Hamsters vs Guinea Pigs – Take It From Someone Who Owns Both

If you’re aching for a pet but can’t decide between a guinea pig or a hamster, let me help you. I have a Syrian hammy, and 2 guinea piggies and believe me, there are some very important differences between them.

In this article we’ll look at the main differences between them, and how much they both impact your life, so you can take a very well informed decision. If you’d like to know what would happen if you were to raise a hamster with a guinea pig in the same cage, you should read this article.

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Deciding between a guinea pig or a hamster

That one is completely up to you. Decide after you’ve read this entire article, and see which would be best for you.

I got a hamster at first, a Syrian male named Teddy. About a year and a half later, we got two piggies from a friend who did not have the time to look after them anymore. We’ve named them Jessi and Ka, because my piggies when I was young were named Jessica (both of them).

So I’ve come to know some clear differences between hamsters and guinea pigs, and some common grounds as well. But let’s start with the basics.

A quick rundown on hamsters

Hamsters are nocturnal/crepuscular animals, and will sleep most of the day away. Their diet is made of mostly grains, with some fruits, veggies, meat, and nuts added to the equation.

They need fairly large cages ( 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.) and certain conditions to live in. Hamsters are solitary animals, even if you’ve seen some people keep pair of hamsters in the same cage.

There are 5 types of hamsters:

  • The Syrian hamster, the largest one and with the most coat color variations
  • The Roborovski Dwarf, the tiniest of the Dwarf types – only 2 inches/5 cm
  • The Campbell Dwarf
  • The Djungarian/Winter white Dwarf
  • The Chinese Dwarf

You’ll rarely find all 5 types of hamsters in a pet shop, but you might find 2-3 types at a time. Syrians are the most common hamster you can get as a pet.

The average hamster’s lifespan is  2-3 years. The Chinese Dwarf has the shortest lifespan, around 1.5-2 years, while the Robo Dwarf can live up to 4 years.

A quick overview of guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are larger than hamsters, about 20-25 cm/8-10 inches long and with a very wide array of colors. Some are shorthaired, some have long hair, some have swirls in their fur as a pattern, but their personalities do not vary from one fur type to another

Guinea pigs live in herds, one male leading a groups of females. With pet piggies this is not wise, unless you’re looking to breed them.  Pet piggies are usually kept in all male or all female herds, and if males are ever kept with females the male is spayed.

Their usual diet is made of timothy hay, along with leafy greens, some root-type veggies, and the occasional fruit.

Guinea pigs have an  average lifespan of 6-8 years, though there have been piggies that lived over 10 years, so getting a piggie is a commitment.

For the most part guinea pigs are neither nocturnal nor diurnal. Instead, they sleep in patches throughout the day, and have a certain sleep schedule you’ll be able to observe after a few weeks.

Different temperaments between the two pets

Both the hamster and the guinea pig are prey animals. They’re both skittish and both need some time before they’re comfy with you picking them up. Sometimes they’re never okay with that.

But the common grounds stop there. There are many differences between hamsters and guinea pigs. When it comes to which would make the best pet for you, you need to take those into account.

About the guinea pig’s personality

Guinea pigs are herd animals. As such, they’re much more social and laid back than a hamster, who is a solitary animal. In fact, keeping a guinea pig alone is  a terrible idea, even if you’re always there to play with her.

The company of another piggie can’t be replaced with human interaction, simply because we don’t understand piggies as well as another piggy. So, guinea pigs do well in groups or at least pairs.

They can have varying personalities, the piggies themselves. Some are more outgoing, curious, and might come to check you out. others will shy away and rarely leave their huts if they know you’re there, even after taming them.

Some will be relaxed and won’t protest when you pick them up, some will try their hardest to get out of your hands.

Piggies rarely ever bite, even when they’re stressed. They can bite, yes, but they’re very docile and will avoid doing this most of the time.

It varies from piggy to piggy. The one we have, Ka is a bit more outgoing, and is okay with being held, while Jessi hides most of the time. They don’t really get along and need 2 separate cages, but they talk to each other a lot.

Another thing about a piggy’s personality and temperament, they are easier to bond with a young piggy. So if you’ve got an adult piggy, and bring in a young one, the young one will learn from the old one and become submissive.

To even things out, it’s best to always get both or all the piggies young, and introduce them as youngsters so they can grow together and form their own relationship.

Guinea pigs actually become depressed if they’ve got no friends, even if they do have human company. This is another reason to never keep a lone piggy.

About the hamster’s personality

A hamster, on the other hand, is very territorial. He has his own things, and will not share them with anyone. Putting two hamsters together is generally a bad idea, even the Dwarf types. While they may tolerate each other, they usually end up fighting and need to be separated.

Hamsters are also skittish and will try to run away or hide when you try to interact with them. But they can be tamed, at least a bit, to know that you’re no danger to them.

They have no problem biting you if you handle them wrong, or they feel threatened. For example my Teddy is a bit of a Rambo type, always curious, will fight anything (even a toilet paper roll) if it gets too close, and doesn’t really like to be held for more than 3 seconds.

Some hamsters are a bit more tame, for example a family friend had a hamster named Oscar. He was the tamest, most relaxed hammy, and he let anyone hold him.

The thing is hamsters are not very cuddly creatures, and won’t seek out your hugs and scratches on their own. Maybe a few select will, but as a whole this is something they learn to associate with food, and nothing more.

Kid-friendly or quiet home ?

Another important aspect, and a possible deal breaker for many people out there. If you’ve got children, or other small pets, the a hamster is the worst idea ever.

This is because hamsters are very sensitive to everything – the room temperature, the noise level, the light level, drafts, being picked up wrong, being held too long, a sick person, and so on. Guinea pigs are sensitive too, but much less than hamsters.

A hamster can get stressed very easily and develop an entire host of illnesses based on stress. A curious cat or a barking dog can be too much for the hamster, and kids continuously prodding at their cage can be very stressful.

A guinea pig on the other hand is more relaxed. They don’t like being woken up and put on display either, but they react much less negatively than a hamster, and they recover pretty quickly.

For kids I think a guinea pig is the best choice, instead of a hamster. I’d recommend a hamster only to quiet, patient, calm people who have time at night to tame and play with the hamster.

A rowdy home with many pets and young children is not recommended for piggies, nor for hamsters.

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these are the two newcomers, Jessi and Ka. they’re a year and half old.

Feeding requirements for hamsters and guinea pigs

Both the guinea pig and the hamster have very specific feeds. While a hamster could steal anything the piggy would eat (except the hay), a piggy couldn’t eat much of the hamster’s food.

There is also the question of how often to feed them, and how much.

For Syrian hamsters 2 teaspoons of commercial food mix is enough, daily. The Dwarf types only need one teaspoon. Much of the food will be hoarded for later snacks.

Guinea pigs, on the other hand, need a fresh supply of timothy hay, available at all times, in endless amounts. Commercial food mix should be given 2 tablespoons per piggy, daily.

So on short, you’re going to feed the piggy more often, and in larger quantities. There always needs to be a hay bag on hand, to re-stock their hay pile. Both Jessi and Ka go through about 3-4 fistfuls of hay, each, per day.

Both guinea pigs and hamsters can be fed various treats that are already in your pantry or fridge. Fresh fruit and veg are favorites, a few examples include:

  • guinea pigs – raw bell pepper, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, small slice of apple
  • hamsters – cucumber, carrots, peanuts (unsalted, shelled), plain cooked chicken

While the hamster will pick up all the food in his food bowl and store it in his nest for later use, a guinea pig does not. Piggies pretty much mess with their food and it ends up all over the cage.

For example ours put a paw inside their bowls and tip them over to get to the feed. If we put the feed directly on their bedding, half of it ends up forgotten in the bedding.

Exercise and floor time for guinea pigs and hamsters

This is a very big difference between hamsters and guinea pigs. They both need exercise, and will run around pretty much all their waking time. But, they do it differently.

Hamster exercise and running routine

Hamsters are famous for their running wheels and exercise balls. We’ve all seen or at least heard of a hammy running as far as his little feet can take him, all night long.

Given their small size, agility, and how hard they are to catch in general (especially if lost), hamsters aren’t let outside their cage often. In fact, the only way a hamster can spend time outside his cage is inside his exercise ball. This keeps things safe for everyone involved.

Even then, they should not be kept in the ball for more than 30 minutes at a time. They will need water, a quick snack, and they will probably need their pee corner as well.

Most of the hamster’s exercise is done inside the cage. This means that whatever running wheel you end up getting your hamster, it better be sturdy. He will use it every night, for hours on end, pretty much all his life.

Hamsters can get bored very easily if they’ve got no way to expend all that energy. Many times this can lead to chewing the cage bars, or even trying to escape.

Some people decide to let their hammy roam free in a hamster-proof room. This means that the room needs to have no hidden corners, or furniture that the hamster can get under, behind, into or between (hamsters are ridiculously good at this), and have no exposed surfaces that can harm them. Or that the hamster can harm, like a power strip cable, or charger for example.

If you decide to let your hamster have floor time, have a good plan to catch him. Baiting him with food into his cage or exercise ball usually helps.

Guinea pig exercise and floor time

Guinea pigs are fairly different from hamsters in this respect. They need plenty of exercise too, but it’s a bit hard for them to get a good wheel, and an exercise ball is not a good idea.

The main reason is that both a ball and an wheel need to be very large in order for the piggy’s back to be straight. Most people don’t have room for such a large wheel in their home, let alone the piggy’s cage.

So that leaves the guinea pig owner with two choices: get a very very large cage, and/or supplement it with lots of floor time. Now, even if you do have a very large cage for the guinea pig, it’s probably not enough.

This is because they need to be able to roam as much as they like, at all times. As large as a cage can be, it just isn’t enough and becomes repetitive.

Some people dedicate an entire room to the piggies. That room is guinea-pig proofed, meaning the floor is easy to clean (piggies pee and poop incredibly often), there is no furniture the pig can chew on,  there are several huts/hideouts the pigs can use, and they are well contained.

If you’ve got the spare room for that, it would be a great treat for your piggies, giving them so much space all for themselves.

But, if you’ve only got the cage, you will need to improvise with floor time. This means that a certain patch of a room you designate will have to be guinea pig proofed.

News paper lining on the floor, a small wire fence to keep them inside their enclosure, food and a hideout or two to cuddle in, and lots of running around.

Giving your guinea floor time will greatly reduce their boredom levels and will keep them happy and bouncy.

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

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Cage requirements are very different between the two

Alright, we’ve just talked about the exercise and floor time/free roam requirements. This means that their cages need to be very large in order to keep them happy and not stressed.

For hamsters the absolute minimum is 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 he will do great in a larger cage than that. Dwarf hamsters can make do with smaller cages, but I’d recommend getting them a Syrian sized one as well.

The problem is that most people don’t really have the space for a cage larger than that, so they end up with the minimum.

Guinea pig cages do come in large sizes, and in fact the minimum is 110 by 60 cm/43 by 23.5 inches, for one guinea pig. Since guinea pigs should be kept in pairs you will need a cage almost double that size for both of them.

Many people opt to make their cages C&C style – corrugated plastic and cubes. It’s basically a plastic bottom cage, which can be adjusted as much as you would like, with wire mesh as a fence to keep the piggies in.

Most of these cages can be handmade, as long as you have the proper materials. They’re usually found at hardware stores, or building supply stores.

Unfortunately hamsters can’t live in a C&C cage, since the spacing is too large for them, and they will easily escape. A guinea pig is large enough that the C&C cage will keep her in.

Bedding, nests, and objects in their cage

Both hamsters and guinea pigs need toys and some basic objects in their cage. Both can live well enough with paper-based bedding, or aspen shavings.

Neither of them tolerates dust, and they have sensitive noses. Pine and cedar shavings or toys should be avoided.

A hamster will need a hideout, in which to build his nest. So does a guinea pig, but she is not as attached to her hideout as the hamster. While the hamster will build his base and make it an impenetrable fortress, the guinea pig will switch between multiple hideouts. This means that yes, she will need many places to hide.

Both the hamster and the guinea pig need wood-based objects to chew on. Their teeth always grow, even if they’re not both rodents (guinea pigs are caviidaes, or cavies for short). They need to constantly file down their teeth, in order to keep them in check and avoid dental problems.

In the same vein, both hamsters and guinea pigs need toys in their cages to stave off boredom. Bored piggies and hamsters can get restless, start chewing the bars, try to escape, and even get depressed.

They both need food bowls, simply because scatter-feeding them often ends up with a lot of food forgotten under all the bedding.

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our current setup with all 3 cages. we rearrange the piggy cages to make a sort of contained rectangle near the wall, and let them out on the floor there. covered the power outlet for their sake.

Take your schedule and daily life into account

Hamsters and guinea pigs need lots of time with their owners in order to come to trust them. Even after being tamed, they can lose that trust if you make a wrong move or scare them too much.

Remember that they are prey animals, in the end.

So in order to take your hamster or guinea pig, you need to dedicate time and effort. It could take days, it could only be a few weeks. but if you’ve got a very busy schedule, neither of them will be good for you.

If you’re working nights and you need to be awake and at home in the evening, then you will have time and patience to train and tame your hamster. Possibly the guinea pigs too.

But, hamsters sleep during the day, all day. If you’re like me and work during the day and go to bed fairly early (10 PM) you’re probably better off with the guinea pigs. They’re active during the day as well as the night, so you will end get plenty of time to spend with them.

If you’re away from home very often, and for long periods of time, then neither of these pets are suited for you. This is because they don’t get a attached to their owners as other pets, and can’t travel with you as easily. In this case a dog would be better suited, depending what king of travel you’re doing.

If you’ve got children that need changing, feeding, put to bed, a home to clean and some other errands to run, then a stationary pet like a hamster or guinea pig probably is not good for you either. Both the hamster and the guinea pig are confined to their cage, and won’t be able to follow you around.

A cat, however, will be able to come and go as she pleases and will be with you in bed, the kitchen, the bathroom, and possibly in your work bag as well.

Finally, keep in mind that guinea pigs are noisier than hamsters. The array of sounds they make, the loudness, and the frequency are all much higher. Depending on what kind of bedding you provide, you might also hear the guinea pigs moving about in their cage at night.

You’ll simply her them much more often than a hamster.

So take into account the kind of life you have, and whether you can dedicate enough time and energy to these creatures.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. Many people have a hard time choosing between us hammies and guinea pigs, but we’ve both got our good side and our bad sides. In the end it comes down to how well we’d work with your daily life.

If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find out how to care for us and keep us happy too.

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Releasing Your Hamster Into The Wild – Is It A Bad Idea ?
Releasing Your Hamster Into The Wild – Is It A Bad Idea ?Wondering if you should let your hamster roam free ? Releasing a hamster into the wild  can sound like a good idea, but is it really ? Let’s see everything we should take into account when we’re thinking about such a big decision. I’ll be honest with you, I sometimes wondered if I should release my own Teddy (male Syrian hammy). So these are the things I’ve thought about before deciding what to do with him.   Table of Contents ToggleSo should I release my hamster in the wild ?Hamsters haven’t been pets for very longA hamster’s usual food probably isn’t available in your areaYou probably don’t live in the hamster’s natural habitatKeep in mind predators and other dangersIt’s your decision in the endA word from Teddy So should I release my hamster in the wild ? Short answer – NO. Do not release your pet hamster into the wild. Long answer – it depends on a series of factors like the area you live in, predators, how easily the hammy can find its food, if it will survive the winter or a storm, and so on. For the vast majority of people who own a hamster, the outside conditions, even in the countryside, could not sustain a hamster. Some select few could release their hamster and he could live a happy life.  But let’s see what those factors are, and how they could affect your hamster’s lifespan and quality of life. Hamsters haven’t been pets for very long Let’s start with the beginning. Where hamsters come from, and where they should go, if you ever want to let them go. There’s 5 types of hamsters: Syrian or Golden hamster, Roborovski Dwarf, Campbell’s Dwarf, Djungarian Dwarf, and the Chinese Dwarf. These hammies come from a very specific part of our planet. The Syrian from Syria, Southern turkey and the arid land between them. The Dwarf types come from the area between Siberia, southern Russia, Mongolia, Northern China. Hamsters have become pets only in the last century or so, and that means one thing: they’re still very much like their ancestors. So, in theory, if you were to release your pet hamster in the wild, he would still know what to do. His instincts are intact, even if he comes from a breeder who focused on docile hamsters. However the problem is that a hamster that’s already an adult (3 months and older) is already used to human interaction, and will be a bit confused for the first few days if you were to release him into the countryside. If he’s an especially docile hamster, he will have a bit more trouble adapting. You can’t really release a baby hamster into the wild since he will immediately become dog food, There’s also the fact that a baby hasn’t learned everything from his mother yet. So there’s that, but there are still many things that would be not safe or alright for a pet hamster in the wild. A hamster’s usual food probably isn’t available in your area Another concern is that the hamster will probably not have his usual food in the wild, in your part of the world. The thing is, hamsters can and do eat many things. Grains, fruit, veggies, some types of meat, etc. But they rely mostly on grains, and if you’re living in a very urban area, you’ll have to drive to the countryside to release him. There he might be able to find some grains and a few veggies to forage. The problem with that is that unless you’re from the origin area of your hamster type (figure out which type you’ve got here), his normal food won’t be available. If you were to release him next to a corn field, he would indeed find the corn, and also a few other unsafe foods. Hamsters are very curious, and will try anything new that they find. This includes safe and unsafe weeds and plants. If the hamster were to somehow find the right kind of food, he would be able to survive in the wild. Not a guarantee, but it could be possible, strictly form a dietary point of view. You probably don’t live in the hamster’s natural habitat This is the biggest concern I have with releasing hamsters into the wild. As I said above, hamsters come from a very specific area of our planet. Those areas happen to be very sparsely populated. Most people who own a hamster do no live in the rural parts of northern China, or Mongolia. Actually many people don’t live at all in those areas, since they’re mostly barren. Some vegetation grows, which is where the hamster will find his food. But aside from that, it’s very hard living. The terrain is harsh, cold, and stretches on forever. This is one of the reasons hamsters are born to run (aside from predators), so they cover more ground looking for food. If, however, you do live in an area close to the hamster origin, you could release him into the wild. Again, the area depends on which type of hamster you’ve got. There are indeed differences between the Syrian and Dwarf hammies, and they could not live in swapped homes. We need to also take into account the difference in weather. It might sound silly, but it’s something that can make your hamster’s life in the wild unnecessarily hard. For example if you’ve got a Syrian hammy, and you live in the mountainside in France, releasing him there would be a death sentence. The cold would be too much for him, and the rains would kill him as well. Hamsters do not take well to being wet, and they have a hard time recovering from that. If you were to have a Djungarian Dwarf, he’d be more suited to the cold. The problem is that the terrain is very different from what his ancestors had. A cold, permanently snowy mountain is very different from the dry, plain tundra of Siberia or Mongolia. Again, the food source he’d find would not be similar to what his ancestors found. Keep in mind predators and other dangers Predators are a given. Whether you release the hamster in his normal habitat, or another different habitat, he will still be hunted. That’s just the nature of hamster life. A wild hamster has a much shorter life span than a pet hamster. A wild hamster has to run for his life nearly all the time, and is going to need all the energy he can muster from those little feet. In the wild there are snakes, foxes, owls, cats, wild dogs, and so on. They all hunt the tiny hamster, and he will not be safe anywhere. Wherever you release him, he has a very high chance or not making it until for long. (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.) It’s your decision in the end After everything you’ve read, do keep in mind that keeping or releasing your hamster is your decision. When I thought about releasing Teddy, it was when we were making incredibly slow progress with the taming process. We did have a breakthrough in the end and we get along fine now. But I asked myself the same things I’ve shared with you above. Would he survive in the wild here ? Would he find food ? Could he find a mate ? Would I be sending him to certain death ? Those are questions I had to ponder, and in the end I decided to keep Teddy. That’s how I decided to make this site, too. To help others understand and care for their little hamster friends, with what I’ve learned from Teddy and other hamster owners. What got to me the most was the image of Teddy’s hideout, under a tree, with rain pouring down on every side. The poor thing shivering inside his little hut, with barely a few grains he found, and nothing else. Rainy seasons are fairly long, and I knew that even if he could survive the rains, he wouldn’t survive the cold. So in the end it all comes down to what you decide. You should weight the pros and cons, although the cons seem to far outweigh the pros. What I’d suggest, if you do not want to keep your hamster anymore, is to donate him. There are certain sites, or even social media groups dedicated for donations. That’s how we got our pair of guinea pigs, actually. Or, you could take them to a shelter or pet shop, to be taken in by another owner. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might seem like we’d get along fine in the wild, but the truth is if we’re a pet, were probably very far away from our homes. If you want to know more about us hammies, and how to keep us safe, you can read the related articles below. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Bread ? Keep Your Hamster Healthy
Can Hamsters Eat Bread ? Keep Your Hamster HealthyIf you’ve got a hamster and you’re wondering if hamsters can eat bread, you’re not alone. I had the same question when I first got my Teddy.  So I asked around, and then I tried giving Teddy a piece of bread. Turns out, hamsters are surprisingly much like humans when it comes to food. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters eat bread ?Hamsters eat mostly grainsHow much bread and pasta is safe for your hamsterA word on hamster cheek pouches, be careful what you feed your hammyHow much bread to feed your hamsterHow much pasta to feed your hamsterWhat kind of bread or pasta hamsters can eatOverfeeding your hamster on breadCommercial food provides a good enough baseA word from Teddy So can hamsters eat bread ? Yes, hamsters can eat bread. They should not have much of it though, because they gain very little nutrition from regular, white bread. So yes, you can feed your hamster some pieces of bread. But not often, and not many at a time. He will enjoy munching on it, and you can pretend you had morning toast together. Still, not all breads are created equal. Some are okay for hamsters, other breads should be avoided. The same goes for pasta actually. Let’s get into the details a bit. Hamsters eat mostly grains In the wild, hamsters eat mostly grains. This means that their diet consists mostly of grains they find around their environment, and a few veggies they stumble upon. However given the region hamsters come from – from Syria, all the way into Russia and Mongolia and parts of China – their food is scarce. The terrains in the wilderness in those places do not grow many kinds of food for hamsters. So, the hammies have to make do with whatever they find. Like grains, a lot of plant seeds, a couple of veggies, maybe even an edible root or two. But grains and seeds are the hamster’s preferred food. And this is what you will also find in your hamster’s commercial food mix as well. To tie into the topic at hand, bread is made from different grains that were ground into flour. So, by relation yes bread can be okay for hamsters. But there are definitely some things you need to consider before your feed your hamster any kind of bread. How much bread and pasta is safe for your hamster First off, let’s talk about portion sizes. For humans, bread can be eaten in very large quantities. The health benefits and dangers of eating bread won’t be discussed here. But I will tell you that hamsters can’t eat as much as humans, even scaled down to their size. Hammies are very greedy little creatures, and they will eat everything you give them. That does not mean that you should, or that it’s healthy for them, at all. A word on hamster cheek pouches, be careful what you feed your hammy An injury to a hammy’s cheek pouch is one of the worst, since it’s not an easy place to fix or get into without hurting the hamster. So best to avoid that problem altogether by not giving your hammy anything sharp, or very big. The same condition goes for any kind of food that can get sticky. Parts of it will remain stuck in your hamster’s cheek pouches, leading to various diseases and infections. If the hamster can’t push all the food out of his cheeks, he will not feel alright and keep trying to push it until he hurts himself. This applies for cooked, sticky pasta, any kind of sauces, anything sweet, or any fluffy parts of bread. Best to feed him things that are dry. Those can’t leave much of a residue in the hamster’s cheeks. He can’t stick his tongue in those cheeks to clean them out, like humans. How much bread to feed your hamster When giving your hammy bread, you should focus on the crust. This is the crunchy bit that hamsters will love. But make sure the shell is not overly crunchy, and can’t break into small shards that will cut the hamster’s cheek pouches. Also, make sure your avoid the white, fluffy part of the bread. As for how much bread, I usually give my Teddy – adult Syrian hammy – a half inch/1 cm piece every few weeks. This is partly because there are a lot of extra carbs in the bread, that the hamster does not need. And partly because he has a lot of grains and seeds in his usual food mix. How much pasta to feed your hamster When it comes to pasta, your hammy can eat it as well. But you need to give him very small amounts, and only dry pasta. This is because your hamster will probably just shove the whole thing into his cheeks. And we’ve just discussed the whole sticky cheeks deal. So, best to give your hamster dry pasta, in small pieces. Make sure the shapes are small, like a letter from the alphabet pasta. Just make sure the letter isn’t an I or something with sharp parts. The pasta should not be fed often to your hamster. This is because it has a lot of carbs, like the bread, and the hamster does have carbs coming in from the grains in his food mix. What kind of bread or pasta hamsters can eat Ah yes. Hammies can have bread and pasta – but what kind ? Well, for hamsters, the grains they eat in the wild are great because they’ve got the shell. The shell of the grains has a lot of vitamins and minerals. When it comes to regular, white bread or pasta, those shells are gone. That’s why they’re so white, because they’ve been processed to remove anything but the inside of the grain. As such, they have a high gluten and carb content, but no other nutritional value. They’re basically empty carbs. This does not help your hamster. It doesn’t help you either, to be honest. So the best thing to do, for yourself, and for your hamster – trade up to whole grain. Whole grain bread, pasta, and brown rice. These still have their shells, mostly, and have much more nutrients. They’re healthier both for yourself and for your hamster. If you’re wondering, yes, hamsters can have cooked brown rice. Just not more than a couple of grains at a time, since they will hide them in their cheeks. Aside from all that, the bread must not be sweetened in any way. That excludes the majority of Western bread, like the Toast/French toast square bread, and hot dog buns, or burger buns. So where does that leave you ? Well, with the rustic looking, European-style wholegrain bread. Those are not usually sweetened, they just have a bit of salt. Maybe it sounds odd to you, or maybe it’s the bread you usually eat. I’m just telling you which is healthier for your hamster. And ultimately for you too. The same goes for pasta too. Go for wholegrain pasta, and you’re better off. And you won’t get as sticky a pasta dish either. (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.) Overfeeding your hamster on bread Alright then, what if you overfeed your hamster on bread or pasta ? Or if you already did ? The main problem here is weight gain. For hamsters this is more of an issue, because they won’t have the will to exercise that humans do. We know why we’d need to shed some weight. Your hamster doesn’t understand the health benefits, though. An obese hamster will have heart and circulatory problems, and develop joint problems as well. Those are very hard to treat in a hamster, since he is so small. If your hamster’s already overweight, you need to check out this article right away. You’ll find out the dangers of overfeeding your hamster in more detail, and how to slim him down. Of all the things to overfeed a hamster on, carbs are the worst idea. A big, fluffy hamster is cute and all, but think about his health. If the running wheel becomes a problem for him, then he is in clear danger. Commercial food provides a good enough base You can totally feed your hamster food you have in your pantry and kitchen. However that means his meals won’t always be balanced. In my opinion, and this is what I’ve been doing with my Teddy since I first got him, it’s best to give your hamster a commercial food mix. Then if you want, you can add a bit of fruit, or veg, or whatever you think is fine in his diet, as an extra. For more info on what you can safely add to your hamster’s diet, check out this safe foods list. When it comes to commercial food mixes, they are almost always well thought out. They have a healthy balance or carbs, proteins, vitamins, and some minerals and fibers. This one is a good blend, and the whole bag can last your for a couple of months or more. Depending on what kind of hamster you have, and how many you have. A Syrian hammy needs 2 teaspoons of food mix per day, every day. While Dwarf types are fine with just one teaspoon. Your hammy will become a picky eater in time, this happens with most of them. Just make sure he gets all of his food. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this food mix here, and read the reviews as well. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies can have a bit of bread and pasta too, just not a lot, and not often. We like peanuts more, to be honest. But we’re happy you want to share your food with us ! If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
How To Know When Your Hamster’s Fully Grown – All Breeds
How To Know When Your Hamster’s Fully Grown – All BreedsWhen I first got my Teddy I knew he would grow up to be a big hamster – he’s a Syrian male. But I didn’t know exactly how big, and when he’d stop growing. So I’m helping you figure out how big your hamster can get, based on its breed. And this will help you know how large a cage he will need, and what to expect from your hamster friend. Table of Contents ToggleSo when is a hamster fully grown ?When is a Syrian hamster fully grown ?When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Campbell Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ?When to separate baby hamstersThe right cage for a fully grown hamsterA word from Teddy So when is a hamster fully grown ? Generally a hamster is fully grown around 3 months of age. This means that the hamster is both sexually mature, and also has reached, or is very close to, its full length. Of all hamster types, Syrian hamsters grow the largest, and you will notice severe size differences between the baby hamster you brought from the pet shop, and the adult hamster in your cage. The Dwarf types do grow, but the difference between them as babes and as adults is not nearly as big. For reference, a baby Syrian around 4 weeks old – when he can be adopted – is about as large as an adult Siberian or Campbell. But let’s see the differences between each hamster type, since they can grow to different sizes and become mature at slightly different ages. When is a Syrian hamster fully grown ? A Syrian hamster is fully grown when he is around 12 weeks of age (3 months). Both males and females are capable of breeding around 4 weeks, so they must be separated to prevent any more litters from producing. As for size, a Syrian hamster grows to its full size around the 3 month mark. That is when the Syrians become adults, and can reach their full size. They can reach between 5-8 inches in length, which is 13-20 cm. Some hamsters may grow even larger than that, by a couple of inches/cm, but those cases are rare. A few traits of adult Syrian hamsters: Their markings become clear just before they reach maturity. If they’ve got any darker fur, it will start to show around that time The males’ rear ends will become very large, bulging almost. That is where their testicles are, and you will see them often. The females will come into regular heat – about every 4 days. You’ll notice them smelling a bit muskier, and they will squeak and hiss if they sense a male hamster. The average lifespan of a Syrian hamster is 2-3 years, in captivity. They are close to old age when they reach their second birthday, and will start to become slower and have trouble eating and moving around as they reach that age. When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ? A Roborovski hamster is a Russian Type, and he will be fully grown around the 3 month mark as well. The Robos can breed as early as 4-5 weeks old, so again they must be separated very early in male and female groups. Roborovski hamsters reach their full size at around the 3 month mark, reaching up to 2 inches/5 cm. They are the tiniest of the Dwarf types, and are very hard to handle. since they are so hast and agile. Their fur coloration becomes clear as they reach the 3 month mark. They don’t develop a stripe down their backs, like the Chinese or Campbell for example. The average lifespan of a Roborovski hamster is about 3-4 years in captivity, but rarely lives past 2 in the wild. When is a Campbell Dwarf fully grown ? A Campbell Dwarf is fully grown around the 3 month mark, as the other hamsters. They can breed early, around the time they’re weaned – which is bout 4 weeks old. Their sizes are about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm, and are again hard to handle given their small size and agility. They usually live around 2 years in captivity, but can live a few months past 2 years in the right conditions. A Campbell’s Dwarf can be recognized by the white belly, and grey-brown fur on their backs, with a much darker stripe going down their backs. When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ? Chinese hamsters, while not truly Dwarf types, are still much smaller than the Syrian type. A Chinese hamster will become fully grown when he is about 2-3 months old. The hamster can breed before he reaches that point, though. As for size, the Chinese is larger than most Dwarf types, but smaller than the Syrian. So a fully grown Chinese hamster will be around 3-5 inches/8-13 cm, plus their longer tails. Chinese hamsters have a much longer tail compared to any other hamster types, which can grow to be about an inch long/2-3 cm. The long tail, and the more slender, long-ish figure of the hamster can make it look a lot like mouse to many people. Given their natural coloring – a sort of brown with a dark stripe down their back – this can be forgiven. Average lifespan for the Chinese hamster is around 2 years in captivity, but it’s not very well documented in the wild. When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ? A Siberian, or Winter White, is a type of hamster that does belong to the Dwarf type. They are fully grown at about 3 months of age, and can breed about 4-5 weeks of age. The Siberian hamster can grow up to 3-4 inches/8-11 cm, and are actually among the easiest to tame hamsters. Their fur can change, depending on temperature and season. A Winter white is called such because in the wild, its color changes to mostly white. During the summer or warmer season, the color can be a very dark grey, with a stripe going down the hamster’s back. (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.) When to separate baby hamsters Separating your hamsters when they’re babies will spare you a lot of troubles, starting with surprise litters and ending with vicious fights between siblings. So generally, the best time to separate the hamsters into all male and all female groups is when their mother finishes weaning them. This is usually around 4 weeks after the babies are born, and you’ll notice the mother starting to push the babies away if they want to nurse. You can find much more info now how to properly separate the baby hamsters into gender-specific groups here, as well as how to handle them. Do take care when the mother has just given birth, since she is easy to startle. A startled, or scared, or stressed out mother can abandon or even eat her babies. Here’s how to make sure your baby hamsters survive, as well as how to make sure the mother is safe and calm during the birth and raising the babies. The right cage for a fully grown hamster Your hamster might see so very small when you first get him. That’s the small size they will not keep, as you’ve just found out. Baby hamsters need adult-sized cages. This is partly because they grow very quickly, and once they do grow they will feel cramped in a cage that is too small for them. These 5 hamster cages are great picks, depending on what kind of hamster you have. A cage that is too small for your hamster can lead him to a lot of stress, and feeling irritable most of the time. This can lead to a lot of unwanted behaviors, like chewing the bar cages, and even fighting with their cage mates. The minimum cage size for an adult Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. I’d recommend this to be the size cage you get for your Dwarf type as well, since all hamsters will feel better in a bigger cage, if they have one available. Always get your hamster a bigger cage, even if they look so small they need a large amount of floor space. Best to read this article on what to know before getting a cage for your hamster, and how to properly care for it. For the Dwarf types I recommend a glass tank, since they can easily escape through the bars of a wire cage. You’ll find info on the glass tank as well in that article. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and can figure out when your hammy is fully grown. For example when I was a baby I was orange all over, with a bit of faded white on my belly. When I got older I started showing my darker grey markings, and my owners thought I was dirty at first ! So if you want to know more about your hammy, you can read the articles below. You can find out how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you, and even what food is safe for us. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Get Hiccups? And More Interesting Facts
Can Hamsters Get Hiccups? And More Interesting FactsHamsters getting hiccups seems like a funny thing to think about, but is it true? Do they get hiccups? Are they as funny as we are when we get hiccups? Hamsters are very quiet animals, they don’t make a lot of noise; this is another great reason to have a pet hamster. They are quiet, clean, and easy to take care of, what a dream pet ! But hamsters can make some weird noises from time to time and it is quite important to know them in order to know for sure if your hamster is in pain or not. In this article, we will discuss about hiccups and other weird noises a hamster can make and more so stick with me. Table of Contents ToggleCan hamsters get hiccups?Are hamsters noisy?5 Main reasons for hamsters making noises1. Cold2. Respiratory infections3. Stress4. An accident5. Teeth clickingDo hamsters make noises when they sleep?Conclusion Can hamsters get hiccups? Hamsters can get hiccups for the same reason why humans do, they are caused by a spasm of the diaphragm, and they are uncontrollable. Hamster hiccups are not often and they should not pose a serious threat to your hamster’s health. So, if you are not sure whether your hamster has hiccups or other respiratory problems, you can give it a few minutes to see if it goes away. If you notice that the noises continue, you have to get your little friend to a specialized vet as soon as possible. Note that not all vets work with hamsters, you might need to find a vet specialized in small pets, rodents, or exotic animals. Hamsters can also sneeze and if you don’t pay close attention to the difference between those two noises, you can confuse them, but we will get to this later in the article. Are hamsters noisy? Hamsters are quiet animals, they don’t make any sound without reason.  Being so quiet helps them stay under the radar when it comes to all the natural predators they have in the wild. Most of the time, when they are making noises, they have a health problem. I had a lot of pets until now, especially when I was a kid. I had a cat, a dog, guinea pigs, parrots, rabbits, and now a hamster. So I can tell you from experience that hamsters are the most quiet pet by far, which is pretty important when you want to sleep or when you work from home and don’t want to get distracted. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you can sleep in the same room where you keep your hamster. They might not make any sound themselves but they are continuously chewing on something, drinking water and running in their wheel, or playing with their chewing toys. You will hear all of that. Oh the wheel, this one is usually the loudest noise you will hear from your hamster cage, it is quite hard to make it completely silent. Even if you have a good plastic hamster wheel, the hamster paws touching the wheel will still make a little noise. 5 Main reasons for hamsters making noises Here are the five reasons a hamster would make any noise, other than the hiccups which we already discussed. 1. Cold If your pet hamster suddenly starts wheezing and sneezing, it may have the sniffles, but it could also be a sign of something more serious. Take it to the vet for a checkup and in the meantime, isolate it from other pets, keep it warm and hydrated, and care for it as best you can. Disinfect the cage regularly, and if the hamster is in another temporary cage, remember to scrub and rinse the original one with a bleach-water solution. A hamster might sneeze once in a while without actually being sick so you should check other factors like the presence of mucus near their eyes, lose of appetite, a weird behavior, trying to move all the bedding into the hideout and so on. If you want to know more about hamsters getting cold, check my article on this topic here. 2. Respiratory infections Hamsters can easily develop respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. These illnesses may present through signs such as coughing, wheezing, clicking noises and heavy breathing, especially when exposed to drafts.  If your hamster starts exhibiting these symptoms, it is important to seek veterinary help as soon as possible in order to prevent lung disease or further complications. 3. Stress This is not as common but a hamster might make some noises like squeaking if it is too stressed. Hamsters have lots of reason to be stressed, they are quite anxious animals, too small of a cage, being scared all of a sudden, mites, a health problem, and many other factors can stress a hamster.  However, that doesn’t mean that they will make any noise, they are used to staying quiet even in dangerous situations, this is a defense mechanism that helps them avoid predators. So unfortunately, most of the time, your hamster will not let you know that it has a problem or that something bothers it, at least not by making noises. 4. An accident Like any other animal or humans, if they have an accident, they will make some noises, especially squeaking.  If they fall from heights or they hurt themselves on something in the cage, you might hear an alarming squeak which is quite heartbreaking, especially since those little furballs are so quiet. It is important to make sure they don’t have the chance to get hurt in the cage, so a multi-story cage is not recommended without taking all the safety measures you can. You have to make sure that the hamster can fall from too high of a distance, especially on something solid. If it falls into the bedding, it might be safer but even then, they might move away all the bedding that you put there to make sure they fall on something soft. They don’t have a good eyesight and can’t estimate the distance they will fall if they jump. I noticed this with my first hamster and from that moment, I took the second level out of the cage. My silly hamster jumped a few times from that level like he wanted to fly, luckily it wasn’t too high up and he fell on the bedding, but he could hurt himself if he was to fall into the food bowl or something solid that was close. 5. Teeth clicking Hamsters may click their teeth as a sign of agitation or annoyance. It is best to stay away from hamsters when they are clicking their teeth, as they may be too jittery to be handled safely. In these cases, it is best to give them some space and come back when they are calm. My first hamster did this quite often and I could never touch him in those moments. This might be a common behavior for rodents since my guinea pigs did the same thing when they were nervous or angry. I had two guinea pigs that didn’t get along when they grew up. While they are way more friendly than a hamster, they can be territorial in some situations and don’t want to share the cage with other guinea pigs. So I had two cages, close to each other and when I tried to put them closer, they would start clicking their teeth continuously and making angry noises. I had a guinea pig for eight years when I was a kid, and those are the opposite of a hamster when it comes to how vocal they are. Do hamsters make noises when they sleep? My first hamster was making some weird noises when he was sleeping, it was a funny squeak and some twitching, like he had a bad dream. So I did my research and I found out that hamsters can dream and make noises while they are dreaming, especially if they have an engaging dream. So it is much like us. I’m really curious to know what those little furballs are dreaming and what nightmares they have, a big snake coming to eat them or an eagle or something like that, I guess. But the good dreams, what are they all about? I guess we will never know. Conclusion The conclusion is that a hamster can get hiccups, but it is not very often and should not be a concern. Make sure you check all the other signs to ensure your hamster has hiccups, not other health issues, and he is making noises because he is in pain. But if the noises do not persist, it should be fine. I hope this article was helpful for your and for your little hamster, now you can understand your hamster behaviors better and why it might make some noises from time to time. [...] Read more...
About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, Campbell
About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, CampbellIf you’re researching hamsters, and want to know more about the Dwarf types, let me help you. There are 3 main types of Dwarf hamsters, and they can be more than a bit confusing. We’ll take a look at each Dwarf type, and how it’s different from all the rest, and then talk about general care and how to keep them happy. Table of Contents ToggleAn overview of Dwarf hamstersAbout the Roborovski Dwarf hamsterAbout the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamsterAbout the Campbell Dwarf hamsterAbout the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problemsWhat do Dwarf hamsters eat ?What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ?Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would likeCan Dwarf hamsters live together ?Average lifespan of Dwarf hamstersA word from Teddy An overview of Dwarf hamsters Dwarf hamsters are 3 main types of hamster, actually. They all come from roughly the same area, which is northern China, southern Russia, Mongolia, Siberia and they are very well adapted to those lands. Despite that, you will often find the 3 types named as Russian Dwarf, and that’s it. This can be both confusing and frustrating, especially when trying to figure out if they need anything specific, or even just what kind of hamster you’ve got. Here’s the 3 main Dwarf hamster types: The Roborovski Dwarf, Also names Russian Dwarf, he is the tiniest and has a distinct appearance from the rest. The Campbell Dwarf, also sometimes called Russian Dwarf. Is often confused with the Djungarian. The Djungarian Dwarf, also named Winter White, or Siberian, or (again) Russian Dwarf. The only one who can adapt his fur to winter (turns white) Each of the 3 types was discovered in different years, which I’ll cover in the section about each type. But all of them ended up as pets because of their cute and fuzzy faces, incredibly quick feet, and acceptance of living in groups. Given their small size, agility, speed, and restlessness, these hamsters are best kept as observational pets. Trying to handle them is harder than with a Syrian, just because they’re so very small and won’t sit still at all. Never give a Dwarf hamster to a child, since these hammies need a person with quick reflexes and lots of patience to be handled properly. But why are they called Dwarf hamsters, though ? Well, because they were all discovered after the Syrian hamster. And were always measured against that little guy. This makes the Dwarf hamsters only half as big as a Syrian, hence the name Dwarf. There are some very clear differences between the Dwarf types and the Syrian, you can read more about them here. If you’re not very sure which breed you have, or if you have a Dwarf, then check out this article for help. About the Roborovski Dwarf hamster The Roborovski (or Robo for short) is the tiniest of the bunch. He was first discovered in 1894 by a Russian expeditioner (Roborovski), and was first brought into the general public’s attention in 1960. That’s when they became regulars at the London Zoo, and have since become popular pets. The Robo is a small (very small) hamster, reaching about 2 inches/5 cm and that’s it. From nose to tail, that’s the whole hamster. His fur (like all Dwarf types) is brown-ish on the back, with white on his belly. He does have a white spot above each eye, much like the spots above a Doberman or Rottweiler’s eyes. The Roborovski hamster doesn’t have a stripe down his back, nor a patch on his head like the other Dwarf types. His feet are furry (unlike the Syrian) and he doesn’t have a distinct neck, looking more like a very stocky, hastily put-together furball. Still, they’re incredibly fast and wriggly, and can live in bunches if you’ve got a cage large enough. About the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamster This is the most confusing hamster type, mostly because everyone keeps calling him a different name. He is classified as Phodopus sungorus, which comes from the region in China this hamster was discovered in, which is Dzungaria. Phodopus is the general name given to all Dwarf types. So the official name would be Djungarian Dwarf hamster, but many people still call him Winter White, or Siberian. He is also found in Siberia, and he does Change his fur when winter comes, to mostly white. Usually the Djungarian is about 3 inches/7 cm long, and has a grey-ish brown color on his back. He does have a stripe going down his back, a dark, thick stripe of dark grey or black. His belly is white, and his feet are furry, and he has a dark patch on his head, where the stripe starts from. As pets, the breeders have tried for several color patterns, and have come up with mostly white, grey, white with grey dustings. Once winter comes and the days shorten – the lack of light is the trigger here – the Djungarian’s fur changes to mostly or completely white, so blend in with the snow. In captivity this doesn’t really happen, since the light cycles don’t have as much of an impact. These hamsters also regulate their internal body temp in the winter in order to survive the cold. About the Campbell Dwarf hamster The Campbell is often mistaken with the Djungarian, simply because they look so much alike. However the difference is that Campbells have light grey on their bellies, instead of white like the Djungarians. Their stripe down the back is less obvious and thinner, and there is no dark patch on their head. They don’t change their fur when winter comes, and in the wild they live a bit farther south than the Djugarians. Djungarians and Campbells can breed together, but the offspring are born with health problems and less fertile. The hybrids can breed between themselves, but the resulting litters are smaller and smaller, and have more and more health problems. This is only possible with a Djungarian male and a Campbell female. A Campbell male and Djungarian female will not result in a live birth. About the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problems Usually the Dwarf hamsters are around 3 inches/7 cm long, with short stocky bodies. Their fur (the hairs themselves) seem to be longer than the Syrians, only because the hamsters are so small. As such, the Dwarf types look extra fluffy, and the furred feet help with this appearance. These hamsters are used to colder temperatures, although they still need a temp around 20-23 C/68-75 F.  They can suffer common colds and have health issues like any other hamster. But they are prone to diabetes most of all, given their small size and how their bodies are built. Given their small size, finding the hamster’s gender can be difficult, especially with babies. Unfortunately that’s the most important moment these hamsters need to be separated, otherwise unwanted litters can happen. Especially if you’re planning on bringing a pair home. Spaying or neutering the hamster is dangerous, since they’re so very small and they most probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. What do Dwarf hamsters eat ? Dwarf hamsters are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything. There ares some unsafe foods for them, like spicy or acidic foods. For example citrus, onion, garlic, leek, spicy peppers and so on are not safe for hamsters. They will often eat grains, and that’s the majority of their diet. They also eat fruits and vegetables, if they can find them. Nuts and seeds are another option, again if they can find them. As for protein, they are alright with eating a couple of insects or worms if they happen upon them At home you can feed your Dwarf hamster a commercial food mix, since those are well thought-out and have the wild hamster’s diet in mind. Aside from that you can feed the hammy food from your fridge or pantry, although not all foods are safe. A safe and unsafe food list can be found here. Do take care with Dwarf hamsters, whether they’re Robos, Campbells or Djungarians. They’re prone to diabetes so sweet foods, even those on the safe list, are to be avoided or only given in minimal amounts. This includes most fruits (which should be given without seeds and peeled when possible), and carrots or sweet potatoes, or corn. Bread, pasta and rice should be given sparingly or not at all, since they contribute greatly to the glucose levels in the hamster’s body. It’s not just the sugar that does that, but the carb-heavy foods as well. Also make sure these little guys get plenty of exercise to delay(or even avoid) the onset of diabetes, or even just obesity since they are prone to that as well. As for serving sizes, Dwarf hamsters only need a teaspoon per hamster, per day. That’s the dried food mix that comes in the box. Anything else you supplement alongside that should be checked with the safe foods list. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ? For the most part Dwarf hamsters need a cage about half as large as a Syrian’s cage, which is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. However I would recommend that measurement to be applied to a single Dwarf as well, seeing as the more space he has, the better he will feel. That being said, you can keep two Dwarf hamsters in a Syrian-sized cage, expect occasional bickering. To a degree this is normal, and we’ll discuss that in the next part of the article. Whenever you look for a cage for your Dwarf hamster, you should make sure it’s very well secured. Given how incredibly small these guys are, they can wedge themselves in some really odd places. So if at all possible, something like a large aquarium would be good. A good potion would be the the Ikea Detolf. It’s basically one big standing shelf rack, you lay it on its side, and you lake the shelves out. Constructing a wire mesh is easy enough, tutorials are available in many places online. But, the big downside is that it’s a big and heavy ‘cage’, and you’re going to keep it in one place. You’ve got to have the space necessary in your home. It can be more expensive, but it’s got enough space for two Dwarf hammies. However if a Detolf or a very very big aquarium isn’t possible for you – it isn’t for most people – either because of budget or space you can try a regular cage. Most cages on the market are too small for hamsters, even for a Dwarf hamster. So I recommend looking for as big a cage you can find, even if your hamster is just a Dwarf. For example this one is large enough for even two Dwarf hamsters, although I recommend you only keep one. The space between the bars is small enough so the hamster won’t get out, and there are many sides to open the cage from. There is an extra level, which is adjustable and you can put it wherever you like. Hammies prefer the ground floor the most, so try not to put the level up too high. They might burrow under the level though, so don’t be surprised if that happens. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see for yourself. Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would like Hamsters, Dwarf or not, need lots of things to do. They have a whole lot of energy and they are all over the place. This is especially true for the Dwarf hamsters out there, given how much more spazzy they are compared to the larger Syrian. So, the number one way to make sure your Dwarf hamster spends all that extra energy is an exercise wheel. I say this because hamsters are pretty much born to run, and Dwarf types are the best runners. This is what they do most of the night. A bored hamster, or one with too much energy and not much to do, will end up chewing the bars, or picking a fight with his cage mate, being nippy, and generally hard to handle. Best to give him plenty of opportunities to exercise and use his little hamster brain like for puzzles. But first, the exercise. A Dwarf hamster can make do with a smaller wheel, yes. Even a 7 inch/18 cm one would be enough. But often enough the hamsters choose a large wheel to run in, in order to keep their backs at least straight, if not hunched like they always keep them on the ground. This means a 9 inch/ 23 cm wheel will be great for their backs and will avoid lots of health problems in the future. For example this one is a heavy bottom wheel, and that means it won’t move around the cage when the hamsters run in it. It’s also got a tail and foot guard, so the hamster doesn’t get himself caught in anything. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and check the wheel for yourself. Another thing to make sure your Dwarf hamster has is toys, lots and lots of toys. Many of them can be made at home, some need to be bought – more on that here. But climbing toys, or cardboard tunnels, or hide and seek toys made of an egg carton with holes in it, they’re all great toys for hamsters. Remember that hamsters are very curious, and they will stick their faces into every little thing that fits, and look for food. Or just explore. So you can make your little Dwarf happy with chew toys, tubes, climbing toys, puzzle toys, and so on. For bedding I recommend using wood shavings, and sticking to aspen as the preferred wood. Stay away from cedar and pine, since their strong scent will suffocate the hamster. Paper bedding is an option too. If you’re keeping more than one hamster, keep in mind that you’ll need two of each. Two hideouts/huts, two wheels, two food bowls, two water bottles, and so on. This reduces the reasons the Dwarf hamsters might fight, and generally give you happier hamsters. Can Dwarf hamsters live together ? Yes and no. Yes, as in they are able to live with a same-sex sibling or two, as long as they’ve never been separated and have always shared something, from their first days as hamsters. And they have a very big cage, or the Detolf I mentioned earlier. Even so, one hamster will be more dominant – this is normal – and will try to boss around the other one. Things can get out of hand when the bullied hamster becomes stressed, or the bully crosses the line. Fights can happen, and to a degree they’re normal. Squeaking, chasing, standing on top of each other and so on is acceptable. But when the fights become frequent, you need to worry. If blood has been drawn, those two will need to be kept in separate cages. I’d also say no, Dwarf hamsters can’t live together solely for the fact that the stress levels in a shared cage – no matter how big the cage – are just too high for hamsters. Seeing as hamsters are terribly bad at managing stress, this often results in sickness or injuries. Loss of appetite, dehydration, loss of fur, irritability, depression, even actual bites and cuts and bruises. Hamsters are indeed territorial creatures, and don’t share very easily. Deadly fights can happen between siblings, even if they’ve never shown any obvious sign of irritation before. If you’re planning to keep a pair of hamsters, always keep them as a same-sex pair to avoid pregnancies. You can find info on determining the hamster’s gender here. My personal advice would be to keep any and all hamsters – Dwarf or not – alone, one hamster per cage. If you want to keep them together, you can, and they will survive for the most part. It’s up to you and how much you think you can handle. Average lifespan of Dwarf hamsters The usual lifespan of hamsters is between 2 to 4 years, but this is only because the Roborovski Dwarf is raising the bar. Roborovskies can live up to 4 years, the longest lifespan of any pet hamster. The Campbell live for about 2-2.5 years, while the Djungarians can reach 2-3 years. When the hamsters reach their second birthday, they’re considered old, and  you will see some health problems come up. But, since the hamster is first born, it takes 3 months to reach adulthood. Babies can breed right after they’re weaned, which is about 4 weeks old. This is why separating them into same sex groups is mandatory. Once they’ve become adults, and have mated, the gestation period is between 18 and 22 days, with the Robo having the longest (20-22). While Robo and Djungarian males should be kept away from the female after mating, the Campbells have been observed to help the female along. At least in the wild, and at least with the birthing process. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look very much alike, but we’re actually different types. 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...
Are Your Hamster’s Eyes Closed?
Are Your Hamster’s Eyes Closed?Being a responsible hamster parent means being able to know how to properly take care of your hamster in both good and bad situations. When it comes to bad situations the hamster can easily suffer from several illnesses and health conditions. This includes conditions that their eyes may suffer. So, are your hamster’s eyes closed and, if yes, what is causing their eyes to be closed? Closed hamster eyes are also called sticky eyes, which is a common problem in most hamsters. This happens when the hamster secretes fluids from its eyes whenever it is sleeping so that the eyes stay moist. However, the fluid may end up drying up and hardening around the eyes of the hamster preventing it from opening them.  Sticky eye is a really common problem that hamsters often go through because it is simply one of the inconveniences that come with one of their natural bodily functions. But, even though it might only be an inconvenience, the sticky eye may still make life a lot more difficult for your hamster because it won’t be able to see. That is why you should know more about sticky eye so that you would be able to help your pet the next time it suffers from this condition. Table of Contents ToggleWhat causes a sticky eye in hamsters?How to treat sticky eye in hamsters?1. Hold the hamster gently2. Go get a cotton swab or a Q tip and wet it with lukewarm water3. Gently wipe the crusted substances off of the hamster’s eye4. Open the hamster’s eye in a gentle manner5. Preventing sticky eyeCan sticky eye kill a hamster? What causes a sticky eye in hamsters? At a lot of points in your life, you may have yawned whenever you were so sleepy and your eyes began releasing fluids that will eventually dry up around your eyes and harden. This is also common early in the morning upon waking up when the fluids that your eyes released while you were sleeping had dried up to form some sort of sand-like sediments around your eyes. Hence, that is where the sandman concept comes from. While you may have experienced this as a human, animals also go through a similar experience as well. Yes, this includes your pet hamsters and a lot of other animals as the sandman of the animal world also tends to visit them while they are sleeping. However, the difference here when it comes to you and your hamster is that it can be a bit more serious when it comes to your pocket-sized pet. When a hamster is sleeping, its eyes need to secrete a fluid that is meant to keep their eyes moist because dry eyes can eventually lead to serious health conditions. But the fluids secreted by their eyes will eventually dry up and harden around the eyes. When that happens, the dried-up fluid can actually shut the hamster’s eyes close like glue. Sticky eye is much more common in hamsters that are a bit older because of how they need their eyes to secrete more fluid. However, even younger hamsters may also end up suffering from this condition as well. Sticky eye normally doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age even though it is more common in older hamsters. As such, it is one of the most common problems that hamsters face on a regular basis. Still, if you notice that your hamster is suffering from eyes that have been shut closed, you shouldn’t conclude right away that it is suffering from sticky eye because there are still some other possible causes for its condition. This includes foreign objects such as dust that may have entered the hamster’s eye. Pink eye is also one of the more common reasons for a hamster to shut its eyes closed as those swollen eyes together with the regular discharge coming from its eyes will naturally force the hamster’s eyes to close. How to treat sticky eye in hamsters? The good news for you is that the normal sticky eye that hamsters suffer from on a regular basis don’t require immediate attention from a veterinarian. In fact, most sticky eye cases can be remedied at home even if you are not an expert in handling hamsters. All you have to do is to follow these simple steps: 1. Hold the hamster gently Get your hamster and hold it as gently as possible so that you won’t end up harming it. However, make sure that you are still applying a bit of pressure so that the hamster won’t end up slipping away from your hand and run away. You need to make sure that you are holding it firmly so that the little fella won’t be able to escape from you but, at the same time, won’t feel like you are hurting it. 2. Go get a cotton swab or a Q tip and wet it with lukewarm water Find a cotton swab or a Q tip in your home and wet it with lukewarm water. If you don’t have a Q tip in your household, you may use a washcloth but you should make sure that you are using a clean washcloth and that it should also be wet with lukewarm water. The Q tip or the washcloth will serve as your main cleaning tool for treating your hamster’s sticky eye. 3. Gently wipe the crusted substances off of the hamster’s eye At this point, you may be asking why can’t we just pull the hamster’s eyelids open or try to scratch the crusted substances off the eyes of the hamster. Well, the reason why we aren’t doing that is that the substance has become similar to glue in the sense that forcing the eyelids apart can possibly damage the hamster’s eyes. As such, what we need to do here is to use the Q tip or the washcloth to gently wipe away the crusted substances. The moisture from the wet Q tip or cloth will soften the dried up substance to make it easier for you to wipe it off the eyes of your hamster. Gently break the substance down until it is easier and easier for you to wipe it away. In some cases, holding the Q tip or washcloth on the eyes of your hamster may already be enough for the substance to soften up to the point that the hamster will be able to open its eyes again. However, if the hamster doesn’t open its eyes even after a few minutes, you have to wipe the substance off of its eyes using a gentle brushing stroke that won’t hurt the little fella. 4. Open the hamster’s eye in a gentle manner If the hamster doesn’t open its eye by itself after you have washed away the dried up fluids around its eyelids, you may have to open its eyes yourself. Trust us when we say that some hamsters are too afraid to open their eyes thinking that the dried-up substance is still there. In such a case, what you need to do is to gently pull the eyelids apart using your fingers. However, if you are finding it difficult to do this or if the hamster is resisting, stop right there. Go get another Q tip or washcloth and repeat the same process over and over again because there might be some stubborn dried up fluids that you probably missed the first time around. Repeat the same steps until it becomes easier for you to open the hamster’s eyelids using your fingers or until the hamster itself will be willing enough to open his eyes by itself. 5. Preventing sticky eye After you have treated the hamster’s sticky eye, the best way for you to prevent it from happening again is to make sure that you regularly wash around its eyes. This allows you to prevent the buildup of any dried up fluid.  However, if the problem still persists or if your hamster is quite prone to this condition, you may have to bring it to a vet so that your hamster can get checked for any other possible reason why it is getting sticky eyes more often than most other hamsters. Can sticky eye kill a hamster? Another good news about hamster sticky eye is that it is not fatal or even very harmful to the hamster on a regular basis. In most cases, sticky eye is an inconvenience that will prevent your hamster from being able to see because it can’t even open its eyes. However, this can be a precursor to other more serious problems such as when your hamster can’t eat or drink water because it can’t even see. In some cases, your hamster may even find itself bumping into objects due to their impaired eyesight. That is why you have to make sure that you treat sticky eye as soon as possible even though it generally isn’t very harmful much less fatal. [...] Read more...