Your hamster will need many things, and you must know what type to get. This page is just a little bit about what you will need to know for your newest addition to the family. There are many types and colors, and many things your hamster will need, and many cool things you can buy! So stay tuned for more on hamsters, because soon enough, this page will be filled with tons of info that I hope you will keep!
Click on a certain area below to go directly to it.
Taming Your Hamster (find out about holding and handling your hamster here!!!)
So, you want to be a hamster owner, and have decided you will have time to handle it every day, refresh the food and water, and maybe even the bedding every day? If you can do this plus have time at least once a week to clean out the cage, and the ball every two weeks you most likely are able to handle getting and taking care of a hamster! So if you are still able to read this far, which I hope everybody is, it is time to learn about what kinds there are A description and the name are as follows:
*Djundarian or Campbell's Russian hamster: Small dwarf hamster with grey fur, and a dark grey streak down back
*Chinese hamster:A lot like campbell's Russian, only without a line and a longer tail. Also a dwarf hamster.
*Golden or Syrian hamster: A full sized hamster that can be any color. It can also be long haired, just about any hamster can be actually. Long haired Syrians are also known as teddy bear hamsters.
*Albino hamster: Also can be long haired. All white fur with red eyes.
*Winter White Hamster(ww's)- White during winter, grey or brown during hotter seasons. Black eyes
*Roborovski hamsters(robo's)- Fats hamsters that look a lot like Campbell's Russians, only smaller, browner, and faster. Not goog for first timers AT ALL!!!
These are all kinds of hamsters. Most people choose by cuteness, but that isn't always the way to go. You will learn about that in the next few paragraphs. Healthy hamsters look plump, and are active near and during nightime. They sleep during the day, but will occasionally get up for a quick snack. It might not be in the food bowl, because they have cheek pouches which they carry food to their little storage under the bedding. They live underground and store food in and under bedding in the wild, just like they do in a cage. Their ears should not be droopy, they shouldn't be limping or have bedraggled fur to the extreme, and they shouldn't have a wet tail or wet fur, let alone any blood or scratches. If so, do not purchase this hamster. It could be sick or have been in a fight.
Healthy, happy, alert hamster(long hair or Teddy Bear) CUTE!!! Brought to you by google, and other sites all about hamsters and hamster pics!!!
So you have decided that you want a certain kind of hamster, male or female, dwarf or Syrian, and you know that it is exactly what you want. Now you must know what to look for in a great pet hamster. After all, it will be yours for the next few years. A hamster's lifespan is normally two-four years, most of the time it is right in between there. Anyways, you should look for a hamster with clear, beady eyes with no sticky-like substances on the sides. They should be round and black, or red if it is an albino, and the body should be able to fit into your hands when cupped. You want a hamster that is younger than already adult, so it will be able to learn your way of life a little easier. The fur should be clean, and the largest its body should be is seven inches long. It should be about two inches at the waist if almost fully grown. A fully grown hamster is about seven-nine weeks old. Make sure that it is not limping or stumbling a lot, and that it is in good condition. It should be clean everywhere, even under the tail, and it should be plump and round, but not too fat. The cage should be clean, and there should only be males in one cage, and only females in the other cage. If it is during the day, it shouldn't be super active, but if you are buying one in the late evening, then they should be just getting up, or at least not in a very deep sleep. They are nocturnal, after all. Now you should hold it first, to make sure that it is pretty well-behaved. It could bite, but try not to flinch or drop it, as it could hurt the hamster more than it has hurt you.
After you have decided on which one you want,ask to take a little of its bedding home with you, because this will help it feel more at home. Always save some food and bedding when you clean out the cage to put back in the fresh clean cage, so it will know that this is its home, and not a new or different one, plus it will feel a little more secure. Always go straight home after getting your hamster.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is that you should always have a cage prepared and ready for our hamster, so it can go straight back to the way things were before you bought it. You might want to get your hamster closer to night time so your hamster won't have to worry about finding a place to sleep in a totally new place. If you buy it closer to night, then it will be able to explore its new home, and know its way around. I na regular cage with basic needs, a hamster should have a water bottle that he or she is able to reach. Make sure it works by shaking it gently to see if any water drips out, make a spot in the cage where it won't get much bedding wet. You should buy some special hamster food diet at a petstore, never just feed it carrots and other things like that. Some things int eh diet should be dried oats/barely sunflower seeds, pellets,maybe a little alfafa or peat, and many other dried seeds or garden goods. Just make sure the bag it comes in says 'for hamsters blah blah blah'. You get the point. right? Anyways, we will talk about what people foods and veggies and fruits it can eat in a while. You should have a heavy food dish for the food, and for other foods or special treats every once in a while in a separate bowl or dish that doesn't take up too mush space. Also have an exercise wheel, and a chew stick. Have some bedding and/ or woodshavings in the cage to make the hamsters a little more comfy as they walk and sleep. These are the basic needs. A few extras if there is still plenty of space left is to get a little house for it, and maybe if the cage is one where you can add on tubes, then you can install a few of those, with no openings they can squeeze out of. Maybe a toy or a toilet paper roll to chew on and play inside of. Hamsters need something to chew on, because they are rodents, and rodents have teeth that don't stop growing. In order to stop them, you will need a chew stick, and toilet paper rolls are good substitutes that can also be played inside of. They are cheaper, and last longer, too.
Usborne First Pets Hamsters
These are the basic things that you will need for your hamster:
*Water bottle and food bowl
*Treats if you want them. You can always use the following: Carrots, corn on the cob(but only leave it in for a few hours), a small teaspoon or two of milk, or unsweetened natural yogurt (which should also not be left in the cage too long), and strawberries. For more info on other foods your hamster can eat, check out the section entitled food for your hamster.
*Cage accessories, such as add-on tubes or a little hamster house, both not needed, but it provides fun for your hamster so you don't have to live with the wheel racket all of the time.
*Chew toys, or woodsticks that help clean the hamster's teeth, and keep them from growing longer, this will enable bar-chewing when it is bored or needs something to chew on. Don't let your hamster chew on plastic! This will give it splinters in its cheek pouches that it stores food in to carry to another area where it hoards(stores) its food. Toilet paper rolls and tissue boxes are good substitutes that can also be used for a hamster house/bed or a fun litle toy that also can be chewed on without hurting your hamster.
*Balls are always nice to have when you are cleaning out the cage each week. You could also try making a run or a hamster town, or buy a playpen from the store.
*Love. A hamster always needs love to live. It will love you back after a little getting used to your scent. For taming instructions, go to the section on this page entitled Taming your hamster.
*Stuff that makes small noises, also very optional. See the page entitled hammy fun for details on the noise game that you can play with your hamster
Remember not to give your hamsters any citrus fruits! It can cause stomachaches!
All fruits and veggies should be rinsed and dried with a paper towel before served to your hamster, and don't keep it in the cage for over ten hours, and only three hours for corn on the cob, unsweetened, natural yogurt and milk. These are really the only things that need to be taken away after three hours of sitting out. Only give your hamster one special food a day, including treats and other special hamster foods. Don't give more than two or three handfulls to your hamster every day, if that. Be sure to starve your hamster of all food for 24 hours if he/she has a stomach ache, and let it get lots of water. It will need you to bring water to it because its stomach might be irritating it too much to move a lot. NEVER give your hamster citrus fruits that could cause a stomach ache such as garlic, onions, or oranges. Here are the foods that you can feel free to give to your hamster, and still feel safe about it!
Carrots, corn on the cob, plain toast that isn't too hot, watermelon, natural unsweetend yogurt, milk, apples, cucumbers, white cabbage, tomatoes, grapes, strawberries, vitamins or minerals for older hasmters to help it stay healthy, and make sure to have fresh water in the bottle. Don't take too much skin off, and leave the seeds in, your hamster will enjoy doing this on its own! If you hear of any other fruits or foods to give your hamster, go ahead and try it! I have heard of many others, but theses are what most people serve that I hear of, besides pellets and their regular food.
Taming your hamster is basically making it be used to your scent so you can enjoy playing with it, and it wont be hard to handle it. You will have an easier time putting it into its ball, and much more. For the first week, just take the cage top off, and pet it, let it sniff your hand and know you are there before taking the top off, and close any entrances to freedom that your hamster could squeeze through. Make sure that all doors that your are near won't be opened anytime soon, and that it can't get underneath any furniture that is hard to move. Escaping will also be told of in this section.
Try to make sure your hamster has something to chew on. Hand it a carrot or strawberry as you stroke its back. Let it sniff your hand as you talk to it softly and gently, speaking its name in a happy, soothing tone. Your hamster will get to know your scent, and it will also get to know your voice, and maybe its name or nickname. It is the word that is repeated a gazillion times, and the only word repeated a gazillion times that your hamster will ever hear. This is why it will get to know its name. To wake your hamster up, try tapping the cage, and saying its name a few times. If it doesn't respond in a way you think it is saying that it is ready to come out, then just leave it alone. Also make sure its fur is clean, and that you have given it a chance to go to the bathroom, groom itself, and maybe even have a snack and a drink before getting it out. Its fur will keep it warmer if it is well groomed and clean. It might have a smelly side, no matter what you do, because hamsters have scent glands on their side, and they rub it against anything that they want to say is theirs, such as the wheel or its favorite toy or home. Hamsters will never get stuck in anything, because there whiskers are so long, and they are like rulers for hamsters. They use them to measure how long something is to see if they can fit into it.
These will just help you out when actually giving it things to do after you have tamed it. Make sure that the hamster knows your scent and lets you pet it before you start to pick it up and let you handle it. Always sit while holding your hamster for the first few weeks, because your hamster will attempt many jumps out of your hands to freedom if you don't watch it. Make sure that before you let it run loose, that it can't get into anything or underneath anything that it shouldn't be getting into. Once you can hold it without it getting to excited, and it just crawls around, you are ready to hold it whenever you want. Make sure not to bother it for the first 24 hours, though!
Now that you know your hamster and it knows you, you can go to the next level of letting it run loose, or run in the ball. You will also want to make sure it is locked securely so the lid won't fall off. Use tape if it is loose. If your little critter does happen to escape, you can use theses tips to get it back, safe and sound.
Put out a deep, tall bucket with some bedding and a towel in it. Put some of its favorite food, and some white cabbage(a strong smelling food) in the bucket. Use books to make steps out of and add treats for a desired look to the top if you want.
Put a certain amount of seeds in each room of the house and be careful when opening doors. Check to see if any seeds disappear from any rooms about every two hours. Close the doors to all rooms that you have seen seeds disappearing. If you need to, make a list of rooms, put how many seeds you put there, and how many seeds have disappeared. It is a great way to keep track.
Put its cage on the floor, and put its favorite food and white cabbage in the cage. Open the door of the cage. It might come back if it is hungry or thirsty or if it wants to take a nap. Put a small trail of treats to the cage door if you want.
This might be a little disgusting, but check out each room in the house for hamster doo-doos or chewed up carpet, which you hopefully don't fined. Be sure to keep any other pets in cages or in a small area that you know for sure for sure has no hamster in it. Check the small nooks and cranks and all of the corners in each room, no matter how hard it is to get there, and be sure to look for signs of holes in boxes on the floor.
HOLDING YOUR HAMSTER
Holding your hamster is also known as handling your hamster. It takes up to a month for a hamster to get used to you, but be consistent with holding your furry friend, and it will only be half that time- perhaps even less than that!! When holding your hamster at first, only hold it for about fove minutes at a time. Hold it often, though! Be sure it's awake if you have to pick it up to hold it, which in most cases, is what you will have to do.
Eventually, you will be able to pick up and hold your hamster for 15 minutes up to 5 times a day!! Just be friendly, let it get to know your scent (which means wash your hands before holding it so that it doesn't smell food and try to bite you!), and perhaps after it sniffs you offer it a carrot. It will learn to associate your scent with good things instead of bad! Hamsters have a bad memory, btu they do remember scents and associate them with either bad or good. Even if it is assocaited with bad somehow, don't stop holding your hamster. Let it re-warm up to you!
If your hamster is jumpy, you will have to hold it kind of tight when you do hold it. ANd stay close to the ground so if it does jump it won't get hurt so easily when it hits the ground. Two feet for a hamster is like 2 stories for a person!!
If you see your hamster with closed eyes, it means it is sleeping, and if it is heading for the water bottle it is thirsty. Yeah, you will know these things, but what about when your hamster is bored, tired, or mad? How can you tell if your hamster is cold or hot, or scared and frightened? This is where to find out all of this, and maybe more!
Your hamster is nocturnal, so it will sleep during daytime, and play at night. This is basic. When your hamster chews on the bars of the cage, it means he/she is bored, or needs a chewstick or some cardboard (such as a toilet paper tube) to chew on. Put it in its ball for a while, or hold it for a few minutes, never more than twenty minutes though. If your hamster is mad, it will look like it is tired, or maybe you can tell when it is mad from the look of its eyes. They will be a lot like our eyes when we are mad- eyes and eyebrows are more squinted, forhead wrinkly, and hamsters will look a little like that, only they will hide from you, or just ignore you. If your hamster is scared, it will make loud, squeaking sounds. It might also shiver and stand still in the same place for a long period of time.
When your hamster is cold, he/she will either make a bigger bed with more bedding and woodshavings, or it will look like it is... Dare I say, dead. All you need to do is hold it against your body in your warm hands for a while until it looks like it is moving into a different position. This could take a while. Then stick it back in the cage. This will most likely happen in the winter, or if your keep the hamster in a chilly or drafty basement. Never put your hamster near radiators, other pets, or cold or burning places with a lot of noise or direct sunlight.
Your hamster will groom or wash a lot when it is too hot or tired. It might sleep a little more than usual, or make a new bed with less bedding. Make sure it eats a small baby carrot and gets lots of water for the next few hours if it is very hot or tired. Never leave your hamster in a hot car alone for over five minutes, if that. Infact, your hamster should be taken straight home after visiting a vet, going to school, or being bought from the petstore.
When your hamster is energetic, let it run aroundin the ball or run free in a rom. Make sure nobody will open the door on it, or that it climbs up something. If the hamster falls over a drop of eight inches, it could be hurt badly. Handle it or give lots of toys to play with. This will help settle it down.
Wet tail- This is a deadly disease. Your hamster will have a wet tail, and do not worry, there is a medicine that can be found at any petstore! It is called dri-tail! More symptoms include: Ears never up, could be itching more(also a sign of fleas, there are special medicines and sprays you can get at the store. You can spray them on your on your hand, and pet it onto the pet's body), sleepy, bloaty, loss of appetite. Call your nearest small animal vet to see what else you can do. Clean the cage, refresh the food and water and bedding a lot, and give it a lot of love. Don't handle it as much.
Stomachache- Starve hamster of all food for twenty four hours. Offer the water bottle up to its mouthat least once each hour. It might have a loss of appetite, or not walk as much. Take it to the vet if it doesn't seem right still days later. Get a book about illnesses to see whatelse is helpful, and what other symptoms can occur.
Diabetes- Remember: Only Campbell's Russian hamsters can get this. There are special medicines you can buy. Get it a big waterbottle, and go to your vet for further assistance.
Loss of hair and lumps- There are special medicines for different kinds of lumps and hairlosses. Consult your small animal vet to ask what else you can do. Some types of lumps are more serious than others. Be careful around the spot where the lump or loss of hair has occured. It could be soar. Give your hamster a dose of extra love.
Sticky eyes, slumped ears, a lot of sleeping, or never sleeping, eating a lot, not eating at all, wet tail, super-greasy fur, a lot of itching, a lot of squeaking from the hamster, shivering or jolting a lot(it could be scared. It is only if he/she does it even while laying down), blood seen on fur or in cage are all signs of sickness or wounds. If you have two hamsters in a cage, always have a backup cage ready incase a sickness, fight, or injury occurs in one way or another. Clean the cage every week, don't take them outside, and don't let them chew on plastic, metal, or anything with acrylic paint. You know what else your hamster should and shouldn't chew on by now, I would hope!
Are you sure you are ready to have a family of hamster babies? Get a book on the subject, so you can tell boys and girls apart. Have two or three more cages, and lots of extra food and bedding. It can take a lot of extra time, patients, and work.
First off, if youhave a male and female hamster, jsut remember they can fight when they are older. The females are especially territorial. Introdue them slowly, like with a clear window in between them. Add bedding from each of their cages to the others to help them become familiar with the scent. When you finally introduce them without any barriers, have gloves on in case they do start fighting. After they get to know eachother (if they don't fight), you could end up with hamster babies! (It takes only about a month for a female hamster to go through the whole birthing process, from the time she meets the male to the time she actually has the hamster babies).
If it is a dwarf hamster, it won't be so hard for them to mate. Dwarf hamsters get along very nicely.
You will want to seperate the baby hamsters from the mommy hamster after no more than six weeks. Seperate the males and females at this time, too, otherwise you will end up with more hamster babies. You don't want any fights between the mom and her babies. She could even get frustrated of them and hurt them, or even worse (and kind of disgusting), eat them. This is the result of leaving the whole family together for too long.
Really the mother will take care of them. Leave her alone from the time you find out she is pregnent to the time you seperate the babies. Don't even clean the hamster cage. Put in lots of food and bedding and a big water bottle.
From this point on you have a new family to take care of! Don't leave all the girls and all the boys in those two cages for their whole life though! They will grow up and become more territorial of what they think is theirs and theirs alone. If they are dwarfs it is easier. They can live together for life and be great buddies. In fact, they rather like having a roomie!