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Karlsson, Maria, 2013. Hur påverkas dvärghamstrar av att vistas i hamsterbollar?. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)



Lately the popularity to keep different species of dwarf hamsters has increased in Sweden.
The requirements of the Swedish legislation to keep hamsters as pets are low which could be a reason for the increasing popularity. Hamsters are in nature generally nocturnal and can travel far distances to find food sources during their active part of the day. Their eyesight is poor, but is compensated by their well-developed hearing and olfaction. “Run about balls” are made of plastic and the hamster is placed inside it where after the ball is placed on the floor and the hamster can then run protected outside the cage. It is not possible for the hamster to get outside of it without human assistance. The aim of this study was to evaluate how hamsters are affected by being placed in the “run about balls”. This was done to be able to either recommend or dissuade pet owners to use them. The project included both a behavioural and a literature study. Behaviours that hamsters perform during situations of increased stress level are bar mouthing, climbing upside down and possibly wheel running. Body temperature and hormone levels in the blood have been measured to investigate physiological stress in hamsters. This study used 10 dwarf hamsters of three different species: Djungarian dwarf hamster (n=3), Campbell’s dwarf hamster (n=1) and Roborovski’s dwarf hamster (n=6). The tests were performed in the households of the owners. The dwarf hamsters were of different sex, age and had different experience of being in a “run about ball”. All individuals were observed on two occasions in two different balls with diameters, 12 cm and 17 cm. The hamsters were also observed in their home cage after being in the balls. Statistical analysis was done with the non-parametric Sign test. Scratching of the ball was performed at a higher percentage in the bigger “run about ball” (p<0.05). However, there were no significant differences between the different sizes of balls on the behaviours stand, groom, gnaw, move slow and move quick. Experience seemed to be an important parameter for the behaviours of the hamsters, but it could not be statistically tested due to too few animals. There also seemed to be some differences between the species and sex, but this could not be tested due to too few animals. The most common behaviours performed in the home cages were sleeping, digging and grooming. Animals usually cope with stressful occasions in an active or passive way. It is hard to evaluate which coping style that is expressing most stress in the animal. Some individuals performed stereotypies in their home cage after having been in the ball, but this was probably caused by being exposed to stress during a long period of time. Future studies would benefit from using test animals that are more similar and to measure physiological parameters as well.

Main title:Hur påverkas dvärghamstrar av att vistas i hamsterbollar?
Authors:Karlsson, Maria
Supervisor:Lidfors, Lena
Examiner:Jung, Jens
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:513
Year of Publication:2013
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health (until 231231)
Keywords:dvärghamster, hamsterboll, berikning, stress, hamster
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Deposited On:03 Feb 2014 13:49
Metadata Last Modified:03 Feb 2014 13:49

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