Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?

If you’re looking to get a rodent, but can’t decide between hamsters, mice or rats then this article will help you sort that out. Unfortunately they can’t be all kept together, you need to pick just one kind of pet.

But they’ve all got different needs, even if they are so similar. Let’s see a bit about each rodent, so you know which would be the best pet for you. If you want to know how a hamster would fare if he were to live in the same cage as a rat or mouse, then you should read this article here.

hamster mice

About the hamster – general info + personality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About mice – general info + personality

Mice are very social animals, and will generally do better if they’re kept in a small group. For example 3 females, or 2 males seems to be the best kind of match. There will always be one mouse trying to be the dominant one.

Mice are much smaller than hamsters – smaller than a Dwarf sometimes – and are so much more agile and quick. This means that trying to handle a mouse is very hard, since he’ll be all over the place. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to tame. But it is much harder than with a hamster.

Usually mice are kept as pets to look at, rather than play with. Even if you do manage to hold onto one, he’ll almost immediately want to go exploring. Mice, like hamsters and rats, have poor eyesight and as a result they can’t really judge distances and heights.

All 3 will try to jump off of ledges or out of your hands if they’ve had enough, but mice and hamsters are just plain terrible at this. They will jump from high places, even if they’re too high. Mice are only a slight bit smarter in this area.

Still, seeing a small colony of mice interact and build their own little nests, and lay with every little toy is going to be fun. They’re almost always unpredictable, and seem not to care if they survive a climb or any special endeavor.

Given how shall mice are, even the mellow, chill ones will seem skittish. That’s just the way mice are. They can get along with each other, but it’s a lot like with Dwarf hamsters. They must be siblings, and never been separated at all. Even then, they might argue from time to time. What sibling doesn’t, though ?

About rats – general info + personality

A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent.

That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. They’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters.

Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them.

When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal anything if ever left outside of their cage, and let them out your should from time to time.

This is mostly because they need lots of stimulation, and sometimes being kept in their cage isn’t enough. You can always keep just one rat, but you should be warned that you’ll need to interact with him often if you want him to not get bored.

A bored rat is never good news. He will try to escape, chew through a part of the cage you’d never expect, or just wait for the perfect moment when you’re opening his cage to take him out.

But, a rat is a smart animal, and he will be very entertaining. He’ll tend to understand you better, and sometimes even sit still when you need him to, or when you just want to keep him cuddled in your arms.

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hamster mice

Food difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any)

When it comes to food, hamsters mice and rats eat pretty much everything. They all eat mostly grains, with some fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure.

Nuts and peanuts are welcome too, ans so it a bit of meta. It’s okay if it’s mealworms, it can even if a bit of boiled plain chicken.

Do keep in mind that the serving sizes vary from animal to animal. A hamster will need 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried commercial food mix (depending on whether you’ve got a Dwarf or a Syrian). This is per hamster, per day.

A mouse will need just the one teaspoon, once a day, aside from whatever treats you give them.

A rat will need much more, amounting to 2 tablespoons of their commercial mix food. They’re much larger and need more food than the other two rodents.

However all 3 have teeth that never stop growing, and they will need to gnaw on something all the time. This is where the dry grains or pellets come in handy.

Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with owners

Hamsters are solitary animals. If you really want to, you can house a pair of Dwarf hamsters,  but that often doesn’t end well. This is mostly because hamsters are very territorial, and they end up fighting over everything, unless they have a very very large cage.

The only way you can keep a pair of Dwarf hamsters is if they’re siblings, of the same gender (so 2 girls or 2 boys), and they’ve never been separated.

Hammies do interact with their owners, but they don’t bond with them as much. They can be rather aloof and disinterested most of the time, unless you’ve got a treat in your hands.

Mice can be kept in more than just pairs, but it’s the same story as with Dwarf hamsters. They should be siblings, of the same sex, and never separated. They’re very skittish and all over the place.

Handling them – and as such taming them – is going to be difficult, like with Dwarf hamsters. They simply don’t sit still, and don’t really like being handled. They bond a little more with their owners than hamsters, but that doesn’t say much.

Rats are social too, but they should be kept with a buddy if you can’t talk to them or handle them often. They can grow bored very easily, and need a whole lot of toys.

Cage size and housing differences

When it comes to housing these rodents, things aren’t very different. For example a hamster can live in a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is for one lone Syrian hamster, or two Dwarf types.

This same size is enough for one male rat, or 3 female mice. Mice males need a cage almost as big as a Syrian’s, just for one male mouse. Females live together easier.

When it comes to toys and objects inside their cages, all 3 rodents need plenty of things to play with. Rats need the most stimulation, and will end up getting bored the fastest. This means that giving them plenty of puzzle toys is going to help.

Puzzle toys can be something like a maze made out of an egg carton with holes cut in one end, and a treat at the other end. All 3 rodents are great with mazes.

Another such toys would be a cardboard tube with a treat inside, but very tightly packed so the pet can’t get to the treat easily.

Climbing toys are another object rodents will love, but especially mice and rats since they are used to climbing pipes or small plants. Hamsters prefer the low ground and tunnels. Rats and mice will go for hammocks, or maybe ladders, suspended bridges, and so on.

If it requires a bit of acrobatics skill, it’s a rat or mouse toys, not a hamster toy.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies sometimes get confused with mice and rats, but we’re a bit different actually.

If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.

Related blog post
12 Reasons Why Hamsters Are Good Pets, And A Few Cons
12 Reasons Why Hamsters Are Good Pets, And A Few ConsHamsters are a very common pet to own. When I first got my Teddy, I’d heard of and seen hamster pets before, but never had one myself. I didn’t know if Teddy would make a good pet, but I wanted a cute hammy running around the house in his exercise ball. Then, once I got him I figured out just how good of a pet he can be, and hamsters in general. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but this will apply to Dwarf types as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo why are hamsters good pets ?Hamsters are low maintenance petsThey’re funny on their ownThe hamster’s cage will not take up much spaceHamsters are very clean animalsHamsters are cheap pets to keepHamsters are among the cutest petsThey have a shorter lifespan than most petsYou will not need to exercise them yourself too muchThere is no shedding problemHamsters are very quiet 90% of the timeYou won’t trip over them randomlyHamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartmentsBut are hamsters good pets for children ?Downsides/cons of having a pet hamsterA hamster is harder to tame than other petsIt’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babiesHamsters are less affectionateThey’re nocturnal, you might miss them oftenHamsters are very sensitive to a lot of thingsSurprise littersA word from Teddy So why are hamsters good pets ? Hamsters are good pets, for the most parts. They have their good and their bad sides, and I’ll tell you both. Here’s why hamsters make good pets: They’re low maintenance – not hard to look after Funny even when not handled – they make the weirdest faces and do the silliest things Take up little space – a hamster’s cage is the only thing taking up space, and that’s not much Clean animal – hamsters groom themselves as much as a cat does Cheap to keep – will not burn a hole in your wallet Cuter than most pets, being so small – a hamster will always have that ‘baby animal’ face Short lifespan, not a long term commitment – only 2-4 years Do not need much exercise from you – they exercise on their own, if given a running wheel Do not shed – no allergies, and minimal cleanup Quiet most of the time – hamsters rarely make any noise, and sleep most of the day They stay where you put their cage – you won’t trip over them when you get out of bed or go down the stairs Accepted in no-pet buildings or apartments – this is a big plus for most city dwellers ! Alright, those are some pretty good reasons to get a hamster, I’d say. But let’s talk about why hamsters make good pets in more detail, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Hamsters are low maintenance pets This is something I imagined would be the case when I got my Teddy. I mean, it’s a pet that spends most of its time in a cage, and half that time it sleeps. Now much maintenance can it need ? To be fair, there is a bit of work involved, like changing the bedding, and feeding the pet daily, along with playing with it whenever you can. But aside from that hamsters are very easy to take care of. If you want more info on how often to change the hammy’s bedding, and which type of bedding is best for him, then you should read this. There are people who say that hamsters aren’t really that easy to keep. I’d argue that they’re wrong. Sure there are certain things to consider – like the temperature to keep in the room for the hamster, or what to feed the hamster. But when you compare a hamster with a shedding cat, a dog that needs regular walks and trips to the vet, and a squeaky parrot that you need to constantly clean up after, a hamster is just breezy. My girlfriend’s parents have a couple of cockatiels and they’re a chore. Lovable and fun, but still a lot of cleanup and upkeep. They’re funny on their own My Teddy does the weirdest things in his cage. I think most hamsters do, aside from the extra lazy ones. But even those are funny. For example Teddy sometimes pushes his hideout to the side in order to get a better look at us. Like he doesn’t have the rest of the cage to see us, but okay. And he does it in the most complicated and backwards way possible. He gets on top of the hideout, then kind of… melts between his hideout and the cage bars. Then he shoves his little face in that small space until he moves the hideout. You’ve maybe seen videos of hamsters flying off their running wheels because they stopped randomly. Or maybe hamsters falling asleep and actually falling over. Even when they suddenly stop and listen for something, they have that ‘did I leave the gas on ?’ face about them. Funniest of all, hammies can and do fart. They’re just embarrassed you’d find out so they only make a faint whoosh sound. No really, they do fart. They also blink like lizards, one eye at a time. It looks like the world’s slowest wink. You can also name your hamster whatever you think suits him or her. I’ve met hamsters named Oscar, Hamster-boy, and Peanut. They’re a lot like cats in this respect, so their name can be anything you like. The hamster’s cage will not take up much space A hamster’s cage is basically the only thing taking up space in your home. Depending on what kind of cage you get your hamster – like a cage or a large glass tank – you might have more or less space taken up. But the end result is the same, your hamster will only take up that much space, ever. As for how large a hamster’s cage should be, I’ll link you to an article about exactly that. You’ll find out how large a hamster’s cage should be, and what kind of cage suits him best. As always with hamsters, even if they’re such small creatures, they need more space than you’d think. So always go for a bigger cage. Never buy those tiny, square, cramped cages you see at pet shops. Hamsters are very clean animals It might come as a surprise to you or not, but hamsters are very clean animals. They clean and groom themselves regularly. Almost obsessively. If you’ve ever seen a cat spend 20 minutes licking and cleaning itself, a hamster will do the exact same thing. Minus the hairballs. And it will take less time since he is much smaller than a cat. But still, a very very clean pet all around. Even in their hideout, hamsters keep their pile of food well away from droppings, and only pee in the opposite corner of the cage. As far away from their hideout as possible. The only things that will ever smell will be the hamster’s pee corners. Those need their bedding changed more often than the entire bedding. Or, you can use a sandbath in the corner your hammy uses as a bathroom. He will use the sandbath as a litterbox. Hamsters are cheap pets to keep As far as expenses go, hamsters are inexpensive. They run around $10 per month, for food and bedding. It’s only the initial costs that can throw you off if you’re not expecting it. An average budget, for a new cage, wheel, exercise ball, transport cage, hideout, and toys can get to $225. But those are all things you only ever buy once, in the hamster’s entire life. You can find out more about hamster expenses here. And the hamster itself is incredibly cheap, somewhere between $5-10. Hamsters are among the cutest pets You know how cute your puppy was when you got him ? He’s cute now too, all grown up, but he’s not a puppy anymore. Well, a hamster will always have that kind of ‘baby face’. Especially baby hamsters, they’re even sweeter. But an adult hamster will have the cutest, furriest face you’ve ever seen. They’re just fuzzy all around, and they have those big black beady eyes. If you look at their wiggling noses, you’ll notice they look a lot like rabbits when they move their noses. Hamsters never really ‘grow up’, as most pets do. They stay that fluffy, cute little creature you fell in love with when you first brought home. They have a shorter lifespan than most pets A hamster’s life isn’t that long. That’s both a downside and a good thing, depending on which way you look at it. I’ve put it as a good thing, because this means the hamster is a smaller commitment than a dog or a cat. Hamsters only live for 2-4 years, with the Dwarf types living the longest. This is for hamsters kept as pets. In the wild hamsters do no reach such an old age. So if you’re looking for a furry friend to keep you company for a couple of years, a hamster will be a good match for you. Or, if you want to try your hand at raising and keeping a pet, a hamster is a good starting point. You will not need to exercise them yourself too much This is great news for very busy people, and it’s an easy thing to take care of. A hamster will exercise on his own, as long as you give him an exercise wheel and/or ball. An exercise wheel is the best way for your hamster to let out the immense energy it has. The hamster will have access to the wheel 24/7, since it’s in his cage all day and night. Also, an exercise ball will be a great help for keeping the hamster from becoming anxious or stressed. All you as a human need to do is help the hamster into the ball, and he will do the rest by himself. So if you’re a very busy person, and you often work long hours and don’t have a lot of time to walk a dog or play with a cat, a hamster might be great for you. Especially since most of the hamster’s exercise takes place when he is awake, which is usually at night, when you sleep. There is no shedding problem Hamsters do not shed, so if you’ve got an allergy to fur you should be safe with a hamster. Your clothes and furniture will not need a regular brushing as well, since there are no stray hamster hairs laying about. The only thing about the hamster is that there will be stray bits of bedding in odd places, but that’s the extent of the ‘mess’ a hamster will make in your home. Hamsters are very quiet 90% of the time Most of the time hamsters make absolutely no noise. Sure, you will hear them faintly rummaging in their hideouts, or digging in their bedding. But they don’t get noisier than that most of the time. So if you’re a very quiet person, and you need a quiet pet that won’t disturb you, a hamster could be for you. Most of the hamster’s activity happens at night. So while you’re sleeping is when he might make the most noise, but again he makes very little noise. Hamsters are very quiet since they’re prey. So they’ve evolved to be very quiet creatures, and not make noise unless absolutely necessary. You won’t trip over them randomly Since most of the time your hamster will be in his cage, you can’t trip over him randomly when getting out of the shower. If you’ve ever had your dog paw at the door when you’re using the bathroom, or your cat judge you when you’re in the shower, you know what I mean. Hamsters won’t be out unless you let them out, in their special exercise balls. My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatiels, and they run around the house all day. They’re funny and love to chase you, but you can literally step on them if you’re not careful. Or you’ll find them perched on top of the open door and freak out if you want to close it. A hamster will not give you any surprises. Hamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartments Many apartments, or even entire buildings, do not allow pets. This is mainly because of damage to the furniture, noise level, and some types of mess that can only happen with pets larger than a guinea pig. So a hamster that stays in its cage most of the time, is quiet, and does not make a mess will be okay in those buildings. I guess the same could be said about any pet that needs to be kept in a cage or tank. Hamsters are also easier to accept by roommates, since they won’t be noisy or messy or smelly. So there is nothing to object to there. But are hamsters good pets for children ? You might be wondering if a hamster might be a good pet for your kid. The short answer is no. The longer one is still no, and here is why. While hamsters are fairly easy to care for, they still need a level of responsibility and patience that a child just doesn’t have yet. To be clear, I’m talking about children under 12-13 years of age, when they start to become more responsible. A 9 years old might love to have a hamster, but will probably forget to feed the hammy, or close the cage properly, or might scare him just for fun. A dog or a cat might run away and hide if they don’t like the way they’re treated. But a hamster can’t get very far, and can only hide in his cage. Aside from that, a hamster is not a very patient pet, and won’t take well to being held wrong or pulled by the ears. It will bite and scratch ad squirm to try to get away, which is no fun for anyone involved. In general, the younger the child, the worse a hamster will be as a pet for them. (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.) Downsides/cons of having a pet hamster There are a few downside to having a hamster as a pet, although the upsides more than make up for these. Still, I think you should know what the cons could be, just so you’re prepared. A hamster is harder to tame than other pets Since hamsters are so jumpy, and easy to scare, they’re harder to handle than a dog or a cat for example. Taming a hamster means handling it, playing with it, letting it get used to your scent. Hamsters are much harder to tame than most pets. They’re not as trusting as dogs, not even cats. Hamsters have evolved to run away from everything, since anything can be a predator for them. This, combined with the immense amount of energy a hamster has, so restless and jittery, gives you a very active, possibly difficult pet. You need a lot of patience. It’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babies So you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting. And once you do figure out the hamster’s personality, it’s a very strong one anyway. There’s not much changing it. If it’s a very independent hamster that doesn’t like to be handled, you might dismiss that early on as ‘not yet tame’. Their personalities are simple enough, but can vary wildly from hamster to hamster. The Syrian hamsters are a bit mellower compared to their Dwarf cousins, and easier to handle. Hamsters are less affectionate They’re not crazy about hugs and kisses and cuddles and scratches. Sure, they’ll tolerate them a bit but you can’t hold and cuddle a hamster for a half hour as you could a dog. So keep that in mind if you’re looking for a cuddly, affectionate pet. Hamsters aren’t the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They can bond with their owners and come closer when you talk to them. But that’s about it. This was a big drawback for me initially, since the main reason I wanted a hamster was to cuddle and play with it. My mistake was expecting it to be as loving and playful as a dog. Hamsters do ask for attention, just not in the same way and don’t need nearly as much emotional attachment. They’re nocturnal, you might miss them often This depends on the kind of schedule you have. Pet hamsters are nocturnal, and will come out possibly when you’re getting ready for bed, like 9 PM. So you might miss out a lot on your hamster’s funny antics. Hamsters are mostly solitary creatures, so they won’t miss you terribly. But still, talking to them and handling them is important to taming the hamsters and keeping them tame. If you go to bed early and wake early, then a hamster might not be for you. But if you’re awake late int the night regularly, you might get along with a hamster just fine. To find out more about a hamster’s night routine, you should check out this article. Hamsters are very sensitive to a lot of things It’s common knowledge that hamsters scare easily. Well, most rodents do. They can even die of heart attacks from a dog barking at them. So that’s one thing to be careful about, keeping the hamster from scaring too much. You can find some useful info on that here. Hamsters are also very sensitive to shifts in temperature, and can easily die of hypothermia. Once a hamster contracts a disease, it needs immediate care or else it has basically zero chances of survival. There are a lot of things to mind when you’re considering getting a hamster, including how large a cage you can get him. A small cage will make your hamster stressed, which will make him chew the bars and develop a serious case of anxiety. The same goes for how much exercise your hamster gets. And transporting a hamster is often a bad idea. Best to leave him at home, with someone to check up on him. Surprise litters This is especially true for Dwarf pairs. You see a cute pair at the pet shop, you get them home, and a couple of weeks later you find yourself with 15 hamsters, not 2. You see, baby hamsters can breed as soon as they’re weaned – that’s just 3-4 weeks after being born. And if the males and females aren’t kept separate immediately after weaning, they can start to breed, even so young. Most of the times they’re separated in time. But sometimes it’s too late, or one male gets tagged as female by mistake and put in an all female enclosure. You can see where that can go. This is possible with every type of hamster, but especially true for Dwarf kinds because only these can be kept in pairs. Syrians need to be alone, and will fight literally anything or anyone put in their cage. So there’s less of a chance of accidental litters. A word from Teddy I hope you can get a feel for how it would be to have one of us hammies as a pet. I’ve been a good pet so far, and I think that if you’re a patient, calm person then one of us would be a good match for you. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check the articles below. [...] Read more...
Safe And Unsafe Wood For Hamster
Safe And Unsafe Wood For HamsterHamsters need a lot of wood in their cage, be it for their bedding, toys, or hideout. So it is quite important to know what type of wood is safe and which one is not safe for your hamster. Hamsters are quite the survivors; they can endure a lot. But there are certain types of wood than can be quite toxic for them, and they also have a very sensitive nose, so a strong smell might bother them. In this article, I will list all wood types that are safe for your hamster but most importantly, I will guide you to know what to choose when you buy bedding, hideout and toys since those are the most common wood elements in a hamster cage. Of course, there are home-made ones so you should know what type of wood you should use if you plan to have a DIY project. Table of Contents ToggleSafe wood for hamstersUnsafe wood for hamstersCan hamsters eat wood?Best wood for hamster beddingShould a hamster hideout be made of wood or plastic?Do hamsters need wood toys or bridges?Conclusion Safe wood for hamsters The safest wood types for your hamster are aspen, elm, ash, bamboo, cottonwood, most fruit trees, oak, maple, and balsa wood. An important thing to have in mind when you make a DIY wheel, hideout, tunnel or toy for your hamster is to use wood from trees that weren’t treated with pesticides or other chemicals that might put your hamster in danger. Unsafe wood for hamsters The most important to know woods that are unsafe for your hamster are pine and cedar since you might find some toys, bedding and hideouts made with those types of wood. They are unsafe for your hamster because they contain some naturally occurring oils that might put your hamster in danger. So you should avoid those two even if they weren’t treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Yew and oleander wood should also be avoided because it can be poisonous for your hamster but those two are not usually used for making hamster toys or anything that goes in the hamster cage. Can you find unsafe wood at the pet shop? Unfortunately, you can find pine and cedar shavings at most supermarkets, and also some toys made with this type of wood. Pine is a cheap wood, very lightweight, and it’s common in many wood items, not just for hamsters.  Another thing you should pay attention to while you are at the pet shop is to choose bedding without added scent. There are aspen shavings with strawberry, peach, or other fruits scent, which can be quite toxic for your hamster. Aspen shavings with no added scent should be your go-to when you buy bedding from the pet shop or online. It is annoying that those things exist in the first place, and they might be eye-catching for a new hamster owner. There is little regulation when it comes to what material a manufacturer has to use, and the regulators don’t know all the details. You might’ve heard that giving your hamster toilet paper or paper towels is safe and recommended for them to make their nest more warm and comfortable, which is true. However, most people buy scented toilet paper or paper towels, and those are not safe for your hamster, make sure you buy odor-free ones, at least for the little one. The cardboard roll from the TP and paper towels  is also fine (as long as it’s not scented). The hamster will use these as a series of tunnels, and a chew toy.  Can hamsters eat wood? I’ve seen my hamster chewing on its wooden hideout quite a lot and I had this question for myself. Yes, hamsters can eat wood as long as it is untreated and it is from the safe wood list. They usually don’t ingest it, but rather they chew on the wood to sharpen their teeth since rodent teeth grow constantly, and not having chewing toys might be dangerous. So they’re not exactly eating the wood.  You can also give your hamster a (clean) walnut to chew on to make sure they sharpen their teeth on something that is safe. Avoid acorns though, here is an entire article about why hamsters should not eat or chew acorns. Best wood for hamster bedding When it comes to hamster bedding, aspen shavings are the safest choice and usually the only one you should find at a pet store. Here is a good one that you can find on Amazon. If you need another option, recycled paper can be a safe option rather than going for other type of wood that might be dusty or unsafe for your hamster. Here is a good pack of recycled paper hamster bedding for your hamster that you can find on Amazon. I wouldn’t go for recycled paper as the first option since it makes digging in it much harder and some hamsters love to dig. If your hamster is not a digger, there are no other cons to this type of bedding. Another wood bedding for hamsters is wood pellets.  Wood pellets can be difficult to find, but they can still be found as bedding for rabbits or larger rodents such as ferrets. However, these may not be the most comfortable bedding for hamsters. Consider layering the pellets over a layer of wood shavings to simulate dirt, if desired. When selecting wood for pellets, choose options that are safe for your hamster to both live and breathe on. Also keep in mind that the pellets are loud, so you might hear your hamster running/walking in its cage. Should a hamster hideout be made of wood or plastic? Hamster hideouts can be made of wood or plastic as long as they are from the safe list. The main problem with store-bought plastic hamster hideouts is that they are usually too small for a full-grown Syrian hamster which is the most common hamster pet, also known as a teddy bear hamster. When it comes to the wood hideouts, make sure they are not made from pine or cedar wood, and also pay attention to what they are fixed with. If they’re glued together, the glue should not be visible. Your hamster should not reach the glue that is used to make the parts stick together, or any sharp nail that goes through the walls or something along this line. Eating the glue is dangerous for hamsters for obvious reasons, and when it comes to sharp nails, they can hurt themselves in those ones. Do hamsters need wood toys or bridges? Most hamster toys are made of wood since any toy doubles as a chewing toy. So yes, a hamster needs something to play with and also to chew on, but you have to make sure they are made from safe woods. When you buy a toy or a wooden bridge for your hamster, make sure you read the label to make sure they are not made of pine, cedar, or any other unsafe wood. When you buy a wooden hamster bridge, check the connections between the sticks to make sure the hamster can’t get hurt in the metal part that connects all the sticks. Also, check the final part, which is used to hang the bridge on the cage or the hideout. Hamsters might hook themselves into those parts if the bridge is not properly connected. Conclusion There are some safe and unsafe woods for your hamster. If you go for aspen shavings as bedding, you should always be safe, and make sure you buy unscented.  When it comes to a hamster, you should buy unscented everything. Even when you clean its cage, make sure you use only a tiny bit of soap and preferably one that doesn’t smell too strong. Unfortunately, you will find toys, bedding and hideouts made from unsafe wood online and at the pet store, so it is your job to know which one you should buy. I hope this article was helpful, and now you know how to keep your little furball safe when it comes to the wood type you use. [...] Read more...
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat Them
10 Common Hamster Health Problems And How To Treat ThemA hamster with a health problem is a sorry sight. But, most health issues in hamsters can be solved, especially if caught in time. Let’s see what those problems are, and how to help your hammy. You’ll find these health issues grouped by body parts or type. Where possible I’ll link you to articles where I’ve covered that specific topic in more detail. Table of Contents Toggle1. Hamster eye problems2. Hamster dental problems3. Hamster ear and hearing problems4. Hamster nail problems5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites6. Hamster Digestive problems7. Wet-tail in hamsters8. Diabetes in hamsters9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters10. Hamster cheek problemsAbout a hamster’s general healthKeeping your hamster healthyA word from Teddy 1. Hamster eye problems Hamsters rarely use their eyes, that much is known to most hamster owners. Whether you’ve got a Syrian or a Dwarf type, they both can’t really see. Still, health issues do come up with a hamster’s eyes. The most common of them being cataracts/blindness. This comes especially with old age in hammies. Do keep in mind that a hamster without his sight will be able to live his life almost the same. Since he doesn’t usually rely on his eyes, not seeing anymore will not be a big loss, as it could be for humans. Other problems include infections, pink eye, bulging eye, and eyes that have stuck shut due to a possible infection. Still, for a detailed rundown on all the possible issues that can happen with a hammy’s eyes, I recommend you check out this article. You’ll find there the issues themselves, and the treatments necessary. Sometimes a trip to the vet is necessary, sometimes the problems can be treated at home. 2. Hamster dental problems A hamster’s teeth are possibly the most important tool the hamster has. His teeth never stop growing, in order for him to be able to eat the hard, dry grains his diet is based on. Sometimes though, problems come up. Teeth become overgrown, possibly due to soft food or lack of a chew toy. Or a tooth might break or crack, or it could become infected. You can find out more about hamster dental problems here, and how to treat them. Again, some may require a vet treatment, some can be treated at home. For example overgrown teeth can be fixed by giving the hamster a multitude of chew toys he can file his teeth on. Most of the time though, hamster teeth problems can be corrected. Even in the case of an abscess an antibiotic treatment will help the hamster recover. A word on hamster teeth: they are never white. If you’re looking at your hammy’s long, yellow (possibly orange) teeth and wondering if you should brush them, don’t. When I first got my Teddy I thought I had to do something. Turns out hamster teeth are not meant to be white. Any white spots on the teeth are a sign of the tooth breaking down and possibly breaking away. 3. Hamster ear and hearing problems Hearing is one of the primary ways a hamster navigates his surroundings. As such, any problem related to their ears and how well they can hear becomes a serious concern. Possible problems include: Parasites like mites, than can travel deep into the hamster’s ear Earwax buildup, preventing hearing and can become painful Ear infection, which can spread to the brain Possible tumor which can take on the whole ear These are all treatable, however the hamster won’t be able to much on his own. Actually most of the time the hammy will need your help, with any kind of health issue. To find out more about the health problems hamsters can have with their ears, you can check out this article. You’ll find both the issues and the treatments, and even an example of a successful tumor surgery on a Dwarf hammy. 4. Hamster nail problems Nail problems are few, and are treatable too. A hamster’s nails are used mostly for scratching and pawing at food or bedding. Problems come up when the nails become too long, and that’s where most of the problems stem from. A hamster’s nails grow too long when he has nothing to wear them out on. Like plenty of wood surfaces, possibly a large flat rock, or any hard surface on his cage. This means that a hamster living solely on soft bedding, and nothing else, will end up with overgrown nails. The nails will grow very long, and eventually curve into the hammy’s paw. In some cases they will break and fall off. My Teddy had this happen, and ever since we’ve installed 2 more levels in his cage, which are bare plastic, and he also uses his tunnel which is made of hard plastic. An exercise wheel, used constantly, helps a lot in this regard. It wears down the hammy’s nails and keeps them trim. Aside from overgrown nails, hamsters can also get nail infections. If they’re small, as in they don’t reach the surface and only stay for a couple of days, they’re safe to ignore. However if it goes on for more than 2 days, and even comes to a point, you should visit a veterinarian. He will prescribe an antibiotic for the hammy to combat the infection. 5. Hamster skin/fur conditions and parasites Hamsters are usually very clean animals. This means that they clean themselves daily, several times a day actually, and don’t  normally attract parasites. However they can get certain skin conditions if their cage is unclean, or has spores of fungi. 2 of the most common are: Aspergillus – forms in the hamster’s pee corner. Grows white, and in time turns black. Spores can be deadly to hamsters, and very bad for humans too. If this happens, get the hamster to the vet immediately, and clean and disinfect the cage. Ringworm – not an actual worm, but a fungus. It will form bald patches on the hamster, in the shape of a circle (hence the name). Dry, flaky skin is on those bald patches, and the hamster might scratch at them furiously. Treatable, but again a vet is necessary. Aside from these two fungi, hammies can lose their fur because of old age. Other skin problems can be mites, and fleas as well. You can find out more on fleas on hamsters here, and how to treat them. All of these problems require a veterinarian and a deep cleaning of the hamster’s cage, and his toys and objects. 6. Hamster Digestive problems Digestive problems are never fun for anyone. However a hamster is more in danger than other mammals, because of hos their stomach is shaped. You see a hammy’s stomach forms a sort of U bend, which means that any gasses or bloating is very hard to release. Yes, hamsters are able to pass gas if necessary, but not as easily as us humans. And you probably won’t ever hear the hammy fart, sorry to disappoint. Given the hamster’s stomach and gut layout and design, something like diarrhea does not go well. Or an upset stomach either. This is why giving the hamster foods he can’t properly digest will be a big issue for him. You can find out more about hamster-safe foods here, most of them already in your fridge or pantry. Another thing to keep in mind is that hamsters can become constipated. This is more common with old hamsters, given that their system is breaking down and doesn’t digest foods as well as it used to. You can help a constipated hammy by giving him softer foods like carrots, steamed veggies from this hamster-safe veggie list, and getting him to a veterinarian if he does not produce and droppings in 24 hours after the soft food. 7. Wet-tail in hamsters Wet-tail is more common in Syrian hamsters than Dwarf types. Still , that does not mean Dwarf types can’t get wet-tail at all. They’re just much less likely to get it. Wet-tail is most frequent in young hamsters, that were just weaned (approx. 4 weeks old) and are eligible for adoption. It’s usually stress based, and everything from his mother pushing him away when he still tries to suckle, to being taken to the pet shop, and then take to your home is all very alien to him. So a young Syrian hammy that was just brought home might develop wet tail. Treatment does exist, but it’s not a 100% survival rate. Still, your hammy needs to see a vet right away. If you’ve noticed the symptoms within 24 hours the survival chances are pretty high. Symptoms include: a wet tail, because if a very watery diarrhea possibly smelly rear-end, because of the constant soiling smelly cage weakness, lack of appetite or thirst a matted, sweaty look about the hamster You can find out more about wet-tail in hamsters here, including how to treat it and the steps you should take in caring for a hamster recovering from wet-tail. 8. Diabetes in hamsters Another big problem in hamsters is diabetes. This is most common in the Dwarf types, so the Syrians have it easier here. Diabetes can come about in a few ways, mostly because of a poor diet. That means a diet with too much sugar and carbs, and very little exercise. This is not the only reason, but one of the biggest. Another reason is that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or that the body is very resistant to it. This means that the body’s blood sugar will stay very high. It will cause weight gain, circulatory problems, difficult breathing, and other problems that stem from these. You can find out more about diabetes in hamsters here, and also about how to treat it. Sometimes it’s not completely treatable, but at least you can do some things to make the hamster’s life comfortable even so. (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.) 9. Tumors and lumps in hamsters Sometimes hammies develop extra cells. These cells are sometimes benign, sometimes they’re harmful and become cancer. However even benign tumors can be bad for the hamster’s health, as they can block certain body parts. For example a tumor around the ear can extend to the entire half of the face. These usually can be removed, but not many vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small animal. The problem is that the anaesthesia is hard to do, and the patient himself is very.. well, tiny. Still, some vets have tried and even succeeded. I’m sure in your area you’ll be able to find someone who can help. Best to look for an ‘exotics’ veterinarian. They have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will possibly be able to help you more than a regular vet. Try everyone though, you never know who is going to save your friend. 10. Hamster cheek problems Finally, the hamster’s cheeks are another problem. The thing is that hammies stuff everything in their cheeks. Food, nesting material, a bit of bedding, droppings. Mothers even stuff their babies there when they move them. However sometimes these cheeks can become injured, either by a sharp corner from the food, or maybe they were over stuffed. They can sometimes come out completely, like an inside-out pocket. Other times the cheek becomes sticky with residue and whatever is in the cheek will become stuck. All of these can be solved, and they can also be avoided. Mostly by not giving your hamster any sticky, saucy foods that he will put in his cheeks (grain-based foods end up in his cheeks usually). You can find out much more about hamster cheek pouches here, including how to treat the various problems that come up, and how to identify each one. About a hamster’s general health Hamsters are fairly hardy animals. They don’t develop health issues very easily, even if they are so sensitive. However once they do happen, hammies don’t really know what to do on their own. That is, they can’t get over most problems on their own. A flea infestation will drag on for months, a cold can be fatal, and an infected cheek pouch can lead to death. Still, hamsters are able to take care of themselves, mostly by how absolutely clean they are. Up until their very last days, hamsters know that cleanliness equals health. So they tug and pull at their fur, comb through it, fluff it up, groom it some more, every few hours. This is also done to avoid developing a strong scent that predators will use to find them. Your help is crucial here. Your hammy depends on you, and his health becomes your responsibility. This is a reason to become fast friends with a good veterinarian (again, look for one labeled ”exotic”). Keeping your hamster healthy Keeping your hamster healthy revolves around a few simple things. Cleanliness is chief among them, and the hammy himself is very good at keeping himself clean. Still, there are a few things you can do to help your hamster friend stay healthy: Regularly cleaning the cage, once per week. More on safe bedding and nesting material here. Giving the hamster a commercial food mix, which has all the nutrients balanced the way he needs them. Only treating him to occasional treats, and in moderation to avoid weight gain and joint problems. More on hamster-safe foods here. Making sure that the floor or other surfaces you let him roam in the exercise ball are clean, and dust free. More about hamster exercise balls here. Keeping the hammy in a room that’s at a constant temperature. The optimal range is 20-23 C/68-75 F, and the cage should be kept away from drafts or direct sunlight. Having an exercise wheel for your hamster friend, so he can run to his little heart’s content. More on hamster exercise wheels here. Aside from all these, remember that your pet hamster needs a calm and gentle person handling him. So a child or other pet should be kept away from the hamster. Any interaction should be supervised. Hamsters are very bad with stress, and will bite back if handled wrong. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hammies do get sick every now and then, and we need your help with getting healthy. So this article was supposed to give you an overview of what kind of problems we can have. If you want to know more about us hamsters, check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us properly, and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
What Noises Do Hamsters Make ? Get To Know Your Hamster
What Noises Do Hamsters Make ? Get To Know Your HamsterIf you’re wondering what your hamster’s trying to say, let me help you crack the code. I listened to my own hamster’s sounds, and checked with other hamster owners to see what each of these sounds mean. Now, we all know hamsters are very quiet creatures and barely make any sounds, at all. But when they do, you might be at a loss for what they mean. Let’s look into that. Table of Contents ToggleUsual hamster noisesSqueakingTeeth clickingHissing/cryingCooingReading your hamster’s body languageStanding up on his hind legsMouth open, ears back, fur ruffledRubbing his hips or belly on somethingStretching, yawningFlattening his body, very slowlyA word from Teddy Usual hamster noises While hamsters don’t really make a lot of noise, the ones they do make are important to know. They’re not as immediately obvious like a cat purring, or a dog growling. But they all have a specific meaning. Sadly some of them aren’t very well researched, and one sound can mean many things, depending on the context. Squeaking This is a sound you might hear fairly often from your hamster. It’s either a positive or a negative one, depending on the situation. What is clear though, is that the hamster is reacting strongly to something, and his opinion is very important and needs to be heard. My Teddy does this (weirdly) when he sleeps. He starts squeaking in the middle of his sleep (only every few weeks or so) and I can see he’s only half awake, moving his nest’s bedding around, rearranging himself better in bed. I think it’s funny, how he wakes up like a grumpy old man and turns on his side and mutters himself back to sleep. I also think it’s a bit alarming, since I don’t know what the reason for that is. He’s done it when the house was quiet, when we had guests, when the light was both on and off, it never mattered. As for exactly what it sounds like, it’s a bit like a rubber duck. A very small, angry rubber duck. It sounds a lot like someone just insulted Teddy and he’s too shocked to do anything but ”hmph’ back. I’ve seen and heard other hamsters do this when exploring their habitat, getting new food, finding a new smell, etc. It’s a reaction, a strong one, but it’s not always a good or bad one. I think it really depends on the context of that specific moment. Teeth clicking My Teddy is a champion at this, and I’m not sure why. Hamsters only click their teeth when they’re annoyed by something, and/or agitated. As in, so jittery and feverish in their clicking that handling them is not an option. Hamsters will also click their teeth at each other as a sign to keep their distance. My Teddy is a lone hamster, and he has a big enough cage. When he was younger he used to click his teeth every now and then and take it out on the cage bars. I’m thinking his immense energy made him jittery sometimes, and he had those weird moments. If your hamster is clicking his teeth at you, well, stay away. Give him some space, and come back later when he’s calmed down. But if he’s clicking his teeth even if you’re not there, it’s not you he’s mad at. He’s just very jittery and again should not be handled, since he will not stay put at all. Think of teeth clicking in hamsters, the way you’d think of tail swishing in cats. Never a good sign, and they’re impatient when they get like that. Hissing/crying This is something I hope no one has to hear, ever. This is never a good sound, and it will tear right through you. It’s a lot like a scream, with the mouth closed. Hamsters only make this sound when they’re very very angry or annoyed or in pain. For example a neighbor came once, with his little girl. Said he wanted to show her the hammy, and she was very curious. I told him Teddy isn’t very friendly but we can try if I hold him for her. Well, when Teddy was in my hands and the little girl tried to pet him, Teddy started hissing and thrashing, wanting back in his cage. You see, he’d never met the little girl, and hamsters are very very bad with stress, and people they don’t know. If you’re chasing a young, new hammy in your room because you dropped him, this might be a sound you’ll hear. He’s not happy being chased, and he’s more than a bit shocked and upset. You will also hear this sound from your Dwarf pairs, when they start fighting. Sometimes it might not get very loud, but it can happen. Cooing I’ve never heard my teddy do this, but other hamster owners have told be about hamster cooing. It’s a very soft, vibrating sort of sound. They’re not necessarily scared or angry, but it’s a sound they make when they’re content. Not many people have heard this sound, but I;m leaving it here anyway, in case your hamster does this. Knowing your hammy isn’t the only weirdo is kind of comforting. (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.) Reading your hamster’s body language Alright, if you were curious about hamster sounds, I’m guessing you’re trying to get to know your hamster better. That’s great, and body language is a large part of understanding what your hamster’s trying to say. Standing up on his hind legs Hamsters do this when they get curious about something, and they want to hear things out. They can also freeze in this position, sometimes even for 2 whole minutes. It’s something hamsters do fairly often, since they would have to do this in the wild every few minutes to check for predators. You can find out more about hamsters freezing here. This is normal behavior, and the hamster isn’t scared. Mouth open, ears back, fur ruffled The hamster is trying to intimidate, and is getting ready for a fight. I’ve seen this in Teddy by accident a few times. Like when I leaned over his cage to get something and he saw that as a threat, when I looked down at him he was making himself very big. When that happens, lower yourself to eye-level with the hamster. Not just your head, your entire body. Hamsters feel threatened by creatures bigger than them, so try to make yourself very small. Talk to him softly until he calms down. Try feeding him a treat to help things along. If you’re trying to introduce 2 hamsters and they take this stance, it’s a sign they won’t be getting along very well. Rubbing his hips or belly on something This is the hamster simply marking his territory. Syrian hamsters have a scent gland on each hip, while Dwarf types have one on their belly. The hamster will use his scent gland to mark when he believes is his. Stretching, yawning This is like the human equivalent, and it’s both cute and terrifying. The hamster will stumble out of his nest and take a couple of steps before stretching all his limbs, and curling his tail back. That’s cute, and he’s huggable and fluffy then. He also yawns when he stretches, which reveals a gaping maw of teeth and the entrance to his cheek pouches. It looks awful and he is neither huggable nor fluffy. Flattening his body, very slowly This I am not very sure, since no one I’ve talked to or asked ever agreed on this. The hamster will mind his own business, as always, nothing exciting or extra boring happening. Then he will slowly, in slow motion, start to lay down completely flat and seem to fall asleep, wherever he is. Teddy’s done this in the corner of the cage – not curled up, but lying there like a bearskin rug. He’s also done it in his tunnel, he’s done it in the middle of the cage. And I have no answer for why he did this. He’s conscious and aware I’m there. He opens his eyes and looks at me if I tap the cage. But he goes back to sleep ( is it sleep ?) after a few seconds. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters don’t make too many sounds, but the ones we do make are pretty important. It’s just that sometimes we’re secretive with what they mean. 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 Eat Cardboard ? About Your Hamster’s Chew Habit
Do Hamsters Eat Cardboard ? About Your Hamster’s Chew HabitIf you’ve got a hammy you’re probably wondering if he’ll chew through cardboard. Would a hamster eat cardboard ? I looked at my Teddy since I first got him, and knew he’d have a special relationship with cardboard tubes. So let’s see if hamsters eat cardboard, and if cardboard is even safe for them in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat cardboard ?Make sure it’s just plain cardboardOnly use cardboard for toys and nesting materialOther chewing alternatives for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat cardboard ? No, hamsters do not eat cardboard. Unlike with soft materials like paper towels or toilet squares, which can get into the hamster’s moth and swallowed up. Cardboard is not something hamsters eat, not even by mistake like with paper. They do however love to chew through it and they will not stop until the whole roll is done.  You might think the hamster finds the cardboard tasty, given how much he’s munching on it. But no, he’s just clipping at it like a small maniac. My Teddy for example goes through an entire paper towel cardboard roll, which is almost 3 toilet paper rolls, in one night ! Now let’s see which kinds of cardboard are okay for hamsters, and what you should look out for. Make sure it’s just plain cardboard By plain I mean the simple, brown/grey kind of cardboard. It’s usually the cheapest option because it requires no further treatment like bleaching and recoloring or laminating. Incidentally, this keeps it safe for hamsters and rodents. A few examples of safe, simple cardboard are: toilet paper rolls paper towel rolls any other roll that’s made of plain cardboard, like some aluminium foil rolls or saran wrap rolls actual, cardboard boxes that some packages come in It could be the wrinkly, ruffled cardboard that’s made to withstand lots of force, or it could be a thin kind of cardboard. If it’s got some paper still on, the hamster will love ripping it apart and stuffing that in his cheeks as well. However there are some kinds of cardboard you should keep your hamster away from. These are pieces of cardboard that are not only painted, they’re also laminated or at least lined with plastic (like milk cartons for example), or have aluminium sides. So items like liquid cartons, packaging boxes that are very colorful or have a plastic-like outside and they’re almost waterproof, cardboard boxes from very strong smelling products (like lotion or perfume), and so on. (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.) Only use cardboard for toys and nesting material I wouldn’t recommend using cardboard for anything other than just toys or nesting material for your hamster. This is because he will tear through it with ease, and you’ll have to keep replacing them. Replacing a chew toy made of a cardboard roll with another cardboard roll is no problem. But replacing a hamster food bowl or hideout every day, even if it’s just cardboard, is just not worth the effort. A hamster hideout should be made of wood, so he had something to chew on all the time, but still a place to sleep. Your hamster will also use the cardboard as extra lining for his nest if he feels too cold. I’ve found bits of chewed up cardboard in my Teddy’s nest more than once. For the most part he just chews and chews and chews away at those cardboard rolls, but sometimes he finds a bit more use for them. You can check out this article to see how you can use cardboard to make DYI toys for your hamster too. Hamsters need to chew, otherwise their teeth grow much too large. They can develop serious dental problems if their teeth are left unchecked. Most of those problems can be solved at a veterinarian, but preventing them works much better. In some cases when the hamster keeps chewing on the cage bars, and you’ve found no other solution you can use the cardboard rolls like I used them here with my Teddy. He goes for the bars but end up chewing the cardboard instead, and it’s a welcome change from the usual bar chewing. Other chewing alternatives for your hamster friend Some people swear by mineral chews. While they keep the hamster busy, they’re not exactly needed. The thing is that mineral chews are meant to give the hamster minerals if he lacks them, but most hamsters do no need the extra minerals. The commercial mix they get supplements them with enough minerals and salts. There is also the issue with dust, and how that affects the hamster’s lungs. My Teddy looked like a construction worker whenever he took to that mineral chew. If you want to find out more about mineral chews, you should check out this article. Another way for your hamster to get his chewing fix is wood. Wood-based toys and objects in his cage will make sure he chews on something safe whenever he feels the urge to chomp down on something. For example my Teddy’s hideout’s made of wood, and he has a few wood objects to nibble on as well. He’s also got this walnut, that I’ve cleaned and left in his cage. He goes crazy over it, and keeps trying to open it. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies chew on everything, but cardboard is okay for us. Well, most cardboard objects I mean. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related article below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking Hams
Do Hamsters Blink ? Uncovering The Mystery Of Blinking HamsYou’ve maybe wondered if your hamster ever blinks. He just seems to sit there and stare at you, endlessly. Or maybe he just stares into space. Does a hamster ever blink ? I’ve found myself watching my Teddy to see if he ever does blink. And, as luck would have it, I found the answer to whether hamsters blink or not. It’s maybe not the key to the universe, but it can help us understand our furry friends better. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters blink ?Hamsters need their eyes clean, too !Your hamster isn’t just staring at youA few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirtyA word from Teddy So do hamsters blink ? Yes, hamsters do blink. Just not exactly like us humans. Hamsters have evolved to blink with only one eye at a time, possibly because they are prey for many animals. So they can’t really afford to even not be on guard. It’s a sort of defense mechanism like bunnies sleeping with their eyes open. Or guinea pigs only sleeping for a few minutes at a time, in patches throughout the day. You might have wondered if hamsters blink after your hammy kept looking at you and he never seemed to blink. Truth is, in the presence of humans (bigger predators) hamsters will rarely blink. That does not mean they blink their heart out when you’re not looking. It just means that until they come to trust you they won’t even try blinking. Hamsters need their eyes clean, too ! Hamsters. like any other creature with eyes, need their eyes clean. Some animals, like frogs or crocodiles have 2 sets of eyelids, one to protect the eye from injury, and one to protect the eye from the muddy water. Hamsters have just one set of eyelids – yes, hamsters have eyelids – which serve to clean their eyes when they blink, just like us humans. You might not have noticed their eyelids when looking at them, but hamsters have them. Try peeking at them when they sleep, there you will see their eyes closed. Another thing that helps keep the hamster’s eyes clean is their eyelashes. Generally eyelashes are soft, fuzzy, and very noticeable. But in hamster’s they’re thin and wispy, because the rest of their fur is like one big eyelash/brow. Their fur serves the same purpose as an eyelash, to trap debris and foreign objects that might get into their eyes. Given the hamster’s natural habitat – dry, earthy tunnels dug deep under the ground – this is a very smart adaptation. Their eyes are protected at all times. Your hamster isn’t just staring at you You might think your hamster is just staring at you. Especially if he keeps looking and doesn’t blink. I was weirded out by Teddy at first, I’ll say that. He used to just stare at me and not move. He still does that, just that now I know why. It turns out hamsters look like they’re staring at you, but in fact they’re just staring into space. Add to that the fact that they will often stop to hear if there are predators around, with a very intense look on their face. It looks like they’re staring you down, but really hamsters barely see. They don’t even really use their eyes, and they will freak out if you suddenly move. They only see what is directly in front of them, the rest is blurry. So the next time your hammy looks at you funny, know that it’s not you. It’s him, hearing things out, or just being still. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A few hamster eye problems that can happen if their eyes get dirty Hamsters have great protection for their eyes. However problems can and do occur, and they need your help to fix most of these issues. Even if hamsters don’t really use their eyes, these problems still can happen, like: Eye infections – where they eye can be swollen, red, hot to the touch. Pus will possibly ooze from the eye as well, as as such you will need to clean/rinse the eye with a saline solution. Bulging eye – the eye will appear larger than normal, like it’s about to pop from its place. This is often because if an inflammation of the tissue behind the eye itself. Cataracts/blindness – unfortunately many hamsters end up with this problem in their old are. This is what happens naturally to the body when the eye starts to break down on its own. There problems, and a few others, can all be solved at your local vet. It would be wise to look for an ”exotic” vet, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Or, possibly a small pet vet will be able to help too. Just keep in mind that sometimes small pet can mean a cat or bunny. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look like we’re trying to stare you down, but really we’re just being hamsters. Don’t take it personally. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us happy and safe. [...] Read more...