Why Do Hamsters Scratch Themselves ? About Your Hammy’s Fur

Is your hamster scratching himself ? Or is he just grooming himself and it just looks odd ? Scratching is part of every animal’s life. We humans scratch too, sometimes without a serious medical reason.

So let’s see why hamsters scratch themselves, and how you can help if there is a problem.

hamster scratch (2)

So why do hamsters scratch themselves ?

For the most part hamsters scratch themselves because something is itching them. Much like us humans, actually. Sometimes it’s a skin condition like a rash, or possibly a parasite like a flea and their bites itch.

Other times it’s not something clear, like when your nose itches for no apparent reason.

And finally, hamsters scratch themselves as part of their grooming ritual. Sometimes they feel there’s something in their fur, and scratching is the only real way to get it out.

Unless the hamster is repeatedly scratching the exact same spot over several days, losing fur in that spot, developing a rash, or even drawing blood by scratching, there is nothing to worry about.

A little scratching is normal

Hammies do get itchy noses, or paws, or ears from time to time. They’re not always easy to explain, like a flea bit them. Sometimes things just itch, for no good reason. So, they scratch.

You’ve probably had an itchy nose or ear or leg for no real reason.  This is true for hamsters as well, actually for all animals. Skin is sensitive across all species, and something as silly as a speck of dust settling on your skin can make it itch.

Hamsters can get skin conditions too

One reason to worry is if the hamster has developed a skin condition. This means fur coming off in patches in that area, a red patch, a scab, there can be lots of things. Let’s go through them.

Ringworm is actually a fungal infection, and it can become itchy. The fur will fall off in a round patch, and that patch of skin will be dry, flaky, with a series of tiny red dots marking the edge of the patch. It’s highly contagious, and can be transmitted from the hamster to you, so use disposable gloves.

Ringowm can be treated, it’s just that the hamster needs to be quarantined while he is under treatment. You should check the rest of the house for signs of an infection on the other pets or family members.

Given that Ringworm is contagious, and the hamster never leaves his cage, it’s clear that the fungus somehow got to him. It if got to him someone or something already had it. You will need to find the carrier and the infected ones and treat them as well.

Another possible problem is skin rashes. Sometimes the fur falls off, sometimes not. But the skin will be noticeably red, it might be dry and flaky. Scratching it might draw some blood. This can be treated, but sometimes it’s not clear what caused the rash so the treatment can be a hit or miss.

Often rashes just go away on their own, without ever letting you know what the cause was. Sometimes it could be new bedding your hamster hates, it could be a treatment that the hamster reacts poorly to.

Or, another possibility could be mites. Mites are tiny, tiny creatures that come to inhabit your hamster’s skin. They cling to the hamster’s hairs, and burrow inside of them. Some mites burrow inside the skin as well. This leads to some very terrible looking skin, and a very distressed hamster.

However mites are definitely contagious, so it’s the same story as with Ringworm. If you hamster was just sitting there, never our of his cage, then something that already had mites somehow found its way to the hamster’s cage.

It could be the cat, if he’s an outdoor/indoor cat, or maybe your shirt if you’ve handled an infected animal and the mites got onto you.

it could be anything or anyone. You’re just going to have to check every part of the house. There is treatment, but do not get anything online or over the counter. Only let the vet treat your hamster, since some treatments can burn the hamster’s skin and you must be very careful.

(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.)

hamster scratch (1)

Don’t confuse scratching with grooming

Hamsters also do a lot of grooming. They’re very clean animals, and like to keep it that way. This means grooming when they wake up, before they eat, after they eat, after you handle them, after they get off their exercise wheel, after they’ve walked around for a few minutes, and sometimes just before bed too.

Part of grooming is scratching. Not continuously, but a scratch here, another one there. Sometimes they might nibble on whatever they find on their nails after they’ve scratched. While it sounds gross, it’s their way of cleaning out their nails too.

They pull at their fur, they comb through it with their paws a lot, and that too can look like scratching.

If you’ve got a Syrian hamster, you will often see him nibbling at his hips. It’s a weird sight, but that’s actually where his scent glands are (black dots). They need a bit of cleaning too, and he spends extra time there when he is grooming.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies scratch from time to time too, it’s just not very different from why you humans scratch.

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.

Related blog post
Do Hamsters Have Bones? Interesting Facts
Do Hamsters Have Bones? Interesting FactsHamsters are so small, fast, and flexible that sometimes they make you question whether they have bones or not. Even when you handle a hamster, you don’t feel its bones and all you feel is a small fluff ball with its fluffy paws touching your hand. In this article I will talk more about the hamster’s anatomy, what you should do when they are injured, how to handle them when you prepare your little hamster to get to the vet, and other interesting facts about this incredible pet. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters have bones?Are hamsters’ bones fragile?Can a vet help a hamster with a broken bone?Do they need more minerals in those situations?How to avoid this kind of accidentsFacts about hamster teethConclusion Do hamsters have bones? Yes, hamsters have bones and a skeletal structure that includes a spine. A hamster has about 124 bones in their body, it is not the same number for all the species, but there are not many studies available. You get the idea, they have bones; they actually have a lot of bones. Even the hamster’s tail is a small bone, I had a friend that asked me if hamsters have a tail and I found that very funny at first until I realized that the tail is so small and they usually keep it under themselves that you can’t clearly see it. I have an entire article about hamster tails and what you should know about them Are hamsters’ bones fragile? Hamsters’ bones are quite flexible, which helps them do all the acrobatic tricks and also makes them a bit harder to break. Since the bones are so small and thin, they would break easily if they were a bit more rigid than they actually are. That doesn’t mean that a hamster can’t break his bones, it is possible so you have to make sure you handle him gently and that the cage is safe, more on this later. Can a vet help a hamster with a broken bone? If you hamster broke a bone in an accident, you clearly see it that is in pain and does not move properly, you have to get it to a specialized vet as soon as possible. But you have to do it carefully since your hamster is in pain it will have the tendency to bite anything in its way. So here are a few things to pay attention to when transporting your hamster to the vet. Don’t try to pick it up with your hand, if you can make it go into a transport cage straight from its bigger cage, it would be best. Or you can use a small container and then place it into a transport cage. Place some treats inside the container or the transport cage and also enough bedding to make sure the surface is soft. Use a thick rubber glove when you want to touch it since it will most probably try to bite you. Ensure food and water on the way and a chew toy if possible to distract it. Hamsters don’t like being moved around, so that will be a stressful process anyway, but you can make it more bearable. When you get to the vet, they should know what they have to do and protect themselves and the hamster properly. The thing is that not all vets handle hamsters, so you better call first or check their website before getting there. It is also important to know that any anesthetic or painkiller the vet may use can pose a significant risk to your hamster’s health. This is why not many vets want to work with such small animals, the risks are too big in some situations and it is hard for a pet owner to accept that it wasn’t necessarily the vet’s fault for what happened. Do they need more minerals in those situations? Yes, hamsters might use some extra minerals during the recovery to help the bones fix faster. I usually don’t recommend mineral chews but in this situation they might be helpful, the calcium and the other minerals can help as they do for humans as well in this specific circumstance. Hamsters get enough minerals in normal circumstances from their pre-made mix that you can find in most pet shops. How to avoid this kind of accidents Well, in order to avoid ending up with a hamster that broke a bone, you have to pay attention to two things. 1. How do you handle your hamster It is important to know that hamsters are very light and fluffy, you almost don’t feel them when they are in your hand, especially if you have a dwarf hamster. A Syrian hamster is a bit heavier, but still, they weigh about 100-150 grams which is not much. You need to make sure that you don’t squeeze your hamster when you hold it in your hand, so keep your fingers around your hamster if you don’t want it to escape but don’t apply any pressure. If you take your hamster out of the cage, make sure you pay close attention to it all the time since they can run and jump from heights without realizing. They are quite bad at estimating the distance from where they are to the ground. If you want to know more about how to tame and handle your hamster check my guide, there are 13 steps to tame your hamster. One more thing before getting to the cage, hamsters are not good pets for kids. It might seem like it, but a hamster is way more delicate and hard to handle properly than a cat or a dog. A kid will not control their strength when they handle the hamster as well as an adult, and that makes it dangerous for the hamster. 2. How safe is the cage Having a cage that doesn’t allow your hamster to jump from heights is super important. I learned this with my first hamster, the cage I had for it was a two level cage. Luckily for my hamster it wasn’t a very tall cage, and the bedding was more than enough to attenuate the fall. I saw my hamster going up to the second level, getting to the edge and simply jumping  from there in the bedding, and that was the moment when I realized that they really have bad eyesight. So it is better to have a bigger cage that doesn’t have any levels. My hamster was safe, but seeing that behavior made me get rid of the second level since he could have moved the bedding around the cage and fallen onto a hard surface the next time. Another thing to pay attention to, make sure the cage does not have narrow places where your hamster might get their arms or legs stuck, especially if they are not movable objects.  Facts about hamster teeth Maybe the most important bones in a hamster’s body are the teeth since those little animals are rodents, they use their teeth a lot. They need to chew on harder things all the time since their teeth are continuously growing and not having where to sharpen them can be dangerous for the hamster’s health. So make sure you give your hamster chewing toys, made of safe wood for the hamster. Hamsters have a total of 16 teeth, even if you don’t see all of them except when they are yawning. Talking about yawning, have you ever seen a little hamster yawning? If not, look for videos online, those little furballs transform into aliens when they are yawning, it’s scary. Hamsters don’t have milk teeth and adult teeth like humans, they have only one set of teeth for their entire life. Hamsters can also break their teeth, it is not often since their teeth are quite strong but if it happens, you should get it to a vet as fast as possible since this is a more dangerous problem for a hamster than for a human. Conclusion While a fun topic, hamsters having bones is actually a good question, and there are some important things you should know about their bones in order to keep them safe. Make sure your hamster has little to no chance of breaking any bones in their body since treating them can be dangerous, and it is for sure not a pleasant process. I really hope this article answered your question and was helpful for you and your little hamster pet. [...] Read more...
10+ Best Ways to Keep Hamsters Warm
10+ Best Ways to Keep Hamsters WarmMuch like humans, the hamster’s immune system is suppressed if they get too cold. This makes them more vulnerable to virus or bacterial infections, and you might put them at risk of having hypothermia if you have a very young or old hamster. Sometimes, hamster owners allow themselves to be tricked by the fur coat of their hamsters into believing that they can warm themselves. But this is far from the fact as these animals are not even that effective at abrupt decreases in temperature adjustment. Table of Contents Toggle1. Keeping hamsters warm in the winter2. Improve hamsters diet3. Provide extra bedding and substrates4. Don’t open doors frequently5. Exercise with your hamster 6. Keeping hamsters warm in a cold room7. Choose a perfect spot for the cage8. Use a space heater9. Heating pads for cages10. Prevent hibernation11. Keeping hamster cage warm12. Provide your hamster with a hiding home13. Take care of the water bottle14. Water bags and covers for warmth15. Monitor hamsters behavior  1. Keeping hamsters warm in the winter For starters, it is very important to know that most hamsters usually hibernate to spend the winter better. Hibernation is a condition characterized by drowsiness, marked decrease in body temperature, metabolic rate, and at the same time reduces the intensity of vital signs. You should try to keep the ambient temperature of your home above 60 degrees Fahrenheit in moments of winter. Besides, you need to feed the hamster the appropriate daily doses to stay strong and healthy. But in cold weather, it will not be enough to maintain low temperatures without risk. If you notice that its body begins to stiffen from the cold and even trembling, it is advisable to start caressing it gently to warm it up and wake it from that state of drowsiness in which it will enter. 2. Improve hamsters diet Try to give very tasty food with a high percentage of fat and protein, because in these times it is necessary to gradually warm-up. You should make him drink, add a little sugar to the water and give him a drink. Your hamster’s diet is the most important thing that you can do to avoid hibernation. The diet plays a critical role in the life and health of your hamster. If you do not supply it with enough nutrients, it will hibernate. Add fattening food to its diet. Feed it with avocado, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. This diet in your pet will accumulate more fats and keep it healthy. Hamsters come from dusty, arid, temperate areas like Syria and Greece, so they are used to being warm and relaxed. If the temperature falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster can become lethargic. And, if the temperature begins to drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, your hamster might be dead and collapse into hibernation mode. 3. Provide extra bedding and substrates During the winter, use extra bedding to keep your hamster warm. Many hamsters like to pull the material of bedding to create a nest. The only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters is Aspen. For odor control as well, Aspen is a great, affordable choice. Aspen, however, appears to cling to the fur of some hamster species, especially long-haired Syrian hamsters, but it does not harm them in any way. Make sure you have plenty of substrates laid down for them to burrow and make nests in. This is one of their favorite things to do and a natural way for them to cover themselves from the cold. A dense four-to-five-inch coating is going to be very beneficial for them. If he pulls lots of his bedding into his hideout, it’s one way to know that your hammy is cold. Even if they have plenty of nesting material in their hideout, hamsters can do this normally. Usually, people bring warm fabric in the bedding to make it easier for the hamster to get snug and comfortable. But you can also use other materials, such as chips made of hemp wood. The positive thing about using hemp wood is that it doesn’t have any dust and still looks fine. Hemp wood is also known to provide hamsters with a more natural environment. 4. Don’t open doors frequently It is common in the winter for your hamster to become more lethargic. This is because, to stay warm, they conserve their energy levels, opting to remain in bed for longer. However, if, due to intense coldness, your hamster falls unconscious or goes into hibernation mode, then this is life-threatening and you should urgently seek veterinary assistance. You should keep the doors of your home from opening and closing regularly. Often, strive to stop having the cage of your Hamster next to your house’s main entrance. Constant door opening and closing will lead to cold air coming into your home. This will trigger a sudden decrease in the temperature inside your house. Also, keep the windows closed of the space in which your hamster is situated. Particularly at night, when the temperature is much lower. 5. Exercise with your hamster  Hamsters need to work out to keep themselves fit and safe, even on cold days. It is recommended that their floor time on these days is increased. Let them out with closed drafts and ventilation in an open and spacious room. Do this for at least 60 minutes per day, if possible. In hamsters, lack of exercise will lead to different health problems. It may leave the hamster obese as well. Another symptom is when your hamster gets lethargic and also loses his appetite. By sleeping even more, he might be trying to save body heat and energy, so you may see him less frequently. Your hamster could physically shiver and shake in intense cold. 6. Keeping hamsters warm in a cold room You need to keep the cage away from the window and ventilation sources to prevent the hamster from getting cold. Your hamster can feel the temperature even though the windows are closed and sense it lowering bit by bit. The window areas are colder than any other place in the room. 7. Choose a perfect spot for the cage It’ll be safer if you pick a cozy corner of your room or some corner of the house when you decide the location where you can put the cage. This will make sure that the hamster does not feel very cold and will not hide inside the bedding. You can think about having thicker curtains for the window areas to fix the window issue. This will keep the area insulated, and inside the room, the curtains will retain the heat. In addition to this, you can also put rolled-up towels on the window sills, as cold air can enter through those sills. The best source of heat is the sunshine. Everybody requires sunshine in winter. For all living beings to keep themselves safe, sunlight is an excellent source. It is a perfect source of vitamin D, and it also has many health advantages. 8. Use a space heater Also, you could think about buying a space heater. It would shield the hamsters from the cold and keep the room heated all day by setting up a space heater. But make sure that the room doesn’t overheat, or you will harm the hamster. Also, don’t place the heater right next to the cage, especially if you own a metal cage. If you can’t afford to use a space heater, think about borrowing or renting one. If you can’t do that either, try to program your heating system to turn on more frequently than usual. This will keep the temperature of the room comfortable for the hamster. 9. Heating pads for cages Heat pads are a smart option for keeping your hamster safe as well. Various forms of heat pads can be found online and in pet shops as well. They come in different types and shapes, and for a long time, they can keep your hamster safe. The heat pads can be warmed up in a microwave and you can then position them under the cage. But note to use the heat pad sparingly, or the hamster’s normal immune system will suffer. Move the hamster’s cage away from drafty walls, doors, and spaces. Your hamster’s home is instantly on its way to heating up by getting cool air out of the equation. Simply pushing his cage away from a drafty window won’t make a huge difference if you keep him in the same room where the cool air is circulating. Move the hamster to a room that has better insulation and warmer air circulation, instead. 10. Prevent hibernation The biggest threat of keeping a hamster in a cold room is hibernation. There is no time or warning for a pet hamster located in a very cold room. He’s going to have to act fast to slip into a kind of slumber that can’t only keep him safe for a long time, but it’s going to dehydrate him as well. That slumber is a potentially hypothermic shock in serious situations, which can be fatal. There are a few steps you can do if you notice that the hamster is slipping into hibernation. Try to use body heat. Take the hamster and place it in your hands. Pat and rub the hamster to warm it up. Hold it for at least 30 minutes and make sure it changes behavior or looks more alert. If that doesn’t work, heat it with a bottle of hot water. Wrap the hamster in a towel with a bottle filled with hot water. The hamster should not be in direct contact with the bottle and should not overheat. This will help warm his body and get him out of hibernation. Give warm milk to the hamster. As soon as the hamster starts to be more alert, even a little, try giving him warm milk with a dropper. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave, but test first to make sure it’s not too hot. If you want, give clean water, water with sugar, or a drink with electrolytes, like the one’s athletes use to rehydrate, using a dropper. Anything you can do to make him drink water is a good idea. Rehydration helps the hamster to come out of hibernation. 11. Keeping hamster cage warm Layer the underside of your hamster’s cage with a thick blanket. Not only would the blanket be protecting the bottom of the enclosure, but it will also trap heat inside it. However, if your room is hovering about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, an insulating blanket will not fix the dilemma, so the amount of cold will only be minimized. But, if the hamster requires only a little more warmth, it is an acceptable low-cost and low-maintenance approach. You will need to keep the cage relatively close to the artificial heat source inside your home. In the coldest moments, you should touch it often to make sure it has not entered hibernation. If you feel his body cold and breathing slowly, he may be preparing for hibernation. 12. Provide your hamster with a hiding home Hamsters enjoy hiding places, as it allows them to control their body temperature and stay warm. Only by taking the appropriate precautions, you can plan hideouts at your home for your hamsters. To make an opening, carve a narrow opening out of a cardboard box. Be sure you do not leave any rough edges, or you could injure the hamsters. Your hamster will take advantage of this spot to relax. Keep some hay in the box (preferably timothy hay) so that there is plenty for the hamsters to chew on. Consider buying a hiding home for a hamster to put in the cage. This tiny home will provide an extra layer of protection for the hamster. They are usually made of wood, which is the best-known insulator in the world. To hold the cold out, you might even think about buying an igloo for hamsters. The hamster will hide and snug for as long as they want in the closed space. A well-insulated nest box made of wood, ceramic, or thick plastic provides a protected place for your hamster to sleep. Make sure the nest box is put in a stable position where it will not be overturned by your hamster to have it collapse on them. Every hamster cage has a water bottle attached to it. You need to take care of the water bottle as well. If the hamster has a hiding spot in the cage, where it snuggles up, you might want to move the bottle near that spot. If the hamster is too cold, it might not get up to hydrate. 13. Take care of the water bottle Also, water bottles sometimes freeze on cold days. It will leave your hamster dehydrated if not taken care of. To keep it from freezing, you can cover the water bottle with a towel or a small cover. The water bottle tip can get frozen as the mercury level decreases, reducing the water flow. You should check the tip of the bottle if the temperature is too cold by tapping it every few hours. It is also recommended that both the water bottle and the water bowl be used on cold days. If you want to extremely ensure the hamster’s warmth during winter, opt for a glass cage. In cold weather, glass cages are better insulators than metal and wired cages. A glass cage does not require extra covers or heating pads, putting enough bedding will be enough. 14. Water bags and covers for warmth You can keep hamsters’ cage warm by putting a warm water bag on top of their cage. You can even put the water bag inside, choosing one corner of the enclosure. Before using it, cover the water bag with a thick cloth or towel. Do not use it without a towel or cloth and make sure the water bag is not leaking. If your hamster doesn’t have a wheel in its cage, make sure that he is supplied with one during winter. Running on the wheel is the hamster’s favorite activity. During cold days, physical activity will generate heat and keep it warm. Put warm covers on the cage. The cover will help insulate the temperature and protect the hamster from the cold. See if your pet has enough coverage to prevent hibernation. If it starts to get cold fast, put more covers on to prevent this from happening, but make sure to leave openings, so the fresh air can still circulate through the cage. 15. Monitor hamsters behavior  Finally, the hamster’s behavior in winter should be carefully monitored. Pay more attention to the hamster’s behavior and whether he is warm during the colder months. You can put more coverage in his cage or give him food that is richer in fat than is normal. Take care of your pet to be safe and alert during the cold season. Hamsters can, like people, catch a cold. They will have a runny nose and will probably sneeze. You will notice the change in its fur as well. It will become matted and ruffled. If he is hot to touch, it means that his body temperature is high and he will usually have low energy, and loss of appetite.    [...] Read more...
About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, Campbell
About The Dwarf Hamsters – Roborovski, Djungarian, CampbellIf you’re researching hamsters, and want to know more about the Dwarf types, let me help you. There are 3 main types of Dwarf hamsters, and they can be more than a bit confusing. We’ll take a look at each Dwarf type, and how it’s different from all the rest, and then talk about general care and how to keep them happy. Table of Contents ToggleAn overview of Dwarf hamstersAbout the Roborovski Dwarf hamsterAbout the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamsterAbout the Campbell Dwarf hamsterAbout the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problemsWhat do Dwarf hamsters eat ?What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ?Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would likeCan Dwarf hamsters live together ?Average lifespan of Dwarf hamstersA word from Teddy An overview of Dwarf hamsters Dwarf hamsters are 3 main types of hamster, actually. They all come from roughly the same area, which is northern China, southern Russia, Mongolia, Siberia and they are very well adapted to those lands. Despite that, you will often find the 3 types named as Russian Dwarf, and that’s it. This can be both confusing and frustrating, especially when trying to figure out if they need anything specific, or even just what kind of hamster you’ve got. Here’s the 3 main Dwarf hamster types: The Roborovski Dwarf, Also names Russian Dwarf, he is the tiniest and has a distinct appearance from the rest. The Campbell Dwarf, also sometimes called Russian Dwarf. Is often confused with the Djungarian. The Djungarian Dwarf, also named Winter White, or Siberian, or (again) Russian Dwarf. The only one who can adapt his fur to winter (turns white) Each of the 3 types was discovered in different years, which I’ll cover in the section about each type. But all of them ended up as pets because of their cute and fuzzy faces, incredibly quick feet, and acceptance of living in groups. Given their small size, agility, speed, and restlessness, these hamsters are best kept as observational pets. Trying to handle them is harder than with a Syrian, just because they’re so very small and won’t sit still at all. Never give a Dwarf hamster to a child, since these hammies need a person with quick reflexes and lots of patience to be handled properly. But why are they called Dwarf hamsters, though ? Well, because they were all discovered after the Syrian hamster. And were always measured against that little guy. This makes the Dwarf hamsters only half as big as a Syrian, hence the name Dwarf. There are some very clear differences between the Dwarf types and the Syrian, you can read more about them here. If you’re not very sure which breed you have, or if you have a Dwarf, then check out this article for help. About the Roborovski Dwarf hamster The Roborovski (or Robo for short) is the tiniest of the bunch. He was first discovered in 1894 by a Russian expeditioner (Roborovski), and was first brought into the general public’s attention in 1960. That’s when they became regulars at the London Zoo, and have since become popular pets. The Robo is a small (very small) hamster, reaching about 2 inches/5 cm and that’s it. From nose to tail, that’s the whole hamster. His fur (like all Dwarf types) is brown-ish on the back, with white on his belly. He does have a white spot above each eye, much like the spots above a Doberman or Rottweiler’s eyes. The Roborovski hamster doesn’t have a stripe down his back, nor a patch on his head like the other Dwarf types. His feet are furry (unlike the Syrian) and he doesn’t have a distinct neck, looking more like a very stocky, hastily put-together furball. Still, they’re incredibly fast and wriggly, and can live in bunches if you’ve got a cage large enough. About the Djungarian/Siberian/Winter white hamster This is the most confusing hamster type, mostly because everyone keeps calling him a different name. He is classified as Phodopus sungorus, which comes from the region in China this hamster was discovered in, which is Dzungaria. Phodopus is the general name given to all Dwarf types. So the official name would be Djungarian Dwarf hamster, but many people still call him Winter White, or Siberian. He is also found in Siberia, and he does Change his fur when winter comes, to mostly white. Usually the Djungarian is about 3 inches/7 cm long, and has a grey-ish brown color on his back. He does have a stripe going down his back, a dark, thick stripe of dark grey or black. His belly is white, and his feet are furry, and he has a dark patch on his head, where the stripe starts from. As pets, the breeders have tried for several color patterns, and have come up with mostly white, grey, white with grey dustings. Once winter comes and the days shorten – the lack of light is the trigger here – the Djungarian’s fur changes to mostly or completely white, so blend in with the snow. In captivity this doesn’t really happen, since the light cycles don’t have as much of an impact. These hamsters also regulate their internal body temp in the winter in order to survive the cold. About the Campbell Dwarf hamster The Campbell is often mistaken with the Djungarian, simply because they look so much alike. However the difference is that Campbells have light grey on their bellies, instead of white like the Djungarians. Their stripe down the back is less obvious and thinner, and there is no dark patch on their head. They don’t change their fur when winter comes, and in the wild they live a bit farther south than the Djugarians. Djungarians and Campbells can breed together, but the offspring are born with health problems and less fertile. The hybrids can breed between themselves, but the resulting litters are smaller and smaller, and have more and more health problems. This is only possible with a Djungarian male and a Campbell female. A Campbell male and Djungarian female will not result in a live birth. About the Dwarf hamster’s body and health problems Usually the Dwarf hamsters are around 3 inches/7 cm long, with short stocky bodies. Their fur (the hairs themselves) seem to be longer than the Syrians, only because the hamsters are so small. As such, the Dwarf types look extra fluffy, and the furred feet help with this appearance. These hamsters are used to colder temperatures, although they still need a temp around 20-23 C/68-75 F.  They can suffer common colds and have health issues like any other hamster. But they are prone to diabetes most of all, given their small size and how their bodies are built. Given their small size, finding the hamster’s gender can be difficult, especially with babies. Unfortunately that’s the most important moment these hamsters need to be separated, otherwise unwanted litters can happen. Especially if you’re planning on bringing a pair home. Spaying or neutering the hamster is dangerous, since they’re so very small and they most probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. What do Dwarf hamsters eat ? Dwarf hamsters are omnivores, meaning they will eat almost anything. There ares some unsafe foods for them, like spicy or acidic foods. For example citrus, onion, garlic, leek, spicy peppers and so on are not safe for hamsters. They will often eat grains, and that’s the majority of their diet. They also eat fruits and vegetables, if they can find them. Nuts and seeds are another option, again if they can find them. As for protein, they are alright with eating a couple of insects or worms if they happen upon them At home you can feed your Dwarf hamster a commercial food mix, since those are well thought-out and have the wild hamster’s diet in mind. Aside from that you can feed the hammy food from your fridge or pantry, although not all foods are safe. A safe and unsafe food list can be found here. Do take care with Dwarf hamsters, whether they’re Robos, Campbells or Djungarians. They’re prone to diabetes so sweet foods, even those on the safe list, are to be avoided or only given in minimal amounts. This includes most fruits (which should be given without seeds and peeled when possible), and carrots or sweet potatoes, or corn. Bread, pasta and rice should be given sparingly or not at all, since they contribute greatly to the glucose levels in the hamster’s body. It’s not just the sugar that does that, but the carb-heavy foods as well. Also make sure these little guys get plenty of exercise to delay(or even avoid) the onset of diabetes, or even just obesity since they are prone to that as well. As for serving sizes, Dwarf hamsters only need a teaspoon per hamster, per day. That’s the dried food mix that comes in the box. Anything else you supplement alongside that should be checked with the safe foods list. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) What size cage does a Dwarf hamster need ? For the most part Dwarf hamsters need a cage about half as large as a Syrian’s cage, which is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. However I would recommend that measurement to be applied to a single Dwarf as well, seeing as the more space he has, the better he will feel. That being said, you can keep two Dwarf hamsters in a Syrian-sized cage, expect occasional bickering. To a degree this is normal, and we’ll discuss that in the next part of the article. Whenever you look for a cage for your Dwarf hamster, you should make sure it’s very well secured. Given how incredibly small these guys are, they can wedge themselves in some really odd places. So if at all possible, something like a large aquarium would be good. A good potion would be the the Ikea Detolf. It’s basically one big standing shelf rack, you lay it on its side, and you lake the shelves out. Constructing a wire mesh is easy enough, tutorials are available in many places online. But, the big downside is that it’s a big and heavy ‘cage’, and you’re going to keep it in one place. You’ve got to have the space necessary in your home. It can be more expensive, but it’s got enough space for two Dwarf hammies. However if a Detolf or a very very big aquarium isn’t possible for you – it isn’t for most people – either because of budget or space you can try a regular cage. Most cages on the market are too small for hamsters, even for a Dwarf hamster. So I recommend looking for as big a cage you can find, even if your hamster is just a Dwarf. For example this one is large enough for even two Dwarf hamsters, although I recommend you only keep one. The space between the bars is small enough so the hamster won’t get out, and there are many sides to open the cage from. There is an extra level, which is adjustable and you can put it wherever you like. Hammies prefer the ground floor the most, so try not to put the level up too high. They might burrow under the level though, so don’t be surprised if that happens. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see for yourself. Toys and cage objects Dwarf hamsters would like Hamsters, Dwarf or not, need lots of things to do. They have a whole lot of energy and they are all over the place. This is especially true for the Dwarf hamsters out there, given how much more spazzy they are compared to the larger Syrian. So, the number one way to make sure your Dwarf hamster spends all that extra energy is an exercise wheel. I say this because hamsters are pretty much born to run, and Dwarf types are the best runners. This is what they do most of the night. A bored hamster, or one with too much energy and not much to do, will end up chewing the bars, or picking a fight with his cage mate, being nippy, and generally hard to handle. Best to give him plenty of opportunities to exercise and use his little hamster brain like for puzzles. But first, the exercise. A Dwarf hamster can make do with a smaller wheel, yes. Even a 7 inch/18 cm one would be enough. But often enough the hamsters choose a large wheel to run in, in order to keep their backs at least straight, if not hunched like they always keep them on the ground. This means a 9 inch/ 23 cm wheel will be great for their backs and will avoid lots of health problems in the future. For example this one is a heavy bottom wheel, and that means it won’t move around the cage when the hamsters run in it. It’s also got a tail and foot guard, so the hamster doesn’t get himself caught in anything. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and check the wheel for yourself. Another thing to make sure your Dwarf hamster has is toys, lots and lots of toys. Many of them can be made at home, some need to be bought – more on that here. But climbing toys, or cardboard tunnels, or hide and seek toys made of an egg carton with holes in it, they’re all great toys for hamsters. Remember that hamsters are very curious, and they will stick their faces into every little thing that fits, and look for food. Or just explore. So you can make your little Dwarf happy with chew toys, tubes, climbing toys, puzzle toys, and so on. For bedding I recommend using wood shavings, and sticking to aspen as the preferred wood. Stay away from cedar and pine, since their strong scent will suffocate the hamster. Paper bedding is an option too. If you’re keeping more than one hamster, keep in mind that you’ll need two of each. Two hideouts/huts, two wheels, two food bowls, two water bottles, and so on. This reduces the reasons the Dwarf hamsters might fight, and generally give you happier hamsters. Can Dwarf hamsters live together ? Yes and no. Yes, as in they are able to live with a same-sex sibling or two, as long as they’ve never been separated and have always shared something, from their first days as hamsters. And they have a very big cage, or the Detolf I mentioned earlier. Even so, one hamster will be more dominant – this is normal – and will try to boss around the other one. Things can get out of hand when the bullied hamster becomes stressed, or the bully crosses the line. Fights can happen, and to a degree they’re normal. Squeaking, chasing, standing on top of each other and so on is acceptable. But when the fights become frequent, you need to worry. If blood has been drawn, those two will need to be kept in separate cages. I’d also say no, Dwarf hamsters can’t live together solely for the fact that the stress levels in a shared cage – no matter how big the cage – are just too high for hamsters. Seeing as hamsters are terribly bad at managing stress, this often results in sickness or injuries. Loss of appetite, dehydration, loss of fur, irritability, depression, even actual bites and cuts and bruises. Hamsters are indeed territorial creatures, and don’t share very easily. Deadly fights can happen between siblings, even if they’ve never shown any obvious sign of irritation before. If you’re planning to keep a pair of hamsters, always keep them as a same-sex pair to avoid pregnancies. You can find info on determining the hamster’s gender here. My personal advice would be to keep any and all hamsters – Dwarf or not – alone, one hamster per cage. If you want to keep them together, you can, and they will survive for the most part. It’s up to you and how much you think you can handle. Average lifespan of Dwarf hamsters The usual lifespan of hamsters is between 2 to 4 years, but this is only because the Roborovski Dwarf is raising the bar. Roborovskies can live up to 4 years, the longest lifespan of any pet hamster. The Campbell live for about 2-2.5 years, while the Djungarians can reach 2-3 years. When the hamsters reach their second birthday, they’re considered old, and  you will see some health problems come up. But, since the hamster is first born, it takes 3 months to reach adulthood. Babies can breed right after they’re weaned, which is about 4 weeks old. This is why separating them into same sex groups is mandatory. Once they’ve become adults, and have mated, the gestation period is between 18 and 22 days, with the Robo having the longest (20-22). While Robo and Djungarian males should be kept away from the female after mating, the Campbells have been observed to help the female along. At least in the wild, and at least with the birthing process. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look very much alike, but we’re actually different types. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
What Is Wet Tail, And How To Save Your Hamster’s Life
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 ToggleSo 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...
Do Hamsters Eat Insects? You Need To Know This!
Do Hamsters Eat Insects? You Need To Know This!If you have a small hamster, you are probably asking yourself if a hamster can eat small insects. It might be because some insects might get into your hamster’s cage, or you are curious about what a wild hamster looks like. We know cats might hunt and eat some little flies, which might make us think insects are safe for pets, but there is a big difference between a small hamster and a cat. I have an entire article about what hamsters eat in the wild, and it can be fascinating to understand the difference between a pet diet and a wild hamster diet. In this article, I want to talk about what insects a hamster can eat, when it can happen, and if you have to give insects to your pet hamster for a balanced diet. Table of Contents ToggleDo hamsters eat insects?What kind of insects do hamsters eat?Should you feed your pet hamster with insects?Should you give extra protein to your hamster?Can hamsters eat other small animals?Do hamsters get or eat fleas?Do hamsters eat each other?Conclusion Do hamsters eat insects? Yes, hamsters can eat insects in the wild. However, they don’t do this too often because it can be dangerous for them since a lot of insects might contain harmful bacteria for the hamsters. They will eat insects only if this is the last food option they have and only if the insects get in their way, a wild hamster will not hunt for insects on purpose. Most people think that hamsters eat more insects than they actually do because hamsters are omnivores. However, in reality, they eat very few and only when they have no other choice. If you want to know more about what a hamster diet looks like and what you should feed your pet hamster, I have an article about what food a hamster can eat and the exceptions. What kind of insects do hamsters eat? Wild hamsters can eat worms, grasshoppers, small bugs and even spiders, but it is important to know that all of those might be harmful to a hamster if they eat big amounts. This is one of the main reasons why a wild hamster usually doesn’t live as long as a pet hamster, they don’t really know what food is harmful to them. It might be a plant or a toxic seed for the wild hamster, and if they are hungry, they will eat it anyway. Of course, this is not the main reason for a wild hamster living less than a pet, but it is up there, with the most important one being the fact that they have a lot of predators. Should you feed your pet hamster with insects? I saw some people consider that they have to give insects to their pet hamsters, which might make sense if you consider that hamsters are omnivore animals we tend to believe they might need some meat in their diet. However, they can live very well only with seeds, grains, and vegetables. So it is not worth the effort of trying to give your hamster insects, and it might also be dangerous for them. Should you give extra protein to your hamster? Aside from a pre-made mix, seeds have a lot of protein, so you should not worry about that. You can give your hamster a little bit of boiled, unseasoned chicken, or a little piece of boiled egg white if you are worried about the protein intake of your hamster. As I said before, it is not necessary, but it is much safer than giving insects to your pet hamster. When you think about good protein sources, you might be tempted to feed your hamster legumes like peas, chickpeas, beans and lentils but those also have a high amount of fibers which might upset the hamster’s guts.  The best and safest protein sources for a hamster are seeds and nuts. Can hamsters eat other small animals? I saw this in a few articles that claim that a wild hamster can eat small birds, frogs, or lizards, but I believe this is true only for European hamsters, which are much bigger and stronger, but even then, they will not look for those if it is not the last option they have. Especially since in the wild, most frogs and lizards can be poisonous, even for humans or other bigger animals than hamsters, so we can imagine why it is not safe for hamsters to eat those kinds of animals. Do hamsters get or eat fleas? Talking about insects, one of the most annoying insects for any kind of animal, including us, are fleas. They are annoying, hard to kill or get rid of them, and obnoxiously fast. Unfortunately, hamsters can also get fleas. Pet hamsters will only get fleas if directly exposed to them like by you or another pet you have that might have fleas. In this case, if you observe your hamster carefully, you might see black dots moving in its fur, which are fleas. If there is more than one, it should be visible. However, if there is only one flea, it might be harder to spot.  If you own a Syrian hamster do not confuse its black spots for fleas ! Syrian hamster s have a black spot on each hip, which are scent glands. The spots are much larger than a flea, and resemble the brown skin spots some humans get. I was scared the first time I saw those spots since they look like the hamster has a health problem. You will know without a doubt if your hamster has fleas when he scratches and bites excessively at certain areas of his body, accompanied by vocal sounds indicating irritation. Furthermore, wet spots may appear on the fur due to the hamster’s attempts to lick off the flea. About hamster eating the fleas, like other animals that get fleas, they will have a hard time caching the flea before it jumps elsewhere, so there are not big chances that your hamster will actually eat the flea. Here is an article that will guide you to get rid of the hamster’s fleas. By the way, I wrote a big article about 10 most common health problems in hamsters that is very useful for any hamster owner. Do hamsters eat each other? Yes, hamsters can eat each other in certain situations. They actually fight to death more often without actually eating each other. This is especially true for Syrian hamsters, which are solitary animals, so they don’t share their space with other hamsters. For them, any hamster is an enemy like any other animals, so they will fight right away if it crosses their property. Syrian hamsters have a hard time even reproducing since the female will fight the male shortly after they have time to make babies. Females raise the babies on their own without the male being there. Even the hamsters that can live together will often fight each other. The fact that dwarf hamsters can live together doesn’t mean that they will. It is a pretty delicate process to make hamsters be friendly with each other and usually, it happens only for the hamsters that are from the same family. It is quite hard to introduce a new member to a family of dwarf hamsters without them fighting. Dwarf hamsters are still territorial animals, so they will protect their territory. Some hamsters develop this territorial attitude later than others, so you might be surprised that hamsters that get along pretty well start fighting suddenly. Conclusion So the conclusion is that hamsters can eat insects, but that doesn’t mean that it is recommended to feed your pet hamster with insects, in fact, it can be quite dangerous. I hope this article clarifies the misconception that insects are part of the hamster diet because they are omnivores and need animal protein. Keep your hamster safe, and don’t be afraid to rely mostly on pre-made mixes that you buy from the pet shop. Most of the time, they are good enough and save you from wasted time and unnecessary risk for your hamster. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Eat Cardboard ? About Your Hamster’s Chew Habit
Do Hamsters Eat Cardboard ? About Your Hamster’s Chew HabitIf you’ve got a hammy you’re probably wondering if he’ll chew through cardboard. Would a hamster eat cardboard ? I looked at my Teddy since I first got him, and knew he’d have a special relationship with cardboard tubes. So let’s see if hamsters eat cardboard, and if cardboard is even safe for them in the first place. Table of Contents ToggleSo do hamsters eat cardboard ?Make sure it’s just plain cardboardOnly use cardboard for toys and nesting materialOther chewing alternatives for your hamster friendA word from Teddy So do hamsters eat cardboard ? No, hamsters do not eat cardboard. Unlike with soft materials like paper towels or toilet squares, which can get into the hamster’s moth and swallowed up. Cardboard is not something hamsters eat, not even by mistake like with paper. They do however love to chew through it and they will not stop until the whole roll is done.  You might think the hamster finds the cardboard tasty, given how much he’s munching on it. But no, he’s just clipping at it like a small maniac. My Teddy for example goes through an entire paper towel cardboard roll, which is almost 3 toilet paper rolls, in one night ! Now let’s see which kinds of cardboard are okay for hamsters, and what you should look out for. Make sure it’s just plain cardboard By plain I mean the simple, brown/grey kind of cardboard. It’s usually the cheapest option because it requires no further treatment like bleaching and recoloring or laminating. Incidentally, this keeps it safe for hamsters and rodents. A few examples of safe, simple cardboard are: toilet paper rolls paper towel rolls any other roll that’s made of plain cardboard, like some aluminium foil rolls or saran wrap rolls actual, cardboard boxes that some packages come in It could be the wrinkly, ruffled cardboard that’s made to withstand lots of force, or it could be a thin kind of cardboard. If it’s got some paper still on, the hamster will love ripping it apart and stuffing that in his cheeks as well. However there are some kinds of cardboard you should keep your hamster away from. These are pieces of cardboard that are not only painted, they’re also laminated or at least lined with plastic (like milk cartons for example), or have aluminium sides. So items like liquid cartons, packaging boxes that are very colorful or have a plastic-like outside and they’re almost waterproof, cardboard boxes from very strong smelling products (like lotion or perfume), and so on. (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.) Only use cardboard for toys and nesting material I wouldn’t recommend using cardboard for anything other than just toys or nesting material for your hamster. This is because he will tear through it with ease, and you’ll have to keep replacing them. Replacing a chew toy made of a cardboard roll with another cardboard roll is no problem. But replacing a hamster food bowl or hideout every day, even if it’s just cardboard, is just not worth the effort. A hamster hideout should be made of wood, so he had something to chew on all the time, but still a place to sleep. Your hamster will also use the cardboard as extra lining for his nest if he feels too cold. I’ve found bits of chewed up cardboard in my Teddy’s nest more than once. For the most part he just chews and chews and chews away at those cardboard rolls, but sometimes he finds a bit more use for them. You can check out this article to see how you can use cardboard to make DYI toys for your hamster too. Hamsters need to chew, otherwise their teeth grow much too large. They can develop serious dental problems if their teeth are left unchecked. Most of those problems can be solved at a veterinarian, but preventing them works much better. In some cases when the hamster keeps chewing on the cage bars, and you’ve found no other solution you can use the cardboard rolls like I used them here with my Teddy. He goes for the bars but end up chewing the cardboard instead, and it’s a welcome change from the usual bar chewing. Other chewing alternatives for your hamster friend Some people swear by mineral chews. While they keep the hamster busy, they’re not exactly needed. The thing is that mineral chews are meant to give the hamster minerals if he lacks them, but most hamsters do no need the extra minerals. The commercial mix they get supplements them with enough minerals and salts. There is also the issue with dust, and how that affects the hamster’s lungs. My Teddy looked like a construction worker whenever he took to that mineral chew. If you want to find out more about mineral chews, you should check out this article. Another way for your hamster to get his chewing fix is wood. Wood-based toys and objects in his cage will make sure he chews on something safe whenever he feels the urge to chomp down on something. For example my Teddy’s hideout’s made of wood, and he has a few wood objects to nibble on as well. He’s also got this walnut, that I’ve cleaned and left in his cage. He goes crazy over it, and keeps trying to open it. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies chew on everything, but cardboard is okay for us. Well, most cardboard objects I mean. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you can check out the related article below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy. [...] Read more...