The Omlet Blog Category Archives: Hamsters

Homemade Hamster Treats

The school summer holidays are in full swing and there’s no better time to do some baking with the kids! Ruby and Harry decided they would like to make some treats for their Syrian Hamster called Ginny!!

So here’s a simple recipe to make some yummy Crunchy Honey Delights!

Ingredients:

Cheerios (sugar-free kind)
Sesame Seeds
Honey
Oats

Hamster treat ingredients

1. Add sesame seeds and oats into a bowl
Making hamster treats step 1

2. Crush the Cheerios in a small bag, don’t crush them into dust, just small pieces
Making hamster treats step 2

3. Add the Cheerios to the sesame seeds and oats and mix together
Making hamster treats step 3

4. Drizzle honey over the mixture and coat well
Making hamster treats step 4

5. Use your fingers to mould the mixture into small balls that your hamster can hold,
then put them on a baking tray and into the fridge for 15 minutes
Making hamster treats step 5

6. Heat your oven to 190 degrees and bake treats for 8-10 minutes and then let them cool completely
Making hamster treats step 6

7. It’s time for the taste test….. does Ginny like the new treats….?
Making hamster treats step 7

Ginny loved the Crunchy Honey Delights!

Happy Baking and remember to only give your Hamster little treats once or twice a week!

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This entry was posted in Hamsters


12 interesting facts about hamsters

Hamster popping up from tube of Qute Hamster Cage

Hamsters are captivating little companions. They may be tiny, but like their cheeks, they’re packed full of character and charisma. From hamsters in the wild, to our beloved domesticated pocket pets, here are 12 interesting facts about hamsters

1. From Syria and beyond 

Hamsters are rodents from the subfamily Cricetinae. They were brought to the United States from Syria in the 1930s, but there are wild species of hamsters that populate Europe and Asia. In fact, there are at least 26 species of hamsters all over the world, but only 5 of them are docile enough to be kept as the domesticated pets we know and love today. 

2. Some to handle, some to observe 

While there are only 5 types of hamsters that are kept as pets, they each have very different characteristics. These different species are:

  • Syrian or Golden 
  • Chinese
  • Roborovski 
  • Winter White or Russian Dwarf 
  • Campbell’s 

Some hamsters, like the Syrian, prefer to live alone, while others require a social grouping in order to thrive. Syrian hamsters and species like the Roborovski are extremely active after the sun sets – running the equivalent of a human marathon every night! Because of their tiny stature and quick strides, Roborovski hamsters aren’t ideal to handle and are best observed in their cage – but build them obstacle courses or mazes, and you can watch these pint-sized powerhouses in action. 

3. Hamsters = hoarders

Hamster comes from the German word hamstern, which means “to hoard.” This is because of the pouches in hamsters’ cheeks that enable them to carry food and supplies back to their burrow. This behaviour that wild hamsters exhibit carries over into domesticated hamsters – even though it isn’t necessary for survival. You may see your hamster fervently stuffing their food bowl contents into their mouths, making their face grow two to three times larger than usual. In fact, a hamster can fit up to 20% of their body weight in their cheek pouches alone! 

Some hamsters stuff one side or the other, while others will stuff both cheeks full. Their pouches don’t have salivary glands, so the food or bedding being carried in their cheeks remains dry until being deposited at its destination. If you observe your hamster regularly, you’re likely to notice them hauling their food or bedding around their enclosure this way. 

4. Pups are like puppies 

Like canine puppies, hamsters are born with their eyes sealed shut and their ears folded down. They’re also born without fur, with teeth that have not yet erupted from their gums. Baby hamsters are called “pups”, and develop quickly. 

During the first week of age, hamster pups will begin growing their fur, and their teeth will emerge from the gum line. At 2 weeks of age, their eyes will open, followed shortly by their ears perking up around day 17 or 18. By 4 weeks old, most hamster pups are weaned, and look like miniature versions of their parents. 

5. Pets with poor eyesight 

Hamsters are colour-blind, and don’t have great eyesight. Interestingly, even though they’re blind to colour, they don’t see in black and white. A hamster’s eyes are made up of 97% rod cells, and just 3% cone cells, and are likely to only perceive colours on the green spectrum.

Hamsters are also very near-sighted, meaning they can’t see at a distance. This is one of the reasons why a hamster will accidentally walk off of a ledge or platform – they are unable to properly gauge distances. They can however see much better in the dark than humans, given that rod cells pull light into the retina. 

6. Scent glands to guide the way 

Since they don’t see particularly well, hamsters rely heavily on scent to find their way. They have scent glands which they rub on objects along a path, depositing pheromones much like a breadcrumb trail. Also called “sebaceous glands”, these pheromone-emitting glands are situated just over the hips of hamsters. These spots are more noticeable in males than females. 

Hamsters can leave a scent for various reasons. Different amounts of pheromones can “bookmark” a location that a hamster wants to remember, attract a mate, or act as a territorial warning. This odour is not noticeable by humans, but the glands may be visible if your hamster has flattened the hair around them while grooming themselves or as ageing hamsters experience a thinning hair coat. 

7. A too-short lifespan 

Like other members of the rodent family, hamsters grow and mature quickly, and procreate efficiently, but have fairly short lifespans. Syrian hamsters live just 2-3 years in captivity  – and this life expectancy is even less in the wild. Other types of domesticated hamsters have a life expectancy of 2-4 years.

Feeding your hamster a quality diet and housing them in a well-designed hamster cage will help them live their lives to the fullest. To help them get adequate exercise, be sure to bring them out of their cage several times a week. Build mazes out of cardboard, building bricks, or other material that won’t fall over on your hamster, or let them spend time in a hamster-safe playpen. Some of the most common causes of premature death in hamsters are obesity, stress, wet tail (diarrhoea) and heart disease – all of which can be mitigated through proper diet, exercise, and enclosure placement and hygiene.  

8. Tiny but mighty 

Hamsters range in size from the largest breed –  the European hamster at 8-11 inches long, to the smallest – the Roborovski hamster at around 2 inches long. Of domesticated breeds, the Syrian hamster is the largest, coming in around 4 inches long – roughly double the size of a Roborovski hamster. 

They may be small, earning them the title “pocket pets”, but hamsters are mighty little animals. They have strength, stamina, and intelligence, making them one of the most entertaining small pets to observe. Running on wheels, completing mazes, climbing through tubes, and burrowing through bedding are just some of the amazing and amusing activities of pet hamsters. 

9. Ever-growing incisors 

Members of the rodent family have front teeth, called incisors, that never stop growing. In hamsters with good alignment, the incisors should wear down against each other when a hamster eats. However, some hamsters’ teeth don’t line up properly, and their incisors may become overgrown as a result. If they become too long, incisors may protrude outside of the mouth, creating sores or the inability to eat properly. To combat this issue, offer your hamster apple stick chews or other hamster-safe chew toys to help whittle their teeth down. 

10. Prolific procreators 

The heat cycle (fertile window of females) for hamsters is based on the sun. Steady warm temperatures and long daylight hours trigger the heat cycle in female hamsters. Typical breeding seasons in the wild for hamsters take place in the spring and summer, and they can produce multiple litters in each season. However, in captivity, hamsters can breed all year long since temperatures remain constant indoors, and indoor lighting gives the illusion of sunlight.

The gestation period for hamsters is just 16-22 days depending on the breed of hamster. The average litter size is 6-8 pups (babies), although litters of up to 26 pups have been recorded. 

11. Burrowing is basic  

Hamsters love to burrow. In the wild, they will make their homes in the earth by digging into the substrate. The deeper a hamster can get, the more content they will be. A deep bedding tray is essential to foster this natural behaviour in domesticated hamsters. 

To help your hamster burrow to their heart’s content, choose a soft, loose bedding like recycled paper or shavings (note: shavings can get caught in the fur of long-coated hamsters). Make the bedding as deep as possible, and watch as your hamster digs themselves into contentment. 

12. A diverse diet 

Traditionally, the diet of a hamster consists of seeds, nuts, grains, and small amounts of fruits and vegetables. In the wild, hamsters may even eat insects or small lizards, but these should never be offered to domesticated hamsters. Domesticated hamsters should be fed a pelleted diet formulated for them, or those made for mice and rats. There are “trail mix” looking diet options for hamsters that contain seeds, nuts, cracked corn, and various other treats sprinkled throughout, but hamsters will inevitably pick out their favourite pieces and leave the more nutritious offerings behind. 

If you want to supplement your hamster’s diet, offer treats in small quantities and only occasionally. This will encourage them to eat their nutritious pellet feed for the majority of their diet. Some ideas for treats include: 

  • Leafy greens 
  • Apple pieces 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Seeds (such as millet or sunflower seeds) 

Discover with your hamster and Omlet 

We hope you found these hamster facts fascinating, and that it created a deeper desire to understand your small animal companion. Because hamsters are amazing animals, we’ve created amazing ways for you to bond with and care for your pocket pet. From the Qute Hamster Cage to our expertly curated hamster guide, we’re here to help you discover ways to interact with your hamster and create a truly joyous connection. 

Boy playing with his hamster in the Qute hamster cage bedding tray

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This entry was posted in Hamsters


Top expert tips when buying a hamster

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

Matilda_looking_in

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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This entry was posted in Hamsters


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.

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Tags: pets, gerbils and hamsters

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This entry was posted in Gerbils