Category Archives: Hamster owner faq’s

ways to keep a hamster warm

10 Ways To Help A Hamster Stay Warm

During the winter time it can get pretty cold for a hamster.

Often when they get cold they can resort to a type of hibernation where they retreat to their nests and don’t come out unless its for food.

This is a type of self preservation which is in built within their character which helped them to survive in the wild.

They are very sensitive to the cold and will try and protect themselves if they start getting uncomfortable.

But there are some things you can do to prevent them from resorting to hibernation and improve their quality of life during the winter time.

1. Avoid windowed areas

Having a hamster cage by a window is not such a good idea when it gets colder. Windowed areas are naturally colder and so your hamster will feel it as the temperature drops. Even if you have double glazed windows the cold will still affect your hamster although not as much as single glazed will.

2.Move the cage to a warmer and less drafty place

Consider moving the hamster cage to another part of your home or apartment away from windows. They will benefit from being in a warmer area of your home and won’t hide away so much trying to keep warm.

3. Get thicker curtains

As way to solve this is to get thicker curtains in the house to keep the area more insulated. Thicker curtains serve to keep the heat in better than most regular curtains plus there are all types you can purchase that will do the job well.

4. Put rolled up towels on the window sills

If your windows are a problem and it is not an option to move the cage then an option is to put rolled up towels on the window sills. This may help to keep a lot of the cold air from coming in and insulate the window a but more.

5. Get a hidey home or igloo for your hamster

As a matter of course, there should be a hidey home or igloo inside the cage where your hamster can retreat to. This is somewhere where they can also keep out of the cold and a place that is warm and snug for them.

Fill the hidey home or igloo with tissue. This can be kitchen roll or toilet paper. It can also be other tissue that is purchased from a pet store as well. Stuff the Hut full of it.

You can also leave it outside the hut for them to do what they like with it. They naturally move it around and take it where they like. They are very proactive and innovative creatures.

6. Use different bedding for your hamster

Other material they can use for bedding includes hemp wood chips. The great thing about hemp is that it is popular with hamsters, has little to no dust and looks good on the eye as well. It also tends to produce a more natural environment for them as well.

7. Use plenty of substrate

Talking of bedding, make sure you have plenty of substrate laid down for them to burrow and make nests in. This is one of their most favorite things to do and burrowing is a natural way for them to protect themselves from the cold.

A thick layer of four to five inches will be really beneficial for them, if a bit expensive and messy for you.

8. Get a space heater

Consider putting a space heater in the room where they are to keep it warm and comfortable for them. However, don’t let it get too hot otherwise they will suffer in silence.

9. Purchase a heat pad.

These can be brought from Amazon or any good pet store and are animal proof. You can purchase heat pads that can be warmed in a microwave and then be put on top of a cage or underneath it. Only use them sparingly though.

10. Use a hot water and put it on top of the cage

Take a hot water bottle, fill it up with hot water and put it on top of their cage. Make sure it is leak proof and cannot be touched by the hamster so they can chew through it. You can also put a cover on it to help them.

 

my hamster chews the bars

Why Does My Hamster Chew The Bars?

The thing you might notice about owning a hamster is that they are very keen on chewing things.

They will chew things all day and all night long.

This is because they need to keep grinding their teeth down otherwise they will cause they agony.

They will look to chew their cage and often chew their way out by chewing the base or the bars.

You may see them doing this or may not.

Often they do this at night and if their cage is situated near to your sleeping quarters, you may hear them gnawing away.

So why does my hamster chew the bars of their cage?

If you find that your hamster is gnawing the cage bars then it is often that they need food or attention.

Hamsters need attention from their owners each and every day.

This means taking them out of their cage and putting them in an exercise ball or by snuggling them to you.

Due to the fact that hamsters can’t stop chewing their cage bars then make sure that the cage bars aren’t toxic at all.

Make sure that the cage doesn’t have a plastic or wood as these materials can be chewed through easily.

A glass cage such as an aquarium is much better for them that has a secure wire top on it so that they can’t escape.

It means that they can’t chew through it and wont be able to climb up to the wire top to chew that.

Otherwise, give them plenty of alternatives to chew on.

Lots of toilet roll tubes, chew toys and also lots of food for them to eat.

They may just be hungry or bored so do look and experiment with different things to keep your hamster entertained.

They will appreciate it and this may end the biting of the cage bars.

 

can hamsters understand human language at all

Can Hamsters Understand Human Language?

Getting to know your hamster is one of the first things we do as pet owners.

It is how we get to understand;

  1. Who they are and what they do.
  2. How they do things and the way they live out their lives.
  3. We want hamsters to understand us as well.

Often I can talk to my hamster and he looks blankly up at me wanting to understand what I am saying to him.

So this brings up an interesting question.

Can hamsters understand human language at all?

The answer to this is no unfortunately.

Naturally. they can’t understand human language but there is something they can do.

They can learn to pick up things in what we say, even though they may not understand totally what we are saying.

They can learn to pick up triggers in our behavior, tone of voice and sounds that we make.

If you interact with other animals such as dogs or cats you may notice that they can react to the way we as humans communicate to them.

Just like we do, they can associate with what’s being communicated to them, such as when you want them to come to you.

It’s the same with hamsters.

If you use their name often enough around them they can get used to this and naturally adapt to it.

Hamsters will pick up on the syllables, the tone and the voice you use when calling to them.

If you use soft tones and don’t speak harshly to them, they will respond well to what you saying and will grow to know and trust you.

They will feel comfortable being around you and  will eventually let you pick them up.

So the more you speak to them, the more your hamster will understand you.

They will enjoy your company and the attention you give to them.

Who knows, maybe they will come to understand some of the language you are using.

So keep talking to your hamster, do it daily and treat them like a friend.

If you do this, your hamster will respond to you in return!

Why is my hamster walking funny

Why is my hamster walking funny?

If you see your hamster hobbling around their cage in a manner that is unusual then this post if for you.

Why is my hamster walking funny?

If you find that your hamster is walking in a funny way that you haven’t seen before.

This can suggest that there maybe some kind of issue with a damaged limb or muscle.

Hamsters can injure themselves if they fall awkwardly or have pulled a muscle.

Just because they are quite agile creatures doesn’t mean they are not prone to injury.

If you notice anything like this has happened to your hamster then it is best to get them to a veterinary surgeon as soon as you can to get them checked out.

A veterinary surgeon will be able to properly diagnose the issue and identify the root cause.

Whilst you are awaiting an appointment to the see them.

Make sure that your hamster gets as much rest as possible.

Put plenty of bedding down, make sure they are in a warm environment.

You can do this by removing all temptation to run around.

So take out the hamster wheel and maybe seal off any tunnels and remove toys they would be tempted to play with.

Remove Shelving that they could be tempted to jump off as well.

Make sure they are well fed and have plenty of water.

The more rest and feeding they get the more chance they have of healing.

It is also a good idea to check their poop to ensure that it is the same color and size as normal.

 

Why is my hamster's food bowl always empty

Why Is My Hamster’s Food Bowl Always Empty?

If you have had a hamster for a short amount of time, you may have the following question going through your mind:

Why is my hamster’s food bowl always empty?

Hamsters are hungry creatures.

They are always on the look out for food.

They are creatures who are natural scavengers and so are very used to hunting and gathering.

This is something they are used to doing at night under the cover of darkness.

This is so as to keep away from the watchful eyes of predators.

The way they scavenge is to take the goods they get and to store it whilst on the run.

They can do this effectively by storing it in their cheeks.

They do this to this day and you may see your hamster’s head balloon in size because of this

This is the reason that if you go to the hamsters food bowl and it is empty even after you have just put food in.

They have most likely put it all in their cheeks and taken it to be stashed away in their nest.

The next time you put our food for them it is worth waiting around and observing what they do with it.

I noted this and did this and saw that my hamster was putting all the food in his cheeks.

He then stored it either in his nest or in the tunnels  of his cage.

This presents another issue of food sitting around and going stale.

Whilst this isn’t a big health issue for them you may wish to do spot cleans of their cage .

This enables you to pick up the stale food you you notice.

Why is my hamster's food bowl always empty

What Do Hamsters Like To Do?

Hamsters are one of the best pets you can own and also one of the most popular as well.

They are great pets to have due to their self sufficiency, their pleasant demeanor.

They also have unbelievable cuteness and are very inexpensive to look after.

The are solitary creatures who spend most of the day sleeping and become active during the evening and at the night.

Plus, if they are cared for properly, they make great family pets.

As pet owners its important to get to know your hamster and to understand their character, nature and activity.

This knowledge makes it easier to look after them and ensure they are given the care that they need.

Plus, it will also help to understand what they are up to at any particular time.

So what do hamsters like to do?

Here are six activities that a hamster likes to do.

Hamsters like to climb

Like many rodents, hamsters like to climb.

It is part of their energetic and inquisitive nature.

They have the ability to climb up onto objects and even climb upside down.

The nature of their paws and claws mean they can attach themselves to objects including cage bars and even climb upside down.

I have even seen them hang from two paws.

Their agile body means they are well built for climbing.

So if you see them climbing up their cage bars then don’t be alarmed.

They are just enjoying themselves.

Hamsters love to explore

As mentioned above, hamsters are inquisitive animals.

Hamsters love to explore new things and new environments.

They love to move around and a healthy hamster will not stay still during their active times for more than a second.

They use their whiskers to check things out as well their very keen sense of smell.

Their eyes also help them to look around due to their position on the side of their head.

So if you see them sniffing objects and running from place to place, then this is very much part of their nature.

It is also a good sign that all is well with them.

Hamsters love to dig

As prey animals, hamsters have a natural ability to dig into the earth with their paws.

Their sleek body has adapted over the centuries to this activity meaning they have the ability to dig at a rapid pace.

Using this ability, they can get away from predators, build themselves homes, keep their young safe in the wild and store food.

Given the opportunity they will take any opportunity to dig.

This is why it is important to provide them with plenty of wood shavings and bedding so that they can dig in their cage.

I usually provide at least an inch of shavings on the cage floor, if not more.

My Syrian hamster will then play with it and move it to other parts of the cage so it can create a pile that he can dig into.

He will even create a nest in there and will prefer staying in his prepared nest to his hidey home that we purchased him.

So give your hamster plenty of opportunity to dig, they absolutely love doing it and will relish the opportunity to do so.

Hamsters love to forage

Hamsters relish any opportunity to forage.

It is another characteristic of being a prey animal.

They have a conscious need to store food for a later date as they are cautious animals and typically they don’t know when they are going to eat again.

In the wild, they will go out at night under cover of darkness in order to gather food.

They have been known to run up to eight miles a night to do this.

Hamsters will then store it in their cheeks until they get back to their home where they will store it in a chamber or in the tunnels around it.

They still have this built in ability to do this and so often you may find food hidden in places around their cage so that they can retrieve it at a later date.

The trouble with this is that it can go stale and so will need to be retrieved by you often.

So a good spot clean of their cage on a daily basis will solve this.

However, if you want to leave them to it there is no harm in this.

If they don’t like the food when they come back to it they will just leave it.

In our Syrian hamster’s cage, he has tunnels to run about in and will often store food in them and come back to it later.

Hamsters love to hide

They will often seek out hiding spaces to get away from danger, loud noises or other things which they don’t like much.

They will relish the places that you give to them hide away from noise, light and danger.

If you don’t give them any, they will look to create them by themselves.

Again, this another characteristic of being a prey animal where they will retreat from any kind of danger that they sense.

They are also solitary animals and so this fits well with this characteristic.

Hamsters love to chew

They have teeth that are constantly growing.

As rodents they share this characteristic with mice, rats, gerbils, guinea pigs amongst other species of rodent.

They always need to be chewing and grinding their teeth down.

Otherwise, their teeth will cause them a great deal of pain as they are not ground down as they should be.

If this isn’t addressed, this can be very expensive due to the veterinary bills that this can cause.

So giving your hamster things to chew on constantly is a vital thing to do as a hamster owner.

Items such as wooden blocks, chew toys, cardboard tubing are good for leaving out for them to chew on.

If they have nothing to chew on, they will start chewing on things you don’t want them to chew on such as cage bars and plastic.

So do your hamster a favor and leave plenty for them to chew on and will relish the opportunity.

can hamsters swim

Can Hamsters Swim?

The ability to swim is something that comes naturally to most animals.

When faced with being plunged into water and either sinking into it or keeping afloat and getting to safety, most animals have the ability to find it within themselves to swim to safety.

Dog’s for instance will naturally do and it is something they are not taught to do.

They much prefer dry land and do not like being near water at all.

But if they were faced with water, can hamsters swim at all?

In their natural habitat, hamsters live in hot and dry environments.

They are used to these kinds of places where there isn’t much water around.

So they will not be used to any kinds of water when faced with it.

Like other animals, when faced with the danger of being plunged into water, they can swim.

They will stretch out their legs and then paddle with all their strength and try and keep their head above water as much as possible and try and find dry land as soon as they can.

So, yes hamsters can swim.

However, it is something they do not like to do at all.

When they are forced into water and challenged to swim, they will become extremely stressed.

When they are stressed this will harm the hamster.

A wet hamster is an unhappy hamster

Also, if the water is cold they could even catch a cold or worse still, pneumonia from being in the water.

This could be fatal for the hamster as they do not have the ability to deal with having cold and wet fur.

Their fur is their body’s protection from the elements and has protective oils that help to protect their body.

If their becomes compromised then this will detrimentally affect the hamster.

This also means that giving them a bath is also not a good idea.

In the same way as being plunged into water, their fur cannot naturally dry itself and even with your assistance to dry it.

Their body will not react well to water.

They are extremely good at keeping themselves clean without the aid of water.

They are naturally inclined to do this.

What about using water to wash themselves?

Hamsters will use other methods such as rolling around in a sand bath to rid themselves of any grease or dirt.

They have paws and a tongue to help them do this.

So if you see a video of a hamster swimming, it doesn’t mean it is enjoying itself.

The fact that some animals such as dogs absolutely love swimming doesn’t mean that other animals will.

Hamsters do not enjoy swimming and much prefer dry environments

If possible, keep them away from water, they will much prefer it and it will be much better for their health.

can hamsters swim

Can Hamsters See In The Dark?

For a new hamster owner, it can be difficult to know what kind of environment your hamster needs for their home.

They have many different requirements and taking all this in can be tricky.

So its important to understand what a hamster likes and does not like.

Also to understand what they are comfortable with and what they are not so comfortable.

For instance, are they comfortable with the lights on in a room or can they cope with the lights being off and being in darkness?

The question ‘can hamsters see in the dark?’ is easily answered, yes they can.

As rodents, hamsters are nocturnal animals.

Because of this, they have the ability to go about their activities during periods of darkness.

This is vital to the way they were able to survive in the wild.

Running around at night under the cover of darkness meant that they were able to escape detection from the many predators that were looking to attack them.

They would gather their food during these times and look to forage to look after their young,

Once day break came, they would retreat back to their burrows and sleep away from the detection of predators.

Because of the need to do things at night, they had to adjust their eyesight.

Being able to conduct their business at night meant that they needed to see where they were going.

This is no easy task and a learned skill which they have adapted to over the centuries.

It meant that they also had to adjust the times that they rested from night time to day time.

That doesn’t mean that they are not active during the day time.

Hamsters can wake in an instant and are always listening for danger or any kind of noise, even when they are asleep.

This ability to see in the dark is of great benefit for them and means that they have no problem with being left in total darkness.

In fact, they prefer it.

They have an ability to adjust to their environment whether in the light or darkness so do not be concerned if they are kept in darkness or daylight.

can hamsters understand human language at all

Do Syrian Hamsters Like Company?

Syrian hamsters are by far the most popular type of pet hamster.

Around the world they are the most populous and are enjoyed by many pet owners for their placidity and ease of ownership.

They aren’t known particularly for living with others.

So do Syrian hamsters like company of other hamsters or animals?

Syrian hamsters are in their nature, solitary creatures and like to live alone.

This means that they need to live alone and without the company of others even their own family.

If you happen to put two Syrian hamsters together they will fight unfortunately.

Many have been injured after being innocently put together in the same cage.

Putting two Syrian hamsters together is not impossible though.

However, they need to come from the same family and need to be kept together from birth and not be split up.

However, this is rare and it is difficult to find two Syrian’s that have been bred together and are still housed together.

There are other types of hamsters who prefer to be in pairs

If you would like to have two hamsters together then it is more advisable to go for another type such as a dwarf hamster like a Roborovksi, Chinese, Winter white or Russian Campbell.

These types of hamster are more social than Syrian hamsters and more accommodating to their own kind.

They quite happily live together and even raise their young together in large families.

Syrian hamsters’ are fiercely territorial and will defend his territory against intruders of his own and other species.

So why are Syrian’s solitary creatures?

Their behavior is purely instinctive and it stems from the way they live in the wild to their behavior in captivity.

The only time they come together is to mate and when this happens the female is in heat

Once they have mated, the female will leave the male and raise the young on her own.

She will have no further contact with the male.

Upon reaching adulthood, the syrian hamster  much be housed alone once they reach at least 6-8 weeks of age

If the pups are housed with their mother after 5 weeks from birth, then she may turn against them.

They enjoy their own company

So, if you have a Syrian hamster then it is much happier on its own than with any company.

No matter if you think it is lonely, it actually values being on its own and is quite happy in its own company.

It really isn’t recommended that you get it another Syrian to share its cage.

The Different Ways Hamsters Communicate

Looking down at your hamster in their cage it often difficult to work out what they might be saying.

Have you ever wondered what they might thinking or if they are things to say something to you?

As they don’t speak our language it’s pretty difficult to decider if they are trying to say something.

But there are clues we can look for to work out what they are trying to say to us. All animals communicate in some way.

It’s up to us to find out what it is they actually trying to say and whether we can communicate back to them as well.

Vocalizations and Body language

Hamsters use vocalizations and body language to communicate.

This is just like we do and they use these to express themselves.

Their emotions, fears, anxieties, and what they want.

They have learnt and evolved their own different way of getting what they want to say across to other.

Audible and Non-Audible

The ways hamsters communicate can be split into two camps. Either audible or non audible.

Audible in the sense that they can make sounds that can be heard by the human ear such as squeaking, squealing or using their teeth to click.

The non Audible which make up a lot of the hamsters communication techniques which can consist of anything from ultrasonic sound which is out of range for humans to leaving scent trails to stances they make.

It all serves to get across the point they want to make.

Squeaking or Squealing

Their main mentor of vocalization is by squeaking or squealing.

Depending on the situation they can either be squeaking in pain or distress or in delight and excitement.

When this happens it’s up to us to decider which way it is.

This normally indicates some sort of distress and the pitch of the squeak or squeal will give you a feeling of how the urgency of it.

They are very similar to us really in this effect.

For instance if you happen to crush a part of their body by accident the squeal will be very loud.

However they also use squeaking If they are hungry the squeak will be relatively soft.

Speaking in excitement and delight will usually involve the possibility of food or being let out for exercise.

This is also a good sign that things are good in your relationship with them as they know you and trust you as well.

It’s a sign that they getting more familiar with you as well

Chewing on bars

If you seen your hamster chewing on their bars or gnawing at plastic then this is a sigh that they are bored and un-stimulated.

It means that they are in need of some urgent attention.

Maybe take them out of their cage and give them some exercise or put some more food out for them.

If you see your hamster moving in a crouched manner walking slower than they do usually.

This is a sign that they are in pain and need some veterinary attention.

When they are unwell they don’t necessarily let you know about it and keep quiet about being sick.

So you need to watch out for signs like this.

Yawning

If you see your hamster yawning then unlike humans this isn’t a sign that your hamster is tired.

Instead it is actually a signal that they are feeling relaxed and stretching out their body.

They will be feeling happy and calm at this moment.

If they are stretching the rest of their body at this time then this is added proof that they are relaxed.

If you find them grooming themselves then this is also not just them cleaning and looking after themselves.

It is also a sign that they are feeling relaxed and pretty happy about things.

A good sign that all is well with your hamster.

Pressing their body against objects

If you see your hamster pressing their body against objects then this is a sign that they are marking their territory.

This is an act carried out by many animals to keep others away from it.

They do this using their scent glands which are located in the region of their hips.

The scent is pretty powerful to other animals and can be a marker of status for submissive and dominant hamsters.

Roborovski and Syrian hamsters have scent glands that are paired on each hip.

Russian Campbell dwarf, Winter white and Chinese hamsters have six pairs of scent glands.

These are found on their genitals, belly and on their ears.

Chattering teeth

If they are chattering their teeth this is a sign that they want you to back off.

Other rodents such as guinea pugs use this method to tell their peers to go away.

It is pretty effective when used on other hamsters and will make any opponent wary.

If you one day you find the ears of your hamster are pointing backwards then this can also be saying that they are feeling lethargic as well.

They may also have their eyes half shut as well so it would be worth leaving them alone in this instance.

Clicking

Ever heard a hamster clicking?

These are caused by their front teeth rubbing together and is called bruxing.

Unlike the chattering of teeth when faced with another foe, if he are doing this when they alone then this actually them feeling content and relaxed.

They are just clicking their two incisors together in the upper and lower jaw.

Grooming and body washing

If you see a hamster grooming and body washing for a long time then they are feeling uncomfortable in after being given put in an unfamiliar area.

It is a nervousness which has translated into an expression of cleaning.

Some humans do it too!

What they are actually doing is to scent their paws and other areas of their body in preparation to mark their new territory.

Standing up tall

Even seen a hamster standing up tall on their hind legs with their ears standing in end and nose pointing upwards?

Then what this is showing is that something has sparked their attention and they are curious to find out what it is.

Mating Communication

When they are mating they will use auditory communication to let the other sex know what is happening.

These will be at different times depending on where in the cycle they are.

Male hamsters for instance will squeak when they have found a female hamster.

Female hamsters on the other hand will do so if they are in entrusted, are lactating, on shorter days, or if there isn’t a male in the vicinity.

Their breath

Did you know that hamsters can also recognize each other by their breathe?

This is where their powerful sense of smell comes into play.

When they live on packs this is an especially useful skill for them to use.