Hamsters can die, and it’s never pleasant news to hear your little friend passed away. But why did that happen ? Was it old age ? Was the hamster suffering from an illness or an injury ? Let’s see what the most common causes are.
So why do hamsters die ?
Hamsters can die for a number of reasons, and it’s usually a medical condition. Even old hamsters, very old ones, pass away because their bodies simply don’t function as well as they used to, and some critical part of their body no longer works.
Sometimes, hamsters can die of diseases or injuries, most of them preventable. Not all are noticeable. Or, if you do notice, you don’t figure out what the problem is until it’s too late.
Knowing the usual health problems hamsters can get, and what old age looks like for hamsters will help you know when and if there is anything left to do.
When is a hamster considered old ?
Usually a hamster is old by the time he reaches 2 years of age. In Chinese hamsters this threshold is lower, since their average lifespan is 2 years. So they can be considered old by the time they reach their first birthday.
Most hamsters live 2-3 years, and as such you’ll notice the changes happening to then when they get old fairly quickly.
Sparse fur, weak legs, cataracts, a withered look about them, a distinct neck – these are all clear signs your hamster is a senior in his right.
Along with old age come a host of health problems, mostly because it’s easier for them to come along. Like wet-tail for example, which can be brought on either by stress or an infection. An infection happens easier if the hamster is not clean, and a very old hamster will stop grooming himself as much.
So, an old hamster who develops wet-tail has very little chances of survival, and his death could be attributed to both the disease and the old age.
Old age also makes the immune system weaker, and the body weaker overall. Bones don’t mend as easily, sores don’t go away. Any injury to an old hamster is harder to heal than one to a young hamster.
Health problems hamsters can commonly get
Most health problems can be avoided, like infections, overgrown teeth, cuts and scrapes, injuries from falling and so on. They can also be easily treated with the help of a competent veterinarian. You will need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who will have experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well.
Antibiotics will take care of infections. Tumors can be removed most of the time. bones can be mended, But there are some diseases or problems that can be… well, deadly. Especially so if not noticed in time and treated. Let’s go over a few of them.
Wet-tail is the first to spring into mind. It’s a sort of digestive problem, with symptoms like diarrhea, excessive water drinking, loss of appetite, a sweaty/wet look, a soiled wet hamster bottom, possibly smelly cage. Can be lethal in less than a week if left untreated.
If treated within 24h of developing, it can be survived. Longer than that. and the chances are lower. Even after treatment some hamsters still pass away, because they were too drained from the illness itself. It took a huge toll on their bodies and they withered away.
Any sort of infection, if it’s not treated right away. By this I mean the infections filled with pus, whether it’s an infected tooth, eye, or ear. All of them can spread to the brain, and inside the body. If the hamster swallows the pus (in the case of an infected tooth or cheek) this can lead to sepsis, which too can be fatal.
Lumps and tumors can be deadly as well, mostly because they can be very hard to operate on. The hamster, being so very small, has little chance of surviving anaethesia, although there have been cases.
In some cases the tumor is inside the body, and removing it is sentencing the hamster to certain death, with blood loss as the main cause. The surgery would be too big of a risk, again. Chemotherapy is hard to survive even for humans, let alone for hamsters.
Injuries, like a broken spine because of a nasty fall, can be deadly too. While a fall from the height of an ordinary table isn’t much for a human, it can be deadly for a hamster. Keep in mind that they’re so very small, and have a fragile frame.
This means that falls from heights like your table, dresser, even just your hands while you stand up, can all lead to serious injuries and sometimes even death.
Those falls can be deadly either on impact, like a fractured skull, or serious internal organ injuries, and they can also be deadly by result. Like internal bleeding, ruptured organs, and so on. It’s a terrible thought to write about, so please handle your hamster very carefully.
When it comes to bedding, and textiles introduced to your hamster, be careful. The extra fluffy, puffy kind of textile sometimes found on or in hamster toys (the ones with very long fibers, like the stuffing inside teddy bears). That is dangerous for hamsters, since they will find it and stuff it in their cheeks, and use it as nesting material.
While it does keep them warm, it’s also too easy for them to tangle that material in their teeth or cheeks, or get a foot stuck inside, or in some cases pretty much wrap it around their necks and suffocate.
I’m sorry to paint pictures like these, but this has happened before to other hamster owners. Please keep plush and overly fluffy things far away from hamsters.
As a sidenote, I have a blanket with a plush side. When I let Teddy onto the bed one day and the blanket was there, he immediately started putting it in his cheeks. They’re very fast, and you need to spot them right away to stop them.
Finally, there is another reason for hamsters seeming to suddenly die. Some people have reported their hamsters being happy and healthy yesterday, only to find them lifeless this morning.
Those cases, while unfortunate and traumatic, always have an explanation. Most of the time, it’s a circulatory problem. Like a blood clot forming in the brain, or a form of heart attack brought on by a scare in the middle of the night.
Hamsters are very sensitive, and scaring them too hard is … well, easier than necessary. This is one reason you should not scare your hamster, or let it get too stressed.
Being barked at, handled too often, dangled upside down, continuously poked and prodded and so on. These are very stressful things for a hamster, and can be the final straw in some cases.
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Do not confuse hibernation with hypothermia
I’ve set this one aside because it’s a common problem. Hamsters do hibernate, but only in the wild. In the wild, they have a weeks and months in advance to prepare for the cold. Gather food, get fat and have energy stored up, dig a big warm nest, get safe.
They go to sleep once winter comes and they only wake up from time to time (like once a week !) to nibble on something they’ve stored up. When they wake up, the earth is thawing, they’re hungry and dehydrated.
At home, in your warm house, the cold doesn’t gradually creep in over the span of a few months. It never does, because you keep your home warm.
So why do some hamsters end up ‘hibernating’ ? Well, they’ve sometimes been left out in the garage for a few hours, or another such space that’s used for storage and is usually cold. Or they were maybe forgotten next to an opened window. Really, it could be any occasion with cold temperatures.
The point is that the hamster will go into a sort of hibernation, but in truth it’s actually hypothermia. He did not have time to build an extra warm nest, build a protective layer of fat on his body, but he did store some food. The problem is that this is not true hibernation, and he will likely die if not woken up fast.
You might think he is dead, be might be cold. He might not move at all. But a dead hamster will be rigid, like a statue. He will be cold. A hibernating hamster will be cold-ish, but his whiskers or ears might twitch if you touch them. He will be limp, that’s the first major sign he is alright.
For more info on waking up a hamster from such a situation, check this article. Always, always attempt to warm him up or wake him before deciding he has passed away.
There have been accounts of hamsters thrown away in the trash bin, only to be found by the garbage disposal service later, alive and kicking.
Making sure you keep your hamster safe
There are ways your can make sure your hamster lives a happy, healthy life. Now, although what I explained above might make you want to keep him under a glass dome, don’t do that.
Instead, be a responsible hamster owner and keep him out of trouble. Let’s see what that means:
- Keep the hamster away from overly curious pets who might disturb him, like a cat or a puppy or even parrots or other rodents. Basically any pet that can move through the house on its own.
- Always supervise kids playing with the hamster. Accidents can happen, and it’s your responsibility to both teach the child and keep the hamster safe.
- Only handle the hamster close to his cage, and not allow more than double his height as a falling height.
- If you’re letting the hamster onto the floor, make sure there are no places for him to get inside or under or between pieces of furniture and be impossible to get out safely.
- Keep any fluffy textile or materials away from your hamster. Some are sold as nesting material. Stay away from them.
- Never overfeed your hamster, else he might grow obese and develop diabetes and joint problems.
- Be careful which foods from your fridge or pantry you feed you hamster. Some are safe, some not.
- Always clean his cage, once a week, a full cleaning complete with a cage wipe-down or actual rinsing on the shower.
- Make sure you bring your hamster to the vet, even if it might be nothing. Better to have him checked and find out he’s okay, than leave it to chance and figure out there is a problem when it’s too late.
Thees are the absolute basics of keeping your hamster healthy and safe, more info can be found in the related articles below. Until then, read Teddy’s thoughts on the matter.
A word from Teddy
I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hammies are cute and cuddly, but we do pass away. That means we’re sometimes too sick, or we grow too old to fight an injury or sickness. We rely on you to spot the problem and help us out.
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.
- How Often Should You Change Hamster Bedding?When you are keeping hamsters as pets, you need to make sure that it is as comfortable as possible in its cage or habitat because that is where the little fella will be spending most of its life in. That’s why you have to add bedding to its cage to make the entire setup as close to natural as possible. However, a hamster’s bedding can also get dirty. So, how long should you change the hamster bedding? You shouldn’t be setting a number of days when it comes to changing your hamster’s bedding. If it is dirty, then you need to change it. But if it is still clean, then there is no need to change it. That means that there is no exact timeframe when it comes to when you should be changing your hamster’s bedding. Even though hamsters aren’t too heavy on the maintenance side of things, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect their living conditions. Always remember that hamster bedding can get dirty. When that happens, there is a chance that your hamster will end up suffering from diseases and illnesses. And that is why there is always a need for you to make sure your hamster’s bedding is regularly changed whenever it gets dirty. Table of Contents How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage?What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding?Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding?How to clean hamster bedding How often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage? Like any other animal, a hamster needs to live in an environment that is clean and sanitary enough for it. If the hamster lives in a habitat that may be too dirty or unsanitary for it, there is a chance that it will end up suffering from illnesses and other health conditions caused by bacteria that may have built up due to the lack of cleanliness. So, in the case of your hamster, there should always be a need for you to clean its habitat on a regular basis or as long as you notice that your hamster’s cage or aquarium has become too dirty for it. While cleaning a hamster cage involves replacing its food, removing any dirt and feces, and making sure its water is fresh and clean, and replacing its bedding of course. Bedding in a hamster’s cage is an important part of what allows it to feel comfortable and as close to its natural habitat as possible. It also makes it easier for you to clean the cage because the bedding will be the one that will absorb the hamster’s pee. Even if the hamster is generally a low-maintenance pet, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t leave its cage and habitat dirty by refusing to replace its old bedding. So, in relation to that, how often should you change the bedding in a hamster cage especially when you consider the fact that it will also get dirty eventually due to dirt and bacteria buildup from the hamster’s feces and pee? There is no clear answer to how often a hamster’s bedding needs to be changed because of how you would need to change it depending on how dirty it is. Yes, that’s right. Time is not the determining factor as to whether or not you should change your hamster’s bedding because the most important factor to look at is how clean or dirty the bedding is. So, even if it has only been a few days since you last changed the hamster’s bedding, you may need to change it now if it has gotten a bit too dirty or if there really is a need for you to change it. In the same way, it could be two weeks since you last changed your hamster’s bedding but it might not need to be changed if it is still clean enough for your hamster. In that sense, setting the number of days for changing your hamster’s bedding isn’t really a good idea because of how the bedding can easily get dirty in a matter of a few days. Again, the major determining factor that should prompt you to decide whether or not your hamster bedding needs to be changed is its overall cleanliness. Also, it is worthy to note that you also need to change the hamster’s bedding if it had just recovered from an illness. The reason for such is that the bedding may still have the leftover bacteria or virus that can easily cause your hamster to get sick all over again. So, the moment your hamster recovers from an illness, change the bedding immediately. What happens if you don’t change hamster bedding? So, let’s say that you refuse to change the hamster’s bedding regularly because you want to save money and you don’t want to end up changing its bedding as often as possible, what happens to your hamster? Well, you are opening your hamster up to possible illnesses and diseases that can potentially cost you more money in the long run. A hamster’s bedding is the first in line to get dirty in your hamster’s habitat because that is where the little fella will be peeing and defecating. In that sense, it will be absorbing all of the pee and feces from your hamster. Moreover, there is also a possibility that the moisture coming from your hamster’s water will end up allowing mold and mildew to build up. When all of that happens, dirt, bacteria, and other harmful micro-organisms will begin to build up in the hamster’s bedding. Such dirt and bacteria will be the main reasons for your hamster’s health problems in the long run if you don’t want to replace the hamster’s bedding whenever they get too dirty. In your case, you wouldn’t sleep in a room filled with dirt, pee, and feces, wouldn’t you? It’s basically the same case for your hamster. Where to put a hamster when cleaning bedding? Whenever you are cleaning your hamster’s cage and replacing its bedding, you would have to relocate your hamster somewhere. So, where should you put your hamster when you are cleaning its bedding? So, one of the options for you is to use a pet carrier that is complete with materials that will keep the hamster busy while you are cleaning its bedding. You can place food in the pet carrier and make sure that it is well covered so that your hamster will feel a sense of security without seeing what you are doing with its habitat. Another option that you can use is to allow it to roam around an enclosed and safe room by making use of a hamster ball. The hamster ball will allow the hamster to run around in a safe manner while making it feel free as it roams around the room all while you are replacing the bedding in its cage. You can just simply get the little fella after you are done cleaning its cage. How to clean hamster bedding If you don’t know how to clean your hamster bedding, here is what you need to do: Scoop out any soiled and dirty bedding or substrate every single day. That means that the part of the bedding that has pee and feces should be removed and replaced as often as possible by scooping it out using a small shovel. This should be done as often as possible because your hamster will regularly pee and defecate. Pick out any leftover food that may have found itself on the bedding. Because hamster food is solid, there is no need for you to replace the bedding where you found the leftover food. Scoop out the bedding that has gotten soiled near the hamster’s water source. Again, no need to change the entire bedding if only a part of the bedding was soiled. This ensures that no mold or mildew will build up in the moist area of the bedding. If the entire bedding has become dirty or if a large area has become too dirty, that is the time that you should think about replacing the hamster’s entire bedding. Remove the hamster from the cage and relocate it to another place (see the above section). After that, scoop out all of the old bedding and place them in a plastic bag to make it easier for you to throw them out. After you have scooped out the old bedding, remove all of the other fixtures as well. Use a disinfectant to clean the bottom of the cage or the habitat to remove any bacteria that may have clung to those spots. Spot-clean the entire cage or habitat as well by using a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe the walls of the hamster’s habitat. Dry the cage up using a dry cloth or by airing it out. When the cage is already dry, add new bedding into it and return the fixtures to the hamster’s habitat. You can now return the hamster back to its home. As much as possible, don’t spend a lot of time cleaning the habitat, or else the hamster would end up getting stressed due to how it needed to adjust to an entirely new environment.... Read more...
- 9 Best Ways to Keep Hamsters CoolSmall animals are very sensitive to high temperatures. This is not a problem in nature because small animals like hamsters find a place that is humid and cold and hide from high temperatures. However, hamsters who live as pets in captivity cannot hide from high temperatures and take care of their health. If the temperatures are high enough, the hamster faces a risk of heatstroke that can be deadly for them if owners don’t react immediately. Five minutes in a car at high temperatures can be disastrous. Leaving the cage in direct sunlight is also a big problem. To help their pets, owners of hamsters must take responsibility and find ways to keep their hamsters cool in hot summer months. There are many ways to keep your hamster cool and here is a list of the best ones. Table of Contents 1. Move the cage to a cooler place2. Use a fan or air conditioner3. Allow the hamster plenty of water4. Fruit and veg treats5. Frozen towel or sheet6. Cool the hamster’s cage7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage8. Don’t travel with a hamster9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding 1. Move the cage to a cooler place Simple ways to solve problems are sometimes the best ways. If your hamster is hot, the best and easiest thing we can do is move it to a cooler place. Depending on the layout of the rooms in your apartment, some rooms will be cooler and others warmer. In some apartments, it will be the bedroom, while in others the bathroom will be the coldest. Take a walk around your apartment and find the room that seems coldest to you. If all the rooms seem equally warm to you, perhaps the best place to put a hamster kitchen or bathroom is if you have ceramic tiles in them. The tiles provide excellent insulation so they will not leak heat and will provide cool to your hamster. It is important that the hamster is in an airy room, but that he is not draft. An open window will help him get enough oxygen, but don’t put a hamster cage under the window so the draft doesn’t blow over them all day because that can be dangerous to your hamster. Also, never place them under or next to air conditioning. It is not a good idea to put a hamster in very hot places such as radiators, fireplaces, or stoves. Also, be sure to avoid caging in a busy room or near a TV or music system. Loud sounds and vibrations can be quite stressful for a hamster. Another thing you need to take good care of is to never leave the cage in direct sunlight. Hamsters are very sensitive to light, direct sunlight and are even bothered by bright artificial light. Natural light can help them maintain a sleeping cycle, but they are nocturnal animals so they do not like light or high temperatures. In addition, in direct sunlight hamsters, caves will heat up much faster which is by no means good for your hamster. The perfect place to put a hamster’s cage is in a room that has a lot of natural light but out of direct sunlight. The ideal room temperature is between 18 and 21 C °. 2. Use a fan or air conditioner To cool the room in the hot summer months, you can use a fan or air condition. We know you want the best for your pet and that your goal is to help him, but by no means direct the fan towards the hamster, put a cage next to the fan or under the air conditioner. If you do this, you will create an added stress hamster to whom this will be too much of a temperature difference and can shock your little one. Also, if you place it directly next to the cooler it can be too cold for your hamster which will negatively affect him and his health. If you want to cool the room where the hamster is, place a fan at the other end of the room or remove the cage from the air conditioning. It may take a little longer, but the room will gradually cool down, thus changing the body temperature of your hamster without shocking it or causing other health problems. When using the air conditioner, do not reduce the temperature abruptly. Hamsters are bothered by high temperatures, but also by sudden changes in temperature, so cool the room by reducing the current temperature by a maximum of 5 degrees. If you lower the temperature by more than 5 degrees you suddenly risk the hamster being shocked and dying sudden temperature changes. 3. Allow the hamster plenty of water Like humans, animals need water to stay hydrated and regulate body temperature. The easiest way to keep your hamster cool is to give it enough cool water. Hamsters are not demanding pets. They are so small that they need about two teaspoons or 10 milliliters per 100 grams of their body weight per day. Since most hamsters weigh approximately 200 grams, hamsters typically consume 4 teaspoons of water daily. During the summer, hamsters may require more fluid. Hamsters can dehydrate very quickly, especially at very high temperatures that they do not tolerate well, so they must always have enough fresh, clean water. How much water a hamster needs depends on how the hamster feeds and how active it is. If he eats mostly dry food, he will drink more water. Also if he is very active he will drink more water than he would do at rest. It is very important that the water is changed more often during the summer months to always be fresh and cool for your pet. Cool water will allow you to control the body temperature of your hamster. It is best to give water hamsters with a water bottle that will allow them reliable access to water.4. Place the hamster in a ventilated cage. For the hamster to have enough oxygen it is recommended that his cage is made out of bars. Depending on your preferences you can buy a cage with plastic, metal, or glass bars. Holes between the grilles will allow air to circulate and enough oxygen for your hamster. Some owners prefer to keep hamsters in an aquarium, but in this case, it is even more important that the cage is located in a well-ventilated room. Glass tanks can prevent the spread of cage odors through the room, but keeping a hamster in a glass tank can have serious consequences. The hamster found in the aquarium can easily run out of oxygen as the glass can get quite hot and impede airflow. Ammonia produced in a glass tank can lead to respiratory illness. If you are going to keep a hamster in a glass tank you need to keep the tank in a well-ventilated area and clean it every week. Bar cages in addition to allowing oxygen to flow will prevent the smell from spreading from the cage. Wire allows keeping moisture from building up in the case and thus prevents the cage from stinking quickly. It is recommended to keep hamsters in a bar cage in a well-ventilated room to ensure that the hamster maintains a normal body temperature and that we do not make it difficult for him to breathe. 4. Fruit and veg treats During the summer we all like to eat cold fruit or ice cream to freshen up. You may not have known, but hamsters also like cold snacks in the summer such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You can cool them until they become slightly frozen in the center. The hamster has very strong teeth that will allow him to eat frozen food without any problems. For example, a cold apple or cold celery contains a lot of water that will keep your pet hydrated. You can also chill your little one with some of his other snacks such as barley, cashews flaxseed, oats, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, potato, or sesame seeds. Your pet will enjoy his treats, and they will cool him down at the same time. However, do not give ice cubes to your hamster because the ice will be too cold for your hamster and can harm it. In addition, keep an eye on the diet of your hamster. During the summer months, reduce your intake of energy-rich fattening seeds, nuts, and grains. Instead, give your hamster more vegetables such as cucumber which is full of water, zucchini, a small amount of iceberg lettuce, and many more vegetables that are reached with water. 5. Frozen towel or sheet To give your hamster some fresh air during the summer months, you can use a frozen towel or sheet. A sheet may be a better idea because it is thinner and more air will be able to pass through it, but if you do not have a sheet, you can use a towel. Whatever you decide on, the process is very simple. Put a sheet or towel under the water then place them in the freezer until they freeze. However, if you opt for a towel do not place it over the entire cage but only on one side so that air can circulate. If you opt for a frozen sheet you can put it over the top of the cave. The cold that a sheet or towel will give will significantly reduce the temperatures in your hamster’s cave and allow your hamster to enjoy the summer months as well. 6. Cool the hamster’s cage There are several ways you can cool a hamster’s cage using items you probably have in the household to make it more comfortable. You can put ceramic tile in the cage to give the hamster a cool place in his house. Ceramic tiles are a good insulator and do not heat up as quickly as other materials so it will help the hamster to cool down. Although it will cool the hamster, it will not be too cold for him so it will not cause any problems such as illness. You can also create clay pots in the hamster’s cage. Simply help it and put it in the cave, let it dump, but not wet. You can also put a plain cup in the cage. If the hamster is very hot, it can hide in a cup and thus reduce body temperature. Some hamsters like to sleep in the cup because the cup cools them on all sides when they sit in it. You can also put the ordinary stone in the cave. Make sure the stone has not been warm before. If the stone is of normal temperature, it will not heat up so easily and will allow the hamster to cool down next to it. Be sure to clean the stone before placing it in the cave so as not to bring dirt into it that will bother your hamster. When changing the sand bath, put a little damp sand so that the hamster can roll in it when it is hot. Hamsters like to bathe in bath sand so you can give them a cool bath by freezing bath sand. Simply put it in a plastic bag, freeze for a couple of hours and place it in the hamster’s cage. You can put tiles, clay pots, cups, stone, and sand bath in the fridge to cool, and then put them in the cage. Try to put different things in the cage and observe what suits your hamster best. One of these methods he will surely like. 7. Place frozen water bottle beside hamster’s cage Fill approximately half a bottle of water, then place it in the freezer until it freezes. It is best to put a frozen bottle of water in a towel or cloth and then place it next to the hamster’s cage to release the cold. Without a towel, a lot of water will leak under your hamster’s cage. Also, if you put a frozen bottle in the cage it can hurt your hamster’s skin so it is best to put a towel around the bottle. That way the bottle will still stay cold, but the towel will collect water. The hamster can reach the corner next to the frozen bottle and cool down if it is too hot. If you use a plastic bottle, never put it in the reach of a hamster, as it could bite it and spill water. This is an easy way you can help a hamster to keep him cool. Instead of a bottle, you can also use ice packs, 8. Don’t travel with a hamster To avoid situations where you expose the hamster to unnecessary heat, if this is not necessary, do not travel with a hamster during the summer. It is stressful for your little pet when you take him out of the house because he is not a hamster, he is not used to so many stimuli. In addition, heat can cause serious problems for your hamster. If you can’t avoid traveling, drive a hamster in the evening in an air-conditioned car. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid traveling with a hamster during the day, never leave a hamster in a hot car. No animal can tolerate a few hours in a hot car because it could quickly dehydrate and eventually die. The inside of the car can reach deadly temperatures that can be dangerous to humans as well, while they are often fatal to animals. If you must ride a hamster, be sure to keep the hamster safe from dangerous temperatures. To ensure that your pet is safe take advantage of all the tips we have offered above and thus try to alleviate the heat that awaits the hamster once he leaves the house. 9. Use aspen shavings instead of paper-based bedding The type of bedding you use in your hamster’s cage can affect how hot it will be in your hamster’s cave. Paper-based bedding is better to use during the winter because it retains heat well and will keep your hamster warm. Aspen does not maintain heat as well as paper-based bedding which is a big advantage during the hot summer months when we don’t want anything next to us that retains heat. Also, aspen shaving can absorb up to four times its weight in moisture. Some consider this material to be the only safe wood-based bedding for hamsters that perfectly mimics the natural materials that hamsters use in nature. It is good advice to leave deeper bedding. When you have a deep substrate it is going to be cooler down in the burrows. If you have thin bedding your hamster will have nowhere to hide and the surface of the bedding will quickly gain heat. In the wild, hamsters make burrows on their own when they are hot, thus cooling themselves. Giving them thicker bedding will allow them to behave like in nature and make a kind of burrow.... Read more...
- About Hamsters And Light – Do They Even Need It To See ?My Teddy loves to just run around all night. But sometimes I wonder if he can even see where he’s going, or he just knows his cage very well. Actually, do hamsters see in the dark ? Does the nightlight I leave on for Teddy help him in any way ? Is he some kind of super-soldier with night vision and fine hearing ? My hammy is a bit of a Rambo type, but I went looking for answers on whether hamsters need light to see, just to be sure. Here’s what I found out. Table of Contents So do hamsters need light to see ?Should you leave the light on at night for your hamster ?Does your hamster have night vision ?Hamsters get scared by sudden movementsHamsters see best in low light conditions – like dusk and dawnWhere and how to keep your hamster’s cage in your homeA word from Teddy So do hamsters need light to see ? As it turns out – yes, hamsters do need light to see. Just not very much light, and not as much as us humans do. A hamster’s eye does pick up more ambient light, but not as much as a cat or owl, or most night animals. As such, a hamster can see better in low-light conditions, rather than the full brightness of daylight. Conversely, hamsters can’t see very well in pitch-dark conditions either. They can see in the dark, but not that well. Hamsters rely mostly on their sense of touch – paws and whiskers – and their sense of smell, and their hearing to navigate their surroundings. Should you leave the light on at night for your hamster ? No, that’s not necessary. Leaving the overhead light isn’t necessary, but a faint light might give your hammy a permanent dusk/dawn conditions, that he can see in. For example I have for my Teddy – Syrian male hammy – a sort of dim nightlight that has lots of blue, green, and purple in it. It’s a small LED light, and it’s the color range hamsters are most likely to actually see. Now, the light wasn’t originally for him. In truth, my girlfriend can’t stand complete darkness and she needed a nightlight to at least guess where she’s going through the house at night. The fact that it helped Teddy was an added bonus. This doesn’t mean your hamster won’t see at all if you give him no nightlight. He can see better than you in the dark, but not that much better. However his eyes will pick up the light from a streetlight, or the blinking of an electronic’s light, even the small green dot of light on your central heating unit. Most human homes have at least a faint bit of light, even at night, from all the electronics. That small amount of light makes it easier for your hammy to see. Does your hamster have night vision ? No, not really. Hammies don’t have night vision per-se, but they do see better than us when it comes to low light conditions. If you were to compare a cat, a human, and a hamster in terms of night vision, the cat would obviously win. But the hamster wouldn’t see that much better than us humans. So, that means that your hamster can’t really see in the dark, but that is not a problem. Hamster use their sense of smell and touch a lot more than they use their vision. Even in their borrows in the wild, their tunnels are pitch black. So they can’t really see where they’re going. However that’s not a problem since they will feel and smell their way around. That, combined with a memory map of their home, gives them lots of ways to navigate their home. So do not worry if you’ve turned off the light in your hamster’s room at night – he will be fine, and can find his way even if it’s dark. Hamsters get scared by sudden movements If you’ve ever suddenly got up and spooked your hamster, you know what I mean. There could be a sudden Apocalypse raging next to his cage and he won’t care too much, but suddenly getting a glass of water is the pinnacle of terror. So, why is that ? Well, hamsters have very poor eyesight – more on that soon. That means that they can see well what’s directly in front of them, and that’s about it. They’re near-sighted, and don’t have the luxury of glasses like us humans. They can’t see too well in the distance, and they’re terrible judges of length, depth, or anything that involves jumping. Seriously, hamsters will jump from high places to try to get somewhere faster, without realizing they might harm themselves. So it’s best to not get your hammy a cage with high levels. My Teddy used to be a bit of a pain when he was younger. He was jumpier, and easier to scare. Now he’s a grown adult and knows pretty much every sound and movement in our home. But when he was young he’d get scared half the time. Whenever I opened the fridge, walked past him, got up, sat down, or even reached over his cage for something. He is fine now, but I still remember when he darted into his hideout because I got up from bed. (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.) Hamsters see best in low light conditions – like dusk and dawn So does this mean you should give your hamster low light conditions ? Well, yes, for the most part. A hamster’s normal daily life includes going to bed/hiding when the sun has risen and it’s very bright outside. This is because his eyes hurt when it’s too bright, and his predators start to come out and hunt. Then at dusk, when the sun’s light is much dimmer he can come out, because he can see very well at that moment. In the middle of the night, wild hamsters will go back to their burrows and eat, or sleep a bit more, or tidy up their homes. And finally at dawn, and right before dawn, wild hamsters will come out again. Forage some more, maybe find a lady hamster, run a round a bit, then hide in their burrow again for the rest of the day. So that means that pet hamsters don’t normally have these conditions, and will adapt to being mostly nocturnal, and to know more about what hammies do at night. If you can replicate the conditions from the wild for your pet hamster, he will be much happier. Like a night light that has a timer to turn itself off after a few hours, for example. Or, turning the overhead light in your hamster’s room a few hours before you go to bed. Only leave a small lamp on, or something that has barely any light. Then, when you do go to bed you can turn off the lights in the house completely. This can and will make your hamster a much happier and healthier pet. Where and how to keep your hamster’s cage in your home Where you keep your hamster’s cage can determine your hamster’s health and happiness. If the room he’s in is cold and drafty, your hamster will have a host of troubles. First, because hamsters are very sensitive to temperature shifts. And second, because hamsters don’t respond well to sudden cold conditions – they end up in a state like hibernation, but it’s more of a hypothermia shock than anything else, and can be very dangerous. Providing your hamster with the best bedding/substrate will help a lot in keeping him warm enough. Likewise, keeping your hamster somewhere dark all the time isn’t good for him, same as it wouldn’t be to keep him in the light all the time. So one of the best places to keep your hammy would be your bedroom, or a similar room that has a day-to-night cycle of light. It’s important that the room is also a calm, quiet place so he will not get woken up constantly by children or pets, and can rest well. A good hamster cage will have plenty of space for the hammy to choose a hiding spot. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here. I know you might think us hammies need the light on at night, but you’re hurting us more than helping with a bright light. Best to give us a very dim nightlight, and turn it off after a few hours to make it like our home in the wild. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can read the articles below for more info on how to take care of us the right way. Like for example how big of a cage we need, how much we can go without food and water, or even why we need to always run.... Read more...
- Why Is My Hamster Breathing Fast? 5 Main ReasonsHamsters breathe pretty fast in general, but for a new owner that doesn’t know how fast they should breathe, it might be concerning to see your hamster breathing fast while they sleep. Of course, they can develop respiratory problems, so it is better to know what a regular breathing rate is for hamsters to know if it’s ok. It is easier to spot those problems if you have had your hamster for some time and you know how fast they usually breathe, but it is impossible to know when you just got it. In this article, I will talk about what is a normal and an abnormal breathing rate for hamsters. Unfortunately, all I can give you is a pretty wide range. But don’t worry, there are other signs you can check to ensure your hamster is ok. Table of Contents Why is my hamster breathing fast?Hamster respiratory problems1. Cold and flu2. Pneumonia3. Stress4. Tumors and lumps5 ObesityHow to exercise your hamster?Conclusion Why is my hamster breathing fast? Hamsters breathe at least three times faster than humans, so they breathe pretty fast. If you didn’t notice any change in your hamster’s breathing rate, there might not be any actual respiratory problems, but if you somehow noticed that they are breathing faster lately, you should get your little hamster to a specialized vet immediately. A hamster’s heart rate is between 34-114 bpm, which is a wide range but as in our case, it varies a lot from one hamster to another, and many other factors can affect this rate. Factors like the hamster’s age, health condition, weight, stress level, and so on. One very important thing about hamsters is that they make noises when they have a problem. Otherwise they are quiet, except for some random squeaky sounds they make when they sleep, those can be associated with dreaming. Yes, you’ve heard that right, your little furball can dream. So if you notice that your hamster is breathing fast and it is also sneezing and has a wheezing breath, there might be a respiratory problem and you have to get your hamster to the vet as soon as possible. Hamster respiratory problems Here are a few common respiratory problems in hamsters or problems that affect how fast a hamster breath. 1. Cold and flu Hamsters can get catch a cold or the flu as we can, they can also get it from us, so you should avoid playing with your hamster when you are sick. A cold hamster is more likely to be lethargic and unwilling to move around. You may also notice that your hamster is eating less than usual or has lost a significant amount of weight. Other signs that your hamster is cold include shivering, red eyes, and sneezing. If your hamster shows any of these signs, you should take them to a vet as soon as possible in order to assess the situation and provide treatment if necessary. Those problems are much more dangerous for your little furball than for you, so don’t treat them lightly. 2. Pneumonia Living in a cage, which prevents them from burrowing for warmth, and exposing them to drafts for extended periods, increases the risk of rodents developing serious pneumonia. Though this illness can be remedied in humans, it can have much more serious effects on the small respiratory system of a rodent. Signs of pneumonia in hamsters include: Pus or mucus oozing from the nose or eyes. Difficulty breathing. Loss of appetite. Lack of activity. So if you notice any of these signs, then your hamster might be sick and you have to get it to a specialized vet. 3. Stress Hamsters are very anxious animals and are easily stressed, which might make them breathe faster and heavier. There are many reasons for your hamster to be stressed, ranging from not having enough space in the cage to not liking the interaction with a human and so on. The signs of a stressed hamster are very important, and while the reason is hard to understand since it can be anything, the signs are quite clear. Signs of a stressed hamster include: Hiding away. Being hostile. Not eating as much. Becoming immobile when you are around them. Drooling excessively and being overly active. 4. Tumors and lumps Here is an entire article I wrote about tumors and lumps in hamsters, I will not get into as many details here as in that article to not repeat myself. However, it is important to know that hamsters can develop tumors and lumps and if they are on the chest area, it might affect the hamster’s respiratory rate. So if you notice that your hamster is breathing faster than usual, you might want to check if there are any tumors on its chest. 5 Obesity This is one of the most obvious reasons a hamster breathes faster or more heavily. If you want to know why your hamster is fat and how to make it slim without stressing it, check out my article on three main reasons a hamster can be fat. In that article, I talk about how much you should feed a hamster, how often, and other things that you should be aware of. How to exercise your hamster? An active hamster is less likely to have respiratory problems, so it is crucial to give our hamsters all tools they need to exercise properly. When we talk about an inactive hamster, one of the main reasons is a small cage without enough space for a proper wheel and other exercising toys and also not enough space for bedding for your hamster to dig in. Here is a big enough cage that you can find on amazon without hurting your wallet too much. Hamster cages can get quite expensive, but this one is great value for money. It isn’t a fancy cage, but you don’t necessarily need one with many tunnels and other stuff since you can add those yourself in the cage if it’s big enough. So if you start with a big enough cage, your hamster will most likely get enough exercise. The next important thing to get for your hamster is a proper wheel. They spend most of their time in the wheel when they are active so having a good one is crucial. The hamster wheel should be big enough for your hamster to exercise in it without bending his back because this will affect their spine health over time. Here is the best one I could find on amazon for you, it is an 11-inch plastic wheel that can be placed in the cage. If you have a small cage that can not fit an 11-inch wheel, here is a 9-inch one that is also good enough for most hamsters. No matter which one of those two you choose or any other good wheel you can find, it is important to get a big enough wheel for your hamster. Usually, they need a bigger cage and wheel than you might expect if you have no experience with hamster pets. The exercise a hamster gets from playing with you is nonsignificant compared to the exercise they get in the cage and wheel. So it doesn’t matter if you get your hamster out of the cage more often, if the cage is too small or they don’t have a wheel, they will not get enough exercise, and this will lead to some health issues, including respiratory ones. Some hamsters don’t use the wheel as often, and that is unfortunate since, for a pet hamster, that is where they get the most out of their exercise. Someone had a hamster that was going in the wheel only to sit there or sleep from time to time. So, if your hamster doesn’t want to exercise in the wheel, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to motivate it. However, if they don’t go in the wheel at all, you might want to try to place some treats in there for them to find the wheel and find out that it is moving. Conclusion In normal conditions, hamsters breathe pretty fast, between 34-114 bpm, so it’s hard to know when they have a problem only judging by their breathing rate, but if they have other symptoms we talked about, you have to get your hamster to the vet. I hope this article helped you asses properly if your hamster is sick or everything is normal, but you didn’t realize until now how fast those little furballs breathe.... Read more...
- Four Reasons Your Hamster is Making Weird Breathing NoisesHamsters may be bite-sized but, thanks to their upkeep demands, they are more than a handful. Taking care of the little furballs is almost a full-time job sometimes. Doing everything correctly might not even be enough though, and a myriad of strange things can pop up seemingly out of nowhere. Today we take a deep-dive into one of these problems: strange breathing noises. We explore some of the frequent problems and hamster quirks that may result in little Penfold producing unusual (and worrying) sounds. Table of Contents 1. Coughs and colds2. Respiratory infection and allergies3. Hibernation4. Behavioral 1. Coughs and colds If your little pet suddenly wakes up one morning with ghastly sounding wheezes, sneezes, and generally labored breathing, he may be reeling from a case of the sniffles. Of course, it may be more serious so we always recommend a quick visit to a veterinarian…just to be sure. However, in most cases, there’s no need to worry because it’s probably the flu or a cough. Maybe you left the window by his or her cage open a touch too long the previous day. Maybe your mom (who’s also coming down with the flu) came into your room earlier to change the hamster’s water after touching her nose. Yes, hamsters can just as easily catch colds as we can, and from people or other pets. Coughs are usually innocuous and of little consequence. They come and go as randomly as they do with humans. There’s no reason to worry if the cough clears up in a day or two. Any longer than that though, and it could be a hint at something a bit more serious. A quick trip to the vet wouldn’t hurt in this case. You can identify a cold in your hamster by listening to its breathing, and observing its nose for excess wetness. What you want to do in this scenario is to isolate the hamster from any other pets you have. This could save you from the inconvenience of caring for more animals. It could also save your other pets’ lives if it turns out to be a more serious illness. Try to keep the hamster warm and make it feels safe with soothing talk. One thing you can do is place a hot water bottle (with an appropriate temperature) underneath the hamster’s bedding or cage. The majority of hamster species originate from tropical to desert climes, which means that they are not big fans of the cold. Always try to keep your pet’s cage environment in a range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Nudge it to eat something (break it down yourself when you need to) and make sure to consistently hydrate. We recommend that you use a water dropper to help your hamster keep its fluids up. A syringe can also be used for this but be EXTREMELY careful with the plunger. A hamster’s mouth is incredibly tiny so any slightly excessive quantities or pressure could prove harmful. If you have transferred the hamster to a temporary cage, you should clean his or her regular cage thoroughly to disinfect it. Don a trusty pair of latex gloves and get to work. Change the bedding, get rid of all waste, and scrub the cage vigorously. Use a bleach-based solution (approximately one part bleach, nine parts water) to do this. Take care to rinse the cage properly so as not to expose the hamster to harmful fumes. 2. Respiratory infection and allergies Hamsters can easily fall victim to a myriad of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. These frequently present themselves through symptoms like heavy breathing, wheezing, and clicking noises. Sneezing is another symptom to look out for with these illnesses. Allergies are not uncommon for hamsters either, and susceptible individuals can have their reactions triggered by almost anything. While a mildly drafty room might not seem like a big deal for you, it is a serious hazard for your little rodent friend. As stated above, hamsters need relatively warm temperatures for them to be comfortable. Prolonged exposure to a draft, combined with the inability to burrow underground for warmth (because of being in a cage), results in an increased risk of serious pneumonia. While this disease is usually treatable in humans, it is much more devastating for a rodent’s tiny respiratory system. Your hamster will literally be clawing for each and every breath, with raspy wheezes. At this point, you will be in a race against time. Your best bet is to rush to the vet but that might not be enough. Chronic bronchitis is an illness that is usually associated with smokers. I know times can get stressful for anybody but I highly doubt that your little hamster is lighting up under the cover of darkness. Yet hamsters can get lung disease, resulting in irritating coughs and wheezy breathing. Causes are unclear, but it may be an allergic reaction or simply a genetic defect. Captive hamsters have been subjected to inbreeding for generations. As pet merchants sought to make hamsters as cute and docile as possible, a wide range of genetic problems (including propensity towards respiratory diseases) was passed on and on. Hamsters are also prone to other smokers’ disease…emphysema. A National Institute of Health (NIH) study even used hamsters as models for the effects of emphysema and chronic bronchitis in people. Once again, genetic problems are the likeliest cause of most cases. If your hamster has a lineage that traces back to areas exposed to alpha radiation (such as uranium or halogen mining towns), it might be at risk of developing lung cancer at some point. This first develops as a series of tumors along the trachea and the bronchi. These cause the animal to cough and make unusual clicking noises. Eventually, the lungs will gradually break down. In these cases, little can be done but to make your sweet little pets’ last days as comfortable as possible. Your vet will be your guide through this difficult period. 3. Hibernation One day you might find your hamster face down and lying lifeless in his cage, just hours after you last saw him as his usually sprightly self at breakfast. Before you channel the waterworks and cancel your week’s appointments, realize that he or she might just be hibernating. A dead giveaway (no pun) is the slight and soft breathing. Hibernation for domestic hamsters is a little different than for wild animals who also tuck in for the winter. The likelihood of a hamster hibernating depends on a few factors. Most hamsters have had that instinct erased from their genetic memories thanks to selective breeders (who, doubtlessly, did not want the hassle of selling pets that sleep for a third of the year). However, if yours is still in touch with its wild roots, so to speak, the drive to hibernate may still lie dormant. The second factor depends on the environment. If temperatures drop low enough, your hamster’s dormant instincts may kick in and make him or her start preparing for hibernation. 4. Behavioral Some breathing noises that your hamster will make from time to time might seem strange, but, more often than not, these are just part of natural behavior displays. One common noise that might worry first-time hamster owners is the clicking noise. This sound is extremely sharp and incessant in some cases. If you’re part of the worry brigade, we’re here to tell you that you can relax this time. Hamsters usually make the clicking noise when they are frightened or in an aggressive mood. Who knew that hamsters can get tired of all the kisses and cuddles? Well, now you do. When your hamster just wants some alone time or is feeling angry or afraid, he will issue this incessant clicking as a warning for you to back off. Sometimes your hamster will make squeaky sounds while it is asleep. This is also normal and no need for alarm. Like you and me, hamsters are capable of having engaging dreams that demand real-world re-enactment. Maybe he or she dreams about scurrying through the bushes with other little hamsters. Maybe it’s a dream about a hamster wheel made of cheese. Who knows? Some people talk in their sleep sometimes so is it crazy to imagine that some hamsters do the same? Hamsters are also known to snore, which is probably the cutest thing I can think of. A hard day on the hamster wheel can really do a number on your fluffy pal, so don’t be surprised if he hits the pillow just as hard. Snoring is more common in older hamsters but babies (or pups) are also known to do it, which is as precious as you can imagine.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Get Bored ? How To Keep Your Hamster EntertainedIf you’ve got a hammy you want to make sure he has the best life. So, sometimes you wonder if your hamster is bored, and how you can keep your hamster friend entertained. I know I had these thoughts for my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) and here’s what I found out. Table of Contents So do hamsters get bored ?A look at a hamster’s usual life and daily routineWhat your hamster would do in the wildWhat can make your hamster boredDo you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ?A word from Teddy So do hamsters get bored ? No, not really. Hamsters don’t see the passing of time the same way as we humans do. Aside from their instincts (survive, reproduce, find food, etc.) hamsters don’t have grand goals that could suffer from being kept in a cage. That being said, hamsters can become stressed or sad if their cage/habitat is terrible. Too small, dirty, no toys, no hideout, too many sounds and people trying to get to them, being handled too much, etc. We’ll cover those too. But first let’s take a look at the usual life of a hamster, and see that it’s not terribly different from the one ha has in your home. There are a few key differences, yes, but they’re all in his benefit. A look at a hamster’s usual life and daily routine Normally a hamster spends most of the day sleeping in his little warm nest, and once night starts to set in, he will come out. He’ll start looking for food, and that’s the best moment to feed him. The sound of his food being put in his cage while he is sleeping will wake him up, and he’ll be a grumpy little furball. Best to wait until he’s up. After finding his food and pouching most of it your hammy will move back into his nest, where he’ll hide all of his food. Yes, hamsters have an amazing stash of food in their nests, and they will hoard everything. Once he’s done with his food he’ll spend most of his time running around his cage. He’ll end up on his wheel for most of the night. Actually he can run for up to 9 km/5.5 miles in a whole night ! That’s a lot of running around, and it’s no wonder he’s dozing off in the morning. Every once in a while, he’ll stop running around and just… check. Sit up, eyes wide open, ears strained, trying to hear if there’s any danger around. He’ll look like he’s freezing, but in truth he’s just hearing things out. It’s what kept him alive in the wild, after all. If he’s got any toys he will use them. If he’s got tunnels, he will do laps in his tunnels too. Chew on everything available, including his hideout – great to have a wooden hideout for that reason. This is his usual routine, and it’s what will keep him busy. He’s got a ridiculous amount of energy, and need to burn it all. Unless he’s got a very bare cage, he can’t get bored. This isn’t very different from his usual routine in the wild, although there is the element of adrenaline that’s missing. Let me explain, What your hamster would do in the wild In the wild, the essential activities would be the same ones I described above. Except the hamster can be found and eaten by a predator at any moment. So that means the hammy is always on edge, always hearing things out, always running away. That makes for a very skittish and shy animal – if you were ever wondering why he’s like that. In the wild toys would have no purpose. The running around and dodging predators would be ‘fun’ enough. In your home there’s nothing to hunt him, hence why he needs toys to keep him busy. Finally, in the wild the hammy would try to find a mate too. He’d patrol his territory, and if he met a female in heat he’d try his luck. What can make your hamster bored As you’ve seen, your hamster has a whole lot of things to do. This means that you won’t really be up to see him do most of these things, since he’s awake when you’re sleeping. But if you were to ever stay up all night and just observe him, you’d see all the things I described above. He can get bored though, only if you’ve given him an especially bare and small cage. Let’s see what that means. The minimum cage size for a single hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. Every hamster will like a larger cage better, so if you can get a big cage you should do that. Aside from the minimum bedding on the cage floor, there is also the absolute need for a hideout. Your hamster will make himself a nest anyway in the most hidden corner he an find. But a hideout will provide definite shelter, and he’ll be thankful for it. A food bowl and water bottle are mandatory as well, and they’re easy to find. An exercise wheel is mandatory as well, simply because running is half of everything a hamster does. He spends most of his life running, so not getting him that would be like someone never letting you out of your house. These are the bare minimum, but there are toys to take into consideration. Some you can DYI, some are store bought. Look around and see which you like best. You can save up money and still keep you hammy happy with cardboard tubes (from paper towels and toilet paper rolls). Teddy has a grand time with those cardboard rolls, and he uses them as chew toys too. Any other distractions you can provide your hamster – like time outside his cage in an exercise ball – will be welcome too. A large cage will also mean lots of space for him to run around in, explore, and have a whole bunch of toys. Finally, keeping your hamster in a dirty cage will lower his general disposition, since no one likes that. A hamster’s cage needs a full cleaning once per week. A dirty cage can lead to several health issues, which is never something you want. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Do you need to get your hamster a friend so he’s not bored ? Alright, let’s say you’ve got a hamster, and he’s got a very big cage, with every toy ever and everything he could ever want. But you think he’s possibly bored, and wouldn’t he maybe need a friend ? To be fair, that’s a question many hamster owners have at first. However hamsters do not need a buddy. That sounds terrible, but bear with me. Hamsters can be social, sometimes, under certain circumstances. But for the most part they will fight to the death with other hamsters. In the wild the hamster is not a very cuddly animal. Sure, Dwarf types can live together if they absolutely have to, but they end up fighting over food and space in the nest. They end up on their own, and the Syrians are definitely to be kept alone. And very important – if you’ve got a hamster already, and he’s past the 3 month mark, then introducing him to any other hamster will most likely not go well. Hamsters need to grow up together in a very large cage, with lots of food and toys and space, order to get along. Introducing a new hamster out of the blue ends in pain. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. Us hamsters may look like we’re bored every now and then, but we’re very different from you humans. We don’t do the same things or have the same thoughts. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life.... Read more...
- The Hamster’s Lifespan – 7 Things Affecting ItYou’re off to get yourself a hamster friend ? Great ! You’ll need to know how long hamsters live for, so you know whether to get this kind of pet or not. We’ll cover the average lifespan of a hamster, and also what you can do to help him have a great and comfortable life. I’ll give you examples with my Teddy (Syrian, male hammy) to make things clearer too. Table of Contents So how long do hamsters live for ?What affects the hamster’s lifespanThings you can’t control about the hamster1. The hamster’s breed/type2. Genes and other inherited traitsElements you have control over, and can influence1. Diet and additional foods2. Exercise3. Cage size and cleanliness4. General care and stress5. To pair or not to pairWhen is a hamster old ?The life cycle of a hamsterWhat owning a hamster is likeA word from Teddy So how long do hamsters live for ? Usually a hamster will live for about 2-3 years at most. This is the average lifespan, and there are many examples that have outlived 3 years, or never reached a year. The average lifespan varies for each hamster breed. The longest lived hamster breed is the Roborovski Dwarf (up to 4 years), while the shortest is the Chinese Dwarf ( a little under 2 years). Of course, there are hamsters who can outlive the average, like cases of Syrian hammies living for 5-6 years in captivity. In the wild, most don’t make it to their first birthday, given how many predators they’ve got. Still, there are some very crucial factors influencing how long and even how well your hamster friend is going to live. Some of them you can control, some are out of your hands. Let’s see which they are ! What affects the hamster’s lifespan There are inherited factors, like the hamster’s predisposition for an illness, or faulty genetics, as well as controllable factors like the quality of care the hamster gets. We’re going to go through each factor, and see how you can make your hamster friend lead a long and happy life. So keep in mind that the inherited traits – like breed, genetics, illness – will outweigh the elements you can control. For example if you’ve got a Robo hamster (which can live up to 4 years) with early onset diabetes, he might only live to 2 years, even with a wonderfully precise diet. Otherwise he might have lived a much shorter life. Take solace in knowing that you can, in fact, make your hamster’s life much easier and more comfortable, even if some things you can’t change. Things you can’t control about the hamster Alright, let’s see the inherited traits that will affect your hamster’s life. There are 2 major ones, and we’ll discuss them here. 1. The hamster’s breed/type You can indeed pick your hamster’s breed. When you go to the pet store and see all the available hammies, you will probably have to choose between a Syrian and a Dwarf type. There are 5 species in total to pick from, though not all pet shops will carry all 5, and I’ve never seen all 5 present at the same time. There are: Syrian hamsters – the largest hamster, and the most common one found in pet shops. Also called Teddy-bear hamsters (hence my little Teddy’s name). Roborovski Dwarf – much smaller than the Syrian, actually the tiniest of all the Dwarf types – only 2 inches/5 cm ! Djungarian/Winter White/Siberian Dwarf Campbell’s Dwarf Chinese Dwarf There are certain differences in the genetics of all 5 breeds, but they don’t differ all that much. The breed (and the coat color and sex) is all you can pick when it comes to the hamster’s genetic makeup. 2. Genes and other inherited traits When it comes to inherited traits, that’s completely out of your control. It depends on where you’re also getting your hamster from. For example you may get a hamster from a pet shop, but where does the pet shop have them from ? Sometimes they breed them there, sometimes they get a new litter from people who have had accidental litters. Some breeders aim for a docile line of hamsters, or more variation in coat colors, or size perhaps. However all those traits may come with certain genes. We all know about the white cat’s predisposition towards hearing problems. That’s simply the gene that comes with being a white cat most of the time. There are such genes with hamsters, but they’re not well documented, aside from the breeder’s own notes on their pets. So you won’t know if a black Syrian hamster comes with a gene that gives him weak kidneys and leads to a shorter lifespan. Or a white Robo hammy that somehow manages to live to the ripe age of 7, because his coat color gene comes with a long lifespan. However what you can count on is that the Dwarf types have an inherited risk of developing diabetes much faster that the Syrians. The Syrians on the other hand have the misfortune of getting Wet-tail much easier than the Dwarf types. Whichever genes your hamster inherited you’ll be able to give him a wonderful life is you take into account the elements I’ve listed below. Those you actually have control over, and can change whenever necessary. Elements you have control over, and can influence There are a few things that are completely up to you. Like how well the hamster is fed, his health (partly), and his stress levels. Let’s see how to maximize all these elements so you give your hamster one happy, long life with you. 1. Diet and additional foods Diet is incredibly important for your hamster friend. Actually it’s more important than exercise, and that’s true for hamsters as well as other animals. What we eat has more impact that what we do. Which is why your hamster’s feed must be a high-quality feed, and whatever else you give him as treats must be safe. So, here is a clear list of safe and unsafe hamster foods. Those are foods you’ve already got in your pantry or fridge, and can give to you hamster either as regular food, or as a treat. Hamsters in general can eat anything, with a few exceptions. You can give them fruits, vegetables, nuts and peanuts, some types of meat, and even bread sometimes ! Whatever you decide to give your hamster friend, you’ll find more info in the links provided above. Do keep in mind that Dwarf hammies should be kept away from sweet foods (fruits, some veggies, most treats) since it will raise their chances of getting Diabetes. Also if you feed your hamster a commercial food mix, remember to not overfeed your hamster. This can only lead to obesity, which will lead to less exercise, which will lead to further weight gain, and serious health problems. A healthy daily portion is about 2 teaspoons of dry food for a Syrian hamster, and one teaspoon for a Dwarf type. A Syrian is double the size of a Dwarf, and all hamsters love to hoard their food. So do not panic if you’ve just fed your hammy and half an hour later everything’s gone. It’s okay, the food is tucked away in the hammy’s food stash, and he’ll nibble on it whenever he needs it. 2. Exercise Your hamster will need plenty of exercise throughout his life. Especially as a young hamster. Young ones have a tremendous amount of energy, much like toddler humans, and will want to explore everything. All at once. And run there, see that, sniff this other thing too. So a running wheel is absolutely mandatory for a healthy hamster. This will give our hammy the opportunity to run as far and as much as his little feet can carry him, with energy to spare. You see, in the wild hamsters always have to be on the run, and they’ve got amazing reflexes. They have to, in order to stay alive. Pet hamsters still have this instinct, much like domestic cats will pounce a laser dot or a dog will howl at the moon. After all, hamsters have only been pets for the last century or so, and they’re pretty much the same as they were in the wild. Another option is to give your hamster time outside the cage. This means an exercise ball. Your hammy can use it to explore your home and cover more ground than he would in his cage. It’s also a better and more intense workout than his usual running wheel. For this same reason hiding and climbing toys are important for the hamster too. They give your hamster something to do, and keep him away from the cage bars. A hamster with no exercise option will become irritable, nippy, and obese. This is never a good combination, neither for the hamster, or for you as an owner. 3. Cage size and cleanliness There is a required minimum for a hamster’s habitat. For example a Syrian hamster needs a cage 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 the absolute minimum, and I honestly would recommend looking for a cage larger than that. If you’ve got a Dwarf hamster he can live in such a cage easily enough. Unfortunately most cages on the market or in pet shops are not larger than the minimum, most not even respecting the minimum space requirement. Do keep in mind that while hamsters do climb and use the levels of a multi-level cage, why prefer the ground floor. This gives them more security, and it’s safe for them – hamsters are horrible at calculating depth and distances, and will jump from heights. Also if you’ve got a tube system installed your hammy will go nuts over it. My Teddy has a tube connecting 2 levels and he’s in it half the time. Hammies are attracted to small, cramped spaces. Their homes in the wild are composed of many tunnels, actually. As for the cage cleanliness, most of the time it’s okay to change the hamster’s bedding once per week, and can be stretched to once every two weeks. You see, hamsters are very clean animals, and they don’t smell. The only thing about them that can get smelly is their pee corner. That’s a specific corner in the cage that the hamster will use to pee. Always the same corner, the farthest away from his hideout. Make sure you use safe bedding options, like aspen wood shavings, or soft paper bedding. For more info on safe and unsafe hamster bedding material, check out this article. It also covers the cleaning routine in much more depth than I can here. 4. General care and stress Aside from everything we’ve discussed so far, the general care your hamster receives is going to decide how comfortable he feels around you, or in your home. This means that the temperature must be at a certain range for his comfort – that’s 20-23 C/68-75 F, and kept well away from any drafts or direct sunlight. Handling your hamster will also be important. The is a too little, and a too much, and they’re both influenced by the hamster’s personality. If you want to know how to tame your hamster friend without getting your hand bitten off, you need to read this article. As for whether they like being held, they generally do, once they’re tame. But many steps need to be taken before a solitary, not very cuddly hamster will feel okay being picked up. The placement of the cage in your home is crucial to how well the hamster can rest, and how safe he feels. If you notice your hamster being scared of you, rest assured this will go away in time with efforts on your part. You can read this article to know how to ease a scared hamster. A very stressed hamster will be a nippy, irritable hamster. he will be hard to handle until you remove the stress source. Unfortunately many things can stress him out, so you should check out this article, since it will shed some light on what having a hammy is like. 5. To pair or not to pair You’ve probably seen hamsters kept together before. Or even heard of a pair of hamsters being kept together. While this isn’t unusual, it’s not the best idea. True, Dwarf hamsters can live in pairs. But they require a much larger size cage than the minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is because hamsters are very territorial. While they can get along if they have no other choice, they will always prefer to live alone. Hamsters kept in pairs can become stressed, and one of them will eventually try to bully the other one. You can find out more about why hammies fight and how to separate them here. Syrian hamsters, as well as Chinese Dwarfs, will fight to the death any creature put in their cage, be it another hamster or a rabbit. So the most humane and comfortable thing to do for your hamster buddies is to keep them separated. I know this might go against many people you’ve heard say it’s fine to put them together. It’s an added stress, and it builds up in time. When is a hamster old ? When looking for answers on the general lifespan of a hamster, you’ll want to know when your hamster becomes a senior. This is part of the natural order of things, and every hamster will grow old and grey. Still, that does not mean old age in hamsters is terrible. Some may become blind, some may get an illness quicker. But most lead fairly normal lives up until their end. A hamster can be considered old when he reaches his second birthday. In the case of a Robo hammie, who can live up to 4 years this threshold can be extended to about 3 years. While for a Chinese that usually lives for two years, he can be considered old when he-s 1-1.5 years old. But 2 years is the accepted average. Your hamster might not show his true age until very late into his life. For example my teddy is a Syrian male hammy, and he was born in July 2017. That’d make him about a year and half old as I’m writing this. He doesn’t yet waddle, or lose his fur, although he’s getting close to his second birthday. But he has lost quite some energy, and sleeps much more than he used to. His fur is a bit silver around his ears, and he’s become very picky with his food. Still, he’s the same funny little furball we know. Always curious, always coming up for a treat, still panicked from time to time. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The life cycle of a hamster From birth to his final days, a hamster pet will always be a wonderful little thing. Right from the moment the hamster is born, he could possibly be in danger. Even in homes, baby hamsters don’t have a 100% survival rate, because of their mothers most of the time. You see hamster mothers are very skittish and nervous, and will resort to eating their babies if they feel in any way threatened. She may also do this if the baby hamster is ill or she thinks it’s too weak to survive to adulthood. So it’s best to leave a hamster mother alone for 2-3 weeks after she’s given birth and only just feed her. Absolutely no handling or cleaning or saying hi. More on that in the link above. Once the hamster has survived his first few weeks, he will be weaned. That usually happens around 3-4 weeks of age. At this stage it becomes crucial to separate the hamster babies into male and female enclosures. This is because even so young, they can start to reproduce, and no one wants surprise litters, plus the fact that the incredibly young mother has a very low chance of survival. You can find out more about how to figure out your hamster’s gender here. Once the babies have been separated, they end up at a pet shop or given away to prospective owners. This should all happen up until the hamster’s 12th weeks or life, or his 3rd month. This is when he has become an adult, and will start showing most of his fur marking and personality. He still has an immense amount of energy, needs to run, climb, hide, and generally investigate every new sound. Once the hamster has become a senior, around 2 years old, his metabolism will start to slow down. He may become blind, or develop an illness, or maybe just die peacefully in his sleep. It’s much like with human seniors, some are worn down and tired in their 50s, some are vibrant and energetic even in their 70s. What owning a hamster is like Finally, a hamster is a commitment. They may not live very long lives, like a cat or a dog. But they are still souls that need your attention and care. Sometimes you will have to schedule things around them, or not be able to leave town until you’ve found a sitter to look after them. There will be moments when you wonder why you got yourself a rodent, of all things. Then you’ll look at his cute fuzzy face when he wakes up, stretching, and know it was the best choice ever. Honestly when I got my Teddy I knew nothing about hamsters. I knew they had short lives, and were fuzzy. This whole blog is dedicated to folks like me, who had no idea about hammies and want to know everything there is. How to care for them, how to play with them, cages, toys, everything. You can check out this article to see some pros and cons of owning a hamster here. You’ll get a feel for how a hamster changes your life, and understand them better. Aside from all this, I’d only recommend a hamster as a pet to more mellow, quiet people. You see hamsters are very sensitive, and need much patience and gentle handling. A child for example would not be a good owner for a hamster. Children simply don’t have the patience and care for a hamster. A guinea pig, on the other hand, might be better suited for them. A hamster will bite when handled wrong, try to escape at the drop of a hat, and be endlessly curious. They’re not exactly low maintenance in that regard. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, I know us hammies can be very cute and cuddly, but we don’t live the longest lives out there. Still, you can make our stay with you as comfy as possible. If you want to know more about us hamsters, you should check out the related articles below. You’ll find more info on how to care for us and keep us happy too !... Read more...
- 9 Best Hamsters Toys to Stop BoredomHamsters are very peaceful pets that do not take up much space and do not require much care. Yet hamsters have many habits like humans. They love to play, exercise and relax. In order for your hamster to play, it is necessary to have as much content in the cage that will be interesting to him and encourage him to play. The hamster game is also an exercise. Hamsters are animals that normally move a lot in the wild in the dark in search of food. In a cage, the hamster does not have to look for food or move too much, so it can easily gain weight. Putting different toys in the cage allows your hamster to play, but also to exercise. Exercise allows the hamster not to gain weight in order to maintain normal body weight. In addition, it prevents the development of diseases such as diabetes or heart attack. Besides that, toys help hamsters to use their innate instincts and meet their natural needs. In order for your hamster to be happy and healthy, you need to play with it every day and entertain it. Of course, most people don’t have the time for this so toys are the best solution to keep your hamster happy. Wheels, hamster ball, or DIY maze for your hamster, are all toys that will allow your hamster to play and be healthy. To make your search easier, we have prepared a list of the best hamsters toys to stop boredom. Table of Contents 1. Silent Runner Exercise Wheel2. Niteangel Tunnel 3. Zalalova 10pack Hamster Chew Toys4. Hamster House Maze5. Niteangel Suspension Bridge6. MUMAX Hamster 2 pack toy set7. Two layers Wooden Hut8. Hideout and play house9. Willow Branch Ball Chew Toy 1. Silent Runner Exercise Wheel One of the hamster’s favorite toys is definitely his exercise wheel. Exercise wheels are a great choice for a toy because they allow the game to your hamsters whenever they want in the safety of the cage. In this wheel, the hamster can run for hours until he gets tired, and sometimes it can be quite noisy. Since hamsters are most active during the night, the noise produced by the wheel when the hamster is playing can be quite irritating and interfere with your sleep. To avoid this we recommend this silent runner exercise wheel. This wheel has two stainless steel ball bearings within the backplate of the wheel, ensuring that the wheel glides smoothly and silently. The silent runner wheel has a special design that prevents hamsters’ tails from getting entangled in the wheel and other possible injuries that often occur during the game. It has a textured non-slip surface that allows the hamster an excellent grip. In the package, you will get a wheel, stand, and cage attachment for easy installation. A solid metal base will hold the wheel in place and prevent it from falling and tipping over. This wheel gives you strength and safety and is also very quiet which is an ideal combination for a hamster’s wheel. To clean the wheel simply wipe it down with a non-toxic disinfectant wipe daily. Wash it once a week in warm soapy water, rinse, and air dry. If you want the perfect toy for your little pet, you can find this silent runner exercise wheel on the following link on Amazon. 2. Niteangel Tunnel Most of the time in a cage the hamster does not have the opportunity to use his natural instincts. He doesn’t have to look for food, he doesn’t have to find a place to sleep and he doesn’t have to hide from predators. Yet hamsters in the wild have instincts that allow them to hide and survive in the wild, and one of them is tunneling instinct. To encourage the hamster to satisfy his natural instincts and at the same time encourage him to exercise, a great toy is a tunnel for the cave. This tunnel is made of expandable, durable, and stain-resistant plastic. Plastic material allows the tunnel to expand up to 39 inches and contract. The tunnel is completely flexible and allows you to set it up in all different positions so you can fit it in any cage. In addition, you can constantly change the tunnel shape so that the hamster has to make an effort to get out of it and to make it more fun. The tunnel will encourage your hamster to play and exercise and it will be a lot of fun for him to crawl through the tunnel over and over again. The Niteangel tunnel is big enough that the hamster in it can carelessly turn around and continue in the other direction. This tunnel comes in several different colors so you can choose the one that will best suit the arrangement of your hamster’s cage. If you want to encourage your hamster to move and play in a fun way, you can buy this tunnel here. 3. Zalalova 10pack Hamster Chew Toys If you want to buy a lot of toys for your hamster that will allow him to play carefree, this Zalalova 10 pack of hamsters chew toys may be the right choice for you. In this set, you will get bark watermelon balls, bell roller, dumbbell, unicycle, squared molar block with rope, bell swing, rattan ball, climbing ladder, seesaw, and molar string. All toys are made of high-quality wood that is made just for play. Every toy is polished many times to have smooth corners and a surface to ensure that the hamster will not be injured during play. Natural wood allows all toys to have a natural taste without any chemical treatments. You can attach some of the toys, such as a swing, to the ceiling of the cage with a hook, so it is very easy to install. Simply place the other toys on the ground of your hamster’s cage. A variety of toys will allow him to find the one he likes and the one that suits him best. You can also exchange toys in the cage when you notice that he is bored with some of the toys. To clean them, simply wipe them with a clean cloth. This pack of amazing wooden toys will look great in a cage and give it a natural look, while at the same time delighting your hamster. Among so many toys, your hamster will surely find at least one he likes, but he will surely be delighted with more toys. If you want to have this amazing budget set of toys you can find it on this link on Amazon. 4. Hamster House Maze Hamsters, like all small rodents, love to play in mazes and find the right path. If you don’t have time to make a maze for your hamster yourself, you can buy him those. The hamster house maze is pretty big so make sure you have enough space for it in the hamster’s cage. This amazing wooden hamster home is made for dwarf hamsters. The door on the hamster house maze is around 5 cm in diameter so it is big enough for a dwarf and Syrian hamsters to slip through comfortably. The maze has two entrances and 6 rooms. All rooms and roof platforms are easy to access and will allow for an interesting game. Also, your hamster can determine for himself which room he will use for sleeping, and in which he will have food. This maze will also satisfy the hamster’s instinct to hide and explore. The house also has a removable lid which is also a house roof. Moving the roof allows you to quickly find your hamster and inspect for any leftover food or dirt that you should throw out to keep his home clean at all times. The house is made of plywood without nails. Every corner of the maze is sanded to be smooth and safe for your little friend. Hamsters seem to adore this house. Once you put it in the cage, your hamster will pack his things and go into the house enjoying his peace. If you want to give your hamster a house where you can play and satisfy your instincts, this house maze is the right choice for you. You can find this amazing toy on Amazon. 5. Niteangel Suspension Bridge The hamster in the cage mostly moves on the floor. The only chance for him to run uphill is if he has an exercise wheel in the cave. To allow the hamster to exercise more and to be able to climb uphill, a great toy for your hamster is a suspension bridge. By adding a suspension bridge you will allow the snorer to run uphill and also give him more space in the cage to move around. Simply hang the suspension bridge on the sidewall of the cage. To begin with, hang the suspension bridge lower on the wall, and later increase the height to make it harder and more interesting for your hamster to climb it. You can also put a bridge in different shapes and angles to make your hamster have a different experience every time he plays with his natural toy. This bridge is made of natural wood and has a smooth surface so that the hamster is not injured. It is approximately 12 inches long by 4 inches wide and it is bendable. This very simple toy will allow the hamster to climb and satisfy his research instincts. It also promotes exercise and helps to develop coordination and balance skills. You can also use this bridge as a ladder to guide your hamster to the next level of the cage. If you’re a fun editing cage, you can also use this suspension bridge as a fence to separate different playgrounds for your hamster. The possibilities are limitless, you just have to turn on your imagination to entertain your little five. This cool Niteangel suspension bridge can be found on Amazon. 6. MUMAX Hamster 2 pack toy set This cute colorful toy set is made to encourage your hamster to exercise. The set includes a wood rainbow bridge and a seesaw toy. The wood rainbow bridge has seven steps that the hamster can climb and exercise his strength and balance. Under the bridge, the hamster can sleep and relax after getting tired of playing. Wooden care bars can be detached and you can place them as you wish. The Seesaw toy allows the hamster to run up and down and enjoy the movement of the seesaw. This set allows the hamster to play and have fun in the safe. Both toys are fun to play with, climb, and rest. They relieve boredom and increase activity levels. All parts of the toys are rounded smooth with no burrs to ensure that your hamster cannot be injured during play. The toys are quite small so they won’t take up much space in the cage, but they are big enough for a hamster to play carefree on. The hamster can bite them freely because they are made of safe materials. When they need cleaning simply wipe them with a cloth and your job is done. If you want to bring a little color to a hamster’s cage and at the same time give them new toys to play with, these colorful toys can be found on this link. 7. Two layers Wooden Hut If you are looking for a new toy for your hamster, and at the same time thinking about buying a new house for a hamster, this two-layer wooden hut may be an ideal purchase for you. This wooden hut provides a hamster with a hideout, promotes nesting, makes him exercise every day, and promotes chewing instincts. It is made of all-natural wood that is completely safe for animals. The house has several holes so that the hamster can get in and out in various places, so it is a small kind of tunnel. It has stairs over which the hamster can climb on the upper floor from which he can exit to some kind of balcony and eat food. To get to the upper floor, the hamster will have to climb every day to practice. Once you put the house in the cage the hamster will decide for itself whether it prefers to sleep downstairs or upstairs. There is enough space under the house for the hamster to hide there and sleep or store food. This house is truly a great toy and will allow your hamster to enjoy their home. You can buy this two-layer wooden hut on Amazon. 8. Hideout and play house If you are imagining a house that provides a lot of content that will allow your hamster to play, this house is a perfect choice. The hamster can climb into this house with a ladder or climbing wall. A climbing wall is a great exercise for your hamster that will surely keep him active and healthy. Once your hamster manages to climb to the upper floor, the hamster can go down by using a slide! Yes, read well. This house allows the hamster to play and have fun and be active at the same time. It also has a small bell hanging at one of the entrances to the house that will ring every time the hamster passes. The house is made of natural wood with a colorful look to add a bit of charm to the hamster cage. Already assembled will come to your door. All you have to do is hang a little bell, but you don’t have to do that either if you don’t want your hamster to ring a bell every time it passes through the entrance. In addition to the house being great for playing, it will provide a hamster a great hideout. This cute multifunctional hamster house can be found on the following link on Amazon. 9. Willow Branch Ball Chew Toy Hamsters love to chew things to strengthen their teeth and to consume them. The front four teeth of hamsters continue to grow throughout life so they constantly need something chew to wear them out. Chewing helps them to keep their teeth at a healthy length. This willow branch ball will allow your hamster to play and catch the ball around the cage while promoting clean and healthy teeth at the same time. This toy will satisfy your hamster’s instinct to chew and prevent you from getting bored in the cage. You can buy this willow branch ball in several sizes to find the right one for your pet. You can also buy a pack of them. Your hamster will probably be thrilled with this ball and will chew it and play with it until it breaks it completely. But don’t worry, this toy was made for that purpose. It is not meant to last long but to promote healthy chewing instincts and healthy teeth of your hamster. And of course to kill his boredom in the cage. If you want to give your hamster a toy that will promote his health and natural instincts, this ball chew toy can be found here.... Read more...
- Can Hamsters Eat Meat – Here’s What Your Furry Friend LikesWhen I first got my Teddy I wondered if he can eat meat, and what I should feed him. As it turns out, hamsters can eat many different things. Some of them are actually in your pantry or fridge ! In this article I’ll be talking about whether hammies can have meat, and if so what kind, any why, and how much, and so on. Table of Contents So can hamsters eat meat ?Hamsters can only eat light meatHammies can have:Hamsters can’t have:How hamsters find their protein in the wildCommercial food gives hamsters vegetable proteinYou can supplement your hamster’s diet, yes.A word from Teddy So can hamsters eat meat ? Yes, hamsters can definitely eat meat ! Not much though, since in the wild their diet consists of grains, seeds, veggies, and meat. So, they’re not particularly carnivores, like cats, or dogs. It might seem a bit strange, since hamsters are this cute ball of fluff and they have the cutest beady eyes, but hammies do eat meat. And hamsters can in fact live out their entire life without ever eating meat of any kind, and be fine. However they will not turn it down if you offer them some. However even in the wild hammies do find some sources of animal protein, so they definitely can eat meat. Just, they need it in small amounts, in order to process it properly. And they can’t have just any kind of meat. Hamsters can only eat light meat While hamsters can in fact eat meat, they can’t eat just every kind there is. For example very exotic meats like snake or aligator meat, aren’t good for hamsters. But even your day to day options might seem a bit much for your hamster friend. Let’s go through a short list of what kind of meat your hamster can eat: Hammies can have: Chicken, fish, shrimp. This is light meat, and it’s okay for hamsters. Always make sure that the meat you give your hamster is completely bland. So that means unsalted, unspiced meat. It needs to be either boiled, or baked. No added oils, or fried meat, or even lunchmeat or coldcuts, even if they’re made of the meats I just mentioned. Hammies can have chicken, any meaty part of it. The fish should be a very light fish, that was only baked, and they don’t need garlic or lemon to go with it. Be very careful to remove any small bones your hammy might choke on ! As for the shrimp, hammies can have a bit of shrimp as well, since it’s not a very smelly kind of seafood (hamsters have very sensitive noses). Other kinds of seafood like surimi, crab meat, octopus, and calamari rings are probably not a good idea. This is mainly because no one has tried it before, so there’s no info that can be trusted, only assumptions. Still, best to just stick with what you know is completely safe for your hamster friend, and just give him a small bit of chicken or fish or shrimp. By small I mean no larger than the nail of your thumb, think about your hamster’s minuscule size. Hamsters can’t have: Any kind of red meat, or venison, or large bird kind of meat. So that means that beef, pork, turkey, goose, deer, duck, pretty much anything aside from what I mentioned earlier, is not good for your hamster. This is because a hammy’s stomach can’t process this kind of meat very well. From this point of view, the hamster’s digestive tract is different than ours. Your hammy might want to nibble on that kind of meat if he smells you cooking with it. But make sure you give him none of that, since it’s much better for his health. How hamsters find their protein in the wild Hammies do eat protein in the wild. They don’t hunt down wild chicken or go fishing, though. But they do catch the occasional cricket, or grasshopper. Sometimes, if they’re feeling sneaky hamsters might pounce on a mealworm too. Now, this doesn’t happen often. Not because hamsters feel guilty, but because protein sources tend to move around and hide from their predators. So pouncing a mealworm or catching a cricket is much more work than foraging for some seeds/grains. If given the chance, hamsters will snatch up the insect or worm, just like any other small rodent – for example a field mouse. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Commercial food gives hamsters vegetable protein Your hamster does get his protein from his usual food mix too. The commercial food mixes are made up of protein, veggies, fibers, and minerals as well. However the protein sources those food mixes usually use are vegetable based. So your hamster is getting soy, or beans, as a protein source. Which is fine, as long as he does get his protein. Whey or beef-based protein mixes don’t keep as long as vegetable ones, and are more expensive. However they’re more efficient at getting protein into your hamster’s diet than soy or beans. This pre-made food mix covers all the basics your hammy will need. And it’s in a large enough bag that you can keep your hamster well fed for a couple of months, depending on how much you give him daily. More on that here. I give my Teddy pre-made food mixes as well, and give him some extra veggies or chicken when we’re cooking. You can check out the listing on Amazon for this food mix, so you know what to expect, and read the reviews. You can supplement your hamster’s diet, yes. You can give your hammy some chicken, fish, or shrimp to eat along with his usual mix. You can even add in a bit of boiled egg white, or a small piece of tofu. Just make sure that when you do give your hamster protein separately, you give him a small amount. This is because he needs to be able to eat all of it in one sitting. Otherwise the leftovers will go bad, and start to smell, which will cause a hose of problems. For more info on what you can feed your hammy, you should check out this list of safe and unsafe foods. You’ll find there a lot of foods you’ve already got in your pantry, and see which you can give your hammy. A word from Teddy I hope you know now what kind of meat us hammies can have. I for one am in love with chicken bits, and will drop anything I have in my paws if I find some chicken. Your hammy will probably enjoy some chicken or boiled egg white too, try it out ! If your want to know more about us hammies, you can check out the articles below. You’ll find out things like why we get scared of you sometimes, and how much water we need on a daily basis.... Read more...
- Do Hamsters Get Lonely ? Buddies And Toys For Your HamsterIf you’re wondering if your hamster get a bit lonely and needs a friend, let’s clear that up. It’s a very common question for hamster owners, and I had that question too when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy). Here’s what I found out, and whether it’s worth getting your hamster a friend. Table of Contents So do hamsters get lonely ?Hamsters are not very sociable animalsWhy do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successfulA few considerations about the hamster’s cageYour hamster doesn’t really get bored eitherA word from Teddy So do hamsters get lonely ? No. Hamsters do not get lonely. They can live in a pair or small group if they have no choice, but there will be fights every now and then, and half the time they need to be separated into individual cages. If your hamster’s cage mate dies one day, introducing a new hamster is not a good idea. That always ends up with a fight, sometimes lethal. Hamsters are very territorial, and have evolved to protect what is theirs from other hamsters, at any cost. So let’s take a look into the hamster’s general personality, and why they wouldn’t ever be lonely. Hamsters are not very sociable animals While you’ve heard of, or seem people keep pairs of hamsters, that’s not always a good idea. You see in the wild hamsters are territorial – in captivity too – and will protect what is theirs. This means that every night, when the hamster is up and awake, he patrols his territory. He finds food and dodges predators, and if he ever finds another hamster, there will be a brutal, bloody fight. The only moment this does not happen is if a male meets a female in heat. Even then their mating ritual is fairly violent. So a pet hamster will pretty much do the same. There are some things you can’t breed out of a creature, and this is one of them. Besides, hamsters have only ever been pets for the last century or so. Why do pet stores keep hamsters together, you ask ? Good question, and a very common one. You see, baby hamsters (up to 12 weeks old) are a bit less territorial than adults and will be fairly okay with sharing with their siblings. However once the hamster reaches 4 weeks, he’s weaned and they can reproduce. So that means splitting into same-sex pairs, for obvious reasons. Most hamsters get adopted before they reach adulthood (12 weeks), but the closer they get to that mark the more aggressive they become with their siblings. Pet shops are a bit short on space, and will keep hamsters together as long as they possibly can, until they notice the hamsters starting to fight too much. So in short, a mix between not enough space, and the hamsters being somewhat docile until they’re adults are the main reasons pet shops keep hamsters together. This is especially stressful for Syrian hamsters and Chinese Dwarfs, who are the most territorial and aggressive hamsters out there. Those two can never live with another hamster, not even their own siblings. (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.) Pairing hamsters can be very delicate and is not always successful You can always get a pair of hamsters, but that means you’ll need to get Dwarf hamsters. Those are the only hamsters that can live with another hamster, and only under certain circumstances. You see, hamsters are territorial and will not share anything. This is true for Dwarf hamsters too, however they can be a bit more lenient towards siblings they’ve grown up with, and have never been separated from. So in short the only way you can pair Dwarves is if they’re siblings, of the same sex, and have never been separated. They will need to be introduced to the same cage, at the same time, and the cage must be new (not have any of their scents beforehand). Even so, there can still be fights every now and then. One hamster can become too dominant and start bullying the other one, who will in turn become stressed. This means a host of health issues for the bullied hamster and behaviors like cage chewing or trying to escape. There are times when the fights become very violent, and if they ever get bloody you need to separate the two. A bit of sparring and asserting of dominance is normal, but drawing blood is serious business. Giving your hamsters room to hide and run away from each other is essential, so the bullied one can get free. A few considerations about the hamster’s cage A very large cage helps keep a pair of hamsters from fighting too much. Lots of space, plenty of hideouts, food bowls, water bottles and toys, and they should be fine. They can still fight, but a large cage with many accessories is all you can do to lower the chances. For example the absolute minimum for a hamster’s cage is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. This is the minimum for a Syrian hamster, and I’d recommend it for a Dwarf pair too. However a cage larger than this is welcome, but hard to find. Unfortunately most cages on the market are smaller than this, or this size at most. You’re better off looking for the Detolf shelf from Ikea – expensive, yes, but there is no complaining about your hamsters not having enough space there. If you’ve got a lone hamster – which is what I’d recommend – he will still benefit from a large cage. The more space the hamster has to run around in, play, and generally just be a hamster, the better. Your hamster doesn’t really get bored either You might think a lone hamster will get bored. As in, if he’s a lone all day, every day, he’s probably sad and bored all the time. Well, the truth is that hamsters simply aren’t like us humans. They don’t have big goals, are not trying to build something with their lives, and as such aren’t really bothered by being kept in a cage. As long as the cage has toys and plenty of things to do, he’s just peachy. By this I mean a wheel for your hamster to run in, and an added exercise ball for time outside of his cage will help too. A few toys – some DYI some store-bought – will relieve a lot of boredom. Hamsters especially love puzzle toys, like a few bits of food inside a cardboard cube that he’s going to have to tear open to get inside to the food. Tubes are another option, since they give your hamster time outside the cage, and are also a good imitation of their nest in the wild. If you get toys for your hamster, make sure they’re made of wood since hamsters love to chew on everything they can, including their own nest. True, a hamster with a buddy will definitely never be bored. But the risk of them not getting along is high enough that it might not be worth it. A word from Teddy I hope your found what you were looking for in this article. I know you mean well, but us hamsters don’t really get lonely. We’re perfectly fine on our own, and don’t really crave company. 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...