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Category Archives: Hamsters

How to Understand your Hamster’s Body Language

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.

Sources: Omlet hamster guide, Hamsters as Pets, Caring Pets, Pet Central

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This entry was posted in Hamsters


Want to Teach your Hamster Tricks? Here are our Best Tips!

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!

  • TREATS
    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.
  • STAND
    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.
  • JUMP
    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!

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This entry was posted in Hamsters


12 Interesting Facts About Hamsters

1)

Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. They were brought to the United States from Syria in 1936

2)

There are approximately 25 species of hamster. There are 4 basic breeds of hamsters, namely the Syrian, Russian Dwarf, Chinese and Roborovski hamsters

3)

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.

4)

After hamsters are born, it’s nearly two weeks before they’ll open their eyes.

5)

Hamsters do not have good eyesight, they are nearsighted and also colour-blind.

6)
Hamsters rely on scent to find their way. They have scent glands which they rub on objects along a path.
7)

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.

8)
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.
9)

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.

10)

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!

11)
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!
12)

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!

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Top expert tips when buying a hamster

Emma, one of our trusted Veterinary Nurses, tells us her tops tips when buying a hamster.

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Hamsters are a popular pet, particularly for young children, and owning a
hamster can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. They are
inquisitive, nocturnal animals with an average life span of around two three
years.

If you are thinking of taking on the responsibility of caring for a hamster, below
are some things to consider before you introduce a new furry friend into your
home.

Which breed is best?

There are many different breeds of hamster but the most popular breeds are
Syrian, Russian Dwarf or Roborovski hamster. There is no ‘best’ breed,
however, Syrian hamster are naturally solitary animals so you must only keep
one – put two adults together and they will fight which can result in death. The
smaller dwarf varieties of hamster are more social but it is best to keep them in
female only pairs or small groups as males can still fight. NEVER mix breeds!

Where will they live?

Hamsters require a warm, dry and draught free place to leave, in a relatively
quiet part of the house. Remember, they are nocturnal animals so will be up
and about when everyone else is asleep so it is advisable not to house them in a
bedroom – unless you want to be woken up every night! They are also very
sensitive to light and noise so are best kept away from computers, televisions,
washing machines and tumble dryers. Hamsters like to burrow and build nests so a suitable cage must provide an area
that is deep enough for them to express these natural behaviours. They also
like to climb so a home split over different levels accessed via tubes and ladders
is preferable. Shredded paper, dry peat and dust extracted bedding materials are suitable for
all breeds of hamster. Avoid ‘fluffy’ bedding as this can become tangled around
their little legs, cutting off the blood supply resulting in amputation. It can also
cause serious problems if they eat it. Their cage will need to be cleaned out once a week.

What should I feed my hamster?

A good quality commercial hamster mix will provide them with the nutrients they
require to stay fit healthy. But it is also important to supplement this diet with
some fresh fruit and vegetables – a piece of apple, carrot or broccoli will be
greatly appreciated! But remember, hamsters like to bury their food so only
give a very small piece to help ensure food isn’t left to rot in their cage.
Did you know..? A hamsters front teeth grow all the time! They will naturally
grind together to wear them down, but it is also important they are provided
with things to gnaw on – a dog biscuit works well! Or a piece of fruit tree twig –
good pet shops will have sticks you can buy that will help keep their teeth in tiptop
shape. They also appreciate a toilet roll tube, or two!

What should I look for when buying a hamster?

Hamsters should have bright, clean eyes and should not have any discharge
around their eyes, nose or mouth, nor should they sound ‘snuffly.’ Also check
their bottoms – they should be clean and dry with no signs of diarrhoea or
‘wetness’.
A reputable supplier will also be able to confidently tell you the sex of the
hamster – if they seem unsure, walk away. You do not want to end up with a
pregnant hamster or two males that will fight.

How do I tell if my hamster is poorly?

Hamsters naturally store their food in pouches located in their cheeks, which can
sometimes cause problems. The food can become impacted and infection can
result. If your hamster looks like it permanently has ‘full’ cheeks, seek
veterinary advice, they may require this food to be removed and a course of
antibiotics to clear up any infection. The most common problem with hamsters is ‘wet tail’ – diarrhoea which can be
brought on by stress. To help avoid this, ensure that your hamsters new cage is
all ready for them when you bring them home and allow them 2-3
days of being largely undisturbed (apart from providing food and fresh water) to allow them to
settle in to their new environment.

My hamster has dark patches on its side – what’s wrong?

Nothing! Hamsters have scent glands located on their flanks. These can look
like dark patches and are completely normal.
Remember… your hamster is short sighted so keep a close eye on them if you let
them out of their cage for some exercise.

If you are worried about your hamster at any time, call your local veterinary
practice, they will be happy to offer advice over the telephone or see your
hamster, if required.

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Qute Hamster and Gerbil Cage

Omlet’s new hamster cage, Qute is the most beautiful and easy to clean hamster cage or gerbil house in the world. Designed like a piece of contemporary furniture, Qute is so much more than just a hamster cage.The large, deep bedding tray allows your gerbils and hamsters to nest and burrow naturally. Qute has 2 levels, the top floor is for feeding and exercising and underneath your pets will love the extra deep tray for nesting and burrowing. You can use the Lift ‘n’ Twist Tube to separate the top level from the bedding tray. Cleaning your Qute is amazingly quick and simple, in fact, you can clean it in less than 1 minute! You simply Lift ‘n’ Twist the tube and stow your pets upstairs while you clean the bedding tray. No other small animal house is quite that easy to clean and with a hygienic home, your pets will be healthier and happier.

Cast: Omlet

Tags: pets, gerbils and hamsters

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Free Goody Packs with Qutes & Your Chance to Win a Qute!

Order your Qute Hamster and Gerbil Cage today and you could get a free goody pack worth over £20! The goody pack contains an Edible Play Log, Twisty Nest Bedding, Fruity Snakstiks, Selective Hamster and Gerbil Food, Glitter Exercise Ball and Play ‘n’ Bedding Pods. That’s over £20 worth of freebies, perfect for treating your small pet.

But be quick! This offer only applies to the first 100 Qute orders this month. Order your Qute Hamster and Gerbil Cage today and enter promo code: QUTEFREEBIES

Get your pens and pencils at the ready and enter our Colouring Competition for your chance to win a Qute Hamster and Gerbil Cage with Storage, worth £79.99. Click here for the full sized picture of our sack-racing hamsters, print it out and let your crayons go crazy. (Colouring in is very fashionable now, don’t you know!?)

You can enter this competition in one of the following ways: Post your pic to our Facebook page, tweet us, send us an email or post it to ‘Qute Competition, Omlet Ltd, Tuthill Park, Wardington, Banbury, Oxon, OX17 1RR’. All entries must be received by 31st July. Please include your contact details so we can let you know if you’ve won!

Here’s what the Owners Say…

“Perfect” – Claire, June 2015 – “Bought 2 gerbils to go in this cage- they love it and we love watching them in it.our 4 year old can easily get the tank out to safely handle them and it literally does only take a minute to clean. sturdy and easy to put together and not an eye-sore in our lounge-quite a nice feature actually. quick and very well packaged delivery. best water bottle feature i’ve ever seen and we have had quite a few cages over the years. quiet wheel. delighted with this product.”

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This entry was posted in Gerbils