Caring Guide for Hamster Babies

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Hamster/Rat

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One can’t just take his eyes off hamster pups, as these tiny cute little creatures will sure have your attention. Baby hamster are born without any fur and are closely attached to their mother. Though you may have the desire to hold them, bare in mind that there is nothing you can do within two weeks period after delivery. REMEMBER NOT TO TOUCH THE BABIES!! Your action might harm the babies and change its scent thus confuses the mother. She will think that they are not hers, abandon them and worst she might even eat the babies (it did happened to my hamsters). Not to cause any stress to the mother, avoid cleaning up the cage within this period. It is advisable to place the babies at the bottom of the cage as none of them had opened their eyes yet.

After this two weeks ‘vital’ period, you can hold them but only for a brief period as not to disturb or stress the mom or babies. You can also clean up the cage and place fresh beddings in most of it. Remove just the soiled parts in the nest area and put a good portion of the old bedding in it. Put the babies back in the nest after it is cleaned up followed by the mother.

Once the babies eyes are opened (which should occur on the 11-12 days, but some take less/more), they should figure out how the bottle works. In order for them to reach it easily, put it lower and in an area where they frequently go. If they haven’t figured out how to use the bottle and you are worried about them not drinking enough, you can give them pieces of cucumbers to prevent dehydration. Do not put water in a bowl to prevent them from falling in and drown or catch a cold.

At three weeks, you can separate the babies if you observe any fighting among them but if they seem immature, less developed and not quite independent enough to leave mom just yet, let them stay together until they are four weeks old. When they reach five weeks old, independent and have a healthy development, they can be placed in new homes and play in new surroundings and environment.


The Top Three Pet Rat Training Mistakes

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Hamster/Rat

It can be very rewarding to train your pet rats to do tricks and learn obstacle courses. Since they tend to be highly intelligent creatures, rats can actually learn a lot (and get bored if they have nothing to do).

Furthermore, because they’re people-pleasers, rats enjoy the challenge of striving for your reward and praise.

However, before you begin training, you may be interested to know the main pitfalls of pet rat training. That way, you can get started on the right foot and make the most of training time. Here are the top three mistakes that novice rat-trainers will often make:

1. Neglecting to create a stimulating living environment for their rats.

Sometimes trainers make the mistake of thinking that their ratties’ living environment doesn’t need to be interesting or fun to be in. They seem to think that an hour of play time or training time is enough to stimulate their little minds.

This is untrue.

Rats are constantly problem-solving, 24/7. Giving them a stimulating and challenging living environment will ensure that their minds stay sharp for learning tricks.

- Buy or build a large caged enclosure complete with shelves, ramps, ladders, cubby holes, bins, hammocks, exercise wheels, tunnels, hidey holes, baskets and ropes strung across.

- Occasionally, treat them to a game of “hide n’ seek” with sunflower seeds. Hide them in hard-to-reach places so they really have to think hard about how to get to them.

- Be sure to adjust and rearrange the furniture and food locations. Always keep ‘em guessing.

- Make playtime games challenging as well with swimming pools, sand boxes and tunnel-mazes.

2. Being too “results oriented” about training.

One major pitfall a rat owner can fall into is to be too demanding about what is to be accomplished during training. This approach to rat-training will only end in frustration and neglect.

Never forget that training is just an extension of play time and that repetition, along with positive reinforcement, is the key to success.

3. Forgetting to reinforce old tricks.

As the saying goes “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” The first-time rat trainer will often teach his rats a few basic tricks, move on to other ones for several weeks, only to discover that his rats have forgotten the first tricks!

Just because a rat learns a trick, it does not mean that the little guy will remember it later. Reinforcement is everything. This is why, when teaching a rat to run an obstacle course, the trainer must tack a new obstacle onto the one(s) that were previously learned. Otherwise, the rat will fail to remember the first obstacles learned.

So, remember: keep their lives full of challenges at all times; try to be patient and not to get too attached to results and accomplishments; and don’t take it for granted that they will remember those first tricks they learned… because they won’t. Repeat and reinforce their learning at all times!

Knowing about these three major pitfalls will go a long way in helping you to make the most of your rats’ intelligence and abilities; and as long as you are together, you will look forward to training time every single day.

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