Where Hamsters Come From – Origin Story Of Your Furry Friend

If you’ve ever wondered where your hamster comes from, know that I asked myself the same question. Turns out hamsters have a short history of being pets, and some really wild and rugged ancestors.

It’s a whole story, really. And there’s more than just one hamster type. Today there’s 5 types of hamster available for purchase, and they’re all a bit different.

But let’s start with the basics: where do they come from, where do they go ? (Cotton-eyed Joe)

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So where do hamsters come from ?

Hamsters, as a whole, have several ‘roots’ but they all stem from the same general region. Reaching from southern Turkey, Syria, Russia, Siberia, Mongolia, parts of China, hamsters are mostly Asian in descent. 

At least the ones that we’ve been able to domesticate somewhat, and keep as pets. Each hamster type has a different story, but they have a common thread. That of being noticed in the wild by one scientist or explorer, and brought back to the Western world as pets.

The modern hamster, aside from variations in coat patterns, is very much the same as the wild hamsters discovered about a century ago.

Next, we’ll cover the roots of each hamster type, and how they came to be our pets, including how to care for them given their ancestry.

About the Syrian hamster

Originally from southern Turkey and Syria, the Syrian hamster is the largest of the pet hamsters (up to 7 inches/18 cm). They come from a very hot and dry place on this planet.

They’re the most diverse-looking hamsters out there. They can be all in one color, spotted, ringed, with a dominant spot, golden, or ashen, or pretty much any color combination you can imagine.

The most common is the Golden variation – also the one found in the wild – with orange on the back, and white on the belly, with a bit of grey on his ears. My Teddy is like that.

The Syrian was first sighted in 1839, but didn’t become a pet until the past few decades. You see what happened was that all the way back in 1930 a zoologist named Israel Aharoni was able to find a mother hamster, with a litter of 11 babies.

They were found in Syria, and brought to Jerusalem for study. Not all of the litter survived, since the mother sensed danger and started eating the babies. Unfortunately that happens, and the zoologist wasn’t aware, no one had known hamsters before.

A few of the babies survived, and were raised in the laboratory in Jerusalem. Some escaped, and became the wild hamsters of Israel.

In 1931 a few of them were transported to Britain, and from the on raised and passed on to various laboratories for studies, and to breeders as well.

Today’s modern Syrian hammies are descended from that one mother found in Syria, since none have ever been successfully captured and bred since. So my Teddy – Golden Syrian male – is probably related to your Syrian hammy, like very very distant cousins.

About the Roborovski Dwarf

The Roborovski hammy, or the Robo Dwarf, was first sighted and noted by Lt. Vsevolod Roborovski, a russian expeditioner.

These hammies are much, much smaller than the Syrian, and they’re actually the tiniest of all hamsters. They grow up to 2 inches/ 5 cm and that’s it.

Robos live in parts of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. The regions of those countries that the hamster lives in are particularly dry and sandy, with very little vegetation and water, so this hammy has learned to be great at surviving on very little water.

The Robo was brought in the common household only around 1960 when they were imported into the London Zoo, in the U.K.

Given their small size Roborovski hammies have become very popular as pets, and they’re among the hamster types that can live in a pair. Even if they’re the smallest and hardest pet to literally hold onto, Robos win with their cuteness.

Their fur markings are more limited than the Syrian hamsters, but they live the longest – up to 4 years being the record.

About the Campbell Dwarf

The first ever Campbell Dwarf was found and collected in 1902 in Mongolia by Charles William Campbell (hence the name).

The territory these hamsters live in is somewhere between southern Russia, northern China, Mongolia, and a part of Kazakhstan. Most hamsters, aside from the Syrian and European hamster, come from that area, actually.

Of all the hamster species, the Campbell Dwarf is the most social. They’ve been found living with other hamster types in order to share tunnels, protection, and food.

They also come close to human settlements to find warmth, shelter, and food. For example they can be sometimes found in mongolian yurts in the winter months.

It’s unclear how these furry creatures came to the Western world since there are no definite records. Still, I’d imagine it happened like with the rest of the hammies that can be purchased now..

About the Siberian/Winter white Dwarf

The most confusing hamster type out there, it’s usually confused with the Campbell Dwarf.

The Siberian hammy’s name is always a mix, ranging from:

  • Siberian (given the region it lives in)
  • to Winter White since its fur changes to white in the winter
  • to Russian since it inhabits parts of Russia
  • and finally Djungarian for another region of China this hamster lives in
  • plus the added “Dwarf”, to make it all even more confusing

Now that being said, this particular hamster lives in parts of Russia, Siberia, China, and Mongolia. The appearance is a lot like the Campbell Dwarf, but with a few key differences.

The Siberian Dwarf is small, with a white belly, and a browny color on its back, a dark stripe going down the back, and a dark spot on its crown.  In the winter the fur goes almost completely white.

The Campbell hamster has the same look, but grey on its belly, and has a much thinner stripe down the back, with no dark fur on the crown. They can interbreed only by male Siberian and female Campbell , but the result is a sterile litter.

Naming and discovery happened in 1773 by Peter Simon Pallas, who first described it as a mouse, and later renamed it Mouse Songarus.

The Siberian hammy was brought to Germany (and the West in general) only in 1968, all the way from western Siberia to the Max Planck institute in Germany.

About the Chinese Dwarf

This hamster was also discovered by the same zoologist as the Siberian Dwarf, Peter Simon Pallas, and recorded in 1773.

There is some serious confusion between the Chinese hamster, and the Striped Chinese hamster. They seem to be the same species, but it’s honestly hard to make sense of the conflicting info. Some say they’re the same, some say they’re each other subspecies, some say they’re completely different.

What’s definite though is that they both have a longer tail than other domestic hamsters, and look mostly the same. As in mostly brown with a few darker hairs, and a very thin dark stripe going down the back.

These hammies are larger than a Dwarf, but smaller than a Syrian. As in, the reach up to 4 inches/ 10 cm, yet they’re classified as Dwarf types, given that they’re still smaller than the Syrian.

Chinese hamsters are also very territorial, and can’t be housed together. They and the Syrian hamster will fight to the death, even if introduced to their own siblings as babies.

The region these hamsters live in ranges from Mongolia, China, Korea, Western Siberia, Southern Russia.

There is a wild European hamster no one has ever tamed

Alright, after all these hamster types that you can find in most pet shops, there is another one. A much larger, completely impossible to tame hamster.

The European hamster, or black-bellied hamster, can grow to double the size of a Syrian hammy. So that puts an adult European to about 8-14 inches/20-35 cm !

Their fur is usually brown, with a black belly, chest, and neck and a few white markings on the neck and paws.

Its territory ranges from Belgium and Eastern Europe, all the way to Western Russia. Aside from this, not much is known about this hamster when it comes to who named it and why it’s not suitable as a pet.

I’m guessing its large size makes it harder to keep in check, and thus wouldn’t be a good pet. That’s just my guess though.

How the wild hamster came to be your cuddly pet

Now that you know where your hammy came from, now let’s see which kind of hamster you have. You can find a simple, clear guide to hamster breeds here, so you know which hamster type you have.

And here you’ll find the main differences between the Syrian hammy, and the Dwarf type hammies out there. There’s quite a few differences.

Okay, now you know which hammy you have. But how did it become your pet ? Actually, why did hamsters in general become pets ?

Well, as you’ve read most of the hamster types were imported to either Britain or Germany for study. Back in the day zoologists and explorers did intense research and expeditions to find out everything you now read in your zoology and biology textbook.

They did more than just that, but that’s the part where the hamsters come in. So hamsters became both laboratory animals, and zoo expositions as well.

Once scientists and professors started getting valuable info about the hamsters and they became widely known, they started to become gifts. For a dignitary or diplomat, hamsters were given as pets, and were exported into toe U.S. as well in the late 1900’s.

So the hamster has a history of curiosity in the wild, to laboratory animal, to zoo animal, and finally as a pet.  They became very popular as pets in 1930-40, and only grown in popularity since.

(If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.)

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Pet hamsters vs wild hamsters – is there a difference ?

When it comes to temperament, the modern hamster isn’t all that different from the wild hamster. Given the fact that the selective breeding process has been going on for less than a century, your hammy at home isn’t decidedly tame or domesticated.

Unlike dogs for example, who’ve been bred for thousands of years, and became domestic and tame and loving pets, hamsters have a very short history of being pets.

And there is also the difference between rodents and canines, which makes rodents harder to teach.

That being said, if you were to release your Syrian hammy in your back yard, it would have a low chance or survival, depending on where you live.

If you’re in a warm, sandy, dry place, it would be a lot like his home and he’d scamper away to dig a burrow.

If you’re like us in a cooler, more humid place, with all 4 seasons, your Syrian hammy would perish as soon as autumn kicked in.

It’s not necessarily the cold that gets to them, but the humidity that goes through their fur and makes them sick very fast.

When it comes to markings though, the modern hamster has many more variations than the wild one. Aside from that though, your pet hammy is mostly the same as his wild cousin.

Is a hamster a good pet for your home ?

A hamster is a great pet to have, but he comes with his own challenges. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, light, sounds, and smells.

They don’t do well in crowded, loud homes, and react very badly under stress. They also get stressed very easily, to there’s that too.

The ideal home for a hamster is a quiet, calm home, with not many adults, children, or pets running around the house, and of an even temperature.

For this reason, and the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal and sleep during the day, hamsters are deceptive pets. They look cute and sound easy to take care of, but need constant handling in order to remain tame.

A lot of patience and calmness in needed to take care of a hamster, and quite a bit of attention to detail too. Like the cage size, the spacing between bars, the kinds of food he gets, and so on.

Hamsters are still wild animals, and rodents at that. So they’re excellent escape artists, and will often gnaw on everything they can.

That being said, having a hamster as a pet can be rewarding on its own. It’s just very different from having a puppy or a kitten. You can find out more about what having a hamster is like.

And if you want to know how to choose a good hamster for you, check out this guide on the health and personality traits to look out for in your pet hamster.

A word from Teddy

I hope you liked reading about us hammies, and how we came to be your pets. I know it can be a bit confusing, but we’ve had a wild ride all the way to your home.

If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can read the related articles below, for steps on how to care for us and so on.

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Do Hamsters Eat Or Need Hay ? Extra Treats For Your Hamster
Do Hamsters Eat Or Need Hay ? Extra Treats For Your HamsterHamsters eating hay is a not a common thought for hamster owners. But if you also own a guinea pig, who needs hay, you might wonder if your hammy would like some too. After all, there’s tons of hamster toys and cage objects made of hay. Wouldn’t it be safe for hamsters ? Would they eat it ? Would they nest in it ? Ignore it ? Well, let’s find out. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters need or eat hay ?Types of hay safe for hamstersHay bedding for hamstersA word from Teddy So do hamsters need or eat hay ? Yes, some hamsters do eat hay. Some only use it as bedding, because it is so pliable and soft. At least when compared to wood shavings.  Hay isn’t necessary for hamsters, as it would be for guinea pigs or rabbits. It does provide some nutritional value to them, mostly minerals and fibers. But it’s not necessary, as in they are okay if they never see a straw of hay in their life. Most hamsters will interact with it somehow, at least using it as a bedding or foraging substrate. Some will eat it, some will just chew on it to file down their teeth, like with wood. And some might just ignore the hay. Let’s see what you should know about hay before you give it to your hamster, and which types are okay. Types of hay safe for hamsters There are several types of hay available on the market. Alfalfa, timothy hay, orchard grass, clover, and so on. Not all are okay for hamsters, but I’ll help you out. Hammies can have timothy hay, alfalfa, and meadow hay. Those are the ones they get long with well. It does not mean other types of hay will necessarily harm your hamster. It’s just that they might not like other types as much. After all, hay is just dried grass, of various types. So the dried version of your hamster’s favorite herb should be okay. You can find out more about hamster-safe herbs here. A few other examples of safe hay, as in dried herbs, can include marigold, wheat, daisy, clover, chamomile. These are also safe plants to feed to your hamster, but in moderation. As for their ‘hay’ version, all the plants mentioned above could be more expensive if you’re buying them from somewhere. This is because for example marigold hay, while not unheard of, is not a common item found on pet shops. You can make your own, by picking marigolds and letting them dry in the sun. The process take time and is very… well, you’re working with individual stalks, so it’s time consuming and painstakingly detailed. Still, it’s worth it if you’re really set to give your hamster premium hay. If you get a ballot of commercial hay, you should make sure it’s not the yellow type usually given to farm animals. The yellow straws are too hard for hamster cheeks. And the hamster will pouch the hay, even if he’s perplexed by it at first. Especially if he’s going to use it as bedding. (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.) Hay bedding for hamsters Hamsters will use anything soft enough for bedding and nesting. You can give your hamster wood shavings (not cedar or pine !), wood pellets, hay, dried grass (wider hay), paper bedding. Hay is not often used for bedding for hamsters, simply because it’s not something commonly associated with hamsters. But if you do give them a full cage of hay, they’ll treat it like the ‘ground’, and maybe drag a few extra bits to their hideout. If you just add some hay on top of their usual bedding, they’ll move all of it to their hideout and start building a nest with it. In the wild hamsters use small twigs, dried leaves, anything vegetal soft or pliable enough to be rolled and coiled around them in the shape of a warm, comfy nest. A bunch of hay would not be out of the ordinary in a hamster nest, if they ever find it in the wild to bring home. Do be careful with hay if you give it to your hamster for nesting or bedding. Often the hay is meant for larger animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, who can easily chew though the tough bits. Hamsters are much smaller, and while they can chew the tough parts, sleeping on them is not comfy. So make sure you go the extra mile for your hammy and look for the sharp, hard bits of hay (like some exceptionally hard stalks) and remove them. This way they won’t poke the hamster and he can’t hurt himself on them either. Do not underestimate how silly hamsters can be, they will pouch anything, and they can sometimes hurt themselves on the weirdest of things. If your hamster starts to sneeze in they hay, it might just be a small piece tickling his nose. But if he keeps sneezing, remove it or change they hay brand. Sometimes it can be too dusty and affect the hamster’s nose. Other times, the hay smell is just too strong and you’ll need to leave it out air it out the day before you put it in his cage. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters can use hay, either to eat or to chew on, or even just for bedding. But you’ll never know if your hammy likes it until you try it. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s Comfort
Ideal Temperature For Your Hamster’s ComfortWhen I first got Teddy I was very curious about whether he needs extra-warm temperatures or not. After all, he’s a Syrian hamster, hailing from the desert. The same way I’d think Siberian hamsters would need cold temperatures. After all, Siberia is famous for being a cold, frigid tundra. But I quickly found out I was wrong. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ?Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and draftsBedding ideas to keep your hamster warmThe right home for your hamsterDifference between hamster species when it comes to temperatureDangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hotA word from Teddy So what is the ideal temperature for your hamster ? As it turns out, the ideal temperature for your hamster is basically the same for all species, with a few minor differences. But in general hamsters need around 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. They’re okay with the temperature dropping a few degrees, but once it reaches below 15 Celsius/60 Fahrenheit, they will enter a state of hibernation that can be dangerous to them. Hamsters do naturally hibernate in the wild, like bears for example. Hamsters only hibernate in case of extreme cold, so make sure you keep your hamster’s cage in a room that is  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit. Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature and drafts Much of what is true for humans is true for hamsters as well. We are both mammals, and need warmer climates. But your hamster can’t adapt to the cold as fast as you. You can put on a sweater, but your hamster’s only got the one sweater he was born with – his fur. So, when it gets cold, your hamster will begin drawing more and more bedding into his house. If you gave him ripped paper towels for extra bedding, he will make a nest out of them and snuggle tightly to keep himself warm. When it gets too hot for the hamster – which is anything above 22 Celsius/72 Fahrenheit – you’ll see him start to push the bedding out of his house. This allows air to circulate through the house and cool him down. Hamsters can’t sweat like we do, and his fur coat will keep him warm no matter what. So higher temperatures are not good for him either. It’s very important that the room you keep your hamster in is one free from drafts. Those can create very cold and intense air that will give your hamster a cold. For them that cold can be fatal, even if for you it might be just a sniffle. Bedding ideas to keep your hamster warm Normally your hamster would run around the desert at night, to forage for food. Actually, they’re be running at dusk and dawn, when the temperature is more tolerable for them. Desert nights are colder than you’d think at first. So your hamster would stay in his burrow below the ground, when the temperature is too hot or too cold. In his little home he would have dried leaves, grass, and whatever plant material he can find that can be good insulation. What you can give your hamster is what I gave my Teddy. Lots of wood particles, or more commonly called sawdust. NOT the fine dusty kind ! And keep them unscented, since your hamster has a very very sensitive nose. The softer wood shavings that are left behind after working with wood are alright. We give Teddy a thick layer of the wood shavings for ‘ground’, which he has in his house as well. Then we also give him unscented, clean paper towels, ripped into smaller pieces that he can move easily. He usually uses those for the actual ‘bed’ inside his home. Aside from that, he also has the cardboard rolls that are left from the paper towels. He usually chews on them for fun, and he sometimes uses bits of it for his home, for extra insulation. As for just how much bedding to give, if it covers the bottom of the cage by a couple of inches (or 5 cm) then it will be enough. As for the paper towels, we usually give Teddy 2 sheets (3-ply) and he is fine with those. Never give your hamster cotton or fiber bedding. The hamster stores the bedding in his cheeks to use it in his home, and cotton keeps moisture and has fibers that can get stuck in your hammy’s teeth, which can be fatal. So stick to soft wood and paper. To find out more about the best kind of bedding you can give your hamster, check out my “best bedding” article. We’ll talk about the safest options you have, and which to avoid. The right home for your hamster The home your hamster lives in is crucial. And the material it’s made out of is very important for your hamster’s health. Ideally you want wood homes, because they ‘breathe’ and absorb moisture from the inside and let it evaporate outside. The home also needs some ventilation holes, like ‘doors’ or ‘windows’ that need to be large enough for your hamster to get through with his cheeks full. And finally, it’s okay if it’s small-ish, since your hammy will only use it to sleep and eat, and he does not take up much space. So in short, a plastic house, with just one entrance, is not okay. It will cause condensation and that can lead to your hamster catching a cold. You never want your hamster wet or staying in a humid place. I’ve seen this with Teddy when I first got him. The home that came with the cage was plastic, and whenever I’d clean it there would be beads of condensation on the ceiling of his home. I got him a wooden one, which has small cracks in the ceiling/roof to let air flow, and 3 big doors for air to flow freely. The condensation stopped, and the home never smells. Difference between hamster species when it comes to temperature There is little difference between species here, but there is one exception. While most hamsters need a 20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit  range, Winter whites need an 18-21 Celsius/65-70 Fahrenheit range to be comfortable. Even if the difference between them and other hamster species is small, it’s still something to take note of. This is because Winter white (or Siberian) hamsters come from a colder climate than the other types. (If you like this article, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The articles continues after the image.) Dangers of keeping your hamster too cold or too hot While your hamster can take on a lower temperature easier than a warmer one, neither extreme is easy for him. If it get cold, your hamster will do like my Teddy does, and gather as much bedding as he can to keep himself warm. If it gets too cold for more than 24 hours, then your hamster can enter a kind of hibernation. If left in this state for long, he can develop serious health issues. He only does this in case of emergencies, and can’t keep it for long. You can bring your hamster out of hibernation by slowly raising the temperature around him. Do no place your hamster in a very warm room, or on a very warm heater surface (like an electric blanket). Slowly bring the temperature up, degree by degree, until he wakes up. It may take a couple of hours or just a few minutes, depending on your hamster’s health and age. But if you keep you hamster at a temperature that’s too hot for him then he is in danger of heatstroke and dehydration. Never let your hamster get too warm since it’s not easy for him to cool off naturally. What you can do to help your hammy during summer is to place some ice cubes wrapped in a cloth, inside a jar, which you can place in his cage. This way there will be no condensation on the outside that can keep the bedding wet and get too cold for the hamster. Or, another thing to do is keep him away from direct sunlight. Or place the cage on a cool surface, which will slowly cool the bedding as well. Make sure the room is not at all drafty and humid, otherwise you risk your hamster’s life. I usually keep Teddy in a corner of the room that is away from the window, so not drafty. And away from sunlight, so he will not overheat. The thermostat is around 22 Celsius all year round, so he is fine overall. A word from Teddy I hope this article helped you figure out the best way to keep my kind happy when it comes to our environment. While most of us come from a desert landscape, we don’t stay out during the day because it’s too hot, not during the night because it’s too cold. But dawn and dusk are good temperature ranges for us, so remember that we need around  20-22 degrees Celsius/68-72  Fahrenheit to live comfortably. You can check out the other articles on this site as well, you’ll find great info on what we usually eat, how much water we drink, and why we eat our poop too ! [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy Facts
Do Hamsters Have A Good Sense Of Smell ? A Few Hammy FactsIf you’ve got a hamster you know he’s a cutie pie, and he’s always sniffing out some thing or another. Does that mean he’s got a great sense of smell, or is he just curious ? Well, let’s see just how well hammies can sniff things out, and if they’ve got super-smell or not. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters have a good sense of smell ?Hamsters can smell anything on youMake sure your hands are clean when handling your hamsterHamsters are very sensitive to artificial smellsSyrians can’t really stay close to each otherKeeping the hamster’s nose healthyKeep the temperature in the room between 20-23 C/ 68-78 FDo not leave anything sharp or rough in the cageClean your hands before handling the hamsterKeep dust away from your hamsterOnly use safe bedding for the hamsterA word from Teddy So do hamsters have a good sense of smell ? Yes, hamsters do have a very good sense of smell. In fact, smell is your hamster’s first sense he uses when navigating his cage, and figuring things out about you. Hamsters have very poor eyesight, so they have to compensate with their other senses. The sense of smell will tell your hamster if there are predators around, if there is food, and if there’s another hammy nearby. Us humans don’t have the greatest nose, true. But hamsters have a very sharp sense of smell, and as such are actually sensitive to smells we like. Hamsters particularly hate citrus scents, since the smell is overwhelming for them. My Teddy scrunches up his face and wanders off whenever I peel an orange or cut a lemon. Hamsters can smell anything on you As it happens with pets that have keep sense of smell, hamsters can tell what you did. What you ate. Who you just hugged, and where those shoes have been. This is a reason to be careful about how strongly you smell when handling your hamster. I don’t mean body odor, hamsters tolerate a faint, intensely human smell. For example a perfume, even a gentle one, can be too much for your hamster. Any essential oils you may have rubbed on you fall into that category as well. Deodorant too, and in some cases fabric softener. Basically hamsters are the most sensitive things ever, especially since they are so small. So if you’ve got a strong smell on yourself or your clothes, they will feel it and shy away from it. Make sure your hands are clean when handling your hamster When picking up your hamster make sure you’ve got clean hands. I’m saying this as a warning, since hammies are easy to trick with smells. For example my girlfriend touched a few pieces of cooked chicken one day, we’d just eaten. She just wiped her hands on a kitchen towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy, thinking she really did have chicken fingers, bit into her finger like it was food. She’s never touched Teddy since, even if she knows why it happened. Now I’d have for you to end up in the same situation as my girlfriend, so please make sure your hands are clean. Before handling your hamster, make sure you wash your hands very well with soap. It should be antibacterial soap, and unscented. A very strong scented soap will either make your hamster pull away, like citrus for example. Or it’ll make him think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands and try to eat some. This happens with especially fruity soaps. If you want to know which fruits hammies can eat, so you know which soaps aren’t smart to use with him, try this list here. Hamsters are very sensitive to artificial smells Hammies have a very sensitive nose, yes. The will learn the smell of the house and know it as their habitat. However artificial smells are often used in homes, like air fresheners for example. We have one too, and it’s always on, except at night. At night, given the way our apartment is laid out, Teddy’s cage sits right under the air freshener shelf. So we turn the freshener off (it’s on auto) so Teddy’s nose doesn’t have to be bombarded with lilac and vanilla. So if you’ve got anything very strong smelling or scented, make sure it is as far away from you hamster’s cage as possible. The same goes for food. If you’ve got great, delicious food laid out somewhere, make sure it’s not near your hamster’s cage. He will smell the food, and try very very hard to get to it, chewing on the cage bars in the process. Once he gets into the habit of biting the bars, it’s nearly impossible to get him off of them. Syrians can’t really stay close to each other I’m taking a separate note on Syrians here because most other hamsters – the Dwarf types – can live together. Syrians however will fight to the death and will not share one measly wood shaving with anyone. So if you’ve got two Syrian hammies, and they’re hopefully in different cages, they need to be far apart. Even if they’ve both got their own, private cage, they will know the other hamster’s there. You see hamsters communicate with each other through pheromones. That means that your hammy will literally smell other hamsters’ feelings and emotions. All hammies emit pheromones, as do we humans. Fear smells a certain way, heat a certain way, playfulness a certain way, and so on. Hamsters use that to communicate with eachother. However since Syrians are solitary animals, smelling another hamster will make them continuously irritated and territorial. A Syrian hamster will mark his territory through the scent glands on his hips(big black dots under his fur), and this will annoy the other hammy. He will see that as a sort of threat, and mark his territory, which will annoy the other hammy who will mark his and so on. Case in point, don’t keep solitary hamsters close together, even if they’re in different cages. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Keeping the hamster’s nose healthy Hammies can develop different illnesses and diseases, like us humans. When it comes to noses both us and hammies need  them to breathe, but they rely on their noses to ‘see’ the world too. While a cold can just annoy a human, for a hamster that blocks a lot of signals he gets from his habitat. So you can do the following to make sure your hamster friend not only doesn’t get a cold, but keeps his nose safe and clean. Keep the temperature in the room between 20-23 C/ 68-78 F Hamsters are very sensitive to temperature, and can catch colds quite easily. So, you should keep the hamster’s room at an even temperature like described above. A temperature lower than that can weaken the hamster’s immune system and welcome in a cold, which will impair his sense of smell. A much much lower temperature that that will set in a hypothermic shock, which can be lethal to the hamster. Do not leave anything sharp or rough in the cage Hammies can’t see very well, but they can distinguish what’s directly in front of them. Still, they can be a bit clumsy, and it’s your job as a responsible pet owner so make sure your hammy is safe in his cage. This means that pieces of toys or the hideout or the wheel that might stick out and be extra sharp, should be removed. The same goes for wooden objects, which maybe have certain very rough corners. Make sure those wooden objects are sanded down properly, so your hammy doesn’t have tiny razors to nick himself on. That being said, be sure to check everything, since I found a bit of dried pain in my Teddy’s wheel that I had to chip off, or it would’ve been like a nail for him to step on. Clean your hands before handling the hamster Another reason to clean your hands before handling your hamster, aside from the scent, is possible bacteria. Hamsters do have an immune system, but they’re very small creatures. They can’t withstand most infections and a stray bacteria or virus can be lethal to them. Best to make sure your hands are as clean as possible before you touch your hamster, or handle his food, or do anything with his habitat. Keep dust away from your hamster Hammies have very sensitive noses, and as such can develop lung problems easier than us humans. This means keeping your hamster away from any dust or dusty surfaces is mandatory. For example if you’ve got an exercise ball for your hamster, make sure the floor you let him roam on is clean, and has no debris or dust. The dust and debris will end up in the hamster’s ball, where he will breather them in. Never a good thing. The same goes for toys and a new cage, or anything really. A quick wipedown or cleaning will do the trick, even if it’s a bit of a hassle. The cage Teddy currently has was absolutely dirty and dusty when we got it, given how it was stored in the back of the shop. We gave it a thorough  cleaning in the shower, dried it down, and it was great for use Only use safe bedding for the hamster The bedding you give your hamster is like the drapes and carpet in your room. If they smell funny, you won’t feel alright, and they probably need changing. Wood shavings are what hammies usually get as bedding, and it’s a very good idea. Just make sure they’re not dusty, since wood shavings are made in the same place as sawdust. So, the bags can sometimes have a bit of dust in them, make sure you check for that. Also make sure you do not give your hamster pine wood shavings. Pine wood has phenols that are harmful for your hamster in large quantities. When it’s spread all over the cage as a bedding the hamster will have no option but to breathe them in. A word from Teddy I hope you found out more about us hammies’ sense of smell. We’re pretty good at it, and we can figure out lots of things with our tiny noses. In the wild we use our noses to find out food over vast territories ! If you want to know more about us hamsters you can check out the articles below, so you know how to best care for us and keep us safe. [...] Read more...
11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your Hamster
11 Creative Habitat Ideas For Your HamsterIt is believed that the type of habitat your hamster lives in has an effect on its well-being. Researches have tested 30 hamsters to see if adding toys and bedding to their cages would change how they make decisions when faced with an uncertain choice. They found out that hamsters who had more toys and beddings were more likely to make optimistic decisions, while hamsters that had fewer things made less optimistic decisions. Scientists link optimistic judgments with positive well-being in humans, so they used the same method to study hamsters.  To keep your hamster happy, you will have to provide it with a lot of floor space where they can climb, explore, play, and exercise when they wake up during the night. You will need to place your hamster in a big enough cage with a deep base. When picking out a cage, you will want to get one with narrow wires so that your hamster can’t escape. Cages on multiple levels are the best way to make use of the space you have. Make sure you place the cage in a quiet location. Hamsters are very sensitive to ultrasounds, and they can be very stressed when they hear them. Keep your hamsters away from vacuums or running water. In the wild, hamsters love to burrow, so make sure you add a very thick layer to their cage so that they can dig and burrow as much as they want. Your hamster also needs a house where it will sleep and feel safe. The house should be big enough so that your hamster can build a nest in it, store food, and be comfortable when moving around.  You should also keep a ceramic dish filled with chinchilla sand in your hamster’s cage, which will allow it to keep its coat clean. Make sure your hamster has a lot of toys. There are many toys for hamsters to choose from, such as tunnels, ladders, bridges, climbing boxes, and many more. Hamsters also need a running wheel, and it is very important that you get one that is the right size for your hamster.  Getting all this stuff can be pretty expensive, but you don’t necessarily have to buy them to provide your hamster with the luxurious life it deserves. You can easily make all the toys, bedding, and the cage yourself, and only but the water bottle. Here is a list of 12 creative habitat ideas to make your hamster’s life better. Table of Contents Toggle1. DIY Bin Cage2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage3. DIY Mansion4. DIY Hamster chew toys DIY Chew SticksDIY Chew Ball5. DIY Hamster Toy WheelsContainer Tub Wheel6. DIY Hamster Toy HouseDIY Popsicle Hamster HousePaper Mache Hamster House7. DIY Hamster Bedding8. DIY Hamster Toy TubesToilet Roll Tubes9. DIY Toy Ladder10. DIY Hamster Playground11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze 1. DIY Bin Cage The first thing your hamster will obviously need is a cage. You can get one in the pet store, or you can make your own. When you make your own cage you save money, but you are also not limited by what you can find in the pet store.  Bin cages are the easiest and the cheapest way you can make a habitat for your hamster. When you make a bin cage, you don’t have to think about whether or not your hamster will grow out of it, because it’s so big. To make a DIY bin cage, you will need one big storage bin. It’s best that you get the clear one so that your hamster is able to see the outside. The size of the bin should be at least 20×30 inches, and you can fit one Syrian hamster or two Dwarf hamsters in it. If you have more hamsters than that, you will have to get a bigger bin. Another thing you will need is wire mesh, which is also called hardware cloth. If you plan on making only one cage, the smallest role will be enough, and the wire should be 19 or 23 gauge. Make sure you also get 16 nuts, bolts, and washers. Get 8-32×3/8 screws and size 8 washers. You will also need a foot of wire. Your hamster will also need a water bottle, you can get the 4 ounces one or 6 ounces one. Keep in mind that your hamster needs a wheel, and the bigger the better. If you have a Syrian hamster, get an 11’’ or a 12’’ wheel. If you notice that the hamster is bending its neck or back when it runs, get it a bigger wheel because it can get seriously injured. You will also need a wire cutter, a drill and drill bits, a permanent marker, and a utility knife with a new blade. Start by cutting the lid of the big. Put it in front of you, with the bottom facing up. It would be good if you cut out two windows because if you only cut one big window, it will probably lose a lot of strength. Keep in mind that you should leave about an inch and a half room on each side, and 3 or 4 inches in the middle to fit the screws. Draw the two windows with your permanent marker. When you’re sure that you have enough room for the screws, cut out the windows.  Next, you will have to cut the mesh for the windows. Make sure you have at least an inch of mesh overlapping the lid. When you’ve cut out your windows, file down the sharp edges, or cover them with duct tape. If you don’t do this, your hamster could cut itself on the sharp edges.  Then, center your mesh over the window and use the permanent marker to fill in where the drill holes will be. When you’re done drilling the first hole, get a screw and thread it through the hole, then flip the lid over, put the washer on, and tighten the bolt. Repeat the process until you’re done will all four holes. Then move on to the other window and repeat the process. When you’re completely done with your windows, you will move on to drilling holes for ventilation. You don’t have to do this if you make your windows big enough, but you never know when something can block the windows, so it’s better to have ventilation on the sides as well. If you will be drilling holes on the bottom of the bin, do it at least 3’’ from the bottom so that the bedding doesn’t cover your holes. You can also drill the holes on the top of the bin.  The next step is to attach the water bottle to the bin. You should place the spout about 1’’-1.5’’ from the bedding, which should be at least 1’’ thick when you pat it down. You will put the water bottle flat against where you plan on placing it and draw 2 dots on each side of the bottle. These dots will be drilled so that you can thread the wire which will support the bottle, and you will also need a bigger hole for the spout. This hole can be a bit bigger than the spout is so that you can easily put it in and take it out.  When you’re done setting up the water bottle, your cage will almost be done. You just have to wipe it with a washcloth, make sure there’s no plastic left inside, fill it with bedding and tap it down.  2. DIY Glass Hamster Cage You can make this cage if you want something sturdier, or if you’re worried about your hamster being in a plastic cage.  To make this cage, you will need 4 precut panels, two 31.49×15.74 inches, and two 31.49×11.81 inches. You will also need an acrylic glass sheet, box cutter, acrylic glass glue, and wood screws, and a screwdriver.  Start with the 4 panels, you will want them to be coated so that the hamster doesn’t destroy them. You will lay the panels on the floor, with 31.49×15.74 inches panels in the middle and 31.49×11.81 inches on the sides. You will screw the  31.49×11.81 inches panels to the big panel and use 2 screws or more for each side. Next, you will crew the 31.49×15.74 inches bottom panel to the three other panels and use at least 2 screws to do so. You can fill in any gaps you have with hot glue, but make sure you glue it from the back so that the hamster can’t chew on the glue.  For the acrylic glass, you will need one 31.49×15.74 inches panel and two 3.93×11.82 inches panels. They should be around 0.07 inches thick. You will have to cut them and you will need a steel liner and a box cutter to do so. You should first glue the side panels to the cage and make sure you use glue on the inside and on the outside. Then you can glue on the main panel, and glue it on the inside as well as on the outside. Let the glue dry for a while.  When your cage is completely dry, it’s time to add the bedding, and your cage is finished. 3. DIY Mansion If you have 2 or more hamsters, or you just want to give your hamster a luxurious life, then you can make it this mansion. This mansion will be made out of a dollhouse, so try to see if anyone in your family has one and they don’t use it anymore or try to find a used one.  To make this mansion you will need a dollhouse, plastic fencing, a hot glue gun, and some long glue sticks, around 20 paperclips, an electric staple gun, spray paint, and wood which is 2 inches in height, and a razor knife. Start by spray painting your fence with the color of your choice. This step is optional, so if you don’t want to spray paint the fence, you don’t have to. Next, you will need a wood base-board which will add height so the bedding can’t escape the cage.  Make sure you secure all open windows in the dollhouse with the fence so your hamster can’t escape. Glue the fence on the inside of the dollhouse with a hot glue gun.  Then, you will use the fence to completely cover the open part of the dollhouse. You can use the electric stapler for this part.  You will have to be very careful when cutting the doors through which you will be able to take care of your hamster.  Lastly, you will have to attach the water bottle and put the rest of the stuff your hamster needs in its cage. 4. DIY Hamster chew toys Hamsters love toys and you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your furry friend entertained. Here are some chew toys you can make to keep your hamster entertained for hours while it’s relaxing in the cage. Hamsters have to chew on things to keep their teeth healthy. Hamster’s teeth constantly grow, which is why they have to chew on things all the time. DIY Chew Sticks You will need some flour and water to make non-toxic glue, wood skewers, and scissors to make chew sticks for your hamster. Start by cutting the wood skewers into 3-inch pieces. Make the non-toxic glue by mixing a 1:1 ratio of white flour and water. Then, you will dip the skewers into the glue and glue 5 pieces together. Let them dry overnight before you let your hamster play with them. DIY Chew Ball If you have toilet roll tubes, you can use them to make a chew ball for your hamster. Get the toilet roll tube and cut it into 5 equally big rings. You will only use 3 rings for each ball but cutting it into 5 pieces will give you the right size. You will take one of the rings and push it inside the other to create a sphere, and to the same thing with the third ring. This way you will create a sphere with small gaps between the toilet roll tube rings. Give it to your hamster to see if it likes it. If it doesn’t seem interested, you can fill the ball with some treats, like sunflower seeds, or mealworms. 5. DIY Hamster Toy Wheels Hamsters love running on wheels, and it’s a great exercise for them. Most wheels you find in the pet store are very noisy, so you can try making your own. Container Tub Wheel To make this container tub wheel, you will need a circular plastic container without a lid, 2 longer wooden strips, 1 shorter wooden strip, a bolt, and 2 nuts and 2 screws. Put the longer piece of wood and the longer piece of wood so that they form a T shape. This will be the base of the stand. Use one screw to secure them. It isn’t advisable to use non-toxic glue to do this because it won’t be as strong.   Get the other long piece of wood and place it so that it stands upright on the first long piece. Make sure that it’s at a 90-degree angle from the short piece. Use another screw to attach this.  Next, you will get the container and drill a hole in the middle of its bottom. This will be the place where your wheel will attach to the stand. Try to position the container on the stand to see if there will be enough room to spin it. When you’re sure that there will be enough room for it to spin, drill a hole in the upright wooden piece, the one that aligns with the hole in your container. Place the bolt in the hole in your container, and secure it with a nut on the other side, but don’t make it too tight because you want it to be able to spin. Next, you will have to push the rest of the bolt through the hole you’ve created in your stand and secure it with a nut on the back of the wood. In case your hamster’s cage is made out of wire, you can put the wheel against the wires to avoid your hamster chewing on the metal bolts.  6. DIY Hamster Toy House There are so many hamster houses you can get in the pet shop, but they are quite expensive. If you make your own toy house for your hamster, you can save some money, and even make more than just one house. DIY Popsicle Hamster House First, make some non-toxic glue. To make the glue, mix 1 part water and 1 part white flour and mix it to create a paste.  Get some popsicles and glue them together to make a house. You will need to make 4 walls, a roof, and a stable base. Keep in mind that there should be at least one doorway in the house, but preferably two so that your hamster can run in and out of the house.  Paper Mache Hamster House To make this house for your hamster, you will only need a jar, some water, and some paper. Make sure that the paper you choose to use doesn’t have any ink on it. Ink is harmful to hamsters and your hamster could chew on the house. Make the outside of the jar wet and out layers of paper in strips on the outside of the jar until you completely cover it. Let it dry overnight and remove the jar from the paper once it’s completely dry. If you’re struggling to remove it, get a popsicle and slide it down the sides to loosen the paper.  When you remove the jar from the paper you will have the shape of your house, and you can cut out windows and doors, and fill it with bedding.  You can also use a balloon instead of a jar to make your paper mache house since it’s easier to just pop a balloon than to remove a jar. Just remember that you have to use the non-toxic glue so that the paper sticks together, and make sure the house is thick enough to be stable.  7. DIY Hamster Bedding Hamsters need to walk on bedding in their cage, and you can also make your own bedding. To make sure your hamster is comfortable, you will have to make bedding that is clean, safe, absorbent, and doesn’t have a lot of dust.  You can make your own bedding using a clean, single-ply toilet or tissue paper. You will just have to tear it up and put it in your hamster’s cage and your hamster’s house. Hamsters love burrowing, which means that you will have to put a thick layer of bedding to keep them happy.  8. DIY Hamster Toy Tubes Hamsters love playing in tubes. If you make your own toy tubes, you won’t have to clean them as often as you would plastic store-bought tubes. When they start to get worn down, you can just replace them with new ones.  Toilet Roll Tubes You can make the best hamster tubes from paper towel and toilet paper rolls. They are very cheap and easy to make. Just cut holes in the tube and stick some favorite treats in it. You can also glue together multiple rolls so that your hamster has more places to run around.  9. DIY Toy Ladder If your hamster’s cage is on multiple levels, you should consider making it a toy ladder. Hamster ladders are really easy to make, and you will only need some non-toxic glue and popsicles. You will have to overlap the vertical sticks and glue them together. Next, you will place the sticks horizontally, and glue the ends to the vertical sticks in order to make steps. Repeat this process until you create a ladder that is tall enough for your hamster to use. Hamsters are known to nibble on wood so make sure you check whether the ladder is stable enough for your hamster to climb on it.  10. DIY Hamster Playground You can create a fun playground for your hamster using only wood popsicle sticks, toilet paper roll tubes, yarn, and glue. You will first have to build a box frame, out of glue and popsicles, that has a base, two sides, and a roof. Then, you will take the yarn and tie it to the roof. Thread one end of the yarn through the paper roll and tie it to the other end of your frame. This will make the tube hang in the air. Create as many of these hanging tunnels as you want, and you can even add some ladders. 11. DIY Hamster Toy Maze Hamsters love mazes, and you will have a lot of fun watching them play in its maze. If you have some legos in your home, use them to make walls that are tall enough so that your hamster can’t climb out of them. You can add some steps, slopes, and tunnels for an extra challenge. If you don’t have any legos you can use DVD boxes to make a maze.  [...] Read more...
10 Differences Between Syrian And Dwarf Hamsters
10 Differences Between Syrian And Dwarf HamstersIf you’re looking to get a hamster and want to figure out which type is for you, read on. I have a Syrian male, his name is Teddy, and I think he’s the cutest furball ever. You might think the same about your hammy when you get yours. But let’s see what the main differences are between the Syrian hamster, and the Dwarf types. There’s more than one kind of hamster, and I’ll walk you through the differences. Table of Contents ToggleSo what is the main difference between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters ?A brief rundown on all hamster types available in pet storesSyrian hamsterRoborovski DwarfCampbell DwarfChinese DwarfSiberian/Djungarian/Winter White DwarfSyrian hamsters are the largestDwarf types are hyper and faster than SyriansSyrian hamsters need bigger cagesThe minimum wheel size is smaller for Dwarf hamstersDwarf hamsters are harder to tameDwarf hamsters can be kept in same-sex pairsSyrian hamsters come in more color patternsThere are different illnesses the 2 types are prone toSome feeding exceptions are necessary for Dwarf typesEasier to find a Syrian hamster’s genderBefore you get any kind of hamsterA word from Teddy So what is the main difference between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters ? The main and most obvious differences between Syrian and Dwarf types are the size, and whether they are solitary. Syrian hamsters are much larger than the Dwarf types. Syrian hamsters ca grow up to 8 inches/20 cm in length, and are much bulkier than Dwarf types. Dwarf hamsters are about 2 inches/5 cm in size, with the Chinese Dwarf reaching a maximum of 10 cm/4 inches. Keeping hamsters together is alright for Dwarf types, except for the Chinese. The Chinese dwarf, along with the Syrian, is solitary and must be kept alone. If not, they will fight to the death for the cage. Alright, those are the main differences, and the most obvious ones. There’s a few more, let me give you a quick list of what’s left: There is a difference in temperament The cage size is different The minimum wheel size is different Syrians are the easiest to tame There are wildly different color options and markings Some are prone to a disease, some to other illnesses You can’t feed them quite the same, there are a few differences You can tell the gender of a Syrian easier Some of these might be important to you, maybe they’re not. But you have to be aware of them when you’re picking out what kind of hamster you want. Hamsters are hamsters, and they will generally behave the same. But there are some differences between the 2 main types – Syrian or Dwarf – which can give you a slightly different pet. So let’s talk a bit about what kind of hamsters there are available for you to choose, and which ones they are. A brief rundown on all hamster types available in pet stores There’s 2 main types of hamster available. There is the Syrian hamster, which is the largest and most common hamster you will find. And there are the Dwarf types, 4 usually available in pet stores, and they’re all much smaller and look very different from a Syrian. All Dwarf types hail from Northern Asia, albeit from different regions, like Siberia, Mongolia, China, Russia. I’ve grouped together the Dwarf types for the purpose of this article. But I will tell you a bit about each type available below. Syrian hamster The most common kind of hamster kept as a pet. They’re the ones you usually think of when you think of hamsters. These hamsters come from Syria, and southern Turkey, and they’re the largest kind of hamster. Usually they’re orange/golden, and there are variations that have come through breeding. Like all black, white, spotted, and so on. My Teddy is a golden Syrian hammy, and when I got him I thought I was getting a very special kind of hamster. I thought I got the most unique, cutest hamster, that will stand out from all the rest. Turns out golden variations are the most common, but he’s still what I wanted. You can find the Syrian hamster in short hair and long hair, of which the males have the longest. They can live 2-3 years. Roborovski Dwarf These are one of the most common Dwarf types, and the absolute smallest. There’s no real point in trying to hold them, since they’re so small and wriggly. You’ll also find their names shortened to Robo often. They’re grow up only to about 2 inches/5 cm, and will escape through most cage bars. Actually for dwarf types it’s better to get a glass tank. That way you’re sure they can’t go anywhere. Campbell Dwarf Another very common type of Dwarf hamster, the Campbell dwarf is just as small as the Robo, and is very easy to scare. Again, this kind of dwarf doesn’t really like being touched and will not sit still. A glass tank is the best options for this kind of dwarf as well. Chinese Dwarf This is a larger Dwarf type, growing up to 10 cm/4 inches long. Chinese dwarves aren’t very social, and unlike other Dwarf types do no like being kept with other hamsters. Even if they were raised together in the same litter, they will still fight to the death. The male Chinese Dwarf also has a scent gland on its abdomen, which isn’t present on other hamster types. Siberian/Djungarian/Winter White Dwarf The rarest kind of Dwarf hamster, it’s almost completely white. It’s just as small as the other 2 Russian Dwarves (Robo and Campbell), and this one actually is easier to tame than other Dwarf types. Still, he is hyper and need to run and climb a lot, since there’s so much energy in such a small creature. Now let’s get into the clear differences between the larger, Syrian hamster, and the cute Dwaf types. Syrian hamsters are the largest Syrian hamsters can grow much longer and larger than Dwarf types. Syrians can get up to 8 inches/20 cm long, and are much more elongated than the Dwarf types. The Dwarves reach a maximum of 2 inches/5 cm, with only the Chinese Dwarf managing 4 inches/10 cm. The Dwarves are more stout, and they kind of look like they have no neck at first. Their fur is much fluffier and longer compared to the Syrian’s. This means that there are large differences between cage and wheel sizes for these 2 types of hamsters. But I’ll get into that in a couple of paragraphs. Dwarf types are hyper and faster than Syrians The smaller they are, the faster and more agile they are. Syrians do run a lot, and jump, and need a whole lot of exercising and space. But Dwarf types take the cake here. They need the most exercise, and are actually kind of hard to actually touch. They keep moving, there is always something going on and they need to investigate. You’d think that given their size the Dwarf types would be slower, but they actually seem to move faster than the Syrian. This is only because they’re so small, but both types can run between 3-6 miles per hour. That’s 5-10 km per hour ! Syrians will stop and stare into the distance every now and then, but not as much as the Dwarves. Those tiny creatures take breaks from their running wheel often, and they’re always very short. If you want to know more about hamsters and their running routine, along with how much exercise they need, you should check out this helpful article here. Syrian hamsters need bigger cages Given their larger size, Syrian hamsters need a much larger cage. A large enough cage for a Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. While Dwarf hamsters can do with about half that size, it’s recommended that you give them a large enough space as well. Always go for a bigger cage if you have the space and budget for this. A cramped up hamster is a nippy, irritated hamster, and you risk your hammies fighting eachother just because they don’t have enough space. This roundup of the best hamster cages touches on hamster type, cage safety, and escape-proof rating as well. Remember that for Dwarf hamsters, if you’ve got 2, their cage will need to be as large as a lone Syrian’s ! And if you have just one Chinese Dwarf, better get him a Syrian sized cage, just to be sure that he has enough space since he is larger than other Dwarf types. If you want to know more about hamster cages, and choosing the best kind for your hamster here is a helpful and clear article on the 3 main kinds of hamster cages. But in short, Dwarf hamsters do better in glass tanks since they have no chance of getting stuck between the cage bars. The minimum wheel size is smaller for Dwarf hamsters Again, the Syrian hamster will need a much larger wheel size than Dwarves. 7 inches/18 cm are the minimum for an exercise wheel for a Syrian hamster. While 5 inches/13 cm are enough for a Dwarf, but that’s only the minimum. All hamsters go for a larger wheel if given the option. So like with the cage, get your hamster a large wheel. The largest you can find, even if it might seem like too much for a small hamster. They are all more comfortable in a larger wheel. If you want to know more about how to get a good exercise wheel for your hamster, you should read this article. You’ll find out what to look out for when picking your hammy’s wheel, along with a clear example. And if you’re looking for a roundup of the best hamster wheels, according to their breed, there it is. Dwarf hamsters are harder to tame This is only true because of how hyperactive and restless Dwarf types are. That, and the fact that they have a shorter memory than Syrian hamsters. In order to tame a hamster, you need to play with it, touch it, talk to it, make yourself available to it. There are days when you can’t, and Dwarf hamsters forget things and people and interactions fast. A Syrian will remember his owner even a week later, and will allow you to kind of touch him. A Dwarf will need you to talk to him daily, and touch and play with him. Dwarf hamsters do not sit still, and need to run around and play and jump and dig and do everything at one, all day. Syrians are a bit more mellow, and will give your more opportunities to touch him, so you can tame him easier. Then again, there are hamsters that simply can’t be tamed, and are very hard to handle. If you’ve got a biting hamster, or he’s very scared of you, you need to be extra careful. Dwarf hamsters can be kept in same-sex pairs This is true for Campbell, Robo, and Siberian hamsters. If they were raised together with litter mates of the same sex, they can be kept together in the same cage. Again, if you’ve got more than one hamster, double or triple the cage size. Keeping your Dwarf hammies together will only work if they are from the same litter, or were introduced when they were still babies and became ‘siblings’.  If you’ve got an adult Dwarf, and want to introduce a baby dwarf, even if they’re of the same kind, it will not work. Neither will two separate adults. You can only do this with baby hamsters.And only if those babies were raised together. If not, they will act like Syrian and Chinese hamsters. That means they will be very territorial and fight anything and anyone that comes into their cage, male or female. It’s never a good idea to keep a Syrian or Chinese hamster with another hamster, of any kind. They are only solitary, and will be very aggressive. They won’t miss the company, don’t worry. You’re hurting them more by bringing them a cage mate than you’re helping. (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.) Syrian hamsters come in more color patterns Syrians have a wider range of color patterns. Originally they were golden/orange, with some white on their bellies and chins, and a bit of grey on their ears. But natural variations were possible, and breeders took advantage of that. So you can get almost any kind of color choice for your Syrian hamster. They can be golden like mine, they can be all in one color, they can be spotted, or maybe have a white sock, even a ringed hamster is possible. Somehow, a long-haired variation was made possible through selective breeding, and you can now find the same range of colors, now with long hair. Dwarf types have some variations as well, but they mostly have the same colors as the original hamsters they were bred from. Winter Whites are mostly white all over. Chinese hamsters are sandy brown on their back, with a dark stripe running down their back, and a white belly. The Robos have a color scheme much like the Chinese, with sandy brown on the back and white on the bellies, but they are much smaller and don’t have a stripe down their back. Finally Campbell’s are darker than the other types, with a more grey-brown color scheme on their backs, and just a bit of white on their bellies. They look like they went through a pile of ash most of the time. There are different illnesses the 2 types are prone to All hamsters can develop a number of diseased and illnesses. But in general, the Dwarf types develop diabetes much easier than the Syrian. This is because of their small size, and because they can’t process too well the sugars on some foods. Which is why there are certain food exceptions for Dwarf hamsters, that Syrians can eat, but Dwarves should stay away from, or eat very little. The Syrian, on the other hand, has higher chances of getting a disease called wet-tail. This can happen mostly when they hamster is young and was just weaned from its mother. It’s mostly stress-based. But if it’s caught in its early stages (less than 24h) it can be treated. Otherwise it is fatal. Hamsters do not get sick often, and aren’t sickly animals. But they don’t have a human’s stamina, so they will wilt fast if not given medical care as soon as you notice there is a problem. Some feeding exceptions are necessary for Dwarf types As mentioned before, Dwarf hamsters can’t process very sweet food. That can mean even simple things like a piece of carrot can be a bit too sweet for them. So that means that fruits, and carrots, and sweet potato should be give sparingly, and in very small quantities to your Dwarf hamster. Syrians on the other hand don’t have many restrictions. Yes, there are foods that are unsafe for any hamster, but Syrians are a bit easier to feed. You can see a helpful list of safe and unsafe foods for hammies here, along with some treats that hamsters can safely nibble on. Easier to find a Syrian hamster’s gender Finding your hamster’s gender can be a hassle. But if you’ve got Dwarf hamsters that you want to keep together, this is crucial. Otherwise you’re going to get yourself a whole new litter in about 3 weeks. For more info on exactly how to figure out your hamster’s gender, you need to check this out. You’ll find alternatives for hard to handle hamsters as well. But a Syrian hamster will be easier to figure out because they are larger, even as babies. And the fur on Syrians is shorter and not as ruffled and all over the place as a Dwarf’s. Not to mention that trying to hold a baby Dwarf is nearly impossible. Before you get any kind of hamster A hamster will change your life, just like any other pet. But there are a few things you should think about. Like whether you’ll be able to properly care for him, from food to cage to attention and health. Will you have the time to play with and tame your hamster ? Hamsters are mostly nocturnal and will come out when you’re ready for bed, so take into account your lifestyle, sleeping pattern, and how much time you can dedicate for the animal. Do you have the budget for it ? Hamsters aren’t very expensive. They’re actually cheap, aside from the initial expenses. Actually you can check this cost of buying a hamster article, to get an estimate on how expensive or cheap it is to own a hamster. Can you accommodate a hamster in your home ? His cage will take up some space, and he will need a certain temperature to be comfortable. Hamsters also scare easily, and do things that will look and sound odd. Do you have a cat in your home ? A hamster and a cat are pretty much the worst idea ever, since they’re very different animals. You might want to read the 15 essential steps on taking care of your hamster before you get one, in the first place. A word from Teddy I hope you’re clear on the differences between us hammies now. I know my Dwarf cousins can be confusing, and look the same for someone who’s never met them before. But they’re all a personality of their own, and they can make you just as happy as one of my kind. If you want t know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. [...] Read more...
Can Hamsters Eat Fruits ? Safe And Unsafe Fruits For Your Hammy
Can Hamsters Eat Fruits ? Safe And Unsafe Fruits For Your HammyIf you’re wondering about whether your hammy can eat fruit or not, you’re not the only one. My Teddy is always curious about what I have in my hands, and we eat a lot of fruit in this house. At first I had no idea which fruit was okay for him, or if any fruit was okay to begin with. But let e tell you what I found out, so you’ll know as well. Table of Contents ToggleSo can hamsters eat fruits ?Some differences between Syrian and Dwarf hamstersFruits your hammy can eat safelyFruits your hamster should be kept away fromYou can use fruits as a treat for your hamsterDo not give your hamster too much fruitA word from Teddy So can hamsters eat fruits ? Yes, hamsters can eat some types of fruits. However hamsters should eat fruits in very small amounts, and not often. The majority of fruits are okay for hamsters to eat, however citrus type fruits are not. They’re too acidic for the hamster’s gut. We’ll cover in the rest of the article which fruits are safe for your hamster, and which should definitely be avoided. And also how much fruit you should give your hamster, and how often. Some differences between Syrian and Dwarf hamsters There’s a big difference between Dwarf hammies (Roborovski, Campbell, Siberian, and Chinese)  and the large Syrian hammy. The Dwarf types are prone to diabetes, and need to stay away from very sugary foods and drinks. So that means that they can, in fact eat some fruits, but in a very small amount. And much less often than a Syrian hamster. This is largely due to the size difference between the two hamster types. A piece of apple, for example, as big as a peanut might be acceptable for your Syrian hamster. But for a Dwarf, the exact same piece holds much more sugars and carbs, which will lead to unwanted weight gain and the early stages of  diabetes. Not only with fruits, but with some vegetables as well – like carrots, corn, and sweet potato as well. You can check the article “Can Hamsters Eat Vegetables” to read more about this. Fruits your hammy can eat safely Alright, with the difference between Dwarf ans Syrian hamsters in mind, let’s see which fruits your hamster can eat safely. The most common fruits like apples, plums, cherries and grapes are alright. However all hamsters, everywhere, do not react well to the seeds of a fruit. In most cases the seeds are poisonous. So it’s best if you never give your hamster a piece of fruit with seeds in it, of any kind. Then, the very sweet fruits like banana, apricot, peach, mango, pineapple, papaya – most of the yellow fruits – should be given in tiny, tiny amounts. For us these fruits are amazing and have the best taste and smell. However for hamsters these are just too sweet and savory. So it’s best if your hammy only gets an incredibly small amount of them. None of these are poisonous so far, they’re just way too sweet for a hamster so you need to be careful. Now, the berry types – like strawberry and raspberry, these are all alright for your hamster. But, again, without any seeds. So for example a strawberry should be lightly scraped to get all the seeds out, and the green top cut off. A Raspberry is okay by itself, since the white core will come off by itself when the fruit is done. Blueberries and cranberries are alright, but in very small amounts as well. As in, one or two berries every week. Figs are alright for your hamster, but n a very small amount. And Dates are alright too, as long as they have no pit. Coconut is safe for hamsters, but it should be given in very small amounts and sparsely. Coconut has a higher fat-count than peanuts and can make your hamster gain weight faster than bananas or mangos. And finally, watermelon is safe for hamsters, if given in a small amount, just the red part, and without seeds. This is partly because of how sweet it can be, and the fact that it has a very high water content. Too much of it can upset your hammy’s stomach. Fruits your hamster should be kept away from Kiwi – although it’s great as a fruit by itself, the kiwi is not very safe for the hamster. It can be very sour sometimes, and the seeds are not alright for hamsters to eat. This applies to Dragon fruit as well, since it has just as many seeds, everywhere in its flesh. Blackberry – while they’re okay for hamsters by their nutritional value, I put them on the unsafe list because of how many seeds it has, and how hard it is to get rid of them. There’s no way you can remove the seeds from a blackberry and have it whole. So for this reason, I advise against them. Citrus – no citrus fruits are alright for the hamster. Actually, hamsters shy away from the smell of oranges and tangerines. You can check for yourself with a citrus fruit. That includes oranges, tangerines, mandarines, kumquat, clementines, grapefruit (all kinds), lemon, and lime. Star fruit – not safe for hamsters, since they contain a neurotoxin that can be fatal to hamsters, or other small animals. It can cause kidney problems in some sensitive humans too. Best to avoid it for your hamster. (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.) You can use fruits as a treat for your hamster Since your hamster can’t have fruits very often, you can use it as a sort of treat. Particularly, you can use it as a very special treat when you’re taming your hamster. That means that your hamster should not get this treat very often. But he cans till get a small piece of apple, or maybe a cube of mango, depending on whatever you’ve got lying around. Simple treats like fruit chips – slices of fruit that have been carefully dried and made sure they’re not moldy – can be great for hammies. I’ve used banana chips for my Teddy, and he loves them. It’s something he gets a kick out of. Probably the crispy, crunchy texture gives him a lot of incentive to nibble and nibble. However these are banana chips, so they’re still sweet. Not as sweet as regular banana slices, the taste is a bit different. But do not go overboard when feeding your hammy these chips, since they are in fact real banana slices. In this respect, the whole bag will last your hamster probably a year. If you get into the bag, that’s another story and completely up to you. You can check the Amazon listing here, and see the reviews as well. Do not give your hamster too much fruit Whether you have a Dwarf or Syrian hamster, they can both develop health issues if given too much sugary foods. While a slice of apple does not compare to a cube of chocolate when it comes to sugar and fats, they are both still sweet. Especially for your sensitive hamster’s taste buds. So it’s best to keep an eye on how much fruit and sweets you give your hammy. A hamster that’s had too much sugar will become overweight, and develop diabetes. Both conditions can be life-threatening. Especially for a creature as small as a hamster. If your hamster’s already overweight, you can read this article to see how to get him to a healthy, safe weight. A word from Teddy I hope you know now which fruits are okay for us hammies. I love banana chips, and I sometimes get bits of apple. But maybe your friend is into mangos more, you could try it out. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find info on things like how big a cage we need, and how much food we need in a day. [...] Read more...