Hamsters make excellent pets – they’re fun, cute, and relatively easy to care for. Their cuddly credentials have made them popular pets all over the world. Hamsters bring a lot of joy to a lot of people, but how can we tell our hamster is happy too, or not? Like all animals, hamsters have the ability to communicate with one another and with their owners. They use body language much like we do and can display a range of emotions that include being happy, afraid, threatened, curious, startled, angry and many other emotions.
Stretching and yawning: yawning is often a sign your hamster is feeling comfortable and relaxed, rather than being very sleepy. If your hamster stretches as he yawns, this is even more proof that he is a very relaxed hamster.
Freezing: this involves your hamster staying in one position, sometimes for a few minutes. Its ears are straight up and he is completely stiff to the touch. There are lots of potential reasons for hamsters to stop moving temporarily: they can freeze both out of fear and surprise, or they can pause their movement so that they can listen more carefully to something that they’re unsure about.
Sitting up on back legs, ears forward: something has captured his attention. Your hamster is standing on its hind legs to see and hear better.
Grooming: hamsters spend a large amount of their time grooming themselves. When a hamster grooms itself, washing its feet, hands and fur, it means that he is feeling secure and happy.
Chewing: if your hamster keeps biting the bars of its cage, then there may be some things that you need to do to improve your pet’s life. Gnawing on the bars of the cage can indicate one of a number of things, including boredom, a lack of space, or overgrown teeth.
Biting: hamsters can bite when they’re scared, when they’re stressed, or when they’re confused. if your hamster bites you, then there’s almost certainly a reason for it. Maybe your hamster is in pain, or simply uncertain how to react to you. Never get angry at your hamster but try to understand the reason behind his behavior.
Ears folded back, eyes half closed: your hamster has just woken up and is still sleepy. It is best not to take out your hamster out of its cage until it has woken up fully.
Running: hamsters are born to run. In their natural habitat they can run up to 5 miles per night! It’s therefore important that hamsters kept as pets have the opportunity to run, usually provided by a wheel. Hyperactivity and repetitive behavior, on the other hand, can also be a sign of stress. A stressed hamster will move constantly, run on his wheels quickly, try and climb his cage and appears more nervous and alert than usual.
All hamsters will have their own personalities. Spend time watching your hamster and get to know his personality and mannerisms. As you get to know your pet, you’ll be able to recognize when they are their usual selves, and when they are not. Observing your hamster’s body language is a great way to be more “in tune” with the needs of your pet, which can be crucial to their health and well being. Visit our extensive hamster guide at the bottom of this page for more information about hamster and tips on how to keep them healthy and happy.
This entry was posted in Hamsters
Someone once said that you can train anything that has a brain that connects to a stomach, and that goes for hamsters as well. They are actually very clever little creatures and probably capable of more than you think – like learning tricks for example!
Training your hamster is a wonderful way to vary your daily playtime and spend time together, and it’s something that both stimulates your pet mentally and creates a strong bond between the two of you. It should be said though that this training takes a lot of time and patience, and every hamster is different, so there’s never a guarantee that your hamster will learn these specific tricks, or any tricks at all.
As with most pets there are advantages of getting a young hamster when it comes to training and getting the hamster used to your and your family, as they have not yet developed habits and routines that can be difficult to break. This is not to say you can’t teach an old hamster new tricks, but it will take much longer to train him or her.
The most important thing is that your hamster feels comfortable around you, and that your smell and your voice has a positive association. Try to always stay calm around your hamster, and avoid raising your voice, as that can cause unnecessary stress. Spend a good few weeks together with your hamster before you move on to tricks, so you know that you can trust each other!
Now you need treats. Maybe you already know what your hamster’s favorite is, but if you don’t, we recommend sunflower seeds. They are however very fatty, so make sure that you limit the intake to training sessions or special occasions. You can also try with small pieces of chopped vegetables like carrots or broccoli.
Start with an easy trick, a good first one is ”Stand”. Hold the treat in front of the hamster just over its head so that the hamster can see it but not reach it. As you do this, use your command ”Stand”. Your hamster will instinctively stand up to get closer to the treat.When the hamster stands, give the treat and verbal praise. Only give the treat if the hamster stands, as they otherwise won’t understand why they are being rewarded. If you hamster doesn’t stand it might be because he or she is not hungry at that moment, or distracted by something else going on in the room. Try again a bit later.Repeat this a few times a day for a week or two, until your hamster stands even when you don’t have a treat in your hand. Stick to one command at the time, and still always reward the hamster for standing.
Now you can move on to another trick. Use the ”stand” command, and then move the treat up and forward and say ”jump”. If the hamster tries to jump, praise him or her and give the treat.If your hamster is happy to jump you can add a hoop into the mix. Hold some sort of hoop between the hamster and a treat, so that they have to move through the hoop to get to it. As they go though, say ”hoop” or ”jump through the hoop”. Start with the hoop touching the ground, and then gradually lift it if you hamster seems to enjoy the game.
- ROLL OVER
Another fun and easy trick is ”roll over”. All you need to do is to carefully place the seed on your hamster’s back and ask him or her to roll over. If they do it, reward with the seed. After a while the hamster will roll over even without you putting the seed on their back.
Be consistent with the training, and let it take time, but it doesn’t hurt to shake up the routine every now and then to keep things interesting. Some tricks are easier than others, and all hamsters are different, so be patient and do not push your pet or get frustrated if it’s taking longer than you expected.
If both you and your hamster enjoy the training, there is really no limit as to how much you can teach your pet. You can use toys or build obstacle courses; make up the tricks as you go along and show off to friends and family!
This entry was posted in Hamsters
Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. They were brought to the United States from Syria in 1936
There are approximately 25 species of hamster. There are 4 basic breeds of hamsters, namely the Syrian, Russian Dwarf, Chinese and Roborovski hamsters
Hamster comes from the German word hamstern,” which means “to hoard.” Even domesticated hamsters will hoard, despite the fact that they don’t need to.
After hamsters are born, it’s nearly two weeks before they’ll open their eyes.
Hamsters do not have good eyesight, they are nearsighted and also colour-blind.
Hamsters rely on scent to find their way. They have scent glands which they rub on objects along a path.
Syrian hamsters live 2 – 3 years in captivity, and less in the wild. Other popular pet types such as Russian dwarf hamsters live about 2- 4 years in captivity.
Hamsters range in size from the largest breed, the European hamster at 13.4 in (34 cm) long, to the smallest, the dwarf hamster at 2 – 4 in (5.5 – 10.5 cm) long.
Hamsters’ incisor teeth never stop growing and they have a ‘self-sharpening’ system where the incisors grind against each other while gnawing, which wears the teeth down.
Hamsters breed in the spring & summer and will produce several litters per year. The average litter size is around 7 pups (babies), however, it is possible for some hamsters to have up to 24 in one litter!
Hamsters have large cheeks in which they carry food back to their burrows. Full pouches can make their heads double or sometimes triple in size!
The typical hamster diet consists of seeds, nuts, grained, cracked corn, and certain kinds of fruits and vegetables. Hamsters in the wild may eat other small animals like lizards and frogs, but not pet hamsters!