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Old 10-18-2019, 01:50 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Hobbiton
Posts: 15
Unhappy Advice needed, please

Hello all, I'm just after a little bit of advice/knowledge about several things really. Hershey came home with me a week ago today and from the get go I knew he was shy, but I didn't truly realise how shy/timid/nervous he would be. From previous experience and from what I can recall neither of the Syrians I had in the past were this shy and in turn, within the first week, they were coming out of their nests to inspect the world around them and in turn exploring their new home. Now I get that all hamsters are different like we are, but with Hershey, he doesn't seem to be doing any of what I thought hamsters would naturally do. And me being me and a completely anxious individual, I'm starting to think the worst.

To be honest with each passing day, I am growing more and more concerned because I'm worried that the fall he experienced in the pet shop has possibly hurt him in ways I can't see - physical and internal. The Pet Assistant did drop him and the poor mite froze in place after landing upon the floor. When he was picked up, the other assistant seemed to grab him harshly and in turn he pooped himself out of what I could only assume was fear

So bringing him home, the only movement I saw of him was him dashing straight underneath his hideout to not be seen again. I simply thought it was normal, but as the days rolled by I got more and more worried. For the entire week, other than offering a little bit of banana, I have not see him. He did amble forward to take a little of the treat, but simply slid back into his nest and hid himself away. To cause me to worry further, his cage hardly seems touched. Every morning I wake, I check in on his home but half the time it appears untouched. He does seem to be taking food, but not enough to satisfy me because my previous three hardly left anything behind.

I know this all bottles down to individuality but with him being 15 weeks old, surely he should be eating more to gain the nutrients his body needs else he'll be deficient and in turn become unwell?

In terms of him toileting, there is no obvious signs that he is doing this around his home. I can see no poops or places in which he favours to do his business. Could he be doing all of this where he sleeps? I could check, but by disturbing him and going through his nest will cause him undue stress that he simply does not need.

Should I however do this just to make sure he is indeed going to the toilet or should I not risk this?

He is currently housed within a Hamster heaven with a 28cm wheel, megazorb substrate and with safe paper bedding. He has a few toys and a sand bath added within his enclosure. He is currently being fed Harry Hamster.

I may be an over worrying hammie mum, but my stomach is telling me that something isn't exactly right and in turn I can't get that niggle out of my mind
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:04 PM   #2
souffle's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Yorkshire, UK but my heart lies in Scotland!
Posts: 27,288
Default Re: Advice needed, please

I think you do need to check him and see that all is well before setting out on a more proactive taming regime. The longer you wait the more tricky it will become and to ensure he is actually healthy enough you need to lift the hideout and take a look. Where is he sleeping? Does it have an open base so can be easily lifted or is he in the pod but through the tubes.
If this type of hammy were to come to us for taming we would move him in to a smaller, easily accessable cage and work from there. The heaven is great but very big for a baby hamster and some get scared in it and it is also tricky to get them out of without scaring them which is why we move them to a basic cage with a wheel and a box hideout we can just lift and plenty digging substrate, some cardboard tubes and nibble sticks. Once tamed we let them go in the big cage for playtime with no tubes on at all then eventually leave them longer and longer till they move in permanently.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:36 AM   #3
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Hobbiton
Posts: 15
Default Re: Advice needed, please

Hi Souffle, than you for replying.

Well, last night my partner and I decided to move his cage upstairs with us so we could listen out for him and see if he was remaining within his nest during the night. Within thirty odd minutes of us settling into bed and with the TV on playing gently in the background, we heard a little scuttle and low and behold Hershey came out of his nest and explored his cage. This was around 1030 pm and the first time he truly has done that. I'm normally up around that time of an evening anyway downstairs, but he has never come out like he did last night.

He went onto his wheel, he dug and scurried around, but he didn't empty his food bowl. We heard him eating, but the majority of his food is still there. I moved myself to sit by his cage and he actually came up to the bars, ears perked forward to see whats what. I don't know what happened or what changed last night other than the rooms environment, but this was a complete different behaviour since having him. It was lovely and incredibly reassuring to see him act like he was, and I am hoping he repeats this again this evening.

I'm however debating with myself whether the room I currently house him in is suitable temperature wise. Our house is naturally cooler than most due to it's position and the materials used but I have had the heating on in that room to keep it to a comfortable temperature. Our bedroom is right above it so it's naturally warmer so could this be playing apart in why he has been hiding away?

In terms of his hideout, it has a bottom secured to it but I do have another that is bottom-less that I could swap him into later tonight. I'll check over his bedding too as he still doesn't appear to be toileting anywhere else at the moment as their are no visible signs of this.

I do not have any of the tubes attached to the HH as I've had a bad experience with hamster tubes in the past. I've blocked the tube holes with those plastic latches (I cant remember what they are called).

Although I am incredibly happy to have seen him moving around last night, I do want to ensure that he is healthy before I move forward with anything else. Last night was truly the first night I've seen him so active so it's relieved me quite a bit, but I will swap out his hideout and check his bedding to see exactly whats going on in there as if he isn't going to the toilet or eating enough, then there could be something going on.

Last edited by Cyanic; 10-19-2019 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:11 AM   #4
Charlie Dunn
Adult Hamster
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 305
Default Re: Advice needed, please

I agree it would probably be sensible to take little Hershey to the vet given his fall for a check up but it would also be worth thinking about getting a motion sensor night vision camera. Our dwarf ham boo sometimes does not come out whilst I am up and awake and I used to worried about him. On getting the camera I soon stopped! We are be able to see him in his wheel, digging tunnels, washing, climbing and just generally hamstering about. He looks such a happy, content little chap! Sometimes his body clock does not match ours but he is fine. It is so reassuring and also good fun to watch the clips of what he has been up to the next morning. It was about 35 delivered from amazon and worth every penny x
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Old 10-19-2019, 12:24 PM   #5
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Hobbiton
Posts: 15
Default Re: Advice needed, please

We have a positive update

So just about 30 minutes ago, I decided to take a look within his nest and to swap out his current hide for another one which is bottom-less. Gently talking to him, he crept out and walked into an older wheel I had available for him. His ears were up and forward and not once did he chatter his teeth or vocalise himself in anyway. Im taking that as a good sign. He took some banana I offered him and allowed me to gently stroke him as well which was incredibly lovely. Whilst he was chomping away, I noticed he was indeed doing his business within his nest as the evidence was there. Is it common for hamsters to do this?

After looking through his nest, I had him settled within his wheel upon my lap and he actually came out to investigate my dressing gown. He chomped at it quite a bit and then half came out to settle upon my hand. The feeling of those little paws is an absolute highlight and then it was swiftly followed by a curious nibble. I forgot how sharp hamsters teeth are

I will keep checking in on him and of course will start weighing him so I can ensure he is eating enough. Does anyone have any information on what I should be looking for in terms of healthy weight gain and growth for Syrian hamsters?
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Old 10-22-2019, 02:21 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 20,595
Default Re: Advice needed, please

Great news he is settling and seems quite tame! They can vary in weight - anything from 150g to 225g for a full grown hamster! Some are bigger some are smaller. Yes they do poop in their nest sometimes. Sometimes they also hoard poops because they eat them - they have two stomachs and can redigest vitamins etc from their poops. So I wouldn't worry too much about the poops - they're not dirty or smelly - if they start taking over the cage you can just "spot clean" a bit - ie take out the odd handful of substrate and add a new handful and mix it in a bit.

Rule of thumb is don't clean anything or change things for the first two weeks while they're settling in and scent marking. Adding new things is ok but they get stressy about things being moved or taken away.

If you have plenty of substrate in and a litter tray (they will use one if you put it in the right place) you can go a long time between substrate changes, which is better for the hamster's stress levels.

Only other thing I would say is it is better to leave the cage in one place and not move it around. A change of environment can also really stress them. So when you've settled on the best room, best to leave the cage there. Room temperature needs to be between 16 and 20 degrees really. I got a digital room thermometer for that reason!

Being cold does mean they hide away more and they do seem to come out more when the room is nice and warm!
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