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Old 05-22-2023, 11:20 AM  
Hamster Pup
Jeir's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 208
Default Re: A lot of questions

1. My info is a little out of date as I've been using teabag bedding for years, but aspen is considered safe, although apparently can sometimes cause allergic reactions. Hemp is also safe. From a quick search to refresh my memory, the only unsafe ones are pine and cedar, due to the oils/acids that may be present in the wood. (Note: If I remember correctly, solid pine toys are generally considered safe in the UK, as pine is kiln-dried which removes almost all of the oils.)

2. I have used the sprays myself many times, although only for dwarfs; my Syrians were never interested other than as an initial exploratory nibble. They generally contain millet and dari, which hamsters enjoy. To be safer, you can always store the sprays in the freezer for a couple of days to ensure there are no bugs.

3. Pets at home have a few forage mixes, both own-brand and Rosewood. Be sure to check the ingredients and compare with 'safe foods for hamsters' lists, as at least one of the mixes (Rosewood Fruit Salad, I believe) contains leeks, which hamsters shouldn't have. I have found that hamsters generally aren't too interested in 'herby' mixes with dried petals, although they can make the cage look more colourful. Rodipet also has a number of forage mixes (and I get my hamsters main foods there), but they can be very, very expensive (especially with the shipping fees) compared to things in the UK.

4. I guess you've already tried the 'sitting by cage and talking to hamster' and 'give tissues that have your scent' methods? Unfortunately I don't have much advice for this; my hamsters have always been either very easy to tame, or for the less-friendly ones (generally dwarfs), had learned enough of their personalities to know when to minimise interaction. The only advice I can really give is to, well, start over. Give your hamster a break for a couple of days; only do the bare minimum of interaction. Then slowly start doing the usual methods again; talking, you-scented tissue, gently stroking the back as he eats, then moving to stroke the sides as he gets more comfortable with that, gradually moving to picking him up and holding him in your arms (fingers tucked away!). Food distractions are a good idea for any kind of physical interaction, as most hamsters are very food-motivated.

5. I've used a play pen a few times, and my hamsters always just wanted to escape it. But, for your question, a DIY option might not work, unless you're good with woodor metalworking; a cardboard playpen will be easy to chew through, and plastic boxes (like those used in bin cages) might not be large enough. You can get a toddler ball pit off Amazon for about 10, which would give ample space, is waterproof, and doesn't have bars the hamster can climb up, but you'd still have to watch out in case he nibbles through it.
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