Hamster vs Rabbit – Which Is The Best Pet For Your Home ?

Thinking of getting a pet, but can’t decide between a rabbit or a hamster ? I know you know they’re very different animals, but there are some things that can become deal-breakers, depending on what you’re looking for in a pet.

Let’s see the main differences between a hamster and a rabbit, so you can properly decide which is best for you. If you want to know how a hamster would fare living with a rabbit in the same cage, you should read this article.

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About the hamster – general info and personality

A hamster is very small, can be as small as 2 inches/5 cm, and as large as 5 inches/13 cm. He doesn’t need as much room as a rabbit, and usually stays put.

As in, leaving the hamster in his cage all his life is not a problem, as long as he has a large enough cage. He does need a bit of exercise, but this is where his exercise wheel comes to the rescue.

Hammies don’t like to share and generally should not be housed together. The only exceptions are the Dwarf types, who can live with a sibling or two of the same sex. This is only true for siblings that have never been separated and live in a very large cage, so they won’t fight over food and toys and general resources.

Even so, I recommend keeping any and all hamsters alone, one hamster per cage. This reduces the hamster’s stress levels and this way you make sure there are no unnecessary fights, which can sometimes be deadly.

Hamsters are prey animals, so they’re used to running away and hiding. Their cages need to have plenty of hiding places, so they can feel safe.

This also means that taming the hamster will not be as easy as taming a puppy. He will take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to trust you. And that trust can always be lost, or forgotten if you stop interacting with him for a few days.

Still, hamsters make for very entertaining pets. It’s just that the vast majority of hamsters only come out of their hiding place at night. This means that if you go to bed before 10 PM you might just miss their waking up.  And if you wake up around 6 AM, they’ve just gone to bed.

So I’d only recommend a hamster to a person who either stays up very late, or works night shifts and can catch the hamster awake more often.

They’re also very sensitive animals, in that there is such a thing as handling them too much, and too little. They get grumpy if you wake them up, they won’t always want to stay in your hands… okay, they rarely want to stay put. They want to explore and see everything.

Their personalities are not obvious from the start, when they’re babies. But once they grow up (3 months-ish) you’ll realize you’ve either got a Rambo type (all over the place, exploring, trying to intimidate you, not staying still) or the world’s laziest and relaxed furball. There is no in-between.

All hamsters mellow down once they become old, it’s just that some are absolutely spastic when they’re young.

About the rabbit – general info and personality

Rabbits are very different from hamsters. For a very long time I thought that, with rabbits being rodents they must be very similar to hamsters.

Well, it turns out rabbits aren’t even rodents, they’re lagomorphs. That’s mainly a difference in teeth and digestive system, which includes the fact that their feed is going to be different.

Rabbits are everything the hamster is not. While they too are small (compared to a dog), even the tiniest bunny is bigger than the largest hamster. You can get anything from Dwarf bunnies to the ridiculously large Giants. That means your cage and pens are going to vary according to the type of rabbit you have.

Bunnies are social. Definitely social. They’re more like a cat than a hamster, actually, demanding attention and then getting fussy if they don’t get it. If they do get it, you’ve probably done it wrong. Bunnies aren’t as easy to read, so it’s best if you read up on their general body language here.

This means that rabbits can’t be kept in a cage all their life, like a hamster. You’re going to need to let the bunny out. often, and let him roam around the house, or a designated area.

They also live longer than hamsters – about 8-12 years – so they’re a big commitment. That means for the next 8-12 years you’re going to have to adapt yourself to your bunny’s demanding yet endearing personality, and he’ll adapt to yours. Maybe.

Rabbits can and do get aggressive, but not often. They’d rather warn you that you’ve done something wrong rather than bit or headbutt you. They’re forgiving like that. But they will attack if you insist on annoying them.

Territory is a big thing for rabbits. They will mark any and every thing they think they own. Your sofa, the carpet, under the table, between counters, your leg, maybe even your shoes.

They do this with a combination of pee, pellets, and rubbing their chins onto surfaces. That’s where their scent glands are.

Food and treat differences between hamsters and rabbits

Food is fairly different for hamster and for rabbits.

Firstly hamster eat almost anything, but they prefer and start with grains. Hard, dry grains are their usual meals, accompanied by nuts and seeds. A bit of fruit and vegetables are welcome, if they can find them.

Protein too is great, whether it’s insects, a mealworm, or a fresh nice strip of cooked chicken (plain, no condiments or oil).

You can find a whole bunch of commercial feeds for hamster, and most of them are good. You can also use foods you’ve got in your fridge or pantry as treats for them. Here’s a big list of safe hamster foods you can find in your home.

But, if you’ve got a diabetic hamster be warned that most fruits are off-limits to them. A few vegetables like sweet potato and carrots are limited too, since they will only worsen their condition.

As for rabbits, their food is not that similar to a hamster’s food. A hamster can find things he likes in the rabbit’s food, but the rabbit won’t eat much of what’s in the hamster’s bowl.

But what does a rabbit eat, aside from the classic carrots ? Well plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the leafy green kind of foods. They eat food that’s a lot like guinea pig food, actually.

They eat lots of timothy hay as well, since they use it to file down their teeth and for nutrients as well. This means you’re going to have to provide them with a fresh supply of hay all day, every day.

Aside from all of this, rabbits will need pellets as feed. This commercial food mix has a blend of all the nutrients a rabbit will need, and they’re all in one single pellet.

This way the rabbit won’t be able to pick and choose his favorite foods (which all animals end up doing), so you can be sure he’s going to get all his nutrients on one go.

Rabbits go through a bag of food much faster than a hamster seeing as a hamster only needs a teaspoon or two of his dried food mix every day. A rabbit can need even 4 heaping tablespoons of pellets ! This is aside from all the extra veggies and hay.

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

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Cage sizes and exercise requirements for rabbits and hamsters

Cages are a big problem here. Mostly because a hamster will only need a cage of minimum 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.

This is the absolute minimum, and I recommend getting a cage much larger than this. However most cages on the market don’t come much bigger than this. Most barely reach this size, actually.

Hamsters don’t need time outside their cages, mostly because they spend most of their time hiding and digging burrows. If you were to let them out on the floor they’d need a place to hide. Wide open spaces make them panic and they will want to find a safe, dark corner to hide in.

As for their actual exercise needs, hamsters do a whole lot of running. This is why they always get an exercise wheel with their cage. But the wheels that come with the cage you buy are almost always poor quality plastic wheels that barely spin.

You need a good, solid, big wheel to let your hamster get all of his exercise. You can find out more about exercise wheels for hamsters here.

Rabbits, on the other hand, need not only a much larger cage, but also a very large play area. Most people agree that providing the rabbit with a whole room, all to himself, would be best.

But not everyone has a spare room. In this case a minimum for the living space would be 90 x 60 cm, and 90 cm high/ 35.4 x 23.6 inches, and 35.4 inches high.

The exercise space should be a minimum of 2.43 x 1.21 m/ 8 x 4 feet, with height allowance. Rabbits can sometimes jump very high, and like to jump on top of things.

The living area and exercise space need to be linked together so the rabbit can come and go as he pleases. If you’ve got more than one rabbit living together, you’re going to have to double those sizes I mentioned.

So in short, keeping a rabbit in an apartment or house is going to be very difficult. In a garden outside however, you can provide much more space.

But that space can’t be used for anything else, though. So think about this carefully. You should read here more about the cage and playpen areas necessary for rabbits.

You can’t skimp out on the rabbit’s enclosure size, since he will become irritated, restless, and generally destructive. Do not underestimate rabbits, cute as they may look.

Socializing and upkeep needs are very different for rabbits and hamsters

Hamsters don’t need much by way of socializing. They’re loners, for the most part, and get by just fine if they’re got a big enough cage and plenty of toys to keep them entertained. Hammies don’t really get bored if they have all of that.

They are fine with their owner’s presence, although they’re not necessarily crazy about being held or petted. They’ll tolerate it because they can learn that it’s not something harmful for them, and sometimes those hands carry treats.

Still, hammies are perfectly fine on their own, and are mostly low-maintenance. Yes, their cage should be cleaned one a week, but that’s pretty much the only downside.

Rabbits need plenty of attention and petting and rubbing behind their ears. They need to be the center of attention. All rabbits do, even if you’ve got a mellow bunny. They will eve ask for your attention, either by butting their head against your hands or legs, sometimes even nipping gently.

Sometimes they might even just lay flat across you, or parts of you. This is partly them showing dominance, and partly asking for grooming/attention from you.

Can you think of another furball that does the same things ? It usually meows and can’t decide if it wants out of the house or back inside.

Rabbits will take up your lives, and that can be either a great thing or a nuisance, depending on your disposition and what your home can offer. If you’re willing to be there for the bunny, cuddle him, feed him, play with him, and leave him, all on his own terms that’s great.

He will claim parts of your home as his, and will understand that some parts of the home are yours (and thus off limits). He’ll still try to go into those place, just not when you’re looking.

Cleaning after the rabbit will be a constant aspect of your life, since rabbits mark their territory with pee and pellets. And wherever you let him roam is going to need to be an easy to clean place, otherwise the entire are will stink up fast.

If you’re looking for more of a quiet pet, who won’t take up more than you give him, then maybe the hamster is for you. He needs less attention from you, and is there more to look at than cuddle with. They can be charming and cute on their own, with their fuzzy mugs and that did-I-leave-the-gas-on look about them.

You need to think very carefully which pet would be best for you. A rabbit is high maintenance, more than a dog for example. And definitely more than a hamster.

And they definitely can’t be kept together, that’s for sure. Some have tried, and it’s never went over well.

A hamster, while low-maintenance, can be sometimes dull compared to the sometimes too lively rabbit. Neither of them are good pets for children, since they require a very patient person to look after them, and to handle them.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know you might be trying to decide between a hammy and a rabbit, but we’re very different. You’ll need to think about whether your home and life would be a better fit for a hammy, or a bunny.

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.

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About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other Parasites
About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other ParasitesIf you’ve got a hammy and he’s suddenly scratching too much, or keeps losing his fur, you might be wondering if he’s got a skin condition. Or if a parasite found its way onto your friend. Well, it’s very probable, and we’re going to look at what the most common symptoms are for skin/fur conditions and parasite, both external and internal. Table of Contents ToggleHamster skin/fur conditionsHamster fur becoming very sparseHamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratchesSyrian hamster has a black dot on each hipOdd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or earsMites in hamstersMites in the hamster’s furMites in the hamster’s earsWorm parasites in hamstersFungal parasites in hamstersThe first is the Aspergillus  fungusThe other fungus that can affect hamsters is the RingwormKeeping the hamster parasite-freeA word from Teddy Hamster skin/fur conditions For the most part hamsters are clean animals. Except for some terrible illness like wet-tail, their fur is very bright, fluffy, and well put together. So why is your hammy suddenly losing patches of fur ? Or having small red inflammations under its fur ? Hamster fur becoming very sparse Hammies will start losing their fur under certain conditions. One of those conditions is old age. Just like very old humans start to lose large amounts of hair, so do hamster seniors. By this I means the hamster’s fur will become sparse, you might even see some skin peeking here and there. It might be especially severe around the hammy’s hind quarters. A hamster is a senior once he gets close to his second birthday. Hamsters only live between 2 to 4 years, and will become very slow once they get old. Their body starts to shut down, and there isn’t much you can do. Aside from make life easier for them with nice food and a warmer nest. Unfortunately hair loss is part of that process. Another condition under which hamsters can start losing fur is stress. Hamsters react very, very poorly to stress. A number of health issues can come up from having the hamster too stressed. From an upset stomach, lack of appetite, bar chewing, biting himself, even hair loss. Only this type of hair loss is in patches, as opposed to thinning hair. A stressed hamster can be due to: a bullying cage mate too much handling on your part (or whomever handles the hamster) not feeling safe – curious cat or barking dog always around the hamster’s cage too much traffic around the hamster’s habitat, especially during the day when it sleeps another illness, that isn’t immediately obvious Most of the reasons I outlined above can be avoided. The hamster’s cage can be moved to a quieter, safe, calm room. A bad cage mate can be separated – either in the same cage if it’s large enough, or by getting another cage altogether for the bully. Fur loss can happen for other reasons, like a parasite, but we will cover that in the Parasite section of the article. Hamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratches Hamsters can get rashes, and the reasons are not clear. Just like in humans, a random rash can be just that – random, and not easy to figure out. Usually a rash on the hammy can be a sign of a parasite or allergy on the skin, but in the cases it is not, your veterinarian will be able to help you. Look for a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since these have the most experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. You’ll notice your hammy has a rash if he keeps scratching himself in one particular spot. It will usually be red, possibly a bit inflamed, the skin might get a bit dry and flaky and the fur will have fallen off in that are. The fur usually does come back. Your veterinarian will most probably give you a cream treatment to help your hammy with the itching. If it’s an allergy, it will usually clear up once the allergen is taken away. However figuring out which object form the cage is the cause can be difficult. Watch your hamster closely, notice where the rash is, and what he interacts with in his cage. It could be a few hours until you notice something. Syrian hamster has a black dot on each hip I put this one here because I was completely stumped as to what was wrong with my Teddy. He is a Syrian male, and one day he came out of his hideout with both hips licked flat, and two large black dots on his hips. I first thought this was some sort of tumor or huge scab I didn’t notice on him before. As it turns out, not, the dots are not dangerous. They are in fact the scent glands. Hammies lick and nibble at their scent glands every now and then, and that’s when you are able to notice them. Usually they’re invisible under all that fur. A Dwarf type hammy has hos scent gland on his belly, and it’s not colored black. Odd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or ears An odd growth on the hammy sometimes can be a tumor. It’s not a tumor every time, but it can be one sometimes. You’ll notice it’s a tumor if it’s more of a lump of skin than anything. It might become very large and fleshy, and just look out of place. If it is indeed a tumor, a vet will be able to remove it from the hamster. Not all vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small creature, but some can help. If the growth is smaller, harder, possibly even longer than it’s wide, it could be a skin tag. Or wart, depending on the name your vet gives it. These are usually harmless and do not hurt or otherwise inconvenience the hamster. But the hammy might not like them and will try to tear them off, which will make them bleed. They will come back with a vengeance and grow bigger and uglier. You can find them anywhere, but they’re usually around the nose, ears, feet, tail, rarely the eyes or mouth. Treatment is available, but your need to see a vet for this. Mites in hamsters Mites are not uncommon in pets, nor are they in humans. With your friend, there are 2 possibilities. Mites in the hamster’s fur Fur mites are invisible to the naked eye. They burrow and live inside the hammy’s fur, and feed off dead skin cells. They can produce irritations and dry, flaky, itchy skin in your hammy. They’re usually present on the hammy, but in a small amount. Only a large amount of them leads to the symptoms I just described. These can be treated at the veterinarian’s office, but never get a medication online. Or in pet shops. The problems with these medications is that the dosage is hard to get right, and you risk hurting your hamster More than helping him. Some medications even require the hamster to be fully bathed in them, which is never a good idea for a hamster. So stick to whatever your vet recommends. Mites in the hamster’s ears Ear mites are different, and these you might notice. They’re darker in color, and can be seen moving if you look closely at the hamster’s ear. They will produce red, crusty lesions on the hammy’s ears, and they might extend to the eyes, mouth, even tail. Mites are contagious, both the ear mites and the fur mites. So if you’ve got a pair of hamsters living together, separate the infected one while he gets his treatment. Worm parasites in hamsters Hamsters can get worm parasites as well, however they are not immediately noticeable. The hammy might have an itchy rear-end, or you might notice part of the worm in a few droppings. Deworming treatments are available, however they should be administered by your veterinarian. Symptoms can be dehydration, loss of appetite, weight loss, intestinal blockage, or possibly diarrhea. These are the extreme cases. Usually they’re not immediately obvious. Some worms can transfer from hamsters to humans, for example the worm’s eggs on the hamster’s food or droppings. For this reason a hamster with a worm parasite should be handled with gloves, and the hands thoroughly washed afterwards, as a secondary precaution. The worm eggs can spring up when the cage is in a bug-infested area, since some worms can live inside insects as well. Another possibility is an unkempt cage, which should be cleaned once per week. And finally, the eggs can also be present on hamster food, or the bedding itself. For this reason freezing the hamster’s food and bedding for a minimum of 48 hours should be done. The extreme cold will kill off the eggs and larvae. Do keep in mind that if you live in warmer, more humid climates, the eggs can hatch much faster. (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.) Fungal parasites in hamsters There are 2 main types of fungus that can affect your hamster friend. Both can be treated, however they are different in how they manifest themselves. Both are very dangerous, and are contagious. The first is the Aspergillus  fungus It will grow primarily in the hamster’s pee corner. I’m not sure if a litter box will save you form one of these infections, but it’s worth a shot. You can find out more about litter boxes and potty trained hamsters here. So the way the Aspergillus fungus works is that it grows on the wet/moist bedding in the hamster’s cage. That can either be the pee corner, or the are directly under the water bottle if there is leakage. First it will grow white, and in time it will turn black. It will end up spreading its spores all around the hamster’s cage, and you need to act quick. This can be deadly for the hamster. The hamster must be taken to the vet as soon as you see the white formation in his cage. The vet will give him the proper treatment. As for the cage itself, it will need a complete clean and disinfection from top to bottom. With the help of a disinfectant from the vet, soap, and hot water. The other fungus that can affect hamsters is the Ringworm Not a worm, per-se, but that’s the name. It’s actually a fungus. It can come about from other infected hamsters, humans, even infected bedding, and is highly contagious. You’ll notice the hammy has a Ringworm infection if there are round patches on his skin, with no fur on them. There will be a red ring (many tiny red dots) towards the edge of the ring, and the skin will be dry. Patchy, dry, possibly itchy, and the hamster will be very annoyed by it. Treatment is possible, but it take a few weeks. In this time the hamster should only be handled with gloved hands, and definitely kept away from other hamsters. As with the Aspergillus fungus, the cage must be deep-cleaned too. This means a disinfectant, hot water, soap, and possibly throwing out some objects that can’t be cleaned. Those might be the wood objects. Do talk to your vet, see if he has a way to disinfect wood safely. Keeping the hamster parasite-free The first thing you can do to keep you hamster friend parasite free is to keep the cage clean. This is not always the problem, but is the most common culprit. The cage should be cleaned once per week, possibly every two weeks if it does not develop a strong odor. This means new bedding, nesting material, and running the plastic objects under hot water. Another thing is to deep-freeze and then properly dry the hamster’s food and bedding. Often the eggs for various worms, or the spores for certain fungi are present on the food or bedding. Extreme heat or cold will kill them off. Be careful with your hamster’s water supply. Tap water is safe for hamsters, as long as it is clean. However a bottled option would be safer. Look for a bottle that says it can also be used to prepare baby food as well. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your hamster. Many diseases are contagious, and can easily be passed from hamster to human, or vice versa. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. We hamsters are a hardy bunch, but we do get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check the related articles below for more info on how to care for us properly. [...] Read more...
Here Is How Much A Hamster Can Live Without Food Or Water
Here Is How Much A Hamster Can Live Without Food Or WaterIf you’re looking for information on this topic, then you’re probably leaving home for a few days. This was always our concern when Alexandra and I left town over the weekend or for the entire week. I’m going to tell you what we’ve found out,and give you a few tips on how to make sure your hamster has enough food and water when you’re gone. Table of Contents ToggleSo how much can a hamster survive without food or water ?How long can a hamster live without food ?How long can a hamster live without water ?How to leave food and water for your hamster for a few daysIf you’ll be gone for longer than that, your hamster will need more food and water.How does health and age factor into this ?How we make sure Teddy is alright when we leaveA word from Teddy So how much can a hamster survive without food or water ? The short answer would be that hamsters can live about 3-4 days since they last ate or drank water. So if you hamster just ate and had some water on Monday morning, you’ll find him still in good condition by Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon. Never let your hamster go without food or water longer than that, since they can develop health problems without proper care. Of course, this all depends on several factors, including: how old the hamster is, how well you’ve taken care of him, if he’s ill or healthy, the temperature of the room he’s in, etc. This is all great to know, but let’s see why your hamster can only live for so long without food or water, and what you can do to make his life easier. How long can a hamster live without food ? Our Teddy taught us a lot about how to care for a hamster, and when it comes to food we’ve learned that hamsters are hoarders. It might look like your hamster ate everything you’ve put in his little bowl, but when you clean his cage you’ll notice he has a nice stash in his house/hideout. Hamsters hide food to be sure they have enough in case of an Apocalypse. But that stash doesn’t last them for more than 1-2 days. It also depends on what kind of food you give your hamster. We gave Teddy grains and pellets, we have him pieces of vegetables, we have him a bit of boiled chicken, boiled egg white, bread, grapes, etc. All those things keep your hamster fed for different periods of time. Protein-based foods will keep your hamster longer than vegetables, but grains and pellets keep him fed the longest. So if the last thing your hammy ate was grains, seeds, and pellets, then he can live for 3-4 days without looking for any more food. In this time he will eat his entire stash from his house. If you want to know what your hamster can eat, then check out my article on what to feed your hamster. I’ll also tell you what foods to avoid, and talk about pre-made food mixes on the market. How long can a hamster live without water ? The water requirements for a hamster are a bit iffy, since they vary according to the size of your hamster. In general it’s about 10 ml (0.33 fl oz) per 100 grams (3.5 oz) of hamster, per day. So if your hammy is like Teddy, a fully grown Syrian hamster who weighs around 170 gr, then he’d need 17 ml of water every day. So that’s a 6 ounce hamster who needs 0.57 fluid ounces of water per day. If your hamster last drank water this morning, then he’d be alright for only 2-3 days. This is without any food at all, since they can draw water from their food as well. Dry pellets and grains provide little to no water, but vegetables and fruits give them a fair amount of water so hamsters can survive for about a week without a water tube. If your hamster has somehow escaped and is roaming somewhere, know that he’s pretty good at finding and drinking condensation from pipes, or a small puddle somewhere. It’s not good for him, but he can find them easily in a worst case scenario. But if he’s in a closed cage, then his survival is limited. If you want to know how much water to give your hamster, then check out the article about water requirements. I’ll also tell you what you can do when you hammy isn’t drinking any water, and how to see if his water bottle works. In case you’d like to know more about how to care for your hamster, you can check out these 15 essential steps. How to leave food and water for your hamster for a few days If you’re leaving home and there is no one that can come over to look after your hammy, here’s a few ideas. In general  you should leave your hamster very dry and very wet food as well, and a full water tube. So that would be grains and pellets, along with a leaf of lettuce or a piece of cucumber, and a whole water tube. The amounts vary according to how long your hamster will be alone. If you’re leaving just for the weekend, from Friday afternoon til Sunday afternoon, that’s 48 hours. Your hamster, assuming he is a fully grown adult, and healthy, left in a room that is not cold or humid or drafty, will survive well enough with just one serving of pellets and the water he already has in his tube. He will hoard some food in his house as well, so there’s extra food there already. If you’ll be gone for longer than that, your hamster will need more food and water. To make sure his water is sufficient, best to fill up the water tube fully. The one we have has a capacity of about 150 ml/5 fl oz which would last our Teddy nearly 9 days. To make sure your hamster has enough food for 5 days, provide him with: Dry food like grains, seeds, pellets for about 3 days – that’s about 2-3 teaspoons of dry food per day A dry biscuit – the ones we have are 6 grams/ 0.2 oz each, which lasts our Teddy for about 3 whole days to nibble on, as long as he has pellets and grains as well. A few slices of water-based veggies and fruits – cucumber, apple, seedless grapes, carrot, lettuce. Whatever is most readily available. Not cabbage. This depends heavily on your hamster’s disposition. If he eats a lot and is very greedy, then this will not be enough, and you will have to provide him with more before you leave. Some hamsters binge on their food, and some only take what they need and a bit more to hide in their house. So observe your furball, and if he’s greedy leave him more dry food, so he’ll be alright with you leaving for 5- days. If you like this article so far, then you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. There’s more info headed your way after this image.    How does health and age factor into this ? If your hamster is still a ‘child’ (under 3 months) then he will not survive as long as an adult. Young hamsters are weaker than adults, and need more food and care. Even if they’ve reached their full size, there are a lot of changes happening in their bodies still, and they need the extra food and water and rest. But what if your hamster is a senior ? Hamsters can live for 2-3 years depending on the care they’ve had when they were young so that their immune system developed well. So if your hamster is approaching the 2 year mark, then we will probably be slower and weaker, and will need more care. Leaving him alone will be just as tricky as leaving a young hamster. Likewise, if your hamster is healthy and has no obvious illnesses or diseases, he will fare better if left alone for a few days. If the hamster is sick, we do not recommend leaving him alone, and insisting upon finding someone who can check up on him regularly if you absolutely must leave. How we make sure Teddy is alright when we leave In our case, we have the option of leaving our house key with a neighbor we trust, or a family member. They live close and can check up on Teddy regularly, and leave him food every day. Water is not a problem since we leave Teddy water for a whole week. So if you can, please ask your neighbor or family members if they can spare a few minutes each day, or every other day, to come and check up on your hamster, and leave it food. A quick training on how much food to leave, and how to close and open the cage is enough. Other times, when we only leave town for just a couple of days we don’t ask someone to look after Teddy. We’ve left him for 48 hours with food and water, and found him safe and happy when we came back. We still left a key with our neighbor, just in case. But for this we made sure Teddy has: enough dry food for a day (2-3 teaspoons of grains and pellets), about a quarter of the dry biscuit we mentioned earlier a full water tube and a couple slices of carrot or cucumber This is all accounting for the fact that he has a stash of food in his house as well, in case of emergencies. When we leave Teddy for a few days, even if it’s just the weekend, we take care that the central heating is set to 22 Celsius. That’s 71.6 Fahrenheit, and it’s an average temperature that will be alright for Teddy. This way we’re sure he’s not too cold or warm, and there is not too much humidity in the air as well. A word from Teddy I’m glad you stuck with us so far, and I hope you’re checking this info preemptively, and your hammy is safe. You’ll always get good info from Dragos and Alexandra, and I’ll be sure to tell them everything you need to know about hamsters. So I hope this info on how long a hamster can live without food or water was helpful to you ! I hope I was a good example. Feel free to check the other articles on here as well, you’ll find info on the best cages for hamsters, how to handle a hamster, even what we can or can not eat. 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Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told You
Hamsters Living With Guinea Pigs – What No One Told YouYou might wonder if your furry hamster can live with a friendly guinea pig. After all, they’re both rodents, and they might just get along, right ? As it turns out, guinea pigs and hamsters are very different animals, and housing them together is a delicate subject. Here’s the answer to what you were looking for. If you want a more detailed comparison between a hamster and a guinea pig, you should read this article. Table of Contents ToggleSo can a hamster live with a guinea pig ?About the hamster’s personalityAbout the guinea pig’s personalityCage size for guinea pigs, and hamstersDifference between playtime with guinea pigs and hamstersFood fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue overA word from Teddy So can a hamster live with a guinea pig ? No. Hamsters can’t and shouldn’t live together with guinea pigs. Not because there is something wrong with guinea pigs. But because of a major difference in personality, how they react to strangers. One is fiercely territorial, while the other can live in a large group. And incredibly important, one sleeps the day away, while the other takes short naps throughout the 24 hours. They will inevitably annoy the hell out of each other. So if you ever mix a hamster and a guinea pig in the same cage, or even just during playtime, things will go bad. Very very fast, and you’ll need to be quick to separate the two. To really understand why these two furballs should be kept separate, we need to look at their personalities, cage requirements. and even playtime. About the hamster’s personality A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death. This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese. Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands. He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another. You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together. They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly. A guinea pig is much bigger, smells different, and acts different. A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip. There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own  a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy). And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters. While there are differences between hamsters, they are roughly the same. You need to know both hamsters and guinea pigs well before you even think of housing them together. About the guinea pig’s personality A guinea pig is a very social animal, and a great starter pet. They’re more docile than a puppy, but still show some personality so you learn that pets are their own beings and you need to do some things their way. That being said, guinea pigs don’t do well on their own, unless you’re always there to play with them and cuddle them. In nearly every case it’s best to get your guinea pig a buddy so they can keep each other company. A guinea pig is easy enough to tame, since it will react well to new sights and people. Still, some care should be taken, since they’re not immediately friendly like a puppy, or curious like a kitten. Guinea pigs will generally flee if they sense any danger, and won’t really bite unless in some extreme cases of self defense. And they’re not terribly territorial. However problems will arise when the hamster gets scared or annoyed by the pig, and will bite in retaliation. While hamsters are small, their jaws a powerful, and will injure the guinea pig. Think of the guinea pig as a gentle giant, who lets things slide for the most part. Very hard to anger, but once he is irritated, his teeth and jaws are much stronger than a hamster’s. The small piggy can only keep its patience for so long, and will eventually bite back. Given the sheer size difference between a guinea pig and a hamster, it won’t go well. You will end up with an injured, irritable guinea pig, and a dead hamster. Cage size for guinea pigs, and hamsters A single Syrian hamster can live in a cage the size of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. A Dwarf would need half that size, but I honestly recommend getting your hamster a very large cage, since he’ll feel much more comfortable with lots of space to run around. A guinea pig, on the other hand, needs 30 x 36 inches/ 76 x 91 cm cage. That is the absolute minimum, for just one guinea pig. The more piggies your have, you’ll have to almost double that size. As with the hamster, a larger cage is better. Alright, you might argue that you’ve got an incredibly large cage, big enough for both the piggy and the hamster. Fair enough, let’s look at how both animals keep their territory. A guinea pig will share his home with his partner, or the other 234 piggies it lives with. A guinea pig is a very social, herd animal. A hamster will attack anything that comes into his territory, and lives alone. He makes regular rounds of the space he owns, and will jump any creature stumbles upon. While the guinea pig will turn away, the hammy will chase him and eventually bite.  Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters are incredibly sensitive to smell, and very much love their routine. They need things to be in the same place, smelling of their scent, and nothing alien. A guinea pig wandering the cage will throw off the hammy’s routine, and become a nuisance without even trying. Finally, guinea pigs will get bored with the same setup, and move their herd from one hideout to another. The hamster will disagree with this. (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 playtime with guinea pigs and hamsters What about the playtime between hamsters and guinea pigs ? Well, they both love to exercise, so they’ve got that in common. While the piggy won’t use the hamster’s wheel to run, he’ll use the entire cage for a quick sprint. And he will bump into the hammy’s wheel, or hideout or any other objects. This won’t sit well with the hamster. And finally with the playing and handling, the hamster can’t sit still for very long. But a guinea pig will stay put for longer, and come back with your scent. This will produce mixed feelings in the hamster, who is again a very smell-sensitive animal. So generally most interactions between the two don’t go too well, largely due to the hamster’s need for solitude. While hamsters will only come out and play in the evening and most of the night, a guinea pig is different. A guinea pig sleeps in patches throughout the day, and will generally follow the owner’s routine. A hamster on the other hand will sleep the day away, and only wake up in the evening, which will produce large amounts of stress. The hammy won’t rest well, since the piggy is running around the cage and the sounds will keep the hamster on alert. And when the guinea pig would take a short nap, the hammy could possibly stumble upon it (curious as hamsters are, but also silly and a bit thick). Which will not end up well, again. Food fights, and other habits your two rodent will argue over Alright, let’s cover the difference between foods, since this is a major problem. Hamsters are omnivores, so they eat anything from meat to grains and veggies, to fruits. In certain proportions, and they prefer grains for the most part. You can find out more about that here. A guinea pig on the other hand will need food based on veggies, Timothy hay, and lots of vitamin C. If you mix their food, or even if you put the food separately, there’s not telling who is going to eat whose food. Neither the hamster or the piggy will know the food is for the other one, and they will end up fighting over it. This is a serious issue with Dwarf hammies who live together and can lead to fatal injuries. Let alone a large guinea pig fighting a small hamster. Also take into account that hamsters live far less than guinea pigs. A hamster can live as long as 2-4 years, while a guinea pig can reach 7 years. An old hamster will probably become blind in his final weeks or months, and find it more difficult to navigate his cage. Normally hamsters memorize their cages and where to find everything, so they can do just fine without their eyesight. But stumbling upon the piggy, while blind, is bound to scare them. The hammy will be scared even if he’s alone in his cage and you don’t talk to him enough before coming close, when he’s blind. So to sum everything up, and give you a rounded answer: Hamsters and guinea pigs can’t live together. The hamster prefers to be alone and will consider the piggy an intruder, even if they’re introduced as babies. Best to keep them separate, and make sure they don’t even meet. You’ll save yourself and the two animals a lot of literal pain and heartache. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies seem like we could use a buddy, but we’re fine on our own. We like it that way, and won’t take kindly to other animals. Nothing personal, that’s just us being hamsters, is all. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should definitely check out the articles below to find out how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
When And How Hamsters Sleep – Your Furball’s Sleepy Time
When And How Hamsters Sleep – Your Furball’s Sleepy TimeIf you’ve got a hammy, you’ve probably wondered at first why he sleeps so much, especially during the day. Our guests always ask us where Teddy is, since he’s sleeping when they come over. Turns out hamsters have a veeery different sleeping pattern than us humans. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes you’ll wonder why you got yourself into this. But they’re always lovable. Table of Contents ToggleWhen is your hamster sleeping ?How your hamster usually sleepsDo hamsters sleep with their eyes open or closed ?No hamster likes being woken upDon’t change your hamster’s sleep scheduleKeep your hammy’s sleeping area undisturbedThe cage should be in a calm, secluded areaYour hamster might be making odd, random soundsHamsters get midnight munchies and bathroom trips tooA word from Teddy When is your hamster sleeping ? Hamsters sleep during the day, and are awake at night, or in the twilight hours. This is an instinct they’ve had since forever, and it’s what kept them alive for so long. Hamsters are prey animals, and most of their predators are awake during the day. This means the hamster must hide, so he sleeps the day away in his little burrow. Once evening sets in, he gets his little nose out and starts looking for food. But what about your domestic, furry little friend sleeping in his cage ? He’s sleeping the day away too, even if there are no predators around. That’s simply his schedule, and don’t take it personally. He will wake up in the evening, around 8-10 PM, and stay up til morning. His sleep pattern might change over the years a bit, but he is largely nocturnal, and it’s the best thing for him, given the way his body works. You can change his sleeping pattern, but you’re mistreating him and causing much discomfort. We’ll cover that part too, and why it hurts the hamster. How your hamster usually sleeps Your hamster friend usually sleeps in his hideout, or the nest he’s made in a corner if he has no hideout. He sleeps in a big, knotted pile of paper towels, toiler paper squares, chewed up cardboard, and some bits of wood shaving from the bedding. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of him sleeping, with his little feet curled up and ears folded. Seriously, a sleeping hammy is about the cutest thing ever. For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, and a male at that. Syrian males are notorious for having ridiculously large testicles, and they just… hang out… when he sleeps. So I’ve had a few moments when I wanted to see him sleep and instead got a full view of the family jewels, and a furry foot. Hammies sleep curled up, and very well hidden in their little nest. So actually seeing the hamster will not be easy. But you can sometimes see parts of the nest moving when he twitches or shifts. Do hamsters sleep with their eyes open or closed ? I’ve seen no hamster sleep with his eyes open, nor have other hamster owners told me about that. It’s not something hamsters do, unlike bunnies. Hamsters sleep with their eyes closed, and they might crack one open if they hear something or feel the cage move. Other than that, a hamster sleeping with open eyes sounds like a possible medical problem. So it’d be best if you checked with your dedicated veterinarian. If you don’t have a vet on call, or are not sure what kind of vet you need, look for an ”exotics” vet. Hamsters, like parrots and guinea pigs and lizards, are considered exotic animals and a regular vet won’t have very much experience with them. No hamster likes being woken up On the topic of waking a hamster up, well, don’t. No one likes being woken up in the middle of the night, unless there’s a disaster happening right this minute. It might be 3 PM on a sunny afternoon for you, but it’s something like 4 AM for him. Let the little fella rest. Hamsters do a whole lot of sleeping for being such small creatures. For example an adult Syrian can sleep between 6 and 8 hours per day ! That’s about as much as you or I need, and we’re much larger than a fistful of fur. Hamsters need the rest, because they are always on high alert, and quite high strung. They’re jumpy and always on the move. Imagine your little friend on the wheel, all night long, running as far a 9 km/5.5 miles in one night. He needs the rest. If you do handle the hamster when he just woke up, that’s on your own risk. Hammies, like humans, are quite disoriented when they wake up. That means you’ve got an equal chance at a docile, hazy hamster as well as a snappy, irritable one. I usually leave Teddy alone when he wakes up, and only talk to him for the first few minutes. Don’t change your hamster’s sleep schedule Given the fact that you’re awake during the day, and sleeping at night, I know you probably don’t get to see your friend too often. Maybe a couple of hours in the evening before bed, and in the morning when you’re rushing to get somewhere. I know that’s my routine with Teddy, and we do a whole lot playing and handling in the evening when he’s up. It is at all possible to change your hamster’s sleeping pattern, and you’ll find plenty of guides on how to do that. However that’s not very safe for your hamster. Hear me out here. Hamsters have very sensitive eyes, even if their eyesight is almost non-existent. By forcing your hamster to stay up during the day, you’re putting a lot of bright daylight on his eyes. Even if it’s not direct, the light is still much too harsh for his sensitive night creature eyes. Hamsters do best in low light conditions, and harsh lighting can be painful for them. A regular light bulb won’t hurt him much, but it’s nothing compared to the sunlight. I doubt you have the lights on in the middle of the day. Then there’s the fact that hamsters are okay with humans handling them, but there is such a thing as too much for them. Handling your hammy too much might tire him out faster than you’d like, and faster than would be alright for him. Finally, it’s about the other bodily functions that hamsters have as nocturnal creatures, that don’t work as well in the middle of the day. So, again, please let your hamster have his normal routine, and try finding a happy medium between you both. Keep your hammy’s sleeping area undisturbed We’ve already covered the fact that hamsters don’t like being woken up. Neither do you, neither do I, for that matter. But the sleeping area is very important too. You see, hamsters don’t see very well but rely a whole lot on their sense of smell. Their sleeping area, or bed if you will, is full of their scent. Your hammy took the time and effort to decorate his bedroom just the way he likes it. But we can’t leave it like that, since it needs periodic cleaning. Now, there are way to clean the hamster’s nest without disturbing it too much. One of them is spot-cleaning the nest, where you only pick out the droppings, and maybe a piece of the nesting material that got soiled. Add a few fresh pieces of paper towel, and your hammy will add them to his bedroom. But what if you need to change the whole thing, since it’s been a while ? In that case remember to leave a few pieces of the old nest, and throw out the rest. The old bits will have your hammy’s scent, and make it much less annoying for him to rebuild. Changing the entire nest at a time can be a bit stressful for your hamster. He is after all a creature of habit, and needs things to be the way they always were. He doesn’t do well with change. The cage should be in a calm, secluded area The area in your house where you keep the cage needs to be in a calm area. For example if your living room has lots of guests, a couple of kids, and a puppy running about, it’s not a good place for a hamster. Find a room or a corner of the house where your hamster can hear the hustle and bustle of the house and get used to it. But, it should be a fairly private place where there’s not much traffic, and your hamster can sleep undisturbed. Even if he’s not sleeping, your hammy doesn’t take well to stress. By this I mean an overly curious cat, child, or even adult prodding at him, tapping the cage and trying to interact with the hamster when he’s not up for it. Truth is, hamsters are indeed friendly, but in short bursts. They won’t stay put long, and won’t stay in your hand for more than a couple of seconds. Hammies are always moving and curious and need to see and smell and know and inquire about every little thing. You’re literally holding them in place when they want to investigate that rustling bag. Maybe a bit exaggerated, but you get the general idea. (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.) Your hamster might be making odd, random sounds Even when he sleeps, your hamster is still a funny little thing. Not only is he a cute, curled up ball of fur, but he might also be making the oddest sounds. Maybe it’s just my Teddy, maybe it’s all Syrian hamsters. I know lots of hamsters make cute sounds, and I’ve heard of and read about other hammies squeaking in their sleep. My Teddy can be fast asleep and still squeaking. It’s somewhere between a hiccup and a bark, like he’s going ‘hmph’ left and right. Maybe your hammy does it too, maybe he doesn’t. But do expect odd noises coming from his nest when he sleeps. If it’s not the squeaking, it could be a rustle, or a chatter, or a chewing sound. Those are all normal. Think about when you sleep. You do a whole lot of moving in your sleep as well, so don’t be surprised if your hamster is not very different. Hamsters get midnight munchies and bathroom trips too Ah yes, the midnight snacks. Like we’ve never woken up to grab something from the fridge, on our way to the bathroom. Your hammy does that too. You see, hamsters designate a ”pee corner” and they only use that one. It just so happens to be on the farthest point from their nest. Hammies are very clean animals, and they keep their nest very clean. So if your hammy suddenly wakes up to much on a peanut,goes for a pee, and stops on his way to grab a drink, that’s okay. He’a a healthy, normal hamster, doing healthy, normal hamster things. Even if your hamster doesn’t wake up too much for a quick snack, that’s fine too. While hamsters do sleep for a lot of hours, they don’t necessarily have to be continuous. For example my Teddy wakes up randomly in the middle of the day (night for him) and takes a short walk of sorts. He might even get on his wheel for a bit, but he’s always up for just a few minutes. Every hamster wakes up with his fur a bit ruffled, ears folded back, eyes half closed. He might even stretch and yawn, and look bleary. He did just wake up, after all. Usually after that he’ll start grooming himself, and start his day. apparently A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info here. I know us hammies seem to sleep a lot, but it’s just the time difference between us. If you work a night shift, your’re probably on the same pattern as us. You’re probably very tired all the time, though. If you want to know more about us hammies, you an check out the articles below on how to take care of us properly. [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?Wondering what to choose between a hamster and a gerbil ? After all, they’re both so very cute and cuddly, but you can’t keep them both. But which should you choose ? Let’s see some details about each pet, so you can make a wise decision. If you want to know how a hamster would do if he were living with a gerbil, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleIs a rodent a good pet for you ?About the hamsterAbout the gerbilThe hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a groupCage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbilFood and treats for the hamster and the gerbilHealth problems the two can getA word from Teddy Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself this question. Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Both the hamster and the gerbil are rodents, they’re both very small and agile, and not easy to catch once they’ve escaped. As rodents, they need plenty of wood to chew on – their teeth never stop growing and need to be filed down constantly. They will love to hide and spend lots of time digging, burrowing, and generally not being noticeable. After all, these poor souls have always been food for other, larger animals. It’s their instinct to hide and taming them can take a while. Very important: if you have children, especially if they’re very young and they’re begging you to get them a hammy or a gerbil, watch out. Both of these pets are too fragile and high-maintenance for a child. The cleaning, taming, and often even the playing will be passed onto you. Not every child is like this, I know, but a hamster is not a puppy. A hamster or a gerbil can’t be handled like a puppy or a grown cat, and can’t match the child’s energy, nor the appetite for play. They’re very sensitive creatures. Still, if this kind of pet sounds alright for you (it did for me), whether you have kids or not, then by all means go and get yourself either a hamster or a gerbil. They’ll bring countless moments of ”awwww” and ”ooooh” to your life, starting with how cute they look when they sleep, and ending with the odd sounds they can make sometimes. Now let’s see about each pet, so you know which would be the best for you. About the hamster Hamsters are very small, fluffy creatures. There are 5 types of hamsters you can choose from, and none of them ever grow very large. They all would fit in the palm of your hand, even as adults. Those 5 types are: Syrian hamsters – the biggest of the bunch, and the most common as a pet. Dwarf types – Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian hammies. Half the size of a Syrian. Chinese hamsters, sometimes called Chinese Dwarf hammies. The easiest to confuse with a gerbil, since they have a bit of a tail. Hamsters come from the general, wide area of south Turkey, Syria, Mongolia, northern China, Russia, Siberia. That’s an area with not much vegetation going on, and most of it is a sort of desert, either a hot sandy one (Syria and Turkey) or a cold, tundra type. Hamsters have adapted to eat mostly grains and a few veggies, maybe an insect or two. They don’t need much water, and they usually live alone. The Dwarf types can tolerate another of their own species, if it’s a sibling and they still might fight sometimes. They’re mostly nocturnal, as pets. So getting a hamster would mean you might miss him if you go to bed around 10 PM and wake up early to go to work or school. In terms of shape, hamsters are short, stocky little creatures. The Dwarf types look like they have no neck at all, while the Syrians have a distinct teddybear-like face. About the gerbil Gerbils are, for the most part, hard to tell apart from a hamster. Especially if you’ve never had to tell the difference between them very often. The main difference is that gerbils have a long tail, longer than the Chinese hamster’s tail. And their hind legs are longer and thinner, since they do a lot of standing and jumping. Gerbils come from roughly the same area as hamsters. Mostly Mongolia and northern China. As such they might resemble the Dwarf hamsters, who come from there as well. As a difference though, gerbils live in colonies and they don’t do well on their own. They need company to enjoy themselves, and they don’t like being alone. Another difference is that gerbils aren’t exactly nocturnal, rather they sleep in patches and seem to be always awake. Gerbils do a lot of digging, more than hamsters actually. So their cage would need to be filled up with more bedding, so they can tunnel away as much as they like. Food for gerbils is very similar to the food for hamsters: mostly grains, a bit of fruit and veg, and a bit of protein if they can catch it. In terms of what their bodies do and what they need for a happy life, hamsters and gerbils do not need very different things. Except for 2 things, which if you get wrong, it can be very bad. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a group One of the things you need to know about, and the most dangerous to get wrong, is the social aspect of these pets. You see hamsters and gerbils are fundamentally opposites in terms of being social. Hamsters like to be on their own, they will not share anything. Even the Dwarf types, which you can sometimes manage to raise successfully in a same-sex pair, will argue often. To a degree that’s normal, but even so it puts much stress on the hamster. A gerbil on the other hand will not like being alone. Much like guinea pigs, gerbils need to be kept in pairs, at the very least. A lone gerbil will become depressed and lose his appetite. A human, while entertaining, will never be able to supplement the attention of another gerbil. After all, we don’t speak gerbil very well, do we ? So, please remember. A hamster should always be alone, a gerbil should always have a buddy. A buddy means either 3 females, or 2 males. Or anything over that number, since it will benefit them to be in a larger number. That will mean a larger cage though, so take care how many gerbils you get. Cage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbil Now when it comes to housing a hamster, that can be fairly easy. A cage big enough for a hamster will be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s a cage big enough for a Syrian, although I recommend it for Dwarf type as well. Hamsters, like gerbils, will always pick a bigger cage if they can. Close quarters can make them stressed and nippy. A pair of gerbils would need a 12 x 20 inch cage, which is 30 x 51 cm. Not that very different from a Syrian cage. Still if you can afford to go for a bigger cage, do so. This is the second thing that needs to be done a certain way, otherwise your gerbils won’t be happy. While they do enjoy each other’s company, they also enjoy some space to run around in and have fun. Now, a good cage that would fit either a single hamster, or two gerbils is this one. It will provide air and lots of ventilation, being a wire cage. It’s also got a second level, which the gerbils or hamster can use as they wish, and it adds extra floor space. The wires in the cage are close together so that neither a gerbil nor a Dwarf hamster would be able to escape. And it’s got enough of a bottom to fill with bedding, so your gerbils have something to tunnel through. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the cage, both the gerbils and the hamster will need plenty of toys and objects in their cage. This means silly things like a cardboard tube can be amazing for them, since they both love to tunnel and they will stick their faces everywhere they can fit it. You can make most toys at home, with a bit of cardboard and creativity. For example an egg carton, with a few holes cut into it is going to be the best hide and seek toy ever. It just won’t last very long, since both the hamster and the gerbils will chew at them often. Some toys, like the exercise wheel, will need to be bought. This is mostly because the wheel needs to be silent, and run smooth, without a hitch. A tail and foot guard is welcome, and gerbil tails are not meant to get caught in anything. So an exercise wheel with just rungs, or wire mesh is not alright for gerbils. A solid-floored one, with not gaps for the little guys to catch their feet or tails on is great. One such example is this one, a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel which is both silent and solid. No tails or feet caught in this one, and it’s easy to spin both by a small Dwarf, and by a Syrian. Gerbils are alright in it too, and their tails will stay safe as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel and the toys the cage will need bedding and a hideout. I recommend you get a wooden hideout, since these two pets will chew at everything, including their nest. As for the bedding, it can be wood shavings or paper bedding. Stay away from wood pellets, since they’re too hard for hamsters and gerbils. If you get wood shavings, make sure you keep away from cedar and pine since their strong aroma can choke the rodents. Food and treats for the hamster and the gerbil In terms of food, these two eat mostly the same things. Both are alright with grains, in fact it’s what they eat most of the time. Fruits are welcome, although some should be avoided – like citrus for example, or apple cores and peels. Vegetables are good for them as well, just keep them away from onion, garlic, leek, and other such veggies. Best to ask before you feed your hamster or gerbils anything new. Nuts and peanuts are a favorite among these guys, so they will enjoy the treat. Just stay away from sweets, saucy foods, spicy foods, or any kind of condiments at all. Their tiny bodies can’t process those things, and they often end up with digestive problems. For the most part hamsters and gerbils have the same foods and treats. Often they’re put on the same packaging to make things very clear. Health problems the two can get Their health problems are mostly the same. Both rodents need their teeth constantly filed down, otherwise they just grow too large. So dental problems can be a big deal, whether it’s overgrown teeth or infected broken teeth, or another problem. Ear and hearing problems can arise as well, and so can eye problems. Tumors and lumps are a topic that is common for hamsters and gerbils, actually for rodents in general. Most of the problems can be easily solved by a vet, but you will need a specific one. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. If you just look to a small pet vet, he might only be able to help with pets as small as cats. Normally hamsters have a 2-4 year lifespan, depending on their type. The Robo Dwarf lives the longest (2 years) while the Chinese lives a shorter life, about 2 years. Gerbils on the other hand have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity. So whichever one you choose as a pet, make sure you have the time and willingness to take care of them properly. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are easy to confuse with gerbils, but we’re actually sort of cousins, twice removed. 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...
Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy Facts
Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy FactsIf you’ve got a hamster you know he’s a cutie pie, and he’s always sniffing out some thing or another. Does that mean he’s got a great sense of smell, or is he just curious ? Well, let’s see just how well hammies can sniff things out, and if they’ve got super-smell or not. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters have a good sense of smell ?Hamsters can smell anything on youMake sure your hands are clean when handling your hamsterHamsters are very sensitive to artificial smellsSyrians can’t really stay close to each otherKeeping the hamster’s nose healthyKeep the temperature in the room between 20-23 C/ 68-78 FDo not leave anything sharp or rough in the cageClean your hands before handling the hamsterKeep dust away from your hamsterOnly use safe bedding for the hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters have a good sense of smell ? Yes, hamsters do have a very good sense of smell. In fact, smell is your hamster’s first sense he uses when navigating his cage, and figuring things out about you. Hamsters have very poor eyesight, so they have to compensate with their other senses. The sense of smell will tell your hamster if there are predators around, if there is food, and if there’s another hammy nearby. Us humans don’t have the greatest nose, true. But hamsters have a very sharp sense of smell, and as such are actually sensitive to smells we like. Hamsters particularly hate citrus scents, since the smell is overwhelming for them. My Teddy scrunches up his face and wanders off whenever I peel an orange or cut a lemon. Hamsters can smell anything on you As it happens with pets that have keep sense of smell, hamsters can tell what you did. What you ate. Who you just hugged, and where those shoes have been. This is a reason to be careful about how strongly you smell when handling your hamster. I don’t mean body odor, hamsters tolerate a faint, intensely human smell. For example a perfume, even a gentle one, can be too much for your hamster. Any essential oils you may have rubbed on you fall into that category as well. Deodorant too, and in some cases fabric softener. Basically hamsters are the most sensitive things ever, especially since they are so small. So if you’ve got a strong smell on yourself or your clothes, they will feel it and shy away from it. Make sure your hands are clean when handling your hamster When picking up your hamster make sure you’ve got clean hands. I’m saying this as a warning, since hammies are easy to trick with smells. For example my girlfriend touched a few pieces of cooked chicken one day, we’d just eaten. She just wiped her hands on a kitchen towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy, thinking she really did have chicken fingers, bit into her finger like it was food. She’s never touched Teddy since, even if she knows why it happened. Now I’d have for you to end up in the same situation as my girlfriend, so please make sure your hands are clean. Before handling your hamster, make sure you wash your hands very well with soap. It should be antibacterial soap, and unscented. A very strong scented soap will either make your hamster pull away, like citrus for example. Or it’ll make him think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands and try to eat some. This happens with especially fruity soaps. If you want to know which fruits hammies can eat, so you know which soaps aren’t smart to use with him, try this list here. Hamsters are very sensitive to artificial smells Hammies have a very sensitive nose, yes. The will learn the smell of the house and know it as their habitat. However artificial smells are often used in homes, like air fresheners for example. We have one too, and it’s always on, except at night. At night, given the way our apartment is laid out, Teddy’s cage sits right under the air freshener shelf. So we turn the freshener off (it’s on auto) so Teddy’s nose doesn’t have to be bombarded with lilac and vanilla. So if you’ve got anything very strong smelling or scented, make sure it is as far away from you hamster’s cage as possible. The same goes for food. If you’ve got great, delicious food laid out somewhere, make sure it’s not near your hamster’s cage. He will smell the food, and try very very hard to get to it, chewing on the cage bars in the process. Once he gets into the habit of biting the bars, it’s nearly impossible to get him off of them. Syrians can’t really stay close to each other I’m taking a separate note on Syrians here because most other hamsters – the Dwarf types – can live together. Syrians however will fight to the death and will not share one measly wood shaving with anyone. So if you’ve got two Syrian hammies, and they’re hopefully in different cages, they need to be far apart. Even if they’ve both got their own, private cage, they will know the other hamster’s there. You see hamsters communicate with each other through pheromones. That means that your hammy will literally smell other hamsters’ feelings and emotions. All hammies emit pheromones, as do we humans. Fear smells a certain way, heat a certain way, playfulness a certain way, and so on. Hamsters use that to communicate with eachother. However since Syrians are solitary animals, smelling another hamster will make them continuously irritated and territorial. A Syrian hamster will mark his territory through the scent glands on his hips(big black dots under his fur), and this will annoy the other hammy. He will see that as a sort of threat, and mark his territory, which will annoy the other hammy who will mark his and so on. Case in point, don’t keep solitary hamsters close together, even if they’re in different cages. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Keeping the hamster’s nose healthy Hammies can develop different illnesses and diseases, like us humans. When it comes to noses both us and hammies need  them to breathe, but they rely on their noses to ‘see’ the world too. While a cold can just annoy a human, for a hamster that blocks a lot of signals he gets from his habitat. So you can do the following to make sure your hamster friend not only doesn’t get a cold, but keeps his nose safe and clean. Keep the temperature in the room between 20-23 C/ 68-78 F Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and can catch colds quite easily. So, you should keep the hamster’s room at an even temperature like described above. A temperature lower than that can weaken the hamster’s immune system and welcome in a cold, which will impair his sense of smell. A much much lower temperature that that will set in a hypothermic shock, which can be lethal to the hamster. Do not leave anything sharp or rough in the cage Hammies can’t see very well, but they can distinguish what’s directly in front of them. Still, they can be a bit clumsy, and it’s your job as a responsible pet owner so make sure your hammy is safe in his cage. This means that pieces of toys or the hideout or the wheel that might stick out and be extra sharp, should be removed. The same goes for wooden objects, which maybe have certain very rough corners. Make sure those wooden objects are sanded down properly, so your hammy doesn’t have tiny razors to nick himself on. That being said, be sure to check everything, since I found a bit of dried pain in my Teddy’s wheel that I had to chip off, or it would’ve been like a nail for him to step on. Clean your hands before handling the hamster Another reason to clean your hands before handling your hamster, aside from the scent, is possible bacteria. Hamsters do have an immune system, but they’re very small creatures. They can’t withstand most infections and a stray bacteria or virus can be lethal to them. Best to make sure your hands are as clean as possible before you touch your hamster, or handle his food, or do anything with his habitat. Keep dust away from your hamster Hammies have very sensitive noses, and as such can develop lung problems easier than us humans. This means keeping your hamster away from any dust or dusty surfaces is mandatory. For example if you’ve got an exercise ball for your hamster, make sure the floor you let him roam on is clean, and has no debris or dust. The dust and debris will end up in the hamster’s ball, where he will breather them in. Never a good thing. The same goes for toys and a new cage, or anything really. A quick wipedown or cleaning will do the trick, even if it’s a bit of a hassle. The cage Teddy currently has was absolutely dirty and dusty when we got it, given how it was stored in the back of the shop. We gave it a thorough  cleaning in the shower, dried it down, and it was great for use Only use safe bedding for the hamster The bedding you give your hamster is like the drapes and carpet in your room. If they smell funny, you won’t feel alright, and they probably need changing. Wood shavings are what hammies usually get as bedding, and it’s a very good idea. Just make sure they’re not dusty, since wood shavings are made in the same place as sawdust. So, the bags can sometimes have a bit of dust in them, make sure you check for that. Also make sure you do not give your hamster pine wood shavings. Pine wood has phenols that are harmful for your hamster in large quantities. When it’s spread all over the cage as a bedding the hamster will have no option but to breathe them in. A word from Teddy I hope you found out more about us hammies’ sense of smell. We’re pretty good at it, and we can figure out lots of things with our tiny noses. In the wild we use our noses to find out food over vast territories ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the articles below, so you know how to best care for us and keep us safe. [...] Read more...