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Old 07-09-2021, 12:55 PM   #1
Mokie
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 6
Unhappy Constantly scared Hamster?

Hello!

So I recent got a new Syrian hamster called Nutmeg. He's so beautiful but bless him is he shy! Its been over a week and a half now and he still gets scared so easily!

I got the picture around 4 days in and decided he still needs his time to settle, but it seems he's just absolutely terrified of everything! I popped a treat in with him and he seemed curious, but not curious enough to come out at all. I then nudged it so it was more under his hideout and he went to try bite it a couple of times, but then on the third bite he jumped back and hid.

I'm a bit worried as I obviously don't want to stress him out at all, but he literally never comes out and jumps at almost everything. My mum literally just tutted quietly the other day and he jumped! Besides being scared of everything, he's eating and drinking normally and does love a good run on his wheel. I also put a sand bath in for him and he mainly uses it to dig and poop

Am I overthinking it? My previous two hamsters were really inquisitive and very out going, do I just have a particularly shy hammy?

He's got a new enclosure 120cm x 45cm x 50cm with 25cm of compacted kaytee bedding and lots of chews/bridges/hides so I'm really unsure as to what I can do to help him as it seems sometimes that he just wants to escape
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Old 07-10-2021, 04:32 AM   #2
shane
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Location: Essex, England
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Default Re: Constantly scared Hamster?

A week and a half doesn’t sound long to me. My boy has been with me for about six weeks and some nights he’ll only come out as far as taking a treat before hiding, it’s only when the lights are off and I leave the room that he really becomes active. Some nights though he won’t leave my hand alone and follows it around the cage looking for his nibbles. I’ve heard many more experienced owners say that it’s taken months to tame hammies, and some just have a shy personality.

I’d stick with it and try to stay patient
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:56 AM   #3
Mokie
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Default Re: Constantly scared Hamster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shane View Post
A week and a half doesnít sound long to me. My boy has been with me for about six weeks and some nights heíll only come out as far as taking a treat before hiding, itís only when the lights are off and I leave the room that he really becomes active. Some nights though he wonít leave my hand alone and follows it around the cage looking for his nibbles. Iíve heard many more experienced owners say that itís taken months to tame hammies, and some just have a shy personality.

Iíd stick with it and try to stay patient

Thank you for the advice! My fear just stems from needing to change his bedding out as I've noticed he particularly stays in one little corner. He jumps around so frantically the last thing I want is to stress him out. I will keep at it and give him his time.
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:07 AM   #4
Eliana
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Join Date: Jul 2021
Location: Scotland
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Default Re: Constantly scared Hamster?

My 2 boys were like that also, it was heartbreaking to see them so scared, it has taken about 3/4 months for them to slowly get used to us, just keep being patience, keep tempting them with treats talk to them, our boys now run to greet us, we kept lots of places to hide in the cage and scatter things like seeds for them to locate, they usually come out and explore when you are not there, we also keep them in the room so they got used to the general noises from the house, I found it they are somewhere generally quite they get stressed more when they hear a strange sound they don't reconise

They are all russian dwarf hamsters our girl hamster was the total opposite to them, she is very cheeky and very brave, always inquisitive.
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Old 07-19-2021, 09:55 AM   #5
Petite
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Scotland
Posts: 424
Default Re: Constantly scared Hamster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mokie View Post
Thank you for the advice! My fear just stems from needing to change his bedding out as I've noticed he particularly stays in one little corner. He jumps around so frantically the last thing I want is to stress him out. I will keep at it and give him his time.
As far as changing his bedding is concerned, I would recommend taking him out of the cage (in a jug or mug which hamsters normally walk into) while you do the bedding change, and put him somewhere secure. If he has a stash, try to replace it where you found it, and then pop him back in when it's all done.

You don't say whether this is your first hamster, but also remember to replace some of the clean, old bedding and mix it in which the new, so his scent will still be there.
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:11 AM   #6
Ria P
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Location: Wiltshire, UK
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Default Re: Constantly scared Hamster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mokie View Post
Thank you for the advice! My fear just stems from needing to change his bedding out as I've noticed he particularly stays in one little corner. He jumps around so frantically the last thing I want is to stress him out. I will keep at it and give him his time.
With an enclosure of that size you only need to spot clean by replacing soiled bedding with fresh and then mixing it in with existing one.
Does Nutmeg have a sandfilled corner toilet in his peeing corner? Makes cleaning so much easier.

Btw, one of my Syrians was a very very scared rescue hamster and it took him 6 weeks to trust me but he's ever so tame and comfortable with me now. I sat by his cage talking to him what seemed like weeks before i took him out for taming sessions.
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Old 07-24-2021, 01:49 PM   #7
GhostBella
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Default Re: Constantly scared Hamster?

Every time I bring home a new small animal I always put them in the quietest room for at least 3wks. For the first 2 days I leave them be with the door shut and go in constantly talking softly and making soft clicking sounds to feed/water them, on the 3rd day I do the same but put the TV on during the day and evening and slowly start moving in and out of the room but not approaching the cage whilst there awake and do that for 5 days. From the 6th day onwards I then leave the door open so they can hear all the noises that are in your home and can desensitise themselves but in a distant way, sit by there cage talking to them and quietly start moving my hands round the outside of the cage making sure my hands are lower than them or the same level.
Hamsters like other animals and people there characters are just more shy and nervous, I especially find this more with the runts of litters that naturally have always been pushed around, last to feed etc. Im a behaviourist by trade and find that out of all the siblings born the lowest in the pecking order usually have those characteristics and are less bold and inquisitive.
When I advise people about getting a small animal I always say if your getting one from either a pet shop or breeder where you don't no or have a chance to see what happens at night. Get them to open the tank, wake them to view and choose, try and go for the one that wakes up and moves around first but not in a scared manner, then ask them to put the box you'll be taking one home in, in the cage/tank choose one that approaches it inquisitively or goes inside in an interested way. Avoid the ones that when woken try burying themselves straight away, that dont go near the box, run into the nearest hide out or are acting more skittish than the others.
Choosing an animal based on its looks, colour or markings isn't the way.
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