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Old 11-04-2019, 09:43 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 1
Default The Runt and I

First time Syrian Hamster owner. Started off with a male and female, they mated, had 7 cubs, 3 got devoured(they must be because they disappeared without a trace), and now we're left with 4 cubs. The cubs are just about approaching 2 months.

One night, 3 out of the 4 cubs escaped through the gaps in the cage and my trip downstairs to get some midnight snack turned into a hunt around the living room. I caught the Runt last and it was memorable for all the wrong reasons because he jumped out of my hand and landed with a thud on the floor.

I thought he was gone and thanked the heavens I wasn't standing up. I held him in my palm a good 10 minutes and just started to rub the top of its head. It regained its senses and I put him back into the cage with its parents and siblings. For the next few days he wondered off into a corner by himself but slowly began to join in the activities inside the cage. A day after this incident, we moved our hamsters from the cage to a tank.

The hamsters were given to us by a friend for our 3-year old son as a pet. We wanted to be hands-off owners content with feeding and cleaning the tanks but not really wanting to handle or tame these animals. But I'm afraid that I'm starting to switch to wanting to become more hands-on, at least in the case of the Runt.

I think as babies there were no discernible signs that the Runt was the runt. It's only when they became furry little things that he fell behind and now, he's definitely the smallest of the bunch. I wouldn't say that he gets bullied (he's not afraid to jockey for control of the hamster wheel with his dad for example) but his size means that he gets pushed out of the way easily by the others for feedings.

Runt's jumping out of my hand and getting knocked out caused me to begin to look for him whenever there's a feeding at first because I want to make sure that he's still alive. These days though, I'm looking for him because I'm really pulling for the little guy.

Right now I want to tame him. One thing I've done is that I'd keep one extra piece of carrot or some extra pieces of beansprout and when all the others are feeding, I'd draw him to a corner of the tank where the others are not and feed him separately. I'd rub his head and back while he's feeding.

I've been bitten hard enough to bleed by Runt's parents and Runt's siblings to not try getting close to them. As for Runt's siblings I've gotten them flinching, squeaking, and in one case even playing dead to avoid me. Runt hasn't done any of those things, which is amazing because he's had a near death experience where I'm involved. He's quite keen to approach, especially when I have a treat.

I've scooped him up a few times (I know that's a no no when he's not ready after reading advice on the internet) and fed him on the floor just outside of his tank. Most of the time he's more interested in trying to disappear into the dark corners of the living room than his food. At that point, I'll scoop him up and put him back in the tank. He's not that keen to be scooped up but he never bites.

Any tips to help with taming him? How is he responding to me thus far?
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:04 AM   #2
souffle's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Yorkshire, UK but my heart lies in Scotland!
Posts: 27,269
Default Re: The Runt and I

Have you done any research on breeding syrians? Firstly you must remove the pups away from the parents to single cages. Syrian hamsters are solitery creatutes and they MUST be kept alone. These are onlt staying together as they are quite young. I have no idea why mum hasn't killed the dad. Females with pups will usually attack a male. Pups need separated in to single sex groups at 4 weeks and taken from mum. Males sometimes last longer together than females which usually start bickering about 6 weeks and need single cages. You need to start handling them as soon as the eyes are open. The little one is likely being kept away from the food by the bigger ones or he may have some sort of developmental issue. He should do well enough but I would get him on his own now and work on handling and taming them. We have a litter just now and we had a tiny runt who was hand fed from 11grams - he is now 100g but still a lot smaller than the others who at 7 weeks have been rehomes in to individual home. The females can and will mate with dad and siblings from about 6 weeks of age so I hope you are lucky and they are not all pregnant again.
Even if you have dwarf hamsters the male will mate with daughters and mum and you end up with dozens of pups so males must be removed at 4 weeks. Please get them all separated. They will go feral if you don't tame and handle them from young but now you need to start with each individual and tame them. This will take some time and devotion I'm afraid. You can see how we tame pups in the breeding board under 'The ketzinicos' Vincent our rund is having extras including oily seeds, baby food and porridge, egg, mealworms etc which he has alone in his own little box or spoon fed so we know he gets it.
The Ketzinicos
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