4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To Do

Hamsters escaping are never good news . So the best thing to do is to prevent your hamster from escaping in the first place. But for that, we need to figure out why hamsters try to escape in the first place. This is what I’ve done with my Teddy, and how it can help you too.

This can be applied for all hamster types, and I’ll tell you where things need to be different for each of them.

Hamster escape (2)

So why does your hamster try to escape ?

Some hamsters adapt to their home, some don’t. But generally hamsters try to escape when they don’t feel comfortable in their home. If they feel threatened, or like they don’t have enough space, or if they’re constantly tormented by kids or other pets.

Since hamsters are very quiet creatures, easy to scare, they can get uneasy in their homes. So make sure that any other pets in the house leave the hamster alone, by separating the hamster in a different room.

If it’s the children who are always on the hamster when it would need rest, or they keep scaring the hamster, that is an entire talk you need to have with them, that I am not entitled to guide here.

But the children need to give the small animal his own space, and understand that it won’t always want to play.

Alright, now let’s talk about some common reasons that your hamster could be trying to escape, and how to prevent those.

Hamsters are very curious and want to explore

Despite being easy to scare and sometimes too shy, hamsters are curious. They want to know everything that goes on, and will pop their heads out to see see what you’re doing.

So sometimes you might see your hammy all over the place, climbing the cage walls as well, to try to get to what is happening. Sometimes he might chew the bars in frustration that he can’t get to it.

If that is the case, make sure you give the hamster plenty of attention. If it’s suitable, then you can bring the action to the hamster. Like if you’re chopping carrots, you can give him a fresh new piece to sate him and his curiosity.

An example is when I make evening tea. I usually set the mug on the kitchen counter, which is where I keep Teddy at night. He’s always curious what I have there, and I bring the mug close to him so he can smell the tea.

Once he gets a few whiffs he figures it’s not that interesting and starts doing something else.

Or when you notice your hamster very focused on trying to reach something outside the cage, distract him with a treat on the other side of the cage. Also remove the distraction, or move the cage.

Most hamsters are very active and will be all over the place

Sometimes it might seem like he’s trying to escape, but he’s just being a hamster. Rodents in general, and especially hamsters, live a very fast-paced life. They climb their cage, they run around, they will chew on everything.

So it’s not something that you should worry about, but it is something you should keep an eye on. Make sure your hamster has enough toys to keep him entertained – like bendy bridge, a hide and seek tube, lots of hiding places.

And most importantly make sure you keep your hamster well exercised. That means a hamster wheel, for him to run in. The minimum for Syrian hamsters is 9 inches/23 cm diameter wheel.

The smaller breeds like Siberian o Campbell can do with smaller wheels like 6-7 inches/15-18 cm but I recommend getting them a larger wheel as well. This is to prevent back injuries and keep the hamster from feeling too confined.

A few things to keep in mind when looking for the hamster’s exercise wheel can be found here.

Also, an exercise ball for when he is outside the cage will help greatly. Your hamster can explore the house, and will learn the smells and sounds of it as well. As well as run as much as his heart tells him to.

Just be sure to keep the ball away from other pets when the hamster is inside. A few considerations for a hamster exercise ball can be found here.

For exercise balls the same space requirements apply as the exercise wheel.

Hamsters need more space than you’d think

The cage your hamster lives in needs to be a certain size.

The absolute minimum for Syrian hamsters is 24 inches by 12 inches in floor space. That’s 61 cm by 30.5 cm for your hamster to run in. But I do recommend getting a cage with more space than that.

Siberian and other small breeds of hamsters far well in smaller cages than Syrians, but with hamsters you should always get a bigger cage than you’d first think.

(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.)

Hamster escape

Keep in mind that most of the cages you find in stores are too small for Syrians, and the accessories that come with them are too small as well.

The best cages for Syrians are actually the ones that are suited for ferrets or chinchillas or guinea pigs. But there the space between bars is a problem because the Syrian can escape through them.

Giving your hamster a lot of space to run around and play is going to keep him much happier, and he will want to escape much less. In general hamsters need a wide and low cage, instead of one with many levels, but they can enjoy those too.

The distance between the cage wires is important, since the hamster can squeeze through them. If they can get their head through, they can get their body through as well.

So for Syrians the wire distance should be 0.4 inches/1 cm or smaller, so they can’t get their head through. Siberians and smaller breeds need much less space between the wires. Actually, for the small breeds it’s best to get n glass tank with a wire mesh over the top.

My Teddy has a 21 inch by 12/53 cm by 30.5 with 2 extra floors, which give him about double that running space. He has bridges connecting the floors and a thick layer of bedding in case he falls.

If your want to know more about what kind of cage to get your hammy, look here to know how to choose a hamster cage. I cover the 3 main types of cage, as well as how to clean the 3 kinds of cages.

A scared hamster will try to escape

If there is something bothering or even scaring your hamster consistently, he will try to escape. He will try to run as far away as possible, and will keep escaping if you bring him back. This is a case where cage size and temperature and food quality does not matter.

So watch your hamster for a few days, and see what keeps spooking him. Pets, kids, lawnmowers, visiting aunts, it could be anything. Find the reason, and figure out a way to keep your hamster safe.

An idea would be to keep the hamster in a different room, where nothing can bother him and he can sleep peacefully. This way pets like a very curious cat won’t be able to paw at the poor hamster.

If the hamster is scared of you, the owner, then you need to build trust with him. Let him get used to you, let him know your smell, and do not rush him. Check the article on how to tame your hamster.

Place your hand into his cage, with a treat on it. He will come to take the food, but possibly run away after that. It’s okay, it’s a step forward. Repeat this every day until your hamster trusts you to touch your hand. From there, small steps towards holding your hamster in your hand, inside the cage.

Talk to your hamster, even if he doesn’t understand the words he understands the tone. He knows a friendly tone from a harsh one.

A word from Teddy

This was about why we hammies try to escape, but really it’s about how you can help us lead a better life with you. A happy hamster might try to escape sometimes, since we are a curious and energetic bunch.

But if you keep us well exercised, and with lots of toys and love, we’ll stick around.

If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we throw our poop around or the best way to feed us, check the articles below. You’ll get lots of great info on hamster care !

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Hamsters Hiding Their Food – Why, When, And Where
Hamsters Hiding Their Food – Why, When, And WhereEver seen how your hammy stuffs his cheeks and then wanders off ? Did you ever wonder where all that food goes ? That’s a lot of food for such a tiny furry boy. Where does it all go ? As it happens, hammies like to hoard. Their name in Syria where the first hammy was discovered translated to Mr. Saddlebags. Apparently hamsters like to carry away their food, but what do they do with all of it ? Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters hide their food ?Why hamsters hide their foodWhen hamsters hide their foodWhere do hamsters hide their foodCan you stop your hamster from hiding his food ?Which foods are okay for hamstersA word from Teddy Do hamsters hide their food ? Yes, hamsters hide their food. In fact your per hamster is hiding the majority of the food you’re giving him. This is not to say you’re overfeeding him. We’ll discuss that later in this article. But hamsters are hardwired to hide away most of their food, in case of a long, hard winter. Or in case it’s too dangerous to go outside to forage for food. Pet hamsters still have this instinct, since it’s what kept them alive for so long in the wild. So they’re not going to forget it anytime soon. After all, they’ve only been with us for the last century or so. Now let’s see how and why this all happens, so you can better understand your friend. Why hamsters hide their food Hammies hide their food for a number of reasons. To understand this we need to look at the wild hamster, and how it survives in the wild. A wild hamster will come out of his hiding place in the evening, and hear for predators. He he thinks the coast is clear, he’ll run around looking for food. Now, given the fact that hamsters are prey and are always hunted by one animal or another, they move fast. They also have to move fast to cover lots of ground, their territory is large because the areas hamsters come from are quite barren. Not much vegetation or fruit or veggies to be found. So hamsters take what they can get, and cover a wide area to do so. They can cover 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night ! Imagine those tiny feet scurrying across the desert or steppes to find a few grains. On top of all this, winter does come. That means less food, and the need to stockpiling. Hamsters have evolved, because of all these reasons, to have one big pantry in their nest. That pantry is organized and cleaned daily. The hammy knows what he’s got there, and he knows it will last him through the cold. For convenience, for survival, and because of scarcity. This is also why hamsters usually eat dry, hard grains since those keep the best. They’ve also evolved to have long front teeth to manage eating those grains. More on hamster teeth here. How does this translate to your pet hamster ? Well, even if he’s a pet and he is safe and gets food constantly, he still has the instinct to hoard and make sure he has enough food. It’s something pet hamsters will probably never forget. When hamsters hide their food Hammies love to hide their food. They don’t usually need a time of the year to hide it, they always hide it. Whenever they find some food, they’ll hide it in their amazingly elastic cheek pouches and carry it with them. This means they’ll also have snacks along the way, and they don’t have to drop all their food if a predator comes along. So your pet hamster will hide his food when he finds it. This means that right after you put food in his little bowl, he will sniff it and start putting it in his cheeks. He’ll stuff his cheeks with as much food you’ve given him, or as much as his cheeks can carry. Then, he’ll wander off to his hideout, and put it in his food stash. More on that later in the article. Once his stash has been added to, he might stay there and eat a few bits of the food. Or, he might come out and play, or run on his wheel. Once he knows he’s got food, he won’t worry about much. If you give him additional bits of food, after his feeding time, he will still take those. hamsters are greedy little things, regardless of how much or how little food they have in their stash. They will always take the food offered. If it’s a food that spoils immediately, like a piece of cooked chicken or egg white, he’ll eat it right then and there. If it’s a food that keeps, including cheese, he’ll store it away. Where do hamsters hide their food Alright, hammies store their food, we know why and we know when. But where exactly do hamsters store their food ? Well, maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. Hamsters are good at hiding. But whenever you clean your hamster’s cage you’ll see he has a corner, tucked away in his hideout or nest, and it’s got plenty of food.  That’s the hammy’s storage place, or food stash. That’s where he keeps all the food you give him, and it’s convenient. Next time your think your hammy is sleeping try this. Keep your ears open for any chewing or small crunching sound. That’ll be your hammy taking a midnight snack. Hamsters keep their food close, and it will usually be in the lowest part of their nest. As in, they will build their sleeping area on top of the food, if they have no other option. In the wild hamsters only keep their food in a special, dedicated room. They have a different room for sleeping, another one for peeing, and so on. Hamsters are very organized, and in the wild their home is actually a series of tunnels on several levels, with many rooms. As a pet, they have either the hideout you provide them, or the nest they’ve built in a corner of the cage. For the sake of your hammy’s sanity, do get him a hideout. Or at the very least arrange a hidden, covered corner of the cage and you’ll see that’s where he will hide. (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.) Can you stop your hamster from hiding his food ? No. You can’t stop your hamster from hiding his food. It would be like trying to stop a dog from howling when he hears other dogs. Or a cat from surveying everything from the tallest object in your home. Or a parakeet from being… well, silly and noisy. It’s what the animal does, and it’s their instinct. A hamster will always hide his food, because this is what he knows. He knows food is scarce, and life in the desert or steppes is harsh, and he has to survive. The fact that he gets a steady, regular food supply from you is just happenstance for him. Giving him more food will only mean a larger food stash that will end up spoiling since he can’t eat it all. On the other hand, underfeeding your hamster will only give him a sense of anxiety. Having only enough food to eat in one sitting, and nothing to bring back home will make him stressed. Hamsters react very poorly to stress and can develop serious problems like fur loss, wet tail, and a series of digestive problems. So give your hamster food as usual, 2 teaspoons for a Syrian, and one teaspoon for a Dwarf type. That’s daily, and it’s for commercial mixes that have lots of dry grains and seeds and vitamins added in. He will have enough food to eat, and to hide. Do keep in mind that older hamsters become very picky, and won’t eat all of their food. Which foods are okay for hamsters This is a topic I’ve covered in a different article. Here you’ll find a whole list of safe and unsafe foods you can give your hamster. Some are already in your pantry, or fridge. However I do recommend a commercial food mix to give to your hammy, since that will have a balanced diet for him, with all the nutrients he needs. At a glance, hamsters eat mostly grains. They are omnivores, and will eat most things they find. But, not all are okay for them. Again, refer to the food list I’ve linked above. Aside from grains, hammies eat veggies, some root-type veggies, some fruits, a couple of insects, and lots of seeds and nuts. Very acidic foods like citrus or garlic or onion, and spices in general are very bad for hamsters. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies love to hide our food, just so we know we’ve got enough to last us for several days. It;s not you, it’s just us being hamsters. If you want to know more about us hammies and how to care for us, you should read the articles below for more info. [...] Read more...
Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete Guide
Choosing An Exercise Ball For Your Hamster – Complete GuideWhen I first got my Teddy, I didn’t have an exercise ball for him. I didn’t even think that would be necessary. But a friend helped me out and let me have her hammy’s old exercise ball. After a few weeks I got Teddy his own exercise ball. But that was when I learned most of the things I know about how much exercise a hamster needs, and how to help him get that exercise. That’s what I’m going to help you with here. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ?Why hamsters need an exercise ballHow to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ballPrecautions when using the hamster exercise ballDo not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long.Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball.Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls.Be careful what surface you place the ball on.Proof your apartment or house.My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ballHow to use a hamster exercise ballGet your hamster used to the exercise ballPlacing your hamster in the exercise ballPlacing the hamster back in his cageWhen to place the hamster in his exercise ballWhen to not place the hamster in his exercise ballA word on hamster exercise balls with standsHow to clean a hamster exercise ballWhere to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using itA word from Teddy So what is the best exercise ball for hamsters ? A great exercise ball for hamsters is one that will fit the adult hamster properly. This means that an adult Syrian hamster like my Teddy will need at least a 7 inch exercise ball, up to 9 inches. That’s 18 cm to 23 cm, in diameter. Smaller breeds of hamster like a dwarf or Campbell will do well in 5 inch exercise balls, up to 7 inches. So that’s 13 cm to 18 cm for your little hamster types. Another thing about the hamster exercise balls is that you should be careful that your hammy’s feet or tail don’t slip through the air holes. This can happen with the very large exercise balls, that are geared towards guinea pigs or ferrets. So inspect the air holes and vents carefully to see how wide they are. If it looks like your hamster’s entire foot could fit through there, then look for a size smaller. All exercise balls are made of hard plastic, so your hamster will be safe. Why hamsters need an exercise ball If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, then he’s very curious and want to be everywhere, and know everything, right now. He’s a very active hammy and I wouldn’t label him as a ”relaxed” hamster. He’s more like a border collie than anything, he’ll find something to do if I don’t give him something to do. So the exercise ball saved us both, especially in the beginning. He can roam the house as much as he likes. This is the first way an exercise ball helps your hamster. It gives him the opportunity to roam, explore, get into all the nooks and crannies he sees from his cage, and wander under your desk when you’re busy. Second, an exercise ball will help your hamster get more exercise than the running wheel. This is because the hamster has to push the weight of the ball as well, and that’s a great way to give him good exercise. He can’t run as fast as he can in the running wheel, but it’s a different type of workout. To find out more about the kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, check out my article here. Third, it gives him something to do. He can’t really chew at that ball from the inside, it keeps him moving, and he’s easy to contain. If you’re cleaning his cage and have nowhere to put him, try the exercise ball. This is what I do with my Teddy, and he always gets excited when he sees it. And fourth, they’re just so funny when they’re in that ball. This one is more for you than the hamster, I know. But you need a laugh every now and then too. A hamster in his exercise ball bumping into every bit of furniture, and trying his best to push the ball over that powerstrip cord is the best thing ever. How to tell if your hamster is comfortable in the exercise ball Teddy has a 7 inch exercise ball, and he’s had it since his first few weeks. The first one he had was a smaller, 5 inch one. Since he was a baby, it was alright for a couple of weeks. Back then he was the size of an adult dwarf hamster. But he soon started to grow and get bigger and longer, and once I was that I went to look for a bigger exercise ball. The one I landed on was a 7 inch version, clear plastic, with removable lids on the side. The way I could tell he was much more comfortable in this new ball was that his back was finally straight. When he ran/pushed the ball, his back wasn’t as arched as it was in the smaller ball. So that’s one thing you can look for, how arched the hamster’s back is. His back isn’t meant to arch backwards, it’s built for hunching and standing straight at best. If you notice your hammy having back problems consider getting him a larger exercise ball. Other signs to look for are how easy the hamster can move the ball from the inside, and how much his tail or feet stick out at times. If the hammy can easily move the ball, that’s good. Some resistance is expected, if he’s on a carpet. The ball moves easier on hard surfaces like hardwood or tiles. But if the hammy can’t move the ball easily, it might be just too big for him, even if it looks like he has enough space. Large exercise balls equal more plastic, so more weight. You hamster can only push so much, especially if he’s a smaller breed. As for the tail and feet sticking out, they will stick out a bit anyway. His claws and tail are so small and thin it’s hard for them not to stick through the air vents. Especially when he stops to clean himself, check something and sits down. But if the hammy’s entire leg can fit through an air hole, then the ball is not good for him. He can get hurt or catch his tail and that’s never good. Precautions when using the hamster exercise ball While the ball is made to protect your hammy, and it does that quite well, there are a few things you should be careful about. Do not leave your hamster in the exercise ball for too long. Best to put him in the ball several times a day, for set amounts of time. I usually leave Teddy in the ball for about 30 minutes, but not more. This is because the air inside is not very much, even with the air holes. Also, he has no access to water or food. If you see droppings in your hammy’s exercise ball, then you can be sure he needs a break. If you can’t see them, you’ll definitely hear them jingling. Keep an eye on your hamster when he’s in the ball. If he gets stick on some carpet, or corner, or charger cord, help him out. Otherwise he will panic. If your house is on at least two levels, keep him away from the stairs. The ball will protect him, but only so much. Hamsters can sometimes escape their exercise balls. Maybe it’s not closed properly, or maybe he’s a genius, no matter. Make sure you close the exercise ball very tightly, and keep an eye on him. Be careful what surface you place the ball on. Hardwood and short haired carpet are okay. But a shaggy carpet, with long frills is not okay, since it can stick into his exercise ball. The hamster, being curious, will shove the carpet pieces in his cheeks to use as nesting later. That’s not good, ever. Watch out for dusty or unclean surfaces. Dirt and dust will find their way into your house anyway, but it’s important that you let the hamster run on a clean surface. Otherwise the dirt and dust will end up on him, and that can affect his health. Proof your apartment or house. The area your hamster will run around in needs to be safe, for him and for your furniture. So any corners the ball can fit into and actually get stuck in, should be blocked by a slipper or something like that. If there is anything fragile like a mirror, either place it somewhere else when the hamster is in the ball, or put some slippers or rolled towel in front of it. The ball bumping into furniture is incredibly noisy, so make sure you put him in a room where there is not much hard furniture, or try not to mind the noise. Teddy: In general, if you can’t hear the ball moving for more than a few seconds, you should check on your hamster friend. He’s either stuck, or up to something. My recommendation for a good hamster exercise ball I looked around and found a good exercise ball on Amazon. It’s the same size as the one I have, and it has a lot of air vents for your hamster to breathe. You can choose whichever color you like, but in the end all exercise balls end up with scratches on them after a few uses. Think of it as the polished armor on a knight. This particular ball is 7 inches/18 cm, so that’s the minimum diameter for a Syrian hamster, and the maximum for a dwarf type. So both hamster types can use this kind of ball freely. This kind of ball is easy enough to assemble, so there should be no problems there. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Once you get your hamster an exercise ball, whether it’s the one above or a different one, you’ll need to know how to help your hammy use it. So let’s get into that, so you can watch your little friend run around. How to use a hamster exercise ball This will be very intuitive for your hamster, but he might need some time to adjust at first. I’ll give your Teddy’s example. When he first found himself in a hamster ball, he was a bit confused. I made the mistake of putting him in the ball too soon after bringing him home. Teddy got used to the ball very quickly, and learned how to steer it properly in about a week. Get your hamster used to the exercise ball Leave the ball in his cage for about half an hour, maybe a full hour. Make sure one end is open, and the hamster has easy access to the opening. Place a treat inside the ball, so your hammy has more reason to climb into the ball. Let him explore, smell, try to chew on it. He will get used to it, and will probably climb into it fairly fast. After your hammy is used to the exercise ball, it will be much easier to get him into the ball. If he starts moving his nest into the ball, remove the ball, and leave the nest parts in the cage. It’s clear he’s comfortable in it. Placing your hamster in the exercise ball Once your hammy is used tot he exercise ball, this will be easy. You can do this 3 ways, depending on your hamster’s personality, current mood, and the type of cage you have. First, you can place the ball in the cage with a treat inside. Once the hamster climbs in, scoop the ball up and close it. This works best for cages that have a top-side opening, and a large one at that. It’s also great if you’re hammy is in a very feisty or irritated mood and can not be held at the moment, but you need to clean the cage. Second, you can  place the exercise ball (with a treat inside) with the opening on the side of the cage. It only works for cages that have side clasps. Then unhook one side, and slowly raise that part until your hamster can get through. Most hamsters will be so curious about the new opening they will climb right into the ball. By keeping the opening flat against the side of the cage, you’ll make it easier to keep him in place until you put the lid on. Third, if your hammy is very tame and is easy to hold, pick him up. Place him by hand in the exercise ball, which of course has a treat inside. This way you’re sure the hamster gets into the exercise ball, which makes cleaning the cage much easier. Placing a treat inside the exercise ball will teach your hamster to always be excited when he sees the exercise ball. After a while he will climb into it even without the treat. Placing the hamster back in his cage This is a lot like the way you got him into the cage in the first place. Place a bit of food in the cage and place the open exercise ball near that food. The hamster will climb out, and will enjoy his treat. If your have a cage that can lift the sides, place the food close to the side you will use to place the hamster back. So that when you lift the side of the cage to place your hamster back, he will see the food right away and go straight to it. Never force or shake your hamster out of his exercise ball. Try coaxing him out with a treat, or just wiggling a finger where you want him to get. He’s very curious and will go to check it out. When to place the hamster in his exercise ball First off, let’s talk about how soon to place the hamster in the ball after bringing him home from the pet store. You should allow him about a week to get used to his new home, in which time he will build his nest and get a sense of  normality. After that week, make sure you get the hamster slowly used to the ball by placing it in the cage like I explained above. Aside from that, you can place the hamster in his ball at almost any point when he is awake, but there is a best time. If you see your hamster very agitated, or climbing all over the cage, that would be a good time. He has a lot of extra energy which he needs to release. When to not place the hamster in his exercise ball shortly after he woke up when he is sitting on his hideout, scoping the area and being watchful when he is eating when he has low energy, and would be sleepy when he is sick and needs a lot of rest and water A word on hamster exercise balls with stands I had one of these, actually I still do. The one I have used to have a stand for the ball, and a second set of lids so the hamster could climb into and out of the ball when he wants. It sounds like a great idea, but there are a couple of problems here. First, the stand is meant as an actual stand. Not as a support for a spinning exercise ball. This is the mistake I made with Teddy, and after a couple of weeks, I heard the noise. Plastic on plastic eventually chewed down on the stand bits, and it started making the most awful screeches when Teddy ran in it. It’s not like a metal wheel, which you can just oil and it will be fine for a couple of weeks. No, the plastic one actually gets ground down to nothing, both the stand handles and the holes they plug into. Second, the hamster can somehow, some way, move its nest in that ball. This happened with Teddy, and I’m sure there are a few other people out there who had this happen too. The little furball moved food, nesting material, and a few droppings into his exercise ball, and used that as a nest. Which wasn’t so terrible, except when he started running. The contents Teddy brought into that exercise ball flew everywhere in the ball, and a bit outside. It actually woke me up a couple of nights. So do yourself and your hammy a favor, and only use that stand outside the cage. Use it as a stand to actually keep the ball on, without the hamster inside. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to clean a hamster exercise ball The exercise ball will get a bit dirty, there’s no way around that. It will grind on whatever is on the floor, it will get all kinds of scratch marks on the outside from rolling around. Aside from all that, it will pick up a bit of dust or other small debris that need to be cleaned off. Make sure you use only hot (as hot as you can handle it) water, and the smallest amount of soap to clean the ball. Take it apart, and thoroughly scrub it down with hot water and a tiny amount of soap, inside and out. You can use the rough side of a dishwashing sponge, or a cloth, whichever you prefer. Be extra careful in the inside of the ball to not use much soap. The soap has a strong scent for your hammy, and he might not want to get into the exercise ball if he can’t stand the smell. The wash will also remove most of the hammy’s scent from inside the ball, so make sure you place a treat inside the exercise ball when you reintroduce it to the hamster. As for how often to clean it, it depends on how often the hamster uses it, and how much it’s been through. If you place your hamster in the ball every day, and let him roam for a half hour, then the ball should be cleaned often. Best to do that daily, since there a lot on the floor usually. If he only ever uses the exercise ball a few times a month, and for a short amount of time, you can even clean it every week. Where to keep the hamster exercise ball when not using it Wherever you keep it, it must be a clean, dust-free place. In a cupboard, or a drawer would be alright. Place it on its stand if it has one, and keep it somewhere the dust will not settle on or in it. Do not leave it on the floor, especially if you have other pets or children. Someone might kick it by accident, or a dog might chew on it, or maybe one of your toddlers will confuse it with a bouncy ball. A word from Teddy This was all I could tell you about our exercise balls. How to pick one, how to keep it clean, and how to put one of us hamsters in an exercise ball. We love to run around and play, us hamsters are very active creatures and we get anxious when we’re cooped up too much. So let us roam free-ish, in the exercise ball, so we can explore your home ! If you’d like to know more about us hamsters, and what kind of food we can eat, or how much water we need, you can check out the articles below.   [...] Read more...
These Are The 4 Best Hamsters For Beginners
These Are The 4 Best Hamsters For BeginnersHamsters are cute and small, and they seem to be great pets for children. You only have to feed them, clean their cages, and give them attention. They are great for teaching children responsibility or as a starter pet before you get them a dog or a car. There are 16 types of hamsters that we have discovered, and only a few of them are kept as pets.  That being said, not all these hamsters are suitable to be children’s pets. Some are more difficult to tame, some need more care, and others will bite. You want to pick a hamster that is easy to care for and that doesn’t bite. Make sure you do your research before you get a hamster to know exactly what to expect. For example, hamsters are nocturnal, which means that they are only active during the night, and they will probably wake up your child if the cage is in your child’s bedroom. You should also be aware of the fact that hamsters never bond with people as cats or dogs do. If you’ve done your research and are sure that you want to get a hamster, here’s a list of 4 hamsters that are best for beginners.  1. Syrian Hamster The Syrian hamster is also known as the golden hamster, and it is one of the most popular hamsters that people keep as pets. They make very good pets for beginners since they are easy to tame, fun to play with, and very low-maintenance. Syrian hamsters originate from dry areas of northern Syria and southern Turkey. Their fur is naturally colored golden brown and they have a lighter belly. Nowadays there are many different colors, patterns, and hair lengths of Syrian hamsters thanks to selective breeding.  The captive-breeding programs for Syrian hamsters have begun in the 1930s both for experiments and pet trade. Because they are losing their habitat in the wild, they are considered to be vulnerable. It’s very easy to take care of a Syrian hamster. You can find food made specifically for them in the pet store, and their housing won’t take up much of your space. Syrian hamster weighs around 5 ounces and is 5 to 9 inches long. It lives for 2 to 4 years.  You might have heard that Syrian hamsters have a reputation that they bite a lot. This is, however, mostly because people don’t know how to handle them. If you don’t squeeze or shake it while you’re holding it, the Syrian hamster will learn that it has nothing to be afraid of when it’s in your hand. This type of hamster likes to be alone and is very territorial. You should never have more than one Syrian hamster living together in a cage. If you keep 2 or more Syrian hamsters together in a cage, they will get really aggressive, and they sometimes even fight to the death. You should keep any other pets you might have in your household away from the hamster because they will likely hurt each other.  Syrian hamsters, like all hamsters, sleep during the day and are active during the night. They are generally quiet, but it would be best if you kept it away from your bedroom at night because it could wake you up.  If you are looking for a hamster to bond with, you will have to look for some other type of hamster, because Syrian hamsters never really bond with their owners. Some might come closer when they see you and sleep on your hands. Make sure you spend enough time with your hamster each day to keep it tame. The Syrian hamster will need as big of a cage as you can get. The smallest cage you can put your Syrian hamster into can be 1x2x1 feet. Make sure you put a lot of hamster toys in its cage and don’t forget to put an exercise wheel. It’s best that you get an exercise wheel that has a solid surface so you avoid any injuries. Place a sleeping hut in the corner of the cage, you can usually find these in the pet store. You will have to feed your Syrian hamster with nuts, grains, and seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Syrian hamsters are omnivores, so you can occasionally give them a hardboiled egg or some insects. You should talk to your vet to see what is the best diet for your hamster because it depends on the size and the age of your hamster. Make sure there’s always a bowl of food in the cage and throw away any food your hamster doesn’t eat after a day. There should also be a water bottle or a water bowl in the cage, and you should change the water each day.  Syrian hamsters rarely get sick, but there are a few diseases you should be on the lookout for. One such disease is a wet tail, a gastrointestinal infection that is caused by stress. This is the most common disease that affects Syrian hamsters. You will know that your hamster has a wet tail if you notice that it’s not eating, has diarrhea, and the area around its tail is wet. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.  2. Dwarf hamsters Dwarf hamsters are tiny hamsters that originate from the desert regions. Unlike larger hamsters, they are very social and are happiest when they are in groups. Unlike cats or dogs, they won’t bond with you, but they will recognize you and come close to the side of their cage if they see you. They weigh between 1 and 2 ounces and are around 2 inches long. You can expect them to live for 3 years.   Dwarf hamsters are also nocturnal, but they can sometimes adapt to their owner’s schedule. That being said, if you try to wake up the Dwarf hamster, it will probably bite you. Most hamsters wake up in the evening and are happy to hang out with people then. When they wake up, they will make noises during the night, so you shouldn’t keep them in your bedroom if you are a light sleeper.  This type of hamsters usually likes being held by people, however, if they feel uncomfortable, they will bite you. You should start handling them when they are young and always be careful and gentle. This way they will learn that they shouldn’t be afraid when you handle them. When you try holding your hamster, it’s best that you’re in a closed room and that there’s something soft underneath you. Hamsters are very quick and they can escape from your hands before you realize it. That’s why there should be something soft for them to land on, and the door should be closed so they can’t escape to the other room. If your hamster falls from even a couple of feet and hits the ground it could lead to some serious injuries.  Your Dwarf hamster should have a big cage because it needs a lot of room to play in. The smallest cage you can keep your Dwarf hamster is in 1x2x1 feet, but that is the bare minimum. If you have more than one hamster, you will have to get a bigger cage. Dwarf hamsters usually live in glass or plastic aquariums, or in wire cages. Wire cages provide better airflow, but they won’t protect your hamster from the draft. If you choose to get a wire cage, make sure that the distance between wires is narrow so that your hamster can’t escape. You should place at least a 1 to 2-inch layer of bedding, for example, chemical- and dye-free shredded paper or hardwood shavings. You will have to change the bedding once a week, and clean all surfaces with water and soap. Make sure you clean up any wet spots each day. You should never forget to place an exercise wheel in your hamster’s cage, as well as many toys. There should be a lot of mineral or wooden toys to chew on so that hamsters can take care of their teeth, and add a sleeping house to the cage. Your hamster should be fed once a day, and ask your veterinarian how much food you should give it. You can buy food blends that are made specifically for Dwarf hamsters. You can also feed your Dwarf hamster with a bit of nuts, seeds, oats, bananas, and carrots. Never feed your Dwarf hamster with avocados, almonds, and chocolate as they are very toxic. Dwarf hamsters are prone to many health issues, and make sure you have a veterinarian near you who treats Dwarf hamsters before you buy this type of hamster.  They can lose hair and get skin lesions from rubbing on something in its cage or because it was attacked by another hamster. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet as soon as you notice any skin injuries because they can get infected quickly. Dwarf hamsters are known to be prone to diabetes. You can prevent this if you don’t let your hamster eat a lot of sugar and make sure it gets a lot of exercise. Check your hamster’s teeth every once in a while. Unlike human teeth, hamster teeth never stop growing, and if your Dwarf hamster doesn’t have anything to chew on, its teeth will become overgrown. This will make it hard for your hamster to eat, and the vet will have to trim its teeth.  3. Robovski Hamsters Robovski hamsters are the smallest and fastest hamsters. When they grow up they are as big as an adult’s thumb, which is about 2 to 3 inches. They originated from China, Mongolia, and Russia.  Wire cages are the easiest to clean up, but since Robovski hamsters are so small, it’s hard to find a wire cage that won’t let them escape. It’s best to get an aquarium that is 24 inches by 12 inches and minimally 12 inches high for two hamsters. If you choose to have more than 2 hamsters, you will have to provide 12 by 6 inches of space for each new hamster. Make sure you cover your hamster’s cage with mesh so nothing falls into the cage but the air is still able to flow.  There should be at least 1 1/4 inches of bedding because Robovski hamsters love to burrow. It is not recommended that you use pine or cedar shavings because they can be harmful to hamsters. This type of hamster loves being active so make sure it has a lot of toys and an exercise wheel. Robovski hamsters don’t like to share, so make sure you get toys for each one of your hamsters. This also goes for food and water.  Robovski hamsters are also active during the night and sleep during the day. They are gentle and rarely bite. However, they are extremely fast which makes it hard to handle them. You should always handle them above a large box so you can catch them if they slip away. You can train Robovski hamsters to take treats from your hand. To do this, you will have to rest your hand and put a treat in your palm. The hamster will explore your hand and find the treat.  This type of hamster is very social, and it is best if you keep it in groups with same-sex hamsters. You should establish groups from a young age. It is not advisable to introduce a new Robovski hamster to an already established group, as it’s not likely to survive. If your hamsters don’t kill each other, you can expect them to live for 3 years. Robovski hamsters are naturally sandy brown and they have white bellies, which lets them blend in with the desert nicely when they live in the wild. 4. Chinese hamsters Chinese hamsters are small hamsters that originated from China and Mongolia. Most of them are brown and they have a lighter belly and a black stripe running down their back. You can recognize these hamsters because they have longer tails than any other type of hamsters. They are easy to take care of, however, some of them bite. They weigh between 1 and 2 ounces and live for 2 to 3 years.  Chinese hamsters make good pets and they don’t mind when you handle them if you’ve done it since they were young. Always sit when handling your hamster because it could get injured if it falls.  You can choose to only have one Chinese hamster, or keep them in same-sex groups. That being said, there’s a big chance that they will be aggressive and territorial if they live in groups. It would be good if you can get hamsters from the same litter that will grow up together and gets used to each other. Make sure you keep your Chinese hamster away from any other pets you have because it’s so small and it could get easily injured.  They will also need 1x2x1 feet cages, and you should layer 1 to 2 inches of bedding, for example, aspen shavings or some other paper-based products. Make sure you add toys, an exercise wheel, and a sleeping hut to their cage.  You can find food for your Chinese hamster in the pet store, and make sure that it’s supplemented with vitamins and minerals. You can put food for the whole day in the bowl and place the bowl in the cage. Chinese hamsters like eating small portions throughout the day.  You can also supplement the commercial food with some seeds, nuts, and fresh fruit and vegetables, but make sure that the supplemental food makes only 10% of your hamster’s diet.  Chinese hamsters are prone to respiratory issues. You will be able to tell that something’s going on with your hamster if you notice it wheezing, sneezing and that it has nasal discharge.  They can also suffer from the wet tail. If you notice that your hamster doesn’t want to eat, that it has diarrhea, or that the area around its tale is wet, take it to the vet immediately.    [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?
Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?We see squirrels eating acorns all the time, and since they are rodents like our pet hamster, it is quite normal to believe that a hamster can eat acorns. But do they? Can your little hamster eat acorns? This is what I will discuss in this article since acorns as hamster treats are a bit more dangerous than they might look. Stick around till the end to see some cool homemade toy ideas that you can make for your hamster to chew on or play with. I will talk about this because many people use acorns as a toy for their hamsters to chew on rather than food. Table of Contents ToggleCan hamsters eat acorns?Can a hamster open an acorn?Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin?What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat?Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid.Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play withConclusion Can hamsters eat acorns? Hamsters should not eat acorns because they can have a lot of bacteria, parasites, harmful germs, and even fungal infections. There are actually two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster acorns: The first one is the one we talked about, acorns can be bad for your hamster’s health because they are not healthy for its digestive system. Even if we wash the acorns, we might not get rid of all those problems. I’ve heard there are some people that wash and bake the acorns before giving them to the hamster. This might get rid of most of the bacteria, parasites, and so on, but you still have one more problem. Acorns are quite sharp and can hurt your hamster’s intestines or cheek pouches if they store them. Hamsters tend to keep food in their cheek pouches and keeping a sharp object is dangerous since their cheek pouches are sensitive. Here you can read more about how cheek pouches work and common problems. So, while a hamster’s diet, especially a pet one, contains mostly seeds and nuts, it is important to know that acorns are still dangerous. Can a hamster open an acorn? Yes, hamsters can open acorns and get to the seed, it can take a while, but they will eventually succeed and eating the seed can be dangerous for them. If you plan on giving your hamster a natural chew toy, you can give him a walnut rather than a acorn since the walnuts are safe to eat for your hamster and it is a better option even as a toy. You give him a chewing toy, they can chew on walnuts for way longer than they would chew on an acorn, so it is not worth the risk, and there is no reward in giving him an acorn instead. Squirrels open walnuts pretty fast, have you ever seen one doing it?  They are much stronger than a little hamster, and their digestive system is also different from the hamster one, and that’s why they can eat acorns much easier. Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin? Yes, hamsters can eat acorn squash or pumpkin and also their seeds. However, you should not give a big amount of acorn squash to your hamster even if it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, they don’t need much, and it’s very easy to overestimate how much they can eat. You can give them a small piece of pumpkin, 1 inch cube should be enough. If you plan to give the seeds of an acorn squash or pumpkin to your hamster, you should rinse them and dry roast the seeds before giving them to your hamster to make sure they are safe. If you want to know more about what a hamster can eat, I have an entire article where I included a food list that touches on all the important things you need to know when you feed your hamster. Check it out here. Also, if you want to give your hamster a healthy pre-made food mix, here is one that I found on Amazon. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside. It’s usually much safer to feed your hamster a pre-made mix than trying to come up with a homemade diet for a hamster since it’s quite hard to include all the nutrients they need and also, it’s much cheaper and less time-consuming this way. What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat? I don’t want to scare you with this article and make you believe that hamsters are more fragile than they actually are; hamsters can actually eat many nuts and seeds. When it comes to nuts, they can safely eat unsalted peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios (roasted but unsalted). I hope there is not something I forget here, but you get the idea. Here is what seeds they can safely eat: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds, wheat, corn kernels, and so on. Sunflower seeds are found in almost all pre-made food mixes for a hamster since they are a great source of fats and vitamins that a hamster needs.  Observation: when you feed your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are unsalted or unspiced since they can be dangerous for our little hamster pets. Hamsters can also eat popcorn if it is plain, so when you buy popcorn, make sure it is not salty, sweet, or spicy. Also, it should not be microwaved since it can be dangerous for hamsters, so it is better to avoid it if you are not sure how that popcorn was made. Even when you decide to feed your hamster popcorn, make sure there are just a few pieces as a treat rather than the actual food. Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid. Here is a list of dangerous seeds and nuts for hamsters: -Almonds. They are considered nuts like the other ones, but bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound that can be poisonous for your hamster. When it comes to toxic seeds for your hamster, the list is a bit bigger:  -Apple seeds -Pear seeds -Strawberry seeds -Cherry pit Some of those contain cyanogenic acids that can be lethal for a hamster. Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play with It is very important to keep your hamster as active as possible, and chewing toys or homemade puzzles can be a great option. The main reason why hamster needs to chew on something continuously is that, like many other rodents, their teeth are growing continuously. If they don’t wear down their teeth, it can become dangerous for their health, so chewing toys are not just for fun, they have an actual purpose. As I said, many people want to give acorns to hamsters to give them something to chew on, but since we’ve established that it can be dangerous, I will give you some other great ideas. -The first one and the most obvious one is to give a walnut to your hamster. Usually, they tend to chew more if you give them a walnut compared to a store-bought chew toy because they can smell that it is actual food inside that walnut shell, so they have a reason to chew on that other than wear down their continuously growing teeth. -Cardboard boxes with food inside. Closed cardboard boxes with food inside are a great way to make your hamster exercise for its food. If you are worrying about your hamster eating cardboard, I have an entire article about that. -Toilet paper roll puzzle. Cut some strips of a regular toilet roll that are about an inch or 2.5 cm long; these will form large frills at either end of the roll. Fold one end of the roll to secure any food or treats you put inside, then fold the other end to further ensure nothing spills out. To make the puzzle more difficult for your hamster, you can make the frills longer and twist them together. Your hamster will hear and smell the food, motivating him to try to figure out how to open it. There are also store-bought ones but you need to make sure they are safe for your hamster since some of them are made from pine or cedar wood which can be dangerous for your hamster. Conclusion Unfortunately, it is not safe for hamsters to eat acorns, even if you would love to see the little hammy chewing on an acorn like a cute little squirrel. We can always swap the acorn with walnut. I can promise your hamster will have a lot of work cracking a walnut. Mine chewed for a few weeks on it, and it didn’t crack. So even if it’s not a good food source because they don’t get to eat the walnut, it is a great chew toy. I hope this article helped you, and now you know what seeds and nuts to give to your hamster and which ones you should avoid. [...] Read more...
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Syrian Hamsters
Ultimate Guide to Breeding Syrian HamstersAll Syrian hamsters that you can find on the market today have originated from the original 3 Syrian hamsters that were bred in the 1930s. Because they frequently go into heat and their pregnancy lasts for a short amount of time, Syrian hamsters are able to produce more babies than mice and rats.  Syrian hamsters are solitary and they have to live alone, which means that your female hamster can’t get pregnant on accident. If you want to breed your hamsters, you will have to get involved. Syrian hamsters become sexually mature when they are 5 weeks old, but they won’t be successful parents until they are 4 months old. All-female hamsters come into heat every 4 days, which means that you can breed them every 4 days.  There are some things you should think about before you decide to breed your hamster. The first thing is that most hamsters aren’t supposed to be bred. Just because your hamster is friendly, doesn’t mean that it’s a good material for breeding. Responsible breeders have to take into consideration the size of the hamster, the depth of the color, quality of markings and fur, and health along with the good temperament. Most hamsters that come from pet shops have unknown backgrounds, and you can’t know what the babies will turn out to be when you breed your hamsters. You also have to think about whether or not you have enough room to keep 20 hamsters at the same time considering that each of them has to be in its own cage. Syrian hamsters live for about 3 years, so try to think about whether you can afford to feed that many hamsters for 3 years and provide toys. Keep in mind that there will also be unexpected trips to the vet. You should also think about whether you can cope if the mother eats its babies, or if it dies during labor. If you’ve thought about all these things and you still want to breed your hamsters, keep reading to find out how to do it.  Table of Contents ToggleWhat are the Syrian hamsters?How to breed Syrian hamsters?How often do Syrian hamsters go into heat?How do you know when your hamster is ready to mate?How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for?How many babies do Syrian hamsters have?Do hamsters kill their babies?When should I separate my Syrian hamsters?How do you take care of Syrian hamster babies?How to take care of the mother? What are the Syrian hamsters? Syrian hamsters are hamsters that originated from dry parts of Syria and Turkey. They are also known as golden hamsters. They are the most common hamsters people keep as pets because they are easy to tame and take care of and fun to play with. Most of these hamsters will have golden brown fur with a lighter belly. You can, however, find Syrian hamsters in many different colors because of the selective breeding.  Syrian hamsters have been bred since the 1930s both for scientific purposes and for pet shops. They are 5 to 9 inches long and they weigh about 5 ounces. If you take good care of them you can expect them to live for 2 to 4 years. Syrian hamsters can sometimes bite, but that’s mostly people’s fault because they don’t know how to handle them. Syrian hamster will have to learn to trust you while you handle it, and that’s why you should never shake or squeeze it.  In the wild, Syrian hamsters are very solitary and territorial. It is very important that you always keep your Syrian hamsters separated and that each of them has its own cage. Syrian hamsters will tolerate each other while they are still young, but as they grow up they will become more aggressive and even kill each other. You should also keep your Syrian hamster from any pets because they could get into a fight.  Syrian hamsters are nocturnal, which means that they sleep during the day and are active during the night. They usually wake up in the evening. You shouldn’t keep them in your bedroom because they could wake you up while they are active. Some hamsters are able to adapt to their owner’s schedule. That being said, you should never try to pick up your hamster while it’s sleeping because it will most likely bite you.  You won’t be able to form a close bond with your hamster like you would with a dog or a cat. They will sometimes come to the side of their cage if they see you and most hamsters will like sleeping in your hands. Syrian hamsters need very big cages because they need a lot of exercises. The smallest cage you can put your Syrian hamster into can be 1x2x1 feet. You can choose between a plastic cage that has a wire on the top and a glass aquarium. While the glass aquarium allows your hamster to see the outside world better, the wire cage allows better airflow.  Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys in its cage. If you have more than one hamster, make sure that each hamster has its own toys, water bottles, and food bowls. You should also give your hamster wooden blocks so it has something to chew on and always place a sleeping nest in the cage. You will have to add bedding to the bottom of the cage. Make sure that it’s a few inches thick and use paper or aspen products. It is not recommended that you use cedar or pine bedding because it can cause respiratory problems for your hamster.  Syrian hamster’s diet consists of nuts, seeds, and grains, and it is supplemented with some fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.  Because they are omnivores, you can give them some cooked chicken, hardboiled eggs, or insects. Make sure that the supplemental food doesn’t make more than 10% of their diet.  The hamster’s cage will have to be clean, otherwise, it could contract fur and ear mites. A hamster that has mites will be itchy, and it will lose hair in patches. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet if you suspect that it has mites. Another common health problem that hamsters can develop is overgrown teeth. If your Syrian hamster doesn’t have anything to chew on, it won’t be able to shorten its teeth and it will have a very hard time eating. You will have to take it to the vet so that the vet can shorten your hamster’s teeth. You can get a Syrian hamster from a pet shop or a reputable breeder or a rescue group. It’s always better to get your hamster from a breeder because you will know its background and whether it will have any health issues which is very important if you want to breed it. If you don’t care about its background and you won’t be breeding it, it’s best that you get it from a rescue group. Rescue groups and breeders take better care of their hamsters. You will pay around $20 for this hamster. When trying to pick which one to get, always observe them while they are awake. Ask the seller what’s the best time for you to visit hamsters. Some sellers will wake up their hamsters with treats during the day so you will be able to decide which one you want. You will recognize a healthy hamster because it will be active and curious. A healthy hamster will have clean fur and clear and bright eyes. Never get a hamster that has trouble breathing or a dirty bottom- How to breed Syrian hamsters? To breed your Syrian hamsters, you will need a box that is 18 inches square and about 12 inches high. You should also wear gloves in case the female doesn’t want to mate and starts attacking the male and you have to intervene. Place the female hamster and the male hamster into the box and watch how they act. If your female hamster doesn’t want to mate it will squat and try to turn the male onto its back. The female hamster will put its nose under the belly of the male hamster to try and turn it onto its back. If this happens, you should take the female hamster out of the box and try to mate them some other night. If the female hamster wants to mate, it will start running but it will “freeze” when the male hamster puts its front paws on your female hamster. If this is the first time your male hamster is breeding, it will be a bit confused but it won’t take it a long time to figure out what to do. Female hamsters that haven’t been bred before probably won’t tolerate the hamster trying to figure out what to do, while those that did breed before are more tolerant. In most cases, mating will be successful if both of your hamsters have been bred before. You should leave them to mate for about 20 to 30 minutes but keep an eye on them in case any of them loses interest. If they do, they will get aggressive and start fighting. Remove the female from the box after 20 to 30 minutes, or if you notice that either of them is losing interest.  Breeding won’t always be successful and it might take a while before the male hamster gets the female hamster pregnant. Make sure that the room is warm because male hamsters don’t show any interest in mating when it’s cold.  When your female hamster is pregnant, it won’t come into season so you can test to see if it is pregnant by checking if it’s in season. Female hamsters become sterile when they are 12 to 14 months old, but some of them still go into heat.  If you are considering breeding your hamsters to sell the babies to pet stores or even online, you should think again. You probably won’t be able to sell them fast enough online and they will grow up, and selling pets to pet shops is almost impossible. You should also check laws about selling hamsters in your state. How often do Syrian hamsters go into heat? Female Syrian hamsters go into heat every four days, but that depends on the season. During winter, you will have to keep the lights on for over 12 hours, and heat the room that they live in to trick them into thinking that it’s the right time of the year to mate. The female hamster should be at least 13 weeks old because younger hamsters have problems in pregnancy. The age of the male hamster isn’t important, it’s only important that it’s sexually mature.   How do you know when your hamster is ready to mate? Male hamsters are always ready to mate, you will have to see if your female hamster is ready to mate. We know that female hamster comes into heat about every 4 days, and some come into heat every 3 to 5 days. You will notice that your female hamster is ready to mate when it’s more active and receptive to the attention it gets from the male hamster. They will go into heat during the evening and this can last between 4 and 24 hours. Before the female comes into heat it will produce a strong musky smell. You will probably notice this more in the summer. A day after your female hamster goes into heat you will be able to notice a thick white discharge which can make its urine appear cloudy. It will usually go into heat again 3 days after you notice this.  How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for? Female hamsters are pregnant for 16 days, which is one of the shortest pregnancies in mammals. You should give the female milk every day while it’s pregnant. You can give it some runny porridge, or bread soaked in milk. You can also give it some sunflower seeds from the twelfth day of the pregnancy to help with lactation. About two days before the female is supposed to have babies, you have to clean the cage and put a lot of new bedding so that the female can make a nest. You should also remove any old and uneaten food and put new food in the cage. In most cases, the babies will be born after 6 p.m. on the 16th day of the pregnancy. Most babies will be born in the first few hours, however, some might not come until the next evening. If the babies haven’t been born by the morning of the 18th day, you should take your hamster to the vet and see whether you will induce birth. Once your hamster has given birth you should continue giving it food with milk and sunflower seeds, but you should be careful with how much milk you put in the bowl. Baby hamsters can walk and they might wander and drown in the milk. You can give some milk to the babies when they are seven days old, but make sure that the milk is in a shallow plate so they can’t drown. You might also want to sprinkle some solid food into the nest for babies to eat.  How many babies do Syrian hamsters have? On average, a Syrian hamster will have 4 to 12 babies. Sometimes it can happen that your hamster has up to 20 babies. This depends on the age of your hamster.  If you’re new to breeding and you’ve accidentally bred your Syrian hamster with some other breed, the babies could have birth defects. You could end up with babies that are born without eyes or teeth and they will probably die in the first two weeks of their life. This can also happen if you breed two Syrian hamsters with a recessive anophthalmia gene. Do hamsters kill their babies? If you notice that your female hamster covers the babies whenever it leaves the nest, don’t go looking at the babies. The female hamster will think that they are in danger and eat them. However, if it leaves them uncovered, you can look at them, but don’t touch them so you don’t upset them or the female hamster.  You will notice that some female hamsters let their babies wander and explore the cage, while others drag their babies by the paw or tailback to the nest. It might look as if the mother is hurting them, but don’t worry, it’s not.  When the babies are 14 days old, you can try to clean any wet areas of the cage, remove any old food and water and add fresh food and water, but you have to be careful not to upset the female hamster.  When should I separate my Syrian hamsters? Syrian hamsters are solitary, which means that they live alone, and you will need to place each hamster into its own cage. Usually, Syrian hamsters have to be removed from the cage when they are 8 to 10 weeks old. If you don’t remove them by then, there could be some serious fighting and they could even kill each other. Sometimes they won’t fight, but living in groups causes stress for Syrian hamsters which will shorten their lifespan, so you should still separate them. It is advisable that you remove them even earlier. If your hamsters become sexually mature and you still keep them together, it could lead to babies becoming pregnant, or the mother becoming pregnant again. You can split them from their mother as early as 21 days after they were born. After you’ve split them from their mother, you should handle them every day to tame them.  How do you take care of Syrian hamster babies? Hamster babies will be born naked and blind. They will weigh less than 0.07 ounces, which makes them very vulnerable. They will start nursing right away. By the time they are 4 days old, they will have doubled in weight, their ear canals will start to open and you will be able to see their fur. They will start to crawl around 6 days of age and by the time they are 10 days old, they will blindly wander around the cage and eat solid food. The eyes of the baby hamsters open when they are two weeks old and they are finally able to see. Their mother will nurse them until they are three months old and then lose interest. After four months the mother will abandon them but it will still tolerate if you keep them in the same cage for a while.  But, what when your female hamster doesn’t have any motherly instincts and abandons its babies in the nest? If your female hamster abandons its babies, you will have to try and find a surrogate mother, or hand raises them, which is very difficult.  If you decide to hand raise them you will have to talk to your vet and they will advise you on how to do it. You will need to get a special baby formula and a syringe to feed them and you will have to feed them every hour during the whole day and night. It would be better and easier if you got another female hamster that would raise the babies. However, this also isn’t easy because female hamsters will eat babies when they smell that those aren’t their babies. You can try cleaning baby hamsters first so they don’t smell like their mother and try to cover them in the nesting material of the other mother to try and make it smell like the other mother. You should then convince the other mother to come out of its cage by offering it a treat and place the orphan babies with its other babies. The more babies you add to the other mother’s nest, the lower the chances that it will accept them. How to take care of the mother? You can help your female hamster take care of its babies by adding some strips of toilet paper in the cage to create soft, clean bedding that it can use to make a nest. Make sure you clean the cage completely before the babies arrive.  You should feed your female hamster with a high-quality hamster diet that has a lot of protein all throughout its pregnancy and until the babies are weaned. You can feed your female hamster with some hardboiled eggs, cooked chicken, cheese, and wheat germ. You should always keep an eye on its water bottle to make sure it always has fresh water.  Even though Syrian hamsters like living alone, if you’ve been keeping them in groups, you should separate the mother from the rest of the hamsters. This way you will keep the babies safe and the adults won’t fight. You will upset the mother if you try to touch the babies or get your scent on them. If you absolutely have to move a baby hamster for some reason, do it with a spoon so you avoid leaving any of your scent on the baby.  Make sure you’re always quiet when you’re around the cage so you don’t stress out the mother. Try to be as quick and quiet as you can while you’re cleaning the cage and bringing food and water. The mother will be very protective and it will be more aggressive than it usually is. It will try to bite you or stand on its back legs if you get too close to the babies.  [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Change Color ? (And Other Fur Facts)
Do Hamsters Change Color ? (And Other Fur Facts)Hamsters come in so many furs and colors and patterns it’s hard to remember which is which sometimes. And other times, they turn around and surprise you and change their fur ! Nothing as dramatic as going from blonde to redhead, but sometimes some hamsters might change their color. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters change color ?Very young hamsters will change their fur as they become adultsSome hamsters change their fur in winterVery old hamsters lose fur and go a bit grayOther hamster fur factsThere are versions of Syrian hamsters with long furLong fur can get very mattedHamster fur can grow back in most casesHamster fur should never get wet, don’t bathe your hamster ! Do hamsters change color ? Some hamsters can change color, either because they are very young and coming into their adult fur, or because they are getting very old and turning a bit gray, or because they’re a type of hamster that turns white when the cold season hits. Aside from the Winter White hamsters, no color change is dramatic but it’s a fun thing to observe in your hamster.  Hamsters come in so many fur colors, to begin with, it’s interesting to see how their fur can change as they age or the seasons change. Let’s start with the most common reason their fur can change.  Very young hamsters will change their fur as they become adults When hamsters are born, they are hairless. Then they get their initial fur growth, and it’s usually something very light, very fluffy, and very close to what their adult color will be. But as they reach maturity (about 3 months) their fur color will develop more. Some colors will be brighter, and some extra hairs will grow in, especially agouti hairs (with black at the end of each hair). For example when I first got my Teddy, he was maybe a little over a month old. So tiny ! He was a golden Syrian hamster, so he already had a light orange/gold on his back, with grey ears, and white markings on his face and feet. But as he grew a little more, I noticed he had a bit of a spot on his forehead, like a gray smudge. At first, I thought he got dirty somewhere, somehow.  But nope, turns out he actually had some agouti hairs growing all over him, and a very pale grey mark on his forehead. So as an adult my teddy was orange, with agouti hairs, mostly on his back, and a grey mark on his forehead. He was might lighter looking as a tiny little 1 month old boy.  Some hamsters change their fur in winter Some hamsters can change their fur when winter comes. This change is triggered by a shift in temperatures, but especially by a shift in daylight. The only hamsters to do this are the Winter White dwarf hamster, otherwise known as Siberian dwarf, or Djungarian dwarf.  In the wild this happens all the time. But when we’re talking about pet Winer Whites, this rarely happens, because of artificial lighting, and the even temperature inside our homes. You can induce this change, but it means only subjecting your hamster to natural daylight and nothing more. I imagine this is easier to do in the countryside due to much less light pollution.   Very old hamsters lose fur and go a bit gray Another reason for hamsters to change their fur is when they get very, very old. Like humans, old hamsters get slower, and turn gray, and start to lose their fur. Well not exactly the same, but they get silver spots. The most common places for silver or white fur in an old hamster are around the ears and neck, as far as I’ve seen. These changes seem to be more noticeable in Syrian hamsters than dwarfs. Most hamsters have a short lifespan, around 2-3 years. The hamsters I’ve had, 2 died of old age and one is still around but also growing old. When Teddy died, he was almost 2 years old. His fur was thinning on his neck and back, and his ears were drooping a little, and he suddenly had these white tufts around his ears. He started looking alike a grumpy old man, balding but with a lot of hair around his ears.  When Eggwhite died, he was also almost 2 years old, but he was a creamy white so I couldn’t notice a change in color. But I did notice his fur getting thinner, his eyelids drooping a little, and he also developed some tufts around his ears like Teddy did before he passed away.  Both Teddy and Eggwhite were Syrian hamsters. My third hamster is a Winter White, called Rocket, but she’s never changed her fur in the 2 years we’ve had her. She can (theoretically) live up to 4 years, and so far we haven’t seen any signs of old age on her, such as white hairs, droopy ears or eyes, or even getting slower. The fur on her paws is a little thinner, but that’s the only thing.  Other hamster fur facts Here are some other interesting hamster fur facts, since these little guys are far more fun than they appear. Their fur comes in many colors and patterns, but that’s not where it stops.  There are versions of Syrian hamsters with long fur When scientists captured Syrian hamsters for their labs, they also bred them to be more docile and this also led to them expressing different fur patterns. In time the hamsters wound up with breeders, who tried to see if there could be long haired hamsters. And eventually they succeeded, long-haired Syrian hamsters are here and they look absolutely funny. The long hair can sometimes be long and flowy, other times it can be a mix of long and short with just a few tufts sticking out, and in some cases it’s long fur all over the hamster.  These long-haired hamsters sound fun, and they may seem a bit more cuddly than the others, but their temperament is the same. They don’t really enjoy being picked up, but you can try. Their fur requires a lot of extra care though, since it can easily get matted. Hamsters are very clean creatures, and they clean themselves several times a day. But they weren’t ‘programmed’ for long fur, so they can’t clean it as well as short fur. Sometimes they need help, which brings us to the next point.  Long fur can get very matted This is mostly the case for long-haired Syrian hamsters, but in theory it could happen to any hamster. When the fur becomes too long, the hamster has trouble keeping it clean and detangled. In these cases you can either help the hamster by brushing out the mats, or cutting the knots out. Both are quite difficult, and your hamster’s temperament will dictate how to handle this.  So let’s start with the first one, trying to brush out the matted fur. If you’ve ever had knots in your own hair you know how difficult they can be, and how painful it is to comb them out. You have to start at the ends, and very slowly work your way up. Your hamster will obviously not want to sit still for half an hour until you get all the knots.  This will be slow, and you will have to let the furball sit as he wants to keep him calm. Try to grab his attention with a small treat, and attempt to comb out some knots at his backside, starting from the edges. He might flinch, or he might not care; not all hamsters are the same. This won’t last long, and you may only have a couple of minutes to work on his fur.  That’s okay, let him be and try again in an hour or two. Don’t try to do this all in one day. It’s really not easy.  The second option, perhaps easier, is to simply cut off the knots you can’t brush out. Your hamster will get some uneven fur but this takes less time. Again, do this on the hammy’s own terms. If he wants to go away let him go away. If he squirms, put him down and try again later. Always use something to distract him.  You need a pair of very sharp hair cutting scissors. Hopefully the knots are towards the end of the fur. If there are any knots close to the body or directly against the skin leave them alone. The risk of hurting your hamster by accident is too high.  Like combing out knots, this can take a while too. Maybe your hamster doesn’t mind the sound of scissors, maybe he gets frightened. There is no safe way to keep him in place, without injury or extreme distress for both of you. Best to just go very slow, and use a good pair of scissors. Hamster fur can grow back in most cases Sometimes a hamster will lose some of its fur, and sometimes that fur can grow back. Not always, such as very old hamsters who lose their fur due to old age. Or hamsters with a genetic condition that prevents them from growing fur in the first place. The fur on these hamsters sadly won’t ever grow.  But if your hammy lost a patch of fur because of a skin condition, an irritation, ringworm, or just because he scratched himself too much, there is good news ! The fur can grow back, as soon as the skin condition is treated and healed ! In case of excessing scratching, it’s usually due to an irritant, like a rash, or the hammy got bit by something and it’s now itching. Once that is gone and the hamster doesn’t have a reason to keep scratching, the fur will grow back.  Hamster fur should never get wet, don’t bathe your hamster ! Hamsters have very delicate fur, especially the fluff right next to the skin. It’s meant to insulate the hamster and keep it both warm and cool, depending on the weather. Hammies are exceptionally good at keeping themselves clean, they lick and nibble at their fur constantly so it is always clean. Kind of like a cat cleans itself, except this one isn’t meowing.  There is no real reason to give a hamster a bath to clean it, unless it somehow got something on it that the hamster can’t or shouldn’t clean by itself, like car grease or ketchup.  If you do get your hamster’s fur wet, know that washing it with any sort of soap will disturb the natural oils on its skin. Not only that but these animals are so frail, they need to be dried immediately after getting wet since they can’t easily handle it. Where hamsters come from water (rain) is rare, so they haven’t adapted their fur to be water-proof.  So, it’s best to never put your hamster in a situation where it could get its fur wet. And never handle your hamster with dirty hands. The hammy will clean itself after you play with it even if you’ve just washed your hands, imagine how icky it’d feel if you picked it up with Cheetos dust on your fingers.  [...] Read more...