Why You Should Trim Your Hamster’s Nails, And How To Do It

If you’ve got a hamster then you’ve probably met his sharp claws, or at least seen them. If he’s even climbed on you, you’ve also felt them. But some hamsters do get overgrown nails,  and it’s necessary to keep them trimmed to avoid injury to you or to the hamster.

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So do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?

Yes, but ONLY in cases of overgrown nails. This is not something you should do regularly, like with your own human nails. 

Hamsters usually trim their nails by climbing, grooming, digging, foraging. 9 of out 10 hamsters don’t need help with their nails.

But some hammies do, especially very old hamsters or the hamsters that don’t have a few rugged surfaces to blunt their nails on.

This is where you, as a responsible hamster owner, will come in and help the hamster take care of himself. I’ll help you with how to trim the hamster’s nails, and how to prevent overgrown nails in the first place.

This article is ONLY for cutting your hamster’s overgrown nails. Leave healthy nails alone. They should have a bit of length to them, because the hamster uses them for climbing and getting a grip.

When do hamsters need their nails trimmed ?

Only when the hamster’s nails have become overgrown. You’ll notice they’re much too long, and they’re starting to curve in on themselves.

They might break at some point, and they can and do fall off. I saw a couple of Teddy’s nails come off when they were too long and I didn’t notice in time to cut them down.

The overgrown nails will turn a nasty yellow color, and if you look very closely you’ll see lighter/whitish spots or lines where they’re cracked or broken.

Hamsters usually wear down their nails by the usual things they do. Digging a tunnel into the earth, making their nest, foraging for food, running around, grooming themselves, climbing on op of rocks, and so on.

A pet hamster doesn’t do all of that, because he’s not in his usual habitat. The ones he does do, are on softer material like wood shavings and paper bedding. This means that sometimes, some hamsters get overgrown nails. That can be fixed.

Why you should care about your hamster’s nails

You might ask why you should consider trimming your hamster’s nails. After all, no one trims them in the wild. That’s true, no one does that for wild hamsters.

But wild hamsters don’t get overgrown nails, because they have a lot of hard surfaces to wear them down on. This means that your pet hamster will need your help for several reasons.

First an overgrown nail will curve in on itself and become painful for the hamster. In some extreme cases the nail can start growing into the hamster’s paw, curving back towards his paw. This will lead to pain, infection, and the hamster’s feet won’t be able to do their job.

Second, nails too long will make grooming painful for the hamster. When he grooms, he also grabs onto his fur and hold it in place to clean it. With nails too long, that starts to hurt, and even walking becomes a hassle since he can’t step normally.

Third, overgrown nails, if left unattended will fall off. But this is never a pleasant ans simple process. They fall off because the motion of the hamster’s paws when he goes about his business weakens the nails near the quick. So they end up bending over backwards, for lack of a better term.

The nail will not simply fall off, it will hang in there for a couple of days, until the new nail grows back. This is both painful and awkward for the hamster, because using his paws won’t be easy at all.

These are all things that can be avoided. Not all hamsters get overgrown nails.

How to trim overgrown hamster nails

Trimming your hamster’s nails will not be easy, at all. Hamsters are notorious for not staying put, and squirming. A hammy kept in one place so you can clip his nails definitely won’t cooperate easily.

Trimming them at home

Arm yourself with patience, and don’t expect to finish everything in one day. Your hamster should first of all be comfortable with being held. If he’s not, read this guide on taming your hamster and work on getting him comfy with you.

Once he’s okay with being held, try and find a position for him that’s okay for both of you. Some hamsters will be okay with being on their backs, some will not.

One position would be holding the hamster’s back against your stomach or chest, and holding one of his paws with your finger. Another could be the hamster just being on all 4 and you holding one of his paws.

If you think you need help, ask a friend to hole the hamster while you trim the nails.

Do expect fidgeting, and do expect squirming, maybe even a few protesting sounds. No hamster likes being held for this.

Also be aware that even if your hamster might get relaxed enough to let you hold him, the sound of the nail being clipped can spook him. So be prepared for anything.

Inspect the hamster’s nails before trimming

When you do cut the hamster’s nail, look for the quick. You’ll need very good lighting for this, or even some sunlight. Make sure the hamster’s eyes aren’t in the bright light, or the sunlight, as they’re very sensitive to that.

You’ll notice the hamster’s nails are kind of transparent. Not completely, they will have a whitish/yellowish tint to them and their very edges might be lighter in color.

But look at where the nail starts, from the finger. You’ll notice a pinkish, cloudy area. Its very small, and very short, about the size of a couple of grains of sand.

While very small, that little pink cloudy part is crucial. Do not cut into it. It has lots of blood vessels, and cutting into it is like cutting into the neat right under your nail. Actually, they’re the exact same area, just that our nails have a different shape from hamster nails.

So when you cut your hamster’s nails, make sure you give the quick (pink part) a wide berth. When you cut the nail part, the translucent part of the nail, make sure you leave at least as much nail as the pink part.

That means if there are 2 grains of sand of quick, then you should leave 2 grains of sand of transparent nail on your hamster. It might be hard to do, if your hamster isn’t used to this kind of operation. And he probably isn’t so don’t be surprised if you can’t manage to get all of his nails clipped in one day.

Giving your hamster a treat after each nail successfully clipped is going to help him learn that everything’s okay, he’s safe, and you’re not hurting him.

Seeing a vet for professional help

Getting your hamster to a veterinarian to help trim his nails is probably the best decision. I say this only because finding the quick, and keeping the hamster still so you don’t cut into the quick are 2 hard things to do.

A vet will have more experience with clipping a pet’s nails, and he will notice the quick very easily. Also, in the case of a bleeding accident, he will have a solution to stop the bleeding and disinfect everything.

(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.)

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Preventing overgrown hamster nails

Preventing is always much easier than treating. This is true for everything, and it’s also true for keeping your hamster’s nails filed down.

But for this we need to look at why hamster nails can become overgrown in the first place. A hamster’s nails always grow, much like our human nails. Usually hamsters wear them down with their day-to-day activities in the wild.

But in their warm, safe cages this doesn’t happen as much.

Pet hamsters have fairly soft beddings, and they don’t get to dig into the earth a complex series of tunnels. This means the hamster’s nails have not very much to hit against. Wood shavings or paper bedding are much too soft for hamster nails, and they’re loose and move around.

The objects around the cage will help wear the nails down, like the hideout or a couple of toys, but that’s it. So you will need to provide your hamster with a few hard, rugged surfaces to walk over or climb onto.

For example a few flat stones from your garden (rinsed and dried, of course) arranged around his cage are going to help. each time he steps over those stones, his nails will wear down a little bit.

And if you place the stones in many places, he will step on them often. For example placing them right around the food bowl will make sure your hamster  walks over them to get to his food.

Home exercise for your hamster’s nails

Another idea, aside from the flat rocks is an emery board. That’s the kind of material used for filing nails, and even in jewelry making. Make sure your get the smallest sized grit, so you do not hurt your hamster’s paws.

Get a board big and wide enough so the hamster has room on it. You can also find emery paper and tape it to a small board.

Place one of your hamster’s favorite treats at one end and put the hamster on the other end. Slowly start tilting the board, keeping it at an angle, with the treat on top.

The hamster will dig his nails into the board to get more stability and a better grip. This will file down his nails, and in the end you’ll level the board again so he can get his treat.

Or, you can keep the board perfectly horizontal, and only have a treat tied to a string or on the end of a stick. This is teasing, yes, but the hamster does get the treat in the end. Simply make him walk over the board a few times, and let him have his treat.

Always check to see if his paws are okay. If you get grit small enough, he should be fine.

You can try this exercise every 2-3 weeks, to make sure your hamster keeps his nails short.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies usually take good care of our bodies, so our nails are usually pretty trim. It’s just that some of us need a little help from time to time.

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.

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Zalalova 10pack Hamster Chew Toys If you want to buy a lot of toys for your hamster that will allow him to play carefree, this Zalalova 10 pack of hamsters chew toys may be the right choice for you. In this set, you will get bark watermelon balls, bell roller, dumbbell, unicycle, squared molar block with rope, bell swing, rattan ball, climbing ladder, seesaw, and molar string. All toys are made of high-quality wood that is made just for play. Every toy is polished many times to have smooth corners and a surface to ensure that the hamster will not be injured during play. Natural wood allows all toys to have a natural taste without any chemical treatments. You can attach some of the toys, such as a swing, to the ceiling of the cage with a hook, so it is very easy to install. Simply place the other toys on the ground of your hamster’s cage. A variety of toys will allow him to find the one he likes and the one that suits him best. 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The maze has two entrances and 6 rooms. All rooms and roof platforms are easy to access and will allow for an interesting game. Also, your hamster can determine for himself which room he will use for sleeping, and in which he will have food. This maze will also satisfy the hamster’s instinct to hide and explore. The house also has a removable lid which is also a house roof. Moving the roof allows you to quickly find your hamster and inspect for any leftover food or dirt that you should throw out to keep his home clean at all times. The house is made of plywood without nails. Every corner of the maze is sanded to be smooth and safe for your little friend. Hamsters seem to adore this house. Once you put it in the cage, your hamster will pack his things and go into the house enjoying his peace. If you want to give your hamster a house where you can play and satisfy your instincts, this house maze is the right choice for you. You can find this amazing toy on Amazon. 5. Niteangel Suspension Bridge The hamster in the cage mostly moves on the floor. The only chance for him to run uphill is if he has an exercise wheel in the cave. To allow the hamster to exercise more and to be able to climb uphill, a great toy for your hamster is a suspension bridge. By adding a suspension bridge you will allow the snorer to run uphill and also give him more space in the cage to move around. Simply hang the suspension bridge on the sidewall of the cage. To begin with, hang the suspension bridge lower on the wall, and later increase the height to make it harder and more interesting for your hamster to climb it. You can also put a bridge in different shapes and angles to make your hamster have a different experience every time he plays with his natural toy. This bridge is made of natural wood and has a smooth surface so that the hamster is not injured. It is approximately 12 inches long by 4 inches wide and it is bendable. This very simple toy will allow the hamster to climb and satisfy his research instincts. It also promotes exercise and helps to develop coordination and balance skills. You can also use this bridge as a ladder to guide your hamster to the next level of the cage. If you’re a fun editing cage, you can also use this suspension bridge as a fence to separate different playgrounds for your hamster. The possibilities are limitless, you just have to turn on your imagination to entertain your little five. This cool Niteangel suspension bridge can be found on Amazon. 6. MUMAX Hamster 2 pack toy set This cute colorful toy set is made to encourage your hamster to exercise. The set includes a wood rainbow bridge and a seesaw toy. The wood rainbow bridge has seven steps that the hamster can climb and exercise his strength and balance. Under the bridge, the hamster can sleep and relax after getting tired of playing. Wooden care bars can be detached and you can place them as you wish. The Seesaw toy allows the hamster to run up and down and enjoy the movement of the seesaw. This set allows the hamster to play and have fun in the safe. Both toys are fun to play with, climb, and rest. They relieve boredom and increase activity levels. All parts of the toys are rounded smooth with no burrs to ensure that your hamster cannot be injured during play. The toys are quite small so they won’t take up much space in the cage, but they are big enough for a hamster to play carefree on. The hamster can bite them freely because they are made of safe materials. When they need cleaning simply wipe them with a cloth and your job is done. If you want to bring a little color to a hamster’s cage and at the same time give them new toys to play with, these colorful toys can be found on this link. 7. Two layers Wooden Hut If you are looking for a new toy for your hamster, and at the same time thinking about buying a new house for a hamster, this two-layer wooden hut may be an ideal purchase for you. This wooden hut provides a hamster with a hideout, promotes nesting, makes him exercise every day, and promotes chewing instincts. It is made of all-natural wood that is completely safe for animals. The house has several holes so that the hamster can get in and out in various places, so it is a small kind of tunnel. It has stairs over which the hamster can climb on the upper floor from which he can exit to some kind of balcony and eat food. To get to the upper floor, the hamster will have to climb every day to practice. Once you put the house in the cage the hamster will decide for itself whether it prefers to sleep downstairs or upstairs. There is enough space under the house for the hamster to hide there and sleep or store food. This house is truly a great toy and will allow your hamster to enjoy their home. You can buy this two-layer wooden hut on Amazon. 8. Hideout and play house If you are imagining a house that provides a lot of content that will allow your hamster to play, this house is a perfect choice. The hamster can climb into this house with a ladder or climbing wall. A climbing wall is a great exercise for your hamster that will surely keep him active and healthy. Once your hamster manages to climb to the upper floor, the hamster can go down by using a slide! Yes, read well. This house allows the hamster to play and have fun and be active at the same time. It also has a small bell hanging at one of the entrances to the house that will ring every time the hamster passes. The house is made of natural wood with a colorful look to add a bit of charm to the hamster cage. Already assembled will come to your door. All you have to do is hang a little bell, but you don’t have to do that either if you don’t want your hamster to ring a bell every time it passes through the entrance. In addition to the house being great for playing, it will provide a hamster a great hideout. This cute multifunctional hamster house can be found on the following link on Amazon.  9. Willow Branch Ball Chew Toy Hamsters love to chew things to strengthen their teeth and to consume them. The front four teeth of hamsters continue to grow throughout life so they constantly need something chew to wear them out. Chewing helps them to keep their teeth at a healthy length. This willow branch ball will allow your hamster to play and catch the ball around the cage while promoting clean and healthy teeth at the same time. This toy will satisfy your hamster’s instinct to chew and prevent you from getting bored in the cage. You can buy this willow branch ball in several sizes to find the right one for your pet. You can also buy a pack of them. Your hamster will probably be thrilled with this ball and will chew it and play with it until it breaks it completely. But don’t worry, this toy was made for that purpose. It is not meant to last long but to promote healthy chewing instincts and healthy teeth of your hamster. And of course to kill his boredom in the cage. If you want to give your hamster a toy that will promote his health and natural instincts, this ball chew toy can be found here. [...] Read more...
About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, Campbell
About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, CampbellIf you’re researching hamsters, and want to know more about the Dwarf types, let me help you. There are 3 main types of Dwarf hamsters, and they can be more than a bit confusing. We’ll take a look at each Dwarf type, and how it’s different from all the rest, and then talk about general care and how to keep them happy. Table of Contents ToggleAn overview of Dwarf hamstersAbout the Roborovski Dwarf hamsterAbout the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamsterAbout the Campbell Dwarf hamsterAbout the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problemsWhat do Dwarf hamsters eat ?What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ?Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would likeCan Dwarf hamsters live together ?Average lifespan of Dwarf hamstersA word from Teddy An overview of Dwarf hamsters Dwarf hamsters are 3 main types of hamster, actually. They all come from roughly the same area, which is northern China, southern Russia, Mongolia, Siberia and they are very well adapted to those lands. Despite that, you will often find the 3 types named as Russian Dwarf, and that’s it. This can be both confusing and frustrating, especially when trying to figure out if they need anything specific, or even just what kind of hamster you’ve got. Here’s the 3 main Dwarf hamster types: The Roborovski Dwarf, Also names Russian Dwarf, he is the tiniest and has a distinct appearance from the rest. The Campbell Dwarf, also sometimes called Russian Dwarf. Is often confused with the Djungarian. The Djungarian Dwarf, also named Winter White, or Siberian, or (again) Russian Dwarf. The only one who can adapt his fur to winter (turns white) Each of the 3 types was discovered in different years, which I’ll cover in the section about each type. But all of them ended up as pets because of their cute and fuzzy faces, incredibly quick feet, and acceptance of living in groups. Given their small size, agility, speed, and restlessness, these hamsters are best kept as observational pets. Trying to handle them is harder than with a Syrian, just because they’re so very small and won’t sit still at all. Never give a Dwarf hamster to a child, since these hammies need a person with quick reflexes and lots of patience to be handled properly. But why are they called Dwarf hamsters, though ? Well, because they were all discovered after the Syrian hamster. And were always measured against that little guy. This makes the Dwarf hamsters only half as big as a Syrian, hence the name Dwarf. There are some very clear differences between the Dwarf types and the Syrian, you can read more about them here. If you’re not very sure which breed you have, or if you have a Dwarf, then check out this article for help. About the Roborovski Dwarf hamster The Roborovski (or Robo for short) is the tiniest of the bunch. He was first discovered in 1894 by a Russian expeditioner (Roborovski), and was first brought into the general public’s attention in 1960. That’s when they became regulars at the London Zoo, and have since become popular pets. The Robo is a small (very small) hamster, reaching about 2 inches/5 cm and that’s it. From nose to tail, that’s the whole hamster. His fur (like all Dwarf types) is brown-ish on the back, with white on his belly. He does have a white spot above each eye, much like the spots above a Doberman or Rottweiler’s eyes. The Roborovski hamster doesn’t have a stripe down his back, nor a patch on his head like the other Dwarf types. His feet are furry (unlike the Syrian) and he doesn’t have a distinct neck, looking more like a very stocky, hastily put-together furball. Still, they’re incredibly fast and wriggly, and can live in bunches if you’ve got a cage large enough. About the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamster This is the most confusing hamster type, mostly because everyone keeps calling him a different name. He is classified as Phodopus sungorus, which comes from the region in China this hamster was discovered in, which is Dzungaria. Phodopus is the general name given to all Dwarf types. So the official name would be Djungarian Dwarf hamster, but many people still call him Winter White, or Siberian. He is also found in Siberia, and he does Change his fur when winter comes, to mostly white. Usually the Djungarian is about 3 inches/7 cm long, and has a grey-ish brown color on his back. He does have a stripe going down his back, a dark, thick stripe of dark grey or black. His belly is white, and his feet are furry, and he has a dark patch on his head, where the stripe starts from. As pets, the breeders have tried for several color patterns, and have come up with mostly white, grey, white with grey dustings. Once winter comes and the days shorten – the lack of light is the trigger here – the Djungarian’s fur changes to mostly or completely white, so blend in with the snow. In captivity this doesn’t really happen, since the light cycles don’t have as much of an impact. These hamsters also regulate their internal body temp in the winter in order to survive the cold. About the Campbell Dwarf hamster The Campbell is often mistaken with the Djungarian, simply because they look so much alike. However the difference is that Campbells have light grey on their bellies, instead of white like the Djungarians. Their stripe down the back is less obvious and thinner, and there is no dark patch on their head. They don’t change their fur when winter comes, and in the wild they live a bit farther south than the Djugarians. Djungarians and Campbells can breed together, but the offspring are born with health problems and less fertile. The hybrids can breed between themselves, but the resulting litters are smaller and smaller, and have more and more health problems. This is only possible with a Djungarian male and a Campbell female. A Campbell male and Djungarian female will not result in a live birth. About the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problems Usually the Dwarf hamsters are around 3 inches/7 cm long, with short stocky bodies. Their fur (the hairs themselves) seem to be longer than the Syrians, only because the hamsters are so small. As such, the Dwarf types look extra fluffy, and the furred feet help with this appearance. These hamsters are used to colder temperatures, although they still need a temp around 20-23 C/68-75 F.  They can suffer common colds and have health issues like any other hamster. But they are prone to diabetes most of all, given their small size and how their bodies are built. Given their small size, finding the hamster’s gender can be difficult, especially with babies. Unfortunately that’s the most important moment these hamsters need to be separated, otherwise unwanted litters can happen. Especially if you’re planning on bringing a pair home. Spaying or neutering the hamster is dangerous, since they’re so very small and they most probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. What do Dwarf hamsters eat ? Dwarf hamsters are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything. There ares some unsafe foods for them, like spicy or acidic foods. For example citrus, onion, garlic, leek, spicy peppers and so on are not safe for hamsters. They will often eat grains, and that’s the majority of their diet. They also eat fruits and vegetables, if they can find them. Nuts and seeds are another option, again if they can find them. As for protein, they are alright with eating a couple of insects or worms if they happen upon them At home you can feed your Dwarf hamster a commercial food mix, since those are well thought-out and have the wild hamster’s diet in mind. Aside from that you can feed the hammy food from your fridge or pantry, although not all foods are safe. A safe and unsafe food list can be found here. Do take care with Dwarf hamsters, whether they’re Robos, Campbells or Djungarians. They’re prone to diabetes so sweet foods, even those on the safe list, are to be avoided or only given in minimal amounts. This includes most fruits (which should be given without seeds and peeled when possible), and carrots or sweet potatoes, or corn. Bread, pasta and rice should be given sparingly or not at all, since they contribute greatly to the glucose levels in the hamster’s body. It’s not just the sugar that does that, but the carb-heavy foods as well. Also make sure these little guys get plenty of exercise to delay(or even avoid) the onset of diabetes, or even just obesity since they are prone to that as well. As for serving sizes, Dwarf hamsters only need a teaspoon per hamster, per day. That’s the dried food mix that comes in the box. Anything else you supplement alongside that should be checked with the safe foods list. (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.) What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ? For the most part Dwarf hamsters need a cage about half as large as a Syrian’s cage, which is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. However I would recommend that measurement to be applied to a single Dwarf as well, seeing as the more space he has, the better he will feel. That being said, you can keep two Dwarf hamsters in a Syrian-sized cage, expect occasional bickering. To a degree this is normal, and we’ll discuss that in the next part of the article. Whenever you look for a cage for your Dwarf hamster, you should make sure it’s very well secured. Given how incredibly small these guys are, they can wedge themselves in some really odd places. So if at all possible, something like a large aquarium would be good. A good potion would be the the Ikea Detolf. It’s basically one big standing shelf rack, you lay it on its side, and you lake the shelves out. Constructing a wire mesh is easy enough, tutorials are available in many places online. But, the big downside is that it’s a big and heavy ‘cage’, and you’re going to keep it in one place. You’ve got to have the space necessary in your home. It can be more expensive, but it’s got enough space for two Dwarf hammies. However if a Detolf or a very very big aquarium isn’t possible for you – it isn’t for most people – either because of budget or space you can try a regular cage. Most cages on the market are too small for hamsters, even for a Dwarf hamster. So I recommend looking for as big a cage you can find, even if your hamster is just a Dwarf. For example this one is large enough for even two Dwarf hamsters, although I recommend you only keep one. The space between the bars is small enough so the hamster won’t get out, and there are many sides to open the cage from. There is an extra level, which is adjustable and you can put it wherever you like. Hammies prefer the ground floor the most, so try not to put the level up too high. They might burrow under the level though, so don’t be surprised if that happens. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see for yourself. Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would like Hamsters, Dwarf or not, need lots of things to do. They have a whole lot of energy and they are all over the place. This is especially true for the Dwarf hamsters out there, given how much more spazzy they are compared to the larger Syrian. So, the number one way to make sure your Dwarf hamster spends all that extra energy is an exercise wheel. I say this because hamsters are pretty much born to run, and Dwarf types are the best runners. This is what they do most of the night. A bored hamster, or one with too much energy and not much to do, will end up chewing the bars, or picking a fight with his cage mate, being nippy, and generally hard to handle. Best to give him plenty of opportunities to exercise and use his little hamster brain like for puzzles. But first, the exercise. A Dwarf hamster can make do with a smaller wheel, yes. Even a 7 inch/18 cm one would be enough. But often enough the hamsters choose a large wheel to run in, in order to keep their backs at least straight, if not hunched like they always keep them on the ground. This means a 9 inch/ 23 cm wheel will be great for their backs and will avoid lots of health problems in the future. For example this one is a heavy bottom wheel, and that means it won’t move around the cage when the hamsters run in it. It’s also got a tail and foot guard, so the hamster doesn’t get himself caught in anything. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and check the wheel for yourself. Another thing to make sure your Dwarf hamster has is toys, lots and lots of toys. Many of them can be made at home, some need to be bought – more on that here. But climbing toys, or cardboard tunnels, or hide and seek toys made of an egg carton with holes in it, they’re all great toys for hamsters. Remember that hamsters are very curious, and they will stick their faces into every little thing that fits, and look for food. Or just explore. So you can make your little Dwarf happy with chew toys, tubes, climbing toys, puzzle toys, and so on. For bedding I recommend using wood shavings, and sticking to aspen as the preferred wood. Stay away from cedar and pine, since their strong scent will suffocate the hamster. Paper bedding is an option too. If you’re keeping more than one hamster, keep in mind that you’ll need two of each. Two hideouts/huts, two wheels, two food bowls, two water bottles, and so on. This reduces the reasons the Dwarf hamsters might fight, and generally give you happier hamsters. Can Dwarf hamsters live together ? Yes and no. Yes, as in they are able to live with a same-sex sibling or two, as long as they’ve never been separated and have always shared something, from their first days as hamsters. And they have a very big cage, or the Detolf I mentioned earlier. Even so, one hamster will be more dominant – this is normal – and will try to boss around the other one. Things can get out of hand when the bullied hamster becomes stressed, or the bully crosses the line. Fights can happen, and to a degree they’re normal. Squeaking, chasing, standing on top of each other and so on is acceptable. But when the fights become frequent, you need to worry. If blood has been drawn, those two will need to be kept in separate cages. I’d also say no, Dwarf hamsters can’t live together solely for the fact that the stress levels in a shared cage – no matter how big the cage – are just too high for hamsters. Seeing as hamsters are terribly bad at managing stress, this often results in sickness or injuries. Loss of appetite, dehydration, loss of fur, irritability, depression, even actual bites and cuts and bruises. Hamsters are indeed territorial creatures, and don’t share very easily. Deadly fights can happen between siblings, even if they’ve never shown any obvious sign of irritation before. If you’re planning to keep a pair of hamsters, always keep them as a same-sex pair to avoid pregnancies. You can find info on determining the hamster’s gender here. My personal advice would be to keep any and all hamsters – Dwarf or not – alone, one hamster per cage. If you want to keep them together, you can, and they will survive for the most part. It’s up to you and how much you think you can handle. Average lifespan of Dwarf hamsters The usual lifespan of hamsters is between 2 to 4 years, but this is only because the Roborovski Dwarf is raising the bar. Roborovskies can live up to 4 years, the longest lifespan of any pet hamster. The Campbell live for about 2-2.5 years, while the Djungarians can reach 2-3 years. When the hamsters reach their second birthday, they’re considered old, and  you will see some health problems come up. But, since the hamster is first born, it takes 3 months to reach adulthood. Babies can breed right after they’re weaned, which is about 4 weeks old. This is why separating them into same sex groups is mandatory. Once they’ve become adults, and have mated, the gestation period is between 18 and 22 days, with the Robo having the longest (20-22). While Robo and Djungarian males should be kept away from the female after mating, the Campbells have been observed to help the female along. At least in the wild, and at least with the birthing process. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look very much alike, but we’re actually different types. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s Comfort
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s ComfortWhen I first got Teddy I was very curious about whether he needs extra-warm temperatures or not. After all, he’s a Syrian hamster, hailing from the desert. The same way I’d think Siberian hamsters would need cold temperatures. After all, Siberia is famous for being a cold, frigid tundra. But I quickly found out I was wrong. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and draftsBedding ideas to keep your hamster warmThe right home for your hamsterDifference between hamster species when it comes to temperatureDangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hotA word from Teddy So what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ? As it turns out, the ideal temperature for your hamster is basically the same for all species, with a few minor differences. But in general hamsters need around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. They’re okay with the temperature dropping a few degrees, but once it reaches below 15 Celsius/60 Fahrenheit, they will enter a state of hibernation that can be dangerous to them. Hamsters do naturally hibernate in the wild, like bears for example. Hamsters only hibernate in case of extreme cold, so make sure you keep your hamster’s cage in a room that is  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and drafts Much of what is true for humans is true for hamsters as well. We are both mammals, and need warmer climates. But your hamster can’t adapt to the cold as fast as you. You can put on a sweater, but your hamster’s only got the one sweater he was born with – his fur. So, when it gets cold, your hamster will begin drawing more and more bedding into his house. If you gave him ripped paper towels for extra bedding, he will make a nest out of them and snuggle tightly to keep himself warm. When it gets too hot for the hamster – which is anything above 22 Celsius/72 Fahrenheit – you’ll see him start to push the bedding out of his house. This allows air to circulate through the house and cool him down. Hamsters can’t sweat like we do, and his fur coat will keep him warm no matter what. So higher temperatures are not good for him either. It’s very important that the room you keep your hamster in is one free from drafts. Those can create very cold and intense air that will give your hamster a cold. For them that cold can be fatal, even if for you it might be just a sniffle. Bedding ideas to keep your hamster warm Normally your hamster would run around the desert at night, to forage for food. Actually, they’re be running at dusk and dawn, when the temperature is more tolerable for them. Desert nights are colder than you’d think at first. So your hamster would stay in his burrow below the ground, when the temperature is too hot or too cold. In his little home he would have dried leaves, grass, and whatever plant material he can find that can be good insulation. What you can give your hamster is what I gave my Teddy. Lots of wood particles, or more commonly called sawdust. NOT the fine dusty kind ! And keep them unscented, since your hamster has a very very sensitive nose. The softer wood shavings that are left behind after working with wood are alright. We give Teddy a thick layer of the wood shavings for ‘ground’, which he has in his house as well. Then we also give him unscented, clean paper towels, ripped into smaller pieces that he can move easily. He usually uses those for the actual ‘bed’ inside his home. Aside from that, he also has the cardboard rolls that are left from the paper towels. He usually chews on them for fun, and he sometimes uses bits of it for his home, for extra insulation. As for just how much bedding to give, if it covers the bottom of the cage by a couple of inches (or 5 cm) then it will be enough. As for the paper towels, we usually give Teddy 2 sheets (3-ply) and he is fine with those. Never give your hamster cotton or fiber bedding. The hamster stores the bedding in his cheeks to use it in his home, and cotton keeps moisture and has fibers that can get stuck in your hammy’s teeth, which can be fatal. So stick to soft wood and paper. To find out more about the best kind of bedding you can give your hamster, check out my “best bedding” article. We’ll talk about the safest options you have, and which to avoid. The right home for your hamster The home your hamster lives in is crucial. And the material it’s made out of is very important for your hamster’s health. Ideally you want wood homes, because they ‘breathe’ and absorb moisture from the inside and let it evaporate outside. The home also needs some ventilation holes, like ‘doors’ or ‘windows’ that need to be large enough for your hamster to get through with his cheeks full. And finally, it’s okay if it’s small-ish, since your hammy will only use it to sleep and eat, and he does not take up much space. So in short, a plastic house, with just one entrance, is not okay. It will cause condensation and that can lead to your hamster catching a cold. You never want your hamster wet or staying in a humid place. I’ve seen this with Teddy when I first got him. The home that came with the cage was plastic, and whenever I’d clean it there would be beads of condensation on the ceiling of his home. I got him a wooden one, which has small cracks in the ceiling/roof to let air flow, and 3 big doors for air to flow freely. The condensation stopped, and the home never smells. Difference between hamster species when it comes to temperature There is little difference between species here, but there is one exception. While most hamsters need a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit  range, Winter whites need an 18-21 Celsius/65-70 Fahrenheit range to be comfortable. Even if the difference between them and other hamster species is small, it’s still something to take note of. This is because Winter white (or Siberian) hamsters come from a colder climate than the other types. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Dangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hot While your hamster can take on a lower temperature easier than a warmer one, neither extreme is easy for him. If it get cold, your hamster will do like my Teddy does, and gather as much bedding as he can to keep himself warm. If it gets too cold for more than 24 hours, then your hamster can enter a kind of hibernation. If left in this state for long, he can develop serious health issues. He only does this in case of emergencies, and can’t keep it for long. You can bring your hamster out of hibernation by slowly raising the temperature around him. Do no place your hamster in a very warm room, or on a very warm heater surface (like an electric blanket). Slowly bring the temperature up, degree by degree, until he wakes up. It may take a couple of hours or just a few minutes, depending on your hamster’s health and age. But if you keep you hamster at a temperature that’s too hot for him then he is in danger of heatstroke and dehydration. Never let your hamster get too warm since it’s not easy for him to cool off naturally. What you can do to help your hammy during summer is to place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, inside a jar, which you can place in his cage. This way there will be no condensation on the outside that can keep the bedding wet and get too cold for the hamster. Or, another thing to do is keep him away from direct sunlight. Or place the cage on a cool surface, which will slowly cool the bedding as well. Make sure the room is not at all drafty and humid, otherwise you risk your hamster’s life. I usually keep Teddy in a corner of the room that is away from the window, so not drafty. And away from sunlight, so he will not overheat. The thermostat is around 22 Celsius all year round, so he is fine overall. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you figure out the best way to keep my kind happy when it comes to our environment. While most of us come from a desert landscape, we don’t stay out during the day because it’s too hot, not during the night because it’s too cold. But dawn and dusk are good temperature ranges for us, so remember that we need around  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. You can check out the other articles on this site as well, you’ll find great info on what we usually eat, how much water we drink, and why we eat our poop too ! [...] Read more...
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)
195 Perfectly Cute Hamster Names (Male And Female)You’ve got a new friend ! You brought your hamster home, but now he needs a name. But what should you name your hamster ? I had the name picked out for my Teddy even before I got him, but sometimes it’s not that easy. I’ll help you pick out a name for your hamster, and give you a few tips on interacting with him as well. But first… Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters know their name ?List of hamster names, for female hamsters:List of hamster names, for male hamsters:Talking and interacting with your hamsterLetting your hamster pick his own nameA word from Teddy Do hamsters know their name ? No, hamsters don’t really recognize their name. Some of them can recognize their owner in some cases, but that’s it. So what does that mean ? You can name your hamster whatever you like ! He won’t mind, or notice at all. You can opt for silly names, or fairly serious/normal pet names. You can even give your hamster especially complicated and long names, it will be the same. Whatever name you end up giving your hamster, you need to interact with him often. Not necessarily to pick him up often (some hamsters do not like that at all) but to talk to him and feed him a couple of treats. Spend time with him. Create a sort of bond between you two. And a name you like and feel like it fits the hamster will help a lot in that way. Let’s see a few examples. List of hamster names, for female hamsters: Abby Annabelle Amelia Arya Amethyst Azura Buttercup Butterscotch Bambi Cotton Candy Camelia Camel Dolly DaQueen Eve Eggy Emma Evelyn Faye Fig Fawn Frisky Funny Gwen Goldie Ginger Hiccup Iris Ivy Ice cream Junie Jackie Juniper Kylie Kesha Krispy Layla Lizzie Lady Leeloo Madeira Minnie Mocha Maab (as in Queen Maab) Nina Namira Nora Olla Olive Okie Pepita Pam (Pamela Hamsterson) Peanut Poppy Pufferina Pearl Queenie Rey Ruby Rose Shiloh Sasha Sansa Trixie Turnip Tabby Tiny Tinkerbell Umbra Umbriel Vanilla (in honor of the late Vanilla HamHam) Viking Willow Wololo Xena Ygritte Yasmin Zelda List of hamster names, for male hamsters: Ace Alduin Adam Anthony Arnold Bucky Balthazar Boy Brutus Bob Bear Grylls Boo Biscuit Boomer Basil Conan Coco Commader Whiskers Chewie Chico Disco Dexter Danzig Drax the Destroyer Danny Dunkirk Damon Eeyore Elvis Elmo Eddie Fry Cheese Fry Furball Gerry Guy Ghandi Guillermo Del Hamstero Gizmo Gary Grizzly General Napkin the Second Honey Hannibal Hector Hamish Hunter Hamlet Ham Hachiko Hammy Ian Ice Iggy Jericho Jasper Jack Jumbo Kirk Kirby Larry Leo Leonardo Da Hammy Leopold the Skittish Lightning Mascot Mo Maury Mickey MJ Munchkin Messi Napoleon Napkin Oscar Ozzy Piggy Pooh Quentin Ripley Rami Rasputin Radagast Rhubarb Randall Rudy Randy Ruckus Rambler Steve Sparky Spot Shaggy Scooby Small Guy Scaramouche Shorty Taz Tippy Thunder Uncle Usain Vic Vladimir the Restless Vandal Whiskers Wolfenstein Wolf Wiggy Wolverine Xavier York Yogi the Bear Zoomer Zayn Talking and interacting with your hamster Whenever you talk to your hamster, name sure to use a soft, low voice. Be as soothing as you possibly can, since these creatures are very skittish. Using a calm, soothing voice will help relax the hamster. Now, hamsters are almost never calm and collected, but you can still try. Also be aware that hamsters have very sensitive ears and hearing, and as such speaking to them in a soft, low voice will be easy on their ears and they won’t shy away from you. Always use the hamster’s name as often as you can when talking to him, and try to spend as much time as you possibly can. Tell him about your day and feed him a couple leaves of parsley. Give him a small bit of cooked plain chicken and ask him if he slept well last night. Of course he won’t be able to piece together anything you’re saying, but he will understand that you’re interacting with him. In time he will learn to associate you with food, and with good times and safety. If you’ve very patient, this can lead to a great bond between you and your hamster. Please remember though that the hamster’s taming can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It depends on the hamster’s personality, and your patience. Sometimes even after the hamster’s tamed he still won’t be the friendliest or cuddliest furball. That’s okay, each hamster is different. (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.) Letting your hamster pick his own name If you’re not very decided, you can let the hamster pick out his own name. We got this idea from Pethelpful.com and thought it’s actually a great way to let fate decide. Kind of. You can do this several ways. For example you can chose a few hamster names and write them out on a paper plate or tray. Make sure they’re evenly spaced  out, no more than 3-5 names. Then, place bits of food or hamster treats on top of each name – like a piece of carrot, a peanut, a bit of cooked chicken, or something else from this safe foods list. Whichever food/name the hamster first goes for, that’s his name ! Another way is to place the hamster in his exercise ball, and stick a few sticky notes with the names written on them. Let the hamster roam the house in the ball, and whichever note falls off first, that’s the name. You can also make a maze our of an empty egg carton. Cut a few holes in it, as exit holes. Assign a name for each hole. Whichever hole the hamster exits the maze through, that’s going to be his name. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are cute and you have a hard time naming us, but I’m sure you’ll find a great one for your friend. My owner knew my name long before he picked me up, and I think Teddy suits me great. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...