Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What The Heck Is It? (Sexing Hamsters)

So you have this adorable ball of fluff in your hands and suddenly the question pops into your head: is this a boy or girl hamster? And now your freaking out because your worried the pet shop didn't sex them right, and you don't know rather to call it "he" or "she" and you can't name it until you know! Calm down....Breathe. It's going to be ok....Because this post is about sexing hamsters!

While you can always ask the pet store or breeder what the sex of your new furry friend is, you should keep in mind that they may be wrong! The pet store may have mixed up the hamsters or the tags on the cage and the breeder may not be as experienced as they say they are. However, regardless of how trustworthy your pet store or breeder is, it is always a good idea to know how to sex hamsters.

Sexing hamsters can be a bit of a challenge, especially if they are young, untamed, you don't have one of the opposite sex to compare it to, or you are inexperienced. But don't get discouraged. Remember, be gentle and patient with the ham ham in question, because you don't want to frighten of force it. Cup your hamster in your hand and gently position it on it's back, so you can see it's tummy. Hold the hammy in a slightly upright position and look for the below mentioned things.

The Easiest Way
The simplest way to distinguish between sexes in any species of hamster is the anogenital distance. This is the distance between the genital openings (In male: penile, in female: vaginal) and the anus. In female hams this distance is much shorter. Male openings are about half an inch apart, while females are so close they almost appear to be one.

Sexing Syrian Hamsters: Syrian hamsters are usually much easier to sex, because the difference between the male's and female's appearance is more obvious.

Once they are four weeks old, male Syrian hamsters have noticeable testicles that hang from their rear (Keep in mind, these can be retracted or may be hidden in fur).

 In female Syrians, if their fur is short enough, they will have visible nipples for nursing pups.

Sexing Dwarf Hamsters: Dwarf Hamsters are usually harder to tell apart.

Male dwarf hamsters have testicles as well, but they are less noticeable (Keep in mind, these can be retracted or may be hidden in fur). Male dwarves also have a scent gland on their tummies.

Female dwarf hamsters, just as Syrian hamsters, have nipples, but they are less noticeable and are often to small to feel and are well hidden in fur.

Just something else to think about:

*The rump of male hams is often rounder and longer compared to a female's back side. This is especially noticeable in Chinese hamsters.

*Male hamsters will often have a very small yellow urine stain on their tummies. This is not a definite way of telling the sex of your ham, but it can be a helpful aid.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions feel free to contact me! The fastest way to get in touch with me is through facebook! http://www.facebook.com/HamsterTalk


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bedding for Burrowing

Bedding is a very important part of your small animal's habitat. Your furry friend needs bedding to nest in, burrow through, play in, and use the rest room in. There are many types of small animal bedding on the market, and with so many choices it can be very hard to decide which one your going to use. This post will be about what choices of bedding are right for your small animal and which should never be used.

Aspen Wood Shavings: Aspen is all natural and free of toxins. It is odorless and contains no dust. Aspen is soft on feet and good for nesting.  It is biodegradable and can be used as compost.

Carefresh Paper Bedding: Carefresh bedding comes in many varieties and colors. It is made if paper pulp and is very soft. It makes for excellent nesting materials and is very soft on their feet. It's odor control isn't exactly off the charts, but it makes up for that in absorbency. It can be flushed when dirty.

Shredded paper: You can make your own bedding by shredding clean paper. It must be free of toxic inks and dyes and should be free of sharp edges. It is extremely cheap, but does nothing for odor control.

Pellet Bedding: Pellets can absorb moisture without falling apart. They are easy to clean and dust free, however they can be a bit rough on the feet and other nesting materials are required.

Sand: Sand can be used as long as it's clean and doesn't smell. It stimulates natural burrowing instincts, however other nesting materials must be provided. Sand is very heavy, and this makes it hard to clean.

Ground Walnut Shells: While ground walnut shells are intended for reptiles, some hamster breeders and caretakers are starting to use it for their small furry friends as well. It is light weight, dust free, and stimulates natural digging. Other nesting materials must be provided. It won't scratch glass and plastic cages, and it can be composed with everyday yard waste and used in gardens.

Toilet Paper: I know, it sounds odd, but toilet paper makes for excellent nesting materials.You can shred a bit of it and stuff it in their house. I do not recommend using only toilet paper in a cage though.

Litter: Many small animals can be potty trained! Potty training your ham can reduce cage clean up by at least 30%, though you do still need to regularly clean it. You can purchase small animal outhouses from pet stores and fill them with litter. Litters that are safe to use are only ones that specify they are small animal friendly. Cat litters can be cheaper but are often scented and can be harmful if swallowed. If you do not want to use a litter, you can use sand or walnut shells instead.

NEVER EVER NEVER use these beddings:
Pineceder, saw dust and any wood chips other than aspen. Aspen is the only acceptable wood based bedding because many other wood types have too much saw dust which can cause to vision problems and respiratory problems. Some wood types can even splinter and be rough on your hammy's feet.

Scented bedding and litter is a definite no-no! The perfumes may be toxic.

Corn Cob, while not completely unacceptable, is not recommended. Recent studies have shown that Corn Cob has toxins in it that can lead to respiratory problems. Corn Cob is also very dangerous because if it is swallowed, it can get stuck in the throat and the small animal can choke to death. It also quickly grows mold and rots when wet.

Cloth materials are dangerous and should not be used because hams may chew and swallow the threads which can lead to digestive problems. Loose threads can also get wrapped around legs and tails and can cause injuries.

There are also many types of bedding that are mixed, such as aspen and paper mix, and paper and pellet mix. You can also buy and make your own mixes if you like. Just remember to change your pet's bedding often, and keep in mind that the bigger your pet is and/or the more you have in a cage, the more frequently you need to clean their habitat.

When choosing beddings or experimenting with new ones, keep in mind that some small animals may have allergies or be allergic to a certain type or brand, so keep an eye on them for a while once they have been exposed to new bedding.

Personally, my favorite types of bedding are aspen and an aspen Carefresh mix. The wood shavings are more natural, but the paper pieces give my pets something softer to sleep in. I hope everyone finds just what they are looking for!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hamster Flashback: Edward Naruto

Summer break before high school I really got into anime. The Japanese had this amazing way of animating and telling stories that instantly drew me in. So my Freshman year of high school was an odd one to say the least. What with a new school, new friends, and now an odd new interest. A close friend of mine and I were hanging out one day when she asked me about hamsters. We were friends from middle school and she remembered I'd had two hamsters. She wanted to know what they were like and if they were hard to take care of. So we spend a week or so talking about the pros and the very few cons of hamster adoption and she decided she was ready for a ham ham! But there was one problem: her mother. I though her mom was going to have a heart attack when she told her she wanted a hamster. It took days of convincing from both of us, but we finally broke her! My friend's brother dropped us off at Petco so she could buy a cage and supplies ahead of time. We stopped to look at the hamsters. Suddenly I missed Tickles and Chewy really bad. "You should get one too!" She suggested. I thought about it. I had the funds from saved Birthday money and dog sitting for my neighbor and I'd love to have another hamster. There was just the problem of convincing my mom again. I called my mom and told her I wanted a hamster. I was completely dead set on my argument and surprisingly I quickly convinced her. As with my first adoption, there was the condition of it being my hamster, my money, but with one more: I could only get one! Since I'd gotten my facts about Syrian hamsters fighting as adults I'd already known I would only get one. So I was in the clear! We both picked out our cages and supplies and headed back to my house to set up. She spent the night and the next day we were back at Petco to pick up our Hams!

My friend went straight for the dwarfs, and chose a grey male, which she later named "Pugly". I took a bit longer to choose. Since in the back of my head all I could think of was Tickles and Chewy, I knew I wanted a Syrian. And the male Syrians all just laid around the habitat like lazy frogs, so it looked like I was going for a female Syrian. Petco only had four female Syrians at the time. two of them were hiding in their house and one was sitting in the corner munching on seeds. The fourth, a yellowish one with white paws, was madly running on the wheel. I'd never seen a Syrian run so fast on a wheel before! I put my face close to the glass and she stopped. She wobbled over to the glass and put her paws on it. "That one!" I said. I bought a new hamster ball for her to play in and the Petco lady put her in that for the ride home, instead of a box. Since I was still technically underage and no adult was present, I had to call my mom to give verbal consent over the phone for both of us. While we waited outside the store for our ride, a passing stranger asked me what her name was. For some reason two anime flashed into my head and I replied "Edward Naruto". Yes my new little hamster was named after the main characters from Fullmetal Alchemist and Naruto.

Edward Naruto
July 20, 2007-July 26, 2009

Edward Naruto: Edward was a Robo hamster trapped in a Syrian hamster's body. I say this because she was fast, and she loved to run. All night long she'd go at that wheel. But her favorite thing in the world was her exercise ball. I think she would of lived in it if she could of. One day I got a flyer from Petco. They were having a Hamster Ball Derby, where you take your hamsters in their balls and let them race.  My friend and I thought it sounded fun so we entered out two little hams. The derby was divided into categories by small animal type and species. For example, there was a separate race for gerbils, and hamsters, and a separate race for Syrians hamsters and Dwarf hamsters. The hamsters raced in their balls that were placed on race tracks. The whole thing was adorable! There was a winner from each category that then competed in an over all race for first place over all the small animals. Betcha' can't guess who won first place! Edward! Edward came in first place and won a tiny hamster-sized trophy and a round race track. I was so proud of my little speed demon! Edward was a rather picky eater. She didn't like treats or  any fruits or vegetables I tried to give her. But she was very sweet and loving. All of my friends loved her, and my mother even lost a lot of her rodent hatred because of Ed-O. But sadly, all good things must come to an end. Edward Naruto died late at night a few days after turning two. The next day we had a small funeral consisting of my parents, and three friends (one of them being my boyfriend though we weren't together at the time) and buried her in her hamster ball.

I like to think there is a hamster heaven where all hamsters can get along, regardless of sex, species, and all other factors. If so, them I'm sure Tickles and Chewy welcomed Edward with open paws.

NEXT TIME IN HAMSTER FLASHBACK: Kanon Haruko! My first long haired!


Convincing The 'Rents

"Let me get this straight?! You wanna' bring a RAT into this house young lady/man?!?!" Ah, haven't we all heard that line? I know I have! When I first told my mom I wanted a hamster I thought I would never hear the end of it. Many kids and teens ask their parents if they can adopt a hamster, but their parents say no because of ridiculous reasons or because they are misinformed.

Misconceptions about hamsters:
-There rats
-There dirty and they stink
-There way too expensive
-They bite and there mean
-There boring, they sleep in a cage all the time

Truths about hamsters:
-While they are rodents, they are not rats
-They are actually very clean animals and as long as you clean their cage they do not stink.
-While starting up (buying cage and starting supplies) can get a bit pricey, upkeep is relatively cheap
-Most hamsters are easy to tame and while they may nibble, the won't draw blood unless threatened
-They very active, and there are other activities you can do with them

First of all, show them your interested in a hamster! You can't just ask for a hamster out of the blue and expect them to say yes. Bring it up one night at dinner. "Mom, dad, you know hamsters? They can store food in their cheeks! Cool, huh?" Showing them that your interested will get them interested too.

Many parents will say no to the idea of a pet, because they feel the child or teen is not responsible enough to properly take care of it. If you are responsible enough then show them! This may sound silly but get a practice pet. It can be a bean bag or small stuffed animal or anything and place it in a shoe box. Put a bottle of water and a small bowel next to or in the box and let your parents see that your changing it's food and water every day (well pretending to at least). Doing this will help show how serious you are about hamster adoption too.

When you ask them for permission to adopt a hamster, you should try not to ask "Can you get me a hamster?" This implys that you want them to buy it and supply it with everything for it's needs and they most likely won't like the idea of that. Instead ask "Can I get a hamster?"

The biggest thing: RESEARCH!!!! You need to educate yourself on any pet before you adopt! Find out everything there is to know about hamsters, and don't be afraid to share your knowledge! The more your parents know, there more likely they are to agree. You have to show them you know what your getting into.

Personally I think hamsters are too underrated as pets. They are small, easy to handle, quiet, don't smell, and they are clean. Hamsters are smart too! You can train them to do tricks and respond to their name! Who wouldn't want to share their home with that? In short, if you feel you are responsible enough t care for a ham ham properly, then go for it! I wish you the best of luck! And remember, you can find everything you need to know in this blog!


Hamster Hunt!

I'm glad to see you decided to take the first big step into hamster parenthood by deciding to adopt a ham! Congratulations! :)) But how do you choose one? What species? What color? Male or female? Where do I buy it? How many do I get? Well it all depends on you!
*Keep in mind: any person under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult to purchase a live animal!

Where Do I Find A Hamster? Well they don't grow on trees! Hamsters can be bought from numerous places, including pet stores, feed stores, breeders, and friends who's hamster has had a littler. When adopting a hamster from anywhere keep in mind that the more well known the store or breeder is, the better chance you have of getting a healthier hamster. Also look at the hamster's living conditions. You wouldn't want a hamster that was sick from being in a filthy habitat! Also, it is best to go in the evenings, as hamsters are more likely to be awake. Most stores have a return policy on their animals, so if you end up with a sick one that dies of needs vet care, they will either give you a new one or cover the bills.

What Makes For A Healthy Ham? When choosing your new friend, there are some key signs you should be looking for.
        -Is it at least 4-8 weeks old?
        -Are they alert?
        -Is their fur clean?
        -Is their rump free of droppings
        -Are their eyes, nose, mouth, and ears clear of mucus?
If you answered no to any of these questions, the hamster your looking at may be too young, sick and/or unhealthy. And remember, if one hamster in the cage appears sick, there could be something wrong with all of it's cage mates. Healthy hamsters are alerts and will run around the cage and squirm when held. Their fur should be nicely groomed and they should not have any bald patches. Their eyes, and nose should be clear and not runny. Their mouth and ears should be clean as well. If it meets all of these standards then it should check out!

Do I Get A Male Or A Female? That, my friend, if up to you. Sex doesn't really matter when it comes right down to it. There are all kinds of rumors that males are more aggressive, and males smell worse, or females bite more, and females are easier to tame, but the are all just that. Rumors. Hamsters all have different personalities just like people, so before deciding which sex you'd prefer you should observe each.

So Many Colors! Yes, yes, hamsters come in all colors, but as I stated with the sex of the hamster, colors and patterns mean nothing! True beauty in on the inside so take your time choosing your ham ham! Don't just choose the cutest one. Besides, for all you know that cute one your looking at could be really mean! So please choose wisely when adopting and don't go by looks.

What Species Is Best For Me and how many do I get? This is a question only you can answer! There are five species of hamster widely kept as pets. Keep in mind, the below listed and their behaviors are common to the species, but are not exact! For example, while Robos are usually hard to tame due to their fast nature and tiny size, there are some cases in which Robos tame very easily. Another example would be that it's often said that Winter Whites get along well with other Winter Whites of the same sex, but there are some cases where two Winter White get in a fight and have to be separated. So like I've been saying the whole post, observe the hamsters before you adopt one.
*Keep in mind: If you DO decide to buy a pair of hamsters make sure they are a species that is likely to get along with one another and keep than in same sex pairs. Pairs of the opposite sex will breed and you can quickly become overrun with hamster pups. Also, for every hamster in the habitat you mush have a wheel, house, and possibly food bowl and water bottle for both to live peacefully. You should be prepared for the event in which the hamsters do not get along and keep a second cage on hand for separation purposes.
        -Syrian: Great starter pets, due to their calm temperament and large size. Syrians must be housed             separately as same sex pairs will fight to the death.
        -Djungarian (Winter White): Winter Whites are said to be the most naturally tame hamsters. They are very small, but also make great starters. They can often be housed in same sex pairs.
        -Roborovski: Robos are the smallest species of hamster and are very fast. This makes them harder to handle, but they are great to watch. Some Robos can be housed together but are often territorial so do so with caution.
        -Cambell's: Cambell's are fairly easy to tame and closely resemble Winter Whites. They can sometimes be kept with other Cambell's but there is still a chance of fighting.
        -Dwarf Chinese: Chinese Dwarfs can be quite nervous but grow into loving companions. It is ok to try and house same sex pairs, but there is still a chance of rivalry.
(For more information on each species, visit an earlier post) So now you're thinking: "But Tracy, what about Teddy Bear Hamsters and Fancy Hamsters and Black Bear Hamsters?" There is no such thing! Many pet stores give hamsters these silly names to make them more appealing. "Fancy Hamsters and Black Bear Hamsters are nothing more than regular hamsters that have unique or odd markings so pet stores think they cal sell them for more money. Keep this in mind when choosing.

Once you've chosen your new friend they will most likely be placed in a small cardboard box. You will need to take them straight home and place them in their new cage, which you should set up before you go to adopt your new ham. You should give them at least a day or so to adjust before interacting with them too much. I hope this helps you in your Hamster Hunt! Good luck!


Hamster Flashback: Tickles And Chewy

Hello hamster lovers! And welcome to Hamster Flashback! Hamster Flashback is a chain of posts dedicated to the memory of my past hamsters! Since this is the first flashback, I will also talk about my decision to adopt hamsters in the first place. Happy reading!

As a kid I was always somewhat of a lone wolf. I had friends, but not as many as most and for one reason or another I was often picked on. For as long as I can remember, however, I've been around animals, and animals never treated me the way many of the other kids did. Animals always seemed to be my closest allies, and because of that I adopted this connection with them. When I was in seventh grade I was at a really awkward phase (as most are at that age) and spent much of my time alone in the school library. They had many books about animals. Dogs, cats, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, small animals, everything! And I must of checked out every animal book they had in that library! But there were a few books I kept going back for: The hamster books. I was fascinated by the adorable little balls of fluff that reminded me of a cartoon I watched as a child called "Hamtaro". So I asked my mom if I could have a hamster, and do you know what she said? A big fat N-O! Can you believe it? Just because she didn't like rodents I couldn't have one! But I had my heart set on a ham ham, and I was going to get one! So I memorized the books and from then on everything I spoke of was hamsters. I drove my mother mad with all my ham chat. I'd rant on how to care for one, and what they eat, and how they bathe themselves, and everything until I finally broke her. There was only one condition: I had to pay for the hamster and all of it's things on my own. No problem right? A seventh grade girl with no job? Pay for her own hamster? Well let me tell you something: It's possible. Aside from a bit of Birthday money I had saved up, I did odd jobs for my neighbors until I had more than enough. My father loved fish and we had more aquariums in my house than the local pet shop did and luckily for me, someone was on my side. My dad had an unused tank that just so happened to have a screen lid. I'd hit the jackpot. I then bought the proper bedding, food, treats, wheel, and house for my new hamster. My mother drove my friend and I to the only pet store in our area. It was this tiny hole in the wall that never seemed to have the same employees. We ran in and looked into the tanks. Between about four tanks, they must of had around 20 Syrian hamsters, half male and half female, so I really couldn't of asked for a better selection. My friend and I watched all of the hamsters for awhile. They were all so cute, it was a really tough decision. The girl working in the shop came over to us to offer help. She looked to be around 25 and she was very kind. She opened the tank and let me stick my hand in. Instantly, a greyish brown hamster with tan on her stomach came up to me and started nibbling my finger. Almost at the same time, an orange, tan, and black one came up to me and climbed right into my hand! Her little feet ticked so much I started giggling. I was now torn between this nibbler and this tickler. Then the pet shop lady said: "Oh why don't you get both? That way they can be friends?" I had more than enough saved to afford both of them since this was when hamsters were only $8.99 each and the tank was more than big enough for two. So I bought both female hamsters and appropriately named them: Chewy and Tickles. The car ride home was another story. The hams were boxed separately and my friend and I each were holding one. Suddenly, my friend shrieks from the back seat! Chewy was indeed living up to her new name and chewing through the box! The car ride home wasn't even 10 minutes long and she already had a hole big enough to squeeze through and escape! Luckily, we got them in and safely into their new home before loosing either of them!

After that, the two lived happily together for around eight months until I noticed they were getting slightly more aggressive in their behavior towards each other. I chalked it up to sibling rivalry and added a second wheel and water bottle to their cage. When that didn't seem to help I added another food bowl and more houses. Still no dice. Then, one night at around 10:30 PM my mother and I heard hamster screams! Yes hamsters can scream, and when they do, something is terribly wrong. We looked to the tank to see bedding being tossed everywhere and a tiny bit of blood staining it and both hamsters. They were rolling all over and biting each other like mad. Without thinking, I ripped the screen lid off and reached in. I scooped up Chewy and gently put her in her hamster ball, while my mother ran for towels. Tickles was bleeding from her ear, and Chewy, while blood stained, was not injured. While the wound was not life threatening, I knew I could no longer house the two together so my mom took me to Walmart where I was forced to buy the only cage they had. It was small, cheap, hard to assemble and clean, and I hated it! But being so late, it was my only option. So for one week, Chewy lived in the small cage while Tickles lived in the big tank, and then they would switch for a week. They went back and forth like this for the remainder of their life because upon researching the internet, I found that same sex Syrian hamster will fight to the death if housed together in adulthood. I also found that many things I'd read in the library books was outdated information. So I spent much of my time at my neighbor's researching hamsters all over again to get my facts straight.

Aside from the big fight that separated them, Tickles and Chewy were wonderful hamsters!

Tickles: Tickles was, in short, a brat. Don't get me wrong, I adored her just as much as her sister! But she was always a bit more of a handful. She would rearrange her cage the way SHE wanted it, and as soon as I'd cleaned her cage it was a mess again. She often seemed grumpy, but I could tell it was just who she was. She loved to bury everything in her cage in bedding! Food bowl, houses, tunnels, she'd bury the whole wheel if she could! The fight between her and her sister left her with a battle scar on her right ear. Chewy bit clean through and left a very tiny hole and we'd often joke about putting an earring on her. While Chewy spent her days chewing everything she could get her teeth on, tickles climbed everything. And her favorite things to climb were people! Tickles lived healthily for almost three years and died of old age.

Chewy: As I said earlier, Chewy was named for her excessive chewing. I know all hamsters chew, but this girl chewed everything! She was slightly sweeter than her sister Tickles, though I loved them both. She was fairly shy around anyone other than me though. She always had a happy look to her but was somewhat lazy. When she was almost three, about a month or so after Tickles passed, I noticed she was getting very thin, and wasn't eating or drinking very much. She was loosing fur and was really weak. My mother and I found the only vet in town that would see hamsters and took her. Chewy had problems with her reproductive organs. She told me that they could spay her to try and help, but that because of their tiny size, hamsters that are put under anesthesia often don't wake up and if they do, there are often other complications. I decided not to have the surgery done, but the vet gave me medicine for her. So everyday I gave her medicine and after a few weeks she perked back up. She stared eating and drinking again and grew her fur back. For the last few months of her life, she was happy and spoiled. Chewy lived for just over three years and died peacefully one night.

Tickles and Chewy were my first hamsters. I learned a lot from them. I have many fond memories of them and I didn't let their scuffle turn me away from hamster adoption!

NEXT TIME IN HAMSTER FLASHBACK: Edward Naruto! The fastest Hamster in town!

How It All Started!

Per request!
Lately everyone has been asking me why I love hamsters so much. Why did I start Hamster Talk!? What was my first hamster like? What made me decide to adopt a hamster in the first place? Well, I think it's easier to just sum it all up in a few ways.

What's up with the obsession Tracy?
For as long as I can remember I've had this odd connection with animals. Maybe it was because as a kid I was rather bullied and animals were creatures that wouldn't be mean to me, or just because animals were amazing to me, I don't know. I've always loved animals. For a long time I dreamed of being a veterinarian. In short, to answer the above question in orange: I was in a bad place when I got my first hamsters Chewy and Tickles and they really cheered me up. They were more than pets to me. They were my little friends. Aside from hamsters being cute and fun, they are great companions. I love hamsters simply because of that! I honestly think they are underrated as pets!

Tracy, why did you start Hamster Talk!?
Duh! To get the word out about how awesome hamsters are! And so no one makes the mistakes I did when I was a first time hamster owner! When I got my first hamsters I was relying on outdated information and the word of a pet store worker who was only trying to make sales. Because of this, my hamsters could of killed each other, as I'd trusted the pet store lady and bought two female Syrian hamsters without knowing any better. Needless to say they had to be separated. (Neither were seriously injured and both lived happy lives after their fight. I will post more information on them in a later post.) I started Hamster Talk! as a one-stop-spot for ham ham facts to help people! All of my information is reliable, as my fans are ham ham parents and I would hate to give them false information. I'd love to get the word about Hamster Talk! out, but even if only a handful of people know about it and I've helped at least one person I'll be happy. :))
*Fun Fact: Hamster Talk! websites and such are often orange and white. This is because that color combination reminds me of Hamtaro, which is where I first became interested in hamsters.

So what about your first hamster, Tracy? Why'd you adopt?
As far as my first hamster goes, I never had a first hamster. I had first hamsters. I started with two Syrian hamsters named Tickles and Chewy. But I've had more hams than those two cuties! So to cover my pas hamsters and my reasons for adopting I will start a new segment called Hamster Flashback! In Hamster Flashback I will post about my past hamsters. My reasons for adopting hamsters, the adoption experiences, their personalities, and I will post photos if available!

I hope this answers some of your questions! See you soon in Hamster Flashback!


Sunday, September 9, 2012


Hamsters are rodents belonging to the subfamily Cricetinae. Hamsters are crepuscular (meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk) animals which burrow underground in the daylight to avoid being caught by predators. Their diets include a variety of foods, including dried food, berries, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables. In the wild, they feed primarily on seeds, fruits and greens, and will occasionally eat burrowing insects. They have an elongated pouch on each side of their heads that extends to their shoulders, which they stuff full of food to be stored, brought back to the colony or to be eaten later.
Hamsters are seasonal breeders and produce many litters in a year, each consisting of several Pups (baby hamsters). The gestation period differs for all hamster species. Gestation lasts 16 to 18 days for Syrian hamsters, 18 to 21 days for Russian hamsters, 21 to 23 days for Chinese hamsters, and 23 to 30 days for Roborovski hamsters. A mother may give birth to 1 to 13 pups in a single litter.
Hamster behavior varies depending on their environment, genetics, and interaction with people. Hamsters have also become established as popular small house pets, and are sometimes accepted even in areas where other rodents are disliked.

Hamster Species:
There are many species of hamsters but only five species are widely kept in captivity as pets in the United States. Here I will list them and give some information on each.​​

Syrian Hamster​​​
Scientific Name: ​​​Mesocricetus auratus
Alternative Names: ​​​Golden Hamster, Fancy ​Hamster, Teddybear Hamster, Standard Hamster
​Native To: Syria
Adult Size: 5-6"
Life Span: 2-3 years
About:​ Syrian Hamsters are the most well known hamsters and are most often kept as pets. They are excellent starter hamsters, due to their larger size. Syrian hams do NOT get along with other hamsters though and will fight once they are a few months old, so they are best kept alone. Syrian hamsters have developed a variety of colors and pattern mutations, including cream, white, blonde, cinnamon, tortoiseshell, black, three different shades of grey, dominant spot, banded and dilute. Syrian hamsters also have a long haired form known as "angora". Many pet shops offer these unusually marked hamsters as "Fancy Hamsters" and sell them for nearly double the price of normal Syrian Hamsters. There is no difference between Syrian and Fancy Hamsters, besides their coat.
​​Dwarf Russian Djungarian Hamster
Scientific Name: Phodopus sungorus
Alternative Names: Winter White Hamster, Siberian Hamster
Native To: Asia
Adult Size: 3-5"
Life Span: 1-2 years
About:​ Djungarian hamsters are thought to be one of the most naturally tame species of hamster. Due to their friendly nature, they can often be housed with another hamster of the same species, though there is still a chance they may fight. They typically have a thick, dark grey dorsal stripe, but there are other color variations such as pearl and sapphire. Their feet are covered in fur to protect them from the cold. As winter approaches and the days shorten, the Djungarian hamster's dark fur is just about entirely replaced with white fur. In captivity this almost never happens, though.
 Roborovski Hamster
Scientific Name: Phodopus roborovskii
Alternative Names: Robos, Robs, Dessert Hamsters
Native To: Asia
Adult Size: 1.5-3"
Life Span: 2-3 years
About:​ Roborovski Hamsters are the smallest of all hamsters. They are very fast and active, thus making them a challenge to tame and handle. They are not recommended for starter hamsters or young children. They have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night on average. They can be housed together if they are introduced at an early age, but they are also very territorial so owners need to be aware of this. Robos are known for their distinguishing eyebrow-like spots over their eyes, and are typically a sandy color with white on their bellies. 
 ​​Dwarf Campbells Russian Hamster
Scientific Name: Phodopus campbelli
Alternative Names:Cam
Native To: Asia, China
Adult Size: 2-3"
Life Span: 2-3 years
About:​ Campbell Hamsters are closely related to Djungarian Hamsters, and the two species are oftern confused with one another. They are relativley easy to tame, though not as easy as their close cousins, Djungarians. Campbell's can live happily together if they are introduced at an early age, however, any hamsters that have been housed together for some time can occasionally end up fighting to the point that they need to be separated. They can be many different colors and have one of four coat types; normal, satin, wavy or rex. Some pet stores, such as PetCo, do not have them listed as Campbells, but just Dwarf Hamsters. This makes them seem more rare than they actually are.
Dwarf Chinese Hamster
​Scientific Name: Cricetulus griseus
Alternative Names: Chin
Native To: Asia, China
Adult Size: 4"
Life Span: 3-5 years
About: ​When young, Chinese Dwarf Hamsters are quite nervous but grow to be very gentle and calm. Compared with other hamsters they have a long, thin build and a relatively long tail. Because of this, some people may confuse them with mice. They can be greyish/brown in color with a dark stripe down their spine and a light colored underside. Some US states such as California, regard Chinese Hamsters as pests and a special permit is required to own, breed and sell them. In other states such as New Jersey they are classed as exotic animals and a permit is also required to own them.

Other species of hamsters that are not widely kept as pets are:
​​European Hamster
Common Hamster
Black Bellied Hamster
Rumanian Hamster
Romanian Hamster
Turkish Hamster
​Brandts' Hamster
Ciscaucasian Hamster
​Georgian Hamster
Ladak Hamster
Chinese Striped Hamster
Mongolian Hamster
Eversmann's Hamster
Tibetan Hamster
Lesser Longtailed Hamster
Armenian Hamster
Migratory Grey Hamster
Greater Longtailed Hamster
Korean Hamster
Mouse-Like Hamster

Hamster Hybrids:
​​The offspring produced from the mating of two separate species are known as hybrids. Of the 5 species widely kept as pets only two species can interbreed and produce live offspring. These are Campbell's Hamsters and Winter White (Djungarian) Hamsters. The hybrids are commonly referred to as "Pudding Hamsters" due to their unique coloring. Pudding Hamsters are a peach color and have an orange dorsal stripe. They are a rather rare find because breeders of Pudding Hamsters must be very skilled to produce healthy hams. It is not recommended that hamster owners try to breed them for this reason. Pudding Hamsters are still a rather new species, and there is not much known about them yet.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Contact Me!

Guess what hamster lovers! Hamster Talk! now has an official website! It's still under construction but feel free to check it out anytime! :)) I realized I've been putting Hamster Talk! on a lot of new websites, but I've only been posting links to them on my Facebook page. So here is a post with all of the ways you guys can contact me!

You can contact me with questions, comments, concerns, just to talk, and to send pictures of your pets so I can post them. And remember: While my main focus is hamsters I'd love to hear about all small animals! :))

Official Websitehttp://hamstertalk.webstarts.com/index.html




e-mail: winryyuzu@yahoo.com

If any of these change or more are added I will edit this post to update them. I look forward to hearing from you!