Hamsters are popular pets that are loved by people around the world.
They are easily maintained and are very fun companions. However, many owners still have questions regarding them. Here, we will be answering those questions to the best of our abilities.
Common Frequently Asked Questions About Hamsters
What Is a Hamster’s Lifespan?
Its lifespan is usually a lot shorter than other typical household pets. In general, any of the 5 domesticated species live for 2 to 3 years.
Chinese hamsters are known to have the shortest lifespan (slightly under 2 years), with the Roborovski Dwarf having the longest of up to 4 years.
There are also other factors that may influence its lifespan, like the breed, the likelihood of illness, genetics, as well as the quality of care it receives.
What Hamster Bedding Should I Choose?
It’s critical to be careful when you choose its bedding.
Avoid cedar and pine shavings and try to go for unscented paper-based bedding. Wood-based shavings can be dangerous for small animals, possibly causing irritation as well.
Scented bedding can also throw your hamster off course because it’s an animal with bad eyesight that depends mostly on its sense of smell.
How Long Should You Not Touch Your Hamster?
Just brought your new pet hamster home?
Don’t be so eager to touch and play with it. Your furry pal needs some time to get used to you before being handled. Wait for about half a day to a full day before you try to hold it.
Do Hamsters Like to Be Held?
Remember that being held in the palm of your hand is unnatural for your hamster. It may enjoy being held, but there are a few things to do before you start doing so:
- Washing your hand with unscented soap beforehand because strong smells can cause distress, especially if you have another hamster that you also hold
- Leaving your hand in the cage for a while so that your hamster will see and get used to it
- Cupping your hand under your hamster to let it feel secure
- Avoiding holding your hamster when it is sleeping
Can Hamsters Swim?
- No! They cannot swim and have a high chance of drowning
- Even if they do not drown, they run the risk of contracting pneumonia. A general rule of thumb is to keep your hamster away from water
Is It Normal for a Hamster’s Teeth to Fall Out?
- No, it’s not. Its teeth grow continuously throughout its life
- Their teeth falling out is usually a sign of dental disease. Bring your hamster to a vet promptly
Is It Okay if My Hamster Is Eating Its Own Poop?
- Yes, that’s fine because they have a stronger stomach than humans
- They produce two different types of poop. One type is pure rubbish and one is partially digested which still has nutrients. They then eat the partially digested poop to fully digest the nutrients
How Do You Interpret Your Hamster’s Behaviour?
- Sudden continuous face washing or convulsive actions may mean fright or anxiety
- Lying backwards on its back or walking with stiff legs indicates fear
- Stretching and yawning with half-closed eyes indicates inner peace or happiness
- Stroking his head with its paw indicates tenderness
Do All Vets Treat Hamsters?
- No, vets that treat hamsters are usually referred to as exotic vets
- Before buying one, make sure to find a vet near your area that is able to treat them
- A hamster deteriorates very quickly when it gets sick. Finding a vet wastes precious time and could cost a life
What’s a Good Hamster Cage or Habitat?
- Funnily enough, aquariums serve as great hamster habitats. the glass sides make sure the shavings stay in the habitat, reducing the chance of mess. Try to get a larger habitat as they typically thrive in larger spaces
- Also, using wire cages is fine as well although shavings might spill out. Hamsters may also climb out of the cage, risking fall injuries
- Ground floor space is also always more important than multiple levels. Wire cage bars should also be narrower to prevent escape, especially smaller hamsters
- Plastic and tube cages are increasingly popular. They are easy to clean, light, and safe. Snap-locking lids also make them escape-proof
What Should My Hamster’s Diet Be?
- Feeding them store-bought pellets or mixes is usually good enough. However, a leading cause of obesity in hamsters is sunflower seeds and peanuts
- Hence, remove these ingredients from the mix before feeding. Always give your little pet some extra food. This is because they tend to hoard excess food for consumption at a later date. This ensures that it is well-fed and not hungry
- The excess sunflower seeds and peanuts can then be used as treats
Can You Bathe Your Hamster?
Hamsters actually keep themselves meticulously clean and they usually have no odour.
If a strong odour can be detected, it usually signifies a much larger problem. Then, it is recommended for you to bring it to a registered veterinarian.
That said, bathing is actually not recommended for hamsters and their cleanliness should be maintained in other ways.
However, why can’t you bathe your hamster? It is susceptible to colds. Getting one wet will only increase the chance of it falling ill.
These furry creatures also have essential oils on their skin and fur which keeps them healthy. However, in the case where your hamster’s fur has come into contact with something toxic, it is acceptable to use water to remove it.
In this case, wash it in a warm place and quickly dry it. Only put it back in its cage when it is completely dry.
How to Get Rid Of Dirt On My Hamster?
Sometimes, your hamster may have poop or dirt on them. Avoid bathing it to remove that. Grab a soft toothbrush and use it to gently brush the fur.
This will help remove all dirt and poop that is trapped in the fur. Use this time to check its health. Check for abscesses or tumours when brushing its belly. Bring it to a vet if you find something suspicious.
Why Is My Hamster So Smelly?
If the smell isn’t coming from the bedding and from the hamster, you should find a solution immediately. The most common reason is that the cage is not cleaned properly and frequently. If you live in terrible living conditions, you will naturally smell bad too.
Clean his cage once a week while smaller cages should be cleaned twice a week. Also, any odour may also be caused by a disease. Send it to a veterinarian immediately and find a solution.
What Kind Of Human Foods Can Hamsters Eat?
One food that humans can eat is bread. Feed them small amounts of brown bread as a treat. However, it is not particularly good for them. Hence, do not feed them too much.
Hamsters can also eat most fruits like bananas, grapes, and apples. In particular, bananas and apples are great for your hamster.
This is because of its high nutritional benefits. Both are a source of dietary fiber and bananas to help relieve constipation. However, cut the fruits into smaller pieces to make sure it does not choke.
Hamsters can also eat grapes but it is not recommended. This is because the grape seeds are usually too big and may get stuck in its intestine. Grapes are also very high in sugar which may cause diabetes.
Hamsters can also eat cheese. However, cheese should not be a large part of its diet. Feeding cheese to it once a week as a treat is a good idea. Make sure that your hamster does not have any allergic reaction to it. The cheese you feed should be mild and low in fat.
In general, feed all these foods in limited amounts. Too much of a good thing may be bad.
Where Can I Buy Equipment for My Hamster?
PetFoodCare is one of the traditional pet shops in Singapore. We work with traditional suppliers for the past few decades to build up a community of pet lovers. We try to bring in the best hamster food, cages, and the best quality equipment. Check it out here!