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Old 03-24-2020, 08:40 PM   #1
HamiltonHammy
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 2
Question New Hamster Owner Questions

Hello,

I just got a new hamster a couple days ago. He's a Syrian named Hamilton. Now, technically I had a hamster when I was really young, so my parents mostly took care of them. I have realized that I did not buy a big enough cage or wheel for him since I was just basing my purchases on what my childhood hamster had. I'm doing my best to fix these issues as quickly as possible. However, I have heard that it is not good to change a hamster's cage too much, so I am a bit worried that changing his cage again too quickly after bringing him home will cause him a lot of stress, but I don't want him stuck in a cramped space. How do I make that transition easier for him assuming it's best to get him out of a small cage as quickly as I can? I am going to make him a bin cage once I am able to gather the materials.

Next, he definitely needs a bigger and quieter wheel. I was wondering what brands do you recommend that are quieter? I am willing to spend more to get him a good quality, safe wheel that also doesn't disrupt my own sleep.

I am working on taming him right now, I watched a few YouTube videos on how to do it, but I just want to hear some advice. Also, is it best to leave him in his cage or take him out for taming? I just want to make sure I'm not stressing him out too much. Right now, Hamilton will take treats from me, but won't get in my hand, which seems fine considering, I've only had him for a few days.

Lastly, I'm also just looking for suggestions on fun and safe toys besides a wheel I can put his new cage so that he's entertained?

Thank you in advance for all your help! I love Hamilton so much already, I just want to make sure I give him a great life.
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:33 AM   #2
Petite
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Scotland
Posts: 151
Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

Congratulations on your new hamster - and welcome to Hamster Central.

When you switch Hamilton to his new cage, just make sure to transfer all his usual stuff with him, and put some of his old bedding in the new cage so that there is a familiar smell. You can buy silent runner wheels which really are very quiet, and there's a variety on the market. For a Syrian, it will ultimately need to be about 30 cm.

Re taming, be guided by him and when he's ready to move on a stage. You could try putting a treat in a flat hand to see if he will walk onto your hand, but don't try lifting him up until he's used to doing that. When you do take him out of the cage, use a mug or hamster ball to transport him at first, just to keep him safe.

There's so many hamster toys available, it's difficult to know where to start, and you can also make your own (there are videos online to help with this). If you are buying online, keep an eye on the dimensions of the item to ensure it's going to be big enough for a Syrian.

Enjoy Hamilton - and post a pic if you are able.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:22 AM   #3
NutMega870
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Join Date: Mar 2020
Location: Canada
Posts: 12
Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

Hello!

For your question about hamster toys, like Petite said, there are SO many toys out there. Personally, I would recommend bendy bridges and hideouts. You can find these online or make them. Also, if possible, I suggest that you put lots of bedding in the new cage, so that Hamilton can burrow. My hamster loves to burrow so much.
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Old 03-25-2020, 01:30 PM   #4
cypher
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Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

A smaller cage may be ok for a while as he's young & getting used to you, changing the cage should be fine though, if you make a bin cage you could just let him play in it a few times before moving him in.
Don't clean his cage for a couple of weeks at least (apart from spot cleaning pee) before the move then move all the substrate into the new cage, you will probably need more in a larger cage so put the old substrate on top of the new, that way it will have his scent on it, try to keep everything as similar to his old cage as possible & he should be fine, it may take him a little while to settle again but that's normal so don't worry.

I would. try taking him out for taming, especially with a small cage a hand in the cage may be too much of an invasion. Once he's used to you being around & talking to him try to get him to climb into something you can use to safely carry him to a playpen, play bin or whatever you have for some out of cage taming time.

The best silent wheel is probably the silent runner (not silent spinner!) there is a thread here on wheels that you might want to look at.
Guide to suitable hamster Wheels
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Old 03-25-2020, 05:32 PM   #5
toastyunicorns
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Join Date: Mar 2020
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Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

I would recommend the comfort wheel, the Wodent Wheel or a silent spinner, they are all really quiet options. I’d also suggest checking out your local pet store and seeing if you can see any wheels that fit your liking
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:16 PM   #6
HamiltonHammy
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Join Date: Mar 2020
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Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

Thank you for the advice!!! I appreciate it! There is one thing I noticed this evening. There’s one spot on him where it looks like it’s been nibbling at himself and it’s created a tiny bald spot. I can’t get the best look at it, I just know he’s been grooming himself a lot, which I heard is normal in a new environment, and I have seen him grooming this spot on himself. Is this normal when they’re still getting used to a new environment? I’m worried that maybe I’ve accidentally stressed him too much.
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Old 03-25-2020, 09:05 PM   #7
NubiNuNu
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Portland OR with my lovely Robo ham
Posts: 42
Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

One good cage for a hamster (if you have enough space) is an IKEA detolf. It's supposed to be a shelf but you can turn it on its side and it's a hamster cage. It has about 950 square inches of floor space which is great for a syrian as they need 600+ sq. in. of floor space. I would recommend a silent runner wheel, which has a 12 inch wheel which is perfect for syrians. You will need at least 10 inches of bedding in a section so they can burrow. Good luck with Hamilton, he sounds cute!
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Old 03-25-2020, 10:24 PM   #8
cypher
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Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

Where is the bald spot HamiltonHammy? The scent gland on the hip can sometimes look like a bald spot especially if they've been scent marking a lot which he may do in a new cage, if it's somewhere else it's more likely that he's been rubbing against something so you could check the cage just to make sure there's nothing rough or sharp or any holes/entrances to anything that are too small.
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Old 03-26-2020, 02:07 AM   #9
Vierville
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Default Re: New Hamster Owner Questions

Congratulations on your new hamster! You sound like a very caring owner which is excellent! I'm sure Hamilton will have a great life with you.

I've found that each hamster has their own personal preference regarding toys. It is a bit of a trial-and-error process to find what they like. For example, my one hamster has a seesaw bridge which he absolutely loves. He plays on it, sleeps on it, even takes food onto it to eat. Thinking that the others would also like it, I got a similar toy for my other two and neither of them went near it.

The same goes for tubes, flying saucers, balls... some like them and some ignore them completely.

They do all like a variety of hides to sleep under, so I'd provide as many as I could and they love deep substrate too in order to burrow in.

Providing some wood chews and some Whimzees is also a good idea. They need to have access to something to gnaw on to keep their teeth from growing too much. I've found that sometimes they will ignore their wood chews for months and suddenly begin chewing which is when they reach the point that they need to.

Best of luck and welcome to the forum.
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