the Campbell Dwarf is the most social. They’ve been found living with other hamster types in order to share tunnels, protection, and food. They also come close to human settlements to find warmth, shelter, and food. For example they can be sometimes found in mongolian yurts in the winter months. It’s unclear how these furry creatures came to the Western world since there are no definite records. Still, I’d imagine it happened like with the rest of the hammies that can be purchased now.. About the Siberian/Winter white Dwarf The most confusing hamster type out there, it’s usually confused with the Campbell Dwarf. The Siberian hammy’s name is always a mix, ranging from: Siberian (given the region it lives in) to Winter White since its fur changes to white in the winter to Russian since it inhabits parts of Russia and finally Djungarian for another region of China this hamster lives in plus the added “Dwarf”, to make it all even more confusing Now that being said, this particular hamster lives in parts of Russia, Siberia, China, and Mongolia. The appearance is a lot like the Campbell Dwarf, but with a few key differences. The Siberian Dwarf is small, with a white belly, and a browny color on its back, a dark stripe going down the back, and a dark spot on its crown.  In the winter the fur goes almost completely white. The Campbell hamster has the same look, but grey on its belly, and has a much thinner stripe down the back, with no dark fur on the crown. They can interbreed only by male Siberian and female Campbell , but the result is a sterile litter. Naming and discovery happened in 1773 by Peter Simon Pallas, who first described it as a mouse, and later renamed it Mouse Songarus. The Siberian hammy was brought to Germany (and the West in general) only in 1968, all the way from western Siberia to the Max Planck institute in Germany. About the Chinese Dwarf This hamster was also discovered by the same zoologist as the Siberian Dwarf, Peter Simon Pallas, and recorded in 1773. There is some serious confusion between the Chinese hamster, and the Striped Chinese hamster. They seem to be the same species, but it’s honestly hard to make sense of the conflicting info. Some say they’re the same, some say they’re each other subspecies, some say they’re completely different. What’s definite though is that they both have a longer tail than other domestic hamsters, and look mostly the same. As in mostly brown with a few darker hairs, and a very thin dark stripe going down the back. These hammies are larger than a Dwarf, but smaller than a Syrian. As in, the reach up to 4 inches/ 10 cm, yet they’re classified as Dwarf types, given that they’re still smaller than the Syrian. Chinese hamsters are also very territorial, and can’t be housed together. They and the Syrian hamster will fight to the death, even if introduced to their own siblings as babies. The region these hamsters live in ranges from Mongolia, China, Korea, Western Siberia, Southern Russia. There is a wild European hamster no one has ever tamed Alright, after all these hamster types that you can find in most pet shops, there is another one. A much larger, completely impossible to tame hamster. The European hamster, or black-bellied hamster, can grow to double the size of a Syrian hammy. So that puts an adult European to about 8-14 inches/20-35 cm ! Their fur is usually brown, with a black belly, chest, and neck and a few white markings on the neck and paws. Its territory ranges from Belgium and Eastern Europe, all the way to Western Russia. Aside from this, not much is known about this hamster when it comes to who named it and why it’s not suitable as a pet. I’m guessing its large size makes it harder to keep in check, and thus wouldn’t be a good pet. That’s just my guess though. How the wild hamster came to be your cuddly pet Now that you know where your hammy came from, now let’s see which kind of hamster you have. You can find a simple, clear guide to hamster breeds here, so you know which hamster type you have. And here you’ll find the main differences between the Syrian hammy, and the Dwarf type hammies out there. There’s quite a few differences. Okay, now you know which hammy you have. But how did it become your pet ? Actually, why did hamsters in general become pets ? Well, as you’ve read most of the hamster types were imported to either Britain or Germany for study. Back in the day zoologists and explorers did intense research and expeditions to find out everything you now read in your zoology and biology textbook. They did more than just that, but that’s the part where the hamsters come in. So hamsters became both laboratory animals, and zoo expositions as well. Once scientists and professors started getting valuable info about the hamsters and they became widely known, they started to become gifts. For a dignitary or diplomat, hamsters were given as pets, and were exported into toe U.S. as well in the late 1900’s. So the hamster has a history of curiosity in the wild, to laboratory animal, to zoo animal, and finally as a pet.  They became very popular as pets in 1930-40, and only grown in popularity since. (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.) Pet hamsters vs wild hamsters – is there a difference ? When it comes to temperament, the modern hamster isn’t all that different from the wild hamster. Given the fact that the selective breeding process has been going on for less than a century, your hammy at home isn’t decidedly tame or domesticated. Unlike dogs for example, who’ve been bred for thousands of years, and became domestic and tame and loving pets, hamsters have a very short history of being pets. And there is also the difference between rodents and canines, which makes rodents harder to teach. That being said, if you were to release your Syrian hammy in your back yard, it would have a low chance or survival, depending on where you live. If you’re in a warm, sandy, dry place, it would be a lot like his home and he’d scamper away to dig a burrow. If you’re like us in a cooler, more humid place, with all 4 seasons, your Syrian hammy would perish as soon as autumn kicked in. It’s not necessarily the cold that gets to them, but the humidity that goes through their fur and makes them sick very fast. When it comes to markings though, the modern hamster has many more variations than the wild one. Aside from that though, your pet hammy is mostly the same as his wild cousin. Is a hamster a good pet for your home ? A hamster is a great pet to have, but he comes with his own challenges. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, light, sounds, and smells. They don’t do well in crowded, loud homes, and react very badly under stress. They also get stressed very easily, to there’s that too. The ideal home for a hamster is a quiet, calm home, with not many adults, children, or pets running around the house, and of an even temperature. For this reason, and the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal and sleep during the day, hamsters are deceptive pets. They look cute and sound easy to take care of, but need constant handling in order to remain tame. A lot of patience and calmness in needed to take care of a hamster, and quite a bit of attention to detail too. Like the cage size, the spacing between bars, the kinds of food he gets, and so on. Hamsters are still wild animals, and rodents at that. So they’re excellent escape artists, and will often gnaw on everything they can. That being said, having a hamster as a pet can be rewarding on its own. It’s just very different from having a puppy or a kitten. You can find out more about what having a hamster is like. And if you want to know how to choose a good hamster for you, check out this guide on the health and personality traits to look out for in your pet hamster. A word from Teddy I hope you liked reading about us hammies, and how we came to be your pets. I know it can be a bit confusing, but we’ve had a wild ride all the way to your home. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can read the related articles below, for steps on how to care for us and so on. [...] Read more...
How to Find a Hamster Breeder The Essentials
How to Find a Hamster Breeder The EssentialsHamsters are such adorable creatures and I won’t be surprised if you are already researching how to find a hamster breeder. However, your search is going to become a lot easier as I’ve done all the hard work for you. In this article, I’ll be talking about how to find a hamster breeder and other sources where you can buy hamsters from. You can find a hamster breeder at hamster online communities, hamster shows and expos, and from online directories of hamster clubs.  Now let’s see in full at the different places you can buy a hamster. You may be already familiar with some of them or learn new places where you can buy a hamster. Continue reading to find out the best places to buy a hamster. Table of Contents ToggleWhat are the best places to buy a hamster?1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder2. Pet stores3. Hamster Communities Online4. Hamster Shows5. Hamsters For Adoption6. Pet ExposHow to find a good hamster breeder?Questions to ask a hamster breeder What are the best places to buy a hamster? Hamsters make a great pet and parents usually get it for their child as his/her first pet. But hamsters are adorable creatures that are loved by the young and old alike. They are affordable, relatively easy to care and of course, cute! And they don’t take a lot of space. What’s not to love about hamsters, 1. Getting A Hamster From A Breeder Hamster breeders are the most reputable source that you can get a hamster from. But the problem many people encounter here is finding hamster breeders near. However, finding local hamster breeders is a lot easier than many people realize. This is because local hamster breeders are usually part of regional and local groups. Now, the good news is that these groups usually have a website and can easily be found with a quick Google search. 2. Pet stores Chances are that you’ve seen hamsters for sale at a local pet store alongside other small animals like birds, mice, and guinea pigs.  3. Hamster Communities Online While there isn’t a hamster nationwide association in the United States, several states have at least one hamster fan club. These hamster fan clubs usually have an online directory of hamster breeders in their states. You can go through this directory to find the closest breeder to you.  The California Hamster Organization is an example of a hamster fan club and it is based in Southern California. There are also online communities like Hamster Hideout where you can connect with hamster lovers and breeders in your area.  The National Hamster Council (NHC) is the main body for hamster breeders in the UK. And the organization has three regional clubs that have lists of breeder members. The regional clubs have also been known to organize hamster shows. 4. Hamster Shows Hamster shows are events where hamster breeders bring out their hamsters for exhibit and sale. These shows are usually run by hamsters enthusiasts who are very passionate about these adorable little furry creatures and want to promote them as pets while also campaigning for the welfare of hamsters. Finding a hamster show is easy in the UK as local NHC run hamster shows from time to time following a well-established schedule.  5. Hamsters For Adoption Hamsters are usually put up for adoption at small animal rescue organizations and traditional animal shelters. These hamsters are homeless and you could be the one to give a hamster a home forever. You’ll have to inquire about the personality of any hamster you wish to adopt and chances are that a vet has come around to check on the hamsters before they are put up for adoption.  6. Pet Expos Pet expos give you an avenue to meet hamster lovers and breeders. You get to chat way about these adorable creatures as well as buy a hamster and their supplies. Most major cities usually have pet expos at least once a year. If you live in a rural area, you should check out county fairs as well as 4-H shows as they are great places to find hamsters.  How to find a good hamster breeder? As discussed above, you can find hamster breeders from online communities, hamster shows, and expos. But you see. anyone can call themselves breeders. It doesn’t matter if they breed hundreds of litters or a single one in a year or whether their hamsters are living in a warehouse or sitting room.  The fact that anyone can style themselves as hamster breeders makes things a bit complicated when you want to get hamsters from a breeder. This necessitates the need to differentiate good breeders from the wannabe breeders. One of the ways by which you can spot  One of the best ways to know sensible breeders from mediocre ones is to ask questions, lots of questions. My advice to anyone considering getting a new pet is to do some research and learn about the pet. It’s important you know what you are committing to. Also, you’ll be able to judge if any information you receive from a breeder is correct. You can get reliable information about hamsters from Hamsterlopaedia by Chris and Pete Logsdail. So if you ask a breeder a question and he/she can’t or isn’t willing to answer, then that’s a red flag.  You can also know if your hamster breeder is reputable or not by the record he/she keeps. Good breeders keep detailed records of their breeding stock. This makes every individual hamster easily identifiable. The records kept should contain the following information about individual hamsters: Birthdate Sex Color Show wins Medical records Mating and breeding log. The breeding log should record all their matings and details such as the number of offspring and any postnatal deaths while the medical records should detail past illnesses of the hamsters if any and the treatments.  Questions to ask a hamster breeder 1) Why do you breed?: I think this is a very crucial question and answers like “I think hamsters are cute’ or “Because I want to” isn’t just going to cut it. Now, I think good hamster breeders usually have a vision in mind which ultimately relates to improving hamsters by establishing healthy lines that have good temperament. These hamsters should be able to meet the NHC show standards which are all about promoting good health and aesthetics.  2) Ask if the breeder provides ongoing support and whether you can return a hamster you bought from them if you can no longer keep it: Ideally, the answer to this should be ‘yes’. Responsible hamster breeders should not allow their hamsters to end up at shelter homes. The breeder will inform you of any policy he/she has in place concerning this.  3) Are you a hamster club member or do you hold a prefix?: Hamster organizations like NHC are all about promoting hamster care. These organizations give ‘prefixes’ which are hamsters’ names to breeders that have been members for a year. These breeders will be required to abide by the organization’s code of conduct as regards breeding and care.  Ask your breeder if he/she is a member of any club. Also. ask if he/she has a prefix. And should they have a prefix, which you’ll confirm by asking for a prefix certificate, go to the organization’s website to check the current list of breeders that have prefixes?  4) Do you cull babies in litters?: The answer to this should be ‘no’. 5) What care do you give to mums and litters?: This has to do with the care and diet given to both hamster mums and baby hamsters. The diet given to hamsters mums-to-be is very important and should be especially rich in protein. Babies and mother hamsters are not supposed to be disturbed for the first two weeks. You should get some information about the care given to hamsters if the breeders keep detailed records.  6) Ask about how often the babies handled and from what age. Also, you should ask about the age at which the baby hamsters are available for rehoming. Baby hamsters are not supposed to be handled until they are 14 days old as this is when their eyes open. After that, the baby hamsters need to be handled regularly. The reason for this is to keep them tame and nice. And baby hamsters are ready to be moved to a new home by four weeks, though it’s common to do this at 6-8 weeks. A good breeder will provide you with all this information and more.  7) You also need to ask the breeder if they seek veterinary treatment for their hamsters and if there is a good local vet they can recommend.  You also have to inquire about any existing health problems the hamster line/litter may have and a good breeder should be honest about this.  [...] Read more...
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf Hamsters
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf HamstersIf you own hamsters, you must know that you can actually make money off of breeding hamsters and selling their young. Or maybe you’re just looking to expand your group of rodents. Whatever the reason may be, you can definitely breed your hamsters. All rodents, including hamsters, breed like crazy and it doesn’t take long for them to make babies. Hamsters make for cute little furry pets, but breeding them needs to be a careful process, as pregnancy for any species is dangerous for both the mother and the child or children. This isn’t a decision to make lightly, as you need to carefully consider your hamster’s health before you decide to take this step. You also have to decide what you’ll do with the babies that are the result of breeding. Even if you haven’t planned on breeding your hamsters, you may find that your female is pregnant, and you need to know what to do. That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we will be tackling the subject of breeding dwarf hamsters, teaching you all the important ins and outs of that process. You will be learning what to expect, how often do these hamsters go in heat, how long are they pregnant for, how many babies should you expect, how to know when your hamster is ready to mate, how to breed Dwarf hamsters, and a few other things, as well. Without further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents ToggleAre Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners?How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat?How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate?How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters?How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For?How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have?Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Are Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners? It’s difficult to actually define good when it comes to hamster breeding. The truth is, unless you’re looking for a specific breed of hamsters, the differences between hamsters are really arbitrary. Dwarf hamsters certainly aren’t any more difficult to take care of than any other breed of hamster, and they’re not any more difficult to breed than any other breed of a hamster. The only breed of hamster that’s actually more difficult to breed is Syrian hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are actually among the breeds that are very easy to breed. What you should know is that if you’re looking to breed hamsters just to sell them to a pet shop – you’re likely not going to succeed. Pet shops usually have their own list of suppliers, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be making that list since most of these suppliers have whole compounds devoted to hamster breeding. However, if you’re looking to be a small, local breeder or you want to give hamsters as presents to your friends and family, then breeding hamsters can be a good idea. And breeding Dwarf hamsters aren’t any more difficult than breeding any other breed of hamsters. There are many things that you’re going to have to be careful about, and we’ll be covering that in this whole article. But, breeding hamsters isn’t exactly difficult and anyone with a cage and a male and a female hamster can do it. When you’re trying to breed hamsters, you’re going to want to get a male and a female from the pet shop, or from whoever your supplier is. You can also buy your hamsters from a breeder, this may be an even better option since you’ll have a greater choice when choosing colors and types. You also get the breeding history of the hamsters. At a pet shop, you will often find siblings or hybrid breed hamsters that are less desirable for breeding. Pet shop workers may also have a difficult time telling the difference between male and female hamsters. You have to decide what kind of hamster you want and what you’re looking to achieve. Always look for hamsters that are in good health. Their eyes should be clear and bright, their fur smooth and glossy, and they should look active and interested in their surroundings. Hamsters are wildly active animals, and it’s very unusual for a hamster to be disinterested in their surroundings. When choosing your hamsters, you’re going to need a male and a female. You should check their genitalia to make sure that you’ve picked up the proper animal. This can be tricky since hamsters are so furry. Usually, the testicles and anus are far apart for the male, while the genitalia and the anus are really closely together with the females, so much so that it almost looks like it’s the same thing. You can check this below the tail, between the hind legs. Males should be at least 30 days old, while females should be at least three months old. Don’t try to breed your hamsters before they reach this age. The next thing you’re going to want to do is to prepare the breeding area for the hamsters. This means buying cages – you’re going to need two cages. You should always buy plastic aquarium cages, not wire cages. Hamsters will always try to escape, instinctively, and small hamsters that are still babies can easily crawl through the wires of a metal cage – plastic cages are definitely the way to go here. Put one hamster in each cage and fill the bottom with wood shavings, megazorb, or carefresh. Sawdust is no good – it can get into the hamsters’ eyes and affect their breathing.  Avoid cedar or pine shavings because the wood bears natural chemicals harmful to your hamsters’ lungs. You should also get a small plastic or wood home for your hamster, and fill that with wood shavings, as well. You also have to buy a wheel for both of your hamsters (understand that they’ll be in separated cages until it’s time to mate, and they’ll be separated once again after mating). It’s vital that your hamsters can stay active, as they’re very energetic animals that get stressed out if they can’t spend that energy – this unfortunate occurrence would definitely not benefit your breeding plans. Also, buy two water bottles, two hamster food bowls, several packs of hamster food, treats, and toys. You should definitely move the female’s cage to a calmer area after breeding, and you should give the female extra bedding for nest building material. It’s important to feed your hamster properly, and that’s why it’s best to feed it with a hamster mix. You can also feed them fresh food, seeds, whole grains, fresh green vegetables, and boiled eggs. After the mother has given birth, you should supply her daily with a slice of bread soaked in cow’s skim milk. You should keep doing this until the babies reach four weeks of age. You shouldn’t disturb your hamsters when you take them home – give them a few days to adjust to the environment. This move is very stressful for them and you don’t want to stress them out before they have to breed. Don’t try handling your hamsters before they’ve spent at least two days in your home.  How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat? Hamsters breed like crazy, we’ve already said that. All rodents, actually, can breed very quickly and before you know it, you have a huge family of hamsters on your hands. Male hamsters reach their sexual maturity when they’re 28 days old, while it takes female hamsters three to four months (depending on the individual) to mature sexually, and from that point onwards – the female will enter heat roughly every 4 days.   Since hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals, a female will go into heat during the night and it will most likely be in heat for about 12 hours. How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate? When it comes to the males, they’re basically ready to mate after being alive for a month, and they can mate at any time. However, to tell if the female is in heat and ready to mate, you have to pay attention to signs. Hamsters, ironically, act very similarly to cats when they’re in heat. The female will be crouching low to the ground and raising its tail. The hamster is also likely to smell, as the female is releasing pheromones. It’s important to tell that your female is actually in heat because trying to breed your hamsters when your female isn’t in heat can be very dangerous – the female is most likely going to kill the male in self-defense, as it doesn’t want to breed. When you’re trying to breed your hamsters, it would be smart to put the cages one near the other for a few days – just so the hamsters can get to know one another and to let the pheromones do their job. How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters? Now, to breed your hamsters, you’re going to want to place them into one cage together, preferably the male’s cage, and only do that after recognizing signs of heat. Since hamsters are nocturnal, it’s best to do this in the evening. It’d be best to have a third cage, just for mating, as this is seen as some sort of neutral territory, but putting the female into the male’s cage is just as fine. If you do the opposite and put the male in the female’s cage she may get territorial and kill the male. If you see your hamsters fighting when you try to mate them, separate them and try again in a few days. However, if your hamsters aren’t fighting, feel free to keep the female in the male’s cage until they’ve mated. Dwarf hamsters are actually quite sociable, unlike Syrian hamsters, so you can keep them in the same cage. If you place the mating pair together without supervision, the female will become pregnant quickly. Evidence of a female’s first mating is blood near her genitalia, under her tail. You will also find a white substance on your female hamster’s vagina. This is called the copulatory plug, and it’s proof that the male has released sperm. This is definite proof that your hamsters have mated. You should definitely isolate the female from the male as soon as the breeding is over with. There are many hamsters that will take care of their babies, but some hamsters will attack and kill them. This can happen for several reasons, for example; even the mother may kill their babies. This happens if a human has touched the babies and the scent of the human stays on the baby, the mother doesn’t recognize it, and it kills its babies to protect the others. We’ll go deeper into this topic later on. It’s best to be on the safe side and remove the male for the duration of the gestation and birth. The female will also be in heat immediately after giving birth, and the male will want to breed with her. This can be incredibly dangerous and often lead to the female’s death. How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For? After this, all that remains to do is wait, as the bus pretty much drives itself at this point. You need to be patient and watch the progress, and make sure that you’re taking proper care of the hamsters. If your female is pregnant, she will start showing within a few days, and saddlebags will appear on each side when she’s ready to give birth. When she’s reaching that point, she’s going to build a nest in her pregnancy by gathering bedding material into one location. She will start eating more and grooming more. She will also be digging more, as well as becoming more restless and startling more easily. Restlessness means that she will start to wander around her cage with no apparent reason for that, she’ll be gathering more and more food. This period lasts anything from 18 to 30 days, depending on the hamster. Dwarf hamster gestation is between 18 and 30 days, but the average time from mating to birth is 21 days. The Roborovski Dwarf hamster’s gestation usually lasts for a full month. This basically means that you’re going to have babies about three weeks after placing a female and a male in the cage together. The female will go in heat 24 hours after having her pups. You’ll notice that she’s going into labor by her sides starting to heave – small, pink bodies will start to emerge. Hamster babies are born blind and bald. She’ll actually be giving birth to them while she’s moving around the cage. Then, she’ll pick her babies up in her mouth and take them back to her nest. Don’t try to help the birthing process in any way. Firstly, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help the hamster give birth more easily. Secondly, it’s already painful and stressful enough as it is, the hamster doesn’t need a giant hand waving around her cage. How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have? You should expect four to six babies, that’s the average size of a Dwarf hamster’s litter. Although, there are cases where the mother has given birth to as few as three and to as many as twelve babies, so be prepared for all scenarios. Once the mother has given birth, you have to pay special attention not to disturb her. Do not touch any babies that she might leave lying around her cage. If you for some reason must touch the baby, rub a spoon into the flooring of the cage, and touch the baby with the spoon, do not touch the baby with your bare hands. You should also let the mother nurse for her young for three weeks without disturbing her. You shouldn’t even be cleaning the cage during this time. Leave her, the cage, and her babies alone – the only thing you should do is refill her food and water supply, and you should try to do this discreetly, as well. This is especially important for the first-time mother, who under stress, has been known to kill and even eat her babies. Don’t think that the mother is eating her babies if you see that she’s putting them into her mouth – she’s just doing this because she’s trying to protect them. The mother will be very jumpy after birth, so you should avoid touching the nest for at least three weeks after the babies have been delivered. If you desperately need to clean a part of the cage, use a spoon to do it, but we have to stress that it’s really not important that the cage is clean during this time. Be very careful to avoid the nest. Every time you’re restocking the food supply and the water supply – completely refill it. This way, you won’t have to return too often. You should wait for four weeks before trying to separate the male babies from the female babies. The males will be sexually matured at this age, not to mention that they’ll be eating on their own, so you should definitely remove them from their sisters as you want to stop inbreeding. Rodents don’t have any problems with incest, so they’re likely to try to breed with their own sisters if you don’t remove them quickly enough. You can keep the females in the cage with the mother since Dwarf hamsters are milder than some other breeds. However, do not place the males with the father – the father will reject male babies (as many species do), so you should place them in a separate cage when they are weaned. They take three weeks to wean, but let them live with their mother for another week to get adjusted to eating solid food. The babies will begin drinking water at 13-15 days of age and eating food between 16-21 days – after this period has passed, they’re showing you the first signs of being old enough to be separated. During this period, you’ll want to keep the food bowl and the water bottle accessible to the babies, as sometimes the water bottle can be set too high and the babies might not be able to reach it. When you’re separating your babies, you’re going to have to be able to tell their sex. To do this, take a hamster and grasp it firmly around the body and lift it upright and tilt its body slightly backward. The hamster will not appreciate this, and it will struggle to get out of this position. However, you shouldn’t worry as you definitely aren’t hurting your hamster. Take a look at the genital area – the females have the genital opening and the anus close together, while the males have the genital opening separated from the anus by a distance approximately equal to your forefinger. If the babies are more than five weeks old, you can tell their sex even more easily, as the males’ testicles will fall down to the edge of the body forming two distinct pale pink lumps on each side of the anus. Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Yes, there are instances in which a hamster (be it the mother or the father) will kill their own babies. There are many reasons for which a hamster might kill their own babies: – the mother may feel stressed if you constantly keep checking on her and her litter. We’ve already mentioned that you should really leave the mother alone after she’s given birth – aside from feeding her and ensuring that she has water, you shouldn’t be disturbing the mother. This can cause her stress levels to rise and kill her young. Hamsters are very scared as a species (this applies to all hamsters, not just Dwarf hamsters), and it’s very easy for them to get stressed out. It’s normal that a hamster that’s just become a mother will already be under enough stress, and a giant human being annoying her is definitely not going to help with that. – her personal space is too small, and the babies are taking up too much space in a cage that’s too tiny. This can also happen if the cage you’ve purchased isn’t large enough. Baby hamsters can take up too much space and the mother sees no other escape other than killing them to provide more space. This may seem brutal, but hamsters find space to be very important – even if they don’t have any babies, hamsters will get stressed out if their cage is too small. Many times, you’ll witness two hamsters in the same cage fighting because there’s not enough space for both of them, sometimes even killing one another. – she is hungry after giving birth. This sounds unlikely to some, but the mother can be so starved after giving birth that she kills and eats her young. She may also kill them, but not eat them if she’s stressed from birth and from being hungry. – the mother accidentally killed the young while carrying them in her cheeks. This is actually a common occurrence in the hamster world – the mother will try to carry the young to the house or put them in her cheeks to protect them from outside factors. She can accidentally squeeze too hard and kill the baby or babies. – biting her young too hard when she’s carrying them – while carrying her young, a mother needs to bite down a bit to ensure that her babies don’t shake and aren’t thrown around her mouth. She can accidentally bite down a little too hard and crush her young. – the mother may think that there’s something wrong with her babies. If the mother suspects that her babies are sick or that there’s something physically wrong with them, she’ll kill her babies. Maybe out of mercy, maybe because this is the evolutionary way of survival of the fittest, but the mother will be getting rid of any offspring that seems to be faulty in any way (by her standards). – she can’t recognize their scent. This is a terrible way to go as it isn’t the mother’s fault, but if you touch the babies, you’ll leave your scent on their bodies and the mother won’t be able to recognize the babies. She won’t think that they’re hers, and she’ll kill them. That’s why you should never touch the babies, and never let anyone else touch them either. – the father can kill the babies, as well. This is actually fairly common in the animal kingdom, as the male will often see the newborns as competition and kill the young. That’s why you should always separate the male from the female and the babies, as soon as the babies are born. [...] Read more...