Category Archives: Hamster owner faq’s

how to handle an apprehensive hamster

How To Handle An Apprehensive Hamster

Picking up a hamster is not the easiest thing to do at the best of times.

As animals they do not take kindly to being touched if they are  not familiar with you.

Especially if you haven’t built a relationship where they feel that they can trust you to pick them up.



There are many reasons why you would want to pick a hamster up.

  • To start building relationship with them.
  • To move them out of the cage.
  • To show of them off to a friend maybe?

Biting, not good!

Having a hamster in your hands or scurrying up onto your shoulder when you are watching tv is a nice thing to happen as a hamster owner.

But having them bite you puts an end to that and can quickly build distrust between you and the hamster.

This is especially the case, if it ends up drawing blood and wounding you.

So how do you handle a hamster without them struggling

Especially if they are within your grasp and biting you or even suddenly lashing out at you?

Having a new hamster means giving them time to adjust to their new surroundings and especially their new owner.

They don’t know you either to smell or to listen to.

They will be scared and apprehensive.

Any attempt to pick them up will be met with them scurrying to the nearest safe corner of the cage or their hidey home.



So it will take time to build trust with your hammy.

But some patience on your behalf will pay dividends as well as time invested spending with them.

The more they hear your voice, smell your scent and most importantly receive food from you will make them realize that you are someone that they can trust.

Putting food in their cage and letting them eat off your hand is an important way that you can build up trust between you and your hammy.

They get to smell your skin and see that you are a friendly soul that gives them what they are looking for.

If you can do this on a daily basis as often as you can, the quicker you can start to build up that trust.

The more you can touch them gently in this manner, the more trust that have in you.

Then when you start to attempt to pick them up it becomes easier to do so.

Because they know you better, they know who is picking them up .


As much as they let you, gently stoke the with with your finger very lightly to help them get to know your touch as well.

This is very helpful for them and helps you get to know what kind of touch that they will tolerate from you as well.

To attempt to pick them up start by cupping your hand palm side on and then scoop the up underneath their body.

This method means that your hamster will feel more secure and supported underneath their body.

 

So here goes…


Move gently and slowly being careful not to startle them.

Don’t try and be forceful.

If they don’t want to move into your hand and evade it.

Don’t chase them.

Try again later.

Don’t try and grab your hammy from the top or pinch their fur so as to hurt them.

They will let you know about it by squealing out in pain.

Return to the scooping method when you feel the time is right and in between keep feeding food to them out of your hand.

Once you are able to scoop them up, clasp them gently giving them room to breathe and move around in your hands.

You may not have much time with them before they try and make an escape.

So let them move around and then return them to the cage.

Try and do this on a daily basis and prolong the time you have with them increasing it daily.

 

If you do this gradually and patiently you’ll see the benefits of doing this overtime.

Your hamster will want to jump into your hand and enjoy spending time with you.

This is because they know you are going to treat them well and not do them any harm.

They will bite you if they feel threatened in any way and do this in defense.

But hopefully this will not happen because they will have learnt to trust you.

The only other time when then may bite you is if the accidentally mistake your finger for food.

But this only tends to happen at the start of a relationship when a hamster does not know your scent.

Especially if they think your fingers are food.

winter white dwarf hamsters together

How To Integrate Two Winter White Dwarf Hamsters Together

Winter white dwarf hamsters are a unique type of hamster famed for the coat of hair that they have.

Their scientific name is Phodopus sungorus sungorus and they one of the lesser common pet hamsters that are available today.

They are also called Djungarian hamsters, Siberian hamsters, or Siberian dwarf hamsters.

A bit of background about them

They are well loved amongst owners around the world however and retain their popularity.

Compared to other types of hamster such as Syrians, Winter white dwarf hamsters are normally more social creatures.

They are known for being able to get along with other Winter whites and even other types of hamster from time to time.

However this unfortunately is not an automatic given.

They still need supervising and even in a cage of limited size, fights can still break out between them.

They still remain quite guarded creatures and value their own space and territory.

So when another invades this space there are times when it does not go down too well.

This is especially the case with those types of winter white dwarf hamster who are unfamiliar with one another.

When they are not aware of each others scent this can cause them to become edgy and very wary of the other.

Unfortunately it can also cause them to injure each other due to being threatened by one another.

But it can be done and introducing two with terms white dwarf hamsters is possible.

However it requires patience and perseverance from the owner to ensure that it is done right and a willingness to back down if it is not going to plan.

This is the same for bringing any two species of animal together.

Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it doesn’t.

So if this is something you are looking to do then here are some recommended action steps that you can put into place to help you along this path.

Have patience

Remember to take things slowly and don’t force the issue with them if they are not ready to share a living space.

It can be something you come back to at a later date if so.

If you have one winter white dwarf hamster and what to get another then don’t just go and get one and put it straight into your pets cage.

Unfortunately this is not a good plan and will cause problems from the start. Instead a more considered approach is required to make this a success.

Get a new cage for your new Winter white dwarf hamster


When you get the new winter white dwarf hamster, purchase a new cage to go with it.

Treat them as you would two separate pets buying all the accessories they need for their new cage.

Make their new living space as comfortable for them as possible.

When looking for a new cage it is important to find one which is the right size.

Very often cages that are available for sale in pet stores are just too small.

So if you are in any doubt as to what size cage to get, always go for the largest size even if it is the most expensive.

It will save you money in the long term as your hamster will grow and outgrow their cage.

So if you start with a small cage very soon you may find that you have to upgrade it.

It’s important that you hamster has a place to run around and where it feels comfortable.

If it doesn’t feel comfortable it will start to show in their behavior and will be detrimental to its health in the long term.

The larger the cage, the better

Cages that were built for chinchillas, mice and rats that are larger than hamsters are actually pretty good for hamsters.

They are usually much bigger than the average hamster cage.

Just make sure that the cage bars are close together so they can’t squeeze through them.

Hamsters have the ability to squeeze through small gaps.

If you have a mature hamster and your cage has gaps that are more than half an inch wide then your hamster will fancy their chances of getting through that gap.

If they can fit their skull through the gap then the rest of their body will follow.

If you have a young hamster it will be the size of gap that your hamster will be able to get through will be lessened.

Most hamster cages have gaps between the bars of no more than a centimeter wide.

So do be careful what size gap between your bars there is.

Make sure you get one of the same sex


It’s also important to remember to get a winter white dwarf hamster that is the same sex as the one you have.

Putting a male and female together will not end well and you will end up with more winter white dwarf hamsters than you originally envisioned.

Good pet stores will already know what sex each hamster they have so will be able to guide you in this.

It is not recommend you get one from a breeder unless you are certain they know what they are doing or you know how to sex a hamster yourself.

Animal sanctuary’s are better at doing this in this respect as they often have experts on their teams who are experienced in dealing with sexing animals.

However it is a good skill to be able to know how to do this yourself so you can be 100% sure yourself.



Place the cages the the same room as each other.

However don’t be tempted to put them right next to each other to start off with.

At this point we want each winter white dwarf to know that there is another in the vicinity.

They can know this by smelling a different scent in the room.

They can also hear each other.

Leave the cages where they are for a few days and let them become accustomed to the new scents and sounds they are hearing smelling.  

Then move them closer to each other.

A meter apart will suffice to allow the scent and sound that each makes to become stronger.

After a few days at this distance, place the cages close together almost touching but not quite.

This will be sufficient to allow them to start interacting with each other.

To know that there is another hamster close by that they can start communicating with but isn’t in their territory.

It is interesting now to see how they react.

Do they run and hide from each other or are they not afraid to go and suss each other out?

It is how they react in these situations which will determine whether it’s a good idea to go towards the next steps of putting them together.



Introducing them together then comes next.

The way to do this is not to throw them together in the same cage.

It is better to introduce them in a neutral area which hasn’t been marked by either of them as their territory.

Something like a large box that doesn’t allow them to escape will be ideal.

If you can find one about a meter in length this would be ideal and make sure it hasn’t been soiled in anyway to make it unusable.

Grocery stores or stores that sell things like large screen TVs are ideal for this.

Leave the large box open at the top and put shavings and tissue for them to use to create a nest.

 

They also need water and food.

So a water bottle each which is attached to the side of the box and two bowls of food to keep them fed is needed to ensure that they don’t go hungry.

Have a hidey home for them each to use.

These can be purchased from any good pet store or you can use a small box that they can crawl into and hide if necessary.

Even when they are with their own kind they need their own place to help and call their own.

Also place things that they can chew on like chew toys around the box.

Get ready to place the hamsters in the box


Then when the box is ready, place the hamsters into the box carefully.

Don’t leave the box as they need to be observed for the whole time they are together.

Supervision is important as if they break out into scuffles you can intervene so that neither is injured.

If they seem like they are getting along or at least not harming each other then this is good.

They may be ignoring each other and this is good too.

If all is going well let them spend about 20 minutes together before separating them and putting them back in their separate cages.

Keep repeating the procedure


Repeat the same thing the next day and again, observe their encounter and closely supervise them.

If all is well with them then continue this for about four or five occasions until you feel they are ready to live together in the same cage.

However if they break out into scuffles at any point pull them apart and put them back into their separate cages.

Try again the next day and see if they fight again.

If they don’t then continue as above.

If they do fight then separate them.

You may want to try again for a third time but if you feel that things aren’t good between them the don’t force the issue.

It maybe worth admitting defeat on the issue rather than risking their health trying to force them together.

Get ready for a bigger cage.

If all is good after about a week, then prepare a cage that is at least a meter in length ready for them.

Make sure it has fresh new bedding that has been unmarked by either of them.

Set it all looks up the same way you prepared the box and place the two winter white dwarfs in the cage.

Continue to supervise

Continue to supervise them and have the cage close by so you can monitor their relationship.

If there is any sign that they aren’t getting along then it may be worth separating them again.

Definitely do this if they start fighting as the last thing you want is them drawing blood.

If all goes well you should have two winter white dwarf hamsters that are now sharing the same cage.

If you don’t then it there are three options;


1. Persevere with trying to put them together and separating them.
2. Keep them in separate cages.
Repeat.
3. Find a good new home for one of them if you can’t have two in separate cages.

hamster wants you to know

10 Things Your Hamster Wants You To Know

Ok, this wasn’t really written by a hamster, nor did they whisper in my ear and tell me but its written from their point of view. Our aim is that they are treated as well as can be, and we have a pretty good idea of how they like to be treated as pets so hopefully it is helpful in this aspect.

So here we go, here are 10 things your hamster wants you to know.

1. I need to chew

Did you know that I am a rodent?

Like other rodents my teeth are always growing and this can cause me problems.

It’s one of the things I have to live with and it means I have to keep them in check.

Unfortunately, if I let them grow they can cause me a lot of pain.

I keep them in check by chewing.

This is why I always need things to chew on like hard items such as blocks of wood and I’ll even chew in those chew toys you can get as well.

If you don’t provide them for me unfortunately I’ll need to chew on things you don’t want me to chew on.

Items like the sides of the cage you put me in will do the job.

You may not like this but sorry it’s what I need to do.

I have been known to chew through plastic and have a go at metal bars if necessary so do help me out and get some good things that you would like me to chew on.

2. I love to run


Did you know that in the wild I can run up to nine miles a night?

I love to run and exercise is an important part of my lifestyle.

I need to be able to run so if I am to be your pet I need help in making this happen.

You can get me an exercise wheel but make sure it’s the biggest one you can find as small exercise wheels are painful for my back.

You can also get me a hamster ball which is also helpful if a little confusing for me.

Make sure you clean it out regularly and get a good sized one that I can see out of clearly.

However my most favorite exercise is when you let me out in a room to run.

You can set this up so that I only stay in that room and don’t escape.You can even set up a play pen for me.

Be imaginative as long as I can run regularly otherwise my quality of life deteriorates massively unfortunately.

With the running I love to explore.

I am naturally curious and live to find new places, check things out and find new places to go.

Set me up in different rooms, set me good boundaries and let me roam.

Use an exercise ball for this if you must but the best way is to set up a room for me to run around with.

I’ll enjoy this a lot more.

Just make sure there isn’t any other pets in the room otherwise I’ll get a good fright.

Stay close by and supervise this time to make sure I’m alright.

I get startled easily and  so make sure I’m OK and free if danger.

3. I store food in my cheeks


There maybe times when you see with my cheeks puffed out.

This is perfectly normal.

I am not holding my breath, eating too much or haven’t caught some kind of disease, I am storing food in my cheeks.

I actually have cheek pouches.

It’s the way I keep food safe in the wild from others who would want to get it like rats or mice.

Mother hamsters have even been known to carry their young pups in their cheeks you keep them safe.

Once I find a safe place for my food I will put it down there but until then if I feel my food is at risk it will stay in my cheek pouches.

4. Keep my house clean



Keeping my house clean is pretty important to me.

Just as it probably is to you.

There is only so much I can do but living in a confined space means that there is going be some cleaning up to do.

I don’t use the toilet like you guys do so I tend to just go wherever so my bedding needs cleaning out regularly.

Every week is great.

Also spot cleaning daily really helps to keep things from getting out of hand.

I don’t mind you taking me out to give it a thorough clean once a week so it keeps the cage smelling fresh.

Don’t use poisonous bleaches without properly rinsing them out.

They are poisonous to me.

I much prefer animal friendly disinfectant cleaner which you can buy from good pet stores.

5. I don’t live for a long time

If you’re wandering how long you have with me then I’m afraid it’s usually only a few years unfortunately.

This is why it’s important that you help me make the most of every moment I have on this earth.

I’d really value it if you helped make it the best and most fun you can.

So lots of eating, drinking, chewing and running please and no scary stuff please.

6. I don’t like being startled



Taking about being startled.

This is something I really don’t like.

I don’t have the best eyesight so I can’t see you like you can see me so when  I look up at you I only see a colored blob.

I only see well up to the end of my nose so use my other senses such as my smell and touch to get around.

I am also naturally wary of anything.

This is because I am a prey animal and so in the wild my ancestors were always looking out for predators who were going to eat them.

Because of this I get scared really easily and so any sudden sounds or noises send me running for cover.

Do take care around me as I much prefer softer sounds.

As I startle very easily I also need a good place to hide and retreat from the outside world.

In the wild I would have a burrow for this and it would protect me from scary things out in the wild.

So a hidey home which you can purchase from a pet store would be a good alternative.

Otherwise a small box which I can put bedding and tissue paper where I can retreat to will suit me fine.

As I quite like being on my own it is a good place to retreat to when there is a lot of noise as it helps keep me calm

7. I sleep a lot during the day



You may also notice that I’m not around during the day very much.

That’s because I do like to sleep during the day.

So if you’re at work or school this is a good time for me to crawl into my nest and curl up and and go to sleep.

I do prefer to sleep during these times and l usually wake up between  6pm-8pm to run around.

However I do wake up easily so if you are around and whisper nicely into my cage I do wake up and can play for a bit if you are around.

I need some help from you to get used to this if you want to make it a regular thing though.

I can always go back to sleep afterwards.

Having slept through most of the day I usually stay awake through the night

This means you may not want to keep me near where you are sleeping.

I’ll probably keep you awake with my running and exercise wheel squeaking away which you may not enjoy very much.

8. I love eating


Another thing I love to do is eat.

I will try anything you give me as I’m naturally curious.

 It doesn’t mean I will like it though.

I don’t necessarily know what is a good food for me to eat in terms of nutrition so I dependent on you to guide me in that.

I just usually eat what I like.

So do give me delicious food to eat.

Seeds and grains plus veggies and fruit is what I really like.

I am an omnivore and so will pretty much eat anything.

Apparently foods that are high in fat, sugar, calcium, phosphorus and salt are bad for me so I’m told.

9. I really need to drink water


Just as I need food I need water as well.

With all the exercise I do I need constant access to it so my thirst is quenched.

As you can imagine a life without water is not very nice so I do like to drink as much as I can and it helps keep me healthy as well.

You can give me water in 2 ways wither through a water bottle or a water bowl.

I don’t mind which way but a water bottle often helps to keep things neat and tidy plus it keeps the water fresh and uncontaminated.

10. I need a good space to live in


Finally I need a good amount of space to live in.

Get me the largest cage you can as I love to run around and need space to explore and make my own.

So if you are in doubt as to what type of cage to get me.

The answer is get the biggest you can.

Image wikipedia

can i bathe a hamster in water

Can I Bathe A Hamster In Water?

The way hamsters bathe and keep themselves clean is very different from the way humans do.

They have very different methods that contrast with those we use and have been adapted greatly over the centuries.

This is so they can survive in the territory that they live.

Hamsters are very sensitive to dirt and grime and they feel it immediately when it comes upon them.

It is quite a gift that they have, and one that us as humans don’t enjoy.

It means that they can keep themselves as clean as they can by any means that they can.

However, there are occasions when they for whatever reason, just cannot remove what is bothering them from their coat.

Despite persistent gnawing and licking their coat sometimes this just doesn’t do the job.

In these circumstances can I bathe a hamster in water?

Unfortunately, It is not a good thing to bathe a hamster.

This for a good reason.

Why it isn’t a good idea to bathe a hamster?

When they are bathed in water, hamsters can easily catch a cold because their fur is their body’s protection from the cold.

When that gets wet, the body has no protection and loses its main defense.

So when they get their fur wet, they immediately become exposed to the cold.

Drying them off quickly will help but drying off a hamster is not an easy thing to do.

They would much rather do this naturally than have you manhandling them with a towel.

What about if you really have to bathe them?

If ever you do need to bathe them then do this in as warm an environment as possible.

Doing this, you can help their bodies cope with the cold as much as possible.

The natural body temperature of a hamster is between 97-100 farenheit.

So if you can get the room temperature as close to that as possible then it will help them greatly.

Otherwise use as little water as possible.

What else can you do to help remove a stubborn stain from a hamster?

Get a little water in your fingers or by dabbing a cloth in water and rub the area and pinch the fur gently without hurting the hamster.

This will help to remove the stain concerned especially if it is a light stain.

Using shampoo on a hamster


If you need to use something more effective than water then some owners have used baby shampoo or animal shampoo to dab on the area concerned.

However use only a little as possible and try and avoid their eyes and head as that will definitely hurt them if they get it in their eyes.

There are various types of animal shampoo you can use and it might be worth consulting a vet to get their opinion on the best type to use.

But again using shampoo on a hamster is not the best thing for them to get the stain out.

If your hamster is a little wet get them as dry as possible using a towel and pat them down holding them close so that they don’t escape.

Keep holding them and dabbing them until the area is dry and then place extra bedding on the cage plus tissue for them.

Encouraging them to stay warm

When you have finished with them then put them back in their home.

Put some treats in their bed to encourage them to go down into it so that they can get warm in their nest.

Keep the temperature in the room as hot as possible as well.

Don’t use a hairdryer to dry them.


Even other methods such as using a hairdryer are really not good to use on hamsters.

They will not take kindly to having hot air blown at them forcefully.

Other methods of removing a stubborn stain

Consider cutting the affected part of hair away

If a little part of their fur is contaminated then it would be worth carefully cutting away that part of their fur which has been contaminated.

Do this gently though and it may need two of you, with one holding and the other doing the cutting to do this effectively

Using a sand bath.


Another method to use is a sand bath.

Sand baths are used by desert animals in the wild as a good way of removing dirt and grease in the absence of water in their natural habitat.

The way it works is that they roll about in the sand and the friction of the the sand against their body removes the stain concerned.

There is a way to do this at home though with your own hamster.

You can purchase chinchilla sand that you can use with your hamster to help them bathe.

It is also called bathing sand.

Take care just to purchase the sand though and not chinchilla dust which is too fine for hamsters to use.

Chinchilla dust can be bad for them and cause them to have respiratory problems if they breathe it in.

Make sure you have a ceramic dish to place the sand in.

You can purchase these from any good pets store and the are reasonable inexpensive.

The dish should be shallow enough for the hamster to get in and out of

How to set up a hamster sand bath


Take the ceramic dish and fill it with approximately 3 cm of Chinchilla bathing sand.

Then leave it in the hamster cage for them to use when they need to.

It is worth checking on it regularly throughout the day to see if it has been used and if so if it has been effective.

The sand will need changing regularly as they are likely to deficate in it.

So include it a part of your regular cleaning of the cage replacing the sand with new sand.

If you choose to you can leave the ceramic dish in the cage for them to play and roll about in as they will enjoy using it

In summary

So in summary, baths are not the best for hamsters and certainly shouldn’t be treated as a fun time for them.

Only wet their fur if you really need to.

However there are other methods you can use to remove a stubborn stain that doesn’t involve getting them wet.

Consider using chinchilla bath sand to help them get rid of stains that they can’t get rid of. It is quite an effective method and will save getting your hamster a chill.

poor eyesight

How Do Hamsters Survive With Poor Eyesight?

Like many animals hamsters have developed their senses over thousands of years in the wild.

They have evolved into the creatures we see today through the different challenges and trials they faced over this time.

These challenges and trials have meant they have learnt to survive in their habitat even though they are prey animals and are hunted by many different predators.

As prey animals, they have had to evolve their senses to cope with the challenges that have come their way.

Their eyesight is one such sense that has evolved over time to where it is today.

Why Hamsters are crepuscular

Hamsters are crepuscular animals which means they are most active around dawn and dusk and then through the night.

In the wild they have had to develop their senses to be able to see at night so as to evade predators and to have to deal with the challenges that living at night-time have to offer.

Their eyesight helps them with this as they can see in the dark better than humans can.

They also use their sight to navigate and create different burrows that make up the living spaces.

However this is brought limitations to their sight as well.

An adult hamster can generally only see 1 or 2 inches past their nose.

So why is a hamster’s eyesight so poor?

The limited eyesight of a hamster unfortunately is a detriment of them being night-time creatures.

As they rely on their senses to guide them at night the eyesight has become more limited as a result as it is not been needed as much.

However they can see better in very dim light then when the light is bright.

This is why they are crepuscular animals rather than truly nocturnal creatures.

When the light is bright they are almost blind.

So how do hamsters survive with poor eyesight?

The answer is

They use their other senses to get around

During the day time, they rely on their other senses to guide them such as the nose and whiskers.

As crepuscular animals who are nocturnal in nature they spend much of the day sleeping and then are very active from dusk.

Then during the night they use all their senses to guide then in the foraging for food.

Taking your hamster’s poor eyesight into consideration is essential for understanding their nature and characteristics.

This means that when they look up at you they can’t see you as such but they can hear you and  can smell you.

Their sense of smell is powerful and helps to guide them.

You would never know to look at them for they had such poor eyesight because they are extremely good at navigating their way around.

Getting to know your hamster and their eyesight

It is only when you get to know them that you see that the eyesight it is not so good.

They can navigate all kinds of situations because of their senses and agility, so can get themselves out of tight situations and solve problems using the senses that they have.

They are very intelligent creatures and follow their nose and whiskers most of the time.

If you follow a hamster in a hamster ball you will see that most of the time I do not know where they’re coming but all work out in the end

What eyesight they do have they use their advantage.

Because of the position of the eyes they are able to see around them at short distances.

They have a much wider range of eyesight than we do and are able to see greater angles than our eyes can.

It is the range in front of them they have trouble seeing.

Again this takes some getting used to understanding this will help you in your relationship with them.

luring a hamster out its cage

Luring A Hamster Out Of Its Cage: Some Quick Tips

Learning to build a good relationship with your hamster is a good part of having one as a pet.

You may not think you’re intimidating at all but to a much smaller animal such as a hamster, you are a giant to them and its something to consider when building a relationship with them.

Indeed when you put your hand into their cage to try and pick them out, it’s only natural that they retreat away from your grasp to where they feel is a safer corner of their home.

So getting the knack of luring your hamster out of their cage is something that is necessary but takes time to learn. But it is an interaction that is critical to their relationship with you and to help them to get to know who you are.

So what are the best ways of luring out your hamster out of its cage?

Here are some quick tips to get them out;

Don’t lure them out during the day time

Don’t disturb them and try and lure them out during the day time when they are sleeping or are sleepy. During this time they are quite irritable and so it is better to leave this until the evening. After 6pm is usually a good time to do this and means they are more amenable to coming out. After being in their cage they are usually keen to come out and exercise.

Get them out of the cage on a daily basis.

In order to get them more familiar with what you want to do, the practice of luring them out needs to be done everyday. Once they get to trust what you are doing, then luring them out becomes that much easier.

Be gentle with them

Be gentle with you handling and the way you speak to them. They had loud bangs and noises and so anything that will startle them will set the process back.

There are different methods you can use to lure them out.

The tube method

If you cage that has plastic tubing one way to lure them out is to lower the plastic tube into the cage enough to encourage them to climb up it. Make sure the tube is closed at the other end. Once they have climbed into the tube they will more often than not, want to climb to the top and back so whilst they are in the process of doing this. Pull the tube out of the cage and place the end either into your hands or into a hamster ball so they can come out. I’ve found this a particularly effective way of luring the hamster out of the cage, particularly at the start of our relationship with him when hasn’t known us so well. Once they are in the hamster ball, you can pull the tube out and close up the ball ready for them to run.

Picking them up with your hands

This often takes time to get to this place and they need to learn to trust you. To get to this, they will need to become familiar with you and know that you aren’t going to harm them. Start by stroking them everyday and spending time just at their cage. Eventually you will get to the point where they feel able to let you pick them up. When you do this remember to be as gentle as you can.

What happens if they are hiding away and don’t want to come out?

If they are hiding away in a corner of the cage or their hidey home then there are some methods you can use to lure them out into the open.

Using treat packages

If your hamster is hiding in their hidey house then a trick that many owners use are treat packages to lure them out. If you have one of these then crinkle it up in your hand your hamster will hear it and fingers crossed, they will come out at the sound of it. You will need to give them a treat as a reward so that they know to come out next time. If you don’t they won’t fall for the same trick next time. You can then use a tube to get them out or attempt to pick them up with you hand.

You can also just give him treats inside the cage. Get your hamster to eat off your hand and help them to understand that when you put your hand in their cage it means that treats and food are coming and it is not a danger to them.

They are prey animals and so think the worst is going to happen to them and so are always on their guard.

Get your fingers smelling of food

Put your fingers in some kind of food packaging and get them smelling of food. A bag of chips is a good one. Then put your hand in their cage and rub your fingers together and speak gently to them. If they can get the smell of your fingers this may do the trick and they will be intrigued by what your fingers smell like and follow the scent.

Be patient

It takes time to build up trust with them and doing the following actions will help;

  • Regularly spending time with them each day
  • Speaking gently to them
  • Giving them treats in their cage from your hand.
  • Not being rough with them when you handle them

By doing these actions, the whole process of luring them out of their cage will get easier and easier.

Image source: Wikipedia

sleeping habits of hamsters

The Sleeping Habits of Hamsters

If you have a hamster then a sleeping hammy is a common sight during the day time.

It might seem frustrating to see them asleep mostly during the day and then as evening comes around they come around.

For example, my Syrian is currently running around his cage at 11.26pm at night as I write this post.

He has been asleep curled up in a ball for most of the day.

I did see him at various points during day up

However this was only for a short time before he retreated back to the nest he has made with gathered up tissue and wood shavings.

So what are the sleeping habits of hamsters?

Here are some features of what happens, what they do and how they do it when they sleep.

Hamsters are crepiscular

As crepuscular rodents, they are more often than not asleep during the day.

They tend to come awake once dusk comes around and then throughout the night.

Their sleeping patterns are driven by their own biological requirements.

Hamsters tend to sleep when they need to and wake up when they need to.

Their crepuscular activity comes from how they are in their natural environment.

The cover of dawn and dusk provides a good opportunity to look for food.

During this time they break out of their cover and can avade any predators that are on the lookout for them.

Do all hamsters sleep the same?

Even though all hamsters are crepuscular, some varieties are awake more often that others during daylight hours.

Syrian, Winter white dwarf’s and Russian Campbell dwarf hamsters tend to be active during brief periods during the day.

Syrians though tend to sleep for longer stretches and do not like being disturbed during sleep.

Roborovksi hamsters tend to be more active during the day than other hamster varieties.

All varieties are more active during the night than during the daytime.

Using their night awareness for their advantage

As the night draws in, they continue to rely on their excellent night vision.

They use it greatly to continue to hunt and collect food plus get the exercise that they need.

Indeed, many experts say that hamsters can run on average around 9 kilometers a night.

 

Daytime is for sleeping

There are a few reasons why hamsters sleep mostly during the day.

1.In their natural environment, it gets hot during the day and cooler at night.

It is much better for them to be running around at night and much more comfortable for them.

So they have naturally evolved to sleep more during the day and be active during the cooler evenings.

2.The day light hours are just too dangerous for them in the wild.

If they are out and about during this time, there is too much chance of being seen and caught by a predator.

This is why they sleep more during daylight hours to this day.

They have evolved their senses to be able to move around easily during this time.

Monophasic and polyphasic sleep patterns

As humans we are monophasic sleepers which means we have one period of sleep over 24 hours.

Hamsters are said to have a similar sleeping pattern.

However, I have noted from my experience that are times they can have polyphasic sleep patterns.

This is where they short periods of sleep which are divided up between short bursts of being awake.

Light sleepers

Hamsters tend to sleep lightly.

This is again from their experiences in the wild where they need to stay alert to keep predators at bay.

This is a familiar trait of many prey animals who can wake in an instant and run away if they sense danger.

Some prey animals such as guinea pigs can even sleep with their eyes open.

However, this is not a trait known in hamsters.

They like to create their own bed

As independent animals, they very much like to create their own place to sleep.

I have never managed to get a hamster to sleep in its own bed for very long.

They very much like to find their own place to rest and gather up bedding to sleep on.

This very much shows their independent characteristics and every bed I have ever created for them they have pretty much ignored.

Once they have established their bed, they tend not to move on and settle in the same place, even if I have to change their bedding.

Cleaning their bedding

Even though they like to have a bed that is undisturbed, it is important that it is cleaned regularly so as to keep things healthy for they hamster.

This is why any cleaning needs to be undertaken with consideration, no too often and not infrequently as to let feces build up.

Spot cleaning of feces is a must.

Do not disturb

Hamsters do not enjoy being woken up.

As mentioned above, this is particularly the case with Syrian’s.

In fact this can stress them out if they are startled from their sleep.

It is a bad idea to attempt to handle a hamster when it has just been woken as it may bite in reaction to being woken.

What about hibernation?

Hamsters do not hibernate, instead they can go into a temporary hibernating state called ‘torpor’.

Torpor is a state of decreased physiological activity which is reduced by its body temperature and metabolic rate.

It is called ‘torpor’ as it is a much shorter time than hibernation lasting from anything between a few hours to a whole day.

It is caused when temperatures drop below 40 degrees farenheit and they do so for self preservation and in that time their breathing is slowed and they can go for long periods without eating food. 

 


Sources

Hamster Wheels 

Hammys World 

Wikipedia

Small animal channel 

Flickr photo’s

how to handle an apprehensive hamster

How to Help Your Hamster Live Longer

Hamsters tend to live between 2 – 3 years on average when they are in captivity.

Some Syrian hamsters have been known to live up to 5 years.

So is there anything we can do to elongate their life span?

Here are 9 things you can do to help your hamster live longer.

Give them items to chew on

The teeth of hamsters constantly grow.

This is from the time they first grow them to the day that they die.

The way they trim them down is to chew things, and by things we mean anything. If suitable items to chew are not provided for them, they will attempt to chew the next best thing.

This can often lead to them chewing unsuitable items, like the bars of a cage or plastic in their cage.

When they chew on things like these, this can cause damage to their teeth and give them problems, particularly in later life.

So give them chew sticks to nibble on and chewing items to attach to the cage, this will keep their teeth ground down and stop any needless trips to the vet to get their teeth trimmed.

Give them a healthy diet

A good intake of food is essential for the life of any pet.

Indeed, a healthy diet can greatly aid the life of a hamster.

A daily diet of hamster pellets topped up with suitable vegetables can really help them and mixed with sunflower seeds, oats, corn, barley, and wheat.

Don’t overfeed them vegetables as too much will have a detrimental effect.

Too much calcium, fat, phosphorus, sugar, salt or water can harm them so be careful with the foods you give them.

The food guides on this site should help you with this.

Just type in the food you are looking for in the search bar and we will have a review for you.

Just have one hamster per cage

Hamsters are not social animals and don’t react well to others sharing their cage.

The only way they will share their cage is if it is with a close family kin.

Otherwise, any other hamsters should steer clear of each other.

Hamsters that grow up together are usually fine to stay with each other.

But the process of introducing strange hamsters to each other is problematic and can result in fights and unfortunately fatalities.

When stranger hamsters are forced together it will not end well on the majority of occasions.

So it is better just to have a single hamster on its own to keep them safe from each other and from other animals.

Clean their cage regularly and thoroughly

Not many people like living in a badly kept home, and this is the same with a lot of animals including hamsters.

When a hamster cage isn’t cleaned out regularly, then feces can build up and attract bacteria to the cage.

It is also creates an unpleasant smell after a while with the build up of feces.

Keeping the cage clean for them is vital for the health of your hamster.

This starts with spot cleaning every day to cleaning out bedding every week on a regular basis.

Every three months, it is recommended that the whole cage is cleaned thoroughly and disinfected so as to clean it of bacteria that maybe building up.

This can be done, either by soaking the cage in hot water and using bleach or using animal friendly disinfectant.

If using bleach, you will need to soak it in hot water for 24 hours afterwards to wash off all the bleach.

It needs to be completely dry before putting it back and restoring the hamster to its cage.

By having a consistent cleaning routine you can ensure that your hamster lives happily and contented in its cage without the hindrance of rotting feces around it.

Have a constant supply of water

Hamsters need constant access to water.

Just like us, they need it to quench their thirst and to keep them healthy.

Having a water bottle filled with a good supply of water is vital for them.

Bottled water or water fro a tap is fine for them to drink in this regard.

Avoid sparking, flavored water and make sure it is just cold water and nothing else.

Water bowls are not so good giving them water so rely on a good sized water bottle instead.

Avoid them getting Wet tail

Wet tail is an ailment found in Syrian and Chinese hamsters.

It is an ailment that can kill them easily if it is not identified and dealt with.

Wet tail is caused by stress, poor hygiene and overfeeding of veggies plus water that is of poor quality.

Such stress is caused by such things as too much handling, a change in diet, being away from a mother or siblings, illness or death of a pair-bond or mate or a change in environment.

Wet tail is basically a disease which is found in the animal’s intestines and caused by the bacteria, Lawsonia intracellularis. 

The main symptom for wet tail is if the hamster has a tail that is wet and has been matted with faeces.

However, other symptoms can be diarrhea, Lethargy, Lack of appetite, excess sleeping, folded ears, and smell/foul odor.

If it is not spotted within the first 24-48 hours and dealt with by a veterinary doctor then this can kill them.

Avoid them getting Diarrhea

A hamster can get diarrhea due to a virus such as salmonella or influenza, by eating too much greens or foods that have laxative agents, living in poor conditions or being increasingly stressed.

Their feces will become lighter and softer in color and maybe watery in some instances.

They will look sick and lethargic.

They may also lose weight.

If you discover any of these symptoms, a quick trip to the vet will head of diarrhea and can be treated quickly and effectively.

The longer it is left, the more your hamster will suffer

Make sure they get plenty of exercise

Exercise is vital for hamsters.

It is a part of their nature to spend a great deal of their time exercising.

They also love to run and do not settle still for very long.

This is why they need plenty of exercise.

We can provide this in different ways;

  • A large enough cage for them to run around in.
  • An exercise ball for them to run in.
  • A large hamster wheel for them to run in that means that they don’t arch their back too much.

 

Spend time with your hamster

By spending time with your hamster on a daily basis you can head off problems they may have, you can spot changes in behavior patterns, what they are eating and not eating.

They can get to know you and trust you.

Learn to hold them and play with them so that they feel comfortable in your hands.

If they are left alone you cant keep up to date with how they are, what they’re doing and if there is anything that needs addressing.

The more time you spend with them, the better your relationship will be, the more you will understand them, their needs and requirements.

Sources

The Pet Report

Caringpet.org

Wet tail: Wikipedia

Help, My Hamster Chewed Through Its Cage!

Ever had the situation where you find that your hamster chewed through its cage?

I guess if you’ve found this article, this might well have happened to you.

My guess is that it happens more often than not and many owners experience the problem of eager hamsters.

Why does a hamster bite through its cage?

Hamsters have very sharp teeth desperate to gnaw their teeth on something to grind them down.

Hamsters always need something to chew on and the sides of a plastic cage for example provide ample opportunity for them to chew on something if they have nothing else more desirable to chew on.

When biting through a cage, then plastic is the most likely to be gnawed through by a hamster.

It is much more likely than metal and easier for them to gnaw through than metal bars which will take them much longer.

This may have also hurt their teeth as plastic is a very hard substance for them to chew through.

So what should be done if you find that your hamster chewed through its cage?

Here are 5 things that you can do next;

1. Get a new cage as soon as possible

If you’ve noticed a small hold in your cage then its only a matter of time until it grows into a larger one.

There are some different alternatives to choose from if you have previously had a plastic cage such as a glass aquarium which would solve the issue once and for all.

However, glass aquariums are more expensive in price than plastic cages and so there is that to think of.

2. Pay more attention to your hamster

If you’ve discovered a hole in your cage then it may mean that not enough attention has been given to it.

The hamster would have spent some time biting through the cage to breakthrough like this.

Try and inspect the cage daily and spend time watching the hamster inside its cage watching where it is trying to chew.

3. Make sure you are cleaning the cage out once a week

Keep the cage fresh and a make it a nice place for your hamster to live.

A cage that smells and has not been cleaned out in a while, is not a nice place for them to live. Give them reasons to stay rather than break out.

4. Give your hamster things to chew on

make sure they have plenty of nice things to chew on that will help them.

Plastic isn’t a nice substance for them to chew on and they would much rather chew on something nicer.

5. Use a bite deterrent

Spraying a bite deterrent such as lemon juice on a regular basis onto the cage surfaces would also serve as a short term fix for this problem.

Vinegar also works well for this as well.

By paying more attention to your hamster, giving them nice objects to chew on, cleaning their cage out weekly, and having bite deterant as a back up would really help.

hamster cage cleaning

Hamster Cage Cleaning: How Often Is Enough?

When a hamster makes their home in a cage, they very much like to make it their own.

No matter how much you try and set it up for them, they will sure enough come along and mess it up and organize it another way.

Organizing their home

This means more often than not, just putting a layer of wood shavings down so they can burrow, followed by bedding in a pile will be sufficient for them to sort out.

They will then make their own nest by taking all the bedding and locating in the place where they want to put it. They will also move things around to where they want it. It is very much their territory and will mark it as such.

Marking their territory

Different hamsters will mark their territories in different ways. Syrian hamsters have their scent glands on their hips and dwarf hamsters have them on their stomachs.

Once the territory is marked, they consider it theirs and no other hamster can interfere with it. So being sensitive to them is important.

Considering this is important when it comes to cleaning out their cage.

As with all animals, hamsters will poop and they will pee. It’s an inevitability and this will cause the cage to smell in time.

So how often should the cage be cleaned?

It really depends of what type of cage you have

A small cage will benefit from being cleaned at least once a week. If that cage houses a dwarf hamster for example, it will need cleaning more frequently than a larger cage as there will be more to clean up in a tighter space.

However, if you miss cleaning it for a few days then don’t worry. It can always be done as soon as you can. The hamster wont suffer for it.

So how do I clean my hamster’s cage?

This is a good routine to follow when cleaning a hamster’s cage.

Daily activities:

  • Try and spot-clean every day by picking out any poop. Since some hamsters have an instinct for them to go to the bathroom in one spot, you might have to just clean that particular place. This might not always be the case though. Check through the bedding just to make sure.
  • If you see any soiled bedding, then change it and replace it with new bedding in the place where it was.
  • Take out any food that has been uneaten, fresh food is especially important in this regard.

Weekly activities:

  • Do a total cage clean.
  • Remove all bedding, wood shavings and accessories from the cage.
  • Clean with a pet friendly cleaner and hot water.
  • Wipe down and dry.
  • Put new bedding in the cage and line with new wood shavings.
  • Once a week, change the bedding and clean the cage with hot water

What will happen if I don’t clean my hamster’s cage?

If it isn’t cleaned once a week, then it isn’t the end of the world by any means.

Just try and do it when you next have time to do so.

Once a week is a good routine to get into as it keeps a hamster’s cage smelling nice and fresh.

If it isn’t cleaned regularly the accessories and bedding will start to smell from the deification.

Cleaning it more frequently

If you choose to do it more frequently than that, then the cage may smell fresher.

However, the hamster may not like it because they have made it their territory and it has been over-disturbed.

So there is always a balance to be had when cleaning out the cage and not disturbing it too much for your hamster, so over cleaning it isn’t always a good thing for them.