A hamster and a rabbit living together might sound odd, but it’s a question we stumble upon often. Can hamsters live with rabbits ? Would they get along ?
Sounds like a reasonable, if a bit misguided, question from an owner who would like to introduce his two pets.
While rabbits are fairly even tempered and seem kind of relaxed, hamsters are another story. Let’s see if they would get along, though. For a more detailed comparison between hamsters or rabbits, you should read this article here.
So should hamsters be living with rabbits ?
No, hamsters and rabbits should not and can not live together. There are a few reasons for this.
First, the hamster is very territorial, will fight anything that tries to trespass, and is very jumpy and easy to frighten.
Second, a rabbit is a very social animal, who will want to cuddle and also establish a hierarchy of sorts. Bunnies have a lot of personality, and they also have the advantage of being ridiculously larger than hamsters.
In short, a hamster-rabbit combo can’t go well, at all. The bunny will demand cuddles, grooming, run around, and generally own the place.
This leaves the hamster in a subordinate position, which he does not take well to, and will bite, hide, and be stressed out of his mind.
In some extreme cases the hamster may end up dead, since a kick or bite from the a bunny can be fatal for it. And given how tiny a hammy is, an accident isn’t that unheard of.
But let’s get into the personalities of each animal, and see why they are they way they are.
A little about the hamster’s personality
A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death.
This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese.
Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands.
He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another.
You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together.
They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly.
A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip.
There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy).
And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters.
About the rabbit’s personality
A rabbit is very different from a hamster. I’m not even going to cover the size difference, since that’s one major but obvious reason to never house them with a hamster.
A quick word for those who assume rabbits are rodents – like I did until I got my own hamster and learned the differences:
Rabbis are not related to hamsters, they are not rodents. Yes they bite and chew and burrow, but rabbits are lagomorphs. They share a very distant ancestor with the hamster – about as distant as the dinosaur extinction – but that’s about it.
That being said, rabbits are very social animals, and in the wild they live in colonies. They love being groomed, and they actually have a hierarchy.
If you’ve ever been to the pet store and seen 78 rabbits piled on top of each other, maybe you thought it was cute (like I did).
But it’s their way of establishing dominance. The top rabbit is the one getting all the attention, food, grooming and so on. This doesn’t sit well with other species, like the hamster.
Rabbits will actually come up to each other and ask for (or demand) attention, cuddling, and general social chit chat.
They will mark their territory with large pellets (aside from their regular droppings), or spraying pee, or rubbing their chins (scent glands) on things they’ll consider their own.
Rabbits aren’t aggressive by nature, but they won’t think twice about kicking or biting back if they feel threatened. They do give out warnings though, but unless you’re a rabbit, or a human with a keen eye, you won’t know what’s coming.
Actually if you’ve got a rabbit, or are thinking of getting one, I really think you should check out this site. It’s got a clear explanation of most bunny behaviors, and you’ll get a good glimpse into what having a bunny is like. As far as I’ve read it’s a bit like having a cat, except the meowing and shedding.
(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.)
Size and cage differences between the two
There’s a few differences when it comes to habitats, between hammies are rabbits. A hamster can live in a cage that’s 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall.
That’s the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and they prefer larger cages anyway.
A rabbit will need much more than that. It needs both a living space, and an exercise space. The minimum for the living space would be 90 x 60 cm, and 90 cm high/ 35.4 x 23.6 inches, and 35.4 inches high.
The exercise space should be a minimum of 2.43 x 1.21 m/ 8 x 4 feet, with height allowance. Rabbits can sometimes jump very high, and like to jump on top of things.
Finally, for rabbits the living and exercise areas should be linked together, for easy access. If you want to know more about picking out a good rabbit habitat, you need to check out this site. It’s also where I did part of my research for this article, and they’re pretty good with rabbits.
Alright, you might say that hamsters love a big cage anyway, and would do well in a habitat as large as the rabbit needs. Fair point, but let’s consider how these two animals keep their space.
A hamster will sleep the day away, much like the rabbit, and will make regular rounds of his space. A rabbit will do the same, and they are both very territorial.
No matter how large their territory is, these two can’t live together. They’re both too attached to ‘their’ things to share them with anyone else.
Well, rabbits do share their ‘home’ but only with those they consider to be family (never a hamster). And they do see some areas as theirs, some as public areas, and some as ”do not enter”.
They’ll try to enter those anyway when you’re not looking, entitled little fluffballs these guys.
Hamsters on the other hand only know ”their” space. All of it. So finding bunny scent on the outside of their hideout will be a source of stress and lots of fighting.
Food and diet difference between a hamster and a rabbit
Alright, now that we’ve settled territory and living spaces and personalities, let’s talk about their food. Since they’re not even related, their foods will be very, very different.
As with any other combination between hamsters and another animal, keeping their food separate won’t be feasible. One will poke into the other’s food bowl, and that’s not a good idea.
Not only because of tensions coming up between the two. But also because the rabbit won’t find anything worthwhile in the hamster’s food, and the hamster will steal the good bits from the rabbit’s food.
A hamster will have an omnivore diet. That means they can eat any type of food, with some exceptions – more on that here. However they will need grains and hard dry food to keep their teeth in check.
A rabbit on the other hand will need a different diet. First off, hay, lot and lots of hay since they much on it pretty much all day. This can be a problem, since the hamster will try to use this as his nesting material.
Another thing rabbits need is fresh veggies and some fruits, which again can be attractive for the hamster. Finally, pellets are considered to be the best kind of feed for rabbits.
This way they won’t be able to pick and choose their favorites. A pellet is like a large kibble, with all the nutrients the rabbit needs, and all pellets in the bag are the same.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies don’t really like to share anything, and a big bunny can be very intimidating for us. Best to keep us separate.
If you want to know more about us hamsters, then your should check out the related articles below. You’ll find info on how to keep us happy and safe.
- All About Hamster Diabetes – Symptoms, Prevention, And CareAny hamster owner is worried their hammy might get sick. The two main worries are diabetes, and wet tail, and today we’re discussing diabetes in hamsters. How to know if your hammy has diabetes, how to care for a diabetic hamster, symptoms to look out for, and which hamsters are most vulnerable. Let’s get into it. Table of Contents What is diabetes in hamsters ?Preventing your hamster from developing diabetesGenetic predisposition – some hamster breeds are vulnerableYour hamster’s diet and exercise can make things worseA word on sugar and carb in your hammy’s dietSigns of diabetes in your little hamsterFrequent urinationDehydrationIncreased thirstShould your give a dehydrated diabetic hamster Pedialyte ?Change in appetiteDramatic weight gain or lossYellow, thick nailsTesting your hamster for diabetesTreatment and care for a diabetic hamsterA word from Teddy What is diabetes in hamsters ? Diabetes (in a simplified version) is an illness that keeps the blood sugar very high. Usually the pancreas deals with this, and it must produce insulin. Insulin is needed to regulate how well the body manages its sugar levels. Sometimes the body becomes immune to insulin, or it produces too little insulin. This is where insulin shots come in. In very broad terms, and simplified, this is what diabetes is. When it comes to hamsters, this is a dangerous illness to have since they are so very small, and caring for them isn’t as easy as with a human. They might require insulin shots too, and will need regular testing in order to monitor their levels. Please remember: Your best option is to seek out a veterinarian who will be able to diagnose your hamster properly. Do not diagnose or treat your hamster’s condition without consulting with a medical professional beforehand. Now let’s talk a bit about what your can do to prevent diabetes in your little friend, and which hammies are at risk. Preventing your hamster from developing diabetes No hamster is born directly diabetic. True, a hammy can have the genetic makeup that makes diabetes easier to happen. But born diabetic, no. This means diabetes can be prevented, for the most part. A hamster can still get this illness even if you do prevent it as best you can, if it’s one of the breeds at risk. Still, you can rest assured that by trying to prevent it you’ve delayed the onset. Now let’s see which hammies are at risk, and why that is. Genetic predisposition – some hamster breeds are vulnerable If you’ve got a Dwarf hammy, then it’s very possible you’re going to have a diabetic hamster later on. Not all Dwarf hamsters will develop diabetes. But all Dwarf hamsters can develop it, they have the genetic makeup that makes it easier. As for Syrians, they don’t have this predisposition. They can develop diabetes too, but not as easily as the Dwarf types. For Syrians there needs to be a very high carb, high fat diet and very little exercise for diabetes to set in. Syrians have the misfortune of getting wet-tail easier, so if you’ve got a Syrian like me, you should check out this article on wet-tail and how to help your hammy. If you’re not very sure which hamster breed you’ve got, here’s a guide on figuring that out. Your hamster’s diet and exercise can make things worse Aside from the breed, which makes your hamster prone to either diabetes of wet-tail, there is also the influence of food and exercise. Exercise will help your diabetic hamster burn off the excess fat that likely developed, and use up the blood sugar. This will make the impact of diabetes on your hamster’s live lower, and his life easier. Regular, simple exercise like a running wheel can be enough. If your hamster’s gotten lazy, or just isn’t a running hamster, you can place him in an exercise ball. Never keep him there more than 30 minutes at a time, though, since he will need water and a bathroom break. If your hamster’s already diabetic, he will pee every 15-20 minutes, so keep him in the ball much less. Alright, now onto the food. This is a major player in your hamster’s condition. A diabetic (or diabetes-prone) hamster eating high carb, high fat foods will have a terrible time. This means most fruits are of limits for diabetic hamsters, and even the Dwarf types that aren’t diabetic yet. You can find out more about the fruits that are safe for hamsters to eat here. Of that list, berries/forest fruits, apples, pears, are the safest bet for a Dwarf. Always in very small pieces (half an inch/ 1 cm), and only rarely (once per week or less often). A word on sugar and carb in your hammy’s diet Do not remove sugar completely from the hamster’s diet. That will send your hammy into a hypoglycemic shock, and be another problem of its own. Instead, only allow a small amount of sugars. This means that you need to check out the label on your hamster’s food mix. If it’s got any kind of sugars – cane sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, agave, honey, fructose, dextrose, those pieces need to be picked out of your hammy’s feed. The problem is not with just sugar. Yes, sugar and overly sweet foods will make your hamster’s diabetes worse. But, the problem is bigger than this. You see, when the hamster eats, his body breaks down all the food into sugars. Sugary foods produce more sugars, and high-carb foods produce more sugars as well. This is by comparison with protein meats, or veggies. So keeping chocolate away from your hamster is good, but giving him a slice of italian bread is just as bad. A bit exaggerated, but you get the idea. High-carb foods like bread, pasta, rice, maize, corn, are all foods that should be kept away from your hamster since they will produce almost the same effect as giving your hamster a slice of sweet, sticky banana. It might sound like your hamster’s got nothing left to eat, but he does. Check out this handy guide on what is safe and unsafe for hamsters to eat, and you’ll see the foods that are still on the list, even for diabetic hamsters. Signs of diabetes in your little hamster Alright, now that you know what you can do to prevent your hamster from getting diabetes, let’s see the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters. There are several signs, and please remember that you can’t take into account just one sign or another. Diagnosis is really more complex than this, and some symptoms may not even show up, even if the hamster is diabetic. Again, the best bet is to get your hamster friend to a veterinarian who will diagnose him correctly. A vet that can help you is going to be an ”exotics” vet. They have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds in general. Onto the symptoms of diabetes in hamsters: Frequent urination A hamster with diabetes will urinate much more often than a hamster without diabetes. This means as often as every 15 minutes, for example. You’ll notice your hamster is peeing more often if you actually see him. He usually goes in his corner – he has just one corner – rolls back his little tail, and just wees. He will be immobile, and look like he’s staring into space for a couple of seconds. Another sign, if you’ve never caught your hamster peeing, is that his corner will be wet much more often. Pretty much always wet, and smelling fairly sweet and pungent. Think nail polish remover. (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.) Dehydration The easiest and clearest way to find out if your hamster is dehydrated, is to scruff the hamster by the back of the neck. It won’t hurt the hamster if done properly. Hold the hamster gently, but with a good enough grip that he won’t jump away. Then, right on the back of the hamster’s neck, you can use your fingers to pinch/pull at the skin a bit. Let go of the skin immediately, and you should see it sliding back into place. If it takes more than a second to spring back, your hamster is dehydrated. The hammy’s skin has lost it’s collagen and doesn’t arrange itself back into position as fast. You might even notice the skin is slightly raised where you picked it. The longer the skin takes to get back in place the more severe the dehydration. Increased thirst Along with dehydration comes increased thirst. Ironic, but the problem is not the water intake. But the regulation of how the electrolytes are being used by the hamster’s body. This can be noticed by your hamster drinking water much faster and often than usual. A healthy hamster consumes about 10 ml water/100 gr hamster per day. That’s 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster. You can find out more about hamsters and their water requirements here, and how to give your hamster water the right way. That being said, a diabetic hamster will consume much more water than that, getting to even 3-4 times the amount of water. However he will be dehydrated still, since his body isn’t functioning properly. Should your give a dehydrated diabetic hamster Pedialyte ? This is something I’ve heard about, and did some googling to find people who have experience with this. As it happens, I did find the answer for this on thepipsqueakery.org. You can read their full blog post here. They also have experience with giving hamsters insulin shots, so you might want to check their article for that too. About the Pedialyte, the clear answer is no, you should no give it to a dehydrated diabetic hamster. This is because Pedialyte is a mix of water, sugar, and salt. The sugar will not help the diabetes, even if it does bring back some electrolytes. It may seem like it’s helping, but it’s actually make things worse. Change in appetite Another symptom is a sudden change in your hamster’s appetite. It may be that your hamster will eat much more, or much less. It varies from hamster to hamster. But there is a clear difference between a diabetic hamster, and a healthy one. 2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. So if your hamster is going through his food, and his food stash as well, quicker than you can feed him in a day, this is something to worry about. Dramatic weight gain or loss As a result of a sudden change of appetite, and also dehydration, your hamster will have a very different weight. He might gain weight, or drop a lot of weight. You can use a kitchen scale that measure in exact grams or ounces and track your hamster’s daily progress. Place the hamster in a cup he can’t climb out of, and use that do weight him on the kitchen scale. Of course, take the weight of the cup into account. Yellow, thick nails Not all thick yellow nails mean your hamster’s got diabetes. But it can be a sign, and is worth noting. Testing your hamster for diabetes Of course, you can test your hamster’s sugar levels at home too. You can test your hamster’s glucose and ketone levels with ketone test trips. Your veterinarian will do the same in his lab, with urine samples from your diabetic hamster. But, if you want to monitor your hamster’s progress and see how his treatment is coming along, then you can also use these strips at home. This particular box will last for several months, since you do not need to check the hamster’s urine daily. Do keep in mind that these test strips are not meant just for diabetics, but can also be used by them to monitor their health. Remember that the glucose levels aren’t always normal. They can sometimes be off, due to an infection for example. So it’s important that you consult with your veterinarian as well the first few times you use these strips, to know how to best read them. There are manufacturer’s indications yes, but your vet is the best person to ask about this. Treatment and care for a diabetic hamster Part of caring for the diabetic hamster includes changing the diet and exercise routine like we’ve discussed before. Another part is the treatment. There are treatments that can be successful, but it depends on how well the hamster responds to them, and what the veterinarian will recommend. Treatment with fenugreek is a common way of helping hamsters with diabetes, but the dosage is harder to be exact with. Fenugreek has been used as a healing plant for centuries, and often in diabetes treatment. It’s not a definite cure, but might be an option. Another option your vet might present you with is Glipidize tablets to mix into the hamster’s food or drink. It’s basically going to make the hamster’s pancreas produce more insulin. So shots are out of the question here. And finally, insulin shots for a diabetic hamster are what your mind probably first wandered to. Honestly, they were my first guess too, given how humans are usually treated. The thing about insulin shots is that they need to constantly be adjusted to how well the hamster’s responding to other treatments, the new diet, the urine needs frequent measurements and so on. So it’s not a great idea to do this without a vet’s help, or if you’re not a vet at all. A trained professional will know how to dose the amount according to the hamster’s size and resistance to insulin. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick sometimes, and we rely on you for help. Diabetic hammies can lead normal lives, but we need some treatment. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find out more about how to keep up happy and safe.... Read more...
- The Truth About Mineral Chews For Hamsters – And Great AlternativesWhen I first got Teddy I also got a bunch of toys for him, including some mineral chews. Since he is my first hamster, I did not know if he’d need them or not, but I got them just to be sure. But do hamsters really need mineral chews ? Are they useful ? Do they stop the hamster from biting the cage ? Here’s what I found out, and how you can help your hamster as well. Table of Contents So do hamsters need mineral chews ?High mineral content foods for hamstersThe right nutrition for your hamsterMineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cageA few chew toy ideas for your hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters need mineral chews ? As it turns out, no. Hamsters do not need mineral chews. This is because the feed you give them already has enough minerals in the mix. If you are using a well balanced muesli mix – grains, dried fruit, some vitamin colored bits – then your hamster is doing just fine. As soon as I found this out, I stopped getting mineral chews for my Teddy. He went through them really fast, since he’s a chewer. The same goes for salt licks for your hamsters. Hamster do not need salt licks any more than they need mineral chews. They get enough salt from their food mix, so they should not have any deficiency. If you are unsure, check your food mix box to check for mineral content. High mineral content foods for hamsters Some food alternatives you can give your hamster are easily available, and are easy to eat for hamsters. For example you can give your hamster nuts and seeds, since they have a high mineral content that will help your hamster prevent health problems. Just be careful to not give the hamster too many nuts and seeds, since they do have a higher fat content. Limit them to just a couple of peanuts, or half a walnut per day. Unsalted, raw. Another idea is broccoli, along with some dark leafy greens like kale or spinach leaves. They are rich in minerals and fibers, so your hamster is getting a full meal out of them. Dried fruit and tofu are also good alternatives for your hamster to get his minerals, just keep these on a low intake since they can get sticky for the hamster. With the dried fruit make sure they are not sweetened, and you don’t give the hamster too much of it. The right nutrition for your hamster Whatever brand of hamster feed you use, make sure it has a balanced content of vegetables, added vitamins and minerals, dried fruit, and some grains as well. Most manufacturers have good mixes, so it does not really matter what brand you get, as long as the ingredients are alright. Aside from the food mix, you can give your hamster some of the foods I mentioned earlier. I give Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) unsalted raw peanuts every now and then, or pumpkin seeds as a treat. He’s had some spinach leaves when we were cooking spinach, and he liked that as well. Just be warned that the hamster will store some food in his house as well, and stale spinach or broccoli does not smell great. So, make sure that you give the hamster a small amount, that he will eat soon. For a clear list on what your hamster can eat, and what he should avoid, check out the food list article here. You’ll also find the kind of treats your hamster can eat as well. Mineral chews to stop your hamster from chewing the cage This is something I did at first, to stop Teddy from chewing on the bars. Hamster chewing on bars can be out of annoyance or their teeth growing. A hamster’s teeth will keep growing his entire life, so he must constantly chew on hard surfaces to keep them at a healthy length. If the hardest surface is the cage bars, then that’s what he will use. You can find a few cage ideas here. However you can give your hammy what I gave Teddy – wooden accessories for his cage. For example his home is entirely out of wood, and he sometimes chews on that as well. Another idea is bendy bridges, the kind that’s made out of cut tree branches and you can shape them however you want. They can be used as a toy, or even a home for your hamster. But the most important fact is that they’re made of wood, so your hamster will chew on them instead of the cage when he needs to take care of his teeth. Mineral chews are not a good idea to keep your hamster from chewing the cage or something else, because they are too soft. If your hamster is anything like my Teddy, he will tear through an entire mineral block in 20 minutes. Teddy just goes crazy when he has a mineral block, it’s like he must rip it to pieces or else. The second reason mineral chews are not good for hamsters to chew on is because they are incredibly dusty. They’re usually made up of crushed shells, tapioca, and some calcium powder, and when they break into pieces they leave a whole lot of dust. That dust is never good for your hamster. When Teddy had mineral chews he looked like a construction worker, he was covered in that dust and had to clean himself more often. (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 chew toy ideas for your hamster If you’re trying to give your hamster something more bearable to chew on, consider these options. These make much less noise, are better for your hamster’s teeth, and do not contain odd ingredients. Actually they’re mostly wood. Like the bendy bridges I mentioned before, or the wooden home for the hamster. Another idea would be the dense cardboard tubes that are left from aluminium foil wraps. Those are much much denser and stronger than toilet rolls, and they give the hamster more to chew on. Another idea would be whole walnuts or a very large chestnut. The point is that it must be too big for your hamster to try to shove it in his cheeks. If you make a small hole in the nut the hamster will smell it, and attempt to reach it. So he’ll chew and chew and keep his teeth in check. Finally, you can try toilet paper rolls, or paper towel rolls. As long as they are unscented, they’re fine. You can use Paper egg cartons as well, just make sure they are clean and not stained. For a more comprehensive list of toys you hamster can safely chew and play with, here is a list of store bought toys and also how to make them at home. If you’d like more info on how to properly care for your hamster, then you should check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll find out everything from what kind of cage he needs, to how much food he needs, and how to figure out which breed you’ve got. A word from Teddy I hope you understand more about us hamsters and mineral chews. We don’t really need them, since the food you give us is usually good enough and has enough minerals. If you want to keep one of us off the cage bars, you could try something made of wood. We love chewing and wood is a friendly material for us. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info on why we eat our poop, how much water we need, and much more.... Read more...
- Dehydration In Hamsters – Signs, And How To Treat ItIs your hamster feeling ill ? Is the hamster ignoring his water bottle ? Lack of water in the hamster’s system is a very bad situation, but one that can be fixed. Hamsters can and should drink water, so if yours is dehydrated he will need some medical attention. Let’s see what dehydration is, how to prevent it, some symptoms, and how to help a dehydrated hamster back on his feet. Table of Contents So what is dehydration in hamsters ?How dehydration can happen in hamstersSymptoms and signs of dehydration in hamstersTreatment and care for a dehydrated hamsterPreventing dehydration in hamstersIf the hamster won’t or can’t drink waterA word from Teddy So what is dehydration in hamsters ? In short dehydration is the loss of water from the hamster’s body. The hamster has lost a significant amount of water through urine, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, or drooling and is now in serious danger. Dehydration is a problem because the cells of the body do not function very well without water, and they can shut down entirely. There is also the problem of the salts and minerals that usually come with the body’s water content, but are now missing. This is why simple tap water won’t do to rehydrate a hamster. You will need to add salts, minerals, and sugar to his diet while he’s recovering. We’ll cover everything you can do to help the hamster, right after we find out just how a hamster become dehydrated. How dehydration can happen in hamsters Hamsters, like all animals, can become dehydrated for a number of reasons. Many health problems will require the body to overheat, in order to fight off an infection for example. This is how a cold can be much harder on a hamster, or even some abscesses if they’ve gone too far. Wet-tail is another serious condition, and hamsters suffering from it become dehydrated in a matter of hours. It’s a treatable condition, but it needs to be discovered in the beginning. Too late and even if the infection is treated the hamster will be too weakened. Diabetes can be another problem for hamsters, since there is never enough water for them. They will also pee every few minutes, but the thirst is always there. Digestive problems like a loose stool or vomiting can also make the hamster dehydrated. Excessive drooling, which can be a sign of overgrown teeth or a possible neurological problem, can make the hamster dehydrated too. Whichever problem the hamster has, it can usually be treated by a veterinarian. But the real danger of dehydration lies in the fact that it will slowly start shutting down bodily functions in the hamster. It will be important to rehydrate the hamster mostly for this reason, more than all the other ones. Symptoms and signs of dehydration in hamsters There are a few ways to see if your hamster is dehydrated, most are easy to notice by just the hamster’s owner, like you and I. For example: The hamster is not drinking water. This is the most obvious one, I know, but it’s a dead giveaway. There are hamsters who just drink very little water, yes. But if your hamster hasn’t had any water at all in the last 24h then you will need to take some measures. I’ll describe them later in this article. The best way to check if the hamster isn’t drinking water is to mark where the current water level is in his water bottle, and check again after 24 hours. Hammies usually drink about 10 ml water per 100 gr of hamster daily. That’s 0.33 oz water for every 3.5 oz of hamster. So if you’ve got a Dwarf, you’ll barely notice the water he’s drinking, but try taking photos from the same exact angle and compare them. The hamster’s skin is very tight and dry. You can check this by scruffing the hamster and watching how fast the skin pulls back. Hold the hamster firmly but gently with one hand, and with your other hand pinch the back of the hamster’s neck. That will not hurt the hamster, but it will pull back some skin. If the skin snaps back into place quickly (or immediately) the hamster is just fine. If it takes a while to get back into its shape, or even still has a ridge where you pinched the hammy, the hamster is definitely dehydrated. The hamster looks tired and weak. Dehydration tires out the body, and it will only have enough energy for the most basic things like breathing and eating a bit. Other than that the hamster will not expend any energy, like running on his wheel or playing with his cage mates. He will mostly huddle in a corner and sleep a whole lot. His usual routine will be disrupted, and he won’t be out in the open as much. You will possibly see a very dry and warm nose on him (as in flaky nose), and possibly on his feet as well. The hamster has lost weight, or at least looks thinner. His fur might be thinner, and he might have even lost some fur. Weight loss isn’t out of the ordinary for a dehydrated hamster, but it can have a big impact on his health. This is because the weight loss is sudden, and in a large amount. It may not seem like much, since the hamster is so very small to begin with. But losing the water weight and some actual weight makes things much harder for the hamster. Treatment and care for a dehydrated hamster Alright, now that we know what dehydration is, and what the symptoms are, we can start treating it. Treatment should be done by a professional, like a veterinarian. You will need to look for an ‘exotics’ vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. Although for this particular problem all vets should be able to help. The vet will administer fluids to the hamster most probably by a shot, since an I.V. drip is not very practical. You will also receive recommendations from your vet on what medicine (if any) you need to give to you hamster afterwards, like a few vitamins for example. If your hamster has an underlying condition which is causing the dehydration – like wet-tail or vomiting – the vet will treat that as well. In some cases he might need the hamster to stay with him for a couple of days for observations and further treatment. But if for some reason you can’t reach the vet, there are a few things you can do at home. Very few of them will work as well as a professional treatment, but you can try these to help your hamster feel better. Give your hamster slices of fruit and veg. Like cucumber, peeled apple, lettuce, a few leafy greens, carrot. Give a little at a time, since too much can cause diarrhea, which will worsen the dehydration. Add an electrolyte water to his water bottle. Unflavored Pedialyte will work well, and can be found fairly easy. If your hamster is diabetic this is not recommended, as Pedialyte contains sugar. Place the hamster’s water in a shallow dish, so he can access it easily. Sometimes the dehydration is so severe the hammy can’t even get up to the nozzle of the bottle. Rehydrate by mouth, with an eye dropper or small syringe (no needle). Hold the hamster firmly but gently, and place a drop of water on his lips every half hour. More than a drop at a time may go in the wrong way. Plain water isn’t going to help very much, since it lacks the salts and minerals needed by a dehydrated body. These are all steps you can take so the hamster’s treatment goes along smoothly, and in a couple of days he should recover. Feeding the hamster overly wet food (like too much cucumber for example) will upset his stomach. His usual dry grain mix will be fine. You can also take steps to ensure the hamster gets better by not placing him near warm spots, like a heater or in the kitchen when there is a lot of cooking(and heat) going on. Keep him away from drafts as well, as those can worsen his health and add another problem to his already weak body. Dehydration itself isn’t a threat to the hamster’s cage mates, but his other possible conditions (if it’s not just dehydration) might be, so separating the sick hamster is probably a good idea. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Preventing dehydration in hamsters Dehydration can be prevented, but in most cases isn’t a sum of many steps. So we’ll go through the various steps you can take to make sure the hamster is safe from dehydration. Make sure that the hamster’s water bottle is working properly. This means that the bottle’s nozzle should be free of any blockages, and there should not be anything sticking into or out of it. The little metal ball at the end of the nozzle should move freely, and allow water to drip, if pushed back. You can test this by tapping the small ball with your finger, and observing whether water is coming out or not. If it does, that it’s fine. If it doesn’t, there might be something inside the nozzle. You will have to take it apart and use a Q-tip to inspect the length of the nozzle. Another way to test the water bottle is to squeeze the side of it, and see if water drips out of the nozzle. Most of the time the water bottle is working just fine, and it’s an illness that’s actually affecting the hamster. The temperature and general ‘weather’ of the room you keep the hamster in is very important. The temperature should be around 20-23 C/68-75 F, and his cage away from any direct heat, sunlight, drafts, or cold corners. Try and offer your hamster a mix of dry, commercial mix, and some safe foods found in your pantry and freezer. Too much wet food can cause digestive problems in your hamster, and give him a bout of diarrhea. Which is why veggies like cucumbers or lettuce should be given sparingly, and only in small amounts. The same goes for apple, watermelon, and most everything that has juice in it. If you’ve got more than one hamster in the same cage, and one becomes sick, separate them immediately. The illness from the first hamster can get to the healthy hamster, and manifest itself through dehydration, even if it’s nut just that. Always wash your hands before and after handling your hamster. This will prevent the spread of any bacteria from your hands to the hamster, and keep everyone safe. A stressed hamster will refuse to eat, drink, and even rest properly. Hamsters can get stressed by things like handling them too much, an abusive cage mate, overly curious pets and children, getting scared too often, and even being brought home for the first time. If the hamster won’t or can’t drink water There are some hamsters, possibly those who have been taken away from their mother or siblings earlier than necessary, who haven’t learned to associate the water bottle with water, and drinking. They simply don’t know what to do with that bottle. In this case you can again squeeze the sides of the bottle to make a small drop appear, which hopefully will attract the hamster. Once the hamster drinks that drop, his tongue will push the ball at the end of the nozzle, releasing more water. If that does not work, try putting his water in a small, shallow dish in a corner of the cage. Make sure that dish isn’t easy to overturn, since a wet hamster is a sick hamster and he will not recover fast. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies can get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us figure things out and treat us. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe, and give us a good life.... Read more...
- 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 Usual 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 Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?If you’ve even given your hamster a piece of toilet paper, you’ve seen him shove it in his mouth. Did the hamster eat the toilet paper ? Do hamsters even eat TP in the first place ? Sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no, and we need to dive into a bit of a talk. Table of Contents So do hamsters eat toilet paper ?Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ?What hamsters actually do with the TP you give themBedding and nesting material for your hamster friendHamsters store everything in their cheek pouchesSafe foods for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat toilet paper ? No, hamsters do not eat toilet paper. They wad it up and store it in their cheeks to use as bedding or nesting material. There are times when the hamster does ingest a tiny bit of TP, because the difference between his cheek pouches and mouth is very small. He sometimes misses. If you’ve never had a hammy before, it can look like he’s eating the TP. But if you look closely, his cheeks are swollen and he hid it there. Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ? Yes, toilet paper is safe for hamsters. Even if your hammy ends up ingesting the TP, it is safe. Modern toilet paper is meant to dissolve in water after a short while. This also means that it will break apart when it reaches your hammy’s stomach, so he will have no trouble passing it out. It won’t even be noticeable. That being said, i depends what kind of TP your hamster got his paws on. Scented, and/or colorful TP isn’t poisonous for hamsters, but it can upset their stomach. Hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, and if you give them a TP smelling of peaches they will probably think it’s actually peaches and try to eat it. The best TP to give to hamsters – not for food – is plain, unscented. The most regular, boring version you can find is going to work just great. What hamsters actually do with the TP you give them Whenever you give your hammy a TP square, you probably see him going a bit crazy. You see, hamsters absolutely love anything soft and cuddly that can be used as nesting material. This also means you should keep hammies away from fleece or cotton, since they will shove it in their cheeks and hurt themselves or get some fibers caught in their teeth. So, your hamster will fit as much TP as he can in his cheeks, then make a bee line for his nest. Wherever his nest is, not matter how much nesting it’s already got – it always needs more. Your hammy’s going to decorate his place with all the TP and paper towels you give him. All of them. It can get ridiculous. Look at my Teddy, his hideout’s bursting with TP and paper towels. Hamsters decorate their nest with toilet paper, and with paper towels as well. For this reason, I recommend giving rather paper towels for his nesting material. TP is highly absorbent, and will mat up more than paper towels. And it’s less resistant, so he will need more pieces. Whatever you do give him (TP or paper towel) he’ll hoard all of it. Bedding and nesting material for your hamster friend You might be wondering if you’ve given your hamster too little bedding if he gets like that when he sees crumply paper. Well, no. Hamsters have an inherent need to nest and build a warm, big nest to cuddle and hide in. So they will go overboard with the nesting material. An ideal bedding depth is somewhere around 1-2 inches, so your hamster has something to dig into. Not all hamsters are diggers though. Some are climbers, or runners, and won’t be interested in digging too much. You can find out much more about the right kind of bedding you can get your hamster friend right here. You’ll find which beddings are safe and which are unsafe, and all the options you can choose from. As for warmth, hamsters require a temp range between 20-23 C/68-75 F to feel comfortable. You should check here for more info on that, and see how you can make your hammy comfortable in your home. So if you’ve give your hamster lots of warmth, and he’s still building his nest, don’t be alarmed. He’s fine, he just builds big, fluffy, flowy nests. In the wild he’d have a whole series of tunnels to live in, and several ‘bedrooms’ full of leaves and twigs. Other options your hamster might use as his nesting material is cardboard. The long cardboard tubes left over from toilet paper, or paper towels are okay for hamsters to use. They even play in them. Cut a few holes into the tube, like swiss cheese, and he’ll dart in and out of those tubes. YOu can find out more about hamster toys (DYI and store bought) here, and some ideas on what you can make for you hammy at home. Hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches Alright, now you know what your hammy’s doing with the TP. But does he put everything in his cheeks ? Well, yes, hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches. Everything, Bits of food, nesting material, a few bits of poo, a half eaten cricket, anything. Hamsters have those pouches in order to be able run away if they have to make a quick split. This also makes it easier for them to cover a lot of ground without having to keep returning to their nest to store everything. Kinda smart, if you think about it. This is one reason to never give your hamster something very sharp or extra saucy as food. If it’s a bit of chicken or boiled egg white, he will eat it right away. But anything less than tasty protein or fruit will be shoved into the cheek pouch. A tasty noodle ? In the cheek, and it will leave some residue that the hammy can’t clean out. It has a high chance of infection, and an infected cheek pouch is not easy to treat. Mostly because the cheek itself isn’t easy to reach into without hurting the hamster. Plus, if the hammy feels like he still has something in his cheeks he’ll keep pushing and pawing at his cheeks until he hurts himself. So be very careful what foods you give your hamster friend ! (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.) Safe foods for your hamster friend You can feed your hamster lots of foods that are acceptable for you as well. For the most part, hamsters can eat meat, veggies, fruit, grains, and seeds, just like us. It’s just that they have a few conditions, and some foods are too fat or to sweet for them. Especially for the Dwarf types. They are prone to diabetes, and as such should be definitely kept away from sweets. Both Dwarf and Syrian types should have a very small amount of fats in their diet as well. They are living in your warm, comfy home, no reason to build up a layer of insulating fat. I’m going to give you a few useful links for the foods hamsters can eat, for each category available. So, if you want to know more about hamsters and meat, what kind of meat they can have, check out this nifty article, with a clear explanation of which meats are okay for hammies. When it comes to dairy, hamsters can eat some kinds, but not too much. It’s the high-lactose one that don’t sit well with them. You can read more about that here. For bread and grains, you can check out here to see when and how you can feed your hamster friend bread and/or pasta. And here you can find out more about what veggies are safe for hamsters, and here learn about the kinds of fruit your hammy can eat, and which to avoid. Finally, you can read on here to learn more about nuts and the kinds hamsters can eat safely, and how much of them they can have at a time. These are all items you’ve probably already got in your fridge or pantry. Do remember that a commercial food mix has the basics all covered, and is designed to give your hamster the nutrition it needs. Still, you can feed your hamster friend food from the lists I mentioned above, as small treats or if you’ve got them on hand when cooking. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. I know us hammies love toilet paper, but we don’t normally eat it. We hide lots of it in our cheeks, and it looks like we eat it. But we just build our nests with them. If you want to know more about us hammies you can check out the articles below, to learn how to feed and house us properly, and how to play with us too.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Bird Food? You Need To Know ThisI have a hamster, and my inlaws have two parrots, so this question popped into my mind several times before doing research to see if a hamster can safely eat bird food. The first thought was that the pre-made food for birds and hamsters looked kind of similar, so I thought there was no harm in feeding them the same thing. But after doing a bit of research, I found out that there are more things we need to know before feeding our hamsters with bird food. I have seen people experimenting with hamster food a lot without checking if that is safe for the little hamster, so I’m glad you are here, and you are willing to fact-check those things before feeding your hamster. Table of Contents Can hamsters eat bird food?Differences between bird seeds and hamster foodSafe and unsafe seeds for your hamsterIs feeding your hamster with pre-made food mix enough?What other pet food can hamsters eat?What about cat food?Guinea pig/rabbit foodConclusion Can hamsters eat bird food? Hamsters can eat small quantities of bird food as a treat. However, swapping the pre-made hamster food with bird food long-term is unhealthy for your pet hamster. Those are the two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster with bird food. Bird seeds contain more fat than hamster food, and eating too much bird food might endanger your hamster. If you have bird seeds and don’t want to throw them away, you can give them to your hamster as a treat instead of the main food. When we talk about bird food, it is important to know that besides the seeds, there are bird pellets that contain more fruits and vegetables in the mix. This might sound like a healthier option, but it is actually more dangerous for hamsters since they can develop diabetes much easier, especially dwarf hamsters. Hamsters primarily east grains and seeds, not fruit. Here is an entire article about hamster diabetes and all you need to know in order to prevent it. Dwarf hamsters are predisposed to diabetes, but that doesn’t mean a Syrian hamster can’t develop it. Also, those pellets might contain too much vitamin C for your hamster. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for hamsters, and it is essential to ensure that they receive a balanced amount. If the hamster doesn’t receive the correct amount of Vitamin C, the mineral deficiency can cause scurvy, resulting in diarrhea, lethargy and hair loss. If they receive too much Vitamin C, they are also at risk of experiencing diarrhea and weight loss. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure that your hamster receives the right amount of Vitamin C to ensure their health and well-being. Dedicated hamster food will always have the correct amount of Vit C. Differences between bird seeds and hamster food Bird seeds and hamster seeds are two types of seeds that offer different nutritional benefits to the animals they are intended for. Bird feed usually consists of millet, sunflower, rapeseed, and canary seed, which may contain excess fats and sugars that are not beneficial for hamsters but are necessary for birds. Hamster feed is composed of a mix of ingredients such as sunflower, pumpkin, flax, sesame, wheat, and corn, providing an array of vitamins and essential fats that hamsters need, making it a more suitable option. The hamster pre-made food mixes are fortified with vitamins and minerals to make sure your hamster doesn’t lack them but also does not get too many of them, as we talked about above. Safe and unsafe seeds for your hamster Hamsters eat a lot of seeds, however that doesn’t mean that any seed is safe for your hamster. Here is a list of safe seeds for your hamster, after which we will continue with the list of unsafe seeds for your hamster. Sunflower seeds Pumpkin Seeds Sesame Seeds Flax Seeds Wheat Seeds Corn Kernels Unsafe seeds for your hamster: Apple Seeds Grape Seeds Pear Seeds Citrus Seeds (Citrus fruits should be avoided at all, not only the seeds) Apricot Pits Cherry Pits If you want to make sure you feed your hamster properly, check my article on what hamsters eat, and there you will find everything you need to know. Is feeding your hamster with pre-made food mix enough? Yes, a pre-made food mix for hamsters should have all the nutrients a hamster need. Since hamsters are omnivores, we might get confused and think that this is not enough but in reality, hamsters eat very little animal protein, even in the wild. The occasional treats we give to our hamsters are not mandatory for a healthy hamster diet if you feed it with a proper food mix. Here is a good one I found on amazon. This one should last you a few months. What other pet food can hamsters eat? Maybe you have another pet, a dog, a cat, or other rodents like rabbits or guinea pigs, and you wonder if you can feed your little furball with their food. I have an entire article that talks about whether a hamster can eat dog food or not, so I will not get into much detail about that one here. But the short answer is no, hamsters can’t eat dog food (nor cat food). Those pets have very different digestive systems, and you have to keep in mind that dogs are carnivores. They don’t need too many grains or vegetables to be healthy. On the other hand, hamsters are omnivores, but do not normally eat meat. I discussed this in more detail in my article about hamsters eating insects. Hamsters can eat meat/insects but they don’t need to, even in the wild. Insects are not the first thing on their menu, they might eat a few of them if they can’t find any other food. But it is not what they need or prefer to eat. What about cat food? The same applies to cat food as to dog food. Hamsters should not eat cat food. A treat every now and then might not immediately hurt your hamster but it is better to avoid giving cat food to your hamster. If your hamster accidentally ate cat food that it found while you were playing with it, you should not worry if it wasn’t a large quantity. One or two cat kibbles should not affect your hamster at all. Guinea pig/rabbit food We tend to think that rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs are all rodents, so the diet must be similar, but that is not quite accurate. Rabbits and guinea pig are herbivore animals and they need way more hay, grass, leafy greens and vegetables than a hamster needs. Also, they can have much more vitamin C than a hamster. We’ve already discussed the side effects of too much vitamin C in a hamster’s diet. While a hamster needs fewer seeds and nuts than a bird, they still need a good amount of them compared to a guinea pig or rabbit, which doesn’t eat nuts and seeds at all. I had all those pets when I was a kid. I’ve had guinea pigs for about eight years, I’ve had a cat and a dog for a couple of years, and now I have a hamster, and I can tell you that they all have quite different diets. If you have other pet food and you don’t know if it’s safe to feed your hamster, you better throw that food away instead of putting your little furball in danger. Conclusion Hamsters can occasionally eat bird food or seeds, but that doesn’t mean you should include them in your hamster diet. It is better to stay safe when it comes to hamster diets, they can be quite sensitive, so you should stick to a pre-made food box and give some occasional treats here and there if you want to diversify the diet. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between hamster food and bird food and also why you should not give other pet food to your hamster.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Like Being Held ? Hamster Affection And TrainingIf you’ve got a hammy you might be wondering if he likes being held. I wondered the same thing about my teddy, and I’m here to help you better understand your hammy’s need for affection and touch. We’ll talk about whether hammies like being held, how to train them to be comfortable with your hands, and a bit about their personalities in general. Table of Contents So do hamsters like being held ?About your furry friend’s personality and habitsTraining your hamster to be comfortable with being heldStart small, but be consistent and patient with your hamsterGraduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or soPick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with itHamsters and affection – do they like it ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters like being held ? This is not a straight answer. The short answer would be yes, but there are many things that must happen before your hamster is okay with you holding him. Hamsters are prey animals, and as such are not comfy with being picked up. They’ll have an instinct of pulling away, or trying to escape. The key is making your hamster comfortable enough with you that he will allow you to pick him up. Once he is comfy with you, he does indeed like your touch. Hamsters can bond with their owners, though not all hammies do this. There are many personality aspects that need to be taken into account, and we’ll get right to it. Also keep in mind that once you’ve tamed your hamster, you’ll need to constantly handle him. Otherwise the bond can grow cold, and your hamster will need to be tamed again. About your furry friend’s personality and habits Let’s look at what the hamster goes through in the wild, so we can understand the pet hamster. After all, there isn’t much difference between wild hamsters and pet hamsters. They’ve only been with us for about a century so far, and rodents aren’t as easy to domesticate as dogs for example. In the wild a hamster will pretty much run for his life, all his life. He is hunted by almost every other animal that’s larger than him. He must hear and smell very well, and always be on alert. He even evolved to come out when his predators aren’t hunting. That being said, hammies have an instinct of being afraid of everything, and will run away or jump off if they feel threatened. Aside from all that, hamsters are solitary animals. Yes, some types of hamsters can live together, but only under certain conditions. They must be the exact same hamster type, siblings, never separated, and carefully watched. Even then, tensions come up, one is dominant, and sometimes bullying and fighting ensues. Best to keep them separated, even the Dwarf types. Now imagine a slightly grumpy, panicky, small animal, who likes being left alone, being comfy with two hands bigger than his own body picking him up. Even your first reaction would be to panic. Still, it’s possible to get your hamster to be comfortable with your big, human hands. It takes a lot of patience and consistency, but it’s totally doable. Important note, though: Even after you’ve made every effort to make your hammy comfortable, his personality is key here. If he’s a very independent, active hamster, he wont stay put. No matter how hard you try, your hamster can possibly be one of the independent types who would rather you put them down. Respect your hamster’s personality, and don’t force him into anything. My Teddy is like this. I’ve tried and tried again, with every trick and bribery I know, to get him to stay. He won’t stay in my hands for more than a few seconds at a time. There’s always something more interesting he has to see, and he’s just itching to go. He’s barely ever bitten me to let him go, and I doubt he’s stressed when I pick him up. He won’t come up on my hand, but he won’t object to me picking him up either. Bribing him with a bit of food works wonders though. Still, he’s a hamster of his own, and I love him the way he is. I’ve learned that not all hamsters are cuddly, and mine’s great just the way he is. Training your hamster to be comfortable with being held Whether your hamster will actually stay put in your hands or not, you can still train him. Hamsters are skittish, jumpy furballs, so of course they won’t stay for very long. Still, some might stay put in your hands. But in order for them to stay put, they first need to know your hand is a safe place, and they’re okay there. So let’s go through a few quick steps. This is part of the taming process, and you can find more info on taming your hamster here. Do keep in mind that the hamster can be tamed in a few days or a few weeks. It varies from hamster to hamster, and you need to give him time. Start small, but be consistent and patient with your hamster A hamster is a skittish at first, and he won’t trust you. This is why you need to start slow, and feed him bits of food through the cage bars at first. This is aside from his usual meals. Your hammy will come to know your scent, and your voice, and associate them with food. When the hamster is okay with your smell, you can start putting your hand in the hammy’s cage. Have a treat on your hand, and he will come close. He might not have the courage to touch you and get the food, but he will come close. Keep doing this until the hamster eventually touches your hand to reach the food. Keep things like that for a couple of days. Then you can place both hands inside the hamster’s cage. Place a bit of food on the hand farthest away from the hamster. This will make the hammy have to walk over the first hand to get to the food, and thus get used to being in both hands. Once your hamster is okay with all of these steps, you can move on to the next one. (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.) Graduate to lifting the hamster off the ground for a inch or so Once your hammy is okay with you, and your hands, you can place both hands on the floor of the cage and once he’s on them, lift them gently and slowly. Not much, just by an inch/2-3 cm or so. The lifting will possibly scare the hamster, so you might have to practice this for a longer time. Always keep the hamster off the ground only for a short amount of time, like 2-3 seconds. Once he’s okay with being held above the ground, you can practice cupping your hands over him. Again, only life the hammy an inch off the cage floor, and use the second hand to sort of cup/hold the hammy. Then put him back down after a couple of seconds. Your hamster need to get accustomed to being held, with both hands, and off the ground. Pick him up with cupped hands when you think he’s okay with it Once your hamster is okay with being held in cupped hands an inch of the ground, you can pick him up higher. This is probably a few days or weeks into his taming. So do not expect quick results. Once the hammy is okay with being picked up like this, he’s pretty much tamed. He might want to walk around, so you can use your hands as mobile platforms for him to walk on. Only do this very close to his cage, or right above his cage, in case the hamster jumps. Having a bit of food nearby to feed him while he’s in your hand is going to help him relax some more. Hamsters and affection – do they like it ? Alright, now your hamster’s tamed and can stay in your hands. At least for a few seconds. But does he like it ? Does he see it as a form of affection ? Well, yes, he does like affection. He’s not against it, but hamsters don’t show affection like most pets – cats and dogs for example. They’re not overly friendly or cuddly, and won’t seek you out for a hug. That being said hamsters that have bonded with their owners do like it when they’re cuddled. Any other hamster might find it as too touchy-feely. You can find out much more about whether hamsters like human affection here. And you’ll also find out a bit more about a hamster’s way of building relationships, and how he views other creatures, including you. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. Us hamsters do a lot of running around, but we do like being held by the person we trust. Only after a lot of taming though. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can read the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Eat Vegetables – What To Feed Your HammyDo hamsters eat veggies ? Do they even like them ? Did their mothers scold them because they didn’t eat their peas and broccoli ? Jokes aside, hamsters eating vegetables is a big topic, and a very important one when it comes to what you can safely feed your hamster friend. Table of Contents So do hamsters eat vegetables ?Hamsters can eat leafy greensSome kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamstersWhat veggies to never feed your hamsterCommercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sourcesCan vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ?How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggieA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat vegetables ? Yes, they do. Hamsters do eat vegetables, and they actually like them. In the wild hamsters forage for grains and vegetables, so that’s a large part of their diet. They do catch the occasional cricket or worm, but veggies and grains/seeds are the biggest part of their diet. Not all vegetables are safe for hamsters – you can find a list of safe and unsafe foods for your hammy here. We’ll cover the veggies your hamster can eat in this article, and the ones he should be kept away from as well. Hamsters can eat leafy greens This is what you will find most common for your hammy. Like spinach leaves, watercress, lettuce, kale, iceberg, arugula, even a bit of cabbage. Easy on the cabbage though, since it’s got a large fiber content which can upset your hamster’s stomach. I gave my Teddy (Syrian hammy) a whole cabbage leaf, to see what he would do. He just sat there, munching on it. I took it out after a few minutes, since it was much too large for him. Hamsters can eat lots of leafy greens. Pretty much whatever you put in your salad is fine for him as well. With a few exceptions, which we’ll cover in the rest of this article. Some kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamsters Some root types are okay for your hammy, like for example carrots are good. But watch out if you’ve got anything other than a Syrian hammy. The Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) are very small and need very very tiny pieces of carrots. They’re prone to developing diabetes, so it’s best to keep them away from sweet-ish veggies. The same goes for sweet potatoes and corn. Those, if you even feed your hammy, should always be boiled/cooked. Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin are all okay, although it’s best to cook the pumpkin before your give it to your hamster. All kinds of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus are alright for your hammy – but at least steamed. They have a high fiber content, even if it’s less than cabbage. Make sure you feed your hammy only the upper parts, like the heads or tips. The stalks are too tough for their stomachs. What veggies to never feed your hamster There are a few veggies you should keep you hammy away from. For example regular potato, especially raw, is not recommended. The same goes for eggplant, rhubarb, and celery. The same goes for most legumes like peas, beans, if they’re not cooked. Even if they are cooked, they should still be given in a very small amount. As in, only one single bean. They have a tendency to create gas and your hamster’s gut can’t handle that very well. Very acidic veggies are a no-go, like onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are a no-go. This is because the hamster’s stomach and gut does not react well to acidic foods, of any kind. The same goes for spices. Whatever you feed your hammy, make sure it’s never seasoned, not even with salt. It needs to be either boiled in plain water, or baked plain, by itself. No added oils, spices, sauces, or whatever you’d like to add to your own food. Commercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sources You can also feed your hamster a pre-made food mix that already has enough vitamins and fibers. This is what your hamster usually would find in the veggies you give him. Still, you can give your hammy a few vegetables aside from the commercial food mix. For example a food mix like this one has plenty of nutritional value for your hammy. It will keep you for a couple or months, or a bit more, depending on how much you feed him. I’d recommend 2 teaspoons/day for a Syrian hammy, and just 1 teaspoon for a Dwarf type. This mix, along with the occasional veggie from you, and maybe a bit of boiled egg white or piece of cooked chicken will give your hammy a very happy, balanced diet. You can check the listing on Amazon for this food mix, and read the reviews as well. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Can vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ? There’s times when your hamster will need to get his water from a very stable source. One that will not drip or spill over. For these times, like when you’re transporting your hamster to the vet, or you’re taking him somewhere, a couple of veggies will give your hamster enough water for a few hours. For more info on how to safely transport your hamster, you need to check out this article. You’ll find out how to transport him, as well as what kind of cage you need, and how to make sure he isn’t scared on the road. As for the kind of veggies your hamster can get water from, cucumber is the best option. It’s got a whole lot of water content, and a couple of slices, kept fairly cold, are going to provide your hamster with enough water for a few hours. You can substitute cucumber with some iceberg lettuce, which again has a very high water content. However those have a bit more fiber than cucumber, so do not rely on those entirely. How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggie Whenever you give your hammy a new food, of any kind, try it out in small pieces. So if you want to introduce carrot into your hamster’s diet for example. start this way. Give him a very small piece, about the size of your pinky finger’s nail. Make sure that is the only bit of new food he gets for 24 hours. You can still feed him his usual food, but do not give him more that a very small piece of the new food. After 24 hours, if you see he’s still well, has no wet stool, and is not lethargic, then you can introduce the new food in larger amounts. Do remember that the pieces of veggies you give your hammy should never be larger than an inch/2.5 cm. A word from Teddy I hope you know now if us hammies can eat different kinds of veggies. For example I love munching on a bit of carrot from time to time. And maybe your friend likes spinach leaves. If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on how large a cage we need, how much water we need in a day, and even why we sometimes eat our poop.... Read more...
- Complete Guide To Choosing Dwarf Or Syrian Hamster CagesThe hamster’s cage is the most important purchase you’ll ever make for your furry friend. I know I made some mistakes when I got my Teddy his first cage. And I’m here to help you get your hammy the best cage ever. My Teddy is a fully grown Syrian hamster, but I will also cover the cage requirements for dwarf hamsters as well. Table of Contents So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ?The best cage size for your hamsterCage size for Syrian hamstersCage size for Dwarf hamstersThe best cage type for your hamsterWire cages for hamstersA good wire cage for your hamsterPlastic cages for hamstersA good plastic hamster cage recommendationGlass tanks for hamstersA recommendation on glass tanks for hamstersSafety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cageHamster’s safety in his cageIs the hamster’s cage escape proof ?How to clean a hamster’s cageHow to place a hamster in a temporary holdingHow to clean wire or plastic cages for hamstersCleaning a glass tank for hamstersMultiple levels or one ground level ?The airflow of the cage is important for your hamsterPlacing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cageWhere to keep the hamster’s cage in your homeHow to safely move and handle a hamster’s cageA word from Teddy So how do you choose the best cage for a syrian or dwarf hamster ? This depends on several factors, and I’ll list them here. Then, we’ll get into detail for each and every one of them, so you have the most information. So, you have to be mindful of: The cage size – different needs for different hamster species The cage type – plastic vs wire vs glass tank Escape-proof rating of the cage Multiple levels or a simple ground level Air flow – some cage types aren’t the most breatheable Whichever kind of cage you get, be careful to check every nook and cranny before you buy it. Or, when it ships to you. Your hamster will check it anyway, so if there’s anything wrong with the cage, best to know before you put your friend in it. Teddy: Us hamsters are very curious creatures, and we’ll get our little faces into EVERY part of the cage. So make sure it’s safe for us before you let us in ! The best cage size for your hamster It will vary from species to species, but I’ll cover both types. In general hamsters need more space than you’d think, since they’re very active creatures and love to run around. Even if you see your friend as the smallest ball of fur, he will still need plenty of room to roam and explore. Cage size for Syrian hamsters The best size cage for your Syrian hamster would be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. The height of the cage is not very important, because hamsters need more actual floor space than levels. Of course, you can get your hammy a cage with a few levels, aside from the ground floor. This is actually what my Teddy has. He has a combination of plastic and wire cage, with 2 attachable levels. I left the highest level out of the cage, so I can fit his 8.5 inch/23 cm wheel. Syrian hamsters are always housed alone. They are very territorial and will not share anything with another hamster, even a litter mate. Cage size for Dwarf hamsters The best size for a dwarf hamster is 18 x 10 inches, and a 12 inch height. That’s 46 cm x 25.4 cm, with a 30.5 cm height. That is for one dwarf hamster. You can house dwarf hamsters together, but not too many. 2 or 3 are enough, but for each hamster your add, you will need a bigger cage. So for example if you’ve got 2 dwarf hamsters, then they will need more space than I said above. They will need at least a Syrian cage, so that’s 24 inches by 12 inches (61 x 30.5 cm) for 2 dwarf hamsters. If you’ve got 3 dwarf hamsters, then you’ll need a much bigger cage. You’d be better off looking for a glass tank. We’ll cover that soon. The best cage type for your hamster There’s 3 main types of cages you can pick, and I’ll go through all of them. You can find combination cages (like plastic and wire cages), but not very often. Wire cages for hamsters The most common kind of hamster cage, and the one you will find in a pet shop most of the time. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, and I’ll go through them here. This kind of cage is made up of a plastic bottom, usually about the height of your palm. The attachable wire walls, which are actually most of the cage itself. Although, the most important part is the bottom bit. That is where your hamster will live, walk, eat, sleep, and poo. The wire of the cage is just how far he can go. But the floor space is the most relevant part of your cage, to be honest. Good points for a wire cage: breathable, lots of air flow for your hamster easy to clean, just a wipe down with a warm, moist cloth easy to take apart and reassemble generally sturdy, will last a long time Bad points for a wire cage: can sometimes have metal wiring on the floor, and your hamster can get stuck there is the hamster’s favorite chew toy bedding can easily fly out of it wire spacing is often too large for hamsters, they can squeeze their heads through When it comes to the space between the wire of your cage, the smaller then better. The thing is, hamsters are very curious, and will stick their faces everywhere and will try chewing everything. If your hamster’s head can fit between the wires, then his body can fit as well and he can escape. So, for Syrian hamsters a maximum wire space should be 0.6 inches/1.5 cm. And for dwarf hamsters, a maximum of 0.4 inches/ 1 cm. The problems is that most of the cages your will find in a pet shop have the wiring too far apart. If they’re large enough for a Syrian, then the wiring is too far apart. If the wiring is good, they’re almost always just large enough for a parakeet, not a hamster of any kind. A good wire cage for your hamster A good wire cage is one that has a sensible wire spacing, This one’s got less than half an inch, so it will keep even dwarf hamsters inside. It’s easy enough to work with and you an fit any kind of hideout or toy inside, and a tall wheel will fit as well. It has the added benefit of an extra level, which hamsters will love. My Teddy loves to hide under the home level, and yours is probably no different. This one’s level is adjustable, so you can place it whichever way you want. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Plastic cages for hamsters These can be plastic bins that you can drill some holes in, and put a wire mesh in place of a lid. Or you can even find plastic cages at a pet shop, designed for your hamster. These are see-through, and are the second most common type of hamster cages. They’re usually a bit more pricey than wire cages, but they have the added benefit that they can be customized. Good points for plastic hamster cages: less bedding thrown outside the cage, contains poo and wood shavings better easier to customize, you can often find them with holes made for attaching tunnels and tubes less of a chew hazard, the hamster rarely chews on them since he can’t get his teeth on anything usually has a very large topside latch, so you can fit both hands inside the cage you can provide deeper bedding, since there is a higher plastic guard Bad points for plastic hamster cages: less airflow than wire cages or glass tanks, since the air holes are smaller more condensation or trapped air need more cleaning, since there is more surface to clean less sturdier than wire cages, careful when moving the plastic cages The plastic cages sound like a good option, and they can totally be a good option for your hamster. If you’ve got a hamster who loves to dig around and burrow, this might be for him. You can give your friend a lot of digging space and a whole bunch of bedding to roam around in. Just make sure that you get a version that’s well ventilated, so your hamster can breathe easily. As for the actual bins some people use in place of a hamster cage, I wouldn’t recommend that. The plastic is usually too soft and blurry, even if it can be drilled to get some air holes for your hamster. When it comes to basic, important hamster accessories like the cage or the wheel or exercise ball, or even the water bottle, I suggest you get a professional one. Those are made with the hamster’s comfort in mind. A good plastic hamster cage recommendation This is actually the cage I have for my Teddy. It has 2 levels, and they provide a lot of room for your hamster. My Teddy is a solitary adult Syrian hamster, But this would be alright for 2 dwarf hamsters as well. The best thing about this cage is that it comes with the tube attachments, which can actually fit an adult Syrian hamster inside easily. This is an easy to clean and assemble cage, with a great combo between plastic and metal cage advantages. There’s air, and there’s safety and containment as well. I removed the highest level so I can fit 9 inch wheel inside. The wheel that come with it, as well as the hideout I wouldn’t recommend, since they are plastic and small. You can check out the listing on Amazon here. Glass tanks for hamsters A third and final option would be to keep your hammy in a glass tank. This is a great option if you have a lot of space in your home, and can place la large glass tank somewhere. There are some special precautions, though. Glass keeps cold for longer, so make sure you keep the tank in a definitely warm room. Hamsters need an temperature of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit to feel comfortable. A glass tank might keep them colder if not properly maintained. Good points for a glass tank: you can get them in a very large size, and will definitely fit any kind of hamster you have can be split down the middle with a large bendy bridge if the hamsters become rowdy you can see your hammy, but he can’t kick out any bedding can be found quite easily, it can even be a glass shelf with the shelves removed Bad points for a glass tank: cleaning and changing the bedding will need serious planning and will take more time more sensitive to temperature shifts you can’t move it around like a normal cage; the room you keep it in is its final room The glass tank is a seriously good option if you’ve got a room to keep the hamster in, and it won’t bother you during the night, and you can keep it an even temperature. Glass tanks don’t have to be aquariums. They can be that, but you can also use a glass shelf/display rack. When cleaning day comes, you’ll probably need a bit of help from a friend with this. But if you’re a dedicated hamster owner, you probably won’t mind the extra trouble to give your hammy the best home ever. The best thing to do is to find a wire mesh that you can use as a lid, on the top of your hamster’s glass tank. This is just a precaution. Most glass tanks are too tall for hamsters to climb, but you never know until they’re out. A recommendation on glass tanks for hamsters You can find a good glass tank here. It’s a 20 gallon tank, and that’s about the minimum for a hamster’s glass tank. The best part about it is that it’s tall enough the hamster can’t escape, and you probably won’t need a wire mesh to cover the top. Best to get one, just to be sure, though. The cleaning and washing and drying will be a longer process than the other cage types, but you can see your hamster clearly. When it comes to glass anything, it’s best to go there personally and buy it. Glass breaks very easily so don’t be surprised if that happens during transport. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this glass tank here. Safety and escape-proof rating of the hamster cage Another important aspect when you choose the hamster’s cage is how safe it is for your hamster, and how well it can keep him contained. Hamster’s safety in his cage Your hamster’s cage is his home. This is where he will eat, sleep, poop, run around, and just live out his entire life. It needs to be a safe place for your hamster. So let’s look at a few precautions to take: check for any sharp edges your hammy could hurt himself on, like some stray wires or sides no chipped edges if you’re using a glass tank the seams/corners are safe and can’t be chewed on, and have no visible glue that the hamster can gnaw on if you’ve got a multi level cage, make sure the levels aren’t too high so he can’t fall too far give your hammy lots and lots of bedding to shield him from any odd edges make sure the cage fastenings don’t come open easily, and keep the cage top well secured If you’ve checked all of the above, and you’re sure your hammy can’t hurt himself on anything, then great ! Remember to keep the room temperature between 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit and he will be fine. Is the hamster’s cage escape proof ? Hamsters are escape artists. Not because they reaaaaally want to escape, but because they’re curious and want to know everything, If there’s something that smells like food, they’ll be all over the cage to try to get to it. If they see you they’ll be clawing at the cage to come and smell you. Hamsters are busy things, people to see, things to do. So they will try their teeth on everything, including the cage. If you’re not careful, he might chew through a cage fastening (depending on the material) and hurt himself and/or manage to escape. So let’s talk about what you can do to make sure your hamster can’t escape. if you’ve got a glass tank, use a wire mesh with metal clamps to fit it on top of the cage make sure the cage wiring and the wire mesh holes don’t have more than 1.5 cm/0.6 inch opening for Syrian hamsters for dwarf hamsters, make sure the opening between wires is no more than 1 cm/0.4 inches; Syrian hamster babies need smaller openings, like this one make sure that the cage fastenings keep the cage well closed and can’t be opened easily check the cage for any weakness that the hamster night chew on, like ripped plastic bottom or a small hole somewhere How to clean a hamster’s cage This depends a bit on what type of cage you own, but I’ll go through each type. Whichever kind you have, you must first place the hamster(s) somewhere else. So use an exercise ball, or transport cage, to keep the hamster while you clean he cage. How to place a hamster in a temporary holding If you can hold your hamster, then scoop him up and place him in his exercise ball or transport cage. If the hamster can’t be handled, then coax him into the exercise ball or transport cage with a bit of food he loves. He only has to stay there until you clean his cage. If you’ve put him in an exercise ball, make sure you keep an eye on him as well. Remove any and all toys and home and food bowls from the cage, until you only have the bedding. The cages are very simple, open the latches on the cage (usually on the side) and remove the top. Then, after you’ve removed everything but the bedding, look for soiled parts. If the bedding looks relatively clean and doesn’t smell, remove only the dirty parts. Use a rubber glove, and throw away the parts that need to be thrown away. Keep a bit of the old bedding and nesting material, for your hamster to feel more familiar. If you’re using a sand bath for your hamster, make sure you change and clean that as well. How to clean wire or plastic cages for hamsters As for the cage itself, it will need only hot water and a bit of soap. Small quantities of soap, since hamsters are very sensitive to smell. You can scrub the sides of the cage, or wipe them down, your choice. You can also bring the cage parts into the shower and give them a good cleaning there, just make sure your pat them dry with paper towels and especially the lower part. The bedding can get wet if you don’t, and will become moldy. Once you’ve washed and dried the cage, place the parts of the old bedding back onto the lower part of the cage. Put new bedding if you need to, until you reach a depth of about 1-2 inches/2.5-5 cm. Then, place back every toy and food bowl or accessory in the hamster’s cage. In his hideout, place the bits of the old nesting material, and some new nesting material in the cage. Do not place new nesting material directly in the hamster’s hideout. He will take it out anyway, and bring it back in as he thinks fit. My Teddy got quite annoyed when he found his hideout full of ripped up paper towel not the way he left it. Cleaning a glass tank for hamsters The bedding and toys need to be removed the same way as the wire or plastic cages. But the last bits of bedding will require something like a vacuum cleaner, to make sure you get absolutely everything out. The cleaning and washing part is done with hot water and a small amount of soap, but will need more rinsing with a moist clean cloth. You can’t bring the glass tank to the shower, but you can rinse it thoroughly with lots and lots or moist cloth. When you’re done washing it, dry very well with paper towels. If you want to be extra sure there are no hidden water droplets in the corner, use a blow dryer. Keep it a safe distance from the glass, at least 40 cm/16 inches and use a warm setting. After you’re done washing and drying the glass tank, place back the bedding and nesting material, with bits of old bedding and nesting material as well. Place the toys and hideout and everything back, and use this as an excuse to maybe redecorate the hammy’s place. Even if the glass tank is a glass one, do now use window washing liquid on it. The alcohol and strong smell will be harmful for the hamster, just stick to hot water. Multiple levels or one ground level ? This is entirely up to you, and the hamster will enjoy both. The thing is that hamsters need a lot of leg room, because they run and climb and explore new places. If you’re looking for a hamster cage that will give your hamster a lot of space, look for a low cage, with lots of space in width and length. This will take up a lot of actual floor space in your home. So, it depends on your home as well. If you choose a multi-level cage, you do give your hamster more room, and he will use the higher levels as well. He will hangout mostly around his hideout, so make sure you put that somewhere he will not fall far from. For example my Teddy has a multiple level cage. I took out the last level so I can fit his wheel inside, but Teddy uses all the space he has. When I gave him the extra level, he used that one too. A word of caution though. Hamsters can’t judge heights very well, so they will jump or fall from a high ground if they think it’s a shortcut. My Teddy is also plain silly and just forgets he has a nice ramp set up from his upper level to the ground level. He sometimes just jumps from the upper level (like 15 cm/6 inches) to the ground floor. He often just climbs up instead of using that ramp. That’s okay, he’s working out quite well. So if you get your hamster a multi-level cage, make sure your give the levels lots of bedding. And also, make sure the levels overlap a little, so he can’t jump too far down. This is because hamsters will use the actual floor of the levels as much as they can, so there is no point if giving them a ‘high ceiling’ type of cage. Hamsters spend most of their time on all 4 feet, and don’t need a lot of vertical space to stand. Just make sure that a large exercise wheel (9 inches/23 cm and upwards) will fit into the type of cage you have. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The airflow of the cage is important for your hamster As with every living being, air is important. Stale air will give your hamster a lot of health issues, including lung problems, possible colds, and suffocation in extreme cases. To make sure your hamster gets lots of air, a wire cage is best. But to make sure the hamster won’t chew the bars, you need a plastic cage or glass tank. But with the plastic cage the air quality is often a problem. However a glass tank is often expensive. So what should you do ? Take a look at your budget, see which kind of cage you can provide your hamster and still be okay. Then, do the following: If you get a wire cage – keep it in a corner, away from drafts and in an even temp of 20-23 Celsius/68-75 Fahrenheit If you get a plastic cage – place the hamster in his exercise ball more often, and use that time to air out the plastic cage If you’ve got a glass tank, the air will be sufficient but again keep it from drafts, and when the hamster is outside the cage remove the wire mesh to allow for more air If you hamster’s cage isn’t properly aired, the condensation and air quality will give him health problems, and we want to avoid that. This is especially important with the ammonia fumes from the hamster’s pee. Protect your hamster’s cage from drafts and any especially cold air. Placing toys and hideouts in the hamster’s cage The hideout is where your hamster will spend most of his time. Place that in a corner, hidden from sight or at least under a bendy bridge or something similar. Hamsters will choose a very hidden and safe spot to build their nest, so put their hideout there. For example my Teddy often uses the most hidden corner of his cage to eat, under the upper level and blocked by paper tubes and bedding. To find out more about what kind of hideout is best for your hamster, as well as which kind of bedding is safe for him, check out my article. You’ll also find out what nesting material is okay, and how to take care if your hamster’s hideout. As for the toys and wheel, make sure you keep any tall toys away from the glass tank’s edge otherwise the hamster might climb out. The wheel can be anywhere in the cage, but make sure it fits into your cage. If it’s a mounted wheel, it will have to be attached to the side of the cage. A standing wheel can be placed anywhere. You can find my article on what kind of exercise wheel your hamster needs, according to his size as well. You’ll also find out how to clean and acre for the exercise wheel, and how to acclimate him to one. The toys, whether they’re food bowls or chew toys or bendy bridges can be put anywhere. Anywhere in the cage is fine, as long as they’re not in the pee corner. Hamsters usually choose a corner to pee in, usually the farthest away from their hideout. So, in that particular corner I put Teddy a sand bath. It acts as a litter box, and it keeps smell down to a minimum. You can use an old hideout, with a removable lid, or even special sand containers. Your choice, as long as you put something there to contain the sand. Other toys, like the chew toys and climb toys you can find out more about here. You’ll learn about the kind of toys your hamster needs, and what to look for to figure out which he likes the most. And you’ll get some DYI ideas for some of them as well ! Where to keep the hamster’s cage in your home This is something you’ll have to think about for a few minutes, see where the best option is. Best not to move the hamster’s cage often. Hamsters are sensitive, and do notice and wake up when you move their cage. It won’t shock or scar them for life, but they do notice. That being said, I do move my Teddy’s cage every day, because of my apartment’s layout. During the day when he sleeps he is in our bedroom, and I never move him. But at night, before I go to bed, I move him to the kitchen where my girlfriend can’t hear him rummaging through his cage. Hamsters rarely make noise, and they’re very quiet by nature, but she’s a light sleeper. In the morning, we take him back to the bedroom and don’t disturb him for the rest of the day. Now, if you’ve got an apartment with a better setup than I do, figure out a place to keep him at all times. It’s best if it’s a room where he can’t be bothered by other pets or curious children when he sleeps. If you have a room for the hamster alone, then you can probably get him a glass tank (not taking the budget into account) since it will stay in one place. The room you keep your hamster in needs to be free of drafts, with an even temperature. Do not place the cage in direct sunlight, or near a heat source. How to safely move and handle a hamster’s cage The cage should not be moved often, but there will be times when you must do this. When this does happen, make sure you do not grab the cage by the top part, at all. Even if it has a nice handle to hold, do not trust it. Most of those are poorly build and will not hold that weight. Do not hold the wiring, since your fingers can become stuck, and the hamster will possibly chew them as well. If you’ve got a long sleeve shirt, keep the sleeves or any shirt part away from the wire cage wall. If possible, try not to bump the cage into the wall or drop it. Avoid taking it up and down the stairs, since you won’t see very well. Even more important, if the hamster is still inside the cage. In these situations use a transport cage for the hamster, and empty the large cage to hold it in an way you can see in front of you. When picking up the cage, pick it up by the lowest part of the bottom. Make sure your thumbs don’t stick into the cage or the hamster might nibble and you might drop him. When placing the hamster’s cage down on the floor, do not bend over, but kneel. This is easier on your back, and safe for the hamster as well. A word from Teddy I hope you have a clear idea of what kind of home us hamsters need now. There are difference between hammies like me (Syrian hamsters) and dwarf hamsters, but we’re more alike than different. Us Syrian hamsters need larger cages, and dwarf hamsters can do with smaller ones, but always add more space for each new hamster. For example my dwarf brothers and sisters can be housed together, in same sex pairs. But I need to be alone, I don’t like sharing my space or toys or… well, anything. If you want to know more about hamsters in general, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out more about why we eat our poop, and how much water we need as well !... Read more...
- Ultimate Guide to Breeding Dwarf HamstersIf you own hamsters, you must know that you can actually make money off of breeding hamsters and selling their young. Or maybe you’re just looking to expand your group of rodents. Whatever the reason may be, you can definitely breed your hamsters. All rodents, including hamsters, breed like crazy and it doesn’t take long for them to make babies. Hamsters make for cute little furry pets, but breeding them needs to be a careful process, as pregnancy for any species is dangerous for both the mother and the child or children. This isn’t a decision to make lightly, as you need to carefully consider your hamster’s health before you decide to take this step. You also have to decide what you’ll do with the babies that are the result of breeding. Even if you haven’t planned on breeding your hamsters, you may find that your female is pregnant, and you need to know what to do. That’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article. Today, we will be tackling the subject of breeding dwarf hamsters, teaching you all the important ins and outs of that process. You will be learning what to expect, how often do these hamsters go in heat, how long are they pregnant for, how many babies should you expect, how to know when your hamster is ready to mate, how to breed Dwarf hamsters, and a few other things, as well. Without further ado, let’s get started! Table of Contents Are Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners?How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat?How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate?How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters?How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For?How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have?Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Are Dwarf Hamsters Good for Beginners? It’s difficult to actually define good when it comes to hamster breeding. The truth is, unless you’re looking for a specific breed of hamsters, the differences between hamsters are really arbitrary. Dwarf hamsters certainly aren’t any more difficult to take care of than any other breed of hamster, and they’re not any more difficult to breed than any other breed of a hamster. The only breed of hamster that’s actually more difficult to breed is Syrian hamsters. Dwarf hamsters are actually among the breeds that are very easy to breed. What you should know is that if you’re looking to breed hamsters just to sell them to a pet shop – you’re likely not going to succeed. Pet shops usually have their own list of suppliers, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be making that list since most of these suppliers have whole compounds devoted to hamster breeding. However, if you’re looking to be a small, local breeder or you want to give hamsters as presents to your friends and family, then breeding hamsters can be a good idea. And breeding Dwarf hamsters aren’t any more difficult than breeding any other breed of hamsters. There are many things that you’re going to have to be careful about, and we’ll be covering that in this whole article. But, breeding hamsters isn’t exactly difficult and anyone with a cage and a male and a female hamster can do it. When you’re trying to breed hamsters, you’re going to want to get a male and a female from the pet shop, or from whoever your supplier is. You can also buy your hamsters from a breeder, this may be an even better option since you’ll have a greater choice when choosing colors and types. You also get the breeding history of the hamsters. At a pet shop, you will often find siblings or hybrid breed hamsters that are less desirable for breeding. Pet shop workers may also have a difficult time telling the difference between male and female hamsters. You have to decide what kind of hamster you want and what you’re looking to achieve. Always look for hamsters that are in good health. Their eyes should be clear and bright, their fur smooth and glossy, and they should look active and interested in their surroundings. Hamsters are wildly active animals, and it’s very unusual for a hamster to be disinterested in their surroundings. When choosing your hamsters, you’re going to need a male and a female. You should check their genitalia to make sure that you’ve picked up the proper animal. This can be tricky since hamsters are so furry. Usually, the testicles and anus are far apart for the male, while the genitalia and the anus are really closely together with the females, so much so that it almost looks like it’s the same thing. You can check this below the tail, between the hind legs. Males should be at least 30 days old, while females should be at least three months old. Don’t try to breed your hamsters before they reach this age. The next thing you’re going to want to do is to prepare the breeding area for the hamsters. This means buying cages – you’re going to need two cages. You should always buy plastic aquarium cages, not wire cages. Hamsters will always try to escape, instinctively, and small hamsters that are still babies can easily crawl through the wires of a metal cage – plastic cages are definitely the way to go here. Put one hamster in each cage and fill the bottom with wood shavings, megazorb, or carefresh. Sawdust is no good – it can get into the hamsters’ eyes and affect their breathing. Avoid cedar or pine shavings because the wood bears natural chemicals harmful to your hamsters’ lungs. You should also get a small plastic or wood home for your hamster, and fill that with wood shavings, as well. You also have to buy a wheel for both of your hamsters (understand that they’ll be in separated cages until it’s time to mate, and they’ll be separated once again after mating). It’s vital that your hamsters can stay active, as they’re very energetic animals that get stressed out if they can’t spend that energy – this unfortunate occurrence would definitely not benefit your breeding plans. Also, buy two water bottles, two hamster food bowls, several packs of hamster food, treats, and toys. You should definitely move the female’s cage to a calmer area after breeding, and you should give the female extra bedding for nest building material. It’s important to feed your hamster properly, and that’s why it’s best to feed it with a hamster mix. You can also feed them fresh food, seeds, whole grains, fresh green vegetables, and boiled eggs. After the mother has given birth, you should supply her daily with a slice of bread soaked in cow’s skim milk. You should keep doing this until the babies reach four weeks of age. You shouldn’t disturb your hamsters when you take them home – give them a few days to adjust to the environment. This move is very stressful for them and you don’t want to stress them out before they have to breed. Don’t try handling your hamsters before they’ve spent at least two days in your home. How Often Do Dwarf Hamsters Go into Heat? Hamsters breed like crazy, we’ve already said that. All rodents, actually, can breed very quickly and before you know it, you have a huge family of hamsters on your hands. Male hamsters reach their sexual maturity when they’re 28 days old, while it takes female hamsters three to four months (depending on the individual) to mature sexually, and from that point onwards – the female will enter heat roughly every 4 days. Since hamsters are mostly nocturnal animals, a female will go into heat during the night and it will most likely be in heat for about 12 hours. How Do You Know When Your Hamster Is Ready to Mate? When it comes to the males, they’re basically ready to mate after being alive for a month, and they can mate at any time. However, to tell if the female is in heat and ready to mate, you have to pay attention to signs. Hamsters, ironically, act very similarly to cats when they’re in heat. The female will be crouching low to the ground and raising its tail. The hamster is also likely to smell, as the female is releasing pheromones. It’s important to tell that your female is actually in heat because trying to breed your hamsters when your female isn’t in heat can be very dangerous – the female is most likely going to kill the male in self-defense, as it doesn’t want to breed. When you’re trying to breed your hamsters, it would be smart to put the cages one near the other for a few days – just so the hamsters can get to know one another and to let the pheromones do their job. How to Breed Dwarf Hamsters? Now, to breed your hamsters, you’re going to want to place them into one cage together, preferably the male’s cage, and only do that after recognizing signs of heat. Since hamsters are nocturnal, it’s best to do this in the evening. It’d be best to have a third cage, just for mating, as this is seen as some sort of neutral territory, but putting the female into the male’s cage is just as fine. If you do the opposite and put the male in the female’s cage she may get territorial and kill the male. If you see your hamsters fighting when you try to mate them, separate them and try again in a few days. However, if your hamsters aren’t fighting, feel free to keep the female in the male’s cage until they’ve mated. Dwarf hamsters are actually quite sociable, unlike Syrian hamsters, so you can keep them in the same cage. If you place the mating pair together without supervision, the female will become pregnant quickly. Evidence of a female’s first mating is blood near her genitalia, under her tail. You will also find a white substance on your female hamster’s vagina. This is called the copulatory plug, and it’s proof that the male has released sperm. This is definite proof that your hamsters have mated. You should definitely isolate the female from the male as soon as the breeding is over with. There are many hamsters that will take care of their babies, but some hamsters will attack and kill them. This can happen for several reasons, for example; even the mother may kill their babies. This happens if a human has touched the babies and the scent of the human stays on the baby, the mother doesn’t recognize it, and it kills its babies to protect the others. We’ll go deeper into this topic later on. It’s best to be on the safe side and remove the male for the duration of the gestation and birth. The female will also be in heat immediately after giving birth, and the male will want to breed with her. This can be incredibly dangerous and often lead to the female’s death. How Long Are Dwarf Hamsters Pregnant For? After this, all that remains to do is wait, as the bus pretty much drives itself at this point. You need to be patient and watch the progress, and make sure that you’re taking proper care of the hamsters. If your female is pregnant, she will start showing within a few days, and saddlebags will appear on each side when she’s ready to give birth. When she’s reaching that point, she’s going to build a nest in her pregnancy by gathering bedding material into one location. She will start eating more and grooming more. She will also be digging more, as well as becoming more restless and startling more easily. Restlessness means that she will start to wander around her cage with no apparent reason for that, she’ll be gathering more and more food. This period lasts anything from 18 to 30 days, depending on the hamster. Dwarf hamster gestation is between 18 and 30 days, but the average time from mating to birth is 21 days. The Roborovski Dwarf hamster’s gestation usually lasts for a full month. This basically means that you’re going to have babies about three weeks after placing a female and a male in the cage together. The female will go in heat 24 hours after having her pups. You’ll notice that she’s going into labor by her sides starting to heave – small, pink bodies will start to emerge. Hamster babies are born blind and bald. She’ll actually be giving birth to them while she’s moving around the cage. Then, she’ll pick her babies up in her mouth and take them back to her nest. Don’t try to help the birthing process in any way. Firstly, there’s absolutely nothing you can do to help the hamster give birth more easily. Secondly, it’s already painful and stressful enough as it is, the hamster doesn’t need a giant hand waving around her cage. How Many Babies Do Dwarf Hamsters Have? You should expect four to six babies, that’s the average size of a Dwarf hamster’s litter. Although, there are cases where the mother has given birth to as few as three and to as many as twelve babies, so be prepared for all scenarios. Once the mother has given birth, you have to pay special attention not to disturb her. Do not touch any babies that she might leave lying around her cage. If you for some reason must touch the baby, rub a spoon into the flooring of the cage, and touch the baby with the spoon, do not touch the baby with your bare hands. You should also let the mother nurse for her young for three weeks without disturbing her. You shouldn’t even be cleaning the cage during this time. Leave her, the cage, and her babies alone – the only thing you should do is refill her food and water supply, and you should try to do this discreetly, as well. This is especially important for the first-time mother, who under stress, has been known to kill and even eat her babies. Don’t think that the mother is eating her babies if you see that she’s putting them into her mouth – she’s just doing this because she’s trying to protect them. The mother will be very jumpy after birth, so you should avoid touching the nest for at least three weeks after the babies have been delivered. If you desperately need to clean a part of the cage, use a spoon to do it, but we have to stress that it’s really not important that the cage is clean during this time. Be very careful to avoid the nest. Every time you’re restocking the food supply and the water supply – completely refill it. This way, you won’t have to return too often. You should wait for four weeks before trying to separate the male babies from the female babies. The males will be sexually matured at this age, not to mention that they’ll be eating on their own, so you should definitely remove them from their sisters as you want to stop inbreeding. Rodents don’t have any problems with incest, so they’re likely to try to breed with their own sisters if you don’t remove them quickly enough. You can keep the females in the cage with the mother since Dwarf hamsters are milder than some other breeds. However, do not place the males with the father – the father will reject male babies (as many species do), so you should place them in a separate cage when they are weaned. They take three weeks to wean, but let them live with their mother for another week to get adjusted to eating solid food. The babies will begin drinking water at 13-15 days of age and eating food between 16-21 days – after this period has passed, they’re showing you the first signs of being old enough to be separated. During this period, you’ll want to keep the food bowl and the water bottle accessible to the babies, as sometimes the water bottle can be set too high and the babies might not be able to reach it. When you’re separating your babies, you’re going to have to be able to tell their sex. To do this, take a hamster and grasp it firmly around the body and lift it upright and tilt its body slightly backward. The hamster will not appreciate this, and it will struggle to get out of this position. However, you shouldn’t worry as you definitely aren’t hurting your hamster. Take a look at the genital area – the females have the genital opening and the anus close together, while the males have the genital opening separated from the anus by a distance approximately equal to your forefinger. If the babies are more than five weeks old, you can tell their sex even more easily, as the males’ testicles will fall down to the edge of the body forming two distinct pale pink lumps on each side of the anus. Do Hamsters Kill Their Babies? Yes, there are instances in which a hamster (be it the mother or the father) will kill their own babies. There are many reasons for which a hamster might kill their own babies: – the mother may feel stressed if you constantly keep checking on her and her litter. We’ve already mentioned that you should really leave the mother alone after she’s given birth – aside from feeding her and ensuring that she has water, you shouldn’t be disturbing the mother. This can cause her stress levels to rise and kill her young. Hamsters are very scared as a species (this applies to all hamsters, not just Dwarf hamsters), and it’s very easy for them to get stressed out. It’s normal that a hamster that’s just become a mother will already be under enough stress, and a giant human being annoying her is definitely not going to help with that. – her personal space is too small, and the babies are taking up too much space in a cage that’s too tiny. This can also happen if the cage you’ve purchased isn’t large enough. Baby hamsters can take up too much space and the mother sees no other escape other than killing them to provide more space. This may seem brutal, but hamsters find space to be very important – even if they don’t have any babies, hamsters will get stressed out if their cage is too small. Many times, you’ll witness two hamsters in the same cage fighting because there’s not enough space for both of them, sometimes even killing one another. – she is hungry after giving birth. This sounds unlikely to some, but the mother can be so starved after giving birth that she kills and eats her young. She may also kill them, but not eat them if she’s stressed from birth and from being hungry. – the mother accidentally killed the young while carrying them in her cheeks. This is actually a common occurrence in the hamster world – the mother will try to carry the young to the house or put them in her cheeks to protect them from outside factors. She can accidentally squeeze too hard and kill the baby or babies. – biting her young too hard when she’s carrying them – while carrying her young, a mother needs to bite down a bit to ensure that her babies don’t shake and aren’t thrown around her mouth. She can accidentally bite down a little too hard and crush her young. – the mother may think that there’s something wrong with her babies. If the mother suspects that her babies are sick or that there’s something physically wrong with them, she’ll kill her babies. Maybe out of mercy, maybe because this is the evolutionary way of survival of the fittest, but the mother will be getting rid of any offspring that seems to be faulty in any way (by her standards). – she can’t recognize their scent. This is a terrible way to go as it isn’t the mother’s fault, but if you touch the babies, you’ll leave your scent on their bodies and the mother won’t be able to recognize the babies. She won’t think that they’re hers, and she’ll kill them. That’s why you should never touch the babies, and never let anyone else touch them either. – the father can kill the babies, as well. This is actually fairly common in the animal kingdom, as the male will often see the newborns as competition and kill the young. That’s why you should always separate the male from the female and the babies, as soon as the babies are born.... Read more...