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Old 06-29-2021, 12:23 AM   #1
Minac
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Join Date: Jun 2021
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Question Hamster wants playpen access at night

My 4 month old Syrian is very curious and active. He wakes up around 10pm and spends about an hour in the playpen each evening before I put him back around 11 30pm. He loves the playpen so much he is biting the cage door bars overnight to try to come out again while I'm asleep and I'm concerned he will injure himself bar biting. I've tried taking him out in the morning as well but he would rather just collect food and go to bed.

His cage is 100 cm x 50 cm and his playpen is four times that size.

The playpen is not escape proof so I watch him while he is in there. Any suggestions on dealing with him biting the cage bars to come out in the middle of the night? Could he stop cage biting when he realises he cannot come out when I am not around?
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Old 06-29-2021, 02:27 AM   #2
Merle
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Default Re: Hamster wants playpen access at night

When your hamster is constantly biting the cage bars it is a clear sign of stress and that the cage might be too small. 100 x 50 cm already is a good sized cage but some hamsters just need more space. Here in Germany 100 x 50 cm cages are considered the bare minimun cage size but there are a lot of different minimun sizes all over the world. Every hamster is an individual and may need different cage sizes to be happy.

I experianced that when a hamster starts chewing the bars once that it becomes a habit and won't stop. I upgraded one of my past hamsters from a wired cage to a wooden one and she still kept chewing the wood instead of the bars.

If you can I would suggest to change her enclosure to a glass tank or a wooden cage, there are surely a few threads on here where you can get one for a small amount of money. If possible you could even upgrade the floor space.

Since bar chewing can become behavioral it may never stop unless you take away the bars. If you can't change the enclosure I would try to get her as much out of cage time as you can manage.
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Old 06-29-2021, 08:05 AM   #3
Minac
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Default Re: Hamster wants playpen access at night

Thank you for the tip to switch cages, I will look for a glass tank that is bigger than my current cage. It seems more prudent after your story about chewing as a habit.

I am also looking to make his playpen more sturdy and taller so he is less likely to escape and I could perhaps connect his current cage to the pen.
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Old 06-29-2021, 11:46 AM   #4
Imogen
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Default Re: Hamster wants playpen access at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minac View Post
Thank you for the tip to switch cages, I will look for a glass tank that is bigger than my current cage. It seems more prudent after your story about chewing as a habit.

I am also looking to make his playpen more sturdy and taller so he is less likely to escape and I could perhaps connect his current cage to the pen.
You could perhaps upgrade to an IKEA detolf? It only costs 60 (plus 40 for shipping if you can't pick it up). I recently moved my syrian, Remy into a detolf from a 709 square inch bin cage box and he now loves his 950 square inch enclosure.

It's a little narrow, some hams don't do well in narrowness (mostly females) but mine seems to be obsessed with his new enclosure and is just whizzing about and finally more active then he was in his old one.

It's one of the biggest enclosures on the market with unbroken floor space. Perhaps even the biggest (without a lot of DIYing) and is very easy to put together. You can also get some lovely designs and layouts.

Search google by typing in ikea detolf hamster enclosure and you'll find some absolutely wonderful ideas!

It is a little shallow and only just fits in a 28cm wheel with it on the bottom, and you'll have to make a DIY lid by hand out of small enough holed mesh and wood but it is amazing!

I don't actually have a lid on mine at the moment, as I only got this enclosure on Thursday last week. But am planning to make a raised lid which adds way more height. If you can't get around to making a lid straight away then you can use the three shelves on one side as a temporary lid and use the other side with some breathable material (enough for airflow) to prevent the ham escaping (which I'm currently doing).

You can find how to make the raised lid here: DIY lid Ikea detolf – Hamsterscape
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Old 06-29-2021, 05:08 PM   #5
Minac
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Default Re: Hamster wants playpen access at night

Thanks for your additional thoughts Imogen. I have seen many detolfs and might come back round to them. I chose a wire cage for ventilation, and might reconsider the detolf if he is still biting the cage in the coming days.
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