A Word On Keeping Hamsters With Rats, Or Hamsters With Mice

A hamster isn’t all that different from a mouse, or a rat, since all 3 are rodents. You might argue they can all live together, or at least get along during playtime.

As it happens, these 3 animals are in fact very similar. But it’s the key differences between them that mean they’re not as good a match. If you want a more detailed comparison between rats, mice, and hamsters, you should read this article here.

hamster living with mice or rat (2)

So can hamsters live with rats ?

No, hamsters can’t live with rats. A hamster is territorial, solitary, and will try to attack anything that crosses his path. 

A rat is much larger, calmer, and very social, loves to live in groups. However it will bite back if the hamster attacks, and it won’t stop until the hammy is dead.

While both the rat and the hamster are good pets, hamsters simply can’t share their space with another. They only seek another soul when they’re ready to mate. Any other time would be a deathmatch.

We’ll cover the main characteristics of hamsters and rats in the rest of the article, so you will get a more thorough answer to your question.

But if rats being larger are a problem, what about mice ? Good question, let’s look into that.

 

Can hamsters live with mice ?

No, hamsters can’t live with mice either. The hamster is territorial, solitary, and likes to keep his food to himself.

A mouse is smaller than a Syrian hamster, but much faster, and agile, and will end up stealing the hamster’s food. If you keep just one mouse and just one hamster, the hamster will end up killing the mouse. The size helps there.

However if you’ve got at least two mice and a hamster, they will gang up on the hamster, turning the fight in favor of the mice.

It’s really not a good idea to combine hamsters with any other animal. At all. Even another hamster is a bad idea half the time, let alone a different animal.

Let’s see why hamster and mice can’t really get along, even if they’re closer in size than rats and hamsters.

About the hamster’s personality

A hamster is a very territorial, solitary animal. Even the hamster breeds that can live together in pairs – more on that here – can end up fighting to the death.

This is the reason I’d recommend keeping all hamsters separate, not just the Syrians or Chinese.

Hamsters like having their own space, their own food, and keeping away from other animals. A hamster will mark things as his own with his scent glands.

He will try to be the dominant one in any setting, and hamsters housed together can end up bullying one another.

You might argue that your two Dwarf hammies get along just great. They might, but because they were introduced as babies, and grew up together.

They grew up of the same size, species, and scent profile. They have the same type of reactions, and will know how to read one another properly.

A hamster will be jumpy and scared most of his youth, while he learns the new sights, smells, and sounds in your home. He’ll even get scared of you walking past his cage when he’s in his first few weeks. A scared hamster is unpredictable, and is very likely to nip.

There’s a lot more to hamsters than just what I said here. You should check out this article, on what it’s like to own a hamster and why they can be good pets (also a few cons of owning a hammy).

And this article here, to understand the difference between the two main types of hamsters, and thus the general disposition of hamsters.

About the rat’s personality

A rat is a very opportunistic animal, and a smart one at that. Of the 3 rodents we’re discussing today, the rat is the smartest. They’ve often been compared to dogs in terms of affection and comprehension of human intent.

That being said, rats make for good pets, it’s just that they need lots of handling or a buddy. They’re highly social animals, and they like playtime.

Actually rats bond with their owners much more than hamster or mice, and actually like it when their owners hold them.

When it comes to food, rats will eat almost anything. This means they will eat about equal proportions of meat, grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. They will steal the hamster’s food if they think it’s tastier, or it’s something they like.

Very important to note, rats tend to attack and view as food anything smaller than them. That includes the hamster, and the mouse too actually.

Back to the rat’s intelligence, they’re able to learn tricks and they get bored easily if not given enough stimulation. So they’ve got a big advantage over hamsters, and would be able to rick them if they wanted. A bored rat next to a skittish hamster does not sound good.

About the mouse’s personality

The mice are a bit harder to tame than the rat, since they’re so small and all over the place. They too are social animals, but they need to be in same-sex pairs, female if possible.

Male mice can get along, but it’s like with the Dwarf hammies. Only if they were kept together as babies, need a very big cage, and they still might fight.

Aside from that, mice have much of the same diet as rats. As in, they can and will eat nearly anything, and will steal bits of food whenever they can.

Mice are fairy skittish, and need a lot of patience from their owners when being handled. They don’t jump out of your hands as often as the hamster. But they still can.

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hamster living with mice or rat

Differences in food for hamsters, rats, and mice

Food is something these 3 would argue over, and here’s why.

While mice, rats, and hamsters are omnivores, hamsters still tend to eat mostly grains and veggies. So giving them the same feed will leave the dietary needs of the other ones unmet.

And there will be food thefts, which can become a major problem. A rat stealing from a hamster can make do, although the hamster might fight back.

However a hamster can’t really steal from the rat’s food, since it’s made up of slightly different nutrients. So that leaves the hamster at a disadvantage. Also the fact that the rat will protect his food and bite the hamster is another concern.

You can’t keep separate food bowls for hamsters, mice, or rats. They won’t know which is which, and will pick out what they like from whichever bowl they find.

Hamsters hoard food in their nest, as do rats and mice. However if the hamster feels unsafe in his hideout – and he will, with another rodent – he’ll keep the food in his cheek pouches.

This leads to a host of health problems, since those pouches are not meant as permanent storage.

Cage size differences between the 3 rodent types

Hamsters need a minimum of of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a lone, Syrian hamster.

A single, male mouse will need a cage of 10 x 12 inches/25 x 30 cm. The same size will work for a trio of female mice. Males need more space of their own, but the larger the space, the more territorial they become.

Rats, on the other hand, need a cage about 25 x 12.5 inches/ 63 x 31 cm for one single male rat.

The more rodents your have the bigger the space you’ll need, if you want to combine the hamster with either one of them.

However I do not recommend putting hamsters in with any other rodent, even if your got them both as babies. They’re very different animals, even if they’re kind of related.

Playtime and other habits that might conflict

While some things might annoy your hamster, like cleaning his cage, they might be okay for your rat or mouse.

Cage cleaning can be postponed for up to two weeks for hamsters, since they won’t smell at all, they only have the one pee corner. Rats and mice habitats become smellier faster, and need regular cleaning once per week at the latest.

Playtime is another problem that might come up. Hamsters don’t like being handled all that much, while mice and rats are more comfortable with their owners.

Hamsters, mice, and rats alike need lots of exercise to keep themselves occupied. However hamsters are much jumpier than the other two, and will become defensive very fast.

So to sum everything up, and give you a very clear answer:

Hamsters should be kept alone, not even with another hamster.

Keeping a hamster with a rat, or with a mouse might sound like a good idea since they might be similar. But the differences between them will lead to very uncomfortable pets.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies might look related to mice and rats, but we don’t really get along. Rats are too big, and mice too small.

And they’re both very social, while us hamsters like to be on our own. Nothing personal, it’s just us being hamsters, that’s all.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below to find out how to care for us properly.

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Do Hamsters Use Hammocks ? Letting Your Hammy Snuggle In
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 ToggleSo 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...
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)
Bedding And Hideout For Your Hamster (Care And Cleaning)Hamsters need a specific kind of bedding, and most pet shops don’t carry just the safe kinds. When I first got my Teddy I was lucky an acquaintance worked at that petshop. Otherwise I would’ve walked out with  some very bad bedding and hideout choices for my Teddy. As it happened, she gave me some very good advice that I’m going to pass onto you. Along with some info I learned along the way about what kind of bedding is best for hamsters, and what hideouts they like. We’ll cover how often to change/clean the cage as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the best bedding for your hamster ?Safe wood-based bedding for your hamsterWood shavings as bedding for hamstersWood pellets bedding for hamsterGrass or seaweed bedding for your hamsterPaper based bedding for your hamsterWhat a hamster will use as nesting materialWhat nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamsterSand bath for your hamster friendSo what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ?Wood hideout for your hamster friendAn example of wood hideout for hamstersHow much bedding a hamster needsHow much nesting material a hamster needsHamsters hoard food in their nestHow often to change the hamster’s beddingHow often to change the nesting for your hamsterA word from Teddy So what is the best bedding for your hamster ? Generally the bedding for hamsters is easy to find, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Hamsters do well in paper/wood based kinds of bedding. So organic, bio-degradable wood or paper based bedding is alright for hamsters, under a few conditions. First, hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, so NOTHING scented will be alright for them. Do not get your hamster a scented bedding, even if you find one in your local petshop or online. Scented beddings are more for your comfort but give the hamster a bad time. Please stick to unscented, plain bedding. Second, whatever kind of bedding you choose, it must be dust-free. This is because your hamster will be breathing that dust in all day, every day, and it will cause serious lung problems for him. Make sure you get a dust free bedding. I’ll get into some clear examples of what is ok and what isn’t ok as a bedding for your hammy. Most wood based bedding are alright, but there are a few exceptions. Teddy: Remember, wood or paper bedding is ok for us hamsters. Keep them plain and unscented, and make sure they are dust free to keep your hammy safe ! Safe wood-based bedding for your hamster These can be wood shavings or wood pellets, and we’ll talk about both of them. Wood shavings as bedding for hamsters They’re the most common kinds of bedding, and this is the kind I have for my Teddy as well. I use aspen, since it is readily available in my area, and is one of the safest types of wood for hamsters. Most fruit trees are safe for hamster, so if you’ve got apple or pear wood shavings, you can use them as bedding for your hamster. Best to mix it with aspen or another neutral type of wood, since the fruit trees can have a strong aroma. Other options can be white birch, bamboo, rosehip, sycamore, elm or hazelnut. These are not always available in some stores, but depending on which area of the world you live in, you might find these. If you get wood shavings, make sure they’re dust free. You can check this by looking at the packaging, it’s usually clear and you will be able to see excess dust. The dust will cause lung problems for your hamster, so avoid that. Another thing to be very careful about, is that some wood shavings can be mixed with actual sawdust, which is the smaller, dustier kind of wood shaving. So make sure that does not happen with your hamster’s bedding. I looked around and found a big pack of aspen bedding for your hamster. This will keep your hammy for months. It’s got great reviews on Amazon, and a lot of people seem to be really happy about it. Aspen is the kind of wood I use for my Teddy too, so you can be sure it’s safe. You can check the pricing on Amazon here. Wood pellets bedding for hamster These are not as easy to find, but they can still be found. You’ll often see them marketed towards rabbits or large rodents like ferrets. But for hamsters the wood pellets aren’t the most comfortable. Unless you set a layer of wood pellets, and then a layer or wood shavings, to simulate the dirt layer, but that one’s up to you. As for the kind of wood pellets to use, the same applies as with wood shavings. What is a safe wood for your hamster to live and breathe on, is also a safe wood for the pellets. Grass or seaweed bedding for your hamster These are common in my area as well, and I’d guess the seaweed based ones are even more common in countries or area with a lot of sea access. Both seaweed and grass are okay for hammies to live on, and in fact it simulates the hamster’s natural nesting material. When hamsters burrow, they use a mix of twigs, dried leaves, twigs, anything soft and plant-based that they can fit into their dwelling. So dried grass and seaweed are a good substitute for that. DO NOT get your hamster yellow hay ! That’s the tougher, twig-like dried grass. That can stick at weird angles and will not be comfortable for your hamster. The grass or seaweed versions are very clearly wider and softer, even if they are dried. But as a general rule, I’d give Teddy the grass or seaweed for nesting material, not bedding in the whole cage. While grass and seaweed are soft and easy to work with, I wouldn’t recommend them as bedding for a small rodent, like hamsters or gerbils since it will be harder for them to navigate their cages. But it is absolutely GREAT as nesting material, and it’s what your hammy will use it for. Paper based bedding for your hamster Paper bedding is fine for hamsters, and it’s usually just as easy to find as the wood shavings. But it’s a matter of personal preference I think, which one you use. Paper bedding is a bit more absorbent than the wood shavings, but it comes scented more often than it doesn’t. So make sure you get an unscented, plain version for your hamster so he can live comfortably. One thing about paper based beddings, is that they’re often in various colors, or color mixes. So if you want, you can make your hamster’s bedding pink and purple. The hamster will not mind, since he can’t see very well. But if it makes you happier, then go ahead. The paper bedding keeps the hamster just as warm or cool as the wood shavings. It’s just a matter of what you like and what you find in your area. I looked around and found a good option for paper bedding for your hammy. This will keep your hamster warm enough in winter as well as summer. It’s safe for the hamster to put in cheek pouches if he wants. It’s dust free and controls odor fairly well. It’s also a large size, 60 liters/15 gallons so you’re going to get a lot of uses out of it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. What a hamster will use as nesting material Hamsters usually use very soft, paper/wood/cardboard pieces for their nests. If you give your hamster seaweed or grass bedding, it will most probably end up in his nest. When I first got Teddy I gave him extra wood shavings in his hideout, so he has a nice base for his nest. In time I saw that he didn’t really use it for nesting, except for winter when he hoarded every warm material he could find. Most of the time, I give Teddy ripped paper towels. Honestly these are the cheapest and most effective things to keep your hamster warm. If you’ve got no paper towels, use toilet paper. Whatever you use, keep it unscented. Really, this is one of the most important things about a hamster’s bedding or nesting material. Do not give him anything scented, because his nose just can’t handle that. When you give your hammy the paper towel, make sure it is ripped into manageable pieces. They have a side which rips easily in a straight line. Use that side to give him ribbons of paper towel or toilet paper. All hamsters do this, but to me Teddy is the funniest. As soon as he sees the paper bits, he starts shoving them into his pouches and gets both of them as full as he can. Then, he goes into his hideout and I can see him pull them out of his cheek and start decorating the place. Then he goes out for more paper, and continues building his nest. He’s always so focused when he does that, he’s easy to scare by mistake. One time he jumped sideways because I got up too fast, and he was still shoving paper towel in his cheeks. I’ve never seen such dedication. What nesting or bedding to NEVER give to your hamster Never give your hamster cotton or fiber nesting material. There are several reasons for this. First, hamsters will eat a small part of whatever they put in their cheek pouches. So, your hamster eating cotton, even just a little bit, is never a good thing. Anyone eating cotton is not good, actually. Second, the fibers in this kind of nesting material can get caught in your hamster’s teeth, and cause serious problems for him. Those fibers can also get caught in his cheeks, and lead to deadly situations. Third, cotton absorbs and keeps moisture. So your hamster’s warm breathing and some condensation will be trapped in that cotton. Your hamster is in danger of colds and pneumonia in that case. It’s much harder for a hamster to fight a cold than it is for a human, so best to avoid that. Teddy: Remember, us hamsters need wood or paper based bedding, and we use soft paper or dry grass for nesting. Never give us cotton or fiber nesting, it an be lethal ! Sand bath for your hamster friend This is something that’s always funny to watch, and will bring joy to your hamster. A sandbath is what hamsters use for a sort of cleaning. Actually hamsters are incredibly clean, and clean themselves very very thoroughly, much like cats. They barely have a smell that humans notice. Unless you get your nose right in your hamster’s fur, which isn’t so nice for him. But as most animals do, hamsters need an extra bath or cleaning. This is also a sort of reflex of their to get rid of any possible parasites. If you’ve ever seen sparrows rolling around in sand, you’ll know what I mean. The best kind of sand to get your hamster is mineral sand. That’s just crushed up calcium and shells, so your hamster can get an actual sand bath going on. Make sure it’s actual sand, and not dust. If it’s the consistency of flour, send it back. If you put a bowl of that sand in your hamster’s usual peeing corner, he’ll use that as a potty too ! Be warned though, the hamster will kick up a lot of sand when he bathes, so you might find some in random places in your house. Best to use a second hideout with a detachable roof for this. Alright, now that you’re all set with your little one’s bedding, sand, and nesting material, let’s see to his hideout. Yes, a hamster’s hideout is just as sacred as your bed or own room. So I’ll get into a lot of detail with it. So what is the best hideout or house for your hamster ? Hamsters will need small hideouts in which to, well, hide. This is their nest, their food stash, their safe place. In the wild, it would be a burrow underground. But in their comfy warm cage, it’s usually a cute house-shaped hideout. The best kind is actually one that fits the general size of your hamster when he is fully grown, and with some spare room so he can wiggle around. So it doesn’t have to be a large hideout, a small one with some air flow is okay. The air in the hamster hideout is very important, since it needs to be able to travel easily. Even if the hamster will block up the air vents with his nesting material, it’s best to give him plenty of air. If your get your hamster a home with more than one exit, he will only use one and block up the other one. For example my Teddy has 3 entrances to his hideout, and he only uses one, depending on his mood. Sometimes he rearranges his hideout if he feels something is off. Finally, never get your hammy a plastic house. These trap condensation and are not breathable. Best to stick with wood. Wood hideout for your hamster friend A wood hideout is what I settled on for my Teddy, and I think it’s the best option out there, for anyone who has any kind of rodent. First, it’s a much more natural option, and very durable. Wood hideouts are more similar in feel to what the hamster would have as a burrow if he were underground, in that it’s a familiar material. Especially compared to plastic. Second, hamsters and other rodents will chew, gnaw, and bite into everything. Not because they’re wild or mean, just because that’s what they do. Their front teeth are always growing, so hamsters need to literally file down their teeth. They do that by chewing on whatever they find, and their hideout is a common option. So if the hideout is made of wood, that’s great since they love chewing wood anyway. Third, wood is much more breathable than other types of material. I’ve seen ceramic hideouts, and plastic as well. The thing is that unless the hideout is breathable, will absorb moisture and let it pass through to the outside, then it is a problem. Your hamster is in danger of hypothermia, pneumonia, and even a ordinary cold can get the best of them. The hideout must remain dry at all times, and be able to keep the warm as well. And fourth, wood retains the hamster’s scent the best. Compared to plastic or ceramic, wood keeps the scent of the hamster. This is very important to a creature that has a very sensitive sense of smell, so best not to mess with that. An example of wood hideout for hamsters Here’s what my Teddy has for a hideout, and you can see the gnaw and chew marks on the roof. At night he absolutely loves to just …sit… on his home and watch for possible predators. Usually that’s just me grabbing a glass of water in the middle of the night. But you never know, Teddy reckons. Constant vigilance. You can see my Teddy shoved all kinds of nesting material, like the paper towels, some cardboard pieces, and some random wood shavings. Your hammy will probably have something very similar in his hideout too, if you look. I found a great one on Amazon, and it looks a lot like the one I have for Teddy ! It’s wood, so your hamster can  chew on it as much as he likes. It will keep his scent, and it’s also got enough airflow so he will be fine. You might find your hammy on top of his hideout, like I sometimes find my Teddy. Just make sure that you put something of his, like a few droppings or  a bit of his nesting material in his new hideout, so he get more familiar with it. You can check the listing on Amazon here. Now that we’re all set with the hideout, let’s talk about how much of the bedding and nesting material your hammy will need. Teddy: wood is the most comfortable and safe option for us hamsters, and we love to chew on everything ! So make sure you get your hamster a hideout he will enjoy, and not hurt his teeth on. How much bedding a hamster needs This is a bit of a debate, since there isn’t really a too much, as well as there is a too little. But the enough part is what people never settle on. It also depends on your hamster’s personality. For example if your hamster is a digger, and he loves to burrow, then you’re going to need to give him much more bedding than other hamster owners. But if your hamster is like my Teddy, and burrowing or digging isn’t his favorite thing, then he won’t need too much. I’ve tried different amounts in Teddy’s cage, and I’ll tell you what I’ve found: just enough bedding to cover the cage floor – not good, he moved around a lot of it and brought it to his hideout; his wheel was noisy since it banged in the cage floor. bedding 2.5-3 inch/ 6-7.5 cm was too much, since there was always too little he used, and a lot he kicked around to get to different parts of the cage an inch, maybe a bit over/2-3 cm is what Teddy is most comfortable with; the wheel sits nice, and his hideout has a lot as well Now, your hamster could need more or less. Again, if he is a digger, then give your hamster what you think is too much, and he’ll dive right into it. If he’s more of a runner, he might need a thinner bedding. But in general, the bedding should cover the bottom of the cage by at least an inch, so the hamster can gather piles of it if he wants to, and not leave empty spots. If your hammy has a hideout, but chooses to build his nest somewhere else, look at where he builds his and add much more bedding and nesting material there. The bedding acts as a sort of insulation as well, so maybe you should check out the ideal temperature to keep your hamster comfortable. How much nesting material a hamster needs This is a clear case of give the hamster as much as you can. A whole roll of toilet paper. No, but he will use up however much you give him. I usually give Teddy 3 whole paper towel pieces, ripped into strips. He also has the cardboard roll that’s left front he paper towel. He sometimes chews on that to add some extra bedding if he needs more. I’ve given him 4 paper towels sometimes, and he found use for all 4. But it was a bit harder for him to navigate into and out of his hideout. So we stuck to 3 paper towels. Keep in mind that if you can still properly see your hamster in his hideout, then he probably needs a bit more nesting material. Hamsters form a sort of cocoon out of the nesting they find. So they will wrap that nest around them very well, to keep them warm. Sometimes Teddy even manages to knot the pieces of paper into a continuous piece, which he then wraps around himself. So give your hamster as much bedding as he needs, start with the 3 paper towels and see if he needs more. If you put 1 more he will take it, but see if he can move around well in his nest. Hamsters hoard food in their nest This is something I found out when I first cleaned Teddy’s cage. When I lifted his hideout, and saw the pile of while paper towel strips, I was not surprised. When I saw the droppings in his nest, I figured that’s just what he does. But when I saw his food stash, I was impressed. The little furball had a stash for the Apocalypse right there. So don’t be surprised if you find food and poo and a bit of pee in your hamster’s nest. That’s okay. But that’s another sign of just how important the nest is to your hamster, so make sure you get a good one for him. And try not to disturb his nest unless you absolutely have to. More on that later. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How often to change the hamster’s bedding By bedding I mean everything but the nest itself. Honestly the bedding stays clean (as in not smelly) for up to 2 weeks, but I recommend changing it every week. This applies especially to the corners where the hamster pees. Hamsters do have a peeing corner, and you’ll figure out which one it is by how smelly it can get. If your hamster is using the sandbath as a potty, then that’s even easier to clean. Just throw out the sand he’s used, and clean the residue that might have stuck to the bottom with hot water and a tooth pick. Then, pat dry with paper towel and place new sand. If you have a setup like that then your hamster’s bedding will only need changing every couple of weeks, when it gets a bit too overfilled with droppings. About droppings, if your hamster has somewhere safe/hidden to poop, and it’s also not his hideout, you’ll find most of the droppings there. But never let the bedding go for more than 2 weeks. It becomes stale and a bit funky past that point. How often to change the nesting for your hamster The nest itself is relatively clean and will not need changing more often than the bedding itself. So the nest can be left alone for up to 2 weeks, but I personally change it once per week. When I change it I make sure I keep a few pieces of the old nest, to place in his new nest in his hideout. Whatever food I find in his stash goes into Teddy’s food bowl, and I start ripping up new paper towels for him to use. It’s important to not change or disturb your hamster’s nest as much as you can. If it’s getting smelly, then change it. But hamsters rarely pee in their nest and that’s the only thing about them that smells. Keep the hamster in his travel cage or exercise ball while you’re cleaning his cage, to keep him occupied. A word from Teddy Long read, I know. But us hamsters need a bit of special care, so I hope you found all the information you need in this article. We’re very clean and like to take care of ourselves, so a smelly cage shouldn’t be a problem ! I’m an adult Syrian hamster, but what you just read applies to all my brothers and sisters, even if they’re dwarf hamsters. If you want to check out more important info on hamsters, then read the articles below. You’ll find out about what kind of cage us hamsters need, and even how long we can last without food or water. [...] Read more...
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live Together
Why Hamsters Fight – Hamster Breeds That Can Live TogetherYour cute and cuddly hammies are fighting ! In some cases this can be a nightmare, especially if they were fine until recently. I asked around, and talked to other hamster owners as well about why hamsters fight. Turns out there are a few things to consider before you get a pair of hamsters in the same cage. Also, not all hamster breeds can live together. Sometimes even those breeds that everyone knows can live together can get into serious fights. But let’s first see why hamsters fight in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo why do hamsters fight ?Are your hamsters really fightingHamsters need plenty of territoryHamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up withWhich hamster breeds can live together ?Do hamsters get lonely ?When to separate hamster babiesHow to find your hamster’s genderHow to house 2 dwarf hamstersIntroduce the hamstersIntervene if you notice them fighting too hardHandle the hamsters so they get the same attentionSet up the cage for the hamsters’ comfortShould you even keep hamsters together at all ?A word from Teddy So why do hamsters fight ? For the most part, hamsters fight over territory. In the wild all hamsters are solitary, and require a certain space of their own. And when they happen upon another hamster, they treat him as a trespasser. Pet or captive hamsters haven’t forgotten this instinct, and will still fight a new hamster if they ever meet. There are some exceptions, like litter mates that were brought up together, but even then there can be fights. When it comes to paired hamsters, they can also fight over resources (food, hideout, bedding, toys, etc). We’ll get into more detail with why hamsters fight over territory and how they can tolerate litter mates in the rest of the article. But first we need to touch on the topic of play fighting, since this can be confused with actual fighting. Are your hamsters really fighting This is a topic you can’t really find a lot of answers for. But still, hamsters do playfight. This is mostly as babies, and mostly the males. It’s a normal part of their upbringing. They learn how to be hamsters, what’s okay, what isn’t, and develop their core personalities. But what about your adult hamsters, same gender, litter mates, suddenly fighting ? Is it a real fight ? The answer depends a lot on whether they’ve done this before. Most likely, it’s the beginning of a real fight. Small skirmishes can spring up from nowhere, and they’re largely unpredictable. If your hamsters are babies, and you’ve only just brought them home, it’s possible that they’re establishing the roles. In a pair one hamster is always a bit more dominant, even if it’s just a little. Supervise them when they’re young, and see if it devolved into actual fighting. For the most part, hamsters can play fight, or have small arguments. These are usually harmless, even if they are loud. One hamster will jump on the other one, they may squeak and run around, but in the end one will give in. That’s the submissive hamster, and if they return to whatever they were doing beforehand, it’s okay. If it all turns into biting, cornering, relentlessly chasing and you start to see blood and a bit of stray fur, you need to separate them. The small arguments are more common when the hamsters are first introduced together in the same cage. Over time they subside, but they can still come up from time to time. Hamsters need plenty of territory This is the main reason hamsters should be kept alone. Yes, some breeds are okay with living together with another, but in general they should be alone. This is because hamsters require a lot of territory to run around, forage, and generally have their own turf. When they share that territory with another hamster, it can become a problem. So, make sure you get your hamsters a big enough cage – more on that here. In that article you’ll find the minimum cage requirement for a single hamster. But when you have two hamsters, you need to double that. That means that the minimum for one hammy is  24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. In this case, the minimum for 2 hamsters, even if they’re just Dwarf types, is 48 x 24 inches by 12 inches tall. In centimeters that’s 122 x 61, by 30.5 cm tall. Hamsters don’t need a lot of height in their cages, but they do need a lot of floor space. Always go for a bigger cage. You’re sparing yourself and you hamsters a lot of trouble. Hamsters tolerate only litter mates they grew up with As it turns out, not all hamsters can get along. This is aside from the breeds that can’t be housed together. If your hamsters are of a different litter, but still babies, they might still fight. The younger and more similar the hamsters are, the easier it will be for them to tolerate each other. So it’s best to pair hamsters which are from the same litter. And it’s best to do this before they’re 6-7 weeks old. That’s when hamsters mature, and maturing together will help your hamsters tolerate each other better. Even so, sometimes hamsters from the same litter raised together can still not get along. Each pairing can be more or less successful, depending on the hamsters’ personalities. So again, supervise their first interactions and see if they can get along. Which hamster breeds can live together ? Of all the hamster breeds, only some Dwarf types can live together. Specifically Roborovski, Campbell’s, and Siberian hamsters can live together and not fight. This is only true for hamsters that were born in the same litter, so are siblings. If they were raised together by their mother, and brought home in a same-sex pair, and put in a cage together they will most probably get along well. There is a Dwarf type that should not be housed with another, and that is the Chinese hamster. The Chinese is slightly larger than the other 3 dwarf types, more territorial, and needs to be left by himself. And finally, Syrian hamsters will be aggressive toward any hamster,ans should always be kept alone. Never get your Syrian hamster a friend, they will fight to the death. For Chinese and Syrian hamsters, even if you bring home 2 hammies of the same gender and litter, it’s a bad idea. They will fight and this can devolve into actual death matches. Do hamsters get lonely ? For the most part, no, hamsters do not get lonely. The more sociable ones, like the Roborovski, Campbell, and Siberian can live without their cage mates as well. As for the more aloof Syrian and Chinese, they definitely do not need a friend. All hamsters are okay with human interaction, and they will remember their owner. But hamsters do not get attached as much as other kinds of pets do (like a dog, for example). Still, they will ask for your attention if they see you. This is for the most part curiosity about everything that surrounds them. So in short – hamsters do not really get lonely. While some hamster types can live together, they do not need to live together in order to feel alright or safe. In the wild they would be living alone. When to separate hamster babies Baby hamsters will need to be separated into gender specific groups when their mother weans them. Usually that’s around 3-4 weeks of age. When hamsters reach that age they can eat commercial food, and drink water. But most importantly they can start to breed, even so young. So it’s important to separate the hamsters into genders for that reason alone. This is also useful when you’re preparing the hamsters to later be kept in pairs. Having their cage mate with them from the very beginning will be much easier for both hamsters. Always get same sex pairs, unless you want a new litter. If you do want a new litter, you must separate the two because the female will go into heat every few days. Also, she can become pregnant right after giving birth, so it might even slip your notice. Best to be safe and get all male or all female pairs, and house them together in a very large cage. How to find your hamster’s gender A hamster’s gender is easy enough to tell, but some breeds are harder to figure out. Those are the Dwarf types (Robo, Campbell, Siberian, Chinese) since they are so small and wriggly. For more info on how to find your hamster’s gender, you need to read this article. You’ll get info on how to handle untamed hamsters as well, and this is crucial when you’ve got baby Dwarf hamsters. In short, you need to look for the genital area of your hamster, and notice the differences. On males, you will notice that the genital opening and anal opening are farther apart, and have a patch of fur between them. If you hold the hamster and tilt him on his back a bit, you will notice that his testicles will show more clearly. On females, the genital and anal openings are almost the same, in that they are extremely close together. You might even have trouble telling them apart. Females will have 2 rows of nipples running down their abdomen. When you’re holding your hamster he will most probably try to wriggle out of your hand. That’s normal, no hamster likes to be handled like that. So make sure you keep the process very short, so as not to irritate the hamster. Now that you know all of this, let’s talk about how to house the two hamsters properly. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How to house 2 dwarf hamsters You will need a bit of patience and a sharp eye for this process. It can work out half the time, but the other half is not too pretty. Let’s see how to introduce the hamsters first. You can only do this with baby hamsters. Adults (6 weeks and up) of any kind will fight ferociously ! Introduce the hamsters If you’ve got hamsters from the same litter, so sibling hamsters, this will be easy. Simply place them in a cage large enough for both of them as adults. That’s a cage 24 x 12 inches wide, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That is the absolute minimum, and you’re better off with a glass tank for Dwarf types. They are so small they can escape through the bars of a normal cage. If you’ve got 2 different hamsters, from 2 separate litters, you need to be careful. Get 2 cages, and keep them close together so that the hamsters can see and smell each other regularly. After a couple of days, if you see them trying to interact with each other, you can move them in together. If they ignore each other, they might not get along if you try to put them together. But if they are curious and sniff around a lot, you can try putting them together. But this requires a third cage, that smells of neither of them. Clean, fresh bedding, clean toys, food bowls, and hideout and wheels as well. This way they won’t have ‘personal’ belongings, and will learn to share more easily. Your hammies might ignore each other, or they might be very curious. A bit of sniffing and play fighting is normal, until they get used to each other. Intervene if you notice them fighting too hard The hamsters will do a lot of pouncing on each other, and will interact a lot. In the beginning, when they are just getting used to each other, and their personalities are developing, this is normal. They’re also asserting their dominance and trying each other out. As long as it doesn’t get bloody and vicious, it’s alright. It will be loud, and it will involve a lot of chasing around. Again, another reason to get the hamsters a large enough cage or glass tank. If the hamsters have small arguments what come out of nowhere and go away in a couple of seconds, that’s alright too. As long as they don’t devolve into something worse, it’s still play fighting. Your hamsters will have short bursts like this every now and then, but they should be fairly rare. However if they are consistent and start to last longer each time, it’s a sign that they’re not getting along. If you see one of the cornering the other hamster, biting, scratching, even blood – definitely separate them. When separated the hamsters should be very far apart, even in different rooms. They can still hear and smell each other, which will stress them out. Handle the hamsters so they get the same attention If your hamsters get along and are okay, then great. Handling them will need to be done with care. Since hamsters are so sensitive to smell, having your scent on just one of them will increase the tension between the two. So, try to handle them at the same time or in the same amount. Pick them up from their cage together, feed them together, and make sure they both get just as much attention from you. This also means that you will need to do this daily, since Dwarf hamsters have a shorter memory. They need constant stimulation, and will forget owners after a few days. Set up the cage for the hamsters’ comfort Largely this means that you will need 2(or more) of everything in your hamster cage. Hideouts, food bowls, water bottles, toys, wheels, everything will need to be at least double. Getting them 2 of each will mean that they have less opportunities to argue over who gets what. Hamsters are very territorial, and will argue over lots of things. Even if they’re siblings. Another thing to be very careful for is how you set up the cage itself. Make sure that there are no blocked corners than your hamsters can get stuck in. When they chase each other around it’s important that they can actually run away. Also, get them hideouts with at least 2 exits, so they can never corner one another. If their relationship devolves to bullying, the victim needs to have opportunities to flee. That means that long tubes or cramped corners should not exist in the cage. Should you even keep hamsters together at all ? In my opinion – no, you should not. Even Dwarf types, who can live together with another hamster of their kind. Hamsters are very territorial, and will eventually fight over many things. Small things like squabbles add up over time, and build tension. Hamsters are so very sensitive to stress, and can develop all kinds of problems based on stress. So, for the hamster’s health, and your ease of conscience, you I recommend you keep all hamsters alone. They live alone in the wild, and they are perfectly okay living on their own. They get a lot of love and affection from you, and even that can be too much sometimes. They can hide from you if they want. But another hamster in their cage can happen upon them at any time, whether they like it or not. A word from Teddy I hope you found a lot of useful info on here. I know a lot of people keep us hammies together, even if it’s not the best idea. If you do want to keep us together, make sure we’re Dwarf types and you give us a very very very large cage. If you want to know more about us hammies, like why we’re scared of your sometimes, or how long we can go without food and water, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
All About The Chinese Hamsters (Breed Info + Care Tips)
All About The Chinese Hamsters (Breed Info + Care Tips)Not often found in pet shops, Chinese hamsters are the least common hamster pets. Not very much is known about them (compared to the other hamster types), but they’re more common in Asia as pets. Still, I’ve looked around and found the info to make a guide on Chinese hamsters for you. Including whether they’re Dwarf hamsters or not. Table of Contents ToggleAbout the Chinese hamster – a short overviewIs the Chinese hamster a Dwarf hamster ?The Chinese hamster’s health and body sizeChinese hamster lifespan and breedingChinese hamster food and treatsChinese hamster exercise and toysChinese hamster cage requirementsA word from Teddy About the Chinese hamster – a short overview The Chinese hamster comes from, well, China. And Mongolia, which is right next to China. This hamster is very different from the Dwarf types (Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian), partly because of how he looks, and partly because of temperament. If anything, he’s more like the Syrian hamster. Chinese hamsters are halfway between a Dwarf and a Syrian in terms of size. They grow to be 3-5 inches/8-13 cm long, without their long tail. Yes, the Chinese have long tails, shorter than a mouse’ tail but it still reaches 0.7-1.1 inch/2-3 cm, which is much more than the stubs every other hamster type has. The Chinese hamster has a long body, fairly thin, and a generally brown color on the back, with a thing dark stripe going down the back, and white on their belly. As such, they’re often confused with mice at first glance, and some places actively forbid owning them as pets. These hammies are not social like Dwarf types, instead the lean more towards Syrians in terms of solitude. They like being alone, on their own, and they get along just fine. Females in particular are more aggressive towards other hamsters, but both sexes will start a deathmatch if introduced to another hamster. Chinese hamsters live between 2 and 3 years,  and they’re fairly calm once they’re tame. Until then they’re very skittish and won’t like being handled. But after taming they tend to remain calm around humans and like to play with them. Is the Chinese hamster a Dwarf hamster ? This is a common question, and one I’ve had myself. You see, Dwarf hamsters (the Roborovski, Campbell, and Djungarian) are named Dwarf types because they’re always compared to Syrian hamsters. They’re only about half the size of Syrians. But the Chinese don’t fit nicely in the Dwarf category, and they’re not Syrian-sized either. So, they’re often called Dwarf hamster because they’re just smaller than a Syrian, along with the other 3 types. I’ve sometimes called them Dwarf hamsters too, just for easier classification. But in terms of biology and official naming, Chinese hamsters are not Dwarf hamsters. The only true Dwarf hamsters are those of the Phodophus genus. To be fair, hamsters are a big family, and there are dozens of subspecies. Confusions are fairly common when we look at the hamsters who are not Syrians. Simply because Syrian hamsters are easy to tell apart from every other hamster. The Asian hamsters often look alike to an untrained eye, even if they have a few distinctive features like the presence or absence of a dark stripe, coat colorations, and so on. If you’re not sure which hamster type you’ve got, you can use this guide to figure it out, and them go to the corresponding care article. The Chinese hamster’s health and body size Usually the Chinese hamster looks a lot like a mouse. He’s got a long body, especially compared to the Dwarf hammies who look like a round ball of fluff. The Chinese hamster’s body length is 8-13 cm/3-5 inches. These hammies have a shorter looking fur, set closer to the body than the other types. His fur is usually brown, with flecks of dark grey and some white. His belly is whitish, and he has a dark, thin stripe going down his back. His tail is another defining feature, partly because it’s longer than the other hamsters’ tails, and partly because it’s thicker than a mouse’ tail. Every other hamster has a short, stubby tail, fleshy and hairless. The Chinese has a longer tail, 2-3 cm/0.7-1.1 inch long, covered in fur. There are other color variations, though not many. The wild color and the most common is the one described above with brown and white. But breeders have tried for other colors, like a sort of light grey instead of the brown, still with a dark stripe down the back, and a white belly. And there is a 3rd option, of an almost completely white Chinese hamster, with a black spot around one eye. The dark stripe is not usually present in this variation. As for their health problems, the Chinese aren’t especially prone to one disease or another. There is the danger of wet-tail, that threatens all hamsters regardless of type. This disease shows its ugly head mostly when the hamster is young (around 4 weeks of age) and is separated from the mother, and put into same-sex groups, to later be brought to a pet shop and them home. The whole process can be a bit stressful for the hamster, and stress s the biggest trigger for wet-tail, though not the only one. Aside from this, Chinese hamsters can have the usual health problems associated with hamsters. Eye infection, ear problems, tumors, fur loss, and so on. There are treatments for most, if not all of these problems. A veterinarian that can treat hamsters will usually be labeled as an ”exotics” vet, which means he is able to help rodents, reptiles and birds, or just most small animals. (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.) Chinese hamster lifespan and breeding The Chinese hamster can live up to 2-3 years, depending on genetics and the conditions the hamster is kept in. In the wild, most don’t make it past their first year, because of illnesses or predators. In captivity though, with the proper food and care their lifespan has increased significantly. These hamsters are hardy, and they reach adulthood around 12 weeks of life. That’s when they can also be bred, between 10-14 weeks, both for females and for males. Pregnancies started past that period can be dangerous both for the female, and the babies. The usual gestation period for Chinese hamsters is between 18 and 21 days, resulting in a litter of 3 to 15 hamsters. You can find out more about hamster reproduction here, and how to make sure the female carries her pregnancy safely. You’ll also find info on the birthing process, and the after-birth care, which is crucial for the hamsters babies’ survival. Chinese hamster food and treats Usually the Chinese  hamster will eat grains, along with some fruits and vegetables he can find. Nuts and seeds are welcome too, along with a couple of insects or mealworms. This is a combination usually found in the hamster’s commercial food mix. Without the insects or the mealworms, though. The protein in the commercial hamster food is either soy-based, whey or beef-based. A hamster safe food list will help you figure out which foods from your pantry or fridge are great for hamster snacks. For example a bit of cooked plain chicken, a bit of cheese, a small sized carrot, some lettuce (and most leafy greens) are all okay for hamster treats. Not given often though. There are foods you should definitely keep away from your little Chinese hamster, like onions, garlic, leek, citrus aloe vera plant skin, rosemary, and so on. You can find a safe and unsafe herb guide here as well. Chinese hamster exercise and toys Now, Chinese hamsters are still hamsters. As such, they absolutely love to run, and they have so much energy it’s almost unbelievable. This means an exercise wheel is going to be mandatory for your little guy, and it needs to be a bigger one so his tail doesn’t suffer. For example this one’s a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, complete with tail and foot guards. It’s a silent wheel, so it won’t wake you up squeaking and creaking in the middle of the night. It’s also got a heavy bottom, which means it will stay wherever you put it. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel, which your hamster will use a-plenty, there are other toys and cage objects he will need. Like a chew toy or two, or tunnel toys, hide and seek toys, a few puzzle toys as well. Most of these toys can be DYIed at home, out of cardboard. It could be cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper, it could be egg cartons with holes cut in them. Your hamster needs lots exercise and stimulation, to keep him happy and stimulated. Hamsters can get bored or stressed if they’re not stimulated, and if they have nothing to in, especially in a small cage. This can lead to behaviors like chewing the cage bars, nippy when trying to handle the hamster, and can even develop some illnesses. For example loss of appetite, fur loss, lethargy, can all be triggered by an extremely depressed and listless hamster. It can be avoided by giving the hamster plenty of toys and stimulation, and a large enough cage. Chinese hamster cage requirements The usual cage requirements for a Chinese hamster vary from continent to continent, sometimes from country to country. I’d recommend it to be 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Even if that’s the cage size necessary for a Syrian hamster, a Chinese will enjoy it too. This is because a larger cage will always be preferred, even if the hamster only needs a small space for himself to build a nest. The rest of the space available he considers his territory, which in the wild can be as large as 3.5 square km/2.17 square miles. So, you’re going to need a large cage. Given how small this hamster is, he can find some cages easy to escape. If you can find a very very large aquarium, than you’re set. If not, try for an Ikea Detolf. That’s a big standing shelf with glass sides. Remove the shelves, lay it on its side, and cover with a wire mesh. Unfortunately these ‘cages’ require lots of space available in your home, and they’re heavy. So wherever you decide to put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. But, if space and budget don’t allow a Detolf – that’s the case for most people, including us – you can always look for a big cage. For example this one is large enough for a Chinese hamster, it’s actually great for a Syrian as well. The spacing between the bars is small enough so the hamster will not escape. Aside from the ground floor, there is an upper level, which you can set to whichever height you like. Don’t set it too high though, hamsters prefer the ground anyway. You can fit a lot of toys in it, and even the wheel I talked about earlier. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Very important, and I know I mentioned this earlier too. Chinese hamsters are not social like Dwarf type hamsters. This means that keeping more than one Chinese hamster in the cage is not alright, since they will do a lot of fighting. It won’t end well, and you need to be a responsible hamster owner. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be confusing, with all our types and cousins. But we’re all cute and friendly, and great pets. 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 Eat Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?
Do Hamsters Eat Toilet Paper ? What Do They Do With It ?If you’ve even given your hamster a piece of toilet paper, you’ve seen him shove it in his mouth. Did the hamster eat the toilet paper ? Do hamsters even eat TP in the first place ? Sometimes the answer isn’t as simple as a yes or no, and we need to dive into a bit of a talk. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat toilet paper ?Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ?What hamsters actually do with the TP you give themBedding and nesting material for your hamster friendHamsters store everything in their cheek pouchesSafe foods for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat toilet paper ? No, hamsters do not eat toilet paper. They wad it up and store it in their cheeks to use as bedding or nesting material. There are times when the hamster does ingest a tiny bit of TP, because the difference between his cheek pouches and mouth is very small. He sometimes misses. If you’ve never had a hammy before, it can look like he’s eating the TP. But if you look closely, his cheeks are swollen and he hid it there. Is toilet paper safe for hamsters ? Yes, toilet paper is safe for hamsters. Even if your hammy ends up ingesting the TP, it is safe. Modern toilet paper is meant to dissolve in water after a short while. This also means that it will break apart when it reaches your hammy’s stomach, so he will have no trouble passing it out. It won’t even be noticeable. That being said, i depends what kind of TP your hamster got his paws on. Scented, and/or colorful TP isn’t poisonous for hamsters, but it can upset their stomach. Hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell, and if you give them a TP smelling of peaches they will probably think it’s actually peaches and try to eat it. The best TP to give to hamsters – not for food – is plain, unscented. The most regular, boring version you can find is going to work just great. What hamsters actually do with the TP you give them Whenever you give your hammy a TP square, you probably see him going a bit crazy. You see, hamsters absolutely love anything soft and cuddly that can be used as nesting material. This also means you should keep hammies away from fleece or cotton, since they will shove it in their cheeks and hurt themselves or get some fibers caught in their teeth. So, your hamster will fit as much TP as he can in his cheeks, then make a bee line for his nest. Wherever his nest is, not matter how much nesting it’s already got – it always needs more. Your hammy’s going to decorate his place with all the TP and paper towels you give him. All of them. It can get ridiculous. Look at my Teddy, his hideout’s bursting with TP and paper towels. Hamsters decorate their nest with toilet paper, and with paper towels as well. For this reason, I recommend giving rather paper towels for his nesting material. TP is highly absorbent, and will mat up more than paper towels. And it’s less resistant, so he will need more pieces. Whatever you do give him (TP or paper towel) he’ll hoard all of it. Bedding and nesting material for your hamster friend You might be wondering if you’ve given your hamster too little bedding if he gets like that when he sees crumply paper. Well, no. Hamsters have an inherent need to nest and build a warm, big nest to cuddle and hide in. So they will go overboard with the nesting material. An ideal bedding depth is somewhere around 1-2 inches, so your hamster has something to dig into. Not all hamsters are diggers though. Some are climbers, or runners, and won’t be interested in digging too much. You can find out much more about the right kind of bedding you can get your hamster friend right here. You’ll find which beddings are safe and which are unsafe, and all the options you can choose from. As for warmth, hamsters require a temp range between 20-23 C/68-75 F to feel comfortable. You should check here for more info on that, and see how you can make your hammy comfortable in your home. So if you’ve give your hamster lots of warmth, and he’s still building his nest, don’t be alarmed. He’s fine, he just builds big, fluffy, flowy nests. In the wild he’d have a whole series of tunnels to live in, and several ‘bedrooms’ full of leaves and twigs. Other options your hamster might use as his nesting material is cardboard. The long cardboard tubes left over from toilet paper, or paper towels are okay for hamsters to use. They even play in them. Cut a few holes into the tube, like swiss cheese, and he’ll dart in and out of those tubes. YOu can find out more about hamster toys (DYI and store bought) here, and some ideas on what you can make for you hammy at home. Hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches Alright, now you know what your hammy’s doing with the TP. But does he put everything in his cheeks ? Well, yes, hamsters store everything in their cheek pouches. Everything, Bits of food, nesting material, a few bits of poo, a half eaten cricket, anything. Hamsters have those pouches in order to be able run away if they have to make a quick split. This also makes it easier for them to cover a lot of ground without having to keep returning to their nest to store everything. Kinda smart, if you think about it. This is one reason to never give your hamster something very sharp or extra saucy as food. If it’s a bit of chicken or boiled egg white, he will eat it right away. But anything less than tasty protein or fruit will be shoved into the cheek pouch. A tasty noodle ? In the cheek, and it will leave some residue that the hammy can’t clean out. It has a high chance of infection, and an infected cheek pouch is not easy to treat. Mostly because the cheek itself isn’t easy to reach into without hurting the hamster. Plus, if the hammy feels like he still has something in his cheeks he’ll keep pushing and pawing at his cheeks until he hurts himself. So be very careful what foods you give your hamster friend ! (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.) Safe foods for your hamster friend You can feed your hamster lots of foods that are acceptable for you as well. For the most part, hamsters can eat meat, veggies, fruit, grains, and seeds, just like us. It’s just that they have a few conditions, and some foods are too fat or to sweet for them. Especially for the Dwarf types. They are prone to diabetes, and as such should be definitely kept away from sweets. Both Dwarf and Syrian types should have a very small amount of fats in their diet as well. They are living in your warm, comfy home, no reason to build up a layer of insulating fat. I’m going to give you a few useful links for the foods hamsters can eat, for each category available. So, if you want to know more about hamsters and meat, what kind of meat they can have, check out this nifty article, with a clear explanation of which meats are okay for hammies. When it comes to dairy, hamsters can eat some kinds, but not too much. It’s the high-lactose one that don’t sit well with them. You can read more about that here. For bread and grains, you can check out here to see when and how you can feed your hamster friend bread and/or pasta. And here you can find out more about what veggies are safe for hamsters, and here learn about the kinds of fruit your hammy can eat, and which to avoid. Finally, you can read on here to learn more about nuts and the kinds hamsters can eat safely, and how much of them they can have at a time. These are all items you’ve probably already got in your fridge or pantry. Do remember that a commercial food mix has the basics all covered, and is designed to give your hamster the nutrition it needs. Still, you can feed your hamster friend food from the lists I mentioned above, as small treats or if you’ve got them on hand when cooking. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. I know us hammies love toilet paper, but we don’t normally eat it. We hide lots of it in our cheeks, and it looks like we eat it. But we just build our nests with them. If you want to know more about us hammies you can check out the articles below, to learn how to feed and house us properly, and how to play with us too. [...] Read more...
Hamster Teeth Problems. What They Are, And How To Treat Them
Hamster Teeth Problems. What They Are, And How To Treat ThemIf you’ve got a hamster, then you need to know about the teeth problems your friend can develop. Hamster’s teeth are crucial to their health, so you need to know how to help him out if something happens. I’ll cover the main dental problems hamsters can get into, how to check for those problems, and how to treat them. Table of Contents ToggleWhat a normal, healthy hamster’s teeth should look likeA hamster’s teeth are always growingTeeth problems hamsters can develop, and how to spot themOvergrownInfectedMisshapen/brokenTypical symptoms to look forBad breathSudden loss of appetiteChattering teethDroolingBad temperCage bitingFiling down overgrown hamster teethThe hamster will file them down himselfChew toys and other options for your hamster friendYou can take the hammy to the vetInfections in hamster teethChecking for infections in your hamster’s teethTreating your hamster’s teeth infectionMisshapen or broken hamster teethHelping your hamster with bad teethA word from Teddy What a normal, healthy hamster’s teeth should look like A healthy hamster’s teeth are quite long, yellow-ish orange, and a bit see-through. The hamster’s teeth look very different from a human’s teeth. Hamsters, like most rodents, have 2 pairs of incisor teeth. The lower pair is the longer pair, and will look very large compared to the top pair. You will see your hamster’s teeth clearly when he bites the cage, since he often bites hard onto them. Normally, your hammy’s teeth should be aligned, and ‘meet’ properly, both pairs forming a nice close. You can also check your hamster’s teeth by holding him and gently scruffing the back of his neck. This does not hurt if done right, since you are only pulling a little at the fur on the back of his head. This will reveal the hamster’s teeth, and you can check them for yourself. Do not be surprised that your hamster’s teeth aren’t white, or very pale. Yellow teeth in hamsters is no unhealthy. However you should worry a bit if you start seeing white spots on your hamster’s teeth.  Usually they’re brittle sport in the teeth, and will crumble. Those can be serious dental problems that require a veterinarian. A hamster’s teeth are always growing A hamster’s life is defined by chewing, and gnawing, and biting some more. Hamster are rodents, and as such they have an inherent need to always be chewing on something.  This is mostly because their front teeth are always growing. So, your hamster friend need to file them down regularly in order to keep them healthy. This can be done in several ways, but it’s mostly through the tough food your hamster chews every day, and whatever he chews on aside from that, like chew toys. Teeth problems hamsters can develop, and how to spot them Your hamster can develop dental problems. That can happen to anyone, but given the small size of hamsters, and how important their teeth are, it’s more of a problem for them. There are 3 main types of problems your hammy can run into, and in the rest of this article we’ll cover how you can help your friend. Overgrown The most common problem found with hamsters, overgrown teeth lead to several problems. Those problems can be that the hamster isn’t able to eat enough, is in pain, and will possibly be grumpy. Teeth can become overgrown if the hamster isn’t filing down his teeth. This can mean that the food he’s being fed isn’t hard enough – hamsters need hard, chewable foods – so he can’t file the teeth down. Or, it could be that he has nowhere to file the teeth down onto, like chew toys or cage bars. If you’ve got a glass tank for your hammy, and he’s got nothing to chew on, that’s a problem. Infected Infections can occur if the hamster’s gums become hurt in some way (like something sharp scraping them) and the bacteria has a way into the animal’s body. Or, it could be tooth decay from possibly sugary food (depending on what you feed your hamster), which can lead to an infection. In any case, this is something to treat at the vet. Misshapen/broken Sometimes, hamsters are born with tooth problems. Like misshapen teeth, and in those cases it’s best to get the hammy to the vet so he can help the hamster. If the hammy’s teeth are healthy and straight, but end up breaking, that again means a trip to the vet. This can happen if your hamster’s got weak teeth, or if he chews on much too hard surfaces, like the metal bars in his cage, or the running wheel. Typical symptoms to look for Usually hamster dental problems can be spotted fairly quickly. There’s just a few things you should check your hamster for, so see if he’s alright. Bad breath An infection especially, will smell terrible. Your normally clean and non-smelly hammy might have terrible breath if he’s got an infection. You can notice this when you pick up the hamster and play with it. Or, by giving it something to chew onto and then you might smell the problem. The smell is caused by the pus and irritation in the hamster’s mouth, where the abscess is located. If you scruff the hammy you will probably be able to see which tooth is infected. You’ll notice the gum around the tooth is red, swollen, and might already have whitish spots where the infection is coming out. This needs to be treated immediately, otherwise your hamster is at serious risk. Sudden loss of appetite This can come along with an infection, or even just overgrown teeth. If you’ve noticed your hamster’s food bowl has been mysteryously full these past few days, you should check on the hamster. It can happen that your hamster isn’t able to feed himself properly lately, and he needs your help. Now, do keep in mind that hamsters can and do become very picky eaters. So if you’ve got a food mix, and only some parts of it are still in the food bowl the next day, your hamster is fine. For example my Teddy (Syrian adult male) favors the sunflower seeds, peanuts, and other vitamin bits he finds in his food bowl, and leaves the plain grains aside. He’s still a healthy Syrian hammy though, he just gets picky. However if you’ve noticed that your hamster is also losing a bit of weight, this is also a sign. You can check the weight by placing your hammy in a cup he can’t get out of (like a tall glass, or plastic cup) and weighing him on a kitchen scale. Make sure to account for the weight of the cup ! Chattering teeth This is another sign that something might be wrong with your hamster’s teeth. Chattering teeth are usually a sign of nervousness, and are accompanied by a short temper, and lots of cage biting. He might even bite you, he’s in no mood to play. If your hamster has chattering teeth, and also chews on the cage bars a lot, it could be a possible tooth problem indicator. Like tooth pain, or an infection. Do keep in mind that chattering teeth can show up even if your hamster is healthy. He could be just aggitated or trying to intimidate you. So make a mental note of chattering teeth, but this is not a clear sign of just tooth problems. Drooling Hamsters, like cats, do not drool normally. They do have saliva, but their mouth is usually ‘dry’. So if your hamster is suddenly drooling, it could be a sign of him not being able to close his mouth properly because of his teeth. Bad temper Hamsters, like humans, do not respond well to pain or stress. So if your hammy has a tooth ache, he might be snappy. Imagine your last tooth ache. So your usually mild and cute hamster might turn into a snappy, nippy hammy with no patience for anything. He might not even let you touch him in some cases. Now, not all ill-tempered hamsters have tooth aches. But this could be a sign of tooth problems. Especially if it’s a change that came on suddenly. Cage biting If your hammy suddenly started biting the cage bars, this too could be a sign. Hamsters always need to chew on something, but if he’s ignored the bars until now, that says something. Your hammy could be seeking some relief from the cage bars, instead of his chew toy because the bars are, well, much harder and are also cold. If your hammy’s got an infection, the gums will seem very hot to him, and he’ll want to cool off a bit. Obviously, your hammy biting the cage bars is not a good idea. And it’s not healthy for his teeth either, since he can actually break or crack his teeth on the bars. Filing down overgrown hamster teeth If your hamster’s got overgrown teeth, then he will need to file them down. This happens by repeated chewing and biting onto hard surfaces. But, those surfaces should never be as hard as the cage bars, or the glass of his glass tank. There’s two ways your can go about this. The hamster will file them down himself Most of the time, the hamster will file the teeth down himself. If he’s got proper food and chew toys, he will do that himself. Your hamster’s front teeth are always growing, so he always needs to do this. You can help him out here by giving him the right kind of toys to use for his teeth. Chew toys and other options for your hamster friend One option is chew toys. Hamsters do well with wood based chew toys. So for this reason a set of toys like this one will help your hamster not only file down his teeth, but also keep his mind occupied. This set’s got several toys, so your hammy will have lots of options to choose from. You can find the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews for yourself. Another option is giving your hamster friend a walnut, or a chestnut so he will want to chew and gnaw on it. My teddy has a walnut in his cage and he goes absolutely insane when he sees it. He just has to break the thing open or he won’t know what he’ll do. He never did manage to open the walnut, hamsters aren’t squirrels. But he loves biting into the shell, and your hammy will probably do the same if your give him one. Other options include bendy bridges, which are made from wood, and can serve as a great chew toy for your hamster friend. You will find those on Amazon as well. And finally, hamsters will chew on absolutely everything. Including their food bowl and hideout. For this reason, and not only (more on that here) I recommend you get your hamster friend a wooden hideout. This will make it easier for your hamster to file down his teeth, since he will wake up in the middle of the night to chew a little. And he will chew on his hideout, without even getting out of his nest. I looked around for a hideout very similar to the one I have for my Teddy. My hammy already shaved fairly large chunks of the inside, in the year and the half since he’s had his hideout. Still, he loves it, and it keeps his scent. You can find the listing on Amazon for this wooden hamster house here, and read the reviews. You can take the hammy to the vet If the case is severe, and immediate attention is needed, you can also take your hamster friend to the vet. He will know what to do to file down the hammy’s teeth. There are a few guides to filing down hamster teeth at home, or even clipping them. But I honestly discourage them, since the animal isn’t comfortable, and you need a lot of training to make sure you do not hurt the hamster. Please do not file or clip your hamster’s teeth at home. Seek professional care for him. (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.) Infections in hamster teeth Sometimes the hamster’s teeth can get infected. This can happen like with humans too. Maybe the hamster ate a food that made a small cut in his gums, and that cut got infected. There could be other reasons, but the end result is the same. Checking for infections in your hamster’s teeth Red, angry, inflamed gum(s), and a bit of pus. This is dangerous for your hamster to swallow, so it must be solved quickly. You can check this by holding the hamster in your hand, and gently scruffing him. This will pull back his lips and you will see his teeth. He might not like being held like this, so expect a bit of squirming. Expect lots of squirming if the hamster does have a serious infection, since it will possibly hurt him a bit. Treating your hamster’s teeth infection If the gums or mouth looks at any point like I just described above, then your hamster might be dealing with an infection. In this case, take your hamster to the veterinarian. He will prescribe a round of antibiotics that are safe for small animals. He will tell you how to administer the medication to your hamster. Usually the veterinarians that have experience with rodents are labeled as exotic, meaning that they will also know what to do with unusual pets if the case arises. Misshapen or broken hamster teeth There are some unfortunate hamsters who are born with misshapen teeth. They are misaligned since birth, but they can sometimes be corrected. You can notice this at the pet store by looking closely at the hamster for any mouth problems. You will also be able to notice this when the hamster tries to drink a bit of water. Or, if you haven’t noticed at the pet store and brought him home, you can still check him. Just use the scruffing method and check the teeth. There should be no gaps, or odd angles or crossed teeth. If there are such problems, take your hamster to a veterinarian. Now, if your hamster’s got great teeth, and suddenly broke them, that’s an issue. Breaking teeth are a sign of malnutrition, or poor health, old age, or a possible illness. It depends on each hamster, and his own medical history. Broken teeth are particularly dangerous, since the hamster can cut himself on them. And often they’re cracked/fissured as well, which means that your hamster is in for some serious problems. Again, it’s best if you take your hamster to the veterinarian, who will know how to align or file the hamster’s teeth, and do it humanely. Helping your hamster with bad teeth For any hamster with bad teeth, the diet is important. I don’t mean putting your hamster on a weight loss diet. But the food he eats has a direct and large impact on his health. You can take care of this by giving your hamster friend a healthy food mix, to make sure he has all the basic nutrients already in his food bowl. This particular mix has all the nutrients your hamster needs, including the harder, sturdier grains hamsters need to chew on in order to file down their teeth. The whole bag will last you a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed your hammy. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Aside from the healthy food mix, you can give your hamster from your own pantry or fridge. A large amount of the foods we humans eat are also safe for hamsters, so you should check out this article on what foods are okay and not okay for hamsters to eat. Just remember, fruits and high-fat foods should be kept to a minimum, since they can lead to an obese hamster. And that’s a whole different set of problems, which you can read about here. And always, always, make sure your hamster has something wood-based to chew onto. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to care for your teeth in this article. I know us hammies can get a bit overzealous with our chewing and biting, but we do have dental problems from time to time. So if you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below for valuable info on how to care for us. [...] Read more...