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Old 09-27-2020, 01:37 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 1
Default Extremely aggressive hamster

We got our little Syrian hamster, Capuccino, three months ago. He was a month old and is perfectly healthy. We've been trying to "tame" him, letting him smell our hands, giving him treats, spending time with him, etc, but it's no use. He refuses to be touched and hates it when someone's even in the same room with him. The kids (7 and 11) are too scared to touch him because he keeps biting me, and he refuses to leave the cage. When I clean his cage, I have to spend 10-15 minutes trying to convince him to get into his travel cage using a walnut. He has already chewed through the plastic bottom of him cage in three different corners, and looks and behaves as if he hates all if us.

For information: he has a huge (80x50x60 cm) cage and tons of straw and bedding to burrow in, in addition to a house, a bed, a sand bath, and lots of toys that we rotate. He gets seeds, those hanging nuts-and-dried-fruit snacks, in addition to fresh fruit and veggies every single day, and a walnut 3-4 times a week. He has the guest room/office all to himself (I now have to work from the bedroom because he hates it when I'm in the room.) The room is sunny during the day, dark at night, and very quiet.

What should I do? He has become a great source of stress for me, and the kids are scared of him! Any tips are greatly appreciated =)
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:03 AM   #2
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Location: UK
Posts: 292
Default Re: Extremely aggressive hamster

From what you have explained there may be some easy fixes.
- don’t rotate his toys, they get very upset when something is taken away. So set up his cage and don’t change it
- he has a large cage and lots of bedding so stop cleaning it - he will feel like he is going into a new environment every time you do. Poo’s don’t smell and you will need to put up with the wee smell for two weeks after which you can just clean the wee’d on bits - not a massive clean though, it still needs to smell like his. Their eyesight isn’t great and smell is very important.
Don’t touch him for 2 weeks, just put his fresh food in and water every day, do it quietly with no fuss.
Let him get used to you sharing his room and the family sounds.
I would reduce the amount of walnuts to one every 2weeks, maybe a few flax seeds or a piece of rice on the other days - just for health reasons.

Can you perhaps attach a photo of his set up - does he have a large wheel, is his house a large bottomless one? So he can keep a food horde in there under ground as well as make a cozy nest for himself? You can scatter shredded toilet paper in his cage for him to use.

Once he starts to feel safe and secure he will respond better to you but the key is to stop doing anything for a while then restart Really slowly.
First time mum to a female Syrian Hamster called Polo (other mints are available) 🐹
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Old 09-28-2020, 12:51 PM   #3
Ria P
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 3,197
Default Re: Extremely aggressive hamster

Hi and welcome to HC!

Straw isn't suitable for hamsters because its too coarse and stubby. I'd replace it with paperbased substrate like Kaytee clean and cozy and add torn up strips of plain white toilet paper for nesting material. Hamsters like to be cozy and comfortable.

What exactly happens when you're in the same room as him? You say that he doesn't like it. How does he express that?

He doesn't sound happy and maybe he's trying to tell you that something isn't right in his environment.
Does his wheel work ok and is it big enough for him?
Does his water bottle work ok?

You say that he's chewing the plastic of his cage. I'd give him a Whimzee dog chew. Hamsters love those.

If you have a playpen or save area then you could get him out of his cage by putting a treat into a mug or jug and let him walk into to transport him in and out of the cage but cover the top while in transit. Put some toys and hides in the playpen as well. Some hamsters are quite diffetent when out of their cage.

A photo of his set up would help in case there's anything that could be improved or tried to help him feel more settled.

Moving his things around isn't a good idea. I did that when i first got my Syrian but stopped that after he threw a few tantrums. Replacing an item he doesn't like or use with something else can work while trying to find out what he does and doesn't like. Its necessary to tailor a hamster's habitat to their needs and likes which can take a while of observing and getting to know the hamster.
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Old 10-11-2020, 03:01 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 52
Default Re: Extremely aggressive hamster

I'm new to this but I have noticed that if I spot clean or move something around it does tend to be irritating and my hamster is pacing around the room for hours after trying to find a way out.
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Old 10-14-2020, 07:18 AM   #5
Shadow Cat
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 122
Default Re: Extremely aggressive hamster

Does he have different levels in his cage? Shelves and things to climb? Hamsters aren't great climbers, not like mice or rats, but sometimes I think they feel calmer if there's somewhere a bit higher up they can get to survey their teritory. It might help, depending on his personality.

Other than that, if you have the patience you could try just sitting in the room without moving, maybe talk a bit, so he gets used to your presence but learns that just because you're nearby it doesn't mean you're going to bother him. You could also try leaving a radio on in the room at low volume so he gets used to some sounds.
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