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Old 03-13-2019, 07:52 AM   #1
nenenuzzle
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Unhappy Nervous hamster behaviour.

I'm actually posting on the behalf of my sister while I'm looking after her hamster when she's on holiday.

My sister's hamster Luna is a rescue, she got her at roughly three months? Luna has a few quirks:
1. Very skittish in the playpen, prefers being under shelter and doesn't really interact with us. Also tries to dig her out, the bath taming didn't work as again she was skittish.
2. doesn't liked to be handled and is spooked quite easily (even though we approach very slowly and are talking to her.)

The only time she is confident is in the ball which we use in small bursts throughout the evening. So we don't force her to come out, Luna usually lets us know when she's ready and we just place the ball for her to hop in. Luna also is fine taking treats from us.

Now the issue, my sister originally got the Savic Hamster Heaven Hamster Cage, we did remove the tubes and the little house. Also got a bigger wheel etc. Over about six months we learned Luna likes to burrow and her nest took over about half the cage.

This led to her being frustrated and started bar chewing. So my sister bought the Alexander Small Pet Cage. We introduced the new cage to Luna slowly after reading instructions on this forum. It took a few weeks as Luna really made it clear she did't want to stay in it after a few hours. Until last week, she finally settled. Luna behaved normally for two days and my sister went on holiday.

I've been staying in my sister's room so i can keep an eye but her behaviour is concerning me slightly.

Luna won't come out at all and won't even approach me even though she loves treats. If no lights are on she will come out, go in her wheel, eat and drink. I keep a low lamp on or a nightlight, I try to coax her out for exercise in her ball or playpen. Luna is terrified of me and I'm not sure if I should be concerned or not.
Luna uses the shelves in the cage to hide under and just darts so she isn't in the open.

Are there any suggestions anyone can provide?
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:51 AM   #2
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Nervous hamster behaviour.

Did this start when your sister went away? It could potentially be that you're a new person who she isn't used to, some hams do act strange when someone else is petsitting so it might be worth waiting to see what she's like afterwards. But it could also be that she isn't completely happy with the cage if she's darting around for cover. Do you have a pic of the setup? The Alexander already has a lot in the way of shelves and I'm assuming you kept those in.

I would also stop with the ball, there is a high chance that the running you are seeing when she's in there is out of stress instead of enjoyment. Hamster balls are not the best, they're quite dangerous and the regular balls aren't large enough for Syrians. I also think it's better to let them settle into the cage and be happy before trying them in a playpen.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:05 AM   #3
nenenuzzle
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Default Re: Nervous hamster behaviour.

I generally look after the hamster for a few hours before my sister gets back from work or is away overnight. So about six months Luna is used to me, well I hoped anyway.

We did know about the ball and how they generally not recommended anymore, she darts around in the playpen and hides so we were more concerned with getting her some exercise to stop her bar chewing.

Here's a photo of her set up, The higher shelf is going to be removed since Luna didn't like going up there. I'm waiting for when she's out of the cage to remove so I don't scare her. I have said to my sister I think there should be a lot more bedding, I also think she is peeing in her nest so her usual toilet area with safe sand is bone dry.

https://imgur.com/a/duLnq4u
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:49 AM   #4
mangoandmimi
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Default Re: Nervous hamster behaviour.

It does look a bit open, if she's using the shelves for cover I wouldn't remove them even if she isnt going up there. She'll likely just feel even more out in the open. You could try adding more items and more cover - even if it's just ramps going up to the shelves or adding more bridges etc. You're right it does need more bedding - to be honest the Alexander doesn't allow for nearly enough bedding so it would be good if you could raise the bedding barrier even if just with cardboard. Either woven through or just tied at the ends. You could probably get 8/9 inches of it in then if you bring it up to the bottom of the doors and raise everything else. Deeper bedding so they can burrow properly can make a big difference.
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:08 AM   #5
nenenuzzle
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Default Re: Nervous hamster behaviour.

I just wanted to post an update and say thank you!

I improved Luna's cage, I am going to add some more bedding today and also add some cardboard around the base of the cage (I didn't want to overwhelm her too much)

https://imgur.com/a/6sMrOkd

I also left her alone for two nights, no lights and I didn't try to interact with her so that she can settle at her own.

Then this morning I was changing her water and Luna popped out, straight up me to for some treats and she let me know she wanted to come out. So I managed to get her in the playpen so I could do a spot clean.

It was like night and day.
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luna, hamster, cage, sister, ball, wheel, slowly, treats, small, approach, months, playpen, skittish, shes, holiday, sisters, behaviour, pet, alexander, introduced, days, forum, made, hours, stay

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