All You Need To Know About Hamsters Carrying Diseases

If you’re thinking about getting a hamster but you’re wondering if they carry any diseases, them this article will sort that out for you. Especially if you’ve got small children and you’re looking to shield them from unnecessary diseases.

do hamsters carry diseases

So do hamsters carry disease ?

No, not in and of themselves. Hamsters are born ‘clean’, with no health problem that can be passed onto humans. They can pick up a disease and become carriers, about as much as a cat or dog or rabbit can become a carrier.

Given the hamster’s usual habitat however, he will probably not come to you with any diseases. This also depends on the pet store you pick him up from, or the breeders you got him from.

Another thing is the fact that hamsters are very clean animals by default, and they regularly groom themselves several times a day. Much like a cat, actually. So he will not be dirty, or diseased.

This does not mean a hamster can’t transmit a disease he already has. A hamster suffering from a cold can pass it onto a human, for example. You should always wash your hands before and after handling the hamster, and supervise any small children interacting with him.

Still, if you want to be sure your hamster’s alright and not carrying anything, let’s see what some usual symptoms are.

How to know if your hamster is suffering from anything contagious

You will notice some signs if the hamster has certain diseases. For example:

Any runny or leaky nose, eyes, or ears. They can be signs of an infection or a cold, which can be contagious.

Any scabs, flaky skin, open wounds, or other immediately noticeable skin conditions on a hamster are possibly contagious as well.

A ring of exposed skin, especially if it’s patchy, flaky, and had little red dots all around its border is especially contagious. That’s the Ringworm, which is not a worm but a fungus. It’s easily passed through direct contact with the infected animal.

Worms in hamsters might not be immediately noticeable. You might expect the hamster to be weak, not walk easily, huddle in a corner, and possibly have a messy stool.

Wet-tail can also look like that, and it can be transmitted to humans. It’s an infection in the hamster’s digestive system that gives it severe diarrhea, and is often lethal for hamsters. It can be treated, but not all hamsters survive.

In any case, a hamster cowering in a corner is not a hamster you want to bring home, as he is unfortunately suffering from something and needs medical attention.

This also means that the other hamsters in the cage/box with him at the pet shop should probably be avoided as well, just in case it’s something contagious. Unless you’re willing to pick up the hamster and go straight to the veterinarian with him, for a check up.

If you’re concerned about rabies, which I know is a common question related to pets, you’re safe. Hamsters can’t give humans rabies for 3 important reasons:

  • Hamsters will not survive rabies as a disease long enough to be able to transmit it
  • Rodents and lagomorphs aren’t able to carry rabies in the first place
  • Pet/captive hamsters do not contact rabies, since there is no way for them to be exposed to it, and they are not born with it either.

These are the main signs and symptoms that the hamster might be carrying some disease or another. Tumors or lumps are not contagious, but they can hurt the hamster himself and he will need medical attention.

Now let see what a healthy hamster should look like, be it a new hamster from the pet shop, or the furball you already have at home.

What a healthy hamster looks like

Usually a hamster will have bright, clean fur. It may not be as shiny as a cat or dog’s coat, but it should look decidedly clean and well groomed. This is a sign that the hamster is grooming himself both regularly, and well enough.

He will have bright eyes(whichever color they are), with no white spots or inflammations. Teeth should be aligned and not overgrown, although you will only notice the front teeth.

Those are yellow-orange, and that is a healthy color for hamsters and rodents, no matter which hamster type you own. White spots on their teeth are a sign of a vitamin deficiency or weakness in the tooth’s structure. It can break most easily where it’s white.

Ears, nose, eyes should be free of discharge, and no flaky or inflamed patches. If the ears are particularly dark and the hamster keeps scratching them, they might be ear mites. Keep in mind that many hamsters have ears darker than their bodies from birth, as part of their coat pattern.

For example my Teddy is a Syrian hamster, male, and his fur is orange, white and has bits of smoky grey. Hie ears however are dark grey, and always have been.

The hamster’s rear should be dry, and well cleaned. If you notice any wetness or that the hamster’s soiled himself, it can mean two things. Either the hamster has a serious digestive problem (like wet-tail or another infection, or possibly worms) or he is very, very old.

Finally, the hamster should be lively. Even if he’s a mellow sort of hamster, or a dynamite-powered little guy, he should be eating, drinking water, running on his wheel or using his toys, and at least be curious about you when you get close.

A lethargic, huddling hamster (when he’s not sleeping) is bad news since that often means the hamster is fighting off a health problem. It could be stomach aches, worms, a sprained paw, anything.

If your hamster looks sick or too tired, call your vet and set up an appointment. You will need to look for an a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since he will have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds.

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do hamsters carry diseases (2)

Is a hamster a good pet for children, in this case ?

You might ask yourself this, and you’d be right to do so. Looking at the health problems hamsters can carry, I would venture to say that yes, hamsters are safe for kids. If people managed to raise cats and dogs safely along small children, then a hamster is not a problem.

I say this mostly because a hamster is very isolated, and has as much chance of picking up a disease as a sock in a drawer. Unless you expose him directly to something or someone who is sick, your hamster will be healthy.

He never leaves the cage/room he is in, so if the people or pets interacting with him are healthy, so is he.

When it comes to the hamster’s temperament however, he is not a good pet for children. Hamsters react very poorly to being handled wrong, or too much, and their most common reaction to this is biting.

If he’s dropped, he will get even more scared and start running away, and trying to catch a panicky hamster ends with stress on everyone’s part, and lots of squeaking from the hamster.

I’d rather recommend a guinea pig as a pet for children, since they’re much more relaxed and are easier to tame and literally pick up. They too run away, but they sit quietly once you’ve got them in your lap. Hamsters will never stop squirming, and that’s part of their charm, I think.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might look like we’re related to mice and rats, but we’re actually sort of distant cousins. And we don’t get exposed to as many diseases as wild rats or mice either.

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
How To Choose Your First Hamster – Health And Temperament
How To Choose Your First Hamster – Health And TemperamentIf you’re looking to get a hamster, you’ll want to know how to choose your first hamster. Getting a hammy for the first time is exciting, and a big responsibility, even if he’s so small. Even if you’re not headed out the door to find your furry friend right now, there’s a few things you should know before you get a 2-3 year commitment. I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Table of Contents ToggleHow to choose your first hamsterThe hamster’s healthThe hamster’s eyesNo missing teethClean earsNo odd lumpsBald spots, and how the fur looksDischarge in the eyes or nose or earsWet tail, or soiled bottomSlender hamsterNo weird smellsThe hamster’s personalityBaby hamsters are hard to readMale or female hamsterWhich hamster breed to getBringing your new hamster friend homeIs a hamster really the pet for you ?A word from Teddy How to choose your first hamster The best way to choose a hamster is to look both for a healthy one, but also a even-tempered hamster. Hamsters are skittish and jumpy by nature, but they should be relatively easy to tame, and not very afraid of you. It’s easier to find a healthy hamster than a calmer, cooperative hamster. Most of the health checks are obvious and immediately noticeable, like scabs, missing teeth, bald spots, leaky nose, etc. The temperament however is a bit trickier, and won’t show completely until the hamster becomes an adult – around 3 months old. Until then, you’ll have to look for some specific signs. Let’s start with the health checklist, to see if your future hammy is healthy. The hamster’s health A healthy hamster  is easy enough to find, although some signs of illness won’t be immediately obvious. Some depend on the sex and breed of hamster you’re looking for as well. The hamster’s eyes A hammy’s eyes are supposed to be bright, and clear. Now hamsters usually have black eyes, but they can also be dark red, red, or even pink, and some look like a very deep dark blue. However the color should be clear, with no milky or whitish spots. They should not be hazy. Bright, sparkly, bulging eyes are a trait that hammies are known for. No missing teeth It should be obvious, but a hamster should have all of its teeth. That means 2 pair of front incisors, that you should be able to see clearly. They are very long, especially the bottom pair. Hamster teeth are yellow, sometimes even orange. That’s okay. You should only worry if you see white teeth, or whitish teeth, since those are signs of an illness or deficiency. Broken, cracked, crossed, or even missing teeth are a bad sign. They can come about from poor handling by the caretakers, or it could be a hereditary problem. Teeth are crucial to a hamster’s health, so they should be something you look at. You can find out more about hamster dental issues here, and what to look out for. Clean ears A hammy’s ears are the first thing he will use to make sense of his surroundings. Hamsters don’t see very well, so they rely a lot on smell and hearing. A pair of clean, thin ears is ideal, with no bite marks or missing bits. Do take note that many hammies have harder ears than the rest of their body. So you’ll need to get a bit of a closer look into the hamster’s ear for an infection or any other issues. No odd lumps Hamsters are this small ball of fur. But they should have no lumps, since that usually means an odd growth, or tumor, or a possible impacted cheek or abscess. None of those are good news. You might see your preferred hammy with a cheek full, or maybe both. That’s usually just food stored in his cheeks, though it’s not a common sight in pet stores. A note to be mindful of Syrian hammies. I wish I knew this about Teddy, because I was afraid he was sick when I first saw this. Syrian hamsters have two black mole-like spots on their hips, with barely any fur around them. Those are normal, and they are the scent glands. You will probably only notice them of the hamster is licking that spot. Bald spots, and how the fur looks The fur of a hamster should be fluffy, and clean looking. It should not be particularly shiny, unless the hamster was bred for that purpose. That being said, no bald spots (aside from the scent gland or genital area) should be present on the hamster. Any bald spot could be an indication of a skin disease, some of which could be contagious. However some bald spots can simply mean that he hamster somehow hurt himself, and managed to rip some fur off of himself. Be sure to check the habitat the hamster is in for other clues. Are there other hamsters with bald spots ? Are they actually scars from fighting ? Is there a part of the habitat the hamster could have cut himself on ? Discharge in the eyes or nose or ears A healthy, happy hamster should be completely dry. No discharge or liquids from the ears, nose, tail area, or mouth. Discharge can be a sign of infection, and it’s most probably contagious as well. SO it could be that your chosen hamster is sick, or is in the incubation phase. Any sign of infection however should be immediately treated by the staff at the pet store, since that isn’t a humane way to keep hamsters. Wet tail, or soiled bottom Wet tail is noticeable if the tail is, well, wet or soiled. It’s a type or diarrhea and can be extremely dangerous for your hamster’s health. You can find out more about wet tail here, and the chances your hamster has of getting it and surviving. If one hamster does have wet tail, or any other disease, it’s very possible that the other hamsters in the habitat have got it too, or they’re in the incubation phase. You’ll also notice signs of wet tail on the bedding, as it might be soiled and very smelly. Slender hamster A baby hamster – between 4 and 12 weeks old – should be neither skinny nor fat. This is actually how you should keep him as an adult, as well. An obese baby hamster will have a much shorter life span, and have several health issues, including and not stopping at diabetes and joint problems. An underfed hamster will be noticeable if you hold the hamster and feel its spine and leg bones very clearly. Since hamsters are so fluffy, it can be difficult to tell if they’re skinny or fat. The fur will cheat you there, but you should be able to tell if you look at the head and eyes, and how plump the skin is there. You can find out more about how big a hamster can get, depending on his breed. And find out here what you can do if you hamster’s already overweight. No weird smells An odd smell coming from your hamster is not a good sign. Hamsters are actually incredibly clean animals, and they clean themselves regularly, several times a day, very thoroughly. They have no scent that a human can detect, aside from female hamsters in heat. So if your hamster smells odd, you should check it for any signs of infection as well. It could be that the hamster has an abscess in his mouth (possibly because if a bad tooth) and that could be the source. Or a possible ear infection that isn’t obvious right away. The hamster’s personality Your hammy’s personality is probably something you won’t think of immediately, but you’ll notice it’s more important than anything. This is what I wish I knew before I got Teddy. You see, I wanted an orange hammy, and that was it. I had no idea about hamster breeds, temperaments, calmness, and so on. In time I saw that my Teddy is a bit of a despot, if you will. He must know, he must see, he will have his way, and he always has something to object. A bit annoying, but still a lovable ball of fur. Just not what I had in mind when I decided I want a hamster. I wanted a cuddly, friendly hammy, who will sleep on my shoulder and want to play all the time. Basically the world’s tiniest puppy. Again, I knew absolutely nothing about hamsters. Baby hamsters are hard to read When selecting your hamster, keep in mind that babies don’t have their personalities completely formed. You can’t look at a baby Syrian and know it’ll be friendly straight away, as you would a Lab puppy for example. Still, you can look at a few things when selecting your new hamster: Is he afraid or just cautious ? He should want to come closer if you reach for him, but not too confidently. Does the hamster run away as soon as it sees anyone ? Hamsters are shy, yes, but an extra shy hamster who bolts into his hideout all the time is very hard to tame. Does he look mostly calm and curious ? Hamsters are notoriously hyper, and older hammies are calmer than babies. Syrians are calmer than Dwarf types. Depends on what kind of hammy you want. Does the hammy look like it’s angry or snappy ? Might be best to stay away from that one, he will be harder to tame. Is the hamster trying to attack you ? It might sound silly, but if your hamster of choice starts making himself look bigger and tries to intimidate you, you’ve got a difficult one. Best to leave him be and find a different one. Keep in mind that previously owned hamsters might be a better choice, since they’ve been handled before and are most probably already tamed. They can be traumatised, however, so be gentle with them. If you’re selecting a baby hamster, make sure it is curious, and can hold its attention for several seconds. Hamsters are always on the move and are curious about a million things at a time, but still, if you put your hand on the cage, he should notice it and try to come closer. Your petshop should be able to let you handle the hammy before you walk out with him. Make sure you handle him beforehand, otherwise you’ll end up with not exactly what you were looking for. I didn’t ask to handle Teddy when I got him, and I’m not sure that pet store lets you do that. But handling him would’ve shown us that he wasn’t the calmest hamster in the cage. Male or female hamster This is up to you, and your preference. Males are generally a bit calmer, and easier to handle than females. That being said, if you’re getting a Dwarf type hammy, both genders are hyper and won’t sit still. Females come into heat every few days, about once a week. They become very irritable and a bit smelly in that period. You can recognize male hammies by the genital openings. In males the genital and anal opening are far apart, and do have fur between the two spots. Some hamster types may have a scent gland on the abdomen, so it will look like a third opening. Female hamsters have the obligatory and noticeable rows on nipples, and the genital and anal openings very close together. It will look like a bit of a bald spot with two pink dots. When picking a pair of hamsters, you’ll want to get them in same-sex pairs. This means no surprise, unplanned litters. Also, if you select a female hamster keep in mind that they can become pregnant as soon as they’re weaned – aprox . 4 weeks old. This means that if the caretakers didn’t separate the hamsters into same sex groups early enough, you might just bring home a pregnant female hamster without knowing. If your hammy is a pregnant female and you only just found out, congratulations on your new litter ! And here’s how to make sure they survive. Which hamster breed to get When it comes to the hamster breed, this is again up to you and your preference. There are two main types of hamsters available – Syrian and Dwarf hamsters. The Syrian is the most common one, it’s the largest, and easiest to tame. The Dwarf types (4 of them) are much smaller, and faster and agile and, can be a bit harder to tame since they just won’t sit still. No hamster ever sits in one place for more than a few seconds, but Dwarves are terrible at it. I have a Syrian male, and I sometimes have trouble keeping up with him. You can imagine how well I’d do with a Dwarf. Actually, Dwarf types are harder to handle, and as such are best left as observational pets. A bit like fish, but cuddly and much faster. Here’s how to identify each hamster type, and pick out the one you think you’d like the most. (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.) Bringing your new hamster friend home Alright, you’ve picked out your new friend, he’s in his nice cardboard box and ready to go home. I’ll urge you to bring your pet as fast as you can to his new home, so he can accommodate. Hamsters don’t like change too much, so they won’t like being taken away. Make sure you get home and have his cage set up beforehand. You can read here about the recommended cage sizes for each hamster type, and how to pick one out for your hamster. An in-depth look at the best hamster cages available will be helpful before you actually go and buy your hammy’s cage. The bedding and hideout should be picked out beforehand too, so they’re already laid out in the cage and ready for your hamster friend. You can find here a good roundup of safe hamster bedding/substrate options, and pick your favorite. Toys and food bowl, should be available and already in place when your hammy comes home for the first time. As well as a running wheel for your hamster, and browsing a nice selection according to hamster breed will be useful to pick out a good exercise wheel. And finally, a bit of food and a treat in his cage will help your hamster settle in easier. This means that the hamster himself will be the last thing you buy when you decide to get this cuddly pet. This is because the moment you bring your hammy home and settle him in his new home, you won’t disturb him at all for at least a couple of days, if not 3-4. The transition from being with his siblings, and then being put in a box, and then put in another box is very disorienting and stressful, and hamsters are very very bad at handling stress. So when you get home, place the cardboard box in the hamster’s cage, with the hamster still in the box. Open a side of the box, and from then on leave the hammy alone. Talk to him when you walk past his cage, and dedicate some minutes every day to just let him smell you. Do not touch or try to handle him at all for a couple of days. Once he’s settled in, you can begin taming him, and you’ll become friends fairly quickly. Is a hamster really the pet for you ? This is a question you should ask yourself very seriously. I’ve seen a lot of people get a hamster without knowing what they’re getting themselves into. Me included. A hamster is not a puppy, and won’t always be there as you want him to be. In this respect, a hamster is more like a cat, if you will. He has a lot of personality, for being so incredibly small. And he can be aloof and hard to read sometimes. Hamsters don’t wag their tails, or purr to show affection or happiness. They do have their own special charm, but they’re a different pet than the norm. And they are definitely not suited for small children, no matter what else you hear. Hamsters don’t take well to being handled wrong, or too much, or loud noises, or sudden movements. These are all things a 6 year old can and will do, since they’re children. A guinea pig would be more suited for a small child, since they’re incredibly calm and serene (compared to a hamster). If you want to get a more in-depth view on what owning a hamster is like, and some pros and cons, you need to check this article. You’ll get much more info, and see if a hammy is really the one for you. And if you’d like to know more about how to properly care for your hamster, you can check out these essential steps. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and know how to pick out the best hammy. I know us hamsters can be the cutest things ever, but we have our own personalities. So, make sure you check out the health and personality of your new friend before bringing him home. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below for more info. [...] Read more...
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...
Do Hamsters Cause Allergies ? How Hamsters Affect Your Health
Do Hamsters Cause Allergies ? How Hamsters Affect Your HealthIf your allergies have flared up since you got your new hamster, this article might help. Even if you’ve never been allergic and you’re just now starting to react poorly to hamsters, this will help make things clear. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters cause allergies ?What you’re actually allergic toMost pets have the potential to cause an allergic reactionKeeping your allergies down when you’ve got a hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters cause allergies ? Yes, hamsters can cause allergies. Any animal with fur or hair will cause allergies to flare up in a person who is already allergic. Some people who never had allergies can suddenly develop one, be it from hamster fur or cat fur or someone’s beard.  The problem is the same, whether it’s a hamster or a different animal. But back to hamsters, most allergies are because of trapped dander inside the hamster’s fur. It’s not the fur itself but the fine particles within the layer of fur that make you sneeze, cough, your throat close up, or other severe reactions. Now let’s talk about why pet-related (and thus hamster-related) allergies come up, and what you can do to lessen the reactions. What you’re actually allergic to For the most part, allergies are a pain to pinpoint. Not only are they not always immediately clear – like peanut or shellfish, for example – but they can annoyingly change over time. But, for the most part, people with allergies react to very fine foreign particles in the air. Those particles are usually pollen or dander. Since hamsters don’t frolic in flowers all day long, only dander remains as a culprit. You see, hamsters have skin like everyone else, and those skin cells eventually die off and get renewed. The dead skin needs to go somewhere. It’s the fact that it’s dander not our own that sets things off, really. In humans, we wash it off. In furry animals, it stays in their fur for an amount of time. Sometimes it breaks into very very small little pieces. Not those white clumps, immediately noticeable. No, very very fine particles that stay trapped in the animal’s fur. Once your hammy moves, those particles get released into the air. If you’re sensitive to fine particles, you’ll feel those in your nose and lungs and eventually start reacting to them. Those are most cases. Sometimes it’s the smell itself that can trigger a reaction. Like the smell of hamster pee. Or, another trigger can be the bedding on which your hamster lives. You might be allergic to whatever bedding the hamster has, when it is in fine particles. But most of the time it’s just the dander that sets people off. Most pets have the potential to cause an allergic reaction This can and does happen with every and all animals who have fur. Even those with no fur, actually. Because it has to do with the skin, not the fur. The fur acts as a trap for the dander. But even a Sphinx cat – hairless cat – can cause allergies. It won’t trigger them for most people who have allergies. But those with severe allergies can get reactions even from a hairless cat. This is because the dander – dead skin cells – still exist, everywhere the skin is. A hairless animal won’t have as much since most of it falls off. But there will still be some. So the only way you can be truly sure you won’t get a reaction at all is to get an unconventional pet. That’s a fish or a reptile. Reptiles don’t shed parts of their skin, but it all comes off in one clean, simple molt. No debris and flying skin anywhere with a snake or a lizard. And a fish is… well, underwater, so you won’t be breathing anything in. Birds also have this amazing potential to cause allergies. Birds have a fine dusting on their feathers, to keep them waterproof and it happens to contain a bit of dandruff as well. If you’re a person with allergies, they might flare up if you get a budgie for example. Or any other bird. My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatoos. Always had birds since I could remember. When those two birdies ruffle their feathers and preen themselves, a whole layer or dandruff settles on the surfaces around 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.) Keeping your allergies down when you’ve got a hamster If you’ve got a hamster but you’re allergic to him, there are a few things you can do to make your reactions not as severe. The biggest problem is the dandruff, and where and how it settles. Aside from the hamster’s fur, it can get on the carpets, curtains, on your clothes, in your own hair, and so on. So let’s see what you can do. Do not handle the hamster. Most obvious one, and most painful one if you really love your hamster. Simply not handling him will get you as far away from his fur and dander as possible. Regularly groom him. Never bathe a hamster, since that can be deadly for hamsters. But a light grooming with a soft comb would help get the dander off. You’ll probably need a friend to do this for you, since this will release a whole lot of dander in the air. A surgical mask won’t help much there. Don’t let the hamster onto carpets or any textile surface. This means your bed, the floor, the curtains if he can get to them (hammies will climb your curtains if you don’t stop them), your clothes as well. Clean the hamster’s cage often. This means twice per week. Usually you should do this once a week, but if you’re very sensitive to the particles in his cage, cleaning it out might help with the symptoms. Carry a shot of epinephrine, or adrenaline with you. If you get into anaphylactic shock, a shot will help. This is only temporary, and you need to get to the hospital straight away. Use an air purifier. This will trap most of the harmful particles in the air, and relieve most of your symptoms. Visit a doctor to look for treatment options. Allergies come and go, and sometimes they even suddenly disappear. But you should still seek a professional for medical help. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are very fluffy and cute, but we sometimes do cause allergies. It’s nothing personal, it’s just us being hamsters. 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 Use Tubes And Tunnels ? Gifts For Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Use Tubes And Tunnels ? Gifts For Your HamsterWatching a hamster crawl through tunnels is half the fun of having one, right after watching him stuff his cheeks and run on the wheel. But do all hamsters use their tunnels ? Are they worth getting for your hamster ? I’ll tell you my experience with Teddy (Syrian male hammy) and what I’ve learned from other hamster owners. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters use tubes/tunnels ?What to look for in a hamster tunnelA few hamster tunnel/tube examplesStore bought hamster tunnel toysDYI hamster tubes and tunnelsA word from Teddy So do hamsters use tubes/tunnels ? Yes, most hamsters do use tubes or tunnels. Some will use them more often, some will use them every now and then. But all hamsters are drawn to small, tight, hidden pockets of space. This is mostly because of the nature of rodents, to always seek a tunnel or hole to hide in. Also, in the wild hamster nests are made of a series of long, interconnected tunnels and galleries. So a tunnel or tube will feel very familiar to him. That being said, some hamsters will be more on the lazier side and won’t use them much, instead preferring to sit down and snack on something. There are a few things you should look out for, when you get your hamster a tunnel toy, for their own safety. Let’s talk about that. What to look for in a hamster tunnel For the most part tunnels (the store bought kind) are made of plastic and as such can be a bit slippery. You should check to see if the tunnels have rungs on the inside, so your hamster can actually get a grip. Another issue is airflow. Being plastic, and being mostly external tubes (running on the outside of the cage), the tubes will not be easy to escape. This also means that airflow could be restricted, so there will be a bit less air in the tubes than in the cage. This also makes cleaning and drying the tube much easier. Most tunnels will be clear, so you can watch your hammy scamper up and down. However when you assemble the tunnels, you need to be careful to not create very sharp angles, so the hamster can turn easily. A U-bend is alright, as long as it’s wide enough. You should make sure your cage can support a tube opening though. Our Teddy’s cage came with tubes and we can always connect those tubes to other extensions. But no all cages can do that. There are tutorials online on how to create a safe tube opening in your hamster’s cage though, and you can get some ideas from those videos. Aside from all this, hamster tunnels are pretty much great for hamsters, and for us owners too. Let’s see a few examples. A few hamster tunnel/tube examples You can get all kinds of tube, or tube toys. Some of them can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on what you’re planning to use the tubes for. For external tubes, or a complex tube series, I recommend plastic tubes, since they will definitely keep the hamster contained. Let’s see some options for both kinds. Store bought hamster tunnel toys For the most part tubes can be constructed any way you like them, as long as they fit. This tube style for example is popular, and leaves you room for creativity. You can build a whole set of complex tunnels, as long as you don’t go overboard and tip them over (center of gravity and such). You’ll see only one style in the photo here, but the listing on Amazon shows you all their available pieces. You can combine them as much as you like, and create a whole playground for your hamster. They can be used both inside the cage and outside. You can check the listing on Amazon, and read the reviews as well. You’ll have to check your cage if it can fit the openings for tunnels. If not, they can be created securely, with a few online tutorials. DYI hamster tubes and tunnels Many hamster toys can be made at home, very simple, from cardboard rolls. If you have toilet paper or paper towels, then you’ve got a whole bunch of tubes for your hamster. Unfortunately cardboard is a favorite among hamsters to chew on, so these tubes can’t be used as external tubes. Connecting them would also be a chore, and there is no airflow as well. But, inside the cage, our Teddy always has a couple of tubes he uses to get from one end to the other. I guess it’s more exciting that way. Sometimes those tubes end right in front of the water bottle. He doesn’t even bother to get out and drink water like normal hamster, he just twists himself up to get a drink and then darts back in. (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.) Giving your hamster a tube to play in is as simple as just placing the tube inside his cage. But, if you want to get fancy you can cut a few holes in a long tube and he’ll use as a hide and seek toy. You can leave it at that, or you can use a few shorter tubes (like the toilet paper ones) to create a tube system on the floor of his cage. Just fold the end of the tubes a bit, so they fit into the holes, and make an entire system. Do keep in mind that it won’t last long, though. Hamsters love cardboard, and will chew their way through it. So the tunnel system will be bitten here and there, and parts of it will be missing. The hamster’s gonna have a great time though, so there’s that. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters love to play, but we’d love to run around in tunnels too. I hang out in my tunnel quite often, and I’ve moved some food there as well, so I have a snack when I go there. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to keep us safe and happy. [...] Read more...
9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters Cool
9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters CoolSmall animals are very sensitive to high temperatures. This is not a problem in nature because small animals like hamsters find a place that is humid and cold and hide from high temperatures. However, hamsters who live as pets in captivity cannot hide from high temperatures and take care of their health. If the temperatures are high enough, the hamster faces a risk of heatstroke that can be deadly for them if owners don’t react immediately. Five minutes in a car at high temperatures can be disastrous. Leaving the cage in direct sunlight is also a big problem. To help their pets, owners of hamsters must take responsibility and find ways to keep their hamsters cool in hot summer months. There are many ways to keep your hamster cool and here is a list of the best ones. Table of Contents Toggle1. Move the cage to a cooler place2. Use a fan or air conditioner3. Allow the hamster plenty of water4. Fruit and veg treats5. Frozen towel or sheet6. Cool the hamster’s cage7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage8. Don’t travel with a hamster9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding 1. Move the cage to a cooler place Simple ways to solve problems are sometimes the best ways. If your hamster is hot, the best and easiest thing we can do is move it to a cooler place. Depending on the layout of the rooms in your apartment, some rooms will be cooler and others warmer. In some apartments, it will be the bedroom, while in others the bathroom will be the coldest. Take a walk around your apartment and find the room that seems coldest to you. If all the rooms seem equally warm to you, perhaps the best place to put a hamster kitchen or bathroom is if you have ceramic tiles in them. The tiles provide excellent insulation so they will not leak heat and will provide cool to your hamster. It is important that the hamster is in an airy room, but that he is not draft. An open window will help him get enough oxygen, but don’t put a hamster cage under the window so the draft doesn’t blow over them all day because that can be dangerous to your hamster. Also, never place them under or next to air conditioning. It is not a good idea to put a hamster in very hot places such as radiators, fireplaces, or stoves. Also, be sure to avoid caging in a busy room or near a TV or music system. Loud sounds and vibrations can be quite stressful for a hamster. Another thing you need to take good care of is to never leave the cage in direct sunlight. Hamsters are very sensitive to light, direct sunlight and are even bothered by bright artificial light. Natural light can help them maintain a sleeping cycle, but they are nocturnal animals so they do not like light or high temperatures. In addition, in direct sunlight hamsters, caves will heat up much faster which is by no means good for your hamster. The perfect place to put a hamster’s cage is in a room that has a lot of natural light but out of direct sunlight. The ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 C °. 2. Use a fan or air conditioner To cool the room in the hot summer months, you can use a fan or air condition. We know you want the best for your pet and that your goal is to help him, but by no means direct the fan towards the hamster, put a cage next to the fan or under the air conditioner. If you do this, you will create an added stress hamster to whom this will be too much of a temperature difference and can shock your little one. Also, if you place it directly next to the cooler it can be too cold for your hamster which will negatively affect him and his health. If you want to cool the room where the hamster is, place a fan at the other end of the room or remove the cage from the air conditioning. It may take a little longer, but the room will gradually cool down, thus changing the body temperature of your hamster without shocking it or causing other health problems. When using the air conditioner, do not reduce the temperature abruptly. Hamsters are bothered by high temperatures, but also by sudden changes in temperature, so cool the room by reducing the current temperature by a maximum of 5 degrees. If you lower the temperature by more than 5 degrees you suddenly risk the hamster being shocked and dying sudden temperature changes. 3. Allow the hamster plenty of water Like humans, animals need water to stay hydrated and regulate body temperature. The easiest way to keep your hamster cool is to give it enough cool water. Hamsters are not demanding pets. They are so small that they need about two teaspoons or 10 milliliters per 100 grams of their body weight per day. Since most hamsters weigh approximately 200 grams, hamsters typically consume 4 teaspoons of water daily. During the summer, hamsters may require more fluid. Hamsters can dehydrate very quickly, especially at very high temperatures that they do not tolerate well, so they must always have enough fresh, clean water. How much water a hamster needs depends on how the hamster feeds and how active it is. If he eats mostly dry food, he will drink more water. Also if he is very active he will drink more water than he would do at rest. It is very important that the water is changed more often during the summer months to always be fresh and cool for your pet. Cool water will allow you to control the body temperature of your hamster. It is best to give water hamsters with a water bottle that will allow them reliable access to water.4. Place the hamster in a ventilated cage. For the hamster to have enough oxygen it is recommended that his cage is made out of bars. Depending on your preferences you can buy a cage with plastic, metal, or glass bars. Holes between the grilles will allow air to circulate and enough oxygen for your hamster. Some owners prefer to keep hamsters in an aquarium, but in this case, it is even more important that the cage is located in a well-ventilated room. Glass tanks can prevent the spread of cage odors through the room, but keeping a hamster in a glass tank can have serious consequences. The hamster found in the aquarium can easily run out of oxygen as the glass can get quite hot and impede airflow. Ammonia produced in a glass tank can lead to respiratory illness. If you are going to keep a hamster in a glass tank you need to keep the tank in a well-ventilated area and clean it every week. Bar cages in addition to allowing oxygen to flow will prevent the smell from spreading from the cage. Wire allows keeping moisture from building up in the case and thus prevents the cage from stinking quickly. It is recommended to keep hamsters in a bar cage in a well-ventilated room to ensure that the hamster maintains a normal body temperature and that we do not make it difficult for him to breathe. 4. Fruit and veg treats During the summer we all like to eat cold fruit or ice cream to freshen up. You may not have known, but hamsters also like cold snacks in the summer such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You can cool them until they become slightly frozen in the center. The hamster has very strong teeth that will allow him to eat frozen food without any problems. For example, a cold apple or cold celery contains a lot of water that will keep your pet hydrated. You can also chill your little one with some of his other snacks such as barley, cashews flaxseed, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, potato, or sesame seeds. Your pet will enjoy his treats, and they will cool him down at the same time. However, do not give ice cubes to your hamster because the ice will be too cold for your hamster and can harm it. In addition, keep an eye on the diet of your hamster. During the summer months, reduce your intake of energy-rich fattening seeds, nuts, and grains. Instead, give your hamster more vegetables such as cucumber which is full of water, zucchini, a small amount of iceberg lettuce, and many more vegetables that are reached with water. 5. Frozen towel or sheet To give your hamster some fresh air during the summer months, you can use a frozen towel or sheet. A sheet may be a better idea because it is thinner and more air will be able to pass through it, but if you do not have a sheet, you can use a towel. Whatever you decide on, the process is very simple. Put a sheet or towel under the water then place them in the freezer until they freeze. However, if you opt for a towel do not place it over the entire cage but only on one side so that air can circulate. If you opt for a frozen sheet you can put it over the top of the cave. The cold that a sheet or towel will give will significantly reduce the temperatures in your hamster’s cave and allow your hamster to enjoy the summer months as well. 6. Cool the hamster’s cage There are several ways you can cool a hamster’s cage using items you probably have in the household to make it more comfortable. You can put ceramic tile in the cage to give the hamster a cool place in his house. Ceramic tiles are a good insulator and do not heat up as quickly as other materials so it will help the hamster to cool down. Although it will cool the hamster, it will not be too cold for him so it will not cause any problems such as illness. You can also create clay pots in the hamster’s cage. Simply help it and put it in the cave, let it dump, but not wet. You can also put a plain cup in the cage. If the hamster is very hot, it can hide in a cup and thus reduce body temperature. Some hamsters like to sleep in the cup because the cup cools them on all sides when they sit in it. You can also put the ordinary stone in the cave. Make sure the stone has not been warm before. If the stone is of normal temperature, it will not heat up so easily and will allow the hamster to cool down next to it. Be sure to clean the stone before placing it in the cave so as not to bring dirt into it that will bother your hamster. When changing the sand bath, put a little damp sand so that the hamster can roll in it when it is hot. Hamsters like to bathe in bath sand so you can give them a cool bath by freezing bath sand. Simply put it in a plastic bag, freeze for a couple of hours and place it in the hamster’s cage. You can put tiles, clay pots, cups, stone, and sand bath in the fridge to cool, and then put them in the cage. Try to put different things in the cage and observe what suits your hamster best. One of these methods he will surely like. 7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage Fill approximately half a bottle of water, then place it in the freezer until it freezes. It is best to put a frozen bottle of water in a towel or cloth and then place it next to the hamster’s cage to release the cold. Without a towel, a lot of water will leak under your hamster’s cage. Also, if you put a frozen bottle in the cage it can hurt your hamster’s skin so it is best to put a towel around the bottle. That way the bottle will still stay cold, but the towel will collect water. The hamster can reach the corner next to the frozen bottle and cool down if it is too hot. If you use a plastic bottle, never put it in the reach of a hamster, as it could bite it and spill water. This is an easy way you can help a hamster to keep him cool. Instead of a bottle, you can also use ice packs, 8. Don’t travel with a hamster To avoid situations where you expose the hamster to unnecessary heat, if this is not necessary, do not travel with a hamster during the summer. It is stressful for your little pet when you take him out of the house because he is not a hamster, he is not used to so many stimuli. In addition, heat can cause serious problems for your hamster. If you can’t avoid traveling, drive a hamster in the evening in an air-conditioned car. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid traveling with a hamster during the day, never leave a hamster in a hot car. No animal can tolerate a few hours in a hot car because it could quickly dehydrate and eventually die. The inside of the car can reach deadly temperatures that can be dangerous to humans as well, while they are often fatal to animals. If you must ride a hamster, be sure to keep the hamster safe from dangerous temperatures. To ensure that your pet is safe take advantage of all the tips we have offered above and thus try to alleviate the heat that awaits the hamster once he leaves the house. 9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding The type of bedding you use in your hamster’s cage can affect how hot it will be in your hamster’s cave. Paper-based bedding is better to use during the winter because it retains heat well and will keep your hamster warm. Aspen does not maintain heat as well as paper-based bedding which is a big advantage during the hot summer months when we don’t want anything next to us that retains heat. Also, aspen shaving can absorb up to four times its weight in moisture. Some consider this material to be the only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters that perfectly mimics the natural materials that hamsters use in nature. It is good advice to leave deeper bedding. When you have a deep substrate it is going to be cooler down in the burrows. If you have thin bedding your hamster will have nowhere to hide and the surface of the bedding will quickly gain heat. In the wild, hamsters make burrows on their own when they are hot, thus cooling themselves. Giving them thicker bedding will allow them to behave like in nature and make a kind of burrow. [...] Read more...
Best Hamster Toys – DYI And Store Bought
Best Hamster Toys – DYI And Store BoughtThe best hamster toys ever are not easy to find, but they’re there if you look for them. Some of them can even be made at home ! This is my guide to the best hamster toys ever, and a few tips on making your own. Teddy loves both kinds, and he’ll show you some of his favorites. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but the toys we’ll talk about are also good for smaller breeds like Robo hammies or Campbell. In this guide I’ll show you the best hamster toys I’ve found online (which can be bought), and also give you a few ideas of how to make your own hamster toys at home, as a DYI project. Remember that not all hamsters are alike. Some hamsters might like chewing toys best, while others might like digging towers even more, or are only interested in exercise wheels. Get to know your hammy, and expose him to several toys types, so you know which he likes best. Table of Contents ToggleChewing toys for your hamsterBest store bought chew toys for hamstersBest wood chews for hamstersBest non-wood chewsDog biscuitsHome-made chew toyRunning toys for your hamsterBest store bought exercise toys for hamstersHome-made exercise toysDigging toys for your hamsterBest store bought digging toyHome-made digging towerHiding toys for your hamstersBest store bought hiding toysHome-made hide and seek toyClimbing toys for your hamsterBest store bought climbing toyHome-made climbing toySimple puzzles for hamstersHome-made puzzlesStore bought puzzlesWhat makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ?Why hamsters need toysA word from Teddy Chewing toys for your hamster Chewing toys are necessary for all hamsters, even if they’re not really chewers. Hamsters need to constantly chew in order to keep their teeth at a healthy length. Their front teeth are always growing, and if left unchecked can reach into their lower jaw can cause serious health problems. Best store bought chew toys for hamsters Every pet store carries at least a few types of chew toys. Most of them are made of wood that is safe for hamsters, while the remaining others are made of materials that are safe for hamsters but are not wood. I’ll give you a couple of examples here. Best wood chews for hamsters Here’s a fun little wooden set your hammy will enjoy. They have some bells in them as well, which is great for hamsters since they react to sound. The wood is a great way to help your hamster file down his teeth, and it’s really sturdy. So those pieces will last your hamster for a long time. You can check the set on Amazon here, along with the price. Best non-wood chews Apple chews are a great way for hammies to file down their teeth and get some extra fruit in their diet. It’s best to give these to your hamster along with other treats, not just this one. Since it is organic and exclusively fruit, your hammy might go through it fairly fast but he’s sure to love it. Banana chips work well too. You can find it here on Amazon to check it out for yourself, and check the price. Dog biscuits Weird, I know, but hamsters will go for dog treats as well. Actually, the fact that dog treats are very hard and crunchy is what hamsters love. It’s best to stay away from any flavored dog biscuits, and just get plain ones. Or, you can get a box of milk bones. The hamster will take entire days to go through the treat, and a whole box will last you pretty much forever, given the size of the hamster and the number of treats inside. You can check out the milk bones on Amazon here, and see the price as well. Home-made chew toy One of the best home-made toys for your hamster to gnaw on is…. a walnut ! Or chestnut ! My Teddy has a couple of walnuts he usually plays with, and he’s always trying to get them open. He gnaws at them for a few minutes then leaves them alone. Then he comes back later, and so on. Whatever nut you choose for your hamster (walnut, chestnut, ) make sure it is clean and dirt-free. Wash it beforehand with extremely hot water, and use a tooth pick to pick out any stuck dirt or particles. Do not use detergent or a disinfecting agent. If you’re not sure it’s clean, best to not give it to your hammy. Another great chew toy is a piece of thick twig, or a small branch that you’ve cleaned beforehand. The best kind of wood for your hamster to chew on is also the one he has the bedding usually made of. That’s aspen, but you can also go with some fruit trees (like apple or pear). Running toys for your hamster Most hamsters are runners by nature. This is what they have to do anyway, and my Teddy is ridiculously fast on his running wheel. Best store bought exercise toys for hamsters A running wheel is one of the most basic things you need for your hammy. As such, it should be quiet, it should stay in its place, and made of something your hamster won’t hurt itself on. To find out more about exercise wheels for your hamsters and how to use them right, you can read here. The vast majority of running wheels that you get when purchasing your hamster cage are horrible. Too small, won’t spin, cheap plastic. A good running wheel is a bit of an investment, but will last literally your hamster’s entire life. So don’t skimp out on the running wheel for that matter. It’s what will keep your hamster busy 60% of the time. For this I’ve found a great, silent wheel that’s suitable for all hamster types, Syrian and Robo as well. It has a tail and neck guard, and will stay in place. It is heavier, like 2 lbs/nearly 1 kg but that is because of the heavy base to keep it in place in the cage. The wheel itself is not heavy, so your hamster will be able to spin it well enough. You can check it out on Amazon here and see the price as well. Home-made exercise toys A home-made running wheel is not something I would recommend. This is because running itself is a very fast activity for your hamster, so unless every nook and cranny is well calculated, I’d avoid making them at home. It might be too risky for the hamster to run in a running wheel designed at home, since it might come apart in a way you didn’t anticipate. Or it may snag on your hammy’s paw, because of the material used. Digging toys for your hamster Some hamsters are diggers, some are not. My Teddy isn’t a digger, so I have no bright ideas for digging toys, but I will tell you this. The bottom of your hamster’s cage/glass tank must be filled with a lot of bedding. A whole lot. The more the better, since the hamster will have a lot of fun digging around. So don’t skimp on the bedding, give you hamster plenty, something like the width of your palm is good. You can read nice roundup of the 4 best hamster bedding options out there, and see which would work best for you. As for which kind of bedding is okay, your safest bet is aspen. But for a more comprehensive talk on the safe and unsafe kinds of bedding for your hamster, check out this article on how to choose the best bedding for your hamster. Best store bought digging toy A digging tower is easily the best thing for your hammy, and I looked around for a good one on Amazon. Unfortunately there are not many options, but this one seems to be the best. It’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit, and you can fill it with whatever kind of bedding your hamster likes. You can look at him through both sides since 2 are transparent. And you’ll be able to see him crawl through the bedding and find the exit. You can check the Amazon pricing for it here. Home-made digging tower I’ve found a great video on Youtube for a home made digging tower for your hamster. You can easily do it at home, just that you need a few supplies and tools. I’ll link the video here, and you can watch it anytime. Erin (the lady in the video) is the number one channel I watched in the first few weeks of owning Teddy. Hiding toys for your hamsters Hamsters live to hide, it’s what they do half the time. So you can give your hamster a lot of options here. Best store bought hiding toys Hide and seek toys are always fun, but most of them are too small for a Syrian hamster. If your hamster is smaller, like a Robo or a Campbell, then most hiding tunnels will fit your hamsters well enough. But here I’ve found a toy that will fit a Syrian as well, and can be enjoyed by all kinds of hamsters. It’s made of wood, and has a whole lot of entrances and separate exits. Your hamster will be darting in and out of it all day, every day. You can check its pricing on Amazon here. Home-made hide and seek toy Most of these will be toilet rolls, paper towel rolls, or egg cartons. You can put them in your hamster’s cage as is. You can  also cut a few holes in them to make them a sort of maze or puzzle. Other hiding places for your hammy to use could be very sturdy plastic cups that he can hide in. Just make sure that the plastic is a very hard one. Hamsters will chew on everything, even just to try them out, and soft plastic is not good for them. Another idea would be those bendy plastic tubes you’d normally attach to the sink, but much wider. The width of the tube must be at least 2.5 inch/7 cm so your hamster can easily fit through it. You can bend it into all kinds of shapes, and even bury parts of it under the bedding to make for more underground space. Climbing toys for your hamster Some of the weirdest things a hamster can do is climb. Climb everything. If you’re a new hamster owner, this will probably blow your mind. I know it was complete news to me that hamsters are part spider. Best store bought climbing toy I’ve found this cute and colored climbing toy for hamsters, along with great reviews on Amazon. It attaches to the top of the cage (like the wire mesh or wire lid). Your hamster can climb on it, and chew on it as well, since it’s made of wood. It will suit Syrian hamsters and Chinese or Campbells as well. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Home-made climbing toy Here’s a home-made climbing toy idea for your hamster. Grab a few walnut halves, a long piece of twine, maybe a few pieces of wood, and put a hole in each of those. Feed the twine through all those holes, making a know after each new piece. At the end you should have a series of walnut halves, pieces of wood, all on a long piece of twine. You can tie the twine to the top of the cage, or use a D-link to fasten it to the top of the cage. You can also hide a couple of treats in those walnut halves for your hamster to find. If you don’t have walnuts, you can still use twine and wood pieces, to make a sort of ladder. Popsicle or bamboo skewers are good substitutes too. Simple puzzles for hamsters Your hammy is a very curious one, even if he doesn’t have the voice to ask about his or that. He still wants to know everything that’s going on, and will investigate thoroughly. Home-made puzzles Again, most of the home-made puzzles will be made of toilet rolls. They’re the easier, cheapest, and safest material to work with or your hamster’s home-made toys. One example is a regular toilet roll, cut some strips into it, make them about an inch/2.5 cm long. They should end up looking like large frills, at each end of the toilet roll. Then, one end will be folded so nothing can escape, and you will place a bit of food or treats for your hamster. Then fold the other end to make sure no food will get out. If you want, you can make the frills longer and twist them together, making it more complicated to open. Your hamster will hear and smell the food inside and do his best to rip, tear, chew and find a way to open the puzzle. You can do the same with small boxes, if you have some. whichever tiny boxes made of cardboard are good for him. Place a bit of food in the smallest one, and place as many boxes as you can inside the other, like a russian doll. Hiding a bit of food into the suspended walnuts I talked about earlier is a great idea too. Store bought puzzles Unfortunately most of the searches I’ve done came up empty, and the ones I have found are too complex for hamsters. So in this case it’s best to stick to making your hammy his own puzzle, with a toilet roll and a bit of imagination. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) What makes a hamster toy the ‘best toy’ ? This depends mostly upon your hamster’s personality. Most hamsters will love most toys, but they can still ignore some kinds. Some hamsters like to chew. Others like to dig, some like to run, others love to hide. You’ll notice this about your hamster only after a few weeks, if you’ve given him every type of toy, and see which he uses the most. For example my Teddy is a chewer, and he loves everything made of wood that he can gnaw on, including bendy bridges, walnuts, his home, and so on. He doesn’t like tubes as much, or hide and seek toys. He doesn’t hide a lot, but he is curious and sticks his face everywhere. He also runs a lot, so his wheel was the best thing ever. It still is, but not as much as it was when he was younger. You can find out more about hamster wheels here. Some hamster toys can be made at home, some can be bought. It depends on your budget and disposition which kind you want for your hamster. But as with most animals, home made versions are sometimes the best. Like a paper bag that drives the cat crazy, or a slipper that will become your dog’s favorite toy. Sometimes the best toys are the ones you can make from toilet rolls and a bit of creativity. But sometimes, there are toys that are out of this world and can only be bought. I hope I gave you enough options to choose from, so you can make your little friend happy. Why hamsters need toys The usual life of a hamster in the wild can be pretty … wild. He will run away from predators, hide, dig his way out of a predicament. But in your home he is much safer and it can get a bit boring at times. So your hammy will need some stimulation, otherwise he might start chewing the cage bars, or becoming very very agitated. You can take care of this by providing your hamster with toys of different types, sometimes reintroducing toys he used to ignore, maybe he changed his mind. Also providing your hamster with a large enough cage will make sure he has enough space to explore and not feel cramped. You can check the 5 best hamster cages (for Syrians and Dwarf types) and see what I mean. Just like with humans, hamsters are curious and intelligent, and will need stimulation. For example my Teddy sometimes starts chewing on the cage bars if he is ignored, or bored. So I’ll start playing with him or give him a new puzzle to solve. Teddy: Us hamsters are very active, and we need something to keep us busy most of the time ! So make sure you give your hammy a couple of toys to make life more interesting. A word from Teddy I hope you found some great ideas for us hamsters here ! I know toys for hamsters might be a bit weird to figure out at first, but  you can definitely find ideas around. Remember that each of us has their own personality, likes, and dislikes. So if I’m a chewer and a runner, maybe your hammy is a digger, or a climber, and needs different toys than me. If you want to find more info on hamsters, check out the articles below. You’ll find out how much food we need, what kind of home we like, and why we sometimes eat our poo !   [...] Read more...