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Old 11-18-2019, 02:57 PM   #1
robpot53
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Question New hamster very skittish... help!

Hi all

I know that hamsters are nervous little things at first, but I've had a new Syrian for a few days now and she's still very skittish. For the first night and all through each day she's been hiding out in the tunnel that goes around the back of the cage. She's been building up food stores and bedding in there so I know she's leaving to get that, but I'm not sure how to get her to come out otherwise.

I've been leaving a treat by her water bottle on occasion because she didn't seem to be drinking anything and she's now doing that perfectly fine from what I can tell, and she's active in the cage a little bit at night and when I'm not around, but she always runs back to the tube the moment someone walks past the room. She sleeps a lot too, sort of on and off all day and night.

She was in her little house rather than the cage earlier but I think I spooked her when I opened the bedroom door and I'm worried that being in and out of the room is making things worse for her!

I guess what I'm asking is for tips on encouraging her out a bit. She'll sniff my finger through the airhole on the tube but sometimes she tries to chew the holes because of it, and she came out last night and was sitting on the shelf watching me while I was in bed but that's the most I've had out of her.

Also, I need to spot clean the cage and clean the tunnel out ASAP really because it's getting quite messy in there - what's the best way to go about getting her out in order to clean it, and should I put the bedding and food back in there afterwards?

Sorry for so many questions!
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Old 11-19-2019, 03:58 PM   #2
Nesquik
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

Hello,

I am new to this community but I can perfectly relate to your situation.
I had my male Syrian for about 2 and a half days and he is pretty much reacting the same as your hamster. He is hiding and sleeping a lot and when I am sleeping he seems to be a bit more active. Sometimes I place my hand holding a treat in his cage and sometimes he takes it and sometimes he ignores it and turn around.

I am guessing that we should let them settle a bit more and get them used to the sounds in the house. I also search for some advice regarding taming the hamster but I hope I was a bit helpful with this topic.
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:01 AM   #3
Flossypet
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Post Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

If your hamster is sleeping in the tubes you will probably have to remove those eventually as they are not really big enough for a nest and she is probably not so comfortable there.
Does your hamster have another safe place to run to or nest in?

The first thing for you to do would be to try to get her to change her nest. If you make another area of the cage really comfy and cosy e.g. a plastic house she may choose to move in there.

I think the problem at the moment is that she is extremely nervous being in a new place and as she can pretty much live out her life in that little tube that is what she is doing.

Does he know how to use her wheel? At first I had to get my hamster the same wheel that she had in the pet store so that she had a wheel that she knew how to use. Then I put in the wheel that I wanted her to use as well, and when she was comfortable using that one I took the other one out.

What cage is she in?
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:34 PM   #4
robpot53
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flossypet View Post
If your hamster is sleeping in the tubes you will probably have to remove those eventually as they are not really big enough for a nest and she is probably not so comfortable there.
Does your hamster have another safe place to run to or nest in?

The first thing for you to do would be to try to get her to change her nest. If you make another area of the cage really comfy and cosy e.g. a plastic house she may choose to move in there.

I think the problem at the moment is that she is extremely nervous being in a new place and as she can pretty much live out her life in that little tube that is what she is doing.

Does he know how to use her wheel? At first I had to get my hamster the same wheel that she had in the pet store so that she had a wheel that she knew how to use. Then I put in the wheel that I wanted her to use as well, and when she was comfortable using that one I took the other one out.

What cage is she in?

She has two different places she could nest - one's a plastic house, and the other is a wooden arch of sorts that she had in the pet shop. She's gotten worse over the past day or so since I had to clean the tube as she's started to pee in there as well now and the smell gets strong pretty quickly.

As for her wheel, I think she does? I haven't seen her on it myself but I can hear it squeaking during the night so I think she's using it. I've been putting bits of her bedding on the top of it too to see if it's still there and it never is.

I've also built up one corner of the cage with enough of the bedding and the hay/chippings that she can burrow into. She was doing it a bit at first but since cleaning the tube she seems to have gone back to square one

Her cage is one with a plastic base and a wire cage top. It was suggested to me by the store so I figured it was fine! The tube wraps around the back of the cage.

Hopefully that answers everything!
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Old 11-20-2019, 12:37 PM   #5
robpot53
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nesquik View Post
Hello,

I am new to this community but I can perfectly relate to your situation.
I had my male Syrian for about 2 and a half days and he is pretty much reacting the same as your hamster. He is hiding and sleeping a lot and when I am sleeping he seems to be a bit more active. Sometimes I place my hand holding a treat in his cage and sometimes he takes it and sometimes he ignores it and turn around.

I am guessing that we should let them settle a bit more and get them used to the sounds in the house. I also search for some advice regarding taming the hamster but I hope I was a bit helpful with this topic.
At least I'm not alone in that! She won't even come out of the tube to take a treat from me so I have no idea what to do!
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:34 PM   #6
Ria P
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

I'd advise you to remove the tube because its not healthy to nest in them. There is not enough ventilation, pee can cause condensation and bacteria etc.
One of my hamsters has a tube at the front of his bin cage but he only runs through it. I would immediately remove it if he would start to nest in it.
You need to give her plenty of substrate and plain white toilet paper strips to buil a nest and she needs a big house. Wood is better than plastic or make one yourself from a shoe box. Use the lid as the roof, cut the bottom out and cut a big enough hole for a door. They like to build a big nest and sink it into the substrate.
I would try her with paper based substrate like Kaytee C&C or Carefresh. Make sure she has plenty of hides like a bendy bridge and a tunnel or a coconut hut. They like shelves to shelter under and don't like to feel exposed.
It took me quite a long time to suss out what kind of set up my Syrian wanted but i got there in the end.

It's very early days yet for your hamster and they need time to settle in and feel comfortable with us humans and we in return need a lot of patience.
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Old 11-20-2019, 08:07 PM   #7
Dessi
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

I pick out sunflower seeds from Nuage’s seed mix and give him one or two when I handle him, either before or after picking him up. I want him to associate me with something he likes. Don’t offer your fingers to smell, that’s asking for a bite. Lay your hand flat with the sunflower in it and let her take it. Don’t try to pick her up at first and then randomly pick her up, not every time. You don’t want to be associated with being picked up. Make it random so she never knows.

As for cleaning the cage, just do it. Slowly start removing the items in her cage for clean-up, then when you find her, make sure there is nowhere to hide (remove it), then cup her up in your hands or use her house upside down or other item to offer her so she climbs in it. Then you will have access to her. It’s a good time to work on taming a bit and then place her in her playground while you clean her cage.

Clean what has to be cleaned with water and gentle soap if needed but leave what is not soiled so she doesn’t lose all her scent.
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Old 11-21-2019, 11:47 AM   #8
Flossypet
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

How about getting her chinchilla sand to use as a toilet? It absorbs moisture and solidifies which takes away most of the smell. Even if she doesn't use it for a toilet, they can use it as a sand bath which they clean themselves in.

It sound as if she is lacking a place to call home or a safe place she likes to nest in which is big enough for her. I found when I first got my hamster from pets at home she also nested in the tubes, but when I took them out she built a nest in the house and now, after a year and a half, she has grown very attached to it and still squeezes in there to sleep when I am cleaning out her other, much larger nest.

Ria, I still maintain that there is plenty of ventilation in the tubes and there is nothing wrong with them so long as the hamster does not use them as a nest or a toilet.

However, as your new hamster is sleeping in the tubes, it is best to remove them as quickly as possible. Your hamster will settle in somewhere else.
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Old 11-21-2019, 04:45 PM   #9
robpot53
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

I did remove the tube today. I had to clean it anyway so figured I'd trial and see how she does. She isn't loving it, but she's made camp in a little house there is in there underneath a shelf, so should give her enough sense of safety without the tube. I also got her another toy/bar she can nibble on so hopefully that'll replace the tube for something else to do? Just hope she settles! :S
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Old 11-21-2019, 05:45 PM   #10
Otaku
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Default Re: New hamster very skittish... help!

My hamsters have always been kept in my bedroom, where I spend most of my time. It means they are exposed to your smell which makes you familiar. Talk, to your hamster, to yourself, read aloud, anything to get your hamster used to your voice. As already suggested, treats work a treat. As someone suggested, put your hand in her cage. She needs to get used to you and learn that you are not a threat.

It has been so long since I had a hamster that I don't remember how I got any of them settled. I know that my first hamster was very frightened initially as she was just a baby and I had separated her from her siblings, but she soon settled in and was the most wonderful little lady I could have hoped for, so please don't feel disheartened. The more time you put into socialising her the more you will hopefully be rewarded. The crazy thing is it just happens suddenly and you go from having a mole hidden beneath bedding to a cage climbing little monkey, you just have to persevere.
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