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Old 08-20-2019, 05:43 PM   #1
Ria P
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Default Henry and Gordon

Last Friday i adopted a little Robo called Gordon who is around 7 months old. He was for sale in a p@h but because no one bought him he was put up for adoption in March so has been in a pet shop nearly all his live.
He settled in his tank instantly, loves his wheel and sand, runs around, eats, drinks, burrows, grooms, moved into his house and seems to enjoy hamster life.

I could only find a small wheel in the shops but because he's so tiny and runs fast with a straight back in the 6.5in wheel, I'm inclined now not to change it.

Henry is a Syrian and i know nothing about Robos.

I talk to Gordon and watch him close up which doesn't seem to bother him. Just now i put my hand in slowly to offer him a seed and he run off.

I'm happy to just watch him but wonder if i should try and tame him or not? Should i try and handle him or leave him to do his own thing?
What i don't want to do is upset or scare him.

Henry free roams sometimes but i can't imagine Gordon running around safely outside his tank because he is so fast and tiny.

Are Robos sociable hamsters who seek human company or do they prefer to do their own thing?
Do they need out of cage time?

What do other people who have Robos do or don't do?

Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

There's no harm giving Gordon some tissue with your scent on it. Talk to him softly (or just let him get used to your voice in the background, in general).

I think 6.5 inch is fine for a Robo. You could get a bigger one if you wanted to, but it's not necessary if his back doesn't arch. It can't be too big like 12 inches either, as he won't have the strength to turn it.

You could try holding the treat out for him between your fingertips, and let him smell the treat and if he doesn't take it, you could just ensure he watches you place it on the floor for him, to let him know that it's something you've given him, at least.

I'd say it's early days. My Robo has been with me about two months. She puts her paws on my hand to take treats, and tolerates being stroked. Does she seek human company? Well, she sniffs inquisitively at my hand whenever she sees it, and pokes her head out of her hideout to investigate when I call her (I'm sure she's just hoping for treats).

She used to zip around like lightning when I first got her, because she was stressed and anxious about being in a new environment. She doesn't zip around that quickly now, and she's much calmer. She absolutely loves her wheel and goes on it all night long.

She jumped into her wheel yesterday when I was holding it (tried to take it out for a clean), but she didn't want to jump off it into my hand, though I gave her the chance to.

And I haven't been taming her as much as I could have done, because my hands don't want to get anywhere near her nose, as she has nibbled me before (seemed like it was out of curiosity). She's nibbled my husband a couple of times too, but has never drawn blood. Perhaps you could tame Gordon further if you weren't afraid of being nipped.

I've read information that Robo are the most sociable of all hamster breeds, but they are skittish and nervous by nature. My Robo doesn't get out of cage time and I don't even pick her up (nibbling issue prevents me from trying). You could try building her a playpen if you wanted to give her a safe place to run around in, but my personal problem with playpens is I don't know what new stuff to put in them, lol. Any playpen I build will only have the toys that she already has in her cage (sorry, personal lack of creativity!), so I don't see the point (because I already give her all toys, so I can't see what difference it would make).

With a proper set-up, I think she's happy without out of cage time. Mine was in an unsuitable cage for a few days and she would climb the bars upwards frantically/ bar-bite. Her current proper cage has grids, and she uses it to climb vertically in a calm/ deliberate manner now, for the sole purpose of using it as a convenient short cut to access her toys across the cage. She doesn't bite the bars. She seems calm, happy, and content.

My Robo loves mealworms and sunflower seeds. Not sure if it's particular to the species or just an individual thing, but you could give these treats a try.
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

Thank you 10 minutes for your reply. This is really very helpful.

I did in fact offer a sunflower seed between my fingers and when he run off i placed it on a bridge. Like Henry, Gordon has a small seagrass ball with seeds stuck in it and he pulls them out then munches them in full view.
He doesn't seem bothered by lights and sounds after living in a pet shop.

What do you feed your Robo?
Gordon was fed on p@h muesli and carrots so i bought this food mix because he's used to it but i'm slowly introducing small amounts of different veg, seeds and mealworms.

He has torn up tissue but doesn't use it for nesting but i'll put some in with my scent on it. His nest may be underground and he uses the house as the entrance or he sleeps in the house. Dunno but that's his business.

Yeah, i'll keep talking to him and take it from there. I didn't know that Robos can jump and was surprised when i saw him jumping into his wheel. He fell out of the wheel a few times the first night (he lands on sand) because he was so excited and jumped about a bit, run circuits in the sand, in and out the wheel etc but last night he run a lot smoother and seems to have found a rythmn.
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Old 08-21-2019, 03:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

I just bought the "best" food mix I could find in my country (sadly, none of the recommended ones are available, so I had to find the "best" I could make do with, which isn't really that good), and some hamster pellets. I supplement it with mealworms to make up the protein deficit.

She likes a little bit of broccoli. Doesn't touch her carrots, and absolutely hates cheese (runs away fearfully from the smell of it). Might be an individual thing.

She loves her tissue for nesting. Yes, they can leap, and I've read that they can jump as high as 2 feet. Never seen mine jump that high (hopefully not, I imagine they must be freaked/ stressed to jump that high for no reason), but just putting it out there in case people are thinking of leaving their Robos unattended with the cage lid off. You never know, something might come along and startle them into jumping, so it's better to be safe than sorry.

Mine loves jumping into her wheel. She slides down her slide gleefully towards it, and waits till she has reached the very end of her slide, then leaps across the short distance from the slide tip directly into her wheel, and starts running happily for a minute or so. She then repeats the action again by climbing back up her slide, prepared for another go on the wheel. It's really amusing to watch.
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10Minutes View Post

Mine loves jumping into her wheel. She slides down her slide gleefully towards it, and waits till she has reached the very end of her slide, then leaps across the short distance from the slide tip directly into her wheel, and starts running happily for a minute or so. She then repeats the action again by climbing back up her slide, prepared for another go on the wheel. It's really amusing to watch.
Haha! That is really funny! You keep giving me ideas and inspiration. I copied your ceramic oil burner/bird feeder and now i'm going to look for the unused slide that came with Henry's cage.......thank you
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

Glad I could be of some help! And the slide has to be credited to my hamster - she's more creative than I am. It was at a slightly different angle to begin with, she was the one that first pushed it so that the tip of the slide would directly face the wheel. I'm not exactly sure why she does it, but she does loves catapulting herself into the wheel at full force. The momentum probably helps to give her a running start. I could watch her playing with her slide + wheel combination for hours. These little creatures are so smart and adorable.

Last edited by 10Minutes; 08-21-2019 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 08-23-2019, 01:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

This is the final set up of Gordon's tank. I've added more substrate, another bridge and a baked pear tree twig.

The first two evenings he was very active running on his wheel and exploring but now he has slowed down.
Gordon still gets up around 22.00, runs around, eats, grooms and does a few rounds on his wheel but then goes back to his house. He gets up again later when i'm in bed going by the state of his sandpit in the morning and the cucumber bit had gone too.

Does that mean he's settling in or that he's unhappy with his tank?
How does a Robo express stress behaviour in a tank?

He looks well and ever so cute but is shy. I had to put my hands in briefly last night to adjust the position of the wheel and he run away across the tank but didn't hide. He went back to his wheel after i had finished.

Maybe he's been talking to Henry across the room who always waits till i'm in bed before he stays out to do his hamster stuff......
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Old 08-24-2019, 02:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

His tank set up looks lovely. I suspect his change in behaviour is after a few changes to the cage make him a bit nervy. He will adjust soon and become active again, but it might be an idea to hold back on taming until he does.

They do have different personalities and can be tamed, but it takes more effort than for a Syrian I think. Meanwhile he is familiarising with your voice and scent. I also thought Nugget didn't take nesting paper but he did - he just didn't take very much - they are so tiny.

The biggest problem I had was actually getting Nugget out of the cage for taming and sadly I never did get to tame him as he was so terrified. It was only when he got older it was slightly easier to get him out and he would walk into something.

So getting him familiar with your hand/eating from your hand would be a good start as then he might walk into something with food in. If it looks like he is never going to take things from your hand then try putting a mug on its side with tasty food at one end and see if he walks in then lift him out in the mug (you'll need to put your hand over the end before picking it up or he might leap out).

Then let him out in a playpen area for taming. I used the skyline ranch pen thing that I have. I thought it might be a bit big but it was fine. He enjoyed running around and exploring and ran over my legs (so familiarising) and actually ran up my trouser leg! Lol.

Before that I had tried a taming box - a not too large, rub bin, but that didn't help as it was a bit like a cage with a hand coming from the top, so the playpen was better.

But Nugget was so scared he would literally run behind his wheel and wedge himself between the wheel and cage side, flat, so you couldn't pick him up and was too savvy to be tricked by food! I had a hectic time when I got him and never did get him tamed.

So I think if you can get to a stage where you can get him out of the cage without stressing him for playpen taming, then you will have a good chance of taming him so he trusts you. There is a very good piece on taming robos below and it reckons they can be more tame than syrians once tamed.

What I did find was once Nugget was in the playpen I could actually pick him up - I would just sort of scoop him and turn him onto his back and hold him gently but securely. He would not move once picked up, and I could then have him sitting on my hand and stroke him. But do it with your hand very low down and over a cushion because they can suddenly leap off and might hurt themselves if they fell too far.

That to me was the turning point with taming - but unfortunately it didn't progress as he got cancer. It was actually more about me having the confidence to try and pick him up - once picked up he was more relaxed.

Have a few toys in the playpen as they seem interested in checking things out.

Re your tank - assume the wheel is on a platform or something?

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Old 08-24-2019, 04:59 AM   #9
Ria P
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

Thank you for your reply and the link Serendipity. It is very helpful.
Now that i think of it, Gordon had two changes to his tank. I put the second bridge in and the day before my OH put the waterbottle stand in he had made.
I'll leave him to adjust like you advised and once he gets more active again i'll try and introduce my hand with a seed, see what happens.
If i can't tame him because he's too nervous that's fine too. I just want him to be happy.
Not sure how old he is either. The shop girl guessed around seven months but definitely under a year.
At some point in the future i'll have to take him out for a health check and to clean his tank by which time he should be familiar with me and hopefully no longer scared.

Tank: i bought two Ferplast guinea pig houses and put one on the bottom of each end of the tank minus the front panel then filled them up with substrate. One has a bendy bridge leading into it underground which also acts as solid surface to stand on when drinking from the bottle. The houses support the glass sand pit and wheel and the ceramic toadstool. There's also a very small jar for drinking water near the pebbles. I have noticed that tiny hamsters like to sit in the food bowl so have put some of his food in the toad stool and i also scutter feed to keep him busy.
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Old 08-29-2019, 01:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: Henry and Gordon

Gordon is under a year old and i've continued with the food he was fed in the pet shop, the pets@home muesli.

He gets tiny amounts of fresh veg, had a little boiled egg and has insect mix scattered in his cage, seed sprays from rodipet in his cage and gets sunflower/pumkin seeds stuck in a wicker ball plus a few linseeds. He had a tiny piece of cheese last night.

He eats or hoards a little of the muesli from his toad stool but seems to prefer to sit in his sand pit eating the small seeds from the sprays/linseeds and cracking open/eating the seeds from the ball.

I can't find any dwarf hamster food mix in the shops only pellets and pellets are unnatural in my opinion. I wouldn't want to eat my dinner compressed into a solid mass.

Question is, should i order the Rodipet dwarf mix and slowly exchange it for the p@h muesli?

Rodipet does junior and senior dwarf but i don't know Gordon's exact age which is estimated at 7/8 months by the pet shop.

Which one would i need to order?

Or should i keep him on the muesli he's used to because he's been doing alright on it so far and keep supplementing as i do now?

Advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
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