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Old 10-19-2019, 02:26 PM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 5
Default How to know if my hamster is happy?

Hi all!

Iíve had my wonderful ball of fluff for six weeks now, and I love him so much. I just worry all the time if he is happy! Gleb is a Dwarf Winter White Russian hamster and lives alone so I try to keep him as occupied as possible with things like toys and outside cage time. A picture of him and his cage are attached. He has a secure playpen which I play with him in, usually 40 mins a day.
I was just wondering if there is anything you do to make sure your hamster is happy and not bored? What are the behaviours of a happy hamster? Any recommendations would be gratefully received.


Glebís Hamster Mama
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Old 10-19-2019, 03:35 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 133
Default Re: How to know if my hamster is happy?

Your baby is very cute ! I’m getting my first hamster in a very long time tomorrow, so I don’t know how to answer precisely.

Your cage looks good, I would maybe put more bedding on one side, so he can burrow more. I’ve read 6 inches is ideal.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:19 AM   #3
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Location: North of England
Posts: 20,591
Default Re: How to know if my hamster is happy?

I agree with the above. He looks to have plenty to do. One thing that helps them feel secure is overhead cover when out of their house, so a shelf or platform can help. It also gives somewhere else to go and a place to put heavier items - eg a sand dish or food bowl. As well as something to sit under - they often like to sit under a shelf to have a wash. Our Robo was in this terrarium initially and he moved his nest under the shelf, piled up the substrate in that corner himself and built a nest under it. But Robo behaviour is a bit different

I got a platform from getzoo which was very good. Or you can make one out of a piece of kiln dried pinewood and glue some dowel legs on. I got the taller getzoo one - 21cm tall meant it sat well above 5 or 6” of substrate but then you need a ramp - I used a large cork log partly under the platform as a ramp as had problems with a few ladders. The lower ramp would be ok as well but you would only get a couple of inches of substrate under it in that area and still leave headspace under it. You could then have substrate deeper at the other end. It enables them to bury hoards and dig tunnels a bit or just dig generally. I’ll link the getzoo platforms. They do one that goes round a corner and one that goes most of the length of the cage along the back.
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Old 10-20-2019, 01:39 AM   #4
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Location: North of England
Posts: 20,591
Default Re: How to know if my hamster is happy?

Just go on and look under “etagen”. As for when to know if a hamster is happy you can often see them enjoying certain things - eg looking excited if they find a treat or food to forage for (alert, body language, ears up, general expression). Or enjoying something on their cage- eg running up a ramp to a sand bath or sitting having a wash in a favourite place. Do you find it easy to get her out to go in the playpen? Some hamsters don’t like being picked up from above but you can let them walk into a tube with a treat in, put your hands over the ends of the tube and lift them out that way.

The main thing is avoid things that make them unhappy! So don’t do weekly clean outs. With more substrate you can go much longer between cleanouts and even then it is better to only do partial cleans so you leave some of their familiar scent in the cage. Eg if you change the substrate then keep back a bit of the clean old and spread it on top so it smells familiar and don’t clean anything else at the same time. You can do the wheel a different week and any toys etc a different week again.

You can “spot clean” the substrate mainly so you can go much longer without needing to change it. Ie take a handful of whiffs substrate out and replace it.

Leave their nest and hoard alone generally unless peed in. A hoard can be pruned when you do a substrate change but if you ever need to remove it if peed on then always replace it with new food in the same place. They can get very stress about their nest and hoard being messed with. Hamsters don’t generally owe in their nest and hoard and keep themselves clean and refurbish their nest regularly, so keep a pile of torn up strips of plain white toilet paper in the cage (not actually in the house - they like to forage for it). And keep topping it up when it goes down.

They mainly hoard dry food which is fine to leave. I find they tend to eat fresh food (eg veg) straight away or just what they want and leave the rest in the dish. But they do very so if they do hoard any fresh food you’d need to pick it out. Hopefully you win’t Need to as they do hate their nest and hoard being messed with but also get used to your hand I occasionally having to do something. They really love a tiny bit of fresh veg every day (every other day for first week). Just thumbnail size. Eg tiny broccoli floret, cube of cucumber, cube of carrot. Try to vary it. I put the veg on a separate dish to the hamster mix so it gives them more than one place to go and they expect it there and look for it.
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