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Old 02-15-2019, 03:57 AM   #1
pixs
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Default New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Hi ,

I am first time owner. Pixel, 11 week old male, not sure about breed. pet shop said he is a 'Russian hamster' he looks like a winter white, he has the black stripe down his back. I have him 2 weeks now



what breed is he? sorry I don't have better pics.


also when we got him the lady working at the pet shop just grabbed from from the top (I read not to because they will think you are a predator) and said he is scared cos all the kids like to carry him at the shop. and we must carry him everyday or he will bite us.

he was really scared on us hissing and showing teeth.
we have not done what she said, we give him snacks everyday. and I carried him once , he did calmly walked onto my hand, although I did corner him a bit because I needed to clean his cage. Today he did hiss at him for not just leaving his snack I was waiting for him to walk onto me (I think I was annoying). How do I properly tame him, so we can both enjoy each others company?


also do I get another male? is he lonely or are they better alone? (im new and just trying to do right by him)


he was a habitrail ovo loft (biggest the shop had). I have plans in future to attach it to a bin cage, its what I have read is better?


please help me.

Last edited by pixs; 02-15-2019 at 05:54 AM. Reason: adding picture
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:31 AM   #2
souffle
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

If he came from a pet store and they said he is 'Russian' he will be a Hybrid hamster. Hamsters are different species (unlike dogs which are different breeds which all have the same genetics just look different) Hamsters have totally different genetics depending on which species they are.
The Winter white and Campbells are very close genetically though so can be Hybridized so that's what the pet shops do. He sounds like that from your description.
I'd handle him every day and take it nice and slowly. If he walks on your hand he sounds quite friendly now so do a short session daily and gradually build it up.
Don't get him any friends now. He is used to having his own place and will be perfectly happy and more people friendly that way.
Looking forward to seeing some pics
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Thank so much for the reply. the hybrid thing makes sense since he doesn't look exactly like one breed. By "handle him" what do you mean? try to pick him up? if he doesn't want to do I just leave him alone and try again next day or insist? sorry just don't want to spook him.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Yes start by stroking his back then gradually lift and lay him down then move on to running hand to hand quite low down.
I think part of the issue is that he is in an Ovo cage. These are not suitable for any hamsters to be honest as they are so small and the tubes and compartments poorly ventilated and the hammy has little space to run in. Access is also really bad. You need a large door so you can open the cage up to get your hands in. He looks lovely there
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Welcome to the forum & congrats on your new ham

As souffle said the cage you have isn't really suitable & will make taming difficult. I keep mine in the Hamster Heaven cage (without the tubes & penthouse( or similar, it's a good size for a hybrid & the big front door makes access & interacting with them so much easier.

For now though you would do better if you can get him out in a playpen or a large plastic box with toys & things to explore there you can let him climb onto your hand much more easily, I don't tend to pick mine up to begin with, just let them walk onto my hand, a treat like a sunflower seed or mealworm will help there, then once they get used to doing that gradually begin to lift them a little then gently lower them again, they soon get used to that & handling quickly becomes much easier as they gain confidence.
You will probably want to use a tube or box or anything he will climb into to transport him to the playpen to begin with.
Do short sessions each day making them longer as he gets more used to it, if you have a playpen you can sit in with him & he will probably enjoy climbing on you!
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Yes they can get "cage rage" in those little plastic cages. But he is doing really well if you've only had him two weeks. It's time and patience, especially if he's had some rough handling previously.

Hamsters only bite it they are scared or if you are hurting them. They learn to trust when you are gentle and respectful of them and they will get to know your scent and can also bond with you. Taming can be a bit slow or it may happen quickly and they are the easiest to handle when they have bonded with you, know you and trust you.

So keep going with offering him treats etc and keep talking to him gently so he gets to know your voice.

On top of all that they are naturally territorial in their cage and often don't like a hand in their cage - they see you as a possible predator in their territory or just an invader who might be there to steal something! Food or their carefully hoarded little pile of hidden poops for example (they actually eat their poops sometimes, which is normal - they have two stomachs and can redigest nutrients, and some hamsters will have a secret pile of poops as emergency food supplies). So don't worry about cleaning those out much for a while - they're not dirty or smelly - more like little hard seeds.

Another thing that can set taming and trust back is too much cleaning out. Pet shops often say weekly but it really isn't necessary in a good sized cage. And that is another problem with the current one - there won't be much room for deeper substrate and the cage will get messed up and need cleaning. So it can be a bit of a viscious circle as cage cleans really stress them - especially in the early weeks and if everything is cleaned at the same time.

So for now maybe try and do the bare minimum - just "spot clean" the pee area - take a handful of substrate out and add a new handful and mix it in and try and leave his nest alone/in tact. They get upset if their nest or hoard is removed - if you do have to remove it if it's pee;d on then always put some new food back in the same place (ie replace the hoard).

And I'm not sure how the habitrail is set up but try and have as much substrate in as you can.

So basically they are easier to hand tame out of the cage than in it. A good way of getting them out if they hiss at your hand is lower a tube (eg toilet roll inner tube) in and let them walk into the tube, then lift the tube out with your hands over each end - but you need something very closeby/next to you, to put the tube down in again - eg a large cardboard box or plastic storage bin so he isn't trapped in the tube for more than a few seconds. Some hamsters will be ok with a taming bin like that - others hate being in a box and are better in a larger area like the dry bath tub or a safe playpen area, for taming. But you can carry them in the large box to somewhere else where you can let them out for taming.

If you have a bathtub it can be a good safe area - with the plug in and dry and a few tunnels or toys and hidey places (cardboard is fine - tubes and tissue boxes eg). And he can run around in there and gradually get used to being fed from the palm of your hand, walk on your hand, be stroked etc, with the stages Souffle mentions above.

Cagewise - you would be much better just making a good sized bin cage than adding one onto to the Ovo. One larger cage works way better and allows them to have normal behaviours. The Ovo really isn't suitable for any hamster to live in. It can also be quite difficult to attach it with tubes without it being an escape route. But not impossible. If you have an Ikea nearby, the 78cm Samla bin is a good size for a dwarf hamster and it's cheap.

You need at least 4" depth of bedding in a cage as well - more if you can, so they can have normal behaviours like digging and burrowing and pushing the substrate around (they like to busy themselves doing that and making little mountains out of it and hiding things under the mountains And a house in that is dark inside as they need somewhere dark to retreat to that's big enough to build a nice big cosy nest. They also need a sand bath. A dish with Chinchilla bathing sand in - and will often use that as a toilet as well. Plus a suitable sized wheel - minimum 6.5" diameter and 8" diameter is good as well. Toys like cardboard tunnels and hidey places and ideally a shelf or platform as well (which is a good place to put heavier items like food bowls).

You will really notice the change in his behaviour when he has the space to have normal behaviours - and decide where to do things - they have favourite spots for sitting for a wash (often on a shelf) and have places to go and things to do with the variety

I made the same mistake with our first hamster - he was in a plastic rotostak thing and he not only had cage rage but was also lethargic and depressed. Although he was a bit shaky and nervy for a couple of weeks after moving to a bigger cage (the size of the Hamster Heaven that Cypher mentioned) that is quite normal with a cage change for the first two weeks. And after two weeks he was like a different hamster. You could tell he was happy and he almost looked to be smiling! Bright eyed and perky and just acting more confidently and very much busying himself in his cage.

I would say it is apriority to upgrade him to a larger cage or bin cage as soon as you can and not to expect taming to progress very well until he has that.
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Old 02-17-2019, 11:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Hi Cypher, thank you so much, I did no know that outside playtime/taming was a requirement. that makes sense since they are territorial about there cages and helps a lot. I do have a bath tub and will try to get him in there.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:05 AM   #8
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

If you use the bath don't forget to put a towel in the bottom! It's a very slippery surface for little furry feet otherwise.
He may take a while to get used to it but I'm sure he'll soon enjoy it.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:14 AM   #9
pixs
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Smile Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

Serendipity.

thank you for your reply, I am going today to get a plastic bin, I don't have a ikea since I live in south Africa. but I will try to get a same sized bin. The problem here is that there aren't many adequate hamster cages even in the online stores. he does quiet a bit of bedding now, he got a tunnel system going , its really cute. its from his hideaway to the water. he is really sweet, he comes out when I talk to him and sniffles for his treat, however if I try to pick him up or get him to come into a roll , he goes into his tunnels. I guess I will just try to be patient. he is mostly under all his bedding. So I have taken him out now, I don't want to force him, or should I try harder to get him out for play time?

We spent quiet a bit on the habitrail, so I think I will try to attached it to a extra large bin that is good enough size for him. the habitrail can just be an extra space. don't want to just waste it as it was expensive.

do you have a link to a tutorial on how to make the bin cage? I'm not sure how to begin.

this forum has been really great, learning a lot and everyone is so nice and helpful. thanks guys. I just wanna to do best for Pixi but I'm sure what exactly that is.
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Old 02-18-2019, 12:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: New Hamster what breed ?not tame

he likes to eat his snacks incognito
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