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Old 10-11-2016, 12:26 PM  
Serendipity7000
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North of England
Posts: 21,979
Default Re: Hairless Hamster: Tips and Advice?

That article is a great find Shakudo! Bogart - he sounds wonderful! I don't think I would have been able to resist either. Having read the article it sounds like he might be better with a glass tank, if that's possible. A 40 gallon breeder tank is a popular size for a Syrian and Petco have a dollar per gallon sale on until 5th November. It would get round the issue of reducing risk of injuries, and also be less draughty. It would also allow you to put a really good depth of bedding in so he can burrow down in it and keep warm as well as building a good sized nest. He could turn out to be a good tunneler being so streamlined!

Softer substrate sounds better, and Carefresh is fine, as is Kaytee Clean and Cozy (which I believe is a bit less dusty), but they don't work out cheap especially if you have something like 25cm depth of substrate. If you can get Boxo I think that is popular and is sold in bulk so works out cheaper - also a paper/cardboard based substrate. Or you could mix Boxo with Carefresh. I wouldn't use any wood based bedding due to the skin injury/irritation risk.

So - having read that article, having a Syrian and thinking about what I would do if he was mine (ooh I want him) - I would go with a 40 gallon breeder tank, 25cm to 30cm of well compacted paper based substrate. A large house/nesting box (wood or a cardboard shoebox) like a guinea pig sized one - so he has room to build a really big nest and can also burrow down to keep warm. If you have the deep substrate a cardboard shoebox house might be better as it won't need supporting and won't sink or squash him if he tunnels under it

In terms of toys maybe lots of floor cover toys like large tunnels or tubes - cork logs make good floor cover toys and are quite large so fill a lot of the floor area - and this will also make it cosier and feel less draughty. And hanging hammocks from the top would also give a bit of insulation and cosiness (although if he tries to chew them you might need to replace them with grass hammocks or a level on legs instead). Some kind of shelf/level is good as well - something he can sit under and feel safe, or climb up a bit. You can just stick some dowel legs on a piece of wood, or make shelves from Ikea Knuff magazine racks maybe.

Foodwise. I would go with a complete Hamster Mix like Hazel Hamster (which is identical to Harry Hamster) and has all the protein, nutrients and vitamins required, and supplement it with a few rings of the Oxbow each day. This would still be a little bit low on protein and I believe Mazuri rat and mouse blocks are a popular additional source of protein in the US - or you can supplement the protein with fresh foods - cheese, nuts, mealworms are all good for protein. I give half a brazil nut once a week, half a walnut once a week, a small piece of cheese once a week, plus extras like pumpkin seeds as treats. Pumpkin seeds are easy to get - supermarkets sell them as healthy snacks.

In terms of keeping him warm I'd say the most important thing is keep the room warm. It could be good, as the article says, to have some kind of heat source near the tank (although you'd need to be careful with glass so he didn't fry), or heat pad etc, but mainly keep the room temperature constant - that might mean having the central heating on longer or having a separate little heater for that room on low overnight. We live in a cold part of the Uk and a draughty house and I have little oil filled radiator on low all night which keeps the room at an even temperature.

Toys - because of the risk of skin injury, maybe avoid wood toys that have rough edges or are made with nails. Cork logs are natural and not hard or scratchy really. Cardboard is fine, ceramic and plastic toys are also fine as long as they don't get chewed and have sharp edges.

Looking forward to meeting the little man!
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