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Old 05-07-2019, 11:48 AM   #1
QuietKarma
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: London
Posts: 1
Default Hi, just finished my DIY cage. I have a few questions

Hi,
I (like many) bought a hamster 2 months ago with very out dated knowledge on hamster care. Since bringing Hermoine home, I have been through an extreme learning curve.
My biggest failures were not providing a large enough cage, a sand area, or large enough wheel. I have literally seen my hamsters personality change with this three adjustments alone.

So here are my questions:
1) Is it ok to have the cage in front of the window? I have the curtains closed (90%). Wary that the direct light could be harmful or bird shadows could create stress.
Note: I live in the UK so extreme sun is not really an issue

2) I have created a play space in the room the cage is located. It has carpeted floor. Is there a way to deter her from scratching at the carpet?

3) I bought her from a pet shop (I know!) and she is definitely over 3 months as she was fully grown at the time. Although she has settled down, and will now climb all over me, she still does not stay still, doesn't like sitting on the palm of my hand and generally seems as if she always would prefer to escape. Is this normal? So many videos of chilled hamsters, it just makes me worry.

4) I set up a night camera for interest. I've noticed that she seems to be aware of it. Could this create stress? Like a bird watching!?

5) I have added up to 10 inches of substrate, and even created part finished tunnels, however she has no interest in burrowing. Is this normal? Feel like I'm wasting substrate.

6) My cage does not have a lid/top. Does this impact a hamsters stress levels?

7) I also have 2 lamps, with red 3w bulbs, which run on a timer between 8-12pm. This enables me to see her during the time when we are both awake. Is this ok?

I just want to ensure this hamster is as content as possible. She has really changed into a happy hamster over the last 6 weeks however I just want to be sure I'm not unknowingly neglecting her.

I have attached some pictures of the DIY cage I made. Welcome any feedback or suggestions of improvement.

This is my first post, however this forum has been vital in my recent journey in hamster care, so thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Hamster cage.jpg (365.7 KB, 20 views)
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Old 05-13-2019, 04:26 AM   #2
Shannonmcn
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Posts: 3,037
Default Re: Hi, just finished my DIY cage. I have a few questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuietKarma View Post
Hi,
I (like many) bought a hamster 2 months ago with very out dated knowledge on hamster care. Since bringing Hermoine home, I have been through an extreme learning curve.
My biggest failures were not providing a large enough cage, a sand area, or large enough wheel. I have literally seen my hamsters personality change with this three adjustments alone.
Hi QuietKarma! I'll take a jab at some of these but from the looks of the cage you seem to be doing pretty okay!

So here are my questions:
1) Is it ok to have the cage in front of the window?
It's not a problem unless it's going to over heat. Since your cage isn't glass and doesn't have a lid I don't see that being a significant problem. It's good for them to proper daylight cycles and I don't think she'd notice bird shadows tbh, not if she's getting up when the sun is going down as she should be.

2) Is there a way to deter her from scratching at the carpet?
Not that I know of. You can just keep her distracted with more interesting things (nothing is more interesting than doing what you're not allowed to do) and maybe blocking off the corners with cardboard so she chews that instead?

3) Although she has settled down, and will now climb all over me, she still does not stay still, doesn't like sitting on the palm of my hand and generally seems as if she always would prefer to escape. Is this normal?
Absolutely normal. Some hams are just natural explorers, the girls usually more so with syrians anyway. She might chill out in time but she also might not.

4) I set up a night camera for interest. I've noticed that she seems to be aware of it. Could this create stress? Like a bird watching!?
Is there a light or a noise that could be annoying her? If she's aware of the camera she's not going to be aware of being observed or anything so it's just going to be possible lights or sounds like with any piece of electrical equipment.

5) I have added up to 10 inches of substrate, and even created part finished tunnels, however she has no interest in burrowing. Is this normal? Feel like I'm wasting substrate.
What is your substrate? Does it hold tunnels? Some hams are just more into borrowing than others but I wouldn't assume she's never going to want to have a dig and take it out, she should always have the opportunity. And it's hardly completely wasted, the more bedding you have the less often you have to change it.

6) My cage does not have a lid/top. Does this impact a hamsters stress levels?
Some hams like more cover than others, as birds are their main predators it can be better for them to have some cover but you have plenty of hideys and things in the cage and a lid doesn't provide a lot of cover by itself anyway. I would be more worried about escapes or things potentially falling into the cage or other something. I couldn't sleep a wink without both mine having lids on.

7) I also have 2 lamps, with red 3w bulbs, which run on a timer between 8-12pm. This enables me to see her during the time when we are both awake. Is this ok?
I did a quick google and the most I could find was a random 2013 article about depressive symptoms in hamsters exposed to either full darkness, red light or blue lights, as a proxy for human night shift workers. Red lights were better than blue (or normal lightbulbs) but full darkness was best. There doesn't seem to be a consensus in the hamster "community" that I could find about whether they can see red light or not. I personally would be happy enough to use red lights when necessary, maybe not regularly when you don't actually need to observe her or aren't there.


Your DIY cage looks fabulous btw, incredibly jealous you have the space for something like that!
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Old 05-13-2019, 01:31 PM   #3
JSHammie
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Join Date: Nov 2018
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Default Re: Hi, just finished my DIY cage. I have a few questions

Wow that cage is fantastic! I have an eight month old female Syrian and she is the same, just wants to run around and is very speedy. In my experience male hamsters can be a little more chilled! How did you make that cage?
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