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Old 07-21-2019, 01:47 AM   #1
Syrianfriend
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Default Syrian hamster curious but terrified of everything

Hi everyone

I wondered if anyone has any ideas how I can make my latest hamster, Smudge, happy. He is a curious little thing but he is so scared!

I've had him 6 weeks and he was maybe 8 weeks old when I got him. He was an adoption from Pets at Home, but it turned out he'd just been separated from his cage mates for fighting, so he's not been maltreated or anything. I've had two other hamsters, one timid but loving and one very sociable, but this is the first baby hamster I've had.

When I first got him he was so frightened would jump out of his skin at nothing all the time. I even wondered if he was epileptic. I left him alone for about a week and things settled down a bit, but he still jolts and flinches a lot - big jolts that look really alarming. I've used the bathtub method to get him hand tame, but he still really dislikes being picked up and will never run onto my hands voluntarily. The only thing he's OK with is being sort of grabbed with one hand. Once I pick him up he's wriggly but OK, but I don't think he really enjoys it. This has been going on for around 4 weeks. He often goes to run in his wheel when I approach, to avoid being picked up!

He's a curious little thing and comes to the front of his cage to see what's going on, he likes running in his ball (at least he did, but lately he's started washing his face in it), and he likes it if I sing to him or chat with him. He's fine with taking treats from hands. He quite likes playing with toys, so I got him a big Alaska cage with extra space for playthings, but he's also scared of lots of them, like his hammock. Lately I've started running him free on the floor, as he's very curious, but he's also frightened of the open space and constantly flinching. I had a previous hamster who was timid and didn't like to run free, but he was happy being cuddled on the sofa, whereas Smudge definitely wants more.

I'm trying to take things slowly but I feel like if I totally take things at his pace he will never leave his cage!

Any thoughts on how I can give this little friend a bit more confidence?

Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:59 AM   #2
LunaTheHamster1
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Posts: 326
Default Re: Syrian hamster curious but terrified of everything

One thing for when he is out of his cage, have you got anything he can hide under so he feels safe - for example, I have 2 cushions on the floor with one on top so it makes a little den for Luna, she loves cleaning herself under there, i also have used empty boxes, some I just leave as or i flatten them and make them into a tent type tunnel for her to run thru. Basically try and fill up the free space with a few obstacles that provide shelter, see if that helps. Does his cage have places like that too? Are you able to show us a pic of his cage set up? Are there lots of places for him to hide to feel safe?
Maybe just go a little bit slower for him, he's obviously interested in you if he's coming to check you out.
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Old 07-23-2019, 11:45 AM   #3
Syrianfriend
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Default Re: Syrian hamster curious but terrified of everything

Hi Luna, thank you so much for your kind reply! I have been doing as you suggested and putting some more obstacles on the floor and Smudge seems to like that. His cage is quite enriched, there's a climbing rope ladder, a slide, a hammock and lots of tubes etc to play with, plus his little house and wheel. Actually this week he has seemed a bit more confident all of a sudden. I have moved him to the dining room to escape the heat a bit, and I thought he'd be freaked out, but he's been quite animated and social! Still flinching a bit but definitely improving I think... Hopefully some progress after all
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Old 07-24-2019, 07:06 AM   #4
LunaTheHamster1
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Default Re: Syrian hamster curious but terrified of everything

Sounds brilliant and glad to hear Smudge seems to be setting in well.
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