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Old 11-09-2016, 08:59 PM   #1
NotARobot
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 3
Question Lazy hamster? Or is she too scared? (Very long post)

Hi. I am a newbie and I have my female syrian for three months now. She does take treats from my hand with her completely being on my hand, but she would quickly put the treats in her mouth and walk away. I don't know if that means she's tamed or not. It might be that she's still scared of me?

She lives in a cage (around 300 sqr inches.) within a playpen. I leave her cage door open at night because I know that cage is a bit too small for her.


She climbed over the playpen fence two or three times. The first time, she chewed through the base wood of the wall, but I found her in the cage afterwards. I took actions to make that part of the room inaccessible to her. The second time, she escaped the playpen while I was sleeping, I found her lying close to the ground by the fence the next morning. She looked very sad, and I have no clue how long that poor thing was out of reach for food and water.

In between the two times she escaped the playpen, she sometimes would dig and chew the "flooring" of the playpen and chew on the bars. I thought she was bored and wanted to come out to play. So I brought her out to play and she would run freely in her room. Yes I do have a saperate bedroom just for her, and I sometimes do some work or watch tv on my computer while I watch her roam around. She seemed happy, and would even climb up to my body to explore and get some treats from me. She did try to bite my ear once, but I quickly turned away.

Sometime after her second escape, I read something on the forum for "training" hamsters not to chew on bars to get our attention or to get treats by ignoring their bar chewing. Before that, I tried Olive oil, and she didn't like it so she started ignoring my calling and even refused treats from me for a bit. And for a few days afterwards, when I checked on her, she'd be lying on the ground not moving at all as if she had a stroke. (She did the same once before, when I kinda cleaned her cage in front of her.. I guess that was an traumatizing experience for her...?)

I did ignore her obsessive bar chewing that night I read that post, and I found her climbing over the fence. Very determined little one, and you could see it on her face.

As usual, she ran around the room. But she soon wanted to go home, so the obsessive chewing on bars started. Only this time, it was from the outside... I ignored her and just let her chew. For a good 20 minutes. Then she ran around a bit, and I gave her a signal with her exercise ball. She got in, and I got her home.

But ever since then, she's been "glued" to her nest. She only comes out to eat and drink and wee wee, but not even exercising -- she's got two flying saucers, the 12' outside of her cage and a 6' inside of her cage that she used to love so much. I also heard her sneezing once or twice per day. I was afraid that she's sick, or something was wrong with her, so I forced myself upon her to do a quick check with her body. Nothing seems wrong.

Another thing I thought I'd mention, is that wherever she is, she tries to get out further. I tried using a bathtub, and she would try to climb over it. When she's roaming in the room, she tries to climb the walls too...

I think it has been a rough three months for both of us.. I am not a patient person and I lost my cool with her very early. That was before I read anything about hamsters and how to care for them. I feel very bad for that. It is very frustrating to feel that whatever I do for her, she doesn't take it because I ruined it from before. But at the same time, I know she's a scared little thing and it hurts me when I know that I am not giving her what's best for her. Yet I don't know what to do.

Should I just leave her alone? Maybe she's better off no be handled at all?

If you've gotten to this point of the post, I appreciate your patience for reading. I wanted to include as much as I could so that you would have a good understanding of what's going on. Thank you for any advice you might have.
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Old 11-10-2016, 01:45 AM   #2
pinkneon
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Default Re: Lazy hamster? Or is she too scared? (Very long post)

Hi! It sounds like she is bored. A 6" wheel is too small for a Syrian hamster. She needs at least an 8", or even larger if she grows big. I'd start by getting her a bigger cage and wheel, and adding more things for her to do. You try try scattering some of her food to help keep her busy too. Also, try putting some toilet paper or plain tissue up your sleeve for a couple of hours and then putting it in her cage. She'll most likely use it to nest in which is perfectly safe for her to do, but it will have your scent on to help her get more used to you. Some hamsters do take a long time to tame - mine took 3 months! Also, it is getting colder so she may be sleeping a little more. Make sure you give her plenty of bedding to sleep in. In terms of the playpen, unless it is very secure and there is no way of her to escape it might not be a good idea to let her have u supervized access at night. Hamsters can squeeze into the smallest places and she could easily get lost / hurt / trapped somewhere, or eat something she shouldn't. She could also not get back into the cage and then would not have food or water, unless you have food and water I the playpen? Also, does your cage have a door on the side or on the top? Being prey animals most hamsters do not like being picked up from above. You could try transferring her from the cage to a play area in a cup / tube or something, to handle her, as she may see the cage as hers so might not like you invading her space. You could also try putting her in the dry bath tub (put the stopper in) and putting some toys in there. It's a safe place for her to play and you can try taming her her there too
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Old 11-10-2016, 04:14 PM   #3
NotARobot
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Michigan, USA
Posts: 3
Default Re: Lazy hamster? Or is she too scared? (Very long post)

I did everything you described expect for the playpen bit. I think she's learned that leaving the playpen is not a good idea, plus I always find her around that area, so I do believe it is okay to just give her the playpen. However, I did start to leave food around the apt so that she will at least have that if she escaped. She tries to climb up walls when she's out roaming in her room as well.
That said, I don't think space is the issue here.

I got her a 12" saucer in the playpen, and she's got access to it as I leave the cage door open. She's also got a sand bath and digging box in the playpen. I gave her a lot of wood chew toys, but she just wouldn't chew on them. However, I recently made a minimal hanging bridge in her cage with some Woodsies craft sticks, and found that she likes those sticks (maybe she likes it a bit too much as she tried to fit it into her pouch when she found one while she was playing in the room).

As of toilet paper with my scent... I did offer her paper that I wiped through my armpit, but it take her a few days to actually take it. My suspicion is that she waits till my scent goes away. She did eventually take the toilet paper offered, and built a nest almost 6" tall -- I gave her a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkneon View Post
Hi! It sounds like she is bored. A 6" wheel is too small for a Syrian hamster. She needs at least an 8", or even larger if she grows big. I'd start by getting her a bigger cage and wheel, and adding more things for her to do. You try try scattering some of her food to help keep her busy too. Also, try putting some toilet paper or plain tissue up your sleeve for a couple of hours and then putting it in her cage. She'll most likely use it to nest in which is perfectly safe for her to do, but it will have your scent on to help her get more used to you. Some hamsters do take a long time to tame - mine took 3 months! Also, it is getting colder so she may be sleeping a little more. Make sure you give her plenty of bedding to sleep in. In terms of the playpen, unless it is very secure and there is no way of her to escape it might not be a good idea to let her have u supervized access at night. Hamsters can squeeze into the smallest places and she could easily get lost / hurt / trapped somewhere, or eat something she shouldn't. She could also not get back into the cage and then would not have food or water, unless you have food and water I the playpen? Also, does your cage have a door on the side or on the top? Being prey animals most hamsters do not like being picked up from above. You could try transferring her from the cage to a play area in a cup / tube or something, to handle her, as she may see the cage as hers so might not like you invading her space. You could also try putting her in the dry bath tub (put the stopper in) and putting some toys in there. It's a safe place for her to play and you can try taming her her there too
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