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Old 09-13-2017, 02:01 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2
Unhappy My hamster will stop at nothing to escape

Hi! I recently adopted my first hamster, a Syrian female named Pita, in July.

When I first got her, she was living in a DIY plastic bin for awhile, and she would often jump along the walls to try and escape. I just assumed it was because the bin wasn't large enough for her.

She is now living in an IKEA detolf. She does run a bit more and seem a little more happy, but she still devotes hours every single night to trying to escape. She jumps to reach the wire I have along the cage lid and then scales that and chews on it, she scratches at the wooden ends and chews on that, she even MOVES things in her cage to the edge so she can climb it and reach the lid mesh better.

I've sectioned off part of a room for her to run around and explore for a bit each day. It's a pretty generous area and I thought it would help satisfy her. She will run and sniff a bit, but even then she starts trying to jump up the walls and digs into the corners of the carpet.

Why does she constantly want to escape? I figured it was just in her nature, but it seems to be all she thinks about.
cringeyweeb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2017, 07:31 AM   #2
Adult Hamster
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Leeds, UK
Posts: 307
Default Re: My hamster will stop at nothing to escape

I'm far less expert than most here but I can say that almost all of our past Syrian hamsters are exactly like this. Give them half the floor, they want it all. They absolutely have to see what comes next! Perfectly normal IMO.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:58 AM   #3
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Serendipity7000's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 16,369
Default Re: My hamster will stop at nothing to escape

She's lucky having a nice big detolf It could be she's just a bit maverickk, or sometimes it can be something in their environment that makes them not happy with a cage. For example if the wheel isn't big enough, not enough substrate, or nowhere dark and cosy to hide. If they feel a bit exposed they can feel insecure and want to escape. I'm sure you know all that, but would suggest looking at her layout.

5 to 6" of substrate is good, or more in places, and a large house for nesting that's dark inside - a shoebox is a good size and can make a good house. You can cut the bottom out so it sits on top of the substrate and use the lid as a lift-off roof and cut a hole in the side for a door. That way you can check inside the house without lifting it out - so the nest doesn't fall apart. They get very precious about their nest and their hoard.

A house open underneath and on the substrate allows them to do normal behaviours like burying hoards under the nest or burrowing down to get cosy. Putting a bendy bridge over the door makes it darker inside, like a tunnel entrance, and also allows a ramp onto the house roof as an extra platform.

Lots of hidey places in the cage help too and a level is always good as they can sit under it so they don't feel exposed, or sit on it for a wash - somewhere to go. Not sure if you have any platforms in it but just a plank of untreated pine with some dowels stuck on for legs is good. You can have it cut to the size you want at a diy store. The Germans have a kind of racetrack level that runs the full length of the detolf along the back. Like this kind of thing

Millet in tank.jpg

If the wheel is smaller than 8" it could cause her to have stress behaviours. 11" diameter is a good size. Lots of variety in the cage helps. I like the large cork logs/tunnels - they cover a lot of the floor area and are something to climb or run through or hide under so give good enrichment.

You can also have different levels in a detolf with a deeper digging area for example. Some hamsters just don't like to feel too exposed from above and need lots of overhead cover - either large toys or houses as hidey places so the floorspace isn't to open, or some kind of hammock above (Zooplus sell grass ones that are safe to chew). And a shelf or level gives them instant overhead cover.

Another thing that can stress them and make them want to escape is over cleaning. It removes all their scent and they don't feel at home. With a large cage like that you only really need to spot clean and do a substrate change maybe every 3 months or less. Even then I only change about half the substrate, and leave the bottom half and mix it in so it still smells familiar. I never remove the nest (unless it's pee'd in) and it's best to leave any hoards unless they're pee'd on and then replace the food with new food in the same place.

Also do any cleaning of toys on a different week to the substrate, and the wheel a different week again. That way something always seems/smells familiar.
Serendipity7000 is offline   Reply With Quote

escape, bit, run, jump, walls, chews, lid, cage, reach, hamster, living, bin, part, mesh, sectioned, thinks, edge, things, moves, nature, climb, room, thought, area, generous

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