Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Hamster Boys Will Be Boys

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

roborovski hamster brothers
Roborovski hamster siblings seem to live longer, happier lives if they can stay in groups.
roborovski hamsters at play
Photos Courtesy Catya
Roborovski hamsters really seem to believe "the more the merrier."

Hello again, everyone! I had tons of fun at my harp camp, meeting other young harpists and learning lots. One of the things that I learned is that apparently not many harpists also breed hamsters! I did meet a few who owned hamsters, and got to hear some interesting stories.

Soon, I’ll be away on my next adventure at an engineering “camp.” When I got home from harp camp, I was so glad to see my hamsters again — even if only for 16 hours. I had missed seeing them, and even hearing them at night. Although most of the hamsters are in the living room, we keep a few in my bedroom. They aren’t exactly super-rowdy, but they do make a bit of noise; it’s almost like white noise in the background as they run in their (quiet) wheels and munch on their seeds. 

You may wonder why we keep some in my room when there’s space for them in the living room. As a matter of fact, the only hamsters we keep in my room are groups of boy hamsters living together. Some people will tell you that although dwarf hamsters are social, you can’t keep groups of males living together in harmony. In the past, we’ve seen that the males did fight more often than the females. Giving them all a higher-protein diet did help, but we still had violence from time to time.

Once, one hamster attacked his brother, nearly killing him, then escaped from his cage, and climbed into a nearby cage where a group of females were living. I can’t figure out how he managed to switch cages, but thankfully his brother recovered and we found the escapee quickly enough to avoid winding up with any new hamsters!

Now, though, we’ve had some pairs of brothers living together for nearly two years. What’s our secret? Keeping them away from the girl hamsters!

When the male hamsters were in the room where the girl hamsters lived, we had to break up fights and split pairs of brothers. We also had more trouble with aggression between the girls who were living in their own groups. But now that all the male groups live in my room, where the females are “out of scent, out of mind,” they live in perfect tranquility. They exhibit the same kinds of nurturing behaviors we see in the groups of sisters — cuddling together to stay warm, sharing treats, and standing watch while their cagemate sleeps.

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Hamster Boys Will Be Boys

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I hope things are going well.
Mike, Columbia, TN
Posted: 8/16/2009 4:25:24 PM
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