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Old 03-17-2019, 07:43 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 10
Default Taming a burrower


I have my guy pixel for about 1.5months. He is about 3 months old..

Hes not tame and I'm finding it really hard to tame him since he is always burrowing under. He has a whole tunnel system and only comes out in the day for water or if there an irresistible snack. He doesnt take it out of my hand cos he never comes out when I'm there. He does run and is active at night. Right now I've been talking to him for a while but hes just sounds like he is biting and his mineral block moving furniture under there. How do I tame him do I just force pick him up. Do I remove some substate? Do I leave him be? Hes really cute and alot more relaxed than when we got him, we love him just wish we had more interaction.

He has about 8cm of substate and a maze on top. Attached is a picture. Hes going to be attached to the box hes on. I'm just waiting to tunnels and toys to arrive to finish my diy cage.

Thanks guys
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:42 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 19,865
Default Re: Taming a burrower

Hello. Is it a dwarf hamster that you have? One of the issues may be that the cage is too small for a hamster - it looks like the Savic Spelos or Rosewood Pico? Unfortunately people get sold cages that are far too small for a hamster to have normal behaviours and it sounds like he is hiding away a lot. I assume you'll need to clean it out regularly as well with it not being very big, which will also stress him and make him want to hide away more.

It is a total pain when you've bought a cage and need to replace it - same thing happened to me with our first hamster.

About the minimum size cage you'd want for dwarf hamster is the Ferplast duna multy, linked below - which is a perspex tank style cage. There is more floor space and you can add a house and cardboard tubes and hidey places - so the hamster doesn't have to disappear under the substrate to have places to hide.

Another popular barred cage for a dwarf hamster is the Hamster Heaven (with the penthouse and tubes removed as not suitable). That has a large front opening door which can make it easier with interaction and taming with your hamster.

If it's a syrian hamster you have then you'd be looking at slightly larger cages or the Hamster Heaven as a minimum size really.

The basics they need to have normal behaviours are

1) A good sized house that is dark inside (big enough to build a good cosy nest in) - so they have somewhere dark to retreat to. When they have a house that's dark inside they feel more confident aboiut coming out into the open. Ideally a house that is open underneath and sat directly on top of the substrate - so they can bury hoards under their nest.
2) A shelf or platform - something to sit under to feel safe, and something to climb up onto for somewhere to go - a good place to put a food bowl etc.
3) At least 3 to 4" of substrate.
4) A wheel that is the right size for the species. Anything smaller than 6" diameter is too small for any species of hamster - they can get back problems if they run in a wheel that's too small. For a dwarf hamster, 6 to 8" diameter is fine and for a Syrian 10 to 12" diameter - with a minimum of 8".
5) Enrichment - this is the key word these days - it isn't just the size of the cage but the amount of variety in it - lots of places to go and things to do - so tubes and floor tunnels, hidey places, little bridges to run over and hide under - that kind of thing.

The hamster then feels a bit more confident and happy and does more out and about in the cage. Having a house with a flat roof and a lift-off roof is a good idea too - it means you can check on the nest inside the house, without having to remove the house and the nest falling apart.

IT's also best not to do big weekly clean outs as that really stresses them. Spot cleaning is best - ie taking out a handful of soiled substrate and replacing it with a clean handful and mixing it in a bit so it smells familiar. With enough substrate in a larger cage you can just spot clean for 6 to 8 weeks easily. And even then it's best to only do "partial" cleans - ie don't clean everything at the same time. So when you do change the substrate, try and put a little bit of the old back on top (that is clean and dry) so it smells familiar. And clean the wheel a different week and any toys a different week again.

They get very fussy about their nest and hoard and it is best not to remove those unless they've been pee'd on - and then put new food back in exactly the same place as the old hoard. Dry hoards can be left for quite some time - and nests can be left alone as long as they're not pee'd in. Hamsters tend to refurbish their nests themselves.

With the current cage he probably feels quite exposed when he comes up from under the substrate, so hides underneath it.

With a larger cage with a house in it, and some overhead cover from a shelf, a house and the odd thing hanging from the roof, he will feel more secure coming out.

They also get scared by a hand coming from the top sometimes, with top entrances.
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:30 AM   #3
Adult Hamster
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 372
Default Re: Taming a burrower

I’ve looked at Serendipitiy’s check list and the only thing I can think of to help a burrower be more social on top of the cage is my house. Ragna is loving burrowing. It’s really awesome watching him rearrange things and burrow his tunnels. He is a burrower and I haven’t been able to interact with him yet besides the first time this morning. He spends most of his time underground. I have attached two photos...the first one is of his tunnel he made from the left bottom of his cage up to his house on the right. You can see the mound of bedding is higher. The second photo is of his house from the top. I cut a hole in the top so that he could come out of his whisker tunnel and into his house. Is the hole maybe allowing in too much light? Can you pick up something that I missed. When I lifted the lid this morning Ragna was staring up at me. I offered him a pellet which he looked at with disdain because I don’t have any treats but he was calm and relaxed. He was actually stretching up at me without fear. I left him and didn’t push it. I placed the lid back on and put his toilet back in as he tipped it over yesterday.

Does his house look ok and should I lift the box daily and offer him a veggie piece to encourage him to become used to me? I’m just worried that he will take the food into that tunnel and I cannot get it out. I have not done any spot cleaning or touched his bedding or nest besides lifting the lid and removing the toilet.
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Old 07-14-2019, 05:33 AM   #4
Adult Hamster
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 372
Default Re: Taming a burrower

Oops...forgot the pictures...
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File Type: jpg IMG-20190714-WA0005.jpg (101.6 KB, 16 views)
Schwartzie is offline   Reply With Quote

tame, substate, attached, guys, mineral, block, biting, leave, cute, alot, furniture, remove, pick, force, moving, 8cm, toys, tunnels, waiting, box, arrive, finish, cage, diy, picture

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