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Old 06-11-2020, 12:51 PM   #1
Petite
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Default Hamsters: are they seasonal?

Freya has been getting up later and later in recent weeks, and the nights when I do see her she is really sleepy. She's active enough later on, but I'm wondering if it's the shortness of the nights affecting her. It doesn't get properly dark here at this time of year, and I suppose coming out in the dark is hard-wired into hamsters internal body clocks. Has anyone else noticed this?
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Old 06-11-2020, 03:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

mine are normally the other way around, wake up earlier in the summer and sleep later and longer in the winter.
However, every hamster is different. Also depends on the weather, if it is colder/wetter I think my hamsters sleep in longer too.
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Old 06-12-2020, 06:22 AM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

I think a lot depends on the hamster's personality. I have four hamsters and foster as well so i'm able to observe a variety of little hamster characters.

My robo i rarely see at all because he gets up after midnight and back to bed around 6am. My syrian i only see when he wants to be seen and he does his hamster stuff when the lights are out and the humans have gone to bed. One dwarf is a bit of a daytime hamster and asks to freeroam during the day which is nice for me and the other is still very shy and runs away when he senses a human nearby.
Had a foster ham who got up at 8pm to run on his wheels not caring one bit who was around and another who spent a lot of his waking hours trying to climb onto my hand and up my arm. He got up around 9pm or before and was frantically trying to get out of his cage to freeroam until i realized that he didn't know what his wheel was for, so was full of unused energy. I stayed up till 2am teaching a hamster how to use a wheel!

Seasons and temperature doesn't seem to affect my lot or not that i've noticed anyway.

I wonder if out of cage time and possibly freeroaming if you have a secure area may encourage Freya to get up earlier.
Maybe you could try and gently coax her out of her cage before she gets up by herself.
I rustle the substrate near where my shy dwarf is hiding, around 9pm and he pokes his nose out then goes into a mug. I found that he's more comfortable in a playpen with tubes and toys than on the sofa with me. He sniffs and runs around but as soon as he starts scratching the blanket its time to put him back in his cage. I also handle him for a short while to get him used to me and talk to him softly while he's out. Haven't tried to hand or finger feed him because he's not interested in food when out of his cage.
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
I stayed up till 2am teaching a hamster how to use a wheel!
I think that's wonderful!

It's interesting what you say about your robo. I had decided that a robo would be my next hamster (or even "spare" hamster in case of unforeseen circumstances) because I read that they were more alert during the day that other hamsters. But I guess that's not necessarily the case, and it's just down to the individual hamster.

They are all a law unto themselves!
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Old 06-12-2020, 09:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

My experience with Syrians is that they can be a bit seasonal and around August (in the Uk) they start building big nests- as if they sense or feel the “back ending” change in the air and the nights drawing in.

That they hide away/sleep more in colder months but start coming out earlier as the nights get lighter. Which seems like a contradiction when they normally come out in the dark. So assume they can sense it is also getting less cold in the evenings.

It’s nice in spring and summer when they seem a bit more active and you see a bit more of them. As the others say personality can affect behaviour as well but even our laziest dopiest Syrian used to be our more in warmer weather.

Personally I think it’s more about temperature than light. They are very sensitive to cold and likewise if it gets very hot they can get overheated and flop around or sit outside the nest in a cooler place like something ceramic.

Room temperature can make a big difference even to how much they come out at night. They are more active when the temperature is just right - around 20 degrees and nice warm weather.

Immediate environment can have an effect too. Ours won’t come out when the tv is on but are happy enough having out of cage time when the tv is on if you get them out.

Also thrown into the mix is circadian rhythms which can be affected by light - so complete dark at night is the ideal - lights on will affect their sleep patterns.

And age as well. They can really slow down after 18 months.
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Old 06-12-2020, 10:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

Where in Scotland are you? I know days can be very long in some parts to the point it virtually doesn’t get dark. It could be affecting her circadian rhythms. One way to help would be if she has a house/nesting box that’s dark inside. Labyrinth houses are good for this as light doesn’t go round corners.
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Old 06-12-2020, 12:41 PM   #7
Charlie Dunn
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

I have to say that our dwarf ham Boo has been getting up later and going to bed earlier - we thought it was because of the light nights and mornings. He is still as active in the night (we have a night vision camera) so we thought it was down to the season. All hams are different and have their different little ways which makes them so fascinating!! X
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Old 06-13-2020, 04:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Where in Scotland are you? I know days can be very long in some parts to the point it virtually doesn’t get dark. It could be affecting her circadian rhythms. One way to help would be if she has a house/nesting box that’s dark inside. Labyrinth houses are good for this as light doesn’t go round corners.
I'm in the Western Isles. She does have a nesting box that's dark inside. It isn't a labyrinth house but she and I both build the substrate up to roof level so it's dark enough for her.

Thanks to everyone - it's really interesting to have all this feedback showing different hammy behaviours. They are endlessly fascinating creatures.
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Old 06-13-2020, 11:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

I find mine mostly get up later during the summer & go back to bed earlier when the nights are so short, sometimes they sleep more in winter if it's really cold but generally follow the dawn & dusk pattern.
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Old 06-16-2020, 08:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hamsters: are they seasonal?

Difficult to say.

My robo is awake all hours. Day or night, he'll get up and potter about for a bit then go back to bed. He's mostly active dusk and dawn like he would be if in the wild. Roborovskis are crepuscular rather than nocturnal.

My female Syrian will potter about during the day but is more active in the evening from 6 onwards until about 1-2am. She does have bouts of activity throughout the night but 6-2 is when she's most active.

My male Syrian won't get up until 11pm usually (in winter) when it's total darkness. Now it's lighter at night I'm lucky if I see him before 1am. I have blackout curtains in my room to try and help as it's never truly dark at night at the moment. I was thinking of getting a labyrinth box for him but don't know if they're big enough for Syrians.

Another option is a cardboard box with a bendy bridge over the entrance to help it stay dark. That's what I did with Lilith
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