8 Reasons Hamsters Eat Their Babies, And How To Save Them

It sounds like a horror story, a mother hamster eating her babies. But it can happen, and it’s never fun to watch. There’s a few ways you can save the babies, but you have to be careful. 

You can’t save them every time, but you can still do your best to make sure they don’t end up horribly. There are some reasons though, why the hamster mothers do that. Those are very important to understand, in order to save the babies.

hamster babies 2

So why do hamsters eat their babies ?

Mother hamsters are not as emotional as human mothers.  There are a few reasons a hamster mother might eat her young, and here they are:

  1. She feels stressed/threatened like if you constantly check on her and the litter
  2. Her personal space in too small, the babies take up too much space in a cage that is too tiny
  3. She is very hungry after giving birth
  4. Accidentally storing them in her cheeks to carry them
  5. Biting them too hard when she carries them
  6. She thinks something’s wrong with them (diseased, or something physical they can’t survive)
  7. You or someone else have touched them (changed their scent) and she doesn’t think they’re hers
  8. Father hamsters are liable to eating their young as well 

These are mostly reasons that can be avoided, or can be worked on so the mother is comfortable. 

Rodent mothers are not the most careful mothers in the first place, compared to other mothers, for example cats or dogs. All animals can eat or kill their young, if they consider something is wrong with them. But rodent mothers, and hamsters are rodents, are much less attached to their babies.

So let’s get into every reason the mother can eat her young, and how you can avoid this from happening, and/or possibly save the babies.

How to save the hamster babies from being eaten

Many times when the mother decides eating her young is an option, there’s not much you can do. But, you can save the babies 90% of the time by not putting the mother in a position where she thinks she needs to eat them.

Here are the most common examples, and how you can save those babies by helping the mother.

Do not stress the mother

This is the major reason hamster mothers end up eating their young. The stress and effort of giving birth, especially her first litter, combined with you checking up on her constantly will annoy her. 

Once you notice the mother is approaching her due date (18-22 days after mating), start giving her much more food than usual, and bedding and nesting material as well.

She will find the most hidden corner, or use her hideout, to give birth, and you must leave her alone during this time. Best to even leave the room. Fortunately it will probably happen at night, when you’re sleeping.

So if you know your hammy is about to give birth, be careful when approaching her in the morning. Do not poke at her or the cage, talk to her, or try to interact with the babies.

Keep her warm and well fed, and make sure she has plenty of quiet and small children or other pets can’t reach her.

Leave food/protein for the mother before she gives birth

If you notice that your hamster has give birth overnight, bring her some protein. This is the food that will help her regain her strength immediately. Something like cooked egg white, or cooked plain chicken is good for your hamster. 

You could leave her pieces of chicken every evening until she gives birth if you want, but it’s best to not give her something that will leave a tasty smell on the bedding right before she gives birth. She might get confused as to which one is chicken and which is her baby. 

So only give her chicken or egg after she gave birth, only  while you can see her. Even if you don’t stay more than a few minutes, make sure she finishes the piece and not the babies. 

In the mean time, continue feeding her through the bars, without placing your hand inside the cage. You can introduce a teaspoon through the bars to give her dry food, or sprinkle some on her food bowl.

She will have a stash of food anyway, but right now would be a good time to give her more. For a list of safe foods you can give your hammy, check out this food list article.

Give the mother plenty of space, in a large cage

This is again something that will always come up. Space, lots of it, is something that hamsters need. The absolute minimum for a hamster cage is 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 minimum for a Syrian hamster, and it’s what I’d recommend for a dwarf hamster as well.

A hamster mother giving birth to 6-12 babies at once is going to fill up a cage fast. In those times, even her large cage might seem a bit cramped for her. 

So always get your hamster a large cage, larger than you’d think. Especially if it’s a female you will want to breed later. You can find out more about hamster cages here, since you’ll get a rundown of all cage types and which is best for your hammy.

If you’ve got 2 or more hamsters housed in the same cage, remove the mother-to-be and put her in a different, large cage long before she gives birth. She needs to adjust and feel comfortable in her new home as soon as you put her there, so place some of her old bedding and nesting material in her new temporary cage.

Do not disturb the mother or cage for at least 2 weeks after giving birth

This is because the mother is very tired ans started and jumpy while her babies are still very young. So do not open her cage, or change the bedding, try to put her in an exercise ball or separate her from her babies.

Hamster mothers will do their best to raise and wean every one of their young, but they can scare very easily and end up eating their babies.

This includes feeding the mother as well, feed her through the bars with a teaspoon or sprinkle some dry food onto her bowl.

Do not touch the babies at all until the mother weans them (3-4 weeks)

Touching the babies is a big mistake, when they’re so young. A baby hamster can only be removed from his mother after 3-4 weeks, and can be given for adoption immediately after.

You will notice the mother has weaned them when she pushes them away after they try to nurse from her. In this period it’s important to provide her cage with even more food, since the babies will now need ‘adult’ food, like a food mix or some safe foods from your fridge or pantry.

Touching or handling the babies before they are weaned will make the mother think they’re foreign, and not hers. She will reject or even eat them, so it’s best to wait a few more weeks.

Separate the father from the litter at all times

If the father was in the same cage as the mother, and you didn’t know she was pregnant, remove the father from the cage.

Surprises happen, especially with dwarf pairs, since their sex is difficult to tell sometimes. So you might end up with a male and female pair that will give you a surprise litter one morning.

The father will try to get the mother’s attention, and might eat or hurt the babies while trying to get her attention.

Hamster fathers are not nurturing, and will not tolerate the babies for long, so it’s best to remove him from the cage. If you don’t want any more litters, keep the male and female separate at all times.

Hamsters can mate again, right after the mother gave birth, so keep them apart.

Some things you can’t change or save

Even if you do you best to keep the mother safe, warm, well fed, not stressed, and on her own in a very large cage, she still might eat at least some of her babies.

This is mostly due to accidents, like her biting too hard on the baby when she tries to pick him up. Or maybe she stores the baby in her cheeks to move and forgets that’s her baby.

It sounds horrible, but small animals can get clumsy like this too. If this happens, there’s not much you can do. If the baby is not weaned yet, you can not touch it because the mother will reject it and then definitely eat it.

Unless you want to raise the litter on your own, since they are just a few days old. But then they will lack the important interaction they need with their mother, to learn how to ‘be’ hamsters.

This is a very touchy topic, and one I’m not about to breach here. The same goes for hamster mothers who kill the babies on purpose, because they think there’s something wrong with them. Like they might be sick or have something wrong with their body, that only she can tell.

She might kill them if this is the case, because she thinks they will not survive on their own. This is again something that can’t be helped, and it’s sad but it can happen.

How to tell your hamster is pregnant

Maybe you ended up with a pregnant hamster when you bought her from the pet store. Or maybe you notice that one of your dwarf hammies is looking a bit odd. Whatever the case, here is how the pregnancy happens and how you can tell your hamster is pregnant.

First, the pregnancy lasts from 18 to 22 days, time in which the hamster’s midsection will become larger and larger. You will notice she eats much more, and doesn’t exercise as much. She is saving her strength.

She will become more and more irritable as her dues date approaches, and will look for hidden, safe corners n her cage.

At this time it’s best to remover her from her cage mate, and place her in a large cage on her own, with plenty of familiar old bedding and nesting material, and plenty of places to hide.

If you’re not sure if your hamster is pregnant, but she seems to suddenly be a bit larger and is constantly digging and burrowing and building a large nest, best to separate her from her cage mate.

If you’re wrong and she’s not pregnant, that’s okay and you can place her back. But wait for at least 3 weeks after you separate her, to see if she does give birth or not.

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

hamster babies 3

About hamster fertility and breeding

Hamsters can breed basically every month. In theory, you can have a new litter every month.

This is because a hamster can get pregnant within minutes after giving birth. The problem with this that the mother will be dehydrated and malnourished, and won’t be able to care properly for her existing litter.

Baby hamsters can mate as soon as their mother weaned them.  That’s around 3-4 weeks of age, so you need to separate the hamsters into male and female cages immediately after this happens. If you don’t, more hamster litters will come in a few weeks.

To figure out which is male and which is female, pick the hamster up, and look at his rear end. In females the genitals are right under the anus. In males, there is a more noticeable space left between them. If you tilt a male a bit back while you told him, you might even notice his testicles around his tail.

This is more difficult with the smaller breeds, so every breed except for the Syrian. And hamsters do not like to be held this much or in that position, so they will squirm a bit. But you must do this to figure out which is which, in order to separate them.

Female hamsters are in heat every few days, during the night, so they can be mated at any point. There is no mating seasons for hamsters, as there is with other animals.

A word from Teddy

I hope you found out a lot about us hammies here. I know a momma eating her babies is terrible, but it can happen sometimes, and I’m glad you found out how to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Us hamsters grow up fast, so make sure you keep us separated by sexes or we’ll make a whole clan in a few weeks.

If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the articles below. You’ll find out things like why we freeze, how much food we need, and even why we eat our poop !

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What Do Hamsters Eat In The Wild? Don’t Feed Your Pet The Same
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So the life of a wild hamster is just that – “wild” when it comes to finding food or water. And this is without talking about finding a partner to reproduce with, which is a big challenge on its own. Check my article about hamster reproduction, it is way more interesting and complex than you might think. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between the life of a pet and a wild hamster. Please make sure you take good care of your little furball and you make its life as good as possible. [...] Read more...
Hamster Cheek Pouches – How They Work, And Common Problems
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But for the most part, the cheeks are unloaded once the hamster reaches a safe place. What about your domestic, cuddly friend ? If he’s anything like my Teddy, he’ll shove food mix in his cheeks til they nearly burst, then go and hide it all away in his hideout. Hamsters do have stashes, both in the wild and in the comfort of your home. It’s their instinct, to hoard. Remember the shopping cart/grocery part from before ? Imagine your hamster having an entire organize pantry, with all the foods. Hamsters actually routinely sort through their stashes, and throw out moldy or wilted food. In his cage he doesn’t really do that, since most of his feed is probably dry food that keeps for very long. But in the wild he will have an assortment of whatever he can find, and sometimes he can’t find the best. Why hamsters have cheek pouches at all Well, hamsters have cheek pouches for 2 major reasons: to hoard food, and to be able to run away if they have to. The hamster’s cheeks can hold a lot of food, up to the equivalent of 4 shelled peanuts (Syrian hamsters, Dwarf types keep less since they’re so small). Hamsters evolved to have this trait actually, since they’re prey animals. This means that they’re always hunted, by almost anything larger than them. Given their small size, many animals are larger than them. So hamsters had to be able to take off at a moment’s notice if a predator was around. They don’t have to drop their food anymore. The other reason hamsters evolved to have a cheek pouch is that the terrain hamsters live on is not very rich. In that, not may things grow in the regions hamsters come from. That means from Southern Turkey, to Syria, to Russia, Mongolia, and parts of China. The wild parts, where the hamsters live, are not very easy to live in. So hamsters have to make do with dry grains, a few seeds, a stray veggie here and there. They might find a worm or cricket and eat that too. 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Impacted cheek pouch This happens when the hamster can’t empty his cheeks completely. Sometimes bits of food or nesting material get stuck, for various reasons. The hamster can try to get all of it out, but sometimes it just literally gets stuck. Those food and nesting material particles can rot and develop into an abscess if left uncheckes, which is not safe for the hamster. So, this is a case that can be mostly avoided by being careful what foods you give your hammy. Never give him anything sticky or moist. For example a sticky noodle will be identified by the hammy as a grain, an stored for later. Protein (like meat or egg) is eaten immediately, grains not so much. So a sticky noodle or pasta will get shoved into the cheek, where it will leave residue for the next food item to stick to and so on. Hamsters can’t stick their tongue into their cheeks to clean them out, like us humans. So it’s important that you as an owner are careful to identify if your hamster has a problem. Abscess in the pouch An abscess can form for several reasons, but the end result is the same. A small bag of pus forms, and not only is it painful for the hamster, it is also toxic. Once the pus breaks and spreads into the cheek, the hamster might swallow it and develop another disease known as sepsis. Best to avoid that completely. You can make sure your hamster has a very small chance of forming an abscess by never giving him something sharp to eat. For example something very extremely dry, like the crust on some bread types. Do keep in mind that it can happen with seeds too, in a case where your hamster’s cheeks are already full and he tries to put a seed in there (which often has a sharp end) and cuts himself. He could hurt himself on something in the cage, or develop a tooth problem that needs fixing – more on hamster dental issues here. An abscess is not easy to spot, so you must be careful to look for a constantly swollen cheek. Or, a possible bad smell coming from your hamster’s mouth since the pus will have a smell. Tumors Hamsters, like rats, can develop tumors in the head area. Hamsters tend to get them in their pouches, which will impact how well they can eat and store food. A tumor in a hamster’s cheek is not usually benign, and unfortunately the treatments are hard. They are available, but removing the tumor without harming the hamster or incapacitating him in some way is very hard. The operations involves part of the hamster’s mouth, so he won’t really be able to eat well afterwards. That being said, there is no known, clear way to avoid your hamster getting a cancerous tumor. Everted (inside-out) cheek pouches These can happen sometimes, and no one knows very well why it happens. I’m not sure if it’s painful for the hamster, although I guess it would be. The hamster’s cheek pouch just comes inside out, like your pant pockets when you’re getting dressed in a hurry. They’re very noticeable, since it’s the actual flesh, hanging outside the hamster’s mouth. Those are, fortunately, easy to treat. Your vet will be able to put the pouch back in its place, and make sure it stays in place afterwards. How to make sure your hamster’s cheeks are safe and healthy A few steps can be taken to make sure your hamster stays safe, and keeps his cheeks intact. Now, granted, some things you can’t avoid, like the hammy overstuffing his cheeks. Yes, he can totally do that. But here’s what you can do to keep your hamster’s cheeks safe and healthy: Do not give the hamster sharp foods, or very crumbly dry ones he can scratch or cut his cheeks on. Keep an eye on him every day, and notice how his cheeks look when stuffed Notice if there is an odd smell coming from the hamster’s mouth Keep very sticky or saucy foods away from the hamster, even if he tries to eat them Make sure his cage is safe, and he has nothing to cut himself on, like  sharp pieces or dried paint, or bits of plastic Hamsters rarely ever need a veterinarian, but make sure you have one on call if necessary Those are the basics, and there isn’t much you can do aside from that. Unfortunately cheek problems are not easy to treat at home, and when they do happen they’re mostly severe. All you can do is keep your hamster healthy and safe by giving him good, safe food, safe bedding and nesting material, and keeping him as stress-free as possible. Hamsters make great pets, but they are very sensitive. As such, I would only recommend them to people who have the time and patience to work with them. They’re harder to tame than cats and dogs, and can forget their owners after a while if left unchecked. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies look cute with out cheeks full. But we do have cheek pouch problems, you know. We rely on you to keep us safe and healthy. If you want to know more about us hammies, and how to care for us better, then check the articles below for more details. [...] Read more...
Are Hamsters Blind ? The Truth About Your Hamster’s Eyesight
Are Hamsters Blind ? The Truth About Your Hamster’s EyesightA blind hamster is a bit of a myth. Or is it ? Hamsters don’t have great eyesight, but are they really blind ? I looked around, asked a few questions, and found out if hamsters can see. My Teddy was a bit of a guide here, since I compared what I found out with what I’ve seen Teddy do or how he’s reacted in the past. Here’s what I found out about hamster eyesight. Table of Contents ToggleSo are hamsters blind ?Hamsters don’t rely on their eyesA hamster has a great sense of smellHammies use their hearing for nearly everythingWhiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’Don’t make sudden movements around your hamsterHamsters are very sensitive to light levelsA word from Teddy So are hamsters blind ? No, hamsters are not blind. They are born blind, like most animals, but they don’t stay blind. The eyesight in hamsters forms after a few days, but it never really develops very well. Hamsters have poor eyesight, but blind they are not. They won’t notice you if you just sit still, since they don’t perceive things that are farther away from their whiskers, or directly in front of them. This also means your hamster can’t judge distances or depth, at all, and he will jump from a higher level in his cage to take a shortcut, and possibly hurt himself. Or jump out of your hands, thinking the cage is just a sneeze away. Alright, so hamsters aren’t blind, but they don’t see well either. How do they navigate and survive then ? Let’s see. Hamsters don’t rely on their eyes Hamsters use their other senses much more than they use their eyes. Even if your hamster becomes blind over time, it won’t impact him very much. This is because hamsters don’t relay on seeing what’s in front of them or around them, as much as they rely on hearing and smelling their environment. If you’ve got a blind hamster, you’ll notice he’s got the cage all memorized and knows where to go and how to navigate. There might be a few things you’ll have to get out of his way that he might bump into, like toys that move (a see-saw for example) or bridges. Other than that, a blind hamster will know where his food is, where is nest is, where the water bottle is, and will recognize your voice. He might be a bit nippy, but that’s about the only change people have ever reported about hamsters that turned blind. A hamster has a great sense of smell Hamsters use their smell for lots of things. Even if they don’t see very well, hamsters can still ‘see’ their surroundings. Us humans don’t rely on smell too much, but hamsters do. Your hammy knows your scent, knows the smell of the house, and doesn’t like air fresheners too much. This means that any strong smell will be overwhelming for your hamster. Like perfume, for example, which can be way too strong for his sensitive little nose. If you’re handling your hamster you should wash your hands before. Depending on what you’ve done before, he might not like the smell and bite, or me might love the smell and try to… well, eat your hand. My girlfriend touched some cooked chicken once, wiped her hands on a towel, and went to pet the hamster. Teddy smelled the chicken and chomped down on her finger, and she’s been afraid of him ever since. Best to avoid that, and wash your hands. Do be careful to use non-perfumed, anti-bacterial soap. An overly floral or fruity soap might have the opposite effect and make your hamster think you’ve really got mango and coconut on your hands. Conversely, hamsters absolutely hate citrus. Teddy shies away from my hand after I’ve peeled any kind of citrus. Even after I wash my hands. He just can’t stand the smell. Hammies use their hearing for nearly everything Hearing is what hamsters use most in the wild to figure out if there’s predators around or not. Have you ever seen your hammy just freeze in place, with this focused, intense look on his furry face ? He’s listening. Veeery very carefully, who knows when a fox might jump through the window to get him. Jokes aside, it’s funny with pet hamsters, but a life-saving trait for wild hamsters. There’s no fox or owl or snake trying to get to your pet hamster, but in the wild, his predators might be just around the corner. They make sounds, even when they’re trying to be sneaky. Your hamster knows those sounds. Hammies need some time to learn every sound in the house in order to feel comfortable and not panic at every floorboard creaking. After a while they’ll stop freezing as often, and be more relaxed. They are hamsters, however, and won’t really ever relax. Hamsters are sensitive to sound, but not the way you’d think. Loud noises are not comfortable for their ears, but don’t phase them much. They’re a bit stressful, but they know what’s going on. So for example in a fireworks display it’s not the loud noises that scare them, but the bright, sudden lights. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) Whiskers and touch help hamsters ‘see’ Alright, so your hamster’s got superhearing and dog-level smell. He’s also got ‘the touch’. I mean he sees with his little paws, and his whiskers. In the wild the hamster’s many tunnels are pitch black and winding, so he has to be able to navigate them somehow. The tunnels don’t hum, and they don’t smell, so he has to see with his paws and whiskers. This also applies to his cage, plus the fact that he knows where everything is because he’s memorized it. One of the reasons changing up his habitat is a bad idea. Hamsters don’t like change. When it comes to touch, he’s also sensitive to vibrations. He can sense them both in his paws and his whiskers too. Even if you got out of bed very quietly, and made sure to not turn on the light or step wrong, he still knows you’re up. You every move is a small vibration, and he can sense that. Not in a weird way, it’s just his super-sensitive sense of touch. For example my Teddy keeps sleeping if I just rummage in the room he’s in. But once I speak towards his cage, or stand there for a few minutes, he comes out. He just knows I’m there. Don’t make sudden movements around your hamster If you were sitting down and you suddenly move, chances are your hamster only just noticed you were there. And panicked. Hammies are not very bright, and they’re very easy to scare unfortunately. This means that even if you’re not trying to scare your hamster, you probably still did. Some hammies are extra jumpy and panicky, and will scamper away if they see or hear anything new. But, you can make sure you don’t scare your hamster friend by not moving suddenly. That means that if you’ve got business around his cage, move a bit slower than usual. Try not to turn around too fast, and make your movements slower, deliberate. Another thing that helps is to talk to your hamster while you’re near his cage, so he knows your general position. Hamsters are very sensitive to light levels The final warning about a hamster’s poor eyesight, sunlight hurts his eyes. The light is much too harsh for him, and actually painful. You see hamsters are nocturnal animals, which means their eyes simply can’t handle the amount of light in the daytime. Unlike cats or humans who can regulate how much light enters their eyes, hamster eyes are not as adaptable. Their pupils do adjust, but not by much. This means that the best time for a hamster to use his limited eyesight is dawn and dusk. The light levels are low enough that his eyes don’t hurt, but high enough that he can see. That being said, hamsters have very poor eyesight, even at night. But they don’t necessarily need the light on, or a nightlight at that. Just think of your hamster as your cute, fluffy, incredibly near-sighted friend who lost his glasses. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hammies can be a bit clumsy at times, and we don’t see very well, no. However we’re not blind. We can become blind with old age, or an illness, so we rely on you to help us there. If you want to know more about us hammies, you can check the related articles below to get more info on how to best care for us. [...] Read more...
15 Essential Steps To Properly Care For Your Hamster
15 Essential Steps To Properly Care For Your HamsterHave you just gotten a hamster ? Or are you planning on getting a hamster and want to know how to care for him ? I’ll tell you everything I know, and I wish I knew some of these when I first got my Teddy (Syrian male hammy) home. There are 15 essential steps to take and know, so you can be a good hamster owner. Some of these might be obvious, some might be counterintuitive. But they all help your hamster lead a healthy, happy life. As a sidenote, hamsters are actually cheap to care for, and they make good pets. It’s just that they have some very specific needs sometimes. Table of Contents Toggle1. Choose a good cage for your hamster2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks likeA word from Teddy 1. Choose a good cage for your hamster The first and biggest problem when getting a hamster is what kind of cage to get him. Now I’ve covered this in detail in this article on how to choose the best cage, but a short version would be this. A Syrian hamster (the biggest kind of hamster you can find as a pet) needs a minimum cage 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 for one Syrian hamster. They should always be kept alone. If you’re keeping Dwarf hamsters, then the same cage will fit a pair of Dwarves well enough. Always remember that while hamsters are so small and fluffy, they need a lot of space. They will always feel better in a large cage, rather than in a small one. This is because they do a lot of running around and roaming, and they get bored very easily in a small cage. Especially if it’s not almost nothing in it aside from bedding and some food. An overcrowded cage can also make the hamster irritable and nippy, so it’s best to only keep one hamster in one cage, even if he’s a Dwarf. As for examples of good cages, here is this one. It’s got a small space between the wires, so no hamster can escape. It’s also got an adjustable level which you can put wherever you like. I recommend keeping it pretty low though, since hamsters prefer the low ground. Of the commercial cages you can find available, this is the largest and safest. It provides lots of ventilation and it easy to take apart and clean. All in all a good choice for hamster owners who are both space and budget conscious. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see the reviews as well. If you want to go for a bigger cage, you’ll need to look for an Ikea Detolf. That’s basically a big standing shelf. You put it on its side, remove the shelves, and make a wire mesh to cover the top if need be. The only problem with the Detolf is that it’s heavy, and big. So wherever you put it, that’s where it’s going to stay. Cleaning the Detolf is going to require a few more steps, but it’s doable. What is brings though is almost double the space the cage I mentioned above does. So no hamster would feel cramped in a Detolf. 2. Choose safe and healthy bedding for the hamster Another big and important step to make is to provide the hamster with bedding (or substrate). That’s what the hamster will live on, eat on, sleep on, pee on, and generally live all his life on. It needs to be a safe and healthy, and you need to be able to provide lots of it. Hamsters generally dig into their bedding, so giving your hammy at least an inch/2-3 cm of bedding is a minimum. You can find several hamster bedding options are in this article, you can pick whichever you think works best. The safest bedding you can provide your hamster is aspen wood shavings. All hamsters react well to aspen, and it’s a type of bedding readily available in most parts of the world. Another option is paper bedding, however that’s not as easy to find as aspen shavings. When you go out looking for the wood shavings, please make sure to stay away from cedar and pine shavings. Sometimes they’re sold for pets, but for small animals like hamsters those wood types are too strong. Their smell will suffocate the hamster, who has a very sensitive nose to begin with anyway. A good example is this one for aspen shavings. The bag comes in different sizes, so it can last you anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, depending on which size you get. You will only need to replace the hamster’s bedding once per week, so it also depends on how much bedding you put down into the cage. It’s a dust-free bag of wood shavings, which is important hen dealing with small animals. Respiratory problems can and do some up when the hamster has contact with dust. A dust-free bedding will keep him safe from that point of view. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. You also need to know about hamster nesting materials. Now, there’s nesting material you can buy, yes. But that’s almost always textile based. It’s a type of fluff, which does keep the hamster very warm. It’s a lot like the stuffing inside a teddy bear. But the problem is that kind of material can get tangled around the hamster and suffocate him. Or get tangled in his teeth (hamsters always pouch their nesting material) and end very gruesomely. So what can you use ?  Toiled paper, unscented. Plain tissues. Plain paper towels. Bits of cardboard. Rip them into strips and shreds, and watch you hamster decorate his home. He’ll build a big and warm nest out of all of those things and sleep like an angel. 3. Choose toys and a hideout to keep the hamster entertained The toys you choose for your hamster are important. Partly because a hamster can get bored if he’s got nothing to do in his cage. And partly because they need to be safe for the hamster and help file down his teeth. This means that hamsters will need plenty of wood or cardboard based toys. They can and will chew on absolutely everything in their cage. So for this reason wooden chews are a must, and cardboard too. Most toys can be either DYIed at home out of cardboard rolls, or bought from a store. This means the hamster can have an egg carton with holes in it an enjoy himself, using it as a hide and seek toy. You can even place a treat at one end of the carton and it’s just turned into a puzzle toy. You can also place a walnut inside the hamster’s cage. Make sure to remove any dirt off the walnut, and leave it whole in the hamster’s cage, He’ll go crazy over it and try to open it. He can’t, since he’s no squirrel. But he’ll try, and file down his teeth in the process. Hamster teeth always grow, so this is crucial. The most important thing in the hamster’s cage though, is his hideout. He will build a nest anyway, in the most hidden corner he can find. But he will feel more secure and safe in a hideout. It provides shelter, warmth, and a feeling of safety for the hamster. In the wild his nest would be in the ground, quite a few feet deep. It would be a series of tunnels, well hidden from any predators. In a cage though, he can’t do that. But a hideout is the next best thing. That hideout absolutely needs to be made of wood for two reasons: It will absorb moisture and release it outside. It’s basically breathable, and the hamster won’t have a damp nest, which means he won’t get a cold, or wet fur easily. Hamsters chew everything, even the hideout/nest. Wood is safe for them, and they even chew in their sleep. So it’s important that the hideout is of a safe material, not plastic or ceramic. A good example of a wooden hideout is this one. It’s a lot like my Teddy’s hideout actually. It’s big enough for a Syrian hamster, and it will also fit a Dwarf hammy. The wood is safe to chew on, and it has plenty of ventilation with all 3 holes available. They’ll be blocked with nesting material by the hamster, but he will still get fresh air. A hideout like this one will keep the hamster his whole life, unless he decides to use this as his one and only chew toy. Even then, it would take him quite some time to get through all that wood. You can check the listing on Amazon, and read the reviews as well. 4. Know what foods and treats are okay, and how much water he needs When it comes to food, you’ll be glad to hear hamsters can eat almost anything. But they do have a specific diet. The usually eat lots of grains, with a few vegetables and fruit thrown in for good measure. Nuts and seeds are okay too, as is a bit of protein in the form of cooked plain chicken, or even a mealworm or two. Actually most foods that are safe for hamsters are already in your fridge or pantry. The only problem is that they need a very specific diet, which you can always supplement with food from your kitchen. A good hamster mix will have his ideal diet in mind, and provide lots of vitamins and minerals as well. For example this one will last you quite a few months, because hamsters do not each very much. For a Syrian hamster two teaspoons per day are enough, and for Dwarf types just one teaspoon is enough. Hamsters will hide their food in their nest, so don’t panic if you see the food bowl is empty after a few minutes. This mix lasts long and is among the best for hamsters. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. Aside from the hamster commercial mix, you can give your hamster treats like bits of carrots, a plain peanut, a leaf of spinach and so on. He will enjoy the treat. But if your hamster is a diabetic hamster, keep fruits away from him. Carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes are off limits as well. 5. Clean the cage and keep things sanitary Cleaning the hamster’s cage is the first way to make sure the cage does not get smelly, and the hamster stays healthy. Cleaning should be done once per week, and only clean the pee corner every few days. The thing about hamsters is that they’re very clean animals. They groom themselves constantly, almost as much as a cat does. So the hamster himself does not smell. However what does smell is the corner in which the hamster usually pees. This is always the corner farthest away from the hideout, and it’s usually wet or at least damp. That corner can be scooped up every few days, and you can place new bedding in that corner. But once a week, a full cleaning is needed. That means taking the cage apart, putting the hamster in a safe place (like his travel cage), and cleaning everything. You can find a whole tutorial on cleaning the hamster’s cage here. Including how to proceed in the case of a sick hamster, and what you should be aware of before you start cleaning any hamster’s cage, sick or not. 6. Get the hamster plenty of exercise Hamsters are runners, for the most part. Some will love to climb or dig more than running. But most hamsters will enjoy running, and that’s what they will need to do to expend all that energy. Keep in mind that a hamster can run as much as 9 km/5.5 miles in a single night. That’s a whole lot of running for a creature so small. So make sure you get your hamster an outlet for all that energy. This means providing him with a big enough hamster exercise wheel, and you can choose which is best for your hammy. A wheel will allow him to run as far and as much as his little feet can take him. It’s important that the wheel is a large enough one, because a small wheel can give the hamster back problems. You see, hamsters don’t have a straight-ish spine. They look like they’re hunched over all the time, because they actually are. Their spines need to remain mostly hunched even when running. A straight spine can be odd for them, and a backward bent spine is actually painful. So this means you need to get he biggest sized wheel your hamster can comfortable run on. For example this one is a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel, and it will fit pretty much any hamster. It’s also got not middle fixture, so the hamster has nothing to hurt his back on. It stays where you put it, and it’s a very silent kind of wheel. It won’t wake you up in the night (like Teddy did with us when he was younger). It’s got a tail and foot guard, which means your hamster friend won’t catch important appendages in the wheel when he’s running. This is especially important for the Chinese hamster. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and read the reviews as well. 7. Tame the hamster and interact with him often Taming the hamster is going to be either a breeze or a story to pass down onto your grandchildren. Some hamsters get used to their owners and warm up to them in just a few days, and some hamsters will never be okay with being picked up. It varies from hamster to hamster, and it also depends on how much patience you’ve got. Taming a hamster takes time, and consistency. It’s not hard, but it can be very slow. It’s also a bit hard to read the hamster’s reactions. If he’s not biting or running away, it’s a good sign. But noticing whether he actually likes something or not ? Your guess is as good as mine. Hamsters are easy to bribe with food though, so that’s always going to help. You’ll need to interact with the hamster constantly to gain and keep his trust. He might not always sit still so you can pet him, and he might not always like it when you pick him up. But in time he will learn to associate you and your hands with food and good things. Even if you’re not doing much, at least talk to the hammy. He’ll come up to the side of the cage to hear you out. He won’t understand a word, but at lest you’ve got his attention. 8. Find a good veterinarian, in case something happens Hamsters don’t need regular trips to the vet, and they don’t get sick often. For the most part hamsters will only stay in their cages, unless take out. This means the only moment they can get sick is if someone sick interacts with them. Or, if they become much too stressed or the cage is very dirty, and they develop wet-tail. But aside from that, hamsters aren’t sickly animals. That being said, when a hamster does get sick, it can get very serious, very fast. And you’re going to need a good vet for that. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet. That’s a vet who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds as well. Such a vet will be able to help more than a regular cat and dog veterinarian. You can find out more about choosing a good vet for your hamster here. 9. Be aware of his health problems and how to spot them When it comes to the hamster’s usual health problems, there aren’t as many as us humans can have, but they are serious. You can find a list of the main health problems here, and how to treat them. Of all the threats to a hamster’s well-being, wet-tail is the most notorious. This is a type or diarrhea, and it can become deadly in a matter of days. Hamsters usually contract it either from an already infected hamster, from an overly dirty cage, or through high stress levels which can disrupt their normal digestive system. Tumors and lumps are not uncommon, infections are about as common as they are in humans. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but tumors can sometimes be impossible to remove without putting the hamster at too much risk. Hammies can lose their eyesight and become blind, and this is usually a sign of old age. Blindness can come earlier than that in some cases though. While hamsters don’t really use their eyes, they are still vulnerable and can become injured or infected. There are treatments for almost all of the hamster’s health problems, and most of them are meant to be administered by a vet. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) 10. Know the hamster’s reproduction and gestation period Hamsters reproduce in large litters. They can fall pregnant very often – every 4 days actually – and their gestation period is short. Only 16-22 days, depending on which hamster type you’ve got. So if you brought home a pair of Dwarf hammies, and one of them seems to be too fluffy, you’ll find out in 2-3 weeks if you’ve got a pregnant female on your hands. This can happen because pet shops sometimes separate the hamsters into gender specific groups either too late, or misgender a male and put him with females. To find out more about finding your hamster’s gender, you should read here. The gender becomes important from week 4 of life, when the hamster babies are weaned by their mother. That’s when they can also start breeding, and sometimes unwanted accidents can happen. Once the hamster has reached 10 weeks, he or she may be introduced to the opposite sex, if you’re looking to breed them for a new liter. Pregnancies started past week 14 are not safe though, so keep an eye on the hamster’s age. For more info on the mating ritual and the reproduction itself, you will need to read here. And read here to make sure the babies survive until they are adults. New momma hamsters can be unpredictable. 11. Figure out which breed of hamster you have There are 5 main types of hamsters, 3 of which are Dwarf types. The 3 Dwarf types are hard to tell apart, but the Syrian is the largest and the Chinese is the only one with a noticeable tail. There are essential differences between the Syrian hamster and every other hamster out there. Including where they all came from, actually. Hamsters have only been pets for the past century or so, and they have some pretty rugged ancestors. Why does the breed matter ? In a way, it doesn’t. There aren’t severe temperament differences between hamster breeds like there are between dog breeds. Still, not all hamsters can live together. Only the Dwarf types can come to tolerate a sibling or two, as long as they were never separated since they were babies. Obviously, they need to be of the same gender, otherwise you’ll become a grandparent, not the way you’d like. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend putting any hamster in a cage with another hamster, Dwarf or not. Cohabiting is very rough, and there will be quarrels between the hamsters. To a certain degree they’re normal, as any sibling quarrels are. But, they can always degenerate into serious fights, sometimes deadly. For this reason I strongly recommend you keep each and every hamster in his own cage. 12. Know what behavior to expect from a hamster Remember that hamsters are prey animals. This means that they’re used to running away, and hiding. They won’t really stay put so you can pick them up. It’s not their nature. So expect a certain degree of fear and jumpiness from your hamster. He will freeze up from time to time, for no immediate reason. He’s actually listening for predators, and learning the various sounds that go around in your home, and outside of it. A hamster will sleep most of the day, and only wake up at dusk. He’ll come put when his instincts tell him no predators are around. And he’ll stay up most of the night, and go back into his nest once dawn comes. He might make a couple of sounds, but aside from that he’s a very quiet pet. What you might hear though, is the sound of him chewing on something to wear down his teeth. He does this often, and it’s as important to him as brushing our teeth is to us. If your hammy doesn’t warm up to you very fast, don’t be disappointed. That’s a fairly normal reaction from a small animal used to being chased through the desert by animals much larger than himself. You’re not very different from the big animals chasing his ancestors. Other than that, hamsters are a loveable bunch, prone to all kinds of weird acrobatics. My Teddy was one hell of a climber when he was young, he was all over the cage. 13. Have a sitter for him when you leave town Hamsters can’t really be left to their own devices when you leave town. Much like fish or a pet turtle, your hamster is going to need someone to come over and feed him daily. Hammies do survive for a few days with no food or water. But I don’t think you’ll want to find out just how much your hamster can last like that. Best to have someone to take care of him, even if it’s just giving him food and changing the water. 14. Know that hamsters are very sensitive animals Hamsters are sensitive to everything. The light levels, the noise levels, the temperature, the stress levels, being handled too much, being handled too little, being held wrong, and drafts. So you’re going to have a to be a very careful person if you’re going to look out for a hamster. Most of their sensitivities stem from the fact that they’re mostly nocturnal animals, so they react to light levels and sounds. The other is that they are very very bad at managing stress factors. This means that about half of their health problems come from how stressed they are. Given the fact that these creatures are almost always on high alert, they’re also high-strung all the time. So not a very good thing. It’s also very hard to not scare a hamster. Really, they’re so on edge that even getting up can trigger them. Walking past their cage. Sneezing within a few feet of them is a cataclysmic event. In truth this is because hamsters have very poor eyesight. So if you sit quietly and fairly still, he won’t even know you’re there. That means when you move he’s going to have a small heart attack. He didn’t even notice you, when did you get there ? 15. Know your hamster’s lifespan and what old age looks like Another thing to be aware of is how long your hamster will live. this will vary from hamster breed to hamster breed, but in general a hamster’s lifespan will be around 2-3 years. Hamsters are adults when they reach 3 months age, and they’re considered old when they reach their 2nd birthday. This means an old hamster will happen upon you faster than you’d think at first. Some hamsters don’t show their age, and some hamsters look very old even before their first birthday. Health problems become more common, walking becomes slow, and they slowly start to wither away. Old hamsters will need special care from you, and you can read up on this here. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters look like cute and cuddle little things, but we do require a certain level of care. Hopefully this article gave you a lot of insight into what owning a hammy looks like. 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...
How To Know What Hamster Breed You Have – Complete Guide
How To Know What Hamster Breed You Have – Complete GuideWhen I first got my Teddy I didn’t know he was a Syrian hamster. I only knew I wanted an orange and white hammy, and I looked around until I found him. But there are 5 distinct hamster breeds, and they can be a bit confusing. I’m here to help you figure out what kind of hamster you’ve got, so you have all the info you possibly can to take care of your hammy. Table of Contents ToggleSo how do you know what hamster breed/type you have ?All about the Syrian hamsterAll about the Chinese Dwarf hamsterAll about the Roborovski Dwarf hamsterAll about the Campbell Dwarf hamsterAll about the Siberian/ Winter white Dwarf hamsterWhich hamster breeds can be kept togetherThe main differences between the hamster breedsWhich hamster type makes the best petA word from Teddy So how do you know what hamster breed/type you have ? The main things to look for when determining your hamster’s breed or type is the size of the hamster, and the color/markings. There are very distinct differences between the hamsters available for purchase. We’ll get into the different size and color options for all the hamster types in the rest of this article. There are 5 types or breeds or hamster available, and they are: Syrian – the largest, most common hamster Chinese Dwarf – not really a Dwarf type, but still often called that; the only one with a longer tail Roborovski Dwarf – the tiniest, fastest hamster, almost impossible to hold Campbell Dwarf – a bit larger than the Roborovski, often confused with the next breed Siberian/Winter white/Djungarian Dwarf – the only one that changes its coat color according to temperature Now these 5 types are the ones you will usually find in a pet shop, and they might come under different names or nicknames. It’s important that you know each type so you don’t get fooled at the shop for an overpriced hammy just because it’s called “fancy hamster”. Yes, some people have found hamsters labeled that in a pet shop. Now let’s find out more about each hamster type, and how to differentiate between them. All about the Syrian hamster The Syrian hamster is the most common hamster you will find in a pet shop. It’s also the kind of hamster I have. They’re the largest and most diverse-looking hamster breed out there. An adult Syrian hammy is somewhere between 5-8 inches in length, which is 13-20 cm. Some can grow a bit larger, but not by much. The size is what you will notice first. A baby Syrian hamster is about the size of an adult Dwarf type (Robo, Campbell, or Siberian). Even as babies, the males have very large testicles, that will make their rear-ends bulge noticeably. As for the color options and fur markings, there are plenty. Honestly Syrian hamsters are about as colorful as cats and dogs, except they never have stripes like a cat. Aside from that, they can be a single color, black and white mixes, spotted, ringed, just one spot on the eye, sooty, and so many more colors. The fur itself can be short/normal, longhaired, or curlyhaired. These as well can have any of the color options you can imagine. When I got my Teddy I knew next to nothing about hamsters. So I thought an orange hammy with a bit of white on the belly is going to be so unique, and rare. Well, it turns out that is the most common color you can get a Syrian hammy. Those are called Golden hamster and they’re the classic coloration, the one they have in the wild. This hammy comes from Syria, and southern Turkey in the wild. At some point, a few managed to populate and thrive in parts of Israel. All about the Chinese Dwarf hamster The Chinese hammy is not really a Dwarf type, although most everyone calls him that. Actually all hamster types except Syrian are called Dwarf, by comparison. But the Chinese is not a Dwarf, he is somewhere in between. As an adult he can reach up to 3-5 inches/8-13 cm, plus the longer tails. Chinese hamsters have a much longer tail compared to any other hamster types, which can grow to be about an inch long/2-3 cm. Aside from that, the body if a Chinese hammy is longer than the Dwarf types, and more slender than the Syrian hammy. So that, plus the long tail can make the Chinese look more like a mouse than anything else. There are few color types you can find for the Chinese. The most common one is the wild variety, with a sort of brown down the back, and a dark stripe running down the spine, plus a white belly. You can find a few specks of grey and black here and there on the hammy’s backside. The other two options are mostly white, with the dark stripe down the back, and very rarely can be all white with a dark spot. This hammy comes all the way from China and Mongolia. All about the Roborovski Dwarf hamster Can also be found under the nickname Robo – short for Roborovski, the scientist who discovered the species. This hamster is the smallest kind of hamster you can ever find. As an adult he won’t grow past 2 inches/5 cm, which makes him incredibly easy to lose, drop, or just barely handle. This hamster, like the other Dwarf types (except the Chinese) is stout-bodied, and looks like it has no neck. The truth is that the neck is very short, and the ears are the only point you can figure out where the body stops and the head of the hamster starts. A Robo hammy is usually soft brown on its back, with no stripe down its back. It does still have the white belly like the Chinese, but its feet are furrier. He will usually have a large white spot right above his eyes, where an eyebrow would be. Much like the eyebrow spot of a Rottweiler or Doberman. You can find all-white Robos, or white with a bit of grey mask, even a nice color combination between white and cream on the back. The breeding process over time gave us a lot of coat options, so you can’t use coat alone to figure out the breed. Still, the Robo is the absolute smallest of the Dwarf hammies. You can tell a baby white Robo from a Siberian (also often white) by the size. Upon birth Robos are barely an inch/2 cm, white the Siberians are larger. The Roborovski hamster comes from parts of Russia, and you can sometimes find him as Russian Dwarf. Although all Dwarf types are russian, so there’s that. All about the Campbell Dwarf hamster This hamster is larger than the Robo, and reaches about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm. He is very easy to confuse with the Siberian Dwarf, but I’m going to help you distinguish between them. The Campbell hamster is colored much like the Chinese and the Robo, as in he has the brownish coat on his back, and does have a dark, very narrow stripe running down his back. The belly however is grey, not white, and he has tufts of fur on his feet as well. There are not many color options or variations for the Campbell hamster. However the cheek pouches of the Campbell reach all the way to his hind legs, and are part of his mouth, not separate. His coat does not change color from winter to summer, and he is again common throughout Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. All about the Siberian/ Winter white Dwarf hamster Just as large as the Campbell hamster, these two can and often are confused. The Siberian has many names, like the Winter White – turning white in winter, in the wild. Or the Djungarian hamster, because of the region in China it usually lives in. As for size, the Siberian is about 3-4 inches/ 8-11 cm, which makes it again very similar to the Campbell hammy. However the color is more grayish on its back, with a dark stripe on its back and a darker spot on its head. This hammy has a white belly, and has more color variations than the Campbell. A Siberian can also be found in all white, or white with a faint grey line down the back, or all grey with darker fur on the back, and all the way to the wild coloring I mentioned above. (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.) Which hamster breeds can be kept together Of all these many kinds of hamsters, not all can be kept together. It’s always a bad idea to mix hamster types, since they have different temperaments. So it’s the Dwarf types that can be kept together, only under certain circumstances. The Syrian and Chinese hammies will fight everything and everyone you out in their cage, so it’s best to leave them alone. If you really would like to know which if your hammies can live together, and how to introduce two hamsters to live together – you should read this article on why hamsters fight. You’ll find out more about the social lives of hamsters in general, and what to do if your hamsters start fighting. The main differences between the hamster breeds Aside from what I just talked about before, there are a few other differences. There’s temperament, and ease of handling as well. There are also some feeding exceptions to be sure of, so it’s best to read this list of foods you can safely give to your hamster. The biggest differences are between the types of hamster – the large Syrian, and the smaller Dwarf types. You can find an in-depth article on the differences between a Syrian and Dwarf type right here, so you can find out which would be the best hammy for you. There is also the matter of cage sizes. The Syrian, being the largest, requires the most space in his cage. For a Syrian the minimum is 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. A dwarf type can live in half that space, but since they are often housed in pairs will require a cage just as large as a Syrian. If you want to know more about housing hamsters, and what to look for in a cage, you should check out this article. You’ll find the pros and cons of the 3 most common cage types, and how to care for your hamster’s cage. Which hamster type makes the best pet When it comes to which hamster is the best pet, this one is really up to you. All I can give you is the info on these 5 hamster types, and you can decide for yourself which you’d like best. All hamsters can make good pets – if you like a quiet pet, and have a certain amount of patience to tame them. They’re not expensive, aside from the initial purchases like cage, wheel, ball, and so on. But it really depends on you. All these 5 types of hamster are nocturnal, so if you got o bed early you will miss them. The Syrian is a bit easier to handle and tame, given his size. The Roborovski shouldn’t even be handled in the first place, since he is so small it’s easy for him to slip through your fingers. They’re best kept to look at, and they do a lot of tricks when they have a cage mate. So do the other Dwarf types, but they’re larger and can be handled a bit easier. It’s not a good idea to give a hamster to any child. Hamsters need a lot of care and a quick hand to catch them, which kids don’t really have. And hamsters in general need a quiet, calm space to live in. So a very lively home, with small children, and a few other pets that can roam the house freely, is not a good home for a quiet creature like a hamster. A word from Teddy I hope you found out a lot about each of us hammies, I know we can be a bit confusing at times. I’m easy to spot, since I’m a big orange hammy running around the house, but my friends are so much smaller. Whichever kind of hamser you get, remember that all of us can be tamed and like your attention. And if you want to know more about us hammies, you can read he articles below for useful information. [...] Read more...
Do Hamsters Get Bored ? How To Keep Your Hamster Entertained
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 ToggleSo 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...