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What Are Hamsters?

Get to know this loveable fury little creature

What are hamsters?
get to know the hamster

So What are Hamsters?

Hamsters are small, adorable rodents that are commonly kept as pets. Hamsters can be found around parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East (although quite rare now). Hamsters have become popular pets due to their compact size, low maintenance requirements, and friendly nature. There are a few different species of hamsters. The more common ones are the Syrian hamster, dwarf hamsters, and Roborovski hamsters.

Please note Guinea pigs are not hamsters. We don’t know why people get this mixed up, guinea pigs are massive compared to hamsters. Sure, they are both from the rodent family but a hamster is an omnivore and so tiny, where as a guinea pig is a herbivore and about 4 times the size.

If we were to define a hamster by it’s appearance we would say its a mix of a plump body, short legs, and a short furry tail. Basically a little ball of fluff. They have large cheek pouches that are perfect for carrying food to their burrows. They are basically a hamsters backpack, but in their mouth. Hamsters do come in a wide range of colors and can have peculiar coat patterns. Some notable colours are golden, white, gray, black and even tortoiseshell. Their fur is quite soft and dense, this helps to provide them with insulation and protection.

Hamsters Are More Active At Night

Hamsters are pretty much nocturnal animals, this is due to them being hunted by predators so it would be only safe for them to come out at night. Even thought they are safe at home in their cages, they still have this throw back.

Hamsters have great hearing and can definitely hear you walking around the room, they also have a good sense of smell, this helps them find food. You can put treats around your hamsters cage and enjoy watching them sniff them out.

Hamsters are natural burrowers and will create intricate tunnel systems in their habitats, which may include tubes, tunnels, and chambers. Providing them with plenty of hiding spots and tunnels in their enclosure is important to satisfy their natural instincts.

Hamsters are nocturnal creatures
Let your hamster rest

Hamsters Love to Hoard Food

One of the endearing traits of hamsters is their ability to store food in their cheek pouches. They will often collect more food than they can eat at one time and save it for later. Hamsters have a diverse diet that consists of grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and occasional insects. Pleas be aware it is important that you provide you hamster with a balanced diet that fiets there dieatry requirements. Here at Can My Hamster we tell people what their hamsters can and can’t eat. There are plenty of safe foods that you can add your hamsters diet.

Majority of your hamsters diet will be hamster food, around 90% of it, but the other 10% can be made up of a wide range of foods. This is great for your hamsters health, but one big concern is that hamsters love to hide food. Seriously, they will hoard anything. One issue with hoarding food is that it goes off. So if you give your hamster any fresh food, please ensure your remove it after 24 hours to ensure your hamster isn’t sleeping next to some gone off mouldy foods that may make them ill.

Hamsters love to hoard food

Can I keep More Than One Hamster?

Hamsters are generally sociable and enjoy human interaction. But, some species of hamster, like the Syrian are more solitary. They do prefer to live alone, if you want to own two Syrian hamsters keep them in separate cages and away from each other to not cause stress. Dwarf hamsters, can be kept in pairs or small groups, as long as they are introduced properly and are given appropriate space. Regular handling and gentle interaction can help strengthen the bond between a hamster and its owner.

Here at can my hamster we encourage handling of hamsters, they are a delight to be around. But please don’t wake them from their slumber because you might be bored. Let them rest.

Some hamsters can live together some cant

Hamsters Can Hibernate – Although not common

Hamsters have a unique ability to go into a state of torpor. Torpor is a physiological adaptation that allows certain animals to enter a state of reduced metabolism and lower body temperature, similar to hibernation. While hamsters are not true hibernators, they can enter torpor when exposed to cold temperatures or in times of food scarcity.

During torpor, a hamster’s body temperature can drop significantly, sometimes even approaching freezing temperatures. Their heart rate and breathing slow down, and they become inactive to conserve energy. Hamsters can stay in this state for hours or even days, depending on the conditions your hamster is in. Ensure you don’t leave your hamster in a cold environment and always ensure they have fresh water and food nearby.

The interesting aspect of hamster torpor is that it can be easily mistaken for illness or even death. If you see your hamster in a torpor state, it may appear unresponsive, with shallow breathing and a cold body. It is important to note that this is a natural and temporary state that hamsters can go into. They will eventually wake up and return to their normal activity levels. If you are at all concerned about your hamster please do take them to the vet, they can diagnose if this is the case or not. Do not poke your hamster, while they are in this state.

Hamsters’ ability to enter torpor is an adaptation that helps them survive in harsh environments with limited resources. It allows them to conserve energy and endure periods of food scarcity. So, if you ever witness your hamster in a seemingly deep sleep or unresponsive state, don’t panic—chances are they are just experiencing torpor!

A Hamsters Diet

When it comes to a hamsters diet. This normally contains a mix of commercial store bought hamster food, fresh fruits and vegetables. Oh and occasional protein-rich treats, but not too many, don’t want little hammy getting fat. It is important to provide a balanced and varied diet to meet their nutritional needs.

The foundation of a hamster’s diet should be a high-quality commercial hamster food. These specially formulated pellets or mixes are designed to provide the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that hamsters require. Look for hamster food that is specifically labelled for the type of hamster you have, such as Syrian hamster food or dwarf hamster food, as their dietary needs may vary slightly.

In addition to commercial food, fresh fruits and vegetables should be offered as a supplement. Hamsters can enjoy small amounts of fruits like apples, pears, berries, and melons. Vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cucumber, some leafy greens like lettuce are also great for your hamsters diet. These should be washed, cut into small, manageable pieces, and offered in moderation to prevent overeating and digestive issues. Avoid feeding your hamster citrus fruits, onions, garlic, and other foods that can be harmful to them.

Protein-rich treats can be provided occasionally, but they should not make up a significant portion of their diet. Examples of suitable protein sources include small amounts of cooked chicken, boiled eggs, or mealworms. These treats should be given sparingly and in small portions to prevent excessive weight gain.

Remember to always provide fresh, clean water for your hamster. Use a sipper bottle attached to the cage to ensure a constant supply of water. Regularly monitor your hamster’s food intake and adjust their diet accordingly to maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.

Why Should You Get A Hamster?

There are dozens of reasons as to why you should consider getting a hamster as a pet. But here are three common reasons people choose to own this loveable pet:

  1. Low Maintenance: Hamsters are relatively low-maintenance pets, making them a suitable choice for individuals or families with busy lifestyles or limited space. They require less attention and care compared to some other pets. Hamsters are independent animals that can entertain themselves with toys and explore their habitats. They are also known for being clean animals, as they groom themselves regularly.
  2. Compact Size: Hamsters are small creatures, making them ideal for those who live in apartments or have limited space. They can comfortably live in a cage or habitat that doesn’t take up much room. Their small size also makes them easy to handle and interact with, especially for children. Hamsters are generally docile and can form a bond with their owners through gentle handling and regular interaction.
  3. Entertainment and Companionship: Hamsters can bring joy and entertainment to your life. Observing their playful antics, such as running on exercise wheels or exploring tunnels, can be highly entertaining and provide hours of amusement. While they may not be as interactive as some other pets, hamsters can still form a bond with their owners and enjoy gentle interaction and handling. They offer companionship and can be a source of comfort, especially for individuals who may live alone or desire a pet that doesn’t require constant attention.

Owning a Hamster can provide you with a charming and low-maintenance pet that can bring joy, entertainment, and companionship into your life. However, it is important to research and understand their needs, including suitable habitat, proper diet, and regular care, to ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry friend.

Everyone should have a pet hamster

Here at Can My Hamster our aim is to teach people all about the humble hamster. We offer guides on how to help your hamster live a long, happy and fulfilling life. We have personally owned hamsters as pets for many years and could not imagine life without them, they really do add a little piece of joy to life.