What Hamsters Drink

The most common pet these days is the hamster, 50 years ago it was a completely wild inhabitant of the plains. These animals are so secretive that they could not be found alive for a long time and have already begun to be considered an extinct family when a colony of these rodents was discovered in Syria in 1930. Hamsters first became the inhabitants of laboratories, and then apartments. These little unpretentious animals managed to conquer the world in the shortest possible time due to their friendliness to people, funny appearance and not picky food.

Hamsters. A bit of biology.

Hamsters belong to the Khomyakov family, which includes a hundred genera and more than five hundred species. The domesticated ones are Syrian, Chinese and Dzungarian hamsters. The main difference between the Dzungar hamsters and their Syrian counterparts are the furry soles of the paws, a shorter tail, a dark strip on the back and great mobility.

An ordinary field hamster, widespread in Russia, is a close relative of domestic hamsters. But the relative’s character is grumpy and independent and all attempts to tame this rodent were unsuccessful. It can sometimes be found in young Yunnat corners, but the animal is too vicious for home maintenance.

Size of domestic hamsters: approximately 8–18 cm. Body length and slightly more than 1 cm. Tail length. Weight is about 130 g.

Syrian hamsters are short-haired, Angora with soft, fluffy fur and satin with a short, long or half-length silky hair.

The colors of hamsters are very diverse, because this rapidly becoming sexually mature animal is an excellent object for breeding work.

Now you can often see Syrian hamsters of natural color, albino, black, cream and Siamese. All types of color can be decorated with randomly arranged white spots. A rare color has also been bred: panda hamsters.

In Dzungarian hamsters, the natural color is most often found, sometimes spotted, spotty-striped or pure white.

Hamster breeders note the connection between the color and character of the animals. For example, black hamsters are more aggressive, and cream hamsters are more friendly.

Biological features: hamsters, like all rodents, have strong, constantly growing and self-sharpening teeth.

A characteristic feature of hamsters is their cheek pouches that hold up to 18 grams of food. This device helps animals to carry food into the pantry and other secluded places.

In hamsters, the front legs are stronger than the hind legs, because it is with them that the animal digs holes. Hamsters climb, also pulling themselves on their forelegs.

Hamsters do not live long and are very prolific, which makes them a convenient laboratory animal. In addition, rarely getting sick spontaneously, domestic hamsters are extremely sensitive to targeted infection, they can be infected even with species-specific diseases characteristic only for a certain group of animals. This is possible due to the specific immune system of hamsters not responding to certain antigens.

In addition to the stomach, hamsters have a digestive gland, in which food is broken down with the help of symbiotic microorganisms.

What Hamsters Drink

Body temperature: 37.5–38.5 C.
Respiratory rate: 33–127 respiratory movements per minute.
Pulse: 280-410 beats per minute.
Life expectancy: about 2-3 years.

Hamsters in the wild.

Different types of hamsters live on the plains of all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Hamsters prefer to live alone, the female and the male live together in one hole only for a short period necessary for mating. As a rule, for several females living close to each other, there is one male, successfully chasing rivals from their plots.

In nature, animals build complex burrows with a nesting chamber, a pantry and several latrines, surrounded by a maze of winding passages. These small animals leave minks only at dusk, when daytime predators have already gone to bed, and night ones have not yet woken up. But since hamsters need grain, and animals cannot feed on simple grass, the search for food takes a lot of time and hamsters have to move long distances from their holes.

In case of danger, hamsters hide in a hole, and if a disaster overtakes them away from home, they freeze motionless, hoping to deceive a predator. Hamsters do not try to run away, because their short legs do not allow animals to run as nimbly as a rat or mouse. Sometimes, judging that the best defense is an attack, hamsters desperately fight for their lives.

In winter, some types of hamsters hibernate, while others in a similar state are numb. Numbness lasts several hours, a decrease in body temperature by 5–10 degrees, which saves energy in adverse conditions.

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In early spring, hamsters eat young herbs, then ripe berries, seeds and tubers enter their diet. Hamsters with pleasure eat insects and do not refuse carrion.

The content of the hamster at home.

Hamsters are kept in metal cages, as well as in glass and plastic terrariums or aquariums, which are covered with a wire cover on top so that the animal does not run away and is not lost. A 25x25x20 cm cage is enough for one rodent for a Syrian hamster, and a more spacious room for its mobile and active Dzhungarian counterpart.

The cage needs to be placed on a stand or bedside table, as drafts that stretch across the floor to hamsters are strictly contraindicated.

The hamster’s cage should have a wooden, ceramic or plastic house, a feeding trough, a drinking bowl and a running wheel. For the health of hamsters, the ability to actively move is very important, so do not neglect the placement of all kinds of stumps, snags and crossbars in the cage. Driftwood, twigs and other pieces of wood will also be useful for grinding off constantly growing teeth.

Hamsters love to run through a maze that mimics a hole, as well as walk around the apartment.

You should look after a hamster in order not to crawl into some dangerous place for itself: into a narrow gap between the furniture and the wall (it may get stuck), located on the surface high from the floor (it may fall, because the flat animals do not feel the danger of height). In addition, the hamster can run away and run wild.

The best litter for a hamster cage is sawdust, but the sawdust obtained by sawing chipboard is completely unsuitable for this purpose. In those rare cases when the rodent has an allergic reaction to sawdust, hay can be used as bedding. The use of newspapers and cotton wool as a litter is dangerous for the hamster’s health.

The litter needs to be changed as it becomes soiled, and in the corner that a clean rodent will choose to meet needs – every day. From time to time it is necessary to tidy up the house, throwing out stocks of food that have started to deteriorate, which have been put off by the rodent on a rainy day. It is also necessary to keep the feeder and drinker clean so that the rodent is not poisoned by spoiled food or water.

Short-haired hamsters take care of their cleanliness themselves, but long-haired animals must be combed out at least twice a day, and sometimes even washed. Washing does not give hamsters any pleasure and you need to especially monitor the absence of drafts so as not to catch a wet rodent after bathing. An excellent cold prevention is drying the hamster under infrared lamps.

Shorthair hamsters benefit from combing during molting and periodically wiping them with a wet cloth for babies. These hygienic procedures give the hamster’s coat a special shine.

The most suitable temperature for keeping the hamster is an interval of 18-25 degrees. When the temperature drops below 10 degrees, hamsters hibernate. In winter, hamsters do not suffer from dry air in apartments with central heating, because these flat inhabitants are perfectly adapted to warm, dry air.

Feeding a hamster.

Ready-made feeds are produced for domestic hamsters, prepared taking into account the needs of these rodents in cereals and legumes. Finished feed enriched with most of the necessary vitamins and minerals.

In addition to prepared feeds, you can give greens (sprouted oats, dandelion leaves, lettuce and other herbs), as well as vegetables and fruits.

Hamsters like meat in raw and boiled form, but you can give it very little and no more than 1-2 times a week. Hamsters rarely and little drink, but their water should always be clean and fresh.

When cleaning the house, throw out spoiled products, but leave the grain, because the hamster will be calmer with supplies than without them.

Breeding hamsters.

Hamster puberty occurs at the age of 1-2 months. But to form a pair of the best of the animals that have already reached six months of age.

The female and the male should be placed in a cage at the same time otherwise the “owner” will fight with the one who planted later, defending their rights to the territory. Another option for different-sex hamsters to live is separate cages, connected by a pipe for a transition with a diameter of about 4 cm.The pipe will allow each of these individualists to live on their territory, occasionally choosing to visit, so the hamsters will have no reason for fights. To avoid conflicts, it is necessary to remove the adapter tube during the pregnancy of the female.

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Pregnancy lasts only 18 days, after which the hairless, blind and deaf cubs are born. The usual number of animals in the litter is from 4 to 6, less often 12. Babies weigh 2-3 grams at birth, their teeth are developed immediately, as well as the sense of smell. Newborn hamsters look for their nest by smell, they are able to crawl to the "home" even from the opposite end of the cage, so you should not change the house or its inner upholstery during the rearing of young animals.

Hamsters do not look like caring parents and treat babies without special tenderness, and sometimes with insufficient feeding or excessive crowding, they are capable of cannibalism.

Hamsters begin to hear on the 5th day, and the eyes of these animals open at 10 – 15 days of age. As soon as the kids open their eyes, they crawl out of the nest, trying to explore the world around them, and the mother patiently collects the cubs back into the nest. On the 21st day, small hamsters can start an independent life, separately from their mother.

Features of the behavior of hamsters.

Hamsters sleep almost all day, while activity, expressed in acrobatic sketches and races in the wheel, is characteristic of evening time. Hamsters try everything new for a tooth, so the toys for these animals must be appropriate, preferably wooden or made from grains glued with honey.

Hamsters are individualists who are best at feeling alone, experiencing the need to live in a group as a stressful situation and not needing close contact with a person. Therefore, these rodents are great for busy people who are not ready to devote much time to communicating with animals. It is because of their individualism that hamsters behave aggressively towards their own kind if they are housed in the same cage. Hamsters are much more friendly to humans and are easily tamed, because humans do not claim to be their territory.

Common diseases of hamsters.

Almost all diseases of hamsters are related to factor diseases. That is, for their occurrence, the rules of feeding and keeping rodents should be seriously violated. With good care, hamsters practically do not get sick.

These rodents can be carriers of a dangerous disease for humans – lymphocytic choriomeningitis. The animals themselves look healthy, but the infected person can suffer from meningitis, encephalitis, swollen lymph nodes, or something that resembles flu like symptoms. As a rule, sick people recover, but pregnant women may have a miscarriage or have a baby with a developmental disability, so you can not get new hamsters during pregnancy!

Only young hamsters can be carriers of the virus, already by the age of 3 months, antibodies are produced in the blood of the animals that neutralize this virus. In order to protect themselves and loved ones from infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis, it is enough to buy hamsters older than 3 months of age.

a) Skin diseases of hamsters.

Often, a veterinarian is consulted about the appearance of dark spots on the sides of the hamster. This is the result of excessive pigmentation of the lateral glands, and not a disease and does not need treatment.

Clogged or injured cheek pouches. Cheek bags can become clogged when feeding the hamster with chocolate, sweets and other sticky substances, which are completely unsuitable for feeding this rodent. Injury to the cheek pouches occurs with chips or spines of grass. The first step is to unscrew (contact your veterinarian), clean the contents, rinse and treat the cheek bags with a disinfectant solution. After treatment, the hamster must follow a hungry diet during the day so that the damage can heal.

Alopecia (foci of baldness) occur in hamsters when feeding with finished foods without adding greens. This type of vitamin deficiency is treated only by adding green food to the food. There is no drug treatment, since the lack of a substance that causes alopecia has not yet been clarified.

Cutaneous and intradermal parasites. Lice and lice eaters are rare in hamsters. Even less commonly found on rodents are cat and dog fleas. As a rule, this happens only when the parasite-infected pets live in the same apartment as the hamster. But hamsters can be hosts, visible to the naked eye, tropical rat ticks or less visible parasites that live in the depths of the skin. Evidence of the destructive activity of subcutaneous parasites: itching, scabies, dandruff, increased irritability. The treatment is dependent on the exact definition of the causative agent, therefore, having found signs of itching in the hamster, you need to immediately pass the skin scraping to the laboratory.

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Dermatomycosis (lichen). The disease is very rare in hamsters and is manifested by dryness and coarsening of the skin in the lower abdomen (sometimes in other places). Coat throughout the body falls out and becomes rare. During treatment, the hamster needs to be minimized touching it and all grooming procedures should be done with rubber gloves, because lichens are infectious.

b) Respiratory diseases of hamsters.

Diseases of the respiratory tract in hamsters are shortness of breath, and it is difficult for a lay person to understand how seriously the animal is ill. Sometimes shortness of breath causes a runny nose, treated by instillation of the nose, and in other cases, the hamster suffers from intractable pneumonia. Therefore, at the very first symptoms of a respiratory disease (lethargy, outflow from the eyes and nose, loss of appetite), you should contact your veterinarian.

c) Gastrointestinal diseases of hamsters.

Tricholitis (stomach stones made of wool). Long-haired hamsters need to give a small amount of honey 2 times a week so that the wool accumulated in the stomach sticks to it and leaves the body. If this precaution is neglected, then tricholitis can lead to obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract. In such cases, only a timely operation can save the animal. A manifestation of the accumulation of wool in the stomach may be a lack of appetite and diarrhea.

Rectal prolapse is the result of frequent constipation or diarrhea. Timely direction of the body will avoid its amputation.

Enteritis (diarrhea). Watery diarrhea in hamsters can be caused by various infections, the infection of which occurs when eating poor-quality or spoiled food. The complexity of treatment is that each pathogen is sensitive to a specific group of antibiotics, and in order to find out which one, you need to get the result of laboratory analysis. Without knowing how infectious the disease is caused, treatment may be ineffective!

Infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in hamsters proceed rapidly. Often, from the beginning of diarrhea to the death of the animal, only 48 hours pass. Therefore, at the first sign of enteritis, the owner who is interested in treating his pet should immediately consult a veterinarian. During the treatment of enteritis, the hamster can be fed only with hay.

d) Urological diseases of hamsters.

Cystitis. Inflammation of the bladder is manifested by frequent urination and the presence of drops of blood in the urine. During treatment, you need to give the hamster more fresh fruit to increase the amount of fluid consumed.

Diabetes. The disease occurs in Chinese hamsters and manifests itself in increased thirst and a large amount of urine excreted. Hamsters sometimes go blind. Treatment is with drugs that lower blood glucose. Since diabetes is inherited, sick animals should be excluded from breeding.

e) Gynecological diseases of hamsters.

Endometritis. Inflammation of the uterus in hamsters is accompanied by purulent discharge from the vagina. But you should not worry, having noticed viscous whitish discharge in the female, this happens with completely healthy hamsters at the end of estrus and suggests that the time has come to happen to her with the male. Endometritis in hamsters is curable.

What Hamsters Drink

Hamsters have a number of advantages over other pets:
– they take up little space;
– they behave quietly and almost do not fade;
– they are self-sufficient and will not suffer due to the fact that the eternally busy owner devotes little time to them.

A funny behavior of hamsters can cheer up even on the most difficult day.

The most common pet these days is the hamster, 50 years ago it was a completely wild inhabitant of the plains. These animals are so secretive that they could not be found alive for a long time and have already begun to be considered an extinct family when a colony of these rodents was discovered in Syria in 1930. Hamsters first became the inhabitants of laboratories, and then apartments. These little unpretentious animals managed to conquer the world in the shortest possible time due to their friendliness to people, funny appearance and not picky food.