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Old 02-11-2023, 01:16 PM   #1
LittleMoose
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Lincolnshire
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Default Spinning Robo!

Hi everybody,

I was last here in when we had Alfie (2019) & Margot (2021). We thought we were retired from hams until about 4 weeks ago a co-worker decided her daughters hamster needed rehoming as they only fed, watered and mucked him out once a week. We took Jakey on, transferred him into a bigger home and have left him to settle, he was in such a tiny home it was awful!

I've looked after over 10 hams in my years but Jakey is my first Robo, and he has come with some pretty interesting behaviour.

He is constantly running around his house doing loops of his home, he loves running in circles and once he gets going it's like he can't stop, he doesn't really take any material to nest with He's just happy to sleep on his carefree bedding, he also doesn't like his wheel and uses it more for a toilet than running!

Is this normal for robos? He's so fast and tiny and we don't feel he gains much from being handled, hes nibbly but not mean.He's been to the vet and they confirmed no head tilt or anything to be worried about he's just constantly on the go.

So should we be worried or is he just super active? Thanks in advance and picture added of our lovely little dude!
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Old 02-13-2023, 10:11 AM   #2
_nod
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Location: Cleveland, OH
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Default Re: Spinning Robo!

Robo’s are great if you don’t care about handling them too much. There’re much less likely (in my experience) to be willing to be picked up. In a way I feel like Robos should have a nice big enclosure for this reason as they are much less likely to enjoy time out of it than other hamsters.

The spinning sounds very similar to one of my rescues (Nico Rosberg). He would run backwards and forwards very quickly, repeatedly, like he was stuck in a loop.

You can read a little about him here: Little Niko Rosberg

What worked for me was giving him lots of deep bedding, a very cluttered environment to break up the paths that he would repeat and multiple options for wheels.

He thankfully stopped this behavior quite quickly, I feel like it was because he didn’t have a wheel and didn’t know how else to burn off his energy in the small space he’d been in previously. The deep bedding allowed him to burrow, that seemed like a good way for him to use his energy, until he managed to master his wheels.

Once he managed to break the pattern he was a wonderful little guy, didn’t want to be picked up but wasn’t skittish like he seemed at first, just seemed happy and safe in his enclosure. He did however sleep a lot, fair to say he played hard and slept hard.

Edit: Just saw the photo. Little Jakey looks adorable. Hope he settles into his loving forever home soon.
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Old 02-13-2023, 04:19 PM   #3
heidii
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Posts: 232
Default Re: Spinning Robo!

Hi, hope this can be of some help, as I don't post here as often anymore.

Without a veterinary practitioner seeing him, there's not a guaranteed way of knowing what it could be. A lot of people had told me it was an ear infection, but my hamster had no head tilt or other behaviours that would insinuate that. I would say my best advice would be a vet. An ear infection needs to be treated, but it may not be the cause for this.

I had a Robovroski hamster not too long ago. He also demonstrated a spinning behaviour, had no head tilt, was otherwise in fine health. I may have some videos of him spinning that I can attach if anyone needs to see it for reference. Due to him displaying this behaviour, I did a bit of research so may know a tad bit about why your hamster may be doing this.

As far as I am aware, there isn't a MASSIVE amount of research as to why it is so common in Robovroski hamsters. It is considered a genetic neurological disorder that affects balance. From what I have found, this is especially common in white face and standard agouti Robovroski's, though any Robovroski (and further, any species of hamster) can be affected by this. This is typically caused by a really small genetic pool, meaning these hamsters, like most pet store hamsters, are unfortunately inbred.

It may be exasperated by things like excitement and stress. You may have found any enclosure changes, meal time, or artificial lights cause the spinning to worsen. This would indicate it is not an inner ear infection, but again, get it checked with a vet. This being said, my Robovroski could not handle coming out of his enclosure, so he was strictly bound to his DETOLF. I also found that larger spaces (for mine, it seemed like it didn't matter how crowded the enclosure was, but please try and crowd your enclosure as this does typically help) worsened his spinning.

Unfortunately, I did notice at one point his spinning was worsening. He was a rescue, but estimated at about 18-20 months. He unfortunately died not too long after.

It is important to note, this disorder differs in severity. Where a hamster may occasionally spin when excited or stressed, another suffering from the same disorder may not eat or drink as a result. These hamsters are unfortunately advised to be put down due to the poor quality of life. And I'm not sure if this has to be said, but please do not breed this hamster. It is a genetic condition, meaning any litters may also suffer from it.

Hope this could be of some help to you. Please let me know if I could answer anything else. This is just from my experience with my Robovroski and the research I put into his disorder.
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