The Angora hamster has an exceptional softness asset. With its long hairs, this little rodent attracts caresses like an iron magnet. Be careful, however, to take into account its fragility! This article introduces you to this charming little rodent. After reading this, you will be able to love it for what it is, beyond appearances. You will also learn the special gestures he needs to make his life as soft as his hair.
Appearance of the angora hamster
Angora hamsters are the product of chance. In the 1970s, a hamster developed an astonishing length of coat, because of the expression of a recessive gene which had not yet had the opportunity to manifest itself.
The selection work helped, the coat of angora hamsters that we find today, more than 40 years after the appearance of the first, has lengthened and can measure three or four centimeters. This abundance of hair earned them the nickname “teddy” in the United States, that is to say “teddy bear”. With us, you will also find it under the name “long haired hamster”.
Characteristics of the angora hamster
From a quality breeding, it measures between 14 and 20 cm, for an average weight generally between 100 and 200 g. Hamsters you find in pet stores will be smaller, weighing more around 100g. Their captive life expectancy is that of most hamsters: 2 to 3 years.
The Angora hamster is a solitary and territorial animal: this means that if you want to have more than one hamster in your home, it is essential that each of them has its own cage, otherwise it will end very badly, with the death of the animals the weakest.
The coat differs slightly between females and males: the latter sport a slightly longer coat around the neck, forming like a ruff.
It is said to be easy to tame. This is done mainly by smell, a sense well developed in the hamster.
Females show more curiosity and nervousness. They are more active than males who are already overflowing with energy. This activity takes place at night, the day being devoted to rest, interspersed with micro-alarms to eat, drink and relieve yourself.
Hamsters do not have very good eyesight: they do not appreciate distances well and have no notion of emptiness. It is therefore up to you to secure your animal in its possible movements out of the cage.
Maintaining the hair of the angora hamster
A beautiful coat is a dense coat, which is organized in a symmetrical and supple fallout on each side of the animal’s body.
The work of selection and crossing of animals allows to obtain spectacular results. So a hamster satin has a hollow hair which makes it slightly shiny, hence its name. In this hamster, the coat may already be a little longer than normal. Crossed with an angora, the result is silky and luminous. Note that satine hamsters cannot mate together as this will reduce the quality of the coat.
A hamster should not be washed as this can trigger heat shock and health problems, even cardiac arrest. Shampoos and soaps are all toxic substances for these small rodents liable to lick their hairs. You just need to provide them with a Sandbox, like those given to chinchillas. He will thus maintain his own hair.
Combing should be limited to a few targeted interventions if you find large knots. The teeth of the comb should not be too close together at the risk of hurting the hamster, the perfect gesture being to hold the hair at the root so as not to pull excessively. If the knots resist, do not insist any more and take a pair of scissors to cut. If you have to work on the stomach, do not keep the hamster on its back too long because it does not like the position at all: it is a source of stress.
It is best to prevent knots by brushing regular angora hamster, the goal being to eliminate anything that may have clung to the coat, such as food or litter residues, but also dead hair that the animal must not swallow at the risk of triggering problems digestive. For this, a hard toothbrush is sufficient. Brushing should start from the head and gradually extend towards the tail. Always proceed with delicacy.
Watch for parasites
With such a density of hair, Angora hamsters will hide any parasites all the better. And while the hamster is a pretty hardy and resilient animal, parasites can take its toll on its health. Better to be vigilant!
The scabies is one of the most famous parasitic diseases and all the more dangerous because it is easily transmitted to humans. The mite that causes the parasitosis lodges in hay and litter. Infested, the poor little hamster will start scratching until it bleeds, leaving areas of skin bare, with no chance of the hairs growing back. Purulent pimples, plaques and scabs around the muzzle and eyes are also visible. Do not delay in consulting a veterinarian who will advise you on the treatment to adopt. Of lice may also cause redness and itching, also requiring pest control.
The hairs of the Angora hamster can also harbor fleas. They are generally visible to the naked eye. To inspect your rodent’s fur, you gently part its fur to observe the root of the hair. Fleas can easily pass from the hamster to you. To eradicate them, it is therefore necessary to treat all the hosts likely to be contaminated: yourself and the other human beings of the house, but also the other domestic animals, if there are any. Be careful to adapt the treatments according to the animal! Also remember to clean and disinfect the hamster cage from top to bottom.
Other essential care
As with all hamsters, the angora hamster’s rhythm of life must be respected. Waking him up in his sleep and wanting to adjust him to your own rhythm will only bring him stress and shorten his life span.
Hamster teeth are naturally yellowish-orange. Its 4 incisors are constantly growing. This is why it is vital to constantly give it something to eat. If he cannot wear down his teeth, they will overgrow and prevent him from feeding.
Since activity is essential for expending all the energy they contain, it is also essential to provide hamsters with something to run, dig and climb. The cage must measure at least 1 meter by 80 cm, by 40 cm in height. It must contain accessories. For an angora hamster, you must choose a safe wheel, that is to say one that limits injuries and especially the risk of trapping its hairs in the central axis.
And if your little hamster is bored, you will quickly know: he will start gnawing on the bars of his cage.