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Old 01-04-2017, 10:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 69
Default New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

Hi all,

I haven't been on here for a while after my dear first Syrian hamster died, but I have recently found myself with two new girls and need some help!
I recently adopted a lovely Syrian (Violet) from my brother's girlfriend. She was in one of those small Pets at Home cages with no wheel and no proper bedding, just some newspaper. I don't think she was being taken out. When I got her home I wanted to leave her to settle in for a few days before upgrading but she kept frantically trying to escape her cage, running round and round in circles and chewing at the bars. I decided to put her in Bobba's old (cleaned) Zoozone 2 with a 28cm wooden wheel, sand bath etc., hoping she just needed some space and a wheel.
It's almost a week later now and she is still absolutely frantic trying to escape the cage. She spends ages running round in circles, chewing the corners (holes are now starting to appear)and even banging toys against the plastic. She does not seem to have settled at all. She is my fifth hamster now and I've never seen behaviour like it.
I decided to keep her on a schedule to make sure she felt safe and secure, so I've only been going to the cage once a night at the same time to change food and water. I didn't want to let her out until she'd settled, fearing this might spook her more, but now I'm thinking maybe this is a mistake and I should try her in the hamster ball?
Any advice welcome, she is a lovely girl and I really wanted to give her a nice home!
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Old 01-04-2017, 02:25 PM   #2
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

You could try taking her out, but I don't think you should use a ball. I personally think Balls are not anywhere near as safe or appropriate or enriching as a playpen/play bin/or even bathtub would be if set up nicely However when in balls hamster vision is nowhere near as good(it's already fairly poor anyways)and their sense of smell is also not as good as it should be.I think they can't get any true enrichment in balls as they would in a playpen or similar,and there is even lots of information to point in the direction of balls being far more cruel than they are beneficial.

If you give her lots of enrichment,try setting things up with even more hiding spaces and such,etc and she continues this obsessive behavior you might need an even larger cage.It may sound shocking,but honestly even in something humans see as a large cage a hamster can still not have enough space.Even if your cage is a square meter or larger the behavior can continue,but you can at least try an even bigger cage if you can't make the behavior completely go away

Last edited by velma; 01-04-2017 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 01-04-2017, 04:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

Sme people like balls, some don't. I personally don't like them for any dwarf hams I have but I do use them for my Syrians if it suits their personality and they're in the mood. It's up to them if they go in it or not.
It must be very disturbing for you to watch her being so upset. She's already had one big upheaval so I'm not sure I'd want to change her change her cage again so soon unless it was necessary - the holes appearing in the zoozone might make it necessary. A week isn't long so she might still be finding her feet. Some loo rolls or something like that, that she can destroy might distract her. I know in some hams that if you reward the chewing with attention it can encourage that behaviour but she does sound a bit upset.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help, it's not something I've ever come across. It sounds like you're doing the right things though and letting her settle. I hope you get some good tips and she calms down soon.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:08 PM   #4
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

I personally don't like the balls either. I would avoid trying to get her out the cage until she's calmer. Try the tissue trick, gets loads of unscented toilet paper and stuff it up your sleeves for a couple of hours and then place in her cage, sit by her cage and talk softly to her, each time she comes out praise her, tell her what a good girl she is. They love being praised and it builds their confidence. Do this daily with the toilet paper and just add it in, she'll sniff it and it'll help with her recognising your scent.Avoid a cage clean for at least another 2 to 3 weeks but do a spot check on her toilet area daily and every couple of days remove the soiled substrate and wipe the area with warm water then put some fresh substrate in.
Also make sure she has plenty hidey places so she feels safe.
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Over The Rainbow - Twinkle 'The Diva' Aged 1 year & 8 months, Archie 'My Prince Charming' Aged 2 years & 3 months & Xena 'The Warrior' Aged 2 years & 9 months. Forever in my heart and never forgotten by T-Liz.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

Hi everybody,

Thanks for your helpful replies. I know there are mixed opinions on hamster balls, I must admit that I mainly use one for my other hamster (Pearl) as the only real hamster-safe place in my house is my porch and some nights I really don't want to sit in there with her so the ball at least gets her out of the cage for a bit.. But I see your points and maybe I should re-think.
Anyway, I didn't manage to see your replies until today and I was so worried about Violet last night that I did end up letting her out in the bath tub with a blanket down and some boxes etc to scurry through. She seemed to have a marvellous time! No fear at all, and I'm pleased to report there was no circling the cage afterwards, or frantic gnawing. Usually she gets up when I come in from work too and begins the mania but she has stayed asleep so far. So I'm cautiously pleased. Going to let her out again tonight I think to keep up the routine.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

I'm glad you found something that seems to be working for her! Poor girl though, that must have been horrible for her being in that cage with no wheel and just newspaper! Makes me very angry! But thank god she has you now
My parents took in my aunts hamster once because it escaped and the cat got it, poor thing lost an eye. He was terrified, didn't want to come anywhere near us but in time over the course of a few months he trusted us and a great remainder of his life. Is all about caring and patience and you clearly have both so even if her current temperament is temporary, eventually she will calm down and learn to trust you keep us updated!
Margot- adopted 28/12/2016 aged 5 months
Lily- feb2015- 26/5/2016
Dexter- july2014- 18/12/2016
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Old 01-07-2017, 04:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

Thanks for the kind words, Crayolalaura. She is a lovely girl and I really hope she can feel safe and happy in time.
I've realised something else which I may need to post in the health Forum. She is struggling to open one of her eyes. My brother said that when they bought her she had an eye infection but that she'd been taken to the vets and it had cleared up. Looking at her now though, I don't think it has fully. There is no visible gunk or damage to the eye, I think it's just 'sticky'. I've had that problem with hamsters before and I've been able to clear it by wiping the eye with a damp cotton bud. The problem is that she is so hard to handle at the moment, I've not been able to keep her still enough to do it. Any advice??
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Old 01-07-2017, 12:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: New Hamster, Frantic Behaviour

A damp cotton bud may do the trick if you give her a pile of yummies and then swoop in with the bud ...
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