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Old 12-04-2019, 04:28 PM   #1
Honeybear22
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Default Hammy biting bars help!

Hi guys!

So my hammy is a Syrian female called Honey and Iíve had her for 3 weeks now. She is in my room with me. Her cage is the savic hamster heaven. At first she started nesting in the penthouse however she then would bite on the bar door of her penthouse (the penthouse made out of plastic). Because of that, it being noisy when I try to sleep & it being bad for them, I decided to remove the penthouse. She would also get bedding and food stuck in the tubes on the way to and from the penthouse. When I removed the penthouse and kept the tubes, she then started sleeping peeing pooing and hoarding food in the tubes which as you guessed; became smelly and unhygienic and so after reading some posts on here, I removed the tubes two days ago. She was stressed as I expected and has been trying to bite the stoppers where the tubes use to be (they are plastic) and she has been biting the bars near. Now, the cage is a big cage and she has a flying saucer wheel that is large enough for a Syrian and she also has chews. She has a cardboard tunnel in her cage too! She also has a whimzee dog chew that she has been chewing from time to time but how can i stop her from biting bars altogether? Iíve tried putting peanut butter on the chews and gnaw toys but when sheís licked it off sheís not really interested in them. I feel like Iím doing the right things but doesnít seem like whatever I do is working 😩. I am the process of taming her too and i held her yesterday so she can get use to me. Any advice would be great!
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:59 AM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Does your hamster have a big house where she can build a big nest and keep a hoard in?

A big house that sits on top of the substrate and without a base so she can sink her nest into the substrate and bury a hoard in are a hamster essential.

I think she may be looking for a safe, dark place to nest in.

Make sure that she doesn't feel exposed in the cage by adding bendy bridges, maybe a wicker or cork tunnel and a coconut hide to keep her interested in her surroundings.

A Syrian also needs a big, upright wheel. Most people buy a 10in or 11in wheel. The wheels and houses supplied with cages are always too small and unsuitable for a Syrian. I don't think a saucer alone is enough though. I take it its the big, 12in saucer you have?

You did the right thing by removing the penthouse and tubes. A tube is fine as long as the hamster uses it to run through only but once they start nesting, peeing etc in it they can cause all sorts of health issues.

As long as you supply your hamster with essentials like a big house and wheel plus plenty of enrichment, she should settle down.

Could also be that she wants out of cage time. A playpen is a good place for taming and to roam around in. Or a bath tub with a blanket or towel down, plug in and no water of course.
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Old 12-05-2019, 12:00 PM   #3
Flossypet
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Out of cage time would definitely help as being confined to her cage all day, even though it's big, would certainly stress her out and/or bore her. Out of cage time e.g on a couch gives any hamster a lot more room to run around and it is also a great time to bond with her.

Having a lot of toys to run through, around and over in her cage would definitely be good for her as well.
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Old 12-05-2019, 03:52 PM   #4
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

It's a stress reaction because her nesting places were removed but it was the right thing to remove the penthouse and tubes. To distract her out of it, provide her with something better to nest in As Ria says. Have you still got both shelves in? Pop a shoebox house in with a bendy bridge over the door - put some treats and a bit of cucumber inside and a big pile of torn up strips of plain white toilet paper in the cage (not inside the house). She will move in and start building a nest over a day or two and she should settle down a bit then. Meanwhile you can weave bits of cardboard (eg torn off a cereal pack) through the bars where she is biting to see if that deters her a bit.

Regular out of cage time will help as well (more distraction). Avoid cleaning anything for a couple of weeks now as well while she settles again.

This might actually be the time to get the cage set up right, rather than changing things again later. And although change is stressful for them, sometimes a big change distracts them out of it and they start settling all over again.

Do you have a photo of the current set up? I think personally what I would do now is - start with an empty cage. Keep all the existing substrate (add more and mix it in if it's not very deep - try to have it almost up to the rim of the cage base). Keep the wheel where it is and add a large house. If you can still fit the solid shelf in, fine, but if not you could add a couple of small shelves over the house. Put all her usual toys back in similar locations. Maybe add a rat sputnik - near a shelf or house roof. It gives overhead cover so they don't feel exposed and it's somewhere else to go - similar to the penthous but inside the cage. Our Syrian used to love sitting in his rat sputnik. Putting some bedding in makes it less big and empty and plasticky.

Then pop her back in and leave her alone for 2 or 3 days. She should be interested and explore and then move into the house.

If you have a bit of money to spend, Rodipet make some really good houses that hamsters are tempted into and enjoy.

This one fits nicely in the HH - the far room is nice and dark inside as light doesn't travel round corners. The two sections of roof lift off for checking inside so you don't need to lift the house out and the nest doesn't fall apart. The flat roof makes a level or platform and putting the food bowl on the granite part means their nails get roughened every time they go for food so helps keeptheir nails trim. Or you can have the water bottle over the granite part - same idea (and soaks up any drips).

https://www.rodipet.co.uk/houses/rod...t-rodents.html
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Old 12-05-2019, 04:46 PM   #5
Engel
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Can we see a pic of your setup. Might be able to give you better tips if we can see whats already in there
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Old 12-09-2019, 02:05 PM   #6
Honeybear22
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Hi everyone!

Still got the two levels in. She settled down and started nesting in the bottom left corner but has moved bedding to the opposite left corner. However she is still biting the cage at times. The flying saucer is the big one recommended for syrians. Let me know if more pictures are needed. Iíve been holding her a lot more now too and sheís getting tamer. Thanks for your advice
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Old 12-10-2019, 03:57 PM   #7
Engel
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

I'll say what comes to mind first, bedding and enrichment.

Hamsters LOVE burrowing! Try and bring the bedding up to where the bars start, even if only on one side of the cage. This will also give her something to do that's natural to her.

I don't see much to do or chew unless it's hidden. Have you tried getting a cardboard tube folding in the edges trapping food inside? Make her work for her food and give her something better to chew on. Have you got any wooden gnawers? You can get a pack of 2 for £2 from P@H which attach to the bars of the cage. They're in the shape of carrots. Also in Tesco they sell these seed and honey stick things that you can hang in the cage. Comes in a pack of 3, wasn't much I don't think. Normally only used for treats but may draw her away from chewing the bars, probably tastier too lol

I would say add some cardboard tubes but I think Syrians are a bit big for that so maybe cut it down the middle long ways so if she gets stuck she can easily get out.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Agree. I would also get an upright wheel and take out the green shelf on the right. Put the 28cm upright wheel there. Or put the flying saucer there for now until you get one. Add loads of substrate as Engel says - fill the base to about 1cm below the rim of the base. I'd also add a shoebox house or other large-ish house and put a bendy bridge over the door so it's dark inside. You could try scatter feeding as well, so she forages for the food. Still put some in her bowl - maybe half a tablespoon - and scatter the other half.
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Old 12-10-2019, 06:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Access problems is also something that stresses them. The pink shelf looks quite high up and I can't see a ramp up to it. If she can't get up there then she'll get stressed, or if it's difficult to get to a shelf and her food bowl is on it. If you take the green shelf out and move the flying saucer to that back corner, then lower the pink shelf a bit and put some kind of ramp up to it. It comes with a ladder doesn't it?
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Old 12-11-2019, 10:02 PM   #10
Honeybear22
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Default Re: Hammy biting bars help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Engel View Post
I'll say what comes to mind first, bedding and enrichment.

Hamsters LOVE burrowing! Try and bring the bedding up to where the bars start, even if only on one side of the cage. This will also give her something to do that's natural to her.

I don't see much to do or chew unless it's hidden. Have you tried getting a cardboard tube folding in the edges trapping food inside? Make her work for her food and give her something better to chew on. Have you got any wooden gnawers? You can get a pack of 2 for £2 from P@H which attach to the bars of the cage. They're in the shape of carrots. Also in Tesco they sell these seed and honey stick things that you can hang in the cage. Comes in a pack of 3, wasn't much I don't think. Normally only used for treats but may draw her away from chewing the bars, probably tastier too lol

I would say add some cardboard tubes but I think Syrians are a bit big for that so maybe cut it down the middle long ways so if she gets stuck she can easily get out.
She has some little wood chews and an ice cream gnaw thing i got from p&h and she also has the big gnaw sprout from p&h Iíve tried lacing them with peanut butter and she has nibbled a bit of the ice cream gnaw but she just wonít chew much else. I have put one of those treat sticks in and hung it off the bars at the back side wall - sheís been chewing this but still biting the bars in top left corner where the pink level is. Iím going to get those wooden carrott chews from p&h at weekend and add more substrate to the top of where the bars start, hopefully that will work. Even though the pink level is higher up she climbs up from the side. I am thinking of taking the level away and just letting her have one level and then add more toys like a swing suspension bridge. Iíve got her a christmas wreath from p&h that i can hang in her cage too.
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