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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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New Hamster...Help

On Saturday we got our first hamster (from local pet store). Just wondering if it is normal for them to not do anything? I know it takes a while for them to get comfortable and we've pretty much kept the kids (3 and 6) away from the cage all weekend.

So far all he does is bury his nose into the corner of the cage and sleep. He has slept pretty much the entire time we've had him (2 days now) both during the day and at night. The only time he has been up and not sleeping really was to get the food out of his bowl and buried under himself where he sleeps. He seems to be going to the bathroom in the same spot as well

Should I be picking him up or anything like that? I thought it best to leave him alone for a while and let him explore and get use to the new surroundings but it doesn't appear that he has any interest in doing that.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-25-2010, 02:22 PM
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That's perfectly normal. He's trying to adjust to his new surroundings, and he's probably exploring the cage while you all are asleep. As long as you bond with him efficiently, he'll tweak his sleeping schedule to wake up earlier so you guys can hold him and play with him. My hamsters would consecutively wake up between 5 - 6 pm, knowing that as soon as I saw them awake, I'd pick them up.

You really do need to get him used to your scent, though, so he doesn't get accustomed to you not having your hand in his cage. What kind of cage is he in? My hamsters always freaked out in wire cages, they preferred the security of an aquarium, or any type of cage that didn't expose them like wire cages do.

Try offering him a piece of food, and if he doesn't take it, put it near him. Try doing that several times a day.

I earned my hamster's trust by giving them a situation in which to decide to trust me, or not. Whenever I get a hamster, I leave the box they came in in their cage with them. They'll often use it to nest because it's a dark area that already has their scent. Generally some time after they slowly edge out and start exploring, they'll get on top of the box and seem unsure of how to get down, that's when I put my hand, palm up, right next to the box. And they can decide whether to use my hand to get down(if they crawl onto it, I'll slowly decline my hand to the bottom of the cage, and wait until they walk off of it on their own before removing it), or they'll hop down on their own.

I don't like the method of just leaving your hand in there without a purpose when they're still trying to get used to everything, because generally, they'll just avoid it anyway, and it probably makes them feel like it's an invasion of their territory. Which is why, when introducing them to my scent, I first keep their box in the cage so they already have a dark area with their scent in a new, foreign cage, and whenever I put my hand in there, it's never in there for too long, and it's either to help them down from on top of the box, or to offer food. At first, when they take the piece of food from me(pinched between my fingertips), they'll snag it and run away to their safe place. But eventually they'll nibble at it and continue to let me hold it for them, or gently take it and sit right there eating it, When they get to that point, it's a safe bet that you can leave your hand in there at prolonged periods of time without fear of being bit, just make sure every time your hand is in there, it's doing something useful, so he doesn't associate your hand exclusively with food. Try rustling the bedding up some away from him, so he gets used to disturbances, and so your scent gets on his bedding.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 01:41 PM
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Yeah its all normal.
Just let him get used too everything and then try SLOWLY too pick him up, but if hes scared just do it several days a week bit by bit.
And dont forget all hamsters are different!!
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 01:58 PM
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good advice given. How old is the hamster? Older ones are less socialised from the pet stores and it took my old ham Button a couple of months to get used to me.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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I have no idea how old the hamster is...but I think he's pretty young. I will give it some time and do it slowly and hope he comes around.
I also think the cage I got him is a bit too small...I'm going to try and find a 10 gallon aquarium for him
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-27-2010, 02:35 PM
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Another seemingly good cage is Habitrail's Ovo setup for Syrians. It's enclosed, and very easy to clean, and doesn't expose them like wire cages do. It's been a while since I last had a hamster, and I haven't tried them in an Ovo, so take that as you will. However, I can recommend a Super Pet cage-topper for a 10 gallon aquarium - that's the kind of setup I kept mine in. It gives them more space to run around, but when it comes to sleeping, they get to curl up in the safety of the aquarium A word of caution though... NEVER attach a wheel to the cage topper. I did that. Once. And my hamster got going in it so fast he threw himself out of it, and I'm sure that can cause a list of problems.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 05:27 PM
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Evader, yes, I agree, the bigger the housing, the happier he will be. A ten gallon would be much better. Good move! No one wants to be in too small housing, people and pets included!

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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had him out for a bit this evening...just on the floor in the living room. Gave him some lettuce and carrots and he seemed to like that. Then I put him in one of those exercise balls and he proceeded to go to sleep in it...he didn't move it at all...lol.

I found a 20 gallon aquarium and just finished setting that up...he's in it now so we'll see how that goes.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 10:02 PM
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Awesome! Sometimes it takes a while for them to get used to an exercise ball - some don't get used to them at all. Make sure the lettuce and carrots are just a treat, though.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 10:17 PM
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Aww, sounds like he had a fun outing with you! You know, I never even tried exercise balls with my little critters...many of them just panic in those and when they try to get out, the ball goes forward, and so on...I always just thought if I was a little furry guy, I would rather be out in the open getting my exercise, like on the floor, or the bed or couch, instead of being closed up in a plastic ball. Sounds like he had fun on the floor with you!

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2010, 03:03 PM
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My ham Button used exercise wheels because I do NOT like the idea of keeping a wheel IN the cage, I feel it's a lazy way of stimulating your pet. Button would come out and run around the bed or room, and inside his 3 tiered cage he would have ladders, ropes, tubes, tunnels etc. . . to stimulate their brains. I also NEVER used a food bowl. Hamsters are clean and pee in a designated corner (Button had a litter box which he used!!! lol) so dropping food in the shavings and on ledges and hiding it kept him busy and satsfied his natural tendencies was a good idea. Here's my YT vid of Button. I love him and miss him : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdnG9sVwjWY
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 10-29-2010, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple-Hops View Post
My ham Button used exercise wheels because I do NOT like the idea of keeping a wheel IN the cage, I feel it's a lazy way of stimulating your pet. Button would come out and run around the bed or room, and inside his 3 tiered cage he would have ladders, ropes, tubes, tunnels etc. . . to stimulate their brains. I also NEVER used a food bowl. Hamsters are clean and pee in a designated corner (Button had a litter box which he used!!! lol) so dropping food in the shavings and on ledges and hiding it kept him busy and satsfied his natural tendencies was a good idea. Here's my YT vid of Button. I love him and miss him : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdnG9sVwjWY
I didn't use bowls either, for the same reason .

For my hamsters, I would set up a play area in the bathtub (they couldn't climb out since it was slick on the sides) and they would get to stay in there for several hours a night (basically from when they woke up in the evening until I went to bed). They would be able to go in and out of their cage as they pleased and the play area had tons of tunnels, a bird play gym, a wheel, boxes, a digging box with sand, hay for nesting, etc. I would hide food everywhere so the hamster would have to find it and bring it back into the cage . I started doing all of that when I got a hamster who had a tendency to chew on the cage at night. The moment I began the above routine, all boredom chewing stopped.

I always use bin cages now, too, since they give hamsters so much room. I feel that a lot of common behavioral problems with hamsters are related to lack of stimulation and exercise.




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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2010, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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It's been a couple of weeks now and this little guy still doesn't do much of anything really. He only ever comes out of his little house to gather his food (which I hide all over the aquarium) and take it back to his house, to pee or if I have a treat (when he gets the treat he goes straight back to his house).
He's never used the wheel in the aquarium, if I take him out and put him in one of those exercise balls all he does is clean himself and then curl up and sleep.
I've set up a little spot on the floor for him a few times with things for him to "play" with and explore but he just finds something to crawl under or he goes to a corner and curls up in a ball.

Not sure what more there is to do...but the kids have completely lost any interest in him whatsoever...
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2010, 11:57 AM
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Have you tried checking on him in the middle of the night? Some hamsters are VERY nocturnal (which can make them poor children's pets...gerbils and rats are often better because of this).

But if he really is sleeping that much, there might be something wrong .




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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-07-2010, 01:00 PM
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I was thinking the same thing. Hamsters are nocturnal and he may be doing most of his activities at night and sleeping during the day, BUT if you suspect he is sleeping too much, Sasami may be right, he could be ill. Do you have a local small animal vet that you could call about this or take him in for a checkup? You also said the kids have lost interest in him. I am not sure what it is you expected the hamster to do to "entertain" the kids.

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