Do you have a hamster or are you thinking of getting one? Hamsters are full of unique behaviors that make them lovable, entertaining pets. In this blog post, we’ll explore some common behaviors in hamsters, such as hoarding and digging, and learn more about what makes these little critters so fascinating.
1. Burrowing Behaviour
Hamsters are well-known for their burrowing behaviour, which is a natural instinct for them. They love to dig and make elaborate tunnels in their bedding, which can be up to 10 cm deep. This behaviour is a sign of happiness and contentment, and it also helps them stay safe and protected while they sleep. It’s no surprise that fresh bedding is a real treat for hamsters, as they enjoy digging around and exploring their new surroundings. In addition to burrowing, hamsters also exhibit other common behaviours, such as hiding, hoarding, and digging for fun. Owners should take note of these tendencies and provide their hamsters with appropriate materials and living conditions to facilitate these behaviour patterns. It’s important to understand the natural instincts of hamsters and cater to their needs for them to lead happy and healthy lives.
2. Hiding Habits
Hamsters are known for their tendency to hide, but excessive hiding may be a sign of stress or illness. As burrowing is natural to them, they usually hide when they are sleeping. However, if they constantly hide in odd spots, it’s best to check if they are feeling well. On the other hand, if they are burrowing to busily, then they may simply be happy and having a good time. Hamsters tend to hoard food and hide it in their nests, and this is normal behavior for them due to their instincts to conserve resources. Fresh bedding is essential for hamsters, as it helps them feel secure and comfortable in their habitat. Signs of stress in hamsters can be observed in their sleeping and activity patterns, and they may become agitated if they are having a tough time adjusting. Digging materials such as sand dunes are essential for Roborovski’s desert hamsters, as it helps them with their natural habitat. Whether they are foraging for food or interacting with other hamsters, these little fuzzballs have their unique personalities and behaviors that are fascinating to observe.
3. Hoarding Instincts
Hamsters have a natural instinct to hoard food, which is one of the most prevalent behaviors observed in them. Even though domestic hamsters are well-fed and live in a safe environment, they still have the urge to hoard food due to their natural instincts. This behavior likely comes from their wild counterparts who needed to hoard food to survive in their desert homes. In addition to hoarding food, hamsters also dig and burrow as part of their natural instincts. Maintaining fresh bedding in their habitat is crucial, as it simulates the natural environment of a hamster’s burrow. It is also essential to watch for signs of stress, such as uncharacteristic hiding, as it may indicate an issue with their environment or diet. Providing digging materials and objects for foraging can also help stimulate their natural instincts and keep them mentally engaged. hamsters are intriguing animals with a variety of natural behaviors, and it is essential to provide them with an environment that allows them to express these instincts.
4. Digging for Fun
Digging is a natural behaviour observed in most hamsters. They do it for fun, to search for a possible snack they may have buried earlier or to simply pass the time. Hamsters living in cages with bedding material available for digging, gnawing, nest-building, and hoarding are happier and healthier. Providing fresh bedding to the hamster’s cage, while also stimulating their burrowing behaviour, makes them happy and comfortable in their environment. Additionally, among the common behaviours of a hamster, digging also offers them physical and mental stimulation, promoting their overall well-being. It is essential to understand hamsters’ natural tendencies and provide them with a suitable living environment that fulfills their behavioural needs.
5. Importance of Fresh Bedding
Having fresh bedding is essential for the health and wellbeing of your hamster. It not only ensures a clean and comfortable living environment but also helps prevent health issues like skin irritations and respiratory infections. As mentioned earlier, hamsters like to burrow and dig, and fresh bedding facilitates this natural behaviour. It’s also worth noting that hamsters are sensitive to strong odours, so it’s best to stick to unscented options like paper bedding or aspen shavings. Neglecting to provide fresh bedding can lead to stress and behavioural changes like excessive chewing, biting, and hiding. So, make sure to routinely replace your hamster’s bedding and provide them with the materials they need to dig and burrow to their heart’s content.
6. Signs of Stress
When it comes to hamsters, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of stress. While burrowing, hiding, hoarding, and digging are all natural behaviors for hamsters, excessive or unusual behaviors could be a red flag. Signs of stress may include lethargy, ruffled coat, red stick eyes, excessive hoarding of food, and drinking too much water. These behaviors can be triggered by loud noises, aggressive hamsters, or other stressful stimuli. It’s important to provide a comfortable and stimulating environment for your hamster, with fresh bedding and plenty of digging materials. Social interactions may also be important to help ward off stress, depending on the individual hamster’s personality. By being attentive to their behaviors, you can help ensure a happy and healthy life for your furry little friend.
7. Digging Materials
Hamsters love to dig and burrow, and providing them with digging materials can greatly enrich their lives. In addition to promoting their natural behaviors, digging materials also serve as a form of entertainment and exercise for hamsters. When hamsters are provided with enough material to dig, they are less likely to feel stressed, bored, or anxious. Fresh bedding and nesting materials should be added regularly to keep them happy and healthy. Hamsters also enjoy playing and hiding in tunnels, so cardboard tubes or small plastic pipes can be included in their digging materials. With the right materials, hamsters can dig and burrow to their heart’s content, promoting a happy and healthy lifestyle.
8. Reproductive Behaviour
When it comes to reproduction, Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and should be kept individually to prevent fighting. The female Syrian hamster becomes sexually mature at around six weeks old, while male hamsters reach maturity at eight to ten weeks. The mating process is quick, lasting only a few seconds, and it is recommended that the female is introduced to the male’s cage rather than vice versa. After a gestation period of around 16 to 18 days, the female will give birth to a litter of up to 12 pups. The mother will be solely responsible for the care of her young, nursing and protecting them until they are old enough to venture out on their own. As with any animal breeding, it is important to only breed if the owner is well-prepared and understands the responsibility that comes with it. Overall, reproductive behavior is just one aspect of the fascinating behavior patterns of Syrian hamsters, which also includes hoarding, digging, and foraging.
9. Foraging and Scavenging
Hamsters are known for their foraging and scavenging instincts. In the wild, they spend a large part of their day searching for food. Captive hamsters often have access to food bowls, but they still display instinctual behavior of hoarding and storing food in their nests. This behavior is important for their survival, as it ensures they have food available during times when resources are scarce. Providing your hamster with opportunities to forage and scavenge can be beneficial for their physical and mental health. This can be done by hiding treats around their living space or providing foraging toys. It’s important to keep in mind that hamsters are prey animals, so providing hiding places and being patient when they need time alone to forage can help reduce their stress levels. By understanding and catering to their natural instincts, hamster owners can provide a fulfilling and enriching environment for their furry companions.
10. Interactions with Other Hamsters
When it comes to social interactions, hamsters may not always get along with their own kind. It’s important to introduce them gradually and monitor their behavior towards each other. Fighting, aggressive behavior and territoriality can occur, so it’s best to keep hamsters of the same gender together. However, if they are introduced properly and have enough space, they may establish a hierarchy and eventually get along. It’s important to provide each hamster with their own food and water source to prevent competition and aggression. As social creatures, hamsters may also benefit from having some toys and activities to engage in together. Overall, keeping hamsters together can be enjoyable for both the owners and the hamsters themselves if done cautiously and correctly.