You 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.
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.
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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.
- What Is Wet Tail, And How To Save Your Hamster’s LifeIf you’ve got a hamster, and you think he’s got wet tail, I can help. Even if your hammy is healthy so far, you need to know what wet tail is, since it can be fatal and you need to know how to save him. This is a disease that can affect any hamster of any age, although some are more prone to it. I’ll cover what wet tail is, what you can do about it, and how to make sure your hamster friend never suffers through it. Table of Contents So what is wet tail ?Is your hammy at risk ?Symptoms of wet tail in hamstersHow to treat wet tailTaking your hamster to the vetCaring for a wet-tail sick hammy at homeChances of survivalHow hamsters develop wet tail in the first placeStress in hamstersDirty hamster cageOther medicationsMake sure your hamster stays healthyKeep your hamster away from stressful environmentsKeep the hammy at a comfortable temperatureAlways clean your hands before handling the hammyDo not feed the hamster overly watery foodsMake sure the water you give your hamster is safeA word from Teddy So what is wet tail ? Wet tail is a serious, contagious disease that can affect any and all hamsters. It’s noticeable by the wet, matted aspect of your hamster’s tail (hence the name). There are other symptoms, which we’ll cover soon. That is because wet tail is a type of diarrhea, brought on by bacteria inside the hamster’s gut. While diarrhea for humans is not very hard to treat, hamsters have an incredibly small chance of survival. Wet tail is mostly brought on by severe stress, which triggers unwanted changes in the hamster’s intestinal flora. It is mostly found in baby hamsters who were just weaned, but there have been cases of adult or elder hamsters as well. Something to remember: wet tail is often used as a sort of blanket term, to describe any kind of diarrhea in hamsters. Actual wet tail is hard to diagnose, since the symptoms are many and it could not be just wet tail. More on that later in the article. Is your hammy at risk ? Any hamster is at risk. Not to sound doomsday-ish, but this is the truth. However there are a few specific hamsters out there that are most susceptible. Syrian hamsters, of all the hamsters, have the highest chance of developing wet tail. Seeing as they’re the most common type of hamster pet, this doesn’t sound great. Dwarf types can still get wet tail, but in a much smaller degree and it’s kind of rare for them. Baby Syrian hamsters, who were just weaned by their mothers – around 4 weeks of age. They are very sensitive, and the stress of weaning, and being handled to be separated into same sex groups, then transported to the pet shop, and then to your home, can be very stressful. Older Syrian hamsters can be at risk as well, though not as much as babies. Senior hammies can’t move very well, and can’t clean themselves as well as they used to. This increases the risk of an infection, which can trigger wet tail. That being said, wet tail can develop in adult, healthy Syrian hamsters, if certain conditions are met. That doesn’t mean that any and all Syrian hamsters will develop wet tail. But they are the ones you should keep an eye on the most. Symptoms of wet tail in hamsters The symptoms for wet tail are quite a few, and they can also be found in the description of other health issues for hamsters. This is one reason it’s a bit hard to diagnose wet tail in the first place. Here are the symptoms for wet tail: Wet, matted tail – very runny stool, matted to the hamster’s tail and hind end. It can extend to the hammy’s abdomen. Strong smell – wet tail smells, and it’s hard to miss. Your hammy is usually very clean and only smells like fur if you smell him. But with wet tail, he might have a strong poo smell. Hunched back, brought on by intestinal discomfort. Slow, sluggish movements Half-closed eyes, very sunken, the hamster looks tired all the time Loss of appetite, possibly not drinking water either Continuously bad temper – if he never bit before, he will bite now and he’s very irritated Folded ears, all the time, possibly shaking Hides in a corner, or worse barely moves at all. Possible weight loss, with dull, ruffled fur Wet tail is also contagious. So if you spotted your hammy with these symptoms, separate him from his cage mate immediately. Once you do separate them, make sure that anything the sick hammy touched is thoroughly cleaned (hot water and soap), and if necessary provide with new cage accessories. Wood accessories are not easy to disinfect, unfortunately. The bedding must be thrown away as well. How to treat wet tail Treating wet tail is not exactly complicated, but the small size of the hamster makes it so. Normally you’d have two options, to treat it at home, or take the hammy to a vet. I very strongly recommend calling your dedicated vet, this is not something to waste time with. Taking your hamster to the vet Get your small friend into his transport cage, and get a car ride to the vet. More on how to safely transport your hamster in this article, and how to keep your hammy comfortable during the ride right here. Once you’re there, the vet will examine the hammy, to see the condition he’s in. The veterinarian might administer extra fluids to the hammy. He might even recommend to keep the hammy overnight, to be able to administer the fluids regularly and keep a close eye on him. If this is the case, best to trust your vet with your hamster. Depending on how severe the case is, your veterinarian might administer some antibiotics himself. Or, he might give you some medication to give to the hamster at home. In any case, your hammy has more of a chance or surviving if you bring him to the vet. Wet tail can be treated, if spotted in its first phase (first 24 hours). After that, the chances of the hamster surviving are lower. He might still survive, but harder. Whatever instructions your veterinarian gives you, be sure to follow them completely. Possibly schedule another check-up after a few days. Caring for a wet-tail sick hammy at home There are some cases when the vet is not available. Or, maybe you can’t afford a vet at the moment. This will not cure the hamster, but it will make his life much easier. A veterinarian is definitely needed for a treatment. In this case you need to do the following: Remove any fruit and veg from your hamster’s diet. ‘Wet’ food like these can worsen the diarrhea, mostly because it doesn’t provide just water. Only give the hammy very dry food. This includes his usual food mix, dry oats, a very small piece of dry bread. Another option if a few grains of steamed brown rice. The dry food will settle your hamster’s insides a bit more. The water your hamster gets from his bottle should not be very cold. And it should be plain, unflavored water. If he has a vitamin mix in his water, remove it for the time being. If your hammy isn’t drinking – try giving him one drop of water every half hour. Hold him by the scruff of the neck (it will not hurt) and with an eye dropper place a drop of water on his lips. The hammy will then lick it, and have at least a bit of water. More than a drop at a time can drown the hammy. If your hamster isn’t eating, try unflavored baby food. No onion, garlic, sugar, or any spices at all. He will need very small amounts of food, only what he can lick off the very tip of a teaspoon. Scruffing the hammy will work here as well. Aside from all of this, make sure your keep the hamster in a comfortable temperature range. Hamsters are okay with a 20-23 C/68-75 F range. More than that and he is in danger of overheating, which he probably already is given his infection. And lower than that can bring on a cold for the hammy. Keep the room your sick hamster’s in very quiet and stress free. Any amount of stress or excess handling an make his condition worse. So any and all pets, small children, loud noises, should be kept away from the hamster’s room. Do not place the hamster in direct sunlight, instead keep him in a shielded, darker corner. At all times, wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before, but especially after handling your sick hammy. Chances of survival Wet tail can be fairly hard to survive for hamsters. This is mostly because it has an incubation period (7 days), in which it’s not immediately obvious that the hamster is sick. Once the signs of illness start to show, it becomes progressively harder to successfully treat. There were cases where the hammy unfortunately passed away, even after being cured. This was because of the stress brought on by the illness itself, and hamsters are terrible stress managers. However, if you spot your hamster’s problem within 24 hours of it surfacing, his survival chances are higher. This means that you should be watching your hamster closely, and handling it every few hours. For older hammies, the chances are lower than for babies, This is because their immune system is already breaking down, as opposed to forming (like in babies). So, if your elder hammy is stricken with wet tail, do your best to treat him. But if worse comes to worst, be prepared for his passing. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) How hamsters develop wet tail in the first place The way wet tail develops is thought to be because of stress. This is the biggest culprit known so far, although there are other we’ll cover here as well. Stress brings a host of psychosomatic reactions from the hamster, including severe changes to the bacteria in his gut. That can trigger wet-tail. In some other cases, a very stressed hamster will develop a very weak immune system, which won’t be able to battle the infection brought on by a stray bacteria. Which in turn may lead to wet tail. Stress in hamsters A stressed hamster will show any signs of illness. Hamsters are very sensitive creatures, and can be stressed easily. A few factors for hamster stress include: Overcrowded cage – the size of the cage matters so much (more on that here), and keeping hamsters together in an appropriate sized cage. The right sized cage is a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s for a Syrian hammy, and the minimum for keeping 2 Dwarf types. Not all hamsters can live together though, and some will fight to the death. Crucial info on that can be found here. Improper handling – hamsters don’t react well to being woken up, constantly being handled, being held wrong, meeting too many strangers at a time, unsafe play time and so on. Especially the babies, under 12 weeks of age. Be very careful when handling your hamster, and never let a child or pet interact unsupervised. A very curious cat, or a grabby toddler won’t bode well for your hamster. Hamsters require so much attention and gentleness, they are not well suited to families with small children or lots of pets. You can find out more on how to show your hamster affection the right way, without annoying him in this article. And you can find out more about how to tame your hamster without stressing him out here. Dirty hamster cage That doesn’t mean a stray poo will freak the hamster out, but a cage that hasn’t been cleaned for more than 2 weeks is turning into a serious threat to his health. More on how often to clean a hammy’s home here, and what kind of bedding to provide to make sure he is safe. This is because infections can occur when the hamster’s cage has stray bacteria, that can develop from an unclean cage. And also, an unclean cage can become moldy in some places. Especially the bedding, if it’s been moist in some places, like where the water bottle drips for example. Imagine your tiny hamster, breathing in those mold spores, wreaking havoc in his immune system. An infection will be the last thing your hammy needs, but it might just happen. Other medications Like in humans, hamster medications can sometimes interfere. Or, they can make it easier for some problems to appear. If your hamster is already on a certain treatment, be sure to ask your veterinarian if he’s at risk of developing other diseases. It can happen, rarely, but it can still happen. It’s best to know beforehand and be prepared. Make sure your hamster stays healthy You can make sure your hamster survives by not getting wet tail in the first place. That means your need to follow a few steps in the first place. Keep your hamster away from stressful environments Hamsters are very susceptible to stress-related illnesses. So naturally, they must be kept away from stress factors. Here’s how to make sure your hamster has a minimal-to-none stress. Do not house your hamster with another. I’d recommend even Dwarf types to be housed alone, since a hamster is very territorial by nature. Even if your give both hammies a cage that’s large enough for 5 hamsters, there can still be problems. One hamster will always be more dominant, and might start bullying the submissive one. It can be hard to make out the difference between playfighting, and actual serious fighting between hamsters. Roborovski, Campbell, and Siberian/Winter whites can be traditionally housed together, while Chinese and Syrians will try to kill other hamsters. Conversely keep pets, small children, loud noises, and general ruckus away from the hamster’s cage or room. Hamsters are mostly nocturnal, so a rowdy house during the day will be incredibly stressful for the hamster. Do not introduce lots of new people to your hamster at the same time. Your hammy will be overwhelmed, and needed a few days to trust you in the first place. He will freak out and hide when faced with many new people he does not know. Try not to wake up or annoy the hamster, since it will not rest properly and he will be very irritable. This will make him even harder to handle or tame, which is completely against what you’re trying. Let the creature rest peacefully. Keep the hammy at a comfortable temperature hamsters need a certain temp to feel comfortable. That range is about 20-23 C/68-75 F, and your hammies will be fine. A hamster exposed to very cold temperatures will enter a state that can be confused with hibernation. But in truth, it’s actually a case of hypothermia. It can be fatal because the hamster hasn’t had time to fatten up and build a big and warm enough nest. More on hamster hibernation and the risk of keeping them in too cold a room. Always clean your hands before handling the hammy Hamsters are very sensitive creatures, and as such your hands need to be clean before handling them. Before you touch your hamster, make sure your hands are clean. Use an antibacterial soap, and try to find one with little to no scent. A strong scent could make your hamster either think you’ve really got coconut on your hands and try to taste it, or scare him away. This also applies for the toys the hammy’s got in his cage as well. They too need to be disinfected and cleaned before you first place them in the cage. The shipping, the handling, and where the toys were stored can all be health risks. Even if it’s just a bit of dust, best to be safe and clean them. Do not feed the hamster overly watery foods Watery foods, like cucumber, watermelon, zucchini, grapes (more about safe foods here) can trigger diarrhea in your hammy. You might ask if water doesn’t trigger diarrhea too. Well, the water your hamster can decide how much to drink. I mean the water from the water bottle. But the water content in the fruit or veg is not up to him, and he can be overly hydrated. Conversely, do not give your hammy milk. The lactose content in milk is the highest (compared to cheese or yogurt), and that can trigger a bout of diarrhea too. Make sure the water you give your hamster is safe The water your hamster drink must be safe and clean. If your tap water isn’t safe for you, it’s not safe for him either. So, you can either boil the water beforehand, to rid it of bacteria. Let it cool down and pour it into the hamster’s water bottle. Or, you can use a bottled water that is labeled as safe for newborn humans, which is safe for hamsters as well. You can find out here how much water a hamster needs, and how to clean his water bottle. A word from Teddy I hope you found out how to save us if we ever get wet tail. I am a Syrian hammy, and I’ve been healthy so far. I hope your hamster friend is alright too. If you want to know more about us hammies, you should check out the articles below for more info how to care for us and feed us right.... Read more...
- 12 Reasons Hamsters Are The Cutest, Funniest Furballs EverIf you’ve got a hammy in your life, you know they can be the funniest, cutest little creatures ever. If you haven’t got one, you’ll find out now why hamsters are a favorite among pets. My Teddy is a Syrian male, and I’ve had him since August 2017. Since then he’s done the weirdest, funniest things you can imagine a hamster doing. So sit down and get ready to go ”awww, mine does that too !” because here’s a list of all re reasons hammies are the cutest things ever ! Table of Contents 1. Hamsters make the cutest faces2. They freeze for no apparent reason3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers8. Hamsters are athletic furballs9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorableA word from Teddy 1. Hamsters make the cutest faces Hammies have this cute little face, you can’t really resist them. Especially the Dwarf types, with their fuzzy faces and practically no necks. My Teddy got his name from his cute face, even if he’s a Syrian. He’s got the cutest little teddy bear face I’ve ever seen. My favorite part, and probably yours too, is where the whiskers start on a hamster’s snout. It’s looks like they’re sort of pouting, all the time. And I’ve never seen a bad photo of a hamster. Seriously, those faces will look good in any photo, since they’re always very dramatic and expressive. For example here’s my Teddy scratching himself, and you can see every small thought going through his head in this photo. 2. They freeze for no apparent reason It’s a well known, and often searched thing, that hamsters freeze. Like you’re both just minding your own business, and suddenly your hamster will just stand up with this shocked, panicked expression on his face and just… exist. Talking to him or tapping the cage won’t work most of the time, since he’s so focused on whatever he’s doing just standing there. Turns out, there a reason behind hamsters suddenly freezing, and you can in fact unfreeze them. I won’t spoil the surprise, you can read about why they are freezing here. Still, hammies suddenly stopping to stare into the distance for 2 minutes are a classic. 3. Hammies jump suddenly, for any reason My Teddy is a champion here, I think. When he was younger he not only jumped, he did backflips. This was mostly when something spooked him, and he had the funniest reactions to me just opening the fridge. But the funniest moment my Teddy jumped was when we were all doing our own thing, and Teddy was busy shoving paper towels in his cheeks, as per usual. I reached around his cage for something, and apparently that’s a terrifying thing for him. He jumped sideways about 12 inches/30 cm, while still shoving all those paper towels in his little face. When he landed he kept shoving them, like it was all part of his plan. When I first got him home from the pet shop, I wondered if hamsters jump. They do, in fact, and Teddy jumped right at me in his cage. 4. They’re the tiniest pet you can have Hamsters are incredibly small, and they’re the smallest pet you can get your hands on. Well, there’s fish you can also get, but you can’t really pet a goldfish, can you ? Hammies are tiny, and that’s a big part of their charm. If you’ve got a bunch of Dwarf types, you know they’re so small it’s hard to notice them in their cage sometimes. However since they’re so small that also means that holding them is not very easy, since they will jump out of your hands, and never sit still. You can still watch your hammies have a great time squeezing themselves into the smallest places they can find, though. My Teddy loves shoving his face between the cage bars and his hideout to … get to the bars ? that he already has access to ? but the view is better from there, I guess. 5. A hamster’s touch is unforgettable The first time my Teddy touched my hand was magical. There’s just something about your normally jittery and active hammy actively touching your hand that feels great. He’s always busy doing this and that, and you’ve maybe touched his fur. But have you ever touched your hamster’s paws ? I do this with Teddy when I give him a treat, especially a larger one. I hold onto it with two fingers, and I don’t let go for a few seconds. So Teddy starts to push with his mighty paws to get the treat for himself, and let go after a bit. You can also try this with your hammy when you’re feeding him. If you place food in your hand, and let him forage for food in your hand, eventually he will touch it. It will feel a bit weird, since your hammy’s paw feels a lit like a reptile’s skin. You won’t be sure if it’s cold or wet, but that’s just his paws. 6. They shove everything in their cheeks – everything If you’ve ever let your hamster onto your bed, you’ve maybe seen him try to hide a bit of your covers into his little cheeks. Hamsters will try to put anything that’s food or nesting material in their cheeks. This is how my Teddy ended up with half an inch of fleece blanket in his cheek before I could even react. He was on my bed, and I made a sort of enclosure for him with the rolled up blanket. Once he got to the blanket, he just had to have it apparently. You’ve probably seen your hammy do the same with a lot of stuff. Try to bribe him with a bit of food to come close so you can pet him, and he’ll just shove the whole peanut in his cheek and stare at you. Mocking you. The only things I’ve seen my Teddy eat immediately were cooked chicken, and boiled egg white. My Teddy always has something in his cheeks, from paper towels, to bits of poo, a bit of food, and some broccoli somewhere. And he’s always very fast about it, you can’t really get between him and whatever he wants to put in his cheeks. When his cheeks are full, he looks like a weird lizard, with bulges going down the sides of his face. 7. Hamsters are amazing interior designers Ah yes, hamsters decorating and redecorating their homes are a thing. It’s always funny to watch Teddy pull, push, drag, fold, and shove bits of paper towel into his hideout. Then he’d drag some more bedding into the hideout. After that, he decides he needs more chewed up cardboard. No,no, less bedding. An extra paper towel would be nice, though. Whenever I think he’s done moving things around, there’s always something else that needs to be put in place. Have you ever seen your hammy move the nesting material in his hideout, pull it out, then put it all back in ? The same way it was before, only now it’s different. The same, but different. 8. Hamsters are athletic furballs You’ve heard of hamsters needing an exercise wheel. But have you ever just watched your hamster to see how much he runs in a night ? He’s always on the thing, and he keeps on running. On average a hammy will run up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a night ! If he’s not running in his wheel, he’s climbing his cage bars to get to somewhere important. Or jumping over something, or crawling through a tube. It’s like he’s in military training all day, every day, and nothing will stop him. Except for a piece of walnut, hamsters are cheap like that. For example my Teddy would scale the cage bars, even the cage ceiling. I could see he has some very defined and strong abs, and you’ve probably seen hamster videos about the same thing. As your hamster gets older he might stop doing that. 9. A hammy’s cleaning routine is ridiculously detailed Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe not. But when your hamster sits down to groom himself, he;s not going anywhere for the next 10 minutes. That’s a lot, given how small he is. Hamsters are very clean, very sensitive creatures, and they clean themselves often. They do complete cleanings in their fur a few times a day, every day, forever. And it’s always this long, detailed process, where cleaning one ear will take up a minute and lots of scratches. But still, they are incredibly cute, and very flexible too. It’s always funny to watch my Teddy sit on his big rear-end start scratching and patting and pulling he knows what from his fur. (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.) 10. They have the weirdest habits sometimes I think this is something weird my Teddy does, and maybe you’ve seen other hamster do this as well. He’ll start scaling the cage bars, maybe even get to the ceiling and imitate a tarantula. He has a lot of strength, and I know he can hold on very well. Until his batteries suddenly give out and he just… lets go. Just like that, he just lets go and falls on the bedding. I never understood that one. Or when he throws his droppings around. He holds a piece in his teeth, and flicks it somewhere. He’s not eating them, he’s just kind of playing with them. And when he suddenly barks/hiccups, again I never found out the reason behind that one. It’s quiet, nothing’s happening, there is no sudden noise. Teddy will just make the oddest noises, like a series of loud, high-pitched “hmph’; we probably offended him somehow. But he’s a cute and lovable creature, and I’m sure you’ve got some funny hammies at home too ! 11. They’ll hoard every little thing they can get their paws on Hamsters are well knows for their ability to shove everything in their cheeks and run home with those things. Actually the Syrian hammy got its original arabic name as ‘‘mister saddlebags”, since he can carry so much. So your hammy, and probably everyone’s hammy, is a bit of a hoarder. You’ve seen his stash when you clean his cage, and it’s always incredible how neat and tidy he is with all of his belongings. My Teddy brings into his hideout food, bits of fruit, all the paper towels, a walnut, a whole hammy biscuit, cardboard, a chew toy, everything. Hamsters will try to build their nests out of everything soft you give them, or they can find, so make sure they stay away from anything cotton or fiber (choking hazard). 12. A hamster that just woke up is the most adorable If you’ve seen anyone wake up, you know their eyes are puffy, half open, hair messy, and they can barely walk. Well, imagine a furball waking up all disheveled, with eyes barely open, and his ears folded onto themselves. Hamsters who just woke up look a lot like when they were babies, so warm and fuzzy and disoriented. Much like humans, hammies will wake up for a trip to the bathroom, grab a drink, and go back to sleep. My Teddy is at his cutest when he wakes up and looks around his cage, to see if everything is okay. He just tip toes and sniffs just outside his hideout for a bit, and then stretches. If you ever thought hammies were cute, a stretching, yawning hamster is a nightmare. But it only lasts for a few seconds, and he’s back to his cute, fluffy self. A word from Teddy I hope you found a few extra reasons on why us hammies are cute pets, and funny too ! I know we’re small and maybe harder to hold and pet, but we’re funny on our own too. If you want to find out more about us hamsters, you can read the articles below. You’ll find more info on what we can and can not eat, how big of a cage we need, and even why we suddenly freeze sometimes.... Read more...
- Are Hamsters Blind ? The Truth About Your Hamster’s EyesightA blind hamster is a bit of a myth. Or is it ? Hamsters don’t have great eyesight, but are they really blind ? I looked around, asked a few questions, and found out if hamsters can see. My Teddy was a bit of a guide here, since I compared what I found out with what I’ve seen Teddy do or how he’s reacted in the past. Here’s what I found out about hamster eyesight. Table of Contents So are hamsters blind ?Hamsters don’t rely on their eyesA hamster has a great sense of smellHammies use their hearing for nearly everythingWhiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’Don’t make sudden movements around your hamsterHamsters are very sensitive to light levelsA word from Teddy So are hamsters blind ? No, hamsters are not blind. They are born blind, like most animals, but they don’t stay blind. The eyesight in hamsters forms after a few days, but it never really develops very well. Hamsters have poor eyesight, but blind they are not. They won’t notice you if you just sit still, since they don’t perceive things that are farther away from their whiskers, or directly in front of them. This also means your hamster can’t judge distances or depth, at all, and he will jump from a higher level in his cage to take a shortcut, and possibly hurt himself. Or jump out of your hands, thinking the cage is just a sneeze away. Alright, so hamsters aren’t blind, but they don’t see well either. How do they navigate and survive then ? Let’s see. Hamsters don’t rely on their eyes Hamsters use their other senses much more than they use their eyes. Even if your hamster becomes blind over time, it won’t impact him very much. This is because hamsters don’t relay on seeing what’s in front of them or around them, as much as they rely on hearing and smelling their environment. If you’ve got a blind hamster, you’ll notice he’s got the cage all memorized and knows where to go and how to navigate. There might be a few things you’ll have to get out of his way that he might bump into, like toys that move (a see-saw for example) or bridges. Other than that, a blind hamster will know where his food is, where is nest is, where the water bottle is, and will recognize your voice. He might be a bit nippy, but that’s about the only change people have ever reported about hamsters that turned blind. A hamster has a great sense of smell Hamsters use their smell for lots of things. Even if they don’t see very well, hamsters can still ‘see’ their surroundings. Us humans don’t rely on smell too much, but hamsters do. Your hammy knows your scent, knows the smell of the house, and doesn’t like air fresheners too much. This means that any strong smell will be overwhelming for your hamster. Like perfume, for example, which can be way too strong for his sensitive little nose. If you’re handling your hamster you should wash your hands before. Depending on what you’ve done before, he might not like the smell and bite, or me might love the smell and try to… well, eat your hand. My girlfriend touched some cooked chicken once, wiped her hands on a towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy smelled the chicken and chomped down on her finger, and she’s been afraid of him ever since. Best to avoid that, and wash your hands. Do be careful to use non-perfumed, anti-bacterial soap. An overly floral or fruity soap might have the opposite effect and make your hamster think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands. Conversely, hamsters absolutely hate citrus. Teddy shies away from my hand after I’ve peeled any kind of citrus. Even after I wash my hands. He just can’t stand the smell. Hammies use their hearing for nearly everything Hearing is what hamsters use most in the wild to figure out if there’s predators around or not. Have you ever seen your hammy just freeze in place, with this focused, intense look on his furry face ? He’s listening. Veeery very carefully, who knows when a fox might jump through the window to get him. Jokes aside, it’s funny with pet hamsters, but a life-saving trait for wild hamsters. There’s no fox or owl or snake trying to get to your pet hamster, but in the wild, his predators might be just around the corner. They make sounds, even when they’re trying to be sneaky. Your hamster knows those sounds. Hammies need some time to learn every sound in the house in order to feel comfortable and not panic at every floorboard creaking. After a while they’ll stop freezing as often, and be more relaxed. They are hamsters, however, and won’t really ever relax. Hamsters are sensitive to sound, but not the way you’d think. Loud noises are not comfortable for their ears, but don’t phase them much. They’re a bit stressful, but they know what’s going on. So for example in a fireworks display it’s not the loud noises that scare them, but the bright, sudden lights. (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.) Whiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’ Alright, so your hamster’s got superhearing and dog-level smell. He’s also got ‘the touch’. I mean he sees with his little paws, and his whiskers. In the wild the hamster’s many tunnels are pitch black and winding, so he has to be able to navigate them somehow. The tunnels don’t hum, and they don’t smell, so he has to see with his paws and whiskers. This also applies to his cage, plus the fact that he knows where everything is because he’s memorized it. One of the reasons changing up his habitat is a bad idea. Hamsters don’t like change. When it comes to touch, he’s also sensitive to vibrations. He can sense them both in his paws and his whiskers too. Even if you got out of bed very quietly, and made sure to not turn on the light or step wrong, he still knows you’re up. You every move is a small vibration, and he can sense that. Not in a weird way, it’s just his super-sensitive sense of touch. For example my Teddy keeps sleeping if I just rummage in the room he’s in. But once I speak towards his cage, or stand there for a few minutes, he comes out. He just knows I’m there. Don’t make sudden movements around your hamster If you were sitting down and you suddenly move, chances are your hamster only just noticed you were there. And panicked. Hammies are not very bright, and they’re very easy to scare unfortunately. This means that even if you’re not trying to scare your hamster, you probably still did. Some hammies are extra jumpy and panicky, and will scamper away if they see or hear anything new. But, you can make sure you don’t scare your hamster friend by not moving suddenly. That means that if you’ve got business around his cage, move a bit slower than usual. Try not to turn around too fast, and make your movements slower, deliberate. Another thing that helps is to talk to your hamster while you’re near his cage, so he knows your general position. Hamsters are very sensitive to light levels The final warning about a hamster’s poor eyesight, sunlight hurts his eyes. The light is much too harsh for him, and actually painful. You see hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means their eyes simply can’t handle the amount of light in the daytime. Unlike cats or humans who can regulate how much light enters their eyes, hamster eyes are not as adaptable. Their pupils do adjust, but not by much. This means that the best time for a hamster to use his limited eyesight is dawn and dusk. The light levels are low enough that his eyes don’t hurt, but high enough that he can see. That being said, hamsters have very poor eyesight, even at night. But they don’t necessarily need the light on, or a nightlight at that. Just think of your hamster as your cute, fluffy, incredibly near-sighted friend who lost his glasses. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be a bit clumsy at times, and we don’t see very well, no. However we’re not blind. We can become blind with old age, or an illness, so we rely on you to help us there. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the related articles below to get more info on how to best care for us.... Read more...
- Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?Wondering what to choose between a hamster and a gerbil ? After all, they’re both so very cute and cuddly, but you can’t keep them both. But which should you choose ? Let’s see some details about each pet, so you can make a wise decision. If you want to know how a hamster would do if he were living with a gerbil, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents Is a rodent a good pet for you ?About the hamsterAbout the gerbilThe hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a groupCage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbilFood and treats for the hamster and the gerbilHealth problems the two can getA word from Teddy Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself this question. Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Both the hamster and the gerbil are rodents, they’re both very small and agile, and not easy to catch once they’ve escaped. As rodents, they need plenty of wood to chew on – their teeth never stop growing and need to be filed down constantly. They will love to hide and spend lots of time digging, burrowing, and generally not being noticeable. After all, these poor souls have always been food for other, larger animals. It’s their instinct to hide and taming them can take a while. Very important: if you have children, especially if they’re very young and they’re begging you to get them a hammy or a gerbil, watch out. Both of these pets are too fragile and high-maintenance for a child. The cleaning, taming, and often even the playing will be passed onto you. Not every child is like this, I know, but a hamster is not a puppy. A hamster or a gerbil can’t be handled like a puppy or a grown cat, and can’t match the child’s energy, nor the appetite for play. They’re very sensitive creatures. Still, if this kind of pet sounds alright for you (it did for me), whether you have kids or not, then by all means go and get yourself either a hamster or a gerbil. They’ll bring countless moments of ”awwww” and ”ooooh” to your life, starting with how cute they look when they sleep, and ending with the odd sounds they can make sometimes. Now let’s see about each pet, so you know which would be the best for you. About the hamster Hamsters are very small, fluffy creatures. There are 5 types of hamsters you can choose from, and none of them ever grow very large. They all would fit in the palm of your hand, even as adults. Those 5 types are: Syrian hamsters – the biggest of the bunch, and the most common as a pet. Dwarf types – Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian hammies. Half the size of a Syrian. Chinese hamsters, sometimes called Chinese Dwarf hammies. The easiest to confuse with a gerbil, since they have a bit of a tail. Hamsters come from the general, wide area of south Turkey, Syria, Mongolia, northern China, Russia, Siberia. That’s an area with not much vegetation going on, and most of it is a sort of desert, either a hot sandy one (Syria and Turkey) or a cold, tundra type. Hamsters have adapted to eat mostly grains and a few veggies, maybe an insect or two. They don’t need much water, and they usually live alone. The Dwarf types can tolerate another of their own species, if it’s a sibling and they still might fight sometimes. They’re mostly nocturnal, as pets. So getting a hamster would mean you might miss him if you go to bed around 10 PM and wake up early to go to work or school. In terms of shape, hamsters are short, stocky little creatures. The Dwarf types look like they have no neck at all, while the Syrians have a distinct teddybear-like face. About the gerbil Gerbils are, for the most part, hard to tell apart from a hamster. Especially if you’ve never had to tell the difference between them very often. The main difference is that gerbils have a long tail, longer than the Chinese hamster’s tail. And their hind legs are longer and thinner, since they do a lot of standing and jumping. Gerbils come from roughly the same area as hamsters. Mostly Mongolia and northern China. As such they might resemble the Dwarf hamsters, who come from there as well. As a difference though, gerbils live in colonies and they don’t do well on their own. They need company to enjoy themselves, and they don’t like being alone. Another difference is that gerbils aren’t exactly nocturnal, rather they sleep in patches and seem to be always awake. Gerbils do a lot of digging, more than hamsters actually. So their cage would need to be filled up with more bedding, so they can tunnel away as much as they like. Food for gerbils is very similar to the food for hamsters: mostly grains, a bit of fruit and veg, and a bit of protein if they can catch it. In terms of what their bodies do and what they need for a happy life, hamsters and gerbils do not need very different things. Except for 2 things, which if you get wrong, it can be very bad. (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.) The hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a group One of the things you need to know about, and the most dangerous to get wrong, is the social aspect of these pets. You see hamsters and gerbils are fundamentally opposites in terms of being social. Hamsters like to be on their own, they will not share anything. Even the Dwarf types, which you can sometimes manage to raise successfully in a same-sex pair, will argue often. To a degree that’s normal, but even so it puts much stress on the hamster. A gerbil on the other hand will not like being alone. Much like guinea pigs, gerbils need to be kept in pairs, at the very least. A lone gerbil will become depressed and lose his appetite. A human, while entertaining, will never be able to supplement the attention of another gerbil. After all, we don’t speak gerbil very well, do we ? So, please remember. A hamster should always be alone, a gerbil should always have a buddy. A buddy means either 3 females, or 2 males. Or anything over that number, since it will benefit them to be in a larger number. That will mean a larger cage though, so take care how many gerbils you get. Cage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbil Now when it comes to housing a hamster, that can be fairly easy. A cage big enough for a hamster will be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s a cage big enough for a Syrian, although I recommend it for Dwarf type as well. Hamsters, like gerbils, will always pick a bigger cage if they can. Close quarters can make them stressed and nippy. A pair of gerbils would need a 12 x 20 inch cage, which is 30 x 51 cm. Not that very different from a Syrian cage. Still if you can afford to go for a bigger cage, do so. This is the second thing that needs to be done a certain way, otherwise your gerbils won’t be happy. While they do enjoy each other’s company, they also enjoy some space to run around in and have fun. Now, a good cage that would fit either a single hamster, or two gerbils is this one. It will provide air and lots of ventilation, being a wire cage. It’s also got a second level, which the gerbils or hamster can use as they wish, and it adds extra floor space. The wires in the cage are close together so that neither a gerbil nor a Dwarf hamster would be able to escape. And it’s got enough of a bottom to fill with bedding, so your gerbils have something to tunnel through. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the cage, both the gerbils and the hamster will need plenty of toys and objects in their cage. This means silly things like a cardboard tube can be amazing for them, since they both love to tunnel and they will stick their faces everywhere they can fit it. You can make most toys at home, with a bit of cardboard and creativity. For example an egg carton, with a few holes cut into it is going to be the best hide and seek toy ever. It just won’t last very long, since both the hamster and the gerbils will chew at them often. Some toys, like the exercise wheel, will need to be bought. This is mostly because the wheel needs to be silent, and run smooth, without a hitch. A tail and foot guard is welcome, and gerbil tails are not meant to get caught in anything. So an exercise wheel with just rungs, or wire mesh is not alright for gerbils. A solid-floored one, with not gaps for the little guys to catch their feet or tails on is great. One such example is this one, a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel which is both silent and solid. No tails or feet caught in this one, and it’s easy to spin both by a small Dwarf, and by a Syrian. Gerbils are alright in it too, and their tails will stay safe as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel and the toys the cage will need bedding and a hideout. I recommend you get a wooden hideout, since these two pets will chew at everything, including their nest. As for the bedding, it can be wood shavings or paper bedding. Stay away from wood pellets, since they’re too hard for hamsters and gerbils. If you get wood shavings, make sure you keep away from cedar and pine since their strong aroma can choke the rodents. Food and treats for the hamster and the gerbil In terms of food, these two eat mostly the same things. Both are alright with grains, in fact it’s what they eat most of the time. Fruits are welcome, although some should be avoided – like citrus for example, or apple cores and peels. Vegetables are good for them as well, just keep them away from onion, garlic, leek, and other such veggies. Best to ask before you feed your hamster or gerbils anything new. Nuts and peanuts are a favorite among these guys, so they will enjoy the treat. Just stay away from sweets, saucy foods, spicy foods, or any kind of condiments at all. Their tiny bodies can’t process those things, and they often end up with digestive problems. For the most part hamsters and gerbils have the same foods and treats. Often they’re put on the same packaging to make things very clear. Health problems the two can get Their health problems are mostly the same. Both rodents need their teeth constantly filed down, otherwise they just grow too large. So dental problems can be a big deal, whether it’s overgrown teeth or infected broken teeth, or another problem. Ear and hearing problems can arise as well, and so can eye problems. Tumors and lumps are a topic that is common for hamsters and gerbils, actually for rodents in general. Most of the problems can be easily solved by a vet, but you will need a specific one. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. If you just look to a small pet vet, he might only be able to help with pets as small as cats. Normally hamsters have a 2-4 year lifespan, depending on their type. The Robo Dwarf lives the longest (2 years) while the Chinese lives a shorter life, about 2 years. Gerbils on the other hand have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity. So whichever one you choose as a pet, make sure you have the time and willingness to take care of them properly. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are easy to confuse with gerbils, but we’re actually sort of cousins, twice removed. 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...
- The Real Reason Hamsters Like WheelsIf you have owned a hamster or if you are currently a hamster owner, one of the things you would instantly notice is how your hamster loves playing with its wheel. The hamster wheel instantly becomes the little animal’s favorite thing in the world, and it will play with it non-stop to the point that an average hamster can go for up to five miles in a single night on a hamster wheel. But what is the real reason why hamsters like wheels? The real reason why hamsters like using their hamster wheels are the fact that they are naturally born to run. Generation of domestication as well as a proper introduction to the hamster wheel has allowed the hamster to associate it with running. As such, your hamster will easily love the hamster wheel once it becomes used to it. Hamsters do love to run but they are usually kept in enclosed cages that really limit their movements and activities. As such, the only way for them to be truly themselves is to run on the hamster wheel, which is basically the only exercise they can get whenever they are kept in their cages. In that sense, the hamster wheel becomes a necessity. But don’t stop there because there are more things you need to know about hamsters and their hamster wheels. Why hamsters like wheels If you are a hamster owner or if you are planning on getting one, one of the first purchases you need to make is a hamster wheel. Every pet store will always tell you to buy a hamster wheel together with the hamster’s cage or habitat because it is a necessity for your tiny pet rodent. And the moment you bring your hamster home and set its cage up with its hamster wheel, it won’t take a long time for it to start running on the wheel. And whenever you try to observe what your hamster is doing while it is awake, it will most likely be on the wheel running. But why exactly do hamsters like wheels? For us to understand why hamsters love their hamster wheels, let us go back to the basic nature of a hamster before they were even domesticated and treated as pets. After all, everything an animal does can be traced back to its natural state in the wild. As rodents, hamsters are usually somewhere near the bottom of the food chain in the wild because they have plenty of natural predators that will not waste time trying to make dinner out of them. That is why hamsters have developed a lot of different habits that allowed them to survive in the wild. After all, if they were so easy for predators to catch, they would have been extinct by now. Hamsters, due to how a lot of predators are more likely to be active during the day, have developed the ability to stay awake and active at night as nocturnal animals. They are usually hiding in their burrows during the day before they try to go out at night whenever it is usually safe for them to forage for food. But, even if hamsters are indeed nocturnal, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have predators at night. A lot of cats and reptiles are nocturnal predators as well and are not hesitant to hunt hamsters whenever they are available for them in the wild. Because hamsters still have predators no matter what time of the day it is, they have developed one of their best basic instincts—to run. Yes, because of the very fact that hamsters need to run a lot in the wild due to how they are nearly at the bottom of the food chain, they have developed the basic instinct to run and run and run whenever they can. Running has become second nature to hamsters regardless of whether or not they are wild or domesticated. That is why hamsters are always running and running even when they are kept in their cages as pets. As such, because running is a part of a hamster’s basic instincts for it to survive, it has carried that nature even after the animal has become a domesticated pet. Hamsters as pets will always find a way to run regardless of whether they are in their cages or are let out of their habitats for a short while. And if they are kept in their cages, they will always find a way to run by making use of their hamster wheels. So, a hamster wheel basically plays into the hamster’s instincts of running. That means that your hamster doesn’t technically love its hamster wheel but it actually loves running. It is only that its hamster wheel is what allows it to be its natural self, which is a tiny rodent that basically spends an entire day running. In fact, hamsters run so much in a single day that they can reach up to five miles on their hamster wheel alone. There was even a time when a single hamster was able to run 26.2 miles on its hamster wheel in a span of five days. If you think about it, most people nowadays can’t even run five miles in a single week. That goes to show how truly active hamsters really are especially when they are given hamster wheels. On top of all that, hamsters are also naturally curious animals that love to explore their surroundings by running around. That is why a lot of hamsters can’t help but run around the house when they are let loose from their cages. So, by giving a hamster a wheel, it is able to satisfy its natural sense of curiosity by allowing it to run around to make it feel like it is exploring. Why hamsters need wheels While we have discussed why hamsters like their wheels, let us go to the discussion of whether they need their wheels and why they need their wheels. First things first, your pet hamster can survive without a wheel because a wheel is not one of its basic necessities. As long as you have found other ways for the hamster to run around and be active, then it can do without a wheel. However, know for a fact that it still needs a wheel if you are going to keep it in a cage without anything for it to do. As such, this is when a hamster wheel becomes a necessity for a hamster. So, why do hamsters need wheels? Well, the first reason why they need wheels goes back to the hamster’s basic instinct of running. Hamsters are natural runners that need to run a lot every single day because that is what they are used to in the wild for them to survive. So, by giving them hamster wheels and letting them run on those wheels, the hamster can be its natural self again. Moreover, hamster wheels are the best ways for your hamster to stay healthy. As mentioned, hamsters are natural runners that require a lot of constant movement. It is their natural habit as runners that allow them to stay healthy in the wild. So, by giving your hamster a hamster wheel to run on, you are allowing it to stay active so that it can not only burn off those extra calories but also keep itself away from diseases caused by obesity and inactivity. Finally, hamsters have nothing to do in their cages. But by giving them hamster wheels, they can stay mentally and physically stimulated as they are running tirelessly on those wheels. It is a way for them to have a hobby and a pastime so that they won’t end up developing bad habits. Do all hamsters like wheels? It’s not like hamsters like the wheels themselves but it is the act of running on the wheels that they actually love. So, do all hamsters like wheels? Yes, they do but only because the wheels allow them to run around and not because they like the wheels themselves. In that sense, if you were to give your hamster another way for it to run around and stay active, then it might have no need for its hamster wheel. A lot of owners, in this case, would much rather give their pet hamsters a hamster ball where the hamster is kept inside an inflatable ball that it can use to run around the house freely without getting exposed to the outside elements. The hamster ball allows the little animal to stay safe and have a sense of freedom while it is running around outside the confines of its cage. But because there are some dangers in using a hamster ball (such as when your hamster bumps into things and falls down the stairs while using the ball), it is still better for you to use the hamster wheel as its main source of exercise and activity.... Read more...
- Jumping Hamsters – Why Hamsters Jump, And How HighDid your hamster ever jump out of your hands ? I know my Teddy did. I barely caught him in time. If you have a hamster, and you’ve picked him up, you know what I’m talking about. So I’m going to talk about why hamsters jump, how high hamsters can jump, and how you can make sure they don’t hurt themselves by falling. Table of Contents So why do hamsters jump ?Hamsters can jump out of your handsHamsters can also randomly jump in their cageHamsters will fall, or jump from heightsMaking sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumpsGive the hamster plenty of bedding to fall onOverlapping levels in a cageDon’t give the hamster very tall toysOpt for wood-based toysCover the sides of the levels in the cageA few precautions for jumping hamstersA word from Teddy So why do hamsters jump ? A jumping hamster might sound silly, but it’s for a reason. A hamster will jump just like any other animal when it want to break free, or get to something. Most of the time when he jumps, it’s because the hamster is uncomfortable. His legs and paws are not meant to jump very high(unlike mice or rabbits). But your hammy will jump out of your hands if he’s had enough of your handling and wants to be put in his cage. This can happen with any hamster, be it a tame or difficult one. More difficult hamsters will jump out of your hands more often. But all hamsters will jump away if there’s something bothering them. Like scaring the hamster, or holding him for too long, or too high. As for jumping for food, hamsters rarely jump for or towards something. They rather climb, since their limbs are meant for running and climbing. Hamsters can jump out of your hands For example Teddy (adult Syrian hamster) was more active when he was younger, so he was more fidgety. This got me to constantly keep having to move my hands, like a handwashing motion. Sometimes, he’d have enough of me holding and playing with him, and jump out of my hands. The first time this happened I was lucky to be close to his cage. He fell on the cage, and I let him in. He was fine, nothing hurt or broken. But I had to be careful. So whenever you handle a hamster, be close to his cage, or where you’ve decided his playpen is. If he’s a confirmed jumper, be extra sure to be close to the cage, or near a soft surface he can fall on, like the bed or a sofa. A good way to distract the hamster in your hands is to give him a treat or piece of food. You can check this food list to find out which foods and treats are safe for hamsters, and which are not. Hamsters will also jump out of your hands when they wanted to do something else and you interrupted them. Like maybe you picked your hamster up when he was eating, or while he was cleaning himself. He’ll want to get back to whatever he was doing, fast. Hamsters can also randomly jump in their cage This is more common for more active hamsters, like the smaller Roborovski or Campbell hamsters or their other small brethren. Basically all hamsters aside from Syrians. Syrians do jump around their cage, but mostly when they’re very young. This is because of the amazing energy small hamsters have, and how incredibly agile they are. You can take care f this by providing your hamster with a good exercise wheel, according to his breed. He’ll burn off more energy that way and be less likely to jump for no reason. Sometimes the jumping has no clear purpose or trigger. They weren’t trying to get somewhere, or reach something. No, they were scurrying somewhere and did a backflip on the way. I’ve seen it with Teddy as well, and I can’t really explain why he randomly jumped. Sometimes he jumped onto the cage bars, and started scaling the cage. That has no clear purpose either, aside from expending excess energy. Hamsters will fall, or jump from heights Unfortunately hamsters are very poor judges of heights. Hamsters do not see very well, and can’t use anything else to judge distance. But they are curious creatures and want to inspect everything. So if your cage has a taller level – like a multi-level cage – make sure that the hamster will not injure himself. This means that the height of the fall should not be more than 25 cm/10 inch. This is actually the average height a hamster can jump, and safely land from. This selection of the best and safest hamster cages will make sure your hamster has a good place to live in. For example my Teddy’s cage is a multi-level cage. The topmost level was a safe distance, however there was a slight gap that I had to mind, the two levels didn’t overlap completely. Teddy did jump from the highest level all the way down. He didn’t end up on the first level, he actually landed on the ground floor. He was fine, but I removed his second level soon after that. He didn’t jump often, but when he did he had no clear reason. He had a very easy to access ramp he used to get there in the first place, which he ignored when trying to get down. Hamsters do not judge distances very well, since their eyes don’t help them much. So make sure you fall/jump proof your hammy’s cage. Making sure your hamster doesn’t hurt himself if he jumps There’s a few things you should consider, and I’ll get into each of them. It’s mostly the same across all hamster breeds, maybe some adjustments would need to be made according to the hamster’s size. Give the hamster plenty of bedding to fall on This is what will help him have an easier landing, much like a pile of hay. So that would mean covering every surface he could land on with bedding. If you have a single level cage, then you’re set. If you’ve got a multi-level cage, provide bedding for all levels, even if just a bit. This roundup of great hamster bedding options will help you figure out which will work for you. Overlapping levels in a cage If you do get a multi-level cage for your hammy, make sure the levels overlap, mostly. For example my cage’s levels don’t overlap completely, and Teddy had to be very skilled to fall like he did. When you’re online or at the pet store, make sure you check the cage as best you can. To figure out the best kind of cage your hamster would need, as well as which of the 3 most common types would suit him, check out this article. You’ll find out cage sizes and options, as well as the pros and cons of each type. Don’t give the hamster very tall toys Now, the running wheel will have to be tall in order to be a proper size for him. But your hammy can’t get all the way on top of the wheel wince it will spin with him. But digging towers are different, as well as hideout complexes. Try looking for something no taller than those 25 cm/10 inches we talked about earlier. If your give the hamster no tall toys, he will have nowhere to fall from. This includes hammocks and mesh nets. These should not be more than 10 inches off the ground for your hammy. Especially for the dwarf hamsters out there. Opt for wood-based toys While the wheel will most probably not be metal, in order to be easy to spin and get a large enough one, the other toys should be wood. This is partly because hamsters chew on everything and wood is safe for them. And the other part is because wood lets the hamster have an easier landing than hard plastic or metal. Cover the sides of the levels in the cage If you’ve got a multi-level cage, but they don’t overlap that much, consider covering those sides with something like a fence that goes all the way up, or at least as nigh as the hamster’s full body. A good option would be popsicle sticks. They’re safe for hamsters, and you can get them in most arts and crafts stores. A good, non-toxic glue that the hamster will be able to hold the popsicles in place. Make sure that you only do this if the hamster can’t reach the place there you’ve glued the popsicles. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) A few precautions for jumping hamsters When you’re handling your hammy, he might jump. So make sure you are very close to his cage, or something soft that he can land on. Like the bed or a sofa, or anything else soft. If you’ve got a tank for your hamster, make sure it’s got tall enough sides. Giving the hamster 3-5 cm/1-2 inches of bedding will mean that you need some 25 cm/10 inch above the bedding. This is the least, since some hamsters can jump higher than this. They don’t jump often, but all it takes is once. Best would be to actually cover the top of the tank with a wire mesh. You can find those at some pet shops, or most hardware shops as well. A hamster that’s about to jump will give warning signs. It’s up to you to notice them, and I’ll help you with a few. For example your hamster will start to move faster in your hands, and his nose and whiskers will twitch more. He’ll look left and right and start moving out of your hand. That’s when you should definitely put him back in his cage. If you put him on the floor or somewhere not contained, he will run everywhere. Hamsters get restless easily, and it’s best to leave them in a well contained area when they’re like this, so they can run and play at will. Do not scare the hamster, or handle him when there’s a lot of things going on around you. Make sure you’re in a calm, quiet place, with not many things flying or moving around. A scared hamster has incredibly fast reflexes, so he will jump without warning. Another thing to remember is that hamsters are not calm animals. They won’t be as cuddly as a cat or guinea pig. A hamster will not stay in your hands for more than 2 couple of minutes(and he will never sit still), after which he’ll try to get away. He is restless and that’s his nature. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for, and know why us hamsters jump. We don’t do that often, but it’s usually for a reason. Although we can jump randomly too. Mostly we want to be left alone to roam our cages. If you want to know more about us hammies, and what kind of cages we need, or how much water we need, check the articles below !... 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...
- 12 Reasons That Hamsters Squeak-Understanding Your PetAlmost all animals have a distinct sound. We know that dogs bark for many reasons, cry when they want something, and growl when they are aggressive, but not many people know what sounds hamsters make. The most common noises that hamsters make are squeals, screams, and squeaks, but they can also hiss and grind their teeth. It is hard to say exactly why your hamster is making any of these noises, which is why you’ll have to examine what it’s doing to understand why it’s making that noise. However, we do have a general idea of what might be going on with your hamster when it makes certain sounds. If your hamster is grinding its teeth, it means that your hamster is probably irritated and wants you to leave it alone. If you notice that it is baring its teeth, it is giving you a visual warning that it’s planning to attack you. Similar to a car, your hamster can hiss if it’s aggressive and does it to give off warning signs before it attacks. It might hiss if you won’t leave it alone after it ran away from you, and if you don’t stop trying to take it even after it hissed at you, it will probably bite you. You won’t hear your hamster screaming very often. They usually scream because they are afraid of something, and the scream is loud and distressing. The most common sound all hamsters make is squeaking. Squeaking can mean so many things which is why it’s very hard to determine why your hamster is squeaking without examining the situation. Here are 12 reasons why your hamster might be squeaking, which will help you understand your hamster better. Table of Contents 1. Your hamster is happy2. Your hamster is afraid3. Your hamster needs something4. Your hamster is talking to other hamsters5. Your hamster doesn’t like being picked up6. Your hamster recognizes something7. Your hamster is aggressive8. Your hamster is trying to be dominant9. Your hamster is trapped or in danger10. Your hamster wants to breed11. Your hamster is giving birth12. Your hamster is injured 1. Your hamster is happy Hamsters sometimes squeak when they are happy. For example, hamsters are known to squeak when they get a treat, or when you pet them. If you have more than just one hamster, your hamsters could squeak because they are happy to see each other, or just because they are playing. You can tell that your hamster is squeaking because it is happy if you see it stretch or yawn while squeaking. 2. Your hamster is afraid When your hamster squeaks continually, it’s telling someone to back off. The hamster can be saying this to other hamsters if you have more than just one, or to you, if it’s new to your home and still afraid of you. If your hamster is new, socialization will make it calm down. When you get a hamster for the first time, it might be hard to figure out on your own how to tame it. The first thing you should do when you bring a hamster home is to let it adjust. Try giving it a week before you handle it. Keep it in a big enough cage, and make sure it always has water and food, so it’s not stressed out. It would be best if you placed the cage somewhere where it is surrounded by people, but where it won’t be disturbed by the noise, distractions, or other pets. It’s important to remember that hamsters sleep during the day, so they will need to be placed somewhere peaceful and quiet during this week, but where they can still see people. A good place would be a study if you work from home or a bedroom. Try not to get annoyed with the taming process, as it doesn’t happen overnight. The goal of the taming process is to convince your hamster to trust you, and that there’s no reason for it to be afraid of it. You will have to take the time to get to know your hamster and learn how it communicates. You will notice that your hamster has become more comfortable once it leaves its cage on its own. Do not handle your hamster before it leaves the cage on its own, you will just make it more afraid of you. The hamster will let you know that it is comfortable with you when it eats, drinks, or plays when you’re around. You should talk to your hamster, but not too loudly, so it gets used to your voice. You might feel awkward talking to your hamster, so try reading it a book, or if you have kids, read them a goodnight story with the hamster present in the room. They say that love goes through the stomach, and that’s true for hamsters as well. You can convince your hamster to trust you by offering it a lot of treats. Start by offering them through the bars or at the edge of the cage. Wait for the hamster to come and explore your hand, but don’t try to touch it. After a while, you will be able to place your hand inside the cage and put the treat on your hand. Again, it is very important that you don’t touch the hamster or try to force it into your hand. Instead, let it get interested and explore your hand. The first time you do this, the hamster will probably only place one paw on your hand. The more you do it, the more your hamster will trust you, and eventually, it will climb into your hand to get the treat. When your hamster trusts your enough to get to your hand, you can try to take it into your hand. If you notice that your hamster wants to get away, let it go. Your hamster will probably do this the first few times, but after a while, it will realize that your hands are safe. How long it will take for your hamster to let you pick it up depends on its personality and age. Some hamsters might let you pick them up as soon as they come into your home, while others need a month or longer to fully relax and trust you. Make sure you pick it up safely. The best way to do so is to cup your hand and put the hamster in it and place the other hand on its back so that it feels safe. The first few times you pick up your hamster, make sure there is a soft surface beneath you in case it jumps out of your hand. As time passes, the hamster will become more comfortable with you and trust you more, and it will walk over your hands and arms. 3. Your hamster needs something Hamsters squeak when they want something. They can’t talk, so squeaking is their way of communicating that they need something. They might want to get out of the cage, want your attention, or their food and water bowl is empty. If your hamster squeaks for a long time and it doesn’t stop squeaking after you give it food and attention, check whether it’s injured. 4. Your hamster is talking to other hamsters The only way young hamsters can talk to other hamsters is by squeaking. They squeak to let others know how they feel. When they squeak loudly, they are telling the other hamsters that they are afraid, or that they don’t like what they’re doing. If you notice that your hamster is squeaking softly when around other hamsters, it means that it’s enjoying their company, or that it wants attention from another hamster. This depends on the type of hamster. Dwarf hamsters are smaller and they can’t produce soft sounds, so they squeak, but if you have a Teddy Bear hamster, it will most likely softly murmur to communicate because it has longer vocal cords. 5. Your hamster doesn’t like being picked up Depending on the type of your hamster, it might never learn not to be afraid of heights. Dwarf hamsters are miniature and they will probably squeak when you pick them up, not because they are afraid of you, but because they are afraid of the height. Hamsters also get scared when they don’t know where they are. Bigger types of hamsters will soon learn that they are safe when you pick them up, as they aren’t as afraid of heights as the Dwarf hamsters. 6. Your hamster recognizes something Dwarf hamsters are known to learn what it sounds and looks like when you’re about to feed them. If you notice that your hamster squeaks when you open its bag of food, or open its cage to give it some treats, it means that your hamster has recognized what’s about to happen. If you tame your hamster and it bonds with you, it can learn what you look and sound like, and it can squeak because it recognizes you. Most types of hamsters squeak when they recognize something, but the owners have noticed that Dwarf hamsters are often louder than other types of hamsters. 7. Your hamster is aggressive If your hamster is tamed, and it squeaks when you try to touch it, it’s probably aggressive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to bite you. It is likely that your hamster doesn’t feel like hanging out with you because it is tired, or just in a bad mood. 8. Your hamster is trying to be dominant If you have more than just one hamster, it is likely that they will get into a fight every once in a while. While it is natural to get concerned and think that your hamsters are getting hurt when they squeak during the fight, they can actually be doing it for a whole other reason. Most hamsters will squeak when fighting because they will try to be dominant. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t break up the fight. 9. Your hamster is trapped or in danger Your hamster might squeak when it finds itself trapped, or in a dangerous situation, and it is trying to signal that it needs help. This squeak is usually quite loud and continuous, and it might seem as if it is screaming. 10. Your hamster wants to breed If you have hamsters of both gender, they will likely squeak when to make a mating call. The mating call is very loud and persistent. You might notice that your male hamster sits upright when it hears your female hamster squeaking when in heat. You can choose whether or not you want to breed them at this point. If you choose to breed them, you should put the female hamster into the male hamster’s cage every night for four days during the estrus, which is the 12-hour long period during which the female hamster will mate with the male hamster. Make sure that your female hamster wants to breed because otherwise, it could become aggressive and attack the male. You will notice that it wants to breed once you place it into the male hamster’s cage and it settles down soon. You will know that your female hamster is pregnant because it will be fatter about 2 weeks after mating, and it will move around less. It will also become more and more aggressive as it gets closer to its due date. Female hamsters are usually pregnant for about 18 to 22 days. Most commonly, it gives birth to 4 to 6 hamsters. However, depending on the type of your hamster, there can also be less than 3 or more than 12. Be careful because sometimes female hamsters eat their babies. 11. Your hamster is giving birth If you’ve decided to breed your hamsters or didn’t keep them apart during mating time, your female hamster will get pregnant. If you know that your hamster is pregnant and you hear it squeaking, it could mean that it is getting into labor. You might feel bad for it and the pain it’s going through, but it’s very important that you leave it alone. Female hamsters want to give birth alone so that they can focus. It will give birth to the hamsters in 10 to 30-minute intervals and cut off the umbilical cord on its own. It tends to clean the area after the birth of each hamster. Make sure you give your female hamster enough food and water. Don’t try to look at the hamsters or open the cage for the first two weeks. It can think that they are in danger and eat their babies. 12. Your hamster is injured If you notice that your hamster is squeaking, it might be in pain or injured. Sick or injured hamsters tend to hide, so if you notice your hamster hiding, make sure you check for any injuries. If you can’t see any injury but your hamster is still squeaking, make sure you take it to the vet, there might be something going on inside your hamster. The most common injuries in hamsters are cuts and scrapes. If you notice that your hamster is squeaking because it has a cut, there’s no need to panic. Try to figure out what it got cut on so you can remove it and reduce the chances of your hamster cutting itself on it again. Your hamster will probably squeak as soon as it cuts itself, so it should be easy to see what it has cut itself on. To clean the cut, you can use some lukewarm water and a cotton pad. Don’t use anything humans use to treat cuts, such as antiseptics, creams, or band-aids. If you notice that the wound is big or it doesn’t seem to stop bleeding, take your hamster to the vet. If you notice that your hamster is squeaking when you’re touching it, it might have developed an infection that caused an abscess to formed on its skin. It could also have abscesses in the mouth. Regardless of where they are located, they are very painful for your hamster, and they will have to be drained by a vet.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Cheese ? Are The Cartoons Right ?When I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat cheese like I saw in Tom & Jerry. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge ! Table of Contents So can my hamster eat dairy ?Hamsters can eat cheeseHamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurtHammies should avoid milkCommercial hamster food has enough mineral contentA word from Teddy So can my hamster eat dairy ? The short answer – yes, hamsters can eat some types of dairy. But in a small amounts, and only certain kinds. Some dairy products are safe for hamsters, some can cause digestive problems. Lactose content plays a major role in how well mammals respond to dairy, and hamsters fall into the mammal category. Not all milk-based products are okay for hammies. This is due to the small size of hamsters, and their different gut than humans. Hamsters can tolerate some kinds of dairy, and I’ll cover the main kinds in the rest of the article. Hamsters can eat cheese Cheese is safe for hamsters, both regular cheese and white/cottage cheese, including feta. This is mostly because the fermenting process ends in a product that is safe to consume for most creatures. The lactose content in cheese is much smaller than in regular milk. The gut has an easier time processing cheese than any other dairy product, since there’s less lactose in it. You’ve seen Jerry in the cartoons go nuts over a bit of cheese. Well, hamsters love cheese just as much as mice do, since they’re not so distantly related after all. Also, the strong smell makes hammies want to go for it instantly. You can see my Teddy in the first photo of this article, happily munching on a bit of Gouda. The first time he even smelled it, he was all over it. So yes, hamsters can eat cheese, and their stomach is okay with it. Be sure to give your hamsters mild cheese that is not very aged. Overly smelly (pungent) cheese may sit badly with them, such as Parmesan or Pecorino Romano. Soft cheeses like brie, or washed rind cheeses have a mold or bacteria culture that may be unsafe for hamsters, so try and avoid giving them to hamsters. Hamsters can eat a tiny bit of yogurt Yogurt is another story here. The probiotics are a welcome bonus, and it will help with digestive problems. However with hamsters it’s the bacteria culture that can cause trouble. You see, hammies have a different kind of stool than humans. The only reason hammies ever have a wet stool is if they’re very very ill and this is not something okay for them. So I’m not saying giving your hamster yogurt will give him a runny stool. But I am saying that yogurt may cause bloating and digestive problems for your hamster. Which is why I recommend that you don’t give your hamster yogurt often, or in large amounts. Something like half a teaspoon is enough, and it should not be given more than once per week. Hammies will eat many things that are not okay for them. They can’t really know the difference between the foods unless they try it, so they rely on you to keep them safe. You will find yogurt listed as an ingredient for some treats for hamsters. That’s usually alright, since it’s in a small amount, and mostly there’s powdered milk where it says yogurt. Actual, natural yogurt does not keep and can’t be used in most treats. Hammies should avoid milk When it comes to milk, I recommend you avoid it completely for your hamster. The amount of lactose is the highest in milk, and it’s the one most likely to give your hamster a bad tummy. Hamsters only suckle from their mothers until they’re 3-4 weeks old. After they’re weaned, like most mammals, they can’t process lactose and will have trouble digesting it. Most everyone has a degree of lactose intolerance, some more extreme, some more manageable. Younger mammals, like baby hamsters or humans can process it well enough. Adult humans or hamsters can’t stomach milk and will have trouble with it. (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.) Commercial hamster food has enough mineral content You can feed your hamster with things you’ve already got around the house. Like meat, and veggies, and some cheese. You can find a list of safe foods for your hamster right here. But it’s both easier and more nutrition-conscious of you to feed your hammy a pre-made food mix, that will give your hamster enough to cover the basics. Commercial food mixes do have a high enough mineral content, which is something you might think you’re helping your hamster get with extra cheese or yogurt. A good food mix like this one is going to help your hamster cover all his bases. You’ve got protein, veggies, vitamins, fibers, and minerals. And the selection in this bag is very wide, so your hamster can choose whatever he like. Be warned though, that hamsters can become very picky with their food, and they might ignore bits of the mix sometimes. That’s okay, you can add a peanut here, a walnut there, and make sure your hammy gets all the nutrition he needs. You’ll find the Amazon listing for this food mix here, and you can check out the reviews as well. You can supplement your hammy’s food with whatever you have on hand as is okay for him to eat. For example I give my Teddy a small bit of cooked chicken, or cooked egg white whenever we’re cooking, er even a bit of carrot. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies might want to eat everything, but only some kinds of dairy are okay. For example I love Gouda, and Maasdam cheese, but maybe your hammy likes Cheddar better ? If you want to know more about us hamster you should check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like how large a cage we need, and why we sometimes freeze when you walk by us.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Get Bored ? How To Keep Your Hamster EntertainedIf you’ve got a hammy you want to make sure he has the best life. So, sometimes you wonder if your hamster is bored, and how you can keep your hamster friend entertained. I know I had these thoughts for my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) and here’s what I found out. Table of Contents So do hamsters get bored ?A look at a hamster’s usual life and daily routineWhat your hamster would do in the wildWhat can make your hamster boredDo you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters get bored ? No, not really. Hamsters don’t see the passing of time the same way as we humans do. Aside from their instincts (survive, reproduce, find food, etc.) hamsters don’t have grand goals that could suffer from being kept in a cage. That being said, hamsters can become stressed or sad if their cage/habitat is terrible. Too small, dirty, no toys, no hideout, too many sounds and people trying to get to them, being handled too much, etc. We’ll cover those too. But first let’s take a look at the usual life of a hamster, and see that it’s not terribly different from the one ha has in your home. There are a few key differences, yes, but they’re all in his benefit. A look at a hamster’s usual life and daily routine Normally a hamster spends most of the day sleeping in his little warm nest, and once night starts to set in, he will come out. He’ll start looking for food, and that’s the best moment to feed him. The sound of his food being put in his cage while he is sleeping will wake him up, and he’ll be a grumpy little furball. Best to wait until he’s up. After finding his food and pouching most of it your hammy will move back into his nest, where he’ll hide all of his food. Yes, hamsters have an amazing stash of food in their nests, and they will hoard everything. Once he’s done with his food he’ll spend most of his time running around his cage. He’ll end up on his wheel for most of the night. Actually he can run for up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a whole night ! That’s a lot of running around, and it’s no wonder he’s dozing off in the morning. Every once in a while, he’ll stop running around and just… check. Sit up, eyes wide open, ears strained, trying to hear if there’s any danger around. He’ll look like he’s freezing, but in truth he’s just hearing things out. It’s what kept him alive in the wild, after all. If he’s got any toys he will use them. If he’s got tunnels, he will do laps in his tunnels too. Chew on everything available, including his hideout – great to have a wooden hideout for that reason. This is his usual routine, and it’s what will keep him busy. He’s got a ridiculous amount of energy, and need to burn it all. Unless he’s got a very bare cage, he can’t get bored. This isn’t very different from his usual routine in the wild, although there is the element of adrenaline that’s missing. Let me explain, What your hamster would do in the wild In the wild, the essential activities would be the same ones I described above. Except the hamster can be found and eaten by a predator at any moment. So that means the hammy is always on edge, always hearing things out, always running away. That makes for a very skittish and shy animal – if you were ever wondering why he’s like that. In the wild toys would have no purpose. The running around and dodging predators would be ‘fun’ enough. In your home there’s nothing to hunt him, hence why he needs toys to keep him busy. Finally, in the wild the hammy would try to find a mate too. He’d patrol his territory, and if he met a female in heat he’d try his luck. What can make your hamster bored As you’ve seen, your hamster has a whole lot of things to do. This means that you won’t really be up to see him do most of these things, since he’s awake when you’re sleeping. But if you were to ever stay up all night and just observe him, you’d see all the things I described above. He can get bored though, only if you’ve given him an especially bare and small cage. Let’s see what that means. The minimum cage size for a single hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Every hamster will like a larger cage better, so if you can get a big cage you should do that. Aside from the minimum bedding on the cage floor, there is also the absolute need for a hideout. Your hamster will make himself a nest anyway in the most hidden corner he an find. But a hideout will provide definite shelter, and he’ll be thankful for it. A food bowl and water bottle are mandatory as well, and they’re easy to find. An exercise wheel is mandatory as well, simply because running is half of everything a hamster does. He spends most of his life running, so not getting him that would be like someone never letting you out of your house. These are the bare minimum, but there are toys to take into consideration. Some you can DYI, some are store bought. Look around and see which you like best. You can save up money and still keep you hammy happy with cardboard tubes (from paper towels and toilet paper rolls). Teddy has a grand time with those cardboard rolls, and he uses them as chew toys too. Any other distractions you can provide your hamster – like time outside his cage in an exercise ball – will be welcome too. A large cage will also mean lots of space for him to run around in, explore, and have a whole bunch of toys. Finally, keeping your hamster in a dirty cage will lower his general disposition, since no one likes that. A hamster’s cage needs a full cleaning once per week. A dirty cage can lead to several health issues, which is never something you want. (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.) Do you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ? Alright, let’s say you’ve got a hamster, and he’s got a very big cage, with every toy ever and everything he could ever want. But you think he’s possibly bored, and wouldn’t he maybe need a friend ? To be fair, that’s a question many hamster owners have at first. However hamsters do not need a buddy. That sounds terrible, but bear with me. Hamsters can be social, sometimes, under certain circumstances. But for the most part they will fight to the death with other hamsters. In the wild the hamster is not a very cuddly animal. Sure, Dwarf types can live together if they absolutely have to, but they end up fighting over food and space in the nest. They end up on their own, and the Syrians are definitely to be kept alone. And very important – if you’ve got a hamster already, and he’s past the 3 month mark, then introducing him to any other hamster will most likely not go well. Hamsters need to grow up together in a very large cage, with lots of food and toys and space, order to get along. Introducing a new hamster out of the blue ends in pain. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters may look like we’re bored every now and then, but we’re very different from you humans. We don’t do the same things or have the same thoughts. 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...