Have you just gotten a hamster ? Or are you planning on getting a hamster and want to know how to care for him ? I’ll tell you everything I know, and I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) home.
There are 15 essential steps to take and know, so you can be a good hamster owner. Some of these might be obvious, some might be counterintuitive. But they all help your hamster lead a healthy, happy life.
As a sidenote, hamsters are actually cheap to care for, and they make good pets. It’s just that they have some very specific needs sometimes.
1. Choose a good cage for your hamster
The first and biggest problem when getting a hamster is what kind of cage to get him. Now I’ve covered this in detail in this article on how to choose the best cage, but a short version would be this.
A Syrian hamster (the biggest kind of hamster you can find as a pet) needs a minimum cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is for one Syrian hamster. They should always be kept alone.
If you’re keeping Dwarf hamsters, then the same cage will fit a pair of Dwarves well enough.
Always remember that while hamsters are so small and fluffy, they need a lot of space. They will always feel better in a large cage, rather than in a small one.
This is because they do a lot of running around and roaming, and they get bored very easily in a small cage. Especially if it’s not almost nothing in it aside from bedding and some food.
An overcrowded cage can also make the hamster irritable and nippy, so it’s best to only keep one hamster in one cage, even if he’s a Dwarf.
As for examples of good cages, here is this one. It’s got a small space between the wires, so no hamster can escape.
It’s also got an adjustable level which you can put wherever you like. I recommend keeping it pretty low though, since hamsters prefer the low ground.
Of the commercial cages you can find available, this is the largest and safest. It provides lots of ventilation and it easy to take apart and clean.
All in all a good choice for hamster owners who are both space and budget conscious.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews as well.
If you want to go for a bigger cage, you’ll need to look for an Ikea Detolf. That’s basically a big standing shelf. You put it on its side, remove the shelves, and make a wire mesh to cover the top if need be.
The only problem with the Detolf is that it’s heavy, and big. So wherever you put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. Cleaning the Detolf is going to require a few more steps, but it’s doable.
What is brings though is almost double the space the cage I mentioned above does. So no hamster would feel cramped in a Detolf.
2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster
Another big and important step to make is to provide the hamster with bedding (or substrate). That’s what the hamster will live on, eat on, sleep on, pee on, and generally live all his life on.
It needs to be a safe and healthy, and you need to be able to provide lots of it. Hamsters generally dig into their bedding, so giving your hammy at least an inch/2-3 cm of bedding is a minimum.
You can find several hamster bedding options are in this article, you can pick whichever you think works best.
The safest bedding you can provide your hamster is aspen wood shavings. All hamsters react well to aspen, and it’s a type of bedding readily available in most parts of the world.
Another option is paper bedding, however that’s not as easy to find as aspen shavings.
When you go out looking for the wood shavings, please make sure to stay away from cedar and pine shavings. Sometimes they’re sold for pets, but for small animals like hamsters those wood types are too strong.
Their smell will suffocate the hamster, who has a very sensitive nose to begin with anyway.
A good example is this one for aspen shavings. The bag comes in different sizes, so it can last you anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, depending on which size you get.
You will only need to replace the hamster’s bedding once per week, so it also depends on how much bedding you put down into the cage.
It’s a dust-free bag of wood shavings, which is important hen dealing with small animals. Respiratory problems can and do some up when the hamster has contact with dust. A dust-free bedding will keep him safe from that point of view.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
You also need to know about hamster nesting materials. Now, there’s nesting material you can buy, yes. But that’s almost always textile based. It’s a type of fluff, which does keep the hamster very warm. It’s a lot like the stuffing inside a teddy bear.
But the problem is that kind of material can get tangled around the hamster and suffocate him. Or get tangled in his teeth (hamsters always pouch their nesting material) and end very gruesomely.
So what can you use ? Toiled paper, unscented. Plain tissues. Plain paper towels. Bits of cardboard. Rip them into strips and shreds, and watch you hamster decorate his home. He’ll build a big and warm nest out of all of those things and sleep like an angel.
3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained
The toys you choose for your hamster are important. Partly because a hamster can get bored if he’s got nothing to do in his cage. And partly because they need to be safe for the hamster and help file down his teeth.
This means that hamsters will need plenty of wood or cardboard based toys. They can and will chew on absolutely everything in their cage. So for this reason wooden chews are a must, and cardboard too.
Most toys can be either DYIed at home out of cardboard rolls, or bought from a store. This means the hamster can have an egg carton with holes in it an enjoy himself, using it as a hide and seek toy. You can even place a treat at one end of the carton and it’s just turned into a puzzle toy.
You can also place a walnut inside the hamster’s cage. Make sure to remove any dirt off the walnut, and leave it whole in the hamster’s cage, He’ll go crazy over it and try to open it.
He can’t, since he’s no squirrel. But he’ll try, and file down his teeth in the process. Hamster teeth always grow, so this is crucial.
The most important thing in the hamster’s cage though, is his hideout. He will build a nest anyway, in the most hidden corner he can find.
But he will feel more secure and safe in a hideout. It provides shelter, warmth, and a feeling of safety for the hamster.
In the wild his nest would be in the ground, quite a few feet deep.
It would be a series of tunnels, well hidden from any predators. In a cage though, he can’t do that.
But a hideout is the next best thing.
That hideout absolutely needs to be made of wood for two reasons:
- It will absorb moisture and release it outside. It’s basically breathable, and the hamster won’t have a damp nest, which means he won’t get a cold, or wet fur easily.
- Hamsters chew everything, even the hideout/nest. Wood is safe for them, and they even chew in their sleep. So it’s important that the hideout is of a safe material, not plastic or ceramic.
A good example of a wooden hideout is this one. It’s a lot like my Teddy’s hideout actually. It’s big enough for a Syrian hamster, and it will also fit a Dwarf hammy.
The wood is safe to chew on, and it has plenty of ventilation with all 3 holes available. They’ll be blocked with nesting material by the hamster, but he will still get fresh air.
A hideout like this one will keep the hamster his whole life, unless he decides to use this as his one and only chew toy. Even then, it would take him quite some time to get through all that wood.
You can check the listing on Amazon, and read the reviews as well.
4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs
When it comes to food, you’ll be glad to hear hamsters can eat almost anything. But they do have a specific diet. The usually eat lots of grains, with a few vegetables and fruit thrown in for good measure.
Nuts and seeds are okay too, as is a bit of protein in the form of cooked plain chicken, or even a mealworm or two.
Actually most foods that are safe for hamsters are already in your fridge or pantry. The only problem is that they need a very specific diet, which you can always supplement with food from your kitchen.
A good hamster mix will have his ideal diet in mind, and provide lots of vitamins and minerals as well. For example this one will last you quite a few months, because hamsters do not each very much.
For a Syrian hamster two teaspoons per day are enough, and for Dwarf types just one teaspoon is enough. Hamsters will hide their food in their nest, so don’t panic if you see the food bowl is empty after a few minutes.
This mix lasts long and is among the best for hamsters.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
Aside from the hamster commercial mix, you can give your hamster treats like bits of carrots, a plain peanut, a leaf of spinach and so on. He will enjoy the treat.
But if your hamster is a diabetic hamster, keep fruits away from him. Carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes are off limits as well.
5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary
Cleaning the hamster’s cage is the first way to make sure the cage does not get smelly, and the hamster stays healthy. Cleaning should be done once per week, and only clean the pee corner every few days.
The thing about hamsters is that they’re very clean animals. They groom themselves constantly, almost as much as a cat does. So the hamster himself does not smell.
However what does smell is the corner in which the hamster usually pees. This is always the corner farthest away from the hideout, and it’s usually wet or at least damp.
That corner can be scooped up every few days, and you can place new bedding in that corner. But once a week, a full cleaning is needed. That means taking the cage apart, putting the hamster in a safe place (like his travel cage), and cleaning everything.
You can find a whole tutorial on cleaning the hamster’s cage here. Including how to proceed in the case of a sick hamster, and what you should be aware of before you start cleaning any hamster’s cage, sick or not.
6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise
Hamsters are runners, for the most part. Some will love to climb or dig more than running. But most hamsters will enjoy running, and that’s what they will need to do to expend all that energy.
Keep in mind that a hamster can run as much as 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night. That’s a whole lot of running for a creature so small. So make sure you get your hamster an outlet for all that energy.
This means providing him with a big enough hamster exercise wheel, and you can choose which is best for your hammy.
A wheel will allow him to run as far and as much as his little feet can take him. It’s important that the wheel is a large enough one, because a small wheel can give the hamster back problems.
You see, hamsters don’t have a straight-ish spine. They look like they’re hunched over all the time, because they actually are.
Their spines need to remain mostly hunched even when running. A straight spine can be odd for them, and a backward bent spine is actually painful.
So this means you need to get he biggest sized wheel your hamster can comfortable run on.
For example this one is a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, and it will fit pretty much any hamster. It’s also got not middle fixture, so the hamster has nothing to hurt his back on.
It stays where you put it, and it’s a very silent kind of wheel. It won’t wake you up in the night (like Teddy did with us when he was younger).
It’s got a tail and foot guard, which means your hamster friend won’t catch important appendages in the wheel when he’s running. This is especially important for the Chinese hamster.
You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well.
7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often
Taming the hamster is going to be either a breeze or a story to pass down onto your grandchildren. Some hamsters get used to their owners and warm up to them in just a few days, and some hamsters will never be okay with being picked up.
It varies from hamster to hamster, and it also depends on how much patience you’ve got. Taming a hamster takes time, and consistency. It’s not hard, but it can be very slow.
It’s also a bit hard to read the hamster’s reactions. If he’s not biting or running away, it’s a good sign. But noticing whether he actually likes something or not ? Your guess is as good as mine.
Hamsters are easy to bribe with food though, so that’s always going to help.
You’ll need to interact with the hamster constantly to gain and keep his trust. He might not always sit still so you can pet him, and he might not always like it when you pick him up. But in time he will learn to associate you and your hands with food and good things.
Even if you’re not doing much, at least talk to the hammy. He’ll come up to the side of the cage to hear you out. He won’t understand a word, but at lest you’ve got his attention.
8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens
Hamsters don’t need regular trips to the vet, and they don’t get sick often. For the most part hamsters will only stay in their cages, unless take out. This means the only moment they can get sick is if someone sick interacts with them.
Or, if they become much too stressed or the cage is very dirty, and they develop wet-tail. But aside from that, hamsters aren’t sickly animals.
That being said, when a hamster does get sick, it can get very serious, very fast. And you’re going to need a good vet for that.
You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet. That’s a vet who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Such a vet will be able to help more than a regular cat and dog veterinarian.
You can find out more about choosing a good vet for your hamster here.
9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them
When it comes to the hamster’s usual health problems, there aren’t as many as us humans can have, but they are serious. You can find a list of the main health problems here, and how to treat them.
Of all the threats to a hamster’s well-being, wet-tail is the most notorious. This is a type or diarrhea, and it can become deadly in a matter of days.
Hamsters usually contract it either from an already infected hamster, from an overly dirty cage, or through high stress levels which can disrupt their normal digestive system.
Tumors and lumps are not uncommon, infections are about as common as they are in humans. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but tumors can sometimes be impossible to remove without putting the hamster at too much risk.
Hammies can lose their eyesight and become blind, and this is usually a sign of old age. Blindness can come earlier than that in some cases though. While hamsters don’t really use their eyes, they are still vulnerable and can become injured or infected.
There are treatments for almost all of the hamster’s health problems, and most of them are meant to be administered by a vet.
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10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period
Hamsters reproduce in large litters. They can fall pregnant very often – every 4 days actually – and their gestation period is short. Only 16-22 days, depending on which hamster type you’ve got.
So if you brought home a pair of Dwarf hammies, and one of them seems to be too fluffy, you’ll find out in 2-3 weeks if you’ve got a pregnant female on your hands.
This can happen because pet shops sometimes separate the hamsters into gender specific groups either too late, or misgender a male and put him with females.
To find out more about finding your hamster’s gender, you should read here. The gender becomes important from week 4 of life, when the hamster babies are weaned by their mother. That’s when they can also start breeding, and sometimes unwanted accidents can happen.
Once the hamster has reached 10 weeks, he or she may be introduced to the opposite sex, if you’re looking to breed them for a new liter. Pregnancies started past week 14 are not safe though, so keep an eye on the hamster’s age.
For more info on the mating ritual and the reproduction itself, you will need to read here. And read here to make sure the babies survive until they are adults. New momma hamsters can be unpredictable.
11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have
There are 5 main types of hamsters, 3 of which are Dwarf types. The 3 Dwarf types are hard to tell apart, but the Syrian is the largest and the Chinese is the only one with a noticeable tail.
There are essential differences between the Syrian hamster and every other hamster out there. Including where they all came from, actually. Hamsters have only been pets for the past century or so, and they have some pretty rugged ancestors.
Why does the breed matter ? In a way, it doesn’t. There aren’t severe temperament differences between hamster breeds like there are between dog breeds.
Still, not all hamsters can live together. Only the Dwarf types can come to tolerate a sibling or two, as long as they were never separated since they were babies. Obviously, they need to be of the same gender, otherwise you’ll become a grandparent, not the way you’d like.
Even so, I wouldn’t recommend putting any hamster in a cage with another hamster, Dwarf or not. Cohabiting is very rough, and there will be quarrels between the hamsters. To a certain degree they’re normal, as any sibling quarrels are.
But, they can always degenerate into serious fights, sometimes deadly. For this reason I strongly recommend you keep each and every hamster in his own cage.
12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster
Remember that hamsters are prey animals. This means that they’re used to running away, and hiding. They won’t really stay put so you can pick them up. It’s not their nature.
So expect a certain degree of fear and jumpiness from your hamster. He will freeze up from time to time, for no immediate reason. He’s actually listening for predators, and learning the various sounds that go around in your home, and outside of it.
A hamster will sleep most of the day, and only wake up at dusk. He’ll come put when his instincts tell him no predators are around. And he’ll stay up most of the night, and go back into his nest once dawn comes.
He might make a couple of sounds, but aside from that he’s a very quiet pet. What you might hear though, is the sound of him chewing on something to wear down his teeth. He does this often, and it’s as important to him as brushing our teeth is to us.
If your hammy doesn’t warm up to you very fast, don’t be disappointed. That’s a fairly normal reaction from a small animal used to being chased through the desert by animals much larger than himself. You’re not very different from the big animals chasing his ancestors.
Other than that, hamsters are a loveable bunch, prone to all kinds of weird acrobatics. My Teddy was one hell of a climber when he was young, he was all over the cage.
13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town
Hamsters can’t really be left to their own devices when you leave town. Much like fish or a pet turtle, your hamster is going to need someone to come over and feed him daily.
Hammies do survive for a few days with no food or water. But I don’t think you’ll want to find out just how much your hamster can last like that.
Best to have someone to take care of him, even if it’s just giving him food and changing the water.
14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals
Hamsters are sensitive to everything. The light levels, the noise levels, the temperature, the stress levels, being handled too much, being handled too little, being held wrong, and drafts.
So you’re going to have a to be a very careful person if you’re going to look out for a hamster. Most of their sensitivities stem from the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal animals, so they react to light levels and sounds. The other is that they are very very bad at managing stress factors.
This means that about half of their health problems come from how stressed they are. Given the fact that these creatures are almost always on high alert, they’re also high-strung all the time. So not a very good thing.
It’s also very hard to not scare a hamster. Really, they’re so on edge that even getting up can trigger them. Walking past their cage. Sneezing within a few feet of them is a cataclysmic event.
In truth this is because hamsters have very poor eyesight. So if you sit quietly and fairly still, he won’t even know you’re there. That means when you move he’s going to have a small heart attack. He didn’t even notice you, when did you get there ?
15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks like
Another thing to be aware of is how long your hamster will live. this will vary from hamster breed to hamster breed, but in general a hamster’s lifespan will be around 2-3 years.
Hamsters are adults when they reach 3 months age, and they’re considered old when they reach their 2nd birthday. This means an old hamster will happen upon you faster than you’d think at first.
Some hamsters don’t show their age, and some hamsters look very old even before their first birthday. Health problems become more common, walking becomes slow, and they slowly start to wither away.
Old hamsters will need special care from you, and you can read up on this here.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look like cute and cuddle little things, but we do require a certain level of care. Hopefully this article gave you a lot of insight into what owning a hammy looks like.
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.
- How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well. Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment.... Read more...
- Can You Keep Hamsters In A Glass Tank ?Debating whether to get your hamster a new home ? There are so many versions of hamster cages, and one of them is a glass tank. Now, you might be wondering if you can actually keep a hamster in a glass tank, if your pet will be comfortable there, and how easy it is to take care of a glass tank. Today we’re tackling this topic and helping you figure out whether your hammy will live on one of these or not. Table of Contents Can you keep hamsters in a glass tank ?Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tankCons of keeping your hamster in a glass tankWhat to look for in a glass tank for hamstersThe inner corners and edges should not be gluedThe tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape)The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tallTips on buying a glass tank for your hamsterGetting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventureLook for used or second hand tanks firstGlass cabinets or displays are another option Can you keep hamsters in a glass tank ? Yes, you can safely keep your pet hamster in a glass tank, provided it’s a large enough tank (at least 40 gallons/151 liters). Hamsters are small animals but they do a whole lot of running and walking and playing and they need a lot of horizontal space. A small cage or tank will stress them out, so always get the bigger tank, if you have the option to choose. A glass tank is not hard to find, but it’s usually going to be more expensive than a wire cage or plastic bin. However you can safely keep your hamster in a glass tank, as long as you keep it clean and the tank has airflow. Pros of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Less chances of draft for your hamster – hamsters are sensitive creatures, and should not be put in cold and drafty areas. A glass tank, with its closed sides, offers far less changes of a draft. But it can also mean there is less airflow in the tank if it’s too small. Again, a 40 gallon/151 liter tank is the minimum if you’re going to get a glass tank. You can see through the glass, into the bedding – this is perhaps the biggest reason people opt for a glass tank. Compared to plastic bins and wire cages it’s far easier top see into a glass tank. You can observe your hamster, and if you’re lucky you might even see some of its burrow and tunnels if it gets close to the edge of the tank. The cleaning process is simple and straightforward – a glass tank is easier to clean than a wire cage or a plastic bin. As long as you wipe it down with a mix of vinegar and warm water, then wipe it down again with warm water, and then pat it dry, the tank will be clean. Compared to wiping down a wire cage or plastic bin, glass is far easier to clean as a material. Cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank Glass tanks are harder to handle by just one person – these things are heavy, and easily crack or shatter. You have to choose your spot carefully, and ideally have at least one other person with you while moving the tank. And possibly while cleaning it too, if you need to move it again. Overall, I suggest you choose a spot that’s out of the way, and rarely ever move the tank from there. Glass tanks can be very cold – this means you need to offer proper bedding for your hamster, to snuggle into something warm. It also means you should not place the tank directly on the floor, since that is always colder. If you have floor heating, definitely do not put the tank on the floor as the hamster might overheat. Most tanks are smaller than a hamster would need – getting an appropriate sized tank isn’t easy. You can easily find fish tanks, but those are generally smaller. The minimum you’d need for a hamster is the 40 gallon/151 liter one, so it ahs sufficient floor space, and also height. You might have to look around a lot of pet stores until you find a tank you can use. Check my article on how to choose the best hamster cage to find out more about cages and glass tanks. What to look for in a glass tank for hamsters If you’ve decided the pros and cons of keeping your hamster in a glass tank sound good, then great ! There are just a few things you need to look out for when deciding which tank to get. These are just basic things, aside from getting a large enough one. The inner corners and edges should not be glued Not all glass tanks are made the same way. Some are cheap, and some are better quality. The cheaper ones will have glue keeping them together at the edges, which may or may not be a good thing. It’s a good thing because you don’t need it to be waterproof, but the glue can weaken over time, and worse, the hamster might be attracted by the smell of the glue and chew on it. Not all tank have their glue well hidden. Then there are glass tanks with frames, keeping each glass sheet in its place. Those are better, but also more expensive. Or, if you can’t find any glass tanks then a glass display or cabinet will do just fine, as long as it’s larger enough. Those won’t have their edges completely shut, meaning that if you pour water it will leak through. But since this is a hamster and it will only need bedding, the edges aren’t much of an issue. The tank should come with a wire lid (prevent escape) Glass tanks are usually reserved for fish, and fish don’t need wire mesh or wire lids to keep them from escaping. But hamsters are rodents, and they are master escape artists. They cannot chew through glass (thankfully) and they can’t grew through semi-thick wire. So, you will need a lid for your glass tank. Most of the time those are easy to improvise. All you need is some DIY skill, wire mesh that has very small holes (less than 1 cm in diameter), and a bit of time. You also need a wire lid or mesh if you’re using a glass cabinet or display. Never use a glass lid to completely shut in your hamster. It needs plenty of airflow, if you close the glass lit on the cage you’re limiting its air supply. Also don’t use a plastic lid, even if it has air holes. While a hamster can’t chew through wire, it can and will chew through plastic. And if your hamster will get to the top of the cage and hand from the lid (all of mine did) it might start chewing onto it and you will have a problem. This is actually one of the main drawbacks of plastic bins by the way; their plastic is just too easy to chew through. The tank should be at least 40 cm/ 15 inches tall Your glass tank should be more wide than tall. Hamsters aren’t exactly climbers, but they will climb if they need to. Instead they prefer to run and walk, which means a lot of horizontal terrain. But, your tank should be able to accommodate your hamster’s habitat (toys, home, wheel, chews, etc) and a few inches of bedding. Out of all the things listed, the wheel is the most important and should be as large as possible. The larger the wheel, the ‘flatter’ the terrain your hamster runs on, and the less stress it will have on its spine. The best wheels are always the largest (11-12 inches), regardless of whether you have a dwarf or a Syrian hamster. You need to account for the wheel’s diameter plus its stand, and however many inches of bedding you’re going to use. I suggest going for a 15 inch/40 cm deep tank, but I realize this isn’t always available, even if it’s the ideal minimum depth. What you can do is get a slightly smaller one, and only account for the wheel plus its stand. There you can use a very, very small amount of bedding, and concentrate most of the bedding on the other end of the tank. This way you can get a, say 13 inch deep tank, add in a 12 inch wheel (11 inches plus stand), and add some bedding so the tank isn’t completely barren in that area. Tips on buying a glass tank for your hamster Just before you walk out that door to buy a glass tank, here are a few tips on actually getting one, getting it in one piece home, and how to get a deal or an alternative for the tank. Getting your glass tank home in one piece is an adventure If you’ve found a glass tank, it will already be assembled. Fortunately most respectable pet stores can offer transport for fragile items like this. But if for some reason the store doesn’t, you will need to bring it home in one piece. I’m assuming you have a car, or an Uber, or a taxi close by with an empty backseat. When you get the glass tank out of the store, it should be wrapped in something shock-resistant like bubble wrap (a lot of it!), and then perhaps placed into a large enough cardboard box. You might need 2 people holding the tank. Never hold the tank by one of its sides, it’s heavy and the frame or glue won’t hold. Always hold from the bottom of the tank, one person on each side. Once the tank is in the car, use the seatbelt(s) to secure it in place. You will hit bumps and take a turn here or there. The tank should be as secure as possible so it won’t slide around or bump into anything. Once you’re home you will again need help bringing it in, but at least you’re 75% done. Look for used or second hand tanks first Glass tanks can get expensive (around $10-250), but they are easy to clean or disinfect in most cases. So before you go to a store, look around for sales, offers, or even second hand tanks. As long as the glass is not cracked, the edges are still holding together nicely, the tank is fine. Some owners swap out their old tanks for newer ones, of a different size. Those will usually be fish tanks and you might have to scrub those a bit more, just to be sure there is no residue on the glass. Glass tanks that are on sale or offer at a store might not be 100% water proof, but still good enough to keep a hamster safe. Perhaps the frame doesn’t attach to the glass perfectly and it leaves a 1 mm gap all around, allowing water to trickle out. For a hamster you only need the edges to be closed and inescapable, not waterproof. As long as the glass is clean, not cracked, and the edges hold together well, the tank is good. Glass cabinets or displays are another option Okays so what if you looked everywhere and you just can’t find a glass tank big enough ? Your other options are a glass cabinet or glass display. Those are usually tall and somewhat skinny, with plenty of glass shelves. Depending on what you get, they can be anywhere from $150 to $300. Once you get one, all you have to do is lay the cabinet or display on its side, remove the shelves and the glass door, and you’ve got an improvised glass tank. These are never waterproof, but they’ll be good enough to keep your hamster safe. The only down side is that you’ll have to take a look at the top and bottom of the cabinet. When you lay it on its side, does it keep the glass suspended from the floor ? Or is the glass making direct contact with the floor ? You want direct contact, otherwise the glass will bow under the weight of the bedding. But an easy fix for this is to get something like a folded blanket or foam mat to put under the glass, so it makes up for the height difference. Overall, you’ll notice that a glass tank or cabinet is not only heavier but more expensive than any other hamster cage. But, it’s also one of the most durable (provided you don’t break the glass) and it offers your hamster more roaming space. ... Read more...
- How To Know When Your Hamster’s Fully Grown – All BreedsWhen I first got my Teddy I knew he would grow up to be a big hamster – he’s a Syrian male. But I didn’t know exactly how big, and when he’d stop growing. So I’m helping you figure out how big your hamster can get, based on its breed. And this will help you know how large a cage he will need, and what to expect from your hamster friend. Table of Contents So when is a hamster fully grown ?When is a Syrian hamster fully grown ?When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Campbell Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ?When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ?When to separate baby hamstersThe right cage for a fully grown hamsterA word from Teddy So when is a hamster fully grown ? Generally a hamster is fully grown around 3 months of age. This means that the hamster is both sexually mature, and also has reached, or is very close to, its full length. Of all hamster types, Syrian hamsters grow the largest, and you will notice severe size differences between the baby hamster you brought from the pet shop, and the adult hamster in your cage. The Dwarf types do grow, but the difference between them as babes and as adults is not nearly as big. For reference, a baby Syrian around 4 weeks old – when he can be adopted – is about as large as an adult Siberian or Campbell. But let’s see the differences between each hamster type, since they can grow to different sizes and become mature at slightly different ages. When is a Syrian hamster fully grown ? A Syrian hamster is fully grown when he is around 12 weeks of age (3 months). Both males and females are capable of breeding around 4 weeks, so they must be separated to prevent any more litters from producing. As for size, a Syrian hamster grows to its full size around the 3 month mark. That is when the Syrians become adults, and can reach their full size. They can reach between 5-8 inches in length, which is 13-20 cm. Some hamsters may grow even larger than that, by a couple of inches/cm, but those cases are rare. A few traits of adult Syrian hamsters: Their markings become clear just before they reach maturity. If they’ve got any darker fur, it will start to show around that time The males’ rear ends will become very large, bulging almost. That is where their testicles are, and you will see them often. The females will come into regular heat – about every 4 days. You’ll notice them smelling a bit muskier, and they will squeak and hiss if they sense a male hamster. The average lifespan of a Syrian hamster is 2-3 years, in captivity. They are close to old age when they reach their second birthday, and will start to become slower and have trouble eating and moving around as they reach that age. When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ? A Roborovski hamster is a Russian Type, and he will be fully grown around the 3 month mark as well. The Robos can breed as early as 4-5 weeks old, so again they must be separated very early in male and female groups. Roborovski hamsters reach their full size at around the 3 month mark, reaching up to 2 inches/5 cm. They are the tiniest of the Dwarf types, and are very hard to handle. since they are so hast and agile. Their fur coloration becomes clear as they reach the 3 month mark. They don’t develop a stripe down their backs, like the Chinese or Campbell for example. The average lifespan of a Roborovski hamster is about 3-4 years in captivity, but rarely lives past 2 in the wild. When is a Campbell Dwarf fully grown ? A Campbell Dwarf is fully grown around the 3 month mark, as the other hamsters. They can breed early, around the time they’re weaned – which is bout 4 weeks old. Their sizes are about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm, and are again hard to handle given their small size and agility. They usually live around 2 years in captivity, but can live a few months past 2 years in the right conditions. A Campbell’s Dwarf can be recognized by the white belly, and grey-brown fur on their backs, with a much darker stripe going down their backs. When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ? Chinese hamsters, while not truly Dwarf types, are still much smaller than the Syrian type. A Chinese hamster will become fully grown when he is about 2-3 months old. The hamster can breed before he reaches that point, though. As for size, the Chinese is larger than most Dwarf types, but smaller than the Syrian. So a fully grown Chinese hamster will be around 3-5 inches/8-13 cm, plus their longer tails. Chinese hamsters have a much longer tail compared to any other hamster types, which can grow to be about an inch long/2-3 cm. The long tail, and the more slender, long-ish figure of the hamster can make it look a lot like mouse to many people. Given their natural coloring – a sort of brown with a dark stripe down their back – this can be forgiven. Average lifespan for the Chinese hamster is around 2 years in captivity, but it’s not very well documented in the wild. When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ? A Siberian, or Winter White, is a type of hamster that does belong to the Dwarf type. They are fully grown at about 3 months of age, and can breed about 4-5 weeks of age. The Siberian hamster can grow up to 3-4 inches/8-11 cm, and are actually among the easiest to tame hamsters. Their fur can change, depending on temperature and season. A Winter white is called such because in the wild, its color changes to mostly white. During the summer or warmer season, the color can be a very dark grey, with a stripe going down the hamster’s back. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) When to separate baby hamsters Separating your hamsters when they’re babies will spare you a lot of troubles, starting with surprise litters and ending with vicious fights between siblings. So generally, the best time to separate the hamsters into all male and all female groups is when their mother finishes weaning them. This is usually around 4 weeks after the babies are born, and you’ll notice the mother starting to push the babies away if they want to nurse. You can find much more info now how to properly separate the baby hamsters into gender-specific groups here, as well as how to handle them. Do take care when the mother has just given birth, since she is easy to startle. A startled, or scared, or stressed out mother can abandon or even eat her babies. Here’s how to make sure your baby hamsters survive, as well as how to make sure the mother is safe and calm during the birth and raising the babies. The right cage for a fully grown hamster Your hamster might see so very small when you first get him. That’s the small size they will not keep, as you’ve just found out. Baby hamsters need adult-sized cages. This is partly because they grow very quickly, and once they do grow they will feel cramped in a cage that is too small for them. These 5 hamster cages are great picks, depending on what kind of hamster you have. A cage that is too small for your hamster can lead him to a lot of stress, and feeling irritable most of the time. This can lead to a lot of unwanted behaviors, like chewing the bar cages, and even fighting with their cage mates. The minimum cage size for an adult Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. I’d recommend this to be the size cage you get for your Dwarf type as well, since all hamsters will feel better in a bigger cage, if they have one available. Always get your hamster a bigger cage, even if they look so small they need a large amount of floor space. Best to read this article on what to know before getting a cage for your hamster, and how to properly care for it. For the Dwarf types I recommend a glass tank, since they can easily escape through the bars of a wire cage. You’ll find info on the glass tank as well in that article. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and can figure out when your hammy is fully grown. For example when I was a baby I was orange all over, with a bit of faded white on my belly. When I got older I started showing my darker grey markings, and my owners thought I was dirty at first ! So if you want to know more about your hammy, you can read the articles below. You can find out how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you, and even what food is safe for us.... Read more...
- The Real Cost Of Buying And Owning A HamsterIf you’re thinking about getting a hamster, you need to read this. I had only a vague idea before I got my Teddy. I knew I wanted a cute and cuddly orange hamster, and I knew nothing about hamsters. Then I found out through trial and error how to properly care for a hamster, and how having a hamster changes your life. This is what I’ll be talking about here. How much a hamster costs, how much it costs to get him food and bedding, cages costs, everything. Table of Contents So how much does a hamster cost, buying and monthly expenses ?How much for the hamsterWhat a hamster’s cage will costGenerally there’s 3 kinds of cage types:How much the hamster’s bedding will costHow much the hamster’s hideout will costHamster toys, bought and DYIHow much a hamster wheel can costHow much an exercise ball for your hamster will costHow much the hamster’s food costsHamster health and vet visitsTransport cage for the hamsterConsider this before getting a hamsterCan you offer the hamster the right conditions ?Do you have the time to play with your hamster ?Is there someone who can watch your hamster when you’re gone ?Do you have a calm, quiet place for your hamster to stay ?A hamster’s average life expectancyHow a hamster will change your lifeA word from Teddy So how much does a hamster cost, buying and monthly expenses ? To be fair, the hamster itself is incredibly cheap. A Syrian hamster will run about 5-10 dollars, while a Dwarf (whether Roborowski, Campbell, Siberian, or Chinese) will be slightly cheaper. As for the monthly expenses, those include only bedding and food/treats, which can vary depending on what you get your hamster. An estimate would be around $10 per month for food and bedding. There are initial expenses, like the cage, wheel, exercise ball, toys, and so on. An absolute minimum, considering the cage size, and wheel and ball size, would be $225, of which the cage is he most expensive. You can find an exhaustive hamster supply list here, complete with everything you’ll need once you decide to get yourself a hamster. Aside from those, which I’ll cover in detail in the article, there’s the impact the hamster has on your life. Owning a hamster is, after all, a responsibility and you need to think about it before you get a hamster. Now let’s get into the details of how much a hamster costs. All expenses in this article are in U.S. dollars, to stay coherent throughout the article. How much for the hamster Hamsters are actually very cheap. In that, most of the time you’ll find them along with fish in terms of cost. For example my Teddy was 4.90 USD. That’s incredible for owning a pet that will be by my side for the next 2-3 years. Now, Teddy is a Syrian hamster. A dwarf type will cost less, but how much less depends on the pet shop you pick him up from. But on average, hamsters will go between $5-10, with the dwarf kind on the cheaper end. You can also get hamsters from a private breeder. But in those cases you must make sure that those breeders treat their hamsters humanely, and have medical checks run on the parents frequently. A private breeder will not cost more than the pet shop, and getting a baby hamster from a friend will be basically free. But you must be sure that the hamster parents are healthy before you get your baby hamster. Visit your friends who have hamsters a few times to check up on the female, to see how her litter is coming along and pick out the one you like. So in short, an actual hamster can be anything between $5-10, even free if you know someone who had a recent litter. What a hamster’s cage will cost This depends on what kind of cage you want to get your hamster. Normally the minimum cage size for hamsters is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This the minimum for a Syrian hamster, but this will work for dwarf hamsters as well. When it comes to cage size, it’s best to go for bigger cages. This is because the hamsters need more space than the absolute minimum. Of course, it depends on your home as well. Can you fit a large glass tank somewhere ? Do you need to move the cage often ? How much space to spare do you have in the room you want to keep the hamster ? What is your budget ? A large enough cage will be somewhere around $120-150, plus handling and shipping if you’re ordering online. Picking it up from a petshop will spare you those taxes, but might be more expensive overall. Generally there’s 3 kinds of cage types: Plastic – the most common after metal, can easily fit tube accessories. Not the most breatheable, be careful which kind you get. I’ll leave you an Amazon link to the one I have, you can check it out there as well as the pricing. Metal/wire – very breatheable, but you need to be sure the spacing between wires is less than half an inch so the hamster can’t escape. Here’s an Amazon link to a good, large wire cage, which also has a movable level. Glass tanks – can get these in larger sizes than plastic or metal cages, but they need to stay put. You need a lot of space and a wire mesh for the top of the tank. I looked around and found a fairly good one on Amazon, you can check it out here. A word on glass tanks. They’re great for hamsters but ordering online is a bit tricky, with the transport. Sometimes glass comes whole and the tank is fine, sometimes it comes broken. Honestly it’s best to pick up a glass tank from a pet shop or somewhere you can inspect it yourself, and bring it home yourself. If you want a much more detailed breakdown on each hamster cage, and which type you’d like for your hamster, you need to read this best cages article. You will find the same Amazon links as above, but discussed in more detail, along with pictures. It’s got all 3 types of hamster cages, their pros and cons, and how to clean and care for the cages too. A hamster cage might seem expensive at first, and at a first glance it might be. But you only need one, and your hamster will use it his entire life. This is not something you buy again and again every few months. Do not make the mistake I did, and skimp out on the cage. I ended up changing 3 cages just because I didn’t want to spend a little extra on the first purchase. The first 2 I got Teddy were too small for an adult Syrian hamster. How much the hamster’s bedding will cost Hamsters need a lot of bedding, and the most readily available is wood chips. The best kind of bedding you can get your hamster would be aspen wood chips, if they’re available in your area. If not, another option would be paper bedding. Bedding is something that lasts you for several weeks, even months, depending on how much you give your hamster, and how often you change it. If you want much more info on how often to change the hamster’s bedding, which kind is safe, and how to pick the right one for him, I suggest you read this article. It’s got the bedding types available, along with a list of unsafe beddings you need to avoid. For example my Teddy’s bedding is about $12 and 3.2 kg/7 lbs, and it’s good for about 3 whole months. I change his whole bedding every week, and his corners a bit more often. So that’s $15 every 3 months, 4 times a year. $5 a month for something that will help keep the hamster warm is not that much, really. A good option for aspen bedding is this one by Kaytee. It’s twice the size I get my Teddy so it can seriously last your hamster for half a year, if not more. Aspen bedding is one of the safest types you can get for a hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. You can also get paper bedding for your hamster, if aspen isn’t available where you are. Here’s an Amazon link for a paper bedding, which will last your hamster about 3 months. Paper beddings are a bit more expensive than wood shavings. It’s up to you which you think would be best for your hammy. I use wood shavings since they’re easy to find in my area. As for the nesting material the hamster needs to put in his nest, a couple of ripped up paper towels will be enough. Or, unscented, plain toilet paper squares. Teddy shoves the paper in his cheek pouches, and then starts taking them out in his home, decorating the place. How much the hamster’s hideout will cost As for the hideout for the hamster, his hideout is where he will spend the majority of his time. Hamsters need just a bit of space to build their nest, and a good hideout will protect them A good hideout is one made of wood. It keeps the hamster warmer, absorbs moisture and prevents condensation, and is safe to chew. Hamsters chew absolutely everything, including their hideout, so get your hammy a wood one. If you want to know more about the kind of hideout a hamster needs in general, you can check out this article. In the second half of the article you’ll find out how your hammy will use his hideout, and how to clean it properly. I got my Teddy a plastic one at first, and I kept it for a while until I noticed it kept the moisture inside, which kept Teddy’s nest wet in some places. So I got him a slightly larger, sturdier wood one. I’ll leave you an Amazon link for a wood hideout that looks a lot like the one I have for my Teddy. The thing about hideouts and toys for hamsters, most of the time they are too small for Syrian hamsters. Most of them are geared towards dwarf hamsters. But I’m showing you one that’s large enough for a Syrian hamster to fit in, and feel comfortable. So the hideout would be somewhere around $10, which is again something you buy only once. Even if your hammy will chew and chew and chew on it, that hideout will still be in place for years. Hamster toys, bought and DYI The hamster’s toys will need to be made of wood as well. This is because hamster, again, chew on everything. If the hamster doesn’t chew on his toys, he will chew on the cage bars, or his hideout, or his water bottle, anything. A hamster’s teeth never stop growing, so he needs to always file them down. And wood is he best material for their teeth, since it will file them down without hurting the hamster. There are a whole array of toys you can get your hamster, some you can buy, some are best if you make at home. For example cardboard tubes left from paper towels (the ones you have in your kitchen, maybe) are great for hamsters. Cut a few holes in them and you’ve got a hide-and-seek toy that can fit an adult Syrian hamster. Again, the Syrian hamsters need much more space than a dwarf so be careful when you choose toys for your hammy. I’ll link you to an article on the best toys you can both buy and DYI for your hamster friend. You’ll find some links for Amazon listings for the toys which are best if you don’t invent them (like a wheel) and some ideas on what you can make at home. Everything I link in this article is also suitable for a Syrian hamster, since this was what I was looking for when I got toys for my Teddy. As for the cost, it depends on what you end up getting your hamster. These are again things you buy for your hamster only once, and he will use his entire life. So it could be anywhere from nothing (like the paper towel tubes) to $22 for a digging tower. It’s up to you, but remember that your hammy will need a few toys, even if you make all of them at home. How much a hamster wheel can cost Hamsters need a lot of exercise, and fortunately an exercise wheel and ball are things you only buy once. Actually everything except the food and bedding will keep the hamster forever. Again, don’t make the mistake I made when I got my Teddy. I skimped out on the cage, but the wheel as well. At first I left him that small plastic wheel that came with the cage, too small by even a baby Syrian. The I bought him a bigger, metal wheel, a 7 inch/18 cm one. Which was fine, but only for a while. One he grew to his full size, he needed a larger one. Again. So I went a bought the biggest I could find, a 9 inch/23 cm one, which fits hit much better. When you get your hamster an exercise wheel, you need to account for how large he will get as an adult. An adult Syrian hamster will need a minimum of 7 inches/18 cm to be able to run freely. A dwarf hamster can do with just inches/13 cm but that’s the minimum. If you want to know much more about choosing the right exercise wheel for your hamster, you definitely need to read this. You’ll also find out how much exercise a hamster needs, and how much he can run in a night as well ! A large enough wheel for a Syrian hamster can run around $30, which will last him his entire life. How much an exercise ball for your hamster will cost As with the exercise wheel, and exercise ball is a good way to give your hamster an opportunity to leave his cage safely. You can place the hamster in his exercise ball, and let him roam the house. Or, you can use it as a temporary place to keep him while you clean his cage. If you want to know more about how to care for your hamster when he is n his exercise ball, you can read this article. You’ll find out how to properly introduce him to his exercise ball, how to make sure he is comfortable, and how to keep the ball clean. Exercise balls for hamsters run around $8 plus shipping and handling, if you order online. If you get it from a petshop it might have less taxes, but be a bit more expensive overall. Again, this is an item you only buy once, like the wheel and cage and hideout. For example my Teddy has his ball since he was young, and I just figured out that I should get him a large enough ball to fit him as an adult. All exercise balls for hamsters are made of hard, durable plastic, so you won’t need to replace it under normal circumstances. Unless someone steps on the ball, or a large pet or child plays with it, it should stay intact even if it bangs against the furniture. How much the hamster’s food costs The food is the cheapest thing on this list, I think. This is partly because you can feed the hamster the food you eat as well, or you can get him a pre-made food mix. If you decide to feed your hamster whole foods from your home, then this food list article will help you figure out what kind of foods are safe and unsafe for a hamster to eat. Overall, I’d advise getting your hamster a pre-made food mix. Those usually have dry food that keeps for long, and is more suitable for a hamster’s usual diet and what he’d normally find in the wild. If you feed your hamster exclusively from your fridge or pantry, then his food will cost basically nothing. But you’re in danger of not meeting his dietary requirements, or overfeeding him. If you’re using a pre-made mix, it can get to $10, both online and in a pet shop. I get Teddy a 1 kg/2 lbs food mix with grains and pellets and a few seeds. It lasts him about as much as the bedding, so 3 months. So that’s $10 every 3 months, which I also supplement with a bit of veggies or cooked chicken whenever we’re cooking. Hamster health and vet visits Hamster’s can’t really be described as sickly animals by nature. They stay healthy for along time, but once they get sick they need immediate attention. Those I can’t give you an estimate for, since it can vary wildly according to the hamster’s illness. The most common problems a hamster can run into are wet tail, diabetes, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation, and colds. Of course, there are a lot of other problems that can come up, but these are the most common. And most of these are easily fixable, if noticed in time. Bringing the hamster to a vet within 24 hours of developing a disease, or getting injured, is going to save him in most cases. But I can tell you that if you keep your hamster in the right conditions, feed him properly, give him plenty of room and exercise, he will be fine. So a trip to the vet will be basically free. Just watch out for the temperature in the room you keep him in – more on that here. Transport cage for the hamster Your hammy will probably never have to leave you home. But there might be moments when he’ll have to go to the vet, or you’re moving house and can’t move him in his entire cage. A transport cage can be an old, smaller cage that your hammy had when he was a baby, or you can get one that’s made specifically for temporary keeping. As with everything else for the hamster, this is something you only buy once. And a transport cage can be anything from $10 to $30, and some types can be used as a permanent fixture to your hammy’s habitat. If you want to know more about traveling with your hamster, and how to make sure he is comfortable during travel, you should check this out. You’ll get a few hamster travel cage ideas, and find out how to keep him safe during travel too. Consider this before getting a hamster When I first got my Teddy I had no real info on hamsters. I’d seen one or two before, I knew they were small and fluffy, and needed a cage, and didn’t live more than a couple of years. My girlfriend fell in love with the idea of Teddy in an exercise ball running around the house, so we went looking for an orange Syrian hamster. When we got him, we spend an entire evening looking at him, at how cute he is, and how much energy he has. We wouldn’t trade him for anything, even if he’s a bit over the top sometimes, like waking us up in the middle of the night with a squeaky wheel. We had no idea what to expect, and there were some odd surprises. But I think that there definitely are some things you should think log and hard about before you get a hamster. Can you offer the hamster the right conditions ? By this I mean that hamsters need some specific conditions to live in. There’s temperature, spacing, bedding and food, and toys to take into account. Unless you can keep the hamster at a 20-23 C/65-75 F temperature, with a cage 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall (that’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall), you shouldn’t get one. Hamsters need proper conditions, along with the right amount of bedding and food to stay healthy and happy. Do you have the time to play with your hamster ? Hamsters are in fact a mix between nocturnal and crepuscular. That means that some will come out during the night, and some will only come out at dusk and dawn. Their waking hours can change over time, but this is how they usually work. If you’re working a very early shift, with a very early bedtime, you might miss your hamster waking up. Or you might only catch about an hour or half an hour of playtime with him before you must sleep. I’d recommend a hamster to those people who do not work an early shift, and can stay up later than 10 pm without worrying about how tired they’ll be tomorrow. To tame your hamster you need a lot of interaction with him, and if you’re sleeping when he’s up, that will be harder to do. Is there someone who can watch your hamster when you’re gone ? There’s no good reason to bring the hamster out of his habitat or your home, aside from a vet visit or something major like moving house. Travel can stress the hamster too much, so it’s best to leave him in one place. But when you have to leave town for a few days, do you have someone who can come over and feed him ? A friend or a family member, or even a neighbor who have the time and disposition to come over every evening and feed the hamster, see if he’s alright, check up on him. Do you have a calm, quiet place for your hamster to stay ? Even if you’ve got an especially rowdy home, with 4 small kids, 2 dogs and a parrot, you must have some sort of quiet place. Hamsters need a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed while they sleep, which is much of the day. So keeping him in the living room with barking dogs and people running around won’t be healthy or comfy for your hamster at all. If you can keep the hamster in a quiet room, where nothing can disturb him, then that’s great. The attic or a cupboard or basement are not good places for your hamster, even if they’re quiet. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A hamster’s average life expectancy Hamsters are fairly short-lived. Both Syrians and Dwarf hamsters live up to 2-4 years, under the right circumstances as pets. They can die young, around 4 weeks of age, if they develop wet-tail and aren’t give treatment fast, or they can develop diabetes when they’re older, aside form a host of other problems. But in general, your furry friend will stay with you from 2 to 4 years, Dwarf hamsters being the most long-lived of all. So if you do decide to get a hamster, take into account that random bits of wood shavings, a furry face, and evenings playing with a walnut or toilet paper roll will be in your life for the next 2-4 years. How a hamster will change your life Owning a hamster is not that difficult, all things considered. When I first got Teddy, I didn’t know hat to expect, but I’m glad I got him. He’s taught me that some things must be done his way( like leaving a lot of room on the kitchen counter for him at night). And many things that would annoy me in the day would just disappear when I play with him. A hamster, or a pet in general, will put a smile on your face, with everything this ball of fur does. Once you get a hamster, you will be more aware of how warm or clean your home is (like bedding strewn everywhere), and even the noise level. You will become a very responsible person when you know you can’t really take him with your everywhere, like a cat or dog, to set up someone to take care of him. And you will see a piece of cardboard and know exactly what he’d do with it. A word from Teddy I hope you found everything you were looking for here. I know us hamsters can seem like forgettable pets compared to larger ones, like cats or dogs. But we are a whole other type of pet, with lots of love and funny tricks to offer. So make sure you think about it well enough before you get one of us hammies to live with you. We need some accommodation, but if you can make some room for us in your life, we’ll put a smile on your face every day. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below ! You’ll find out why we need so much exercise, and how to feed us properly, and much more.... Read more...
- 13 Signs Of Old Age In Hamsters, And How To Care For ThemIf you’ve got hamster and you think he is getting old, you should check out a few signs. My Teddy is a year and a half when I am writing this, so some of these signs I’ve seen in him. Others I’ve seen in other hammies I know, particularly Oscar (family friend) who was a very gentle and mellow hammy. So let’s see when hammies are old, and what signs to look for, and how to care for your old friend. Here are the signs you should look out for. Table of Contents 1. Your hammy is close to his 2nd birthday2. His fur is starting to look sparse and matted3. Eye problems occur, especially cataracts4. Far less grooming than before5. Your hammy has lost most of his appetite6. Lack of energy, less playtime7. More sleep and resting time8. Shaky, unsure walking about the cage9. Dental problems, teeth break easily10. His cage is less clean, needs cleaning more often11. You notice less droppings in his cage12. Your friend might protest when picked up13. His general shape will changeCaring for a senior hamsterAdd softer food to his dietContinue interacting with himKeep his habitat/room comfortableWhen hammy passes awayA word from Teddy 1. Your hammy is close to his 2nd birthday Usually hamsters live 2-4 years, with Roborovski living the longest. A hamster, regardless of type, is considered old when he’s close to his second birthday. He may live much longer than this, or might not even reach his second birthday. But, that’s the majority of the cases. This is not to say that hamsters die of old age around 24 months, but that’s when they’re about 80 years old (in human years). As with humans, some hamsters live a very active life even in their old age, and some quiet down for the last 30 years of their life. For example my Teddy is a Syrian male, and he was born mid-July 2017. At the time I’m writing this he’s a year and half old, and he has slowed down, and plays less. He’s not 2 weeks away from his end, thankfully we still have some time together. But, he is way past his young adult life. Still, there are other signs you need to watch out for, in conjunction to the age of your hamster. 2. His fur is starting to look sparse and matted A hammy’s fur is usually bright, clean, possibly shiny, and always put together. Well, now that your hamster friend is becoming a senior, he might get a bit lazy or forgetful. So if his fur becomes a bit ruffled or matted, this is why. Older hamsters might also start to lose their fur. Hamsters are born blind, and bald, and unfortunately some hammies end up like that in their old age. You might start seeing bald patches in your hamster’s fur. Or it might just become sparse, and the hairs themselves will not be as soft and shiny as before. They’ll be rather matte, and coarse. They might also change color. For example my Teddy has a bit of silver hairs around his ears, where there wasn’t that color before. This will sound funny and/or gross, but it reminds me a lot of the ear hair some seniors get. Except it’s on top of his ears. He looks a bit like a madman. Do keep in mind that your hamster’s fur could also be looking bad because of a skin condition, which is very probably in his old age. So while fur loss isn’t a definitive sign of old age, it’s still worth noting. 3. Eye problems occur, especially cataracts Hamsters, like humans, can develop cataracts in their old age. This is because the composition of the inside of the eyeball naturally starts to break down. As such, the eyes will become milky, and unfocused. A hamster usually has bright eyes, even if they’re such a dark color. Most have black eyes, but I’ve seen hammies with red eyes, dark red eyes, midnight blue eyes too. You’ll notice your hamster has cataracts by the whiteness of his eyes. It might start out as a single white spot, and extend to the rest of his eye. Other eye problems might occur but the most common one of the loss of eyesight. Don’t panic if this happens to your hamster. In truth hamsters barely use their eyes in the first place. They’re notorious for not seeing well, and are very poor with judging distances or depth. You can find out more about hamster eyesight here. The point is that a hamster without eyesight can lead a perfectly normal life. He will still react to sound and smell, and will recognize you. 4. Far less grooming than before A hamster is usually a very clean, well groomed creature. You’ve probably noticed your hamster is grooming himself whenever he is not eating or running in his wheel. Cleanliness is very important to hamsters, since this is what keeps their scent to a minimum, thus attracting no predators. So, when your once very clean and shiny hammy starts to get a bit dusty, and doesn’t clean himself as much, he is getting old. Old hamsters don’t clean themselves as much. Partly because they can’t reach ever place anymore, and partly because they kind of don’t care. Especially the back of their heads, that’s a place you’ve probably seen your hammy tug at and comb like crazy. That requires the most effort, as well as twisting to the side to clean his flanks. Those probably don’t happen anymore. As a result, your hammy might get a bit smelly. This is especially true for the hamster’s rear-end. You might find his rear soiled from time to time, without there being an infection, or wet tail. You can help your hammy by using a clean cotton bud, dipped in a bit of warm water, and cleaning that area. You will need several cotton buds. Do not soak the buds, they need to be moist but not drenched. 5. Your hammy has lost most of his appetite An old hamster will change his eating patterns too. While usually he would eat a commercial hamster mix, with grains, seeds, and a few vitamins, now he will be picky. This happens with most hamsters, and my Teddy is starting to leave the hard, dry grains in his food bowl more often. He’ll go for softer foods like walnuts, carrots, boiled brown rice, broccoli, and so on. He does still hoard food, and I find grains there as well. But he doesn’t eat them as much as before. He simply doesn’t eat as much as he used to. Your hammy might be the same, and it can have several explanations. One of them could be that his teeth can’t deal with hard food as well as before. Another could be that grains can’t be digested as well, so he will need softer food. You should still keep his usual food mix, but only keep it to half. The other half replace with cooked, softer food like a bit of plain omelet or egg white, steamed broccoli, steamed brown rice, a bit of boiled plain chicken or even porridge. For more info on which foods are safe for hamsters, you should check out this safe and unsafe food list. About porridge, it should be cooked in water, plain with no salt, sugar, or any other condiments. Half a teaspoon of porridge or more than enough. Keep it on the dryer, lumpier side of porridge. 6. Lack of energy, less playtime An old hamster is a tired hamster. You could say he;s gotten lazy, but that’s not particularly true. Hammies are bundles of energy, and the only reason they even stop running on their wheel or playing with their toys is because they’re starting to get tired. No amount of extra sleep will get them bouncing back through their cage. It’s just something that comes with old age. For example my Teddy used to be a runner. My God he’d run the night away and wake us up with his squeaky wheel. When it wasn’t squeaking it was bumping against the cage, he was running so hard with his little hamster feet. Now I haven’t had to oil the wheel in several months. He does get into it, gives it a few spins, and follows my hand into the wheel if i hold it in front of the wheel. But on his own he won’t do much running or playing around anymore. He’s starting to turn into an orange fluffy potato, sitting on his hind-end, blinking at me. Even so, he’s still got some energy in him. 7. More sleep and resting time Another thing that comes with a lack of energy is more sleep. Yes, hamsters will sleep a lot even as adults. But as seniors, you’ll see even less of them. Unlike human seniors, who seem to not be able to sleep as much as they used to, hamsters will spend significantly more time sleeping than before. They still wake up and run around, eat, pee, spin the wheel a bit. But they go back into their nest soon enough. My Teddy used to be up around 9 PM, and start his usual rounds. Now he’s up earlier around 7 PM, for about an hours, then pops back into his nest. Which he moved out of his hideout, by the way, and now nests under the first floor of his cage. Which is transparent, and I can see him sleeping there. He does groom and eat in his nest, but he sleeps so much more. So if this happens with your hamster friend, don’t worry. He’s trying to rest, and catch up on some sleep. It won’t help him much, since his body is slowly breaking down and he is not a young hammy anymore. But he is still healthy, even in his old age. 8. Shaky, unsure walking about the cage A hammy is not the brightest creature, but he normally doesn’t bump against the cage. However an old hamster will start to slowly lose control of his footing. His feet will be weaker, and some joint or bone problems might occur. Problems like arthritis, for example, will make it harder for your friend to travel from one end of his habitat, to the other. He might stop in his tracks more often, or seem to trip. This will be present n very old hamsters usually, since it’s a sign that the body is very worn out. 9. Dental problems, teeth break easily A major problem with hammies is their teeth. They’re constantly growing, and need to be constantly filed down. An old hamster is often going to avoid the hard, dry grains in his food mix. This can lead to overgrown teeth, and other teeth-related problems. Dental infections can be more common in a senior hamster. Normally a hamster’s teeth get filed down when the hamster eats something very hard, like grains, or chews on something wooden. Like his chew toys, or possibly his hideout. An old hamster that’s avoiding hard surfaces for his teeth probably already has dental problems, but they will become worse with overgrown teeth. If this is the case, I recommend taking your hamster to a veterinarian. He will be able to file down, or clip the hamster’s teeth to an appropriate length. Another problems with teeth is that they might break more easily in senior hamsters. A broken tooth can lead to a infection more easily, and is painful for the hamster himself. Dental problems can make eating a chore for your hammy, and you will need to add softer food to his food bowl. 10. His cage is less clean, needs cleaning more often Usually a hammy’s cage is pretty clean. Aside from the odd droppings and seed shells, there isn’t much to clean. There is the pee corner, and if you’ve put a small litter box there then that’s easy to clean too. But a senior hammy will not keep just one pee corner. He will go on other places in his cage, and on his very old age will also pee in his nest. This is something hamsters – adult, healthy hamsters – never do. The whole point of having a pee corner is to keep the smell as far away from their nest as possible. This is done to keep predators from figuring out where the nest is. So an old hammy not using his pee corner is in his final stages. This will mean that you’ll have to clean the cage and change the bedding much more often. You can find out more about that here, including which beddings are safe for your hamster. 11. You notice less droppings in his cage Less droppings are related to less eating. If your hammy is not eating as much, he won’t be passing as much. This can also be because of blockage along the intestines. Constipation is not uncommon in seniors, both human and hamsters, and is one of he reasons you might notice significantly less droppings in your hammy’s cage. If this is the case for your hammy, make sure you bring him to a vet. He will know what to do to help the hamster’s gut, and if there is anything to be done in the first place. 12. Your friend might protest when picked up If your friend was usually calm and okay with being picked up, he might protest now. Nothing personal, it’s just that he is tired and would like a nap. As a senior he’s always tired, and would like a nap. It could also be that something inside of him is hurting, or he might have a sore part of his body. Hamsters aren’t the most expressive when it comes to pain, so you might not notice for a long time. 13. His general shape will change By this I mean that whether he was a chubby or slim hamster in his youth, now he will be oddly shaped. One of the first things you will notice is his neck. Usually his cheek pouches kept his neck fluffy and puffed. Now however his neck will be noticeable, and a bit on the skinny side. In fact the entire muscle structure will start to shrink and shrivel, and the skin will start to become thin and sag in places. Of course, your friend is still furry and this will be harder to tell. But you can still make out the general shape of him, and whether it’s starting to look bony or not. His eyes might look like they’re bulging too, since your friend’s face won’t be as full or fluffy as before. (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.) Caring for a senior hamster Your hammy has been by your side, all his life. Now that he’s getting old it’s important to make his final days as comfortable as possible. There are a few things your can do to make it easier for your friend, and here they are. Also, if you’re looking for a general supply list with what your hamster will need throughout his life, here it is. Add softer food to his diet An old hamster will have trouble eating. Not only that but he will also become a picky eater. However most hamsters won’t say no to a piece of cooker chicken or a bit of porridge. Here’s a rundown of the foods you can add to an old hamster’s diet: Porridge – cooked with water, not salt, sugar, any condiments. Keep it on the dry, lumpy side. Half a teaspoon per day is enough. Steamed veggies like carrot, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus Cooked chicken or fish, plain, no oil Cucumber slice Cooked egg white, plain Steamed brown rice or wholegrain pasta These are all in conjunction with Hammie’s regular food. So feel free to make it a sort of half and half mix of his commercial food and these softer options. Be warned that he might ignore the commercial food if you give him too much cooked food, and you’ll end up creating an imbalance in his diet. Continue interacting with him A senior hammy, even on that can’t see very well, or at all, still needs your presence. Pay with his like before, bu expect him to not come out as often. Talk to him whenever you see him, and generally pay attention to the creature that brought you so many cute moments. He might be old and shaky now, but he was a maniac tearing the exercise wheel when he was younger. Remember that hamster, and honor him. Even if he’s not as active as he used to be, he might be easier to pick up, if he usually was very fussy about it. Keep his habitat/room comfortable Keeping your hammy’s habitat clean and warm makes things much easier for him. While a healthy, adult hamster will only need a cage cleaning about once per week, a senior might need it twice per week. However this is only if you notice a strong smell coming from his cage. If everything is okay, you can keep the cleaning schedule as it is. Do remember that cleaning the cage is stressful for the hamster. Even if you put him in a transport cage while you clean his usual cage, he will know something has changed. Hamsters are sensitive to smell, and a freshly cleaned cage will have much less of his smell than before. For that, you should keep a bit of his old bedding and nesting material in the cleaned cage, to make things more familiar. Another element if the temperature, which should be a 20-23 C/68-75 F range. That’s the most comfortable range for hamsters, and will keep your hamster friend happy and warm. Make sure the cage is away from any drafts, and won’t be in direct sunlight either. Any objects in the cage that require climbing like a rope or a high bridge should probably be taken out, since they can become dangerous. Especially if the hamster has also become blind or is a daredevil like mine. When hammy passes away At one point, even with all your efforts to make things comfortable and cozy, you friend will unfortunately pass away. While painful, try and focus on how well you took care of him. The feedings, the playtimes, the funny faces, even the annoying bar chewing. Your hammy was your furry little friend, and no other hamster will replace him. Even if you do end up getting another hammy, they will have a different personality, and be their own hamster. Honor your late friend, and say your goodbyes. You’ve done all you can for him, and now it’s time for him to rest. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies don’t have a very long life, but I know we can make you happy. I hope the hammy you have is feeling well, and is as happy as a hammy can be. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should read the related articles below. You’ll find out how to care for us and keep us healthy.... Read more...
- What Noises Do Hamsters Make ? Get To Know Your HamsterIf you’re wondering what your hamster’s trying to say, let me help you crack the code. I listened to my own hamster’s sounds, and checked with other hamster owners to see what each of these sounds mean. Now, we all know hamsters are very quiet creatures and barely make any sounds, at all. But when they do, you might be at a loss for what they mean. Let’s look into that. Table of Contents Usual hamster noisesSqueakingTeeth clickingHissing/cryingCooingReading your hamster’s body languageStanding up on his hind legsMouth open, ears back, fur ruffledRubbing his hips or belly on somethingStretching, yawningFlattening his body, very slowlyA word from Teddy Usual hamster noises While hamsters don’t really make a lot of noise, the ones they do make are important to know. They’re not as immediately obvious like a cat purring, or a dog growling. But they all have a specific meaning. Sadly some of them aren’t very well researched, and one sound can mean many things, depending on the context. Squeaking This is a sound you might hear fairly often from your hamster. It’s either a positive or a negative one, depending on the situation. What is clear though, is that the hamster is reacting strongly to something, and his opinion is very important and needs to be heard. My Teddy does this (weirdly) when he sleeps. He starts squeaking in the middle of his sleep (only every few weeks or so) and I can see he’s only half awake, moving his nest’s bedding around, rearranging himself better in bed. I think it’s funny, how he wakes up like a grumpy old man and turns on his side and mutters himself back to sleep. I also think it’s a bit alarming, since I don’t know what the reason for that is. He’s done it when the house was quiet, when we had guests, when the light was both on and off, it never mattered. As for exactly what it sounds like, it’s a bit like a rubber duck. A very small, angry rubber duck. It sounds a lot like someone just insulted Teddy and he’s too shocked to do anything but ”hmph’ back. I’ve seen and heard other hamsters do this when exploring their habitat, getting new food, finding a new smell, etc. It’s a reaction, a strong one, but it’s not always a good or bad one. I think it really depends on the context of that specific moment. Teeth clicking My Teddy is a champion at this, and I’m not sure why. Hamsters only click their teeth when they’re annoyed by something, and/or agitated. As in, so jittery and feverish in their clicking that handling them is not an option. Hamsters will also click their teeth at each other as a sign to keep their distance. My Teddy is a lone hamster, and he has a big enough cage. When he was younger he used to click his teeth every now and then and take it out on the cage bars. I’m thinking his immense energy made him jittery sometimes, and he had those weird moments. If your hamster is clicking his teeth at you, well, stay away. Give him some space, and come back later when he’s calmed down. But if he’s clicking his teeth even if you’re not there, it’s not you he’s mad at. He’s just very jittery and again should not be handled, since he will not stay put at all. Think of teeth clicking in hamsters, the way you’d think of tail swishing in cats. Never a good sign, and they’re impatient when they get like that. Hissing/crying This is something I hope no one has to hear, ever. This is never a good sound, and it will tear right through you. It’s a lot like a scream, with the mouth closed. Hamsters only make this sound when they’re very very angry or annoyed or in pain. For example a neighbor came once, with his little girl. Said he wanted to show her the hammy, and she was very curious. I told him Teddy isn’t very friendly but we can try if I hold him for her. Well, when Teddy was in my hands and the little girl tried to pet him, Teddy started hissing and thrashing, wanting back in his cage. You see, he’d never met the little girl, and hamsters are very very bad with stress, and people they don’t know. If you’re chasing a young, new hammy in your room because you dropped him, this might be a sound you’ll hear. He’s not happy being chased, and he’s more than a bit shocked and upset. You will also hear this sound from your Dwarf pairs, when they start fighting. Sometimes it might not get very loud, but it can happen. Cooing I’ve never heard my teddy do this, but other hamster owners have told be about hamster cooing. It’s a very soft, vibrating sort of sound. They’re not necessarily scared or angry, but it’s a sound they make when they’re content. Not many people have heard this sound, but I;m leaving it here anyway, in case your hamster does this. Knowing your hammy isn’t the only weirdo is kind of comforting. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Reading your hamster’s body language Alright, if you were curious about hamster sounds, I’m guessing you’re trying to get to know your hamster better. That’s great, and body language is a large part of understanding what your hamster’s trying to say. Standing up on his hind legs Hamsters do this when they get curious about something, and they want to hear things out. They can also freeze in this position, sometimes even for 2 whole minutes. It’s something hamsters do fairly often, since they would have to do this in the wild every few minutes to check for predators. You can find out more about hamsters freezing here. This is normal behavior, and the hamster isn’t scared. Mouth open, ears back, fur ruffled The hamster is trying to intimidate, and is getting ready for a fight. I’ve seen this in Teddy by accident a few times. Like when I leaned over his cage to get something and he saw that as a threat, when I looked down at him he was making himself very big. When that happens, lower yourself to eye-level with the hamster. Not just your head, your entire body. Hamsters feel threatened by creatures bigger than them, so try to make yourself very small. Talk to him softly until he calms down. Try feeding him a treat to help things along. If you’re trying to introduce 2 hamsters and they take this stance, it’s a sign they won’t be getting along very well. Rubbing his hips or belly on something This is the hamster simply marking his territory. Syrian hamsters have a scent gland on each hip, while Dwarf types have one on their belly. The hamster will use his scent gland to mark when he believes is his. Stretching, yawning This is like the human equivalent, and it’s both cute and terrifying. The hamster will stumble out of his nest and take a couple of steps before stretching all his limbs, and curling his tail back. That’s cute, and he’s huggable and fluffy then. He also yawns when he stretches, which reveals a gaping maw of teeth and the entrance to his cheek pouches. It looks awful and he is neither huggable nor fluffy. Flattening his body, very slowly This I am not very sure, since no one I’ve talked to or asked ever agreed on this. The hamster will mind his own business, as always, nothing exciting or extra boring happening. Then he will slowly, in slow motion, start to lay down completely flat and seem to fall asleep, wherever he is. Teddy’s done this in the corner of the cage – not curled up, but lying there like a bearskin rug. He’s also done it in his tunnel, he’s done it in the middle of the cage. And I have no answer for why he did this. He’s conscious and aware I’m there. He opens his eyes and looks at me if I tap the cage. But he goes back to sleep ( is it sleep ?) after a few seconds. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters don’t make too many sounds, but the ones we do make are pretty important. It’s just that sometimes we’re secretive with what they mean. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- 12 Reasons Why Hamsters Are Good Pets, And A Few ConsHamsters are a very common pet to own. When I first got my Teddy, I’d heard of and seen hamster pets before, but never had one myself. I didn’t know if Teddy would make a good pet, but I wanted a cute hammy running around the house in his exercise ball. Then, once I got him I figured out just how good of a pet he can be, and hamsters in general. My Teddy is an adult Syrian hamster, but this will apply to Dwarf types as well. Table of Contents So why are hamsters good pets ?Hamsters are low maintenance petsThey’re funny on their ownThe hamster’s cage will not take up much spaceHamsters are very clean animalsHamsters are cheap pets to keepHamsters are among the cutest petsThey have a shorter lifespan than most petsYou will not need to exercise them yourself too muchThere is no shedding problemHamsters are very quiet 90% of the timeYou won’t trip over them randomlyHamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartmentsBut are hamsters good pets for children ?Downsides/cons of having a pet hamsterA hamster is harder to tame than other petsIt’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babiesHamsters are less affectionateThey’re nocturnal, you might miss them oftenHamsters are very sensitive to a lot of thingsSurprise littersA word from Teddy So why are hamsters good pets ? Hamsters are good pets, for the most parts. They have their good and their bad sides, and I’ll tell you both. Here’s why hamsters make good pets: They’re low maintenance – not hard to look after Funny even when not handled – they make the weirdest faces and do the silliest things Take up little space – a hamster’s cage is the only thing taking up space, and that’s not much Clean animal – hamsters groom themselves as much as a cat does Cheap to keep – will not burn a hole in your wallet Cuter than most pets, being so small – a hamster will always have that ‘baby animal’ face Short lifespan, not a long term commitment – only 2-4 years Do not need much exercise from you – they exercise on their own, if given a running wheel Do not shed – no allergies, and minimal cleanup Quiet most of the time – hamsters rarely make any noise, and sleep most of the day They stay where you put their cage – you won’t trip over them when you get out of bed or go down the stairs Accepted in no-pet buildings or apartments – this is a big plus for most city dwellers ! Alright, those are some pretty good reasons to get a hamster, I’d say. But let’s talk about why hamsters make good pets in more detail, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Hamsters are low maintenance pets This is something I imagined would be the case when I got my Teddy. I mean, it’s a pet that spends most of its time in a cage, and half that time it sleeps. Now much maintenance can it need ? To be fair, there is a bit of work involved, like changing the bedding, and feeding the pet daily, along with playing with it whenever you can. But aside from that hamsters are very easy to take care of. If you want more info on how often to change the hammy’s bedding, and which type of bedding is best for him, then you should read this. There are people who say that hamsters aren’t really that easy to keep. I’d argue that they’re wrong. Sure there are certain things to consider – like the temperature to keep in the room for the hamster, or what to feed the hamster. But when you compare a hamster with a shedding cat, a dog that needs regular walks and trips to the vet, and a squeaky parrot that you need to constantly clean up after, a hamster is just breezy. My girlfriend’s parents have a couple of cockatiels and they’re a chore. Lovable and fun, but still a lot of cleanup and upkeep. They’re funny on their own My Teddy does the weirdest things in his cage. I think most hamsters do, aside from the extra lazy ones. But even those are funny. For example Teddy sometimes pushes his hideout to the side in order to get a better look at us. Like he doesn’t have the rest of the cage to see us, but okay. And he does it in the most complicated and backwards way possible. He gets on top of the hideout, then kind of… melts between his hideout and the cage bars. Then he shoves his little face in that small space until he moves the hideout. You’ve maybe seen videos of hamsters flying off their running wheels because they stopped randomly. Or maybe hamsters falling asleep and actually falling over. Even when they suddenly stop and listen for something, they have that ‘did I leave the gas on ?’ face about them. Funniest of all, hammies can and do fart. They’re just embarrassed you’d find out so they only make a faint whoosh sound. No really, they do fart. They also blink like lizards, one eye at a time. It looks like the world’s slowest wink. You can also name your hamster whatever you think suits him or her. I’ve met hamsters named Oscar, Hamster-boy, and Peanut. They’re a lot like cats in this respect, so their name can be anything you like. The hamster’s cage will not take up much space A hamster’s cage is basically the only thing taking up space in your home. Depending on what kind of cage you get your hamster – like a cage or a large glass tank – you might have more or less space taken up. But the end result is the same, your hamster will only take up that much space, ever. As for how large a hamster’s cage should be, I’ll link you to an article about exactly that. You’ll find out how large a hamster’s cage should be, and what kind of cage suits him best. As always with hamsters, even if they’re such small creatures, they need more space than you’d think. So always go for a bigger cage. Never buy those tiny, square, cramped cages you see at pet shops. Hamsters are very clean animals It might come as a surprise to you or not, but hamsters are very clean animals. They clean and groom themselves regularly. Almost obsessively. If you’ve ever seen a cat spend 20 minutes licking and cleaning itself, a hamster will do the exact same thing. Minus the hairballs. And it will take less time since he is much smaller than a cat. But still, a very very clean pet all around. Even in their hideout, hamsters keep their pile of food well away from droppings, and only pee in the opposite corner of the cage. As far away from their hideout as possible. The only things that will ever smell will be the hamster’s pee corners. Those need their bedding changed more often than the entire bedding. Or, you can use a sandbath in the corner your hammy uses as a bathroom. He will use the sandbath as a litterbox. Hamsters are cheap pets to keep As far as expenses go, hamsters are inexpensive. They run around $10 per month, for food and bedding. It’s only the initial costs that can throw you off if you’re not expecting it. An average budget, for a new cage, wheel, exercise ball, transport cage, hideout, and toys can get to $225. But those are all things you only ever buy once, in the hamster’s entire life. You can find out more about hamster expenses here. And the hamster itself is incredibly cheap, somewhere between $5-10. Hamsters are among the cutest pets You know how cute your puppy was when you got him ? He’s cute now too, all grown up, but he’s not a puppy anymore. Well, a hamster will always have that kind of ‘baby face’. Especially baby hamsters, they’re even sweeter. But an adult hamster will have the cutest, furriest face you’ve ever seen. They’re just fuzzy all around, and they have those big black beady eyes. If you look at their wiggling noses, you’ll notice they look a lot like rabbits when they move their noses. Hamsters never really ‘grow up’, as most pets do. They stay that fluffy, cute little creature you fell in love with when you first brought home. They have a shorter lifespan than most pets A hamster’s life isn’t that long. That’s both a downside and a good thing, depending on which way you look at it. I’ve put it as a good thing, because this means the hamster is a smaller commitment than a dog or a cat. Hamsters only live for 2-4 years, with the Dwarf types living the longest. This is for hamsters kept as pets. In the wild hamsters do no reach such an old age. So if you’re looking for a furry friend to keep you company for a couple of years, a hamster will be a good match for you. Or, if you want to try your hand at raising and keeping a pet, a hamster is a good starting point. You will not need to exercise them yourself too much This is great news for very busy people, and it’s an easy thing to take care of. A hamster will exercise on his own, as long as you give him an exercise wheel and/or ball. An exercise wheel is the best way for your hamster to let out the immense energy it has. The hamster will have access to the wheel 24/7, since it’s in his cage all day and night. Also, an exercise ball will be a great help for keeping the hamster from becoming anxious or stressed. All you as a human need to do is help the hamster into the ball, and he will do the rest by himself. So if you’re a very busy person, and you often work long hours and don’t have a lot of time to walk a dog or play with a cat, a hamster might be great for you. Especially since most of the hamster’s exercise takes place when he is awake, which is usually at night, when you sleep. There is no shedding problem Hamsters do not shed, so if you’ve got an allergy to fur you should be safe with a hamster. Your clothes and furniture will not need a regular brushing as well, since there are no stray hamster hairs laying about. The only thing about the hamster is that there will be stray bits of bedding in odd places, but that’s the extent of the ‘mess’ a hamster will make in your home. Hamsters are very quiet 90% of the time Most of the time hamsters make absolutely no noise. Sure, you will hear them faintly rummaging in their hideouts, or digging in their bedding. But they don’t get noisier than that most of the time. So if you’re a very quiet person, and you need a quiet pet that won’t disturb you, a hamster could be for you. Most of the hamster’s activity happens at night. So while you’re sleeping is when he might make the most noise, but again he makes very little noise. Hamsters are very quiet since they’re prey. So they’ve evolved to be very quiet creatures, and not make noise unless absolutely necessary. You won’t trip over them randomly Since most of the time your hamster will be in his cage, you can’t trip over him randomly when getting out of the shower. If you’ve ever had your dog paw at the door when you’re using the bathroom, or your cat judge you when you’re in the shower, you know what I mean. Hamsters won’t be out unless you let them out, in their special exercise balls. My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatiels, and they run around the house all day. They’re funny and love to chase you, but you can literally step on them if you’re not careful. Or you’ll find them perched on top of the open door and freak out if you want to close it. A hamster will not give you any surprises. Hamsters are okay in no-pet buildings or apartments Many apartments, or even entire buildings, do not allow pets. This is mainly because of damage to the furniture, noise level, and some types of mess that can only happen with pets larger than a guinea pig. So a hamster that stays in its cage most of the time, is quiet, and does not make a mess will be okay in those buildings. I guess the same could be said about any pet that needs to be kept in a cage or tank. Hamsters are also easier to accept by roommates, since they won’t be noisy or messy or smelly. So there is nothing to object to there. But are hamsters good pets for children ? You might be wondering if a hamster might be a good pet for your kid. The short answer is no. The longer one is still no, and here is why. While hamsters are fairly easy to care for, they still need a level of responsibility and patience that a child just doesn’t have yet. To be clear, I’m talking about children under 12-13 years of age, when they start to become more responsible. A 9 years old might love to have a hamster, but will probably forget to feed the hammy, or close the cage properly, or might scare him just for fun. A dog or a cat might run away and hide if they don’t like the way they’re treated. But a hamster can’t get very far, and can only hide in his cage. Aside from that, a hamster is not a very patient pet, and won’t take well to being held wrong or pulled by the ears. It will bite and scratch ad squirm to try to get away, which is no fun for anyone involved. In general, the younger the child, the worse a hamster will be as a pet for them. (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.) Downsides/cons of having a pet hamster There are a few downside to having a hamster as a pet, although the upsides more than make up for these. Still, I think you should know what the cons could be, just so you’re prepared. A hamster is harder to tame than other pets Since hamsters are so jumpy, and easy to scare, they’re harder to handle than a dog or a cat for example. Taming a hamster means handling it, playing with it, letting it get used to your scent. Hamsters are much harder to tame than most pets. They’re not as trusting as dogs, not even cats. Hamsters have evolved to run away from everything, since anything can be a predator for them. This, combined with the immense amount of energy a hamster has, so restless and jittery, gives you a very active, possibly difficult pet. You need a lot of patience. It’s very hard to guess their personality when they’re babies So you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting. And once you do figure out the hamster’s personality, it’s a very strong one anyway. There’s not much changing it. If it’s a very independent hamster that doesn’t like to be handled, you might dismiss that early on as ‘not yet tame’. Their personalities are simple enough, but can vary wildly from hamster to hamster. The Syrian hamsters are a bit mellower compared to their Dwarf cousins, and easier to handle. Hamsters are less affectionate They’re not crazy about hugs and kisses and cuddles and scratches. Sure, they’ll tolerate them a bit but you can’t hold and cuddle a hamster for a half hour as you could a dog. So keep that in mind if you’re looking for a cuddly, affectionate pet. Hamsters aren’t the cuddliest, and will not stay long in your hand anyway. They can bond with their owners and come closer when you talk to them. But that’s about it. This was a big drawback for me initially, since the main reason I wanted a hamster was to cuddle and play with it. My mistake was expecting it to be as loving and playful as a dog. Hamsters do ask for attention, just not in the same way and don’t need nearly as much emotional attachment. They’re nocturnal, you might miss them often This depends on the kind of schedule you have. Pet hamsters are nocturnal, and will come out possibly when you’re getting ready for bed, like 9 PM. So you might miss out a lot on your hamster’s funny antics. Hamsters are mostly solitary creatures, so they won’t miss you terribly. But still, talking to them and handling them is important to taming the hamsters and keeping them tame. If you go to bed early and wake early, then a hamster might not be for you. But if you’re awake late int the night regularly, you might get along with a hamster just fine. To find out more about a hamster’s night routine, you should check out this article. Hamsters are very sensitive to a lot of things It’s common knowledge that hamsters scare easily. Well, most rodents do. They can even die of heart attacks from a dog barking at them. So that’s one thing to be careful about, keeping the hamster from scaring too much. You can find some useful info on that here. Hamsters are also very sensitive to shifts in temperature, and can easily die of hypothermia. Once a hamster contracts a disease, it needs immediate care or else it has basically zero chances of survival. There are a lot of things to mind when you’re considering getting a hamster, including how large a cage you can get him. A small cage will make your hamster stressed, which will make him chew the bars and develop a serious case of anxiety. The same goes for how much exercise your hamster gets. And transporting a hamster is often a bad idea. Best to leave him at home, with someone to check up on him. Surprise litters This is especially true for Dwarf pairs. You see a cute pair at the pet shop, you get them home, and a couple of weeks later you find yourself with 15 hamsters, not 2. You see, baby hamsters can breed as soon as they’re weaned – that’s just 3-4 weeks after being born. And if the males and females aren’t kept separate immediately after weaning, they can start to breed, even so young. Most of the times they’re separated in time. But sometimes it’s too late, or one male gets tagged as female by mistake and put in an all female enclosure. You can see where that can go. This is possible with every type of hamster, but especially true for Dwarf kinds because only these can be kept in pairs. Syrians need to be alone, and will fight literally anything or anyone put in their cage. So there’s less of a chance of accidental litters. A word from Teddy I hope you can get a feel for how it would be to have one of us hammies as a pet. I’ve been a good pet so far, and I think that if you’re a patient, calm person then one of us would be a good match for you. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check the articles below.... Read more...
- Are Hamsters Nocturnal ? – All About Your Hamster’s RoutineWhen you first got your hamster you probably asked yourself why it doesn’t come out during the day. Is it sick ? Is it afraid ? Is there anything you can do ? I know I was a bit worried when I first got my Teddy – he is my first ever hamster. I did not know until him what hamsters do during the day, or at night. But after talking to some hamster owner friends of mine, and watching my own hamster, I got my answers. Table of Contents So are hamsters nocturnal or not ?How being crepuscular helps wild hamsters surviveSome hamsters are nocturnal, or even diurnalHamsters wake up for a few minutes in daytime as wellHamsters make weird sounds during the day tooYour hamster’s routine – what he usually doesHow to gently wake up your hamsterCaring for a nocturnal or crepuscular hamsterDoes your hamster need the light on at night ?A word from Teddy So are hamsters nocturnal or not ? Pet hamsters are nocturnal. Hamsters sleep during the day and wake up at night, so they can avoid predators. This means that most of the time you will only see your hamster before you go to bed. The reason pet hamsters are nocturnal is because there’s more activity near their habitat all day, to they adjust their schedule accordingly. Keep in mind that hamsters are solitary creatures and prefer to be left alone. They feel most comfortable when it’s quiet outside, and for most pet hamsters that means the night, when everyone at home is asleep. Of course, some pet hamsters may prefer the daytime and that’s fine. In short, hamsters end up being or seeming to be nocturnal because most folks only see hamsters who are pets, not wild ones. So, since pet hamsters tend to only come out at night, they end up being nocturnal. Wild hamsters have a more flexible schedule, and are actually crepuscular creatures. That means they come out at sunrise and sunset, when the light is easier on their sensitive eyes, and the temperature much more bearable. How being crepuscular helps wild hamsters survive Hamsters are prey, and they evolved to come out mostly at dawn and dusk because their main predators will hunt them during the day or the night. Those predators aren’t very active at dawn or dusk. Another reason is that, while most hamsters come from desert areas, they can’t stand high heat. Nor do they tolerate very low temperatures. Hamsters are most comfortable in a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit temperature range. And that is usually found during sunset and at sunrise. So being crepuscular is mostly an evolutionary advantage. Some hamsters are nocturnal, or even diurnal This can happen, because hamsters have their own personalities. It’s not something that you’ll see straight away at the pet shop. But your hammy could be a night hamster, and only come out late at night. For example my Teddy comes out around 8-9 PM, and I see him up even in the middle of the night if I walk past his cage. He seems to get some rest once I wake up, which is around 5 AM. Then comes out again around 7 AM for about half an hour, and then retires for the rest of the day. There are hamsters out there who are only awake during daytime. This is very rare but it can happen. It depends entirely on your hamster’s personality, but there are a few factors involved, like: If it’s too cold he won’t come out, and might even hibernate. If it’s too hot, again he will not come out. If he feels the coast is clear and feels that he is safe, he might come out to see what you’re doing during the day. Your hamster’s routine helps him keep a sort of internal clock. Since in your home there is no natural difference in temperature or light for your hamster to use as a guideline, his waking hours might shift over time. Hamsters wake up for a few minutes in daytime as well You can sometimes see your hamster during the day for a few minutes. Maybe he got up for a sip of water, or maybe he did not leave the house but you hear him munching on some food in his house. Or, maybe he woke up because you moved his cage. Hamsters are very sensitive and will wake up easily, even if they do no leave their home. Something as simple as picking up and moving his cage can wake him up. This is the case with my Teddy. After work I usually need a nap, but Teddy sometimes chooses that moment to have a snack, which will wake me up. So I always move his cage to the other room, and I always see him come out a bit, all sleepy, to see what happened. Hamsters make weird sounds during the day too Even if you can’t see him, your hamster is sometimes awake in his little home, doing he knows what. And sometimes, weird noises come from that home. You’ll have a hard time seeing inside his home to figure out the reason. His home is usually packed with bedding and you can’t see through it. But he might sometimes ‘bark’ – I have no better way to explain this. It’s like a cross between a tiny bark and a hiccup, and it can last for 2 minutes sometimes. It can be completely random, and not seem to have an obvious reason. Other times your hammy might be chewing on a piece of cardboard, or eating something from his stash (hamsters keep a food stash in their homes). So you might hear chattering and tiny biting sounds from his home. Your hamster’s routine – what he usually does If you’ve observed your hamster when he is awake, you’ll know that what he does is both incredibly funny and boring at the same time. He can run and run and run in his wheel and look like he’s about to be swooped by an eagle. The he’ll suddenly stop and dart around his cage like he’s avoiding some other predator. The best parts are when he suddenly stops. Not when he freezes to hear something or check what that sound means. I mean when he just stops moving at all and even when you come to talk to him he’ll just stare at you. This can last for a few minutes. The weirdest moment like this was one where Teddy was sitting upright, holding a cage wire with one paw. More like resting his paw on it. And he was just looking at me. He did not change his position when I came close and moved around his cage, he just turned his head towards me and kept staring. After a couple of minutes he went to drink some water and that was it. Aside from things like these, hamsters don’t seem to do much. When they’re awake you can play with them, feed them treats with your hand, put them in an exercise ball, and even train them to stay on your hand. If you want to give your hamster a way to get a lot of exercise, here’s what to look for in a hamster exercise wheel. Or, you can look for a hamster exercise ball and watch him be funny in that. Don’t leave him more than 30 minutes in the ball though ! (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 gently wake up your hamster If, for whatever reason, you need your hamster awake right now, you can try this. Get a treat or kind of food he likes a lot, a small piece. And gently tap on the side of his cage and talk to him, coaxing him out. You’ll hear the rustle of bedding in his home as he wakes up and turns towards you. At first you’ll just see his nose, sniffing to ‘see’ what’s going on. That’s when it’s best to have the treat close enough to his home that he can detect it easily. Then you’ll see him slowly come out, with sleepy small eyes, and his ears tucked back. He’ll reach towards the treat and you can pick him up. If you want to know what kind of treats are okay for your hamster, here’s a list of foods and treats he can have and which he should avoid. Hamsters are like humans when they wake up. Groggy, and a bit confused. So for a few minutes your hamster will be extra-tame when you handle him. But I do not recommend abusing this method, since waking up your hamster too many times when he sleeps will get him frustrated. He will not be able to rest enough, and you’ll end up with a jittery, angry hamster biting the cage and possibly you. Caring for a nocturnal or crepuscular hamster Your hamster being awake in the latter part of the day, or at night, has some considerations. First, the playtime is shorter and you’ll need to work every day to train your hamster to be relaxed around you. Syrian hamsters remember interactions for up to a week, while the smaller breeds like the Chinese or Siberian need daily interaction. Second, it’s best to leave food for your hamster before he ‘starts his day’ so he has fresh food to nibble on. I usually leave Teddy 2 teaspoons of grains and pellets, enough for an adult Syrian hamster. Since you will probably be sleeping the night away, your hamster eating will not be something you’ll witness often. But he will eat, don’t worry. Third, it’s best to leave the thermostat on a temperature that’s suitable for your hamster for the night. That’s around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72 Fahrenheit. Make sure the room you keep your hamster in is not drafty or exposed to harsh light. Actually, it might be best if you check out my article on the right temperature for your hamster, and how to make him as comfortable as possible. Does your hamster need the light on at night ? Your hamster is nocturnal, or crepuscular, and you’re sleeping when he’s up. Would he need a night light ? Or the actual light in the room on ? Well, hamsters don’t really use their eyes, actually. Their vision is very poor. Hamsters use their sense of smell and hearing to navigate their environment. So leaving a light on is not necessary. In some cases, in might be a bad idea since their eyes are very sensitive and very bright, harsh light can hurt them. For example direct sunlight is not very good for your hamster’s eyes. My Teddy has a night light, but it’s not for him. It’s for me so I don’t bump into something at night when I go get a glass of water. He’s had the night light, and he’s had complete darkness as well. He was fine every morning, so a night light will not make much difference. A word from Teddy If you’re reading this then you’re probably wondering about your hamster. If he’s anything like me, he probably sleeps during the day and then runs all night. We hamsters have a different schedule than humans, so it might be a bit weird at first. But you’ll get used to it really fast. The face neighbors and friends make when you tell them we’re awake at night and sleep during the day is priceless though. “Don’t they get tired ??” they ask. Then they realize what they just asked and move along. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find great info on the best kind of food for us, how much water we need, and how much exercise we need as well.... Read more...
- 9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters CoolSmall animals are very sensitive to high temperatures. This is not a problem in nature because small animals like hamsters find a place that is humid and cold and hide from high temperatures. However, hamsters who live as pets in captivity cannot hide from high temperatures and take care of their health. If the temperatures are high enough, the hamster faces a risk of heatstroke that can be deadly for them if owners don’t react immediately. Five minutes in a car at high temperatures can be disastrous. Leaving the cage in direct sunlight is also a big problem. To help their pets, owners of hamsters must take responsibility and find ways to keep their hamsters cool in hot summer months. There are many ways to keep your hamster cool and here is a list of the best ones. Table of Contents 1. Move the cage to a cooler place2. Use a fan or air conditioner3. Allow the hamster plenty of water4. Fruit and veg treats5. Frozen towel or sheet6. Cool the hamster’s cage7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage8. Don’t travel with a hamster9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding 1. Move the cage to a cooler place Simple ways to solve problems are sometimes the best ways. If your hamster is hot, the best and easiest thing we can do is move it to a cooler place. Depending on the layout of the rooms in your apartment, some rooms will be cooler and others warmer. In some apartments, it will be the bedroom, while in others the bathroom will be the coldest. Take a walk around your apartment and find the room that seems coldest to you. If all the rooms seem equally warm to you, perhaps the best place to put a hamster kitchen or bathroom is if you have ceramic tiles in them. The tiles provide excellent insulation so they will not leak heat and will provide cool to your hamster. It is important that the hamster is in an airy room, but that he is not draft. An open window will help him get enough oxygen, but don’t put a hamster cage under the window so the draft doesn’t blow over them all day because that can be dangerous to your hamster. Also, never place them under or next to air conditioning. It is not a good idea to put a hamster in very hot places such as radiators, fireplaces, or stoves. Also, be sure to avoid caging in a busy room or near a TV or music system. Loud sounds and vibrations can be quite stressful for a hamster. Another thing you need to take good care of is to never leave the cage in direct sunlight. Hamsters are very sensitive to light, direct sunlight and are even bothered by bright artificial light. Natural light can help them maintain a sleeping cycle, but they are nocturnal animals so they do not like light or high temperatures. In addition, in direct sunlight hamsters, caves will heat up much faster which is by no means good for your hamster. The perfect place to put a hamster’s cage is in a room that has a lot of natural light but out of direct sunlight. The ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 C °. 2. Use a fan or air conditioner To cool the room in the hot summer months, you can use a fan or air condition. We know you want the best for your pet and that your goal is to help him, but by no means direct the fan towards the hamster, put a cage next to the fan or under the air conditioner. If you do this, you will create an added stress hamster to whom this will be too much of a temperature difference and can shock your little one. Also, if you place it directly next to the cooler it can be too cold for your hamster which will negatively affect him and his health. If you want to cool the room where the hamster is, place a fan at the other end of the room or remove the cage from the air conditioning. It may take a little longer, but the room will gradually cool down, thus changing the body temperature of your hamster without shocking it or causing other health problems. When using the air conditioner, do not reduce the temperature abruptly. Hamsters are bothered by high temperatures, but also by sudden changes in temperature, so cool the room by reducing the current temperature by a maximum of 5 degrees. If you lower the temperature by more than 5 degrees you suddenly risk the hamster being shocked and dying sudden temperature changes. 3. Allow the hamster plenty of water Like humans, animals need water to stay hydrated and regulate body temperature. The easiest way to keep your hamster cool is to give it enough cool water. Hamsters are not demanding pets. They are so small that they need about two teaspoons or 10 milliliters per 100 grams of their body weight per day. Since most hamsters weigh approximately 200 grams, hamsters typically consume 4 teaspoons of water daily. During the summer, hamsters may require more fluid. Hamsters can dehydrate very quickly, especially at very high temperatures that they do not tolerate well, so they must always have enough fresh, clean water. How much water a hamster needs depends on how the hamster feeds and how active it is. If he eats mostly dry food, he will drink more water. Also if he is very active he will drink more water than he would do at rest. It is very important that the water is changed more often during the summer months to always be fresh and cool for your pet. Cool water will allow you to control the body temperature of your hamster. It is best to give water hamsters with a water bottle that will allow them reliable access to water.4. Place the hamster in a ventilated cage. For the hamster to have enough oxygen it is recommended that his cage is made out of bars. Depending on your preferences you can buy a cage with plastic, metal, or glass bars. Holes between the grilles will allow air to circulate and enough oxygen for your hamster. Some owners prefer to keep hamsters in an aquarium, but in this case, it is even more important that the cage is located in a well-ventilated room. Glass tanks can prevent the spread of cage odors through the room, but keeping a hamster in a glass tank can have serious consequences. The hamster found in the aquarium can easily run out of oxygen as the glass can get quite hot and impede airflow. Ammonia produced in a glass tank can lead to respiratory illness. If you are going to keep a hamster in a glass tank you need to keep the tank in a well-ventilated area and clean it every week. Bar cages in addition to allowing oxygen to flow will prevent the smell from spreading from the cage. Wire allows keeping moisture from building up in the case and thus prevents the cage from stinking quickly. It is recommended to keep hamsters in a bar cage in a well-ventilated room to ensure that the hamster maintains a normal body temperature and that we do not make it difficult for him to breathe. 4. Fruit and veg treats During the summer we all like to eat cold fruit or ice cream to freshen up. You may not have known, but hamsters also like cold snacks in the summer such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You can cool them until they become slightly frozen in the center. The hamster has very strong teeth that will allow him to eat frozen food without any problems. For example, a cold apple or cold celery contains a lot of water that will keep your pet hydrated. You can also chill your little one with some of his other snacks such as barley, cashews flaxseed, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, potato, or sesame seeds. Your pet will enjoy his treats, and they will cool him down at the same time. However, do not give ice cubes to your hamster because the ice will be too cold for your hamster and can harm it. In addition, keep an eye on the diet of your hamster. During the summer months, reduce your intake of energy-rich fattening seeds, nuts, and grains. Instead, give your hamster more vegetables such as cucumber which is full of water, zucchini, a small amount of iceberg lettuce, and many more vegetables that are reached with water. 5. Frozen towel or sheet To give your hamster some fresh air during the summer months, you can use a frozen towel or sheet. A sheet may be a better idea because it is thinner and more air will be able to pass through it, but if you do not have a sheet, you can use a towel. Whatever you decide on, the process is very simple. Put a sheet or towel under the water then place them in the freezer until they freeze. However, if you opt for a towel do not place it over the entire cage but only on one side so that air can circulate. If you opt for a frozen sheet you can put it over the top of the cave. The cold that a sheet or towel will give will significantly reduce the temperatures in your hamster’s cave and allow your hamster to enjoy the summer months as well. 6. Cool the hamster’s cage There are several ways you can cool a hamster’s cage using items you probably have in the household to make it more comfortable. You can put ceramic tile in the cage to give the hamster a cool place in his house. Ceramic tiles are a good insulator and do not heat up as quickly as other materials so it will help the hamster to cool down. Although it will cool the hamster, it will not be too cold for him so it will not cause any problems such as illness. You can also create clay pots in the hamster’s cage. Simply help it and put it in the cave, let it dump, but not wet. You can also put a plain cup in the cage. If the hamster is very hot, it can hide in a cup and thus reduce body temperature. Some hamsters like to sleep in the cup because the cup cools them on all sides when they sit in it. You can also put the ordinary stone in the cave. Make sure the stone has not been warm before. If the stone is of normal temperature, it will not heat up so easily and will allow the hamster to cool down next to it. Be sure to clean the stone before placing it in the cave so as not to bring dirt into it that will bother your hamster. When changing the sand bath, put a little damp sand so that the hamster can roll in it when it is hot. Hamsters like to bathe in bath sand so you can give them a cool bath by freezing bath sand. Simply put it in a plastic bag, freeze for a couple of hours and place it in the hamster’s cage. You can put tiles, clay pots, cups, stone, and sand bath in the fridge to cool, and then put them in the cage. Try to put different things in the cage and observe what suits your hamster best. One of these methods he will surely like. 7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage Fill approximately half a bottle of water, then place it in the freezer until it freezes. It is best to put a frozen bottle of water in a towel or cloth and then place it next to the hamster’s cage to release the cold. Without a towel, a lot of water will leak under your hamster’s cage. Also, if you put a frozen bottle in the cage it can hurt your hamster’s skin so it is best to put a towel around the bottle. That way the bottle will still stay cold, but the towel will collect water. The hamster can reach the corner next to the frozen bottle and cool down if it is too hot. If you use a plastic bottle, never put it in the reach of a hamster, as it could bite it and spill water. This is an easy way you can help a hamster to keep him cool. Instead of a bottle, you can also use ice packs, 8. Don’t travel with a hamster To avoid situations where you expose the hamster to unnecessary heat, if this is not necessary, do not travel with a hamster during the summer. It is stressful for your little pet when you take him out of the house because he is not a hamster, he is not used to so many stimuli. In addition, heat can cause serious problems for your hamster. If you can’t avoid traveling, drive a hamster in the evening in an air-conditioned car. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid traveling with a hamster during the day, never leave a hamster in a hot car. No animal can tolerate a few hours in a hot car because it could quickly dehydrate and eventually die. The inside of the car can reach deadly temperatures that can be dangerous to humans as well, while they are often fatal to animals. If you must ride a hamster, be sure to keep the hamster safe from dangerous temperatures. To ensure that your pet is safe take advantage of all the tips we have offered above and thus try to alleviate the heat that awaits the hamster once he leaves the house. 9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding The type of bedding you use in your hamster’s cage can affect how hot it will be in your hamster’s cave. Paper-based bedding is better to use during the winter because it retains heat well and will keep your hamster warm. Aspen does not maintain heat as well as paper-based bedding which is a big advantage during the hot summer months when we don’t want anything next to us that retains heat. Also, aspen shaving can absorb up to four times its weight in moisture. Some consider this material to be the only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters that perfectly mimics the natural materials that hamsters use in nature. It is good advice to leave deeper bedding. When you have a deep substrate it is going to be cooler down in the burrows. If you have thin bedding your hamster will have nowhere to hide and the surface of the bedding will quickly gain heat. In the wild, hamsters make burrows on their own when they are hot, thus cooling themselves. Giving them thicker bedding will allow them to behave like in nature and make a kind of burrow.... Read more...
- Here Is How Much A Hamster Can Live Without Food Or WaterIf you’re looking for information on this topic, then you’re probably leaving home for a few days. This was always our concern when Alexandra and I left town over the weekend or for the entire week. I’m going to tell you what we’ve found out,and give you a few tips on how to make sure your hamster has enough food and water when you’re gone. Table of Contents So how much can a hamster survive without food or water ?How long can a hamster live without food ?How long can a hamster live without water ?How to leave food and water for your hamster for a few daysIf you’ll be gone for longer than that, your hamster will need more food and water.How does health and age factor into this ?How we make sure Teddy is alright when we leaveA word from Teddy So how much can a hamster survive without food or water ? The short answer would be that hamsters can live about 3-4 days since they last ate or drank water. So if you hamster just ate and had some water on Monday morning, you’ll find him still in good condition by Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon. Never let your hamster go without food or water longer than that, since they can develop health problems without proper care. Of course, this all depends on several factors, including: how old the hamster is, how well you’ve taken care of him, if he’s ill or healthy, the temperature of the room he’s in, etc. This is all great to know, but let’s see why your hamster can only live for so long without food or water, and what you can do to make his life easier. How long can a hamster live without food ? Our Teddy taught us a lot about how to care for a hamster, and when it comes to food we’ve learned that hamsters are hoarders. It might look like your hamster ate everything you’ve put in his little bowl, but when you clean his cage you’ll notice he has a nice stash in his house/hideout. Hamsters hide food to be sure they have enough in case of an Apocalypse. But that stash doesn’t last them for more than 1-2 days. It also depends on what kind of food you give your hamster. We gave Teddy grains and pellets, we have him pieces of vegetables, we have him a bit of boiled chicken, boiled egg white, bread, grapes, etc. All those things keep your hamster fed for different periods of time. Protein-based foods will keep your hamster longer than vegetables, but grains and pellets keep him fed the longest. So if the last thing your hammy ate was grains, seeds, and pellets, then he can live for 3-4 days without looking for any more food. In this time he will eat his entire stash from his house. If you want to know what your hamster can eat, then check out my article on what to feed your hamster. I’ll also tell you what foods to avoid, and talk about pre-made food mixes on the market. How long can a hamster live without water ? The water requirements for a hamster are a bit iffy, since they vary according to the size of your hamster. In general it’s about 10 ml (0.33 fl oz) per 100 grams (3.5 oz) of hamster, per day. So if your hammy is like Teddy, a fully grown Syrian hamster who weighs around 170 gr, then he’d need 17 ml of water every day. So that’s a 6 ounce hamster who needs 0.57 fluid ounces of water per day. If your hamster last drank water this morning, then he’d be alright for only 2-3 days. This is without any food at all, since they can draw water from their food as well. Dry pellets and grains provide little to no water, but vegetables and fruits give them a fair amount of water so hamsters can survive for about a week without a water tube. If your hamster has somehow escaped and is roaming somewhere, know that he’s pretty good at finding and drinking condensation from pipes, or a small puddle somewhere. It’s not good for him, but he can find them easily in a worst case scenario. But if he’s in a closed cage, then his survival is limited. If you want to know how much water to give your hamster, then check out the article about water requirements. I’ll also tell you what you can do when you hammy isn’t drinking any water, and how to see if his water bottle works. In case you’d like to know more about how to care for your hamster, you can check out these 15 essential steps. How to leave food and water for your hamster for a few days If you’re leaving home and there is no one that can come over to look after your hammy, here’s a few ideas. In general you should leave your hamster very dry and very wet food as well, and a full water tube. So that would be grains and pellets, along with a leaf of lettuce or a piece of cucumber, and a whole water tube. The amounts vary according to how long your hamster will be alone. If you’re leaving just for the weekend, from Friday afternoon til Sunday afternoon, that’s 48 hours. Your hamster, assuming he is a fully grown adult, and healthy, left in a room that is not cold or humid or drafty, will survive well enough with just one serving of pellets and the water he already has in his tube. He will hoard some food in his house as well, so there’s extra food there already. If you’ll be gone for longer than that, your hamster will need more food and water. To make sure his water is sufficient, best to fill up the water tube fully. The one we have has a capacity of about 150 ml/5 fl oz which would last our Teddy nearly 9 days. To make sure your hamster has enough food for 5 days, provide him with: Dry food like grains, seeds, pellets for about 3 days – that’s about 2-3 teaspoons of dry food per day A dry biscuit – the ones we have are 6 grams/ 0.2 oz each, which lasts our Teddy for about 3 whole days to nibble on, as long as he has pellets and grains as well. A few slices of water-based veggies and fruits – cucumber, apple, seedless grapes, carrot, lettuce. Whatever is most readily available. Not cabbage. This depends heavily on your hamster’s disposition. If he eats a lot and is very greedy, then this will not be enough, and you will have to provide him with more before you leave. Some hamsters binge on their food, and some only take what they need and a bit more to hide in their house. So observe your furball, and if he’s greedy leave him more dry food, so he’ll be alright with you leaving for 5- days. If you like this article so far, then you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. There’s more info headed your way after this image. How does health and age factor into this ? If your hamster is still a ‘child’ (under 3 months) then he will not survive as long as an adult. Young hamsters are weaker than adults, and need more food and care. Even if they’ve reached their full size, there are a lot of changes happening in their bodies still, and they need the extra food and water and rest. But what if your hamster is a senior ? Hamsters can live for 2-3 years depending on the care they’ve had when they were young so that their immune system developed well. So if your hamster is approaching the 2 year mark, then we will probably be slower and weaker, and will need more care. Leaving him alone will be just as tricky as leaving a young hamster. Likewise, if your hamster is healthy and has no obvious illnesses or diseases, he will fare better if left alone for a few days. If the hamster is sick, we do not recommend leaving him alone, and insisting upon finding someone who can check up on him regularly if you absolutely must leave. How we make sure Teddy is alright when we leave In our case, we have the option of leaving our house key with a neighbor we trust, or a family member. They live close and can check up on Teddy regularly, and leave him food every day. Water is not a problem since we leave Teddy water for a whole week. So if you can, please ask your neighbor or family members if they can spare a few minutes each day, or every other day, to come and check up on your hamster, and leave it food. A quick training on how much food to leave, and how to close and open the cage is enough. Other times, when we only leave town for just a couple of days we don’t ask someone to look after Teddy. We’ve left him for 48 hours with food and water, and found him safe and happy when we came back. We still left a key with our neighbor, just in case. But for this we made sure Teddy has: enough dry food for a day (2-3 teaspoons of grains and pellets), about a quarter of the dry biscuit we mentioned earlier a full water tube and a couple slices of carrot or cucumber This is all accounting for the fact that he has a stash of food in his house as well, in case of emergencies. When we leave Teddy for a few days, even if it’s just the weekend, we take care that the central heating is set to 22 Celsius. That’s 71.6 Fahrenheit, and it’s an average temperature that will be alright for Teddy. This way we’re sure he’s not too cold or warm, and there is not too much humidity in the air as well. A word from Teddy I’m glad you stuck with us so far, and I hope you’re checking this info preemptively, and your hammy is safe. You’ll always get good info from Dragos and Alexandra, and I’ll be sure to tell them everything you need to know about hamsters. So I hope this info on how long a hamster can live without food or water was helpful to you ! I hope I was a good example. Feel free to check the other articles on here as well, you’ll find info on the best cages for hamsters, how to handle a hamster, even what we can or can not eat. Take a look !... Read more...