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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Why Do Hamsters Eat Each Other? The Sad Truth
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Do Hamsters Need A Vet ? Keeping Your Hamster Healthy
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How To Know When Your Hamster’s Fully Grown – All Breeds
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They can reach between 5-8 inches in length, which is 13-20 cm. Some hamsters may grow even larger than that, by a couple of inches/cm, but those cases are rare. A few traits of adult Syrian hamsters: Their markings become clear just before they reach maturity. If they’ve got any darker fur, it will start to show around that time The males’ rear ends will become very large, bulging almost. That is where their testicles are, and you will see them often. The females will come into regular heat – about every 4 days. You’ll notice them smelling a bit muskier, and they will squeak and hiss if they sense a male hamster. The average lifespan of a Syrian hamster is 2-3 years, in captivity. They are close to old age when they reach their second birthday, and will start to become slower and have trouble eating and moving around as they reach that age. When is a Roborovski Dwarf fully grown ? A Roborovski hamster is a Russian Type, and he will be fully grown around the 3 month mark as well. 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They usually live around 2 years in captivity, but can live a few months past 2 years in the right conditions. A Campbell’s Dwarf can be recognized by the white belly, and grey-brown fur on their backs, with a much darker stripe going down their backs. When is a Chinese Dwarf fully grown ? Chinese hamsters, while not truly Dwarf types, are still much smaller than the Syrian type. A Chinese hamster will become fully grown when he is about 2-3 months old. The hamster can breed before he reaches that point, though. As for size, the Chinese is larger than most Dwarf types, but smaller than the Syrian. So a fully grown Chinese hamster will be around 3-5 inches/8-13 cm, plus their 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. The long tail, and the more slender, long-ish figure of the hamster can make it look a lot like mouse to many people. Given their natural coloring – a sort of brown with a dark stripe down their back – this can be forgiven. Average lifespan for the Chinese hamster is around 2 years in captivity, but it’s not very well documented in the wild. When is a Siberian/Winter white fully grown ? A Siberian, or Winter White, is a type of hamster that does belong to the Dwarf type. They are fully grown at about 3 months of age, and can breed about 4-5 weeks of age. The Siberian hamster can grow up to 3-4 inches/8-11 cm, and are actually among the easiest to tame hamsters. Their fur can change, depending on temperature and season. A Winter white is called such because in the wild, its color changes to mostly white. During the summer or warmer season, the color can be a very dark grey, with a stripe going down the hamster’s back. (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.) When to separate baby hamsters Separating your hamsters when they’re babies will spare you a lot of troubles, starting with surprise litters and ending with vicious fights between siblings. So generally, the best time to separate the hamsters into all male and all female groups is when their mother finishes weaning them. This is usually around 4 weeks after the babies are born, and you’ll notice the mother starting to push the babies away if they want to nurse. You can find much more info now how to properly separate the baby hamsters into gender-specific groups here, as well as how to handle them. Do take care when the mother has just given birth, since she is easy to startle. A startled, or scared, or stressed out mother can abandon or even eat her babies. Here’s how to make sure your baby hamsters survive, as well as how to make sure the mother is safe and calm during the birth and raising the babies. The right cage for a fully grown hamster Your hamster might see so very small when you first get him. That’s the small size they will not keep, as you’ve just found out. Baby hamsters need adult-sized cages. This is partly because they grow very quickly, and once they do grow they will feel cramped in a cage that is too small for them. These 5 hamster cages are great picks, depending on what kind of hamster you have. A cage that is too small for your hamster can lead him to a lot of stress, and feeling irritable most of the time. This can lead to a lot of unwanted behaviors, like chewing the bar cages, and even fighting with their cage mates. The minimum cage size for an adult Syrian hamster is 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. I’d recommend this to be the size cage you get for your Dwarf type as well, since all hamsters will feel better in a bigger cage, if they have one available. Always get your hamster a bigger cage, even if they look so small they need a large amount of floor space. Best to read this article on what to know before getting a cage for your hamster, and how to properly care for it. For the Dwarf types I recommend a glass tank, since they can easily escape through the bars of a wire cage. You’ll find info on the glass tank as well in that article. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for here, and can figure out when your hammy is fully grown. For example when I was a baby I was orange all over, with a bit of faded white on my belly. When I got older I started showing my darker grey markings, and my owners thought I was dirty at first ! So if you want to know more about your hammy, you can read the articles below. You can find out how much water we need, and why we’re sometimes scared of you, and even what food is safe for us. [...] Read more...
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?
Hamster vs Gerbil – Which Is A Better Pet For You ?Wondering what to choose between a hamster and a gerbil ? After all, they’re both so very cute and cuddly, but you can’t keep them both. But which should you choose ? Let’s see some details about each pet, so you can make a wise decision. If you want to know how a hamster would do if he were living with a gerbil, then you should read this article here. Table of Contents ToggleIs a rodent a good pet for you ?About the hamsterAbout the gerbilThe hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a groupCage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbilFood and treats for the hamster and the gerbilHealth problems the two can getA word from Teddy Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Before we go any further, you need to ask yourself this question. Is a rodent a good pet for you ? Both the hamster and the gerbil are rodents, they’re both very small and agile, and not easy to catch once they’ve escaped. As rodents, they need plenty of wood to chew on – their teeth never stop growing and need to be filed down constantly. They will love to hide and spend lots of time digging, burrowing, and generally not being noticeable. After all, these poor souls have always been food for other, larger animals. It’s their instinct to hide and taming them can take a while. Very important: if you have children, especially if they’re very young and they’re begging you to get them a hammy or a gerbil, watch out. Both of these pets are too fragile and high-maintenance for a child. The cleaning, taming, and often even the playing will be passed onto you. Not every child is like this, I know, but a hamster is not a puppy. A hamster or a gerbil can’t be handled like a puppy or a grown cat, and can’t match the child’s energy, nor the appetite for play. They’re very sensitive creatures. Still, if this kind of pet sounds alright for you (it did for me), whether you have kids or not, then by all means go and get yourself either a hamster or a gerbil. They’ll bring countless moments of ”awwww” and ”ooooh” to your life, starting with how cute they look when they sleep, and ending with the odd sounds they can make sometimes. Now let’s see about each pet, so you know which would be the best for you. About the hamster Hamsters are very small, fluffy creatures. There are 5 types of hamsters you can choose from, and none of them ever grow very large. They all would fit in the palm of your hand, even as adults. Those 5 types are: Syrian hamsters – the biggest of the bunch, and the most common as a pet. Dwarf types – Roborovski, Campbell, Djungarian hammies. Half the size of a Syrian. Chinese hamsters, sometimes called Chinese Dwarf hammies. The easiest to confuse with a gerbil, since they have a bit of a tail. Hamsters come from the general, wide area of south Turkey, Syria, Mongolia, northern China, Russia, Siberia. That’s an area with not much vegetation going on, and most of it is a sort of desert, either a hot sandy one (Syria and Turkey) or a cold, tundra type. Hamsters have adapted to eat mostly grains and a few veggies, maybe an insect or two. They don’t need much water, and they usually live alone. The Dwarf types can tolerate another of their own species, if it’s a sibling and they still might fight sometimes. They’re mostly nocturnal, as pets. So getting a hamster would mean you might miss him if you go to bed around 10 PM and wake up early to go to work or school. In terms of shape, hamsters are short, stocky little creatures. The Dwarf types look like they have no neck at all, while the Syrians have a distinct teddybear-like face. About the gerbil Gerbils are, for the most part, hard to tell apart from a hamster. Especially if you’ve never had to tell the difference between them very often. The main difference is that gerbils have a long tail, longer than the Chinese hamster’s tail. And their hind legs are longer and thinner, since they do a lot of standing and jumping. Gerbils come from roughly the same area as hamsters. Mostly Mongolia and northern China. As such they might resemble the Dwarf hamsters, who come from there as well. As a difference though, gerbils live in colonies and they don’t do well on their own. They need company to enjoy themselves, and they don’t like being alone. Another difference is that gerbils aren’t exactly nocturnal, rather they sleep in patches and seem to be always awake. Gerbils do a lot of digging, more than hamsters actually. So their cage would need to be filled up with more bedding, so they can tunnel away as much as they like. Food for gerbils is very similar to the food for hamsters: mostly grains, a bit of fruit and veg, and a bit of protein if they can catch it. In terms of what their bodies do and what they need for a happy life, hamsters and gerbils do not need very different things. Except for 2 things, which if you get wrong, it can be very bad. (If you like this article so far, you can pin it to your Pinterest board by clicking the image below. The article continues after the image.) The hamster lives alone, the gerbil loves a group One of the things you need to know about, and the most dangerous to get wrong, is the social aspect of these pets. You see hamsters and gerbils are fundamentally opposites in terms of being social. Hamsters like to be on their own, they will not share anything. Even the Dwarf types, which you can sometimes manage to raise successfully in a same-sex pair, will argue often. To a degree that’s normal, but even so it puts much stress on the hamster. A gerbil on the other hand will not like being alone. Much like guinea pigs, gerbils need to be kept in pairs, at the very least. A lone gerbil will become depressed and lose his appetite. A human, while entertaining, will never be able to supplement the attention of another gerbil. After all, we don’t speak gerbil very well, do we ? So, please remember. A hamster should always be alone, a gerbil should always have a buddy. A buddy means either 3 females, or 2 males. Or anything over that number, since it will benefit them to be in a larger number. That will mean a larger cage though, so take care how many gerbils you get. Cage, toys, and bedding for the hamster and the gerbil Now when it comes to housing a hamster, that can be fairly easy. A cage big enough for a hamster will be a minimum of 24 x 12 inches, and about 12 inches tall. That’s 61 x 30.5 cm, and about 30.5 cm tall. That’s a cage big enough for a Syrian, although I recommend it for Dwarf type as well. Hamsters, like gerbils, will always pick a bigger cage if they can. Close quarters can make them stressed and nippy. A pair of gerbils would need a 12 x 20 inch cage, which is 30 x 51 cm. Not that very different from a Syrian cage. Still if you can afford to go for a bigger cage, do so. This is the second thing that needs to be done a certain way, otherwise your gerbils won’t be happy. While they do enjoy each other’s company, they also enjoy some space to run around in and have fun. Now, a good cage that would fit either a single hamster, or two gerbils is this one. It will provide air and lots of ventilation, being a wire cage. It’s also got a second level, which the gerbils or hamster can use as they wish, and it adds extra floor space. The wires in the cage are close together so that neither a gerbil nor a Dwarf hamster would be able to escape. And it’s got enough of a bottom to fill with bedding, so your gerbils have something to tunnel through. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the cage, both the gerbils and the hamster will need plenty of toys and objects in their cage. This means silly things like a cardboard tube can be amazing for them, since they both love to tunnel and they will stick their faces everywhere they can fit it. You can make most toys at home, with a bit of cardboard and creativity. For example an egg carton, with a few holes cut into it is going to be the best hide and seek toy ever. It just won’t last very long, since both the hamster and the gerbils will chew at them often. Some toys, like the exercise wheel, will need to be bought. This is mostly because the wheel needs to be silent, and run smooth, without a hitch. A tail and foot guard is welcome, and gerbil tails are not meant to get caught in anything. So an exercise wheel with just rungs, or wire mesh is not alright for gerbils. A solid-floored one, with not gaps for the little guys to catch their feet or tails on is great. One such example is this one, a 9 inch/23 cm wide wheel which is both silent and solid. No tails or feet caught in this one, and it’s easy to spin both by a small Dwarf, and by a Syrian. Gerbils are alright in it too, and their tails will stay safe as well. You can check the listing on Amazon here, and see it for yourself. Aside from the wheel and the toys the cage will need bedding and a hideout. I recommend you get a wooden hideout, since these two pets will chew at everything, including their nest. As for the bedding, it can be wood shavings or paper bedding. Stay away from wood pellets, since they’re too hard for hamsters and gerbils. If you get wood shavings, make sure you keep away from cedar and pine since their strong aroma can choke the rodents. Food and treats for the hamster and the gerbil In terms of food, these two eat mostly the same things. Both are alright with grains, in fact it’s what they eat most of the time. Fruits are welcome, although some should be avoided – like citrus for example, or apple cores and peels. Vegetables are good for them as well, just keep them away from onion, garlic, leek, and other such veggies. Best to ask before you feed your hamster or gerbils anything new. Nuts and peanuts are a favorite among these guys, so they will enjoy the treat. Just stay away from sweets, saucy foods, spicy foods, or any kind of condiments at all. Their tiny bodies can’t process those things, and they often end up with digestive problems. For the most part hamsters and gerbils have the same foods and treats. Often they’re put on the same packaging to make things very clear. Health problems the two can get Their health problems are mostly the same. Both rodents need their teeth constantly filed down, otherwise they just grow too large. So dental problems can be a big deal, whether it’s overgrown teeth or infected broken teeth, or another problem. Ear and hearing problems can arise as well, and so can eye problems. Tumors and lumps are a topic that is common for hamsters and gerbils, actually for rodents in general. Most of the problems can be easily solved by a vet, but you will need a specific one. You’ll need to look for an ”exotics” vet, who has experience with rodents, reptiles, and birds. If you just look to a small pet vet, he might only be able to help with pets as small as cats. Normally hamsters have a 2-4 year lifespan, depending on their type. The Robo Dwarf lives the longest (2 years) while the Chinese lives a shorter life, about 2 years. Gerbils on the other hand have been known to live up to 5 years in captivity. So whichever one you choose as a pet, make sure you have the time and willingness to take care of them properly. A word from Teddy I hope you found what you were looking for in this article. I know us hamsters are easy to confuse with gerbils, but we’re actually sort of cousins, twice removed. If you want to know more about us hamsters you should check out the related articles below. You’ll learn how to keep us safe and happy, and what we need for a good life. [...] Read more...
4 Differences Between Syrian And European Hamster
4 Differences Between Syrian And European HamsterAre you looking for the perfect hamster pet ? Then perhaps you’ve heard there are several species, and two of the best known are European and Syrian hamster. While they do look similar, one of them is completely unsuited to be a pet, even if it is a cute furball like the other one. I’ve decided to write this article because there are a lot of people confusing those two when they see images of hamsters, which is understandable since they look so similar. Let’s take a look at their key differences and why they matter.  Table of Contents ToggleWhat are Syrian hamsters ?What are European Hamsters ?1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamsterCan you keep a European hamster as a pet ?Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ?Conclusion What are Syrian hamsters ? Syrian hamsters are a type of rodent (family Cricetidae, species Mesocricetus auratus), that is native to northern Syria and southern Turkey. Its habitat in the wild is greatly reduced and it is now classed as an endangered species (in the wild). In captivity however, these are by far the most popular hamster pets and are not endangered at all (as pets).  The captive Syrian hamsters you see (such as in pet shops) are the result of hundreds of generations of selective breeding, which brought about better traits (more docile, less aggressive) and a high variety of fur colors and markings. If you were to pick up a random wild Syrian hamster, it’d be very different from a pet.  I’ve had three hamsters so far, one Syrian (Teddy, he’s mentioned often on this site), and then Eggwhite (a white Syrian) after Teddy died of old age, and now Rocket after Eggwhite died of old age as well. Rocket is a dwarf hamster, specifically a Siberian hamster (light grey with white, fluffy paws and a dark stripe down her back).  I can attest that Eggwhite and Teddy were both very tame compared to Rocket, with Eggwhite the tamest of the bunch.  What are European Hamsters ? European hamsters are similar to Syrian hamsters, in that they’re also a rodent in the family Cricetidae, species Cricetus Cricetus. These hamsters are native to a wide habitat ranging from Central and East Europe to Russia and Central Asia. For reference, Syrian hamsters typically live far below where European hamsters live.  European hamsters are considered a critically endangered species, partly due to losing their habitat to agriculture, and partly because they are viewed as pests by farmers.  I’ve seen a European hamster personally once. It was in a local park in my city, and I saw it going in and out of its burrow at the root of a big tree. I took a few photos but they are very zoomed in because once I got close the hamster scampered into its home.  Not let’s do a more thorough comparison of European and Syrian hamsters.  1. European hamsters are much larger than Syrian hamsters The first and biggest difference between European and Syrian hamsters is their size. European hamsters are very large, for a hamster. They’re the size of an adult guinea pig, while adult Syrian hamsters are a bit smaller than your computer mouse.  This difference in size should be your biggest tip-off of what you’re looking at. A young European hamster will be the size of an adult Syrian hamster, and it’s very unlikely you’ll ever find one in a pet shop.  And because of this difference, if you were to try and keep a European hamster as a pet you’d need a far larger cage with very strong wires. More than you’d need if you had a Syrian hamster, who also needs a large cage to begin with. See here about how big or small their cage needs to be.  2. Syrian hamsters can be tamed, European hamsters cannot Both Syrian hamsters and European hamsters have been kept in laboratories to be studied, and also be used for various studies. One thing scientists have noted: European hamsters do not get more docile or tame, even on their second or third generation in captivity. This is opposed to Syrian hamsters, who tend to be the most docile and less aggressive of any hamster species. It is true that the vast majority of Syrian hamsters you find for sale are all descended from a single female and her offspring, back in 1930. It’s possible that the one female had a gene that made her more docile, and her offspring inherited that gene as well, allowing for more and more docile hamsters as time went on.  Even so, it’s clear that European hamsters would make a very aggressive pet, and definitely not something suitable for children or possibly even adults. 3. European hamsters tend to be dark brown, Syrians golden-orange There is a big difference in color when it comes to European and Syrian hamsters. European hamsters share a similar template with the Syrian’s classic look: white feet and hands, and white spots on the cheeks and mouth. But where Syrian hamsters are a golden orange color, European hamsters are a dark brown-reddish color.  Syrian hamsters have been bred for so many generations that their potential for different coats has been discovered. You can get Syrians in any color you can think of, with or without spots, without white feet or hands, and even with varying lengths of fur. The original gold and white fur were the best ones for blending into their surroundings, but it wasn’t the only one they were capable of.  European hamsters come in just one style, the one most suited to their environment. If they were to be bred for several generations you’d probably see a change in their color patterns as well. 4. Both European hamsters and Syrian hamsters are very territorial, they will fight any hamster If there’s one thing European and Syrian hamsters absolutely share, it’s their dislike of other hamsters. All hamsters are territorial and should never be kept in the same pen as another hamster. Syrian and European hamsters can and will attack their siblings in an attempt to claim a territory for their own. The result is often deadly so I recommend you don’t put two hamsters in the same cage ever, regardless of their species. Not even if they grew up together.  Can you keep a European hamster as a pet ? No, European hamsters cannot be kept as pets. They are very difficult to spot in the wild, let alone capture. Few were captured and any attempts at taming them (and their offspring) have failed.  Their much larger size (about as big as an adult guinea pig) makes any potential bite or scratch much more dangerous than one from a Syrian hamster (much smaller). That’s very unfortunate since they are super cute furballs and they might be as funny as a Syrian hamster, but just bigger. You would need a huge cage for them since even regular hamsters require quite big cages to be able to do all their workout routine, they are super active and need space. Is a Syrian hamster a good pet ? Syrian hamsters make good pets only for those who have the patience to get to know their pet, understand and respect their habits, and are gentle enough when handling them. They are mostly active at night but will occasionally come out during the day too. They tend to be shy, and you can’t play with them as you would with a puppy. You can hold a Syrian hamster, but not for very long. They have a bit of patience, the most out of all hamster species, but they will not sit in one place for more than a few seconds. If it’s in your hands it will want to wiggle out and keep moving. If they get frustrated they can bite in an attempt to escape your hands.  However, even if you are unlucky and you get one hamster that is not calm or willing to play, one extra benefit of pet hamsters are that they are incredibly funny and cute, so you will not get bored even if you don’t get to touch the little furball too much. Here is one of my articles where I listed 12 reasons why hamsters can be super cute and funny. No hamster is a good pet for a young child (under 9 years old), not even a Syrian hamster. If you’re looking for a companion, something to cuddle, take on walks, and even play with, a hamster is not the answer. Conclusion Syrian and European hamsters are similar enough to confuse them sometimes, but they have quite different personalities. Despite this, neither of them likes sharing their space with another individual, so they should be kept separate. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between a Syrian and a European hamster, for an untrained eye they are not as noticeable so it’s easy to confuse them, however you will never get to see a European hamster at your pet shop, so if you think of buying a hamster you will have to get a Syrian hamster, which is the best choice anyway. If you plan to buy a hamster, here is an article that will help you understand the real cost of owning a hamster, the cage is the most expensive thing you will ever buy for the hamster but the hamster itself should not cost too much. [...] Read more...
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To Do
4 Reasons Your Hamster Is Trying To Escape – And What To DoHamsters escaping are never good news . So the best thing to do is to prevent your hamster from escaping in the first place. But for that, we need to figure out why hamsters try to escape in the first place. This is what I’ve done with my Teddy, and how it can help you too. This can be applied for all hamster types, and I’ll tell you where things need to be different for each of them. Table of Contents ToggleSo why does your hamster try to escape ?Hamsters are very curious and want to exploreMost hamsters are very active and will be all over the placeHamsters need more space than you’d thinkA scared hamster will try to escapeA word from Teddy So why does your hamster try to escape ? Some hamsters adapt to their home, some don’t. But generally hamsters try to escape when they don’t feel comfortable in their home. If they feel threatened, or like they don’t have enough space, or if they’re constantly tormented by kids or other pets. Since hamsters are very quiet creatures, easy to scare, they can get uneasy in their homes. So make sure that any other pets in the house leave the hamster alone, by separating the hamster in a different room. If it’s the children who are always on the hamster when it would need rest, or they keep scaring the hamster, that is an entire talk you need to have with them, that I am not entitled to guide here. But the children need to give the small animal his own space, and understand that it won’t always want to play. Alright, now let’s talk about some common reasons that your hamster could be trying to escape, and how to prevent those. Hamsters are very curious and want to explore Despite being easy to scare and sometimes too shy, hamsters are curious. They want to know everything that goes on, and will pop their heads out to see see what you’re doing. So sometimes you might see your hammy all over the place, climbing the cage walls as well, to try to get to what is happening. Sometimes he might chew the bars in frustration that he can’t get to it. If that is the case, make sure you give the hamster plenty of attention. If it’s suitable, then you can bring the action to the hamster. Like if you’re chopping carrots, you can give him a fresh new piece to sate him and his curiosity. An example is when I make evening tea. I usually set the mug on the kitchen counter, which is where I keep Teddy at night. He’s always curious what I have there, and I bring the mug close to him so he can smell the tea. Once he gets a few whiffs he figures it’s not that interesting and starts doing something else. Or when you notice your hamster very focused on trying to reach something outside the cage, distract him with a treat on the other side of the cage. Also remove the distraction, or move the cage. Most hamsters are very active and will be all over the place Sometimes it might seem like he’s trying to escape, but he’s just being a hamster. Rodents in general, and especially hamsters, live a very fast-paced life. They climb their cage, they run around, they will chew on everything. So it’s not something that you should worry about, but it is something you should keep an eye on. Make sure your hamster has enough toys to keep him entertained – like bendy bridge, a hide and seek tube, lots of hiding places. And most importantly make sure you keep your hamster well exercised. That means a hamster wheel, for him to run in. The minimum for Syrian hamsters is 9 inches/23 cm diameter wheel. The smaller breeds like Siberian o Campbell can do with smaller wheels like 6-7 inches/15-18 cm but I recommend getting them a larger wheel as well. This is to prevent back injuries and keep the hamster from feeling too confined. A few things to keep in mind when looking for the hamster’s exercise wheel can be found here. Also, an exercise ball for when he is outside the cage will help greatly. Your hamster can explore the house, and will learn the smells and sounds of it as well. As well as run as much as his heart tells him to. Just be sure to keep the ball away from other pets when the hamster is inside. A few considerations for a hamster exercise ball can be found here. For exercise balls the same space requirements apply as the exercise wheel. Hamsters need more space than you’d think The cage your hamster lives in needs to be a certain size. The absolute minimum for Syrian hamsters is 24 inches by 12 inches in floor space. That’s 61 cm by 30.5 cm for your hamster to run in. But I do recommend getting a cage with more space than that. Siberian and other small breeds of hamsters far well in smaller cages than Syrians, but with hamsters you should always get a bigger cage than you’d first think. (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.) Keep in mind that most of the cages you find in stores are too small for Syrians, and the accessories that come with them are too small as well. The best cages for Syrians are actually the ones that are suited for ferrets or chinchillas or guinea pigs. But there the space between bars is a problem because the Syrian can escape through them. Giving your hamster a lot of space to run around and play is going to keep him much happier, and he will want to escape much less. In general hamsters need a wide and low cage, instead of one with many levels, but they can enjoy those too. The distance between the cage wires is important, since the hamster can squeeze through them. If they can get their head through, they can get their body through as well. So for Syrians the wire distance should be 0.4 inches/1 cm or smaller, so they can’t get their head through. Siberians and smaller breeds need much less space between the wires. Actually, for the small breeds it’s best to get n glass tank with a wire mesh over the top. My Teddy has a 21 inch by 12/53 cm by 30.5 with 2 extra floors, which give him about double that running space. He has bridges connecting the floors and a thick layer of bedding in case he falls. If your want to know more about what kind of cage to get your hammy, look here to know how to choose a hamster cage. I cover the 3 main types of cage, as well as how to clean the 3 kinds of cages. A scared hamster will try to escape If there is something bothering or even scaring your hamster consistently, he will try to escape. He will try to run as far away as possible, and will keep escaping if you bring him back. This is a case where cage size and temperature and food quality does not matter. So watch your hamster for a few days, and see what keeps spooking him. Pets, kids, lawnmowers, visiting aunts, it could be anything. Find the reason, and figure out a way to keep your hamster safe. An idea would be to keep the hamster in a different room, where nothing can bother him and he can sleep peacefully. This way pets like a very curious cat won’t be able to paw at the poor hamster. If the hamster is scared of you, the owner, then you need to build trust with him. Let him get used to you, let him know your smell, and do not rush him. Check the article on how to tame your hamster. Place your hand into his cage, with a treat on it. He will come to take the food, but possibly run away after that. It’s okay, it’s a step forward. Repeat this every day until your hamster trusts you to touch your hand. From there, small steps towards holding your hamster in your hand, inside the cage. Talk to your hamster, even if he doesn’t understand the words he understands the tone. He knows a friendly tone from a harsh one. A word from Teddy This was about why we hammies try to escape, but really it’s about how you can help us lead a better life with you. A happy hamster might try to escape sometimes, since we are a curious and energetic bunch. But if you keep us well exercised, and with lots of toys and love, we’ll stick around. If you want to know more about hamsters, and why we throw our poop around or the best way to feed us, check the articles below. You’ll get lots of great info on hamster care ! [...] Read more...