Sunday, February 12, 2006

Another sucky february. Saint Valentine and the Cherub can go and take a hike unless a miracle happens.

5 comments:

lakeside girl said...

Why sucky??

I've got a hamster. I NEED HAMSTER ADVICE. :)

joline said...

green apple:

What kind of hamsters have you got?
If it's a Syrian, only keep one per cage because they will kill each other. They is aggressive.
If Dwarf, they should be ok together assuming they're familiar with each other.

Basic stuff about lodging: Put opposite sex ones together and u will get a hamster zoo.

Cages:
Make sure that the bars are suitable for the hamster's size (bear in mind size when it's a baby and size when adult) so that they won't escape. My sister recommends "Habitrail" (a brand) because they're ok for all sizes.

Bedding:
Wood shavings are good budget bedding. But you prolly need to clean it out twice a week to avoid stinking up the house.
Better alternatives are bedding made of virgin wood pulp, or cat litter. Avoid cotton wool like bedding, cos it can kill your hamster if your hamster gets bogged down by it or if it ingests it.

Food:
The gist is, no citrus fruits. Not too much lettuce cos it's mainly water (no nutritional value) and can cause diarrhoea. They appreciate variety and vegetables are better than fruits cos of low sugar content. Don't overdose on sunflower seeds cos it has lots of oil and can cause obesity. (i show u, heh heh) Try not to give too much hamster treats for the same reason of too much sugar and oil.
So...., Do buy high quality hamster mix as a staple and supplement it with veg.

Hamsters like a PEANUT BUTTER treat, but NOW AND THEN only. Hur hur. Watch them eat, very farni and cute one. (it gets stuck to their teeth)

Fresh water should be available all the time, use a bottle instead of a saucer.

joline said...

green apple:

Wheel:
Must buy. Hamsters can run (so we hear) up to 5 miles a night. (doesn't seem to apply to one of our hamsters, the fat one.) Don't be fooled if they don't use it in the day, cos they run at night. (you'll hear proof of usage)
Always use solid wheels, not the kind with bars like the cage's, cos hamster feet can get snared.

Behaviour:
Should handle them everyday so that they will get used to you. If they bite, u can train them not to by giving them a little scare by yelling "NO!" in their faces at time time of bite. This is conditioning. For ours, it worked.
BUT. Always wash hands before handling hamsters to remove any food smells, because if not, they will try to eat the "food" (aka, your hand). This reduces chances of biting, even after training.
And wash after, so u dont er... eat hamster germs.
If they start off VERY hostile, don't handle them more than once a day, but do slowly increase handling frequency. When handling, provide treats... Pleasant experience. (aka, bribe)

Two hamster dynamics:
If it gets nasty, separate them by not sticking your hand in, but use a net to scoop one out. Nasty = biting until got blood. Let wounds heal before attempting to reintroduce.
Always put the less aggressive into the main cage first to let him establish his scent. The less aggressive = young males, Most aggressive= Old females. (hur hur)

Disease:
Prolly the most dangerous disease is "wet tail". Cos it can lead to death, sometimes only taking hours. Symptoms: wet bottom (diarrhoea), disinterest in grooming, food. Bring to vet immediately.
Skin problems may be caused by demodectic mange, old age, kidney/liver disease or lack of vitamins (these come in various forms, can check at pet shops).

These is the gist, (if u can call it gist, heehee) of it. Think u can get more info from the web. If your hamster is well taken care of, they shld be fine. "Just dont accidentally sit on it." (i quote sister)

Hope this wld serve as a good starting point!

***

As for the Feb thing. Recently had to take a necessary step in my life, and in so doing, reminded me of a not so nice Feb, 4 years ago.

joline said...

green apple:

Oh, the part about "these come in various forms..." I am referring to the vitamins that are available to be bought.

Joline said...

green apple:

Toilet:
Some people claim hamsters can be toilet trained, but ours pee and poop wherever they please. If you start them/it young, MAYBE still can train.
Provide them with a toilet container that contains toilet sand (the coarser kind) which can be bought at pet shops.
There's a finer grain sand that's suppose to be for hamsters to take sand baths in, but er... Ours can't tell the difference. Sand bathing is not necessary though.

Bathing:
If you have one hamster, u can bath it (with water) if you want. Pet stores sell solutions that u can use to bath your hamster. BUT... If you have more than one hamster, we suggest u dont bath them cos when they lose their hamster scent, they dont recognise one another, they'll fight and then can die one.

As long as u keep the cage clean, hamsters are naturally not stinky animals.

Toys:
The cardboard rolls (without the toilet paper) are cheap and good ways to keep them busy. You can leave a few sheets of toilet paper on cos they like to shred it up and use it for nesting purposes. Nesting = a spot to cuddle and sleep in.
Or, u can use wooden hamster houses. Wood is better than plastic houses, cos hamsters like to gnaw and plastic is not good for their teeth.
Pieces of wood for gnawing would be good because they would otherwise gnaw on the cage bars.
Budden hor, from experience, they still cage-bar-gnaw anyway.
Gnawing is necessary cos it keeps their front incisors at a manageable length. (these teeth keep growing throughout lifetime. Too long, and it'll be ingrown teeth... into the brain.)