Non-hamster parents might be a little startled at the topic of our article today, but you’d be surprised at how many people are curious about hamster poop. Questions like how often hamsters poop, what healthy poop looks like, and how to clean hammy poop are all floating around the internet.
If you’re an anxious hammy-owner with questions related to your pet’s elimination habits, then we’ve got good news. Our extensive guide will cover everything you need to know about hammy poop, potty training, and any of your lingering questions. Let’s get started!
Hamster Poop 101
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. If you want to know what healthy hamster poop looks like or how often the little furballs poop, this section’s for you. As always, we’ve divided this segment into different sub-headings to make things easier for you to find.
What Does Hamster Poop Look Like?
First-time hammy parents aren’t usually up to speed on all the nitty gritty details of hamster care. That includes what hamster poop looks like.
To answer the question, hammy poop looks a lot like little elliptical pellets. It’s generally darkish-brown in color. Healthy hamster poop should look dry, shouldn’t smell too much, and shouldn’t smear.
If you’re the proud owner of a hammy, their poop will be difficult to miss in their cage. Hamster poop has a very distinct look, and there’s no way you can mix it up with pellet food.
When you introduce your pet hammy to their new cage, expect to find them pooping all over the place. Once your pet settles down and gets used to their surroundings, they will take to pooping in one spot.
You should note, however, that this may require a bit of direction and effort on your part and that they will never be perfect at it.
How Often Do Hamsters Poop?
The question of what hamster poop looks like is inevitably linked to how often your furball poops and how often you’ll need to spot-clean and deep-clean your hamster’s cage.
This is also where things can get a wee bit tricky. There’s no set answer for how many times a hamster will pee or poop because too many variables are involved. For instance, factors like your hammy’s diet, health, age, metabolism, and even mood can change the answer.
Hammies are renowned for their active metabolism, so you can expect whatever goes in their system will make its way out pretty soon. It’s not uncommon for hamsters to poop several times a day.
Additionally, your pet’s diet can also play a pivotal role in how many times your hamster will poop. A lot of veggies and fruits in your hammy’s diet means plenty of fiber, which in turn will make your pet’s lightning-fast digestive system move even faster.
In fact, too many green veggies with a high-water content can even induce diarrhea – so it’s something you want to be careful with.
You should also know that young hamsters will tend to eliminate more than older ones. This isn’t something you should worry too much about because as your hammy ages, their bodily functions will slow down a little to reflect the physiological changes.
An old hamster’s digestive system won’t work as fast as their younger counterparts’, although if your young hammy suddenly starts pooping less, it may be an indication of a health concern.
Hamsters can also poop more if they feel anxious, scared, or stressed. So, besides expecting your new hamster to poop more, you can also expect a high stool frequency in hamsters that feel threatened.
For example, if you have a pet cat that’s been circling your hammy’s cage, it can cause your poor hamster to eliminate more out of stress.
Can You Tell Your Hamster Is Ill Through Their Poop?
As a hammy owner, your pet’s poop can be of considerable help when you’re trying to ascertain if your furry friend is feeling well. As strange as observing hammy poop for signs of sickness may sound, it’s one of the few surefire ways you have to gauge your rodent’s well-being.
Hamsters spend most of their time in their enclosure, where they eat, sleep, and eliminate in peace. Hamster parents will take their pets out occasionally to play and bond with, but that’s about it.
Meaning, unlike cats and dogs, you can’t always tell your hamster is unwell through behavior. Plus, hammy size doesn’t exactly make observing them easy. That’s where watching out for certain warning signs in poop can help you stay on top of your care-taking game.
Watch out for hammy poop consistency changes. If you notice your rodent’s poop is loose or runnier than usual, it can indicate the presence of infectious diseases like influenza, salmonella, etc.
Nevertheless, more often than not, you’ll also notice an abrupt change in fecal consistency when you make a sudden change to your hamster’s diet. The presence of too many leafy greens or items like groundsel or dandelion can bring on watery bowel movements pretty quickly.
Don’t get stressed out right away if you notice your hamster’s poop changing color. As long as your hamster’s poop is the right consistency (pellet-shaped), green or even red-tinged poo isn’t a cause for concern, usually. A hammy’s poop can change colors depending on what you feed the little guy or gal.
Potty Training A Hamster
Potty-training a hamster? That may sound like sorcery or something Dr. Doolittle might be able to pull off, but the truth is that you can train your hammy to poop in one place. If you’ve been looking for ways to reduce the ammonia fumes wafting from your hammy’s cage, you might want to pay attention here.
Is Potty Training A Hamster Easy?
One of the most popular hamster-related questions on the world wide web is, are hamsters easily potty trained? The answer is, it depends. But, to be completely honest, potty-training a hamster is much easier than potty training a puppy or litter training a kitten.
Initially, hammy parents may have to invest some time and money into the project, but once your rodent is trained, your life will become a whole lot easier. That’s because a potty-trained hammy is much easier to care for in terms of cage cleaning and hygiene than an untrained one.
Potty training your hamster will not only cut down the time you spend cleaning your pet’s cage daily, but it will also help cut back on the amount of money you spend on your hammy’s bedding. Potty-trained hamsters aren’t half as messy, so their bedding doesn’t need changing as often. Pretty cool, right?
How Do You Potty Train A Hamster?
Even beginners can potty train their adorable rodents if they know what to do. That’s where this section can come in handy. Potty training a hamster may take some effort and a few tools, but you can easily manage it in a few simple steps. Here’s what to do:
1. Observe Your Hammy
Remember we mentioned your hamster will take to pooping in a single (or a few) designated spots in the cage once they settle down? Your hamster potty training journey begins with observing your pet hammy to locate their preferred elimination spots.
If your hamster is housed in luxury and a spacious cage, it’s likely they will have more than one toilet spot. On the flip side, if your hammy has modest surroundings, your pet will have one chosen location for their elimination needs.
If you’re wondering why locating these spots is of paramount importance, the answer’s simple. These spots will help you identify how many litter boxes you’ll require to have your hammy potty trained down to a tee.
Hamsters are clean animals and don’t like making a mess near where they sleep or eat. That’s why they’re somewhat halfway potty-trained by nature. All you have to do is provide them with the right equipment to extend the hygiene to all the corners of your hamster’s cage.
2. Get The Right Litter Box
Once you’ve noted all the spots your hamster’s chosen as their personal bathroom space, continue observing your furry pal for a day or two to ensure you’ve covered all the elimination areas in the cage.
After that, the next step in the process involves getting the right litter box and litter for your cuddly furball to use.
And since there’s no shortage of choices when it comes to pet products, you’re going to have to choose a litter box that matches your needs as well.
For example, some litter boxes feature a cover with a small opening for your hamster to climb through, like the one we’ve linked above. These are designed to minimize odor and keep things from getting messy. These are often triangular in shape to fit into corners and come equipped with a scooper or tray for easy cleaning.
If you’re a DIY-Pro, you can also make a litter pan or box yourself from a plastic container or utilize a glass jar by laying it horizontally on the cage’s surface. The choices are limitless.
Nonetheless, the one factor hammy owners should consider when buying litter pans or boxes is size. If you grab a litter box that’s too big to fit into your pet’s cage, it’ll go to waste. Do a small calculation of how many litter boxes you need and how many boxes the hamster cage can accommodate.
3. What About The Litter?
The next step is adding a hamster-friendly litter to your litter box of choice. You’ll undoubtedly run in hammy litters made from sawdust, wood shavings, or clay.
However, it’s best not to opt for such litters because they can harm your hammy. For instance, wood shaving litter from pine or cedar trees can contain traces of natural oils that can be extremely dangerous for small animals, like hamsters.
It’s best to stick with litters that are specially formulated for small animals, are dust-free, hypoallergenic, and free of any type of chemical that can harm your furry hamster. If you’re interested in clumping litter, be sure to opt for a litter that’s made from volcanic ash because it’s dust-free and innocuous.
Hamster parents can choose from options like wood pulp, paper, straw, and other plant-based materials that are safe for hammies to use. You can also use sand if you like, but some hamsters will end up using it as a sand bath instead of a litter box.
4. Setting Up The Litter And Training Your Hammy
Once you have the litter and litter boxes, it’s time to set up the items in your hammy’s cage. Choose to set up the litter pans at the elimination spots in the cage and fill in enough litter to cover the pan’s bottom.
A surefire way of ensuring your hammy uses the litter on the first try instead of being confused is adding some soiled bedding and a few droppings to the new litter.
You can also try and get your hamster used to the litter by placing them in the litter box when they wake from nap time. Allow your hammy to sniff around the litter and get familiar with it. Try not to force your hammy in any way because doing so will only put your pet off.
Keep observing your hamster over the next few days, and you’ll see that your hammy will eventually pick up on the purpose of the litter box. From there on, your furry pal will take to using the litter on their own.
If your rodent doesn’t use the litter after a few days have passed, look out for these common concerns:
- If your hamster is using the litter to hide its food, that means the cage is too small, and you need to get your pet more spacious living quarters.
- If you notice your hamster using the litter to catch a few winks, that means your pet doesn’t have any sleeping hideouts, and you may need to add in a nest.
Potty training a hamster is generally an easy exercise. It shouldn’t take too much time or effort on your part because hammies are partially potty-trained by their nature. However, if you run into roadblocks, ensure your pet’s cage is big enough to meet all their needs.
Hamsters need enough room to set up hiding and sleeping spots. That’s not counting the room you’ll need to set up your pet’s wheel, food area, and litter box.
Having a cage that’s too big isn’t that big of a problem as a cage that makes your pet feel confined. An inadequately-sized enclosure can also lead to behavioral issues in hammies, like gnawing on plastic items or cage bars.
To avoid any such concern, get your hammy a cage that gives them enough room to move, explore, and go about their daily activities in peace.
If you’re more of a visual learner, we’ve found this awesome tutorial from VanillaHamHam on YouTube all about it!
Alrighty. Now that we’ve covered hamster poop basics and how to potty train your pet, let’s go over some popular queries that have hamster parents so puzzled.
How many times does a hamster poop in a day?
There’s no set figure as to how many times a hamster can poop daily. Generally, pet experts suggest that hammies can poop anywhere from once every hour to several times throughout the day.
Hamsters have extremely active metabolisms, which means they digest their food pretty fast. As soon as the food is digested, your pet will poop. This will lead to your hammy feeling hungry, and so the cycle continues.
As a hamster owner, you don’t have to be too concerned about your pet rodent’s eating habits as long as their poop consistency remains unchanged. Hamster poop should look like dry, oblong-shaped pellets that are dark brown in color.
If your hamster’s poop is wet, is leaving streaks, or is loose in consistency, you should have your hammie checked out by the vet as soon as possible. Diarrhea in hamsters can prove dangerous because of their small size. The most common causes of loose stools in hamsters include an inadequate diet or infectious health concerns like influenza or salmonella.
How often should you clean hamster poop?
When it comes to maintaining hamster hygiene, owners need to consider several factors. For example, how big the hamster enclosure is, how many hamsters are housed in one cage, etc.
The good news is hamsters will take to eliminating in one or several select spots in the cage once they settle in. That means hamster parents don’t have to go rummaging through the entire enclosure to discover soiled bedding or poop pellets.
If you’re utilizing hamster litter boxes, it’s best to spot clean the litter daily. Get rid of the hamster droppings and take out the soiled litter. You can also add some fresh litter if there’s a need. If you don’t have litter boxes or have more than one hamster in a cage, you’ll need to spot clean the cage daily to keep ammonia build-up down.
It’s also recommended to deep-clean a hamster cage once every week to keep your hamster healthy and avoid odor problems. Hamster parents with more than one hammy per cage will need to deep clean the cage more often.
Is it normal for hamsters to poop everywhere?
While hamsters will poop all over the cage when they’re new to their surroundings, there’s no guarantee that your hammy won’t poop in other areas of the enclosure, even when they have selected a few elimination spots.
A hamster’s metabolism is legendary stuff, which means your hammy will constantly be eating and pooping. Since hamsters don’t have the control exercised by humans and other animal species, it’s pretty normal for a hammy to poop outside their litter or other areas of the cage, even if they’ve been litter trained.
Hamsters can even poop in your hands when the need arises. However, that doesn’t mean your hammy is malicious. In fact, it means your hamster is used to your presence and feels comfortable enough with you to let go and poop.
A hamster pooping in your hand may be a mixed blessing, but it goes to show that hammies can poop anywhere when they need to.
Does hamster poop smell bad?
A healthy hamster’s poop that’s not suffering from any health conditions will not smell at all because their droppings are dry. However, a hamster’s pee does give off a faint ammonia scent that can build up in intensity when not cleaned.
If you notice your hamster’s poop smelling or change in consistency (loose stools), it’s best to have your pet checked out by the vet to rule out the presence of a health concern.
Additionally, if you suspect your pet’s pee is smelling worse than usual, a quick trip to the veterinarian is recommended. Aside from vitamins or supplements, stinky pee can be indicative of bladder or kidney infections in hamsters.
Do hamsters eat their poop?
Yes, hamsters do eat their poop sometimes. While the entire exercise may seem strange or even disgusting to humans, there’s actually a very logical reason behind it.
Hamsters tend to eat their night droppings, which are softer in consistency and include lots of vitamin B12. It’s the easiest way for your furry pet to get their fill of the vitamins and other beneficial compounds contained in their poop.
The process of hindgut fermentation allows your hamster to take in more nutrients by re-eating their waste and is a technique found in other small animals, like rabbits and guinea pigs.
We’ve reached the end of our hamster poop guide and can only hope our fellow hamster-enthusiasts have all the answers they’ve been searching for.
Some hammy elimination habits can be a bit of a shock for first-time parents. For instance, discovering hamsters eat poop or that they poop in people’s hands. But, there’s generally a method to a hammy’s madness.
If you’re thinking about getting yourself a furry friend, hamsters make excellent beginner pets because, overall, they’re easy to care for.
Up Next: Can Hamsters Get Wet? – What You Should Know