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Old 10-09-2016, 08:51 PM   #1
bogart
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Pennsylvania
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Default Hairless Hamster: Tips and Advice?

Hi Lovelies,

We got a new hamster over the weekend! I was at the pet store getting Stan some new toys (he's doing wonderful) and generally looking around. I stopped to look at the small animals and there was this little hairless Syrian in one of the tanks.

He looked miserable and was sleeping on a scratchy bed of wood bedding. Of course, he stole my heart and I bought him without even asking the partner if it be cool. He forgave me after seeing the little bugger. We named him Rufus.

We got him a nice cage that was on clearance and it should give him plenty of space. Just gotta get him a Wodent wheel next pay. He's using Stan the man's old wheel which is super squeaky. Which leads me to my questions:

1) Anyone have experience with hairless hamsters? Anything specific we'd need to know.

2) I know he needs more protein than regular hamsters. Stan gets a diet of Oxbow with a healthy mix of veggies and sunflower seeds. I've started Rufus on a similar mix. I read a suggestion of supplementing with cat food. Our kitten eats Blue Buffalo dry kitten food. Good idea to mix in? Or is there a better way to get him easy protein?

3) His bedding is currently just Carefresh. Do you think it would be okay to mix in the wood chips at the bottom like we do in Stan's or would that be too rough on his skin?

4) Got him a couple of hammocks but I'm going to make him a few more things to burrow into since winter in PA is not pleasant. Any ideas for keeping his cage warm? It's a wire cage with plastic bottom.


Thanks for sticking with me to the bottom here! Sorry it's so long.
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Proud co-parent of a small zoo: Tony the dog, Ash the kitten, 8 glofish, 3 dwarf frogs, 1 betta fish, and 2 Syrians (Stan the man and Rufus the naked hamster)
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:52 AM   #2
Shakudo
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: The Netherlands
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Default Re: Hairless Hamster: Tips and Advice?

Hello,

I did some looking around and found this article for you about hairless hamsters.
I would personally leave the bedding completely carefresh, I think anything sharp or rough could damage their skin which seems very sensitive.

I hope this will be useful.

Hairless Hamsters • Hamsterific!

Take care,

Joey


PS can you post some pics, I am curious to see what he is like
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Old 10-11-2016, 12:26 PM   #3
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hairless Hamster: Tips and Advice?

That article is a great find Shakudo! Bogart - he sounds wonderful! I don't think I would have been able to resist either. Having read the article it sounds like he might be better with a glass tank, if that's possible. A 40 gallon breeder tank is a popular size for a Syrian and Petco have a dollar per gallon sale on until 5th November. It would get round the issue of reducing risk of injuries, and also be less draughty. It would also allow you to put a really good depth of bedding in so he can burrow down in it and keep warm as well as building a good sized nest. He could turn out to be a good tunneler being so streamlined!

Softer substrate sounds better, and Carefresh is fine, as is Kaytee Clean and Cozy (which I believe is a bit less dusty), but they don't work out cheap especially if you have something like 25cm depth of substrate. If you can get Boxo I think that is popular and is sold in bulk so works out cheaper - also a paper/cardboard based substrate. Or you could mix Boxo with Carefresh. I wouldn't use any wood based bedding due to the skin injury/irritation risk.

So - having read that article, having a Syrian and thinking about what I would do if he was mine (ooh I want him) - I would go with a 40 gallon breeder tank, 25cm to 30cm of well compacted paper based substrate. A large house/nesting box (wood or a cardboard shoebox) like a guinea pig sized one - so he has room to build a really big nest and can also burrow down to keep warm. If you have the deep substrate a cardboard shoebox house might be better as it won't need supporting and won't sink or squash him if he tunnels under it

In terms of toys maybe lots of floor cover toys like large tunnels or tubes - cork logs make good floor cover toys and are quite large so fill a lot of the floor area - and this will also make it cosier and feel less draughty. And hanging hammocks from the top would also give a bit of insulation and cosiness (although if he tries to chew them you might need to replace them with grass hammocks or a level on legs instead). Some kind of shelf/level is good as well - something he can sit under and feel safe, or climb up a bit. You can just stick some dowel legs on a piece of wood, or make shelves from Ikea Knuff magazine racks maybe.

Foodwise. I would go with a complete Hamster Mix like Hazel Hamster (which is identical to Harry Hamster) and has all the protein, nutrients and vitamins required, and supplement it with a few rings of the Oxbow each day. This would still be a little bit low on protein and I believe Mazuri rat and mouse blocks are a popular additional source of protein in the US - or you can supplement the protein with fresh foods - cheese, nuts, mealworms are all good for protein. I give half a brazil nut once a week, half a walnut once a week, a small piece of cheese once a week, plus extras like pumpkin seeds as treats. Pumpkin seeds are easy to get - supermarkets sell them as healthy snacks.

In terms of keeping him warm I'd say the most important thing is keep the room warm. It could be good, as the article says, to have some kind of heat source near the tank (although you'd need to be careful with glass so he didn't fry), or heat pad etc, but mainly keep the room temperature constant - that might mean having the central heating on longer or having a separate little heater for that room on low overnight. We live in a cold part of the Uk and a draughty house and I have little oil filled radiator on low all night which keeps the room at an even temperature.

Toys - because of the risk of skin injury, maybe avoid wood toys that have rough edges or are made with nails. Cork logs are natural and not hard or scratchy really. Cardboard is fine, ceramic and plastic toys are also fine as long as they don't get chewed and have sharp edges.

Looking forward to meeting the little man!
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