Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Myths and Misunderstandings

So today I thought I would just point out some basic myths and put them straight - as sometimes it is hard to know what is true and what isn't. Here are 3 myths I have chosen, but I can always do more if they are helpful!

Myth: Syrian hamsters can learn to live together/ 'my Syrian hamsters live together and I haven't had any problems so far so it is fine.'

Truth: Even in the wild Syrians never live together, so why would they in captivity? Syrian hamsters only come together to mate, then the male leaves almost instantly. They are together for sometimes only 10 minutes (though this depends on conditions etc.)The female hamster raises it's young on its own, without the male. The young then go and find their own place and territory, and the 'cycle' repeats.

They are solitary by nature, so they are solitary in captivity too. By putting your Syrian hamsters in the same cage it is asking for trouble, because they are bound to fight and hurt each other at some point. I know someone who put her two hamsters in the same cage, and one ate the other... So you should be really careful.

Remember - this only applies to Syrian hamsters.

Fights between two Syrian hamsters can lead to injuries, expensive vet bills, stressed hamsters or even death. Don't tempt fate and put them together - it just isn't worth it.
It is also easier for hamsters to catch illnesses from each other if they share a cage, so even if your hamsters do miraculously get on, it still isn't worth it.
Don't put your Syrian hamsters together. they won't be lonely, they will be fine.

Myth: Sunflower seeds are unhealthy and should only be fed as treats or not at all.

Truth: Many people think that sunflower seeds are unhealthy and too fattening for hamsters. Many people avoid them and only give them once in a while for treats. The truth is sunflower seeds are actually very healthy. They contain essential nutrients that help a keep a hamster's body healthy. Sunflower seeds help health in your hamster's heart and are cholesterol-lowering, so sunflower seeds are really great for your hamster’s well being. This myth probably started because someone fed their hamster too many sunflower seeds at the same time. It is the same as most foods - they are good in moderation, but too many can be unhealthy too. Most hamster mixes you can buy will come with the right amount of sunflower seeds in anyway, so you don't need to worry. Giving your hamster about three to six sunflower seeds a day or so will give your hamster the balance that they need in their diet.

(I use selective hamster food, and those are little hearts with things basically mashed up inside them. These should include sunflower seeds too, so don't worry. I occasionally give Willow some sunflower seeds too, but the selective hamster food also covers that nutritional value, so don't panic if you feed your hamster those!)
Picture via here.

Myth: Hamsters smell really bad

Truth: All animals will smell if they are not kept in a clean environment. Hamsters are not typically smelly hamsters, and often groom themselves and keep themselves clean at all times. They are tidy animals, and usually have special parts of the cage they use as their 'bathroom'. This is the area you should give extra-special attention to when cleaning it.
If the hamster is really smell, it is time to clean the cage. You should clean your hamster out around once a week, but you could always do this more if your hamster is really smelly.

If the cage is not well ventilated this may cause your hamster to smell as well. If this is the case then you may need to change or modify your cage to make it more comfortable for your hamster and less smelly for you.

Also, female hamster may give off a smell when they are in heat. Not all females smell strongly when on heat, but some do. If you are worried about this then you can always get a male hamster. But not everyone can detect the smell of a female hamster's heat anyway, so it isn't much of a problem. I never noticed anything smelly about Lolly or Willow, and they are/were both girls!

I hope this was helpful! Please comment if you want me to do more, cause trust me, there are plenty of crazy myths around!


  1. About time someone gave some common sense info,well done for this post,xx Speedy's mum

  2. Thank you Hannah I learned a lot today

  3. Good information Hannah. I know that sunflower seeds can be extremely fattening for birds but wasn't aware that it wasn't so for hamsters.

  4. Very helpful. Found the link through my friend over at Pawsitively Pets and it's good to know things about hamsters. I do have to ask where you got that adorable little hamster gadget from.. I love it and can't stop watching it.

  5. I had a hamster when I was in college and he didn't smell at all. I must have kept his cage really clean :)

  6. Hamsters are adorable! It's good that you know how to look after one properly, I wish all pets were treated well too xx

  7. I have my Syrian hamsters, Johanna and Clove together and they dont fight. They are both girls and sleep together in the same snak shack


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