When I first got my Teddy I only knew a little about hamsters, so I made a few mistakes while taming him. Here I want to show you what to do to make sure you tame your hammy, and not get bitten in the process.
My Teddy is a golden Syrian hamster, but this guide will work with any kind of hamster breed. Be warned through, that the Dwarf types are harder to handle and tame because they are so small.
So how do you tame a hamster ?
In short, you can tame your hamster by building trust with it. Getting the hamster used to you, slowly starting to feed him from your hand, and only touching him for short periods of time at first is a great way to start.
Most hamsters will be scared when you pick them up, so you need to build up to that slowly over the course of a few days or even weeks.
That is the most basic, and important piece of information I can give you about taming a hamster. Everything else is just patience.
But I’ve made you a guide on everything you need to know and do when you try to tame your hamster. Here’s a quick rundown, and we’ll cover each entry in detail in the rest of the article.
- Give the hamster some time, it might take a couple of weeks
- Make sure the hamster has enough space in his cage, and a hideout
- Get your hamster an exercise wheel for all his energy
- Do not annoy the hamster, they’re not lighthearted like puppies
- Make sure your hands are clean before handling the hamster
- Make a habit of talking to your hamster
- Start by giving the hamster a small treat through the cage bars
- Place your hand in the cage, with a treat on your palm
- Feed the hamster from your hand daily
- Put some food in your other palm, so he will cross over your hands
- Gently lift the hamster when you give him a treat in your palm
- Lift the hamster higher, and place your other hand over him
- Start ‘walking’ your hamster over your hands
Before we get into every entry on that list, let’s talk a bit about hamsters. They’re not bred like dogs to trust humans from the get-go, and they won’t jump on you to show affection. So reading a hamster’s reactions will be different from any other usual pet.
This is another reason to take things slow, and make sure you have enough patience with your furry friend.
What to know before you try to tame your hamster
A few things you should consider, and it’s for your own good, as well as the hamster’s. Remember that hamsters are very different from many pets, and they will seem aloof most of the time.
Some hamster breeds are harder to tame
Actually, almost every other hamster type aside from the Syrian is harder to tame. This is because they are so very small, and will not sit still for very long.
Smaller hamsters, like the Dwarf types are fast, very hyper, and some of them are nearly impossible to hold, more on that in this article about syrian vs dwarfs.
This means that when you’re trying to pick up your hammy, he will jump off and scurry away faster than you can move.
It also means that they will not be still in your hands for more than a few seconds, so you will have to keep moving your hands. Which will make it much easier for the hamster to fall out of your hands, and they can hurt themselves.
There is also the issue of short-term memory. Dwarf types can forget interactions within 24 hours, so it’s best to interact with them daily. Syrians have a longer memory, and will remember you for up to a week. Still, all hamsters need constant stimulation.
Be patient and consistent
Taming your hamster will take some time. It might take a few days, or it might take even a few weeks. It depends on several factors, but it’s mostly the hamster’s personality, and your patience.
True, there are some hamsters that never want to be handled. And there are hamsters that scare very very easily and will shy away from you. If that is the case for your hammy, there’s not much you can do. They each have their own personality.
For example my Teddy isn’t the cuddliest fluffball around. He’s curious and will come up to you, but doesn’t like being handled too much, and won’t really let you pet him. He’s fine if you pick him up for a minute, but if he’s in his cage and you try to pet him – no.
The point is that your hammy’s taming process might take longer than expected. Or, the end result might be different from what you wanted or expected. But it’s important to be consistent and patient.
Even after you’ve tamed your hamster, it’s important to keep touching and petting it, and also talking to it. Hamsters can forget, so they need constant stimulation.
Now let’s get into the whole process, and how to start.
Give the hamster some time
Your hamster might take to you fast, or it might never get attached to you. Keep trying, and be consistent with the attention you give him.
Remember that Dwarf hamsters might take more time to get to know you well enough. Syrians will usually take less time to tame, and won’t be prone to biting or nipping as much.
That being said, all hamsters need some time to get used to you. The smell of your hand, your voice, everything needs some time to get used to.
Progress slowly from each step to the next, and do not try to pick up the hamster as soon as you brought him from the pet shop. Instead build up to actually being able to hold your hamster.
Start small, by feeding your hammy through the bars at first, until he is comfortable with your smell and associates it with ”good”.
Make sure the hamster has enough space
This is very important for a hamster. For any animal actually. Space is their territory, and how free they feel will have an impact on how relaxed they are.
So if your hammy is in a cramped up, tiny cage – like the square, bright colored ones they give you at the pet store – he won’t be hammy. Even if it’s a Dwarf hamster he still needs lots more space than those cages.
For more info on how to select the right cage for your hammy, check this best cages article. You’ll get the minimum cage requirements as well, and know what to look for in a new cage.
Your hammy’s cage is important, and just as important is his hideout. That is what he will use to… well, hide, and sleep, and eat, and sleep some more.
So it’s important you actually get your hammy a hideout. Hamsters will use the bedding in the cage if they have no other option, but they will not feel okay.
For more info on a hamster’s hideout and how to make sure you get a good one, you can read this article.
Get your hamster an exercise wheel for all his energy
Hammies need a lot of exercise. Especially the smaller breeds, like Robo, Campbell, and Siberian are always on their wheel. The Chinese and Syrian can get lazier as they age.
A hamster with a lot of pent up energy will not be easy to handle, will nip at you, and will probably squirm in your hand much more.
So it’s in your interest that your hamster gets plenty of exercise. He needs to have where and how to run around, since hamsters can cover up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a whole night. Imagine keeping that hamster locked up !
You can find out more about a hamster’s usual running routine here, and why he needs to run in the first place. And you can also find out more about hamster exercise wheels in this article.
Do not annoy the hamster
It’s important to remember that hamsters are not like other pets. They don’t take well to pranks or jokes, because they’re easy to scare and take everything seriously. They have to, if they’re expecting to survive.
So seemingly harmless things like tugging on his whiskers, or an ear, or waking up him suddenly won’t be welcomed. Hamsters are unfortunately much more serious than puppies, who will forgive you for holding their snout.
Best to leave the hamster be, he will come out of his hideout in his own time. So don’t try to poke or annoy the hamster in any way.
You are, after all, trying to build a good relationship with him. He is supposed to trust you, and his trust is very fragile.
Make sure your hands are clean
Hamsters are very sensitive to smell, so your scent will be very important. That also means that they’ll be very sensitive to whatever’s on your hands. Maybe moisturizer, or maybe you just peeled an orange, or you handled a tube of disinfectant.
Whatever the case, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Go for an unscented, or very very lightly scented soap when you handle your hamster.
Excessively floral or fruity soap – if it smells extra sweet – will make your hamster think you’ve actually got vanilla and coconut on your hands.
The hamster himself is very clean, so cleaning your hands afterwards will not be an issue. I still recommend you wash your hands after handling the hamster as well, but it’s not mandatory.
Make a habit of talking to your hamster
Your hammy will recognize your voice as well, since he is sensitive to sound as well.
So by making sure that your hamster recognizes your voice, you’re making the taming process go much smoother.
You can do this by talking to your hammy every time you see it. He won’t look like he’s reacting, but hamsters aren’t very expressive. Trust me when I say that he’s listening to what you’re saying, especially if he’s coming closer or looking your way.
Go for a soft, low voice since his ears are very sensitive and there is no point in being loud around him.
Talking to your hamster will help disarm some odd moments too. Like when he suddenly freezes, for example, or when he’s a bit scared of you. If you lower yourself to his level and talk to him you look much less threatening.
Start by giving the hamster a small treat through the cage bars
The steps before this one were more for setting the tone for your hamster. This is the first thing to do to show your hamster that you mean him no harm.
So take a treat for your hamster, it can even be something simple like a sunflower seed or a peanut. It needs to be large enough that you can hold one end of it, and your hamster can grab he other end through the bars.
Your hammy will come close, sniff the treat, and go for it right away. His love for food will override his fear of you, and he will come closer.
He might even touch your finger with a paw. That might seem like a small thing, but it’s actually your first contact for your hamster !
Do this often throughout the day, and keep doing this even after you’ve tamed your hamster. It will help keep your bond close.
Here’s a clear list of what hamsters can and can not eat. You’ll also find out the treats that are available for hamsters as well.
Place your hand in the cage, with a treat on your palm
This is the biggest step your will make. Your hamster’s never had your hand in his cage before. He will ignore it for a lot of time if you just put it there, plain.
He will also become curious and come to sniff and nibble at it. And if you’re not used to it, and he’s not careful, it might turn into a bite.
So best to get your hand in his cage with a treat on your palm, and just keep it there for a few minutes. Your hammy will come to investigate it immediately. He will recognize your smell, but will probably not trust you just yet.
You might see funny things like your hammy straining his neck to get to the treat but not touch your hand. He will give in one day, and actually place a paw on your hand. Whoa, big move there !
Feed the hamster from your hand daily
Keep giving your hamster food from your hand as often as possible. You can even give your hammy his full serving of food from your hand.
A full serving for a Syrian is 2 teaspoons of dry food, and one teaspoon for Dwarf types. This is for a daily feeding.
If you feed him daily from your hand, you’ll feel his little paws on your hand more and more often, and you’ll notice they are cold. That’s normal for them, and they’re fine.
Just be careful, because when your hammy will be close to finishing the food from your hand he will go for the lines of your hand. That’s where food will pool, and your hammy will go looking for it. He might nibble at your hand for a bit, but he won’t bite.
Unless you suddenly pull your hand away in shock, in which case you will scare him, and he will definitely bite then.
(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.)
Put some food in your other palm, so he will cross over your hands
Now you can try putting some food, or more food, in your other hand. So when you place your one hand in your hamster’s cage with a bit of food, he will touch it. He might even climb onto it.
Then, place your second hand with a bit of food next to your other hand. Your hammy will learn to walk across your hands like this, and he will trust them.
Again, do this repeatedly, many times throughout the way and it might take a while but your hamster will learn to trust you.
If you want, you can even make a sort of board with your hands for your hamster to walk on. Place just a bit of food at the end farthest from your hamster, so he will have to cross almost both hands in order to get his food.
Gently lift the hamster when you give him a treat in your palm
Once you have your hamster comfortable with every step until this one, you can try to gently lift him. Do this in his cage, or glass tank, and do not lift him high.
The reason behind lifting your hamster just a couple of inches off the ground is to get him used to the movement. Hamsters scare very easily, so he needs this training part.
Place your palm with a bit of food inside the cage, and when your hamster’s climbed into your hand, slowly lift the hand. Your hamster will probably walk away once he feels your hand moving, that’s okay.
Keep trying. This is why he needs training. You might find that he jumps off your hand if you keep him up for more than a couple of seconds.
So make sure you put him back in a short amount of time.
Lift the hamster higher, and place your other hand over him
If your hamster is used to everything until now, then great. This step will be a bit more challenging for him, since you won’t be putting him back down soon.
So once your hammy is safely in your hand, place your other hand on him, and lift him higher that usual. Do this for a short amount of time, and do not do it very fast.
It will be new for your hammy, so make sure he is comfortable with every step up to this one. Be sure both your hands are safely cupping the hamster when you lift him.
If the hamster falls from a higher place, he will hurt himself. So it’s best to not keep him up for too long.
Start ‘walking’ your hamster over your hands
Once your hamster is comfortable being held, you can start moving your hands so he can walk over them. It looks a lot like you’re washing your hands.
Do this in your hamster’s cage at first, since he will probably move faster than you imagine. You need to make sure that if your hamster will jump out of your hands it will land somewhere soft, like his cage.
And this was the final step in training and taming your hamster. If he is comfortable being picked up, and will run over your hands when you hold him, he’s pretty much tame.
Now, all hamsters are jittery and will not sit still so do not judge your hammy too hard for not staying calmly in your hand. When he wants to be let go it will be obvious, and he might just jump. So always be very close or over your hamster’s cage.
A word from Teddy
I know taming one of us hammies can be a bit difficult. But it’s worth it when you talk to us and we look right at you. I for one don’t like being handled for more than a minute, but maybe your hammy loves hugs, who knows ? We all have a personality of our own.
If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on how much water us hamsters need, what room temp we need to be comfortable, and even why we eat our own poop !
- Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your HamsterIf you’re wondering if your hamster get a bit lonely and needs a friend, let’s clear that up. It’s a very common question for hamster owners, and I had that question too when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Here’s what I found out, and whether it’s worth getting your hamster a friend. Table of Contents So do hamsters get lonely ?Hamsters are not very sociable animalsWhy do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successfulA few considerations about the hamster’s cageYour hamster doesn’t really get bored eitherA word from Teddy So do hamsters get lonely ? No. Hamsters do not get lonely. They can live in a pair or small group if they have no choice, but there will be fights every now and then, and half the time they need to be separated into individual cages. If your hamster’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new hamster is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hamsters are very territorial, and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other hamsters, at any cost. So let’s take a look into the hamster’s general personality, and why they wouldn’t ever be lonely. Hamsters are not very sociable animals While you’ve heard of, or seem people keep pairs of hamsters, that’s not always a good idea. You see in the wild hamsters are territorial – in captivity too – and will protect what is theirs. This means that every night, when the hamster is up and awake, he patrols his territory. He finds food and dodges predators, and if he ever finds another hamster, there will be a brutal, bloody fight. The only moment this does not happen is if a male meets a female in heat. Even then their mating ritual is fairly violent. So a pet hamster will pretty much do the same. There are some things you can’t breed out of a creature, and this is one of them. Besides, hamsters have only ever been pets for the last century or so. Why do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Good question, and a very common one. You see, baby hamsters (up to 12 weeks old) are a bit less territorial than adults and will be fairly okay with sharing with their siblings. However once the hamster reaches 4 weeks, he’s weaned and they can reproduce. So that means splitting into same-sex pairs, for obvious reasons. Most hamsters get adopted before they reach adulthood (12 weeks), but the closer they get to that mark the more aggressive they become with their siblings. Pet shops are a bit short on space, and will keep hamsters together as long as they possibly can, until they notice the hamsters starting to fight too much. So in short, a mix between not enough space, and the hamsters being somewhat docile until they’re adults are the main reasons pet shops keep hamsters together. This is especially stressful for Syrian hamsters and Chinese Dwarfs, who are the most territorial and aggressive hamsters out there. Those two can never live with another hamster, not even their own siblings. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successful You can always get a pair of hamsters, but that means you’ll need to get Dwarf hamsters. Those are the only hamsters that can live with another hamster, and only under certain circumstances. You see, hamsters are territorial and will not share anything. This is true for Dwarf hamsters too, however they can be a bit more lenient towards siblings they’ve grown up with, and have never been separated from. So in short the only way you can pair Dwarves is if they’re siblings, of the same sex, and have never been separated. They will need to be introduced to the same cage, at the same time, and the cage must be new (not have any of their scents beforehand). Even so, there can still be fights every now and then. One hamster can become too dominant and start bullying the other one, who will in turn become stressed. This means a host of health issues for the bullied hamster and behaviors like cage chewing or trying to escape. There are times when the fights become very violent, and if they ever get bloody you need to separate the two. A bit of sparring and asserting of dominance is normal, but drawing blood is serious business. Giving your hamsters room to hide and run away from each other is essential, so the bullied one can get free. A few considerations about the hamster’s cage A very large cage helps keep a pair of hamsters from fighting too much. Lots of space, plenty of hideouts, food bowls, water bottles and toys, and they should be fine. They can still fight, but a large cage with many accessories is all you can do to lower the chances. For example the absolute minimum for a hamster’s cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and I’d recommend it for a Dwarf pair too. However a cage larger than this is welcome, but hard to find. Unfortunately most cages on the market are smaller than this, or this size at most. You’re better off looking for the Detolf shelf from Ikea – expensive, yes, but there is no complaining about your hamsters not having enough space there. If you’ve got a lone hamster – which is what I’d recommend – he will still benefit from a large cage. The more space the hamster has to run around in, play, and generally just be a hamster, the better. Your hamster doesn’t really get bored either You might think a lone hamster will get bored. As in, if he’s a lone all day, every day, he’s probably sad and bored all the time. Well, the truth is that hamsters simply aren’t like us humans. They don’t have big goals, are not trying to build something with their lives, and as such aren’t really bothered by being kept in a cage. As long as the cage has toys and plenty of things to do, he’s just peachy. By this I mean a wheel for your hamster to run in, and an added exercise ball for time outside of his cage will help too. A few toys – some DYI some store-bought – will relieve a lot of boredom. Hamsters especially love puzzle toys, like a few bits of food inside a cardboard cube that he’s going to have to tear open to get inside to the food. Tubes are another option, since they give your hamster time outside the cage, and are also a good imitation of their nest in the wild. If you get toys for your hamster, make sure they’re made of wood since hamsters love to chew on everything they can, including their own nest. True, a hamster with a buddy will definitely never be bored. But the risk of them not getting along is high enough that it might not be worth it. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. I know you mean well, but us hamsters don’t really get lonely. We’re perfectly fine on our own, and don’t really crave company. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle InIf you’ve got a hamster you probably want to treat him to the best there is. We humans love hammocks, but do hamsters use them ? Would they swing in a hammock like us ? Or would they just ignore it ? I found the answer to this, and I’m here to help you figure out how to make your hamster a happy ball of fur. Table of Contents So do hamsters use hammocks ?The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safetyA few examples of safe hamster hammocksOption 1Option 2General precautions when getting your hamster a hammockA word from Teddy So do hamsters use hammocks ? Some hamsters do. Not all hamsters will go crazy over hammocks, but some will love to burrow into that warm fabric. It depends on each hamster’s personality. Some hamsters, like my Teddy, are runners and chewers. Some are diggers, some love to climb more than anything. You can’t guess beforehand which type will like a hammock. But I can tell you that giving a hammock to a hamster who loves to chew (more than other hamsters) is not going to end well. Knowing if your hamster would love hammocks is not going to happen unless you try one. There are some guidelines to follow, and some things to look out for when you put a hammock into your hamster’s cage. So let’s see them. The texture and fabric are crucial for hamster safety Hamsters love to chew, they always need to file their teeth down. So this gives them an instinct to chew and nibble on everything they can get their paws on. They’re also very curious and will try out anything with their teeth too, much like a baby human. When it comes to hammocks, the fabric they’re made of is crucial. The wrong fabric can be dangerous for hamsters, some hazards including: choking on loose strings and pieces of fiber swallowing loose fluffy fabric and damaging their digestive system hurting themselves on sharp pieces of metal or plastic in the hammock stuffing loose, fluffy fabric into their cheeks and getting it caught up in their teeth or paws None of those situations are comfortable, for anyone involved. So it’s very important to check the potential hammock for any pieces the hamster could hurt himself on, before you present it to him. A word of caution, hamsters are always looking for soft materials to use for their nests. This is why very fluffy, wooly fabrics are a no go, like plush, fake fur, fur-like textures like on teddy bears, and the lining you will find in some house slippers. So if it’s soft and fluffy and makes you, a human, want to cuddle in it, keep it away from the hamster. He’ll want to do that too, but he won’t just drag it to his nest. He’ll tear it apart and put it in his cheeks, and then get tangled in it. What does this mean, then ? What fabrics are okay to use on in a hammock ? Well, for the most part very flat fabrics work well, the ones the hamster won’t be very tempted to chew on and take back to his nest. Fur-like fabrics would be alright too, if you can find a short-haired version, and not too soft or fluffy or easy to rip a piece out. A few examples of safe hamster hammocks I’ve got here a few examples of hammocks that are safe for hamsters (and other rodents as well), and you can pick whichever you like best. Or pick out a completely different one. That’s up to you, as long as you look at the reviews and take a good look at the material it’s made of. Option 1 This hammock is a fairly large one, and any hamster will definitely fit inside. It’s got metal chains to suspend it inside the cage, and it keeps its shape very well. It can fit something a bit larger than a hamster, like for example a chinchilla, but you can also turn it over, take out the chains, and use it as a hamster hideout. As far as I know there is just the one color option you see, but it’s a very well made product. Washing machine safe, and the material is safe for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Option 2 This one, much smaller, but very colorful, is another option. It’s more of a hut/hideout, but it’s warm and cozy. You’ll be able to spot your hamster right away against the colors of the hammock (blue, red, or pink) and I’m sure he’s enjoy playing in it. Like all hammocks though, it will have bits of food and poop after a few hours of your hamster sitting in it.. That’s okay, since this hammock can be washed safely. You can check out the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Whichever hammock you choose, make sure you’re comfortable with the design and keep an eye on your hamster when he is interacting with it. There’s some general precautions you should take before getting your hamster a hammock, so let’s see those. (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.) General precautions when getting your hamster a hammock When letting your hamster onto the hammock, make sure there are no sharp pieces he can hurt himself on. Sometimes the hammocks are sewn together with a plastic thread, and it sticks out a bit. Or, possibly the metal clips (if there are any) are sticking out or need to be closed better. Most of the time the hammocks that have a bed/lining inside are adorable, but the hamster ends up taking the small bed out. Not sure why, maybe they feel it’s too crowded. But the point is that the walls and inside structure of the hammock needs to be very good and sturdy. If you notice your hamster chewing a bit on the hammock, that’s okay. Some chewing is normal, since hamsters chew absolutely everything. If it turns into cheek-stuffing then you’ll want to remove the hammock, or at least the lining. Hammocks, no matter the brand, can’t withstand the constant wear and tear of a busy hamster for more than a few months. They keep getting into and out of them, clawing at them chewing a bit, soiling them, etc. In time it will show and you might have to replace their old hammock. Make sure the hammock doesn’t have an odd or strong smell when you first give it to your hamster. Hamsters have very sensitive noses, and won’t like something that smells strong. If need be, you can wash the hammock by itself with the minimum amount of detergent, and absolutely no fabric softener. Finally, if your hamster doesn’t take to the hammock instantly, have patience. He might not understand what it is at first. He might need a few days (some need a few weeks) to get cozy in there, but once they do, they will probably use it as their nest. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters do use our hammocks, just not all the time. We’re different, you know; each of us has a different personality. We do appreciate the effort, though ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to keep us happy and safe.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Cause Allergies ? How Hamsters Affect Your HealthIf your allergies have flared up since you got your new hamster, this article might help. Even if you’ve never been allergic and you’re just now starting to react poorly to hamsters, this will help make things clear. Table of Contents So do hamsters cause allergies ?What you’re actually allergic toMost pets have the potential to cause an allergic reactionKeeping your allergies down when you’ve got a hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters cause allergies ? Yes, hamsters can cause allergies. Any animal with fur or hair will cause allergies to flare up in a person who is already allergic. Some people who never had allergies can suddenly develop one, be it from hamster fur or cat fur or someone’s beard. The problem is the same, whether it’s a hamster or a different animal. But back to hamsters, most allergies are because of trapped dander inside the hamster’s fur. It’s not the fur itself but the fine particles within the layer of fur that make you sneeze, cough, your throat close up, or other severe reactions. Now let’s talk about why pet-related (and thus hamster-related) allergies come up, and what you can do to lessen the reactions. What you’re actually allergic to For the most part, allergies are a pain to pinpoint. Not only are they not always immediately clear – like peanut or shellfish, for example – but they can annoyingly change over time. But, for the most part, people with allergies react to very fine foreign particles in the air. Those particles are usually pollen or dander. Since hamsters don’t frolic in flowers all day long, only dander remains as a culprit. You see, hamsters have skin like everyone else, and those skin cells eventually die off and get renewed. The dead skin needs to go somewhere. It’s the fact that it’s dander not our own that sets things off, really. In humans, we wash it off. In furry animals, it stays in their fur for an amount of time. Sometimes it breaks into very very small little pieces. Not those white clumps, immediately noticeable. No, very very fine particles that stay trapped in the animal’s fur. Once your hammy moves, those particles get released into the air. If you’re sensitive to fine particles, you’ll feel those in your nose and lungs and eventually start reacting to them. Those are most cases. Sometimes it’s the smell itself that can trigger a reaction. Like the smell of hamster pee. Or, another trigger can be the bedding on which your hamster lives. You might be allergic to whatever bedding the hamster has, when it is in fine particles. But most of the time it’s just the dander that sets people off. Most pets have the potential to cause an allergic reaction This can and does happen with every and all animals who have fur. Even those with no fur, actually. Because it has to do with the skin, not the fur. The fur acts as a trap for the dander. But even a Sphinx cat – hairless cat – can cause allergies. It won’t trigger them for most people who have allergies. But those with severe allergies can get reactions even from a hairless cat. This is because the dander – dead skin cells – still exist, everywhere the skin is. A hairless animal won’t have as much since most of it falls off. But there will still be some. So the only way you can be truly sure you won’t get a reaction at all is to get an unconventional pet. That’s a fish or a reptile. Reptiles don’t shed parts of their skin, but it all comes off in one clean, simple molt. No debris and flying skin anywhere with a snake or a lizard. And a fish is… well, underwater, so you won’t be breathing anything in. Birds also have this amazing potential to cause allergies. Birds have a fine dusting on their feathers, to keep them waterproof and it happens to contain a bit of dandruff as well. If you’re a person with allergies, they might flare up if you get a budgie for example. Or any other bird. My girlfriend’s parents have a pair of cockatoos. Always had birds since I could remember. When those two birdies ruffle their feathers and preen themselves, a whole layer or dandruff settles on the surfaces around 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.) Keeping your allergies down when you’ve got a hamster If you’ve got a hamster but you’re allergic to him, there are a few things you can do to make your reactions not as severe. The biggest problem is the dandruff, and where and how it settles. Aside from the hamster’s fur, it can get on the carpets, curtains, on your clothes, in your own hair, and so on. So let’s see what you can do. Do not handle the hamster. Most obvious one, and most painful one if you really love your hamster. Simply not handling him will get you as far away from his fur and dander as possible. Regularly groom him. Never bathe a hamster, since that can be deadly for hamsters. But a light grooming with a soft comb would help get the dander off. You’ll probably need a friend to do this for you, since this will release a whole lot of dander in the air. A surgical mask won’t help much there. Don’t let the hamster onto carpets or any textile surface. This means your bed, the floor, the curtains if he can get to them (hammies will climb your curtains if you don’t stop them), your clothes as well. Clean the hamster’s cage often. This means twice per week. Usually you should do this once a week, but if you’re very sensitive to the particles in his cage, cleaning it out might help with the symptoms. Carry a shot of epinephrine, or adrenaline with you. If you get into anaphylactic shock, a shot will help. This is only temporary, and you need to get to the hospital straight away. Use an air purifier. This will trap most of the harmful particles in the air, and relieve most of your symptoms. Visit a doctor to look for treatment options. Allergies come and go, and sometimes they even suddenly disappear. But you should still seek a professional for medical help. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are very fluffy and cute, but we sometimes do cause allergies. It’s nothing personal, it’s just us being hamsters. 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...
- How To Know What Hamster Breed You Have – Complete GuideWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t know he was a Syrian hamster. I only knew I wanted an orange and white hammy, and I looked around until I found him. But there are 5 distinct hamster breeds, and they can be a bit confusing. I’m here to help you figure out what kind of hamster you’ve got, so you have all the info you possibly can to take care of your hammy. Table of Contents So how do you know what hamster breed/type you have ?All about the Syrian hamsterAll about the Chinese Dwarf hamsterAll about the Roborovski Dwarf hamsterAll about the Campbell Dwarf hamsterAll about the Siberian/ Winter white Dwarf hamsterWhich hamster breeds can be kept togetherThe main differences between the hamster breedsWhich hamster type makes the best petA word from Teddy So how do you know what hamster breed/type you have ? The main things to look for when determining your hamster’s breed or type is the size of the hamster, and the color/markings. There are very distinct differences between the hamsters available for purchase. We’ll get into the different size and color options for all the hamster types in the rest of this article. There are 5 types or breeds or hamster available, and they are: Syrian – the largest, most common hamster Chinese Dwarf – not really a Dwarf type, but still often called that; the only one with a longer tail Roborovski Dwarf – the tiniest, fastest hamster, almost impossible to hold Campbell Dwarf – a bit larger than the Roborovski, often confused with the next breed Siberian/Winter white/Djungarian Dwarf – the only one that changes its coat color according to temperature Now these 5 types are the ones you will usually find in a pet shop, and they might come under different names or nicknames. It’s important that you know each type so you don’t get fooled at the shop for an overpriced hammy just because it’s called “fancy hamster”. Yes, some people have found hamsters labeled that in a pet shop. Now let’s find out more about each hamster type, and how to differentiate between them. All about the Syrian hamster The Syrian hamster is the most common hamster you will find in a pet shop. It’s also the kind of hamster I have. They’re the largest and most diverse-looking hamster breed out there. An adult Syrian hammy is somewhere between 5-8 inches in length, which is 13-20 cm. Some can grow a bit larger, but not by much. The size is what you will notice first. A baby Syrian hamster is about the size of an adult Dwarf type (Robo, Campbell, or Siberian). Even as babies, the males have very large testicles, that will make their rear-ends bulge noticeably. As for the color options and fur markings, there are plenty. Honestly Syrian hamsters are about as colorful as cats and dogs, except they never have stripes like a cat. Aside from that, they can be a single color, black and white mixes, spotted, ringed, just one spot on the eye, sooty, and so many more colors. The fur itself can be short/normal, longhaired, or curlyhaired. These as well can have any of the color options you can imagine. When I got my Teddy I knew next to nothing about hamsters. So I thought an orange hammy with a bit of white on the belly is going to be so unique, and rare. Well, it turns out that is the most common color you can get a Syrian hammy. Those are called Golden hamster and they’re the classic coloration, the one they have in the wild. This hammy comes from Syria, and southern Turkey in the wild. At some point, a few managed to populate and thrive in parts of Israel. All about the Chinese Dwarf hamster The Chinese hammy is not really a Dwarf type, although most everyone calls him that. Actually all hamster types except Syrian are called Dwarf, by comparison. But the Chinese is not a Dwarf, he is somewhere in between. As an adult he can reach up to 3-5 inches/8-13 cm, plus the 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. Aside from that, the body if a Chinese hammy is longer than the Dwarf types, and more slender than the Syrian hammy. So that, plus the long tail can make the Chinese look more like a mouse than anything else. There are few color types you can find for the Chinese. The most common one is the wild variety, with a sort of brown down the back, and a dark stripe running down the spine, plus a white belly. You can find a few specks of grey and black here and there on the hammy’s backside. The other two options are mostly white, with the dark stripe down the back, and very rarely can be all white with a dark spot. This hammy comes all the way from China and Mongolia. All about the Roborovski Dwarf hamster Can also be found under the nickname Robo – short for Roborovski, the scientist who discovered the species. This hamster is the smallest kind of hamster you can ever find. As an adult he won’t grow past 2 inches/5 cm, which makes him incredibly easy to lose, drop, or just barely handle. This hamster, like the other Dwarf types (except the Chinese) is stout-bodied, and looks like it has no neck. The truth is that the neck is very short, and the ears are the only point you can figure out where the body stops and the head of the hamster starts. A Robo hammy is usually soft brown on its back, with no stripe down its back. It does still have the white belly like the Chinese, but its feet are furrier. He will usually have a large white spot right above his eyes, where an eyebrow would be. Much like the eyebrow spot of a Rottweiler or Doberman. You can find all-white Robos, or white with a bit of grey mask, even a nice color combination between white and cream on the back. The breeding process over time gave us a lot of coat options, so you can’t use coat alone to figure out the breed. Still, the Robo is the absolute smallest of the Dwarf hammies. You can tell a baby white Robo from a Siberian (also often white) by the size. Upon birth Robos are barely an inch/2 cm, white the Siberians are larger. The Roborovski hamster comes from parts of Russia, and you can sometimes find him as Russian Dwarf. Although all Dwarf types are russian, so there’s that. All about the Campbell Dwarf hamster This hamster is larger than the Robo, and reaches about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm. He is very easy to confuse with the Siberian Dwarf, but I’m going to help you distinguish between them. The Campbell hamster is colored much like the Chinese and the Robo, as in he has the brownish coat on his back, and does have a dark, very narrow stripe running down his back. The belly however is grey, not white, and he has tufts of fur on his feet as well. There are not many color options or variations for the Campbell hamster. However the cheek pouches of the Campbell reach all the way to his hind legs, and are part of his mouth, not separate. His coat does not change color from winter to summer, and he is again common throughout Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. All about the Siberian/ Winter white Dwarf hamster Just as large as the Campbell hamster, these two can and often are confused. The Siberian has many names, like the Winter White – turning white in winter, in the wild. Or the Djungarian hamster, because of the region in China it usually lives in. As for size, the Siberian is about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm, which makes it again very similar to the Campbell hammy. However the color is more grayish on its back, with a dark stripe on its back and a darker spot on its head. This hammy has a white belly, and has more color variations than the Campbell. A Siberian can also be found in all white, or white with a faint grey line down the back, or all grey with darker fur on the back, and all the way to the wild coloring I mentioned above. (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.) Which hamster breeds can be kept together Of all these many kinds of hamsters, not all can be kept together. It’s always a bad idea to mix hamster types, since they have different temperaments. So it’s the Dwarf types that can be kept together, only under certain circumstances. The Syrian and Chinese hammies will fight everything and everyone you out in their cage, so it’s best to leave them alone. If you really would like to know which if your hammies can live together, and how to introduce two hamsters to live together – you should read this article on why hamsters fight. You’ll find out more about the social lives of hamsters in general, and what to do if your hamsters start fighting. The main differences between the hamster breeds Aside from what I just talked about before, there are a few other differences. There’s temperament, and ease of handling as well. There are also some feeding exceptions to be sure of, so it’s best to read this list of foods you can safely give to your hamster. The biggest differences are between the types of hamster – the large Syrian, and the smaller Dwarf types. You can find an in-depth article on the differences between a Syrian and Dwarf type right here, so you can find out which would be the best hammy for you. There is also the matter of cage sizes. The Syrian, being the largest, requires the most space in his cage. For a Syrian the minimum is a cage of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. A dwarf type can live in half that space, but since they are often housed in pairs will require a cage just as large as a Syrian. If you want to know more about housing hamsters, and what to look for in a cage, you should check out this article. You’ll find the pros and cons of the 3 most common cage types, and how to care for your hamster’s cage. Which hamster type makes the best pet When it comes to which hamster is the best pet, this one is really up to you. All I can give you is the info on these 5 hamster types, and you can decide for yourself which you’d like best. All hamsters can make good pets – if you like a quiet pet, and have a certain amount of patience to tame them. They’re not expensive, aside from the initial purchases like cage, wheel, ball, and so on. But it really depends on you. All these 5 types of hamster are nocturnal, so if you got o bed early you will miss them. The Syrian is a bit easier to handle and tame, given his size. The Roborovski shouldn’t even be handled in the first place, since he is so small it’s easy for him to slip through your fingers. They’re best kept to look at, and they do a lot of tricks when they have a cage mate. So do the other Dwarf types, but they’re larger and can be handled a bit easier. It’s not a good idea to give a hamster to any child. Hamsters need a lot of care and a quick hand to catch them, which kids don’t really have. And hamsters in general need a quiet, calm space to live in. So a very lively home, with small children, and a few other pets that can roam the house freely, is not a good home for a quiet creature like a hamster. A word from Teddy I hope you found out a lot about each of us hammies, I know we can be a bit confusing at times. I’m easy to spot, since I’m a big orange hammy running around the house, but my friends are so much smaller. Whichever kind of hamser you get, remember that all of us can be tamed and like your attention. And if you want to know more about us hammies, you can read he articles below for useful information.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Need Affection ? How To Keep Your Furball HappyWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t know how much attention he’d need from me. Or if he’d need any at all. I only knew hamsters can be left by themselves in their cages and be fine, but do hammies really need your attention ? Table of Contents So do hamsters need attention from their owners ?It depends on your hamster’s personalityHamsters are always very curious and activeHow to keep your hamster friend happyPlay with the hamsterGive the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exerciseGet your hamster the right sized everythingHamsters do not get lonelyA word from Teddy So do hamsters need attention from their owners ? YES, much less than other pets but yes. Hamsters are solitary by nature, but they still enjoy human company, and can grow to be attached to their owners. This means you need to handle and play with the hamster very often, to form this bond. But your hammy will not be lonely if you don’t pay him too much attention. Hamsters are solitary by nature, and do not miss company necessarily. This means that they can live on their own, and not miss the owner too much. However a hamster not handled regularly will need a lot more space and activities, to consume all of his energy. He’s basically an untamed hamster in this case. But let’s get into detail with this, and see how and when to give your hamster attention. It depends on your hamster’s personality Some hamsters are more cuddly, some are more aloof. In general Syrian hamsters are easier to tame, and thus will be a bit more affectionate than other hamster types. But this is only because the Syrians are much larger than the other hammies, and thus can be handled easier. However there are hamsters and hamsters. For example my Teddy – adult Syrian male – is not the cuddliest of hamsters. He’s not completely aloof, but he is always on the go, doing something, too busy to stay in my hands and relax a little. To be honest he was not what I imagined when I said I wanted a hammy, but he’s got a whole personality of his own. He may not be cuddly, but he makes a lot of funny faces, and would be a really good circus acrobat. Maybe your hammy is like my Teddy, or maybe he’s a very mellow hamster. A family friend of ours had a hammy, his name was Oscar, and he was the tamest thing ever. He let anyone touch him, and would come up to the cage bars if he heard you, asking for a bit of attention. There’s hamsters and hamsters, and you won’t really know what kind of hamster you’re getting when he is a baby. But it’s important to realize that your pet is his own creature, and won’t always be what you imagined. You can, however, do your best to try and tame your hamster. Just don’t be surprised by the outcome, and love him anyway. Hamsters are always very curious and active Your hamster need your attention, even if it’s not for reasons as sentimental as a puppy. True, hamsters do need attention, but they do not crave it as much as dogs. Hamsters can’t be emotionally handicapped (since they’re loners by default) like a puppy starving for affection, but still you should give your hamster plenty of love and attention. Still, your hamster will be curious. About everything. Including what you’ve got in that bag you’re rustling next to his cage, or 2 rooms away. So even for something as small as this, hamsters do need your attention so they know what you’re doing, and they can investigate in peace. Just bring the bag close to the cage and let him sniff what you’ve got there. Chances are he won’t be interested. For example my Teddy goes nuts when I’m doing something next to his cage, but the second I let him get a sniff of what I’m doing (often just heating something in the microwave) he loses all interest and walks away. Sometimes I think I have a cat. So, sometimes your hamster’s curiosity might be mistaken for asking for affection. Hamsters aren’t aloof like fish, or spiders or reptiles, but they’re not nearly as cuddly as dogs, cats, or parrots. How to keep your hamster friend happy You can keep your hamster friend happy, and give him a lot of attention and love. There’s a few ways you can do that, and I’ll tell you right here. Play with the hamster The first and most obvious thing to do is to play with your hamster. This will create and deepen the bond between the two of you. Also, you’re giving your hamster plenty of attention by constantly handling him, and letting him get your scent. For example my Teddy’s fave playtime is a toilet paper square, dangled in front of him and he tries to climb onto it half the time. He just loves chasing that bit of paper around his cage every time he notices it. Even if you don’t want to take the hamster out of his cage, you can still talk to him and touch him in the cage. This helps him get closer to you, because hamsters need plenty of stimulation. Give the hammy plenty of toys and ways to exercise This is the next best thing after playing with your hamster. Sometimes, like when you’re sleeping and your hamster is awake, your hammy needs things to do. So giving the hamster chew toys and a running wheel is going to give him something to do. As said before in this article hamsters sometimes are just very curious, and sometimes that can be mistaken for asking for attention. If your hammy has not much to do in his cage, then he’ll grow bored and want to explore the outside. And if the outside means you, making coffee next to him, then he will absolutely need to know what’s in that cup. So a good option is getting your hamster some toys – here’s a link for some DYI and store bought toy ideas for your hamster, so he never gets bored. And here is an article on running wheels for hamsters, so you know what to look for when you get one for your hamster. Or, if the one you’ve already got is good enough. There’s wheel size requirements, depending on your hamster’s breed. Get your hamster the right sized everything From food bowl to water bottle to hideout and cage, everything needs to be the right size for your hammy. A very small cage will make your hamster nervous and anxious, and he will be all over the cage bars. It will look like he’s asking for your attention, but once you do handle him he will not be friendly or sit still. He will be happy he is out, and can explore, but you’re not letting him. So for this reason (and many others) getting your hamster a large enough cage is one of the most important things to do to keep him comfortable and happy. Hamsters are very small, but they need quite a bit of space. You can read more about hamster cages – size, types, and how to clean them – right here, so you can take care of your hamster friend as best you can. Remember, if you’ve got Dwarf hammies and they’re at least two, you’re going to need a bigger cage. As for the hideout your hamster will spend most of his time in, it’s important that you get your hammy a wooden one. He will chew on everything in his cage, even the hideout, so it’s best to get him one that’s safe for his teeth. You can see more about hamster hideouts and the bedding hamsters usually need right here. (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.) Hamsters do not get lonely You might think that hamsters can get lonely, all by themselves in those cages. Well, hamsters are okay to be left alone, after all they’re loners by nature. In the wild hamsters live alone, and only meet other hamsters to mate. Or, the occasional trespasser in their territory who they will fight. There are some hamster breeds that can live together. But even those hamsters need to be introduced as babies, and be of the same litter, in order to get a long. Even so, sometimes it just doesn’t work. So if you’ve got an adult Syrian hammy, and you’re feeling bad because you feel like you’re not paying him enough attention, do not get him a friend. He will fight anyone new that you put into his cage, even a baby hamster. Syrians and Chinese hamsters are especially territorial, and will get into an actual, legit deathmatch with another hamster in their cage. Hamsters are not puppies, and won’t do well in a group. Some Dwarf types are okay being raised with a sibling of theirs, but even there they can get on each other’s nerves and develop stress-related illnesses. A word from Teddy I hope you know more about us hammies now, and know that we do in fact need your attention. Maybe not as much as other pets, and we won’t jump on you to lick your face to show affection. But we love you in our own way, and we do like your company ! So if you want to know more about us hamsters, feel free to check out the articles below. You’l find more info on what kind of food we need, how much water we can drink, and even why we play with our poop.... Read more...
- Here’s How Much Water Your Hamster NeedsWhen it comes to water, hamsters do need it for drinking. But how much should you give to your hamster ? Does it need any special treatments ? This is what I asked myself when I first got my hamster – how much water will he need ? Does he need a big bottle ? Is a bowl okay ? This article will answer all of those questions, and more. Table of Contents So how much water does a hamster need ?How to give your hamster waterWhen does a hamster usually drink waterHow often to change your hamster’s waterHow to clean the water bottleHow to know if the water bottle is workingWhat to do when your hamster does not drink waterA word from Teddy So how much water does a hamster need ? The short answer is that a hamster usually needs around 10 ml/100 gr of hamster, every day. So that’s 0.33 fl oz per 3.5 ounces of hamster. This is the same whether we are talking about syrian hamsters or the small types. So if your hamster is like mine, an adult syrian hamster, who weighs around 170 gr, then he’d need around 17 ml per day. That’s 0.57 ml for 6 oz, every day. This does change according to how much your hamster is running around. A more active hamster will need the full 10 ml per day. But a sedentary hamster or one who is very old and does not run as much will end up drinking less. Another factor is your hamster’s diet. What you feed your hamster will make him drink more or less water. If you feed your hammy exclusively dry food (pellets, grains, seeds) he will drink more water. But if you give him mostly vegetables then he will draw a lot of water from them, and not use the water bottle much. For more info on what to feed your hamster, and what foods he draws water from, check out my food list article. I also cover the wide range of treats a hamster can safely eat. How to give your hamster water The best way to bring water to your hamster is with a water bottle(1) or tube. This is what I have for my hamster, and he grew up drinking out of a water feeder. You can see in the photo above the kind of water bottle he has. It’s easier for hamsters to lick the end of a tube than to drink like dogs or cats from a bowl. Those water bottles have a small tube that goes into the cage itself, and have a small ball at the end, to make sure water doesn’t flow freely. But your hamster can easily drink like that, since all he has to do is push the ball with his tongue when drinking. It may sound strange for a human, but for hamsters it’s normal and he has no problems drinking like that. The temperature of the water does not really matter, as long as it’s not very warm water. For example Teddy drank both room temp water, and cold tap water. He was fine with both, and there was no immediate difference. You can try bottled water, or tap water. Hamsters are fine with both. When does a hamster usually drink water Hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so that’s when they’re most active. So, that’s when they’ll be drinking water the most. Teddy does come out during the day for a small drink, or because he’s heard movement in the house. But most of his drinking is at night. I often put him in an exercise ball and let him roam the house. After about half an hour I put him back in his cage, and he goes straight for the water tube. You can read my article on how to properly exercise your hamster in his exercise ball, and how long to leave him in one. So like humans, hamsters will drink a lot of water immediately after a workout. Aside from this, they will drink water after eating very dry food, and small sips of water when their body needs it. But since your hamster is very active during the night, when you’re most probably asleep, you won’t see him drink often. Rest assured that your hamster probably is drinking water. How often to change your hamster’s water There is no definitive answer to this. It depends a lot on your disposition, the quality of the water you give, and how clean the water bottle is. For example I change Teddy’s water once per week, when I clean the whole cage. He has a full water bottle, that reaches 150 ml/ 5 fl oz and he drinks out of that the whole week. If you want, you can change your hamster’s water every day, or every few days. This depends a lot on the quality of the water. Where I live the tap water is fresh and clean, safe for any human or animal. I know that there are places where this is not the case. So the water I put Sunday evening when I clean his cage, is still good next Sunday. If you know your water is not very fresh, I suggest changing it more often. Or switching to bottled water and leaving that for more days if you wish. There really is no clear answer, your hamster is capable of drinking condensation on water pipes so taste is not a matter to him. But do keep the water as fresh and clean as possible, to avoid any problems for your hamster. If your hamster is very very active and drinks his water very fast, then obviously you will need to provide more water, or change it more often. A sedentary hamster can live with less water and not really need much. How to clean the water bottle I usually clean Teddy’s bottle when I change the water. So I unscrew the tube part from the bottle, throw out the remaining water, and get a clean paper towel. Rinse out the bottle just to be safe, then wrap the paper towel on the end of a spoon or fork. This way I can reach inside the whole bottle and wipe it all down. If your water bottle is not very long and you can get your fingers in, then do that and a paper towel. Of course, you will have to keep changing the parts of the paper towel so it’s always dry and you can completely clean the bottle on the inside. Then, rinse once more and put enough water in the bottle. Do not clean the water bottle with any kind of soap or disinfectant. Those require much rinsing and even then it might not be safe for your hamster to drink. I’ve had Teddy’s bottle since I got him in August 2017 and it’s been fine since then, with just regular cleaning. If the water bottle is damaged or really needs a thorough cleaning, consider getting a new one. They’re usually inexpensive, and most of them hold a large amount of water. I looked around for a good water bottle, and looked at the reviews as well. You can find a good water bottle for your hammy on Amazon, and it can hold about 11 ounces of water for your hamster. Also make sure to clean the water tube itself with a Q-tip on the inside. Be careful to not leave cotton fibers on the tube, so your hamster will not catch its teeth in it. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) How to know if the water bottle is working If you haven’t seen your hamster drinking from the water bottle, then you might worry it’s not working. The water bottle usually works, but here is how to check it. The small ball at the end of the tube must move freely, even at the smallest touch. There should be no resistance when you try to push it with your finger. So keep the water bottle in the cage, and reach for it. Gently push with one finger to see if the ball gives way. If it gives way you will also see a bit of water come out. That means it’s working and your hamster can drink. If it doesn’t move much, consider adjusting the position of he bottle. If it’s the kind of bottle that has clasps that go onto the cage wires, try moving the clasps until the angle of the tube changes. You might have to take the water bottle out and put it back in a better angle. Some cages have a small hole on the side, to put the tube through. If it does, then you can be sure that the position the bottle will stay in is correct. If none of this works, and the ball does not move when you push with your finger, take the water bottle out. Get a clean Q-tip and fiddle around the tube itself until you see what the problem is. Make sure the tube is facing upwards, so you don’t spill water on you. Or, unscrew the water tube part and rub it inside with the Q-tip. What to do when your hamster does not drink water Your hamster not drinking water is a serious thing, and it must be checked. You can check for signs of dehydration by pulling very gently on the scruff of your hamster’s neck. He will not be hurt by this, since he has part of his pouch there, and it is used to expanding to great sizes. Hold your hamster in your hand, and gently tug at his scruff. When your let go, the skin should snap back easily. This means your hamster is not dehydrated and is drinking water. But if the skin on his scruff does not snap back easily, and instead slowly goes back to its initial shape, your hamster is very dehydrated. Especially if you still see a bit of raised skin where you tugged. If your hamster is indeed dehydrated, do the following: Check that the metal ball on the water bottle is fine, and lets water drip. You might see air bubbles come out when you check, this is a good sign. Provide your hamster with ‘wet’ food, a lot of veggies like cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and even some fruits like seedless grapes and apple. If after a couple of days of changing his diet and checking his water, your hamster is still dehydrated bring him to the vet. He could be having a more severe problem. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you understand how much water we need, and how to make sure we’re hydrated. I hope your hamster is drinking enough water, and he’s happy. Remember, a very active hamster will drink more water and more often, so make sure you provide lots of water for him ! If you’d like, you can check out the other articles on here. You’ll find great info on how to best care for hamsters, what kind of cage we need, and how to tame one of us. References: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/rodents/hamsters/diet... Read more...
- About Hamster Skin/Fur Conditions, Mites, Other ParasitesIf you’ve got a hammy and he’s suddenly scratching too much, or keeps losing his fur, you might be wondering if he’s got a skin condition. Or if a parasite found its way onto your friend. Well, it’s very probable, and we’re going to look at what the most common symptoms are for skin/fur conditions and parasite, both external and internal. Table of Contents Hamster skin/fur conditionsHamster fur becoming very sparseHamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratchesSyrian hamster has a black dot on each hipOdd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or earsMites in hamstersMites in the hamster’s furMites in the hamster’s earsWorm parasites in hamstersFungal parasites in hamstersThe first is the Aspergillus fungusThe other fungus that can affect hamsters is the RingwormKeeping the hamster parasite-freeA word from Teddy Hamster skin/fur conditions For the most part hamsters are clean animals. Except for some terrible illness like wet-tail, their fur is very bright, fluffy, and well put together. So why is your hammy suddenly losing patches of fur ? Or having small red inflammations under its fur ? Hamster fur becoming very sparse Hammies will start losing their fur under certain conditions. One of those conditions is old age. Just like very old humans start to lose large amounts of hair, so do hamster seniors. By this I means the hamster’s fur will become sparse, you might even see some skin peeking here and there. It might be especially severe around the hammy’s hind quarters. A hamster is a senior once he gets close to his second birthday. Hamsters only live between 2 to 4 years, and will become very slow once they get old. Their body starts to shut down, and there isn’t much you can do. Aside from make life easier for them with nice food and a warmer nest. Unfortunately hair loss is part of that process. Another condition under which hamsters can start losing fur is stress. Hamsters react very, very poorly to stress. A number of health issues can come up from having the hamster too stressed. From an upset stomach, lack of appetite, bar chewing, biting himself, even hair loss. Only this type of hair loss is in patches, as opposed to thinning hair. A stressed hamster can be due to: a bullying cage mate too much handling on your part (or whomever handles the hamster) not feeling safe – curious cat or barking dog always around the hamster’s cage too much traffic around the hamster’s habitat, especially during the day when it sleeps another illness, that isn’t immediately obvious Most of the reasons I outlined above can be avoided. The hamster’s cage can be moved to a quieter, safe, calm room. A bad cage mate can be separated – either in the same cage if it’s large enough, or by getting another cage altogether for the bully. Fur loss can happen for other reasons, like a parasite, but we will cover that in the Parasite section of the article. Hamster rashes – red, flaky patches the hamster scratches Hamsters can get rashes, and the reasons are not clear. Just like in humans, a random rash can be just that – random, and not easy to figure out. Usually a rash on the hammy can be a sign of a parasite or allergy on the skin, but in the cases it is not, your veterinarian will be able to help you. Look for a vet labeled as ”exotic”, since these have the most experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. You’ll notice your hammy has a rash if he keeps scratching himself in one particular spot. It will usually be red, possibly a bit inflamed, the skin might get a bit dry and flaky and the fur will have fallen off in that are. The fur usually does come back. Your veterinarian will most probably give you a cream treatment to help your hammy with the itching. If it’s an allergy, it will usually clear up once the allergen is taken away. However figuring out which object form the cage is the cause can be difficult. Watch your hamster closely, notice where the rash is, and what he interacts with in his cage. It could be a few hours until you notice something. Syrian hamster has a black dot on each hip I put this one here because I was completely stumped as to what was wrong with my Teddy. He is a Syrian male, and one day he came out of his hideout with both hips licked flat, and two large black dots on his hips. I first thought this was some sort of tumor or huge scab I didn’t notice on him before. As it turns out, not, the dots are not dangerous. They are in fact the scent glands. Hammies lick and nibble at their scent glands every now and then, and that’s when you are able to notice them. Usually they’re invisible under all that fur. A Dwarf type hammy has hos scent gland on his belly, and it’s not colored black. Odd growth on the hamster, especially on nose or ears An odd growth on the hammy sometimes can be a tumor. It’s not a tumor every time, but it can be one sometimes. You’ll notice it’s a tumor if it’s more of a lump of skin than anything. It might become very large and fleshy, and just look out of place. If it is indeed a tumor, a vet will be able to remove it from the hamster. Not all vets are willing to perform surgery on such a small creature, but some can help. If the growth is smaller, harder, possibly even longer than it’s wide, it could be a skin tag. Or wart, depending on the name your vet gives it. These are usually harmless and do not hurt or otherwise inconvenience the hamster. But the hammy might not like them and will try to tear them off, which will make them bleed. They will come back with a vengeance and grow bigger and uglier. You can find them anywhere, but they’re usually around the nose, ears, feet, tail, rarely the eyes or mouth. Treatment is available, but your need to see a vet for this. Mites in hamsters Mites are not uncommon in pets, nor are they in humans. With your friend, there are 2 possibilities. Mites in the hamster’s fur Fur mites are invisible to the naked eye. They burrow and live inside the hammy’s fur, and feed off dead skin cells. They can produce irritations and dry, flaky, itchy skin in your hammy. They’re usually present on the hammy, but in a small amount. Only a large amount of them leads to the symptoms I just described. These can be treated at the veterinarian’s office, but never get a medication online. Or in pet shops. The problems with these medications is that the dosage is hard to get right, and you risk hurting your hamster More than helping him. Some medications even require the hamster to be fully bathed in them, which is never a good idea for a hamster. So stick to whatever your vet recommends. Mites in the hamster’s ears Ear mites are different, and these you might notice. They’re darker in color, and can be seen moving if you look closely at the hamster’s ear. They will produce red, crusty lesions on the hammy’s ears, and they might extend to the eyes, mouth, even tail. Mites are contagious, both the ear mites and the fur mites. So if you’ve got a pair of hamsters living together, separate the infected one while he gets his treatment. Worm parasites in hamsters Hamsters can get worm parasites as well, however they are not immediately noticeable. The hammy might have an itchy rear-end, or you might notice part of the worm in a few droppings. Deworming treatments are available, however they should be administered by your veterinarian. Symptoms can be dehydration, loss of appetite, weight loss, intestinal blockage, or possibly diarrhea. These are the extreme cases. Usually they’re not immediately obvious. Some worms can transfer from hamsters to humans, for example the worm’s eggs on the hamster’s food or droppings. For this reason a hamster with a worm parasite should be handled with gloves, and the hands thoroughly washed afterwards, as a secondary precaution. The worm eggs can spring up when the cage is in a bug-infested area, since some worms can live inside insects as well. Another possibility is an unkempt cage, which should be cleaned once per week. And finally, the eggs can also be present on hamster food, or the bedding itself. For this reason freezing the hamster’s food and bedding for a minimum of 48 hours should be done. The extreme cold will kill off the eggs and larvae. Do keep in mind that if you live in warmer, more humid climates, the eggs can hatch much faster. (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.) Fungal parasites in hamsters There are 2 main types of fungus that can affect your hamster friend. Both can be treated, however they are different in how they manifest themselves. Both are very dangerous, and are contagious. The first is the Aspergillus fungus It will grow primarily in the hamster’s pee corner. I’m not sure if a litter box will save you form one of these infections, but it’s worth a shot. You can find out more about litter boxes and potty trained hamsters here. So the way the Aspergillus fungus works is that it grows on the wet/moist bedding in the hamster’s cage. That can either be the pee corner, or the are directly under the water bottle if there is leakage. First it will grow white, and in time it will turn black. It will end up spreading its spores all around the hamster’s cage, and you need to act quick. This can be deadly for the hamster. The hamster must be taken to the vet as soon as you see the white formation in his cage. The vet will give him the proper treatment. As for the cage itself, it will need a complete clean and disinfection from top to bottom. With the help of a disinfectant from the vet, soap, and hot water. The other fungus that can affect hamsters is the Ringworm Not a worm, per-se, but that’s the name. It’s actually a fungus. It can come about from other infected hamsters, humans, even infected bedding, and is highly contagious. You’ll notice the hammy has a Ringworm infection if there are round patches on his skin, with no fur on them. There will be a red ring (many tiny red dots) towards the edge of the ring, and the skin will be dry. Patchy, dry, possibly itchy, and the hamster will be very annoyed by it. Treatment is possible, but it take a few weeks. In this time the hamster should only be handled with gloved hands, and definitely kept away from other hamsters. As with the Aspergillus fungus, the cage must be deep-cleaned too. This means a disinfectant, hot water, soap, and possibly throwing out some objects that can’t be cleaned. Those might be the wood objects. Do talk to your vet, see if he has a way to disinfect wood safely. Keeping the hamster parasite-free The first thing you can do to keep you hamster friend parasite free is to keep the cage clean. This is not always the problem, but is the most common culprit. The cage should be cleaned once per week, possibly every two weeks if it does not develop a strong odor. This means new bedding, nesting material, and running the plastic objects under hot water. Another thing is to deep-freeze and then properly dry the hamster’s food and bedding. Often the eggs for various worms, or the spores for certain fungi are present on the food or bedding. Extreme heat or cold will kill them off. Be careful with your hamster’s water supply. Tap water is safe for hamsters, as long as it is clean. However a bottled option would be safer. Look for a bottle that says it can also be used to prepare baby food as well. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your hamster. Many diseases are contagious, and can easily be passed from hamster to human, or vice versa. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. We hamsters are a hardy bunch, but we do get sick from time to time, and we rely on you to help us out. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check the related articles below for more info on how to care for us properly.... Read more...
- Safe And Unsafe Wood For HamsterHamsters need a lot of wood in their cage, be it for their bedding, toys, or hideout. So it is quite important to know what type of wood is safe and which one is not safe for your hamster. Hamsters are quite the survivors; they can endure a lot. But there are certain types of wood than can be quite toxic for them, and they also have a very sensitive nose, so a strong smell might bother them. In this article, I will list all wood types that are safe for your hamster but most importantly, I will guide you to know what to choose when you buy bedding, hideout and toys since those are the most common wood elements in a hamster cage. Of course, there are home-made ones so you should know what type of wood you should use if you plan to have a DIY project. Table of Contents Safe wood for hamstersUnsafe wood for hamstersCan hamsters eat wood?Best wood for hamster beddingShould a hamster hideout be made of wood or plastic?Do hamsters need wood toys or bridges?Conclusion Safe wood for hamsters The safest wood types for your hamster are aspen, elm, ash, bamboo, cottonwood, most fruit trees, oak, maple, and balsa wood. An important thing to have in mind when you make a DIY wheel, hideout, tunnel or toy for your hamster is to use wood from trees that weren’t treated with pesticides or other chemicals that might put your hamster in danger. Unsafe wood for hamsters The most important to know woods that are unsafe for your hamster are pine and cedar since you might find some toys, bedding and hideouts made with those types of wood. They are unsafe for your hamster because they contain some naturally occurring oils that might put your hamster in danger. So you should avoid those two even if they weren’t treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Yew and oleander wood should also be avoided because it can be poisonous for your hamster but those two are not usually used for making hamster toys or anything that goes in the hamster cage. Can you find unsafe wood at the pet shop? Unfortunately, you can find pine and cedar shavings at most supermarkets, and also some toys made with this type of wood. Pine is a cheap wood, very lightweight, and it’s common in many wood items, not just for hamsters. Another thing you should pay attention to while you are at the pet shop is to choose bedding without added scent. There are aspen shavings with strawberry, peach, or other fruits scent, which can be quite toxic for your hamster. Aspen shavings with no added scent should be your go-to when you buy bedding from the pet shop or online. It is annoying that those things exist in the first place, and they might be eye-catching for a new hamster owner. There is little regulation when it comes to what material a manufacturer has to use, and the regulators don’t know all the details. You might’ve heard that giving your hamster toilet paper or paper towels is safe and recommended for them to make their nest more warm and comfortable, which is true. However, most people buy scented toilet paper or paper towels, and those are not safe for your hamster, make sure you buy odor-free ones, at least for the little one. The cardboard roll from the TP and paper towels is also fine (as long as it’s not scented). The hamster will use these as a series of tunnels, and a chew toy. Can hamsters eat wood? I’ve seen my hamster chewing on its wooden hideout quite a lot and I had this question for myself. Yes, hamsters can eat wood as long as it is untreated and it is from the safe wood list. They usually don’t ingest it, but rather they chew on the wood to sharpen their teeth since rodent teeth grow constantly, and not having chewing toys might be dangerous. So they’re not exactly eating the wood. You can also give your hamster a (clean) walnut to chew on to make sure they sharpen their teeth on something that is safe. Avoid acorns though, here is an entire article about why hamsters should not eat or chew acorns. Best wood for hamster bedding When it comes to hamster bedding, aspen shavings are the safest choice and usually the only one you should find at a pet store. Here is a good one that you can find on Amazon. If you need another option, recycled paper can be a safe option rather than going for other type of wood that might be dusty or unsafe for your hamster. Here is a good pack of recycled paper hamster bedding for your hamster that you can find on Amazon. I wouldn’t go for recycled paper as the first option since it makes digging in it much harder and some hamsters love to dig. If your hamster is not a digger, there are no other cons to this type of bedding. Another wood bedding for hamsters is wood pellets. Wood pellets can be difficult to find, but they can still be found as bedding for rabbits or larger rodents such as ferrets. However, these may not be the most comfortable bedding for hamsters. Consider layering the pellets over a layer of wood shavings to simulate dirt, if desired. When selecting wood for pellets, choose options that are safe for your hamster to both live and breathe on. Also keep in mind that the pellets are loud, so you might hear your hamster running/walking in its cage. Should a hamster hideout be made of wood or plastic? Hamster hideouts can be made of wood or plastic as long as they are from the safe list. The main problem with store-bought plastic hamster hideouts is that they are usually too small for a full-grown Syrian hamster which is the most common hamster pet, also known as a teddy bear hamster. When it comes to the wood hideouts, make sure they are not made from pine or cedar wood, and also pay attention to what they are fixed with. If they’re glued together, the glue should not be visible. Your hamster should not reach the glue that is used to make the parts stick together, or any sharp nail that goes through the walls or something along this line. Eating the glue is dangerous for hamsters for obvious reasons, and when it comes to sharp nails, they can hurt themselves in those ones. Do hamsters need wood toys or bridges? Most hamster toys are made of wood since any toy doubles as a chewing toy. So yes, a hamster needs something to play with and also to chew on, but you have to make sure they are made from safe woods. When you buy a toy or a wooden bridge for your hamster, make sure you read the label to make sure they are not made of pine, cedar, or any other unsafe wood. When you buy a wooden hamster bridge, check the connections between the sticks to make sure the hamster can’t get hurt in the metal part that connects all the sticks. Also, check the final part, which is used to hang the bridge on the cage or the hideout. Hamsters might hook themselves into those parts if the bridge is not properly connected. Conclusion There are some safe and unsafe woods for your hamster. If you go for aspen shavings as bedding, you should always be safe, and make sure you buy unscented. When it comes to a hamster, you should buy unscented everything. Even when you clean its cage, make sure you use only a tiny bit of soap and preferably one that doesn’t smell too strong. Unfortunately, you will find toys, bedding and hideouts made from unsafe wood online and at the pet store, so it is your job to know which one you should buy. I hope this article was helpful, and now you know how to keep your little furball safe when it comes to the wood type you use.... Read more...
- 4 Best Hamster Wheels For Syrian And Dwarf (An Owner’s Opinion)Caring for your hamster includes giving him all the toys and exercise opportunities you can. Having a good exercise wheel for your hamster is an important way of taking care of him. But what kind of exercise wheel should you get for your hamster ? And which is the best ? We’ll look at safety hazards, general preferences, and budget as well. For now, let’s start with the principles you should guide yourself by when getting your hammy an exercise wheel. Table of Contents So what’s the best kind of wheel for my hamster ?A comparison between 4 great hamster wheels1. Eleven inch closed wheel with heavy stand2. Nine inch silent closed wheel with heavy stand3. Eight inch metal wire wheel, like Teddy has4. Seven inch plastic flying saucer wheelSo what kind of wheel should you get for your hamster ?A word from Teddy So what’s the best kind of wheel for my hamster ? Generally you should look for a hamster wheel that’s well secured, and won’t be a health hazard for your hammy. Of course, any wheel can break, but some designs are prone to certain problems. You should look for: A good running surface, so the hamster has a good grip Tail guards, if you’ve got a Chinese hammy or a mouse or rat (or any other long-tailed pet) Low noise level, since you’ll want to be able to sleep at night Durability, so you won’t replace it every other month Good size compared to the hamster, we’ll get into more detail in this article Safety precautions, so the hammy has less chances of hurting himself Again, not all wheels will hit all those marks. Some might only be good for Dwarf hammies, some might be very poorly made and not good at all. And some might be the best option out there, year in and year out. I’ve looked around, and found the best 4 hamster exercise wheels you can order online, and I’m going to compare them in this article. They’re all good, in their own way. And you can get a good guess for which would be best for your hammy. A comparison between 4 great hamster wheels Before you choose any wheel at all, please take into account how large your hamster cage is. If You choose a wheel and once ti arrives you notice it won’t fit into the cage, that will be unpleasant. Please measure your cage, in height and width beforehand, starting with the level at which the bedding stops. So if your hamster’s cage is 30 inches high, and you’ve got 2 inches of bedding, calculate with 28 inches since that’s only as much as it will allow. After you’re done reading this table, you’ll find each wheel discussed in much more detail in the rest of this article. 11 inch plastic 9 inch plastic 8 inch wire mesh 7 inch flying saucer image material plastic, metal base plastic, metal base metal plastic size (diameter) 11 inches/ 28 cm 9 inch/ 23 cm 8 inch/ 20 cm 7 inch/18 cm good for syrian syrian, dwarf syrian dwarf durable yes yes yes will wear down in time safety 100% 100% cannot guarantee 100% good running surface/ grip yes yes yes yes silent yes yes yes, if oiled wears down in time price on Amazon check here check here check here check here 1. Eleven inch closed wheel with heavy stand This wheel’s got pretty much all the marks. It’s large, one of the largest available for small rodents. Eleven inches is more than enough for a Syrian hamster, and he should be able to spin it easily enough. It’s got a heavy bottom that’s going to keep it safe in one place, and it’s fairly heavy on its own. It’s 2 pounds/ 1 kg, so your hammy won’t be able to move it either by pushing or by use. The fact that it’s such a large size means it’s going to be a very good fit for Syrian hamsters. They can grow to be very large, up to 8 inches/ 20 cm in length, and about 2 inches/5 cm in width. Dwarf hamsters are smaller, about half the size of a Syrian. If you’re not sure which breed you’ve got, you can find out here. As you’ve noticed, hammies are kind of hunch-backed. This means their backs should remain this way, since that’s the way nature intended them to be. They can run with a straight spine, but any backwards bend for them will be very painful. So if you’ve got a Syrian hammy, you’ll need to look for big wheels, even if he’s such a tiny little guy. They grow fast, from pups to adults it takes only 3 months and they will soon need adult-sized everything in their cage. If you’ve got a Dwarf hamster, this wheel might be a bit large for him. No worries though, the next one will suit him better. As for safety, this wheel’s got a tail guard, and the axle is well covered so it’s not going to hurt the hamster. No feet getting stuck anywhere, and no tails or tufts of hair either. The inside of the wheel’s a ribbed plastic, so there is good grip. The noise level is very low, since this kind of wheel doesn’t really contain any loud parts. If you place it directly onto plain glass or plastic, then it might make a little noise as it vibrates from the running hamster. I recommend placing it over a thin layer of bedding, preferably wood shavings. Finally, in terms of durability this wheel looks like it could stand up to several years of heavy use, so I doubt replacing it would really be an issue. If you’d like, you can check the listing on Amazon and read the reviews as well. 2. Nine inch silent closed wheel with heavy stand This wheel is, again, a closed wheel. Also plastic, but smaller and a much better fit for a Dwarf hamster. It’s still a good size for Syrian hamsters if you’ve got one. This one’s a bit lighter than the 11 inch one. It’s about 1.4 lbs/0.6 kg so it’s still going to stay put. The best part is that it comes with a cage attachment, and you can lock it into one place. For the cage attachment, be warned that these can sometimes break the bars of the cage in time, if your cage is flimsy. I’m not saying you shouldn’t attach it, but you should not be completely surprised if one of the bars gives in after a while. My Teddy had a plastic wheel in his old cage that we attached like this and the bars broke after a few weeks. You might be luckier, I don’t know. Again, this has nothing to do with this particular exercise wheel, but with attaching wheels to cage bars in general. Aside from this, the plastic inside the wheel is a good grip, and your hammy will be able to run on it well enough. It’s textured and non-slip, so again there won’t be any mishaps for your furry one. In terms of silence, this one should be definitely silent, or at least more silent than other hamster exercise wheels. It’s supposed to operate on ball bearings, so it should be quiet enough that you can’t hear your hamster running around. And durable it is, same as the one before. Tail and foot guard are present, so your little one will be as safe as he can be. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 3. Eight inch metal wire wheel, like Teddy has My Teddy’s got one of these wheels, and it can get fairly noisy, that’s true. This is one of the most basic wheels you can get for your hammy, and you’ll find it in many pet shops as well. The reason people tend to be scared of them is because they can be very noisy, and if your hammy’s a small one (like a Dwarf) he might get a foot stuck in those bars. Hence, I do no recommend this for Dwarf hamsters. My Teddy is a Syrian, and he’s had wire wheels his whole life. He’s almost two years old as I’m writing this, so he had time to complain if he wanted to. As for noise, these metal wheels can and do get squeaky if you don’t oil them regularly. But, I oil my Teddy’s wheel once a week, every week, when I clean his cage. This results in no noise at all for us, and the wheel itself does not make any other sound since it sits in a thin layer of bedding on that side of the cage. You could call this personal preference, I don’t know. But I think wire cages work almost as well as the closed, heavy, plastic ones with the tail guards. There is a bit of safety concern yes, but my Teddy’s been just fine so far. In terms of budget, this kind of wheel is much more accessible, since it’s about 1/3 of the price of the other two plastic ones. So keep that in mind as well. The way the wire is made makes sure the hamster can comfortably grip the bars and actually spin it around, so slipping is not a problem. Don’t be surprised if your hamster ends up chewing the wheel almost as much as he runs on it. Hammies do that, and while it;s not the best idea for them to chew metal, they can;t really be stopped. My Teddy chewed everything in his cage, the bars, the food bowl, the hideout, the water bottle, the wheel, the walnut, everything but the chew toys themselves. Ah well. In terms of durability this wheel’s made of metal, so I can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to last for years. Unless you somehow bend it out of shape or something terrible happens to it. As long as you remember to oil it every now and then, you should be fine. You can check the listing on Amazon for this wheel, and read the reviews as well. 4. Seven inch plastic flying saucer wheel Finally, we come to the smallest wheel on this list. This size is great for Dwarf hammies, but barely enough for Syrians. The flying saucer wheels have always been funny, at least in my opinion. Especially when they’re used by Dwarf hammies, who tend to hop onto the same wheel several at a time and just get in each other’s way. Ah well, you can always get them a couple of these wheels, since they cost even less than the wire mesh wheels we discussed above. There’s grip alright, the plastic is hard and ribbed, so it’s going to provide your hamster with a good running track. I would recommend it for a Dwarf hamster as this size is more suited for them, and maybe a tiny Syrian. Compared with other wheel designs, flying saucers don’t have the whole bent-over spine problem and I think that’s an important factor to consider. There’s barely any health hazard, since there’s nothing sticking out, or no place the hamster could catch his foot or tail. Worst that could happen is if he suddenly stopped and flew off the wheel. Which can happen with any wheel design. As for durability, keep in mind that this is hard plastic, but can still wear down a bit. Given the angle of the saucer and how the whole thing is meant to operate, you might have to replace it after a few months of heavy use. The heavier the hamster, the more the wheel will wear down since it’s going to be forced at an angle. Exactly how long that will take, I do not know. It could be that you’ve got the world’s lightest Robo and he might not break the wheel at all. And in terms of noise, this kind of wheel should be silent enough, though it might squeak a little after it starts to wear down. It’s a hit or miss with these, so you might get one that’s always going to be silent, or one that’s going to squeak after a few months. You can check the listing on Amazon for this wheel, and read the reviews as well. So what kind of wheel should you get for your hamster ? You’ve got the table to better compare these 4 wheels, and you’ve got a detailed run-down of each wheel in particular. I think the heavy-bottomed plastic ones are the safest, most silent, and generally long lasting ones. They’re a bit expensive, then again a running wheel will last the hamster’s whole life. And run is pretty much all he does. So if budget isn’t a problem, then I recommend the heavy plastic ones. The 11 inch for the Syrian owners, and the 9 inch for the Dwarf owners. If you are, in fact, on a budget, or simply don’t want to spend as much on your hammy, then the flying saucer and wire mesh wheels are good options as well. I’d advise Dwarf owners to stay away from the wire mesh wheels, since the feet of a Dwarf are just too tiny to safely use that. And the flying saucer seems the best for for Dwarf hamsters, but could also be alright for Syrians in a pinch. A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of info here on what kind of wheel to get your hammy. I know us hamsters look so tiny and fluffy, but we need some very large toys, and the exercise wheel is one of them. I for one run all night, and would be horrified if I ever had no wheel to run on. So please don’t skimp out on your hammy’s wheel, he only needs one. If you’d like to know more about us hamsters and how to care for us properly, you can check the articles below for more info.... Read more...
- The Surprising Reason Your Hamster Is Eating His Own PoopPoop eating is never comfortable to imagine, let alone witness. But maybe you’ve seen your ball of fur do that. Maybe you were confused and grossed out like I was. After catching my Teddy do this a few times, talking to other hamster owners, and doing some research, I found out why this happens. Turns out, there is no reason to panic, and there’s actually a very good reason this happens. Table of Contents So why is your hamster eating his poop ?Changing your hamster’s diet to stop poop eatingThe nutritional value of night poopThe dry poop you’re used to seeingYour hamster could be pooping in his foodPlace the hamster cage to avoid a messA word from Teddy So why is your hamster eating his poop ? The short answer is that there are 2 types of poop. The regular, dry droppings that you find in his cage, and then softer droppings that occur mostly at night. When your hamster is eating his poop, he is eating the night poop. These are called caecotrophia and they are necessary for your hammy. His night poop contains a lot of vitamin B12 and it’s basically the only way for him to obtain that vitamin. Also, since some nutrients are not absorbed by their bodies properly on the first go, by eating their night poop they get more nutrients. The B12 vitamin is only produced by the hamster’s small intestine, but it can only be absorbed into the body by the stomach. So that means your hammy has to bring the poop back to the stomach by eating it. That’s the short version, and it sounds kind of icky. But that’s what it is, and it is normal for your hamster. Actually a lot of rodents do this, including the guinea pig, mice, and even rabbits. Changing your hamster’s diet to stop poop eating It will not work. This is something that your hamster will do anyway, since that is simply his programming from mother nature. He needs to digest and redigest some foods in order to get all the benefits. Even if you bring more nutritional food for your hamster, he will still need to eat his poop sometimes, because his body is made that way. He needs to digest twice in order to get all the nutrients. I understand that seeing your cute friend eat his poop might look and sound icky, but this is normal for him. So let your hamster eat his night droppings, since it is a normal and healthy thing for him to do. If you want to know what to feed your hamster in general, read my food list article here. I’ll also cover what to not give your hamster to eat, and what treats he can have. The nutritional value of night poop Your hamster needs his night poop for one very good reason. Once he eats something, it passes through his stomach and gut, and he gets a part of the nutrition he needs. Once that food forms into droppings and comes out, your hamster will eat it, to bring it back to his stomach so he can get more nutrition from it. This is something your hamster does when he is a baby as well. When the baby hamsters are born, their gut does not contain the necessary bacteria to break down their food. Also, they do not immediately know what is food and what is not. So, they will eat their mother’s night poop, to get the bacteria they need for their own gut. And also to learn what can be food. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) The dry poop you’re used to seeing That’s the poop we all know our hamsters have, and the ones you see in their cage when you clean the cage. Those droppings are dry and hard, and sometimes your hamster might leave them in weird places. I’ve seen Teddy poop in his food bowl, hoard poop in his house, and store it in his cheeks sometimes. The oddest part was when we’d just cleaned his cage, and we knew there was no poop inside. After we put him back into the cage, we saw 5 new droppings. He didn’t have time to poop, but he’d kept them in his cheeks along with a bit of food. I’ve seen him sometimes throw the dry poop across his ‘room’, or even spit it out of his cage. It’s never funny to step on a dry poop and only realize it after a few minutes when you feel something weird on your sock. But it happens, and it’s part of owning a hamster. Your hamster will not eat the dry poop, since it has no nutritional value. Your hamster could be pooping in his food It’s strange, but you’ll find the poop everywhere. Everywhere. In your hamster’s food bowl. In his home. In his sand bath. You have to understand that animals, especially rodents, don’t care about their droppings as much as humans do. With rodents, and including your hamster as well as mine, the poop happens everywhere they live. You’ll find a large amount in his nest, since that’s where he spends most of his time. If your hamster’s cage smells, it’s not the poop. For humans the dry poop the hamster makes is nearly odorless. What smells is where the hamster pees, which will usually be in a corner. If you’re not careful, repeatedly using the same corner for his needs will make that corner very hard to clean. So I’d recommend getting some mineral sand for your hamster, and placing a few tablespoons in the corners, for easier cleaning. And to trap odor as well. Place the hamster cage to avoid a mess This is something I’ve learned the hard way. I’ve always kept Teddy’s cage just on the carpet, and found out soon enough that the dry poop can cling to the carpet. Even if it’s dry, it’s a bit sticky. And depending on the color of your carpet, you might not know it’s there until you squished it into the fibers. So what I’d recommend is what I did, which is keep the cage on a piece of cardboard, or cloth that can easily be cleaned or even just shaken clean. Your hamster will probably spit out some dry poop around his cage, along with some stray bedding. And while poop is easier to get rid of, bedding is like glitter. 4 months later you still have bedding around the house, and you’ll find it in your pants as well. So make sure you place the cage on something that can be removed easily, and is easy to clean. As for the cage itself, check out my article on the best cages for hamsters. You’ll see the pros and cons of each cage type, and which have the most bedding spill-over. For more info on how to properly care for your little hamster friend, you can check out these 15 essential steps. You’ll get everything from what kind of food to what temperature he needs, and how to figure out what kind of hamster you’ve got. A word from Teddy I know this is not a topic you want to think about very much, but this is normal for us. We need the night poop to get all the nutrients we can from our food. This does not mean you’re not feeding us right ! It’s just that we have to do this, because of the way we’re made. I hope you’ll still see us as the cute ball of fluff you’re used to, and let us do our thing in peace. If you want to know more about us hamsters, and what the bet cage would be, or why we need a certain temperature in the room, and even why we’re night creatures, you can check the articles below. You’ll find more quality content on hamster care and facts.... Read more...