A Hamster’s Running Routine – How Much, And How Fast

If you’ve got a hamster and you’ve seen him running, you know he’s fast and relentless. For example my Teddy can run for a straight half hour and I can barely see his tiny paws, he’s so fast. But how fast do hamsters run ? And how much ?

This is what I’ll be covering today, and I’ll tell you why hamsters need this much exercise in the first place.

Hamster running 2

So how fast do hamsters run ?

Hamsters run at about 3-6 mph/5-9.6 km per hour. That’s for Dwarf and Syrian hamsters as well, with the Syrian being the fastest. The speed can vary from hamster to hamster, from breed to breed, but this is about the speed the can reach.

A Syrian hamster has larger limbs than a Dwarf hamster, and can cover more ground. The Dwarf is more agile than the Syrian and takes more frequent breaks while running.

Hamsters are built more for dodging, hiding, evading, so they’re more agile than they are fast. They’re amazing climbers and have a strong grip.

Now let’s take a look at why hamsters run in the first place, to figure out why the reach such speeds.

Why hamsters run in the first place

Hamsters have 2 main reasons they run, and it’s often a combination of both. It is both instinct and pure energy that makes the cover a lot of ground in a single night.

When I first got my Teddy I was amazed at how much he ran and kept running. Sometimes his wheel would wake me up in the middle of the night, so I know he runs pretty much all night. My Teddy is a Syrian hamster, adult, so if yours is the same kind you probably know what I’m walking about.

Predators

This is the main reasons hamsters run, and it’s become an instinct. Hamsters are prey, so that means they have a very quick reflex of running away. They run, and they have to be fast, but they have to be agile first of all.

So a hamster running in the wild will take frequent breaks to listen for predators, and figure out where to run if he hears one.

Hamsters need to be able to outsmart everything from wild cats, wild dogs, foxes, owls, snakes, and everything in between. So not only do hamsters need to able to run fast, they also need to be great at dodging an attack, changing their direction, and sprinting at the drop of a feather.

If you’ve ever tried to catch your hammy you know he can be incredibly agile and quick to dodge your hand. This is a reflex even pet hamsters have, since they’ve not forgotten where they come from.

Territory

Hamsters need to cover a lot of ground, in order to find all the food they need. They also need to find a mate, and they need to keep their territory in check.

A wild dwarf hamster needs about 3.5 square km, which is about 1.35 square miles. A Syrian will need double that, so you can imagine there’s a lot of ground to cover for such a small creature.

The food a hamster eats needs to be gathered, so the hamster will have to run around looking for food every night. There is a stash that hamsters keep in their borrows, but they still need to find fresh food every night, or else.

So, all around very busy little things. They need to be quick about it if they want to do all of that in one night, and make it home alive.

Energy level

Hamsters have an incredible amount of energy, and it needs to be expended. this is why hamsters can be found spending most of their time in the running wheel, when they’re not sleeping.

This means that hamsters need a lot of exercise, and there are certain behaviors that will come up if the hamster doesn’t get enough exercise.

You can notice a hamster’s immense energy even when he’s just walking about his cage. He’s not just walking, he’s scurrying. Everything he does is fast, focused, and in a bit of a frenzy.

So how much does a hamster run in a night ?

The average hamster runs about 9 km/5.5 miles in a night, according to Wikipedia. Hamsters can cover more than that distance, or much less, but this is the average.

This is for the pet hamster, running in a hamster wheel. Wild hamsters haven’t been recorded, as far as I know.

However this distance isn’t covered continuously. A hamster takes many short breaks when he is running, and will often check for predators or food around him. He will take  breaks to drink some water, get back on the wheel, and then eat some more.

All of this, couples with how fast a hamster usually runs, means that your hammy needs more exercise than you’d think for such a small creature. So getting your hamster plenty of exercise is crucial for his happiness, health, and proper development.

Give your hamster enough exercise

You’ve see your hamster race around his cage often, and you’ve seen how fast he can run and how much distance he can cover in a night. Now let’s see how you can help your hammy get all the exercise he needs.

Hamster exercise wheel

An exercise wheel is what most hamster will get, and it’s what they love most, aside from eating. Getting your hamster a proper exercise wheel will mean you should keep some things in mind.

There is a certain size your hamster will need for his exercise wheel. Generally, a Syrian hamster will need a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm in diameter for his exercise wheel. A dwarf hamster can do with less, like a 5 inch/13 cm.

However studies have shows that hamsters and rodents will go for larger wheel, if they are available. So even if your dwarf can do with a 5 inch/13 cm wheel, if you place a a 10 inch/25 cm one in his cage he will choose that one as his new favorite.

The minimum diameters are only set in regard to how comfortable the hamster’s back is, not his preference. So always go for a large wheel.

If you want to know more about hamster wheels, and how to get a good one for your hamster friend, you need to read this article on hamster wheels. You’ll find all the info you need on how to get your hamster the best wheel, along with an actual example.

Hamster exercise ball

This is the second way your hamster can get some exercise, but outside of his cage. There are a few advantages to an exercise ball, and I’ll walk you through them.

First, your hamster will be able to explore your home. You know he always wants to know everything that’s going on. He’s always on the bars, looking for whatever you’re doing.

Second, if he ever starts to get restless and chew the cage bars, this is a good way to quiet him. It will give him something else to do, and a way to expend his energy.

Third, your hamster gets even more exercise, since he also has to push the ball itself in order to move it around. It’s fun, actually, for everyone involved.

Never leave your hamster more than 30 minutes in his exercise ball, since he can get dehydrated, and will start looking for food as well. You’ll know it’s time to put him back in his cage when you start hearing his dropping rattling around his exercise ball.

If you want to know more about exercise balls for hamsters, and how to use one for your hamster the right way, you can check this article right here. You’ll also find out what kind of exercise ball your hamster needs, and how to place him in one in the first place.

Playing with your hamster

Another way to give your hamster some exercise is to actually play with him. You probably won’t be able to tire him as much as his exercise wheel or ball, but it’s still an exercise for him.

You can try playing with him in your hands, but he will not stay for long there, no more than a couple of minutes at a time. And you can also use a toilet paper square, dangle it in front of him, and he’ll try to pull it from you, or climb onto it.

There are many ways you can play with your hamster, and  they all improve the bond between you and your hamster. This is very important when you’re trying to tame your hamster.

So play with him as much and as often as you can, since he will not be around for very long. Hamsters live only for 2-4 years, so you should take advantage of the time you have together.

(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.)

hamster running 1

Dangers of not exercising your hamster

There are dangers to not giving your hamster enough exercise. This means that the hamster either has no running wheel, or he only has the small one that comes with his cage. You know, the small plastic wheel that aren’t good even for dwarf hamsters.

You should know what will happen to your hamster if he doesn’t get enough exercise.

Obesity

A very common problem for hamsters. This can happen to any hamster, since all that pent up energy has to go somewhere. So if you feed your hamster as usual, and he has no way to exercise, he will get fat.

Which is a serious health problem, for every creature but especially hamsters. An obese hamster will have heart problems much faster, which is not funny since his little heart stops very easily anyway. Hamsters die of heart attacks very often, mostly because their heart can’t withstand shocks like scaring them.

An obese hamster will also have joint and hip problems much faster and much worse. Please feed and exercise your hamster responsibly.

You can find out more about why hamsters can get fat here, along with how to slim him down to save his health.

And you can find here a helpful list of the foods your hamster can eat, as well as what he should never eat for his own good.

Anxiety/stress

A hamster is a very anxious and stressed creature anyway. That means a lot of negative energy that needs to be released.

So if your hamster has no way to exercise, all that energy will feed upon itself and lead to a very anxious, possibly irritable hamster. He can develop stress based problems, like wet tail or a series or skin problems.

A stressed hamster will scale the cage walls, will click his teeth, and will possibly jump at you. He will be much harder to handle, and won’t really be your cuddly friend.

Pent up stress and anxiety can devolve into fights between cage mates, which is not something to laugh at since these usually take place at night, when you’re sleeping and can’t break them up.

So do you hamster a favor, and give him plenty of exercise options. Aside from the exercise wheel and ball, you can get your hamster an entire host of toys. Or you can DYI them, you choice.

You can find out more about hamster toys here, like what types to get or make for your hamster, and pick your favorites from there.

Bar chewing

This must be one of the most hated habits of hamster everywhere. Every hamster owner I know deals with this, and fortunately it’s only for a few minutes every day, and then the hamster stops.

But a hamster with no way to release his energy will find other ways, like chewing the cage bars, or trying to bite on the glass tank.

This is of the most annoying and hardest to beat habits that a hamster can develop, and it only comes about in certain times. When he is bored, or when he is angry or stressed.

The hamster will chew and chew and bite some more at the cars of his cage, and not stop, possibly even for 15 minutes straight. You can hear his teeth chattering whenever he stops, and nothing will persuade him to leave those bars alone for more than a couple of minutes.

This can also be accompanied by scaling the cage, running around the cage, moving his hideout and any large pieces of his ‘furniture’.

A word from Teddy

I hope your found out how much us hammies can run, and how far we can get. We love to run and run and run some more, so please make sure you get your hamster a good running wheel or exercise ball.

If you want to know more about why us hamsters need such a large cage, and how much we eat and what to feed us, you should check out he articles below.

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6 Amazing Hamster Maze Kits (And 5 DIY Ideas)
6 Amazing Hamster Maze Kits (And 5 DIY Ideas)Hamsters are nocturnal animals, meaning they have the most activity during the night while sleeping through the day. But among all, hamsters need to have daily exercises. The best way to give them joy and stimulate their natural instinct is to give them a maze. You need to provide a hamster is a physical exercise routine to burn energy, better rest, and optimal health. You must know the basic concepts of hamster care, but among them is the topic of exercise because the animal is essential to be perfect and to live longer. Hamsters must exercise to prevent them from becoming hangmen and to mimic the performance of what they would do to live in the wild. Lack of exercise for your hamster can lead to obesity and even paralysis in some hamsters. Table of Contents ToggleBuy a hamster maze1. Hiding house with a maze2. Wooden maze tunnel3. Wooden maze playground4. Wooden maze with six rooms5. Hamster house maze6. Hamster habitat with tunnelsDIY hamster mazes1. DIY Tissue box maze2. DIY Tunnel Maze3. DIY Maze with Tunnels4. DIY Cardboard maze with obstacles5. DIY Lego maze Buy a hamster maze In the wild, hamsters constantly dig, improve, and enhance their burrows. Gradually, the tunnels become more intricate and branched. For hamsters, digging is a process that is no less natural than running or looking for food. It takes a lot of energy in nature, and hamsters do not need additional simulators to burn the required minimum of calories. For home conditions, it is necessary to build artificial labyrinths for a hamster. Natural labyrinths are often located on several levels, and usually have fairly long side aisles, emergency exits, storage rooms, and bedrooms. A well-assembled maze with a system of safe and attractive tunnels is the key to the long and happy life of this animal. A hamster not only burns calories collected from food but also entertains its small but very curious brain. That is why diversity can be one of the conditions for choosing a structure. Tunnels and labyrinth elements can combine different materials, which will give the animals additional research opportunities. 1. Hiding house with a maze If you want to provide your hamsters with a comfortable hiding home with a playground, this two-in-one playing nest is perfect for that. Hamsters appreciate small houses made for their rest. Since they are nocturnal animals, they will usually sleep during the day and will play and run around at night. This little home is perfectly enclosed, so the hamster can sleep during the day without bother. It has exercise features to keep the hamster healthier. There is a small ladder on the side of the hose, that allows the hamster to climb it. The main part of the hideout has a slide, which can be very fun for your hamster. The best part is that it’s made of wood, meaning that it is safe for use. Because of the material, you do not have to worry if the hamster starts chewing it. Also, a big plus is that you don’t have to assemble it. It comes in one part so you can unbox it and put it in the cage immediately. The openings on the structure are wide enough for every hamster. But make sure that you have a lid on your cage after you put the house inside. You can risk hamsters climbing on the roof of the hideout and jumping out of the cage. If your hamster doesn’t enjoy the slide, you can simply detach it. On the other side of the house, there is a climbing wall that the hamsters will use for the exercise as well. Overall, this construction is a perfect way to provide your hamster a hiding home with a maze in one. 2. Wooden maze tunnel This wooden maze is the most common and typical maze for the hamsters. This type is made from high-quality natural wood, making it safe to use around your hamsters. The maze comes assembled so you don’t have to worry about piecing it together. It has 16 entrance holes, with a total of 13 compartments, giving all the fun to your pet. It can fit in a cage and you get 2 small brushes for cleaning the maze. The brushes come in handy if you have to clean the feces or any dirt and dust particles from the maze. It can be used open, but it comes with a glass cover as well. Either way, the maze provides transparency, so you can keep an eye on your hamster at all times. It gives a perfect opportunity for your hamster to have fun and run around the maze. Also, you can amaze your hamster by putting treats around the maze and make him look for them. Some people even put little balls inside the maze so the hamster can run around and roll the balls as well. You can find this wooden maze tunnel on this Amazon link. 3. Wooden maze playground Similar to the previous maze, this wooden playground comes with climbing chambers and instead of laying it just horizontally, you can put it in the cage standing upright as well. You have to make sure to check the measurements because this wooden maze is bigger than mazes you can find online. This maze also comes with a glass cover, but you can also leave it open. If you plan to put the maze to stand upright, you might want to slide in the glass cover, to make sure your hamsters don’t fall off the maze. The maze has 2 openings and 6 compartments. It is made to mimic the wild burrows of hamsters, which will help them stimulate their instinct to explore. The openings are 2 inches wide, perfect for your tiny hamsters to enter. The compartments can be used as an exercise spot, hiding spot, and exploring spot. This maze keeps the hamsters active during the night. It doesn’t have any loose ends or parts that will accidentally come apart, so they can have their fun quietly. The maze is made from plywood and it has no nails that will accidentally come through. The maze has sanded corners, meaning it is extremely safe to use around hamsters, without worrying about any accidents. The wood doesn’t have any toxic coating, so you don’t have to worry if the hamster starts to bite and chew it. 4. Wooden maze with six rooms Multi-chamber mazes are perfect for hamsters because it gives them the joy of exploration. This wooden maze is designed to be standing upright since it has stairs that allow your hamster to climb. This maze is also multi-purpose, as it allows your hamster to have a napping place, a structure to hide and to sleep in. It is also designed to keep the hamster active. It is made from natural wood. It has a stable platform, climbing ladder, some ramps, and a food bowl. The material used to build the structure is a special apple wood, which is safe if the hamsters begin to chew it. The best thing is that chewing it will help their teeth be healthy. The maze is safe to use, which means that you can leave your hamsters to explore and have fun in peace. It can be covered with plexiglass to provide an additional safety feature to make sure your hamster doesn’t fall off. The maze is also extremely sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over. It comes assembled and can be put in the cage or the tank right after you get it out. You must clean this maze only with a clean cloth. Gently clean it and don’t rub too hard. Be sure not to use wet wipes or wipes with alcohol. You shouldn’t soak the maze in water as well. 5. Hamster house maze This house maze is perfect for all small hamsters. It has two openings and six small rooms, with tunnel openings to ensure all the fun for your hamster. The house maze is also designed to mimic the underground burrow, used by wild hamsters. The design helps them stimulate their natural instinct to explore. It is perfect for enriching their night-time activity. It has a wooden cover, which makes it look like a house, but it also provides darkness so the hamster can sleep during the day without disturbance. The cover is removable, making it easy to check on your hamster, while also providing you better access for cleaning. It fits into any cage and you get a two-in-one structure with which the hamsters get a hiding spot and an exercise spot. The house maze is, of course, made of wood. If you fear that the wood will soak up the urine and odor, be sure to use aspen as bedding, to give you worry-free use. The six compartments give the hamster a free choice on what to do with them. Usually, they will use one room to store their food, while it will use the others just to run around. The house maze is perfect for Syrian hamsters, especially adult females since they tend to be larger than males. It doesn’t take up too much space and is safe to chew. This amazing wooden house maze can be found on Amazon. 6. Hamster habitat with tunnels If you want a habitat that has a tunnel maze attached, this Habitrail Hamster Habitat is an amazing choice. This habitat stimulates the natural burrow of hamsters. It has connected tubes with additional rooms that serve as bedrooms and storage rooms. This habitat will provide endless hours of fun for your hamster. It is very easy to clean and assemble. It is also a perfect starting point if you don’t know how to provide for your hamster. This habitat is perfect for smaller hamsters. The clear tubes provide safety for the hamster and you can always see what your hamster is doing. Their tubes are made for hamsters that are not used to them. Usually, the tip is to put a small treat at the very top so the hamsters will start climbing them. Habitrail is a known brand in making hamster habitats and tunnel mazes. They design their products so they are cooperative with each other and you can always upgrade the habitat of your hamsters with their products. DIY hamster mazes If you don’t want to buy a maze, you can always make one yourself. This will save you a lot of money and it gives you the freedom of making your design. Sometimes if the size of already-made mazes does not fit your or hamsters’ needs, you can modify whatever you want. This also allows you to switch the mazes every once in a while. Making your hamster maze gives you a choice of material. The most popular ones are cardboard and wood. You can get cardboard from boxes, display boards, and even rolls of toilet paper. It may not be very durable, but it is the cheapest alternative. Make sure it’s thick and solid, or the hamster is going to chew holes in the walls and run away. Wood is more durable than cardboard, but more costly as well. Make sure that it is a hardwood, such as birch, oak, or walnut when purchasing wood. Avoid wood that is harmful to hamsters, such as pine or cedar. Also, make sure that the wood is smooth and doesn’t have any cracks that can cause damage to your hamster. Wooden boards or blocks may be used. Make sure that you also use the right kind of glue, to make the maze extremely durable. If you plan to use wood, it is best to use wood glue. For cardboard mazes, you can use hot glue. The most important thing is to use non-toxic glue that is not harmful to your hamsters. Also, make sure that you’re not using nails or screws. If the nail happens to stick out, the hamsters can get hurt on the nails. You want the maze to be safe to use for your pet. There are many options to choose from and we bring you 5 tips to make a hamster maze. 1. DIY Tissue box maze   Next time you use all of your tissues, save the boxes to make mazes. Take two boxes and use scissors to cut out the fronts of the tissue paper boxes. Glue them together and let them dry. You can paint the outside of the box, but be sure to use non-toxic paint. When the glue has dried and your boxes are stuck together, get a pen, and plan out the labyrinth. With the pencil, draw on the base where you plan to put the walls. Take one more tissue box, or any cardboard box and cut it into small pieces. Cut rectangular strips of cardboard that will represent the walls of the maze and fold them into the appropriate shape. Place the walls on the base of the tissue boxes and secure them with glue in one place. Leave them to dry. Carefully cut out the entry and exit openings in the sides of the connected tissue boxes and the inner wall, if necessary. You can also decorate the inside of the box with paint if you want and you’re done. You can find the full tutorial for the tissue box maze on this link. 2. DIY Tunnel Maze   You can make a tunnel maze for your hamster from plastic bottles. Smaller ones will work perfectly fine for small hamsters, but if you have a larger one, opt to use large bottles. Make sure to thoroughly wash the bottles to remove any odors. Also, take off any labels and lids. You can start with any number of bottles and you can keep adding some from time to time. You will also need some scissors, tape, and a Stanley knife. Carefully use a Stanley knife to remove the tops and bottoms of the bottles. Make sure you have a sturdy surface that you won’t harm. Hold the bottles tightly so they won’t slip and cause accidents. The knife will leave the edges of the bottle jagged. Use tape, best to use is an electrical tape, and tap around the edges. This step is very important as you will protect your hamsters from unwanted injuries. To connect all the bottles and make the tunnels, you will need to cut a plus sign into the side of the bottle. This opening will create a path so you can slip in your scissors and cut out a neat circle. Use the tape again to protect the edges. Pick up the bottle you want to attach and squeeze it tight so it’s almost flat. Use the scissors to cut out the diagonal lines, so the bottle can sit comfortably in the opening. When you get the bottle in position, hold them, and use tape to secure it in place. Repeat this step with all the bottles you have and you can use this method for future adaptations for the tunnel. You find the full tutorial with pictures on this link. 3. DIY Maze with Tunnels   You can make a combination of a tunnel and maze. You will need to save tissue boxes and empty toilet paper rolls. If you want a long tunnel you can save the rolls from the paper towels. Use a tissue box as a base for your maze. Find where you want to place your tubes. On this link, you can find an example of doing so. Trace with a pencil the opening for the tube. You place the end of the tube against the spot where you want the hole to be and trace the roll’s outline. To properly cut out the traced holes, use scissors, a craft knife, or a Stanley knife. Be careful not to make the holes too big, as this could allow your hamster to squeeze out of the maze, or it could cause the maze to collapse when your hamster is inside. Attach any tubes that would go into openings, and then line up the end of the remaining tube to end. To make the maze durable, add tape to the tubes, layering many bits. The hamster would need to be able to run inside the tubes, without the maze breaking apart. This is also a type of maze which you can gradually build up and add add-ons. In the tissue box, but some of the hamsters bedding, so it becomes familiar with the maze. You can place various treats inside the tubes. 4. DIY Cardboard maze with obstacles For this maze, you will need a cardboard box, popsicle sticks, and paper rolls. Make one side of the cardboard box to use as a base while cutting the remainder of the box to make walls and accessories for the obstacles. As with the tutorial before, use a pencil to draw on the base where you want to place the walls of the maze. Glue the pieces you cut before to glue down on the base. When you have the walls of the maze, start planning where you want to put the obstacles. Using popsicle sticks, you can create obstacles that your hamster can jump over. Glue them on the walls and make sure they are glued down tightly. Take the empty toilet paper roll and place it inside the maze. They can be used as an obstacle that the hamster can jump over, or crawl through. 5. DIY Lego maze Take out your old Legos and gather as many pieces as you can. This is one maze where you can get very creative, as you have many possibilities. Start by building a base for the maze. You can make a wide base or a narrow one. Everything depends on how you want the maze to look. You can build a narrower base, put up the walls, and place the stairs at the end. These stairs can be used to add another level to the maze or to even make the bridge and lead to another base. If you don’t know how or where to start, build a large base and use Legos to construct the walls, just like with the traditional maze. Legos give you a chance to build several levels to the maze, which your hamster will certainly enjoy. Whichever way you decide to make the maze for your hamster, make sure that you have a good base. The base is mostly responsible for the durability of the maze. If you choose to make cardboard of a wooden structure, it is best to use a plastic cover for the base to make it easier to clean. You can also glue the cover to the base to make sure it doesn’t slip off. When designing a maze, you can find inspiration online, or you can construct one of your own. The mazes do not have to be perfect. Either way, you make it, the hamsters will have fun while running around and exploring. To make it easier to build, construct your maze so that it has straight lines instead of curved ones. Make sure that the site of your maze fits your hamster. When you make an opening for your hamster, make sure that it is not too small, as the hamster can get stuck and injure itself. The walls of the maze don’t have to be too high; they just need to be high enough so the hamster will not jump over them. When constructing a large artificial maze with several levels of transition, you should try to avoid too steep slopes. Hamsters can get injured because it will be very difficult for them to fix their position with their claws. And also, in artificial tunnels ventilation should be organized so that the hamster does not suffer from lack of oxygen. If you’re making a bigger maze, not intended to be kept inside the cage, put it on the floor and not on the table. The hamsters can fall off the table once they leave the maze. There are many things you can do with the maze. You can leave various treats for your hamster to make sure he follows the path and exits the maze. [...] 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...
Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your HamsterIf you’re wondering if your hamster get a bit lonely and needs a friend, let’s clear that up. It’s a very common question for hamster owners, and I had that question too when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Here’s what I found out, and whether it’s worth getting your hamster a friend. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters get lonely ?Hamsters are not very sociable animalsWhy do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successfulA few considerations about the hamster’s cageYour hamster doesn’t really get bored eitherA word from Teddy So do hamsters get lonely ? No. Hamsters do not get lonely. They can live in a pair or small group if they have no choice, but there will be fights every now and then, and half the time they need to be separated into individual cages. If your hamster’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new hamster is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hamsters are very territorial, and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other hamsters, at any cost. So let’s take a look into the hamster’s general personality, and why they wouldn’t ever be lonely. Hamsters are not very sociable animals While you’ve heard of, or seem people keep pairs of hamsters, that’s not always a good idea. You see in the wild hamsters are territorial – in captivity too – and will protect what is theirs. This means that every night, when the hamster is up and awake, he patrols his territory. He finds food and dodges predators, and if he ever finds another hamster, there will be a brutal, bloody fight. The only moment this does not happen is if a male meets a female in heat. Even then their mating ritual is fairly violent. So a pet hamster will pretty much do the same. There are some things you can’t breed out of a creature, and this is one of them. Besides, hamsters have only ever been pets for the last century or so. Why do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ?  Good question, and a very common one. You see, baby hamsters (up to 12 weeks old) are a bit less territorial than adults and will be fairly okay with sharing with their siblings. However once the hamster reaches 4 weeks, he’s weaned and they can reproduce. So that means splitting into same-sex pairs, for obvious reasons. Most hamsters get adopted before they reach adulthood (12 weeks), but the closer they get to that mark the more aggressive they become with their siblings. Pet shops are a bit short on space, and will keep hamsters together as long as they possibly can, until they notice the hamsters starting to fight too much. So in short, a mix between not enough space, and the hamsters being somewhat docile until they’re adults are the main reasons pet shops keep hamsters together. This is especially stressful for Syrian hamsters and Chinese Dwarfs, who are the most territorial and aggressive hamsters out there. Those two can never live with another hamster, not even their own siblings. (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.) Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successful You can always get a pair of hamsters, but that means you’ll need to get Dwarf hamsters. Those are the only hamsters that can live with another hamster, and only under certain circumstances. You see, hamsters are territorial and will not share anything. This is true for Dwarf hamsters too, however they can be a bit more lenient towards siblings they’ve grown up with, and have never been separated from. So in short the only way you can pair Dwarves is if they’re siblings, of the same sex, and have never been separated. They will need to be introduced to the same cage, at the same time, and the cage must be new (not have any of their scents beforehand). Even so, there can still be fights every now and then. One hamster can become too dominant and start bullying the other one, who will in turn become stressed. This means a host of health issues for the bullied hamster and behaviors like cage chewing or trying to escape. There are times when the fights become very violent, and if they ever get bloody you need to separate the two. A bit of sparring and asserting of dominance is normal, but drawing blood is serious business. Giving your hamsters room to hide and run away from each other is essential, so the bullied one can get free. A few considerations about the hamster’s cage A very large cage helps keep a pair of hamsters from fighting too much. Lots of space, plenty of hideouts, food bowls, water bottles and toys, and they should be fine. They can still fight, but a large cage with many accessories is all you can do to lower the chances. For example the absolute minimum for a hamster’s cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and I’d recommend it for a Dwarf pair too. However a cage larger than this is welcome, but hard to find. Unfortunately most cages on the market are smaller than this, or this size at most. You’re better off looking for the Detolf shelf from Ikea – expensive, yes, but there is no complaining about your hamsters not having enough space there. If you’ve got a lone hamster – which is what I’d recommend – he will still benefit from a large cage. The more space the hamster has to run around in, play, and generally just be a hamster, the better. Your hamster doesn’t really get bored either You might think a lone hamster will get bored. As in, if he’s a lone all day, every day, he’s probably sad and bored all the time. Well, the truth is that hamsters simply aren’t like us humans. They don’t have big goals, are not trying to build something with their lives, and as such aren’t really bothered by being kept in a cage. As long as the cage has toys and plenty of things to do, he’s just peachy. By this I mean a wheel for your hamster to run in, and an added exercise ball for time outside of his cage will help too. A few toys – some DYI some store-bought – will relieve a lot of boredom. Hamsters especially love puzzle toys, like a few bits of food inside a cardboard cube that he’s going to have to tear open to get inside to the food. Tubes are another option, since they give your hamster time outside the cage, and are also a good imitation of their nest in the wild. If you get toys for your hamster, make sure they’re made of wood since hamsters love to chew on everything they can, including their own nest. True, a hamster with a buddy will definitely never be bored. But the risk of them not getting along is high enough that it might not be worth it. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. I know you mean well, but us hamsters don’t really get lonely. We’re perfectly fine on our own, and don’t really crave company. 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...
The Hamster’s Lifespan – 7 Things Affecting It
The Hamster’s Lifespan – 7 Things Affecting ItYou’re off to get yourself a hamster friend ? Great ! You’ll need to know how long hamsters live for, so you know whether to get this kind of pet or not. We’ll cover the average lifespan of a hamster, and also what you can do to help him have a great and comfortable life. I’ll give you examples with my Teddy (Syrian, male hammy) to make things clearer too. Table of Contents ToggleSo how long do hamsters live for ?What affects the hamster’s lifespanThings you can’t control about the hamster1. The hamster’s breed/type2. Genes and other inherited traitsElements you have control over, and can influence1. Diet and additional foods2. Exercise3. Cage size and cleanliness4. General care and stress5. To pair or not to pairWhen is a hamster old ?The life cycle of a hamsterWhat owning a hamster is likeA word from Teddy So how long do hamsters live for ? Usually a hamster will live for about 2-3 years at most. This is the average lifespan, and there are many examples that have outlived 3 years, or never reached a year. The average lifespan varies for each hamster breed. The longest lived hamster breed is the Roborovski Dwarf (up to 4 years), while the shortest is the Chinese Dwarf ( a little under 2 years). Of course, there are hamsters who can outlive the average, like cases of Syrian hammies living for 5-6 years in captivity. In the wild, most don’t make it to their first birthday, given how many predators they’ve got. Still, there are some very crucial factors influencing how long and even how well your hamster friend is going to live. Some of them you can control, some are out of your hands. Let’s see which they are ! What affects the hamster’s lifespan There are inherited factors, like the hamster’s predisposition for an illness, or faulty genetics, as well as controllable factors like the quality of care the hamster gets. We’re going to go through each factor, and see how you can make your hamster friend lead a long and happy life. So keep in mind that the inherited traits – like breed, genetics, illness – will outweigh the elements you can control. For example if you’ve got a Robo hamster (which can live up to 4 years) with early onset diabetes, he might only live to 2 years, even with a wonderfully precise diet. Otherwise he might have lived a much shorter life. Take solace in knowing that you can, in fact, make your hamster’s life much easier and more comfortable, even if some things you can’t change. Things you can’t control about the hamster Alright, let’s see the inherited traits that will affect your hamster’s life. There are 2 major ones, and we’ll discuss them here. 1. The hamster’s breed/type You can indeed pick your hamster’s breed. When you go to the pet store and see all the available hammies, you will probably have to choose between a Syrian and a Dwarf type. There are 5 species in total to pick from, though not all pet shops will carry all 5, and I’ve never seen all 5 present at the same time. There are: Syrian hamsters – the largest hamster, and the most common one found in pet shops. Also called Teddy-bear hamsters (hence my little Teddy’s name). Roborovski Dwarf – much smaller than the Syrian, actually the tiniest of all the Dwarf types – only 2 inches/5 cm ! Djungarian/Winter White/Siberian Dwarf Campbell’s Dwarf Chinese Dwarf There are certain differences in the genetics of all 5 breeds, but they don’t differ all that much. The breed (and the coat color and sex) is all you can pick when it comes to the hamster’s genetic makeup. 2. Genes and other inherited traits When it comes to inherited traits, that’s completely out of your control. It depends on where you’re also getting your hamster from. For example you may get a hamster from a pet shop, but where does the pet shop have them from ? Sometimes they breed them there, sometimes they get a new litter from people who have had accidental litters. Some breeders aim for a docile line of hamsters, or more variation in coat colors, or size perhaps. However all those traits may come with certain genes. We all know about the white cat’s predisposition towards hearing problems. That’s simply the gene that comes with being a white cat most of the time. There are such genes with hamsters, but they’re not well documented, aside from the breeder’s own notes on their pets. So you won’t know if a black Syrian hamster comes with a gene that gives him weak kidneys and leads to a shorter lifespan. Or a white Robo hammy that somehow manages to live to the ripe age of 7, because his coat color gene comes with a long lifespan. However what you can count on is that the Dwarf types have an inherited risk of developing diabetes much faster that the Syrians.  The Syrians on the other hand have the misfortune of getting Wet-tail much easier than the Dwarf types. Whichever genes your hamster inherited you’ll be able to give him a wonderful life is you take into account the elements I’ve listed below. Those you actually have control over, and can change whenever necessary. Elements you have control over, and can influence There are a few things that are completely up to you. Like how well the hamster is fed, his health (partly), and his stress levels. Let’s see how to maximize all these elements so you give your hamster one happy, long life with you. 1. Diet and additional foods Diet is incredibly important for your hamster friend. Actually it’s more important than exercise, and that’s true for hamsters as well as other animals. What we eat has more impact that what we do. Which is why your hamster’s feed must be a high-quality feed, and whatever else you give him as treats must be safe. So, here is a clear list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. Those are foods you’ve already got in your pantry or fridge, and can give to you hamster either as regular food, or as a treat. Hamsters in general can eat anything, with a few exceptions. You can give them fruits, vegetables, nuts and peanuts, some types of meat, and even bread sometimes ! Whatever you decide to give your hamster friend, you’ll find more info in the links provided above. Do keep in mind that Dwarf hammies should be kept away from sweet foods (fruits, some veggies, most treats) since it will raise their chances of getting Diabetes. Also if you feed your hamster a commercial food mix, remember to not overfeed your hamster. This can only lead to obesity, which will lead to less exercise, which will lead to further weight gain, and serious health problems. A healthy daily portion is about 2 teaspoons of dry food for a Syrian hamster, and one teaspoon for a Dwarf type. A Syrian is double the size of a Dwarf, and all hamsters love to hoard their food. So do not panic if you’ve just fed your hammy and half an hour later everything’s gone. It’s okay, the food is tucked away in the hammy’s food stash, and he’ll nibble on it whenever he needs it. 2. Exercise Your hamster will need plenty of exercise throughout his life. Especially as a young hamster. Young ones have a tremendous amount of energy, much like toddler humans, and will want to explore everything. All at once. And run there, see that, sniff this other thing too. So a running wheel is absolutely mandatory for a healthy hamster. This will give our hammy the opportunity to run as far and as much as his little feet can carry him, with energy to spare. You see, in the wild hamsters always have to be on the run, and they’ve got amazing reflexes. They have to, in order to stay alive. Pet hamsters still have this instinct, much like domestic cats will pounce a laser dot or a dog will howl at the moon. After all, hamsters have only been pets for the last century or so, and they’re pretty much the same as they were in the wild. Another option is to give your hamster time outside the cage. This means an exercise ball. Your hammy can use it to explore your home and cover more ground than he would in his cage. It’s also a better and more intense workout than his usual running wheel. For this same reason hiding and climbing toys are important for the hamster too. They give your hamster something to do, and keep him away from the cage bars. A hamster with no exercise option will become irritable, nippy, and obese. This is never a good combination, neither for the hamster, or for you as an owner. 3. Cage size and cleanliness There is a required minimum for a hamster’s habitat. For example a Syrian hamster needs 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. That’s the absolute minimum, and I honestly would recommend looking for a cage larger than that. If you’ve got a Dwarf hamster he can live in such a cage easily enough. Unfortunately most cages on the market or in pet shops are not larger than the minimum, most not even respecting the minimum space requirement. Do keep in mind that while hamsters do climb and use the levels of a multi-level cage, why prefer the ground floor. This gives them more security, and it’s safe for them – hamsters are horrible at calculating depth and distances, and will jump from heights. Also if you’ve got a tube system installed your hammy will go nuts over it. My Teddy has a tube connecting 2 levels and he’s in it half the time. Hammies are attracted to small, cramped spaces. Their homes in the wild are composed of many tunnels, actually. As for the cage cleanliness, most of the time it’s okay to change the hamster’s bedding once per week, and can be stretched to once every two weeks. You see, hamsters are very clean animals, and they don’t smell. The only thing about them that can get smelly is their pee corner. That’s a specific corner in the cage that the hamster will use to pee. Always the same corner, the farthest away from his hideout. Make sure you use safe bedding options, like aspen wood shavings, or soft paper bedding. For more info on safe and unsafe hamster bedding material, check out this article. It also covers the cleaning routine in much more depth than I can here. 4. General care and stress Aside from everything we’ve discussed so far, the general care your hamster receives is going to decide how comfortable he feels around you, or in your home. This means that the temperature must be at a certain range for his comfort – that’s 20-23 C/68-75 F, and kept well away from any drafts or direct sunlight. Handling your hamster will also be important. The is a too little, and a too much, and they’re both influenced by the hamster’s personality. If you want to know how to tame your hamster friend without getting your hand bitten off, you need to read this article. As for whether they like being held, they generally do, once they’re tame. But many steps need to be taken before a solitary, not very cuddly hamster will feel okay being picked up. The placement of the cage in your home is crucial to how well the hamster can rest, and how safe he feels. If you notice your hamster being scared of you, rest assured this will go away in time with efforts on your part. You can read this article to know how to ease a scared hamster. A very stressed hamster will be a nippy, irritable hamster. he will be hard to handle until you remove the stress source. Unfortunately many things can stress him out, so you should check out this article, since it will shed some light on what having a hammy is like. 5. To pair or not to pair You’ve probably seen hamsters kept together before. Or even heard of a pair of hamsters being kept together. While this isn’t unusual, it’s not the best idea. True, Dwarf hamsters can live in pairs. But they require a much larger size cage than the minimum 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 because hamsters are very territorial. While they can get along if they have no other choice, they will always prefer to live alone. Hamsters kept in pairs can become stressed, and one of them will eventually try to bully the other one. You can find out more about why hammies fight and how to separate them here. Syrian hamsters, as well as Chinese Dwarfs, will fight to the death any creature put in their cage, be it another hamster or a rabbit. So the most humane and comfortable thing to do for your hamster buddies is to keep them separated. I know this might go against many people you’ve heard say it’s fine to put them together. It’s an added stress, and it builds up in time. When is a hamster old ? When looking for answers on the general lifespan of a hamster, you’ll want to know when your hamster becomes a senior. This is part of the natural order of things, and every hamster will grow old and grey. Still, that does not mean old age in hamsters is terrible. Some may become blind, some may get an illness quicker. But most lead fairly normal lives up until their end. A hamster can be considered old when he reaches his second birthday. In the case of a Robo hammie, who can live up to 4 years this threshold can be extended to about 3 years. While for a Chinese that usually lives for two years, he can be considered old when he-s 1-1.5 years old. But 2 years is the accepted average. Your hamster might not show his true age until very late into his life. For example my teddy is a Syrian male hammy, and he was born in July 2017. That’d make him about a year and half old as I’m writing this. He doesn’t yet waddle, or lose his fur, although he’s getting close to his second birthday. But he has lost quite some energy, and sleeps much more than he used to. His fur is a bit silver around his ears, and he’s become very picky with his food. Still, he’s the same funny little furball we know. Always curious, always coming up for a treat, still panicked from time to time. (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 life cycle of a hamster From birth to his final days, a hamster pet will always be a wonderful little thing. Right from the moment the hamster is born, he could possibly be in danger. Even in homes, baby hamsters don’t have a 100% survival rate, because of their mothers most of the time. You see hamster mothers are very skittish and nervous, and will resort to eating their babies if they feel in any way threatened. She may also do this if the baby hamster is ill or she thinks it’s too weak to survive to adulthood. So it’s best to leave a hamster mother alone for 2-3 weeks after she’s given birth and only just feed her. Absolutely no handling or cleaning or saying hi. More on that in the link above. Once the hamster has survived his first few weeks, he will be weaned. That usually happens around 3-4 weeks of age. At this stage it becomes crucial to separate the hamster babies into male and female enclosures. This is because even so young, they can start to reproduce, and no one wants surprise litters, plus the fact that the incredibly young mother has a very low chance of survival. You can find out more about how to figure out your hamster’s gender here. Once the babies have been separated, they end up at a pet shop or given away to prospective owners. This should all happen up until the hamster’s 12th weeks or life, or his 3rd month. This is when he has become an adult, and will start showing most of his fur marking and personality. He still has an immense amount of energy, needs to run, climb, hide, and generally investigate every new sound. Once the hamster has become a senior, around 2 years old, his metabolism will start to slow down. He may become blind, or develop an illness, or maybe just die peacefully in his sleep. It’s much like with human seniors, some are worn down and tired in their 50s, some are vibrant and energetic even in their 70s. What owning a hamster is like Finally, a hamster is a commitment. They may not live very long lives, like a cat or a dog. But they are still souls that need your attention and care. Sometimes you will have to schedule things around them, or not be able to leave town until you’ve found a sitter to look after them. There will be moments when you wonder why you got yourself a rodent, of all things. Then you’ll look at his cute fuzzy face when he wakes up, stretching, and know it was the best choice ever. Honestly when I got my Teddy I knew nothing about hamsters. I knew they had short lives, and were fuzzy. This whole blog is dedicated to folks like me, who had no idea about hammies and want to know everything there is. How to care for them, how to play with them, cages, toys, everything. You can check out this article to see some pros and cons of owning a hamster here. You’ll get a feel for how a hamster changes your life, and understand them better. Aside from all this, I’d only recommend a hamster as a pet to more mellow, quiet people. You see hamsters are very sensitive, and need much patience and gentle handling. A child for example would not be a good owner for a hamster. Children simply don’t have the patience and care for a hamster. A guinea pig, on the other hand, might be better suited for them. A hamster will bite when handled wrong, try to escape at the drop of a hat, and be endlessly curious. They’re not exactly low maintenance in that regard. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, I know us hammies can be very cute and cuddly, but we don’t live the longest lives out there. Still, you can make our stay with you as comfy as possible. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy too ! [...] Read more...
How Do Hamsters Mark Their Territory? Interesting Facts
How Do Hamsters Mark Their Territory? Interesting FactsI never had more than one hamster at a time since I had two Syrian hamsters, which are solitary animals and they don’t share a cage with other hamsters. So I never questioned how a hamster marks its territory and why they are doing it before doing research on this topic. However, I kind of knew they were doing this since I saw the scent glands on my first hamster, I thought he had a health problem, and that’s when I found out that those little black spots on the side were actually the scent glands. So in this article, we will discuss about why and how hamsters mark their territory and what you should know when you want to keep more hamsters together. Excluding Syrian ones, which you should never have more than one in a cage. Table of Contents ToggleHow do hamsters mark their territory?Why do hamsters mark their territory?Do female hamsters mark their territory?Which hamsters can live together?Can you introduce a new dwarf hamster to the ones you already have?Conclusion How do hamsters mark their territory? Hamsters mark their territory by rubbing their scent glands on the objects or territory they want to mark. Those scent glands can be located on the sides of a Syrian hamster or on the belly of dwarf ones. Syrian hamsters have one scent gland on each side, you can see a hairless spot that can be a darker color than their skin and show some greasy, yellowish secretion. Dwarf hamsters have only one scent gland on their belly, I talked a bit about this topic in the article about why hamsters pee in their wheel. I confused the secretion from their scent gland with pee. It smells a little bit like popcorn. Why do hamsters mark their territory? Hamsters mark their territory to assert authority like many other animals. Hamsters are very territorial and they will be quick to fight with other hamsters for their territory if they feel threatened. While dwarf hamsters can live together with another of their kind, that doesn’t mean they will gladly share the cage and never fight. In fact, it is quite hard to keep more hamsters together even if they are the right breed and even siblings. Some hamsters might even pee to mark their territory, this is not their primary method, but it can happen in some instances, especially when they have a problem with their scent glands. While marking territory might seem unnecessary for a pet hamster, in the wild, they have quite a few reasons for doing that. They have bad eyesight, and marking territory with their scent can help them get faster to their home, or at least what they consider to be a safer territory for them. In the cage, it is useless since they are in the same place, but in the wild, they travel for food, and getting lost can be quite dangerous, so they will ensure they know their way back by marking the territory. This might be one reason for marking the territory while they are running in the wheel, they don’t know they are on a treadmill, so they have to make sure they know their way back. With dwarf hamsters this happens naturally as the gland is on their belly.  Do female hamsters mark their territory? Female hamsters also mark their territory, but the purpose is not to assert authority but rather to let male hamsters know that they are coming into heat. If you have a female hamster and you notice a weird smell from time to time, this might be the reason. It might happen quite often since female hamsters get into heat at short intervals of about four days. Which hamsters can live together? Only certain Dwarf hamster breeds can peacefully cohabitate, such as Roborovski, Campbell’s and Siberian hamsters, but only if they come from the same litter. If they have been raised as siblings in their mother’s nest, they can then be housed together but you should still expect occasional fights. When it comes to Chinese hamsters, it is not recommended to house them with any of the other three species due to their larger size and more aggressive territorial behavior. Chinese hamsters, especially males, are extremely violent against other hamsters and should always be kept solitary. It is important to understand that even smaller hamsters still need plenty of space to live their lives. If they feel that the cage is too small, they might start fighting each other, even if they are from the same litter. It is important to have enough space for each hamster to exercise, eat and drink water. Can you introduce a new dwarf hamster to the ones you already have? We will not discuss here about Syrian hamsters since for those ones even the breeding process is a complicated task where you have to get the male out of the cage immediately after if you don’t want the female and male to fight. When it comes to dwarf hamsters, introducing a new hamster to the cage is quite challenging. You might see videos and blog posts with people succeeding but the odds are not in your favor, and this is important to know. Even if you do everything right, they have a big chance of not accepting each other. If you want to do that anyway, here are the steps you have to follow. -Thoroughly clean the cage and separate it into two sections with a mesh divider.  -Place the old and new hamster in each compartment.  -Allow them to acclimate to each other through sight and smell before removing the separator. Keep them separated for a few days. -Pay close attention and be ready to intervene if they start fighting So the process requires you to actively watch the hamsters while you are introducing the new hamster, so it is quite time-consuming and can be dangerous. I recommend keeping a gardening or thick rubber glove near the cage since intervening between two fighting hamsters can leave serious wounds. Conclusion Hamsters are territorial animals and they will try to mark their territory as fast as possible even if they are alone in the cage, they don’t know that the cage is only for them, so they have to make sure other hamsters know that the territory is occupied. Can you imagine your little hammy always marking its territory when you clean its cage to make sure other hamsters will not invade them, it is funny to think about it. I hope this article helped you understand a bit better hamster behavior when it comes to marking its territory, why they are doing it, and how you can keep more hamsters together without increasing their chances of fighting. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Have Bones? Interesting Facts
Do Hamsters Have Bones? Interesting FactsHamsters are so small, fast, and flexible that sometimes they make you question whether they have bones or not. Even when you handle a hamster, you don’t feel its bones and all you feel is a small fluff ball with its fluffy paws touching your hand. In this article I will talk more about the hamster’s anatomy, what you should do when they are injured, how to handle them when you prepare your little hamster to get to the vet, and other interesting facts about this incredible pet. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters have bones?Are hamsters’ bones fragile?Can a vet help a hamster with a broken bone?Do they need more minerals in those situations?How to avoid this kind of accidentsFacts about hamster teethConclusion Do hamsters have bones? Yes, hamsters have bones and a skeletal structure that includes a spine. A hamster has about 124 bones in their body, it is not the same number for all the species, but there are not many studies available. You get the idea, they have bones; they actually have a lot of bones. Even the hamster’s tail is a small bone, I had a friend that asked me if hamsters have a tail and I found that very funny at first until I realized that the tail is so small and they usually keep it under themselves that you can’t clearly see it. I have an entire article about hamster tails and what you should know about them Are hamsters’ bones fragile? Hamsters’ bones are quite flexible, which helps them do all the acrobatic tricks and also makes them a bit harder to break. Since the bones are so small and thin, they would break easily if they were a bit more rigid than they actually are. That doesn’t mean that a hamster can’t break his bones, it is possible so you have to make sure you handle him gently and that the cage is safe, more on this later. Can a vet help a hamster with a broken bone? If you hamster broke a bone in an accident, you clearly see it that is in pain and does not move properly, you have to get it to a specialized vet as soon as possible. But you have to do it carefully since your hamster is in pain it will have the tendency to bite anything in its way. So here are a few things to pay attention to when transporting your hamster to the vet. Don’t try to pick it up with your hand, if you can make it go into a transport cage straight from its bigger cage, it would be best. Or you can use a small container and then place it into a transport cage. Place some treats inside the container or the transport cage and also enough bedding to make sure the surface is soft. Use a thick rubber glove when you want to touch it since it will most probably try to bite you. Ensure food and water on the way and a chew toy if possible to distract it. Hamsters don’t like being moved around, so that will be a stressful process anyway, but you can make it more bearable. When you get to the vet, they should know what they have to do and protect themselves and the hamster properly. The thing is that not all vets handle hamsters, so you better call first or check their website before getting there. It is also important to know that any anesthetic or painkiller the vet may use can pose a significant risk to your hamster’s health. This is why not many vets want to work with such small animals, the risks are too big in some situations and it is hard for a pet owner to accept that it wasn’t necessarily the vet’s fault for what happened. Do they need more minerals in those situations? Yes, hamsters might use some extra minerals during the recovery to help the bones fix faster. I usually don’t recommend mineral chews but in this situation they might be helpful, the calcium and the other minerals can help as they do for humans as well in this specific circumstance. Hamsters get enough minerals in normal circumstances from their pre-made mix that you can find in most pet shops. How to avoid this kind of accidents Well, in order to avoid ending up with a hamster that broke a bone, you have to pay attention to two things. 1. How do you handle your hamster It is important to know that hamsters are very light and fluffy, you almost don’t feel them when they are in your hand, especially if you have a dwarf hamster. A Syrian hamster is a bit heavier, but still, they weigh about 100-150 grams which is not much. You need to make sure that you don’t squeeze your hamster when you hold it in your hand, so keep your fingers around your hamster if you don’t want it to escape but don’t apply any pressure. If you take your hamster out of the cage, make sure you pay close attention to it all the time since they can run and jump from heights without realizing. They are quite bad at estimating the distance from where they are to the ground. If you want to know more about how to tame and handle your hamster check my guide, there are 13 steps to tame your hamster. One more thing before getting to the cage, hamsters are not good pets for kids. It might seem like it, but a hamster is way more delicate and hard to handle properly than a cat or a dog. A kid will not control their strength when they handle the hamster as well as an adult, and that makes it dangerous for the hamster. 2. How safe is the cage Having a cage that doesn’t allow your hamster to jump from heights is super important. I learned this with my first hamster, the cage I had for it was a two level cage. Luckily for my hamster it wasn’t a very tall cage, and the bedding was more than enough to attenuate the fall. I saw my hamster going up to the second level, getting to the edge and simply jumping  from there in the bedding, and that was the moment when I realized that they really have bad eyesight. So it is better to have a bigger cage that doesn’t have any levels. My hamster was safe, but seeing that behavior made me get rid of the second level since he could have moved the bedding around the cage and fallen onto a hard surface the next time. Another thing to pay attention to, make sure the cage does not have narrow places where your hamster might get their arms or legs stuck, especially if they are not movable objects.  Facts about hamster teeth Maybe the most important bones in a hamster’s body are the teeth since those little animals are rodents, they use their teeth a lot. They need to chew on harder things all the time since their teeth are continuously growing and not having where to sharpen them can be dangerous for the hamster’s health. So make sure you give your hamster chewing toys, made of safe wood for the hamster. Hamsters have a total of 16 teeth, even if you don’t see all of them except when they are yawning. Talking about yawning, have you ever seen a little hamster yawning? If not, look for videos online, those little furballs transform into aliens when they are yawning, it’s scary. Hamsters don’t have milk teeth and adult teeth like humans, they have only one set of teeth for their entire life. Hamsters can also break their teeth, it is not often since their teeth are quite strong but if it happens, you should get it to a vet as fast as possible since this is a more dangerous problem for a hamster than for a human. Conclusion While a fun topic, hamsters having bones is actually a good question, and there are some important things you should know about their bones in order to keep them safe. Make sure your hamster has little to no chance of breaking any bones in their body since treating them can be dangerous, and it is for sure not a pleasant process. I really hope this article answered your question and was helpful for you and your little hamster pet. [...] Read more...