Jan 162012
 

A hamster that is well taken care of is usually healthy and happy. But as a hamster owner you need to be on the lookout for certain signs that can tell you if you have a sick hamster. Here are five warning signs to check for as you handle and play with your hammy.

1. Wet Bottom

When you are handling your hamster, does its bottom feel wet? This could simply indicate that your hamster just peed. But if the bottom is very wet or wet very often or if you notice matted fur down there, it could indicate that your hamster has wet tail.

This is a dangerous bacterial infection. What’s more, this is a contagious disease that can affect other hamsters. Wet tail can be cured but I advise taking your hamster to the vet immediately. hamster health book

2. Diarrhea

If you look around the cage and see that your hamster is leaving wet poo everywhere, you can be pretty sure he or she has diarrhea. Diarrhea is another warning sign for wet tail. But it could be that your hamster is just eating too many vegetables or other kinds of treats.

The danger here is that diarrhea means your hamster can get dehydrated. Because the hamster is a small animal, dehydration can lead to a quick death. Check to make sure your hamster is getting enough water. You may try cutting back on fresh vegetables. But if the diarrhea continues, this may mean wet tail and a trip to the vet.

hamster health book

3. Red skin or bald patches

Under all that hamster fur is hamster skin. By moving the fur around you may see a potential warning sign if the hamster skin looks red in spots, has bald patches, or some kind of lump.

These hamster skin problems indicate a skin disease that will require a vet to take a closer look. One of the factors could be that you are not cleaning the hamster’s cage often enough or you are using the wrong kind of bedding material. See the article Types of Hamster Bedding Material for more information about bedding material.

4. Teeth growing too long
Hamster illness
You know that hamsters have to keep gnawing with their teeth because their teeth are always growing. But a warning sign would be if you notice that your hamster’s teeth are beginning to grow longer than they should. Look inside your hamster’s mouth and make sure its teeth are not getting too close to its cheeks. Also look for sores inside your hamster’s mouth. If the teeth get too long they can pierce the mouth.

Gnawing on wooden toys, fresh vegetables, and treat blocks can help your hamster keep its teeth the right size. But if your hamster is getting overgrown teeth, you may have to go to a vet who can trim your hamster’s teeth.

See the article Overgrown Teeth or Nails to learn more about this hamster illness.

5. Hibernation

The final warning sign is if you look inside your hamster cage and your hamster is not moving. Most times, this just means your hamster is taking a nap. But if your hamster remains in that position for a long period of time and you have trouble waking it up, he or she may be in hibernation. When a hamster goes into hibernation it breathes very slowly and is in a deep, deep sleep. The hamster may look like it’s dead. But unless your hamster is old, this may just be hibernation.

Your hamster will do this if it gets too cold inside its cage. A hamster needs a temperature of about 68 to 78° F (20 to 25 C). If it gets colder than this your hamster may go into hibernation. You will need to immediately try to start warming up your hamster in your hands. Eventually, with enough heat, your hamster can wake up.

Remember to place your hamster cage someplace where it will not get too cold, such as near an air-conditioner.

Look for these warning signs as you go about playing with and watching your hamster. This will help you catch any problems early so your hamster can live a healthy and happy life.


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Jan 122012
 

A bored hamster is a boring hamster. If you want to keep your hamster active and healthy you need to make sure he or she has some fun things to play with. Three of the most common things you can add to your hamster habitat to keep your hamster busy are hamster tubes, hamster toys, and hamster balls.

Hamster Tubes
hamster tubes
These colorful and round plastic tubes are an inexpensive way to get your hamster moving. Individual pieces or sets usually cost under $10. You can put together a few tube pieces that can fit inside a large hamster cage, or you can go crazy and build extensive mazes outside the cage for your hamster to crawl through. Once you get to the stage where you’re building mazes, the costs can add up.

These funnels as they are called, can also go straight up so your hamster can have some climbing fun. There also tubes with resting places on the top. If you put some bedding at the top, your hamster can get some exercise climbing up then take a little nap when he reaches the top. Some of the tops of hamster tubes open up so you can actually take your hamster out and hold him or her.

Two tips for using hamster tubes. One, make sure you get the right size for the size of your hamster. A dwarf hamster may have some trouble climbing straight up a large tube. Number two is to make sure there are some ventilation holes in the tubes. You want to be sure your hammy has enough air to breathe as he or she is running around its tubes.

For more information, read Hamster Tube Tips.

Hamster Toys
hamster chews
The first kind is the type that the hamster needs to chew on. As you know a healthy hamster needs to keep gnawing so it won’t get overgrown teeth. A good soft wood toy helps your hamster keep his or her teeth in shape.

Then there are hamster fun toys you place around your hamster cage. These are toys that hamsters like to crawl around in.

Hamster Balls and Cars
hamster exercise ball
You will probably have an exercise wheel inside your cage. Your hamster needs this wheel to get in his or her daily running and stay healthy. But for fun you can put your hamster in an exercise ball and let it run around outside the cage.

The balls have vents so your hamster can get air as it runs around. Hamsters love to push the ball around and explore new spaces in your house. hamster exercise ball loop

There are even circular tracks, or loops, that you can put the ball in so you can control where your hamster runs.

Naturally, you should keep your other pets away from your hamster while it’s in its roll around ball. And remember to keep any staircases you have blocked so that your hammy can’t fall down them.

Also available are plastic hamster wheels that fit inside hamster-sized racing cars. hamster toy

When your hamster starts rolling the wheel, it looks like he or she is driving a racing car around. You and your friends can even hold hamster drag races. However, it only goes forward and backward, unlike a hamster ball that can go in all directions.

Summary

Giving your hamster fun accessories such as tubes, toys, or cars lets your pet get the activity and exercise it needs and keeps it from getting bored. You can also get pleasure just by watching your hammy play in its toys.

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Jan 092012
 

So you want to buy a new hamster cage for your lovable little hammy. When you’re in your local pet store standing in front of the shelves with hamster cages you’re faced with a lot of choices. You have even more choices when you’re online. Here are two typical mistakes you want to avoid when you’re choosing hamster cages.

Mistake 1: Buying the Wrong Type Of Cage

In my opinion, the only really wrong type of cage is an all plastic cage because it doesn’t give your hamster enough ventilation. Aside from that, when picking a hamster cage you’ll be faced with three main choices: the plastic cage with wire bars, the all wire cage, and an aquarium. Each can be “right” or “wrong” for you and your hamster.
hamster cage
Plastic and Wire: If you like a lot of color, the plastic cage with wire bars could be the right one for you. They come in many different color choices. You might even find colors that coordinate with the room your hamster will be living in.

But this can be the wrong type of cage for you if don’t have the patience to put it together. You’ll find YouTube videos that show people putting them together quickly and easily, but in real life the plastic pieces need to be snugly fit together and can crack if twisted too tightly. Also, when taking these cages apart to clean them, it will take a lot more work than the other types of cages.

hamster cageWire: If you want a cage that easy to assemble, is lightweight, and lets your hamster do a lot of climbing, the wire cage will probably be the right choice. The wires sides also make it easy to attach a water bottle and exercise wheel so your hamster gets more space to run around in inside the cage.

But this cage choice can be a mistake if you are going to be getting dwarf hamsters. The wires in these cages may be too far apart, meaning your dwarf hamster can easily squeeze through and get out. Also, if the cage is too tall, your dwarf can get hurt if he or she falls from the top part of the cage.

Aquarium: If you like watching your hamster a lot, the aquarium will be a good choice because of its four glass sides. And if your hamster is a real escape artist it will be much more difficult for him or her to climb up the sides of a glass aquarium. aquarium

But an aquarium can be the wrong choice if you can’t handle heavy lifting because aquariums are heavier that the other types of cages. So moving or lifting one up can be difficult for some. And when you add water to wash their insides, they get even heavier. You also have to be careful about putting a screen on top of the aquarium and making sure it stays in place or your hamster can climb up a toy or hamster tube and escape through the top.

Mistake 2: Buying The Wrong Size Cage

I cannot stress enough that a hamster in the wrong size cage will be a very unhappy hamster. You need to make sure your hamster has room to exercise and play. That means you need a cage that’s the right size for the type of hamster you own.
hamster cage

Obviously Syrians, Goldens, and Teddy Bears are larger than dwarf hamsters, such as Roborovskis and Russians, so they need more room.

The larger hamsters should have a cage that’s at least 10”L by 16”W by 16”H (25 x 40 x 40 cm). For wire cages, I would advise getting the 3-story cage with 14”L by 11″W by 25”H (35 x 28 x 63 cm) a good option. An aquarium should be at least 10 gallons.

If you have two dwarves, you may be able to fit them into a smaller cage. But, remember, they will usually be active at the same time so they still need lots of exercise room.

In both these cases, how much you’re going to put inside your cage can also make your cage the wrong size. Once you put an exercise wheel, a water bottle, a food bowl, bedding, and toys in a small cage, it can cut the actual running and playing room way down. So don’t make the mistake of just looking at the size on the box in the store. Think about the type of hamster you own and how much you’re going to put in the cage, then decide on the right size.

For more information read What’s the Right Size for a Hamster Cage?

Consider the type and size of your cage before buying it and you won’t be making these mistakes.

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Jan 062012
 

So you’re thinking about bringing home a new pet hamster. Congratulations! Hamsters make great pets. They are absolutely the cutest and cuddliest little animals around. They are clean, they like to play and run, and they have very short tales, so you won’t mistake them for a rat or mouse.

For adults, they are an easy to care for and inexpensive pet to have around. For children, being a hamster owner can be a great learning experience. (Just don’t forget that an adult is ultimately responsible.)
Hamster

 

Below are the most important things you should know to be sure you’re going to be a great hamster owner.

Know a Few Hamster Facts

You need to know there is more than one type of hamster. There are Syrians, which are the most common, and dwarves. There are different kinds of Syrians such as Teddy Bears and Goldens. For dwarves, there are Roborovskis and Russians. Read Types of Hamsters for more information. You’ll want to pick a type of hamster that most appeals to you.

Another key fact that people don’t think about is that hamsters are nocturnal. That is, they like to play in the evening and will sometimes run in their cages in the middle of the night. If the new hamster owner is a light sleeper, this could be a problem. Some light sleepers get around this issue by moving the hamster to a different location when they go to bed. But it’s certainly something to think about.

Finally, the typical hamster lifespan is about 2 to 3 years. That means that eventually the hamster is going to pass away. Whoever owns the hamster needs to know this so they can be prepared to deal with their hamster dying.

Know About Creating a Great Hamster Habitat

Can you make your hammy happy? To do that, you’ll have to know about the environment in which it’s going to live.

Cage Types: As there are different types of hamsters, there are also different types of hamster cages. There are wire cages, plastic cages, and combination wire and plastic cages. You can even use an aquarium as a hamster cage. To choose a hamster cage, you need to consider the pluses and minuses of the different types of cages before you even buy your hamster. For more information about choosing hamster cages read Consider These When Buying Hamster Cages: Size, Security, Sanitation. hamster cage

Cage Sizes: Your Syrian or pair of dwarf hamsters need room to exercise and play. Hamster cages come in different sizes from small to large. Know the different sizes so you can plan on a cage that’s going to be large enough for your hamster and everything you’re going to put in the cage.

Hamster bedding, food, and water: All hamster cages will require bedding, food, and water. It’s best to learn about the different types of bedding available because choosing the wrong type can harm your hamster. For example, pine or cedar wood shavings are not recommended, but Aspen wood shavings are OK. hamster bedding

You also need to look into the makeup of the different types of hamster food. Feeding your hamster treats all the time can make them ill. Hamster food will also include fresh vegetables to keep your hamster healthy.

And you’ve always got to provide your hamster with water which means you’ll have to be sure a water bottle is always within reach of your hamster.

Hamster exercise: Hamsters need to run and be active. An exercise wheel is a necessity in any hamster cage. Buy the type that’s large enough for your hamster and won’t hurt his or her feet. Hamster tubes also let hamsters get exercise. Think about where you can place these colorful plastic tubes – either inside the cage or create a maze outside the cage. hamster tubes

Cleaning: The most important thing you have to know about the hamster habitat is that you’re going to have to clean it, probably weekly. This is an important job because a dirty cage can give your hamster different infections. So keeping a clean hamster cage is a big responsibility that any hamster owner must sign up for.

Know About Hamster Health Issues

One part of keeping your hamster healthy is watching out for illness. Hamsters can be prone to different types of infections. The most common is wet tail, but they can also get respiratory or skin infections. You should know a little about each of these so that you know what signs to look for to know if your hamster is getting sick.

Another part of having a healthy hamster is playing with it. Although your hamster will be a little frightened when you first bring him or her home, you can learn to tame your hamster so that it enjoys playing in your hands as well as with exercise balls. But taming your hamster may take time, so you must learn patience to be a good hamster owner.

Key Questions

Bringing home a hamster means you are making a commitment to care of your pet. You want to learn as much as possible before hand so that you can be prepared to be a good pet owner. In return your hamster will give you hours of fun and put a lot of smiles on your face.

Here is a summary of the key question you should ask to be sure you’re going to be a responsible hamster owner.

  • What type of hamster is right for me?
  • What type of cage is right for my hamster?
  • Is the cage large enough for my hamster?
  • Have I gotten bedding, food, and water for my hamster?
  • Have I gotten exercise wheels, tubes, or toys to keep my hamster active?
  • Am I prepared to keep my hamster’s cage clean?
  • Am I familiar with hamster health issues?
  • Am I prepared to check on my hamster’s health?
  • Will I put time aside to play with my hamster?

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Nov 182011
 

If you have a healthy hamster, he or she will be with you for around 2 to 3 years. So when naming your hammy, you want a name that you’ll enjoy saying for all that time.

Hamster Naming Tips

  • Hamsters don’t usually respond to their names like cats and dogs, so the name should be one you like to say or has special meaning for you.
  • Hamster names should be short, usually one or two syllables. Of course, if you like saying “Mr. Bojangle Diggerbottom,” go for it!
  • You can use a cute name or a simple name, but try to give a male hamster a “boy” name and a female hamster a “girl” name. Unless you want to explain why you did it every time someone meets your hamster.
  • Give your hamster a name as soon as you get him or her. You don’t want someone else to call your hamster something like “Blob,” and having it stick. (Unless you like Blob!)
  • Once you give your hamster a name, stick with it. It’s hard enough to get a hamster to respond to a name. If you start changing the name, your hammy will just get confused.
  • Be creative! It’ll be fun for you and your friends will have a good time trying to guess how you came up with the name.

Picking a Hamster Name

What name should I have?

Here are some ways you can decide on your hamster’s name.
Click on each method to get some sample names.

The color of your hamster
What your hamster looks like
How your hamster behaves
Your hamster’s personality
Foods
Flowers
Gems
TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Boys)
TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Girls)
Variations on “hamster”
Combination hamster names (For people who have 2 dwarf hamsters)

If none of these ideas work for you, you can try:

  • Baby naming books
  • Sports stars
  • Words associated with an activity or hobby you like
  • Making up a wild and crazy name

Colors

  • Brownie
  • Cappuccino
  • Chocolate
  • Cinnamon
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut
  • Copper
  • Ebony
  • Ginger
  • Goldie
  • Hershey
  • Honey
  • Marble
  • Mocha
  • Nutmeg
  • Oreo
  • Rusty
  • Silver
  • Slate
  • Smokey

What your Hamster Looks Like

  • Boots
  • Bright Eyes
  • Butterball
  • Cheeky
  • Chubby
  • Cuddles
  • Dust bunny
  • Fluffball
  • Fluffy
  • Furball
  • Fuzzy
  • Grizzly
  • Munchkin
  • Patches
  • Peewee
  • Pinkie
  • Pudge
  • Scruffy
  • Shaggy
  • Snowball
  • Spotty

How Your Hamster Behaves

  • Chewie
  • Chips
  • Chomper
  • Cuddles
  • Frisky
  • Kissy
  • Nibbler/Nibbles
  • Nipper
  • Peppy
  • Sassy
  • Scooter
  • Squeaker
  • Squeezy
  • Squiggly
  • Squirmy
  • Twister
  • Wiggler
  • Ziggy
  • Zippy

Your Hamster’s Personality

  • Dazzle
  • Devil
  • Flash
  • Happy
  • Houdini (if he’s always trying to escape)
  • Peppy
  • Precious
  • Sparkle
  • Sweetie
  • Twinkle

Foods

  • Berry
  • Biscuit
  • Blueberry
  • Caramel
  • Cheerio
  • Cookie
  • Cupcake
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallow
  • Pancake
  • Peachy
  • Peanut
  • Pickle
  • Pumpkin
  • Shortcake
  • Sprite
  • Strawberry
  • Sugar
  • Twinkie

Flowers

  • Dandelion
  • Iris
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Lily
  • Magnolia
  • Rose
  • Sunflower
  • Violet

Gems

  • Amber
  • Diamond
  • Emerald
  • Jade
  • Opal
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz

TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Boys)

  • Bert
  • Caspian
  • Charlie
  • Chester
  • Edmund
  • Elmo
  • Ernie
  • Frodo
  • Garfield
  • Harry
  • James
  • Julian
  • Nate
  • Neo
  • Pete
  • Pooh Bear
  • Ralph
  • Stuart
  • Ulysses

TV, Movie, Animal, or Book Characters (Girls)

  • Charlotte
  • Coraline
  • Dora
  • Eloise
  • Harriet
  • Hermione
  • Julie/Juliet
  • Lucy
  • Madeline
  • Miss Piggy
  • Pippi
  • Sheila

Variations on “Hamster”

  • Ham Ham
  • Hambone
  • Hamish
  • Hamlet
  • Hammie
  • Hammy
  • Hampa
  • Hampstaa
  • Hampton
  • Hampy

Combination Hamster Names

Based on Food

  • Bubble & Squeak (for you Brits in the audience)
  • Kit & Kat
  • Mac & Cheese
  • PB & J
  • Peanut & Butter
  • Pepper & Chili
  • Sugar & Spice
  • Veg & Mite (for you Aussies in the audience)

Couples/Characters from TV/Books/Movies

  • Barbie & Ken
  • Bart & Lisa
  • Batman & Robin
  • Beauty & Beast
  • Bert & Ernie
  • Hansel & Gretal
  • Harry & Sally
  • Lady & Tramp
  • Pinky & The Brain
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • Tarzan & Jane
  • Tigger & Piglet
  • Tweedledee & Tweedledum
  • Yogi & Booboo

Popular Couples

  • Brad & Angie
  • Pricilla & Elvis

Popular Expressions

  • Devil & Angel
  • Hugs & Kisses
  • Ruff & Reddy
  • Thunder & Lightening
  • Yin & Yang
  • Zig & Zag

For information about picking the right hamster read Tips for Choosing a Healthy Hamster.


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