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Old 02-20-2019, 07:21 PM   #21
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

So it's been a couple of weeks and I thought I'd provide an update since, like someone else on here noted, I feel like so many "help me tame my hamster" threads leave us on a cliffhanger about what ultimately happened with the hamster.
I've had Smokey for a little over 2 months now, so he's probably about 5-5.5 months old.
Smokey seemed more confident for a few days, but then went through a reclusive phase for about a week where he just wouldn't want to come out of his nest, and was sleeping day and night except for a few trips to the water bottle, use the potty, and to get food (which, by the way, he appears to have stopped peeing in his nest all on his own and now just uses the sand pit!! I chalk it up to the increase in hidey spots, and the decrease in changing things around in his cage)
I did a lot of searching on this forum for possible reasons, and I think the following:

1. We're in a bit of a cold snap, and the house was around 64F. He's a pet store hamster, so I don't think he'd ever been in a temp below 70F before. So I warmed it up a couple of degrees, and I did notice that at least he was up at night using his wheel again

2. If there was too much noise during the day (radio, movies) it would be hard to get him up at night. Giving him at least a couple of hours of quiet time before trying to get him up by rustling around a bit in his cage seemed to do the trick. We also moved the radio into another room, and we try to keep the TV volume down (he's in the living room)

3. He seemed to regress in taming. I think it's because I changed up taming techniques and was trying to get him to consistently crawl on my hand when I put it in the cage by offering a treat and leaving my hand in the cage. He would usually, but not always, take the treats, but would seem disinterested in getting on my hand to come out except for once in a great while. He'd eventually get full, I think, and go back to bed. Then I watched Erins Animals Season 2 of taming diaries and thought maybe Smokey needs to go back to what I was originally doing with bathtub/playpen time. So I went back to offering him a cup, and he crawls right in, we go play for 10 minutes or so, then I put him back in his cage. After a few more minutes he's begging to come out again and he'll crawl right on my hand at that point. I think in the past I had him out for too long at a stretch (upwards of an hour if he looked like he was enjoying himself and didn't look frantic or scared. I always have water and food in the play pen.) Now I keep it to 15 minutes or less, then put him back in the cage. Usually after a few minutes he runs to a high place and looks up at me, which is how he indicates he wants to come out.

4. I thought he was maybe getting bored with his play pen, so I tried to put him on the sofa with me. Woah Nelly! Smokey has gotten really zippy since the first few days when he was all slow and stumbly! So then I sat with him in one of those portable metal play pens made for hamsters (Prevue multi colored small animal play pen) https://www.amazon.com/Prevue-Pet-Pr.../dp/B003SZSVCI

We were in there for a few minutes and he was running around looking happy. He then got behind me. I maybe had my eyes off of him for 1-2 minutes. I look behind me to check on him, and he'd already scaled the fence and was on the other side! He looked ready to make a break for it, but luckily I caught him before he got zippy again. So, FYI, that play pen is NOT good for syrian hamsters!
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Old 02-21-2019, 02:26 AM   #22
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Thanks for the update. I agree with everything you say, from my experiences Although they do vary in personality there are some common things. Our hamster also liked it when the room was nice and warm - I used to have a little heater on at night with our last Syrian as our house got very cold at night - draughty and high ceilings. I would come down later and find him literally "basking" or sunbathing ha ha - curled up in his sputnik and looking very chilled.

It can also get too warm for them so about 68 to 70 degrees is about right. They do hide away more in cold weather and make their nest bigger too so keep putting nesting material out.

I have never had a hamster walk on my hand when I put it in the cage - neither of our hamsters liked a hand in the cage. And they also began to sense it was a "trick" to get hold of them if I had food in my hand!

Our current hamster will eat off my hand or climb onto it out of the cage where he is less territorial.

They are very zippy when they're young and semi-tame! Still zippy even when they are tame and always keen to do a runner if possible, even when hand tame - I think it's just the roaming instinct and a sense of freedom.

Can you pick him up and hold him, when he's out of the cage - without him pinging? ie wriggling free and leaping high in the air at the same time? If you can pick him up and stroke him and he doesn't try to escape (other than just wanting to keep walking off but accepts you picking him up and stroking him again) then he is hand tame. But will still want to do a runner.

If you want to try the sofa again, try at around 8pm to 9pm maybe. Depending on the hamster, they can be more dopey at that time of night. That was the case with our last one. He was most active up to 8pm and once it got to 10pm he was super active, but around 8pm or 9pm he liked a bit of a nap sometimes and was more docile.

I used to have a rolled up blanket on the front of the sofa - they can still climb over it but it slows them up so you can catch them before they get over! Also having a few cushions on the sofa seems to help - something to climb over or go under.

What really helped me with sofa time was a little cardboard house with hay and carrot stuck on the outside - our last hamster would spend ages inside this scratching the hay off (although ignored it if it was in his cage). Our current one is mildly interested but not for as long.

It's this one but it seems very expensive in the US as probably imported. Maybe you could find something similar - or just a house with some treats inside.

https://www.amazon.com/ROSEWOOD-Natu...r=8-1-fkmrnull

By the time they get to 6 months they have often got past the super zippy stage!

Playpen - bathtub sounds safer! Or some people get a plastic paddling pool as a playpen - or you can make one out of large sheets of correx or cardboard and use bulldog clips top and bottom to hold the pieces together. I had a correx playpen for a long time but you have to constantly keep an eye or they chew at the corners or manage to push a gap somewhere if the edges aren't tight enough together. But ours couldn't get over the top. Mine was really high as I used A1 sheets but that was probably overkill. A3 is probably fine Also it worked out quite expensive. Cost me about 25 for that many large sheets of correx whereas I've now bought a wood playpen for 25 but that's in Europe from Zooplus. It would work out cheaper with A3.

Here's a video of my correx one. The idea came from someone else on this forum. On the video I have it set up round the cage - I used to leave the cage door open as the cage was on the floor, so our hamster could go in and out but it needed constant supervision. But mostly it was set up on its own and you can make it different shapes - long and thin like a run, or square etc.

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Old 02-21-2019, 03:34 PM   #23
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
I have never had a hamster walk on my hand when I put it in the cage - neither of our hamsters liked a hand in the cage. And they also began to sense it was a "trick" to get hold of them if I had food in my hand!

Our current hamster will eat off my hand or climb onto it out of the cage where he is less territorial.
That is really good to know!! I thought tame was when he would come to me when I called him and would walk on my hand essentially on command. I thought I was just really bad at taming, having had nearly no prior pet ownership experience.
Once I get him out of the cage either in a cup or in his igloo turned upside down, he'll usually walk out on my arm or hand. He's usually pretty calm, and doesn't ping. He used to be a lot more squirmy and run all over me and from hand to hand pretty fast, but lately, with the exception of just after the recent scent of freedom on the couch and then again with the play pen jailbreak, he's nice and sedate, and will often sit in the crook of my arm to be pet for a few seconds, or sit cupped in both hands to be transported.
I think I read on another thread, Serendipity, that you like a cage over an aquarium. Is the front opening door the reason?
I was considering getting a Critter Nation cage for the express purpose of having a front opening door so that it would be easier to attach a ramp for Smokey to walk out of the cage. It's almost exactly the same amount of square inches as my aquarium... so technically not an upgrade. Thus I'm having a bit of a hard time justifying the expense. I've noticed it's really difficult to find an appropriately sized cage in the US that has narrow enough bar spacing to keep a hamster from escaping.

https://www.amazon.com/MidWest-Critt...critter+nation

I'm curious what most people who keep their hamsters in aquariums or detolfs do to get their hamsters out to play? Cup? Hamster crawls onto hand? Or crazy ramp structure so the hamster can walk out (should I build one? I'm kind of tempted.)
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Old 03-12-2019, 08:36 PM   #24
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Another Smokey update:
I found a great deal on a used critter nation cage and went for it! I'm so glad I did! Serendipity's comment tipped me off to the fact that hamsters don't like to be approached from above. With the big front opening doors, it's so much easier to interact with him. He'll just walk to the edge and onto my hand when he wants to come out. He seems a lot more confident in this cage too. I think the aquarium had too much open space from above since I only had half of the top covered, and the lid was glass so it may have appeared open to him.
15524399333903.jpg

I gave him chew toys, tunnels, and with the 2 shelves he has over 1600 square inches of floor space. His favorite toy? An empty glass bread pan. I found this on accident when I put it in his cage as a place holder, planning to put sand in. I found him stretching, rolling around, and looking like he was swimming around in there! It's one of his favorite places to hang out. Go figure.
15524398827982.jpg

I tried to get Smokey into aviation. He didn't seem too interested, although he did run through the cabin and strip the plane of all its treats
15524400540775.jpg
15524399754374.jpg
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:51 AM   #25
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Aw he is absolutely gorgeous! He looks extremely happy in his new cage and his glass dish! That was a great find. Glad he prefers the front opening door - I find it way easier - you're more on their level And they can just walk out. People think hamsters like to climb - but I reckon they only climb because they need to get to something they want - or because they're looking for a way out. I think they enjoy levles though as it's somewhere to go and variety.
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Old 03-13-2019, 02:52 AM   #26
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

The set up looks great - just check there isn't anywhere he could fall from the top right down to the bottom (in case he decided to monkey bar across the roof) or land on anything hard from the top to the bottom. I can't tell from the photo but it looks fine. So is that the cage with another whole level underneath as well?

Glad the taming is going better As he gets a bit older he'll get more confident too.
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:07 PM   #27
mikatelyn
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Default Re: I have the hammie version of the guy from Memento

Thanks, Serendipity!
The Critter Nations are modular, so you can get just the one unit on wheels (Model 161),
Critter nation 161.jpeg

a double on wheels(Model 162),
Critter nation 162.jpeg

or unit without wheels (Model 163), which you can mount on top of Model 161 or Model 162.
I have a double, technically a 161 + 163, which looks just like a 162.


I got the idea to get the Critter Nation from youtubers HammyLux, Emma Lynne Sampson, and Pickles Pets. They each have video about using the Critter Nation as a hamster cage.

The shelves each are exactly half of the cage, so he can never fall more than half the height of the cage with my current set up.
Also, it's really hard to tell from the picture, but I have some modifications on the cage to discourage climbing. The back is mostly covered with cardboard, and the sides have about 9 inches along the bottom that has a glass pane (was actually part of my aquarium lid, happened to fit perfectly!) That also keeps the substrate in the cage and he has a digging corner where the substrate is about 9 inches deep. I also put a plastic pane on the front door.
I haven't noticed him climbing after I modified the cage and added both shelves into his unit to limit how far he could fall. I guess he can still climb the sides from the other levels, but I don't think he sees a point to it.
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