Apr 112014
 

Hamster hair (or hamster fur) and hamster colors come in a wide variety because there are so many different species of hamsters. However, the five most popular species as pets are: the Syrian, Winter White Russian Dwarf (Djungarian), Campbell’s Russian Dwarf, Roborovski and the Chinese.

Let’s look at the hair and color of each type of hamster. You’ll surely find one that describes your hamster!

black Syrian hamster

Lucia by Heidi Terese

Syrian Fur Colors

The Syrian is by far the most popular hamster and the most varied, in terms of fur. There are also many Syrian hair colors, but they fall into two categories: the self and the agouti.

The self Syrian hamster means its entire body is the same color except in the typical spots such as chin, paws, and mustache. Typical examples are black, cream, and sable.

Golden Syrian hamster

Sydney loves to pose

 

The agouti Syrian has crescents and cheek flashes which the self doesn’t. Typical examples are grey, cinnamon or yellow, or golden.

 

 

Syrian Hair Length

Syrians have either short or long hair, and there are no Syrians with medium length hair. If you see some breeders say theirs have medium length hair, they are just tufts or a long skirt.

Generally, a long-haired female has a lengthier coat than a short haired one, and there will be some tufts on the ends of its hair. A long-haired male hamster, on the other hand, has a flowing skirt. The skirts of these long haired hamsters are lighter than the rest of its body, as it is diluted along the hair’s length.

Syrian Hair Patterns

The different Syrian hair patterns include roan, banded, and dominant spot.

  • A roan looks like a white hamster with color that is concentrated on its head, then gets lighter as it goes toward the rear of the hamster.  There can be just a little color or a lot of color, depending on the hamster
  • Banded hamsters often have a straight band of color around the middle of their bodies.
  • Dominant spot hamsters, as the name implies, has a prominent spot, or spots of color evenly spread all over their bodies. Some Syrians have just a few spots while others have so many spots they have very little white fur showing.

Russian Dwarf Hamsters: Winter White

Winter White hamster

He is so fat… by Jannes Pockele

Russian Dwarf hamsters include two main types: the Winter White (Djungarian) and the Campbell’s.

The Winter White Russian Hamster is typically dark grey with a black dorsal strip running along the center of its back. The fur on its belly is usually white or off white. Unlike other hamsters, their fur can change its color into white during winter. This was very useful when these hamsters lived in the wild. But don’t be surprised if this doesn’t happen to your Russian dwarf, as captivity may have bred this change out.

The Sapphire Russian hamster is soft purple-grey with a grey undercolor and thick grey dorsal stripe with an ivory belly. The ear hair is light grey-brown.

The Pearl Russian hamster has a white pattern with colored hairs throughout its fur.

Campbells Russian Dwarf hamster

Wallace eating on Emily’s lap” by Roban Kramer

Campbell’s Russian Dwarf Hamsters come in a wide variety of fur colors. These can include the usual grey-brown wild color, sandy with white belly, blue-grey with white belly, and black all over.

What makes them more interesting is the different types of coats they come in, including:

  • Normal: short and flat
  • Satin: shiny which makes the hamster look wet or greasy
  • Wavy: somewhat long and wavy; the coat changes to a normal coat over time; curly whiskers
  • Rex: short, soft, and curly; the coat and whiskers remain curly when they become adults
Roborovski dwarf hamster

Dave the Hamster By Philip Roberts

Roborovski

The original or typical robo will be sandy brown with a white belly. This is also referred to as agouti. You will also notice the white area over its eyes. Some people refer to these as the robo’s “eyebrows.”

The other type you might see is white faced. Obviously, this type Roborovski has a white face and body, although its body may be almost completely white or have a small tan area on its back.

Chinese hamster

nobby 2 by girlalive1

Chinese

The two most typical colors for Chinese hamsters are normal and dominant spot.

The normal Chinese hamster color is what you find when the hamster is in the wild. It is a mahogany gray-brown fur with a concentration of a darker brown color along its upper body. There may even be a stripe of black hair along its back.

The dominant spot Chinese hamster has a base white color with patches of the normal color across the upper part of its body. It may also have the stripe of black along its spine.

The Chinese hamster tail, for which they are known, is about an inch long and is hairless.

Summary

Hamsters come in all different colors. But most people pick their hamster based on its personality, regardless of color. And remember, no matter what hair color your hamster has, it’s still fun to gently pet it!

To best see your hamster hair, keep it in an aquarium cage. Read Using an Aquarium for your Hamster Cage for more information.


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Sep 042013
 

If you’re considering getting your first pet, a hamster may be the perfect way to go. Not only do they make great house pets, but also they are reasonably easy to keep, and not as expensive as dogs or cats can be.

But if a hamster will be your first pet you should know what to expect as they go through their short life. That way, you can do what you need to do in order to ensure that they have the best life possible.

How long do hamsters live?

One major fact that new pet owners will want to know is how long hamsters live on average. The actual age at which a hamster dies depends on several factors including the food that it eats, how much exercise it gets, and its general well-being.

You also need to consider that different types of hamsters live for different amounts of time. For instance, while the typical Syrian hamster may have a maximum life span of around 2 ½ to 3 years if properly looked after, a Roborovski could possibly manage around 3 to 3 ½ years. Dwarf hamsters, on the other hand, have shorter lifespans of from about 1 ½ to 2 years.

So you can expect the typical hamster to live from 1 ½ to 3 years.

To give your hamster the best possible chance of lasting a long time, it’s important that you, as an owner, care for it properly so it can stay as healthy as possible.

Young active hamsters

During the younger years of a hamster’s life, it’s usually very active and doing a lot more than when it gets older. There’s a good chance that you have already seen a YouTube video where the family hamster is in its ball or running in its wheel or climbing around hamster tubes. You want your hamster to be active so he or she can stay healthy. hamster tubes

During this stage of their life you’ll want to add different items to the hamster cage such as toys, chew sticks, and hamster tubes.

Young hamsters are usually up for playing, running around and, of course, eating. Be careful with the amount and type of food you feed your hamster. You don’t want your hamster to become over-sized very quickly. That can shorten its lifespan. For more information about hamster food, read What You Should Feed Your Hamster.

Also, in terms of human interaction, younger hamster can be trained to be friendly creatures. It is crucial that during the first years of your hamster’s life, you try to spend as much time with them as possible, as this will help them stay healthy and happy.

Signs of aging and what to look out for

Of course, after the first couple of years your hamster will begin to show some of the telltale signs of aging, and despite what you may think, they are surprisingly similar to humans.

You will notice that unlike before, while they do still enjoy playing, they spend less time doing so, and they will progressively move slower as time passes. Their appetite will also diminish suddenly during the last stages of their lives, and it may come to the point where they go full days without touching food.

However, you can do some things to help look after your aging hamster; such as holding it. For the most part, don’t force it to play, but continue making food and water available for him or her.

Hamster death 

Inevitably, at one stage or another, your hamster will die. Now while death is never a pleasant thing to think about, you can do your part to make sure that the process is as comfortable as possible for your pet, and make the struggle as painless as possible.

This mainly involves offering them healthy food and even treats to consume, regularly providing fresh water, and continuing to clean out their cage. If you do not give your hamster the appropriate amount of attention, you may be shortening its lifespan even further. Therefore, it may be a good idea to put the hamster cage in a room where the rest of the family sits, so that they get as much attention as possible.

Finally, when your hamster’s time has come, you have a few options to consider. The first is that you can bury him in your back yard as a remembrance, or you can take it to the vets to be disposed of. That’s your choice at this point, but if you really treasure your hamster’s life, and have some pictures, it might be nice to create a little memorial book.

Summary

Hopefully this article has given you some much needed insight into the life of a hamster, and how you can be the best owner possible. It is worth doing some research before deciding which type of hamster you want to own. That way you can prepare to give it the best life possible and not be surprised about how long it will live.


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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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Mar 212011
 

A critical question to ask when you’re getting a new hamster is “What size cage should I buy for my hamster?”

Size is important because hamsters are active pets – especially at night. They like to run, climb, play with their toys, and burrow. All this activity means they have to have space in their cages.

The two key questions to ask about space are “What’s inside the cage?” and “What type hamster do you have?

What’s inside the cage?

Everything you put inside your hamster cage takes up space. So what goes inside the typical cage? hamster cage

Exercise wheel: Because a typical hamster can run about 6 miles (9 km) in one night you need to have an exercise wheel for your cage. This can be a freestanding exercise wheel or one of the kind that attaches to the metal bars on the cage. The freestanding wheel takes up space on the floor of the cage. But even the kind that attaches to the wire walls takes up space inside the cage.
hamster tubes

Tubes: Another way for your hamster to get exercise is to run through hamster tubes. People even connect a lot of tubes so the hamster has a big maze to climb through. Some tubes go outside the cage so they don’t take up any space inside the cage, but some climbing tubes may go inside the cage and take up space.

Water: Hamsters need water. You can attach a water bottle to the outside of the hamster cage, but its tip still takes up room in the cage. If you don’t use a water bottle you have to have space for a water bowl on the bottom of the cage.

Food bowl: What you feed your hamster goes inside a hamster food bowl. These can be large or small depending on how much food your hamster eats.

Toys: There are all kinds of chew toys and play toys for hamsters. You can also get a hamster house or some people even use the cardboard toilet paper holder. Depending on their sizes, these toys use space in the hamster habitat.

So before you buy your hamster cage, think about all of these items and how much room they will take up in the bottom and along the side of the cage you want. Remember you still need plenty of space for bedding so your hamster has spots to burrow, play, and use as a bathroom.

What type hamster do you have?

The other thing you have to consider when you’re thinking about the size of your cage is the type of hamster you have. The typical Syrian hamster, also called a teddy bear or Golden hamster, is about 5 to 7 inches (13 to 17 cm) long.

Having this type hamster may mean some of the items in your cage will have to be larger. For example, your hammy should not have to bend its back when it’s in its exercise wheel. So you may need a larger exercise wheel in your cage if you have a Syrian hamster. You also have to make sure the climbing tubes you get are large enough for this type hamster to fit through. That means more space for your hamster tubes. Also, because of the Syrians size you have to make sure there’s lots of bedding in the cage so it can burrow.

The typical dwarf hamster such as a Roborovski is smaller, being about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 20 cm) long. But many people keep two dwarf hamsters together in one cage because they get along with each other. That means providing enough space in your cage for two hamsters to run around in.

If you want to breed hamsters you’re also going to need a much bigger hamster cage.

The right size hamster cagehamster cage

Most people recommend getting a wire hamster cage that is at least 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep by about 10 inches tall (61 X 31 X 25 cm).

If you’re planning on using an aquarium, you will need at least a 10 gallon fish tank, but 20 gallons would be even better.
hamster cage
Smaller cages, that are usually 8 inches long by 12 ½ inches wide by 7-1/2-inches high (20 X 32 x 19 cm) may be adequate for a smaller dwarf hamster. It is too small for the Syrian hamster.

Available larger cages are about 16 inches long by 24 inches wide by 12 inches high (40 X 61 x 31 cm). This size will give your hamster plenty of room to exercise and burrow around inside its cage.

 


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