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Old 01-04-2015, 10:22 AM   #1
Chonkers2
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Default Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

Hello,
I got a lovely new Chinese Dwarf Hamster 2 days ago called Mulan.
I've left her alone but every time I come into the room she either freezes or runs back into her house.

The house they gave us was massive for her and hard to clean out so today I moved her to a large plastic tub and changed over her house to one like she was in at the pet shop, putting some of her old bedding in it.

I tried to handle her but she is so scared of me I just worry I'm going to freak her out. I didn't go too near to her but I put a treat on my palm and placed it in the tub with her - she wouldn't go anywhere near me.

She just looks so scared all the time and since I put her back in her cage she's hiding in a tube and sleeping there instead of the new bed - i'm really worried she'll get too cold, it is the middle of the Winter here in England.

Any help would be greatly appreciated
x
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:38 AM   #2
racinghamster
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

Hi Chonkers. Chinese hamsters are known for their shy and aloof natures, so what you need to do is take a step back, don`t clean her cage out at all(only spot clean areas) and have plenty of patience. She will be quite scared having been moved from Pets At Home to a new home with new smells and new challenges, so she requires peace and quiet and allowed to settle for a good week or two.

I adopted a female Chinese a few years ago from a member on here and she was a darling. They really do come out of their shells in time, but some can stay shy and prefer their own company. A friend of mine has had two like this.

Don`t take it to heart though because it`s just their way. They are quite mouse-like and are intelligent. Try and sit near the cage and talk to her but even if she doesn`t respond, she will hear you and it`s all about bonding.

Let her come and go from her tube or nest and just allow her to get used to things. I answered your other post regarding a bigger cage for Mulan but remember too that shy Chinese may do well being kept in a cage like a mini Duna. Bigger than the Spelos, but not so large that the space would make her nervous. So perhaps look for a second hand Ferplast mini Duna cage and switch everything from the Spelos into this cage, including bedding and shavings? It has a shelf inside so her sleeping area should be under this shelf for darkness and will give her a nice `den`.

Hope this helps and persevere, but on her terms. x
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:01 AM   #3
Rempanda
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

Hi Chonkers. Welcome to the forum
I agree with racing hamster. It just sounds like Mulan needs some extra time to adjust to her new setting. There are some great videos on youtube about taming your hamster from hopping hammy, chocolatecolours26 and there is one by Erinsanimals that is specifically on dwarfs so that may be really helpful! Give her about a week or so to settle and get used to her environment before trying the taming steps though.

Well done on being sensible and not just grabbing her like some new owners will. You sound responsible
Give her some time and slowly you will create a bond with her. Good luck!

P.S. Brilliant name!
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

It can seem quite daunting when you first get a Chinese hamster but don't worry, she will come round with some time & patience!
I agree with what racinghamster has already said. Chinese are naturally a lot more timid than most other species to begin with but once you gain their trust they really are the cutest, intelligent & cheeky little things.
I would just talk to her quietly (don't worry about her hiding away when you do this to begin with) without attempting to open the cage door, offer treats or anything else for a while, she will soon learn that your presence isn't a threat & begin to venture out when you're around.
Make sure she has plenty of places where she can run & hide if she feels the need so she feels safer.
I know some people do use smaller cages to make taming easier but I started mine in a big cage with lots of hiding places & loads of substrate to burrow in & although for the first few days I thought I might never get more than a glimpse of her I do think it allowed her to feel more confident & in the long run has resulted in a happy & now tame ham!
Lots of patience, letting her set the pace are the key, don't feel there's any need to rush things & you'll create a great bond with her.
Even before they're really tame they are great fun to watch so just enjoy her!

ETA I forgot to mention the tissue trick which can help them get used to your scent & see you as less of a threat. Just put a plain white tissue or some toilet paper up your sleeve for a few hours so it gets your scent on it then put it in the cage, I always do that for at least a few days with new hams.
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Last edited by cypher; 01-05-2015 at 03:59 AM.
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Old 01-05-2015, 04:20 AM   #5
Chonkers2
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

Thanks so much for your help.
I've been talking to her as much as possible and she seems to be calming down a little at least, which is good. A lot of videos I've seen have suggested moving them to a plastic tub for taming every day for a little while - do you recon it's too early to do this?
She really is a lovely hamster and I just hope she grows to trust me, hopefully il be easier once I've got her out of this awful cage: I feel so guilty not getting her a bigger one!
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

The cage she is in isn`t ideal, no. But it may make things easier in the short term for handling/taming purposes. I wouldn`t put her into a larger open space right now as she is likely to lie flat and freeze. So possibly the best thing would be wait until she is awake, usually later in the day as they do like to sleep during the day, hold something made of fleece, like an old glove or a small folded tea towel and rub your scent onto it. My female loved to walk into an old hamster pocket hammock I had and this was her little `cave` where she felt safe and I could lift her up for a few minutes and then gently put her down again using the pocket hammock. I would do this method again if I had a Chinese hamster.

Once she has a daily routine, you will find she will emerge more and not be so shy. But remember too that it can take a while, so if you need to go back a step, then do so. Don`t feel you need to rush. It`s all about allowing her the time to come to you.

And cage-wise, a Ferplast mini Duna tank would be good right now.
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:25 AM   #7
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

I would say it's too early for bin taming tbh, let her settle some more & get used to you, then try introducing your hand to her in the cage maybe with a treat.
Once she's had some time to adjust to her new home & got more used to you being around try her with a bin then, they really do like fleecy things to snuggle in but I never found that worked for getting mine out, she seems much happier to climb into a small cardboard box so I always used that. They're all different though so experiment a bit to see what works best for her.
I found mine really hated being in a plastic bin even with substrate & some toys & a hideout in there so I gave up on trying to tame her that way & just let her get used to me enough to come to the cage door herself & now she happily climbs out onto me.
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:33 PM   #8
Chonkers2
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

Ok, I'll leave her be for a while then get her slowly accustomed to me. Thanks for your help!
One last thing, I've noticed she makes a kindof little squeaking sound, she doesn't seem to do it when she's out and about in the cage but I've noticed her doing it when she's in her bed (normally when she's awake I think and wants to come out but the lights are on). Is this something to be worried about?
It's like halfway between a purr and a squeak
Xx
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

I wouldn't worry about it, hamsters do squeak a lot, everything is new to her so she'll be feeling nervous, once she's marked the cage with her smell and is given time to settle, she will adapt. Keep talking to her several times a day, and praise her.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:48 PM   #10
cypher
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Default Re: Help! Very scared new Chinese Dwarf Hamster

My Chinese never makes a sound but my hybrids make lots of squeaking & other odd noises in their sleep & awake so I'm sure it's nothing to worry about! If it is that she wants to come out when the lights are on she should adjust & get a bit braver soon.
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