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Old 04-21-2022, 05:20 AM   #11
heidii
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Default Re: Little Pico

I will be keeping him for a while, I do assume. I am often browsing pet sites and just letting people know that if they can't find a home for their ham, or if they have to get rid of it ASAP, that I can take it in and find a perfect home for them.

That was the plan for little Pico, but I do agree that, as of the moment, I will not be looking for another home for him. Though, I know a family member has been actively looking for a Roborovski, however they are undergoing a bit of stress as of the moment. Perhaps in all due to time Pico will go to them, however I won't rehome him to them just because their family. I do want to know he's going to a good home that knows how to care for hamsters, and in particular, dwarf hamsters.

The cage is very small. I found a hamster for sale in Plymouth, but it's housed in the same cage, so I'll leave this photo here:


I've unattached the tubes as I'm just not comfortable with them. I think I'm just a major barred cage hater. It's difficult to clean, especially when the hamster is running about in circles. I'm not sure if I'm just too used to Neptr's cage that's similar to a Linnmon.

I have already taken out the bedding. He seems a bit too small and I just don't want to risk anything with his respiratory system. I've covered his cage with a coat again, and he almost instantly settled more.

I am more likely to be looking at tank alternatives as a result. Do you think a Detolf could work, and I could just separate it in the middle? That way he'd have roughly 450 square inches or so ? Otherwise I've been looking at PawHut and Diversa, but I'm not entirely sure how I feel about their wooden cages.



As you can see, the cage is really quite bare. I will pick a couple things up from the pet store today, and I'll go ahead and get him a wheel too.
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Old 04-21-2022, 05:30 AM   #12
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Little Pico

Understood I'm the other way! I don't like the glass wall between me and the hamster but I agree cages are a nightmare unless they have a large front door for access (and I like that for interaction with the hamster). They all have pros and cons.

I don't worry too much about them being easy to clean because I don't do full clean outs very often Maybe ever 3 to 4 months and the cage is usually pretty much clean and dry anyway if you use a litter tray and have plenty of substrate.

So with a minimum of 6" of bedding and a litter tray, you just spot clean the substrate now and then and there is much less cleaning needed.

When it does come to a full cage clean then yes it can be a slight hassle having to take the bars off the base, but at least the base is then light and easy to move and fits in the bath if it needs disinfecting at some point.

If you're keen on a tank style enclosure though, then I think a detolf would be better than the others you mentioned, and yes you could section off a third of it at first and ten gradually expand it if he settles.
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Old 04-21-2022, 05:33 AM   #13
heidii
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Default Re: Little Pico

Well, with Neptr's enclosure I do thing I've had some problems with things like my hand has to come from above him as there's no other access. Though, he's getting used to it and if I start from a while away, and he can see where my hands coming from, he doesn't get as visibly scared.

His enclosure doesn't smell at all, which I thought was quite odd considering it was small. However there were lots of tiny hamster poops, so unsure of how it was rather smell-less. Found no urine soaked bedding, which was good, but I don't think he's litter trained.

Also, not just related to Pico, but Neptr too:
Where do you guys get your moss from, if you have moss in your enclosure? I've found some Fresh Welsh Sphagnum Moss on Etsy and was wondering if I could use that after freezing it for a couple days?

Last edited by heidii; 04-21-2022 at 06:02 AM.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Little Pico

I don't use moss personally. I thought about it but like to keep things simple I focus on getting the best set up that works for the hamster in terms of accessibility - like a large house that's dark inside (they need somewhere dark to retreat to) a shelf, stable ramps - plenty of substrate. Those are just the basics obviously. I use paper Fitch for substrate but I also have some fina card and scatter a bit of that to give more of a natural look and another texture. And cork logs for nature texture as well. Moss is probably ok but anything that can get a bit humid or damp can be a bit of an issue for spores and respiratory issues - especially in something enclosed like a tank. but that is just my opinion and I'm fairly cautious. Others may have recommendations for moss.

I think what makes them happy is food! And bedding and nesting material. And yes they enjoy an enriched environment with places to go and things to do but I honestly think hamsters aren't that bothered by whether it's a natural cage or not! They like hidey places and tunnels and building mountains out of substrate. I imagine anything soft like moss would be seen as nesting material - they forage for nice things for the nest - and that would be my concern if it gets pee'd on.

I have only come across one syrian who wouldn't use a litter tray! They will use it - but only if you put it in the right place! The right place being the place they have chosen to pee - maybe a corner of the cage? So you put it there with chinchilla bathing sand in.

The first time you can put a tiny bit of their pee'd on substrate on top so they know it's still their familiar pee corner. Then you just empty the litter tray once or twice a week. I get the corner litter trays as they seem to choose corners and it fits well. Ours used to sit in the front half and have a wash and pee in the back corner. Poops go anywhere in the cage of course but they aren't really dirty or smelly and can just be picked out or spot cleaned out now and then.

If your syrian is still shy in the cage, he might be better out of the cage. Perhaps let him walk into a tube and lift him out that way - they behave differently out of the cage.

It's lovely you are rescuing hamsters I would think very carefully about rehoming the robo though because I know even some rescues won't rehome robos with neurological issues saying they need special care.

It might be an idea to observe the robo for a while in case this issue gets better or worse.

There is some info here about these neurological issues so some observation could help to try and decide if it's genetic or a possible past injury. Either way stress makes it worse usually but there are some helpful suggestions for cage set ups with this issue. So yes a detolf might be good.

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Old 04-21-2022, 07:22 AM   #15
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Default Re: Little Pico

I get these - just right for a syrian.

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The one hamster I had who wouldn't use one was a one year old rescue (a bit insitutionalized! He'd been in the rescue a long time). He was very neat and chose a particular place at the far end of his house as a toilet. When I put the litter tray there he moved it again! Eventually I buried the litter tray under his pee corner so he couldn't see it (but I could still lift it out! And he dug it up and moved it again! Then he started using it and his old corner as well. Eventually he got the hang of it and used it lol.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:24 AM   #16
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Default Re: Little Pico

Personally I can't comfortably recommend using moss for hamsters. It's for absorbing moisture and then inevitably releasing it back into the environment, and that doesn't matter if it was previously dried or not as the process still occurs(moss is insanely resilient - the dried stuff can even still grow if it gets hydrated enough). The moisture holding and releasing properties make it incredibly useful for certain other species, but for hamsters that's just one more thing to harm their respiratory health and encourage mold growth.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:29 AM   #17
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Little Pico

Just looked back at your photos of that cage again and I can see the little robo! Yes it is a bit bare. Just fill it up with things - you don't need to spend a lot - toilet roll tubes, a square tissue box hide. Or two. An egg box is a good hide as well (the cardboard ones). Just cut a hole in it somewhere. Cardboard items might be better for now anyway as if he does spin or flip he's less likely to hurt himself. I can't see if there's a wheel in there, but whether there is or not I'd pick up one of the 6.5 or 7" flying saucers. Our robo LOVED his saucer. He had both a wheel and a saucer.

And maybe add a shoebox house as well (or just cut it to make a platform/shelter. He's probably a bit lost right now - new house, new bedding - not much in there to get a routine. I'm sure he'll perk up with a few hidey places and some food scattered and a bit more shelter.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Little Pico

Our last Robo's cage set up is on this thread further down the page (next to my name) if you want some ideas for now You can see his weel and saucer (he liked sitting under the saucer as well as running on it). He has a partly subterranean house at the right end. And a shelf in the back right corner.

Let's see your cages - New thread - July 2017

Our current Robo's cage is on the same thread further on, link below. That's the savic plaza which I put cardboard 8" high all round for deeper bedding and to lower the height. His layout is similar otherwise. A large partly submerged house on the right but he has a bigger shelf and he loves running up and down that ladder and spends ages in his sand bath on the shelf.

If you can get some chinchilla bathing sand (the tiny friends one is ok and easily available) then any dish will do as a sandbath - casserole dish eg. Robos really need/love their sand baths. That will cheer him up to.

And keep talking to him - so he feels loved and gets to know you. I believe they really do respond and communicate when they accept you as their human and trust you.

Let's see your cages - New thread - July 2017
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:45 AM   #19
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Default Re: Little Pico

If you don't mind spending a bit on one or two items for the cage, I got this for our current robo and he really loves it. It has a hidey place underneath he likes, he sits on the little shelf and climbs all over it. It's good in a low cage like that one he has now as not to far to fall onto if happened to climb to the roof bars (but robos rarely do). It could help fill up the cage a bit along with some cardboard tubes and hides. There were no fake plants or moss on mine by the way and if there had been I'd have pulled them off!

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Looking at that cage also, I think you would do best to enrich it now and get him settled and happier, before thinking about upgrading him. Then when you do upgrade him everything will be familiar and smell familiar and can just be moved across to help him settle.

He doesn't seem to have a nest? And no doubt that little house ends up needing cleanign out a lot which could stress him. So cardboard hides will give him somewhere to build a safe cosy nest that won't be disturbed. Any house that's open underneath and sat on the substrate stays aired and doesn't get smelly like the enclosed plastic ones.

So suggest adding a bit pile of strips of torn up toilet paper as well - he'll take it to where he wants to build a nest.
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Old 04-21-2022, 07:49 AM   #20
Pebbles82
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Default Re: Little Pico

If you look at the photos of the current robo cage, there is a piece of cork bark on top of the substrate in front of the wheel. I had that for our previous robo as well. Initially it was intended to be a bit of a step up to his wheel but he made a burrow underneath it! He had two nests - one in his subterranean house and one under the cork bark and would move friom one nest to the other. So I used to clean out one half of the cage at a time so he always had one half undisturbed (I find that works well with robos). I'd do the right side one week. Then maybe a month later do the left side. And he'd move back to his other nest,

Anyway I mentioned the cork bark piece as it's a nice thing to just have on top of the substrate for texture (our current one likes to sit on it and snack) and I have a few pieces so if you'd like me to send him one I'd be happy to do so!
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