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Old 05-02-2019, 12:53 AM   #1
demyere
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 4
Default First time hamster owner freaking out!

Hi Iím a 23 Y/O with a job for the first time and have always wanted a hamster! Finally decided I was financially ready for a pet so I bought one from gumtree. He is a mottled winter whit /hybrid dwarf of about 4-6 weeks in age when I got him last Sunday and his name is Pablo! His previous owner sent me videos and pictures of him being really tame and in her hands.

I had left him alone for 2-3 days before trying to hand him treats only interfering with his cage to change his water and food. I would talk to him and try to give him treats! The first night he hissed at me because his water bottle spout came off and I was trying to retrieve it. I was very shocked and jumped, causing a loud sound as I pulled my hand.

The second time I had given him treats and he was eating them whilst I was trying to put scented tissue in to familiarise him with my scent. As I scattered it around, it fell on his back and he freaked, lying on his back and baring his teeth even for a few seconds after I left the cage. He continued eating his treat in the open though after, running back to his tunnel after he was done.

He had also hissed at me after this when I was moving some things around his cage so I calmly stayed in the cage until he calmed down before leaving him alone for the night.

I have to say however, I am a rather jumpy person by nature and having watched so many videos of taming before I had him, I was rather afraid he might bite. The first time I gave him treats, he reached over the sunflower seed and sniffed my finger for too Long and I pulled back my hand and dropped the treat, he fell off his small step into the bedding because of this twice. Ever since then Iíve offered him treats lower to the ground.


Yesterday, I had noticed his water bottle leaking and his substrate was very wet. I wanted to remove the substrate around the area because I had read that dampness is bad for hamsters. I tried to lure him away from the spot using treats and his food bowl but he was very suspicious of what I was doing and came back to observe. I am quite scared of him at this point so I removed most but not all and wanted to replace his water bottle and leave him alone. As I was putting his water bottle back, he moved and the spout touched his back again and he freaked out again.

I felt so bad and just tried to talk to him after, telling him to be calm in a soothing tone. He recovered and again finished eating his treat before walking back to his home.

I really want to do right by him and have fun with him. He currently lives in a Rody savic Cavia with plenty of toys and he seems to like everything. Brought him out of his cage into my closed bathroom once but he seemed to want to go back instead. I do want to be able to clean his cage, feed him etc without being scared of him. I know I have to spot clean soon because itís starting to smell and there have been a few ants spotted. How should I proceed with this situation to prevent further messing up the taming process. Please help Iím so lost.
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:43 AM   #2
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: First time hamster owner freaking out!

It is very early days and he is scared. The hissing etc is just fear that you are going to hurt him and are invading his territory (which he hasn't fully settled into yet) and at this early time a hand in the cage will feel like an invasion.

Although he has been tame he has not yet got used to you personally or built a trust bond. So it's a case of taking it slowly. Believe me he is more scared than you are.

The other thing is with a top opening cage, your hand is coming from above and as prey animals they fear anything coming from above. Some hamsters get used to this, some don't.

I think what may have really upset him is you moving things around in his cage. They really don't like that! Especially in the early days.

General advice is, as you have done, leave them alone to settle in for two or three days. But after that don't clean the cage for a couple of weeks or change things or move things, because they are adjusting and scent marking everything.

It can take a good two weeks for them to settle in a new environment and even if it's the same cage, it's a different place. Even moving a cage into a different room or a different position can really set them back for a couple of weeks.

Water bottles can be a total pain - just adds to the stress! Maybe you need a different water bottle. It's always good to have a spare as well in case one stops working.

For now I would just talk to him through the cage. Say sorry in your sorriest voice (I swear they respond to tone of voice and understand you!) And tell him he's clever and lovely.

To make up for the minor disturbances and frights, you could hide a few treats in his cage for him to find to distract him, but do it when he's asleep.

For now I would suggest not putting your hand in his cage except to put out food and water when he's asleep. If after a week he seems more settled and you want to try handling him - it is better done out of the cage than in it. They behave completely differently outof the cage. Inside the cage is their territory.

To get him out you could let him walk into a tube with a treat at one end then put both hands over either end of the tube and lift him out like that. Wear gloves if you're nervous so you don't drop it! Next to the cage you need something to put the tube down into straight away. Eg a large box or plastic bin. If it's large enough you could use that as a taming bin, or you could just carry him to the bathtub or a playpen area in it and let him run around in there and occasionally stroke him or let him run over the flat of your hand on the base of the bath/playpen. So he gets used to your presence, scent and realises you aren't going to hurt him.

If you have a hamster ball it could be easier to lower that into the cage with a treat inside and let him walk into that. Then you can just pop the lid on and carry the ball to where you want to let him out.

For now best not to tinker with his cage or move things or take things away. Adding something new can go down well as long as it doesn't mean moving things around.

Take it slowly and I'm sure he'll soon be lovely and tame with you.

How is the water bottle attached? Some people use industrial strength velcro to attach a bottle inside if it isn't sitting quite right (assume there's a bottle hole with that cage).

I find these bottles very good - they don't drip or leak and they let the water out well. Well hardly ever drip! I get two at a time to save on postage.

You won't be able to use the clip as that's for a barred cage.

https://www.portonaquapet.co.uk/shop...rinky-B-M42882
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Old 05-02-2019, 04:44 AM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: First time hamster owner freaking out!

Forgot to mention - if you put him in a bin, best to have some substrate and a couple of toys (Cardboard tube eg) in it. Also in the playpen or bathtub it's good to put 2 or 3 toys and a wheel or flying saucer maybe. So he has something to do and somewhere to retreat to. And scatter some food or treats for him to find.
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Old 05-02-2019, 05:48 AM   #4
demyere
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Default Re: First time hamster owner freaking out!

Thank you for your very detailed answer. The first bottle was attached outside the cage but I had since bought a new one (the one that leaks) with a stand. I suspect it leaks because he plays around it while Iím gone and the substrate presses on it.

His substrate now is a little damp (Iíve removed what I can and put in some new bits) and Iíve also noted ants in his cage. I had initially wanted to clean out his cage on Saturday (keeping most of not all of the substrate to put back in) and not washing any toys beyond the one house he pees in. Should I not do so? Iím worried if the ants will annoy him.

Iíll leave him where he is now and wonít move his toys around anymore. I did read somewhere that taming should be consistent, should I no longer try and feed him treats from my fingers for the next 2-3 days to let him calm down again?

Thank you in advance.
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