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Old 04-16-2018, 05:15 PM   #1
Mawuu
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Unhappy Hissing Dwarf

Hello I'm new to owning hamsters, I just received my girl yesterday. Her name is Luna she's a 3 month old winter white dwarf.

Today I wanted to fix her bottle and add a new toy. She lives in a stack 2 bin cage her bottle being on the top floor and the toy I added today being on the bottom floor.
Things where okay at first, I couldn't tell which floor she was on since she was hidden. So I did a light pat down of the bedding to smooth it out after I fixed her bottle. I then had picked up her top floor and handed it to my brother so I could add the toy to the bottom floor. At this time I wasn't looking at my brother but she started to hiss as he had accidentally found her with his finger. I finished quickly and put her cages back together and she's been hiding since.

I believe my biggest mistake was bothering her so soon and doing so when she was hidden. My brother did not wash his hands either and I didn't know he'd stick his finger around in the bin (he's older then me and we are both adults).
I feel terrible I really don't want her to think Im a threat or make her hiss again its sad to know she was so scared. What should I do to make her comfortable?
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:07 AM   #2
IamKat
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

Congrats on the new addition!
Moving home is always a stressful time for a hamster, and usually it's the best advice not to move anything around whilst they're getting accustomed to their new environment. Some hamsters do hiss when irritated, but I wouldn't worry too much, she probably is a little confused at all the commotion but I'm sure she will calm down soon and it won't have any lasting effect. My advice is to spend time around the cage so she gets used to your presence and voice. Try not to disturb her environment too much, and just gently start introducing taming sessions once she seems to be more settled. You can try putting some treats in different areas of the cage to encourage her to explore. I'm sure she will settle soon, and don't feel bad about the hiss - it's quite a normal response for a new ham to be a little nervy
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

Ditto the above

It might be best to have two water bottles, one on each floor and if you have the food bowl on one level then scatter feed a bit on the other level as well (just scatter extra food on the substrate). That way she can always get to her food and water and will be interested in using both levels.

Is she able to reach the top level easily? Dwarf hamsters aren't always that good with vertical tubes. Also put plenting of nesting material out (if you haven't already) - they feel more secure if they can build a nice big nest. Torn up strips of plain white toilet paper in a heap on the cage floor is best - she will pouch or take some to build a nest which will keep her busy. For now I would just add another bottle and put food out each day and leave her alone for 2 or 3 days and talk to her through the cage.

Don't clean anything out for the first two weeks while she is settling in and scent marking. After that you could spot clean the substrate where she pees, if and when necessary. If she has a sand bath she may use that as a toilet which can also save on the need to clean out. You can always add one later if she doesn't have one but I'd wait at least a week before adding anything else.

Clean outs stress them a lot so although pet shops recommend full cleans every week, it's not necessary. If you have enough depth of substrate (minimum 3 to 4" but 4 to 6" is good) then with occasional spot cleaning it will be fine for quite a long time. Even then when you do a clean it's better not to clean everything at the same time - so maybe substrate one week - toys another week - wheel another week. Toys often don't need cleaning very often. That way something always smells familiar. Best to just use a warm damp cloth for cleaning - there's no need to disinfect unless there is illness or disease and scented cleaners are bad for them. I wash any toys in washing up liquid water and rinse and dry them.

So the tips for helping her settle and not get stressed are - don't overclean, don't remove her nest or any hoards unless they are pee'd on (and then try and leave a bit of dry nest or dry hoard and add new nesting material elsewhere and replace any hoard you've removed in exactly the same place with new food). They are most particular about their nest and hoards and get very worried about their hoard disappearing. They can even start peeing on the hoard if they think it might be "stolen"!

That way they can have normal behaviours and taming will be easier. She probably hissed because she was scared and thought some predator was trying to get her.

Generally they don't like a hand in their cage at all as it's their territory and they are prey animals. But when she is tamer she may be ok with that.

When you start taming her (maybe after a few days if she seems more confident) it can help to get her out by letting her walk into a tube or a hamster ball and carrying her in that (hands over either end of the tube) to a place she can be let out safely to run around. eg a large plastic bin as a taming box, or a playpen area or the dry bathtub - a tube or mug on its side as a toy in there so she can take cover if she needs to.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:18 AM   #4
Mawuu
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamKat View Post
Congrats on the new addition!
Moving home is always a stressful time for a hamster, and usually it's the best advice not to move anything around whilst they're getting accustomed to their new environment. Some hamsters do hiss when irritated, but I wouldn't worry too much, she probably is a little confused at all the commotion but I'm sure she will calm down soon and it won't have any lasting effect. My advice is to spend time around the cage so she gets used to your presence and voice. Try not to disturb her environment too much, and just gently start introducing taming sessions once she seems to be more settled. You can try putting some treats in different areas of the cage to encourage her to explore. I'm sure she will settle soon, and don't feel bad about the hiss - it's quite a normal response for a new ham to be a little nervy
Thank you, I'm so happy to have Luna here <3
And thank you so much for the advice, It puts me more at ease that I didn't do terrible damage to her. I try to come by her cage slowly and talk to her when shes out and about she doesn't seem to be too scared and will come to look at me but she will hide if it's to much (which is normal?). I'll be adding more things to her cage next week as to give her time to adjust. Thank you again for your advice~!
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Ditto the above

It might be best to have two water bottles, one on each floor and if you have the food bowl on one level then scatter feed a bit on the other level as well (just scatter extra food on the substrate). That way she can always get to her food and water and will be interested in using both levels.

Is she able to reach the top level easily? Dwarf hamsters aren't always that good with vertical tubes. Also put plenting of nesting material out (if you haven't already) - they feel more secure if they can build a nice big nest. Torn up strips of plain white toilet paper in a heap on the cage floor is best - she will pouch or take some to build a nest which will keep her busy. For now I would just add another bottle and put food out each day and leave her alone for 2 or 3 days and talk to her through the cage.

Don't clean anything out for the first two weeks while she is settling in and scent marking. After that you could spot clean the substrate where she pees, if and when necessary. If she has a sand bath she may use that as a toilet which can also save on the need to clean out. You can always add one later if she doesn't have one but I'd wait at least a week before adding anything else.

Clean outs stress them a lot so although pet shops recommend full cleans every week, it's not necessary. If you have enough depth of substrate (minimum 3 to 4" but 4 to 6" is good) then with occasional spot cleaning it will be fine for quite a long time. Even then when you do a clean it's better not to clean everything at the same time - so maybe substrate one week - toys another week - wheel another week. Toys often don't need cleaning very often. That way something always smells familiar. Best to just use a warm damp cloth for cleaning - there's no need to disinfect unless there is illness or disease and scented cleaners are bad for them. I wash any toys in washing up liquid water and rinse and dry them.

So the tips for helping her settle and not get stressed are - don't overclean, don't remove her nest or any hoards unless they are pee'd on (and then try and leave a bit of dry nest or dry hoard and add new nesting material elsewhere and replace any hoard you've removed in exactly the same place with new food). They are most particular about their nest and hoards and get very worried about their hoard disappearing. They can even start peeing on the hoard if they think it might be "stolen"!

That way they can have normal behaviours and taming will be easier. She probably hissed because she was scared and thought some predator was trying to get her.

Generally they don't like a hand in their cage at all as it's their territory and they are prey animals. But when she is tamer she may be ok with that.

When you start taming her (maybe after a few days if she seems more confident) it can help to get her out by letting her walk into a tube or a hamster ball and carrying her in that (hands over either end of the tube) to a place she can be let out safely to run around. eg a large plastic bin as a taming box, or a playpen area or the dry bathtub - a tube or mug on its side as a toy in there so she can take cover if she needs to.
Hello and thank you so much for the advice~! I've def been thinking of adding another bottle to her bottom cage and will do so once she's a bit more settled in.

As for the paper should I add that in after 2-3 days or when I change her foods as to not scare her again? She hasn't been eating much even when she takes food with her to hide so I haven't changed her food out since I got her (it's been 2 days)

She does a lot of exploring when shes confident in coming out of her borrow, I do have vertical pipes with a slight slant but she seems to have no trouble with it, though if it'll be easier on her to have em flat out I'll change her tubing for easier access. I'll scatter food on her bottom floor later as to not disturb her, though for now her bigger toys and sand bowl are there so she goes to play and come back up when shes done to sleep/hide again.

I'll avoid cleaning her things for now as well and will take your advice on cleaning, thank you so much.
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Old 04-17-2018, 10:42 AM   #6
Mawuu
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

Quote:
Originally Posted by IamKat View Post
Congrats on the new addition!
Moving home is always a stressful time for a hamster, and usually it's the best advice not to move anything around whilst they're getting accustomed to their new environment. Some hamsters do hiss when irritated, but I wouldn't worry too much, she probably is a little confused at all the commotion but I'm sure she will calm down soon and it won't have any lasting effect. My advice is to spend time around the cage so she gets used to your presence and voice. Try not to disturb her environment too much, and just gently start introducing taming sessions once she seems to be more settled. You can try putting some treats in different areas of the cage to encourage her to explore. I'm sure she will settle soon, and don't feel bad about the hiss - it's quite a normal response for a new ham to be a little nervy
woops sorry double post, I'm still new to this ^^;

Last edited by Mawuu; 04-17-2018 at 12:47 PM. Reason: double post
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:15 PM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

If she seems happy nesting somewhere then yes leave the paper 2 or 3 days If she looks like she has nowhere to sleep then you could add some now.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:50 PM   #8
Mawuu
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
If she seems happy nesting somewhere then yes leave the paper 2 or 3 days If she looks like she has nowhere to sleep then you could add some now.
Thank you, I'll be adding it in later as she loves to sleep in a tunnel she's already made in the substrate.
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Old 04-17-2018, 01:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hissing Dwarf

That sounds ok then Yes it would be fine leaving it a few days - she might take some and line her tunnel with it.
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