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Old 04-21-2022, 03:24 AM   #1
heidii
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Default Little Pico

Hi all! It wasn't too long ago that I got my little Syrian boy, Neptr. He is real sweet, and whilst we haven't gotten massively far with taming (I believe he may be actively avoiding me now, has changed sleep patterns to when I'm actually in bed lol) he does like to eat out of my hand.

I'm constantly on the lookout, still, for hamsters in my areas. Not nescecarily to keep, but I know that if I get the ones in tiny cages, I'll be able to find really good homes for them. A lot of people decide to get rid of their hamster ASAP, and so aren't too adamant about them going to good homes.

I saw an ad on Gumtree, replied, and honestly completely forgot about it. I don't even remember replying to the ad, I just know as I was doing my check on all the pet sites in my area, I saw I had a response. They had just gotten a Cane Corso and he would chase this little baby round when he was in the ball. Pico also came with softwood shavings, tubes for his cage (I don't even know what cage it is), chinchilla dust(?), a bag of hay (assuming timothy, it's quite pointy/sharp), two bags of Harry Hamster and dozens of hamster treats.

They were kind enough to deliver the little thing, too! I didn't live far but a train journey nonetheless. They gave me a bag of things, the cage and I gave them the 20.



This is the little ham. Ever so tiny compared to Neptr, and incredibly speedy. I did get him with strong intentions of rehoming - was going to get a vet checkup after a week or two, and then look for people who wanted to ethically obtain a hamster. However, he seems to either be incredibly emotionally stressed or have some kind of neurological problem. He kept spinning and spinning, and couldn't work out where his hide was when I moved it.

He also appears to have never been given enough bedding to burrow. Mildly glad he hasn't had that much bedding in his cage, however, as he was on softwood shavings. Just enough to cover the plastic of his cage. I covered his cage with a coat, and will likely be looking at a cage large enough for him to live with me for a bit.

I have no clue on age or gender, just that he's a Robovroski (again, just assuming that. I've never owned a dwarf species).

I've completely filled the base of his enclosure with paper bedding - I did this without checking to see what the wood shavings were. Should I remove it all & and get rid of the wood shavings? Or would that stress him too much?

Any help appreciated.
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Old 04-21-2022, 03:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Little Pico

Pico is beautiful. I am so happy he is with you now. I would imagine he has been traumatised by being chased by the dog. Poor thing.
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Old 04-21-2022, 03:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Little Pico

Me too! She told me and I was completely shocked. She did seem to really care for him, but just wasn't knowledgeable on hamster care.

She had put the cage down on the pavement outside of my house & was trying to pick Pico up through the cage. I kept insisting it really was okay, and to not get him out where he could easily run off and never be caught. She just wanted to say goodbye, but my heart was pounding.
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Old 04-21-2022, 03:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Little Pico

Pico is adorable, and very lucky too!

I would get rid of the wood shavings entirely. Unknown wood species shavings are always a very serious danger and shouldn't be kept, plus they could very easily lead to serious respiratory issues.
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Old 04-21-2022, 03:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: Little Pico

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Originally Posted by heidii View Post
Me too! She told me and I was completely shocked. She did seem to really care for him, but just wasn't knowledgeable on hamster care.

She had put the cage down on the pavement outside of my house & was trying to pick Pico up through the cage. I kept insisting it really was okay, and to not get him out where he could easily run off and never be caught. She just wanted to say goodbye, but my heart was pounding.
Oh my gosh! Pico could have escaped. She really does not seem to understand hamsters. It is such a relief you rescued him. I have heard of some hamsters spinning and such due to malnutrition and lack of enrichment. Hopefully now that Pico is with you his health will improve.
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Old 04-21-2022, 04:00 AM   #6
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Oh my gosh! Pico could have escaped. She really does not seem to understand hamsters. It is such a relief you rescued him. I have heard of some hamsters spinning and such due to malnutrition and lack of enrichment. Hopefully now that Pico is with you his health will improve.
He was on Harry Hamster, and gets quite a bit by looking at his food bowls. He also had an entire bowl of treats (unbranded, though they looked like dehydrated apple and beatroot(?) squares), a peanut, and these fruit bars? As well as a few dandelion leaves, that were awfully soggy. So, definitely couldn't be malnutrition, unless he's not eating. I've bought the bunny dwarf mix which I heard was really good for them, and I have rodipet as of the moment which is definitely better than an entire harry the hamster and treat diet. Lack of enrichment could definitely be a culprit, as he only has a small bright blue willow ball. I'd give him some, but all my enrichment is in Neptr's enclosure, and I wouldn't want anything of his to be in little Pico's cage.

I'll take out the softwood shavings now. Just didn't want to needlessly stress him.

I'll be going to IKEA in the near future, and will be getting a detolf. The Detolf was initially for Neptr, but now it looks like Pico is going to get an upgrade.

Also, is there a way to tell age/gender that's relatively obvious on a Robo? I'll take him to the vets next week if all seems well, if something is blatantly obvious I'll take him earlier, of course.
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Old 04-21-2022, 04:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Little Pico

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Originally Posted by heidii View Post
He was on Harry Hamster, and gets quite a bit by looking at his food bowls. He also had an entire bowl of treats (unbranded, though they looked like dehydrated apple and beatroot(?) squares), a peanut, and these fruit bars? As well as a few dandelion leaves, that were awfully soggy. So, definitely couldn't be malnutrition, unless he's not eating. I've bought the bunny dwarf mix which I heard was really good for them, and I have rodipet as of the moment which is definitely better than an entire harry the hamster and treat diet. Lack of enrichment could definitely be a culprit, as he only has a small bright blue willow ball. I'd give him some, but all my enrichment is in Neptr's enclosure, and I wouldn't want anything of his to be in little Pico's cage.

I'll take out the softwood shavings now. Just didn't want to needlessly stress him.

I'll be going to IKEA in the near future, and will be getting a detolf. The Detolf was initially for Neptr, but now it looks like Pico is going to get an upgrade.

Also, is there a way to tell age/gender that's relatively obvious on a Robo? I'll take him to the vets next week if all seems well, if something is blatantly obvious I'll take him earlier, of course.
Oh I see. I would think the nutrition is okay then. I too have heard good things about bunny dwarf and rodipet for dwarf hamsters. He is going to have a wonderful life with you.

I just remembered something. I watch a youtuber called Munchies place and some people in the comments said when rescuing hamsters that span around etc, this stopped once they had a bigger cage and enrichment. Fingers crossed this will be the same for Pico.
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Old 04-21-2022, 04:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Little Pico

spinning can be a neurological illness, but it could also be stress behaviour. you also don't know what has happened to him/her in the ball see if they settle down once they are in a correct cage setup. Yes, he/she is a robo

fingers crossed for you and him/her and goodluck
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Old 04-21-2022, 04:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Little Pico

If you haven't taken the substrate out yet, I would do it gradually by taking out a few handfuls of the shavings and adding quite a bit of paper bedding and mixing it in, then you'll have a mix of paper and shavings and some familiar scent. I think this is fine and is how I gradually switched over to paper bedding without stressing the hamster. As you spot clean each time you'll be adding more paper and there'll be less shavings each time. It does give some variety as well.

It's up to you but I think short term it will do no harm to leave some of the shavings in for a month or so until you gradually change over to paper bedding.

Shavings in the Uk all have to be kiln dried so they should be fine.

With the neurological issues you describe I think stress is a bigger risk than wood shavings right now. So gradual changes.

The Bunny dwarf hamster food is excellent - I use it for our robo. It is a little low on protein so supplementing with the odd higher protein treat would be good - the occasional half a walnut or a tiny bit of cheese goes down well! But the protein isn't that bad if you just give the odd high protein treat.

I'd add a shoebox house - just pop it in partly buried in the substrate - he'll love that and feel safe.

I'd also give him a good two weeks undisturbed to settle and calm down and get some habits in his cage and he then should seem visibly happier.

If there's not much in the cage, then adding items is fine - it's moving them around that stresses them. So adding a flying saucer and a house and a tube and toy or two will improve his enrichment.

Robos definitely dig and tunnel so as much bedding as you can fit in - I'd fill the base and heap it up in the middle - it probably won't fall out of the bars.

By keeping say two thirds of the old substrate and mixing new in for now, it will keep smelling familiar and be less stress for him.

Some robos are born with neurological issues like spinning or moon gazing but it may also have been triggered or worsened by the stress of the dog. It may never settle down and there is nothing a vet can do about it. It's something they will live with, but from the research I've read, it doesn't actually distress the hamsters and they seem quite happy despite the neurological behaviour. But the most important thing with this neurological condition is avoiding stress.

So I wouldn't change much at all for at least two or three weeks apart from adding bedding and swapping a few handfuls of shavings out for paper bedding and adding a bit more paper bedding, but mix it in so he can still smell the shavings.

Robos like plenty of hidey places to dive into when out in the cage so they feel secure from above.

For now I would just keep talking to him daily, gently so he starts to trust you and gets used to your voice. I actually think a detolf may be too much space for him if he has a genetic neurological condition (even if genetic it is worsened by stress). But an 80cm or 100cm cage would be good. As he's used to a cage already he will probably be better in another cage. I currently have our robo in the 100cm Savic Plaza but it's far too tall - it either needs a full level making or cardboard round the inside bars (which is what I have done) to have deeper bedding and thus reduce the height of the cage. Even then I find it a bit tall and had to be really careful setting it up to reduce fall risks. They are so tiny and can easily be injured with too much height. I have about 8" high cardboard cable tied round the inside - 10" would be better.

A hamster heaven cage would also be fine - with the tubes and penthouse removed. It's lower height and has a big front opening door. Our last robo was in that size cage and very happy.
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Old 04-21-2022, 04:54 AM   #10
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Default Re: Little Pico

To help him settle and distract him out of the stress, scatter feeding a bit of food each time would be good and adding something like a whimzee toothbrush chew with sunflower seeds stuck in the bristles - they like getting the sunflower seeds out. Just put food in the bowl a usual (I put about a dessertspoonful a day - they eat very little) and scatter no more than about half a teaspoonful.

And they definitely need a sand bath! Robos love a sand bath. And a shelf or platform - they love having some overhead cover via a shelf and also seem to love running up onto a shelf (I have the sand bath on the shelf so it doesn't sink into the substrate - but it needs to have a back on the sand bath in that cage (or some cardboard on the bars behind it (or the sand will get thrown out of the bars!

And a huge pile of paper bedding - toilet paper torn into strips.

It sounds like the previous owner found it really hard letting the hamster go and loved it but did the right thing finding him a new home. If she was happy picking him up and holding him he may have been fairly hand tame but yes a huge risk doing that outside!

Robos are the most frightened of all the species - understandably - being so small and prey animals - but they do gain in confidence once settled in a cage.

I think a cage upgrade would be important after 2 to 3 weeks as no doubt the old cage carries some scent from the old home (and the dog) which will remain as a reminder and stressor.

So it's a case of either waiting 2 to 3 weeks then upgrading. Or doing it straight away and giving him chance to settle. But if you do it straight away you will need to retain about half the shavings or the move will be too stressful. Any new cage make sure everything is fully set up so no tweaks or changes needed after the move!

Are you going to keep him? I think maybe another move and change of owner might be an added stress but depends.
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