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Old 09-20-2020, 10:32 AM   #11
cypher
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Default Re: Biting

There are a couple of things to take into account I think, you can’t compare hamsters really or expect a ham to be like previous hams you’ve had they are all individuals & we have to figure out what they do & don’t like & work with them trying to look at things their way.
Try not to project human characteristics onto hams either, they aren’t aggressive by nature & this isn’t a male testosterone thing going on! Hams bite when they’re scared or stressed, sometimes they bite in the cage if they’re a bit territorial but that’s usually more of a female thing as they have more reason (by instinct) to protect their territory.
I think your little guy is probably a bit confused right now, he doesn’t know where his territory starts & ends & why he’s being removed from part of it.
I would keep him in the cage for a while, I’m not sure how deep you can make the substrate in the base of that cage but make it as deep as you can & give him a good size house with no base so he can burrow down & make a proper nest in there.
Let him really settle in the cage for a while & keep cleaning to an absolute minimum while he settles, just spot cleaning when needed.
Once he’s more settled try to get into a routine with him, when he wakes naturally see if he will come out using something safe to transport him to a play area with plenty of toys & just let him gradually get used to hands & maybe climbing on you & see if the biting stops then.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:16 AM   #12
jsp
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Default Re: Biting

Hi,

Thanks, yes I did come to the forum when I was having problems with the smell and you all managed to solve it so completely and I was really grateful. I changed the cage so it has trays with little sides on them and each tray has back-2-nature paper little on it to absorb the smell, so there is no smell now at all.

I now only clean him out about once every three weeks with unscented soap, and he seems to be much happier about that. With the big trays there is nowhere at all that he can fall, and I got rid of his rope climbing frame that he had for about three days at the end of the last thread.

I like your idea about covering over the sides at the bottom so that he could think of that as being under the ground. I can see that he would really like that.

Do you think he would like it if I covered over all the lower shelves and just kept the top shelf uncovered as though it was the ground with three burrow layers below?

Oddly I've noticed that he really loves to climb straight up the walls and much prefers that to running up the ramps. He also loves to climb down the walls, which is quite tricky but one of his favourite pastimes.

My last hamster absolutely adored climbing too and loved to climb up the cage bars and up bookcases. She even go to the gap between my feet and run rapidly up the gap between my legs into my cupped hands while I was standing. I think she was just a natural born climber.

The previous hamster had the cage in this exact formation shown onlin except with one big extra plastic tray added: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-Frie...32&sr=8-5&th=1

She had no trouble with it like that, but I had to change it for this current hamster (Roc) as it didn't suit him to have the open shelves and also the shelves needed to be cleanable and have the paper litter on them to control the smell.

I will look online for hemp mat. I bought him a big lot of hemp rope during the last thread and he loves that to bits. It's what he uses for his nest in the pipe. He shreds it to pieces and makes lovely soft nests in and uses it to plug the end of the pipe.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:42 AM   #13
jsp
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Default Re: Biting

The other thing that I've noticed about Roc is that he really loves pipes and boxes with small entrances, much more so than my previous hamster. Also he seems to have no memory of having seen individual pipes before and gets just as excited that 45th time he sees a given pipe as he did the first time.

His great love is a Nairn's biscuit box, and he rushes into those every time, and rubs himself all over the walls. For the last four months I've been using them to lift him up and he was happy with that because he thought them very exciting and didn't seem to remember that they signalled that he was about to be locked in his cage. The other day though, the penny finally dropped and now he does not like to go into boxes that I offer him, as I think he knows it is time to go back in the cage.

Since then I found that he likes a yellow plastic pipe that I also have, and he rushes gleefully into that when it is offered to him. I have put it in his cage in a horseshoe shape and sometimes he just goes round and round it over and over again because he thinks it's the best thing ever.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:59 AM   #14
Maker
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Default Re: Biting

I agree with everyone else, just keep him in the cage with deep substrate/bedding and a house without a floor. You can still give him tubes in his cage and lots of safe places, I think it’s a good idea to have the lower levels darker.
I think he chews the bars to get you attention as he want to get out - but he can’t, so cover the bars with the hemp or straw mat, I sew mine on the bars using safe thick cotton/string. Give him a whimzees to chew or a slightly cracked walnut. Try not to react to the chewing, but react when he isn’t chewing - if you can.
It may be that you won’t be able to handle him but that’s okay, it’s his life and it may be his choice
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:10 PM   #15
jsp
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Default Re: Biting

Thanks, Maker. Yes I think that does sound like a great idea. I hadn't though about the idea that there was no actual pressure to handle him. There is so much information about "how to tame your hamster" that I kind of thought it was essential. It really makes a lot of sense to my mind that with Roc maybe he just doesn't want to be hand tamed, and that maybe we can be chatting friends instead.

Can you tell me a bit more about how to sort out a "house without a floor"? That sounds good. Also, do you think a 10" Kaytee Spinner wheel is good for this kind of hamster? Roc loves his wheel. When he was small if he wasn't on it he used to gaze lovingly at it as if he was just pondering getting back on. At one point we had a 6.5" and a 10" in there as he was between sizes and he used to run from one to the other as they were both just too exciting. Now he is big, the wheel kind of rattles and I wonder if there was a more solid one that would be better.

I also wonder if I ought to put his carboard pipe into his cage somehow since I know he really loves to nest in it. If I could rearrange things a bit, I might be able to incorporate it into the design.

Do you think it's a good idea to sprinkle food round the cage so he has to find it or do you tend to put it in a bowl? I keep wondering if it would make his life a bit more interesting if he has to go about and collect the food rather than it just being right there waiting for him.
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:11 PM   #16
Maker
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Wheel - I use an 11” trixie wheel like this one https://www.petconnection.ie/trixie-...cm-c2x24226431 i don’t attach it on the side of the cage - I turn the whole thing upside down so the metal it is supposed to stand on is against the cage roof bars and I used cable ties to attach it to the roof so it hangs down. It is still against the side of the cage so the hamster can’t get behind it. This way it is very quiet. Try using the 10 inch one you have this way, it might be better.

House - take a shoe box, the cardboard type that the lid comes off. Use a knife to cut the bottom off the box. You can then cut a door in the long side (not in the middle but towards one end). Put this on the deep cage bedding. He will go in through the door and then dig down and make a home. If you want to check on him you can just lift off the lid. He is likely to make a lovely nest and also a food horde in there. You can ask in a shoe shop they often have free boxes.

Scatter feeding yes you can do it. I would keep his food bowl in there too though because if you take it away he might get upset. Put half food in the bowl and scatter the other half. I made mistake of taking my hamsters bowl out and she was not happy - so I do it this way now.

Also he may very much like sand, you can give him a dish of sand permanently in his cage for him to rub and roll in - he may also wee in it. If you search there is lots of information about sand. I use very dry child safe play sand.

I’m sure if you want you can find a way to put the tube in the cage, you may need to cut it shorter? You can look at cage setups on the forum for some ideas too.

I think you can have a very happy hamster
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Old 09-20-2020, 01:45 PM   #17
Ria P
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Default Re: Biting

I had an adopted dwarf hamster who bit. He was a very disturbed hamster, he was ill and he may have had mental health issues.
What i did was to simply accept him for who he was. No pressure on him and i wasn't fussed about taming. My only aim was to give him a better life.
Through time he relaxed a bit and i was able to get him out of his cage in a mug and put him on my lap. I was even able to stroke him without him whipping his head round to bite while he was walking around my lap.
I spent a lot of time talking to him and watching him. We had a bond and i was very fond of this hamster. Ok, he never quit biting so i kept temptation out of his way and i was never able to pick him up but sometimes we have to adjust to our hamsters and enjoy them for who they are.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:21 PM   #18
jsp
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Default Re: Biting

Thanks Maker, that's really helpful. I'll try to set him up a nice house as you say, and also see if I can get his pipe into the arrangement somehow. I will keep him in his cage from now on and see if he just gets used to always being in the cage. Thanks also for the thoughts about the wheel.

Ria, thanks that's good to know too. I realised from thinking aloud to you yesterday that he really has very little working memory. It's one of the things that is most strikingly different between him and my previous hamster. He really never seems to remember anything, even over really long periods of frequent repetition. I think that if he can't learn to recognise nice things like toys until he's been seeing them regularly for 4 months, then it's probably not surprising that he's struggling to recognise my fingers as a safe thing. That might be part of the problem with taming.

I also had a pet with mental health difficulties once. He was a cat who attacked my Dad constantly and at every opportunity. The cat died under general anaesthetic when he was being neutered, and when the vet did an autopsy he found that one entire section of the cat's brain had failed to develop and was just not there at all. So maybe that is just a think that can happen sometimes.

The upside, I realised, is that if Roc is delighted over and over again by new toys that he doesn't remember seeing 400 times before, then keeping him happy should be quite easy. I just need to find a toy he likes and let him enjoy the novelty over and over again safely in his cage. Maybe?
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:47 PM   #19
Maker
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Default Re: Biting

I think you are right JSP. No expectations just let him be himself.
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Old 09-20-2020, 11:55 PM   #20
jsp
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Hi Maker,

Thanks, I'll do that. This morning I kept an eye on what he did when I left him locked in his cage and he just scooted around and climbed up the wall and then started shredding his nest box to pieces. He's in their just now making loud tearing noises.

It occurred to me that if I don't need the exit hatches to be operational then I can move the shelves a bit and that will let me get his pipe in more easily. I will have a ponder.

Thank you very much for listening and for your encouragement. This has been a real worry this week and I feel more positive about it now.

I might suggest to my son that he offer treats to Roc through the bars as well, as they might then be able to start interacting again, knowing that both are within their comfort zone.

Thanks!
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