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Old 10-27-2018, 09:28 AM   #1
Letty
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Join Date: Oct 2018
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Default Help with nervous hamster

So my female Syrian hamster seems terrified of her excersize ball and/or playpen. I got her out of her cage for the first time today (Iíve had her for 5 days) so I could give her cage a little spot clean. I used her excersize ball to move her from her cage, waited until she was active and put some treats in the ball to let her get in on her own, put the door on the ball and moved her to her playpen. She started squealing when she was in there so I immediately let her out into the playpen (large plastic storage box), put her cage toys, wheel and nesting box in along with a big handful of substrate from her cage, and popped the lid on (plenty of ventilation). She seemed to calm down a bit and ran on her wheel whilst I was cleaning her cage, but started squealing again when I went to move her ball out. When I went to catch her and put her back she started squealing again and ran on her wheel ( like she was trying to run away). She did take a treat from my fingers and seemed happy enough to sniff my hand a bit. Ended up using the box I bought her home from the pet store in to move her back to her cage, and although she was scuttling around the box a lot she didnít seem as stressed and was ok with me putting her toys back in the cage, again she was ok with sniffing my hand. Im not sure if she was scared of the ball, the playpen or me? Sheís back in her cage now and acting normally. What can I do to make this less stressful for her as I obviously canít just leave her in her cage all the time! Any tips would be great!
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:30 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Help with nervous hamster

It's just very early days It's usually recommended not to do any cleaning out for the first two weeks as it stresses them so much. Also it helps to only get them out if they show signs of wanting to come out for the first couple of weeks. She's bound to be a bit stressed now if someone's been doing things in her cage! Five days isn't too long. But don't worry she'll settle again. I would give her a good 2 or 3 days without disturbance now and then just do the talking through the bars and offering her the odd treat through the bars and give her time to get used to you - you can then move onto hand taming and playpen time maybe.

You can spot clean with them in the cage - if the pee area gets very smelly just take a handful of substrate out and put another handful in and mix it in a bit so it still smells familiar. Doesn't matterif you don't get every bit of the soiled substrate at this stage. She will have just scent marked everywhere so its familiar to her so it will be a bit like starting from scratch again now. But I'm sure she'll settle down soon.
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Old 10-27-2018, 10:56 AM   #3
Letty
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Default Re: Help with nervous hamster

Thanks, I’ve heard so many different things about cleaning and taming hams! I have been following the advice of the pet shop staff but I’m beginning to think more and more that they had no idea what they were talking about haha! I think I am just naturally an anxious fur mummy, I am the same way with my dog haha! I will leave her for a bit and see how it goes, thanks muchly
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Old 10-27-2018, 11:20 PM   #4
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Help with nervous hamster

The best advice is here when it comes to hams.
Petshops always give out different and wrong advice. I was once told to clean the cage twice a week.
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Old 10-28-2018, 12:52 AM   #5
AliceJayne
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Default Re: Help with nervous hamster

Hello Letty,

Like the others say it is very very early days, most people won't even disturb their hamsters for at least a week, then slowly start offering treats. I would wait until she will happily take treats from your hand and is used to your presence until you start taking her out, at least another week or so

I know how frustrating it is to hear conflicting advice though, when I got mine he was extremely skittish for weeks, and I kept hearing advice that you need to handle them quickly or they will turn wild and you'll never be able to tame them etc etc but I just have found this not to be true at all. It's all about trust and once your hamster trusts you then taming will happen fast and naturally

Also give yourself a very long timeline so you aren't disappointed when things don't happen as quickly as you like, I would say to myself "I will be holding Cappuccino in a weeks time" and it just never happened because I was rushing it and he wasn't ready so be prepared to wait a couple of months and then you won't be disappointed

Best of luck please keep us updated!
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Old 10-28-2018, 02:33 PM   #6
Letty
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Default Re: Help with nervous hamster

Thanks guys! Yep I’ve decided to ignore the pet shop staff as they’ve given me so much advice that has turned out to be wrong.
Honestly I don’t mind if I never fully tame her, as long as she’s happy I’m happy however she turns out though she did take a bit of carrot out of the palm of my hand today which is progress
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Old 10-29-2018, 08:48 PM   #7
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: Help with nervous hamster

Small steps lead to progress Letty. You did that when she took a bit of carrot out of your hand, she knows that nice treats come from your hand.
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