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Gerbils & Hamsters/hamster drinking a lot


My 2 year old Syrian hamster seems to be drinking a lot. He drinks about an ounce a day. I'm not sure if this is too much I just want him to be ok. does this amount sound normal?

Hi Elizabeth

Thanks for your question. I'm afraid that an increase in water consumption can be bad news especially for a hamster of this age. It could indicate that your hamster is developing a tumor which is common in a 2 year old unfortunately. Hamsters can also develop diabetes in which case this is dealt with by eliminating sugar from the diet - this is often contained in hamster treats etc,

It could also indicate kidney problems.

I would suggest you monitor him and make sure he has plenty of fresh water. If he shows signs of being unwell he will need to see a vet. If this is a tumor you might not notice anything for a while but with abdominal ones the hamster tends to get quite fat on their lower half and if it puts pressure on organs or their spine the signs are very clear because they develop walking difficulties and become dull, lethargic and sometimes blood comes from their rear.

If it is diabetes they urinate a lot and it smells sweet. Diabetes can be diagnosed if you test the hamsters urine with a diastix (you can get these from a vet or rom a chemist) any sign that there are high glucose levels would suggest diabetes. All sugars including fruits and honey treats must e removed immediately from the diet and a mixture of sesame seed, linseed, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds should be added to the food daily as this helps regulates sugar levels.

I hope this helps you.


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Sheila Adby


Syrian hamsters are my specialty, however, I have kept Campbells,Winter Whites and gerbils in the past. I can advise on most subjects associated with hamsters, including housing, bedding, feeding, handling, new borns and catching escapees. I have had some experience of various health problems with hamsters and can offer my opinion and advice on basic health issues, however I am not a qualified vet and therefore cannot recommend drugs etc. My website is


I have been keeping hamsters and other small animals for more than 12 years. My favourites are Syrian hamsters and I foster litters and 'difficult' hamsters for a rescue centre. My job is to tame hamsters ready for re-homing, which is extremely rewarding. I also enjoy looking after new litters and raising the pups. I have co-written a book on hamsters with my local vet and have a website:

Hamsters in Sickness and in Health - Sheila Adby and Dan O'Neill ISBN186163218-5 (Capall Bann Publishing)

Educated to A Level standard in the UK.

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