Hamsters

Hamster Varieties   |  Hamster Description   |   Syrian Hamsters   |   Housing Syrian Hamsters   |    Feeding Syrian Hamsters     |   Dwarf Hamsters     |   Housing Dwarf Hamsters    |   Feeding Dwarf Hamsters     |   General Hamsters Feeding    |   Excercise

Hamster Varieties

We breed the following colors and coat types of Syrian (aka Golden or Teddy Bear) hamsters:

Coat Types:
  • Longhair
  • Shorthair
  • Hairless

Patterns:
  • Solid
  • Banded
  • Dominant Spot
  • Roan

Colors:
  • Black
  • Yellow
  • Yellow/Black
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Calico
  • White
  • Black Eyed Cream
  • Dove
  • Cinnamon
  • Grey

 TOP

Hamsters

Hamsters belong to the rodent family. They have large incisors that continually grow. Therefore, they need to gnaw to prevent their teeth from overgrowing.

There are many different species of hamsters throughout the world. Most live in semi-desert areas.

Hamsters are nocturnal. They have poor eyesight, but have a keen sense of smell and they have excellent hearing. Most hamsters have expandable cheekpouches which they carry food and bedding back to their borrow where they store food.
TOP

Syrian H amsters

Unlike Dwarf Hamsters,that are very social and happiest in pairs or groups, the Syrian hamsters are solitary. Although they may live peacefully as babies, once they reach approximately 8 - 10 weeks old, they will need to be housed seperately.
TOP

Syrian Housing

One cage per hamster. You can house your hamster in an aquarium or wire cage. The cage and any shelves should be layered with lots of bedding. We recommend Aspen bedding. The Fluffy beddings are dangerous to hamsters. They hourd it in their cheekpouches and can choke. ALSO, DO NOT USE CEDAR AND PINE SHAVINGS!! These shaving contain phenols that are toxic and caustic and can burn ANY small animals' respiratory tract. Clean the cage every 3 or 4 days. Wash the cage, toys, water bottle and anything else you have provided your hamster. Keeping your hamsters clean will help him live longer and help against disease.
 TOP

Syrian Hamsters - Feeding

Hamsters should eat a basic diet of hamster mix each evening. You can feed your hamster suppliments such as carrots, fruit and nuts. A demand watering system works best for the hamster. You can purchase water bottles that will fit an aquarium or a wire cage.
 TOP

Dwarf Hamsters - Feeding

Use normal hamster food. You can add some wild bird seed, which is a better size for Dwarves than some of the seeds meant for full-size hamsters.
 TOP

Excercise

In the wild, hamsters run several miles a night. Domesticated hamsters still keep the instinct to run and explore, so need a way of exercising. A wheel in the cage is much appreciated. Experts swear by the brand “Wodent Wheel”, but not all shops stock this. Wheels withrungs are dangerous, as a hamster’s legs can get trapped. If you can’t find a solid-floor wheel, you can make arunged one safe by weaving card backwards and forwards through the rungs. They enjoy a daily run around a secure room, but if this isn’t possible you can buy an exercise ball for them. Get the small size of ball, and limit sessions to about 20 minutes to avoid exhaustion or dehydration. Hamsters also enjoy a roll in a dust bath. Use only chinchilla sand/dust, as ordinary sand or talc are dangerous to hamsters.
 TOP

Other species of Russian Dwarf hamster include the Winter White Dwarf Russian hamster (Phodopus sungoris). Another Dwarf (non-Russian) type is the Roborovski Hamster. The Chinese hamster is another that, although not technically a Dwarf Hamster, is often referred to as such because of its small size.
 TOP

Dwarf Housing

Dwarf hamsters are social animals, and should normally live together. The female is quite dominant, however, and will fight any other female. She should therefore live on her own, unless with a male of equal or older age. A Campbells on her own needs lots of toys, wheels, play and handling to make up for a full-time companion. This is in contrast to the larger, more common Syrian hamster (aka Golden or Teddy Bear hamster) which is solitary and MUST live on its own. Do not house Winter Whites with any other species, i.e. Winter Whites, Syrian hamsters, gerbils or mice. Fighting between them may lead to death, and will certainly stress the animals. Dwarf hamsters can squeeze through the bars of cages meant for full-size Syrian hamsters, so an aquarium or mouse cage with narrower-spaced bars is best. Use pine or aspen wood shavings (not sawdust) for floor litter. Avoid cedar shavings. Buy from a petshop, not a wood-yard as wood from the latter may have been treated by a chemical which would be bad for hamsters. Dwarves love to dig and burrow, so a nice deep layer will give them hours of fun. Bedding must be able to be dissolved in water, in case the hamster eats it. Use either the white paper shredded bedding, or unscented white tissue or toilet paper. Many petshops sell “fluffy” bedding from seemingly “reputable” companies which looks cosy for a hamster, and is even labelled “safe”. Don’t be fooled. FLUFFY BEDDING KILLS!!! It cannot dissolve in water, and has caused many deaths by internal strangulation. Fluffy bedding can also get wrapped round a limb, and cause amputation. Legal action against some manufacturers of this dangerous bedding is pending. Meanwhile, please don’t let your pet become another victim of these firms’ greed.

ONLY APPLIES IF INTRODUCED TO A CAGEMATE

Dwarf Hamsters can forget the scent of a cagemate if separated too long (such as overnight), so introduce or reintroduce on neutral territory (such as in the bath), rub some of the home cage shavings on the returning or new hamster, and take care to watch / listen out for fighting, especially at night, as fighting can be very fierce, even to the death. If you have to introduce or reintroduce, it is an idea to keep the cage in your bedroom for a few nights, so you can be awakened by the noise of any fighting.
TOP

General Hamster Feeding

Treats: sunflower seeds (either with or without the shell), toast, apple (but not the pits, which are poisonous to small animals), unsalted peanuts, especially in their shells (but not too many or too often). Just crack the shella bit, and watch the fun while they try to get the nut out! sultanas, raisins, currants. Hamsters enjoy vegetables such as carrots, broccoli (including the leaves) and lettuce. Only give vegetables a couple of times a week at most, and lettuce in small quantities and once a week at most because it can cause liver disease in excess. Do not give iceberg lettuce.

Chews: hamsters’ teeth grow continually, so they need to gnaw to keep their teeth at the right length. You can buy hamster chews, or dog biscuits, or fruit wood (apple or pear branches - non fruit wood can poison). If you can wedge the chew in the cage, the hamster is more likely to use it than if it is loose. You can also buy salt/ mineral licks / chews for hamsters.

Avoid: chocolate meant for humans is toxic to hamsters - it will slowly poison. You can buy special chocolate treats for hamsters from petshops, but only give once in a while. Avoid giving sweet things to hamsters too often.
 TOP

   
 
 
Ratkateers Rodentry & Rodent Rescue Articles catalogue

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007