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Old 10-16-2021, 02:33 AM   #1
EmmaDurnford
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Teddington, Middlesex UK
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Default My new hamster will not come out!

Hello all, I have kept Syrian hamsters for over 25 years and a week ago got my 13th hammy - Pingado - a male short haired, banded Syrian (black and white with black eyes). I love hamsters - I work from home and all of mine have come out often in the day for treats despite being nocturnal! I consider myself fairly experienced in looking after hamsters and have managed to tame all my hamsters so that they are happy to be held, sit on my shoulder and even in one case would walk up and rattle his door to be let out... until now!

Pingado was about 9 weeks old and had only been in the shop (where I bought them in the past) for the 2 day quarantine period. He has not been socialised by the staff as not there long enough. I bought him home in my carry container and like they normally do, he spent an hour wizzing around his new house, discovering everything and rolling in his sand bath. In the evening he was running in his wheel. Then nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I have had him for exactly 7 days and we have seen him about 3 times, very briefly. He literally does not come out at all when we are there. I spend every evening talking to him gently to get used to my voice, have not attempted to get him out (as can never see him). He seems terrified but is obviously eating, drinking and playing in his sand bath. It is not possible to get him used to me as we never see him. He is kept exactly as I have kept all the others. I am worried that I now have a hamster that will in effect be invisible for the next 2.5 years or so.

I know not to lift his house up (has a wooden house with front opening made by my husband). I am at a loss to know what to do. I have put a little fresh food in front of his door to tempt him out - he eats it eventually, very often when we are not there.

Any advice very gratefully received (pic taken on his arrival!).
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:14 AM   #2
Ria P
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Location: Wiltshire, UK
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Default Re: My new hamster will not come out!

Hello and welcome to HC!

As you know, all hamsters have different personalities and Pingado may be a bit more timid and reserved than your previous hamsters.

One week is a short time and it can take a lot longer than that for a hamster to get used to his new surroundings and gain enough confidence to face the humans.

I have a Syrian who never comes out of his house during the day and has an en suite toilet in his guinea pig sized house with a lift off roof so i can spot clean his toilet without disturbing his nest. He screeched the house down when he first arrived so i left him alone for the first couple of weeks.

Some hamsters just need more time and we need to be more patient while trying not to compare them with others.

I'd put a big heap of torn into strips plain white toilet paper outside of his house. Add some paper that had been up your sleeve for a few hours too. Hamsters love building nests and he may get tempted into coming out to get some, if not then he'll get it after dark.

Just keep talking to him for another week so he gets to know your voice.

He is a lovely looking hamster and i like his name a lot.

Did you make it up yourself?
I'm not very cultured and wouldn't reckognize a shakespearean or operatic name.
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Old 10-16-2021, 08:57 AM   #3
EmmaDurnford
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Default Re: My new hamster will not come out!

Dear Ria

Thanks so much for your reassuring reply. I had Googled and I read 2 weeks but but I was hoping for some interim improvement!

I forgot to say that Pingado was also squeaking like yours when he arrived! I'll definitely try the soft paper trick, in fact I had to do that with a previous one a few years ago but had forgotten all about it.

Re. his name - I'd like to say it was a Shakespearian or Operatic name but I'm not that educated! A number of our boys have been named after places we visited (not sure why) and as we finally managed to get to Portugal last month, I wanted a Portuguese name but didn't think any of the obvious ones suited him. In the end my husband mentioned our favourite supermarket there - Pingo Doce and I thought of a Portuguese coffee called a Pingado! Past hamsters (first 3 were female and the rest all males) have been - in order of arrival - Cranberry, Coral, Skye, Ember, Mr Jingles, Fernando, Jose, Jasper, Milford, Brockley, Washington and most recently Sydney!
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Old 10-16-2021, 09:25 AM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: My new hamster will not come out!

Haha! A hamster named after a coffee. Maybe he turns out to a morning hamster. I like it and reminds me of my son's cockatiel called Kenco.
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Old 10-19-2021, 07:57 AM   #5
BooTheFearless
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Default Re: My new hamster will not come out!

Hey Emma,

Like many folks have said, hamsters vary heavily in their different types of personalities and behaviors. My current hamster, Boo II (RIP Boo I), acclimated to my wife and I within a few days. However, Boo I was much like your hamster and it took her 3 weeks to become fully comfortable in her environment. I would say that patience is key here as it is with all things

You're doing great, however, in getting Pingado adjusted to your voice by softly talking to him! I guess I would also say, as well, that you should make sure that he's in a quiet area and that, if his cage is on the floor, that he is not being disturbed by the vibrations of your footsteps throughout the house. Furthermore, as Ria mentioned, Pingado may just be active at odd times of the night. Most hamsters tend to be crepuscular (meaning they're active at dawn/dusk). However, Boo II is active from, I've noticed, 2am-3am. If you don't happen to be a night owl such as myself, you may simply just be missing him
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:22 AM   #6
EmmaDurnford
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Location: Teddington, Middlesex UK
Posts: 6
Default Re: My new hamster will not come out!

Thank you both 'BooTheFearless' and Ria - I thought I'd check in with a Pingado update.

Following both your advice I am been chatting away to Pingado every night (total rubbish but he listens more than my husband!) and although it's a low process - my slowest one to date - there has been progress. A few nights ago he sprang out of his house and seemed to forget he was meant to be scared and took fresh food from my hand and ate it in front of me before going home again.

Then both last night and this morning he came out, pottered around, ate from my hand and even made it up his wooden ladder to the open door. I couldn't quite persuade him out and he did nibble my knuckle which was painful but only because he wondered if it was edible and not in a malicious way. I can see he will be a slow burner but it is much better now I get to see him. My only problem now is that due to his nerves he has clearly been wee-ing in his house rather than outside (rather smelly) so I will need to change the sawdust underneath but not wanting to disturb him will have to take my time. I will put some of the dirty stuff back in the corner and hopefully he can be persuaded the use that location. It may be a while before I can get him out and swiftly do the deed.

Thanks again for the advice. Despite keeping hamsters for over 25 years there are clearly still many things still to be learnt and it is great to have other experienced owners to help - thank you.
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