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Old 11-21-2022, 08:42 AM   #1
wren_dex
Newborn Pup
 
Join Date: Nov 2022
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 3
Question Spot cleaning really upsets hamster

We got our first hamster, Mishka, on 11/5. He is a winter white housed in a 655 sq inch plastic bin (see attached image -- we have since added a large sandbath on the bottom level).

Anyway, here's the issue. Mishka first made his home deep in the substrate, creating a network of tunnels. Unfortunately it soon became clear that he was using his burrow as his bathroom, and after a couple of weeks it needed spot cleaning. So one of us got him out into his playpen and tried to keep him occupied while the other gently lifted the substrate to spot clean. It seemed to be a good thing we did because it was really wet deep down there with urine.

However, once we put him back in, he abandoned the burrow (which was mostly intact, just had some replacement substrate). The same day, we offered him a tissue box, and he took this up as his residence. We thought 'Yay! This will be easier/less disruptive to clean, at least." and after a week, we did a light spot cleaning -- just to get out the damp stuff. But now he's abandoned the tissue box and is sleeping behind his wheel.

Worse yet, my daughter had been making progress training him, but now we seem to be back to square one -- really kind of worse because square one was nibbling, but now if she puts her hand in the enclosure for any reason, he is straight-up biting her, not letting go, drawing blood.

So, I can definitely ascertain it is likely the spot-cleanings that have tipped off these behaviors. But the spot-cleanings have been very minor, and only instigated by the strong urine smell. The first time it was so damp so deep down it was really starting to get gross.

But obviously we are making this little guy miserable and he'd just rather we never clean -- which also isn't really a solution. I'm just not sure how to find the right balance between keeping the peace and not letting things get super gross/stinky in the enclosure, and I'd appreciate some advice.
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Old 11-21-2022, 06:02 PM   #2
Salem13
Hamster Pup
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Canada
Posts: 100
Default Re: Spot cleaning really upsets hamster

I'm not sure if it would help but whenever I do spot cleanings and have to go into burrows I make sure I put some food down there as a sort of apology. It might sound a bit gross but I also try to leave a tiny bit of soiled bedding when I can- nothing thats actually wet of course. I also tend to replace it with bedding from the top of the enclosure so it still smells like them.
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