How to Keep and Breed Hamsters
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Hamster Factoids

Origin

Syrian desert and Russia (dwarf)

Sex Difference

Testicles on males, nipples on females

Maximum Size

About 4 inches

Breeding Age

90 days best -- early as 30

Gestation Period

18 to 21 days

Litter Size

Around 8

Life Span

2 to 3 years

Housing

Any hamster cage or 10-gallon tank

Security

Needs a hiding box .  Sleeps days.

Attitude

Owly when first awakened

Foods

Seed mixtures or blocks

Water

Water bottle strongly recommended

LA
Don't grab a strange hamster.  Or one that's "screaming" at you.

Short-Tailed Wonders.  Of all the rodents kept as pets, the hamsters rank as number one.  Because they have such short tails, most people don’t consider them rodents.  They are, of course, and like all rodents, they constantly gnaw on everything to keep their teeth worn down.

LA
On the left you can see where the hamsters ripped out the silicon seal in their aquarium.

Nocturnal.  Like other rodents, hamsters live in burrows, eat grains, give birth to large litters, and like to stay up all night.  They want to wake up and paint the town about 8 o’clock at night.  They’re usually content to snooze their days away.  However, if you wake them during the day, they’re more than willing to play with you.

Danger Signal.  If you pick up a hamster and it emits an irritating “shree-ee-ee” sound, put it down fast.  It’s scared and will bite you, unless you release it.  He’ll tame down very quickly, if you handle him gently.  Once he knows you, he’ll rarely bite the hand that feeds him.

LA
Actually, this fearsome looking beast is only yawning.  Hamsters CAN bite (to the bone).

Let Sleeping Hamsters Lie.  Hamsters startled suddenly from a deep sleep wake up understandably peeved.  Awaken then gently.  Tell them you have fresh waffles for them.  Don’t just yank them out of their bed and expect them to like it.  Start by stroking their fur lightly.  If yours rolls over and shrieks at you, that means he wants to sleep longer.  This would not be the time to stick your finger in his mouth.

Mothers Bite More Often  Never pester females protecting their babies.  If they think you plan to harm their babies, they will nail you.

Hamsters Live Fast Lives.  Another trait that makes hamsters ideal pets is their short life span.  Most only live a little over two years.  A three-year-old hamster is a rarity.  Buying a hamster does not complicate your life for years on end.  You rarely get tired of hamsters.

LA Pix
Pet blocks work great, but many hamster fans like to offer their pets a varied diet.

Give them Gnaw Foods.  Hamsters eat any of the standard hamster diets and love little chew treats.  We find the Pet Blocks prove the most efficient diet (less waste).  They also help keep their teeth ground down.

 

They Hide Food.  Hamsters grab food and store it in little hiding places.  They also stuff it into their special pouchy cheeks.  They have less tendency to hide the Pet Blocks, probably because of their large size.

LA 
Once hamsters figure out what's in this shell, they grab peanuts.  No need to coax.

Give them Treats.  Hamsters love treat foods, honey sticks, and chew toys.  They like the change in their diet and they like the taste.

What about Vitamins?  If you feed a good brand of food, you don’t need vitamins.  However, during pregnancy, vitamins couldn’t hurt -- during lactation also.

LA
If you give hamsters water in a dish, they will soon get their litter in it.

Use a Water Bottle.  Hamsters drink from water bowls or water bottles.  We prefer the bottles.   They last longer between care cycles.  They rarely get litter in them.  They never tip over.  Tip:  Never use a water bowl in a cage with babies.  Exploring babies slip over the edge and drown.

LA
Bottle holders with the band at the bottom protect your bottles from hamsters and gerbils.

Hamsters Love Toys.  Hamsters love to climb.  If you provide a ladder, they climb it. To where?  It really doesn’t matter.  They just like to climb.  They also like the roller-balls.  They wheel all over your living room in them.

Provide Hiding Places.  Hamsters love those woven wicker nests.  They live in them and chew them too.  They also love wood cubicles and ceramic caves.  They’ll crawl in and out of these for hours on end.

LA
You must be this tall to rides this wheel.

LA
"My turn now."  "No.  It's my turn."

LA
"Great, now we'll never get on."

LA
Plenty of hamster wheels to choose from.

Provide a Wheel.  Healthy hamsters run three miles per night.  Hamsters always win in the Rodent Olympics.  Pregnant hamsters run six.  They really put their wheels to good use.  Metal wheels last longer.   Your hamster can’t chew up a metal wheel.  However, plastic wheels never squeak.  Both  types of wheels have advantages.

LA Pic
Hamsters also like these exercise balls.

Provide Variety.  Whether you keep your hamster in a cage or aquarium, he appreciates a little change of pace every so often.  Hamsters look forward to the times you take them out and play with them.

Provide Paper Towels?  Take a regular paper towel.  Cut or tear it into inch-wide strips.  Toss them into your hamster cage.  Watch the fun.

 

Salt and Alfalfa?  Both these packages say that all small animals eat them.  This has not been my experience.  My hamsters ignore both.  Some people say their hamsters eat alfalfa blocks.  I’ve never seen them use it for anything except making a nest and chewing practice.

LA Pic
Econo hamster cages work just fine.

Pick a Fun Cage.  Some 30 or so types of hamster cages can be found on the market.  They all work.  Pick one that you like -- one that fits your budget and one that allows for expansion.  Your hamster will adapt to whatever you select.  My personal favorite?  I don’t think you can beat the ones that hook together in a maze of interlocking tubes.  They expand easily.  They look good.  And the hamsters love running through the maze of tubes.

Hamsters come in a variety of colors and hair styles.  They’re all fun.  LA.

More Info?  Go to Hamsters II

Nadia Vella, Hamster-Club, April 14, 2009
Dear Webmaster, I would like to propose a link exchange request as I liked your site :) I would also consider sending you hamster articles if you like.  http://aqualandpetsplus.com/
If you accept below please find my site's details.
Title: Hamster-Club - All the Hamster Information you need.
Url: http://www.hamster-club.com
Description: All you need to know about Hamsters; The different types of hamsters, their food, breeding, life span, housing and health. Also you will find different interesting articles that will cover many aspects of hamsters, hamster games, hamster books, hamster products and much more!
If you would like to display my banner, my banner link is: http://www.hamster-club.com/design_images/hamster-club_banner.jpg
Hope to hear from you soon. Kind Regards,
 

A:  As soon as I upload, your link is in three places.  Is it true that your members are required to do the hamster dance at every meeting?  LA

Isabel Mayer, May 29, 2010
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I just found your website while looking for tips on how to keep a hamster cool during the summer if they live in a terrarium.
Unfortunately, I found that most of the tips you give about hamsters are cruel and not appropriate to the species. Hamsters need big cages, lots of room and entertainment to be healthy and happy. Their diet has to be balanced and many of them get so scared in hamster balls that the poop and pee in them.
It has also been proven that pine bedding is not healthy for hamsters since the dust settles in their eyes, noses, and lungs.
Please make sure that all animals on your website receive good treatment and you don't send the wrong message to people who don't know anything about their animals.
Thank you.

A:  I don't think we're recommending treating hamsters cruelly.  They don't need huge cages.  They live in burrows in the wild.  They tend to crowd into piles or into the tiniest homes on top of each other.  We now use aspen bedding but I never did find the pine shavings harmful.  LA

Isabel Mayer, June 1, 2010
I don't know where you get your information about hamsters, but they are solitary creatures. They do not like to live together and run about 8 miles a night on average. Syrians fight to the death to defend their territories. They eat meat (insects in the wild, mealworms and plain yogurt or boiled eggs as pets) as well and go "hunting" for bugs each night.
They become extremely bored if not entertained and large spaces are good for them to explore and keep their senses alert. People who stick hamsters in to tiny terrariums or plastic cages and rely on wheels to keep them entertained are not only cruel, but also lazy, because they don't bother finding out more about their pets.
They will cope in tiny places. But are they happy? No, they can't be, it's not in their nature to be confined into small spaces their entire life. Please consider rewriting the information on your website for the sake of the animals.

A:  I can't agree totally with what you say, but I'll add it to my hamster page anyway.  LA

Isabel Mayer, June *, 2010
Hi Larry, I appreciate that a lot and encourage you to research Syrian hamsters if you are interested. They are quite interesting rodents. All the best to you

A:  10-4.  LA

 

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