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Old 10-20-2021, 04:14 AM   #1
mdrnao
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Question Always digging!

After a few weeks of observation, I've been watching my little dwarf ham spend all day digging for food. At first I was worried that he was hungry but last week I cleared out his nest spot and found his giant haul.

It looks like he's just digging to get every last tiny seed! I am right in thinking this is ok? Anything I can do?

Picture attached - find the digging hamster!
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Old 10-20-2021, 06:35 AM   #2
Petite
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Default Re: Always digging!

Your hamster sounds like a perfectly normal ham, and you don't need to do anything - although if his haul really is "giant", you might like to give him a little less so as to reduce the risk of it going stale.

Your ham looks to be in his element!
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Old 10-20-2021, 06:42 AM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: Always digging!

That's what hamsters do, they are burrowers.
He may not just be looking for food. He may be busy building an elaborate underground tunnel system like they used to do before they became pets and lived in the wilds.
The instincts are still there and your hamster is lucky to be able to have the opportunities for natural behaviours.
He's enjoying being a hamster!
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Old 10-20-2021, 11:08 AM   #4
mdrnao
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Default Re: Always digging!

Thanks both! Just wanted to double check I wasn't missing anything!

He has a fabulous tunnel system on the other side of his cage which I've piled super high. But this side is only about 10cm deep so not so good for his burrows!

I've had him for about a year but it's only in the last month that he's started digging so exuberantly... But he was placed in his new cage only a couple of months prior so he might just be enjoying it more! I've hacked an IKEA Ivar system for a huge 120x50 cage and it's quite the upgrade.
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Old 10-20-2021, 12:40 PM   #5
Ria P
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Default Re: Always digging!

I'd love to see a photo of your dwarf's habitat. Sounds grand!
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:48 AM   #6
mdrnao
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Default Re: Always digging!

Here's the outside! I'll hunt out some internal pics later.
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Old 10-22-2021, 05:16 AM   #7
mdrnao
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Default Re: Always digging!

Apologies for the delay - some internal shots, and one cheeky hamster who wanted to know what I was doing!

We have no "upstairs" hides, just a lot of cork tunnels and a bendy bridge for on the go hiding - he has a knuff (?) magazine file under the wheel which is his primary base and where all his tunnels get dug from. He's very cleverly hidden most of the access and there's just a wee hamster sized hole which comes out near the branch end by the wheel. Any toy/chew gets immediately buried (not sure if they're offensive or stashed!).

Still a work in progress - tempted to add another shelf/running track since we have a lot of head height! but slowly slowly...
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:02 AM   #8
Ria P
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Default Re: Always digging!

That has a lot of potential and is looking good!
I'd add a level or two with a free standing platform, 55cm long Trixie bridges to run along etc, add some millet sprays and more textures like wicker, ceramic etc.

Never seen this Ikea conversion before and what a fab idea.

One question though. How did you ventilate this enclosure to ensure enough airflow?
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Old 10-22-2021, 07:44 AM   #9
mdrnao
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Default Re: Always digging!

Thank you! I have a small shelf that I'm planning on adding to the smaller side - I just need to cut off the end so it doesn't interfere with the plexiglass doors. But I like the idea of the super long bridges. Millet sprays last two seconds with this guy so I've stopped adding them in, but the little man who lives above has them dotted about as he's not much of a hoarder.

Wicker I've always worried can capture little toes - am I being too paranoid?

This set up is very much unique to my flat and hamsters (who aren't escape artists) - it's a very drafty Edwardian 4th floor tenement in Scotland so I typically have the opposite problem to others! I had a decent footprint to work with, but I needed two cages which limited a lot of the options. I also wanted something that felt more adult than two cages on a shelf since they're in my living room.

I started with a two inch gap around the top which was meshed, but the temperature gage before we put them in was always lower than I'd like so we replaced the larger back board to close it in. If anyone is interested in building it themselves I have it all planned out for much better ventilation!

The sides and sliding doors aren't sealed, and the door on the shallow side I leave slightly open when the wind/temperature allows. There's also extra "breathing room" by keeping the shelves spaced out and adding height. Once I get my flat's drafts under control - I'll add a ventilation gap again by trimming the back boards down so the entire width of the cage has a two inch gap at the top (you can just about see on the full height photo I posted first there's enough room to poke your finger in!).
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Old 10-22-2021, 11:32 AM   #10
Ria P
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Default Re: Always digging!

Your dwarfie is very cute! Who is the neighbour in the flat above?

I use wicker tunnels but line them with a cardboard tube for the same reason you've mentioned.

I had a dwarf who demolished a millet in no time, mainly the more expensive red millet from a pick 'n fly packet.
The cheap bird millet the sells in bunches lasted quite a bit longer.

I can just picture your dwarf attacking a hedgehog whimzee as big as himself, lol. That would keep him entertained for a while.

I think that you should show your hamster habitats on the thread "Let's see your cages" under Housing on the Forum.
It is very unique, spacious and inspirational.

Yes, i remember the howling wind in Scotland well having lived in the Highlands for nearly 20 years.
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