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Old 06-12-2018, 06:54 PM  
Hamsters University
Serendipity7000's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 18,721
Default Re: Hamster had chocolate :(

Just wanted to mention that it's not good to clean a hamster out so much that you remove all of their hoard. And that would make him bar chew! Their hoard and their nest are very precious to them - and their hoard is important because if a human ever forgets to feed them they have plenty to snack on for some time. It's also part of their natural behaviour. It's fine to leave dry hoard food for quite some time and always leave a fair bit of it if it starts taking over and you remove some. If the hoard has to be removed because it's pee'd on then always put new hamster mix back in exactly the same place. It can cause all kinds of behaviours if you steal their hoard! And it will cause stress.

Likewise with their nest. No need to remove it unless it's pee'd in. Even then try and save a little bit that's dry so it smells familiar and put lots of new nesting material out (torn up strips of plain white toilet paper is safest and they like it) somewhere in the cage, not in the house, so they can pouch it and take it to rebuild the nest.

Doing full cage cleans and too often can also stress them. And stress can lead to bar chewing. If you have enough substrate in you can spot clean mainly, just replacing the odd handful now and then. And just do partial cleans - so clean the wheel a different week to the substrate and any toys a different week again. That way something always smells familiar and they get less stressed.

To help keep the cage dry and clean you can provide a litter tray which Syrians will use if you put it in the right place (ie their chosen pee spot - usually a corner of the cage) with chinchilla bathing sand in. Then you just empty the potty every 5 days or so and the cage stays clean so you can go longer before further cleans. You can use any kind of dish as a litter tray (low sided though) and it can also double up as a sand bath.

Don't worry about poops - they're not dirty or smelly and they eat them sometimes for extra vitamins and emergency food supplies. So if you've cleaned out his cage completely and thrown his hoard AND his poops I'm not surprised he's frantic - they are natural hoarders and hard wired to only feel secure if their hoard is safe.

If its the cage clean that's set him off (and he will be anxious if his hoard has gone) he'll need chance to settle again. Maybe give him extra out of cage time, hide a few treats in his cage to keep him occupied and distract him but it can take some time to settle down again and it can become a habit if it goes on too long.

If the cage is a bit small that could be part of it too.
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