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Old 02-20-2020, 02:24 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 4
Question Crazy hyper dwarf hammy

So recently I upgraded Kookie's cage from her tiny dinkly cage to her nice wood more natural looking enclosure with lots more space.. She's got a wheel, climbing frame and lots other fun things in there...

I built the fencing with lollipop sticks but have now ripped them all off as she kept getting her front legs stuck between them, as well as her ankle which i had to get her out of she seems fine foot wise, running in a normal motion and not nibbling her feet with pain or anything..

The problem she has tho I think is more mental.. Since she moved to new house in January she always seems to stand up on her back legs against the walls like she wants to get out.. Now yesterday she has turned bat **** crazy!!! She's really hyper (more than her usual energetic self) spends aagggess running constantly on her wheel and now she has found a new love for climbing her wooden frame to fully leap (and I mean with all her might) off the top towards the clear plastic front,she did it 10 times in a row this morn!! She's still very social and climbs onto my hand very easily with no nibbling or biting.. But is very fast in my hands.. I feel that she's maybe trying to get out or away from something making her uneasy or uncomfortable but no idea what... Even offering food doesn't slow her down as she stuffs her cheeks then vrooms off again..

Maybe she generally preferred her tiny house to this new play ground I spent a fortune building her

Any ideas at all why she's gone so nuts?! I'm planning to clean her out this weekend as it's been around a month now.. (and the dog in picture she loves as used to sit at bars with her in her old cage, been friends together since we got the hamster..)
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:13 AM   #2
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Location: Wales UK
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Default Re: Crazy hyper dwarf hammy

The climbing frame & lollipop stick things do look a bit dangerous. Hams really don't need things like that tbh, they do better with ground toys like tunnels, tubes, small hideouts & things to explore rather than climb.
You have a good depth there so give her lots more substrate to burrow in right across the whole tank, you may want to make a shelf for the wheel to stand on so it doesn't keep falling over as they tend to do on the substrate.
A nice big house would be good for her too, no base, you could use a cardboard box with the bottom cut out & a hole for the door, maybe put a bendy bridge in front of the door to make it darker inside & give her lots of shredded toilet tissue to start making a good nest.
Try scatter feeding to give her plenty to do.
A few changes like these could make all the difference to how happy she is in her new home.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Crazy hyper dwarf hammy

My first Russian dwarf was exactly like that. She would run around her cage like crazy, in and out of the wheel, climbing on everything in her cage and going at the speed of light. The only thing that helped was letting her free roam. My Syrian is also quite energetic and letting her free roam also tends to help her.
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Old 02-24-2020, 02:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Crazy hyper dwarf hammy

I agree. I think the issue is she maybe feels a bit exposed. And the lollystick ladder does look a bit like a magnet for injuries unfortunately. If she climbs she will think it's a way out and if she can't get out she will jump.

They do need somewhere dark to retreat to. I would also pop a big house in there - eg a shoe box makes a good size and she can build a big cosy nest inside it (it's cold weather at the moment so they need a big cosy nest) and have space to bury her hoards and even put a litter tray inside it with chinchilla sand in - she will either use it as a toilet or use it for something else! So cut the base out of a shoebox and keep the lid as a lift off roof. Sit it on top of the substrate (maybe right side?). I would take the climbing lolly stick thing out and put the house there. Then cut a hole for a door in one of the long sides near one end (it means the other end is darker inside). Putting the litter tray at the back at the door end usually works as they seem to nest at the darker end. If you put a bendy bridge over the door that makes it dark inside and it'll tempt her to move in (tunnel entrances tempt them in). Put a smelly treat inside the house also to tempt her in - eg a bit of cucumber. The lid/roof makes something to climb onto that isn't too high and is safe and you could put a food bowl on it eg.

Then a big pile of nesting material nearby (but not inside the house - let her forage for it). Torn up strips of plain white toilet paper are best as they're safe to use and they like it for nesting.

I would hold fire cleaning her out a bit longer. Although it's a month,it's agood sized cage with plenty of substrate, and she does sound stressed at the moment. If you think it's too smelly then I'd suggest getting her out in a playpen area or a pet carrier, and just cleaning one half of the cage substrate for now. Keep back some of the old substrate that is clean and not too whiffy and spread that on top of any new substrate you put in the half that you clean. Assume you know not to use any scented cleaners? They can be overpowering for a hamster and affect them. Maybe the right half where there is less substrate, and add a bit more at the same time. Then the other half will still smell familiar and she'll be less stressed by the change. And add the house at the same time on the clean right half - the treat should tempt her to explore it. I think she'll approve of that change, although generally they don't like things changing,but they do like new additions that help them have normal behaviours (the large house will mimic a burrow with space for nesting, hoarding and peeing). You could even have the house part subterranean - ie push it down into the substrate so only the top 2" or 3" is showing. You can "channel out" a bit of substrate down to the entrance door. With a lift off roof also you won't need to take the house out - you can just take the roof off to spot clean inside in future and if it gets messed up it's just cardboard and can be replaced.

She may also need more to do in there and with a large cage they need to feel secure and have plenty of "overhead cover" - things to dive under or sit under. I would add a platform and a few floor tubes/tunnels - kitchen roll inner tubes are good and larger ones are good too (eg pringles tubes). Rather than popsicle sticks, something that is solid is better.

A few people have used this one - it's probably as cheap as buying the bits and pieces to make one. It's quite tall (21cm) so would be better either at the end where the substrate is deep (so you don't need too high a ramp to get up to it) or next to the house- where you could have a low ramp from the house roof to get up to it eg. eg another bendy bridge on the house roof where it'll be more stable.

Another option for a house, if you don't mind buying one - is this - hamsters seem to love labyrinth houses as they're dark inside and it has two entrances- always nice to see their head popping out of the top hole It is open underneath as well but one section near the entrance has a bit of floor in it which most people pull off (supposed to be quite easy to pull off) so it doesn't get pee soaked if an accident occurs in that part. Always check wood houses for protruding nails as well -but I haven't heard of any issues with this one. It also has a lift off roof.

Your hammy's stressy behaviour does suggest something isn't right with the cage environment or some other stress and she probably just needs more enrichment and things to sit under and be in the dark sometimes.

I also think though that the dog being nearby could be causing some stress as well. Although it may seem they are friends, just the smell of a dog or cat can create great fear and stress in a hamster, with hamsters being prey animals. It would be better if you could keep the dog away from the hamster cage.

Final question - what kind of ventilation is there? Assume it's on top? They do need good ventilation especially in an enclosed tank style cage like that. Ideally the top would be full mesh.
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