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HAMSTERS

The Ultimate Guide for Hamster care and training by S.H.Chowdhry


TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE: Hamster History

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1.What’s in a hamster’s name? 2.The Characteristics of Hamsters 3.Hamster families: Different groups and breeds of hamsters 4.How do you know if it is a male or female hamster? 5.Reproduction 6.Things to remember 7.After Birth 8.After Birth Trivia CHAPTER TWO: Hamster Must Haves - What you need to know before owning a hamster

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1.Hamster Pros and Cons 2.Where to buy a hamster 3.Tips for choosing the One (or two or three) 4.How many hamsters should you buy? 5.Go and multiply: Possibilities of breeding 6.What kind of hamsters will I breed? 7.Setting the stage of procreation 8.How do you know she’s pregnant? Ultimate Guide to Hamster Training | Page 1


CHAPTER ONE

Hamster History


What’s in a hamster’s name? The word “HAMSTER” is taken from the German verb “hamstern” which means “to hoard.” This is because the hamster has expandable cheek pouches that are used to store food they collect for themselves. The word “hamstern” dates back to the Old High German (OHG) word “hamustro”. It is believed that these words are a mixture of Russian, Baltic or Persian. Where did these hamsters come from? The hamster has a very colorful history that dates back to the early 1800s. In 1839, a British zoologist named Robert Waterhouse found an old female hamster in Syria calling it "Cricetus auratus" or the Golden Hamster. 1n 1930, Dr. Israel Aharoni , a Zoologist and Professor at the University of Jerusalem found a mother and twelve young hamsters in the Syrian Desert, north of Israel in the Middle East. By the time he returned to his lab with this new species from Jerusalem, only three had survived. They were given to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (or University of Jerusalem) for testing and looking at the possibilities of breeding. From these three survivors, a new batch of babies was born just after four months of captivity under Waterhouse’s watchful eye. This newly-found species interbred in time and have been used for scientific experiments. The science world ran abuzz about this newly discovered animal. The hamsters were considered friendly, ease to handle, disease-free and bred exponentially that they have been considered favorite laboratory animals specifically for cardio-

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vascular research (as they have a similar cardio-vascular system to humans). The hamsters found themselves jet setting to other countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States of American in 1931 and 1938 respectively. From a laboratory animal, the hamster has been adopted as a common house pet by children and adults alike.

The Characteristics of Hamsters Hamsters have stout bodied with their tales shorter than the measure

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Introduction Hamsters make great pets for both children and adults. Thought most of them are slower compared to other animals, they are easy to handle especially when started very young. Hamsters are just the cutest things. Their gaze can mesmerize every heart. But before you are completely taken away by its charm, we would like you to consider some very important information about our beloved animal.

Hamster Pros and Cons

A sound decision needs to hear all the facts before making a decision. In the next few lines, we will present to you factors that can help you decide if you will own a hamster or not. Advantages: Hamsters are inexpensive to purchase. They are very affordable and can be a starter pet for most children. Compared to breed dogs, they won’t cost an arm and a leg. And since they multiply in bulk, the supply for hamsters is high. No shortages are seen in the nearest (or

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FROM THE PET SHOP TO HIS NEW HOME You have taken the time to choose your hamster. Now, it is time to bring your new pet from the pet store to your home. Of course we don’t just stuff our hamster in a paper bag and carry it home like donuts. Funny as it sounds, the hamster has feelings too and it will undergo rapid and radical changes from the transfer to a previous home to your home. Hamsters have a low threshold for stress. We would like to help you prepare your hamster’s transfer to his new home. Consider a transport container Some pet stores may give you with a standard small container to put your hamster. If you can, we recommend you put your new pet hamster in a small container during his trip home. We suggest a small fish tank container or those plastic transparent cases with the handle. This will give him more room to move around and psyche him up for his new home. To avoid your new pet from being hungry of thirsty, you can add green leafy vegetables with high moisture content inside the temporary container. This will make him feel comfortable too while being transported home. Also you can add things like hay, alfalfa, seeds, or hamster food, which will be your hamster’s snacks. If you will not be able to bring your hamster straight home for the pet show, add some cucumbers for re-hydration. Again, make sure you clean the transport container thoroughly.

Go home straight

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Stop being a show off. Bring your hamster home as soon as possible. Get your hamster relaxed first and well adjusted before you bring him anywhere. Make him settle in his new home. Let your hamster feel comfortable and safe with you. Upon reaching home, make sure to put your new pet in his new home so he can adjust to his new surroundings. It is important that your hamster’s stress is reduced from the travel. Put yourself in his shoes. You would feel panicky too.

WARNING: Do not leave your hamster in the car for any length of time. The extremely warm or freezing temperature can spell death to your newly bought pet. You just lost a newly found friend and wasted money. Please be aware of your hamster’s feelings and welfare. Ultimate Guide to Hamster Training | Page 6


PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR YOUR HAMSTER Prepare a cage for your hamster Have your hamster’s new homestead ready. Preferably, you can buy a new cage in advance so you can set up the cage. Clean the cage thoroughly especially that hamsters are susceptible to ailments and diseases. Cleanliness is vital in keeping your hamster safe and living longer. You can also purchase the cage at the same time as you buy your hamster. Just make sure you have it cleaned quickly once you get home. That is why we recommend buying the cage and preparing it in advance. The place for your hamster’s cage

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Where you will put your hamster is very important. This will determine the longevity of your hamster as well as it being free from any sickness or discomfort. Your hamster’s cage should be placed on a level plane surface. Keep the room in a constant temperature. Avoid any cold air or direct sources of heat such as sunlight. The site of your hamster cage is important as draughts; heat and direct sunlight can all affect your hamster. Your hamster's cage will need to be sited on a level surface, keep him in a room of constant temperature, away from any draughts or direct sources of heat and out of direct sunlight. You will also need to ensure that he is out of the way of any other pets that may harm your hamster.

What are the different cages that are good for hamsters? The general rule is that hamster’s cages need to have as much space inside as possible. Hamsters need to freely walk and play around inside their cage. Not to mention, you will be putting different stuff there such as food bowls, toys, the all important exercise wheel, the beddings and other things that can keep your hamster busy at 3 a.m. Things can start cramming up just before you know it. Hamsters can develop cage paralysis if they do not have any space to walk and play (see chapter on Hamster ailments). With that being said, let’s talk about the different cages we can purchase for our lovable pet. Regular wire hamster cages

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This is the most ordinary kind of cages for hamsters that can be easily purchased in any friendly neighborhood pet store. Barred cages are ideal for large type of hamsters such as the Syrian hamsters, which cannot squeeze into the often large-gapped bars. Some cages have two or more floor levels with ladders that can let the hamster to climb up and down between the different levels. That can be something fun for your pet to do. These plastic base, rigid wire top cages are lightweight, durable and relatively cheap. However, the secureness of any doors on such a cage should be checked as any door that is opened too easily may be pushed open by the hamster. One thing good about regular wire hamster cages is that they are practically cheap. They are quite durable (though not indestructible) and lightweight. There are some cages that have an easily removable pull out tray. It’s a plastic base that will make cleaning easier. There are disadvantages as well. Metal wire cages can be drafty and can promote coolness in the cage, which may not be good at times for your hamster. Of course, the location of the cage in your home is important. It won’t get drafty if you put it in a non-drafty place. The same goes for warm places.

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This part of the book focuses on these sicknesses and diseases and how you can prevent your hamsters from getting them. Hamsters do not have a very long life span and, just like any animal, hamsters have the possibilities of becoming sick. These cute and furry creatures can face some of the toughest physical disabilities. Hamsters are prone to sicknesses and diseases. That is why prevention and careful observation is better than a pound of cure. The earlier you catch the symptoms, the better we defeat the disease. This section is meant to give you information. If you believe that your hamster is showing signs of these ailments, please go to your veterinarian and seek medical help. ALLERGIES: Humans have allergies. And, yes it may be funny, so do hamsters. Hamsters can develop allergies in different ways just as humans do. It can be sourced from the food they eat, the bedding products (such as cedar shavings) we put in their cages, cigarette smoke, perfumes, polish for furniture and other household items. How will you know if your hamster has the allergies? There are several symptoms you need to be aware such as sneezing, a runny nose that can cause a wheezing effect, watery eyes (that may show white flakes around it), white flakes in the ears, irritated stomach, red feet, hair loss, and skin irritation (such as dry skin) that may result to recurrent itching. Other symptoms include What to do? Let us conduct the process of elimination. Remove whatever items you have put in the cage (food or items) and see if the hamster has lessened his allergic reactions. If there is improvement, it means that there is one (or a set) of items that cause your hamster to have allergic reactions.

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Should there be no improvement within a couple of days, it might be the result of an infection. Consult your friendly neighborhood veterinarian about what to do with your hamster’s allergies. ASPERGILLIS FUNGUS The Aspergillis is kind of mold found and grows within indoor environments such as the hamster’s sleeping area, the tank or cage area where the hamster urinates and on rotting vegetables and fruits inside the cage. The fungus turns from white to black and will send spores in the air which the hamster inhails. This will start causing harm to your hamster. What are the symptoms of this ailment? Symptoms include exhaustion, blood in the urine, wheezing sounds while breathing, reddened skin, and constant diarrhea. Once you see these symptoms happening, immediately bring your hamster to your veterinarian. This can cause death to your hamster so do not take it so lightly. Your vet will give your hamster antifungal medication and antibiotics. To prevent any growth of fungus in your hamster’s cage, make sure to remove and replace any bedding that your hamster often urinates on. Clean and disinfect as often as possible. Remove any remnants of food (vegetables or fruits) found in the cage. Basically, it is “clean as you go”. Keeping your hamster’s cage clean lessens the chances of him getting sick. BLADDER OR KIDNEY INFECTION

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Does your hamster scream or make noise when he or she urinates? Do you think they feel pain while relieving themselves? Chances are that they might have a bladder or kidney infection. Check if they have blood in their urine. If they do, immediately bring them to the vet for further consultation BAR-RUB Sometimes, your hamster may use the bars of his cage as a chewing device. He may start nibble on the cage bars while making a noise. This is not healthy for your hamster as it can lead to bare patches, raw inflamed skin and even open sores and wounds to the point of causing broken teeth. If the teeth are left untreated, your hamster may eventually die due to starvation because of his inability to eat. Your hamster might be bored and finds chewing the cage bars an ideal way to pass time. Other reasons could be stress (Yes. Stress.) We suggest you spend some time with your pet. Get him out of the cage. Give him some toys such as a hamster wheel. Give him something

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When we were kids, we enjoy bringing out pets wherever we go. We want to show them around. We see pets such as dogs with their heads out the window just enjoying the wind. Does it also work for hamsters? Do we just put them with us in the car and roll on? Or do we need to do some things before we even consider bringing our hamsters on trips. This module will talk about these things. Cmon. Let’s learn together.

Think before you bring True. It is exciting to bring your pet to travel with you. But please read this and be honest first. •

Will the place you will be bringing your pet be full or noise?

Will the place of travel be hot or humid?

Will your travel involve a constant transfer from one place to another?

Does your hamster really need to be with you in this trip?

These are just some questions we want to ask you. Sure. You will be missing your hamster. We understand. But if your hamster will be more uncomfortable during this trip, then is it worth the risk? If your

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hamster is with you for no reason other than just being with you, then we think he should stay at home instead. It is one thing to have a vacation in your grandma’s house and bring him alone. But if you will be constantly going from one sightseeing destination to another, we don’t think it’s worth bringing your hamster all the stress of traveling. Besides, you might be more stressed as well since you won’t get to enjoy your vacation. Be considerate.

Preparing your Hamster for travel Think of your hamster just like a human being. When we go for travel, we first psyche ourselves to travel. We grow in anticipating in the places we will go and the sights we will see. We also prepare our mind and body for the adjustments we will be making in the trip. The same thing goes for hamsters. As we have been reading and learning about them, you cannot just take them and leave. You need to prepare them. They are quite fragile animals and they need the care and love before they take trips. In previous chapters of the book, we learned that our hamsters need to adjust to a room before we even get to play with them. The same thing happens for traveling. We need to find ways not to put too much stress in your pet. When we remove them from their cages and into an unfamiliar place, then we can add to their stress levels. It would be best that you take your hamster to a veterinarian for consultation. We would want our hamster to be in the peak of health before they travel. Visiting your family vet can bring so much comfort to you and your hamster. If your hamster happens to be sick, he will be able to know about it for sure. It will not be fun for you and your pet if he is sick and is still traveling with you. Traveling

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