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Old 03-26-2020, 12:43 AM   #1
Skye Hamsters
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 2
Exclamation Senior hamster suddenly afraid, wont come out of burrow

Hi everyone! I adopted my first hamster (a syrian) 3 months ago from a coworker. He's a year and 7 months old according to his previous owner. He's normally very outgoing, bossy, and enjoys being out of his cage. In fact, he used to wait for me to come home in the same spot every night so I'd give him some sunflower seeds and take him out. Recently he's suddenly stopped coming out of his burrow except in the dead of night after I've gone to bed. The last two nights he's come out when he thought I was in bed and I wasn't he froze like a statue as if he was petrified of me. Even when I put my hand in to let him sniff me or give him a treat he would just stay frozen until I left. He used to get up mid day for a drink and a bathroom break but he hasn't been doing that either. I'm worried that he's so scared to be out in the cage and of me, especially since it's such a dramatic personality shift. It's been going on for a week now.

Has anyone experienced this before? Is this normal for older hamsters or is he possibly sick?

I did a health check the last time I had him out: clear eyes, no lumps or bumps, and he didn't seem to be in pain. I appreciate any advice you have!

Last edited by Skye Hamsters; 03-26-2020 at 10:21 AM. Reason: To clarify hamster species
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:54 AM   #2
Dwarf whisperer
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Wales UK
Posts: 23,938
Default Re: Senior hamster suddenly afraid, wont come out of burrow

Did anything change before he began behaving like this, big cage clean, anything new in or around his cage, anything that could possibly have upset him? Sometimes it's not always easy to know if something has spooked them so it can take a bit of thinking about.
Even using different soap or something can sometimes really put them off!
Is he eating & drinking ok as far as you can tell? It does sound as though he may be unwell, they are very good at hiding signs of illness or pain, so check how he's eating & if it goes on for a while then try to get him out for another health check.
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Old 03-26-2020, 10:19 AM   #3
Skye Hamsters
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 2
Default Re: Senior hamster suddenly afraid, wont come out of burrow

I can't think of anything super new that changed. I did a good clean of the parts of the cage he burrows in and added a buried box for him to hide in about a week before he started acting like this. He's never reacted to cage cleans before, even when I upgraded him from the cage he came in to his current bin cage.

My friend did come over maybe 3 days before this started and I caught him tapping on the side of the bin like a five year old at the zoo where my hamster was sleeping in his box trying to wake him up, so maybe he had a slightly delayed reaction to that. He's definitely still eating throughout the day/night which is good. I can hear him since I'm home all day due to the corona virus stay at home order. He doesn't drink all day but then chugs water for a very long time once he's sure I'm gone. I need to clean his cage soon so at some point he's going to have to come out and I'll check him again then.
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