Long haired Teddy bear hamster care
Taking care of a long haired Teddy bear hamster requires a large cage with an adapted and thick litter, where it will have to be alone, all the necessities of hamsters like food, toys, playtime, but what makes them different from other hamsters is that you have to brush them every day and a light cleaning of their cage almost daily to keep their fur clean.
What is a long haired Syrian hamster?
Long haired hamsters, also called Teddy bear hamsters or Angora hamsters, are Syrian hamsters, usually male hamsters because the females have shorter coats.
So, the long haired Syrian hamsters, start to have long hair once they reach 3 or 4 inches long.
- Long haired hamsters colors: beige, black, blonde, brown, chocolate, cream, dove, golden, grey, lilac, mink, sable, tan, and white.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no long haired dwarf hamsters, but only in the Syrian hamster breed.
Long haired hammies make cute and cuddly pets, they are quite docile, friendly and tame.
Angora hamsters are nocturnal and they have a good lifespan (generally more than 2 years) compared to dwarf hamsters.
Which to choose, a male or a female long haired Syrian hamster?
If you really want a long-haired hamster, get a male because females have much shorter coats than males.
Long-haired Teddy hamsters have a fur “skirt” around their waist, whereas female long-haired hamsters do not, but may have small tufts of hair around their shoulders or hips.
There are other reasons, in my opinion, why you should get a male long-haired Syrian hamster.
Males are calmer than females, making them easier to train.
Female long-haired golden hamsters go into heat every four days, and when they do, they release pheromones into the air to attract male hamsters. The problem is that these pheromones stink!
Getting a single long haired Teddy bear hamster or a couple?
I recommend that you only keep one long-haired hamster in the same cage.
Because they are still young (less than a month), they are kept together in pet stores, but once they reach sexual maturity (between 1 and 2 months), the fights begin and they must be separated.
If you put a male and a female long-haired hamster in the same cage, you can expect baby hamsters in less than a month, and the female will hunt and possibly kill the male after the coupling.
If you want two long-haired Syrian hamsters, you will need two cages that are at least 800 inches square.
What do long haired Syrian hamsters eat?
Their diet is not different from what other hamsters eat:
- A good mix of seeds and grains
- Fresh herbs and a mixture of dried herbs sprinkled in its cage
- Fresh vegetables
- Protein foods like boiled eggs, mealworms, jerky and insects
- Treats such as a small piece of fruit twice a week or a piece of nut, half a teaspoon of plain yogurt or Cottage Cheese
If I had one remark, it would be that I would prefer that the Syrian long-haired hamsters drink from a bottle rather than a bowl, so that they do not wet their fur and carry this water into their nest.
This can lead to mold growth in their nest and litter box, which can lead to other respiratory and digestive issues.
When you sprinkle dried herbs in the cage, long-haired hamsters tend to have them in their fur all the time.
You might want to make a special spot for them near their food bowl.
Do long haired bear hamsters need special bedding?
No. To avoid knotting and matting, I will ask you to avoid using wood shavings and fleece strips. Back-2-Nature is used as bedding in some long-haired hamster cages.
I simply recommend using a natural paper-based litter, such as Small Pet Select bedding.
It is soft bedding made of natural paper that is safe for the hamster and, most importantly, it does not cling to your hamster’s coat and is very easy to remove during Teddy bear hamster’s daily grooming sessions.
You can use wood-based cat litter instead of Aspen substrate, but I do not recommend it for older hamsters because it is not soft.
Test and see what works best for your hamster while also assisting you in your cage cleaning sessions.
All about grooming a long haired fancy hamster
Other hamsters do their grooming sessions on their own and they do pretty well.
But to keep your Angora hamster’s fur and coat clean and insulated, especially when it’s an old hamster, you’ll have to help your Teddy bear in its daily grooming sessions.
You will in fact, after taming your hamster, have to take it in the palm of your hand at least once a day.
It’s good to do this after he wakes up, at dusk and after he finishes his grooming session.
You can use a small plastic comb with wide teeth or just a denture brush, or a children’s toothbrush.
You will brush your Angora hamster’s fur from front to back.
If you come across a ball of tangled hair that you can’t untangle, avoid causing your hamster too much pain and stress by trying to untangle the hair, just take a pair of scissors and trim the tangled hair.
If your long haired hamster does get dirty, you can moisten a toothbrush and wash the dirty fur and then wipe your hamster dry and only put it back in its cage when it is completely dry.
How often should I groom my Angora hamster?
First of all, you should know that your Teddy bear will get used to the brushing sessions little by little and over time, he will end up loving it and will be more willing to let you do it without getting too agitated.
At the beginning, your Teddy hamster’s coat will not be too long and one or two brushing sessions per week will be enough to keep his fur clean and smooth.
But as your hamster’s coat grows, you’ll need to brush your long haired hamster daily and even every time you notice that he has something caught on his coat or entwined in his fur.
- Places you shouldn’t brush when grooming a teddy bear:
Long haired hamsters love grooming sessions, but they don’t like it when you brush their head, their belly.
Also avoid brushing directly on their scent glands, this is a bit of a sensitive area.
Can I trim my long haired hamster’s fur during the warm season?
Long-haired hamsters do not shed in the summer, and if you are unable to maintain a proper temperature and your Teddy hamster appears to be suffering from heat exhaustion, you should know that you can trim his fur (do not do this if it is a Show hamster!).
Use scissors rather than an electric clipper.
Take extreme caution not to injure your hamster.
Make sure not to cut off your hamster’s tail or ear.
It is also important to brush your hamster thoroughly after the cut to avoid leaving hair behind that it could swallow when licking its fur.
Know that if you cut your hair, it will grow back, but it may not be as long as it was before.
You’ll also have to make sure he doesn’t get too cold during the winter.
Can I give my long haired Syrian hamster a bath?
No, unless your Teddy bear has a dangerous product on its back, in which case you should only wet a toothbrush and gently clean the area.
You can also rub out the dirt and stickiness with a damp cloth that has been wrung out until there is no more water in it.
However, in order to clean himself, your angora hamster will require a large sandbox in which to take daily sand baths.
Teddy bears rarely roll around and prefer to dig in the sand.
You can help your hamster by sprinkling sand on his fur and gently brushing it off to remove excess oil that could stick to his fur and cause clumps of tangled hair that you will have to cut off.
Should I use a wire cage or an aquarium for my long-haired Teddy bear hamster?
In the summer, aquariums can be hot, and wire cages are usually small, allowing mice attracted by the smell of food to pass through if you live in the country.
I recommend the IKEA Detolf, which hamsters adore and is quite large.
A long-haired hamster requires at least 800 square inches of floor space for his well-being, and you will need to install a large sandbox in the cage to keep your Teddy bear hamster’s fur clean.
Having a long haired hamster will require you to spend more time grooming and maintaining your hamster’s cage.
You may also be forced to use only paper based substrate which can be costly if you have several hamsters.
Grooming and sand bathing is a daily task in addition to feeding and checking the health of your hamster, so consider this before buying a long haired hamster.
If you want more helpful advice on looking after your hamster, including tips on food, toys, accessories and accommodation, add a comment below to let us know!
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