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Old 02-01-2022, 01:57 AM  
Hamsters University
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 23,535
Default Re: Afraid of playpen...please advise

If she’s very tame, maybe have her out on the bed or sofa with you for a run around, where you can handle her as well and have strokes etc. Interacting with her. Sometimes they build confidence from there to want to explore further. How old is she? They can be quirky - they want to get out of the cage/escape as a kind of instinct I think , but once out maybe want to go back again. I’ve had similar things with play pens - and others have. They behave as if no space is big enough and still want to escape by digging in corners. Or they just sit there.

With free roaming I think it depends on personality. Some will just sit in a corner, some will roam more but still look for a way out of the room. They just seem to have this instinct to escape! Even if they had the run of the whole house they’d find an air gap at the front door and be scrabbling at the door to get out. And once they know you don’t want them to go somewhere and retrieve them, they do it even more! It’s like a contrary game.

I think basically their instinct is to forage - for food and nesting material - then go back to their nest with it.

Our last Syrian was quite shy. I used to give him sofa time. He was quite happy on the sofa and liked to climb up the back. It was quite a long time before he ventured the confidence to think about trying to climb down from it. Then he did enjoy free roaming a bit but would still head to a dark corner and and just sit there.

Sometimes even on the sofa he’d look for something to hide under or try and dig down the side of the cushions. Ultimately their day time is in the dark at night and I reckon they just zone into dark places when there are lights on etc.

At night is when they’re most active and foraging and full of energy (wheel running).

I’ve found with other hamsters that it can depend on what time of the evening they’re out. Our first one was highly active around 6pm or late at night. But from about 8pm to 10pm he was just dopey and would actually go to sleep on your knee (under a blanket). They are always looking for a dark place. One Syrian we had was very gung ho and energetic when free roaming - spent most of his time trying to get through the door from the living room to the kitchen - which had a big gap under it. I used to put cushions and blankets there to stop him getting through and this just made him try harder! Sometimes he did get through and I’d find him sitting under the kitchen table almost waiting to be found. But once he got under the kitchen cupboards and it wasn’t easy getting him out.

So I think the main thing about out of cage time is - a break - a change of scene and interaction with you. They’re almost like naughty children.

If she is just sitting in the playpen she’s probably accepted she can’t escape and got bored.

I would try some sofa time. I also fed treats by hand during sofa time so it was something to look forward to.
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