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Old 09-06-2018, 04:58 PM   #1
astrid
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Default Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

Hello everyone!

I have recently been away for two weeks and had my Pippin (Syrian hamster, around 10 months old) looked after by my friends at their home. I brought him home on Monday. Ever since coming back, he's been bar biting a lot.

He lives in the Barney cage. Previously, he would occasionally bite bars in one corner of his cage. I've experimented with his cage layout a bit and managed to dissuade him from that. Since coming back, he has been pretty relentless. I thought it could be stress from moving around but he hasn't settled down and I'm starting to worry. I am afraid he might hurt himself. He chews bars everywhere, so I can't even weave a cardboard or put some oil on the bars (as I've seen recommended). In his cage, Pippin has a variety of chew toys (different textures) and he does chew them also but he is still pretty intent on the bars.

I live in a shared house and I can't really hamster-proof my room to allow him to free range. I've got a playpen but Pippin has never enjoyed it (ignores all the toys, hides, treats and the wheel, and spends all his time trying to climb out from the playpen or digging in the corners and biting carpet instead). If I let him out on my bed (which I do occasionally), he just runs straight to the edge and tries to jump (I always catch him but he doesn't seem too pleased about that).

I am just really concerned and not sure what to do. Will he settle down or should I start thinking about possibly upgrading his cage? If I had to upgrade his cage, what could I get instead? Barney is one of the bigger cages that are commercially available (I live in the UK) and reasonably priced too. But if upgrading is needed, I would definitely try to come up with money for a bigger cage. Although, the only ones that are bigger (and don't need a lot of adapting, I'm not good at all with DIY) that I know of are Large Green Living Eco habitat (I've heard that perspex panels are prone to bowing under more substrate) and the extra large ones made by Hamster Homes. Is there anything else I'm missing? I would appreciate any advice at all.
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Old 09-06-2018, 10:37 PM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

It's not unusual to see behavioural changes after you've been away, it's only been a few days so I would think he will settle down again soon enough, try to ignore the bar chewing as much as you can & only pay attention when it stops to help prevent it becoming an attention seeking habit.
If you don't already scatter feed rather than using a bowl & hide some of his food & treats in little cardboard parcels or toilet roll treat toys so he has to work to find it, that may help distract him. Does he have whimzees to chew on? If not that's another thing that might help.
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Old 09-10-2018, 09:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
It's not unusual to see behavioural changes after you've been away, it's only been a few days so I would think he will settle down again soon enough, try to ignore the bar chewing as much as you can & only pay attention when it stops to help prevent it becoming an attention seeking habit.
If you don't already scatter feed rather than using a bowl & hide some of his food & treats in little cardboard parcels or toilet roll treat toys so he has to work to find it, that may help distract him. Does he have whimzees to chew on? If not that's another thing that might help.
Thank you so much for your considerate reply Cypher! Sorry, I didn't write back sooner, but I have seen your reply the very next morning on my way to work. I have started to scatter feed a portion of Pippin's food since then and put in a few cardboard parcels with treats (he has been going crazy for these). I've also just got him a whimzee again (I tried it initially when I got him, and Pippin hasn't been interested, but just in case he changed his mind).

You were right, Pippin has settled down. And I am so relieved about it. He has never been fully tame, but now we have reverted back to our old relationship of him coming to the bars and being all cute and adorable, and me giving him treats
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Old 09-10-2018, 10:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

That's really good news
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:59 AM   #5
Hammy992
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

That's good to hear that Pippin's settled down now that he's home again. My last syrian liked the cardboard treat parcels too. I tried scatter-feeding a couple of times and he just gathered everything up and put it back in his bowl! He was quite a tidy boy lol
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:54 AM   #6
BubbyandHamper
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

So glad he's ok now. I remember I went to Disney World and when I came back Hamper was shocked to see me. He settled down though.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

Thank you for your replies and sharing your own experiences. Hammy992 your previous hamster sounds like quite a character
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:03 AM   #8
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

Glad he's settling down. I had exactly the same thing after being away and the cage and hamster had been at the petsitters. It was very upsetting and went on for about two weeks. In the end I did a cage clean, removing all scent of the previous house, and that sort of shocked him out of it and he settled. Ironical because normal a cage clean is stressful but in this case it relieved the stress.
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Old 09-12-2018, 07:21 PM   #9
Sasha04
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

Glad to hear he is doing better!
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Old 09-15-2018, 03:37 PM   #10
astrid
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Default Re: Hamster biting his cage bars after being brought back home from pet-sitters

Thank you for sharing your experience as well Serendipity7000. And I agree, seeing your beloved hamster so agitated is really upsetting. It is such a relief when they finally settle down.

Thank you Sasha04!
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