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Old 01-04-2017, 04:47 PM   #1
Jasperowner
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Default New owner.. Feeling anxious!

Hi all.
I purchased my first hamster (a Syrian) yesterday at the ripe old age of 37. It's a pet for my daughter who has been wanting one for a couple of years.

We're excited to have Jasper home and had done lots of reading before and had the cage all ready etc.

I have to say though I'm feeling as anxious as when I came home from hospital with my newborn daughter over six years ago.

Jasper survived the short car journey ok and when introduced to his cage sniffed around a bit before basically ensconcing himself in one of the interconnecting tubes where he has pretty much stayed since for the last 36 hours.

I know he has been out and and about because he's created quite a nice nest for himself in there and emptied his food bowl (lower down).

The problem is he seems to be doing everything in that tube...sleeping, hoarding, eating and toileting and i can see droppings intermixed with his food.

I realise it's very early days and that he's probably just found the place he feels most secure (it is ventilated the tube) but I'm beginning to feel like I need to clear out his mess and stale food but can see how I'm going to do that with him pretty much constantly in the tube... Which I can't reach into. I could dismantle it at one end (he's right down the other) but I reckon this is going to majorly stress him out if he's in the tube.

I am worried for several reasons: one: I can't get close enough to see if he's still healthy or started to display any signs of WT or any other illness, two: that if I don't clear away his faeces and urine stained bedding he'll become unwell, three: that he may not be getting enough liquid as he doesn't seem to have drunk anything from the bottle (though some apple I put in the food bowl has gone) and lastly, not sure how to start to tame him at all with him all tucked away.

Sorry for such a rant as an introductory post but I'm just such a novice and clearly all the reading I did beforehand didn't prepare me as well as I thought it would.

Btw, I read another thread about suitable cages for youngish
Syrians: he's 8-10 weeks apparently but seems huge. We have the Laura Syrian hamster cage from pets at home.
Should he be in a smaller one for ease of access?

Any thoughts etc anyone's got, I'd be so grateful to hear from some seasoned pros.

Thanks.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:33 AM   #2
flowerfairy
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

I dont know that particular cage but I have read on here that tubes are not a good idea esp for new hamsters as they tend to do what Jasper is doing and hide in there!

Food can go bad and as hamsters get bigger the tubes could be difficult for them to navigate. Is it possible to remove them?

I have five set ups mainly cages from zooplus. Barney (100 x 50cm) alaska (about 80 x 4. These and my other cages have lots of floor space and are high enough to take a large wheel (28cm for syrians) and deep enough for lots of substrate. I have open bottomed houses for them on lots of substrate and they like to dig down to nest and to stash their food.

Sounds like you have a very well loved hamster. Pics would be lovely.

Dont know how that smiley face got in. Have tried to edit it out!!! alaska cage is 84 by 48.5cm
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:05 AM   #3
cypher
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

New hamsters hiding in tubes is a common problem, unfortunately it really isn't a good idea as the tubes get very unhealthy, damp & dirty very quickly & it can also make getting your hamster to come out very stressful for both the ham & you!

While smaller cages the size you have can be ok for young hams during the taming/bonding stage levels & tubes aren't really suitable.
They do much better in a larger cage with a single floor space & maybe some shelves as an extra but not high levels & the house needs to be on the base of the cage, no base in the house, on a nice deep layer of substrate with plenty of shredded plain white toilet tissue for making a nest.

If you can't remove the tubes on that cage I would look into getting another cage as soon as you can so you can have a set up which will work better for both you & him.
Zooplus do sell some good cages, the barney, alexander, alaska & hamster heaven (without using the tubes!) are all suitable & popular options.

You don't need to worry about poo getting in with his food & nest btw, that's fine, they need to eat some of it to get all the nutrition from their food but pee in a tube is very unhealthy.

FF I'd forgotten about that smiley popping up lol! I think it happens when you type a certain number!
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Last edited by cypher; 01-05-2017 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

The Laura Syrian cage is unfortunately a bit small as a permanent cage. The house and wheel will also be too small as your hamster gets bigger.

You may be able to return the cage for store credit or money off another cage. P@H have a Savic Ruffy rat cage which is a bit small for a rat, but is ok for a hamster.

As others have said zooplus have some good cages at good prices.

Syrians need bigger houses, toys and cardboard tunnels (for inside the cage or for use in a playpen) than usually sold for hamsters.
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:14 AM   #5
Jasperowner
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

Thanks all for the advice.
Jasper is starting to come out of the tunnel a bit though is still very jumpy. I've been able to clear some of the urine soaked sawdust from the ends of the tunnel and he actually seems to be kind of sorting and cleaning and replacing some of it himself. That said, I can see that it's going to be difficult and stressful if he continues to make the tunnel his bed so I will take your advice and order one of the larger cases suggested plus a larger house and wheel today.
Will post a photo as soon as he's out the tunnel long enough for me to snap him!!
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Old 01-06-2017, 04:32 AM   #6
cypher
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

I'm sure he'll be much happier in the new cage & taming will be much easier for you but he may get a bit upset to begin with & it can take a little while for them to settle in a new cage so I would treat him like a completely new ham really, just give him a couple of quiet days to settle, do the tissue trick when you change him over (put some plain white toilet tissue up your sleeve for a few hours then put that in the cage & repeat daily for a while if need be) so he can get used to your scent while he settles then going slowly begin with bonding.
Keep us posted!
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:51 AM   #7
Jasperowner
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

Thanks for the advice again
Cage is ordered...due to come Tuesday but I am guessing I am going to have to clean the tubes before then as Jasper will have been in there for a week if I wait til Tuesday.
There are a lot of holes (above and below) in the tunnel so I don't think the wood shavings are getting too damp and hopefully fumes/ammonia from urine not an issue yet... but given that Jasper has been pretty much in the tunnel most of the time, a clean out would seem overdue.
But I'm weighing up the stress it's going to cause him if I have to dismantle the tunnels possibly with him still in... on the basis that he's not yet tame enough to come out to rest of cage when we're there....with the risk that if I don't clean it out soon, I may be risking infection/illness which would obviously be worse. What do you think and if I should clean things out properly before Tuesday, any advice for getting him out of tunnel with minimum stress... what sort of recepticle would it be best to transfer him in to?
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Old 01-06-2017, 09:54 AM   #8
pinkneon
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

Hi and welcome!
I read the first part wrong, and thought you'd put the hamster was 37!
Personally I'd remove the tubes. Do you have some stoppers or something to block the holes? I'm unfamiliar with the cage so not sure what could go there instead. You could provide some cardboard tubes inside the cage if he likes to play in them maybe? Does he have a house he could sleep in instead? Looking forward to seeing more of your hamster soon!
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

HI, its easy to get really concerned about our new fur babies, but try not to worry. Jasper will be fine by next Tuesday. That first week you don't want to disturb him anyways. You mentioned there is ventilation. Plus I'm sure he's up and about when your sleeping. I'm sure he's drinking fine also when your sleeping. Make sure the silver ball moves freely so that water is coming out easily. Some water bottles aren't made well these days.

Glad that you have ordered a new cage and wheel, look forward to pics!
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: New owner.. Feeling anxious!

Hope the new cage arrives on time so you can move your hamster into it. Which cage have you ordered?
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