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Old 10-26-2018, 04:14 AM   #1
Kasey
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Default Aggression after separating brother and sister

Hi there,

The pet shop accidentally sold me male and female Russian Dwarf hamsters instead of 2 females. They were best friends and did everything together. I soon realised they were male and female after they began mating. I had to remove the male immediately.

Since giving him a new cage, he has been very aggressive towards me. He already was timid, and hissed here and there when he was with his sister. But now, I can't even feed him without him biting me. Every time I softly talk to him and put my had in to feed him, he will run out and bite my finger hard to the point of me bleeding.

He loves his new little coconut home and now he hardly comes out from there (except to get some food and to attack me). He rarely exercises and doesn't make use of any other platform or part of his cage.

Is it possible that he is sad without his sister? Is it possible that he resents me for removing him from his mate (who just give birth the other day)? Any advice as to how I can get him to trust me and be more active, as I fear that his lack of exercise may be unhealthy for him.
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:05 AM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

What's his cage set up like? If you have a photo it would help to see if there are any changes that might help him feel more settled, secure & confident.
Too much open space, not enough substrate to burrow in, lack of a good sized house with no base on a deep layer of substrate to burrow down in are some of the things that can prevent them from feeling safe in the cage but it would help to see what you have.
What wheel does he have?
I would avoid any attempts to interact with him in the cage for now, if you can put food & water in when he's sleeping.
See if you can get him to climb into something you can transport him in then take him to a safe play area, a playpen you can sit in with him is a good way to begin to get him used to handling & he may be less inclined to bite away from the cage.
Put toys, tubes, things to explore in the play area too.
Just short sessions to begin with so he doesn't get stressed.
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:27 AM   #3
Hammyloui
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

yes, a photo of your current set up would be helpful. I agree with cypher, don't interact with him whilst he's in his cage and makes sure he has lots of enrichment. When you see that he's settled a bit more take him out using a carrier or cup and try setting up a playpen for small play sessions so he gets used to you. To help with him biting (once settled), try using a piece of toilet paper and rub it on your skin so it smells of your scent, try placing that in his cage and that way he should get more familiar with your smell and knows that you aren't a threat. This way he can use it to add to his nest.
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Old 10-26-2018, 07:04 AM   #4
SKB_Hamsters
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

How long has it been since you separated them? Hamsters do get stressed easily with changes in their environment therefore he may need a little time to adjust to his new cage which could lead him to be cage territorial.
Hamsters don't feel emotions like we do so I don't think he is necessary sad being without his sister but he probably confused as to were his sister is as his natural instinct is to find a mate - it will take him a little while to adjust.
Like the other have mentioned seeing a photo of his cage layout might be beneficial as we may be able to help see if his behaviour might be linked to his cage at all or can rule this out.
I would also agree to not try to interact with him inside the cage for a little while instead place him in a play area - and before attempting to handle wash your hands with unscented soap. Be patient with him - don't try to pick him up let him come over to you and see if he feel comfortable with climbing onto your hand.
Also the tissue trick hammyloui mentioned is a really good way to get hamsters used to your scent.
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Old 10-26-2018, 03:48 PM   #5
Ponymad2104
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

Could it be you have them the wrong way round and he is actually the female?
It sound a bit like behavior a pregnant female or female with young pups will display
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:28 PM   #6
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

I think if the other one gave birth she must be the female I think hamsters do have emotions - it has been a big change so stressful but also his Fatherly instinct has been curbed. Father hamsters help the Mother look after the babies when they're in together and are very helpful - so no doubt his hormones are raging. However they also mate with the Mother again immediately so he needed removing.

As the others say - give him time to settle - just as you would when bringing a new hamster home to their new cage. Two or three days left alone, and no clean outs for the first couple of weeks.

Distraction may help too - scatter feeding a bit as well as food in his bowl. Hiding treats in different parts of the cage. Try and only put food out when he's asleep (ie do it earlier in the day?) so he doesn't get stressed by your hand coming in.

Adding extra enrichment etc can help but no major changes to the cage. They tend to accept something new being added but don't like anything moved or taken away.

Loads of substrate and a chew stick and plenty of floor toys and hidey places may help - assume he has a wheel or flying saucer. Sometimes playing soft music calms them as well Ours like childrens nursery rhymes and some classical music. Judy Garland and "Over the Rainbow" always goes down well
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:39 PM   #7
Ponymad2104
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I think if the other one gave birth she must be the female I think hamsters do have emotions - it has been a big change so stressful but also his Fatherly instinct has been curbed. Father hamsters help the Mother look after the babies when they're in together and are very helpful - so no doubt his hormones are raging. However they also mate with the Mother again immediately so he needed removing.

As the others say - give him time to settle - just as you would when bringing a new hamster home to their new cage. Two or three days left alone, and no clean outs for the first couple of weeks.

Distraction may help too - scatter feeding a bit as well as food in his bowl. Hiding treats in different parts of the cage. Try and only put food out when he's asleep (ie do it earlier in the day?) so he doesn't get stressed by your hand coming in.

Adding extra enrichment etc can help but no major changes to the cage. They tend to accept something new being added but don't like anything moved or taken away.

Loads of substrate and a chew stick and plenty of floor toys and hidey places may help - assume he has a wheel or flying saucer. Sometimes playing soft music calms them as well Ours like childrens nursery rhymes and some classical music. Judy Garland and "Over the Rainbow" always goes down well
Sorry I completely missed that part! Clearly my brain isn't working tonight
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Old 10-26-2018, 05:14 PM   #8
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

Ha ha. Not surprised when you've got a pregnant Syrian on your hands!
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:23 AM   #9
Kasey
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

Thank you Cypher, Hammyloui, SKB Hamsters, Ponymad2104, Serendipity 7000! Your responses have been so thoughtful.

And Ponymad2104...don't worry, I was actually beginning to think the same thing before the female gave birth. He was definitely acting more private than her. But I guess it's because he was the one who sadly had to adjudge to the whole new cage.

I was going to post a photo, but it's asking for the URL which I don't quite know how to get. But basically he has lots of little levels and a big space on the bottom which is very private. In that space he has a wheel, coconut home, food and water. The other levels have things for him to play with and another home up the top which he has not gone anywhere near. And sticks mostly to his coconut. It's been just over 2 weeks and I'm thinking I'm going to have to give his cage a clean, while I imagine his coconut has a lot of poo inside, I'm also hesitant about cleaning it as it's his special safety place. While I want him to keep hygienic and healthy. Is it ok to clean his cage?
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Old 10-27-2018, 03:33 AM   #10
cypher
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Default Re: Aggression after separating brother and sister

I wouldn't clean his cage after just two weeks, if you can find where he pees then clean that, you don't have to worry about poo for a while as it's dry & won't be a problem.
If you give them a sand bath with chinchilla sand (not dust) which they need anyway they will often pee in that.
It does sound as though his cage may not really be suitable for him, they don't need lots of levels but rather one larger floor space then you can give them an appropriate house, large enough wheel, lots of things like cardboard tubes, egg boxes & cork tunnels to hide out & forage in.
There a thread here that might help with uploading photos.
How To Embed Photos
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