HAMSTER FACTS

Do you want to amaze your friends with your hamster wisdom? Here are some funny and also interesting facts. I can bet my hamster’s food supply for the week that your friends will crown you “King Hammy the 1st” .

hamster facts - hamster with glasses

hammyHamsters got their name from an old German word “hamstern” associated with storing food.
hammyHamsters were discovered in one of world’s oldest inhabited cities, Aleppo (Syria).
hammyDomestication of the hamster began in 1930 when a zoologist found one mother and twelve young hamsters in the Syrian Desert (Aleppo, Syria).
In the wild, researchers have found as much as 38 pounds of grain stored in a single burrow.
hammyIn the wild, hamsters dig extensive tunnels beneath the ground – extending as far as three feet in depth.
hammyHamsters are color blind.
hammyHamsters can only see up to six inches in front of them.
hammyHamsters typically have poor eyesight and depth perception.To compensate for their poor sight when in unfamiliar territory, hamsters have scent glands on their flanks (and abdomens in Chinese and dwarf hamsters). A hamster rubs these areas of his body against various objects, and leaves a trail of smells the hamster can follow to return to his home den.
hammyOf about 14 distinct species of hamsters, eight are kept as pets.
hammyDuring winter hibernation, the golden hamster’s pulse rate drops from about 400 to 4 beats per minute.
hammyHamsters are nocturnal meaning they sleep during the day and are active during the night.
hammyThough classified as nocturnal, most hamsters divide their days with periods of sleeping and waking.
hammyFood: mainly seeds, grasses, root vegetables, fruits, corn and pulse crops. Common hamster also eats insects, lizards, frogs and small mammals.
hammyLargest: about 34 cm (13 in) long, weighing about 900 g (32 oz). Smallest: about 5.3 cm (2 in) long, weighing about 100 g (3.5 oz).
hammyIn the wild, hamsters will line their tunnels with grasses and wool or hair shed from other animals to help maintain a fairly constant temperature in their burrow (often around 60°F), no matter the outside temperature.
hammyIn the cool of the evening and during the night hamsters will search for food – and can travel up to 8 miles in one night.
hammyThe body fur of hamsters comes in a wide variety of colors, depending on the nature of the species.
hammyHamsters can remember their relatives.
hammyHamsters can be taught how to come by name.
hammyLike other rodents, a hamster’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lifetime. To help keep their teeth worn and clean, offer suitable chew toys on a regular basis.
Does your hamster avoid his chew sticks and chew on his cage bars? Then try giving him dog biscuits. They’re hard, tasty, and wear down his teeth. He will want to chew on the biscuit rather than the cage.
hammyIf your hamster’s toe nails are getting long, it is possible to clip their nails at home. Use baby nail clippers and clip off the very ends of the nails. Don’t clip too short! Or, try lining the hamster’s running wheel with fine grain sandpaper, and the ends of his nails will be worn down while he runs.
hammyThe gestation period of a Syrian hamster is about 16 days.
hammyRegulation of temperature helps to determine the sex of dwarf hamster babies.
hammyKeeping the mother in warmer temperatures will lead to birth of more males, whereas keeping her in cooler temperatures will lead to the birth of more females.
hammyNormally, the breeding season of dwarf hamsters’ is from April to September. However, if kept in light for eight hours or more a day, they will breed throughout the year.
hammyFemale dwarf hamsters can give birth as young as five weeks. This is not recommended though. You should wait until she is at least 3 months old.
hammyHamsters usually have from 4-12 young at one time.
hammyHamsters cannot be spayed or neutered. In order to stop pregnancy, you must separate the male and female.
hammyA human year is 25 hamster years.
hammyA hamster’s average life span is about 2-3 years. They have been known to live 3-4 years.
hammyThe Djungarian Hamsters, also known as Cambells Dwarfs, are found on the steppes of Russia.
hammySyrians run slower than dwarves, while Roborovski dwarves are the fastest.
hammySyrian (also known as Golden, Fancy, or Teddy Bear) hamsters are solitary animals and will not live peacefully with other hamsters past 8-10 weeks of age. They should always be housed separately. He will be a great companion for you though.
hammyRussian Dwarf hamsters can often be kept in pairs or groups, as long as they are introduced to each other at a very young age.
hammyDwarf hamsters live about 1.5 to 2 years but can live to be 4.
Roborovski hamsters are the smallest species of hamster and the east likely kept as pets.
hammyBlack Bear hamsters are a genetic mutation of the Syrian hamster. It is not a different species.
hammyHamsters can squeeze themselves into really small places.
hammyHamsters are escape artists.
hammyOne of the hamster characteristics is the ability to stuff its cheek pouches with food….sometimes an amazing amount for one little hamster!
hammyFemale: Sow
Male: Boar
Young: Pups
hammyHamsters are now used for scientific research. Because hamsters are so disease-free and breed so rapidly (they can have a new litter every month!) and because they are so friendly and easy to handle, they are a popular choice among scientists. They are often used for cardio-vascular research, as their cardio-vascular system is remarkably similar to that of the human. However, this is certainly something we don’t approve under any circumstances.

Photo credits: 1

HAMSTER BEHAVIOR

Hamsters, in their wide variety, are one of the most popular pet not only in America, but in the whole Western world. In fact, there’s a big chance that you had a hamster as your first pet. And there are good reasons for that. First and most important, they are very fun to play with. They eat tiny portions of food (the average is a dessert spoon a day), are inexpensive and very accessible, in almost all local pet shops. The downside of having a hamster is their short life span- two and a half years and even four if you take really good care of him.

In the wild, the hamster’s behavior is similar to what he does in our homes, except that in the wild he has a way bigger house. Mainly, there are 5 things a hamster does in the wild and most surely in his comfy cage as well.

Syrian hamsters are solitary.

syrian hamster

You should never put a Syrian hamster in a cage with another hamster because they will most likely fight to death. Remember the Golden Rule: one Syrian hamster-one cage.

They don’t ask for a hamster companionship, they don’t need it and most important, they should never get a hamster as a roommate. They prefer you! Just think at this: in the wild, the mother hamster drives her babies away from home at the age of three or four weeks. Even if it sounds cruel the little ones survive.

Hamsters are crepuscular.
hamster sleep
Do you want to play with your hamster and all he does is sleeping? So what do you do? Let him sleep a bit more, hoping he will wake up soon and you could play around with him. But he doesn’t. He sleeps and sleeps… and sleeps.

And when you get to bet he wakes up and runs up and down in his cage and even plays with his wheel helping you sleep well and tight. Don’t be worried that your hamster might be lunatic!

The hamster is just crepuscular : they are active during twilight: at dawn and at dusk . Thinking at the high temperatures in the Middle East, everyone should be crepuscular.

So, if you want to play with your hamster during the day when he is supposed to get some sleep, try to wake him up gently and if he is in the mood for playing, play with him for a couple of minutes or as long as he is willing to. But don’t overdo it. Just think… If I woke you up at 3 am because I wanted to play with you, wouldn’t you be pissed of? The hamster has the same feeling.

I advise you to try to accustom your hamster with 3-4 hours of sleep and then to wake up for a snack and some play and so on. All you have to do is be near him when this happens.

Tips:
hammyEven in the wild, the hamster doesn’t sleep all day long. That is just a figure of speech. He sleeps a couple of hours and then wakes up to eat something and look for predators too.
hammyAt a temperature below 10° C (50-60° F) your hamster will hibernate. So, be very careful with the heater.

The hamster chews his way (he does a lot of chewing).
hamster-behavior-chewing-bars
Hamsters must chew. Like all rodents, they are gifted with nice chiseled front incisors which grow permanently. You need to provide him with things to chew so he can shorten his teeth.And is fun to watch, too.

You can give him a small twig or you could put small pieces of food directly in the cage. You will really enjoy looking at him while he chews whatever he finds in his way.

 Hamsters are big stashers (this one is pretty fun to watch)
hamster-behavior-big-mouth
They have the natural behavior to store, bury and even move food or bedding. Just like Chip & Dale, your hamster will store food that will be more than enough to help him survive even the roughest times.

In the wild, hamsters spend hours in burrowing, stashing, digging and moving his food, bedding or his chewing toys. That is why you should be very careful with his diet. By giving him sweets you put him in danger because they could cause his pouches to get stuck.because they have weak eyesight, hamsters use their whiskers to detect the environment and their high sense of smell tell them what belongs to them or what place they belong to.

Hamsters are their own personal groomer.
hamster grooming A hamster that is constantly washing and scratching himself doesn’t mean that is sick or with parasites. that is a sign that the hamster is clean and healthy, too. They are by nature odor free and this might be one of the reasons your parents bought you a hamster as a pet. But they manifest the passion for cleaning not only towards them but towards their home too.

Don’t be worried thinking that he is messy or that he urinates all over the cage. Many hamsters have special areas in which they sleep, eat and eliminate. I only hope my neighbor would be so clean smiley. If you want to have a happy hamster you need to provide him healthy food and also to make sure that you take from the cage all the remains. You will be gratefully rewarded.

Image credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

HAMSTER COSTS

Exactly how much does it cost to take care of a hamster?I know… You are anxious about buying a hamster. But don’t rush into it! The initial cost for buying a hamster it’s not quite low and you will have to spend some money every month to take care of your hamster.Here is a list that will help you to make your own budget:

Cage: $10-$40
The price generally varies depending on the type of cage: wired, aquarium or bin and on the size and age of the hamster. Syrians might sometimes get stuck in Sam/Penplax tubes or in the Critter Trail.
hammyWatch out! You might like the cage that is bright colored, with lots of tubes and fully plastic, but look at the price tag. It’s very possible to cost quite a lot.

Bedding: $2-$10

It has various purposes: absorbs the odor, your hamster uses it as a toilet, lines the floor, and allows your hamster to hide in it. Bedding supplies are found in a wide variety, from wood pulp fiber, aspen shavings and various other shavings, recycled newspaper, Kaytee Soft Sorbent, Eco-Straw Pellets and many others.
hammyAt pet shops you can find even bedding smelling like apples or strawberries. Be careful when using those because they can cause your hamster an undesirable allergy.
hammyAvoid fluffy bedding material as it can severely affect your hamster. Even if the package says it’s safe for your hamster, this kind of bedding, usually made out of some mix of cotton, polyfibers, and polyester, it’s responsible for the horrible deaths of hundreds of hamsters and other rodents every year.
hammyNEVER use cedar or pine shavings. The chemicals in these two types of wood cause respiratory problems. Even if some hamster owners do not complain about these types of bedding, why take the chance when there are so many other healthy alternatives?

Paper bedding: as low as 1$
hamster bedding
This is optional and the price is very low. You need some 2-8 squares of toilet paper. Put them in your hamster’s cage and he will do the rest. My hamsters just love it. They use is as a blanket or they chew it all in tiny bits and decorate the cage with it or even make their nest cozier, by stuffing toilet paper in they houses.

Water bottle: $2-$15
It’s a must for your hamster. The bottle is the best choice because your hamster can not spill it and make a real mess in the cage.
hammyYou have to be careful when you put this in the hamster’s cage: it has to be high enough so he can not chew the plastic part, still allowing him to drink the water easily.

Food dish: $2-$9
Avoid materials such as plastic or wood. These things do not last long in the presence of a big chewer. A ceramic bowl is the best choice and you can find them in various sizes, shapes and colors. Choose a bowl that is quite high, allowing your hamster to eat properly and, at the same time, not allowing them to throw the food out of the bowl when searching for favorite food.
hammyYou can easily use a ceramic bowl from your kitchen.

Hamster mix: $2.5-$25
This should be the main food in your hamster’s diet. Usually, the hamster mix consists of rodent pellets, peanuts, sunflower seeds, maize, dog biscuit, crushed oats and barley. If you buy a more expensive hamster food you might find in the bag ingredients such as dried vegetables and fruits.
hammyYou can use some bird seed mix to supplement your hamster diet.
hammyBe very careful to buy hamster/gerbil mix and not rabbit mix because it’s toxic for your little hamster.
hammyThe additional proteins and calories that the hamster needs should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables according to your hamster needs.

Hamster toys: $1.2-$30
These are great, for your hamster and for you as well. Your hamster basically needs a wheel so he can exercise freely ($3-$25) and some chewing toys to shorten his teeth. A hamster ball, lots of tunnels and various other toys for chewing or playing can be put on a shopping list for later on to allow you to save some money into the piggy bank.
hammyThink of homemade toys. They are a great way of cutting of some costs! Instead of buying tunnels or other stuff that you may not afford at the beginning you can use a trick: don’t throw away your toilet paper rolls. Use them to entertain your hamster! You can even make some holes in the tubes and glue 3-4 rolls together and make a huge tunnel for your hamster.
hammyWhen buying the toys check to see if they can harm your hamster. This applies with homemade toys, too. Make sure that the glue or any other product you use won’t affect the health of your hamster.

Potty: $1.99-$16
hamster potty Yes! Your hamster can be potty trained. Sometimes is piece of cake and sometimes the hamster just takes a detour and has his potty place near the potty. You can choose between various potties that are sold in pet shops and look quite neat.
hammyIf you like, you could easily turn a ceramic bowl into a potty.

Potty litter: $1.5-$6
The litter should be changed daily so you would need to buy more to make sure you do not run out.
hammyAlternatively, you can use chinchilla sand but NEVER use chinchilla dust because it will cause respiratory problems to your hamster.

First aid kit: $10-$25
You need to be prepared to help your hamster if he has some health problems. A basic first aid kit for your hamster should contain antibiotic, antiseptic and antihistamine lotions and powders, disinfectant, bandage and some gloves for your protection.

Hamster book: $1.99-$20

I’m not saying you should read the Encyclopedia to learn about hamsters. There are many useful and easy to read books related to hamster, hamster training, hamster breeds, hamster breeding and much much more.

These are the most important products you have to acquire before buying your hamster. This starter kit will assure a healthy and happy living for your hamster.

As you can see, the initial costs are quite high, the average being 150, without considering the hamster.
The monthly shopping list consists of bedding, food, litter:
bedding: usually, one big pack of bedding is enough for one month considering that you change the bedding at least once a week. We will average it $10 (per pack)
food: one or two pack, averaging at $12 (for 2 packs)
litter : two medium packs for $7

The chew toys and other supplies will be replaced as soon as you notice something is wrong in order to prevent any accidents or whenever you want to give them a little surprise

Photo credits: 1, 2

WHERE TO BUY A HAMSTER

You know how to buy a healthy hamster? Then the next step is to find the most appropriate place to shop for a hamster. Check all the options available and always think twice. This can be the difference between buying a sick hamster or a happy and healthy one.

Pet shop
This is one of the most common and advertised place to buy a hamster. Here you can find almost all the breeds and colors.

Cons:
hammyThere are many articles and videos on the web on how bad some pet shops are.
The problem is not with the main chain, but with individual stores because of the manager’s lack of involvement or the staff’s lack of knowledge. And so we deal with neglected pets, Syrian hamsters sold as dwarf breeds and many other. The best way to decide if a pet shop really cares for his pets or not, is to visit it often and carefully look at the pets. They look healthy? They have fresh water and food? The pets look happy or are they afraid of people?
hammySometimes, when you buy an older hamster you could deal with numerous problems including bad health and taming issues.
hammyCheck online to see what other hamster owners say. Did they have problems with some pet shops? The animals are treated badly in a certain pet shop? If so, be very careful and try not to buy from that place because you don’t get smoke without fire!

Breeders
Many hamster owners consider buying hamsters from a professional breeder a more reliable option than pet shops. You have the guarantee that you are buying a happy and healthy hamster. i love that you can keep in touch with the breeder and tell him exactly what hamster you need and when a female haves babies he can keep that certain baby for you. Hamster breeders don’t made hybrid species in order to have only healthy, original color and easy to tame hamsters which is a super bid advantage and you are positively sure that the hamster lived in a stress free environment

Cons:
hammyIt might be quite difficult to find a hamster breeder in certain areas.
hammyMake sure you are dealing with an experimented breeder and not someone who accidentally ended up with hamster babies.

Rescue centers

“Make adoption your first option”

There are many hamster in rescue centers that just wait for you to take them home. Try to make difference by giving a home to a hamster that has been through a lot. Animal shelters are the best place to start searching for a hamster. They have a small adoption fee of $7-$10.

Cons:
hammySometimes they are unable to tell the age of the hamster so you might end up with an old hamster.

Where:
* PetWebsite.com
* PetFinder.com
* PetClassifieds.us
* MetroPets.org
* TheJessicaWells.com
* HamsterRescue.org.uk
* PreLoved.co.uk
* many other associations, websites, depending on your location .