If you’re wondering if your hamster can eat parsley, or dill, rosemary, even dandelions, you’re right where you need to be. I asked myself the same thing when my girlfriend was chopping a bunch of parsley the other day, and wondered if Teddy can have some.
Well, we tried giving him a little bit, and we googled and asked other hamster owner friends. This is what we found out, and you can use this list to know what kind of herbs you can give your hamster.
So can hamsters eat herbs like parsley or dill or rosemary ?
Yes, hamsters can eat some herbs. Not all herbs, and not in large quantities. But they can still eat them.
There are safe and unsafe herbs for hamsters, and we’ll look over both lists. Most of these herbs are possibly already in your cupboard (dried and ground up) or maybe in your garden, fresh and green.
For the most part, hamsters rely on grains as their main source of food. So herbs while tasty, should not be given often or in large bunches. A few leaves here and there are enough. Take into account how small the hamster is too.
If you’re interested to know what herbs are safe, you may also be interested in knowing the supply list a hamster will need throughout his life. You can find it here, with everything he’ll ever need.
Now let’s see which herbs are safe for hamsters to eat.
Herbs safe for hamsters to eat
There isn’t much info available on herbs for hamsters, but this is what we found out. There will be herbs and a couple of plants in this article, just to see the general profile hamsters go for. So here are the safe hamster herbs and plants:
- oregano sage
- wheat sprouts
- beetroot (all the plant)
- ribwort plantain
- wormwood plant
- rose petals
We’ve given Teddy (male Syrian hamster) a few leaves of parsley and he ate them right up. Didn’t even pouch them, he just ate them on the spot. Our two guinea pigs love parsley too, so I guess the flavor is mild enough for small animals.
When it comes to flowers, you’ll see hamsters are okay with the short-petal kind of flowers. Like marigold, dandelion, daisy and so on. They’ve got short flowers, and their pollen carriers (stamems if I remember anything from biology classes) are short, unlike for example lilies.
When it comes to how much and how often you can give these herbs and plants to your hamster, there is a caveat. They are indeed safe, but only if given in small amounts, and not often.
Too much can upset the hamster’s stomach. And when it comes to hamster digestive problems, those are very hard to handle since hamster stomachs are fairly different to treat than human stomachs.
You’ll find some of these herbs in the hamster’s food mix too, sometimes. Or possibly in some hamster treats.
A word on mint, though. While it is safe, it definitely needs to be given sparingly and in very small amounts. Too much mint can cause stomach problems even in humans, let alone small hamsters.
Herbs your hamster should never eat
There are such herbs, and sometimes they’re not immediately obvious. So let’s see which herbs aren’t safe for hamsters:
- bay laurel
- lemon grass
- lemon balm
- lemon verbena
- aloe vera plant skin (the gel is fine)
- most flowers (except the ones I mentioned above)
- english ivy or any ivy
There are a few herb-like veggies like garlic, onion, and leek. None of these are safe for hamsters, because they’re too acidic. The same goes for the lemon-related plants mentioned above (like lemongrass), since they release a lemon-like scent, taste, and oil. So there’s the whole ”don’t feed your hamster any citrus” thing again.
Some of these herbs are used in human cuisine, like for example cilantro and cumin are used in most variants of curry. As for aloe vera, most aloe vera plants (and there are hundreds) are unsafe to eat.
Of all the available ones, aloe barbadensis miller is the most common safe one. That being said, the skin of the plant is not good for anyone to eat. The gel, in the other hand, is safe. It’s not tasty, it’s actually bitter-sour but it has great healing properties.
Too much aloe vera can upset the stomach and give your hamster a case of diarrhea. So only give it sparingly, and remember that it oxidizes very fast (it won’t keep for more than a few hours).
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What to feed hamsters (in general)
Usually a hamster’s diet consists of grains and grain-based foods (with lots of fiber), a bit of veggies, some fruits, and some protein whenever the hamster can find a bit. Nuts and peanuts are welcome too.
That being said, most commercial hamster foods have a healthy mix of all food sources. So supplementing the hamster’s food with a few herbs is fine, but not entirely necessary.
You can either leave the food for your hamster in his food bowl, or sprinkle it in his bedding. He’ll forage for it, and it will be a good way to keep his weight under control if he has a problem.
You can read more about what hamsters can eat here, and find the general list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. You probably have some of them in your fridge or pantry already.
Generally, hamsters can eat many things humans eat. Like for example carrots, cucumbers, a bit of salad (or most leafy greens), broccoli, asparagus, boiled plain chicken, plain peanuts, a slice of apple, and so on.
You can find out much more in general hamster care with these 15 essential steps.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies are very greedy and will eat anything you give us, but there are some herbs we just can’t stand !
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.
- Can You Wake Up A Hamster? Read This FirstWhen I had my first hamster, I always had this question. Is it a good or a bad idea to wake up a hamster? The answers I found online at the time were quite wrong now that I know what a hamster routine is and the fact that they are solitary animals and not social animals. Many people, like me, want a pet hamster to be able to play with, but they quickly realize that their schedules don’t align since most hamsters are crepuscular or nocturnal. Now the question is, do you wake up your hamster to play with it, or do you let it sleep? Before getting to this topic, check my article about the hamster’s routine, especially if you don’t have a hamster and are thinking of getting one. Table of Contents Can you wake up a hamster?Should you wake up your hamster to feed it?How to gently wake a hamster if you have toCan you change your hamster routine?Waking hamster by mistakeCan hamsters sleep in the dark?Conclusion Can you wake up a hamster? You should not wake up your hamster, it is stressful for it as it is for us or for any other pet. You better think twice when you want to play with your hamster, and if this is the only reason you want to wake it up. Your hamster might be grumpy, and biting you is possible in that situation. It is rude to wake up a human to have someone to play with but at least we are social animals, so we like spending time with others, hamsters are not. So, when you wake up a hamster to play with, it is like waking up someone that doesn’t like you to hang out with. It might sound harsh what I’m saying here, but even if you see a small cute furball, you have to remember that they don’t like company, even yours. There are some hamsters that look like they enjoy playing with humans, but in reality, they are just less afraid and want to explore, not play. And this happens especially when they are active already, not when you wake them up. Before getting discouraged, it’s important to know that they are waking up from time to time, even during the day. They don’t sleep continuously, so you might get a chance to play with them. Should you wake up your hamster to feed it? You should not wake up your hamster to feed it. I’ve heard and seen some people that wake up hamsters to feed them. You can imagine how bad of an idea that is. Again, imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night to give you food or tickle you. I had this experience once with my mom, me and my wife were visiting my parents and we took a short nap in the middle of the day. The funny part is that we just ate before going to sleep so we were kind of full, you know like you are when you are visiting your parents. My mother decided to wake us up after an hour to come and eat. I told her that we just ate, and I feel hungry when I’m hungry, not sleepy. Don’t understand me wrong, I know why she woke us up. She was doing her host and mom’s job, it was the wrong moment, though. So don’t wake your hamster up for food, they can eat when they wake up naturally. However, if you have to wake up your hamster for whatever reason, trying to wake them up with a treat is not the worst idea. Here is an entire article about what treats you can safely give to your hamster. How to gently wake a hamster if you have to There are some moments when you might have to wake up your hamster. In my case, I clean his cage on the same day when I clean the house so I have to wake him up when I’m cleaning, I can’t wait too much. If you have a good reason to wake up your hamster, here is a good way of doing it. Offer your pet a special treat or food item that he loves. Tap lightly on the side of his cage and talk to him while he is waking up. You will hear rustling as he stirs, then his nose will appear as he sniffs to check out the situation. Keep the treat close by so it is easily detectable by your pet. He will slowly come out, sleepy-eyed and ears tucked back. Your pet will move towards the treat and you can then pick him up. I saw some articles recommending gently blowing on the hamster when you want to wake them up. I would not do that, but if you do, make sure you don’t blow in their face, they hate that. Can you change your hamster routine? Changing your hamster routine is stressful and unhealthy. If you love your hamster, you should not think of doing that. Before buying or adopting a hamster, you should make sure your schedule suits their routine if you want to play with them. Of course, as I said, you will have some moments when your hamster will be awake during the day, but there are not as many as at night. One thing I noticed about the hamster routine is that they seem to be way more active when I leave the house for a few days. When I come back, they are still active, even during the day. But not nearly as much as evenings and nights. It always felt to me like he was waiting for me to leave so he could throw a party, and I caught him by surprise when I came back. My guess is that hamsters feel safer when it is quieter, even during the day. Waking hamster by mistake If you worry that you will wake up your hamster unintentionally by making noises around their cage, it is important to know that they have good hearing, but they will notice you only if you are quite close to their cage. All the hamsters I had slept well even when I had music going in the room, but if I made sudden noises around their cage, they would wake up. It’s almost impossible to have a room only for the hamster cage, so this is unavoidable that you or your kids will make noises around the cage, and it might wake up the hamster every now and then. Make sure it is not too often. All my hamsters had this habit of waking up to drink some water or for a small snack during the day, I know there are humans that do this during the night, so it’s easy to understand why. I’m saying this to clarify that you are not waking up your hamster by mistake when they are active during the day, it is just their routine. Can hamsters sleep in the dark? Yes, hamsters can sleep in the dark, hamsters don’t sleep like humans, they are intermittent sleepers if that is a word, so they will have short bursts of sleep. As you might get to see your hamster active during the day, you can see a hamster sleeping during the night. You don’t have to think too much about how is the light in the room for the hamster, just turn it off when you go to sleep and you can turn the light on when you are in the room. Hamsters have poor eyesight, they don’t use it too much. However their eyes are quite sensitive, so make sure you don’t direct the light to their cage. Even direct sunlight might be harmful to their small sensitive eyes. Conclusion Before you get a hamster as a pet, it’s very important to understand their habits and routine not to be surprised. They have a very specific routine that doesn’t suit most of our lifestyles, especially if you have a regular daytime schedule at work. Waking a hamster up just to play with it is pretty rude and stressful for them, so you should avoid doing that as much as possible. I hope this article helped you and your hamster will be happier and less stressed.... 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...
- Should You Take Your Hamster Wheel Out at Night?If you own a hamster, you may already know that these animals love playing by themselves and are pretty active even when they are left alone. This is due in large part to the hamster wheel, which allows the hamster to move and play all on its own whenever it wants to. But it can be pretty annoying whenever the hamster is playing with its hamster wheel at night because of all the noise it makes. So, should you take your hamster wheel out at night? Hamster wheels should not be taken out during the night because hamsters are nocturnal animals that prefer to be active whenever it’s nighttime. They can even run up to five miles every single night. Taking the hamster wheel out at night will be sort of cruel because of how you are taking away its source of fun. Because it is never really advisable for you to take your hamster’s wheel away during the night because you are taking away its only source of fun and activity whenever it is most active, there should be alternatives on your part if you feel like hamster wheels are too noisy at night. That’s what this article is here for. Table of Contents What happens if you take your hamster’s wheel out at night?How long can a hamster go without a wheel?How to keep your hamster quiet at night1. Change the hamster’s cage to a location far away from your bed2. Soundproof the hamster’s cage3. Lubricate the wheel4. Give your hamster a larger and enclosed place to live in5. Buy a new and quieter hamster wheelBest silent spinner hamster wheel1. Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel – Best Overall2. Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel – Best for the Price What happens if you take your hamster’s wheel out at night? For those who didn’t know, hamsters are actually nocturnal animals. That means that they are mostly active during the night and are usually asleep whenever it’s the day. Being active at night also means that a lot of the physical things a hamster does to have fun is done when the sun is out. This includes using its hamster wheel. Hamster wheels are invaluable for hamsters because it is their only source of fun and activity whenever they are kept in their habitats. They mostly run on their hamster wheel at night and may even reach up to five miles at night. At one point, a hamster was able to complete 26 miles on the hamster wheel in five days while most people can’t even go five miles of running in five days. Just goes to show how important the hamster wheel is for your hamster. So, if you were to take away the hamster’s wheel at night just because you think it was making so much noise, you are basically taking away its only source of fun and activity. This can be borderline cruel on your part because you are basically going to leave your hamster without anything to do whenever it is at its most active. On top of that, your hamster may actually end up with health concerns precisely because of its inactivity. As such, it is not advisable for you to remove the hamster’s wheel at night because it is the only way for it to stay active and happy while also giving it a way to lose those extra calories. Instead, what you need to do on your part is to find alternatives that you can do so that you can sleep better at night if you find the hamster wheel noisy. How long can a hamster go without a wheel? While it is not advisable for you to take away your hamster wheel at night, there are some instances where the hamster won’t be able to use its wheel. This can happen if it outgrew its old wheel or if the wheel is broken. In such cases, it might take a while for you to replace its old wheel especially if you ordered it online or if there are no nearby stores selling hamster wheels. So, theoretically speaking, how long can a hamster go without a wheel? Well, for starters, hamsters can live and survive without a wheel but they might get bored. If it’s only a few days, your hamster will be perfectly fine without a wheel especially if you are going to eventually replace its old wheel. However, if you keep it without a wheel for weeks, then that would be concerning because of how the hamster might end up gaining a lot of weight or even develop bad habits due to how it was inactive for quite some time. That’s why you shouldn’t ever allow your hamster to go without a wheel for a long time. But a few days without a wheel will be fine especially if you are just waiting for the new wheel to arrive. How to keep your hamster quiet at night So, if you feel like your hamster is a bit too noisy during the night while it is playing with its hamster wheel, there are some alternatives that you can take. There will be some people who would suggest that you try to make your hamster diurnal and change its habits so that it would sleep at night but that would be tampering with its natural habit. Instead, try respecting your hamster’s nocturnal nature and use these alternatives instead: 1. Change the hamster’s cage to a location far away from your bed If you are keeping your hamster’s cage in your bedroom, try to change its location and place it in a room where you won’t be able to hear what your hamster is doing at night. For those who are living in small studio apartments, try keeping the hamster’s cage in a corner that’s far away from your bed. That way, you could sleep better at night without getting bothered by what the hamster is doing with its hamster wheel. 2. Soundproof the hamster’s cage If you can’t relocate the hamster’s cage to a room or a location that’s far away from where you are sleeping due to certain reasons, then a good alternative that you can do is to soundproof the hamster’s cage by insulating it. Insulating the cage by covering some of the open spaces will allow the sound to get trapped inside the cage so that all the noise that the hamster is doing while using its wheel won’t end up bothering you. A thick blanket would be enough to insulate the hamster’s cage but make sure that you only do so during the night when you are about to sleep and the hamster is wide awake and active. 3. Lubricate the wheel Because the hamster wheel is a spinning object with many different moving parts, the squeaking noises it is making may be due in large part to how some of the parts aren’t moving so wheel. As such, one way for you to make the hamster wheel a bit quieter is by lubricating it so that it will run smoother than before. 4. Give your hamster a larger and enclosed place to live in Most hamster cages are designed to be quite open, and that is why it is easy for the sound of the hamster wheel to escape. But if you want to keep the noise inside the hamster’s habitat, you may want to replace its old home with a newer and enclosed housing unit that only has a few openings to let air in. A good aquarium might be nice. That way, the noise gets trapped inside the hamster’s home and the noise that the wheel makes is minimized and kept inside the habitat. 5. Buy a new and quieter hamster wheel Believe it or not, there are some instances where the hamster wheel you chose was the reason why your pocket friend is making so much noise at night. In such a case, the best thing you can do is to buy a new and quieter hamster wheel that won’t make a ton of noise even when your hamster running five miles a night on it. Best silent spinner hamster wheel If you are in the market for a silent spinner hamster wheel, here are our choices. 1. Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel – Best Overall The Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel is one of the best silent hamster wheels you can get on the market and is actually our top choice for the best overall silent hamster wheel that money can buy. The reason is that it comes with a closed design that keeps the sound inside the wheel. Meanwhile, the build quality of this product is so amazing that it will surely last for a very long time. You can check out the Suncoast Sugar Gliders Wodent Wheel on Amazon here. 2. Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel – Best for the Price Our favorite budget choice when it comes to silent hamster wheels is the Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel, which promises to be a lot cheaper than most of the other hamster wheels the market has to offer without compromising on how silent it is. It was specifically designed to be very silent because there aren’t a lot of moving parts that would make so much noise. So, if you want to get your hands on this product, here is its page on Amazon.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Attract Mice ? Or Other Pests Like Bugs Or RatsYou might wonder if your hamster is attracting pests, like roaches or mice or even snakes. The thing is, pests don’t come out of nowhere, they have a reason for coming to your home. So is it the hamster ? We’ll delve into this today, and how to rid your home of said pests. Keep in mind that sometimes you might have to ask a professional for help. Table of Contents So do hamsters attract pests ?Why pests might show up in the first placeAgain, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend.Keeping your hamster pest-freeConsider calling a professional to deal with a large infestationA word from Teddy So do hamsters attract pests ? No, hamsters do not attract pests. Hamsters do not attract mice, rats, bugs, snakes, or any other creature that might make your guts squirm. You might think that the hamster’s scent might attract other rodents like mice or rats. This is not true. They are very different species, and will generally avoid each other. The same goes for snakes and bugs. They will not come to you because you’ve touched your pet hamster. Pests do show up when the hamster’s cage becomes dirty, especially with dirty old rotten food. If there are bits of old food on the floor too, then that’s more incentive. But it is not the hamster’s fault. At all. Why pests might show up in the first place To understand why pests might show up in a certain area, we have to know how pests work. You see, the vast majority of creatures regarded as pests – rodents and insects most commonly – are opportunistic feeders. They eat what they can, when they can, if they can get it. As such, a nice crop of corn, for example, can be decimated by a brood of mice, a murder of crows, or a whole locus infestation. But what if you’ve got no such crop ? Well, some food bags in your garage might suffice. If you live in a house and you’ve got foodstuffs stored in your garage or other places in your home, those might attract mice or roaches of not stored properly. This doesn’t mean a stray bag of cereal will make a horde of mice come running. But a bulk of 30 boxes, left in a part of the house that has access to ares that aren’t usually well traveled – like a storage unit or garage or closet or basement – can attract them. If they can pick up the scent of the food, and the food is unguarded, and left in an area that people don’t go through often, then pests can come. Another possibility, if you live in an apartment building: your drawer of snacks can be very inviting. This is more difficult though, since pests don’t come barging because you’ve left an energy bar open in that drawer. But if the building or neighborhood itself has a problem – like possibly your neighbors 2 floors down having a roach infestation – they you might too. They will choose your home over other homes because it has the most unguarded food. Again, this has nothing to do with your hamster friend. But, if you do not regularly clean the hamster’s cage and bits of food and droppings often end up on the floor, pests can show up. They sense where the home is most unkempt, and they go there, knowing no one will be in their way. For example our neighbors have a pair of parakeets. They often leave them in their cage outside in the summer, to enjoy the sun and fresh air. In that cage there’s food, and the birds outside know that. We’ve chased away sparrows trying to steal the parakeet feed more than once. The same scenario could happen with your hamster too, if you keep him in a room where people don’t go much. Sometimes, it could be about something else, and not food. Pests, especially mice and rats, are incredibly curious. and hardy. They will poke and prod and push and try every little corner of the plumbing and outside until they will get inside your home. (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 hamster pest-free Alright, now we know why pests show up. Now we can figure out how to keep the home, and the hamster’s cage pest-free. Here’s a few ideas: Regularly clean the hamster’s cage, once per week. Make sure there is no stray food or poop outside his cage. Do not keep the hamster in a side room. So rooms like basement, closet, garage, storage unit, attic are not okay to keep your living, breathing hamster in. Regularly check the areas where the plumbing comes out of the walls. Like under sinks, bathtubs, drains, etc. Make sure no food has fallen behind a counter, which might attract bugs or mice Keep up to date with your building or neighborhood’s pests infestation, see if your area is clear Make sure your trash can and bags are stored properly, not left outside overnight. For the most part, pests will show up in areas of the home where you don’t really go. So any hidden, dark corner, especially if it connects to a series of tunnels like plumbing for example. For very old houses pests can be a serious problem, since they can infest the walls themselves, and weaken the structure of the house itself. Consider calling a professional to deal with a large infestation If you’ve already got an infestation, you’ll want to get rid of the creatures. While one stray mouse or bug can be dealt with easily, and entire colony is hard to get rid of. There are certain treatments for insects, or poisons for rats, there are even humane traps. But they need to be used effectively. If you’ve got a large infestation, you’ll want to call some professionals. This is mostly because of convenience. By this I mean you can always find the correct dosage for poisons online, or how to set up certain traps as well. But the hassle and time spent on ridding your home of pests is best left to people who are meant to do just that. And you can mind your day-to-day life as usual, until things have settled. Aside from knowing that you’ve got a warranty, in case anything goes wrong. Now I have no recommendation for you, but I’m sure you will be able to look up a team of experts in your area. Do tell them that you’ve got pets, and ask if they’ve got any pet-safe treatments. A word from Teddy I hope you found out what you were looking for here. Us hammies may be rodents but we don’t attract pests, and we’re good guys on our own. We do love to chew though. If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the related articles below, to know how to care for us and keep us happy.... Read more...
- Ultimate Guide to Breeding Syrian HamstersAll Syrian hamsters that you can find on the market today have originated from the original 3 Syrian hamsters that were bred in the 1930s. Because they frequently go into heat and their pregnancy lasts for a short amount of time, Syrian hamsters are able to produce more babies than mice and rats. Syrian hamsters are solitary and they have to live alone, which means that your female hamster can’t get pregnant on accident. If you want to breed your hamsters, you will have to get involved. Syrian hamsters become sexually mature when they are 5 weeks old, but they won’t be successful parents until they are 4 months old. All-female hamsters come into heat every 4 days, which means that you can breed them every 4 days. There are some things you should think about before you decide to breed your hamster. The first thing is that most hamsters aren’t supposed to be bred. Just because your hamster is friendly, doesn’t mean that it’s a good material for breeding. Responsible breeders have to take into consideration the size of the hamster, the depth of the color, quality of markings and fur, and health along with the good temperament. Most hamsters that come from pet shops have unknown backgrounds, and you can’t know what the babies will turn out to be when you breed your hamsters. You also have to think about whether or not you have enough room to keep 20 hamsters at the same time considering that each of them has to be in its own cage. Syrian hamsters live for about 3 years, so try to think about whether you can afford to feed that many hamsters for 3 years and provide toys. Keep in mind that there will also be unexpected trips to the vet. You should also think about whether you can cope if the mother eats its babies, or if it dies during labor. If you’ve thought about all these things and you still want to breed your hamsters, keep reading to find out how to do it. Table of Contents What are the Syrian hamsters?How to breed Syrian hamsters?How often do Syrian hamsters go into heat?How do you know when your hamster is ready to mate?How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for?How many babies do Syrian hamsters have?Do hamsters kill their babies?When should I separate my Syrian hamsters?How do you take care of Syrian hamster babies?How to take care of the mother? What are the Syrian hamsters? Syrian hamsters are hamsters that originated from dry parts of Syria and Turkey. They are also known as golden hamsters. They are the most common hamsters people keep as pets because they are easy to tame and take care of and fun to play with. Most of these hamsters will have golden brown fur with a lighter belly. You can, however, find Syrian hamsters in many different colors because of the selective breeding. Syrian hamsters have been bred since the 1930s both for scientific purposes and for pet shops. They are 5 to 9 inches long and they weigh about 5 ounces. If you take good care of them you can expect them to live for 2 to 4 years. Syrian hamsters can sometimes bite, but that’s mostly people’s fault because they don’t know how to handle them. Syrian hamster will have to learn to trust you while you handle it, and that’s why you should never shake or squeeze it. In the wild, Syrian hamsters are very solitary and territorial. It is very important that you always keep your Syrian hamsters separated and that each of them has its own cage. Syrian hamsters will tolerate each other while they are still young, but as they grow up they will become more aggressive and even kill each other. You should also keep your Syrian hamster from any pets because they could get into a fight. Syrian hamsters are nocturnal, which means that they sleep during the day and are active during the night. They usually wake up in the evening. You shouldn’t keep them in your bedroom because they could wake you up while they are active. Some hamsters are able to adapt to their owner’s schedule. That being said, you should never try to pick up your hamster while it’s sleeping because it will most likely bite you. You won’t be able to form a close bond with your hamster like you would with a dog or a cat. They will sometimes come to the side of their cage if they see you and most hamsters will like sleeping in your hands. Syrian hamsters need very big cages because they need a lot of exercises. The smallest cage you can put your Syrian hamster into can be 1x2x1 feet. You can choose between a plastic cage that has a wire on the top and a glass aquarium. While the glass aquarium allows your hamster to see the outside world better, the wire cage allows better airflow. Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys in its cage. If you have more than one hamster, make sure that each hamster has its own toys, water bottles, and food bowls. You should also give your hamster wooden blocks so it has something to chew on and always place a sleeping nest in the cage. You will have to add bedding to the bottom of the cage. Make sure that it’s a few inches thick and use paper or aspen products. It is not recommended that you use cedar or pine bedding because it can cause respiratory problems for your hamster. Syrian hamster’s diet consists of nuts, seeds, and grains, and it is supplemented with some fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. Because they are omnivores, you can give them some cooked chicken, hardboiled eggs, or insects. Make sure that the supplemental food doesn’t make more than 10% of their diet. The hamster’s cage will have to be clean, otherwise, it could contract fur and ear mites. A hamster that has mites will be itchy, and it will lose hair in patches. Make sure you take your hamster to the vet if you suspect that it has mites. Another common health problem that hamsters can develop is overgrown teeth. If your Syrian hamster doesn’t have anything to chew on, it won’t be able to shorten its teeth and it will have a very hard time eating. You will have to take it to the vet so that the vet can shorten your hamster’s teeth. You can get a Syrian hamster from a pet shop or a reputable breeder or a rescue group. It’s always better to get your hamster from a breeder because you will know its background and whether it will have any health issues which is very important if you want to breed it. If you don’t care about its background and you won’t be breeding it, it’s best that you get it from a rescue group. Rescue groups and breeders take better care of their hamsters. You will pay around $20 for this hamster. When trying to pick which one to get, always observe them while they are awake. Ask the seller what’s the best time for you to visit hamsters. Some sellers will wake up their hamsters with treats during the day so you will be able to decide which one you want. You will recognize a healthy hamster because it will be active and curious. A healthy hamster will have clean fur and clear and bright eyes. Never get a hamster that has trouble breathing or a dirty bottom- How to breed Syrian hamsters? To breed your Syrian hamsters, you will need a box that is 18 inches square and about 12 inches high. You should also wear gloves in case the female doesn’t want to mate and starts attacking the male and you have to intervene. Place the female hamster and the male hamster into the box and watch how they act. If your female hamster doesn’t want to mate it will squat and try to turn the male onto its back. The female hamster will put its nose under the belly of the male hamster to try and turn it onto its back. If this happens, you should take the female hamster out of the box and try to mate them some other night. If the female hamster wants to mate, it will start running but it will “freeze” when the male hamster puts its front paws on your female hamster. If this is the first time your male hamster is breeding, it will be a bit confused but it won’t take it a long time to figure out what to do. Female hamsters that haven’t been bred before probably won’t tolerate the hamster trying to figure out what to do, while those that did breed before are more tolerant. In most cases, mating will be successful if both of your hamsters have been bred before. You should leave them to mate for about 20 to 30 minutes but keep an eye on them in case any of them loses interest. If they do, they will get aggressive and start fighting. Remove the female from the box after 20 to 30 minutes, or if you notice that either of them is losing interest. Breeding won’t always be successful and it might take a while before the male hamster gets the female hamster pregnant. Make sure that the room is warm because male hamsters don’t show any interest in mating when it’s cold. When your female hamster is pregnant, it won’t come into season so you can test to see if it is pregnant by checking if it’s in season. Female hamsters become sterile when they are 12 to 14 months old, but some of them still go into heat. If you are considering breeding your hamsters to sell the babies to pet stores or even online, you should think again. You probably won’t be able to sell them fast enough online and they will grow up, and selling pets to pet shops is almost impossible. You should also check laws about selling hamsters in your state. How often do Syrian hamsters go into heat? Female Syrian hamsters go into heat every four days, but that depends on the season. During winter, you will have to keep the lights on for over 12 hours, and heat the room that they live in to trick them into thinking that it’s the right time of the year to mate. The female hamster should be at least 13 weeks old because younger hamsters have problems in pregnancy. The age of the male hamster isn’t important, it’s only important that it’s sexually mature. How do you know when your hamster is ready to mate? Male hamsters are always ready to mate, you will have to see if your female hamster is ready to mate. We know that female hamster comes into heat about every 4 days, and some come into heat every 3 to 5 days. You will notice that your female hamster is ready to mate when it’s more active and receptive to the attention it gets from the male hamster. They will go into heat during the evening and this can last between 4 and 24 hours. Before the female comes into heat it will produce a strong musky smell. You will probably notice this more in the summer. A day after your female hamster goes into heat you will be able to notice a thick white discharge which can make its urine appear cloudy. It will usually go into heat again 3 days after you notice this. How long are Syrian hamsters pregnant for? Female hamsters are pregnant for 16 days, which is one of the shortest pregnancies in mammals. You should give the female milk every day while it’s pregnant. You can give it some runny porridge, or bread soaked in milk. You can also give it some sunflower seeds from the twelfth day of the pregnancy to help with lactation. About two days before the female is supposed to have babies, you have to clean the cage and put a lot of new bedding so that the female can make a nest. You should also remove any old and uneaten food and put new food in the cage. In most cases, the babies will be born after 6 p.m. on the 16th day of the pregnancy. Most babies will be born in the first few hours, however, some might not come until the next evening. If the babies haven’t been born by the morning of the 18th day, you should take your hamster to the vet and see whether you will induce birth. Once your hamster has given birth you should continue giving it food with milk and sunflower seeds, but you should be careful with how much milk you put in the bowl. Baby hamsters can walk and they might wander and drown in the milk. You can give some milk to the babies when they are seven days old, but make sure that the milk is in a shallow plate so they can’t drown. You might also want to sprinkle some solid food into the nest for babies to eat. How many babies do Syrian hamsters have? On average, a Syrian hamster will have 4 to 12 babies. Sometimes it can happen that your hamster has up to 20 babies. This depends on the age of your hamster. If you’re new to breeding and you’ve accidentally bred your Syrian hamster with some other breed, the babies could have birth defects. You could end up with babies that are born without eyes or teeth and they will probably die in the first two weeks of their life. This can also happen if you breed two Syrian hamsters with a recessive anophthalmia gene. Do hamsters kill their babies? If you notice that your female hamster covers the babies whenever it leaves the nest, don’t go looking at the babies. The female hamster will think that they are in danger and eat them. However, if it leaves them uncovered, you can look at them, but don’t touch them so you don’t upset them or the female hamster. You will notice that some female hamsters let their babies wander and explore the cage, while others drag their babies by the paw or tailback to the nest. It might look as if the mother is hurting them, but don’t worry, it’s not. When the babies are 14 days old, you can try to clean any wet areas of the cage, remove any old food and water and add fresh food and water, but you have to be careful not to upset the female hamster. When should I separate my Syrian hamsters? Syrian hamsters are solitary, which means that they live alone, and you will need to place each hamster into its own cage. Usually, Syrian hamsters have to be removed from the cage when they are 8 to 10 weeks old. If you don’t remove them by then, there could be some serious fighting and they could even kill each other. Sometimes they won’t fight, but living in groups causes stress for Syrian hamsters which will shorten their lifespan, so you should still separate them. It is advisable that you remove them even earlier. If your hamsters become sexually mature and you still keep them together, it could lead to babies becoming pregnant, or the mother becoming pregnant again. You can split them from their mother as early as 21 days after they were born. After you’ve split them from their mother, you should handle them every day to tame them. How do you take care of Syrian hamster babies? Hamster babies will be born naked and blind. They will weigh less than 0.07 ounces, which makes them very vulnerable. They will start nursing right away. By the time they are 4 days old, they will have doubled in weight, their ear canals will start to open and you will be able to see their fur. They will start to crawl around 6 days of age and by the time they are 10 days old, they will blindly wander around the cage and eat solid food. The eyes of the baby hamsters open when they are two weeks old and they are finally able to see. Their mother will nurse them until they are three months old and then lose interest. After four months the mother will abandon them but it will still tolerate if you keep them in the same cage for a while. But, what when your female hamster doesn’t have any motherly instincts and abandons its babies in the nest? If your female hamster abandons its babies, you will have to try and find a surrogate mother, or hand raises them, which is very difficult. If you decide to hand raise them you will have to talk to your vet and they will advise you on how to do it. You will need to get a special baby formula and a syringe to feed them and you will have to feed them every hour during the whole day and night. It would be better and easier if you got another female hamster that would raise the babies. However, this also isn’t easy because female hamsters will eat babies when they smell that those aren’t their babies. You can try cleaning baby hamsters first so they don’t smell like their mother and try to cover them in the nesting material of the other mother to try and make it smell like the other mother. You should then convince the other mother to come out of its cage by offering it a treat and place the orphan babies with its other babies. The more babies you add to the other mother’s nest, the lower the chances that it will accept them. How to take care of the mother? You can help your female hamster take care of its babies by adding some strips of toilet paper in the cage to create soft, clean bedding that it can use to make a nest. Make sure you clean the cage completely before the babies arrive. You should feed your female hamster with a high-quality hamster diet that has a lot of protein all throughout its pregnancy and until the babies are weaned. You can feed your female hamster with some hardboiled eggs, cooked chicken, cheese, and wheat germ. You should always keep an eye on its water bottle to make sure it always has fresh water. Even though Syrian hamsters like living alone, if you’ve been keeping them in groups, you should separate the mother from the rest of the hamsters. This way you will keep the babies safe and the adults won’t fight. You will upset the mother if you try to touch the babies or get your scent on them. If you absolutely have to move a baby hamster for some reason, do it with a spoon so you avoid leaving any of your scent on the baby. Make sure you’re always quiet when you’re around the cage so you don’t stress out the mother. Try to be as quick and quiet as you can while you’re cleaning the cage and bringing food and water. The mother will be very protective and it will be more aggressive than it usually is. It will try to bite you or stand on its back legs if you get too close to the babies. ... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Acorns? Is It A Good Chew Toy?We see squirrels eating acorns all the time, and since they are rodents like our pet hamster, it is quite normal to believe that a hamster can eat acorns. But do they? Can your little hamster eat acorns? This is what I will discuss in this article since acorns as hamster treats are a bit more dangerous than they might look. Stick around till the end to see some cool homemade toy ideas that you can make for your hamster to chew on or play with. I will talk about this because many people use acorns as a toy for their hamsters to chew on rather than food. Table of Contents Can hamsters eat acorns?Can a hamster open an acorn?Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin?What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat?Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid.Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play withConclusion Can hamsters eat acorns? Hamsters should not eat acorns because they can have a lot of bacteria, parasites, harmful germs, and even fungal infections. There are actually two main reasons why you should not feed your hamster acorns: The first one is the one we talked about, acorns can be bad for your hamster’s health because they are not healthy for its digestive system. Even if we wash the acorns, we might not get rid of all those problems. I’ve heard there are some people that wash and bake the acorns before giving them to the hamster. This might get rid of most of the bacteria, parasites, and so on, but you still have one more problem. Acorns are quite sharp and can hurt your hamster’s intestines or cheek pouches if they store them. Hamsters tend to keep food in their cheek pouches and keeping a sharp object is dangerous since their cheek pouches are sensitive. Here you can read more about how cheek pouches work and common problems. So, while a hamster’s diet, especially a pet one, contains mostly seeds and nuts, it is important to know that acorns are still dangerous. Can a hamster open an acorn? Yes, hamsters can open acorns and get to the seed, it can take a while, but they will eventually succeed and eating the seed can be dangerous for them. If you plan on giving your hamster a natural chew toy, you can give him a walnut rather than a acorn since the walnuts are safe to eat for your hamster and it is a better option even as a toy. You give him a chewing toy, they can chew on walnuts for way longer than they would chew on an acorn, so it is not worth the risk, and there is no reward in giving him an acorn instead. Squirrels open walnuts pretty fast, have you ever seen one doing it? They are much stronger than a little hamster, and their digestive system is also different from the hamster one, and that’s why they can eat acorns much easier. Can hamsters eat acorn squash or pumpkin? Yes, hamsters can eat acorn squash or pumpkin and also their seeds. However, you should not give a big amount of acorn squash to your hamster even if it is a good source of vitamins and minerals, they don’t need much, and it’s very easy to overestimate how much they can eat. You can give them a small piece of pumpkin, 1 inch cube should be enough. If you plan to give the seeds of an acorn squash or pumpkin to your hamster, you should rinse them and dry roast the seeds before giving them to your hamster to make sure they are safe. If you want to know more about what a hamster can eat, I have an entire article where I included a food list that touches on all the important things you need to know when you feed your hamster. Check it out here. Also, if you want to give your hamster a healthy pre-made food mix, here is one that I found on Amazon. The whole bag will last you for a couple of months or more, depending on how much you feed the hamster, and what you supplement alongside. It’s usually much safer to feed your hamster a pre-made mix than trying to come up with a homemade diet for a hamster since it’s quite hard to include all the nutrients they need and also, it’s much cheaper and less time-consuming this way. What nuts and seeds can a hamster eat? I don’t want to scare you with this article and make you believe that hamsters are more fragile than they actually are; hamsters can actually eat many nuts and seeds. When it comes to nuts, they can safely eat unsalted peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios (roasted but unsalted). I hope there is not something I forget here, but you get the idea. Here is what seeds they can safely eat: Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, sesame seeds, wheat, corn kernels, and so on. Sunflower seeds are found in almost all pre-made food mixes for a hamster since they are a great source of fats and vitamins that a hamster needs. Observation: when you feed your hamster seeds and nuts, make sure they are unsalted or unspiced since they can be dangerous for our little hamster pets. Hamsters can also eat popcorn if it is plain, so when you buy popcorn, make sure it is not salty, sweet, or spicy. Also, it should not be microwaved since it can be dangerous for hamsters, so it is better to avoid it if you are not sure how that popcorn was made. Even when you decide to feed your hamster popcorn, make sure there are just a few pieces as a treat rather than the actual food. Seeds and nuts that a hamster should avoid. Here is a list of dangerous seeds and nuts for hamsters: -Almonds. They are considered nuts like the other ones, but bitter almonds contain a cyanide compound that can be poisonous for your hamster. When it comes to toxic seeds for your hamster, the list is a bit bigger: -Apple seeds -Pear seeds -Strawberry seeds -Cherry pit Some of those contain cyanogenic acids that can be lethal for a hamster. Homemade toy ideas for a hamster to chew or play with It is very important to keep your hamster as active as possible, and chewing toys or homemade puzzles can be a great option. The main reason why hamster needs to chew on something continuously is that, like many other rodents, their teeth are growing continuously. If they don’t wear down their teeth, it can become dangerous for their health, so chewing toys are not just for fun, they have an actual purpose. As I said, many people want to give acorns to hamsters to give them something to chew on, but since we’ve established that it can be dangerous, I will give you some other great ideas. -The first one and the most obvious one is to give a walnut to your hamster. Usually, they tend to chew more if you give them a walnut compared to a store-bought chew toy because they can smell that it is actual food inside that walnut shell, so they have a reason to chew on that other than wear down their continuously growing teeth. -Cardboard boxes with food inside. Closed cardboard boxes with food inside are a great way to make your hamster exercise for its food. If you are worrying about your hamster eating cardboard, I have an entire article about that. -Toilet paper roll puzzle. Cut some strips of a regular toilet roll that are about an inch or 2.5 cm long; these will form large frills at either end of the roll. Fold one end of the roll to secure any food or treats you put inside, then fold the other end to further ensure nothing spills out. To make the puzzle more difficult for your hamster, you can make the frills longer and twist them together. Your hamster will hear and smell the food, motivating him to try to figure out how to open it. There are also store-bought ones but you need to make sure they are safe for your hamster since some of them are made from pine or cedar wood which can be dangerous for your hamster. Conclusion Unfortunately, it is not safe for hamsters to eat acorns, even if you would love to see the little hammy chewing on an acorn like a cute little squirrel. We can always swap the acorn with walnut. I can promise your hamster will have a lot of work cracking a walnut. Mine chewed for a few weeks on it, and it didn’t crack. So even if it’s not a good food source because they don’t get to eat the walnut, it is a great chew toy. I hope this article helped you, and now you know what seeds and nuts to give to your hamster and which ones you should avoid.... Read more...
- Tumors And Lumps In Hamsters – Symptoms, Treatment, And CareYou might have noticed an odd lump on your hamster recently. Is it cancerous ? Is it benign ? Can hamsters survive surgery to remove a tumor ? We’ll cover tumor and odd lumps in this article, including the options you would have when treating your hamster. This is a situation where you will have to see your hammy’s vet often. Table of Contents So can hamsters develop a tumor ?Why tumors appear in hamstersMalignant vs benign tumors in your hamsterSigns and symptoms your hamster has a tumorTreating your hamster’s tumorCommon treatments for the hamster’s tumorCaring for the hamster after surgeryA word from Teddy So can hamsters develop a tumor ? Yes, hamsters can develop tumors. Whether they’re called, lumps, or tumors, the end result is the same. A growth of extra cells, which does not serve a particular purpose and could potentially be fatal. It can affect any part of the hamster’s body, and can come about at any age. There is an increased chance that older hamsters will develop tumors, compared to young hamsters. Tumors are treatable most of the time, especially if noticed early on. It also depends on the location of the tumor. For example a growth on the outside of the leg is easy to remove, but one on the hamster’s ovary is not. Let’s see how and why tumors come about, so we know what to expect. Why tumors appear in hamsters Tumors appear in hamsters pretty much the same way as they appear in humans. Studies haven’t really pin-pointed the main reason tumors appear in humans, so knowing why they appear in hamsters is just as confusing. However we do know how the tumor forms (this is a very simplistic and sketched-out explanation). Usually the hamster’s cells have a certain programming. They renew every few days, but their programming can go awry sometimes. As such, old cells can forget to die, but new cells still appear. This leads to an overgrowth, which is not exactly healthy. It’s not like the hamster is getting a larger lung which will help him. He is growing part of the lung that does not serve a purpose, and will mess with his other internal organs. Take up room, blood, energy, and keep on expanding. The tumor can become infected sometimes, and this makes the treatment fairly difficult. These cells don’t respond as normal cells would. Malignant vs benign tumors in your hamster There are 2 types of tumors. One is benign, meaning not dangerous nor spreading, while the other is malignant meaning it is spreading to other tissues and can be life-threatening. A benign tumor is just an overgrowth of the cells, but it does not ‘move’ to another part of the body. For example a lump on the leg that just grow to a certain size and then stops, without triggering other growths somewhere else, is benign. A malignant tumor is one that spreads to other ares on or in the body, because the very cells themselves become contagious, in a way. This means that a growth on the leg can produce a growth on the belly and tail as well. The best person to decide whether your hamster’s tumor is dangerous or not is the veterinarian. He will examine the hamster, possibly run him through an ultra-sound to see if there are any odd growth on the inside too. He might also collect a small sample of the tumor, to study it under a microscope. He will come back to you shortly with a diagnosis and a treatment option. Signs and symptoms your hamster has a tumor There are very few clear, external signs of your hamster having a tumor. Aside from the tumor itself, if it is on the skin, or right under the skin and becoming a very large bulge/lump. A noticeable lump will be fleshy, but mostly hard. It will not yield like skin and muscle, and instead feel much like hardened tissue. It does not hurt, but it can press down on certain nerves or blood vessels and thus hurt your hamster. If the lump is on the skin, you will see it straight away. If it is under the skin, it will not be very clear unless you handle your hamster often, and all over. You need to get a feel for all of his little body, so you will notice where there is an extra lump. Do keep in mind that female hamsters have teats along their bellies, and the male Syrians have very large testicles hanging around their tail. Aside from all of this, there are more subtle signs your hamster has a tumor. They don’t necessarily mean there is a tumor present, since they can also indicate other health issues. But here are the most common ones: Low appetite Abnormal droppings – no droppings, bloody droppings, diarrhea (but not necessarily wet tail) Increased thirst (especially for adrenal gland tumors) Lethargy, low energy Huddling in a corner, hiding more often and not coming out too fast Possibly falling over, poor direction (if tumor is affecting inner ear) Weight gain or loss, despite feeding the hamster the same amount (also adrenal gland tumor) Abnormal grooming – much less grooming because the hamster is depleted of energy, or much more grooming since the hamster is licking at the tumor (skin-level) Irritated, grumpy disposition Fur loss, usually in patches If you see these signs, make sure to tell your veterinarian about this. It’s important for him to know everything that has changed with your hamster friend. Treating your hamster’s tumor The first step is to set up an appointment with your veterinarian. You’ll want to look for an vet who has experience with small animals, or even better a vet labeled as ”exotic”. These vets have experience with rodents, reptiles and birds and will have more knowledge on hamsters than a regular veterinarian. Once you’ve reached your vet’s office, he will look at your hamster and turn him over to see any lumps. There might be an ultra-sound exam too, to see if there are tumors on the inside. If the vet does find a tumor, and it’s easy to access, he will inspect it closely. He might take a sample of the tumor, which means an actual piece (very tiny) of the skin there. This will show him the structure of the cells, and whether they’re malignant or benign. According to what the vet will find out about the hamster, and also the location of the tumor, he will set a diagnostic. Once you know that, you can decide together on a treatment for your hamster. This can take anywhere between a few minutes to a few days, depending on the situation. Common treatments for the hamster’s tumor Usually the treatment for a tumor is to remove it. If the tumor is on the outside, like a growth on the hamster’s leg or back, it will be easy to remove. The vet himself might perform the surgery, or he might enlist a surgeon’s help. However if the tumor is inside the hamster, for example on his kidneys, it is much harder to treat. It can still be removed, but there are a few considerations to take. The first is whether the hamster, small as he is, will survive the anaesthesia and the ensuing surgery, with all the blood loss. The second is that the risks associated with surgery on a very small animal usually are very high, which might mean the hamster would have to be put down. This is only if the tumor is hindering the hamster’s life quality. Deciding to put down the hammy is not easy, and should be thought about very well. You need to take into account whether the hamster can live the rest of his normal life with this tumor. If it’s the kind of tumor that will spread and grow, then it will slowly eat the poor creature from the inside out. This is a case where putting the hamster to sleep would be the most compassionate and human treatment. However if the tumor is fairly small, does not grow in time, but is on the inside and can’t be removed without putting the hammy at risk, this is probably a case where the vet would advise letting the hamster live his life. There is a third option, which involves chemo therapy. As you know from humans that went through such a treatment, chemo is very rough. Many humans do not survive this. Imagine a small, weakened hamster going through it. You could try, however, and see how the hammy responds. Make sure you talk to your vet about all the options you’ve got, and see which you think is best. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Caring for the hamster after surgery If the tumor can be safely removed, them this means your hamster will go through surgery. After he wakes up from his anaesthesia the vet will probably keep him for a day or two, for further observations. Once you can pick up your hamster, you will also get a set of guidelines from your vet. He will let you know exactly how to care for the hamster, as well as many post-op medications he needs to take. Do keep in mind that a hamster out of surgery will have the scar still a bit red and swollen in the first few days. That’s normal until the wound heals. However make sure to check the scar daily, to see if there is an infection. Sometimes, depending on the conditions the hamster is in after the surgery, an infection might occur. This will be noticeable by continued swelling, and pus. The wound will not close properly and will ooze a white-yellow liquid, and might smell bad as well. If this is the case, rush your hamster friend to the vet immediately. Also keep in mind that a hamster who was just under surgery will probably not want to be handled for a few days. He is tired, and sore, and he will possibly try to reach the scar to lick at it and clean it. So resist the temptation to pick up your hamster the first few days after the surgery. As always, the room he lives in must be warm enough, not drafty, and he must be separated from cage mates during his recovery. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know us hammies don’t normally get sick, but when we do we need your help. A tumor is definitely something we can’t figure out on our own. 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...
- Why Is My Hamster’s Water Bottle Leaking? 4 Main ReasonsA hamster water bottle leaking is annoying, but many times is quite easy to solve the problem since there are only a few things you can check. Most water bottles have five elements: the tube where you put the water, the lid, a drinking metal tube with a metal ball, a gasket, and a clip to be attached by the cage. Before getting to the article is important to know that one or two drips from the water bottle when you just filled it are fine. It’s usually what was on the tube since you move it quite a lot. Table of Contents 4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle1. Missing or damaged casket2. Loose lid3. The ball bearing4. Crack in the bottleCan you use a water bowl?Types of water bottlesHow much water does a hamster drink?How often to change the water?How to clean a water bottle?Conclusion 4 Reasons for a leaky water bottle Those are the four main reasons for a leaky water bottle. 1. Missing or damaged casket As with all things that have a gasket, this is the most common reason for a leaking water bottle. The good part is that it can be fixed, the bad part is that it can be quite hard to find a gasket that suits your water bottle. Also, considering the time and money spent to find a gasket might not be worth it since the water bottle itself is quite cheap. You might find one online, and if you have free shipping, it can be a solution, but if you have to pay shipping costs, it will probably cost more than a new water bottle. So make sure you check the bottle to have all the parts when you buy it. 2. Loose lid A loose lid is more common, but it’s usually not the fault of the water bottle itself, but rather you didn’t close it tight enough. So this is not a problem that a water bottle has but rather negligence on your part. As you can imagine, this is quite easy to fix. All you have to do to fix a loose lid is to open it, fill the bottle with water if needed, and close it tightly. I know from my water bottle that sometimes it doesn’t align perfectly, and I have to do it again. Make sure you check if the bottle is leaky before attaching it to the cage. 3. The ball bearing Most water bottles have one or more ball bearings that create a vacuum and stop the water from leaking uncontrollably. They should not drip if they are in the right position, but a few things can displace the small metal balls. If you don’t wash the bottle regularly, it might accumulate debris that can change the ball’s position and make the bottle leak. We will talk about how to clean water bottles later in the article. If the bottle is clean, but the balls are still displaced, all you have to do is to take the lid out and shake it a bit. 4. Crack in the bottle This one is quite obvious, and hard to fix. If you see a crack in your hamster water bottle, your best option is to change it with a new one or to return it to where you bought it if it’s new. There might be a few temporary solutions, but it is not worth the time and effort. You don’t know when it will crack again if you don’t fix it well, and you might not be home for a few days, which can put your small hamster in danger. Here is an article about how much time a hamster can live without food or water. One extra tip, this is not for a water bottle that is leaking, but it’s similar. I noticed that my current hamster, while digging in the bedding, moved it underneath the water bottle and it touched the ball bearing, essentially letting water run constantly and soaking all the bedding. So it wasn’t the bottle’s fault, but it can be quite dangerous for your hamster, especially if you leave the house for a few days. So make sure you don’t add too much bedding in the area where the water bottle is to avoid this situation. This is especially true if your hamster loves to dig and thus move things around. Can you use a water bowl? You should not use a water bowl for your hamster, despite many people recommending it. It can be quite dangerous for you little furballs since they should never get wet. Hamsters have some natural oils in their fur and getting wet might get rid of those oils, which protects them from sudden temperature shifts. The worst part is that those oils do not regenerate, so once they are washed from the hamster’s fur, they will not have them anymore. Hamsters are very active and don’t have good eyesight, so we can only imagine that they will get into the bowl or spill it over them sooner or later. They are also not very careful walkers, so their bowl would often get filled with debris like seeds, poop, and bedding, making the water essentially undrinkable. It bothers me when I see people recommending water bowls for hamsters without knowing those facts. A water bowl might be an option only if your hamster doesn’t want to drink from the bottle, but you should be careful with how much water you put into the bowl in this case. If you do want to use a bowl, make sure you buy a small bowl and don’t fill it up in case your hamster gets into the bowl not to get wet more than the paws. Types of water bottles There are many models/designs for water bottles but as far as types, there are only two. The regular water bottle that you attach to the cage, and only the metal tube gets inside the cage, which is the most popular one and, in my opinion, the most effective since your hamster doesn’t get to chew on the bottle. I always used this type since it’s the easiest to get out and change the water without bothering your hamster too much. Here you can find a good one on amazon: The second type comes with a stand, and you place them inside the cage. Those are the best ones if your cage doesn’t allow you to place the bottle on the bars or if you have a glass tank, which can be a great house for your hamster, but it will not allow you to use a regular water bottle, except this one from amazon which can work but I haven’t tried it. But if you are looking for a type that stays in the cage, this one might be the best for you: How much water does a hamster drink? A hamster will drink about 10ml water per 100g body weight. A Syrian hamster weighs between 85 and 150 grams, meaning a maximum of 15ml water per day should be enough. So when you buy a bottle, you should aim for a big enough bottle to make sure your hamster has enough water in case you leave the house for a few days (so something like 100 ml). But make sure the tube is not large, do not get a bottle fit for a guinea pig or rabbit ! To ensure your hamster bottle is working and your hamster is actually drinking water, you should see a bubble that goes up in the tube when the hamster is actively drinking water. How often to change the water? There is no rule that says how often you should change the water of your hamster, usually it should be good until it empties if the bottle is not way too big. It depends more on the water quality than anything else, so if the water is good, you should not worry about how often to change the water in the bottle. When it comes to what temperature the water should be, room temperature or cold but not very cold water is good. How to clean a water bottle? I’ve said that I will come back and talk about how to clean the water bottle, so here we are. Many people recommend using disinfectants or homemade ones with bleach and so on, but there is a huge risk if you don’t rinse the water bottle thoroughly after using bleach or any soap or disinfectant. This is my 6th year of having a hamster pet, and the first two died of old age so they were pretty healthy, I would say, but I never used anything else other than hot water to clean their water bottles. It is safer this way, you can unscrew the tube from the water bottle and rinse it with hot water, then do the same with the bottle itself. Afterward, wrap a paper towel on the end of a spoon and clean the inside of the bottle with that paper towel. Rinse them with hot water one more time, and everything should be clean and ready to use again. Conclusion A leaking hamster bottle is annoying, but now you know where to check and how to fix it, or if the bottle is cracked, at least you know that you should buy a new one without trying to fix it. And again, do not use a water bowl for your hamster only when they don’t want to drink from the water bottle.... Read more...
- Buyer’s Guide – Choosing The Best Hamster Exercise WheelWhen your first get your hamster home, you probably have the small wheel that comes with the cage. Then you find out that wheel’s not good enough, and you need to find a bigger, better one. But how big ? How do you know which is best ? This is something I went through as well when I got Teddy, and I’ll tell you how I found a great wheel for him. Table of Contents So how do you choose a good exercise wheel for your hamster ?How to introduce a hamster to his running wheelHow to care for a hamster running wheelHow to clean a hamster running wheelWhat to do if your hamster does not use his running wheelDo hamsters even need exercise wheels ?A good hamster exercise wheel recommendationDangers of not exercising your hamsterPrecautions when using a hamster exercise wheelHow to tell when your hamster is comfortable in his exercise wheelA word from Teddy So how do you choose a good exercise wheel for your hamster ? There are a few factors involved, and we’ll go through all of them. 1. The size of the wheel is very important. That depends on the size of your hamster. A large hamster, like a Syrian hamster, will need a minimum of 8 inches (20 cm) wheel. Smaller breeds like dwarf and Campbell hamsters need a minimum of 5.5 inches (14 cm). But make sure you go above the minimum requirement. The width of the running band is a minimum of 2.5 inch (6 cm) to fit the hamster properly, for all species. 2. The type of the wheel. Full, weighted, plastic wheels are better for your hamster. The metal ones are the next best thing, as long as the hamster has no way of hurting himself. 3. Mounted vs grounded wheels. Both are good options, but it depends on the type of cage you have. If you have no way to mount the wheel, then you’ll need to go for a grounded one. 4. Noise level. It’s important to get a silent hamster wheel, so be sure to check that when you get the wheel. Or to find some ways to make sure the wheel can be silent. 5. The hamster’s back should always be straight. If your hammy has his back arched back when he uses his wheel, then it is too small for him. Syrian hamsters have a big problem with this, since most commercial wheels are too small for them. These are the basics. Teddy and I will walk your through how to properly use a hamster wheel, how to care for it, and precautions. How to introduce a hamster to his running wheel A hamster is a very curious creature, and he will inspect anything in his cage that is new. So when you place your hamster’s new wheel in his c age, put a treat in it. The treat will draw the hamster towards the wheel, and he’ll notice that the wheel moves. It might take him a few tries to figure it out, but he will. Once your hamster learns that the wheel moves, and is for running, he will start using it. This was the case with my Teddy, a full grown Syrian hamster. When he was a few weeks old, he had a small, plastic wheel that was mounted on the side of the cage. It was too small for him, even as a small hamster. So I went and got him a bigger one, a 7 inch/18 cm wheel, which he used until he grew too big for that one too. Then I got him a larger, 8.5 inch/21.5 cm one. But Teddy took to his wheel like a fish to water. So I’m pretty sure your hammy will jump right into his wheel once he finds it. It might take him a few minutes to figure it out, or even a few days. But he will eventually get there. There are however a few hamsters that don’t use their wheel, they just walk through it. But we’ll cover that in a different part of the article. The cage you have plays an important role here. If you have no way to attach the wheel to the side of the cage, you will need a standing wheel. To find out more about the different kinds of cages and what your hamster needs from his cage, check out my article here. How to care for a hamster running wheel Caring for a running wheel for your hamster is not going to be difficult, but some things need to be kept in mind. For example the metal wheels will start screeching after a while, and will need regular oiling in order to be silent. That means taking the wheel apart, wiping off the old oil, and putting on a very small amount of fresh oil. You can use almost any kind of oil, but remember to use just a small amount. Stay away from very fragrant oils, like olive oil, since your hamster might be tempted to lick it off the wheel. First hand experience here, had to take the wheel out. Plastic, full wheels with guards on need you to take them apart, and some may require a screwdriver. Whenever you clean one of those, best to leave them to dry very well before putting them back. Plastic wheels don’t need any regular upkeep. If you’ve got a grounded wheel, make sure to not get it all the way down to the bottom of the cage. Leave a layer of bedding just under it, to make as little noise as possible. This is also make sure the wheel doesn’t move around the cage much, and won’t bang into anything it shouldn’t. The hamster will bite into and chew everything, including his exercise wheel. So do not mind the bite marks on the wheel. If you’ve got a metal one, the paint on it is safe for hamsters as well. Teddy’s been chewing on his since forever and he is fine. How to clean a hamster running wheel The solution to use when cleaning the wheel itself is very hot water, with just a bit of soap. A very small amount of soap is needed, and must be very well rinsed. As I said above, you’ll need to take the wheel apart, and clean each surface thoroughly. Make sure that when you finish cleaning the hamster’s exercise wheel, you allow it to dry completely. If you need to, you can use a blow dryer on a low setting. As for how often to clean the hamster’s exercise wheel, twice a year is enough. The hamster himself is a very clean creature, so he won’t be soiling the wheel by himself too often. What to do if your hamster does not use his running wheel Let’s say your hammy knows he has a wheel, he knows it moves, but he just doesn’t use it. Maybe he never did use it. Maybe he just recently stopped using it. Let’s see what you can try. Start by placing a treat inside the wheel, to draw your hamster in. Continue doing this for a few time throughout the day, for a couple of days. Your hammy might need to re-learn or rediscover his wheel. Now, after your hammy is back in his wheel, what if he just sits in it ? Try moving the wheel very gently. Do not move the wheel suddenly, but be slow and deliberate about it. Your hamster will most likely follow along, and start walking in the exercise wheel. Keep doing this for a few seconds, and then let him move the wheel by himself. If he doesn’t, give him more time. Repeat this method for a couple of days, and if your hammy still won’t use the wheel, it’s best to stop insisting. Some hamsters just aren’t runners. However, you should be very careful about something. When you see your hamster not walking properly, or limping a bit when he’s in his wheel, contact your vet. Your hamster could be avoiding the wheel because one of his paws hurt. Especially if he stopped just recently. And finally, some hamsters stop using their wheel when they get older. The older the hamster, the bigger the chances are that he’ll stop running. It could be that they’re more comfy, they feel no threat, or they’ve just become lazy. The point is that they can sometimes stop using it at all. And there’s not much we can do about that. Do hamsters even need exercise wheels ? Yes, hamsters need an exercise wheel. In the wild hamsters are very active, fidgety creatures. They’re used to running around, darting here and hiding there. They can’t and won’t sit still for long. How I wish I knew this before I got Teddy. I knew nothing of hamsters, I only knew they were cute and fluffy. But I never imagined he’d be a dynamo. Turns out not all hamsters are cuddly and like to be held, some are more energetic and want to be everywhere. Still, Teddy is the cutest thing, and I’m glad I got an excited and energetic hamster. He makes for a funny pet, and pulls the wildest stunts. Now, imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t get Teddy an exercise wheel. He’d be all over the place, and I’d be worrying about what to do. But since Teddy does have a wheel, he expends a lot of his energy on that wheel. Hamsters need to have someplace to be active, like a running wheel or an exercise ball, or toys around their cage. The exercise/running wheel allows your hammy to do what he’d normally do in the wild. Usually a hamster can cover up to 5.5 miles/ 9 km in one night ! This is looking for food, running from predators, finding new territory, and being curious in general. Imagine your hammy with all that energy and no wheel to burn it all on. A good hamster exercise wheel recommendation A good hamster wheel is for life. It’s best to get your hammy his wheel since he is a baby, and let him grow into it. If you’ve got a Syrian hamster like me, then you’ll know they can grow pretty big. The absolute minimum for a Syrian hamster is a 8 inch/20 cm wheel, but it’s important to go past that minimum since your hammy needs a bit more space than that, and he might grow very large. This applies to dwarf hamsters as well, since they need a fair amount of space themselves. So this is my recommendation, and a very good wheel as far as I can tell. This is not the wheel I have for my Teddy, since these are not available in my are, and do not ship here either. However they are just above the wheel I have for Teddy. As far as I’ve seen, it’s a silent wheel, and it stays put quite well. It has a weighted bottom, so it will stay where you put it. This means it will be heavier than your standard wheel, but that’s just the bottom part, the wheel itself is easy to move by the hamster. A hamster exercise wheel is going to last him his entire life, so don’t skimp out on it. It’s just as vital as the size of the cage he lives in, and what food you feed your hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon for the exercise wheel here. Dangers of not exercising your hamster There are a few problems that come us when you’re not exercising your hamster, let’s talk about that. If your hamster has so much energy to spend, but nowhere to go, that’s a problem. First, hamster can get anxiety and depression out of being cooped up for long periods of time with no activity. Hamsters bore easily, and need a lot of stimulation. Exercise gives them exactly that, so make sure you get your hamster a lot of exercise. Second, in lack of anything else to do, your hamster will scale the cage walls, and try to escape. Partly out of boredom, and partly out of curiosity. Third, he might develop a cage biting habit. If your hamster feel closed off, and wants to escape or find something to do, he might end up chewing on his cage bars. While that may sound like an innocent thing to do, it’s not. It hurts his teeth, since the metal is too hard for them and is not an okay material to chew on. Aside from that, it’s incredibly loud and it woke me up more than once. So make sure you keep your hamster well exercised, whether it is with a hamster wheel, or exercise ball. Giving your hamster lots of toys to play with will also keep him active, even if he’s not running. (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.) Precautions when using a hamster exercise wheel When I first put Teddy in his wheel, I didn’t know about all of these. I learned in time, and I’m giving you these pointers to make sure you have all the info you need. The wheel needs to have enough space to spin properly. That means that it needs to have just a bit of space between itself and the bedding. Otherwise the wheel won’t spin, and the bedding will go flying everywhere. Best to prevent that by keeping some space. Sometimes, if you’re using a simple metal wheel, the metal bars will become misaligned. This can hurt the hamster, since he can get hit by those bars. Best to check them every day, to see if they get a bit wonky. This happened with my Teddy, and I had to move the bars a bit. They may be metal, but they’re still malleable, so if your hamster’s hitting the bars, you should be able to twist them just a bit. The best way to check this is by looking at the bars themselves. The ones Teddy kept hitting had a bit of the natural oil that builds up on Teddy’s fur, and dirt on the side. This was where it kept brushing up against the hamster, and that’s how I figured that I had to twist the bars a bit. The plastic wheels don’t have this problem, but they have their own. For example flying saucer wheels require much more space inside the hamster’s cage than a simple vertical wheel, so keep that in mind as well. Also the hamster can suddenly ‘fly’ off that wheel if he stops so it can be a bit dangerous for him And finally, be sure that whatever kind of wheel you get, the hamster can’t catch his feet in it. For example some metal and plastic wheels have a very poorly though out spacing between the bars, and the hamster can easily stick a whole foot inside. If your have 2 hamsters, get them 2 wheels. This way your will avoid any possible injuries from one hamster getting in the wheel while another is running. Or out of the wheel. You’ve probably seen videos of hamsters flying out of a running wheel because their cage mate was still running. Avoid that. How to tell when your hamster is comfortable in his exercise wheel The hammy should feel a natural call to run in his wheel. Hamsters are meant to run, and they enjoy every kind of activity that lets them do that. But there are a few ways to tell if your hamster is in pain or has a problem with his running wheel, and it’s important to know them. This way you can prevent larger problems like fur loss, injury or even worse. The hamster’s back is straight, and not arched back. As with the exercise ball, the wheel is meant to be a running simulator and hamsters run with their back straight, or even a bit hunched. The hamster is able to run in a straight line. This means that the bars on the wheel are properly aligned, and there is no tilting of the wheel. If there is any tilting, the hamster might get injured. He has enough space to run on. By this I mean he has enough ‘lane’ to run in, and his running band is at least 2.5 inches/6 cm wide. Otherwise the hammy will hit his rear end on the sides of the wheel. The hamster can keep up a consistent run. He does not have to stop often to readjust his position. This won’t really happen when he knows you’re there, since you will distract him. Watch your hamster from a distance to get a clear observation. A word from Teddy You know everything there is to know about us hammies now ! Running is a large part of our lives, and you know how much we run, and how big our wheel needs to be. I know it might sound like a lot of space, but it will matter a lot to your hamster friend if he has a lot of space to run in. If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find great info like what we can and can not eat, and even what kind of cage we need.... Read more...
- 4 Differences Between Syrian And European HamsterAre you looking for the perfect hamster pet ? Then perhaps you’ve heard there are several species, and two of the best known are European and Syrian hamster. While they do look similar, one of them is completely unsuited to be a pet, even if it is a cute furball like the other one. I’ve decided to write this article because there are a lot of people confusing those two when they see images of hamsters, which is understandable since they look so similar. Let’s take a look at their key differences and why they matter. Table of Contents What are Syrian hamsters ?What are European Hamsters ?1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamsterCan you keep a European hamster as a pet ?Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ?Conclusion What are Syrian hamsters ? Syrian hamsters are a type of rodent (family Cricetidae, species Mesocricetus auratus), that is native to northern Syria and southern Turkey. Its habitat in the wild is greatly reduced and it is now classed as an endangered species (in the wild). In captivity however, these are by far the most popular hamster pets and are not endangered at all (as pets). The captive Syrian hamsters you see (such as in pet shops) are the result of hundreds of generations of selective breeding, which brought about better traits (more docile, less aggressive) and a high variety of fur colors and markings. If you were to pick up a random wild Syrian hamster, it’d be very different from a pet. I’ve had three hamsters so far, one Syrian (Teddy, he’s mentioned often on this site), and then Eggwhite (a white Syrian) after Teddy died of old age, and now Rocket after Eggwhite died of old age as well. Rocket is a dwarf hamster, specifically a Siberian hamster (light grey with white, fluffy paws and a dark stripe down her back). I can attest that Eggwhite and Teddy were both very tame compared to Rocket, with Eggwhite the tamest of the bunch. What are European Hamsters ? European hamsters are similar to Syrian hamsters, in that they’re also a rodent in the family Cricetidae, species Cricetus Cricetus. These hamsters are native to a wide habitat ranging from Central and East Europe to Russia and Central Asia. For reference, Syrian hamsters typically live far below where European hamsters live. European hamsters are considered a critically endangered species, partly due to losing their habitat to agriculture, and partly because they are viewed as pests by farmers. I’ve seen a European hamster personally once. It was in a local park in my city, and I saw it going in and out of its burrow at the root of a big tree. I took a few photos but they are very zoomed in because once I got close the hamster scampered into its home. Not let’s do a more thorough comparison of European and Syrian hamsters. 1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters The first and biggest difference between European and Syrian hamsters is their size. European hamsters are very large, for a hamster. They’re the size of an adult guinea pig, while adult Syrian hamsters are a bit smaller than your computer mouse. This difference in size should be your biggest tip-off of what you’re looking at. A young European hamster will be the size of an adult Syrian hamster, and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever find one in a pet shop. And because of this difference, if you were to try and keep a European hamster as a pet you’d need a far larger cage with very strong wires. More than you’d need if you had a Syrian hamster, who also needs a large cage to begin with. See here about how big or small their cage needs to be. 2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot Both Syrian hamsters and European hamsters have been kept in laboratories to be studied, and also be used for various studies. One thing scientists have noted: European hamsters do not get more docile or tame, even on their second or third generation in captivity. This is opposed to Syrian hamsters, who tend to be the most docile and less aggressive of any hamster species. It is true that the vast majority of Syrian hamsters you find for sale are all descended from a single female and her offspring, back in 1930. It’s possible that the one female had a gene that made her more docile, and her offspring inherited that gene as well, allowing for more and more docile hamsters as time went on. Even so, it’s clear that European hamsters would make a very aggressive pet, and definitely not something suitable for children or possibly even adults. 3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange There is a big difference in color when it comes to European and Syrian hamsters. European hamsters share a similar template with the Syrian’s classic look: white feet and hands, and white spots on the cheeks and mouth. But where Syrian hamsters are a golden orange color, European hamsters are a dark brown-reddish color. Syrian hamsters have been bred for so many generations that their potential for different coats has been discovered. You can get Syrians in any color you can think of, with or without spots, without white feet or hands, and even with varying lengths of fur. The original gold and white fur were the best ones for blending into their surroundings, but it wasn’t the only one they were capable of. European hamsters come in just one style, the one most suited to their environment. If they were to be bred for several generations you’d probably see a change in their color patterns as well. 4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamster If there’s one thing European and Syrian hamsters absolutely share, it’s their dislike of other hamsters. All hamsters are territorial and should never be kept in the same pen as another hamster. Syrian and European hamsters can and will attack their siblings in an attempt to claim a territory for their own. The result is often deadly so I recommend you don’t put two hamsters in the same cage ever, regardless of their species. Not even if they grew up together. Can you keep a European hamster as a pet ? No, European hamsters cannot be kept as pets. They are very difficult to spot in the wild, let alone capture. Few were captured and any attempts at taming them (and their offspring) have failed. Their much larger size (about as big as an adult guinea pig) makes any potential bite or scratch much more dangerous than one from a Syrian hamster (much smaller). That’s very unfortunate since they are super cute furballs and they might be as funny as a Syrian hamster, but just bigger. You would need a huge cage for them since even regular hamsters require quite big cages to be able to do all their workout routine, they are super active and need space. Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ? Syrian hamsters make good pets only for those who have the patience to get to know their pet, understand and respect their habits, and are gentle enough when handling them. They are mostly active at night but will occasionally come out during the day too. They tend to be shy, and you can’t play with them as you would with a puppy. You can hold a Syrian hamster, but not for very long. They have a bit of patience, the most out of all hamster species, but they will not sit in one place for more than a few seconds. If it’s in your hands it will want to wiggle out and keep moving. If they get frustrated they can bite in an attempt to escape your hands. However, even if you are unlucky and you get one hamster that is not calm or willing to play, one extra benefit of pet hamsters are that they are incredibly funny and cute, so you will not get bored even if you don’t get to touch the little furball too much. Here is one of my articles where I listed 12 reasons why hamsters can be super cute and funny. No hamster is a good pet for a young child (under 9 years old), not even a Syrian hamster. If you’re looking for a companion, something to cuddle, take on walks, and even play with, a hamster is not the answer. Conclusion Syrian and European hamsters are similar enough to confuse them sometimes, but they have quite different personalities. Despite this, neither of them likes sharing their space with another individual, so they should be kept separate. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between a Syrian and a European hamster, for an untrained eye they are not as noticeable so it’s easy to confuse them, however you will never get to see a European hamster at your pet shop, so if you think of buying a hamster you will have to get a Syrian hamster, which is the best choice anyway. If you plan to buy a hamster, here is an article that will help you understand the real cost of owning a hamster, the cage is the most expensive thing you will ever buy for the hamster but the hamster itself should not cost too much.... Read more...