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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What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And Exceptions
What Do Hamsters Eat ? – Food List And ExceptionsWhat do you usually feed your hamster ? What can hamsters eat ? What should they NOT eat ? I had some many of these questions when I first got my Teddy, and I can tell you what I found out. Some I found out by trial and error, some I asked vets, and some still I found out from other hamster enthusiasts. So I’ve compiled a big ol’ list here, so you can have all the info you need for your hamster’s food and diet. Table of Contents ToggleSo what can hamsters eat ?What hamsters should never eatProtein foods your hamster can eatVegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamsterHamsters can eat pasta and bread too !Nuts and seeds your hamster can eatFruits your hamster can eatPre-made food mixes for your hamsterGrain and pellet food mix for your hamsterTreats for your hamsterHow much does a hamster eat ?Dangers of overfeeding your hamsterWhat to do if your hamster is not eatingA word from Teddy So what can hamsters eat ? First off, hamsters are omnivores. That means they can and will eat anything from plant-based food, to grains, to meat and insects. This applies for every kind of hamster out there, be it Syrian, Robo, Campbell, or Chinese. If you look at a box of hamster feed, you will usually just see grains, a few seeds, and a few vitamin pellets. But if you turn the box and look at the ingredients, you will often see protein sources like chicken/fish/beef/shrimp.  You can feed the hamster an omnivore diet yourself, or get a pre-made mix that will last for several weeks, even a couple of months. I’ll get into more detail with each food group a hamster can eat, along with actual examples you probably have in your home. And I’ll give you a couple of food mixes you can buy for your hamster, along with other treats. But first, let’s see what hamsters should definitely avoid. What hamsters should never eat In general hamsters should stay away from anything acidic. Even if you give your hammy a piece of orange he will turn away from it, but that’s just because of the strong smell. Best to avoid acidic food altogether. There are other foods your hamster should avoid, mainly because his stomach is not built for such foods. Here are a few examples of foods your hamster should never eat: any type of citrus at all – lemon, orange, clementine, grapefruit, etc. any part of a tomato, it’s acidic as well, even if less than a lemon chocolate, and anything sweet – can cause diabetes fruit seeds or peels – apple, grapes, strawberry, etc onions, garlic, peppers, spices – anything extra spicy or tasty will upset his stomach high-fat content foods – like extra fat meat, or even some types of dairy anything unwashed like unwashed fruits or vegetables any part of a rhubarb(1) almonds, apricot pits can be highly toxic celery or very stringy/fibery foods like cabbage anything containing added sugar or salt raw potato or beans (any kind) These are all foods that your hamster is better off not eating, since he can’t digest them. In some cases these foods will kill the hamster, so best to avoid them completely. Alright, now let’s get into the food groups your hammy can eat, along with actual examples. Yay ! Protein foods your hamster can eat Hammies do eat protein, and it doesn’t have to be soy-based necessarily. While you can feed your little hammy something soy-based like tofu, you can also find some soy protein in his food mix as well. But I wouldn’t advise giving the hamster and actual, raw soy bean. Best to stay away from that. For example I’ve given my Teddy boiled egg white, boiled unseasoned chicken and turkey, and he loves them both. Actually, most of the time hamsters just store food in their cheeks and hide it in the house. But with the egg and chicken, Teddy dropped everything he had and ate them right there. Of course, the pieces you feed your hammy should be small, so he can eat them on the spot. If you give him too big a piece, he might want to save some of it for later and we all know how quickly meat goes bad. Mealworms are sometimes a treat for hamsters. I’ve never give my Teddy one, but I’ve met hamster owners who give them to their hammies as treats. Not all hamsters will like them, but you can try. Do not give them mealworms too often though, since they are very filling. Teddy: If your feed any kind of meat or egg to you hammy, keep it simple, unsalted, unseasoned. Never feed any raw protein tot us, like raw meat or egg. Dairy is also a good protein source, but don’t give it to your hammy often ! Hamsters are mammals just like us humans, and as such we can’t process milk-based products very well when they are in large quantities. So, keep the dairy to a minimum. Something like a peanut sized piece, once per week is alright. Vegetables and Legumes you can feed your hamster Most vegetables are safe for hamsters to eat, but some are to be avoided. Especially legumes like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas and so on are not alright. This is mostly because of their high fiber content, which can upset your hamster’s guts. So best to stay away from legumes for your hamster. Vegetables like leafy greens and roots are mostly alright. But let’s talk about a few clear examples. Here are some vegetables your hammy can totally eat: most leafy greens, like spinach, watercress, lettuce, kale cucumber, zucchini carrots are okay, but any other hamster than a Syrian will have to eat them less frequently (higher sugar content than other vegetables, can cause diabetes for dwarf hamsters) sweet potato, cooked – same as carrots, keep a very low intake for dwarf hamsters asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower (cooked) You probably have most of these in your fridge or pantry already. So feel free to feed your hamster small pieces of these veggies as a treat, or even as a supplement to his usual food mix. Hamsters can eat pasta and bread too ! But only in small quantities. The thing with pasta, bread, rice, and so on, is that they’re all high carbohydrate foods. As such, your hamster needs them, but not as much as you’d think. The carb content of a hamster diet should not get past 20%, since they require a balanced dies of protein and veggies as well. So here are a few examples or carbs and bread your hammy can safely eat: Bread, as long as it has no added sugar and has a low salt content. That rules out toast bread, hot dog buns, and hamburger buns as well. Whole grain or multi-cereal bread is great for hamsters actually. Dry grains, of basically any kind Cooked brown rice, unseasoned Cooked wholegrain pasta, unseasoned. Regular white pasta becomes too sticky for your hamster, and will leave residues in his cheek pouches that can cause problems later on. Corn flakes, oat flakes, most muesli mixes Unsalted, unsweetened crackers and biscuits, small piece The food mix you give your hamster is usually well balanced, so don’t feed your hammy too much additional bread or other carbs. Keep them as a small treat every now and then. Nuts and seeds your hamster can eat Hamsters love to chew on a lot of things, and nuts and seeds give them just that opportunity. Most nuts and seeds are okay for hamsters to eat, but there are a few exceptions. Here’s a list of seeds and nuts your hamster can enjoy: dried sunflower and pumpkin seeds, with or without shell, unseasoned peanuts and hazelnuts, unsalted, plain; remove shell and skin walnuts chestnuts, without shell, cooked, plain sesame seeds Do keep in mind that nuts and seeds have a high fat content. So don’t feed too many or too often to your hamster. Keep them as a treat every now and then. Especially if the food mix you bought for the hamster already has a couple of seeds and nuts included. Teddy: Stay away from almonds though. They classify as a nut, but they are toxic for us hamsters ! Fruits your hamster can eat Most kinds o fruit are safe for hamsters. There are a few exceptions, and I’ll cover those too. But first, here is a list of fruits your hamster can eat: apple, pear, peeled and cored (no seeds) strawberries, no seeds banana slice, in a very small amount grape, no seeds, peeled dates and figs, dried raisins blueberries, blackberry, raspberry cherries, no seeds Again, keep the hamster away from citrus fruits. The citrus oils is toxic for hamsters, and will harm them. If you’ve ever peeled an orange and got your hand close to your hammy, you saw him pull away. (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.) Pre-made food mixes for your hamster These are a convenient way to feed your hamster, and often are actually pretty well thought out. If you see the ingredient list, and think there’s something vital that’s missing (like proteins) you can look for another brand or supplement with proteins like the list above. Grain and pellet food mix for your hamster I use a pre-made mix for my Teddy, and give him fruits, veggies, and meat whenever I’m cooking. So he gets the grain and pellets mix, with an assortment of carrots and other foods I have around the house and are safe for him. As I said above, I’ll give you a few options on store bough food to give to your hamster. The first one I found is an actual food mix, with a fair amount of seeds and pellets as well. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside (More on that below). You can check the Amazon pricing here, and other details as well. Treats for your hamster While most hamster food mixes have a balance of protein, vitamins, and carbs, you can give your hamster occasional treats. These don’t have to be often, but need to be kept as a treat every few days, or when you’re trying to teach or tame your hamster. For example I give Teddy cheese drops as a treat, and he absolutely loves them. The drops can be made of other fruits or veggies too. But Teddy seems to prefer the cheese. I found a variety pack that you can give your hamster. They’re yogurt based and suitable for all kinds of hamster, rats, gerbils, even ferrets. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and check the price as well. There are other types of treats hamsters go for, like for example simple dog treats (no flavors) or milk bones, and some granola bars(no sugar or honey). But my Teddy loves these cheese yogurt drops, and he gets them 2-3 times a week. Teddy: Whatever treat or food you choose, make sure you feed us hamsters responsibly ! Treats are treats and we don’t need them every day. Food mix is a great way to make sure we get the proper nutrition and stay healthy. How much does a hamster eat ? Alright, now that you know what kind of foods your hammy can and can not eat, and you’ve seen a few examples of pre-made food and treats, let’s talk about how often to feed the hamster. This depends mostly on the hamster himself, in that a baby hamster will need a bit less food than an adult hamster. But in general, 2 teaspoons of dry food are enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters need less, 1 teaspoon. It might sound like very little food, but look at the size of your hamster. Not only can he not eat much, but also dry food keeps him full for much longer than veggies. If you’re unsure, grab a teaspoon and put the necessary amount in your hand. I’ll attach a photo here of how much 2 teaspoons of dry food is for my Teddy. This is enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Teddy: Remember, we don’t need a lot of food, and we also hide food in our hideouts ! So if you just fed your hammy, and see no food there 5 minutes later, don’t give him more food. He just took the food into his hideout, to snack on later. Us hamsters are funny like that, and love to hoard our food ! Dangers of overfeeding your hamster The first and immediate danger is getting your hamster fat. While you might think that a chubby hamster looks cute (and he does, not gonna lie) it’s very bad for his health. Hamsters are very active creatures, and must be able to run and sprint and dart through tubes or into hideouts at any point. This is their instinct, and a large fat hamster will not be able to do any of these, or at least not properly. This will shorten the hamster’s lifespan as well. A hamster can only live for so long (2-3 years), might as well make his short life comfortable. If you want to know more about why your hamster can get so big or fat, check out my article on this exact topic. There I’ll tell you everything you need to know about why hamsters can get fat, and even how to slim yours down. Hint: it involves getting your hammy more exercise opportunities. For this a great hamster wheel is essential. You’ll also find out what a reasonable weight is for the hamster himself, so you have a guideline to follow. What to do if your hamster is not eating Some hamsters are very picky about their food. They will not eat just anything, and need more attention in that way. So play around with his food, change up the flavors a bit. Maybe he only likes chicken flavored pellets or treats. That could be a start to your hamster eating more. If your hammy is not touching dry food, try with veggies. Give him alternatives, like a piece of broccoli, one asparagus, and a small kale leaf. See which he likes, and keep giving him that. Then, continue adding new foods to his diet, from the list of foods I wrote above. Until you reach a mix of vegetables that you can give him daily, and you know he will eat them. If veggies are not an option for him, try giving the hamster meat. I’ve never seen a hamster turn down meat. Make sure the piece is cooked, but unseasoned. The extra salt is not needed in your hamster’s diet, since he needs much less than humans. If, in an exceptional case, your hamster turns down every kind of food, call the vet. Especially if you see other signs of a possible illness like sparse fur, a wet tail (very bad), dried blood on his body, or anything that looks out of the ordinary. In a worst case scenario, you might want to know how much a hamster can survive without any food and water. I wrote an article on that topic, and the point is that if your hamster is not eating, but at least has water he has a higher chance or survival. In any case, contact your vet if your hammy seems sick, along with not eating. A word from Teddy I hope you’re very clear now on what us hamster can and can not eat. I know it’s a bit of a list to remember, but it’s in your hamster’s benefit. If you’re not sure about a food, and you can’t find any info anywhere, maybe don’t feed it to your hammy. That way at least you’ll be sure he’s safe. You can find more info on the best kind of bedding for us hamsters, or why we sometimes eat our own poo, and even why we’re sometimes scared of you ! Just check out the articles below and you’ll find your answers. References: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet [...] Read more...
Why Do Hamsters Scratch Themselves ? About Your Hammy’s Fur
Why Do Hamsters Scratch Themselves ? About Your Hammy’s FurIs your hamster scratching himself ? Or is he just grooming himself and it just looks odd ? Scratching is part of every animal’s life. We humans scratch too, sometimes without a serious medical reason. So let’s see why hamsters scratch themselves, and how you can help if there is a problem. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters scratch themselves ?A little scratching is normalHamsters can get skin conditions tooDon’t confuse scratching with groomingA word from Teddy So why do hamsters scratch themselves ? For the most part hamsters scratch themselves because something is itching them. Much like us humans, actually. Sometimes it’s a skin condition like a rash, or possibly a parasite like a flea and their bites itch. Other times it’s not something clear, like when your nose itches for no apparent reason. And finally, hamsters scratch themselves as part of their grooming ritual. Sometimes they feel there’s something in their fur, and scratching is the only real way to get it out. Unless the hamster is repeatedly scratching the exact same spot over several days, losing fur in that spot, developing a rash, or even drawing blood by scratching, there is nothing to worry about. A little scratching is normal Hammies do get itchy noses, or paws, or ears from time to time. They’re not always easy to explain, like a flea bit them. Sometimes things just itch, for no good reason. So, they scratch. You’ve probably had an itchy nose or ear or leg for no real reason.  This is true for hamsters as well, actually for all animals. Skin is sensitive across all species, and something as silly as a speck of dust settling on your skin can make it itch. Hamsters can get skin conditions too One reason to worry is if the hamster has developed a skin condition. This means fur coming off in patches in that area, a red patch, a scab, there can be lots of things. Let’s go through them. Ringworm is actually a fungal infection, and it can become itchy. The fur will fall off in a round patch, and that patch of skin will be dry, flaky, with a series of tiny red dots marking the edge of the patch. It’s highly contagious, and can be transmitted from the hamster to you, so use disposable gloves. Ringowm can be treated, it’s just that the hamster needs to be quarantined while he is under treatment. You should check the rest of the house for signs of an infection on the other pets or family members. Given that Ringworm is contagious, and the hamster never leaves his cage, it’s clear that the fungus somehow got to him. It if got to him someone or something already had it. You will need to find the carrier and the infected ones and treat them as well. Another possible problem is skin rashes. Sometimes the fur falls off, sometimes not. But the skin will be noticeably red, it might be dry and flaky. Scratching it might draw some blood. This can be treated, but sometimes it’s not clear what caused the rash so the treatment can be a hit or miss. Often rashes just go away on their own, without ever letting you know what the cause was. Sometimes it could be new bedding your hamster hates, it could be a treatment that the hamster reacts poorly to. Or, another possibility could be mites. Mites are tiny, tiny creatures that come to inhabit your hamster’s skin. They cling to the hamster’s hairs, and burrow inside of them. Some mites burrow inside the skin as well. This leads to some very terrible looking skin, and a very distressed hamster. However mites are definitely contagious, so it’s the same story as with Ringworm. If you hamster was just sitting there, never our of his cage, then something that already had mites somehow found its way to the hamster’s cage. It could be the cat, if he’s an outdoor/indoor cat, or maybe your shirt if you’ve handled an infected animal and the mites got onto you. it could be anything or anyone. You’re just going to have to check every part of the house. There is treatment, but do not get anything online or over the counter. Only let the vet treat your hamster, since some treatments can burn the hamster’s skin and you must be very careful. (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.) Don’t confuse scratching with grooming Hamsters also do a lot of grooming. They’re very clean animals, and like to keep it that way. This means grooming when they wake up, before they eat, after they eat, after you handle them, after they get off their exercise wheel, after they’ve walked around for a few minutes, and sometimes just before bed too. Part of grooming is scratching. Not continuously, but a scratch here, another one there. Sometimes they might nibble on whatever they find on their nails after they’ve scratched. While it sounds gross, it’s their way of cleaning out their nails too. They pull at their fur, they comb through it with their paws a lot, and that too can look like scratching. If you’ve got a Syrian hamster, you will often see him nibbling at his hips. It’s a weird sight, but that’s actually where his scent glands are (black dots). They need a bit of cleaning too, and he spends extra time there when he is grooming. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies scratch from time to time too, it’s just not very different from why you humans scratch. 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...
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out For
Hamster Hibernation: 9 Signs to Look Out ForOwning a pet hamster requires you to be perceptive and knowledgeable when it comes to the hamster’s natural habits. That means that you should know when they are about to hibernate and what the signs of their impending or current hibernation look like considering the fact that some breeds of hamsters just aren’t suited for the cold and may end up dying when they go into hibernation.  After all, it’s going to be natural for hamsters to go into hibernation when the season gets cold but the problem is that some people cannot really tell whether or not the hamster is hibernating, sick, or dead. That’s why we have come up with the 9 signs that you should look out for to know whether or not your hamster is just hibernating. Table of Contents Toggle1. Binge-eating2. Shivering3. It starts to become lethargic4. Hamster hibernation temperature 5. Check for breathing6. Inspect its heartbeat7. Its food and water will remain untouched8. The hamster will become stiff9. It should feel cold to the touch 1. Binge-eating This is probably the most common sign of hibernation in any kind of animal. It is quite normal for hibernating animals to start binge-eating before they go into hibernation because they would need all that food during the winter when they will enter a long state of suspension. During that state of hibernation, they won’t be able to eat anything. So, in your hamster’s case, if you notice that it is eating far more than it does on a regular basis, it may actually be storing food for energy in time for winter when it is about to hibernate. After all, it needs the excess fat to keep its body well-nourished during its state of hibernation.  This will happen when the temperatures start dropping. As such, the best thing to do in your case is to keep the temperatures higher than 20 degrees Celsius so that the pet hamster won’t end up having to binge eat in time for winter. 2. Shivering Even before the hamster begins its hibernation cycle, you will actually see tell-tale signs that it will begin to hibernate. One of them is when the little pocket pal begins to shiver due to how the temperatures are starting to get colder and colder. Your hamster won’t be able to handle temperatures that are too cold, hence it will begin to hibernate when that happens. So, your best bet here is to keep your hamster’s habitat as warm as it can be without making it too warm. Your hamster needs to be placed in an area where there is enough ventilation such as a window but windows may end up becoming too cold for it.  What you can do in such a case is to provide it with a warm lamp that is capable of heating up its enclosure so that it won’t get too cold even when it is in a particularly cold corner of the room. 3. It starts to become lethargic Before your hamster begins its hibernation, you may notice that it becoming a bit lethargic and lazy. That means that it won’t be moving as often as it did in the past before the temperatures got a bit too cold.  There are times that it could mean that your hamster has simply fallen ill but, if it is still in perfect health, it could only mean that it will begin to start hibernating as soon as the temperatures become cold enough for it to hibernate. But before you assume that its lethargy is a sign of an impending hibernation, you have to make sure that it was completely healthy just a few days before the season got cold. That’s because its lethargy, as mentioned, could just be a sign of sickness. 4. Hamster hibernation temperature   Hamsters will only hibernate whenever the temperatures are getting cold. This usually happens when the winter is approaching because that is when the season gets too cold to prompt your little furball to start hibernating. Check the temperatures and see if they are steadily below 20 degrees Celsius. If yes, then the hamster is probably hibernating. However, if you want to check whether or not your hamster is hibernating or is sick, you may gradually increase the temperatures to over 20 degrees. If the hamster wakes up, then that means that it was just hibernating.  This might take a few hours to a few days but a hamster that was just hibernating will eventually wake up when the temperatures become too warm for it to hibernate. 5. Check for breathing This can be pretty challenging especially because hamsters that are hibernating are most likely going to be breathing very slowly to the point that they may sometimes appear to be dead or very sick. But you can still tell that they are breathing even when they are hibernating.  Just inspect the little guy closely and see whether or not it is taking short but deep breaths. If yes, then it just means that it is hibernating. You may also pick a hibernating hamster up but you will notice that it will be quite weak and limp due to the fact that it is dehydrated. Its ears and nose will also be quite cold if you try touching them but that doesn’t mean that it is dead. 6. Inspect its heartbeat Another sign of life that you should look out for when you think your hamster is hibernating is its heartbeat. A beating heart will always tell you that it is still alive but is merely in a suspended state of hibernation. But the problem is that telling whether or not your hamster has a heartbeat can be pretty tough considering how small these little furballs are. In that case, what you need to do is to place your forefinger and thumb on the sides of the hamster’s chest. Try applying a bit of pressure but not too much. When you do so, the heart will start beating in about a minute after applying a slight pressure to its chest. But be careful not to apply too much pressure as it can actually end up causing internal injuries to the hamster. 7. Its food and water will remain untouched Naturally, whenever an animal is hibernating, it will undergo a period where it will be in a state of suspension. As such, when that happens, they will become inactive as they fall into a deep slumber. They will not move around or even eat and drink. So, obviously, if the hamster is hibernating, it only means that it won’t be eating its food or drinking its water in that state of hibernation. As such, if you check its food and water and they remain untouched, that could only mean that your hamster has entered a state of hibernation and will not wake up until the temperatures begin to warm up again. 8. The hamster will become stiff The problem when it comes to hamster hibernation is that these little furballs will become so stiff whenever they are hibernating. In fact, they are so stiff that you might think that they are actually dead.  Their entire body will become so stiff that one would think that it would be impossible for its limbs to begin moving again. It would appear lifeless and may not even move even if you try to manipulate the hamster’s body into moving. That doesn’t mean that the hamster is dead. If you try to apply a bit of heat to the hamster’s habitat and gradually increase the temperatures to more than 20 degrees Celsius, you might soon notice the hamster moving its limbs again even though it might be weak and limp due to lack of water when it was hibernation.  9. It should feel cold to the touch Your hamster should not feel warm at all while it is hibernating. The truth is that it should feel so cold that you would think that you are feeling a dead body. But body temperature shouldn’t always be an indication when it comes to telling whether or not your hamster is dead or is just hibernating considering that this animal naturally becomes cold to the touch during winter seasons. However, if you tried to warm its habitat but it still feels unresponsive even after a few hours or a few days, there is a good reason to believe that it has fallen ill or may have even died due to the cold temperatures. That’s why it is always important to make sure that you don’t allow the cold to take your hamster as there is a good chance that it will end up dying while hibernating due to dehydration. [...] Read more...
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s Comfort
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s ComfortWhen I first got Teddy I was very curious about whether he needs extra-warm temperatures or not. After all, he’s a Syrian hamster, hailing from the desert. The same way I’d think Siberian hamsters would need cold temperatures. After all, Siberia is famous for being a cold, frigid tundra. But I quickly found out I was wrong. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and draftsBedding ideas to keep your hamster warmThe right home for your hamsterDifference between hamster species when it comes to temperatureDangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hotA word from Teddy So what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ? As it turns out, the ideal temperature for your hamster is basically the same for all species, with a few minor differences. But in general hamsters need around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. They’re okay with the temperature dropping a few degrees, but once it reaches below 15 Celsius/60 Fahrenheit, they will enter a state of hibernation that can be dangerous to them. Hamsters do naturally hibernate in the wild, like bears for example. Hamsters only hibernate in case of extreme cold, so make sure you keep your hamster’s cage in a room that is  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and drafts Much of what is true for humans is true for hamsters as well. We are both mammals, and need warmer climates. But your hamster can’t adapt to the cold as fast as you. You can put on a sweater, but your hamster’s only got the one sweater he was born with – his fur. So, when it gets cold, your hamster will begin drawing more and more bedding into his house. If you gave him ripped paper towels for extra bedding, he will make a nest out of them and snuggle tightly to keep himself warm. When it gets too hot for the hamster – which is anything above 22 Celsius/72 Fahrenheit – you’ll see him start to push the bedding out of his house. This allows air to circulate through the house and cool him down. Hamsters can’t sweat like we do, and his fur coat will keep him warm no matter what. So higher temperatures are not good for him either. It’s very important that the room you keep your hamster in is one free from drafts. Those can create very cold and intense air that will give your hamster a cold. For them that cold can be fatal, even if for you it might be just a sniffle. Bedding ideas to keep your hamster warm Normally your hamster would run around the desert at night, to forage for food. Actually, they’re be running at dusk and dawn, when the temperature is more tolerable for them. Desert nights are colder than you’d think at first. So your hamster would stay in his burrow below the ground, when the temperature is too hot or too cold. In his little home he would have dried leaves, grass, and whatever plant material he can find that can be good insulation. What you can give your hamster is what I gave my Teddy. Lots of wood particles, or more commonly called sawdust. NOT the fine dusty kind ! And keep them unscented, since your hamster has a very very sensitive nose. The softer wood shavings that are left behind after working with wood are alright. We give Teddy a thick layer of the wood shavings for ‘ground’, which he has in his house as well. Then we also give him unscented, clean paper towels, ripped into smaller pieces that he can move easily. He usually uses those for the actual ‘bed’ inside his home. Aside from that, he also has the cardboard rolls that are left from the paper towels. He usually chews on them for fun, and he sometimes uses bits of it for his home, for extra insulation. As for just how much bedding to give, if it covers the bottom of the cage by a couple of inches (or 5 cm) then it will be enough. As for the paper towels, we usually give Teddy 2 sheets (3-ply) and he is fine with those. Never give your hamster cotton or fiber bedding. The hamster stores the bedding in his cheeks to use it in his home, and cotton keeps moisture and has fibers that can get stuck in your hammy’s teeth, which can be fatal. So stick to soft wood and paper. To find out more about the best kind of bedding you can give your hamster, check out my “best bedding” article. We’ll talk about the safest options you have, and which to avoid. The right home for your hamster The home your hamster lives in is crucial. And the material it’s made out of is very important for your hamster’s health. Ideally you want wood homes, because they ‘breathe’ and absorb moisture from the inside and let it evaporate outside. The home also needs some ventilation holes, like ‘doors’ or ‘windows’ that need to be large enough for your hamster to get through with his cheeks full. And finally, it’s okay if it’s small-ish, since your hammy will only use it to sleep and eat, and he does not take up much space. So in short, a plastic house, with just one entrance, is not okay. It will cause condensation and that can lead to your hamster catching a cold. You never want your hamster wet or staying in a humid place. I’ve seen this with Teddy when I first got him. The home that came with the cage was plastic, and whenever I’d clean it there would be beads of condensation on the ceiling of his home. I got him a wooden one, which has small cracks in the ceiling/roof to let air flow, and 3 big doors for air to flow freely. The condensation stopped, and the home never smells. Difference between hamster species when it comes to temperature There is little difference between species here, but there is one exception. While most hamsters need a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit  range, Winter whites need an 18-21 Celsius/65-70 Fahrenheit range to be comfortable. Even if the difference between them and other hamster species is small, it’s still something to take note of. This is because Winter white (or Siberian) hamsters come from a colder climate than the other types. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Dangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hot While your hamster can take on a lower temperature easier than a warmer one, neither extreme is easy for him. If it get cold, your hamster will do like my Teddy does, and gather as much bedding as he can to keep himself warm. If it gets too cold for more than 24 hours, then your hamster can enter a kind of hibernation. If left in this state for long, he can develop serious health issues. He only does this in case of emergencies, and can’t keep it for long. You can bring your hamster out of hibernation by slowly raising the temperature around him. Do no place your hamster in a very warm room, or on a very warm heater surface (like an electric blanket). Slowly bring the temperature up, degree by degree, until he wakes up. It may take a couple of hours or just a few minutes, depending on your hamster’s health and age. But if you keep you hamster at a temperature that’s too hot for him then he is in danger of heatstroke and dehydration. Never let your hamster get too warm since it’s not easy for him to cool off naturally. What you can do to help your hammy during summer is to place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, inside a jar, which you can place in his cage. This way there will be no condensation on the outside that can keep the bedding wet and get too cold for the hamster. Or, another thing to do is keep him away from direct sunlight. Or place the cage on a cool surface, which will slowly cool the bedding as well. Make sure the room is not at all drafty and humid, otherwise you risk your hamster’s life. I usually keep Teddy in a corner of the room that is away from the window, so not drafty. And away from sunlight, so he will not overheat. The thermostat is around 22 Celsius all year round, so he is fine overall. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you figure out the best way to keep my kind happy when it comes to our environment. While most of us come from a desert landscape, we don’t stay out during the day because it’s too hot, not during the night because it’s too cold. But dawn and dusk are good temperature ranges for us, so remember that we need around  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. You can check out the other articles on this site as well, you’ll find great info on what we usually eat, how much water we drink, and why we eat our poop too ! [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Eat Vegetables – What To Feed Your Hammy
Do Hamsters Eat Vegetables – What To Feed Your HammyDo hamsters eat veggies ? Do they even like them ? Did their mothers scold them because they didn’t eat their peas and broccoli ? Jokes aside, hamsters eating vegetables is a big topic, and a very important one when it comes to what you can safely feed your hamster friend. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat vegetables ?Hamsters can eat leafy greensSome kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamstersWhat veggies to never feed your hamsterCommercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sourcesCan vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ?How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggieA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat vegetables ? Yes, they do. Hamsters do eat vegetables, and they actually like them. In the wild hamsters forage for grains and vegetables, so that’s a large part of their diet. They do catch the occasional cricket or worm, but veggies and grains/seeds are the biggest part of their diet. Not all vegetables are safe for hamsters – you can find a list of safe and unsafe foods for your hammy here. We’ll cover the veggies your hamster can eat in this article, and the ones he should be kept away from as well. Hamsters can eat leafy greens This is what you will find most common for your hammy. Like spinach leaves, watercress, lettuce, kale, iceberg, arugula, even a bit of cabbage. Easy on the cabbage though, since it’s got a large fiber content which can upset your hamster’s stomach. I gave my Teddy (Syrian hammy) a whole cabbage leaf, to see what he would do. He just sat there, munching on it. I took it out after a few minutes, since it was much too large for him. Hamsters can eat lots of leafy greens. Pretty much whatever you put in your salad is fine for him as well. With a few exceptions, which we’ll cover in the rest of this article. Some kinds of roots and berry-types are okay for hamsters Some root types are okay for your hammy, like for example carrots are good. But watch out if you’ve got anything other than a Syrian hammy. The Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) are very small and need very very tiny pieces of carrots. They’re prone to developing diabetes, so it’s best to keep them away from sweet-ish veggies. The same goes for sweet potatoes and corn. Those, if you even feed your hammy, should always be boiled/cooked. Cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin are all okay, although it’s best to cook the pumpkin before your give it to your hamster. All kinds of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus are alright for your hammy – but at least steamed. They have a high fiber content, even if it’s less than cabbage. Make sure you feed your hammy only the upper parts, like the heads or tips. The stalks are too tough for their stomachs. What veggies to never feed your hamster There are a few veggies you should keep you hammy away from. For example regular potato, especially raw, is not recommended. The same goes for eggplant, rhubarb, and celery. The same goes for most legumes like peas, beans, if they’re not cooked. Even if they are cooked, they should still be given in a very small amount. As in, only one single bean. They have a tendency to create gas and your hamster’s gut can’t handle that very well. Very acidic veggies are a no-go, like onions, scallions, shallots, garlic, and tomatoes are a no-go. This is because the hamster’s stomach and gut does not react well to acidic foods, of any kind. The same goes for spices. Whatever you feed your hammy, make sure it’s never seasoned, not even with salt. It needs to be either boiled in plain water, or baked plain, by itself. No added oils, spices, sauces, or whatever you’d like to add to your own food. Commercial hamster food has plenty of vegetables and vitamin sources You can also feed your hamster a pre-made food mix that already has enough vitamins and fibers. This is what your hamster usually would find in the veggies you give him. Still, you can give your hammy a few vegetables aside from the commercial food mix. For example a food mix like this one has plenty of nutritional value for your hammy. It will keep you for a couple or months, or a bit more, depending on how much you feed him. I’d recommend 2 teaspoons/day for a Syrian hammy, and just 1 teaspoon for a Dwarf type. This mix, along with the occasional veggie from you, and maybe a bit of boiled egg white or piece of cooked chicken will give your hammy a very happy, balanced diet. You can check the listing on Amazon for this food mix, and read the reviews as well. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Can vegetables substitute your hamster’s water source ? There’s times when your hamster will need to get his water from a very stable source. One that will not drip or spill over. For these times, like when you’re transporting your hamster to the vet, or you’re taking him somewhere, a couple of veggies will give your hamster enough water for a few hours. For more info on how to safely transport your hamster, you need to check out this article. You’ll find out how to transport him, as well as what kind of cage you need, and how to make sure he isn’t scared on the road. As for the kind of veggies your hamster can get water from, cucumber is the best option. It’s got a whole lot of water content, and a couple of slices, kept fairly cold, are going to provide your hamster with enough water for a few hours. You can substitute cucumber with some iceberg lettuce, which again has a very high water content. However those have a bit more fiber than cucumber, so do not rely on those entirely. How to see if your hamster reacts well to a new veggie Whenever you give your hammy a new food, of any kind, try it out in small pieces. So if you want to introduce carrot into your hamster’s diet for example. start this way. Give him a very small piece, about the size of your pinky finger’s nail. Make sure that is the only bit of new food he gets for 24 hours. You can still feed him his usual food, but do not give him more that a very small piece of the new food. After 24 hours, if you see he’s still well, has no wet stool, and is not lethargic, then you can introduce the new food in larger amounts. Do remember that the pieces of veggies you give your hammy should never be larger than an inch/2.5 cm. A word from Teddy I hope you know now if us hammies can eat different kinds of veggies. For example I love munching on a bit of carrot from time to time. And maybe your friend likes spinach leaves. If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on how large a cage we need, how much water we need in a day, and even why we sometimes eat our poop. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Peanuts ? Or Any Kind Of Nuts ?
Can Hamsters Eat Peanuts ? Or Any Kind Of Nuts ?If you’ve got a hamster and you’re wondering if you can feed him a peanut, that’s okay. It’s a common question, and one I had too when I first got my Teddy. Turns out hamsters can eat lots of things us humans can eat. However, they can’t eat as much or as many variations as we can. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters eat peanuts ?Hamsters eat lots of nuts and seeds in the wildIs peanut butter safe for hamsters ?Safe nuts and seeds for your hamsterUnsafe nuts and seeds to keep away from your hamsterCommercial food mixes have plenty of safe nuts and seedsA word from Teddy So can hamsters eat peanuts ? Yes, hamsters can eat peanuts. It’s safe for them. But they need to be unsalted peanuts. They can be baked or not, and they can be given with the shell as well. As long as there are no seasonings or extra oils on the peanut, it’s okay. Peanuts do have a high fat content though, so be aware that too many peanuts will make your hamster overweight. That can lead to severe health issues, and is best avoided. But, a peanut every now and hen, like a couple of times a week is alright. Not more often though. Hamsters eat lots of nuts and seeds in the wild Peanuts are okay for the main reason that hamsters eat a lot of seed and nut types in the wild. When foraging for food, hammies end up with lots of grains, seeds, and some roots to munch on. Many times their diet consists entirely of dried grains and seeds, which keep well over cold periods. So, a peanut is safe. And you’ll often find it in his food mix as well. Is peanut butter safe for hamsters ? Yes, plain, unsweetened peanut butter is safe for hamsters to eat. Peanut butter is just crushed and pureed peanuts, and that’s alright for hammies. The difference is that peanut butter sometimes has a little bit of added oil in order to make it creamier. So that means that your hamster should have less peanut butter than regular peanut. For example a dollop of peanut butter the size of a pea is more than enough for your hammy, whether he’s a Dwarf or Syrian. The thing about peanut butter is that it’s sticky, and requires lots of cleanup. This is one of the reasons you need to be careful how much you give your hamster. Your hammy has a high chance of making a mess out of the tiny dollop, so make sure you give him a very small amount. Always make sure you give your hamster unsweetened, unsalted, unflavored peanut butter. Only simple, plain peanut butter will do, since that’s the closes to an actual peanut.   Safe nuts and seeds for your hamster Hammies can eat some types of nuts, and I’m going to help you identify them right here. SO here’s a safe list of nuts for your hamster: peanuts pecans pistachios walnuts pine nuts cashews hazelnuts sunflower seeds pumpkin seeds Now these all need to be unsalted, unsweetened, unseasoned in any way. Get them as plain as possible. It’s fine if they’re raw, and it’s fine if they’re toasted. Just remember that seeds and nuts should not be given daily or very often. More than twice a week is too much. And the serving should be just one nut. For seeds they can be 3-4 at a time. But do not overfeed your hamster on seeds or nuts, since they are very high in fat. Your hamster doesn’t need a high fat diet in order to function. (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.) Unsafe nuts and seeds to keep away from your hamster Some nuts and seeds aren’t alright for hammies, since they can be poisonous. Even for humans they can be a bit hazardous, and should not be eaten often or in large amounts. These are: almonds any kind of fruit seed (apple, grape, peach, plum, etc) This does not mean the fruits are not edible. Hamsters actually love to munch on small apple bits, or a bit of grape flesh. It’s just the seeds that are not alright for them, and should be removed before giving fruits to your hamster. Actually, you can find out more about what kind of fruits are alright for your hamster right here. Commercial food mixes have plenty of safe nuts and seeds When feeding your hamster, you have the option of giving him a store-bought food mix. The thing about these mixes is that they’re thought out to give your hammy a balanced diet. This means your hamster’s getting the optimal amount of grains, nuts, seeds, vitamins supplements, fiber and protein for a healthy diet. This food mix will help your hammy find all the nutrients he needs, right there in his food bowl. He won’t have to forage for his food anymore. Unless you sprinkle it through his cage, which can keep him busy and keep his instincts sharp. Still, the whole bag will last you a couple of months or more, depending on what kind of hamster you have. You can check the listing on Amazon right here, and read the reviews as well. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. I know us hammies love to munch on everything, but sometimes you need to be careful what you give us. Peanuts are alright, as long as they’re plain, and are in small amounts and not often. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the articles below for more info on how to care for us. [...] Read more...