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Old 08-08-2015, 10:30 AM   #1
JellyBeans
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Angry Solitary? Stressed?

I am quite new to hamsters but I run a good hamster care site on Instagram. Sometimes I politely tell people that Syrians are strictly solitary.
They give me the normal spiel..my hamsters haven't fought yet, I know what I am doing, they're friends.
I know that this isn't true, but I tell them that even if they aren't fighting they could be reaching dangerous stress levels which will weaken their immune system and can lead to an early death.
They often reply my hamster isnt stressed I would know, so my question is, can you tell if a hamster is stressed about living with another hamster or will they be able to hide it whilst still suffering, and if so is there a reason they appear to be friends on the surface?

Last edited by Moderator Team; 08-09-2015 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 08-12-2015, 12:45 AM   #2
cookietiger
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

Hi
I don't know much about keeping two Syrians together because I've never done it so I wouldn't know about if they hide their suffering. However I found this article:
Hamster Body Language | Hamsters as Pets
It says that when they feel threatened they will urinate, flatten close to the ground, attempt to run away, bite and many other things. You could try asking the people to look out for these signs even though their hamsters are "doing great together"(sweet talk them so they don't get so up tight about it).
I know it can be frustrating but some people just have to learn the hard way.
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Old 08-12-2015, 12:55 AM   #3
Piebald
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

I never understand why some people just have to "know better" and fight expert advice.
Anyway, you could also point out that Hamsters are prey animals and so it is part of their survival instincts to hide stress, illness or injury. By the time a human can see a problem it will already be quite serious.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:40 AM   #4
BrainGirl
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

The way that scientists measure stress in the lab is with a blood test for cortisol, a hormone released under stress. Hamsters will try to avoid fighting but with no way to escape it will most likely happen sooner or later. One of my girls was acquired after she'd killed her cagemate and the owners blamed her
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:44 AM   #5
Tildauk
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGirl View Post
The way that scientists measure stress in the lab is with a blood test for cortisol, a hormone released under stress. Hamsters will try to avoid fighting but with no way to escape it will most likely happen sooner or later. One of my girls was acquired after she'd killed her cagemate and the owners blamed her
Poor little girl, that's so mean and unfair. Sometimes its hard resisting giving people a massive smack especially where poor care of little hams is happening
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:55 AM   #6
Shannonmcn
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

When you see any post about hamsters on the Internet (outside rodent forums maybe) there will be at least one story of hamsters fighting and killing eachother in the comments, guaranteed.

And just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't, people don't apply that logic in other areas of their life. Like just because you don't wear a seatbelt and haven't been killed in a car crash yet doesn't mean you should continue to never wear your seatbelt when presented with facts on how dangerous it is. And really that link above from cookie tiger would be worth reading along with other bits and pieces about body language. People don't know hamster body language, most people don't even understand dog body language and dogs have been companion animals for thousands of years, their body language is incredibly expressive and designed for us to understand. You still see so many people get bitten or dogs hurt because they don't understand a dog is frightened or scared and think they know best, poor little hams don't stand a chance.
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Old 08-12-2015, 04:57 AM   #7
BrainGirl
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tildauk View Post
Poor little girl, that's so mean and unfair. Sometimes its hard resisting giving people a massive smack especially where poor care of little hams is happening
Yeah, she was gorgeous and very sweet. Sadly she never really got over her nervousness of being touched but she learned to wait at the cage door for treats and soft words.

Found an article on hamster stress for the OP:
Psychological test methods: sensitivity to long term chemical exposure at work. - PubMed - NCBI
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:19 AM   #8
katmick
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

JellyBeans, people who try to counteract your opinion on hamsters being solitary didn't do their research or they are being ignorant or lazy to do their research now after you told them this piece of information.

At the end of the day,all you can do is to educate people and hope for the best. Those who want to learn and those who truly want the best for their animals will find the truth after you corrected their opinion. And the other group...let just hope that they will never keep or hurt their pet..

Education of animal welfare and correct husbandry is always worth it, so don't be disheartened by few fools on the internet. Good luck ! x
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:37 AM   #9
Bbhami
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

I agree with cookietiger about sweet talking them regarding the topic. As much as we are concerned about the well being of the hams, we can only tell them off on the internet. Scolding people will make them even more defensive and refuse to accept the fact that syrians can't stay together. You could link them to hamster care videos or forums and encourage them to know more about their pets, or you can tell them that you are concerned about their pet and not trying to make them look stupid/bad.
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Old 08-12-2015, 05:54 PM   #10
JellyBeans
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Default Re: Solitary? Stressed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piebald View Post
I never understand why some people just have to "know better" and fight expert advice.
Anyway, you could also point out that Hamsters are prey animals and so it is part of their survival instincts to hide stress, illness or injury. By the time a human can see a problem it will already be quite serious.
That's a really good point! Thank you everyone for your thoughts and advice on the topic.
Even though I am friendly with my advice on Instagram I still get a lot of aggression and denial. However I have changed some peoples minds so it was worth it. I hate it when people say I know my hamster is happy but they are in a cage smaller than a loaf of bread

I guess if they don't do any research they are unlikely to be able to spot the signs of stress. It is truly shocking to see the low levels of hamster care on Instagram, some of it would be obvious even if you hadn't researched, wire floors with no bedding, tiny cages, providing no wheel or house, poking them etc
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