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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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 !
- How To Know When Your Hamster’s Fully Grown – All BreedsWhen I first got my Teddy I knew he would grow up to be a big hamster – he’s a Syrian male. But I didn’t know exactly how big, and when he’d stop growing. So I’m helping you figure out how big your hamster can get, based on its breed. And this will help you know how large a cage he will need, and what to expect from your hamster friend. Table of Contents So when is a hamster fully grown ?When is a Syrian hamster fully grown ?When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Campbell Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ?When to separate baby hamstersThe right cage for a fully grown hamsterA word from Teddy So when is a hamster fully grown ? Generally a hamster is fully grown around 3 months of age. This means that the hamster is both sexually mature, and also has reached, or is very close to, its full length. Of all hamster types, Syrian hamsters grow the largest, and you will notice severe size differences between the baby hamster you brought from the pet shop, and the adult hamster in your cage. The Dwarf types do grow, but the difference between them as babes and as adults is not nearly as big. For reference, a baby Syrian around 4 weeks old – when he can be adopted – is about as large as an adult Siberian or Campbell. But let’s see the differences between each hamster type, since they can grow to different sizes and become mature at slightly different ages. When is a Syrian hamster fully grown ? A Syrian hamster is fully grown when he is around 12 weeks of age (3 months). Both males and females are capable of breeding around 4 weeks, so they must be separated to prevent any more litters from producing. As for size, a Syrian hamster grows to its full size around the 3 month mark. That is when the Syrians become adults, and can reach their full size. They can reach between 5-8 inches in length, which is 13-20 cm. Some hamsters may grow even larger than that, by a couple of inches/cm, but those cases are rare. A few traits of adult Syrian hamsters: Their markings become clear just before they reach maturity. If they’ve got any darker fur, it will start to show around that time The males’ rear ends will become very large, bulging almost. That is where their testicles are, and you will see them often. The females will come into regular heat – about every 4 days. You’ll notice them smelling a bit muskier, and they will squeak and hiss if they sense a male hamster. The average lifespan of a Syrian hamster is 2-3 years, in captivity. They are close to old age when they reach their second birthday, and will start to become slower and have trouble eating and moving around as they reach that age. When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ? A Roborovski hamster is a Russian Type, and he will be fully grown around the 3 month mark as well. The Robos can breed as early as 4-5 weeks old, so again they must be separated very early in male and female groups. Roborovski hamsters reach their full size at around the 3 month mark, reaching up to 2 inches/5 cm. They are the tiniest of the Dwarf types, and are very hard to handle. since they are so hast and agile. Their fur coloration becomes clear as they reach the 3 month mark. They don’t develop a stripe down their backs, like the Chinese or Campbell for example. The average lifespan of a Roborovski hamster is about 3-4 years in captivity, but rarely lives past 2 in the wild. When is a Campbell Dwarf fully grown ? A Campbell Dwarf is fully grown around the 3 month mark, as the other hamsters. They can breed early, around the time they’re weaned – which is bout 4 weeks old. Their sizes are about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm, and are again hard to handle given their small size and agility. They usually live around 2 years in captivity, but can live a few months past 2 years in the right conditions. A Campbell’s Dwarf can be recognized by the white belly, and grey-brown fur on their backs, with a much darker stripe going down their backs. When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ? Chinese hamsters, while not truly Dwarf types, are still much smaller than the Syrian type. A Chinese hamster will become fully grown when he is about 2-3 months old. The hamster can breed before he reaches that point, though. As for size, the Chinese is larger than most Dwarf types, but smaller than the Syrian. So a fully grown Chinese hamster will be around 3-5 inches/8-13 cm, plus their longer tails. Chinese hamsters have a much longer tail compared to any other hamster types, which can grow to be about an inch long/2-3 cm. The long tail, and the more slender, long-ish figure of the hamster can make it look a lot like mouse to many people. Given their natural coloring – a sort of brown with a dark stripe down their back – this can be forgiven. Average lifespan for the Chinese hamster is around 2 years in captivity, but it’s not very well documented in the wild. When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ? A Siberian, or Winter White, is a type of hamster that does belong to the Dwarf type. They are fully grown at about 3 months of age, and can breed about 4-5 weeks of age. The Siberian hamster can grow up to 3-4 inches/8-11 cm, and are actually among the easiest to tame hamsters. Their fur can change, depending on temperature and season. A Winter white is called such because in the wild, its color changes to mostly white. During the summer or warmer season, the color can be a very dark grey, with a stripe going down the hamster’s back. (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.) When to separate baby hamsters Separating your hamsters when they’re babies will spare you a lot of troubles, starting with surprise litters and ending with vicious fights between siblings. So generally, the best time to separate the hamsters into all male and all female groups is when their mother finishes weaning them. This is usually around 4 weeks after the babies are born, and you’ll notice the mother starting to push the babies away if they want to nurse. You can find much more info now how to properly separate the baby hamsters into gender-specific groups here, as well as how to handle them. Do take care when the mother has just given birth, since she is easy to startle. A startled, or scared, or stressed out mother can abandon or even eat her babies. Here’s how to make sure your baby hamsters survive, as well as how to make sure the mother is safe and calm during the birth and raising the babies. The right cage for a fully grown hamster Your hamster might see so very small when you first get him. That’s the small size they will not keep, as you’ve just found out. Baby hamsters need adult-sized cages. This is partly because they grow very quickly, and once they do grow they will feel cramped in a cage that is too small for them. These 5 hamster cages are great picks, depending on what kind of hamster you have. A cage that is too small for your hamster can lead him to a lot of stress, and feeling irritable most of the time. This can lead to a lot of unwanted behaviors, like chewing the bar cages, and even fighting with their cage mates. The minimum cage size for an adult 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 this to be the size cage you get for your Dwarf type as well, since all hamsters will feel better in a bigger cage, if they have one available. Always get your hamster a bigger cage, even if they look so small they need a large amount of floor space. Best to read this article on what to know before getting a cage for your hamster, and how to properly care for it. For the Dwarf types I recommend a glass tank, since they can easily escape through the bars of a wire cage. You’ll find info on the glass tank as well in that article. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and can figure out when your hammy is fully grown. For example when I was a baby I was orange all over, with a bit of faded white on my belly. When I got older I started showing my darker grey markings, and my owners thought I was dirty at first ! So if you want to know more about your hammy, you can read the articles below. You can find out how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you, and even what food is safe for us.... Read more...
- Syrian Hamster 101 – Breed Info And Care SheetWant to know everything there is to know about the Syrian hamster ? I know I did when I first got my Teddy home. Especially if you’re a first-time hamster owner, you will need to know how your new pet stands out from the rest. So I’m going to help you with everything I know about Syrian hamsters, including how to care for him and what you can expect from this fluffy, sweet guy. Table of Contents About the Syrian hamster – short overviewHow the Syrian hamster became a petSyrian hamster size and body shapeSyrian hamster coat patternSyrian hamster health and lifespanSyrian hamster pregnancy and breedingSyrian hamster housing and cagesSyrian hamster diet and foodSyrian hamster toys and cage objectsA word from Teddy About the Syrian hamster – short overview The Syrian hamster has many names. He’s the most common hamster type (there’s 5 out there) and the one you’ve probably got in your home right now. You’ll find the Syrian under names such as : Teddy bear hamster – their faces look a bit like a teddy bear face Fancy hamster/fancy bear – especially the longhaired ones Variations on coat pattern names, like Panda hamsters (white and black), Golden hamsters (the traditional pattern), Black hamsters (all black), and so on Syrian hamster Big hamster Syrian hamsters are the largest of the hamster types, and they are solitary. They can never share their home with another hamster, or else bloody and lethal fights ensue. Males have a particularly large rear-end, since their testicles are very large for their bodies and form a permanent bulge around their very small tail. Their scent glands are on their hips, so you might notice big black dots there. Syrian hamsters are the slowest hamsters – still fast though, they’re hamsters – and they’re easier to tame and train than the Dwarf types. As such, they’re great starter pets for people who have never had a hamster before. They don’t bite as much or as often as Dwarf hamsters, and they’re easier to hold onto, since they’re larger. My own little Teddy is a Syrian hamster (hence his terribly inspired name), and he’s a Golden one, with orange and white and dustings of grey. How the Syrian hamster became a pet Originally the Syrian hamster was discovered by 1839 in Syria (hence the name). A mother with a litter of babies was brought to Jerusalem for study in 1930, and most (if not all) Syrian hamsters available for sale today are descendants of that mother and her babies. A few of them escaped from the lab in Jerusalem and have settled as wild hamsters there. For the most part Syrian hamsters were used as lab subjects for observations, and later put on display in London’s famous zoo. This is discussed in much more detail in the origin story of hamsters, how they came to be pets and where each of them comes from. The Syrian hamster comes from Syria and southern Turkey. He is used to deserts and sand, but not high temperatures. He only comes out at dusk and dawn in the wild, when the temperature is bearable and his predators don’t see very well. He doesn’t see very well either, and relies mostly on smell and hearing to navigate his surroundings. Syrian hamster size and body shape The Syrian hamster is the largest hamster available as a pet. He can grow to be 13-18 cm/5-7 inch long, though some hamsters have grown bigger than that. They’re also the heaviest hamster, ranging between 100-200 gr/3.5 -7 oz, some of them going a bit over that. As opposed to the Dwarf types, Syrians have a distinct neck and their hind legs don’t have that elongated look. They’re more diggers than runners, you might say. Their faces aren’t as narrow and pointy as the Dwarf hamster’s, and they look ridiculous with their cheeks stuffed. Given their rounder, fuzzier face, Syrians have also been known as teddy bear hamsters. They do look a bit like that, I guess. The Syrian’s tail is short, thin, and a fleshy pink. It’s got no fur, and it’s not often noticeable. If you’ve got a dark haired hamster though, you might see it easier. They’ve got no fur on their paws either, unlike the Dwarf types. This helps them grip and grab easier in the sands and in their tunnels. Syrian hamster coat pattern Traditionally you will find Syrian hamster with the golden pattern, like my teddy shown above. Granted, my Teddy’s colors fade into each other, while other Golden variation have a stark difference between each color. Some look more like color splotches. The Golden variation is the orange on the back, white on the belly, and a few dark grey markings on their back, forehead and neck. Their ears are also grey. When the hamster is still a baby, he will look mostly orange with some white. The grey appears and becomes definitive only when the hamster becomes an adult, around the 3 month mark. This color pattern helped the Syrian hamster camouflage himself in the sands and escape his predators. It’s the usual color you’ll find wild hamsters. Any odd variations will stand out against the sand and they become easy prey. Breeders have focused on changing and enhancing the color patterns of captive hamsters. We now have a wide variety of hamsters colors to choose from. For example when I picked up Teddy he was in a cage with a light brown hammy, a couple of black ones, and a few randomly spotted hamsters. Imagine the Syrian hamster’s available color patterns like you would a cat’s myriad of colors. Except stripes. Hamsters haven’t developed stripes like the cats, but aside from that the colors come in rings, bands, patches, spots, mottles, full color, dustings, anything you can imagine. In time, as the hamster becomes a senior, your will see the fur get lighter overall, but no distinct silver hairs as you would in old dogs for example. Syrian hamster health and lifespan The Syrian hamster is the second-longest lived hamster, right after the Roborovski Dwarf. The Syrian can live up to 3 years in captivity, and some have been known to live past that. Genetics, as well as the care and stress levels play a big role in how long and how well your hamster lives. This means that some hamsters, although not suffering from any terrible illness, can wither away by their first year. Or, some can live to be 3.5 years old. Babies become adults by the time they reach the 12th week of age, and can breed as soon as they’re weaned. But generally, Syrian hamsters live up to 3 years, and are considered old when they reach their second birthday. My Teddy is currently a year and a half old (born in July 2017), and there are some changes happening to him. He’s lost a large part of his energy, doesn’t eat as much, and sleeps most of the time. This is normal for hamsters going into old age. You’ll notice the hamster is definitely old and frail when his fur starts getting sparse, and he develops a sort of bald spot starting from his rear end and back legs. This is the usual pattern, and there is nothing we as owners can do to help or change that. Aside from that sign, the hamster’s skin will become very loose, wrinkly, and he will have a bony/skinny appearance, although he seems to be eating. Unfortunately this means his end is very near, and you will have to keep a close watch on him. When it comes to Syrian hamsters, wet-tail is the most notorious and dangerous disease they can contract. This is a form of diarrhea, which if often lethal if left untreated, or discovered too late. You can find out more about wet-tail here, and how to notice it and treat it. (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.) Syrian hamster pregnancy and breeding Breeding is, like with other hamsters, kind of violent and the female will half mate, half fight with the male during their breeding window. The female comes into heat every few days, for 4 days straight, at night. That is when the male can be introduced to her, and the mating can begin. Sometimes the female is too violent and just want to pick a fight, so the male needs to be removed. Once the female accepts the male and the mating is successful, she will fall pregnant. The male will need to be kept away from the female, since she will attack him after becoming pregnant. The usual gestation period for Syrian hamsters is 16-18 days, after which the female will give birth to a litter between 3 and 15 baby hamsters. She should not be disturbed at all during the birthing process, and 2 weeks afterwards. Only provide her with food and water through the bars. Anything that scares, stresses, or annoys her can lead her to eat her young, especially if it’s her first litter. Another reason the male should be kept away from the female is because she can fall pregnant immediately after giving birth, which will be difficult both on her and all her babies. And also because the male will kill the newborns to get her full attention. So make sure you keep the male and female separated at all times, except when trying for a litter. Once the hamsters are born, they are blind and hairless. They will suckle from their mother until they are 4 weeks old, which is when she will wean them. The babies can now be introduced to solid food. They also need to be separated into all male and all female groups, to avoid surprise pregnancies. However keeping the hamsters together past week 8-10 of age is not recommended, since that is when they become territorial. It will not matter if it’s their mother or brother or sister with them, they will start fighting and it often is deadly. Always keep a Syrian hamster alone, in one cage. Syrian hamster housing and cages Of all the hamsters, Syrians have the largest minimum needs when it comes to cages and housing them. The minimum cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Of course, the bigger the cage the better. All hamsters, no matter their breed, will opt for a bigger cage, a bigger running wheel, and more space to run if they can. But, not everyone has the possibility of keeping a big cage for their hamster, mostly due to cost and space in their home. The best idea would be an Ikea Detolf. That’s a simple standing shelf, with the shelves removed, and put on its side. Construction a wire mesh for it is fairly easy, many tutorials are available online. Detolfs are expensive and big, so wherever you put them, that’s where they’re going to stay. Cleaning them is a bit different from an ordinary cage as well, but they give your hamster much more space to run around and play. What about commercial hamster cages ? Are they big enough for Syrians ? Well, sadly, no. For the most part commercial cages are too small for a Syrian. Not all, but most of them. Looking for a cage big enough is a bit of a hassle, but they can be found. For example this one, a wire cage with a plastic bottom, with an adjustable extra level. It’s got enough floor space for the hamster to use, and the extra level will give him a bit more. Hamsters don’t use all the levels in their cage, so just one level is enough. They prefer the ground level anyway, and might build the nest under that level. That being said, this cage provides both airflow, and containment. The spacing between the wires is less than half an inch, so the Syrian hamster won’t be able to squeeze himself through those wires. You can check the listing on Amazon here. As for the bedding, your hammy will need either wood shavings, or paper bedding. If you get wood shavings, make sure you get aspen, and stay away from cedar or pine as they can suffocate a hamster. Syrian hamster diet and food Syrian hamsters eat mostly grains, with a few vegetable and fruits added in. Nuts and seeds are welcome too, as is a bit of protein. Things like cooked, plain chicken and boiled egg white are good sources of protein, as well as mealworms and small insects. However commercial food mixes are more than enough, with a well studied composition and covering their dietary needs. So, giving your hamster a good food mix will go a long way. You can always supplement the hamster’s diet with foods you already have in your pantry or fridge. A safe foods list is here, and most of them are easily available across the world. The Syrian hamster will need 2 teaspoons of dry food mix per day, and he will hide most of it in his nest. Overfeeding him won’t make him stop hiding the food, since this is a natural instinct of his. It will only result in more hidden food, and a fat hamster, which can lead to diabetes and joint problems. Syrian hamster toys and cage objects The first thing about a hamster, any hamster, is that he loves to run. all night, every night. He will get lazier as he ages, but until then he will run as far as his little feet will take him A Syrian hamster is no different, so he will need an exercise wheel. The thing is, he will need a larger wheel than the other hamsters, since he is so large. The hamster’s back should not be arched when he runs, since this can create back problems. This is why the wheel itself must be very wide, to keep his back straight. For example a wheel like this one is large enough for any kind of hamster, but especially a Syrian. Syrians are the largest, and if yours happens to grow past 18 cm/7 inches long, then a wheel as big as this one will still fit him. It’s got a heavy bottom, so you’re sure it won’t move about the cage. And it’s got a tail and foot guard, so he doesn’t catch onto something. Best of all, it’s silent and won’t keep you up at night with squeaks and grinding metal. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and check it out for yourself. Aside from the exercise wheel, the Syrian will need some objects in his cage (aside from the food bowl and the water bottle). Like a wooden hideout for him to build a nest in, a chew toy, a few cardboard tunnels made from paper towel rolls. Climbing toys are welcome to, and so are hide and seek toys. Most of these can be either bought from a store or online, or even made at home from wood or cardboard. You can find out more about that here. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can seem very confusing with all our cousins, but you’ll learn about each of us in time. Us Syrians are the biggest, and the friendliest by far. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- 12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs EverIf you’ve got a hammy in your life, you know they can be the funniest, cutest little creatures ever. If you haven’t got one, you’ll find out now why hamsters are a favorite among pets. My Teddy is a Syrian male, and I’ve had him since August 2017. Since then he’s done the weirdest, funniest things you can imagine a hamster doing. So sit down and get ready to go ”awww, mine does that too !” because here’s a list of all re reasons hammies are the cutest things ever ! Table of Contents 1. Hamsters make the cutest faces2. They freeze for no apparent reason3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers8. Hamsters are athletic furballs9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorableA word from Teddy 1. Hamsters make the cutest faces Hammies have this cute little face, you can’t really resist them. Especially the Dwarf types, with their fuzzy faces and practically no necks. My Teddy got his name from his cute face, even if he’s a Syrian. He’s got the cutest little teddy bear face I’ve ever seen. My favorite part, and probably yours too, is where the whiskers start on a hamster’s snout. It’s looks like they’re sort of pouting, all the time. And I’ve never seen a bad photo of a hamster. Seriously, those faces will look good in any photo, since they’re always very dramatic and expressive. For example here’s my Teddy scratching himself, and you can see every small thought going through his head in this photo. 2. They freeze for no apparent reason It’s a well known, and often searched thing, that hamsters freeze. Like you’re both just minding your own business, and suddenly your hamster will just stand up with this shocked, panicked expression on his face and just… exist. Talking to him or tapping the cage won’t work most of the time, since he’s so focused on whatever he’s doing just standing there. Turns out, there a reason behind hamsters suddenly freezing, and you can in fact unfreeze them. I won’t spoil the surprise, you can read about why they are freezing here. Still, hammies suddenly stopping to stare into the distance for 2 minutes are a classic. 3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason My Teddy is a champion here, I think. When he was younger he not only jumped, he did backflips. This was mostly when something spooked him, and he had the funniest reactions to me just opening the fridge. But the funniest moment my Teddy jumped was when we were all doing our own thing, and Teddy was busy shoving paper towels in his cheeks, as per usual. I reached around his cage for something, and apparently that’s a terrifying thing for him. He jumped sideways about 12 inches/30 cm, while still shoving all those paper towels in his little face. When he landed he kept shoving them, like it was all part of his plan. When I first got him home from the pet shop, I wondered if hamsters jump. They do, in fact, and Teddy jumped right at me in his cage. 4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have Hamsters are incredibly small, and they’re the smallest pet you can get your hands on. Well, there’s fish you can also get, but you can’t really pet a goldfish, can you ? Hammies are tiny, and that’s a big part of their charm. If you’ve got a bunch of Dwarf types, you know they’re so small it’s hard to notice them in their cage sometimes. However since they’re so small that also means that holding them is not very easy, since they will jump out of your hands, and never sit still. You can still watch your hammies have a great time squeezing themselves into the smallest places they can find, though. My Teddy loves shoving his face between the cage bars and his hideout to … get to the bars ? that he already has access to ? but the view is better from there, I guess. 5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable The first time my Teddy touched my hand was magical. There’s just something about your normally jittery and active hammy actively touching your hand that feels great. He’s always busy doing this and that, and you’ve maybe touched his fur. But have you ever touched your hamster’s paws ? I do this with Teddy when I give him a treat, especially a larger one. I hold onto it with two fingers, and I don’t let go for a few seconds. So Teddy starts to push with his mighty paws to get the treat for himself, and let go after a bit. You can also try this with your hammy when you’re feeding him. If you place food in your hand, and let him forage for food in your hand, eventually he will touch it. It will feel a bit weird, since your hammy’s paw feels a lit like a reptile’s skin. You won’t be sure if it’s cold or wet, but that’s just his paws. 6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything If you’ve ever let your hamster onto your bed, you’ve maybe seen him try to hide a bit of your covers into his little cheeks. Hamsters will try to put anything that’s food or nesting material in their cheeks. This is how my Teddy ended up with half an inch of fleece blanket in his cheek before I could even react. He was on my bed, and I made a sort of enclosure for him with the rolled up blanket. Once he got to the blanket, he just had to have it apparently. You’ve probably seen your hammy do the same with a lot of stuff. Try to bribe him with a bit of food to come close so you can pet him, and he’ll just shove the whole peanut in his cheek and stare at you. Mocking you. The only things I’ve seen my Teddy eat immediately were cooked chicken, and boiled egg white. My Teddy always has something in his cheeks, from paper towels, to bits of poo, a bit of food, and some broccoli somewhere. And he’s always very fast about it, you can’t really get between him and whatever he wants to put in his cheeks. When his cheeks are full, he looks like a weird lizard, with bulges going down the sides of his face. 7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers Ah yes, hamsters decorating and redecorating their homes are a thing. It’s always funny to watch Teddy pull, push, drag, fold, and shove bits of paper towel into his hideout. Then he’d drag some more bedding into the hideout. After that, he decides he needs more chewed up cardboard. No,no, less bedding. An extra paper towel would be nice, though. Whenever I think he’s done moving things around, there’s always something else that needs to be put in place. Have you ever seen your hammy move the nesting material in his hideout, pull it out, then put it all back in ? The same way it was before, only now it’s different. The same, but different. 8. Hamsters are athletic furballs You’ve heard of hamsters needing an exercise wheel. But have you ever just watched your hamster to see how much he runs in a night ? He’s always on the thing, and he keeps on running. On average a hammy will run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a night ! If he’s not running in his wheel, he’s climbing his cage bars to get to somewhere important. Or jumping over something, or crawling through a tube. It’s like he’s in military training all day, every day, and nothing will stop him. Except for a piece of walnut, hamsters are cheap like that. For example my Teddy would scale the cage bars, even the cage ceiling. I could see he has some very defined and strong abs, and you’ve probably seen hamster videos about the same thing. As your hamster gets older he might stop doing that. 9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. But when your hamster sits down to groom himself, he;s not going anywhere for the next 10 minutes. That’s a lot, given how small he is. Hamsters are very clean, very sensitive creatures, and they clean themselves often. They do complete cleanings in their fur a few times a day, every day, forever. And it’s always this long, detailed process, where cleaning one ear will take up a minute and lots of scratches. But still, they are incredibly cute, and very flexible too. It’s always funny to watch my Teddy sit on his big rear-end start scratching and patting and pulling he knows what from his fur. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) 10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes I think this is something weird my Teddy does, and maybe you’ve seen other hamster do this as well. He’ll start scaling the cage bars, maybe even get to the ceiling and imitate a tarantula. He has a lot of strength, and I know he can hold on very well. Until his batteries suddenly give out and he just… lets go. Just like that, he just lets go and falls on the bedding. I never understood that one. Or when he throws his droppings around. He holds a piece in his teeth, and flicks it somewhere. He’s not eating them, he’s just kind of playing with them. And when he suddenly barks/hiccups, again I never found out the reason behind that one. It’s quiet, nothing’s happening, there is no sudden noise. Teddy will just make the oddest noises, like a series of loud, high-pitched “hmph’; we probably offended him somehow. But he’s a cute and lovable creature, and I’m sure you’ve got some funny hammies at home too ! 11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on Hamsters are well knows for their ability to shove everything in their cheeks and run home with those things. Actually the Syrian hammy got its original arabic name as ‘‘mister saddlebags”, since he can carry so much. So your hammy, and probably everyone’s hammy, is a bit of a hoarder. You’ve seen his stash when you clean his cage, and it’s always incredible how neat and tidy he is with all of his belongings. My Teddy brings into his hideout food, bits of fruit, all the paper towels, a walnut, a whole hammy biscuit, cardboard, a chew toy, everything. Hamsters will try to build their nests out of everything soft you give them, or they can find, so make sure they stay away from anything cotton or fiber (choking hazard). 12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorable If you’ve seen anyone wake up, you know their eyes are puffy, half open, hair messy, and they can barely walk. Well, imagine a furball waking up all disheveled, with eyes barely open, and his ears folded onto themselves. Hamsters who just woke up look a lot like when they were babies, so warm and fuzzy and disoriented. Much like humans, hammies will wake up for a trip to the bathroom, grab a drink, and go back to sleep. My Teddy is at his cutest when he wakes up and looks around his cage, to see if everything is okay. He just tip toes and sniffs just outside his hideout for a bit, and then stretches. If you ever thought hammies were cute, a stretching, yawning hamster is a nightmare. But it only lasts for a few seconds, and he’s back to his cute, fluffy self. A word from Teddy I hope you found a few extra reasons on why us hammies are cute pets, and funny too ! I know we’re small and maybe harder to hold and pet, but we’re funny on our own too. If you want to find out more about us hamsters, you can read the articles below. You’ll find more info on what we can and can not eat, how big of a cage we need, and even why we suddenly freeze sometimes.... Read more...
- Are Hamsters Rodents ? About Your Furry Hamster FriendWondering if a hamster is a rodent ? You’re not alone. A lot of our friends have asked us the same question, when they heard we’d got a hamster. So, let’s settle this and get to the bottom of the issue. We’ll cover how your hamster’s going to behave as a rodent pet, and the differences between hamsters and other pet rodents as well. Table of Contents So are hamsters rodents ?A hamster’s behavior as a pet, given that he’s a rodentWhat hamsters eat, as rodentsDo hamsters need to chew a lot ?Difference between hamsters and other rodent petsHamster vs mouseHamster vs ratHamster vs guinea pigHamster vs rabbitHamster vs ferretHamster vs squirrelA word on keeping a rodent as a petA word from Teddy So are hamsters rodents ? Yes, hamsters are rodents. Hamsters are rodents, like rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs, squirrels, ferrets. There are many more rodents out there than that, but those are the most common ones kept as pets. They belong to a very large family, with several sub-families and classes, into which I won’t get right now. You can read much more about the exact scientific classification of hamsters right here. A hamster’s behavior as a pet, given that he’s a rodent A hamster, as a rodent, will behave in a certain way. Rodents in general are prey animals, so they all have a reflex to run and hide. That reflex kicks in very fast, and they’ll often jump out of your hands before you can react. So expect your hamster to be jumpy, not sit still, and look panicked half the time. They’re also incredibly easy to scare, since they’re on high alert most of the time. Who knows when a owl might swoop into your living room and take them away ? Jokes aside, that run and hide reflex is what saves hamsters from extinction in the wild. As a pet though, they can be hard to handle, especially the smaller breeds like the Dwarf types. Very small and wriggly, the Dwarf hammies are all over the place and you should not handle them away from their cage. Another thing about hamsters being rodents, is that they will have this instinct of burrowing. If you give them enough bedding to dig into, you will lose sight of your hamster very fast. You can find out more about bedding for hamsters and how to pick a safe one right here. Finally, as rodents hamsters have a different need for affection that other pets. They’re not keen on snuggling, like a dog or cat for example. But they do enjoy your company, and can let you handle them. Even if it’s just for a short few minutes at a time, hamsters can be handled. If you want to know more about how to successfully tame your hamster friend, you should check out this guide right here. It’s got addendums for Syrian and Dwarf types as well. What hamsters eat, as rodents As rodents hammies will eat mostly grains and veg, with a couple of insects or worms here and there. In the wild hamsters rely on grains, seeds, and some edible roots. But kept as pets, hamsters have a much wider variety of foods available for them. You can find here a good list of safe and unsafe foods you can give to your hamster. Some of them are already in your pantry or fridge. Or, if you want to be specific about it, you can check out each food group in particular. You can find out more about what kind of meat/protein your hamster can eat here. Another article about what kinds of dairy hamsters can eat is right here. You’ll find out about the kinds of vegetables your hamster can eat here, and about the fruits he can eat right here. Finally, more about hamsters and bread can be found right here. Another option is feeding your hamster commercial food mixes, which already have a healthy mix of all the nutrients your hamster needs for a good, long life. And you can add some safe foods you’ve already got around the house to that food mix, if you want to. But in general, hamsters will enjoy most of the things us humans can eat too. Do keep in ming that they love to chew and gnaw on things a lot. Do hamsters need to chew a lot ? Yes, hamsters have front teeth that keep growing. They never stop growing. This is why your hamster need a lot of chew toys – more on that here, and how to DYI some or buy them. Otherwise, your hammy will end up chewing whatever he can find, like the cage bars. My Teddy used to do that sometimes, and you can find out more about hamsters biting their cage here, and how to stop them. Or, at least make it happen mess frequently. Hamsters need to chew a lot, to keep their front teeth from overgrowing. They can develop a whole host of dental problems if their teeth aren’t kept healthy. So always make sure your hamster has something safe to chew on, like chew toys. And remember that he will chew on everything, including his own hideout, the food bowl, and whatever else is in his cage. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Difference between hamsters and other rodent pets Hamsters aren’t the only rodents people keep as pets. As such, there are a few differences between hamsters and other pet rodents. So let’s get into those differences, so you can see if a hamster is a good pet for you or not. Hamster vs mouse Mice are much smaller than hamsters. They can be kept in small packs as far as I know, and they do have similar life spans to hamsters (2-3 years) However if a hamster is hard to hold onto, a mouse is much harder. A mouse is much smaller, and will definitely not sit still. Also mice smell much more than hamsters. That’s not to say they stink, but a hamster only smells if he’s sick. The female hammies come into heat every few days, and can develop a smell. But as a whole, hamsters are clean and not smelly at all. Mice have the bonus of being much more curious and eager to try new things than a hamster. A hammy si more of a creature of habit than anything. Hamster vs rat The rat wins in terms of intelligence here. However few people like keeping rats because of how large and non-cuddly they can look, compared to hamsters. That being said, rats are able to solve simple puzzles, and are calmer, more level-headed than hamsters. That also means they can get bored, and once that happens they will entertain themselves with the cage bars, or moving the things in their cage. Of all the mouse-type rodents, rats are the best escape artist. They will find a way. Rats can sometimes develop tumors, which can shorten their lifespan (3-4 years). The housing situation for a hamster and rat is much different, since a rat need a very large space to run around in, and they’re damn good climbers. Hamster vs guinea pig Here it really depends on what you like more. Hamsters tend to be cuter and fluffier than guinea pigs. But guinea pigs are much easier to handle and tame. Well, a guinea pig is pretty much already tame from the get-go. Both are rodents, but guinea pigs are very very mellow and will generally sit and stay wherever you left them. They also actually need company, even if it’s another guinea buddy to much a lettuce leaf with and stare at a wall. Whereas most hamsters should be kept my themselves, and can only live together under certain conditions. A guinea pig however can get smelly, since they pee a lot. So they require much more cleaning and maintenance than a hamster. Hamster vs rabbit Aside from the obvious size difference, hamsters can sometimes lose to the rabbit in terms of cuteness. Depends on whom you ask. While a rabbit can make do with a small enclosure, he needs to be let out often, and in a very large space. So your entire apartment will become his playground. If you decide to let your rabbit play outside, he’ll start burrowing fast and you have a higher chance of losing him. Once a rabbit decides to sprint, he’s gone. And we all know how hard it is to catch a rabbit running left and right. Of all the rodent types, rabbits are the best at avoiding being caught. Smell-wise, rabbits can get stinky fast if you don’t clean their cage every day. Hamster vs ferret Ferrets are much, much larger than a hamster. They are much faster, and agile, and need plenty of exercise. While your hamster can make do with his running wheel, a ferret will not. A ferret will need at least one cage mate, while hamsters need to mostly kept alone. Conversely, a ferret loose in your home is not alright with other animals. It will possibly attach smaller animals like the hamster, or a rat. And larger pets like a cat or dog can hurt the ferret with sharp teeth and a much larger size. Both ferrets are hamsters love to try and escape, however ferrets will be trying the sturdiness of their cage and your home at every possible turn. Hamsters are a bit … slower, if you will, and are easily distracted. Hamster vs squirrel A squirrel for a pet is nothing to laugh at. I mean they’re funny and have an amazing amount of energy, but compared to a hamster they are much harder to keep. While a hamster’s claws do very little damage to the human skin, a squirrel has actual talons. Natural, when you think that they’re meant to help the creature shimmy up and down a tree, all day long. But. this makes a squirrel much harder to hold and play with than a hamster. The space requirement for a squirrel is much larger than a hamster. It needs your entire apartment, and your backyard too if you’ve got a house. Still being rodents, squirrels will flee very fast, and will hide food stashes wherever they can. You’ve seen the video of a squirrel trying to hide an acorn in a dog’s fur. That’s the level of madness (and cuteness) that is trying to keep a squirrel as a pet. A word on keeping a rodent as a pet When it comes to pets, you have to accept that not all pets are the same. If you’re looking for a pet that will cuddle with you, play fetch, and patiently wait for your return home, a rodent is probably not the best idea. Rodent type pets can bond with their owner, and do like human company. However they’re not as domesticated as cats and dogs, and not suited for families or small children/other pets in general. That being said, rodent-types are funny, energetic, and make the oddest faces. They’ll always amaze your with their acrobatics, even hamsters. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a hamster trying to jump from a small ledge, and still fail. Some rodents are quiet, and calmer, like a hamster, a mouse, a guinea pig. While others are all over the place and will need your entire attention. It depends on what kind of pets you’re looking for. All in all, owning a hamster as a rodent can be rewarding in its own way – more on that here, and how to care for him in general. They’re not conventional pets, and will require different level of care from you. But they’re cute and funny in their own way. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hamsters can be a bit confusing sometimes, but we’re definitely rodents. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below.... Read more...
- How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well. Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment.... Read more...
- All About The Chinese Hamsters (Breed Info + Care Tips)Not often found in pet shops, Chinese hamsters are the least common hamster pets. Not very much is known about them (compared to the other hamster types), but they’re more common in Asia as pets. Still, I’ve looked around and found the info to make a guide on Chinese hamsters for you. Including whether they’re Dwarf hamsters or not. Table of Contents About the Chinese hamster – a short overviewIs the Chinese hamster a Dwarf hamster ?The Chinese hamster’s health and body sizeChinese hamster lifespan and breedingChinese hamster food and treatsChinese hamster exercise and toysChinese hamster cage requirementsA word from Teddy About the Chinese hamster – a short overview The Chinese hamster comes from, well, China. And Mongolia, which is right next to China. This hamster is very different from the Dwarf types (Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian), partly because of how he looks, and partly because of temperament. If anything, he’s more like the Syrian hamster. Chinese hamsters are halfway between a Dwarf and a Syrian in terms of size. They grow to be 3-5 inches/8-13 cm long, without their long tail. Yes, the Chinese have long tails, shorter than a mouse’ tail but it still reaches 0.7-1.1 inch/2-3 cm, which is much more than the stubs every other hamster type has. The Chinese hamster has a long body, fairly thin, and a generally brown color on the back, with a thing dark stripe going down the back, and white on their belly. As such, they’re often confused with mice at first glance, and some places actively forbid owning them as pets. These hammies are not social like Dwarf types, instead the lean more towards Syrians in terms of solitude. They like being alone, on their own, and they get along just fine. Females in particular are more aggressive towards other hamsters, but both sexes will start a deathmatch if introduced to another hamster. Chinese hamsters live between 2 and 3 years, and they’re fairly calm once they’re tame. Until then they’re very skittish and won’t like being handled. But after taming they tend to remain calm around humans and like to play with them. Is the Chinese hamster a Dwarf hamster ? This is a common question, and one I’ve had myself. You see, Dwarf hamsters (the Roborovski, Campbell, and Djungarian) are named Dwarf types because they’re always compared to Syrian hamsters. They’re only about half the size of Syrians. But the Chinese don’t fit nicely in the Dwarf category, and they’re not Syrian-sized either. So, they’re often called Dwarf hamster because they’re just smaller than a Syrian, along with the other 3 types. I’ve sometimes called them Dwarf hamsters too, just for easier classification. But in terms of biology and official naming, Chinese hamsters are not Dwarf hamsters. The only true Dwarf hamsters are those of the Phodophus genus. To be fair, hamsters are a big family, and there are dozens of subspecies. Confusions are fairly common when we look at the hamsters who are not Syrians. Simply because Syrian hamsters are easy to tell apart from every other hamster. The Asian hamsters often look alike to an untrained eye, even if they have a few distinctive features like the presence or absence of a dark stripe, coat colorations, and so on. If you’re not sure which hamster type you’ve got, you can use this guide to figure it out, and them go to the corresponding care article. The Chinese hamster’s health and body size Usually the Chinese hamster looks a lot like a mouse. He’s got a long body, especially compared to the Dwarf hammies who look like a round ball of fluff. The Chinese hamster’s body length is 8-13 cm/3-5 inches. These hammies have a shorter looking fur, set closer to the body than the other types. His fur is usually brown, with flecks of dark grey and some white. His belly is whitish, and he has a dark, thin stripe going down his back. His tail is another defining feature, partly because it’s longer than the other hamsters’ tails, and partly because it’s thicker than a mouse’ tail. Every other hamster has a short, stubby tail, fleshy and hairless. The Chinese has a longer tail, 2-3 cm/0.7-1.1 inch long, covered in fur. There are other color variations, though not many. The wild color and the most common is the one described above with brown and white. But breeders have tried for other colors, like a sort of light grey instead of the brown, still with a dark stripe down the back, and a white belly. And there is a 3rd option, of an almost completely white Chinese hamster, with a black spot around one eye. The dark stripe is not usually present in this variation. As for their health problems, the Chinese aren’t especially prone to one disease or another. There is the danger of wet-tail, that threatens all hamsters regardless of type. This disease shows its ugly head mostly when the hamster is young (around 4 weeks of age) and is separated from the mother, and put into same-sex groups, to later be brought to a pet shop and them home. The whole process can be a bit stressful for the hamster, and stress s the biggest trigger for wet-tail, though not the only one. Aside from this, Chinese hamsters can have the usual health problems associated with hamsters. Eye infection, ear problems, tumors, fur loss, and so on. There are treatments for most, if not all of these problems. A veterinarian that can treat hamsters will usually be labeled as an ”exotics” vet, which means he is able to help rodents, reptiles and birds, or just most small animals. (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.) Chinese hamster lifespan and breeding The Chinese hamster can live up to 2-3 years, depending on genetics and the conditions the hamster is kept in. In the wild, most don’t make it past their first year, because of illnesses or predators. In captivity though, with the proper food and care their lifespan has increased significantly. These hamsters are hardy, and they reach adulthood around 12 weeks of life. That’s when they can also be bred, between 10-14 weeks, both for females and for males. Pregnancies started past that period can be dangerous both for the female, and the babies. The usual gestation period for Chinese hamsters is between 18 and 21 days, resulting in a litter of 3 to 15 hamsters. You can find out more about hamster reproduction here, and how to make sure the female carries her pregnancy safely. You’ll also find info on the birthing process, and the after-birth care, which is crucial for the hamsters babies’ survival. Chinese hamster food and treats Usually the Chinese hamster will eat grains, along with some fruits and vegetables he can find. Nuts and seeds are welcome too, along with a couple of insects or mealworms. This is a combination usually found in the hamster’s commercial food mix. Without the insects or the mealworms, though. The protein in the commercial hamster food is either soy-based, whey or beef-based. A hamster safe food list will help you figure out which foods from your pantry or fridge are great for hamster snacks. For example a bit of cooked plain chicken, a bit of cheese, a small sized carrot, some lettuce (and most leafy greens) are all okay for hamster treats. Not given often though. There are foods you should definitely keep away from your little Chinese hamster, like onions, garlic, leek, citrus aloe vera plant skin, rosemary, and so on. You can find a safe and unsafe herb guide here as well. Chinese hamster exercise and toys Now, Chinese hamsters are still hamsters. As such, they absolutely love to run, and they have so much energy it’s almost unbelievable. This means an exercise wheel is going to be mandatory for your little guy, and it needs to be a bigger one so his tail doesn’t suffer. For example this one’s a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, complete with tail and foot guards. It’s a silent wheel, so it won’t wake you up squeaking and creaking in the middle of the night. It’s also got a heavy bottom, which means it will stay wherever you put it. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel, which your hamster will use a-plenty, there are other toys and cage objects he will need. Like a chew toy or two, or tunnel toys, hide and seek toys, a few puzzle toys as well. Most of these toys can be DYIed at home, out of cardboard. It could be cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper, it could be egg cartons with holes cut in them. Your hamster needs lots exercise and stimulation, to keep him happy and stimulated. Hamsters can get bored or stressed if they’re not stimulated, and if they have nothing to in, especially in a small cage. This can lead to behaviors like chewing the cage bars, nippy when trying to handle the hamster, and can even develop some illnesses. For example loss of appetite, fur loss, lethargy, can all be triggered by an extremely depressed and listless hamster. It can be avoided by giving the hamster plenty of toys and stimulation, and a large enough cage. Chinese hamster cage requirements The usual cage requirements for a Chinese hamster vary from continent to continent, sometimes from country to country. I’d recommend it to be 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Even if that’s the cage size necessary for a Syrian hamster, a Chinese will enjoy it too. This is because a larger cage will always be preferred, even if the hamster only needs a small space for himself to build a nest. The rest of the space available he considers his territory, which in the wild can be as large as 3.5 square km/2.17 square miles. So, you’re going to need a large cage. Given how small this hamster is, he can find some cages easy to escape. If you can find a very very large aquarium, than you’re set. If not, try for an Ikea Detolf. That’s a big standing shelf with glass sides. Remove the shelves, lay it on its side, and cover with a wire mesh. Unfortunately these ‘cages’ require lots of space available in your home, and they’re heavy. So wherever you decide to put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. But, if space and budget don’t allow a Detolf – that’s the case for most people, including us – you can always look for a big cage. For example this one is large enough for a Chinese hamster, it’s actually great for a Syrian as well. The spacing between the bars is small enough so the hamster will not escape. Aside from the ground floor, there is an upper level, which you can set to whichever height you like. Don’t set it too high though, hamsters prefer the ground anyway. You can fit a lot of toys in it, and even the wheel I talked about earlier. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Very important, and I know I mentioned this earlier too. Chinese hamsters are not social like Dwarf type hamsters. This means that keeping more than one Chinese hamster in the cage is not alright, since they will do a lot of fighting. It won’t end well, and you need to be a responsible hamster owner. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be confusing, with all our types and cousins. But we’re all cute and friendly, and great pets. 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...
- Jumping Hamsters – Why Hamsters Jump, And How HighDid your hamster ever jump out of your hands ? I know my Teddy did. I barely caught him in time. If you have a hamster, and you’ve picked him up, you know what I’m talking about. So I’m going to talk about why hamsters jump, how high hamsters can jump, and how you can make sure they don’t hurt themselves by falling. Table of Contents So why do hamsters jump ?Hamsters can jump out of your handsHamsters can also randomly jump in their cageHamsters will fall, or jump from heightsMaking sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumpsGive the hamster plenty of bedding to fall onOverlapping levels in a cageDon’t give the hamster very tall toysOpt for wood-based toysCover the sides of the levels in the cageA few precautions for jumping hamstersA word from Teddy So why do hamsters jump ? A jumping hamster might sound silly, but it’s for a reason. A hamster will jump just like any other animal when it want to break free, or get to something. Most of the time when he jumps, it’s because the hamster is uncomfortable. His legs and paws are not meant to jump very high(unlike mice or rabbits). But your hammy will jump out of your hands if he’s had enough of your handling and wants to be put in his cage. This can happen with any hamster, be it a tame or difficult one. More difficult hamsters will jump out of your hands more often. But all hamsters will jump away if there’s something bothering them. Like scaring the hamster, or holding him for too long, or too high. As for jumping for food, hamsters rarely jump for or towards something. They rather climb, since their limbs are meant for running and climbing. Hamsters can jump out of your hands For example Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) was more active when he was younger, so he was more fidgety. This got me to constantly keep having to move my hands, like a handwashing motion. Sometimes, he’d have enough of me holding and playing with him, and jump out of my hands. The first time this happened I was lucky to be close to his cage. He fell on the cage, and I let him in. He was fine, nothing hurt or broken. But I had to be careful. So whenever you handle a hamster, be close to his cage, or where you’ve decided his playpen is. If he’s a confirmed jumper, be extra sure to be close to the cage, or near a soft surface he can fall on, like the bed or a sofa. A good way to distract the hamster in your hands is to give him a treat or piece of food. You can check this food list to find out which foods and treats are safe for hamsters, and which are not. Hamsters will also jump out of your hands when they wanted to do something else and you interrupted them. Like maybe you picked your hamster up when he was eating, or while he was cleaning himself. He’ll want to get back to whatever he was doing, fast. Hamsters can also randomly jump in their cage This is more common for more active hamsters, like the smaller Roborovski or Campbell hamsters or their other small brethren. Basically all hamsters aside from Syrians. Syrians do jump around their cage, but mostly when they’re very young. This is because of the amazing energy small hamsters have, and how incredibly agile they are. You can take care f this by providing your hamster with a good exercise wheel, according to his breed. He’ll burn off more energy that way and be less likely to jump for no reason. Sometimes the jumping has no clear purpose or trigger. They weren’t trying to get somewhere, or reach something. No, they were scurrying somewhere and did a backflip on the way. I’ve seen it with Teddy as well, and I can’t really explain why he randomly jumped. Sometimes he jumped onto the cage bars, and started scaling the cage. That has no clear purpose either, aside from expending excess energy. Hamsters will fall, or jump from heights Unfortunately hamsters are very poor judges of heights. Hamsters do not see very well, and can’t use anything else to judge distance. But they are curious creatures and want to inspect everything. So if your cage has a taller level – like a multi-level cage – make sure that the hamster will not injure himself. This means that the height of the fall should not be more than 25 cm/10 inch. This is actually the average height a hamster can jump, and safely land from. This selection of the best and safest hamster cages will make sure your hamster has a good place to live in. For example my Teddy’s cage is a multi-level cage. The topmost level was a safe distance, however there was a slight gap that I had to mind, the two levels didn’t overlap completely. Teddy did jump from the highest level all the way down. He didn’t end up on the first level, he actually landed on the ground floor. He was fine, but I removed his second level soon after that. He didn’t jump often, but when he did he had no clear reason. He had a very easy to access ramp he used to get there in the first place, which he ignored when trying to get down. Hamsters do not judge distances very well, since their eyes don’t help them much. So make sure you fall/jump proof your hammy’s cage. Making sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumps There’s a few things you should consider, and I’ll get into each of them. It’s mostly the same across all hamster breeds, maybe some adjustments would need to be made according to the hamster’s size. Give the hamster plenty of bedding to fall on This is what will help him have an easier landing, much like a pile of hay. So that would mean covering every surface he could land on with bedding. If you have a single level cage, then you’re set. If you’ve got a multi-level cage, provide bedding for all levels, even if just a bit. This roundup of great hamster bedding options will help you figure out which will work for you. Overlapping levels in a cage If you do get a multi-level cage for your hammy, make sure the levels overlap, mostly. For example my cage’s levels don’t overlap completely, and Teddy had to be very skilled to fall like he did. When you’re online or at the pet store, make sure you check the cage as best you can. To figure out the best kind of cage your hamster would need, as well as which of the 3 most common types would suit him, check out this article. You’ll find out cage sizes and options, as well as the pros and cons of each type. Don’t give the hamster very tall toys Now, the running wheel will have to be tall in order to be a proper size for him. But your hammy can’t get all the way on top of the wheel wince it will spin with him. But digging towers are different, as well as hideout complexes. Try looking for something no taller than those 25 cm/10 inches we talked about earlier. If your give the hamster no tall toys, he will have nowhere to fall from. This includes hammocks and mesh nets. These should not be more than 10 inches off the ground for your hammy. Especially for the dwarf hamsters out there. Opt for wood-based toys While the wheel will most probably not be metal, in order to be easy to spin and get a large enough one, the other toys should be wood. This is partly because hamsters chew on everything and wood is safe for them. And the other part is because wood lets the hamster have an easier landing than hard plastic or metal. Cover the sides of the levels in the cage If you’ve got a multi-level cage, but they don’t overlap that much, consider covering those sides with something like a fence that goes all the way up, or at least as nigh as the hamster’s full body. A good option would be popsicle sticks. They’re safe for hamsters, and you can get them in most arts and crafts stores. A good, non-toxic glue that the hamster will be able to hold the popsicles in place. Make sure that you only do this if the hamster can’t reach the place there you’ve glued the popsicles. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A few precautions for jumping hamsters When you’re handling your hammy, he might jump. So make sure you are very close to his cage, or something soft that he can land on. Like the bed or a sofa, or anything else soft. If you’ve got a tank for your hamster, make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding. This is the least, since some hamsters can jump higher than this. They don’t jump often, but all it takes is once. Best would be to actually cover the top of the tank with a wire mesh. You can find those at some pet shops, or most hardware shops as well. A hamster that’s about to jump will give warning signs. It’s up to you to notice them, and I’ll help you with a few. For example your hamster will start to move faster in your hands, and his nose and whiskers will twitch more. He’ll look left and right and start moving out of your hand. That’s when you should definitely put him back in his cage. If you put him on the floor or somewhere not contained, he will run everywhere. Hamsters get restless easily, and it’s best to leave them in a well contained area when they’re like this, so they can run and play at will. Do not scare the hamster, or handle him when there’s a lot of things going on around you. Make sure you’re in a calm, quiet place, with not many things flying or moving around. A scared hamster has incredibly fast reflexes, so he will jump without warning. Another thing to remember is that hamsters are not calm animals. They won’t be as cuddly as a cat or guinea pig. A hamster will not stay in your hands for more than 2 couple of minutes(and he will never sit still), after which he’ll try to get away. He is restless and that’s his nature. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for, and know why us hamsters jump. We don’t do that often, but it’s usually for a reason. Although we can jump randomly too. Mostly we want to be left alone to roam our cages. If you want to know more about us hammies, and what kind of cages we need, or how much water we need, check the articles below !... Read more...
- 10+ Reasons You Should Not Get a HamsterHamsters definitely belong on the list of the most popular pets in the world. Everyone wanted one as a kid, and many people still keep them as adults. They’re easy to take care of, and if you have two they’ll socialize between themselves, so they won’t be lonely when you’re away. However, not all is as it seems on the surface. As it is with every topic, keeping hamsters as pets have both its pros and cons. And today – we will be focusing on the cons. There are many things that may attract you to hamsters. They’re small, cute, their fur is shiny, and they basically look like small fluff toys, only they’re alive. However, there are many things about hamsters that you should know before you decide to adopt one. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at that side of these fluffy creatures – reasons why you shouldn’t get a hamster. Without any further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents 1. Biting2. Nocturnal Behavior and Early Rising3. Hereditary Diseases4. Training and Taming5. Hamsters Aren’t Very Affectionate6. Hamsters Are Very Sensitive7. Breeding8. Escaping9. Cages Need Constant Cleaning10. Infection11. Lifespan12. Hamsters Require Adult Supervision13. Hamsters Aren’t Good Pets for Children 1. Biting Hamsters actually tend to bite more than other pet rodents. This is mostly fueled by their poor eyesight – they rely on smell and taste to tell what’s in front of them, and if you stick your finger or your hand into their cage – they’re likely to bite it in order to find out if it’s food. These bites hurt and they will bleed, as their teeth are very sharp, despite not being that large. Their general lack of good eyesight most definitely has an effect on their behavior, as it makes them generally nervous – hamsters can be frightened quite easily, and when they’re frightened – they bite. It’s important to understand that they will bite you for only two reasons: fear (you would probably be willing to bite too if you were handled by a creature twenty or thirty times your size), and curiosity (if they mistake your hands for food or something else that’s interesting). For this reason, make sure to always wash your hands before handling hamsters – they’re more likely to bite you if your hands smell like food. Hamsters can also hurt themselves – as they’re a very frightened species, they’re ready to jump out of your hands when you’re carrying them. Let’s just say that jumping from such a height isn’t the smartest idea if you’re a hamster. Hamsters’ bites shouldn’t be underestimated, as they can be quite painful and draw a lot of blood. As an adult, you can probably handle this, but children can often be put off from this and not only lose interest in the hamster but start to dislike it altogether. There have been numerous occasions where a child has grown fearful of their hamster, and who can blame them? Probably anyone would if they had a pet who kept biting them. Gerbils, for example, are much better pets for children. They can be held and petted at will, and they rarely bite or scratch. 2. Nocturnal Behavior and Early Rising These animals actually spend the majority of the day curled up and sleeping. They don’t like to be disturbed when they’re resting (just like us), and they’ll defend themselves if you disturb them. However, once everything at your home goes silent, hamsters wake up. At that point, hamsters get crazily active, which can actually wake up the whole house – especially if the hamster decides to start running on the wheel. They also get up very early, as they’re most active at dusk and dawn. 3. Hereditary Diseases Unfortunately, hamsters are prone to inheriting hereditary diseases. Because of overbreeding, they’re prone to congestive heart failure at an early age (as early as 6 months old). There’s no cure for this condition, and the treatment can be very expensive. They’re also prone to an incurable kidney disease called amyloidosis, which means that you’re going to have to be looking out on multiple fronts for the sake of their health. They are susceptible to many dangerous bacteria, ultimately leading to diarrhea and dehydration. Some of these bacteria, predominantly ringworm, can also infect humans. It’s very important to focus on two specific bacteria that can easily infect children. We’re talking about salmonella bacteria and lymphocytic choriomeningitis and hantavirus. These can be transmitted from animals to humans, and salmonella can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fever. 4. Training and Taming Hamsters are very difficult to tame, much more difficult than other animals, and the main reason for this is the fact that they’re so scared of everything. They’re not trusting as dogs, they’re not even trusting as cats. Cats are actually more likely to approach you than hamsters. Their evolution has given them the ability to run and hide from any threat, and that’s what they will do if they see you coming. On top of that, hamsters have a lot of energy, meaning that they’re jumpy, active, and want to play – all the time. A pet that’s energetic but runs from anyone that pays it any attention is very difficult to train. 5. Hamsters Aren’t Very Affectionate Hamsters don’t enjoy being picked up and held, cuddled, and kissed like many dogs would. They will certainly put up with it for a while, but after a while, they’ll get tired of it and jump away. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a pet with which you’ll be able to strike a real connection – they’re not the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They will somewhat bond with their owner and come closer when they hear their owner’s voice, but that’s about it. Hamsters are not as loving and as playful as dogs. 6. Hamsters Are Very Sensitive Hamsters are sensitive to many things. Firstly, their diet isn’t exactly something you should take lightly, as not correcting it when you need to can cause many dietary issues like diarrhea, dehydration, fur loss, etc. Secondly, they’re so easily frightened and they are so weak that they can literally die from too much stress. Hamsters are known to die from a dog barking at them or something else scaring them. You, personally, can scare your hamster in many ways – the hamster may not trust you yet and even feeding it will scare it (nothing you can do about that aside from trying to be as gentle as possible), if you do something very sudden it will scare it and that can be difficult for you as an owner to adjust to, your hamster may be in permanent shock (from moving to a new cage, for example) and during this period it will be easily agitated, and some hamsters are also naturally shy and difficult to handle. Also, hamsters’ immunity is terrible. They can easily contract any disease and unless you recognize it and take them to the vet immediately, they have almost no chances of survival. On top of this, they’re also very sensitive to temperatures. They can die from hypothermia very easily, and they can overheat easily. Your hamster’s cage is also going to have a massive effect on it, as hamsters get agitated easily in smaller cages. They’ll also get stressed easily if they don’t exercise enough, so it’s best to let them have a wheel. Transporting them is also not good, as that causes major stress. Now that we’re taking a look at all this in retrospect, evolution hasn’t really been beneficial to hamsters. 7. Breeding In case you didn’t know that all rodents breed extremely fast. Hamsters can breed three to four weeks after being born, and when they breed, they breed like crazy. You could make the massive mistake of buying a pair of hamsters and having almost twenty of them after a while. This problem is usually solved by pet shops where you purchase your hamsters, as the workers can separate the hamsters and divide them by gender. However, if a mistake is made and a single male hamster is put amongst female hamsters…well, we’re sure that you know what kind of a mess that is. 8. Escaping Hamsters can truly be defined as escape artists. They have the ability to flatten their body and they can fit through very small holes and crevices. An even larger issue is the fact that they love doing this and they’re likely to use every opportunity to escape. It’s their instinct telling them that they should escape and return to the wild. They’re also very good at hiding, so you won’t be finding them easily. This can actually lead to them being injured or killed while on the loose, as they’re very vulnerable. 9. Cages Need Constant Cleaning Hamsters themselves are very clean, similar to cats. They groom themselves all the time and this way they minimize their scent, which keeps them almost undetectable in the wilderness. Their cages, on the other hand, aren’t as nearly as clean. Exactly the opposite, actually. Hamsters are known for their inexplicable inability to keep their quarters clean. If you place a hamster in a perfectly clean cage, it’s going to take it less than three days to cover it in droppings and pee. Their droppings can smell very foul and many people can’t stand it. These dirty cages also tend to attract bugs, and they’re more prone to developing infections and your hamster will get sick more easily in such an environment. Now, you may be thinking “Fine, I’ll just teach it to use a litter box.” – that’s fine, only we’ve already mentioned that training is terribly difficult with hamsters and you’re not teaching them anything easily. There are hamsters that openly and seemingly without reason refuse to use the litter box. Cleaning the enclosure always means that you have to take the hamster out of the enclosure. This means that you have to grab it without it biting you. If it bites you, you have to disinfect the wound and put a bandaid over it. Repeat the process until you manage to take the hamster without it biting you, and now put it somewhere where it can’t escape from. However, your hamster has still escaped while you were scrubbing its cage because they’re great at that, and now you have to find a hamster before putting it back into the cage. See why it’s difficult? 10. Infection Even though it may seem like a good idea to have your child clean the hamster’s cage to teach them responsibility, it’s sort of an unsafe idea – these cages can be salmonella heaven, and children can be especially vulnerable to that. Children don’t exactly understand the dangers of illnesses and they may not wash their hands properly, which could, unfortunately, lead to them contracting salmonella. 11. Lifespan Hamsters don’t really live for too long. Most hamsters live from two to four years, with a two-year-old hamster already being considered old. If you’re looking for a short-term pet, that’s great. But very few people are looking for that sort of a companion, and most people want a pet that’s going to spend time with them for years to come (like dogs, who can spend up to a fifth of a lifetime with their human companions). Changing pets every few years may not be in your interest. Secondly, if you’re thinking about purchasing a hamster for your child, we’re advising you now that you shouldn’t. Children get attached to everything very easily and having to watch the hamster grow up only to die quicker than they can graduate from the elementary can and will break your child’s heart. 12. Hamsters Require Adult Supervision Even though the maintenance they require is low in frequency, if you’re purchasing a hamster for your child, know that the maintenance your child is going to have to keep up with is complicated. They may not have to do it often, but when they do it, you’re going to have to be there. The same goes for training the hamster – since hamsters are so frightened and are easy to agitate and have them bite their trainer, it’d be best if you were there when your child was training the hamster. 13. Hamsters Aren’t Good Pets for Children Despite the general opinion being the exact opposite, hamsters aren’t really good pets for children. At least not the youngest children under the age of eight or nine. They can prove to be aggressive which will only scare the children away, they can also be very difficult to train which won’t encourage your child to keep trying around them. Having to clean their cages and feed them may be a great way to instill some sense of responsibility in your child early on, but it’s quickly going to become a chore to them and they’re going to start avoiding it. Hamsters can also transmit a disease to your child. Ringworm infection, for example, can easily be transmitted to your child or yourself despite you being careful and wearing gloves. Salmonella, what we’ve already mentioned, is also a threat for children and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because of their sensitivity, and because of children’s general lack thereof, your child could accidentally harm the hamster. And their constant escaping isn’t going to help either, just like the hamster’s short lifespan won’t be helping. Hamsters also stay awake at night and they’re very active, which may keep your child from sleeping well. All in all, if you’re looking for a pet for your child, you should think twice before purchasing a hamster for your child. Hamsters often seem like an ideal pet for anyone, but that’s far from the truth. There are many things that have to be taken into account when discussing these animals, as they’re not as nearly as perfect as they seem to be. You should keep in mind that no animal is inherently evil or aggressive, only defensive. Hamsters are just like that, and the fact that they’re so scared of everything and everyone makes it fairly difficult to interact with them. Teaching your hamster not to bite you will take weeks, and if you’re interested in potty training or teaching them tricks, that’s going to take even longer. They’re quick to turn against their owner, even if you mean them no harm, because they’re scared, and maybe it would be best to let this one go, and buy a different pet. There are many pets on the market that may be more suited to your needs. If you’re ever looking for any advice, feel free to consult your local veterinarian.... Read more...
- Does a hamster fart ? Does the fart smell bad ? Fun factsDid your ever hear your hamster fart ? Did you ever wonder if he does ? I never did, until someone asked us if Teddy can pass gas and I honestly had no idea at first. So I went around, looking for answers and marveling at the fact that no one really answered this with a clear yes or no. Well, here I am to solve this haunting mystery. Table of Contents So do hamsters fart ?The little evidence I could find that hamsters can pass gasDoes a hamster’s fart smell ?Hamsters can’t burp, thoughAbout the hamster’s digestive systemA word from Teddy So do hamsters fart ? Yes. Yes they do. Hamsters fart. They’ve rarely been heard by anyone to actually pass gas, but after some research, I’ve concluded that they do. If you want a veterinarian’s opinion on the matter, you should check out this article. Lewis (author) is a vet who majors in exotic animals, and hamsters happen to fall into that category. The little evidence I could find that hamsters can pass gas If you got here then you probably googled whether hamsters fart or not. And I think you’ve seen the amount and quality of results Google can offer. Mostly I’ve found forums where no one was very decided on the matter, and some videos on Youtube of people scaring hamsters and adding fake fart sounds. Aside from Lewis’ blog (linked a few rows above), there’s no other clear evidence I’ve found that hammies can pass gas. There are some foods that might cause gas, like broccoli, or cauliflower, and you can try with those to see if your hamster ends up breaking wind. But honestly hamsters are so tiny you might not even hear it. I have no idea where this search came from, and how it got to be. But it shows us that we’ve still got a long way to go before we can say we truly know hamsters. Here’s the real question though: If your hamster farted, but you weren’t there to hear him… did he really fart ? Does a hamster’s fart smell ? Well, again, there isn’t much evidence pointing yes or no. But I will give my two cents here. Farts smell because they’re the product of bacteria from the stomach breaking down the food particles. As such, they release methane gas. Which, on its own does not smell, but it’s always combined with carbon dioxide and sulphur. However when it comes to hamsters, their farts are so… small, I’d say, that I think you’d have a hard time registering it. Unless you’ve fed the hamster something with a high protein content, like chicken, boiled egg white, and maybe even a peanut. Then maybe you can smell them faintly. If you want a more detailed and coherent list of safe and unsafe foods for your hamster – check out this article right here. It’s the protein that breaks down in the gut that gives farts the terrible smell. So to sum it up: A hamster’s fart can smell, but it’s so small that you probably won’t be able to smell it. (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.) Hamsters can’t burp, though The way a hamster’s stomach is made makes it impossible for them to burp. You see, a hamster’s stomach is split into two sections. That split makes it physically impossible for the hamster to release gas upwards. As far as I know, rodents in general have no gag reflex. They also can’t vomit, since their stomach are a bit different than ours. This also means that for most rodents, a poison or food that produces a significant amount of gastro-intestinal gas can possibly be lethal. Mostly because while most mammals can fart, burping is also a mechanism to release trapped gas. So if they can’t burp to release the gas, they will have less chance of survival. About the hamster’s digestive system In that their stomach can process almost the same kinds of foods as us humans. They’re alright with meat, but only some kinds. Hamsters can eat cheese and a couple of other dairy products, but with much more caution than us. Hammies can even eat fruits, although some should be avoided. And they can also eat some kinds of vegetables as well. However their stomach is a bit different than ours. It’s structured into 2 different parts, that do different things. The first stomach, or the first part of the stomach, is meant as a primary digestion. But it can’t get all of the nutrients out, in one go. So, there came the need for the second part of the stomach. Which, in itself can extract more nutrients, and also produce them – like some certain vitamins. But those vitamins, while very important and crucial to your hammy’s health, can only be ingested in the first part of the stomach. This is how your hamster ends up eating its poo sometimes, since it needs those nutrients. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies look like the cuddliest, fluffiest creatures. But we do fart sometimes. It’s just that we’re shy and we’d rather you didn’t know about it. If you want to know more of our secrets, like why we sometimes get scared of you, or why we need to run so much, check out the articles below.... Read more...
- Tumors And Lumps In Hamsters – Symptoms, Treatment, And CareYou might have noticed an odd lump on your hamster recently. Is it cancerous ? Is it benign ? Can hamsters survive surgery to remove a tumor ? We’ll cover tumor and odd lumps in this article, including the options you would have when treating your hamster. This is a situation where you will have to see your hammy’s vet often. Table of Contents So can hamsters develop a tumor ?Why tumors appear in hamstersMalignant vs benign tumors in your hamsterSigns and symptoms your hamster has a tumorTreating your hamster’s tumorCommon treatments for the hamster’s tumorCaring for the hamster after surgeryA word from Teddy So can hamsters develop a tumor ? Yes, hamsters can develop tumors. Whether they’re called, lumps, or tumors, the end result is the same. A growth of extra cells, which does not serve a particular purpose and could potentially be fatal. It can affect any part of the hamster’s body, and can come about at any age. There is an increased chance that older hamsters will develop tumors, compared to young hamsters. Tumors are treatable most of the time, especially if noticed early on. It also depends on the location of the tumor. For example a growth on the outside of the leg is easy to remove, but one on the hamster’s ovary is not. Let’s see how and why tumors come about, so we know what to expect. Why tumors appear in hamsters Tumors appear in hamsters pretty much the same way as they appear in humans. Studies haven’t really pin-pointed the main reason tumors appear in humans, so knowing why they appear in hamsters is just as confusing. However we do know how the tumor forms (this is a very simplistic and sketched-out explanation). Usually the hamster’s cells have a certain programming. They renew every few days, but their programming can go awry sometimes. As such, old cells can forget to die, but new cells still appear. This leads to an overgrowth, which is not exactly healthy. It’s not like the hamster is getting a larger lung which will help him. He is growing part of the lung that does not serve a purpose, and will mess with his other internal organs. Take up room, blood, energy, and keep on expanding. The tumor can become infected sometimes, and this makes the treatment fairly difficult. These cells don’t respond as normal cells would. Malignant vs benign tumors in your hamster There are 2 types of tumors. One is benign, meaning not dangerous nor spreading, while the other is malignant meaning it is spreading to other tissues and can be life-threatening. A benign tumor is just an overgrowth of the cells, but it does not ‘move’ to another part of the body. For example a lump on the leg that just grow to a certain size and then stops, without triggering other growths somewhere else, is benign. A malignant tumor is one that spreads to other ares on or in the body, because the very cells themselves become contagious, in a way. This means that a growth on the leg can produce a growth on the belly and tail as well. The best person to decide whether your hamster’s tumor is dangerous or not is the veterinarian. He will examine the hamster, possibly run him through an ultra-sound to see if there are any odd growth on the inside too. He might also collect a small sample of the tumor, to study it under a microscope. He will come back to you shortly with a diagnosis and a treatment option. Signs and symptoms your hamster has a tumor There are very few clear, external signs of your hamster having a tumor. Aside from the tumor itself, if it is on the skin, or right under the skin and becoming a very large bulge/lump. A noticeable lump will be fleshy, but mostly hard. It will not yield like skin and muscle, and instead feel much like hardened tissue. It does not hurt, but it can press down on certain nerves or blood vessels and thus hurt your hamster. If the lump is on the skin, you will see it straight away. If it is under the skin, it will not be very clear unless you handle your hamster often, and all over. You need to get a feel for all of his little body, so you will notice where there is an extra lump. Do keep in mind that female hamsters have teats along their bellies, and the male Syrians have very large testicles hanging around their tail. Aside from all of this, there are more subtle signs your hamster has a tumor. They don’t necessarily mean there is a tumor present, since they can also indicate other health issues. But here are the most common ones: Low appetite Abnormal droppings – no droppings, bloody droppings, diarrhea (but not necessarily wet tail) Increased thirst (especially for adrenal gland tumors) Lethargy, low energy Huddling in a corner, hiding more often and not coming out too fast Possibly falling over, poor direction (if tumor is affecting inner ear) Weight gain or loss, despite feeding the hamster the same amount (also adrenal gland tumor) Abnormal grooming – much less grooming because the hamster is depleted of energy, or much more grooming since the hamster is licking at the tumor (skin-level) Irritated, grumpy disposition Fur loss, usually in patches If you see these signs, make sure to tell your veterinarian about this. It’s important for him to know everything that has changed with your hamster friend. Treating your hamster’s tumor The first step is to set up an appointment with your veterinarian. You’ll want to look for an vet who has experience with small animals, or even better a vet labeled as ”exotic”. These vets have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will have more knowledge on hamsters than a regular veterinarian. Once you’ve reached your vet’s office, he will look at your hamster and turn him over to see any lumps. There might be an ultra-sound exam too, to see if there are tumors on the inside. If the vet does find a tumor, and it’s easy to access, he will inspect it closely. He might take a sample of the tumor, which means an actual piece (very tiny) of the skin there. This will show him the structure of the cells, and whether they’re malignant or benign. According to what the vet will find out about the hamster, and also the location of the tumor, he will set a diagnostic. Once you know that, you can decide together on a treatment for your hamster. This can take anywhere between a few minutes to a few days, depending on the situation. Common treatments for the hamster’s tumor Usually the treatment for a tumor is to remove it. If the tumor is on the outside, like a growth on the hamster’s leg or back, it will be easy to remove. The vet himself might perform the surgery, or he might enlist a surgeon’s help. However if the tumor is inside the hamster, for example on his kidneys, it is much harder to treat. It can still be removed, but there are a few considerations to take. The first is whether the hamster, small as he is, will survive the anaesthesia and the ensuing surgery, with all the blood loss. The second is that the risks associated with surgery on a very small animal usually are very high, which might mean the hamster would have to be put down. This is only if the tumor is hindering the hamster’s life quality. Deciding to put down the hammy is not easy, and should be thought about very well. You need to take into account whether the hamster can live the rest of his normal life with this tumor. If it’s the kind of tumor that will spread and grow, then it will slowly eat the poor creature from the inside out. This is a case where putting the hamster to sleep would be the most compassionate and human treatment. However if the tumor is fairly small, does not grow in time, but is on the inside and can’t be removed without putting the hammy at risk, this is probably a case where the vet would advise letting the hamster live his life. There is a third option, which involves chemo therapy. As you know from humans that went through such a treatment, chemo is very rough. Many humans do not survive this. Imagine a small, weakened hamster going through it. You could try, however, and see how the hammy responds. Make sure you talk to your vet about all the options you’ve got, and see which you think is best. (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.) Caring for the hamster after surgery If the tumor can be safely removed, them this means your hamster will go through surgery. After he wakes up from his anaesthesia the vet will probably keep him for a day or two, for further observations. Once you can pick up your hamster, you will also get a set of guidelines from your vet. He will let you know exactly how to care for the hamster, as well as many post-op medications he needs to take. Do keep in mind that a hamster out of surgery will have the scar still a bit red and swollen in the first few days. That’s normal until the wound heals. However make sure to check the scar daily, to see if there is an infection. Sometimes, depending on the conditions the hamster is in after the surgery, an infection might occur. This will be noticeable by continued swelling, and pus. The wound will not close properly and will ooze a white-yellow liquid, and might smell bad as well. If this is the case, rush your hamster friend to the vet immediately. Also keep in mind that a hamster who was just under surgery will probably not want to be handled for a few days. He is tired, and sore, and he will possibly try to reach the scar to lick at it and clean it. So resist the temptation to pick up your hamster the first few days after the surgery. As always, the room he lives in must be warm enough, not drafty, and he must be separated from cage mates during his recovery. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies don’t normally get sick, but when we do we need your help. A tumor is definitely something we can’t figure out on our own. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...