Here’s How Much Water Your Hamster Needs

When it comes to water, hamsters do need it for drinking. But how much should you give to your hamster ? Does it need any special treatments ?

This is what I asked myself when I first got my hamster – how much water will he need ? Does he need a big bottle ? Is a bowl okay ? This article will answer all of those questions, and more.

hamster water
Our Teddy drinking water

So how much water does a hamster need ?

The short answer is that a hamster usually needs around 10 ml/100 gr of hamster, every day. So that’s 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster. This is the same whether we are talking about syrian hamsters or the small types.

So if your hamster is like mine, an adult syrian hamster, who weighs around 170 gr, then he’d need around 17 ml per day. That’s 0.57 ml for 6 oz, every day.

This does change according to how much your hamster is running around. A more active hamster will need the full 10 ml per day. But a sedentary hamster or one who is very old and does not run as much will end up drinking less.

Another factor is your hamster’s diet. What you feed your hamster will make him drink more or less water. If you feed your hammy exclusively dry food (pellets, grains, seeds) he will drink more water. But if you give him mostly vegetables then he will draw a lot of water from them, and not use the water bottle much.

For more info on what to feed your hamster, and what foods he draws water from, check out my food list article. I also cover the wide range of treats a hamster can safely eat.

How to give your hamster water

The best way to bring water to your hamster is with a water bottle(1) or tube. This is what I have for my hamster, and he grew up drinking out of a water feeder.

hamster water bottle

You can see in the photo above the kind of water bottle he has. It’s easier for hamsters to lick the end of a tube than to drink like dogs or cats from a bowl.

Those water bottles have a small tube that goes into the cage itself, and have a small ball at the end, to make sure water doesn’t flow freely. But your hamster can easily drink like that, since all he has to do is push the ball with his tongue when drinking.

It may sound strange for a human, but for hamsters it’s normal and he has no problems drinking like that.

The temperature of the water does not really matter, as long as it’s not very warm water. For example Teddy drank both room temp water, and cold tap water. He was fine with both, and there was no immediate difference.

You can try bottled water, or tap water. Hamsters are fine with both.

When does a hamster usually drink water

Hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so that’s when they’re most active. So, that’s when they’ll be drinking water the most.

Teddy does come out during the day for a small drink, or because he’s heard movement in the house. But most of his drinking is at night.

I often put him in an exercise ball and let him roam the house. After about half an hour I put him back in his cage, and he goes straight for the water tube.

You can read my article on how to properly exercise your hamster in his exercise ball, and how long to leave him in one.

So like humans, hamsters will drink a lot of water immediately after a workout. Aside from this, they will drink water after eating very dry food,  and small sips of water when their body needs it.

But since your hamster is very active during the night, when you’re most probably asleep, you won’t see him drink often. Rest assured that your hamster probably is drinking water.

How often to change your hamster’s water

There is no definitive answer to this. It depends a lot on your disposition, the quality of the water you give, and how clean the water bottle is.

For example I change Teddy’s water once per week, when I clean the whole cage. He has a full water bottle, that reaches 150 ml/ 5 fl oz and he drinks out of that the whole week.

If you want, you can change your hamster’s water every day, or every few days. This depends a lot on the quality of the water.

Where I live the tap water is fresh and clean, safe for any human or animal. I know that there are places where this is not the case. So the water I put Sunday evening when I clean his cage, is still good next Sunday.

If you know your water is not very fresh, I suggest changing it more often. Or switching to bottled water and leaving that for more days if you wish.

There really is no clear answer, your hamster is capable of drinking condensation on water pipes so taste is not a matter to him. But do keep the water as fresh and clean as possible, to avoid any problems for your hamster.

If your hamster is very very active and drinks his water very fast, then obviously you will need to provide more water, or change it more often. A sedentary hamster can live with less water and not really need much.

How to clean the water bottle

I usually clean Teddy’s bottle when I change the water. So I unscrew the tube part from the bottle, throw out the remaining water, and get a clean paper towel.

Rinse out the bottle just to be safe, then wrap the paper towel on the end of a spoon or fork. This way I can reach inside the whole bottle and wipe it all down. If your water bottle is not very long and you can get your fingers in, then do that and a paper towel.

Of course, you will have to keep changing the parts of the paper towel so it’s always dry and you can completely clean the bottle on the inside.

Then, rinse once more and put enough water in the bottle.

Do not clean the water bottle with any kind of soap or disinfectant. Those require much rinsing and even then it might not be safe for your hamster to drink.

I’ve had Teddy’s bottle since I got him in August 2017 and it’s been fine since then, with just regular cleaning. If the water bottle is damaged or really needs a thorough cleaning, consider getting a new one. They’re usually inexpensive, and most of them hold a large amount of water.

I looked around for a good water bottle, and looked at the reviews as well. You can find a good water bottle for your hammy on Amazon, and it can hold about 11 ounces of water for your hamster.

Also make sure to clean the water tube itself with a Q-tip on the inside. Be careful to not leave cotton fibers on the tube, so your hamster will not catch its teeth in it.

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

hamster water pin

How to know if the water bottle is working

If you haven’t seen your hamster drinking from the water bottle, then you might worry it’s not working.

The water bottle usually works, but here is how to check it. The small ball at the end of the tube must move freely, even at the smallest touch. There should be no resistance when you try to push it with your finger.

So keep the water bottle in the cage, and reach for it. Gently push with one finger to see if the ball gives way. If it gives way you will also see a bit of water come out. That means it’s working and your hamster can drink.

If it doesn’t move much, consider adjusting the position of he bottle. If it’s the kind of bottle that has clasps that go onto the cage wires, try moving the clasps until the angle of the tube changes. You might have to take the water bottle out and put it back in a better angle.

Some cages have a small hole on the side, to put the tube through. If it does, then you can be sure that the position the bottle will stay in is correct.

If none of this works, and the ball does not move when you push with your finger, take the water bottle out. Get a clean Q-tip and fiddle around the tube itself until you see what the problem is.

Make sure the tube is facing upwards, so you don’t spill water on you. Or, unscrew the water tube part and rub it inside with the Q-tip.

What to do when your hamster does not drink water

Your hamster not drinking water is a serious thing, and it must be checked.

You can check for signs of dehydration by pulling very gently on the scruff of your hamster’s neck. He will not be hurt by this, since he has part of his pouch there, and it is used to expanding to great sizes.

Hold your hamster in your hand, and gently tug at his scruff. When your let go, the skin should snap back easily. This means your hamster is not dehydrated and is drinking water.

But if the skin on his scruff does not snap back easily, and instead slowly goes back to its initial shape, your hamster is very dehydrated. Especially if you still see a bit of raised skin where you tugged.

If your hamster is indeed dehydrated, do the following:

  • Check that the metal ball on the water bottle is fine, and lets water drip. You might see air bubbles come out when you check, this is a good sign.
  • Provide your hamster with ‘wet’ food, a lot of veggies like cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and even some fruits like seedless grapes and apple.
  • If after a couple of days of changing his diet and checking his water, your hamster is still dehydrated bring him to the vet. He could be having a more severe problem.

A word from Teddy

I hope this article helped you understand how much water we need, and how to make sure we’re hydrated. I hope your hamster is drinking enough water, and he’s happy.

Remember, a very active hamster will drink more water and more often, so make sure you provide lots of water for him !

If you’d like, you can check out the other articles on here. You’ll find great info on how to best care for hamsters, what kind of cage we need, and how to tame one of us.

Related blog post
5 Best Hamster Cages For Syrian And Dwarf  (An Owner’s Opinion)
5 Best Hamster Cages For Syrian And Dwarf (An Owner’s Opinion)Looking for the best hamster cage for your little furball ? I was too, and I’ve changed 3 cages until I got to the one Teddy currently has. You already know about the poorly made pet store cages, too small for even one Dwarf hamster, let alone a Syrian. You’ll be very pleased to know that there’s many options for hamster cages out there, many of them big enough. I’ve looked around and found the best 5 hamster cages that you can order online. And you’ll be able to see their pros, cons, and a comparison between all 5. Let’s get to it ! Table of Contents ToggleA short comparison of all 5 hamster cages1. The best cage for curious, exploring hamstersThe pros:The cons:2. Simple, safe, large cage for Syrian hamstersThe pros:The cons:3. All-around great cage both for Syrian and Dwarf hamstersThe prosThe cons4. A great option for lots of substrate, or a digging hamsterThe prosThe cons5. The best aquarium for escape-artist hamstersThe prosThe consBonus: try to find a glass cabinet as a cage for your hamsterA word from Teddy A short comparison of all 5 hamster cages You’ll find here all 5 hamster cages compared side by side. I think it’s always going to be very helpful to see things compared side by side. Once you’re done reading this table you’ll find each cage discussed in very much detail in the rest of this article. For mobile users, you can navigate this table by swiping left or right on it.   Lixit w/tubes Lixit simple Prevue simple Ferplast (clear) Glass Aquarium Image Size in sq in/cm 630 sq in/ 4080 sq cm 630 sq in/ 4080 sq cm 617.5 sq in/ 3983.8 sq cm 339.8 sq in/ 2192 sq cm 288 sq in/ 1858 sq cm Escape- proof yes yes yes yes yes Air flow 100% 100% 100% 100% 50% Best for explorer types runners, climbers runners, climbers diggers escape artists Material wire, plastic wire, plastic wire, plastic wire, plastic glass Price on Amazon check here check here check here check here check here   1. The best cage for curious, exploring hamsters This cage is big, large enough to fit either a Syrian, or 2 Dwarf hammies. The more Dwarves you have, the more space you need, even if they seem to be getting along just fine. This cage has pretty much everything. It’s got tunnels, it’s got catwalks (close to the ground though), it’s got several huts, and comes with all the necessary accessories. In terms of actual size it measures 31.5 x 20 x 20 inches. That’s 80 x 51 x 51 cm. Get a measuring tape and try to imagine that. It’s going to take up a lot of space wherever you put it. This means your hamster is going to be a-okay, with room to spare. After all, no cage is too big for hammies and that’s where they’re going to live their entire lives. There is the ground level, which is conveniently plastic and the sides are tall. So your hamster’s going to have a lot of room to dig around, if you decide to fill up the lower part with bedding. You can find great hamster bedding here, and what to look out for. All picked out by someone who actually owns a hamster. Back to the cage, if you decide to fill up the lower part, then your hamster’s going to dig around, but you’ll find lots of it on the floor. I did this with my Teddy and he’s not very impressed, since he likes to run rather than dig. If your hammy is like mine, then you can simply add a bit of bedding on the floor and insert a large hamster wheel for him to get all his exercise. The pros: Very large cage, lots of room for your hammy to run around in and dig around and do whatever a hamster does. Bars are very close together, and your hammy won’t be able to squeeze his way out of the cage. Lots of accessories, like the tunnels and the catwalks and the upper house. Adds variety to the hamster’s routine. Easy to carry from one place to another, since it’s got sturdy handles. Just make sure you’ve secured the latches on the sides tightly. The cons: The hamster wheel it comes with is too small, and a bit flimsy. I recommend looking for a better one. The food bowl and water bottle are fine. Mind the tunnels, they can block up with bedding if you add some in the upper green house. Overall, I think this cage is pretty much a villa. I see no problems that can’t be amended by a resourceful and creative hamster owner. It’s a pricey item, but it’s going to last the hamster’s entire life. You’ll be avoiding lots of heartache, frustration and money poorly spent if you go with a big cage from the get-go, instead of switching up cages and wasting money. You can check out the listing for this cage on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 2. Simple, safe, large cage for Syrian hamsters Another large cage, but it’s a bit smaller than the one before. Produced by the same brand. It’s much simpler, no external tubes or other overly fancy accessories. It does come with a wheel, upper level, lots of room to add bedding like before, and water and food bowls. I think this is the simplest hamster cage you can find that’s also very large. It measures 20 x 31.5 x 15 inches, which is 51 x 80 x 38 cm. Like the one before, it’s going to take up a lot of space in the house but you’re getting this for your little hammy, and this is where he’s going to stay all his life. Now, I recommend this for Syrian hamsters because the bar spacing seems to be a little wider than the one before. It’s still pretty close, so I guess you could try it for a Dwarf pair. Just make sure to look it over for any possible gaps the tiny things could escape through. Another thing that needs mentioning is that the upper level (or half level) is made out of wire as well. So any kind of bedding you might add there will most probably end up on the ground floor. The pros: Very large cage, rather on the wide side than tall. Hamsters prefer low cages anyway, so this is a plus. Deep lower part, good for filling with bedding so the hammy can dig if he likes. Or to add a large wheel for him to run in. Wires very close together, very hard to escape. Very breathable, since 80% of it is wire and allows for much airflow. Easy to transport, as this one has handles as well. The cons: Almost all the accessories it comes with are too small or not meant to be plastic. The water bottle is alright, as is the food bowl. The upper floor would need a fleece lining to keep the hammy warm, or some other such modification Overall I think this cage proves that if you’re patient and take some time to look around, you can find good quality hamster cages. Finding a large one that’s got the proper bar spacing is a bit of a task, since most are meant for rabbits or guinea pigs. A great cage to use for your hamster, without all the extra accessories. Many hamster toys can be DYIed, and they seem to absolutely love cardboard tubes. This cage is a bit cheaper than the one with the tubes before, but still on the more expensive end. You can check the listing on Amazon for this cage, and read the reviews as well. 3. All-around great cage both for Syrian and Dwarf hamsters One of the best cages both for Syrians and for Dwarf hammies, this cage looks much simpler than the ones before. However the upper level is adjustable, and the ramp leading up to it is very well made, and the plastic seems very sturdy. This cage, too, has a deep bottom portion which can be filled with lots of bedding if you wish. This also means you can add a large wheel in there for your hammy to run around in. In terms of size, this cage is 32.5 x 19 x 17.5 inches, which is 82.5 x 48 x 44.5 cm. So, just a tad bit smaller than the ones we looked at before. However this cage is much cheaper than the first two, being more of a mid-range one. Still large, and very well thought out. The wire spacing is very small, which again is a plus. It’s also got 2 main entrances. One from above, and one from the side. Both are very large/wide, which means you can comfortably fit both hands into the cage. This is makes taming the hamster much easier, since you can easily teach him to stay in both hands. The pros Very tight wire spacing, practically no way for the hammy to escape. Roomy, lots of space for the hamster to run around in and for many toys to be placed. Deep bottom, can fit a large wheel or lots of bedding. The upper level is adjustable, which I think will help in furnishing the cage Breathable, allows much air flow. The cons Comes with no accessories aside from the upper level and ramp, you will need to provide food bowl and water bottle. I barely found any cons for this cage, since it’s so well thought out. I know I mentioned the lack of accessories as a con, but in some cases they’re mostly useless anyway. It;s probably better that it comes just by itself. Overall I think this is a great cage, both in terms of size, safety for the hamster, and budget as well. It can’t connect to tunnels, so you’re going to need to entertain your hammy with toys placed inside. Still, it’s such a great compromise between size and budget that I have hardly a thing to reproach. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 4. A great option for lots of substrate, or a digging hamster If your hamster’s a digger, then he’s going to need lots of bedding/substrate to dig through. More on that here. This particular cage fits very well for such a hamster. Yes, it has a deep bottom like the other cages. But, it’s also transparent, which means you can also see the little guy when he starts meandering about. Another thing that makes this cage the best one possible for digging hams is the fact that its upper level manages to keep in any stray bits of bedding that may fly out when the hamster is digging. There are two main exits/entrances onto the upper level. One very large, in the middle, complete with a raised ledge. And another, smaller one to which you can also connect a nice ladder for your hammy to use. In terms of size, the whole cage is 23.6 x 14.4 x 11.8 inches. That’s 60 x 36.5 x 30 cm, so this makes it the smallest cage, so far. It’s still a large cage, and you can also fit a large wheel if you don’t want to fill the lower part with bedding. (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 pros Large enough cage, can fit a Syrian or two Dwarf hammies well enough. The transparent lower half lets you see the hamster at all times. Very well thought out digging space, if you choose to use it. Sturdy upper level. Can easily connect to other cages or tubes, since it has an opening. Can be closed if desired. Breathable, lots of air flow. The cons Wheel is too small and flimsy, so I recommend getting a large one, especially is you own  Syrian The hut is plastic, which is not alright in the long run. I recommend looking for a wooden one. Overall I think this cage is a great one if your hamster loves to dig, or if you just want to be able to see your hamster at all times. Or, as much as you possibly can. The opening for tubes is a nice touch, I have to admit. It comes with a cap that can block it if you wish. But if you want to connect it to anything else, then you’re going to need to buy the tubes separately. Unless you already have them. All in all, a great hammy cage. Similar in price to the simple cage we talked about before, slightly cheaper. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 5. The best aquarium for escape-artist hamsters Ah, now we come to the ultimate hamster cage. If he’s a notorious escape artist and has somehow learned to open latches and wire doors by himself, then this will keep him in. There is nothing for the hamster to climb, no bars for him to hang from, and he can’t possibly jump that high. It’s pretty much escape-proof, no matter what kind of hamster you have. It’s a 20 gallon/75.7 liter tank, so it’s got lots of space for your hammy. For measurements, it’s 24 × 12 × 16, which is 71 x 30.5 x 40.6 cm. About as big as the first two cages we were looking at in the beginning. If you secure the top with a wire mesh (easy to find in a crafts store) then you’re going to have the best hamster cage out there. This is a much heavier item than anything else we’ve discussed so far, so you’ve been warned. It’s also made entirely of glass, so shipping could be an issue if ti’s not properly packed. The pros Transparent, can see you hamster at any time. Escape-proof, there is nothing to squeeze through or use to climb out. Wire mesh can be easily fitted on top to further proof it. The cons Heavy, not easy to maneuver. Cleaning will take more time Less airflow than a wire cage. Still alright, but there is a difference Fragile, being made of glass Overall I think this aquarium is a great way to contain a hamster with wanderlust. Finding and securing the wire mesh is easy enough, so that won’t really be a problem. As long as you don’t fill up the tank with too much bedding, the hamster won’t be able to jump high enough to reach the edge anyway. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Bonus: try to find a glass cabinet as a cage for your hamster As a bonus, I’m going to recommend you find a very large, tall and thin glass cabinet. Many companies offer this kind of item, so I won’t be directing you one way or another. Just make sure that if you do look for such a cabinet, its sides are well sealed, and there is no way your hamster could escape. You’re meant to lay the cabinet on its side, with the glass door facing up. This means its height will become its length. Remove the glass panes that make up the shelves, and you’ve got yourself a very large, very long hamster cage. It’s the kind of item you have to go to a furniture shop to inspect thoroughly and bring home yourself (or arrange for transport), but it’s worth the time. Your hamster’s going to have a ridiculously large home, and he will be thankful. This is a very heavy item, and very large, so make sure you have enough space in your home to fit one of these in a room. Wherever you decide to place it, that’s where it’s going to stay since it’s not exactly easy to move around. I have no link for you, but if you look up the Detolf cabinet from Ikea, you should have a good idea about what you’re looking for. A word from Teddy I hope you found some great options in this article. I know us hammies are so very small, but we need a lot of space to run around in and play. Especially if there’s more than one of us, like with Dwarf hamsters. Us hammies are a very energetic bunch, so we cover a lot of space in a short amount of time. Providing us with lots of ground space is going to make us much happier than a multi-level cage. If you want to know more about us hamsters, and how to keep us safe and happy, you can check the related articles below. [...] Read more...
Understanding Syrian Hamster Behavior – An Owner’s Guide
Understanding Syrian Hamster Behavior – An Owner’s GuideIt can be great fun and very rewarding to own and look after a Syrian hamster, but in terms of treatment and cost, it can be a major burden and a long-term commitment. Syrian hamsters are small animals with a great deal of character. Their needs are very complicated and they can be easily injured. Hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they sleep most of the day and become active at night and in the evening. This implies that for people who may be out during the day and at home during the evening, they can make good pets. Table of Contents ToggleMale Syrian hamster behaviorAggressive behaviorParental behavior Social behavior of a hamster  Male Syrian hamster behavior Among the most common options for small pets is the Syrian hamster, also known as the golden hamster. Generally speaking, it is easy to tame, enjoyable to watch, and reasonably low-maintenance, making it a good beginner’s pet. These hamsters come from northern Syria and southern Turkey’s arid areas. Just as we do, hamsters use body language. They can show several feelings that include being happy, scared, threatened, curious, terrified, angry, and many other feelings. When conversing with others, they also use sign language to a limited degree. That doesn’t say, with all that said, that they won’t use an auditory method of communication as well. To call their mothers, babies use ultrasonic sounds, females have mating calls to attract a mate, and a hamster will squeak when it feels threatened or aggressive. Many of these sounds are brief and often unrecognizable to the human ear. Learning all the behaviors of your Syrian hamster means that you will be able to understand it better, thus taking better of him. If you notice your hamster is upset, mad, or ill, you can change the way you care for it. Sometimes, when you put your hands in the cage, you may just need to create more confidence with your pet so that it doesn’t act aggressively or get afraid. If the hamster is burrowing or digging its bedding it just means that the hamster is happy. The hamster is just playing around and by digging it is searching for snacks he buried earlier. Hamsters in the wild are extremely good diggers and will develop deep underground burrows. Make sure that your hamster has a dense layer of bedding so it can dig and burrow endlessly. If he is standing erect on its legs and watching you, it means that he is curious and is watching his surroundings, but still being calm. But when they’re standing with their dukes up on their hind legs, the hamster tells you it feels threatened and if you don’t back off, he might get aggressive. They are looking for reassurance while it is grooming and feel very happy with all that’s going on. They feel comfortable and relaxed about their present condition as they are stretching their limbs. It’s a sign of fright if his ears are forward with his cheek pouches puffed up and his mouth open. Try to minimize the stress factors that brought on this action. It means that a hamster is insecure about the current situation and is likely to run and hide when it empties its cheek pouches quickly. Another indication of insecurity and uncertainty is that as you approach it gets startled. In this case, he fells unaware of what’s going on at the moment. Also, if he is lying on his back with incisors showing, it’s a sign of a threatened hamster and he is scared. If you just got the hamster and you see him walking slowly and creeping around the cage, it just means that he is insecure around his surroundings. He is not yet comfortable with the cage and needs time to adjust to it. Try burying some snacks in the bedding to keep him active and get used to the habitat. Also, if the hamster is new to the cage, when you approach him, he will freeze in place. When the hamster is afraid, he will most likely play dead by standing still or lying down. He will most likely shy away and hide from you. This means that he is stressed out with the new environment and will need to adjust to, for example, loud noises. If the hamster continues to be unresponsive, you need to make some extra measures. If a hamster has a repeated routine and is doing the same things from day to day, it means that he is mentally ill. You can fix this by giving him toys to play and exercise, or giving him a larger cage. The most indecisive sign of a hamster is its squeak. He might be squeaking for no reason at all. But it can also squeak as a mating call, if he feels uncomfortable, or if he’s scared. This situation is the most difficult to figure out. Most of the behaviors displayed by hamsters does not mean he is ill. Hamsters are very active when they are awake and always find things to entertain them. If you feel the hamster is not acting normally, you can always enrich their time with toys and exercise. Make sure your hamster has plenty of training room and has suitable things to play with, such as tiny boxes, tubes, and mazes. For exercise, a good quality running wheel may provide additional activities. Once you can handle them with trust, you should enable your hamster to spend time out of their cage, but never leave your hamster unattended or overnight out of the cage. As long as the hamster is properly maintained, he will not be bothered and his behavior will remain natural. If you notice something strange, don’t jump to the conclusion that he is unwell. Try interacting and exercising with him. If his behavior is seriously worrying you, consult with the local vet. Aggressive behavior Since they are solitary by nature, Syrian hamsters can never be housed together. If you bring two Syrians together, they’re going to fight eventually. It’s only fine to house them together when they’re either breastfeeding babies or when you’re planning on mating them. Sometimes, almost without reason, hamsters may display worrying or aggressive behaviors. Acting this way is also not an indicator of the nature of the hamster – there is generally a very good explanation of why the animal behaves this way. If two grown male Syrian hamsters are kept together, they will show aggressive behavior. When one violent hamster attempts to bite the underbelly of the other, encounters will intensify into a wrestling match. To drive the hostile hamster down, the subordinate hamster will rise up, open its mouth, puff up its cheeks and stretch its arms out. When the hamster doesn’t want any trouble, its paw may be held out, its tail flicked, and does not maintain eye contact with the dominant hamster. This action can be interpreted as a retreat. However, a wrestling match can break out if one hamster does not initially back down. The wrestling match starts when one hamster stands up on his hind legs and attempts to bite the underbelly by lunging at the other. The two hamsters start rolling around in unison, trying to get the advantage. When one of the hamsters admits defeat, it will give up by lying on its back and freezing in this position. The wrestling match is generally over when this happens, but often, no hamster wants to give up that quickly. This is when they can intensify the wrestling into a fight. A fight looks a lot like a wrestling match but takes on a more violent and physical tone. Biting can become even more extreme and can lead to severe injuries. More pronounced squeaking may also be present. In the end, a hamster will give up and escape from the fight. When the subordinate hamster runs away through a hamster tunnel and hides in another habitat compartment, the battle always ends. If the hamster cage is not big enough for the hamster to run and hide, by chasing after it, the winning hamster can continue to fight. When it comes to this, it’s probably best to physically remove one of them to separate the hamsters. Hamsters can and do bite in certain cases. However, it is uncommon for a hamster to actually be aggressive, and they generally only bite when they get frightened. The most important thing to remember when you are dealing with these hamsters is that they’re biting because they’re scared, not because they’re aggressive. Tame hamsters are those who have been handled daily, so they’re used to people and are not easily frightened. Hamsters who have not been approached often, on the other hand, are typically not quite friendly, and if you attempt to pick them up, they sometimes bite. It can bite out of fear if you grab your hamster without allowing it time to readjust to your presence. If you do not physically hold them correctly, hamsters can even nibble you, which can be very painful for them. Hamsters are nocturnal, and if you wake them up during the day, they will be quite disoriented and very agitated. If they are scared and afraid, when you try to pick them up, they are likely to bite you. When it’s awake in the early evening and night, it’s going to be a lot more active and will potentially be more comfortable playing with you. Hamsters have very bad eyesight, and when they’re uncertain whether anything is edible or not, they are likely to experiment. If you stick food through the cage bars, then when you do the same with your finger, it will also believe it is a tasty treat and will bite you. When it comes to biting hamsters, it’s important to be patient. You will need to gain the trust of your pet and do so gradually. Don’t be brought down by the fact that it may take a month or a few months to fully succeed in this. Gaining a hamster’s trust can vary from week to week. Spend time sitting near the cage and talk to your hamster. Remember, moving to a new cage and new environment is very stressful, so this period is also habituation to a new home. After a week, try putting your hand on the cage. Place your hand next to the door or top of the cage, then extend it a little further each following day. Don’t try to touch the hamster, but if he becomes curious, let him explore your hand. When the hamster explores your hand, use that trust to slip him some treats and let it eat them from your hand. When your hamster starts eating treats relaxed, you can try to gently pet it. If your pet accepts treats and allows you to cuddle him, try lifting it. First, try to direct it so that it climbs into your arm, by placing the treats in it.  Parental behavior The Syrian female hamster has anatomical characteristics that are different from other species. They mature from 8-10 weeks of age and have an estrous period of 4 days. She frequently prefers to mate with an alpha male who, more often than any subordinate males present, will flank the mark (a scent-marking activity associated with aggression and competition). Male offspring are at greater risk of permanent effects from maternal social stress than female offspring. It is always recommended to separate the male hamster from the mother and the babies. There are many cases in which the father eats the babies, but it sometimes happens with the mother as well. In expectation of their babies’ birth, female hamsters will begin to build a nest. A female hamster is pregnant for only around three weeks and up to 20 babies will evidently appear in a hamster’s nest overnight. If by nesting and consuming a little more food than average, a hamster has prepared for a regular birth, then it may be particularly shocking to see a hamster kill and eat its own offspring. But while the reason this happens could be a shortage of food, there are a few other explanations that a hamster will eat its babies. For anyone, even a hamster, getting pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding, and caring for multiple babies is really exhausting. If a hamster is too stressed, its babies will be eaten. She may feel that caring for her young is more than she can do. The same goes for when the hamster is scared. This is especially true with young hamsters. This can be caused by the fear of other pets, loud noises, and many other things that will intimidate the hamster. A hamster mother spends a lot of time grooming and caring for her youngsters. The fragrance left on each infant helps the mother to identify the babies. The mother could become confused and not know her own babies if a new smell, such as the scent of a human, is detected on the babies. The shortage of food is the most apparent explanation of why a hamster eats its own babies. Every animal that is pregnant or breastfeeding needs more energy than it can normally need. Therefore, there is so much more food required. From the lack of food, the hamster may be starving and fear being unable to provide for its baby. To prevent the mother from eating her babies, provide a quiet place for them. This can include keeping kids and other pets out of the space where your hamster lives, keeping the noise down in your house so that your hamster is not bothered, and maybe even covering the cage so that no potential threats or tension can be noticed. The most obvious precaution to take is to provide the hamster with plenty of food, during and after pregnancy. Make sure that you offer a high-quality hamster diet with plenty of protein as soon as you know that your hamster is pregnant. Also, make sure it always has clean water. You may want to split the hamsters if your pregnant hamster lives with another. This would make the babies safer and prevent any adult battle. If you find that you have a male and a female hamster living together, this will probably eliminate any pregnancy in the future. But, if both male and female hamsters are cared for properly, both of them will show high parental behavior. The male hamster will also contribute to building a nest, caring, grooming the young. Male hamsters will even pick up and carry the babies more often than the female. Even though the female hamster is more likely to eat the babies, male hamsters will injure them more. When trying to lie down, the male will accidentally lay down on the babies, almost suffocating them.  Social behavior of a hamster  Hamsters are normally solitary creatures and may be aggressive to other animals, often leading to significant injury or even death. In particular, Syrian hamsters are not inherently sociable and they are best kept on their own. The Syrian Hamster lives alone in the wild and is intensely territorial, threatening any intruders or other hamsters that it might face while traveling. In separate burrows, Syrian hamsters live a distance away from some other burrow of another hamster. Hamsters create unique odors that they use to communicate, so avoid housing unknown hamsters and hamster cages next to each other, as they can find this disturbing and can start fighting. In the house, they can also find the presence and scent of other animals stressful, especially animals such as cats and dogs that would usually eat small animals such as hamsters. Never let other pets rest on or interact with the hamster’s cage. By using their body language to exhibit emotion, you should observe your hamsters communicating and engaging with each other. As a pet hamster owner, understanding when all is well in the cage or when you may need to resolve a dispute is crucial. These hamsters are one of the most solitary species in the wild. As pets, they should always be alone in a cage. Young hamsters often tolerate cage companions for a little while. But there’s a fair chance they’ll become violent when they age, even battling to the death. Hamsters will stick their noses up to each other’s muzzles when they face each other head-to-head. Through smelling their scented gland that is located in that region of their face, they would be able to tell who the other is. Several things may then take place once their identity is established. If one hamster recognizes the other like a dominant hamster, he will point its ears up, lean backward in fear, turn, and leave. The female could do a walk where she arches her back and then goes into the lordosis position, if the encounter is between a male and a female, showing she is ready to mate. For two hamsters, circling is another way to find out who each other is. To scent its glands, one hamster will put its head up under the other hamster’s belly, then another will take its turn to smell the other. This hamster action may often look a little aggressive if there is an over-eager hamster involved. Often, it can escalate into wrestling in this case. Syrian hamsters are generally friendly, and many owners say that they are a good choice of pet since they can develop a very close bond with their owners. They are the biggest and one of the most common pet hamsters, partially because their size makes it easier to handle them. These hamsters are slower than any of their smaller counterparts. Another factor adding to their popularity is that this hamster breed should be kept on its own, as for fun and excitement, it focuses more heavily on its owner. Because they do not have a hamster friend to play with, during the hours you are both awake, it will be more open to forming relationships with the owners. Hamsters may not interact with a variety of people like many other pets do. Instead, hamsters are most happy sharing time with one, often two, owners. A hamster will learn to recognize the owner’s smell and might be scared of anyone he doesn’t know. Hamsters are reasonably independent and can amuse themselves for long periods, provided that their housing is sufficiently enriched with toys, bedding, burrowing, and climbing opportunities. Also, the hamster should undergo regular handling and contact to be comfortable and well-adjusted. Some hamsters are cuddlier, while others are more independent. Syrian hamsters are usually easier to tame, so they will be a little more affectionate than other types of hamsters. But this is only because the Syrians are much bigger than the other hamsters, which makes it easier to treat them. You should pet your hamster’s body or their head very softly to express your affection when they’re either in their cage or in your hands. Hamsters often seem to prefer to sleep on their owners once the trust point has been achieved. When they’re active, you can also speak to them with a quiet and soft voice (the talking approach also works when you’re trying to develop trust in your hamster). So, it’s important to be around them and connect with them daily to create a deeper relationship between you and your hamster. Even though hamsters show affection to their owners, they will not be so affectionate and lovable to other hamsters. One shouldn’t be too affectionate with the hamster. Remember that in the wild, hamsters live alone. It’s their natural instinct to play, explore, and eat on their own. They should have plenty of time by themselves, and they will find any kind of entertainment. Some owners tend to think that hamsters get lonely and want to touch them all the time. When you’re developing a relationship with a hamster, you should maintain a routine that your hamster will follow. Don’t pick it out of the cage anytime you wish. The hamster will not appreciate it if you pick him up constantly and it can become aggressive if he is not left alone. Especially during the daytime, when it is sleeping. Set up a routine so your hamster knows when he will play with you and it will not get stressed out. [...] Read more...
Can You Wake Up A Hamster? Read This First
Can You Wake Up A Hamster? Read This FirstWhen I had my first hamster, I always had this question. Is it a good or a bad idea to wake up a hamster? The answers I found online at the time were quite wrong now that I know what a hamster routine is and the fact that they are solitary animals and not social animals. Many people, like me, want a pet hamster to be able to play with, but they quickly realize that their schedules don’t align since most hamsters are crepuscular or nocturnal. Now the question is, do you wake up your hamster to play with it, or do you let it sleep? Before getting to this topic, check my article about the hamster’s routine, especially if you don’t have a hamster and are thinking of getting one. Table of Contents ToggleCan you wake up a hamster?Should you wake up your hamster to feed it?How to gently wake a hamster if you have toCan you change your hamster routine?Waking hamster by mistakeCan hamsters sleep in the dark?Conclusion Can you wake up a hamster? You should not wake up your hamster, it is stressful for it as it is for us or for any other pet. You better think twice when you want to play with your hamster, and if this is the only reason you want to wake it up. Your hamster might be grumpy, and biting you is possible in that situation. It is rude to wake up a human to have someone to play with but at least we are social animals, so we like spending time with others, hamsters are not. So, when you wake up a hamster to play with, it is like waking up someone that doesn’t like you to hang out with. It might sound harsh what I’m saying here, but even if you see a small cute furball, you have to remember that they don’t like company, even yours. There are some hamsters that look like they enjoy playing with humans, but in reality, they are just less afraid and want to explore, not play. And this happens especially when they are active already, not when you wake them up. Before getting discouraged, it’s important to know that they are waking up from time to time, even during the day. They don’t sleep continuously, so you might get a chance to play with them. Should you wake up your hamster to feed it? You should not wake up your hamster to feed it. I’ve heard and seen some people that wake up hamsters to feed them. You can imagine how bad of an idea that is. Again, imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night to give you food or tickle you.  I had this experience once with my mom, me and my wife were visiting my parents and we took a short nap in the middle of the day. The funny part is that we just ate before going to sleep so we were kind of full, you know like you are when you are visiting your parents. My mother decided to wake us up after an hour to come and eat. I told her that we just ate, and I feel hungry when I’m hungry, not sleepy. Don’t understand me wrong, I know why she woke us up. She was doing her host and mom’s job, it was the wrong moment, though. So don’t wake your hamster up for food, they can eat when they wake up naturally. However, if you have to wake up your hamster for whatever reason, trying to wake them up with a treat is not the worst idea. Here is an entire article about what treats you can safely give to your hamster. How to gently wake a hamster if you have to There are some moments when you might have to wake up your hamster. In my case, I clean his cage on the same day when I clean the house so I have to wake him up when I’m cleaning, I can’t wait too much. If you have a good reason to wake up your hamster, here is a good way of doing it. Offer your pet a special treat or food item that he loves. Tap lightly on the side of his cage and talk to him while he is waking up.  You will hear rustling as he stirs, then his nose will appear as he sniffs to check out the situation. Keep the treat close by so it is easily detectable by your pet.  He will slowly come out, sleepy-eyed and ears tucked back. Your pet will move towards the treat and you can then pick him up. I saw some articles recommending gently blowing on the hamster when you want to wake them up. I would not do that, but if you do, make sure you don’t blow in their face, they hate that. Can you change your hamster routine? Changing your hamster routine is stressful and unhealthy. If you love your hamster, you should not think of doing that. Before buying or adopting a hamster, you should make sure your schedule suits their routine if you want to play with them. Of course, as I said, you will have some moments when your hamster will be awake during the day, but there are not as many as at night. One thing I noticed about the hamster routine is that they seem to be way more active when I leave the house for a few days. When I come back, they are still active, even during the day. But not nearly as much as evenings and nights. It always felt to me like he was waiting for me to leave so he could throw a party, and I caught him by surprise when I came back. My guess is that hamsters feel safer when it is quieter, even during the day. Waking hamster by mistake If you worry that you will wake up your hamster unintentionally by making noises around their cage, it is important to know that they have good hearing, but they will notice you only if you are quite close to their cage. All the hamsters I had slept well even when I had music going in the room, but if I made sudden noises around their cage, they would wake up. It’s almost impossible to have a room only for the hamster cage, so this is unavoidable that you or your kids will make noises around the cage, and it might wake up the hamster every now and then. Make sure it is not too often. All my hamsters had this habit of waking up to drink some water or for a small snack during the day, I know there are humans that do this during the night, so it’s easy to understand why. I’m saying this to clarify that you are not waking up your hamster by mistake when they are active during the day, it is just their routine. Can hamsters sleep in the dark? Yes, hamsters can sleep in the dark, hamsters don’t sleep like humans, they are intermittent sleepers if that is a word, so they will have short bursts of sleep. As you might get to see your hamster active during the day, you can see a hamster sleeping during the night. You don’t have to think too much about how is the light in the room for the hamster, just turn it off when you go to sleep and you can turn the light on when you are in the room. Hamsters have poor eyesight, they don’t use it too much. However their eyes are quite sensitive, so make sure you don’t direct the light to their cage. Even direct sunlight might be harmful to their small sensitive eyes. Conclusion Before you get a hamster as a pet, it’s very important to understand their habits and routine not to be surprised. They have a very specific routine that doesn’t suit most of our lifestyles, especially if you have a regular daytime schedule at work. Waking a hamster up just to play with it is pretty rude and stressful for them, so you should avoid doing that as much as possible. I hope this article helped you and your hamster will be happier and less stressed. [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?
Hamster vs Rats And Mice – Which Should You Keep As Pets ?If you’re looking to get a rodent, but can’t decide between hamsters, mice or rats then this article will help you sort that out. Unfortunately they can’t be all kept together, you need to pick just one kind of pet. But they’ve all got different needs, even if they are so similar. Let’s see a bit about each rodent, so you know which would be the best pet for you. If you want to know how a hamster would fare if he were to live in the same cage as a rat or mouse, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleAbout the hamster – general info + personalityAbout mice – general info + personalityAbout rats – general info + personalityFood difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any)Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with ownersCage size and housing differencesA word from Teddy About the hamster – general info + personality A hamster is very small, can be as small as 2 inches/5 cm, and as large as 5 inches/13 cm. He doesn’t need as much room as a rabbit, and usually stays put. As in, leaving the hamster in his cage all his life is not a problem, as long as he has a large enough cage. He does need a bit of exercise, but this is where his exercise wheel comes to the rescue. Hammies don’t like to share and generally should not be housed together. The only exceptions are the Dwarf types, who can live with a sibling or two of the same sex. This is only true for siblings that have never been separated and live in a very large cage, so they won’t fight over food and toys and general resources. Even so, I recommend keeping any and all hamsters alone, one hamster per cage. This reduces the hamster’s stress levels and this way you make sure there are no unnecessary fights, which can sometimes be deadly. Hamsters are prey animals, so they’re used to running away and hiding. Their cages need to have plenty of hiding places, so they can feel safe. This also means that taming the hamster will not be as easy as taming a puppy. He will take anywhere between a few days and a few weeks to trust you. And that trust can always be lost, or forgotten if you stop interacting with him for a few days. Still, hamsters make for very entertaining pets. It’s just that the vast majority of hamsters only come out of their hiding place at night. This means that if you go to bed before 10 PM you might just miss their waking up.  And if you wake up around 6 AM, they’ve just gone to bed. So I’d only recommend a hamster to a person who either stays up very late, or works night shifts and can catch the hamster awake more often. They’re also very sensitive animals, in that there is such a thing as handling them too much, and too little. They get grumpy if you wake them up, they won’t always want to stay in your hands… okay, they rarely want to stay put. They want to explore and see everything. Their personalities are not obvious from the start, when they’re babies. But once they grow up (3 months-ish) you’ll realize you’ve either got a Rambo type (all over the place, exploring, trying to intimidate you, not staying still) or the world’s laziest and relaxed furball. There is no in-between. All hamsters mellow down once they become old, it’s just that some are absolutely spastic when they’re young. About mice – general info + personality Mice are very social animals, and will generally do better if they’re kept in a small group. For example 3 females, or 2 males seems to be the best kind of match. There will always be one mouse trying to be the dominant one. Mice are much smaller than hamsters – smaller than a Dwarf sometimes – and are so much more agile and quick. This means that trying to handle a mouse is very hard, since he’ll be all over the place. This doesn’t mean they’re impossible to tame. But it is much harder than with a hamster. Usually mice are kept as pets to look at, rather than play with. Even if you do manage to hold onto one, he’ll almost immediately want to go exploring. Mice, like hamsters and rats, have poor eyesight and as a result they can’t really judge distances and heights. All 3 will try to jump off of ledges or out of your hands if they’ve had enough, but mice and hamsters are just plain terrible at this. They will jump from high places, even if they’re too high. Mice are only a slight bit smarter in this area. Still, seeing a small colony of mice interact and build their own little nests, and lay with every little toy is going to be fun. They’re almost always unpredictable, and seem not to care if they survive a climb or any special endeavor. Given how shall mice are, even the mellow, chill ones will seem skittish. That’s just the way mice are. They can get along with each other, but it’s a lot like with Dwarf hamsters. They must be siblings, and never been separated at all. Even then, they might argue from time to time. What sibling doesn’t, though ? About rats – general info + personality A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent. That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime. They’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters. Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them. When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal anything if ever left outside of their cage, and let them out your should from time to time. This is mostly because they need lots of stimulation, and sometimes being kept in their cage isn’t enough. You can always keep just one rat, but you should be warned that you’ll need to interact with him often if you want him to not get bored. A bored rat is never good news. He will try to escape, chew through a part of the cage you’d never expect, or just wait for the perfect moment when you’re opening his cage to take him out. But, a rat is a smart animal, and he will be very entertaining. He’ll tend to understand you better, and sometimes even sit still when you need him to, or when you just want to keep him cuddled in your arms. (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.) Food difference between the 3 rodents (there aren’t any) When it comes to food, hamsters mice and rats eat pretty much everything. They all eat mostly grains, with some fruit and vegetables thrown in for good measure. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too, ans so it a bit of meta. It’s okay if it’s mealworms, it can even if a bit of boiled plain chicken. Do keep in mind that the serving sizes vary from animal to animal. A hamster will need 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried commercial food mix (depending on whether you’ve got a Dwarf or a Syrian). This is per hamster, per day. A mouse will need just the one teaspoon, once a day, aside from whatever treats you give them. A rat will need much more, amounting to 2 tablespoons of their commercial mix food. They’re much larger and need more food than the other two rodents. However all 3 have teeth that never stop growing, and they will need to gnaw on something all the time. This is where the dry grains or pellets come in handy. Social needs of all 3 rodents and how they get along with owners Hamsters are solitary animals. If you really want to, you can house a pair of Dwarf hamsters,  but that often doesn’t end well. This is mostly because hamsters are very territorial, and they end up fighting over everything, unless they have a very very large cage. The only way you can keep a pair of Dwarf hamsters is if they’re siblings, of the same gender (so 2 girls or 2 boys), and they’ve never been separated. Hammies do interact with their owners, but they don’t bond with them as much. They can be rather aloof and disinterested most of the time, unless you’ve got a treat in your hands. Mice can be kept in more than just pairs, but it’s the same story as with Dwarf hamsters. They should be siblings, of the same sex, and never separated. They’re very skittish and all over the place. Handling them – and as such taming them – is going to be difficult, like with Dwarf hamsters. They simply don’t sit still, and don’t really like being handled. They bond a little more with their owners than hamsters, but that doesn’t say much. Rats are social too, but they should be kept with a buddy if you can’t talk to them or handle them often. They can grow bored very easily, and need a whole lot of toys. Cage size and housing differences When it comes to housing these rodents, things aren’t very different. For example a hamster can live in a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is for one lone Syrian hamster, or two Dwarf types. This same size is enough for one male rat, or 3 female mice. Mice males need a cage almost as big as a Syrian’s, just for one male mouse. Females live together easier. When it comes to toys and objects inside their cages, all 3 rodents need plenty of things to play with. Rats need the most stimulation, and will end up getting bored the fastest. This means that giving them plenty of puzzle toys is going to help. Puzzle toys can be something like a maze made out of an egg carton with holes cut in one end, and a treat at the other end. All 3 rodents are great with mazes. Another such toys would be a cardboard tube with a treat inside, but very tightly packed so the pet can’t get to the treat easily. Climbing toys are another object rodents will love, but especially mice and rats since they are used to climbing pipes or small plants. Hamsters prefer the low ground and tunnels. Rats and mice will go for hammocks, or maybe ladders, suspended bridges, and so on. If it requires a bit of acrobatics skill, it’s a rat or mouse toys, not a hamster toy. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies sometimes get confused with mice and rats, but we’re a bit different actually. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live Together
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live TogetherYour cute and cuddly hammies are fighting ! In some cases this can be a nightmare, especially if they were fine until recently. I asked around, and talked to other hamster owners as well about why hamsters fight. Turns out there are a few things to consider before you get a pair of hamsters in the same cage. Also, not all hamster breeds can live together. Sometimes even those breeds that everyone knows can live together can get into serious fights. But let’s first see why hamsters fight in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters fight ?Are your hamsters really fightingHamsters need plenty of territoryHamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up withWhich hamster breeds can live together ?Do hamsters get lonely ?When to separate hamster babiesHow to find your hamster’s genderHow to house 2 dwarf hamstersIntroduce the hamstersIntervene if you notice them fighting too hardHandle the hamsters so they get the same attentionSet up the cage for the hamsters’ comfortShould you even keep hamsters together at all ?A word from Teddy So why do hamsters fight ? For the most part, hamsters fight over territory. In the wild all hamsters are solitary, and require a certain space of their own. And when they happen upon another hamster, they treat him as a trespasser. Pet or captive hamsters haven’t forgotten this instinct, and will still fight a new hamster if they ever meet. There are some exceptions, like litter mates that were brought up together, but even then there can be fights. When it comes to paired hamsters, they can also fight over resources (food, hideout, bedding, toys, etc). We’ll get into more detail with why hamsters fight over territory and how they can tolerate litter mates in the rest of the article. But first we need to touch on the topic of play fighting, since this can be confused with actual fighting. Are your hamsters really fighting This is a topic you can’t really find a lot of answers for. But still, hamsters do playfight. This is mostly as babies, and mostly the males. It’s a normal part of their upbringing. They learn how to be hamsters, what’s okay, what isn’t, and develop their core personalities. But what about your adult hamsters, same gender, litter mates, suddenly fighting ? Is it a real fight ? The answer depends a lot on whether they’ve done this before. Most likely, it’s the beginning of a real fight. Small skirmishes can spring up from nowhere, and they’re largely unpredictable. If your hamsters are babies, and you’ve only just brought them home, it’s possible that they’re establishing the roles. In a pair one hamster is always a bit more dominant, even if it’s just a little. Supervise them when they’re young, and see if it devolved into actual fighting. For the most part, hamsters can play fight, or have small arguments. These are usually harmless, even if they are loud. One hamster will jump on the other one, they may squeak and run around, but in the end one will give in. That’s the submissive hamster, and if they return to whatever they were doing beforehand, it’s okay. If it all turns into biting, cornering, relentlessly chasing and you start to see blood and a bit of stray fur, you need to separate them. The small arguments are more common when the hamsters are first introduced together in the same cage. Over time they subside, but they can still come up from time to time. Hamsters need plenty of territory This is the main reason hamsters should be kept alone. Yes, some breeds are okay with living together with another, but in general they should be alone. This is because hamsters require a lot of territory to run around, forage, and generally have their own turf. When they share that territory with another hamster, it can become a problem. So, make sure you get your hamsters a big enough cage – more on that here. In that article you’ll find the minimum cage requirement for a single hamster. But when you have two hamsters, you need to double that. That means that the minimum for one hammy is  24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. In this case, the minimum for 2 hamsters, even if they’re just Dwarf types, is 48 x 24 inches by 12 inches tall. In centimeters that’s 122 x 61, by 30.5 cm tall. Hamsters don’t need a lot of height in their cages, but they do need a lot of floor space. Always go for a bigger cage. You’re sparing yourself and you hamsters a lot of trouble. Hamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up with As it turns out, not all hamsters can get along. This is aside from the breeds that can’t be housed together. If your hamsters are of a different litter, but still babies, they might still fight. The younger and more similar the hamsters are, the easier it will be for them to tolerate each other. So it’s best to pair hamsters which are from the same litter. And it’s best to do this before they’re 6-7 weeks old. That’s when hamsters mature, and maturing together will help your hamsters tolerate each other better. Even so, sometimes hamsters from the same litter raised together can still not get along. Each pairing can be more or less successful, depending on the hamsters’ personalities. So again, supervise their first interactions and see if they can get along. Which hamster breeds can live together ? Of all the hamster breeds, only some Dwarf types can live together. Specifically Roborovski, Campbell’s, and Siberian hamsters can live together and not fight. This is only true for hamsters that were born in the same litter, so are siblings. If they were raised together by their mother, and brought home in a same-sex pair, and put in a cage together they will most probably get along well. There is a Dwarf type that should not be housed with another, and that is the Chinese hamster. The Chinese is slightly larger than the other 3 dwarf types, more territorial, and needs to be left by himself. And finally, Syrian hamsters will be aggressive toward any hamster,ans should always be kept alone. Never get your Syrian hamster a friend, they will fight to the death. For Chinese and Syrian hamsters, even if you bring home 2 hammies of the same gender and litter, it’s a bad idea. They will fight and this can devolve into actual death matches. Do hamsters get lonely ? For the most part, no, hamsters do not get lonely. The more sociable ones, like the Roborovski, Campbell, and Siberian can live without their cage mates as well. As for the more aloof Syrian and Chinese, they definitely do not need a friend. All hamsters are okay with human interaction, and they will remember their owner. But hamsters do not get attached as much as other kinds of pets do (like a dog, for example). Still, they will ask for your attention if they see you. This is for the most part curiosity about everything that surrounds them. So in short – hamsters do not really get lonely. While some hamster types can live together, they do not need to live together in order to feel alright or safe. In the wild they would be living alone. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters will need to be separated into gender specific groups when their mother weans them. Usually that’s around 3-4 weeks of age. When hamsters reach that age they can eat commercial food, and drink water. But most importantly they can start to breed, even so young. So it’s important to separate the hamsters into genders for that reason alone. This is also useful when you’re preparing the hamsters to later be kept in pairs. Having their cage mate with them from the very beginning will be much easier for both hamsters. Always get same sex pairs, unless you want a new litter. If you do want a new litter, you must separate the two because the female will go into heat every few days. Also, she can become pregnant right after giving birth, so it might even slip your notice. Best to be safe and get all male or all female pairs, and house them together in a very large cage. How to find your hamster’s gender A hamster’s gender is easy enough to tell, but some breeds are harder to figure out. Those are the Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) since they are so small and wriggly. For more info on how to find your hamster’s gender, you need to read this article. You’ll get info on how to handle untamed hamsters as well, and this is crucial when you’ve got baby Dwarf hamsters. In short, you need to look for the genital area of your hamster, and notice the differences. On males, you will notice that the genital opening and anal opening are farther apart, and have a patch of fur between them. If you hold the hamster and tilt him on his back a bit, you will notice that his testicles will show more clearly. On females, the genital and anal openings are almost the same, in that they are extremely close together. You might even have trouble telling them apart. Females will have 2 rows of nipples running down their abdomen. When you’re holding your hamster he will most probably try to wriggle out of your hand. That’s normal, no hamster likes to be handled like that. So make sure you keep the process very short, so as not to irritate the hamster. Now that you know all of this, let’s talk about how to house the two hamsters properly. (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.) How to house 2 dwarf hamsters You will need a bit of patience and a sharp eye for this process. It can work out half the time, but the other half is not too pretty. Let’s see how to introduce the hamsters first. You can only do this with baby hamsters. Adults (6 weeks and up) of any kind will fight ferociously ! Introduce the hamsters If you’ve got hamsters from the same litter, so sibling hamsters, this will be easy. Simply place them in a cage large enough for both of them as adults. That’s a cage 24 x 12 inches wide, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That is the absolute minimum, and you’re better off with a glass tank for Dwarf types. They are so small they can escape through the bars of a normal cage. If you’ve got 2 different hamsters, from 2 separate litters, you need to be careful. Get 2 cages, and keep them close together so that the hamsters can see and smell each other regularly. After a couple of days, if you see them trying to interact with each other, you can move them in together. If they ignore each other, they might not get along if you try to put them together. But if they are curious and sniff around a lot, you can try putting them together. But this requires a third cage, that smells of neither of them. Clean, fresh bedding, clean toys, food bowls, and hideout and wheels as well. This way they won’t have ‘personal’ belongings, and will learn to share more easily. Your hammies might ignore each other, or they might be very curious. A bit of sniffing and play fighting is normal, until they get used to each other. Intervene if you notice them fighting too hard The hamsters will do a lot of pouncing on each other, and will interact a lot. In the beginning, when they are just getting used to each other, and their personalities are developing, this is normal. They’re also asserting their dominance and trying each other out. As long as it doesn’t get bloody and vicious, it’s alright. It will be loud, and it will involve a lot of chasing around. Again, another reason to get the hamsters a large enough cage or glass tank. If the hamsters have small arguments what come out of nowhere and go away in a couple of seconds, that’s alright too. As long as they don’t devolve into something worse, it’s still play fighting. Your hamsters will have short bursts like this every now and then, but they should be fairly rare. However if they are consistent and start to last longer each time, it’s a sign that they’re not getting along. If you see one of the cornering the other hamster, biting, scratching, even blood – definitely separate them. When separated the hamsters should be very far apart, even in different rooms. They can still hear and smell each other, which will stress them out. Handle the hamsters so they get the same attention If your hamsters get along and are okay, then great. Handling them will need to be done with care. Since hamsters are so sensitive to smell, having your scent on just one of them will increase the tension between the two. So, try to handle them at the same time or in the same amount. Pick them up from their cage together, feed them together, and make sure they both get just as much attention from you. This also means that you will need to do this daily, since Dwarf hamsters have a shorter memory. They need constant stimulation, and will forget owners after a few days. Set up the cage for the hamsters’ comfort Largely this means that you will need 2(or more) of everything in your hamster cage. Hideouts, food bowls, water bottles, toys, wheels, everything will need to be at least double. Getting them 2 of each will mean that they have less opportunities to argue over who gets what. Hamsters are very territorial, and will argue over lots of things. Even if they’re siblings. Another thing to be very careful for is how you set up the cage itself. Make sure that there are no blocked corners than your hamsters can get stuck in. When they chase each other around it’s important that they can actually run away. Also, get them hideouts with at least 2 exits, so they can never corner one another. If their relationship devolves to bullying, the victim needs to have opportunities to flee. That means that long tubes or cramped corners should not exist in the cage. Should you even keep hamsters together at all ? In my opinion – no, you should not. Even Dwarf types, who can live together with another hamster of their kind. Hamsters are very territorial, and will eventually fight over many things. Small things like squabbles add up over time, and build tension. Hamsters are so very sensitive to stress, and can develop all kinds of problems based on stress. So, for the hamster’s health, and your ease of conscience, you I recommend you keep all hamsters alone. They live alone in the wild, and they are perfectly okay living on their own. They get a lot of love and affection from you, and even that can be too much sometimes. They can hide from you if they want. But another hamster in their cage can happen upon them at any time, whether they like it or not. A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info on here. I know a lot of people keep us hammies together, even if it’s not the best idea. If you do want to keep us together, make sure we’re Dwarf types and you give us a very very very large cage. If you want to know more about us hammies, like why we’re scared of your sometimes, or how long we can go without food and water, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
Why You Should Trim Your Hamster’s Nails, And How To Do It
Why You Should Trim Your Hamster’s Nails, And How To Do ItIf you’ve got a hamster then you’ve probably met his sharp claws, or at least seen them. If he’s even climbed on you, you’ve also felt them. But some hamsters do get overgrown nails,  and it’s necessary to keep them trimmed to avoid injury to you or to the hamster. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?When do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?Why you should care about your hamster’s nailsHow to trim overgrown hamster nailsTrimming them at homeInspect the hamster’s nails before trimmingSeeing a vet for professional helpPreventing overgrown hamster nailsHome exercise for your hamster’s nailsA word from Teddy So do hamsters need their nails trimmed ? Yes, but ONLY in cases of overgrown nails. This is not something you should do regularly, like with your own human nails.  Hamsters usually trim their nails by climbing, grooming, digging, foraging. 9 of out 10 hamsters don’t need help with their nails. But some hammies do, especially very old hamsters or the hamsters that don’t have a few rugged surfaces to blunt their nails on. This is where you, as a responsible hamster owner, will come in and help the hamster take care of himself. I’ll help you with how to trim the hamster’s nails, and how to prevent overgrown nails in the first place. This article is ONLY for cutting your hamster’s overgrown nails. Leave healthy nails alone. They should have a bit of length to them, because the hamster uses them for climbing and getting a grip. When do hamsters need their nails trimmed ? Only when the hamster’s nails have become overgrown. You’ll notice they’re much too long, and they’re starting to curve in on themselves. They might break at some point, and they can and do fall off. I saw a couple of Teddy’s nails come off when they were too long and I didn’t notice in time to cut them down. The overgrown nails will turn a nasty yellow color, and if you look very closely you’ll see lighter/whitish spots or lines where they’re cracked or broken. Hamsters usually wear down their nails by the usual things they do. Digging a tunnel into the earth, making their nest, foraging for food, running around, grooming themselves, climbing on op of rocks, and so on. A pet hamster doesn’t do all of that, because he’s not in his usual habitat. The ones he does do, are on softer material like wood shavings and paper bedding. This means that sometimes, some hamsters get overgrown nails. That can be fixed. Why you should care about your hamster’s nails You might ask why you should consider trimming your hamster’s nails. After all, no one trims them in the wild. That’s true, no one does that for wild hamsters. But wild hamsters don’t get overgrown nails, because they have a lot of hard surfaces to wear them down on. This means that your pet hamster will need your help for several reasons. First an overgrown nail will curve in on itself and become painful for the hamster. In some extreme cases the nail can start growing into the hamster’s paw, curving back towards his paw. This will lead to pain, infection, and the hamster’s feet won’t be able to do their job. Second, nails too long will make grooming painful for the hamster. When he grooms, he also grabs onto his fur and hold it in place to clean it. With nails too long, that starts to hurt, and even walking becomes a hassle since he can’t step normally. Third, overgrown nails, if left unattended will fall off. But this is never a pleasant ans simple process. They fall off because the motion of the hamster’s paws when he goes about his business weakens the nails near the quick. So they end up bending over backwards, for lack of a better term. The nail will not simply fall off, it will hang in there for a couple of days, until the new nail grows back. This is both painful and awkward for the hamster, because using his paws won’t be easy at all. These are all things that can be avoided. Not all hamsters get overgrown nails. How to trim overgrown hamster nails Trimming your hamster’s nails will not be easy, at all. Hamsters are notorious for not staying put, and squirming. A hammy kept in one place so you can clip his nails definitely won’t cooperate easily. Trimming them at home Arm yourself with patience, and don’t expect to finish everything in one day. Your hamster should first of all be comfortable with being held. If he’s not, read this guide on taming your hamster and work on getting him comfy with you. Once he’s okay with being held, try and find a position for him that’s okay for both of you. Some hamsters will be okay with being on their backs, some will not. One position would be holding the hamster’s back against your stomach or chest, and holding one of his paws with your finger. Another could be the hamster just being on all 4 and you holding one of his paws. If you think you need help, ask a friend to hole the hamster while you trim the nails. Do expect fidgeting, and do expect squirming, maybe even a few protesting sounds. No hamster likes being held for this. Also be aware that even if your hamster might get relaxed enough to let you hold him, the sound of the nail being clipped can spook him. So be prepared for anything. Inspect the hamster’s nails before trimming When you do cut the hamster’s nail, look for the quick. You’ll need very good lighting for this, or even some sunlight. Make sure the hamster’s eyes aren’t in the bright light, or the sunlight, as they’re very sensitive to that. You’ll notice the hamster’s nails are kind of transparent. Not completely, they will have a whitish/yellowish tint to them and their very edges might be lighter in color. But look at where the nail starts, from the finger. You’ll notice a pinkish, cloudy area. Its very small, and very short, about the size of a couple of grains of sand. While very small, that little pink cloudy part is crucial. Do not cut into it. It has lots of blood vessels, and cutting into it is like cutting into the neat right under your nail. Actually, they’re the exact same area, just that our nails have a different shape from hamster nails. So when you cut your hamster’s nails, make sure you give the quick (pink part) a wide berth. When you cut the nail part, the translucent part of the nail, make sure you leave at least as much nail as the pink part. That means if there are 2 grains of sand of quick, then you should leave 2 grains of sand of transparent nail on your hamster. It might be hard to do, if your hamster isn’t used to this kind of operation. And he probably isn’t so don’t be surprised if you can’t manage to get all of his nails clipped in one day. Giving your hamster a treat after each nail successfully clipped is going to help him learn that everything’s okay, he’s safe, and you’re not hurting him. Seeing a vet for professional help Getting your hamster to a veterinarian to help trim his nails is probably the best decision. I say this only because finding the quick, and keeping the hamster still so you don’t cut into the quick are 2 hard things to do. A vet will have more experience with clipping a pet’s nails, and he will notice the quick very easily. Also, in the case of a bleeding accident, he will have a solution to stop the bleeding and disinfect everything. (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 overgrown hamster nails Preventing is always much easier than treating. This is true for everything, and it’s also true for keeping your hamster’s nails filed down. But for this we need to look at why hamster nails can become overgrown in the first place. A hamster’s nails always grow, much like our human nails. Usually hamsters wear them down with their day-to-day activities in the wild. But in their warm, safe cages this doesn’t happen as much. Pet hamsters have fairly soft beddings, and they don’t get to dig into the earth a complex series of tunnels. This means the hamster’s nails have not very much to hit against. Wood shavings or paper bedding are much too soft for hamster nails, and they’re loose and move around. The objects around the cage will help wear the nails down, like the hideout or a couple of toys, but that’s it. So you will need to provide your hamster with a few hard, rugged surfaces to walk over or climb onto. For example a few flat stones from your garden (rinsed and dried, of course) arranged around his cage are going to help. each time he steps over those stones, his nails will wear down a little bit. And if you place the stones in many places, he will step on them often. For example placing them right around the food bowl will make sure your hamster  walks over them to get to his food. Home exercise for your hamster’s nails Another idea, aside from the flat rocks is an emery board. That’s the kind of material used for filing nails, and even in jewelry making. Make sure your get the smallest sized grit, so you do not hurt your hamster’s paws. Get a board big and wide enough so the hamster has room on it. You can also find emery paper and tape it to a small board. Place one of your hamster’s favorite treats at one end and put the hamster on the other end. Slowly start tilting the board, keeping it at an angle, with the treat on top. The hamster will dig his nails into the board to get more stability and a better grip. This will file down his nails, and in the end you’ll level the board again so he can get his treat. Or, you can keep the board perfectly horizontal, and only have a treat tied to a string or on the end of a stick. This is teasing, yes, but the hamster does get the treat in the end. Simply make him walk over the board a few times, and let him have his treat. Always check to see if his paws are okay. If you get grit small enough, he should be fine. You can try this exercise every 2-3 weeks, to make sure your hamster keeps his nails short. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies usually take good care of our bodies, so our nails are usually pretty trim. It’s just that some of us need a little help from time to time. 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...

References:

  1. https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet

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