Welcome

Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FAQ

  1. Can syrians be housed together?
    No, syrians are solitary animals by nature and will fight till death if kept together. Even if they do not fight they will continue to be stressed by this unnatural situation and their immune system will be lowered making them susceptible to illness.
  2. Can dwarfs or Chinese hamsters be housed together?
    Yes, though they have specific housing needs and if they fight then they must be separated.
  3. My hamsters has escaped what should I do?
    Be sure to put away any predatory animals and leave food in the middle of each room to draw the hamster out. I've heard of countless ways to set 'traps' for your hamster but I have never had any luck with them. The only way that I've ever found any missing hamsters was when I got down on my hands and knees and turned every room upside down until I found that elusive hamster.
  4. I read that 10 gallon tanks are perfect for hamsters, is this true?
    No, hamsters may be small but they need lots of room. The minimum floorspace required must equal to an area of 360 square inches (aka a 20 gallon long tank).
  5. Will brothers and sisters breed with each other?
    Yes, this is called inbreeding and is highly dangerous to both the mother and the babies.
  6. I know that cedar shavings are dangerous but pine is safe, right?
    Nope. Pine and any other softwood shavings contain phenols just like cedar that cause respiratory problems.
  7. Can I put two or more different species together?
    No, none of these species of hamsters would meet up in the wild. Trying to house them together would be stressful as they have different ways of communicating and sometimes different care needs.
  8. My Syrian has brown scabs on his hips, is he ok?
    Yes, he's fine. Syrians have scent glands on their hips to mark their territory. You'll sometimes see them rubbing up against things, this leaves their scent behind. Dwarfs and Chinese hamsters have a scent gland on their belly.
  9. Can I let my hamster go swimming?
    No they could drown, catch a cold or just become terrified and stressed. Bathing them also strips the natural oils from their coat and skin. Hamsters do not enjoy getting wet and so you should simply avoid the stress that it causes.
  10. If hamsters shouldn't swim, then how can I bathe my hamster?
    Bathing isn't necessary. Hamsters keep themselves very clean all on their own. If their fur looks greasy then you can provide a sand bath (using Chinchilla sand or children's play sand). They will roll around in it and it will make their coat look great!
  11. Do hamsters smell?
    They have a slight scent but nothing that is overpowering or bad unless you don't keep their cage clean that is. Though females do emit a musky odour when they are in heat however most people don't even notice this smell.
  12. My hamster is chewing on the bars, what should I do?
    Hamsters chew on the bars for a few reasons. They may need to wear down their teeth, they may be bored or they may be trying to get your attention. Providing some wood chews or milkbones for your hamster will give them something else to chew on. Next you need to make sure that their cage is big enough and that they have plenty to do. Finally be sure to give your hamster plenty of attention and out of the cage time each day. If you have done all of this then it is likely just a bad habit. Rubbing lemon juice on the bars will deter your hamster from chewing on the bars.
  13. My hamster is chewing on the silicone glue on his tank, will he die?
    Nope, the glue is safe (or else it would leech into the water and kill fish). Chewing on the glue is often a sign of boredom, so make sure that the tank is large enough and that they have plenty to do.
  14. I bought a bed for my hamster but she won't sleep in it, how do I make her move?
    You can try to tempt her to move into the bed by placing treats and bedding inside. However where she will sleep is up to her and you cannot force her to move.

9 comments:

  1. Gosh, I didn't know about the pine shavings :-/ What would you suggest instead of them if a hammie really likes digging...?

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  2. I'm not sure what is available in Poland, but any paper based or hardwood shavings will eb safe. I know that in the Uk and in some other parts of Europe you cna get somehting called Megazorb (for horses), it's supposed to hold tunnels quite well and is also safe- it's a paper based bedding.

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  3. Thank you, I'll search for it, although you're right: in my country there aren't many fancy things for hamsters and that's a shame.

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  4. Well, I've tried a few options and it seems that my Lilly is an amatour of... hay. So we ended up with hay spred all over the cage and a cotton bedding in the nests. Moreover, I've noticed that she prefers searching the grain and digging it out of the hay to eating it right from her bowl. I guess it goes with her hammie nature so since the holidays she's been eating from the floor ;-)

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  5. Question: My hamster does tend to chew on the bars, and here's the thing: I give him chew toys and a chewable/edible hideaway log, his cage is HUGE (measures 80 cm X 50 cm X 50 cm), with a lot of stimulation like platforms, tubes, etc., and because we just got him recently, we're still easing him into us actually handling him outside the cage. How do I train him to actually USE the chew toys and hideaway that I've given him?

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  6. You can't really train them, but you can encourage them! I found that if you put some bedding from their current nest (along with other soft nesting material such as toilet paper) into the hideaway of your choice than it can sort of suggest that it might make a good nest. With chew toys you can rub them with treats (like yogurt drops) or with peanut butter (but wipe off the excess, it's just to make it smell good) to encourage them to chew on them. But bar chewing usually has more to do with boredom than with the need to chew. Perhaps you need to switch things around in the cage more often; try hiding treats and foods, putting treats in a scrunched up piece of paper, or in the centre of a toilet paper tube with the ends folded in, whole peanuts hanging from the roof of the cage so that he has to reach for it, etc. Just things to make him work and keep him busy.

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  7. Thanks, Holly! I do have one more question:

    I've been beginning to question whether my hamster actually IS male (when we got him at the pet store, they said all their hamsters were male), because for the past week we've had him/her, I have not yet seen any visible male genitalia. It might be that he/she is still too young to see it (I don't remember what age the pet store said the hamster was, but I figure the youngest has to be 3 weeks), and I have looked up how to gender a hamster, but they mostly talk about looking at the gap between the anus and the genitalia; the problem is, I can only see one "hole" (a black spot that I'm assuming is the anus), but I can't find the other one. At what age do male genitalia start to become evident in a baby Syrian (long-haired) hamster, if it is indeed male? Also, are there any other indications that the hamster might actually be female? (ie: some websites mention nipples being visible on the belly)

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    1. Actually, ignore that last question, I believe I'm starting to see the male genitalia now, so I'm starting to feel more assured that my hamster is, indeed, male (also, he's starting to grow out that longer "coat tail" fur on his bottom that only male long-haired Syrians get). I was just worried initially that the pet store may have mis-gendered him.

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  8. To address your initial question males can actually keep their "man-bits" tucked into their body if it on the cooler side, some only really seem to show if it is rather warm or plain hot in the room actually. Long haired hams seem to be able to hide them better as well due to their extra fluff. Without a clear confirmation on actually checking the underside or seeing testicles, another way to tell is to watch and see if the hamster goes into heat. I always found it easier to detect with syrians than I did dwarfs: they will freeze, lifting their tail if you stroke their back and may emit a noticeable musky scent. It isn't completely unusual for shops to make mistakes in regard to gender, hopefully this isn't the case!

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