Teddy bear hamsters are small, sturdy rodents that can make excellent pets when given proper care and veterinary treatment. The average lifespan of a teddy bear hamster is relatively short, about 1-2 years, but they can live up to 5 years. Teddy bear hamsters are typically nocturnal and enjoy digging and hoarding food. As the saying goes, animals are spiritual and we need to live in harmony with them to help them grow up healthy. Hamsters have earned a reputation as clean and easy to care for pets. They usually groom themselves when they are awake, usually at night, and enjoy the occasional sand bath to keep them clean.
However, this doesn’t mean that pet parents should neglect hamster cleanliness. Some species, such as the long-haired teddy bear hamster they may need extra help, especially as they get older and have mobility issues.
Introducing Teddy Bear Hamsters
Teddy bear hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night. Most teddy bear hamsters divide their day between sleeping and walking. Teddy bear hamsters are animals that tend to live mostly alone and prefer solitude. They are with humans but not with other animals.
Teddy bear hamsters have a natural burrowing instinct. They can dig a large number of tunnels underground, up to 3 feet deep. An unusual fact about teddy bear hamsters is that they have the ability to store food in their cheeks and eat it later. If they find food in an unsafe place, they will store it and eat it in a safe place. As mothers, teddy bear hamsters also put their babies on their cheeks to save them from predators. When a young hamster is born, it is unable to open its eyes for two weeks. Also at later stages, hamsters were observed to have poor eyesight and depth perception.
Interestingly, these small rodents can have up to 24 babies at a time. They breed in the spring and summer and can have an average of 7 litters of young, but can have up to 24 young at a time. Hamsters are susceptible to human colds. Therefore, if you are contagious, I recommend that you keep your distance from your beloved pet.
Creating a Comfortable Habitat
There are several types of cages suitable for housing hamsters. Many of these units are equipped with cage “furniture” such as exercise wheels, tunnels and nest boxes as an added luxury. For the mental health of the pet, such accessories as well as sufficient burrow depth allow for digging. Cages should be constructed with rounded corners to prevent chewing. Hamsters readily chew wood, lightweight plastics and soft metals, so recommended locking materials are wire, stainless steel, durable plastics and glass. Please note that glass and plastic containers greatly reduce ventilation and can cause problems with humidity, temperature and odor concentration. These materials make suitable cages when at least one side of the enclosure is open for air circulation.
In addition, hamsters do well in sturdy bottom cages with deep bedding and ample nesting material. Bedding must be clean, non-toxic, absorbent, relatively dust-free and easily accessible. Shredded paper or paper towels, shavings and processed corn cobs are preferred bedding. Before using, make sure shavings and ground corn cobs are free of mold, mildew or other contaminants. Cotton and shredded paper towels are quality nesting materials.
Nutrition and Diet
As with any pet, good quality food and clean fresh water must be available at all times. The precise nutritional needs of teddy bear hamsters have not been fully determined. In the wild, these animals feed on plants, seeds, fruits and insects. Current recommendations for captive feeding are pelleted rodent diets containing 15-20% protein. These rations are usually processed into dry blocks or pellets designed for rodents. Seed diets are also “formulated” and sold to hamsters, but these diets should only be supplemented with basic rodent pellets. Seed diets contain a lot of fat and are prone to spoilage if not stored properly.
In addition, when eaten alone, these diets often lead to obesity and potential nutritional deficiencies, especially calcium. Other dietary supplements include sugar-free breakfast cereals, whole grain breads, pasta, cheese, cooked lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. All foods in moderation. Hamsters eat about 12 grams of food per day and most of it at night. Hamsters are like a bunch of little mice and often hide food in the corners of their cages to make it appear as if they are eating much more than they actually are.
Water is easily provided in a water bottle fitted with a Sipper tube. This method also helps to keep the water free from contamination. Always make sure that the pipe is positioned low enough to be easily accessible to your pet. Juvenile hamsters need special consideration to ensure that they are strong enough to use the sippy tube as well as have access to it. On average, hamsters drink about 10 milliliters of water per 100 grams of body weight. Although this amount is a small fraction of the total volume of the bottle, fresh water should be provided daily, not just when the bottle is emptied.
Bonding and Care
You might be surprised to learn that hamsters not only love affection, but thrive on human interaction. Hamsters love their owners like most pets, but they have subtle ways of showing it. They enjoy the company of their human parents and can form strong bonds. Once your hamster is comfortable with being held, be sure to cuddle and play with him once a day. He’s nocturnal, so he may want to play with you at night by approaching him the night after he wakes up.
In conclusion, to begin handling a new or young hamster, start by offering small, high-value treats. Daily handling is important. First and foremost, handling hamsters helps socialize, tame them, and make them friendlier. Some will even become affectionate and enjoy their time with their owners. Daily handling also provides an enriched environment. This, along with the frequent rotation of toys, helps eliminate boredom. This daily interaction should be started quickly and frequently, then gradually extended in duration if the hamster enjoys it. Handling young mice in this way usually results in a docile, tame, and rarely active hamster.