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Sir Hamilton McFluffy of the Syrian Longhairs

Hamilton McFluffy is a 2 year old Satin Golden Banded Syrian hamster. We adopted him on Dec 25th 2010. He weighs about 177 grams. His original name was Hammy, but we felt that was too plain for such a dapper fellow.

Princess Periwinkle ~ Secret Agent P

Periwinkle is a Sapphire Winter White dwarf hamster. She was born on December 23rd 2010, and we adopted her on Feb 5th 2011. She weighs about 52 grams. She has been entered in SoCal hamster shows, placing 1st place in 'Best in Show' and 'Cutest'.

Rest in Peace Micro and Nano

The two little roborovski superstars that started it all, Micro and Nano. They were adopted on April 19th 2009. They entered one show, placing 1st and 2nd in 'Best in Show' and 'Fastest Ball Race', and 2nd and 3rd in 'Most Unusual Markings'. Micro passed away on April 6th 2010, and Nano on Feb 15th 2011.

Basic Hamster Care 1O1

General information about the species commonly kept as pets, their diet, habitats, safety tips and other useful tidbits.

DIY Bin Cage Tutorial

The cheap and easy solution to providing your hamster with plenty of floorspace. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and easily customizable. You don't need to be a wiz with the tools to figure it out, either!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Stop Hybridization!

There are two species of hamsters kept as pets that are capable of interbreeding; the Campbells and the Winter White. These hamsters live in completely different areas; therefore the possibility of hybridization occurring in the wild is unlikely. When interbreeding occurs, the female must always be a Campbells because they have a wider head than Winter Whites. The offspring of these animals are often larger than the standards for either the Campbells or the Winter White.

The mixed breeding of the Campbells and the Winter White dwarf hamster is occurring out of ignorance and greed. Many commercial breeders believe that cross-breeding will allow new color mutations for the Campbells and Winter Whites, giving them an opportunity to advertise a “rare” hamster for more money. Hybrid hamsters will only produce hybrids. Breeding for new colors between the two is only delaying the process naturally since it’s harder to find pure stock, depending on where you live.

Colors aren’t the only thing being passed down; diseases commonly found in one of the species are showing up in the hybrids. Glaucoma from the Winter White lines and diabetes from the Campbells are among the most popular diseases between the two. A strict diet must be enforced to reduce the chance of diabetes.

If interbreeding became popular enough, it would eventually make it nearly impossible to find Winter White or Campbells aside from the few breeders who keep track of their lines. Hybrids have a high chance of producing infertile offspring, so it would prove difficult to support an indefinite line of hybrids.

I personally believe that no hamster fancier would intentionally breed hybrids.

Where To Get A Hamster

You finally made the decision to get a hamster. Congratulations! Now here comes another tough decision. Where should you get your hamster? There is a big difference between most hamsters being sold in pet shops and the hamsters you can get from quality breeders. Pet shop hamsters are mass produced in breeding mills, and are often sold with illnesses or battle wounds. Russian Dwarf hamsters from the pet shop have a high chance of being a hybrid. Quality breeders know the genetic history of their hamsters, and they are often bred to have a better temperament. Plenty of hamsters find their way into rescue shelters every year. These hamsters still have lots of love left in them to give to someone who will appreciate them. Which do you want to choose?

It’s no secret that chain pet stores such as Petco and PetSmart get the majority, if not all, of their rodent stock from breeding farms and mills. The producers of such get-ups are in it for the money. This means that the animals are mass produced to make as much money as possible. The people behind it do not care about the quality of their animals. The hamsters are then shipped around to various stores, and shoved into small containers with a bunch of other hamsters. Quite a few hamsters often come home with battle wounds, or illnesses they had before reaching the pet shop, and pass shortly after creating a heartbreaking situation that pulls on every animal lover’s heartstrings.

Since the Winter White and Campbell Dwarf hamsters can interbreed, there is a high chance that most hamsters labeled as either are a hybrid. To the untrained eye, it could be hard to tell the difference between the two. Winter Whites are bullet shaped with a thick dorsal stripe, whereas Campbells are paler with a puffier shorter face. Hybridization became popular because people wanted to create new color patterns such as “Lilac”, “Pudding”, and “Mandarin”. Interbreeding the two together is doing nothing for either species. If interbreeding takes over, you will not only see a decline in pure dwarfs, but also the hybrids as  they are often infertile. In my own opinion, any quality breeder or hamster lover would not breed the two together.  

Reputable breeders breed hamsters to have certain attributes. They are usually experienced and knowledgeable in the species they are breeding. They will let you know if they feel you would be the perfect fit for owning the species you are trying to obtain. Breeders care about the species as a whole and the quality of the animals they produce. The pups are bred to have a good temperament and are healthier. They keep records of their lines. Some breeders will allow you to interact with the hamster to get to know its personality, and also see the parents since the pups will inherit personality traits from them. Beware, not all breeders will breed to the same standards, so pay close attention just like you would at a pet shop. Not everybody has access to a quality breeder, so rescue centers are another great place to check out.

Many hamsters are bought for children as pets and then discarded to the shelter. The reason being the kids lose interest in the responsibility of caring for the animal, they failed to do the research on the species beforehand, or the animal is aging and they don’t want to deal with it. These hamsters deserve your love and attention, too. Rescue hamsters can be some of the sweetest hamsters because they will appreciate all of the nice things you do for them. Be extra patient with them because you have no idea what their past is like. Adopting a hamster is a great way to not only brighten your day, but greatly impact a hamster’s life as well.

Check online, such as petfinder.com, or craigslist.com. I personally see many hamsters up for adoptions online, some even with the cages. Be wary of the owners who claim to not have time for their hamster anymore, but keep the cage, and the ones who ask ridiculous adoption fees. They should be looking for a good home for the pet, not a way to make some quick cash.  

Pet shops are the easiest way to go, and have hamsters available at almost any time. These hamsters are often not up to par. Reputable breeders have hamsters bred for health and temperament. Rescue shelters aren’t just for cats and dogs, they have hamsters, too! These hamsters are just waiting to open their heart up to you. In conclusion, the choice is really up to you to decide where you want to get your hamster, but some sources will have better animals than others.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Which Hamster Is Right For You?

How many times have you wandered by the cute hamsters in the pet shop and thought about getting one? Chances are you've done it at least once! Hamsters can make a great pet for people, but are casually cast aside as an easy children’s pet. Each species is different, and some may not be the best choice for you.

Syrians are the most popular species of hamster kept as pets. Sometimes the pet shops label them as "Teddy Bear".  Syrians come in a wide variety of color and coat patterns, including long and short hair. Adult hamsters usually grow to be between 7-9 inches long with a short tail. Syrians are solitary animals, and only come together in the wild to mate. After the age of 8 weeks, all Syrian hamsters should be kept in separate habitats. Syrian hamsters use their scent glands located on their hips to mark their territory. They are also the slowest. If getting a hamster for a child, a Syrian would be the wisest choice. Be warned, Syrians do not like light, and sleep almost all day. Youngsters can be quite jumpy while being handled. They require a wheel of at least 8 inches in diameter. Syrians are very good housekeepers, and will usually designate an area of the cage for storing food and using the bathroom. Syrians can also be vocal hamsters, with some being more of a chatter box than others.

Once believed to be one species, the Campbells and the Winter White are actually two species commonly referred to as the Russian dwarf hamster. These two species are capable of interbreeding. Interbreeding the two can cause sterilization, and diseases previously seen in only one species are found in both. Also, the female always needs to be a Campbells because they have larger heads and Winter Whites will have trouble giving birth. Pet-shops never label them as hybrids, so they are usually sold to customers as one or the other. Because of both unsuspecting owners not realizing they own a hybrid, and the popularity of interbreeding for new color combinations, the Campbells and Winter Whites are declining. Both species are social and can live in groups if introduced young. Just because they can live together, doesn't mean they will get along with each other, let alone members of the same species. Both species can be prone to diabetes. Sugary foods such as corn, peas, and carrots should be kept to an absolute minimum. Signs of diabetes include frequent urination and heavy drinking. Hamsters can be tested for diabetes using human test strips.

Campbells are more popular than Winter Whites. They are found in many colors varieties, such as Argente, Mottled, Umbrous and Platinum. Campbells have a distinct cream tint along the arches on their side with a thin dorsal stripe. Their eyes are the placed evenly between their nose and ears with a rounded face and furry feet. Campbells grow to be about 3-4 inches long, with the males being larger than the females. They are often referred to as being more outgoing with humans than its counterpart. Their eye sight is poor, and they rely heavily on their sense of hearing and smell to recognize their home environment. Some Campbells become territorial. This means they are protective of their habitat. If this happens, be patient with your hamster and use a tool as an elevator for scooping out the hamster. Campbells are most active at night and dusk, only waking during the day for brief moments.

Winter Whites get their name from the ability to change their coat to white during the winter season in order to camouflage in the wild. Winter Whites currently only come in a few colors; Agouti, Sapphire, and Pearl. They have a thick black dorsal stripe which widens around the shoulders, a bullet shaped body, and three distinct arches on their sides aligned with darker ticking. Their eyes are big and bold with a longer nose, and fur on their feet. They grow to be about 3-4 inches long. Winter Whites are usually more shy and timid than the Campbells. They love to have plenty of hide-a-ways to duck into when feeling insecure. They can dart away, though not as quickly as the Roborovski. When attempting to handle a Winter White, they may squeak and become defensive. This is different than aggression. Be gentle, and speak softly while handling. Like most other hamsters, Winter Whites are most active at night.

The smallest of the dwarf hamster species is the Roborovski hamster, commonly referred to as Robs or Robos. Roborovskis come in only a few colors, Agouti and White Faced, though new color mutations such as “Spotted/Pied” and “White” are slowly emerging.  Roborovskis grow to be about 2 inches long. They are the fastest of the hamster species. They rarely stop moving, and because of this, do not make good pets for children and often end up in rescue shelters. They can be timid and do not tame like other hamsters, but are curious enough to walk across your hand while inside their cage.  People misjudge them and think just because Roborovskis are so tiny that they do not require much space. This is false. Roborovskis do best in large set-ups. While their legs are tiny and thin, they are able to run many miles in one night. Their speed demon antics are entertaining, earning the nickname “Goldfish of the Hamsters”. Roborovskis rarely vocalize themselves and prefer for their habitat to be kept dark. Like the other dwarf species, Roborovskis can be kept in pairs if introduced properly.

The last species of hamster kept as a pet is the Chinese hamster. They are usually grouped together with the dwarf hamsters due to their size, but the Chinese hamster is not technically a dwarf hamster. They are not as common as the other hamster species because of their strict breeding conditions. California does not allow you to own or transport a Chinese hamster without a permit. Unlike other hamsters, the Chinese hamster has a long tail which they use for balance and grip. They love to climb and can jump real high, and do best in a cage that allows them to take advantage of these skills. Chinese hamsters grow to be about 4-5 inches long, with a slender body that resembles a mouse. They are usually a dark grey-brown with a dark dorsal stripe down their spine and a white underside. Chinese hamsters can be timid and fast-moving, but most of them have a good temperament.

The five hamster species can be quite different from each other. The Syrian hamster is the most popular, largest, and slowest. Campbells and Winter Whites have been interbred tremendously and there are a lot of hybrids on the market. Winter Whites are vocal and shy, and the Campbells are more outgoing. Roborovskis are the smallest and fastest, and do not make the best choice for children or inexperienced hamster owners. Chinese hamsters are not found in a lot of places, and have a long tail for climbing.  Hopefully reading this guide has given you a better understanding of each of the species.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sorry for slacking!!


I guess it's a good thing I didn't buy my domain, since I have been in a blogging slump. It sucks, because I love blogging. I've been blogging for 10 years! Everything is going great with the hamsters. Periwinkle is turning into a "beggy", but it's not her fault, it's ours. I weighed her today, she's 50 grams. She was born on Dec 23rd. I don't know if she's too fat for her age or not, but she gets excercise. I need to just watch what I feed her. In the next few days we will be going to the grocery store and I can get them something fresh to eat as well. That also means we can pick up some carefresh! Finally! Hamilton is funny, he stuffs all the toilet paper into his igloo and petting zone box. If I lift up the igloo the TP is in the same shape as the igloo, lol. Also, I love bringing Periwinkle out to play with her on the bed. She runs around, but she will run back into your hand if you put it by her so it's not a problem to control her. They're both so cute, so here are some long overdo pictures!











Monday, February 28, 2011

Weights & Pic+Vid OVERLOAD!!!


I decided to weigh Sir Hamilton & Periwinkle tonight. It would help if I knew how much they were supposed to weigh. Hamilton weighs 169g or 5.96oz, and Periwinkle weighs 41g or 1.44oz. I also put a name tag on Hamilton's bin for decoration. I love the all the color :)

   




Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?!

I know it's kind of ridiculous, but today while in the bakery my boyfriend noticed a Spongebob luau themed cake. On top of it was a pineapple carrying case. I want it so bad! Just to use for a hidey-house for Periwinkle. It's so cute! The cake was about $50 at Albertsons, but I found the supplies online for less than 20$. 


I have some pictures and videos I'll hopefully post in the next couple of days :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Miss you, Nanomoonchkie

It's been one week since I lost Nano. I feel very down today. Not only that, but it's one week until my friend Kaylin's birthday. She passed away in 2008. Hopefully I'll be able to pull out of this funk soon. I don't like it at all.

Nothing interesting has been happening, but I feel bad for not updating. Still handling both Periwinkle and Hamilton every day. Periwinkle does not like to be disturbed when she's in her little bed that she made underneath her Critter Castle. She was squeaking up a storm the other day when we tried to get her. She was SCREAMING! Thankfully hamsters voices aren't that loud. I gave her a sunflower seed and she sat there squeaking at us while eating it. I couldn't help but laugh. The cute little bugger. Oh Periwinkle, you aren't as scary as you try to be!

 


 


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