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Pet Care - faq
Scroll through the list of frequently asked questions on the right.

One thing you must keep in mind is that your new hamster has just gone through a traumatic experience; it is now in a new environment with different smells and another hamster. This can make your new pet very nervous. The best thing you can do is leave your hamster alone for a week or so; let it adapt to its new home. After some time you may introduce your hand(s) into where the hamster lives with perhaps a treat in your palm see if the hamster will come to you. Eventually it will. Do not try and corner your pet "that will only make matters worse" let it come to you.

Also, we trust you have different homes for each hamster. As we are sure you know, hamsters are very territorial and may begin fighting with each other if they live in the same cage. It is fine to have them occasionally play together but they should have private living arrangements.

Some hamsters have a tendency to chew in their cage/ accessories if they are not provided with other alternatives such as a chew toy. That's why Habitrail® has developed an interactive cardboard maze that allows your hamster to hunt for his food and treats. Hide your food or treats inside the cardboard maze, and your hamster will have hours of foraging fun chewing away at the maze in search of them. It helps to satisfy your hamster's natural chewing instinct, while providing exercise and may help to alleviate boredom.

Your hamster is gnawing on the cage out of a desire to have something hard to chew on. Hamsters have to chew, lest their teeth grow too long (and they starve as a result) or their teeth grow too weak (again, they starve). You may wish to review the types of chew treats you offer to ensure they are things your pet likes. There are all types of products on the market, we offer a hard compress of nutrients called NutriBlock – Living World Extruded, and things in your fridge like raw carrots. Feel free to experiment to see what your pet likes best. Another possibility is that your pet is bored and is releasing this anxiety. Take your hamster out of the Habitrail® unit for regular play periods. Let it loose on the floor or even in the family bathtub (a good safe place for it to run around). Do not let your hamster chew on its living environment. You may want to paste the area it is chewing on with a slice of lemon to stop it from continuing. Also look for commercially available chew toys like wood chews.

Check the underside. Older, mature males will have a large swelling at the base of the tail that the females lack.

All you need do is carefully examine your pet. Older, mature males will have a large swelling at the base of the tail that the females lack. It may be that your pet is a little young for now so check periodically (every couple of weeks) until you know for sure.

1) Most sudden deaths in new hamsters are caused by intestinal infections, not squeezing. However, care should always be used - try picking them up with cupped hands instead of grasping them.

2) Many dwarf hamsters are aggressive and need time to get to know their new owners. Use soft leather gloves until yours is more used to handling. Pick up gently every day.

3) Dwarf hamsters will not be unhappy if kept alone. In the wild, most hamsters live a very solitary life. Regular hamsters should not be kept in pairs or groups for a variety of reasons. Never mix dwarf with regular hamsters, ever.

Please explain that hamsters have strong instincts (like many prey species) and mother nature has programmed them to react certain ways to problems, real or not. These reactions are very powerful in some cases, just as certain humans may retain powerful instinctual memories. A good example would be an exceptionally strong fear of spiders or snakes. These instinctual fears can cause humans to behave in ways we know are not logical. The mother hamster may be programmed to destroy all evidence of the "failed" birth to help keep predators away from the den (destroying all scent and evidence of the young). The birth may have failed in her mind if she was:

a) inexperienced
b) disturbed by the presence of humans
c) upset by the lack of a proper underground tunnel for birthing in
d) disturbed by the scent or presence of a male
e) upset by a lack of milk (failure to lactate)
f) perceived a disease or illness in one or more babies.

Please also review our hamster information sheet on the web site for more Information.

It sounds like you did everything you possibly could have. Perhaps she remembered her first unsuccessful experience and became agitated. Our experiences with breeding birds have shown us that some birds are better parents than others. Some destroy their eggs or kill their chicks no matter what we do. Captive situations always have stress factors built in that we cannot always perceive. It might be best not to breed your hamster under the circumstances.

Unfortunately, newborn hamsters cannot normally be hand raised. I know how sad this is, but I honestly think there is no way to save them. They could in theory be given kitten milk replacer - cow's milk is too high in lactose and will kill them sooner or later - but they would have to be stomach-tubed (too small to suckle anything we can make). And no manufacturer makes a safe stomach tube that small. As to why this happened, please review the hamster breeding information sheets posted on our web site...

Sooner or later, you will often run into problems when keeping hamsters together because of their territorial nature and their solitary lifestyle in the wild. Two females will fight with the same aggression that two males will use. Even a pair (male/female) will fight for much of the time. Pregnant females are particularly pugnacious. I would recommend separating the hamsters as soon as possible (separate cages).


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