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Old 04-03-2021, 07:53 AM   #1
Caitctus
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Question Hamster stopped burrowing

Hi everyone!

About a month ago now, we have moved our Russian dward hamster (Aragorn) from a Zolux Neo Nigha cage (78x48x36cm) to a Detolf cage.

In the old cage, Aragorn used to dig and burrow a lot, and had an entire tunnel system and an underground food stock point. The cage enabled us to have a layer of about 12cm, which wasn't ideal, but he always found a way to make it work.

Now that he's in a Detolf, with a layer of about 20cm (maybe even more), he just doesn't burrow anymore. I've left some tunnels like cork tunnels under the bedding so he can always hide there as well (as recommended by Victoria Raechel on YouTube), and I've spreak some orchard hay between the different layers of bedding so his tunnels hold on better.

On the left side of the cage, there is hardly any bedding, because I put his very tall house there, and bedding would've prevented it from fitting in the cage at all. He basically stays in the lower floor of this 'castle' and sleeps and hoards food there.

Although I've added more hiding spots here and there, mainly on top of deeper layers of bedding, he's just not interested in them. He tried to dig from the inside of the house at the top of the thickest layer, but gave up after he dug 2cm in and never tried again, even with snacks. If I try to show the way by digging the beginning of a tunnel, he covers it back.

Is there a problem with him? Have I done something wrong, perhaps? Or is it maybe normal behaviour when hamsters switch environments (knowing that I transferred some bedding from the old cage to the new one)?

Thank you for your help!
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Old 04-03-2021, 12:45 PM   #2
Ria P
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Default Re: Hamster stopped burrowing

I have his previous cage which is known as the Grosvenor in the UK. It has a large shelf and a ramp which gives quite a lot of overhead cover.

I wonder if he's feeling exposed in the Detolf.
Do you have enough overhead cover for him? Free standing platforms, houses, hides and a runway on stilts etc are good in a glass cage. Hamsters seem to like to tunnel underneath things.

Could you post a photo of his set up please?
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Old 04-03-2021, 04:53 PM   #3
dorianhamster
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Default Re: Hamster stopped burrowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caitctus View Post
Hi everyone!

About a month ago now, we have moved our Russian dward hamster (Aragorn) from a Zolux Neo Nigha cage (78x48x36cm) to a Detolf cage.

In the old cage, Aragorn used to dig and burrow a lot, and had an entire tunnel system and an underground food stock point. The cage enabled us to have a layer of about 12cm, which wasn't ideal, but he always found a way to make it work.

Now that he's in a Detolf, with a layer of about 20cm (maybe even more), he just doesn't burrow anymore. I've left some tunnels like cork tunnels under the bedding so he can always hide there as well (as recommended by Victoria Raechel on YouTube), and I've spreak some orchard hay between the different layers of bedding so his tunnels hold on better.

On the left side of the cage, there is hardly any bedding, because I put his very tall house there, and bedding would've prevented it from fitting in the cage at all. He basically stays in the lower floor of this 'castle' and sleeps and hoards food there.

Although I've added more hiding spots here and there, mainly on top of deeper layers of bedding, he's just not interested in them. He tried to dig from the inside of the house at the top of the thickest layer, but gave up after he dug 2cm in and never tried again, even with snacks. If I try to show the way by digging the beginning of a tunnel, he covers it back.

Is there a problem with him? Have I done something wrong, perhaps? Or is it maybe normal behaviour when hamsters switch environments (knowing that I transferred some bedding from the old cage to the new one)?

Thank you for your help!
My male Syrian used to burrow all of the time until he just decided to stop one day. It's the same thing with my female. They were really into it when I first brought them home and stayed into it for a few months then eventually they just stopped. My female Syrian even rearranges how much bedding is on each side whenever she feels like it. Currently, one side has very low bedding and the other side is stacked almost to the lid. Neither of mine has had any health concerns or problems and they both seem enriched enough as they remain active and energetic. No signs of depression or anything like that, and I did leave them more than enough room to burrow.

However, I will say that I have heard of hamsters getting depression due to lack of enrichment or a change in environment. I have not dealt with that personally, but I heard somewhere that changing too much of their bedding at once can freak them out and/or cause them to get depressed. It was a while ago that I heard that so I am unsure of the source.

As long as you are meeting the size requirements for the cage and giving them enough bedding, what the hamster does is up to him. Neither of my hamsters are really into it, so from what I can tell you there's nothing unusual about it. It is just the individual's personal preference. If your little buddy is otherwise active and seems to be enjoying life then I don't see why it would be an issue.
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:01 PM   #4
Caitctus
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Default Re: Hamster stopped burrowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
I have his previous cage which is known as the Grosvenor in the UK. It has a large shelf and a ramp which gives quite a lot of overhead cover.

I wonder if he's feeling exposed in the Detolf.
Do you have enough overhead cover for him? Free standing platforms, houses, hides and a runway on stilts etc are good in a glass cage. Hamsters seem to like to tunnel underneath things.

Could you post a photo of his set up please?
Hi! Sorry that it took SO LONG for me to answer. We had to change our wifi provider and they took a really long time to switch everything and then I just forgot

We did have a few hideouts in the Detolf, but after I read your reply I did add 2 or 3 more, and as soon as I did this, he started burrowing under the biggest one, which sat in the middle of the cage. We've moved things around in the meantime (I built him a Hobbit house with an open back, where he can just dig, and he loves it there), and things are doing much better with him! Thank you for the tip!
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Old 06-23-2021, 12:07 PM   #5
Caitctus
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Default Re: Hamster stopped burrowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by dorianhamster View Post
My male Syrian used to burrow all of the time until he just decided to stop one day. It's the same thing with my female. They were really into it when I first brought them home and stayed into it for a few months then eventually they just stopped. My female Syrian even rearranges how much bedding is on each side whenever she feels like it. Currently, one side has very low bedding and the other side is stacked almost to the lid. Neither of mine has had any health concerns or problems and they both seem enriched enough as they remain active and energetic. No signs of depression or anything like that, and I did leave them more than enough room to burrow.

However, I will say that I have heard of hamsters getting depression due to lack of enrichment or a change in environment. I have not dealt with that personally, but I heard somewhere that changing too much of their bedding at once can freak them out and/or cause them to get depressed. It was a while ago that I heard that so I am unsure of the source.

As long as you are meeting the size requirements for the cage and giving them enough bedding, what the hamster does is up to him. Neither of my hamsters are really into it, so from what I can tell you there's nothing unusual about it. It is just the individual's personal preference. If your little buddy is otherwise active and seems to be enjoying life then I don't see why it would be an issue.
I'm so sorry that I took ages to reply!

I don't think that Aragorn became depressed since we switched cages. If anything, he loves it! He's much more active and eats better (although he's getting tired of the food we have, even if we try to switch things around as much as possible so that he has a diverse diet). Half of the bedding in the Detolf is new bedding, the other half being his old bedding, in which he used to nest (we've made sure that it was clean, of course).

Someone else suggested adding more hideouts, which we did, and now he's burrowing everywhere. He especially loves his new Hobbit house, which I've built myself. It has an open back, so he can decide to just chill in the 'hall'or dig up or down as he wishes. It has a roof, but I cut a wide hole so he can also just go in from the top of the house (which is sheltered underneath a bendy bridge). He now wakes up less often during the day, but is very active at night!
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Old 06-26-2021, 03:35 AM   #6
Imogen
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Default Re: Hamster stopped burrowing

I had the same issue with my little guy. He was in a 420 something square inch bin box when I first got him with the lid off - as I knew I was changing bins after 2 weeks so didn't bother to DIY the top. He would burrow non-stop each night and just loved it.

When I moved him into this new 709 square inch box he was in there for a solid 2 months and didn't burrow at all. Maybe once, but that was only that one time and never saw him do it again after.

However, he switched over to the detolf Thursday (2 days ago) and last night I finally managed to catch him burrow a teeny bit under one of his plastic hideys and it felt really good to see him do so.

Honestly, not sure what the cause is either myself and I'm not sure if he will keep at it; I hope he will cause I love seeing his little body dig by the see-through part when possible and watching him sliver along!

Thought I'd state this as you're not the only one! x
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